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…?
Although companies get flooded with information concerning the benefits of marketing automation, the topic is still “not self-explanatory” to most marketers. The majority of B2B companies understand the general benefit in principle. Nevertheless, only a few are using marketing automation yet (7-10%). It seems that marketing automation is a sleeping star…
Still, the market for marketing automation is growing as you can figure out from the numbers below. Not surprising. The solution providersfor marketing automation proclaim an increase in lead generation and explain companies how easy it is to manage the sales lead funnel. And generating leads is what drives the B2B world around…
- 110 vendors are seeling products and solutions in the marketing automation space
- 81% of best-in-class companies see the benefit in closing deals faster
- 76% of marketing decision makers see generation of high-qualified leads as the biggest challenge
- 64% of them have neither an internal nor external process to manage marketing automation
- 36% use marketing automation for lead nurturing
- 451% increase in qualified leads get businesses that use marketing automation for lead nurturing
- 47% more closed werde generated via lead nurturing generiert
- 10% use marketing automation to follow up later in the buying cycle
The statistics illustrate the power of marketing automation and what it could do to lead generation. However, when companies use marketing automation, only 25% use the full potential of marketing automation. It has become a “must have” in the marketing departments, at least of enterprises. If small and medium-sized companies use marketing automation or their a pre-sales/telemarketing to leverage their marketing and thus sales potential would be an eye-opening statistic in these terms. In many cases, time and resources hinder most companies from diving deeper into the potential of marketing automation and thus their brand content, the context in which it appears, and the community that talks about their business, products and services. The approach that I came across the last three years was an outsourced solution to service providers like agencies, publishers or software providers. And the main challenge of lead generation and nurturing is to align marketing, sales and customer service for a more efficient web strategy.
Would you agree that marketing automation is still a sleeping marketing star for lead generation…?
When you do Social Media marketing seminars and trainings (and I have done many in the last 24 months), most of the times marketers want to know everything around Facebook and Twitter (maybe Google Plus these days). However, according to the Pivot Conference that released their study “The Rise of the Social Consumer”, with the response of 230 brand managers, executives, and marketing professionals yesterday, some new hypes from marketers can be seen. Just check out the platforms that marketers are planning to invest in…
Although the big players on the market dominate at present, the next wave is already approaching marketers mindset. YouTube, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Zynga have made their popularity in the Social Media market and might get the future attention of the marketers. The second column shows an increase of those four platforms between 13-26% which obviously have some good business value if seen from the right customer service and customer relationship management spot.
For B2B companies LinkedIn got some great assets, not only with their special groups. YouTube is some higly underated platform in my eyes. It can be used for different visual aspects in B2B, but also viral topics and campaign opportunities in B2C. If restaurants, service providers or entertainment brands want to head for local promotions, Foursquare (and Gowalla in some areas – also 5% increase forecasted) offers some fantastic buzz potential. Whether Zynga is really so powerful for marketers to promote their offerings, needs to be seen and proved in the future. I would rather recomment and elaborate on reward advertising models.
The study also showed that 84% of brands encourage user involvement with social advertisement campaigns. This is interesting as very often the perception of marketers was that people don’t really see the ads next to their streams. The intention of marketers why they invest in Social Media advertising is manyfold…
Over half of respondents of the study (see full report) said they were shifting money away from other forms of marketing towards Social Media. 23% of respondents even stated that social advertising delivers a greater ROI than other forms of advertising. Although this sounds great, the strategic approach to every social advertising and Social Media engagement needs to be double-checked. The development of the results need to be aligned with the expectations and targets set before the Social Media activity started. At least if they don’t want to lack business credibility in front of their bosses…
Many discussions have been going on in the past two years with people who participated in the Social Media seminars and workshops I held recently. And there is still a “fight” going on how much B2B value Facebook has, and for which industry sectors Facebook is relevant, or if only for promotions and campaigns.
TBG Digital, a Marketing and technology company, has revealed some statistics now. The company put together a study called “Global Facebook Advertising Report” which analysed 200 billion impressions from 167 clients.
The report states that there is a 435% improvement in campaign conversion rates if companies and brands are targeting existing fans. Brand campaigns on Facebook grew by 104% quarter on quarter, and some industry sectors profit more than others, especially retail gains benefits…
The data provided highlights that one of the top five areas of growth is the business and industrial sector. Mentioning the amazing growth of these business areas, the report suggests that this ia the fact for the B2B value of Facebook which is “fast becoming a valid B2B marketing channel”.
If we combine these findings with a study published by digital agency The Group yesterday, the B2B picture becomes even more value. The Social Media Leaders tracking study revealed UK Facebook usage increased massively among FTSE 100 companies by more than 50% in the last six months.
The reports are more indicators (than proof) for the value of Facebook for B2B. It is not surprising that companies prefer to use Twitter (41%) to Blogging (12%) according to the The Group report. In the end, it takes resources to establish an effective presence with a powerful blog which is easier to be executed via Facebook (although another study claims that customer satisfaction is not the best at Facebook). However, I would see the value for B2B more in steady blogging effort than in Facebook (ad campaigns) but it depends again on what the objectives of the Social Media activity on Facebook will be.
How do you see that? Is Facebook a B2B platform? And if so, only for marketing and sales efforts or campaigns?