Social Lead Generation

By now, most forward-thinking sales and marketing organizations are taking full advantage of enablement tools that provide real competitive advantage in their space. The B2B model is rather well defined with the core engine of CRM housing customer / prospect data, an e-mail aggregator pushing compelling messaging to drive traffic to the corporate website, then scoring that traffic to triage direct sales efforts.
Up until now, this market intelligence has proven to optimize business development efforts; not only had to create a lower cost per lead but a more qualified one as well. We know that buyers want to “self-educate” so we provide a content-rich website to help towards that end. Marketers have created a rather wide net with this model. However, that process is limited to the universe of individuals either contacted via the e-mail aggregator or find their way to the website through SEO or PPC efforts.
What about the buyer who consults their social network before they ever search Google? After all, today’s buyer not only wants to self-educate, they want recommendations and advice from credible sources. That is the essence of the “like” button and the comment section. That is why the modern buyer doesn’t first go to Google, they go to Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter for initial research.
Smart marketers are using social monitoring tools to fill the void that social networks have created. By using the very same Google Ad words that provide traffic on a pay per click basis, social monitors can be used to provide insight though various social media outlets in the same manner. These monitors provide real-time feedback in the form of sales leads, customer complaints, competitive intelligence, and unique industry insight where none existed before.
In a recent Forrester survey, 72% of respondents said social media helps them get answers to questions, 68% said it helps them find information they need to be successful, and 62% said it lets people know what kind of help is available. And large majorities of respondents said social media has a positive impact on brand reputation (86%), innovation (80%), and customer service (78%).
Social monitoring is the missing layer of market intelligence. It isn’t enough to have a Facebook fan page or send out press releases via a corporate Twitter account. The savvy marketer must also monitor social media with the same diligence we direct traffic with search engine optimization techniques and paid search.

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