Fix these 3 social media faux pas that can hurt prospect communications

By Geoff Alexander

I’m putting together one of my inside sales management classes, and in addition to the management and coaching techniques I teach, I discuss the impact of social media as it relates to inside reps. There were three items in particular that, over the past year, have caused a break in communications between my clients’ reps and their prospects. They fall into the categories of LinkedIn, texting, and calendaring. Take a look, any of these seem familiar?

1) Don’t fill your LinkedIn with “junk” contacts. Junk contacts are people you don’t know, or can’t remember, and they hurt the efficacy of this important tool. For example, one rep I coached had a 2nd-level contact with a prospect. But he couldn’t remember who the individual was, and there was no record of that person in the CRM. So it was useless. So here are two tips:

a) Observe good LinkedIn etiquette: don’t LinkIn to people you don’t know, or haven’t talked to. For prospects with whom you’ve had a conversation, a good tip is to suggest to them you send them a LinkIn invitation so they’ll have a quick, easy way to find you.

b) Put your prospect’s name in your CRM, so you’ll have a context for the name.

2) Don’t assume your “texted” message has reached its goal. Many people don’t use texting, or use landlines as their prime telephone technology. Send email instead.

3) Don’t rely on Outlook calendar updates outside of your own company. Not every prospect is working in an Outlook shop, and various browsers and email clients can’t “read” Outlook calendar updates. Instead, send an email, with your appointment information in prose.

Those are just three of the most common social media issues that reps are wrestling with today. Let me know if there are others you’ve encountered, and add avoiding these missteps to your Best Practices Playbook.