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Selling with social media

SDanisovsky ‎06-13-2013 12:54 AM - edited ‎06-26-2015 03:26 PM

After the introduction of the social media syndication capability in the HP Campaign Syndication (CSS), we’ve seen a gradual uptake of this tactic by a number of our channel partners. It all goes along the growing acceptance of social media as another marketing vehicle; more flexible, more viral, more interactive and hence more powerful. Yet the impact of social media use on sales performance has always been quite fuzzy and particularly in B2B. Then by chance I came across a report focusing exactly on that big question; how social media help sales people; not marketing, but sales.


72% of sales people using social media perform better

The first eye-catching result of the study is that 72% of sales who use social media outperform those who don’t. My first reaction when seeing that number was like ok, but do they outperform the rest thanks to the social media use or simply because they’re better in selling? The study actually goes deeper and explicitly counts the sales that closed a deal as a direct result of the social media activity. And here 54% of people say yes. That’s a decent result but it also shows that the rest of those using social media (46% is also a high number) didn’t see any positive impact on their win rate.


So it looks like a tie between the two camps until we look at another statistics in the same report drilling into the population of strong sales performers. Those who over-achieved the sales quota and used social media are 23% more than those who over-achieved it without social media. If one expected a striking difference, it’s certainly not. Furthermore having a geographical and industrial differentiation would also help. But in combination with other numbers from the same report I dare to conclude that social media activity has become an important trait of a strong sales performer.


When HP campaign syndication helps selling

The above stats are not only interesting but they also mean that the service we offer to our channel partners is more than a mere marketing automation tool. It’s a sales tool as well. We know that lots of our partners don’t have a dedicated marketing staff. Marketing is typically a second (or third) metric given to the people primarily focused (i.e. measured) on sales results. Preparing and executing an email or a pay-per-click campaign is many times an effort that doesn’t pay off immediately (and doesn’t count in the primary metric). Those sales heroes, who still find some time to do it, appreciate simplicity and constant update with a fresh ready-to-launch content.


And that’s what we’re doing with social media syndication where a new set of 15-20 posts are uploaded every 2 weeks. They cover the entire software portfolio, so whether partners specialize on ops, apps, cloud, security or big data, they will find posts relevant to their core business. Once they connect their social media channels to the CSS account, the posts can be published automatically, if they decide so. It’s a sort of “hands-free” mode when tweets and posts are prescheduled and pushed while the sales people don’t have to spend a minute to “feed” their social media network.


Listening to social media network

Even if post publication can be “unmanned”, the social media does require attention at least when measuring its impact. The CSS provides an easy way to list the top best posts (highest click rate) or the top worst ones too. Listening to what’s trending amongst your social followers can prove critical for further social media activity and beneficial for further nurturing at the same time.


In CSS partners can predefine a number of keywords and listen when they are mentioned by the community. Imagine a partner with an existing blog post that is matching the subject of a social conversation; that’s a great moment to sneak in the debate with a link to the blog and consequently promote the entire company website. Partners using CSS are also able to distinguish between positive and negative comments (posts) and react to them in real time. Setting a notification on every negative mention can turn to be important in preserving brand reputation, so precious in these times. The goal is not have sales people logged in the tool all the time but get them notified when it’s business relevant.


You can try this out or if you have an experience to share, please do it.

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