June 2012
Column
AutomatedBuildings.com

Daikin Integration to BACnet, Modbus, KNX, WIFI, Mobile Apps
Intesis

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Leverage Social Media

to engage your customers and increase sales

Manny MandrusiakManny Mandrusiak
Managing Creative Consultant,
4 Bravo Marketing

Contributing Editor

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Every salesperson knows the steps to successfully closing a deal.  The problem that is arising is a need for salespeople to embrace new technologies to help them achieve that goal. Social Media provides several easy ways for any salesperson to grow more business once they understand that the behaviors of their customers have changed.

In the years before social media, customers were engaged by salespeople through emails, cold calls, newsletters, meaning that the conversation was essentially one way.  Marketers and salespeople would position products and create sales plans based on market research, focus groups, surveys etc.  Salespeople were always the ones to engage customers in conversation, and only then get their feedback.

Now the wide acceptance of Social Media has given salespeople the ability to have two way conversations with customers.  This ability is extremely powerful and can produce instant streams of data which salespeople can utilize to grow their sales.  Now they are connected with their customers 24/7, and can effectively watch their trends through social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

I know some salespeople reading this article are curling their lips at the thought of using social media to grow their sales, and I’ll address that.  It is simply a matter of brand identity, and being a credible source of information where your customers are looking for you.  Social Media enables you, and your company, to become more humanized because both are using the mediums that their customers use.  It is way easier to read and respond to a 140 character Tweet on a Smartphone rather than an email.  Salespeople will be also to receive comments and interact with customers while gaining extremely valuable feedback about their brand, products, and services.  This feedback does two important things:

1.    It strengthens your company and improves your business processes.

2.    It makes salespeople into the “Go to “guy or gal.  Everyone has someone whom they always use for the purchase of products because of their personal level of satisfaction with that particular company’s brand (identity), or a person whom they go to for certain services. (A mechanic they trust, Doctor, or in this case an OPC Server company, or System Integrator.) Everyone has people they trust in their network to provide certain products or services, and by being this person to your customers, you stand a high probability of being digitally recommended through a social media network.  Midas Brake and Muffler have a commercial that details this exactly on TV right now.  A woman uses her social media network to ask if anyone in her network of friends and followers knows a good mechanic.  The answer is Mark@Midas.  It can very easily be salesperson@systemintegrationcompanyalpha. The message behind the commercial is that by constantly providing a high level of service, Midas Brake and Muffler was recommended by all of the woman’s friends on her social network.  This proves just how much we as a society love our social media, and just how powerful they are in building a strong corporate identity.

Reliable Controls The above example also illustrates that companies can now be driven by customer expectations.  Provide superior goods and services, and be rewarded with recommendations through these networks.  Salespeople can use this to their advantage and easily leverage new contacts in an attempt to increase sales.  They can also analyze their followers and friends networks and trends in an attempt to predict customer behavior based on their social profiles.  An easy example of this is to look at the companies and brands that your followers like and use.  Knowing this information will enable your company to better determine which distributors to partner with, technologies to use, and even who their main competitors are.  This is extremely powerful knowledge to have when putting together sales and marketing plans.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, we now live in a society where content is king.  Customers are becoming extremely accustomed to being able to voice their opinions – good or bad.  This means that companies and salespeople that want to stay on top need to embrace the fact that they need to have the capability to enable their customers to have open two way communications with them.  It is a world of social media sharing and people that don’t want to embrace that fact won’t be in business too much longer. 

Customers are at the center of the online traffic about your corporate brand.  On the battlefield wars were often decided by which army had the best intelligence about their opponent.  Without a good social media strategy companies and salespeople simply will not have the data about their customers to compete with businesses who are customer-centric when it comes to social media.  They will simply have the data that you don’t to apply to their sales plans. 

It is time to embrace as many social media platforms as possible and engage your customers before your competitor does.  It is the only way to continue to grow your sales, and your business, in a society that is social media centric.


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