It’s Not All Marketing’s Responsibility: Engaging with Buyers’ Influencers

Devon-McDonald by

B2B Enterprise Sales People: Are you finding it impossible to “sell” directly through social media? Honestly, don’t even bother.

What can you use social media for that would have far more impact? Building relationships with those who influence the key buyers in your target market. You can only go so far with following and engaging your buyers directly through social channels, etc (before you start getting really annoying/creepy).  Moderation is key.

Sales people need to find ways to connect with the influential people to whom their top prospects are connected  and/or following.

At the end of the day, the buyers’ sphere of influence is like one big spider web, and you need to be as close to the center of that web as possible.

Lets take a step back – what is your target market and buyer persona(s)?  If you are rambling off dozens of markets and personas — RED FLAG! WARNING! DANGER! You may not be ready for these influencer exercises. Check out this article for some help.

Part of truly understanding who your target buyer persona is is to understand: Who is influencing them outside of their company?

Sounds like a role for marketing or PR you say… “let them focus on building the relationships with the analysts and reporters.”

WRONG!  The modern-day successful sales person can’t think that one-dimensionally. Particularly at the expansion stage, where marketing resources are often limited.

Want to find more opportunities and close more deals? Nowadays, this requires thinking outside the box, and inside of the Web:

  • What blogs are your buyers following? Follow them as well. Promote and engage with these writers on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • What events are your buyers attending? What presenters will be there? Promote and engage with these influencers in as many social channels as possible.
  • What analysts are talking about your buyers company/products? Promote and engage with these analysts in as many social channels as possible.
  • What groups/associations are your buyers members of? Promote and engage with senior members of these groups in as many channels as possible.

You  might be thinking: ‘Devon, this sounds like a waste of time. I’d rather my reps be on the phones with the prospects and closing deals. Your suggestions sound like distractions.’

My response: Engagement with buyer’s influencers will lead to increased credibility in the eyes of the buyer, not to mention your reps will become more knowledgeable and connected.  This strategy will likely not likely yield new business over night… this is a long term strategy. And sales teams who strive for greatness should always be balancing between short term and long term strategies.

A reasonable allocation of time:  Sales people should spend a half an hour of their day building relationships with influencers, and using that engagement with influencers to their advantage with top prospects.

On a final note — the difference between a driven rep and one who is satisfied with status quo: the driven rep will be engaging with influencers outside of the 9-5 hours.

Think about it.