Does your sales team complain to you that your leads stink? Do your sales reps cherry-pick from the leads you send because they assume that most marketing leads will not close?
Heading into 2017, lead quality remains the number one challenge in the B2B marketing space. In fact, industry research shows that in an average B2B marketing database, 75 % to 95% of the leads are dormant and only 3% of your market is actively buying.
So, how do you find those 3% of the market that’s in an active buying cycle? How do you reactivate all those dormant leads and identify sales opportunities?
While there’s a lot that you can do, in this article, we want to share with you what’s worked for us. Using behavioral social data has been one of the most effective ways for us to identify warm leads for our sales team and SDR team.
What is behavioral social data?
Behavioral social data is intent data. It’s any social media actions taken by your prospects that can help your marketing team and sales team identify warm prospects and provide you with a context or a reason to communicate with them.
At this point, all of us reveal a lot about who we are as professionals through social networks in real-time. In a quick sweep through someone’s social media profiles, you can see their professional interests, who they’re connected to, the influencers they follow, the brands they follow, the topics they’re interested in and more. Social media is where B2B buyers post articles, interact with brands, influencers, and tweet about the events and conferences they attend.
According to recent LinkedIn reports, B2B buyers seek insights and conversations with vendors on social media. In fact, 2 in 3 are open to connecting with a new vendor and 3 in 4 are ready to have a conversation with a new vendor on social media.
Here are some examples of behavioral social data:
Interactions with your brand:
- Followers of your company page on Twitter or LinkedIn are choosing to subscribe to your content. This action is similar to a blog subscriber.
- Those who want to start a conversation with you will reply to your Tweets or comment on your LinkedIn posts
- A mention of one of your executives in a tweet could be a segue to start a conversation
- Someone who clicks on a link in a post and downloads content is interested in related content
Interactions with competitors:
- Someone who just followed one of your competitors is likely entering a buying cycle. Someone who shares content from one of your competitors is showing interest in your space.
Interactions with influencers:
- Someone who just shared a post by an influencer in your industry is endorsing their content and is likely interested in related content from you.
Interactions around events/industry conferences:
- People who are attending events in your space and tweeting about their event experience are potentially good prospects for your business.
What makes behavioral social data useful is that it helps you identify interested prospects earlier in a buying cycle, before they come to your website and before they open your emails.
To make this data actionable, you’ll need to get it into your marketing automation platform.
Your marketing automation system can be a powerful ally in generating leads and sales. But your campaigns and programs are only as good your data.
At this point, most marketing automation deployments are set up to only listen for later-stage buying signals. Your marketing automation system can track visits to your website and landing pages, opens and clicks on your emails. However, only those later in a buying cycle are coming to your website and engaging with your emails.
When you incorporate intent data from the social web into your marketing automation system, you can find the leads who are active in a buying cycle and those who are poised to enter a buying cycle. With this information, your SDR or sales team can reach out to warm leads sooner.
Here is a true story of how we closed an account – Risk IQ – with the help of behavioral social data.
A few weeks ago, we synced a new contact – a senior marketer from RiskIQ into our database. Let’s call him James. Our own social demand gen platform had picked him up as a lead when James tweeted about Hubspot (which is a good intent keyword for a B2B marketing audience). Our campaign followed him. James followed us back but did not engage with our direct message. We synced his contact information into our marketing automation system – Marketo – on November 7th and immediately reached out to him via email. He did not open the email.
On November 14th, James re-tweeted Socedo a couple of times. Because we have a Lead Acceleration solution that monitors the social actions of our existing leads (like when leads tweet at Socedo), we were able to pick up James’ social signals and it’s recorded on his lead record’s Activity Log as a timestamped action. Because this data is part of our lead scoring model, we were able to qualify James as good lead for our SDR team.
James was assigned to an SDR named Jesse on the very morning he re-tweeted Socedo. Before reaching out, Jesse looked in Jame’s lead record and saw that he had engaged with our brand on Twitter. Jesse had a great excuse to reach out to James. He said this to James: “hey, I am reaching out because I noticed you were interacting with us on Twitter. Would you like to know how we found you and teach you the same technique you can use to reach your own audience?”
James responded well, was qualified and sent to one of our account executives – Robert – for further conversations. He signed on as a customer on November 30th.
To recap, James was identified as a sales-ready lead based purely on his social media engagements with Socedo. If we did not track his social media behavior, we would not have identified him as a good lead. In addition, because our SDR was able to reached out to James with a relevant call to action, and do it minutes after he had expressed interest, we were able to shorten the sales cycle.
This was just one of the many stories we have on using behavioral social to inform our marketing campaigns and lead routing process. At this point, our marketing team has more several more use cases, including using social data to target event attendees, to lead scoring, to sending real-time emails.
Want to learn more about how to use behavioral social data in your marketing automation system? Check out our new e-book on this topic.