Consumers have more choices than ever in today’s marketplace. Buyers are often using multiple channels including online stores, retails shops and even social media to research and purchase goods and services. As each of these channels strives to compete with the others, businesses are continually learning to leverage each of these channels to create a better customer experience and to convert these customer experiences into sales.
Ultimately, businesses need to sell. Sales results are the measuring stick for a company’s success, and often there is tremendous turnover for sales representatives due to the competitive nature of the position. Selling products and services not only provides revenue, but covers business operating costs and helps the company increase its value–giving tangible evidence to support its reputation.
Sales are at the very core of any successful organization–and in many cases, the sales cycle starts with prospecting. In the past, prospecting was done via endless cold calls or mass emails. The cold call or mass email process is generally done from a template and conducted in bulk. Based on volume, these methods yield results–though many times they don’t yield the results the company would like.
In the search for ways to improve their sales process and customer experience, companies have turned to various social media platforms–the most popular being Twitter. Although both tweets and direct messages can only contain a maximum of 140 characters, this quick messaging service is quickly becoming a complement to or a replacement for cold calls and mass e-mails. Because Twitter offers a personal connection, users are able to see each other’s profiles, and people are more trusting of others when they have a pre-existing relationship.
Recently, a mobile service provider, Ting, turned to Twitter to improve their follower base to raise brand awareness and promote sales of the service. The company went for a no contract model, contrary to some of the bigger providers, Verizon and AT&T, who offer both contracts and a pay-as-you-go model. The contract free option Ting offers works to their advantage as the company can tap a niche market – consumers who do not want to be tied down to a contract. Using the Twitter handle, @TingFTW, the company saw a 75 percent increase in followers after implementing the social media service as one of its primary marketing and sales tools. Ting was able to connect with its followers on a personal level through tweets that prompted a call to action, constant activity and interaction with followers, and using Ting advocates as a resource to promote the brand. While Ting targets those who are looking for a contract-free option, the mobile carrier highlights the cost savings against the rising costs of getting a phone through a rival carrier. The Twitter campaign has helped the company’s online presence as well as its sales. Ting has seen a 27 percent increase in visitors to ting.com, and 400 new accounts who found out about the service from Twitter.
Through Twitter, companies and organizations are also able to narrow their search and target the appropriate audience through the use of common hashtags. As a result, Twitter is rapidly becoming a primary source for lead generation and the development of relationships with prospective clients. Knowing the clients’ interests and needs is critical in developing meaningful relationships that ultimately lead to sales and a greater bottom line. For companies like Ting, thinking outside the box and using external resources is the only way to get a leg up on the giants. Next time you send a tweet, remember that it can take just 140 characters to change a company’s fortunes for the better.