A Busy Sales Executive's Guide to Actually Using Social Media

    by Mark Roberge

    Date

    January 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    busy-sales-exec-social-mediaThis post originally appeared on the Marketing section of the Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to the Sales section.

    I talk to sales executives a lot via networking. More often than not, my discussions with them pertain to best practices. One best practice I like to bring up is social media monitoring, which, to me, is something executives need in order to be wholly effective in their jobs.

    The analogy I like to give is this: Imagine there was a room in your office where, if you had five free minutes each day, you could pop in. In that room, many of your customers and prospects were just talking to each other about what’s going on in their lives, what they're interested in at the moment, and what they're up to with their businesses.

    Wouldn’t that be pretty valuable if you had five minutes in between meetings or travel to go to that room, listen to these conversations, and gauge what’s being discussed? I think every sales executive would agree this would be extremely valuable and beneficial to their work.

    And that’s really the opportunity social media presents to us.

    Numerous executives are likely asking themselves, “How do I do this, though, with this crazy-busy schedule of mine?” I completely understand this sentiment: I used to have 350 people on my team and, thus, certainly had a hectic schedule. Every hour, I had at least three major tasks on my plate that need to be completed.

    Despite your busy schedule, though, there are techniques you can use to capitalize on this opportunity during your “in-between times,” like when you are waiting in line for lunch, on the train, in a taxi, or at a board meeting. You can tap into the social media spectrum for five minutes and get “in” on the various conversations occurring there.

    Here’s a little framework that I use when I think about my social media monitoring strategy as a sales executive. I basically designate social media activities into three specific buckets:

    Bucket #1: Mission-Critical Things That I Want to Know About

    If a customer mentions me in social media, that’s a big deal. If an enterprise prospect mentions me, that’s a big deal. Even when a prospect mentions my business or even a competitor, that’s a big deal.

    Personally, I have these activities configured so that when they occur, I get an email that alerts me. To be honest, I’m not always on top of those activities, but I’m making a concerted effort to continually get better at recognizing those mentions, as they can be -- and often are -- vital to understanding current and prospective customers’ wants and needs.

    Bucket #2: Activities I Want to Know About, but if I Miss Them, That’s Okay

    While I don’t catch all Facebook posts, tweets, and other social network mentions, I usually check out activity related to this bucket each morning so that I’m up to speed on what I deem the “big” things happening with people and entities that I know and work with.

    For instance, anytime customers mention our company or a prospect tweets something (anything, really), I want to know about it.

    Just as I have feeds set up for mission-critical items I need to know about on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., I also have feeds set up to hear general chatter about my company and our competitors. If that’s too much to monitor in addition to the mission-critical activity, then just work on checking mentions of your company on social (and perhaps mentions of your biggest competitors).

    Bucket #3: Posts I Can Afford to Miss (For Now, at Least)

    That’s not to say that I wouldn’t check out a handful of these types of mentions if I have even just a free minute. However, if I do miss them, the world won’t end.

    A chief example of what I include on this list: all prospects in my company’s database. Anytime one of our leads tweets, it appears on a separate feed. And while I can’t view all of this activity, I’ll try to find a minute here and there to see if there are some worthwhile mentions or posts I should know about.

    The good thing about this bucket is that I can go back and read these tweets later in the day and retweet ones that really stand out. Or, if I know a salesperson who is assigned to certain prospects that are tweeting, I can give them a heads up that they should retweet them or respond to their activity. I can even just give my salespeople guidance on how they should approach replying to this kind of activity.

    Hopefully, this type of setup can give busy sales executives an idea as to how they can appropriately prioritize which social media activity to monitor on a day-to-day basis. While it may take some time adjusting to this social media monitoring routine, the dividends this alteration can pay for you and your business can be significant.

    How are other executives adopting social media? I'd love to hear any tips to make this system easier. 

                                       

    Written by Mark Roberge

    Mark is Chief Revenue Officer of the HubSpot Inbound Sales Division. Prior to this role, Mark served as HubSpot's SVP of Worldwide Sales and Services from 2007 to 2013, during which time he grew the revenue run rate from $0 to $90 million and expanded the team from 1 to 450 employees. Mark holds an MBA from MIT.

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