Recently one of our Directors asked me to speak with his teleprospecting team on leveraging social media channels for prospecting. Of course I was excited to do so since sales teams always seem to be the last ones to embrace the value of using new tools. While speaking with the business development reps, one skeptical sort raised their hand to ask a question. This person had been very unengaged in our conversation (checking their phone for email, texts, or Facebook) and you could tell they were not very interested in what I had to say. Their question (or statement) was “My project wants me to drive traffic to a booth at an industry trade show, so Twitter isn’t really going to have any value to me.” You could tell by the smug delivery that the rep thought they had me backed into a corner. I think not!
Twitter can be a great value for both sales reps and inside sales teams looking to drive traffic to a booth or connect with prospects who may be attending the event. Hopefully your sales teams have already begun using the Twitter list feature to build a list of their top prospects (if not, get on it). Most events (I hate to say all, but it should be by now) have now taken to associating a hashtag with the event, ex: #inbound12 for HubSpots Inbound 2012 Conference. A few weeks prior to the event taking place, begin following the event hashtag on Twitter. You will soon be able to start building out a list of vendors, channel partners and attendees based on the volume of tweets utilizing the hashtag.
The pre-event tweets will typically consist of those who are sponsoring the event or will have a booth setup at the event. Start building a list and gathering intelligence on those who you know will be there. Once the event begins, you should see a tremendous increase in the volume of tweets using the event hashtag. This should consist of those who are attending the event and your prospects. Sales reps or the inside sales reps should be identifying prospects in attendance and mapping out who are the top prospects worth speaking with.
Now that you have built your list of prospects and are following the event, you can begin your outreach to your prospects. Reply to your prospect’s tweets letting them know where your booth is and that you would love for them to stop by for a few minutes. Unlike your prospecting emails, I guarantee your prospect is going to receive and read your tweet (whether they stop by is a different story). You may also notice your prospects tweeting about an after conference networking event. Make sure you or your sales rep will be attending the networking event in order to get some face time with the prospect.
Twitter should also be used for monitoring competitor’s events as well as the events your organization will be sponsoring or attending. The real-time intelligence that can be generated from following a hashtag is invaluable and should be used in conjunction with your other marketing efforts to drive attendance and create more conversations at your booth stop.
If you’re skeptical, fine, I just ask that you try it, because if you aren’t, your competition is. What other uses have you found for Twitter when it relates to social prospecting?