Last week 45,000 Salesforce.com groupies descended on San Francisco for the 9th annual Dreamforce.  It was an incredible event, hundreds of sessions covering everything you could imagine about Salesforce.com and its vision for the future. The keynote featured Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, who spoke at length and in great detail about the impact social media will play in our lives.  He articulated the changes that will transform the way we interact and conduct business.  For many of us in the B2B world, a lot of what he shared were examples that came from B2C.  What does this all really mean for us?  Lots, our world has changed and will continue to change.

 

Many left asking:

 

  • How does this impact me and my company?
  • How much investment should be made?
  • Where should my investments be?
  • How will I know if my investments are providing an ROI?
  • What avenues should I pursue?  Are some better than others?
  • LinkedIn?  Facebook? Twitter?

 

social media at Dreamforce

Before you can make any strategic decisions, you need a baseline understanding of each of these social media platforms.  Stephen Wilson from Social Media Marketing and Small Business wrote: “LinkedIn started on May 5, 2003 in a Silicon Valley living room (not garage like so many others) with an idea to create a professional social network. Its main creator, Reid Hoffman, an Oxford trained philosopher held various positions in the tech world, including stints at Apple and Fujitsu. He was instrumental in the sale of PayPal to eBay in 2002. The early correlations made between PayPal (re-engineered the transfer of money) to LinkedIn (power to transform hiring) made it an early attraction to investors and a recipe for success.”

 

LinkedIn membership has grown like crazy – 100 million+ and growing at 1 million more per week.

 

tour-square-button What does this all mean for you and your sales strategy in 2012?  It starts with the part social media plays in your demand generation strategy. Ask yourself these questions?

 

  • How much demand generation do I need to from social media – specifically LinkedIn?
  • What connection can be made to my Ideal Customer Profile and their behavior on LinkedIn?
  • Do I have a company LinkedIn page? How will it be managed? What do I expect it to generate?
  • Can other parts of the organization leverage LinkedIn as a vehicle to help us?
  • Is the sales organization, as part of their discovery process utilizing LinkedIn?
  • What is my strategy for sharing relevant content about our company on LinkedIn? (it shares platforms with Twitter- so “tweets” are seen on your LinkedIn page.)

 

LinkedIn is more than the “electronic” rolodex of days past.  Today LinkedIn continues to be leveraged to connect recruiters with professional job seekers. It has allowed organizations to validate much of what someone might claim on a resume.  They say there coming with a “network” of connections that will allow them to be productive and successful quicker.  Now validation is just a connection and click away.  This year, we’ve hired 3 new people in our organization through LinkedIn.  How many can you?

 

LinkedIn allows us to leverage our current network to open doors, to people in companies with the power of a referral.  Each new connection allows you to share and provide visibility to you and your company.  Creating awareness, creates demand, which means potentially a new lead or sales opportunity.  We can directly attribute 20 new leads in the last 30 days to LinkedIn, including a direct referral that turned into a sale in record time.  How many leads can you attribute? How many new connections are you adding? How many are each of your sales executives?

 

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