Wednesday 9 October 2013

6 Methods to Get More Leads & Revenues

Social marketing is one tenant of a social CRM strategy. Other tenants include social selling and social service, and social CRM should also support the overarching company social strategy – so as to not limit social goals to just the Customer Relationship Management objectives. That’s a lot of social stuff, so for this blog post I’m going to focus on sharing some social marketing techniques to acquire more leads for the sales team and earn more revenues for the company.

Build a social presence.

You have to get social before you can be social. Simply jumping into social networks without having your own social presence comes across as something of a nomad, or even worse, simply looking to exploit other people’s social properties for your own gains.
It’s also important to recognize that B2B buyers are increasingly selecting vendors that are social. These buyers want vendors that share information beyond the website collaterals, which share resources who talk candidly and beyond the corporate speak, and which engage in two way conversations or deliver customer service over social channels. I recommend first talking to your existing customers to understand the social channels where they most participate, then building a social presence on the social networks that your customers most frequent, and then steadily expanding your social presence across the top 6 hybrid B2C and B2B social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube and SlideShare), as well as Pinterest and Instagram if you’re in a B2C industry.

Engage in social listening & response.

Every day there are over 200 million tweets about companies, products and services. This figure grows exponentially when considering Twitter is but one social network of many. It’s quite likely that a very small but nonetheless material percentage of this social commenting is buyers seeking advice, referrals and information for products or services which you sell. To acquire more leads, you need to meet these buyers in the social channels where they are communicating.
To detect these buyer opportunities, deploy a social listening tool which automatically searches the social web for specific company and product keywords which identify buyer inquiries, and then capture, categorize, prioritize and route those buyers’ online social questions and comments to inside sales for qualification and response. When responding, it’s critical to recognize the reply should offer advice, information or help – and not be a sales pitch.
Having deployed these tools several times I’m the first to admit that getting the intended results (qualified leads) is harder than it sounds. Cutting through the noise, getting clean signals and filtering social comments for lead gen purposes is difficult primarily due to tone, sentiment and specificity challenges.
Techniques to overcome these challenges include using highly specific (long tail) keywords designed in the context of intelligent search queries (i.e. using masking and wildcards) and targeted by social channel type or category. I’ve found that intelligent keywords produce more targeted results when organized by buy cycle phase (Awareness, Interest/Evaluation and Purchase) and when accompanying “indicator” descriptors which filter conversations based on intentions (e.g. switch, evaluate, purchase) and product or service attributes such as price, quality, or customer service. I’ve also had particularly strong success when focusing on competitor keywords, and using keyword phrases such as my company name next to a competitor name, with accompanying words such as ‘buy’, ‘compare’ and ‘switch’.
Using the right tool also makes a world of difference. Having used many low cost tools, as well as high priced tools such as Salesforce.com’s Radian6, Microsoft’s NetBreeze and Oracle’s Social Cloud listening tool, I can attest that while they pursue common processes, they each take very different tacts to get there – and offer very different capabilities and levels of refinement. You may find that the best tool to identify your best leads isn’t the one that comes from your CRM software provider.

Social network advertising.

B2B marketing on social networks must be extremely targeted to deliver an ROI. The typical social media spray and pray marketing approach is a proven money loser. Fortunately, social network advertising can effectively target known sales prospects (those in the Middle of the Funnel) and retarget anonymous sales prospects (in the Top of the Funnel) with specific high impact offers.
For known sales prospects, there are B2B lead gen tools which use the social networks API to integrate your CRM leads and customer contacts with those same targets on social networks. For anonymous sales prospects, there are now retargeting tools available so that you can push messaging and offers to known or unknown buyers across multiple channels. For example, if a buyer goes to your website to check you out, but doesn’t register or engage, you can then display another offer to that buyer on his Facebook page or other web pages that include Google Adwords displays. Each additional display of your company and offer increases CTRs (click through rates) and the likelihood the buyer will ultimately engage. I’ve used these techniques and they’ve shown a solid capability to acquire high value leads for a low cost per lead.
Promote social propagation.
Word of mouth referrals are the best form of marketing bar none, and now social marketing tools are available to effectively facilitate the online equivalent of word of mouth recommendations delivered in a one-to-many distribution pattern that travels 24 x 7. These tools generally launch campaigns in social networks using components or widgets to attract engagement and sharing among recipients in order to extend reach into cascading social spheres.
Social networks offer an extremely scalable and unique opportunity whereby messaging and content that gets shared, exchanged and socialized among social communities becomes one in the same. For example, in my Marketo review I shared how the company’s Social Boost solution uses online apps such as polls, sweepstakes and contests to entice people to engage with and share content they find interesting. And because the new social marketing capabilities are tightly integrated with the company’s flagship marketing automation system, social marketing can be included as a flight in a more traditional drip campaign or multiple social marketing flights can be assembled in a social nurture campaign.

Engage social influencers.

Thought leaders are social by nature. As part of your social marketing strategy, use social tools to identify and prioritize social influencers and then engage those opinion leaders for relationship building. Based on good relationships and shared content, these people can comment on or extend your messaging or content through their high volume channels to dramatically increase reach.
Measure social reach. Most social listening tools are very adept at detecting your marketing strength, presence, reach and Share of Voice by key criterion such product, service, target market, vertical market and geography. Dashboards display trends, spikes, anomalies and KPIs along with analytics that show where your social marketing is making progress in the social sphere, and where more work remains to be done.

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