Social Media Fuels the B2B Lead Lifecycle – CRM Update is Critical!

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Social media plays an important role in the sales cycle, but keeping your CRM database is key

No matter how many budget cuts your organization introduces to cope with challenging times, you somehow make room for B2B lead generation expenses. It is after all, the lifeline of your sales performance, right? The only change to this ongoing situation is the dire need to measure and quantify results, so not a penny goes to waste.

The results of B2B lead generation are best measured by the end goal, i.e. a customer conversion. For a B2B interaction to progress from seed to lead to sale, it must traverse through the phase of opportunity nurturing — the time when a prospective customer actually begins direct interaction with a company’s sales representative. It is typically the time when a lead is comparison shopping, checking out references and testimonials, conducting due diligence about the sellers’ products and services, and, engaging in social media conversations to find out more!

Close coordination between your marketing and sales team, via the CRM and other formal / informal internal communications methods is paramount to nurturing sales opportunities. Being in the public domain of social media, playing an active and positive role towards brand building can help your company’s credibility online. How and when marketing folks pass along a lead to sales can be impacted by remaining alert to social media activity. This, in turn also affects your lead scoring. An interesting comment, heightened social media conversations about your prospects’ needs, competitor activity that may be generating some social buzz online, all of these are what your team can monitor and keep track of in the CRM.

Keeping the CRM up to date is critical!
As a B2B lead generation specialist, a common lament I hear from senior marketing executives is that their sales staff is not committed to updating the CRM database or sales portal. My response is that a busy sales team needs to see value – what’s in it for them? Is it just a database they must update among other important tasks or is it really a Customer Relationship Management System? If it is, then it must help them better manage customer relations and support the sales cycle. How?

  • By generating useful reports offering valuable insights on how a lead is progressing in the lead cycle.
  • Enabling a simple and quick search / query function within the CRM so sales people can get information on prospects that they can apply in their next sales interaction.
  • Help to close a sale and shorten the sales cycle by facilitating an idea exchange of success stories from the sales team.
  • Offer incentives (like loyalty points) to sales staff that update the CRM in a timely manner.
  • Streamline processes, close the gaps and do away with task duplication. Make the entire B2B lead generation, lead nurturing, lead recycling and lead scoring cycle, efficient, easy to practice and, most importantly, profitable.

Your business can enhance opportunity nurturing processes using social media and your CRM system.

Do you have an interesting anecdote to share about how social media and CRM played a related role to turn an opportunity into a sale? Feel free to share it below.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Many companies struggle to reach prospects who are in the “problem identification” stage of the buying process. One suggestion that we strongly recommend, which echos your argument above, is to have stimulating and engaging conversations ONLINE to get yourself infront of prospects who are in the midst of the buying cycle. I recently read a blog about the first stage of the buying cycle…problem identification which you may find interesting: http://bit.ly/aAZnan

    Thanks!

  2. Actually, I guess it’s more like SCEDM but that doesn’t really roll off the tongue. In all seriousness, it’s very important to be able to capture and manage the vast amounts of rich information that are discovered in the course of engaging with customers via social media. Social media is like any other medium (letter, phone, email), though certainly more pervasive and capable of generating much larger volumes of information – activity within that channel needs to be logged in a way that it can easily be referenced or analyzed in aggregate. The role of hub has fallen to CRM, rightly or wrongly, and in particular Social CRM must step to the plate to fill the void. Needless to say, the interaction paradigm of CRM has and will continue to change dramatically if sales people, service reps, and other end users are to keep up with the onslaught of information generated by the social customer.

  3. Social Media’s integration into the workplace is a dramatically growing trend, yet, many businesses are choosing to block social networking sites to employees. While they might be blocking security risks or think they are improving productivity, they are missing out on a lot of benefits that come with the use of social media.
    There’s an excellent whitepaper download from Palo Alto Networks, “To Block or Not. Is that the question?” here: http://bit.ly/d2NZRp. It has lots of insightful and useful information about identifying and controlling Enterprise 2.0 apps (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, AIM, etc). Enjoy!

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