Mark Amtower

COMMENTARY

Social selling for the busy season ... and beyond

There are government contracting executives that remain myopic when it comes to social networking and social selling, but there are also those who not only get it, but use it to their extreme advantage.

Social selling is the process of finding and getting on the radar of key buyers and influencers in your target market. Social selling allows you to see and be seen, share vital information, position your key people as subject matter experts and more.

I have had clients who have won task orders based on their social selling activity because they mastered the process.

Account or agency based marketing (ABM) has been part of the contracting business development, sales and marketing toolbox for decades. We all know sales and BD professionals who have worked on single agencies for their entire careers.

When you add social selling to the ABM mix, you can develop account penetration like a weight lifter on steroids. When I view the Department of Energy on LinkedIn (as a company), I see 5,090 employees. When I start scrolling through these employees, I see job titles such as Senior Technical Lead & Strategist of Electric Grid; Director, Enterprise Architecture and Data Center Optimization; Principal Deputy CIO for Cyber, Associate Chief Information Officer and more.

Are these people you might like to know if you are selling to DOE?

If you have key contacts inside a client agency, viewing their profiles and looking on the right side at “People Also Viewed” usually provides you with a list of people you need to know. When you start viewing those profiles, you are starting the process of getting on their radar.

If you are active on LinkedIn, and your profile accurately presents your role in your company, and explains what your company does, you can leverage social selling tactics at the end of FY and beyond.

Sharing white papers, case studies and blog posts in targeted groups can help you get the attention of key players. If you are directly connected to some of those players, sharing the same content directly with them expedites the process

Need more?

One of my daily activities is acknowledging birthdays, new positions and other events in the lives of my connections on LinkedIn. I spend maybe ten minutes a day at this. One of these people responded to my “happy birthday” with a thank you note saying he had friends and family over and had quite a party.

I took a closer look at his profile and found out he worked for a major NGO in a senior role that is key to one of my clients. I made the introduction and am currently awaiting the results.

Does everyone respond to my “happy birthday” or “congratulations on the new position”? Of course not, but a significant portion do, and our relationship grows with each positive touch.

For those who remain socially myopic, thank you. You leave the field wide open for those with whom I work.

Social selling is not meant to replace traditional sales, marketing or business development. It is designed to enhance and reinforce these activities, to help your company better communicate with and influence a specific audience.

Being active on LinkedIn during the busy season keeps you on the radar of those who need to spend the end-of-fiscal yearfunds that are available, reminding them of who you are and what you do.

EDITOR's NOTE: Washington Technology is hosting an event July 20 on the fourth quarter spending spree. Click here for more information.

About the Author

Mark Amtower advises government contractors on all facets of business-to-government (B2G) marketing and leveraging LinkedIn. Find Mark on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/markamtower.

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