The Changing Face of Sales Prospecting


Share on LinkedIn

A lot has been written about sales 2.0 and the impact social media is having on sales – particularly B2B. The impact is varied and can range from providing simple and effective alternate contact channels through to a wealth of information about reputation, pricing, and service. Simply, social media is changing how buyers source information and how the traditional concept of a buying cycle that a sales person might seek to control.

I had a personal experience with this recently with two very large Australian companies – in one case I wanted to sell them a product, and in the other I wanted to become a customer. Both have traditional contact channels – email and contact centre – but only one had a social presence as an alternate channel for me. The results were very very different.

Example #1 – Qantas Frequent Flyer Store

Via another business I own – Smartpen – I contacted Qantas because we want to have the Livescribe product listed in their online Frequent Flyer store – I want to sell them the product. Whilst their site had phone and email options, I actually turned to LinkedIn to research who might be a relevant contact.

Qantas Frequent Flyer Store logo

Around 5 mins of searching found a profile for a person I thought would be a good starting point – so I sent her an InMail. Approx 15mins later I had a response from her – telling me she had passed on my details to the right internal person. Another 90mins later that person had contacted me and we’ve now started the evaluation process – so in under 2 hours I’ve gone from zero to engagement.

Example #2 – StarTrack

We’re also evaluating using StarTrack as part of our logistics process. I’m interested in giving them some or all of our delivery business – I want to be a customer.

StarTrack logo

Unlike Qantas, StarTrack has zero social channels (other than a very lonely YouTube channel) and no footprint – company or personnel on LinkedIn – so I’m forced to use either the call centre or email. So 20mins on the phone and they now have my details including our annual spend, requirements, best contact method etc.

“A sales person will be in touch this afternoon, I’ve emailed them these details”

That was 7 days ago, or approx 168 hours.

I rang again today and repeated the process, and still no action…

Now if I look at their major Australian competitor Toll Group I find a much different footprint.

What Are The Lessons From This?

Why is the company that I want to sell products to so responsive? Yet the company who I want to buy from don’t respond?

It’s worth noting that with a bit of further research I actually found StarTrack on LinkedIn – their company is listed as Star Track Express – which is odd given their company name is clearly StarTrack (has been for 25+ years) – and I also know they use Microsoft Dynamics as their CRM.

The key point I will make from this exercise is that in the B2B world, it’s unacceptable for a company – small or enterprise – to not be utilising the number 1 business social network – this is a revenue killer.

This damages your reputation – and when your reputation is built around a brand tag “When Service Matters” – you have a disconnect…

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mark Parker
Mark Parker is the founder of Smart Selling, and the specialist business unit – Smart Social Media. The core aim of both businesses is to help companies become better sales organisations by utilising the ideas, tools, and practices of Sales 2. and social media.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here