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Selling B2B in the Social Media Age

I constantly hear that business-to-business (B2B) marketing doesn’t work on social; that social has no ROI for B2B. There is never a shortage of people helplessly asking things like “What do you say?” or “What do you do?” or making any number of excuses as to why it doesn’t work for them.

As some of you may know, my old wine days were squarely business-to-consumer, but I’ve spent the last five years living in a B2B world at VaynerMedia. Over that half decade, I’ve been constantly amazed at how much easier it is to use social to do the latter rather than the former. 
The important thing to realize is that you actually know the name of the decision-makers who you are trying to reach. It’s not a cohort, it’s not a demographic, or a hypothetical “ideal customer.” It’s a real, flesh-and-blood person who is the guy or gal in the office who buys the thing that you sell. It’s an incredible advantage in this new world of digital footprints.
Now you may say “Gary, the only place I can find these people is on LinkedIn,” and in some situations you may be right, but the truth is that a substantial number of b2b decision-makers are adopting platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and that is going to be where you do your work.
So now let me share with you my number one tactic within the b2b marketing world:
  1. Take the name of the person you want to sell to.
  2. Plug it into Google along with the word “Twitter”.
  3. Find their Twitter profile. 
  4. Follow them.
  5. Understand what they care about. 
And I don’t mean in their business-lives, I mean in their real lives (unless they’re like me and those are basically the same thing). That knowledge ultimately becomes data that you can use to close the business. If you know that they like the St Louis Cardinals, or craft beer, or Barolo, or traveling, that gives you a leg up on the competition. If you’re lucky enough to share an interest, things get even more interesting. It becomes far smarter to engage with them on Twitter first, than to simply reach out and ask for the business. 
I’ve been able to close millions of dollars in business over the last 24 months because of this very simple concept. Gaining business intelligence on prospective customers, and then using that information to close the sale is the same thing as taking people out to dinner, or taking a client golfing. It’s always been a good idea, but now you can use technology to scale it.
If you’re not doing this, you’re not living in 2014.
Published: June 12, 2014

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Gary Vaynerchuk

Bestselling author and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk began his career in his family’s business, Shopper’s Discount Liquors. He soon rebranded the store as Wine Library, launching a retail website and boosting its revenue from $4 million to $60 million. In 2006, Vaynerchuk launched Wine Library TV, a daily video blog about wine. With the tagline “changing the wine world,” the show offers an unpretentious approach to a historically stuffy subject. As the audience grew and word spread of his informal and unorthodox approach to wine, Gary made numerous national television appearanches and landed a book deal.  Follow @GaryVee on Twitter.

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