This is a guest post by Sara Moccand-Sayegh.
It is no secret that building a business from the ground up is hard. As a startup, you have to play it smart by making the most of limited resources. What’s the foundation for growth? To me, it’s about creating a marketing process and leveraging the right set of tools that allows our marketing and sales teams to reach our target audience and qualify them in the most effective way.
I think of growth in terms of a four-step process:
- Determine where our target customer persona is on the social media pyramid.
- Attracting our target audience and engaging them with a specific business objective in mind.
- Taking the conversation to the next level – educate prospects on how our solution can solve their pain points
- Identify the best leads to pass to the sales team
1.Know where your target customer persona is in the social media pyramid
The social pyramid is a concept developed by a Northwestern University professor name Randy Hlavac and explained in his book ‘Social IMC’.
The Social Media Pyramid is made up of six distinct types of social media sites. They are ranked based on the nature and depth of the social conversations. At the top, conversations are, for the most part, short and shallow. As we move towards the bottom of the pyramid, the conversations are more long-term and substantial. Different types of buyers tend to rely more on certain types of social networks more than others to do research.
For example, Sales Directors are one of our target personas. We know that Sales Directors are on social networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn. We use those social network to reach them and move them to a different level of the pyramid – to our blog. Once they reach our blog, we guide them to conversations that discuss approaches to solving marketing and sales challenges and show people how our products work.
2. Build an audience
Knowing your custom persona and where they are in the social pyramid is great. However, you also need to have a plan around how to reach this audience and ultimately your goals. To create an audience, you’ll need two elements: consistency and content aligned with your audience’s needs and the goals of your company.
Here at Sales Wing App, we use Twitter and LinkedIn to reach our target customer persona. To reach our audience at scale on these social networks, we turn to Socedo and Dux-Soup.
Socedo has developed software that helps us discover and engage with our target audience on Twitter. To target our audience, we input some keywords into Socedo’s search system, including conversational keywords, bio keywords and regions. The software searches through Twitter for matching criteria and proposes a list of prospects. For example, if we want to find marketers, we’ll put in #leadscoring as a conversational keyword and the software will discover prospects who have used #leadscoring in their recent tweets. Once we accept the leads we want to engage with, Socedo will start to automatically engage with our target prospects through a series of touches: follow the selected prospects, and send them Twitter direct messages once prospects follow us back. Moreover, Socedo provides the opportunity for us to A/B test our direct messages and see which message does a better job of generating clicks and responses. For example, at the moment we are testing a more interactive message.
To conclude, Socedo helps us identify our target audience and gets them familiar with our brand.
Dux-Soup is our tool of choice for growing our target audience on LinkedIn. It’s a plug-in for Chrome. Once it’s enabled, it visits LinkedIn profile on our behalf. The nice thing is that whenever we view a prospect’s profile, LinkedIn sends them a notification and helps prospects become aware of you and encourage them to visit your profile. This increases the likelihood that prospects will connect with you. If they do not connect with you but you find them to be a relevant lead, you can still connect with them. Before launching Dux-Soup Chrome extension, it is important to do an advanced search on LinkedIn and figure out what specific criteria matters to you. For example, for our company, company size and job title are important criteria.
Growing an audience is the first step, but it’s not enough. It is important to tie your audience acquisition effort to a real business objective and ask yourself “how can this help me reach a real business result?”
For example, the final goal could be generating X amount in revenue. However, you can have intermediate goals. Getting people to sign up for your free trial could be an intermediate goal. Indeed, this is one of our goals.
Before people can sign-up for our free trial, the first step is to get them to visit our website. At my company, we use our blog, Quora, Twitter, Twitter messages and LinkedIn allows as to drive traffic to the website.
Quora – the Q&A website – is a great place for us to identify our target audience based on the questions they ask. We answer relevant questions from our target audience by providing them with content and links to our blog. For example, when someone asked on Quora “what’s the best predictive lead scoring product and why?”, our CEO answered the question by providing a framework to evaluate different tools, and suggested multiple options including our Sales Acceleration product. In his answer, our CEO had provided a link to our website. Because this comment is geared towards those who are already thinking about a lead scoring solution, the link to our website brings us a significant amount of qualified traffic.
Coming back to our intermediate goal – getting prospects to sign up for our free trial, we realize that most people will require a few more steps of research before they are ready to sign up. Live Chat on our website, Socedo and LinkedIn are tools that help us continue the conversation with prospects and help us ultimately to obtain signups for the free trial.
3. Taking the conversation to the next level
Because we sell a niche product to sales professionals in a relatively new product category, we want to create conversations with prospects so that we have the opportunity to address their questions, objections, and educate them on how our product solves their pain point. We use three tools in combination with our own lead scoring solution to help us to transform anonymous visitors into qualified leads.
Live Chat: Live Chat allows us to chat directly with our website visitors and understand which visitors fall into our target audience. Live Chat is available on all parts of our website, so that prospects can contact us at any time. For example, companies that have a Sales and Marketing team that send outbound email or newsletter fall within our target audience. With Live Chat, we are also able to learn more about the tools these prospects use and see if there is a fit for us. Once we learn that a prospect is a fit, we ask them if they would like to book a demo or have a live conversation through Skype.
Socedo: Socedo has several valuable functionalities. One great thing about Socedo is that they provide us with a list of prospects (that have followed us on Twitter), along with their recent tweet, their email addresses, company name, job title, and more. With this information, we can follow up with these leads by sending “cold emails”. For us, the advantage of emails is that we can use our predictive lead scoring add-on to identify the best prospects. Once the prospect clicks on the website link, we will know when they turn into a warm lead ready for the sales team.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is an incredible social selling tool. There is no better way to connect with prospects than by personalizing messages. SalesWings LinkedIn Message Tracking Plugin tracks every single LinkedIn Message and Inmail in order to show which prospects visited our website after receiving our LinkedIn messages. From there on, our sales team takes over and creates an engaging and personalized connection to lead each prospect to a demo.
4. Identify the best leads to pass to the sales team
One of the major challenges between many marketing and sales teams happens during the lead hand-off process from Marketing to Sales. Sales often say that the leads they get from Marketing aren’t workable or aren’t qualified enough. To ensure that our sales team spends their time on the best leads, we use our own advanced Lead Activity Scoring solution. SalesWings plugs into CRMs (such as Salesforce) and email marketing systems (Mailchimp, Constant Contact and others) to monitor when leads visit our website, and classifies the 10% hottest leads using predictive lead scoring. This means that our Sales team will be able to focus their resources and time on the hottest leads.
About Author: Sara Moccand-Sayegh is a Digital Marketing Specialist at SalesWing, a fully automated add-on for advanced Lead Activity Scoring. Sara currently lives in Switzerland and loves meeting new people, AR, VR, and hiking.