Social Media When Searching for New Customers : A Description of Prospecting Activities on Social Media
Abstract: Purpose - The purpose of this study is to identify and describe how B2B salespeople utilize social media when prospecting for new customers based on a sequential sales process.Design/methodology/approach - The study employs an interpretive approach as it attempts to convey a phenomenon through the eyes of the participants. The data is derived from six participants collected through semi-structured interviews. The thematic analysis aids to decipher patterns in the data and display these descriptive and narratively.Findings - The study identified four themes of social media use when prospecting for new customers. Further, the study suggests that salespeople are using social media to identify and qualify the prospects and their competencies in a networking manner and consequently follow the key targets of interest in order to initiate possibilities for offering customized solutions or adapt their approach accordingly.Research limitations/implications - The findings describes prospecting on social media through identified themes and points to new techniques to obtain information regarding prospects. This study opens up for future research in order to strengthen the newly discovered themes and its underlying forces.Managerial implications - The study reveals that prospecting techniques on social media are exercised and fueled by a salesperson's own intuition. This should be considered by the management as the employees’ intuition may depart from a company’s core strategy and values.Originality/value - No studies has examined how prospecting is carried out in practice on social media. The empirical findings in this study provide a new suggestion of how social media is used by salespeople and accordingly contributes to current sales literature by adding four descriptive themes of prospecting on social media.
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