Leads, leads, leads, we all want leads. Leads are the engine that drives sales. He or she with the most qualified leads wins and man has lead generation just blown up over the past few years. With inside sales, content marketing and social media, lead generation has become the hottest topic in sales. Everyone wants to be a part of this hip new party.
With the world of lead generation blowing up, some things have changed. Leads look different today than they did a while back. In the old days, leads were almost exclusively a referal from a friend/co-worker/past client, or an inbound inquiry. The idea of a lead was it was direct. Someone you know tells you someone they know has a problem you can solve and they put you together. Or, someone finds your company, (prolly from the Yellow Pages, being back in the day) and they call in asking for help. Back in the day, leads were much more straight forward.
Today, a lead looks very different, particulary in Twitter TWTR -2.63% and other social media sites. Unlike leads from days gone by, leads today on Twitter can be from people who don’t even know you or your company exist. They can even come from people who aren’t aware they have a problem that needs solving. I’m gonna let that sink in for a second. Yup! Process that, let it sink in. Pause for affect . . . and . . . Yes, you heard that correctly. Leads in today’s world, generated from Twitter or any other social platform can come from people who don’t even know they need anything. Putting it differently, they are lead and don’t even know it. I know crazy?!
I know, you’re sitting in your chair with your laptop, phone, iPad, or some other screen asking yourself, how’s this possible? How is it a person can become a lead and not know they are a lead? Doesn’t the definition of a lead inherently suggest, the person or the prospect has a need or a problem that requires solving. Yup, it does. But is says nothing about “knowing” you have a problem and that’s where Twitter and social leads take a left turn.
Hanging out on Twitter and other social media sites is like being a fly on the wall at your customer’s and potential customer’s office. People say the craziest things on Twitter and if you’re there to listen, if you’re paying attention, you’re gonna find leads.
This is a lead on Twitter:
It’s not what you expected is it?
Notice, Syd was just expressing her frustration over her sales rep. She wasn’t asking for sales help. She wasn’t saying she needed anything from a “product” perspective. But, that didn’t matter. The “savvier sales” person saw an opening and he snagged it. That person knew what a Twitter lead looked like and knew what to do with it.
Leads on Twitter and social media today can be a person complaining about their vendor on Twitter, someone saying their server went down on Facebook, someone asking for help on how to do something, or a systems admin commenting about security. It can be a user of your competitor’s stuff asking for a particular feature. It could be someone asking for an opinion in a LinkedIn LNKD -1.31% group. A social lead can come from anywhere and in any form. Leads no longer just come in direct form. They can come in indirect form and they are all yours if you know to look for them
There are a lot of ways to monitor social triggers for lead generation. The key is to know what you’re looking for and what social platform you’re on. For Twitter, the key is to follow your competitors names. Build a Twitter list of all your competitors names and look for what people are saying about your competitors. Is anyone complaining? Are people confused, looking for direction? Create searches for the product category you are in. Look for people talking about what you do. Are there people asking for advice? Are there people doing comparisons of your competitors that doesn’t include you. Ex tweet: “Looking for a new recruiter, thoughts on X company or Z company?” If you’re “y” and not being considered, this is a great opportunity.
Much of this applies across all the social sites. If you’re on LinkedIn, pay attention to your stream and those of others. What are folks saying? Get deep into groups. What questions are people asking that suggest they have a problem or need you can solve? What can you learn from folks answers. Is a response inaccurate? Can you use that as opportunity to educate them and steer them to your solutions? Regardless of where you’re looking for the opportunities, the key is to be listening for more than — I need, I want, Please send me.
You need to be looking for trigger events that are key to your space, industry, product, service, etc. Know what keywords suggest a need for your stuff. Know what action words can trigger a problem you can solve. Know what competitors your target audience could be talking about. Once you have all of this, build a big fat list of key words and phrases and triggers that you can look for to find todays social leads.
Generating leads in Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook isn’t the same as traditional lead generation. It requires an indirect approach. It requires you go find them through listening and engaging. Leads are no longer just referrals from friends or inbound bluebirds. Leads are now the off the cuff comments made on Twitter. They are the questions asked in LinkedIn. They are the stories shared on Facebook and Pinterest. Leads today are the stream of consciousness of everyone with two thumbs, a keyboard or Siri, expressing themselves on this great new communication channel we call social.