The Effect of Social Media on The BtoB Sales Cycle

Social Media is being interwoven into the fabric of our lives, as consumers, as citizens, as business professionals.

Although, the tools of Social Media appear to be free to use at anytime, business owners understand anything that will take the time of their employees is not free. As businesses continue to evaluate Social Media, they want to know its impact on the company’s bottom line.

One area that is often overlooked is the Sales Cycle, or what some like to refer to as the time the prospect remains in the Sales Funnel. One of the most costly parts of doing business is the time and effort spent during the sales cycle. If that time can be reduced, internal processes become more efficient and non-productive costs are reduced.

Social Media can greatly assist in this area. One primary way this is accomplished is by allowing Social Media to develop a relationship with the prospect before the first contact is made with a sales person.

During the first contact between a sales person and a prospect, the primary objective of the sales person is to establish a relationship. Since, friendship cannot occur within such a short period of time, the goal is to have that relationship be on the basis the company is a Trusted Advisor.

A Social Media program, when done properly and professionally, establishes the business as a trusted advisor to the prospect before that first contact occurs between the sales person and the prospect. A sales person is then free to use his fundamental skill set, and that is to progress the prospect from that point in the sales funnel to the purchase process.

The value is more than just reducing costs for the business during the sales cycle. The prospect gains great value, too, because he is able to begin the first conversation with meaningful questions. And when the prospect gains value, then long-term relationships will ensue.

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