Helping Tim: A B2B Story

August 30, 2011

Social media for selling to manufacturers. Is it possible?

Last week at EventCamp Twin Cities, I delivered a 6 minute Pecha Kucha session on the topic of Using Social Media for B2B Marketing. In the short presentation, I told a story about my friend Tim. Recently I received a call from Tim asking me how he could use social media to support his sales efforts. I talked about the fact the B2B marketing differs from consumer marketing and that there is not a one-size-fits-all  solution.

Today, at lunch with my friend, Jeff Halligan, he pointed out that, due to the abbreviated format of the presentation, I didn’t tell the full story and and that I didn’t offer a strong solution for Tim. He said that I caught his attention with the story, but that I didn’t completely bring it full circle. So that prompted me to write this post and complete the story while offering some suggestions on how Tim, or anyone with a similar situation, might be able to use social media.

About Tim

  • He works in sales for a large corporation who manufacturers parts for printers.
  • He has a handful of major accounts.
  • His clients don’t know who each other are and it’s all very confidential.
  • The corporate office wants control over all messaging.
  • Tim is a very private person and doesn’t even have a Facebook account.

Seven Suggestions on How Tim Can Use Social Media

  • Tim works with a large sales force. They could take advantage of a tool like to share client stories and create solutions to issues that they are all experiencing.
  • Tim could use LinkedIn to connect to vendors or other industry partners selling to similar clients. They can share stories on how to deal with clients that they both sell to.
  • Tim could use Twitter to follow chats about sales and marketing topics. He could leverage this to improve his personal selling skills.
  • Tim’s department could use YouTube to create videos which answer some of the most commonly asked questions about their products.
  • Tim could listen to what end users are saying about printers and share this information with his clients as a value-add.
  • Tim can used LinkedIn to build relationships with friends who work in sales. Let’s be honest, you never know when you are going to look for future job opportunities and it’s good to be connected.
  • Tim can use social media as a tool for receiving business news in general. It’s always useful to be educated about the global market when you are in sales.

I am sure that with a bit of creative thinking,  you can always find a solution. While social media is not appropriate for every situation and not every company will embrace it, some of the basics might make sense. Have you tried to use social media in a company that didn’t support it? How were you successful? What is the best use of social media for B2B that you have seen?