The truth about Twitter (for Sales Executives)

Posted on 02/13/2015 in misc

Setting up a Twitter account will not magically bring you sales. Setting up a Twitter account and actually tweeting regularly won't do much for you either. I was a very early adopter of Twitter, and I have a measly 687 followers as I type this. Yet that still puts me in the top 10%. Since 90% is usually an A, I guess that makes me an A-lister. As an A-lister with over 10,000 tweets out there you'd think I'd be able to point to some concrete business result that can be tied to Twitter. I've even gone viral once, for a Dilbert cartoon that I shared. That damn cartoon has been seen over 169,000 times. My normal tweet appears to be seen over 100 times, which sounds good but actually means 80% of my followers didn't see any particular tweet. Quit simply, I can not take my Twitter account and tie it to a single penny of revenue generation in the day job. Very few people can.

The people with 1 million followers on Twitter had 1 million people trying to pay attention to them before Twitter existed. Twitter was just another channel for them. It didn't make them influential, and it won't make you (or me) influential either. There may have been a small window in 2007 when Twitter could vault you to success, but probably not. My friend Michele had a million Twitter followers at one time because she was a "recommended account" on the home page of Twitter. That hasn't resulted in fame, fortune, and a book deal for her. So how exactly will your 150 followers make you influential again? If your niche is small enough maybe those 150 do you find you influential. However, if your niche is that small those 150 probably already knew about you anyway.

Don't get me wrong, Twitter is my favorite social network. I have made plenty of friends via Twitter, some of which have even crossed over to real life friends. It's a great real-time news channel, and it's not a bad industry networking channel. Twitter can probably do more to help you find your next job than can LinkedIn, but that is a subject for another post. I just think you should be very suspicious of anybody trying to sell you on the idea that it is a business development channel for b2b sales.

Twitter is complementary to your business development efforts. It helps you do other stuff better. Can you follow a prospect that is active, carefully cultivate a relationship over time, and eventually turn that into a meeting? Yes, you probably can. Would it be much quicker and more efficient to just email the guy? Most likely, yes. Following the chatter among your targeted prospects may allow you to pick up some intelligence that is useful. However, that is market intelligence, not sales. By itself, that Intel is useless. You have to do something with it, and in almost all cases, you will do something with it outside of Twitter.

Following industry leaders, keeping abreast of conference hash tags, and all that is useful, will make you smarter, and better at your job; which may help you sell more. People you are trying to meet with may check you out on Twitter. So a history of intelligent tweets could help you there too. But that is all personal development. It's important, but it's not business development. It's very unlikely that somebody you don't know will reach out to buy something from you because of something you said on Twitter. Twitter can add to a well thought out and implemented marketing strategy. It can't save you if are already out of ideas on how to make quota this year.

If you want to use Twitter to be social, by all means sign up and join the party (I'm @chrisod). If you are joining Twitter because some social selling consultant told you that you need to be on Twitter in 2015, fire the guy and save yourself some time and money. Nobody needs to be on Twitter.

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