Most of us know by now that social media posts aren’t private. Advertisers, your colleagues, and even the CIA might be watching what you post. In the era where customer data is gold, the sales rep you just spoke with may have also checked out your recent Facebook posts.
In our SalesTech survey, more than half (53%) of sales reps said Facebook is a valuable research tool when it comes to preparing for meetings with prospects.
The research reveals that sales professionals are increasingly turning to social media channels to help them build a picture of potential clients. It’s a trend happening on both sides of the Atlantic, with 60 percent of the US respondents turning to Facebook, compared to 46 percent of Brits.
Even more common than Facebook, the more business-focused network LinkedIn tops the list as the preferred platform for meeting preparation (64%), followed by the company website (63%), and Google (61%). A third (34%) are also turning to Twitter to gain insight into their prospects’ likes and interests.
When preparing for a meeting with a new customer or prospect, what websites do you visit to gather information about the person you will be meeting with?
The research highlighted different preferences between age group demographics. While millennial employees raised on social media (18–34 year olds) are more likely to use both Facebook (59%) and Twitter (41%), their older counterparts (55+ years) turn to LinkedIn (76%) and the company website (83%) more frequently.
Using social media has become a part of everyday working life for sales professionals, with 72% spending 30 minutes or more using the channels mentioned above to research, while nearly half (49%) spend at least 45 minutes preparing.
These findings prove how intrinsic social media has become to both our personal and professional lives. Consumers are engaging with these channels every day, so it’s only natural that the business world keeps pace and stays relevant through their own practices. Of course, there is a fine line between gathering insight and intrusion, so information gathered via social media should be worked into conversations strategically.
Sales reps need access to the best technology and systems possible to help them aggregate all the information they need from multiple sources, to ensure they make the best impression from the very start of a relationship. But the time spent manually researching could be used more efficiently, and Relationship Intelligence can do this automatically and present all the information in one place.
So what does this all mean? At the end of the day, we all need to understand who might view what we post online. However, we should also understand that social media data helps guide the way we interact with companies, which can help save time and make conversations more productive. Is that such a bad thing?