The traditional approach to demand generation focuses primarily on outbound offers and campaigns to drive new leads into the funnel. However, the shift in buyer behavior forces companies to rethink their approach to demand generation. Social media stands out as a new source of customer engagement because it provides sales and marketing organizations with a tremendous opportunity to follow potential customers – even before they reach out to them.
Because the buyer relies more on peers and independent research in the early stages of engagement, it has become even more imperative that B2B firms bring sales and marketing together with a shared approach to revenue generation. Social intelligence has proven to be a key piece of this aligned approach as it enables deeper, more relevant engagement.
According to B2B’s “2010 Outlook: Marketing Priorities and Plans” survey, more than half (53.5%) of marketers surveyed said they currently use social media as part of their marketing strategy, up from 45% the prior year. Lead generation (cited by 48.9% of respondents) ranked as the second highest use for social media, behind only thought leadership (59.8%).
In one case study illustrating how progressive companies are integrating social media into their demand generation efforts, Concur Technologies has successfully integrated social intelligence across sales and marketing, influencing performance at each phase of the funnel.
Because the buyer relies more on peers and independent research in the early stages of engagement, it has become even more imperative that B2B firms bring sales and marketing together with a shared approach to revenue generation.
In the early stages of lead generation, Concur has utilized the list-building capabilities enabled by sales intelligence platforms to better target the SMB market. The company also improved conversions within the funnel by using social intelligence to address lead pre-qualification for inside sales. Finally, reps are able to receive alerts notifying them on trigger events at key accounts.
Despite the dramatic impact social media and social intelligence can have on demand generation, many companies do not integrate social media into their existing processes. During a recent presentation at the 2011 SiriusDecisions Summit, Jonathan Block, VP and Service Director for Reputation Management Strategies at SiriusDecisions, proclaimed, “Organizations ignore the leverage social media can offer throughout the cold-to- close process.”
Block emphasized the important factors that go into a successful social media strategy. He pointed out holistic measurement and reporting are key aspects of building an integrated social strategy. By effectively measuring both activity and impact, companies realize positive paybacks in brand reputation, demand creation and sales enablement.