Selling Inside Social Media

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I had an interesting experience yesterday. Simon Wardley, whom I have mentioned before as one of the best technology strategists I have read and spoken with, tweeted the following about cloud services:

I responded by asking for another write-up from Simon - I never tire of reading his analyses of technology in general and cloud in particular - but also responded that I was just now in the process of looking for a cloud offering to host a small mission-critical Web service, and agreed, once again, first-hand, with his thoughts.

Here is where it got interesting. I received the following tweet from an account executive at HP Cloud:

Within minutes of my replying to Simon, an account executive at HP was there asking openly if he can join in the mix. I do not know if this is an HP initiative, or a driven account executive, but either way, it is impressive. @jashsf was monitoring either Twitter in general for the right terms, or Simon in particular - which is even more impressive, since he can be pretty harsh on those companies he thinks are failing, as his original tweet shows - but either way he saw a potential opportunity in a non-traditional location and jumped all over it. Notice as well that none of the terms in Simon's tweets were hashtagged.

Selling to me via advertising is a sledgehammer. Reasonably well-placed digital advertising is more of a ball-peen hammer. But becoming part of an active conversation where I explicitly stated that I am in the market for such services is about as good as it gets.

In this case, they were not a good fit - and being part of the active conversation allowed @jashsf to qualify me out very rapidly, a crucial part of the sales process - but give him credit for doing it correctly.