A short piece called Your B2B Lead Generation Budget: Start by Cutting It Into Thirds on the Sales Lead Insights blog might prove inspirational if you’re thinking of starting again with your marketing plans for 2010. I suspect the reason so many marketing plans just roll over year-on-year is that it’s hard to come up with something new. Well, here’s something that’ll get a marketing revolution kicked off at your company. I’m not saying I totally agree with it, but it’s as good a place to begin as any I’ve seen.
If you’re wondering if (or to what extent) your company should get involved in social media, there’s a good article called Is social media effective for B2B lead generation? on the Sales Lead Insights B2B Marketing blog which suggests that there’s not much evidence (to the author, at least) that it can produce sales leads. And for most of us, that’s what this marketing lark is all about.
I agree; I’ve not seen much evidence either. The likes of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc definitely have a role to play if you’re in a business like I am (helping companies make the most of internet marketing). But selling widgets? I’m still struggling to see how they can justify significant time and effort. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have a company Facebook page, LinkedIn profile and even Twitter stream – perhaps related to your blog – because the time taken to set those up and run them is minimal, and as with all things internet-related, there’s a chance you’ll regret not getting in there early. But I shan’t be reccommending to clients that they appoint an in-house social media manager for a while yet.
Here’s one for those of us who are still not exactly convinced that “social media” should be high up the list of priorities for industrial business-to-business website managers. How does social media rank in influencing business technology purchase decisions? on Sales Lead Insights delves past the headline statistic in a recent report which shows how much technology decision-makers actively participate in social media. The article uncovers the less exciting, but far more important conclusion that “social media has yet to effectively influence a large part of the technology buying process.”
Answering the question “Which of the following sources of information impact your decision making process?”, the 1200 survey respondents gave a clear first place to “peers and colleagues”, followed by “vendor, industry and trade web sites” and “your direct vendor salesperson”. Many other items such as magazines, tradeshows and interactive media make up the list. But while “social technology” might be used by business buyers in their personal lives, they don’t think it’s influencing purchasing decisions. For now, anyway.
Here’s an interesting discussion from Sales Lead Insights B2B Marketing. React Faster to Your Leads to Increase Your ROI asks how quickly do you respond to the calls to action and contact forms on your website? It’s true (and I’ve been guilty of this at various companies) that when an enquiry comes in, we put it “into the system” and the prospect may be contacted in hours, possibly days, but never within minutes.
But if you think about it, that’s exactly when you need to catch them. How many times have you asked for information from companies online, but made your buying decision before all of them have responded? I have, on numerous occasions. Most companies think up excuses why they shouldn’t call prospects within minutes of them making online enquiries (“well, they might find it pushy”) but in reality they’re just excuses for not having a much more efficient system. Which gets better results.
Here’s one which I think might not be met with universal enthusiasm in the marketing world. But you’ve got to admit, author Mac McIntosh does have a point in the Sales Lead Insights B2B Marketing Blog when he wonders if “marketers should have a significant portion of their compensation tied to meeting their company’s growth and revenue goals”. Sure, growth and revenue are more the realm of sales, but if your salary depended on it, would you not focus more on “moving prospects from awareness to inquiry to consideration and to purchase”?