Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published on the Marketo Blog.
What type of client is the “right fit” for your business?
Odds are your sales and marketing departments have spent a great deal of time and money answering this question. You probably have very detailed and accurate answers involving industry, company size, technology use and job title.
But you know that your sales team can call someone who fits your buyer persona perfectly and still end up without a sale. Why is that?
Because there is more to lead scoring than just fit. The lead must also have a need for your product or service and be ready to research and evaluate solutions. Unfortunately, you can’t tell whether a lead is ready by scoring them on fit alone. You also need to track their behavior.
If you score leads based on fit alone, you know who is qualified, but you still don’t know who is ready to talk to your sales people. Behavioral lead scoring is the second lead scoring model your business needs if it expects to have a full understanding of your lead’s quality and sales readiness.
Hopefully, you’re nodding your head in agreement so far. “Yes, we already track lead behavior through website visits, email clicks, content downloads and other engagements with our brand.”
That’s an important aspect of behavioral lead scoring. Unfortunately, it won’t give you the whole story. By the time a lead reaches your website, they’ve already done 60% of the research elsewhere online.
By failing to track the activities a lead performs before they engage with your brand, you’re missing out on the first half of their research process! This creates a major blind spot in your lead scoring system and gives your sales team a lot of catching up to do when you finally discover the lead.
Social media intent data can help fill this blind spot.
How is Social Intent Data Used?
Many of your leads are leaving “digital footprints” online. As they do research on a business problem, they are posting on social networks, reading articles and commenting on blogs and third-party publications. If tracked properly, these footprints can tell you a great deal about your lead’s pain points, what’s top-of-mind, who they are connected to, and how to best target them.
The information on social networks is some of the most valuable data because it is user-generated and typically fresh and accurate.
Using behavioral data to improve lead scoring has been around for years, but until recently, marketers have not had the technology necessary to score social activities. Now, social intent data can be matched with the leads in your marketing automation system to greatly improve your lead scoring model.
Keeping Up with the Increasingly Complicated Buyer’s Journey
With buyers conducting their own research, engaging with you in multiple channels and involving more decision makers than ever, the B2B buyer’s journey has never been more complicated. It’s for this reason that social intent data is just as important and valuable than your company’s firmographic and contact demographic data.
With so many buyers involved and such a long research process before your company is even involved, isolating your lead scoring only to prospects who come to your website and fill out a form gives you very limited visibility. You’re missing:
- Everything the prospect did before getting to your website.
- All activity done by the 90% of site visitors who remain anonymous (unless you are using web personalization).
- Information on other decision makers who didn’t visit your site or fill out a form.
Intent data from the social web gets you much greater visibility earlier in the buying cycle.
In general, marketers tracking social behavioral data have been able to track more activities and have found socially engaged contacts are better leads. In using social intent data for our own lead scoring, Socedo found that over the course of a month the leads generated from social intent signals were 45% more likely to convert into opportunities, and in about two-thirds the time it traditionally takes to convert. They also closed at a 23% higher ASP.
Of course, there will still be some skepticism around using social intent data. Let’s address three of the major objections:
Social Intent Data is Unstructured
The barrier that has kept many marketers from adding social media data to their lead scoring models is that this data is unstructured. It doesn’t reside in tables, and you can’t just import it or push it into your marketing automation database.
But now, there is technology in place to process this unstructured data and make it consumable for a marketing automation system. Signals can be extracted from social media content and be matched to individual contacts in a marketing automation database. With this new advancement, social data has become useful for lead scoring.
Social Media Coverage is Too Low
Some marketers are thinking “my target audience is not very active on social.”
One concern of social media data is marketers may not have a lot of socially active leads in their database.
At Socedo, we’ve found that coverage of Twitter profiles in a typical marketing database is around 10-12%. But even if you can only find relevant intent signals on 10-12 % of leads in your database, depending on the size of your database, that may be hundreds or thousands of additional leads you can start engaging with every month.
For most B2B organizations only a small percent of the contacts in their database will ever engage directly with the company.
If the number of engaged leads in your database can go from 5% to 15% by adding social data, that can equate to a significant advantage for your sales and marketing teams.
Social Media Is Too Noisy and Difficult to Collect Real Intent Data
There is no doubt that social media data is noisy. There are over 500 million Tweets sent every day.
The key is to extract signals from the noise and develop lead scoring rules that work for your business. Here are a few tips to help develop your social lead scoring model that keys in on the specific activities that are relevant for your business:
- Compare social activity against known KPIs: The first step is just to start broad and track everything your leads are talking about; from engagements with your branded handles to competitors, industry events, and key influencers in your space.
- Look at how different social actions are correlating with your funnel KPIs. For example, you may find that leads who engage with certain topics or follow certain influencers on social are opening your emails at a higher rate than other leads, or converting into opportunities at a higher rate, or moving through your funnel faster than your baseline. By looking at the data, you can see which social actions should be incorporated into your lead scoring model.
- Talk to your sales team: Ask your SDRs and sales reps, if a lead took this specific social action, would you be able to have a good conversation with them? If the answer is yes, this is something you may want to lead score.
- Use a Predictive Lead Scoring Model: You can put social data along with all the other behavioral signals you already have through a predictive lead scoring model. By adding social as a new source of behavioral data, you’ll make your lead scoring model more predictive.
The way to cut through the noise is to constantly test whether social activities are an indication of the best possible leads for your business.
Continuously test and modify the social actions you are scoring for to get the most accurate model possible.
Marketers understand the value of listening to their customers and know that social media provides a rich pool of data to draw from. The only question is whether you can collect this data in a meaningful way and incorporate it into your existing lead scoring.
In the past, social data was only used as aggregate data for market research. Now, you can get social media activities at the individual contact level and reliably integrate that data with your marketing automation and CRM systems.
Social intent data won’t be the silver bullet for learning everything there is to know about your leads. But, when added to your existing lead scoring, it can cover a significant blind spot and give you a surprising amount of relevant, actionable data. Don’t let the objections keep you from benefiting from social media data.
Have any questions about lead scoring social media activities? Feel free to reach out!