Posts on this blog have, time after time, asserted that social media outreach is an extremely effective way to generate warm leads for you business. And we’re sticking to that! But an important distinction should be made about the different types of leads your business might be targeting. I’m talking about that great dividing line of all businesses: B2B and B2C.
B2C companies are targeting consumers themselves, and therefore can take a more direct approach with their outreach. Twitter direct messages (DMs) promoting the brand, or offering discounts or special rewards, when done well, will usually be enough to start bringing in conversions.
B2B marketers, on the other hand, face a different set of challenges when reaching out on social media. While consumers are used to receiving direct marketing, converting a business as a lead often requires getting in touch with the right people in the right way.
That being said, there are a few components to a B2B outreach DM that will go a long way in helping to bring them into your conversion funnel.
Target Key Decision Makers
Before you even consider sending a DM to someone at your target company, make sure you’re connecting with a person who actually has decision-making power and can move the deal along when the time comes. This is where proper lead searching tools like Socedo can give you a step up on your competition. Searching for leads with titles like “Director” or “Manager” will often give you the profiles of the people responsible for the ultimate yes or no to your offer. Skipping over the “middlemen” will streamline your lead generation process in the long run.
Be Genuine, But Not ‘Salesy’
A B2B buyer tends to be more skeptical of offers coming to them than a typical consumer. To compensate for that, make a genuine attempt to connect with them. Start with a common interest or sincere (but not cheesy) compliment instead of jumping straight to business. Due to the 140 character limit for Twitter DMs, your knee-jerk reaction might be to go straight for the pitch. Take it from me, your B2B leads will respond much better to a friendly voice than to yet another sales spiel. Be honest, which of these would you be more likely to respond to?
“Hey Bob! You should go download my new e-book because it has lots of great information on B2B marketing!”
“Hi Bob, really like your recent tweets on B2B marketing! I know of a B2B e-book with some great tips to share if you’d like.”
This bit of advice rings more true with purchasing managers, who probably field dozens of offers a week. Granted you’ll be slightly set apart because many of those offers won’t be coming through social media. But a simple personal touch can help open the door that leads to a conversion.
Their Pain Points and Your Solution
B2B buyers are usually well-informed about the competition within their space and the kinds of solutions that will work best for their needs. Before you even hit the send button they will have a list of needs, preconceptions and pain points that you need to take into consideration. While explaining what new benefits you can bring them can be a good way to start a conversation, the real opportunity for conversion is with their pain points, the issues and obstacles that are constant thorns in their side.
If you know of a common problem that many of your leads face, you can tailor your messaging to address those issues. If your solution can make their jobs significantly easier then it’s a safe bet that their ears will perk up when you mention it. Offering a helpful solution to clients is great, but fixing a problem will solidify their attention and keep them invested in your conversation.
“Hi Karen, noticed you’re on the design team for company. Kudos on the landing page, those can be a big headache. Our software makes it very easy. Interested in a demo?”
Ask a Question, Keep Them Talking
Every B2B marketer knows that the sales cycle of B2B business is usually longer than B2C. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and you need to keep the conversation going as long as you can during this trek. The easiest way to open the door for a conversation is actually the simplest as well: ask them a question!
You’ll notice that in each of the (good) example DMs above, a question of some sort was put into the message. That’s to ensure a maximum number of responses. It’s instinctual for us to want to answer questions when we’re asked them directly. And questions are a key part of an engaging conversation. You can show your leads you’re interested and invested in a conversation with them by asking what they think, or if they find this interesting. It’s a small gesture that can change the entire dynamic of your outreach.
“Hey Joe, I see that you like tweeting about wearable technology too. What do you think of my awesome questions? Pretty good, huh?”
There’s no one-size-fits-all template for sending DMs to B2B leads, and frankly there shouldn’t be. B2B buyers are smart, busy, and will see right through any impersonalization. Your messaging should be tailored to meet the needs and desires of your specific target market. But keeping these few details in mind as you begin your outreach will hopefully allow you to craft crisp, engaging, and effective DMs that keep your B2B pipeline full.