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Ruminations on "Best Fits for Social Media in the Sales Cycle"

by Steve Fisher on May 12, 2009

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Chris and Violet

Chris and Violet "discussing" social media

Many of you out there are looking for ways to maximize your social media efforts to gain customers and I share your experiences of striving to correlate every investment to direct return that is more than what I put in. But when it comes to social media, it is not as straightforward as we wish it is compared to other forms of marketing.

Reading Chris Brogan’s article “Best Fits for Social Media in the Sales Cycle” a few things struck me. First he breaks the sales cycle into:

  • Awareness
  • Prospects
  • Leads
  • Customers
  • Evangelism (Evangelists)

For most sales people, the middle three – prospects, leads, customers are the usual elements that comprise a “Sales Funnel”. Many think this wouldn’t be about social media since awareness and evangelism is where the real value of social media resides. However, we can use social media to continue our conversations and our outreach to those all throughout the sales cycle into the customer phase where outreach and community are critical. As Chris states “A paid-up customer is not the end of the sales cycle, any good salesperson knows. He or she is a trusted part of your next successful sales, or at least, a referral to other potential prospects.” So true but yet so easily forgotten.

He is very forthright that much in social media can not have direct correlation to sales unless their are promotions tied to the effort that could be tracked. However, other metrics using awareness monitoring tools like Radian6 is a start to optimize your social media efforts or at least see some impact.

Chris wraps up nicely something that I agree with and why I got into social media in such a big way:

“Building awareness, maintaining good business relationships, communicating thoroughly, listening, and encouraging evangelists are all ways your efforts in social media will pay off sooner rather than later.”

Couldn’t have said it any better myself. Check out his full write up here and I am curious to hear your thoughts on this and how you have applied social media to your sales efforts.

(Photo credit: Chris Brogan)

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    • http://www.radian6.com Amber Naslund

      Hey Steve,

      Great seeing you in Chicago last week! For us, social media and sales converge in a couple of different places. In the first place, we believe that social media can help build relationships with people and businesses long before they even become prospects for us, meaning that we're a trusted source of information and expertise. Secondly, we can often identify people at their “point of need”, hearing them when they're looking for the kind of solution we can provide, and connecting based on that mutual benefit (instead of a sales pitch).

      We've found immense value in using social media as an integral part of our business development process, and are always interested in hearing about other successes, too.

      Thanks so much!

      Amber Naslund
      Director of Community, Radian6

    • http://thegreenmarket.blogspot.com Matt West

      As a consultant, I see the value of providing an online experience. Social media is a great example of an interactive digital medium with real power, provided you know how to use it. For the average small business, effectively navigating social media is largely about understanding Generation Y. Please see my review of Millennials and social media.

      http://thegreenmarket.blogspot.com/2009/05/powe…

      See also the ways in which social media and sustainability are aligned.

      http://thegreenmarket.blogspot.com/2009/05/soci…

    • http://thegreenmarket.blogspot.com Matt West

      As a consultant, I see the value of providing an online experience. Social media is a great example of an interactive digital medium with real power, provided you know how to use it. For the average small business, effectively navigating social media is largely about understanding Generation Y. Please see my review of Millennials and social media.

      http://thegreenmarket.blogspot.com/2009/05/powe…

      See also the ways in which social media and sustainability are aligned.

      http://thegreenmarket.blogspot.com/2009/05/soci…