On a daily basis, I interact with B2B marketers who doubt the usefulness or effectiveness of Social Media Marketing. More often than not, these marketers have either not experimented with this form of digital marketing, or they have invested very little money or effort into creating a custom Social Media strategy for their business. For this post, I’ll walk through the 4 main reasons why B2B organizations have been slow adopters of Social Media Marketing, and why they are missing out on a potentially huge boon to their sales funnel.
1) B2B Companies Haven’t Mapped Out Their Sales Pipeline
Many clients and potential clients I engage with have not yet built out a full understanding of their sales pipeline. Do you know the rate at which organic search visitors convert into leads? And then the rate at which those leads convert into opportunities and closed-won revenue? How about visitors from Facebook? Not understanding your sales pipeline, and how different digital marketing channels contribute to revenue, can often be an impediment to even beginning a discussion about Social Media Marketing.
In our experience, Social Media is a great tool for engaging prospective customers at the top of your sales funnel as an “assisted conversion” tool rather than a “last-touch conversion.” At the other end of the funnel, it can also be a great tool to increase the lifetime value of a customer by building brand loyalty. These two points are fundamental to mapping out a successful Social Media strategy.
Google 2013 “Customer Journey” Report
2) B2B Companies Don’t See Immediate ROI From Social Media
Of companies that have a firm grasp of their sales pipeline, many of them still have trouble understanding the ROI of Social Media. Most of this trouble is created by a lack of attribution tracking. Using custom UTM tags on all posts, businesses can begin to see how Social platforms, campaigns, and promotions help assist leads through the sales pipeline. If your business is using a CRM system like Salesforce, there are also tools that can pull in lead information from Google Analytics into your CRM. Our custom KeyTouch tool allows you to see how each digital marketing channel is contributing to leads, opportunities, and closed-won revenue—directly in your CRM.
Additionally, B2B companies must understand that even if they aren’t seeing ROI from Social Media, many of their competitors are. According to HubSpot’s “2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report,” 21% of B2B companies say Social Media became a more important channel for generating leads in the past 6 months. If your competitors are generating leads from Social Media, you’re missing out by not engaging with potential customers there.
HubSpot “2013 State of Inbound Marketing” Report
3) “My Customers Don’t Use Social Media”
Many of the prospective clients I’ve talked with make the assumption that because they are in a specialized industry or vertical, their customers aren’t on Social Media. However, data suggests otherwise. According to a 2012 Pew Research report, 95% of U.S. adults between the age of 18-49 are online and 80% of them use Social Media sites. Given this statistic, you can assume that at least some of your customers are using Social Media—you just have to find them.
For one of our large clients in the Information Technology space, we created a custom strategy for Spiceworks, a small Social platform that caters to a specialized subset of IT professionals. If you aren’t seeing success on Facebook and Twitter, you may need to explore other sites to find your customers.
4) “We Don’t Have Bandwidth To Spend Monitoring and Posting on Social Media All Day”
The final concern I hear often from clients is that they don’t have the internal bandwidth to spend monitoring and posting on Social Media. In the past, Social Media duties were relegated to an entry level employee or intern. If a business didn’t have either, the digital marketing channel was neglected. However, businesses are now finding that Social Media can often represent the face of their brand, and that leaving brand management to an untrusted employee can yield some pretty big PR disasters. If you don’t currently have the internal resources, it may make sense to look to an agency instead.
With proper attribution and tracking in place, a sophisticated understand of your sales pipeline, and an innovative strategy to reach your target audience, Social Media Marketing can be a powerful tool for your B2B company as well.