Posted on October 25th, 2011, 4:16
It’s now officially true that Social Media is no more a passing fad. Social medial marketing is about creating buzz or news worthy events, videos, tweets, or even blog entries that attract attention, and become viral in nature. Buzz generation is what makes social media marketing work; it replicates a message, not through purchase of an ad, but through user to user contact.
In this kind of a campaign, the message does not necessarily have to be about the product, but could be anything either relatively or remotely associated; many successful viral campaigns have gathered steam by focussing on the interests of the social media enthusiasts with a subtle presence in the form of a company logo or tagline included.
To successfully run a social media campaign requires building of assets that facilitate fans of a brand or company to promote it across multiple social media channels. Fan pages in Facebook or Groups in LinkedIn are ideal examples.
Social media marketing is successful only when it is designed to allow customer/user participation and dialogue, with little or no control by the organization. If a company has something to hide, then maybe social media marketing is not for them, here only the honest or the smart survive. Also, it easy to track and monitor social media campaigns using efficient lead management software.
· Efficiency- Unlike many traditional marketing methods, social media marketing provides an instant connection between the company and its target audience. As soon as a company puts information up on the internet, it immediately becomes easily available to a large number of people. By contrast, television or radio commercials can take weeks to produce, billboards take time to print and install, and postcards and mailers can take several days to travel and find their way to the desired address.
· Cost - Social media marketing is extremely cost-effective when compared to other marketing methods. Many social networking platforms charge little or no fee to register, allowing companies to utilize their services to locate and interact with their target audience without having to spend large amounts of money.
· Effectiveness- Social media provides a lot of flexibility, when it comes to reaching out to the target audience. It can be used to connect with both the masses as well as a company’s niche segment. All one has to do is to ensure that they use their social media channels and assets carefully. And tweak the message as per the audience they are reaching out to. Such flexibility makes any campaign effective, yielding significant results, with just a little effort. This way one gets to drive qualified leads to the website, thereby enabling the lead generation program as well.
· Personal Connection- Unlike most traditional marketing strategies, social media allows companies to open up a conversation with their audience, allowing them to provide feedback and express their ideas and suggestions about their business in real time. Customers who have a personal connection with the business and feel as though the company cares about their feelings and opinions are more likely to return to the company when they need their services again. For organizations trying to promote an idea or cause, social media allows them to have discussions with people, informing them about their cause and eventually winning their support.
However, getting into social media marketing requires a change in mindset by the company adopting it. It involves the risk of putting out all that the company offers on a platter for comments, complaints and compliments. If the company ideology can facilitate that, social media can change the way a b2b lead scoring operates and interacts with customers.
Also read on - sales lead scoring
Posted on October 21st, 2011, 5:23
Social media strategy has been actively used by B2C companies because it helps generate viral traffic. 86% of B2B firms are using social, compared to 82% of B2C according to a report from White Horse. But sometimes, social media can confuse B2B marketers on what strategies to adopt. Most of them, first, build a corporate page on the various social media sites and then may not know how to actively make use of social networks.
Simply creating Facebook & LinkedIn company pages or opening a twitter account and perhaps uploading some content on YouTube, Scribd and Slideshare will not suffice.
But of late, more and more B2B companies are of the understanding that corporate websites need to be dynamic which means content needs to be frequently updated for freshness, relevant to the time and volume. But, B2B firms aren’t as active in their social media activity with only 32% engaging on a daily basis compared with 52% of B2C firms from the same White Horse report mentioned earlier.
In the B2B buy cycle,
This means that,
According to research from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association (AMA), B2B product marketers were spending an average of 3.4% of their marketing budgets on social media in February 2010, and B2B services marketers were spending 6.5%. Respondents expected those proportions to reach 7.4% and 11%, respectively, over the next year.
All the social media sites are not built same and it is important to select which social media sites to focus and have a specific strategy for that particular site. It is also important to ensure that marketers are able to bring all the social media site strategies together so that there is a coherent picture to customers, prospects and partners.
b2b lead scoring will find the ‘swimming’ easy when they understand that social media is not just mandatory check in the marketing list but about engagement & content.
Know more - lead nurturing programs
Posted on October 14th, 2011, 3:15
In a technology driven world, it has become necessary for the organizations to adapt to the latest technologies, which enhance their mobility, efficiency and productivity. This gives the organization a competitive advantage over others. To meet this inherent need, organizations either use their information technology wing to develop the required software or rely on outsourced software development services. Outsourcing of technology can include software solutions, applications or outsourced product development services.
Software outsourcing thus has become the buzzword in the IT industry. A number of best software product development companies with highly skilled manpower, enormous knowledge and experience now focus on their core business and are reaping profits outsourcing their core competencies. These companies, which provide business as an outsourcing partner for software or product development need to be fully committed not just to design, develop and implement their software projects, but also extend their services to support & maintain mission critical applications.
Most of the software development companies, software consultancy companies, software product development companies have gained expertise through working in various domains such as Insurance, manufacturing, Shipping, healthcare and retail sectors. The demand for outsourcing has increased with the industries realizing the need for a stronger focus on their core business activities and outsourcing the non-core activities to experts. This not only leads to better business development, but also reduces the administrative and operational costs for the client company by nearly 70%.
Among the various outsourced product development services, software product development services are quite popular besides the BPO’s. Companies offering these services are the most sought after in the global market, as they not only provide offshore developers, but also collaborate with clients at a strategic level and provide executives with on-demand access to global innovation networks. These companies leverage their proven tools and processes and years of expertise, to provide clients a number of services, such as customer research, engineering, maintenance & support. Most of these software companies partner with software–enabled large business houses to deliver quality products to the demanding market at cost effective options. This helps the software companies to create a network of innovative hubs worldwide and connect to clients on award –winning platforms. These features make them the best product development companies.
The software Product development lifecycle involves a number of subsets such as product conceptualizations, Identifying and designing key features, selecting architecture, development strategy, product localization, customization and implementation. Migration and product extensions with facility for extending product functionality design and scope for cross-platform integration as well as smart devices are the key features that make them stand out.
Posted on October 13th, 2011, 3:49
Every company which has marketing and sales departments has at some point witnessed the famous – sales and marketing fight and blame game – more commonly known as the sales and marketing misalignment.
One of the most significant reasons for the sales and marketing divide is the difference in objectives and their measurement of success in closing the sales deal. In a B2B set up these differences are more glaring as compared to a B2C company.
In B2C, both marketing and sales are measured by the sales and market share the company enjoys for its products. In such a scenario, marketing invariably assumes the role of assisting sales and propelling the company’s revenue share in the marketplace.
However, in most B2B companies, the primary objective of marketing is to generate quality business leads and of sales to convert these into closed deals. Both these departments are also measured based on the number of leads generated and the number of sales closed, respectively.
In reality the role of marketing in a B2B company is relationship building and that of sales to use this relationship and help prospects make a rational buying decision based on business value offered by the company’s solutions.
Irrespective of how companies want to position their marketing and sales objectives, the truth is marketing and sales are two sides of the same coin.
Selling starts the very minute the company goes out into the world and talks about its offering. Companies spend on marketing activities because they want to attract people who can buy their offerings. So what really differentiates marketing from sales is the point of their entry in the relationship building process.
Hence it is essential for companies to create a common ground or process for marketing and sales teams to work together in the in-between stages of qualifying and nurturing Leads.
Define Lead Profile
Defining a good Lead is the first step in this direction. It starts by putting down a definite list of attributes and a score for each attribute; this process helps in scoring the Leads and qualifying them. These pre-defined Lead attributes should be arrived at after doing ample research on how the Leads in the company’s Lead funnel behaved in the past, this requires an in-depth study of both Leads closed and opportunities lost. Also, this should be an ongoing process, where the Lead behavior is watched and the common definition accordingly developed over a period of time.
Automate ProcessesUse of technology like marketing automation solutions can help in easing and automating the process of scoring and qualifying leads if the primary source of Lead generation is Internet.
Just this one process can go a long way in bridging the sales-marketing divide, at least in settling the blame game.
Setting up such a process not only helps in bringing clarity to the end objectives of both, but also equates the success metric. The Lead definition becomes the base measurement value for both the departments. Marketing is measured not on the basis of Leads generated but on the basis of qualified Leads generated in accordance with the common definition. Sales get measured on how many of these qualified Leads it managed to close.
Marketing automation solutions allow sales and marketing to have a common free-flowing communication channel through a common “Lead view”, even if they fail to fit the pre-defined criteria.
Posted on October 7th, 2011, 5:19
The elicitation of contact information on websites may not be adequate as most prospects will not have the time and patience to fill in a form at that time. So, auto responders can be used to collect prospect contact information. In sections where there is a free giveaway, it is ideal to use an auto-responder. Such a mail is sent to the registered email id to confirm the request and asking them to provide some more information such as industry domain, prospect title etc.
A simple way to encourage prospects to repeat their visit is to ask them to input their suggestions or feedback whenever they download or view a report. This conversation can be useful to know exactly what they are interested in and how the product/service can be useful or relevant to them.
Nesting inquiry forms at every level may prevent them from further using the website. It is ideal to place company contact information on every page. If there is an enquiry; the prospect will know how to contact the marketer.
Track the Visits
Lead generation does not end with simply driving traffic to website – it also involves the process of identifying who visited. Website analytics may indicate that there are thousands of people visiting the website every month, but there may be only few who actually fill in the contact form and disclose their identity. On the other hand, most visitors leave after consuming the information they wanted, without revealing their identity or intent behind visiting the website.
Use of Marketing Automation for Visitor Information Elicitation
To convert web traffic into qualified sales leads, B2B marketers may require automated software to track the anonymous enterprise visitors/leads to the website, understand the intent behind the visit and based on its findings, qualify them as a potential lead or not.
According to Sam Weber CEO, Connected Marketer, “Marketing Automation has become a critical component for B2B marketers. By 2015, 50% of all B2B companies will have implemented Marketing Automation.”
This projection is because marketing automation is critical for lead generation software as marketers need to know who the decision makers are in the buying process. Only by knowing this can marketers be able to address the buyer problem. Another important factor is that marketing automation can identify the meager percentage of prospects that show buying signals by projecting solutions.
Know more - lead nurturing, b2b lead scoring