B2B SalesIn B2B sales, it’s important to make a good first impression.

You are your brand. Your company has a brand, but people buy from you, not your company. If you’re a jerk, it doesn’t matter how great the business is. Buyers will find another salesperson from your company or go to your competitor.

Today your online brand is just as critical as your in-person brand. You must show up online like you show up in person, because digital first impressions are as important as the real thing.

If you want to be seen as a trusted resource—a top-notch B2B sales pro with expertise to share, not just a product to push—you can’t use social media to blast strangers with sales pitches. Social media is a place to begin conversations, to begin relationships. And relationships don’t happen overnight.

None of us in B2B sales has much patience. But instead of expecting instant sales leads from social media, commit to essential sales activities that get you to the point where you’ve earned the right to have an offline conversation with your prospect.

Showing up online like you show up in person also means ensuring anything you post on public social media pages reflects the professional image you want prospects and clients to see.

Ian Moyse, an executive sales leader in the U.K. cloud software industry, discusses the importance of your online brand in this month’s guest post. Here’s his take:

“Nearly half of the world is online! The global population is around 7.2 billion, and 3.2 billion people are online, according to a 2015 report by the International Telecommunication Union. Around one-fifth (1.39 billion) have active Facebook accounts; Twitter runs at around 305 million penetration; and LinkedIn has 414 million users, with Instagram just behind at 400 million.

Millennials and Generation Z have hardly known a time when social media was not a normal part of everyday life. Increasingly, it is becoming second nature to post and share on social media—both work and personal news and information.

However, your online brand says a lot about you, both now and in the future, to people you did not intend and in ways you did not expect. Potential employers, customers, friends, family, and dates can all see more about you today than ever before.

People openly post their birthdays, contact information, telephone numbers, personal family pictures, when they are going on holiday, etc. Many do not limit who can see this information. So if nothing else, you’ve opened yourself up to a security risk. Maiden name and date of birth are still used by banks and other organizations as identification methods, even in this socially open world!

Along with social media, many people post to daily blogs, which act as new world journals, making it easier than ever to find out about someone—their likes, dislikes, personal facts, friends, associations, affiliations, and opinions.

However, all of this has an impact that you may not have consciously considered.

The employment world has changed, and social media is an inherent part of the recruitment process, with LinkedIn being a major enabler to this transformation.

From recent recruitment surveys:

  • 93% of recruiters are likely to look at a candidate’s social media profile
  • 48% of employers use Google or other search engines to dig up digital dirt on candidates 
  • 80% will check a candidate’s LinkedIn profile
  • 44% of firms check a candidate’s Facebook account 
  • 27% of recruiters and/or hiring managers search a Twitter feed

In the digital world, it’s dangerous to assume that what you post on social and how you look online is not important.

So, what should or can you do?

Appreciate that what you post will be seen and by people you may not have intended to see it. Consider locking down any profiles you deem as personal. Check what others can see (ask someone not connected to you if you can take a look from their profile). Search for yourself on Google and take a look at the first few pages. Make your social photos professional and consistent across platforms. The same goes for your bio headlines.

Do you need to become a social media expert? No. Do you need to wake up and smell the social, and make pragmatic steps and decisions? I would suggest so.”

ian-moyse-headshotAbout the Author

Ian Moyse was rated #1 on “Social for Cloud” in both 2015 and 2016 by Onalytica, and “Top 20 for IOT” in 2016. He was named “Sales Director of the Year 2015” by the Institute of Sales and Marketing, and LinkedIn awarded him a 2015 LinkedIn Power Profile as a top 10 Influencer in the UK technology sector. Ian is sales director at Axios Systems and sits on the boards of Eurocloud UK, Cloud Industry Forum, and FAST.