Buyer behaviour in B2B marketing has changed. And social media has made a huge impact. It’s considered to be one of the most ‘modern’ marketing techniques available but let’s be honest, there’s a whole load of old-fashioned “throw enough sh#t and some will stick” about it. Twitter is a prime example. And the fact is it’s forcing us all to answer important questions about the value of social media — and the impact it has on the bottom line.
Is social media a waste of TIME?
Not necessarily! You prepare a tweet and send it out. The idea here is that one of your followers ‘gets it’ and can be bothered to retweet to their followers. The hope is that the message is amplified again as someone who picks up the message retweets to their followers. Brilliant! Or luckily enough you have a large enough audience on LinkedIn that some will care, and may be even their connections care. We’ve managed to increase our reach to a third degree contact – hopefully they’ll be interested enough to click on the link and visit your website, and then maybe make a download. A lead! And it didn’t take up a whole heap of time!
Why does such a low-cost channel cost us a lot of MONEY?
Getting the message out there may have been cheap. But don’t forget there’s the time of creating and managing the process — often an internal resource. And if the amplification effect does what was intended and produces traffic to your website with form completions, then all of a sudden what looks cheap can suddenly end up costing a lot of money. Not only that, it could cost your reputation with another department in your business.
So why does the sales department keep complaining about lead quality?
The sales department. Forever complaining about the quality of leads you give them — because you’ve amplified the message and just handed over a whole bunch of unqualified leads. So what looked like a good, cheap idea, all of a sudden has created a whole heap of work for them — chasing leads that are very unlikely to be leads they’re interested in or are right for the business.
Can we turn low cost enquiries into high value sales leads?
Yes you can! Simply treat social media as a low-cost feed to an automated buyer journey — that nurtures prospects into high-value leads. It’s easy on paper, but takes some real expertise.
Build an automated buyer journey that already has content created to engage an audience.
Develop nurture strategies to move prospects from early stages of engagement though to serious interest.
Formulate lead scoring rules to pass sales-ready prospects to the sales force.
Use technology to provide insight to the sales team based on what prospects have done online.
Will it ever be possible to present highly-qualified leads to sales at ZERO INCREMENTAL COST?
Yes, it already is. If you adopt the above philosophy, then all of a sudden highly-qualified leads are presented to sales at zero incremental cost. It costs nothing to process or filter prospects through an existing, automated journey from a social lead. And only if prospects engage at the right level and demonstrate enough interest are they pushed through to sales. So that’s it. Social can be highly valuable — as long as you know how to handle the leads. If you haven’t got that bit sorted, stop wasting your sales team’s time.