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Building a sales force using social media!

Social media is making several things possible. Brands are having “conversations” with their consumers, politicians are influencing voters and NGOs are recruiting volunteers. But, building a sales force using social media? 🙂 Our team at GenY Medium devised and executed such a campaign on facebook for a startup. Here is a brief description of how we accomplished this!

The problem statement

A startup was commercializing roof top solar power systems for households in two states in India. The client approached GenY Medium to help support its direct sales process using digital medium. The challenges were manifold, but the following were noteworthy: a) Being a player in a new category meant that lack of awareness about such products was a big challenge; b) Setting up a field force is usually an expensive proposition and the client did not have the budget to enable that; c) Making a sale happen would require a good understanding of the technology and the ability to articulate the same for the lay user. Therefore picking the right team members for the sales force would be challenging.

sales force recruitment

Contours of our solution

Our solution included a two pronged approach. One was the usual suspect solution of driving lead generation using the google adwords and facebook ads in the cities of interest. But that isn’t interesting we’d admit! The second, more interesting element of our approach was to create a sales force using social media. The idea was to enroll engineering student during their summer vacations as members of the direct sales team. Considering the budget constraints we digitized the entire recruitment, training and deployment process. This is how we accomplished the target:

  1. Identifying the right candidates: The campaign was appropriately named “Solar Captains”. Interest based targeting was used to identify those who’d be positively inclined towards “clean energy”, “sustainability” and “nature”. A digital assessment was created in the form of a facebook app. Only the ones who would be able to answer basic questions on solar energy would move further. A telephonic interview would be used to make the final call.
  2. Incentivizing beyond money: The campaign promised a “Certificate of Recognition” for participants which would be more valuable than the “stipend” which the candidates would earn. This made the value proposition for the students more compelling.
  3. Training on the internet: Educational material to help those recruited familiarize themselves with the product and subject were disseminated by email.

Noteworthy is that fact that all of these steps namely identifying potential candidates, assessing, onboarding and training were carried out using social media.

Results

The campaign reached out to over 150,000 profiles which met our targeting criteria. The number of candidates who registered across the two states was 89 of which about 36 made the final cut. The amount spent on media spend? A few hundred dollars!

Crazier things might have been done on social platforms. However, this is an example which should give HR personnel ideas on how to leverage social media to recruit efficiently.

March 3, 2015
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