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How social media can improve your sales process (A real business case study)

Sitting in our weekly sales and marketing meeting, I am so impressed with (yes, my company, but also) how powerful a tool social media is for helping improve your sales process. We’re having a conversation inspired by a single tweet from earlier that week.

The CaseClassroom - Improve your sales process

Recently, one of our sales reps was following up with one of his inbound leads that came through a website lead form. When he couldn’t reach the person on the phone, he left a voicemail offering to follow up on the resources he downloaded.

That could have been the end of that story.

But what happened was the person tweeted about the voicemail, expressing his discontent:

noahwesley : «Someone from HubSpot just left me a VM & told me he noticed I’d been on the site often & «…consuming resources…» …who talks like that?»

The Response

Whoa! That’s not a typical HubSpot voicemail. We create tons of free resources and LOVE when people get value out of them — whether or not they’re interested in our marketing software. We had to respond, and did so in two ways:

  1. The marketing team, which of course monitors company mentions in social media and noticed this tweet, forwarded this message to sales management to respond appropriately.
  2. The marketing team also responded to the tweet from the @HubSpot account, apologizing for the ill-phrased message.

HubSpot : @noahwesley Sorry for the ill-phrased vm. That’s not how we think of visitors. We LOVE when people take advantage of our free resources.

The Result

Noah responded to both the rep’s phone call and the @HubSpot tweet – Success!

noahwesley : @HubSpot No problem at all. I love your free resources, I just thought the phrasing was funny 🙂 Thanks for the follow-up call.

Taking It A Step Further

Improve your sales process - Business strategy plan over ladder leading to success

Already this is a successful use of social media — we uncovered an issue and resolved it quickly. We could have stopped there, but instead decided to learn from this case and improve our sales process. At our weekly sales and marketing meeting, we discussed this tweet and this voicemail. What could the rep have said instead? How can we better follow up with these inbound leads? The team worked together to brainstorm different approaches.

Lessons

There are plenty of examples of using social media for lead generation or for PR or for customer service. With this case study, we learned that social media is a powerful tool for improving the sales process itself. What are the key takeaways?

  1. Listen. Social media gives you visibility into the sales funnel where before you were in the dark.
  2. Respond authentically. This was our bad, we apologized, and that relationship was restored.
  3. Learn and improve. Take this feedback and use it to improve your processes. Never before was it so easy to get candid feedback — now utilize it.

How have you been able to use social media to improve your business processes? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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