Using Social Media for Business Development

By Amanda Kruschack

Inspiration comes to us in the strangest moments. A stroke of genius wearing your lucky blazer. A pen and paper combo that houses with your best ideas. Transfer these habits to the digital landscape and you’re sure to find plenty of spaces that will lead you to a host of inspiration for business development opportunities.

Any seasoned BD (business development) person will tell you the best way to keep an edge on the competition is to always be (no, not closing) but informed. With sites like LinkedIn the workplace equivalent of Facebook, companies, competitors, employees are always sharing information. How can this affect your business development operations? Maybe there was an industry development that directly affects you or a client or prospect and somehow you missed it. That could be the difference between you maintaining or gaining a client. Opportunities can come and go as quickly as time ticks and it’s best to have an edge where and when you can.


That could be the difference between you maintaining or gaining a client.

Fear not, the blessing of social media properties like Twitter and LinkedIn is that with so much information available it’s likely to come down your pipe sooner than later. Vigilance however, is best practice. The easiest way to manage your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles for BD purposes is pretty simple. For LinkedIn connections or Twitter accounts to follow, look for people within your company, industry, or prospects that you’d like to pursue. Influencers or advocates are often sharing information that is on brand and informed with up-to-date information.

Official accounts of companies are an obvious follow but I’m going to ask you to put on your P.I. badge once again (just go with it). For example, if you’re looking to work with ‘Super Great Company A’ and you learn that ‘Super Great Employee B’ has a Twitter handle as directed in their LinkedIn profile, check them out on Twitter. This is a no brainer. It’s important to remember, as a public tool, we’re all trading and sharing information. Whether you’re sharing we’re hiring for A, or looking for information about B, or announcing C. Everyone is doing it.

As a research tool, it’s invaluable. I’m showing a lot of love to Twitter in this post because I think as a digital repository of information, professionally speaking, it’s the top of the heap. While most our profiles state “opinions are our own” and “do not reflect that of our employers”, we all talk. Encouraging conversation with an interested party or discovering something about a prospect that could change the outcome or an opportunity I have two words for you, get online.

Customer insights are everywhere online. Social listening is a sure way to discover what customers are saying about your brand and industry. Listening tools that will scale as your customer base does like Hootsuite Insights for example, is a great tool to gather granular customer data that will enable you to make real-time, smarter business decisions. What better way to discover not only what your customers/prospects think of your business or brand but also to see what they think of your competition.

As I mentioned earlier, inspiration finds us in the strangest moments. That moment online could be the discovery an industry wide issue that you can be the first to tackle. Happy listening, happy sharing, happy discovering and good luck.


The Journey from Prospect to Client – The In Between

For many companies, relationship building is a huge challenge. This article is useful for companies who have an established inbound marketing strategy in place. Contributer Amanda Kruschack shares her experience with the customer journey and how to develop intelligent, healthy relationships with new prospects who will hopefully become clients. 

OK, so marketing has nurtured the prospect. The prospect has hit as many activity points that have been set out to qualify outreach. Now what?

Before an Sales Development Rep (SDR) or anyone from your sales team picks up the phone or starts typing a killer introduction email to the prospect, in my experience, it’s most beneficial to get to know your prospect. Put down the phone, stop typing – full stop.

I know most us are part-time P.I.’s. Able to uncover information about people, places and things we are interested already so this should be easy to apply.

This is the time to go going beyond automated nurturing. With as fiercely competitive of an environment we are all working in (despite your vertical), you have to go the extra mile to know your prospect. Do your research. It’s 2017 and we have numerous tools at our disposal. Many of which are free! No need to bother management to spend more money on a sales tool.

Not unlike when you just Googled, “amazing sales and marketing blogs”, take a similar approach to your prospect. Spend a few minutes’ googling the company, search for news items. Take a look at their website, social media properties, LinkedIn profile, etc.

Throughout your research try to answer the following questions about the prospect:

  • Any new business acquisitions?
  • Have they just received a round of funding?
  • Who are the decision makers?
  • What tools are they currently using?
  • What are particular team members responsible for? Team size?
  • Who should I be talking to?

Most importantly …

  •         How can I help the prospect best achieve their goals?

Pro tip #1: Don’t lay out all of your research in the first communication. Not only will that come off as a stranger know it all, but to be frank, as a complete stalker. Rather, use what you’ve learned through your research to guide conversations, discover needs and fill in the blanks. Bringing it all back to how you can help them and deliver insights.

Pro tip #2: SDR’s, if you’re responsible for supporting an Account Executive. Share the knowledge. They’ll appreciate the extra mile you went to learn so much about a prospect. Your information could be what makes a cold prospect to a hot one.

Going beyond the automated data that every qualified prospect receives will allow you to transition the journey of your prospect to a customer that much more smoothly.

NB: I’ve received 2 separate sales calls in as many weeks from direct competitors. Had the sales rep taken the time to research myself, or the company I work for, they would have promptly unqualified me and moved on. Instead whatever marketing automation tool they use prompted them to “quality” me and he blindly called me without any other information.  When I told “Ryan” what we do here his response was, “I guess it’ll be a hard sell then”. Yes,  yes it will be Ryan.

Happy researching!

Amanda Kruschack is a writer experienced in sales, marketing and media. With her own omni-channel set of skills and experience, Amanda provides valuable insights through dedicated learning and experience across multiple industries. Amanda also has 10 years experience working within television and film in the US and Canada in a writing, producer and production capacity. When she doesn’t have a boarding pass in-hand, you can find her currently working within Canada’s Technology Triangle. 
Academically, Amanda graduated with honours from Ryerson University’s prestigious RTA School of Media with a minor in English. She also earned a Postgraduate certificate in Marketing with honours from Humber College.