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Social media as a selling tool

Walker recently collected feedback from the end users of our products and services. This year, among other things, we asked each person, "What social media tools do you use for business purposes?" Below are the results from three key audiences: 1) total, which includes all participants and consists of over 500 responses, 2) 99 account management professionals, and 3) 200 sales and business development professionals. Here are a few things that stand out:

First, I am surprised that less than 50% of sales and account management professionals use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a valuable tool for making new business connections and is helpful for tracking existing relationships. In today’s uncertain business environment where people are changing jobs and shifting roles due to organizational changes, LinkedIn is helping people stay connected.

Among the different groups that participated in this survey, sales professionals had the largest number of ‘Other’ mentions. When looking further into the ‘Other’ results, I noticed many comments saying, "I don’t use social media tools." One comment stands out, "Face-to-face communication, which is the best in the world!" I have to say that I agree with this statement, but it isn’t a one or another sort of thing. We must use all of the tools (particularly the ones our customers use) to build and strengthen our customer relationships, both in-person and virtually.

Lastly, I look forward to seeing how things change over the next several years. There is no doubt that small businesses are using these tools to connect and tell their story with potential and existing customers. While the application for large multi-national sales organizations will likely morph into something different, I think it is safe to assume that the results for this question will be significantly different one, two, and three years from now.

Those are a few things that stand out for me. What about you?


Note: This post was originally published in Customer Connection on 5/5/2009.

About the Author

Leslie Pagel

Leslie Pagel

As vice president of customer experience, Leslie is responsible for incorporating the voice of Walker’s customers into the solutions development process. To do this, Leslie spends the majority of her time interacting with Walker account teams, clients, and prospective clients to understand their business challenges. She coordinates several listening posts that are used to drive strong client relationships and enhance our consulting and technology capabilities.

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