Those references and quotes would help us raise awareness. It would define and differentiate customer confidence. It would foster our sales funnel. And it would be the key to convert our sales opportunities much faster.
In other industries like hotels or restaurants, there was always a guestbook. People could tell the owners and managers what they liked, why they liked it and what made the location appear different from the competitors. In a B2B world, this was not possible. And there were reasons for it…
Who wanted to ruin the company’s tough won conditions of purchase?
Who would risk annoying their bosses for deeper supplier engagement?
Who said openly how highly rated the quality of a supplier’s communication effort was?
Who started positive questions and conversations by themselves without having a need to?
Who rates, reviews and recommends a B2B solution or a product without a need?
Today, people do that. In the B2B space maybe less than in the B2C world. But they do. And a reference in a B2B business has more value, more credibility and more sales power than when somebody likes a chocolate bar or some pair of sports-shoes – especially when not done on a social network but a corporate community.
But there are challenges coming along with this modern B2B reference development…
Companies and brands need to listen and monitor what their community is saying, and where they mention them. They need to categorize the value of a “Like” versus the impact of a comment on a corporate blog. They need to define ways for measurement criteria. And they have to know when and where to store a comment – whether positive or negative.
Positive comments are a blessing. But what if the comment disappears on Twitter after some weeks? What if the Facebook comment losses attention as of permanent posting in a company’s timeline? What value has the “Like” in general, if people don’t value Facebook as a B2B platform? Anf what if your company has a high Klout score but your clients have no clue what the impct of Klout score has for B2B?
Negative comments are an opportunity. Why not take the chance to answer to someone who was disatisfied with the solution or product? Assuming there are other clients experiencing the same problems, challenges, or undeliverables, B2Bs better respond. Is there a better chance to learn in order to get more references? Being “open” is authentic, is valuable, is generating more conversations.
Companies and brands should be grateful. Today, we have platforms where we can get references: corporate communities, forums, blogs, social network accounts and so on. But we need to make sure, we create Social Media guestbooks which display and keep the reference, the business people that have shared them, those that have retweeted, repinned or “re-used” them. Or why did we create and display case studies on our B2B websites for years?
I am asking myself the question, why are companies giving their hottest assets in the hands of Facebook, Twitter and the likes. And why they are not just changing their mindset. Answers welcome…!
We have already shared some information on a Google and Compete study that shows why B2B and mobile have a close connection. And the most relevant information from a mobile point of view can be taken from eMarketer graphic.
The importance of mobile for B2B is partly as business decision makers are frequent travelers, thus most connected business people, and partly as smartphones and tablets have given them a new freedom. And today, we also know from CNBC research that executives in Europe see the increasing value of being engaged on Twitter. B2B managers can and have their conversations anytime-anywhere from their devices.
But what is the marketing potential it offers for companies then?
As business decision makers by their definition have to be fast in their decision making process, today’s professionals need to be connected, informed, and productive wherever they are traveling, or whenever they are in meetings. As of that mobile devices give B2B marketing new opportunities to open up new relationships if using apps, QR codes or video in an intelligent way.
In her YouTube channel, on Twitter and in her blog) Christina CK Kerley shares her knowledge on mobile B2B strategies alongside some good cases. Her latest video gives some insight in how B2B marketers can use mobile to connect the offline and the online world in order to leverage B2B printed ads, to integrate the customers’ voice into video, or to bolster B2B thought-leadership content through images, video and text.
It sounds a bit incredible, but it is still plain reality. The majority of B2B companies still ignore their clients on the social web. Most companies are not listening to their voices in Social Media to draw their conclusion out of their public feedback.
69% of B2B companies don’t give feedback to their customers input in Social Media. The missing process is the challenge for them which they cannot manage. This is the outcome of a recent study by Satmetrix.
Satmetrix is the company which is responsible for the NetPromoter score. This score measures customer satisfaction based on how likely customers are to recommend a business. Being a measurement of advocates and detractors, it might as well be seen as a mirror of business success.
The risk of ignoring still seems to be not interesting for companies if we see the latest results from this study…
- 75% of B2B companies do not measure or quantify Social Media
- 60% of B2B companies do not have an integrated social media strategy
- 56% of B2B companies who measure Social Media just count the comments and followers
- 51% of B2B companies don’t have Social Media tracking at all
- Just 4% of companies who measure social media have any form of sentiment analysis
The survey data is based on 1.180 responses from businesses around the globe, who are all part of the NetPromoter.com community.
Some months ago, Google described in a B2B study how business decision makers are making up their mind for a purchase decision. The web is the first resource when B2B decision makers are on their way to evaluate which product or solution they might buy for their company. And although studies like the one of the Aberdeen Group state that B2B companies can generate more leads when using Social Media, many companies still don’t see the link and the opportunities coming with it.
Somehow Social Media in B2B is not rocket-science. Somehow the challenge is to align competition, commitment, content, context and collaboration -the 5C’s of Social Bsuiness- in order to offer customers the chance to identity with the company. In our eyes, this is the only way to differentiate from your competitors. Let us know if you have good examples how companies are using Social Media in the B2B world. Looking forward to your feedback. Or if you interact as a B2B company successful on the social web, let us know and we might highlight your case in a post. Reach out to us!
The challenge for all B2B companies is to find the balance between inbound and outbound marketing today. And the main question is how to generate leads with Social Media. A new study conducted by Aberdeen Group sponsored by Silverpop and Eloqua, offers some insights in how Best-in-Class B2B companies generate leads through Social Media platforms.
The findings of the study “B2B Social Meeting Marketing: Are We There Yet” show that on average 17% of the Best-in-Class B2B companies generate their leads via Social Media channels. Compared to their peers, this is almost 230% more marketing-generated leads through Social Media than other companies (5%). 84% of the responding B2B companies were using social marketing in some form.
The study differentiates between Best-in-Class (top 20% of aggregate performers) versus the industry average (middle 50%) and laggard (bottom 30%) organizations by using the following metrics…
1. The average annual company revenue growth of 20%, compared with 8% for Industry Average and -3% for Laggard firms.
2. An increase of 10% year-over-year improvement of marketing leads in average resulting in closed business – versus 3% for the Industry Average and -1% for Laggard firms.
3. A lead pipeline of 44% in sales-forecast generated by marketing – versus 10% for Industry Average and 5% for Laggard firms.
4. A 73% annual customer retention rate – versus 27% for Industry Average and 7% for Laggard firms.
The Best-in-Class companies show an outstanding adoption of various social technologies…
- 51% use website social sharing tools, versus 36% of Industry-Average firms.
- 49% use keyword-based Social Media monitoring, versus 39% of Industry-Average firms.
- 21% use social sign-in, versus 8% of Industry-Average firms.
Best-in-Class companies have experienced the opportunity of utilizing Social Media for the sales funnel, and know how to generate leads through social engagement.
- 80% of Best-in-Class companies are more actively engaged in Social Media marketing – versus 73% of Industry-Average firms and 60% of Laggards
- 47% of Best-in-Class companies see expanding lead generation as their primary strategy with Social Media marketing, and 13% cite generating leads as their secondary strategy.
- 23% of Best-in-Class companies said developing clear business processes for social marketing as their top strategy, and 8% cite process development as a secondary strategy.
All-in-all, the study shows the challenge of creating the right Social Media strategy for business when you want to succeed with lead generation via Social Media. But it is not only strong engagement the company needs. It is also the clever combination of using Social Media alongside the right communication techniques like email and SEO, and how Best-in-Class companies succeed here. They are 27% times more likely to integrate email with Social Media than Industry-Average firms, and 33% more likely than Laggards to do so. And they are also 24% times more likely than Industry-Average firms to integrate SEO with social media (even 69% more likely than Laggards).
What is your experience in lead generation through Social Media? How did your company perform, and what else could you add? Looking forward to learning from you…
Although some people still mess about the value of social networking, some platforms have already proven their success and benefit for companies and brands. From a B2B point of view, LinkedIn and Twitter are probably the two platforms that make most sense to marketers.
If Facebook has some value for brands that might be seen more from a B2C perspective. LinkedIn and Twitter have immediate B2B business impact. And business people predominantly use it for people searches it seems to understand their 3 Ps of their business: profession, position and potential.
LinkedIn is the star in this space in terms of business input, lead generation and some deep information exchange with their groups. This infographic from OnlineMBA states some valuable and interesting data about LinkedIn…
- 150m+ professionals globally (LinkedIn company profile stats – February 9, 2012)
- 44m+ members in EMEA region (LinkedIn company profile stats – February 17, 2012)
- registered business professionals from over 200 countries
- executives from every Fortune 500 companies
- 74% have a college degree, 26% even a graduate degree
- 1% of users are responsible for 34% of the traffic
- 1 million new users every 12 days = equals 1 new user per second
- 69% of users with at least $60K annual income
- 39% of users with more than $100K annual income
- 2 Billion people searches in 2010
Sorry, if I am getting emotional in this post… After far more than 1.000 posts, there must be one that is more personal than the rest of this blog: Memories.
I haven’t been alive 1851. Well, I am not alone on that one, right…?! No, I haven’t changed the world.
Obviously. Many of the companies on this infographic could not make this happen…
However, in 1999 something happened that I did not expect those days, or when I started my career in the B2B marketing and media world. It was disruptive in my B2B marketing life. Ok, I admit it was no innovation…, maybe some tiny idea and thoughts were those days. It was a milestone for me personally. And a tipping point in my business experience…
Getting an award is something that gives people a career kick. No Grammy. No Oscar. No… whatever. Having an award from the company that is mentioned at the beginning of this chart is something special to me, especially when you were young, inexperienced but eager to become better and better in business. When United Buisness Media bought CMP in 1999, I achieved a Salesperson of the Year award from CMP. Big emotions, big memories, I can tell you…
This infographic is not only rewarding the importance of content marketing, it also shows that content marketing will remain to be relevant and thrilling in the future. However, it might shift more and more from text to audio-visual touchpoints? We will see…
PS: Thanks to Mai Nguyen to ping this through to me…
In 2011 Social Media caught the attention of most businesses and their bosses. Dream Systems Media visualized the most important data in a nice infographic that illustrates the main Social Media stats in 2011 and gives a starting point for 2012. The summary of data was done by Sarah Evans at AdAge.
As most of us know Facebook has grown their business to 800 million active users which is an increase of incredible 200 million users in one year. LinkedIn and Twitter were also very successful. LinkedIn has 135 million active users (64 million in North America alone!). Twitter knocked down the 100 million user barrier.
Some more key stats that the infographic points out…
- The average Facebook user has 130 friends and likes 80 pages
- Every week there are more than 3.5 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook
- 56% of consumer are more likely to recommend a brand after becoming a fan
- 55% of Twitter users access the platform via their mobile
- 40% don’t tweet but monitor conversations
- 34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter
- 30% of B2B marketers are spending millions of dollars each year on Social Media marketing
- Almost 30% of these users are not tracking the impact of this marketing
- 20% of Google searches each day have never been searched for before
And, believe it or not… From the more or less 7 billion people on earth 4.8 billion have a mobile and only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush.
Following up on the webinar “Social Media for B2B companies – tactics, tools and techniques” that I held today from South Tyrol, I have promised to share one of the latest Google studies on B2B marketing.
At their event “Thing B2B 2011″ Google introduced the results of their new B2B study. It refers to business decision makers and how they make their way to buying decisions, which tools they are using and which technical platforms influence their purchase process.
The study “Connecting with the Customer” (video) asked 1.600 B2B business decision makedrs from various industries. The results were then combined with the latest findings of a Compete Clickstream study. The Compete study is tracking website conversion rates of a panel that is based on 2 Mio. consumers.
The study concludes that 30% of conversions on activities like whitepaper downloads, Email, Calls or other pull activity happen after two weeks time, or even at a later stage. It also states that -not surprising- in order to reach B2B decision makers the Internet is the best choice. 57% of the respondents say Internet advertising sticks to their mind versus 34% print. Only 16% say TV ads have a lasting effect on them.
When B2B decision makers are in a purchase process, they make use of the following sources…
- 71% Internet
- 41% Professional organizations
- 39% Tradeshows
- 37% Catalogue
- 33% Consultants
- 31% Direct Mail
- 11% TV
The leading online resources where B2B decision makers go to…
- 73% Search engines
- 51% Brand websites
- 45% Online reviews
- 42% Websites of professional organizations
In the following video Sam Sebastian, Industry Director at Google reviews the most important results of the study “Connecting with the Customer”, and makes clear that Social Media has the best effect if it is connected with all the other marketing activities companies are running. The review is followed by a dscussion between Paul Miller, Vice President of eCommerce at Grainger; Kathy Leech, Director of Brand Communications at BP; Andy Markowitz, Director of Global Digital Strategy at GE. Just watch it…
Business decision makers are a challenging shopper category. However, the study makes clear that the Internet is the place to reach them easily – some website chat software allows you to interact with individual customers in real time. Mobiles and Social Networks are becoming more and more important in the lead generation process, too. One in three B2B clients who searches for information on their smartphones also uses Social Networks for research purposes. Sam Sebastian, Industry Director at Google summarizes the findings in three bullets:
1. The Internet is the new tradeshow
2. B2B customers search early and often across the Web to information
3. Think orchestration, not integration
Maybe I would have chosen a different third point… “Think stimulation, not penetration!”. But that is my view…
As I am doing many webinars and seminars on B2B Social Media, it is always good to get and share some of the information and data that will help marketers understand the opportunities of Social Media. The expensive outbound marketing tactics will lack behind to the cost-effective inbound marketing efforts that micro-blogging, blogs, videos and webinars could provide to prospects.
The challenge will be to enbable a cultural change inside the company where content, context and collaboration can grow. Where employees can create intelligent, educational, entertaining and remarkable input for their customers – and ideally they share it with the quantity and quality streams of their networks and social graphs.
The below infographic includes many of the B2B social media statistics. A clever approach from them to create an infographics which other people will be sharing, and thus spreading the word in favor of B2B Social Media blog, published by Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey L. Cohen.
How often did we hear this question in the last three years? Marketers, sales(wo)men and many C-Level’s in the B2B space have asked the question many times in seminars. I am quite happy to have found a study that actually gives some insight in a quite complex business topic.
According to a Demandbase National Marketing and Sales Study in cooperation with Focus, the company corporate website is the top source of new sales leads for consumers. The corporate website still is the primary hub to harness customer interest driven by outbound online marketing activities. However, it is only second to personal connections and referrals. Nevertheless, more than seven times more effective than social media which speaks a clear language, right…? Well, what if referrals lead to websites via Social Media?
Executives see the website as the top online source of sales leads (23%), followed by email (14%), online advertising (7%), and finally… social media (3%). What sounds as a clear message, is more a blur. The most important factor for measuring website effectiveness is the quality of leads generated (34% vs. quantity 9%). However, nearly one-half of executives surveyed do not know where users are most likely to leave their website.
Another interesting thing is that study participants stated that the website still vastly underperforms in terms of lead generation. Although companies think they understand their sales prospects (over 60% respond knowing or understanding their prospects well), driving sales leads is still a big challenge for them. 80% of the respondents said the corporate website is not performing to its maximum lead generation.
Did you ever ask yourself how a consumer found your website? Can a website alone be enough to generate quality sales leads? What is the key to generating more leads from the web? Is it the website only? Well, once your website is ready to attract customers, it needs to get traction.
Often in the last weeks, we came across one of the main effort to get there: content generation. What makes search engines to drive (potential) customers back to your website? Content. And often marketers say: “We have tons of content! Why is no one coming back?” The answers is easy: Content needs some systematic approach, and that can best be achieved with inbound marketing. And that’s were Social Media comes into the game. So, the website alone is not the answer to lead generation.
“Social media may be heralded as the silver bullet to bring B2B marketing up to snuff but, despite its increasing influence, it’s important to keep in mind that no business sale is made without the buyer going to the corporate website first. Regardless of its origin–social media or e-mail, banners or search–traffic driven from online marketing initiatives always intersects at the website. And, while businesses are investing heavily in their sites, the study shows that they are then ignoring the very audience they worked so hard to attract.” Chris Golec, CEO, Demandbase
The study shows that there is a lack of understanding how to optimize and generate new sales leads and demand generation. Analyzing websites and drawing the right conclusions from site performance and the clients’ brand journey experience is what needs to be elaborated on. Obviously, many marketers still have “better things to do” or not the time to verify the back-end. Marketers need to understand that their web strategy should be focusing on connecting website experience and the brand journey towards it. This in the future will be mainly driven through inbound activities that could find a catalyst in referals. Companies just need to elaborate on the interconnection between website and Social Media. That’s where the answer to lead generation is hidden…
Don’t you agree…?