November 16, 2017 by Ashwini Murthy

Repost from The Marketing and Growth Hacking Publication

Good sales reps have great selling reflexes. They chase down every opportunity and make the most out of the window of opportunity. Naturally, many sales reps realized the power of social media and started figuring out ways to tap it. Social media is free and any sales person would know that it is a lead mine. But, when there are 2 billion people out there on prominent social platforms, it has become harder to cut through to the crowd. Appearing on people’s newsfeed has a 2% probability.

According to Mckinsey’s research, more than 25% of the purchase decisions had a direct social media impact. On one hand, the power which companies had on organically reaching customers dwindled, while on the other hand, the decision-influencing power of social media increased multifold.  

Companies can no longer put a brown bag over social media and hope it goes away. Ignoring social media is as good as ignoring 2 billion people worldwide. Reaching every person out there is as easy as scaling Mount Everest in one breath.

But with so much difficulty in being seen and heard, how are companies marketing and selling on Twitter? I took it upon myself to find out. I decided to look into the sales teams of top 100 tech companies in the US and how each salesperson used their Twitter account for selling on social media. Why top 100 tech companies? Because they are the most progressive in terms of adopting new sales and marketing techniques. Or so we assume! Here’s what I found.

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Sales reps don’t sell on Twitter at all!

We tracked around 120 senior level executives (manager and above) in sales function from these companies on Twitter.

Interestingly, only 26% had an active Twitter presence (by active, we mean that they have engaged in some form of content creation on Twitter (favorite, retweet etc.). Out of those who are active on Twitter, just 40% engage in conversations of any kind (including personal conversations). Out of those who engage in conversations, just 39% have business-related conversations with other Twitter users who seem like prospects.

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Putting this in context, for every 100 sales executives on Twitter only 12 use it to actively participate in conversations with prospects and these are progressive tech companies that we are talking about!

Let’s dig further.

Perhaps, sales reps are busy crushing their quota and are on the phones or pounding the pavements. So, then the marketing department should be actively building conversations at the top of the funnel, right?

It turns out, for 100 senior marketing profiles we found from these companies, only 54% are active on Twitter. 25% of them are having any sort of conversation and within them, just 39% are engaging in a professional banter.

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Marketing department, it seems like, has turned Twitter into television – primarily using it for one-way broadcasts from official handles rather than using it like email, where one-to-one conversations dominate.

According to Kissmetrics, although social media is effective, it is really difficult to execute a marketing campaign there. Hubspot says that 60% of the small business owners are not able to track ROI from their social media activities.

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While doing this research, a lot of questions haunted me. How difficult is it to convert leads on Twitter? What’s the conversion rate? How do we reach out to them? In my quest to find answers to these questions, We reached out to over 2 dozen prospective clients on Twitter. We just DM’ed them and sometimes explicitly invited them to talk shop, with a leading tweet that relates what we have to offer (data science-based lead generation for specific industry verticals) to what their businesses need.

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To our surprise, over 40% of them responded and none of those were negative. It’s probably the need to sound civil and courtTwitter twitter that drove the engagement. And 10% of them lead to positive replies. While it’s a small sample set, even at such a small scale, we were already seeing more success than all of the top 100 tech companies put together!

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With overwhelmingly positive traction in a short period with a small sample set, shall we dare say that social and especially Twitter is a good sales prospecting medium if you treat it as a ‘one to one’ conversation channel?

Well, start experimenting today. You may open up a channel that keeps giving!

Ashwini Murthy

Content marketer @ PipeCandy

A writer by day. Illustrator by night. Currently trying to conquer the B2B marketing world one baby step at a time. Loves everything outside her comfort zone.