Salesforce Simplifying B2B Facebook Marketing?

16 Nov

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Perhaps unjustly, Facebook has never been known as a hub for B2B lead generation. This is not for lack of potential – plenty of companies use Facebook for surfacing contact info. However, following up on that contact through automation and CRM systems required a bevy of tools that were disconnected and independent of each other. No longer – Salesforce Lead Analytics for Facebook brings the sales funnel together.

The Salesforce tool innovates by working simultaneously across Instagram (which is owned by Facebook), Facebook itself and the Facebook Audience Network, which is the official name for the Facebook ad platform. Users of the Salesforce Lead Analytics tool will enjoy a data stream that connects the first interaction of the customer all the way to the purchase. Users will also be able to connect data from upsells and resells. The dashboard will showcase the most important performance metrics that marketers need to improve campaigns, such as leads generated and total views, as well as sales performance related to ads. In addition, the proprietary Salesforce Einstein AI will give a marketer a score for each prospect after that prospect finishes with a lead form.

There is plenty of other data for marketers to pick through with this new tool. Some of the other featured data includes a Pardot score rating, ad spend for campaigns, click through rates, campaign ROI and qualified leads that each campaign generates.

Salesforce is not done here. Alongside the Lead Analytics tool, the company is also bringing out the Einstein Account-Based Marketing tool. This tool will automate the connection between the sales and marketing staff. The data in both departments will now be easier to marry, streamlining execution time.

These new innovations from Salesforce have definitely come under duress. Its main competition in the CRM landscape, Microsoft, has greatly strengthened its position in the market through its soon-to-be acquisition of LinkedIn. Although Salesforce has tried to block the acquisition, the effort will likely fail. However, these new tools certainly bolster Salesforce’s position in the market, especially since they are currently on the cutting edge of technology here.

 

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The New Market for B2B Social Influencers

14 Nov

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Influencer marketing has long been a staple in the B2C marketplace. However, many experts believe that it will soon rise in the B2B marketplace as well. As thought leaders in influential markets begin to grow social media followings, they will be able to use inbound marketing techniques like podcasts and live streaming in the same way that commercial companies do.

The audience is definitely there for these techniques. Livestream recently reported that 81% of Internet users watched more content in 2016 than in 2015. Convince and Convert reports a 14% increase in the number of podcast viewers year over year. Because of stats like these, savvy B2B marketers are looking to move into influencer marketing in a big way.

There is still a huge amount of potential in B2B influencer campaigns even as the current generation of campaigns rises in competition. Most companies still do not think of influencer marketing when they look to marketing, so the technique has plenty of room to grow. Savvy companies are already pitching social media influencers to work with them. Although the market is still the Wild West, there are a few techniques that have been tested.

Using Publishers as Influencers

Because business in some markets hinges on the latest news in that industry, publishers hold a great deal of power as social media influencers. Companies are finding great success through partnerships with publishers for content or full-on promo campaigns. Publishers often have more staff focused on running a blog or maintaining a social media presence. They have the potential for much more than the traditional banner ads – you can move forward into social media posts, branded content, and even sponsored reviews.

Sites like the Wall Street Journal and Business Insider have already created portals for partners.

Well Known Speakers and Authors

If you can hook up with an author or speaker who is self-employed, there will be no limits to the collaborations they can take on. You can offer these people visibility and viability in exchange for the collaboration. You may be able to reduce the price you pay, although your visibility will usually not be enough on its own to warrant free promo services. However, you never know. Experiment with authors and speakers with larger or smaller audiences to find your sweet spot.

Types of Campaigns

Virtually any marketing campaign can be bolstered with an influencer campaign. Awareness campaigns, online reviews and presentations are just a few of the ways that you can collaborate with social influencers. For instance:

- If you are trying to use social media to promote a new product, have your influencers post about the product instead of trying to drive traffic through your brand to your brand. Make sure that you research the FTC guidelines on sponsored content.

- Create long form content with a well known influencer or blogger. Your target audience will come to learn from the white papers or webinars that your influencer creates, and you will get leads and exposure from your sponsorship.

- Send influencers to cover industry events for you. They will be able to take photos, videos, and blog about the event while judiciously mentioning your business as they go. If you have the ability to give people press passes, all the better. Those are like gold to the social influencer.

 

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Why LinkedIn is Better for Marketing at Scale

9 Nov

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When it’s time to target your prospects at scale, there is arguably no better platform than LinkedIn. It is well-known that LinkedIn is the best platform for targeting professionals in general, however, there is not a great deal of talk around the scale that LinkedIn provides.

Part of the reason that LinkedIn does not get the attention that it should is due to the convenience of its scaled applications. It is not easy to market at scale with LinkedIn. For instance, if you are trying to reach 1000 CFOs, you cannot simply type “CFO” into the search engine and spam away. You have to incorporate some detailed techniques in order to take full advantage of the features that LinkedIn has to offer.

First of all, job title targeting is perhaps the most inefficient way to market at scale on LinkedIn. It is the most used tactic, which means that marketing this way will increase competition and bring you higher CPC rates. Job title targeting is best used for precise marketing efforts, and this is exactly what scale is not.

If you are looking to market at scale, then you need to start with the Job Function search on LinkedIn. This is the search that will create the largest audience for you, although you will need to streamline and focus this audience in subsequent steps. For instance, if you are looking for digital marketers, you would need to drill down into the Job Function of “marketing.” Leaving your research at this step will potentially show your ad to many unqualified prospects, ballooning your costs with no results. 

You may want to cross-reference your Job Function search with a Group Search. The majority of professionals who fill out profiles on LinkedIn do not join any groups. However, those who do are extremely interested in the topic. With these names in tow, you will have your core audience. People who join LinkedIn groups are also usually the most active individuals on the site. You are beginning to drill down into your audience list and find the people who are the most relevant to your marketing efforts.

If you find that Job Function targeting does not give you a good cross-reference after drilling down into groups, you may reverse course and try a Skills targeting campaign. These audiences are large and self-selected, which may actually benefit your campaign in the long run. The stated job title of an individual may not always coincide with the responsibilities of that individual in a company. Using Skills as your target, you will identify people from their real position in the company, not just their job title.

Ideally, you are looking for an audience between 25,000 and 50,000 people. LinkedIn tells companies to go with an audience greater than 300,000, but most case studies have determined that this is too large. Consider also that LinkedIn has a bona fide interest in seeing you advertise to as many people as possible. With a max audience of 50,000 people, you can more easily track the results of your campaign. You will also be able to more easily break up this audience into smaller buyer profiles.

 

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Personalizing Content to Empower Your Sales Team

7 Nov

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Marketing and sales must work as a team in order for your revenues to keep pace with your competition. Just as your sales team has the responsibility of finishing the job on the front lines, your marketing team has the responsibility of making the initial lead acquisition and journey through the sales funnel as easy as possible. If your sales team goes into battle with personalized content, they will be greatly empowered to bring home the bacon.

The modern customer demands personal attention. However, they do not want to be pushed into a sale. The goal of personalizing content is to create a relationship between the salesperson and the customer that will eventually translate into action. Here are just a few of the ways that your marketing team can help your sales team succeed by personalizing content.

Buyer Personas

Your salespeople are dealing with individuals, but those individuals definitely fit a certain psychology. Make sure that your salespeople understand the buyer persona of each customer. Forward them the email threads that go to different personas. Make them understand the differences in marketing to those different personas as well. If your front-line salesmen understand how you have introduced the company to certain people, they will be able to follow up with a much more personalized message.

CRM

Is there any reason that the marketing team knows that the big client’s CFO has recently retired and the sales team doesn’t? Is the sales team privy to the latest information about a prospect’s ability to make a purchase? It is very important to let the sales team in on all the real-time information that your customer relationship management CRM program gets from your prospects. This is yet another building block that your salesmen can use to create a personalized pitch when doing business.

Synergy

The best companies are now opening the doors of their marketing staff meetings to salesmen. No longer is a position on the marketing team seen as a promotion over sales – the two positions are treated equally in terms of determining marketing campaigns, advertisements, and social media rollouts. When the sales team has a say in the way that ads are rolled out, they will be more likely to understand the message that marketing is putting in front of prospects.

Regardless of your industry, your sales and marketing team must work together to create the personalized content that will empower your sales team to succeed. Otherwise, you are basically throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. Follow the tips above to ensure a close connection between your sales and marketing teams and the personalized content that will work well in the field.

 

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Speaking Creative: 6 Tips for Efficient Revisions

2 Nov

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Guest Contributor: Matt Hillman, Creative Director

If you’ve been a building products marketer for long, chances are you’ve worked with “creatives,” those writers and designers—and even developers and programmers—who make the marketing materials that help sell your products. And if you’ve worked with them, that means you’ve likely had to review work and provide feedback.

It’s a safe bet that at some point you’ve needed to look over a document or a layout and given feedback and experienced one or more of the following:

  • resistance
  • arguments
  • eye rolls
  • temper flares
  • passive-aggressive remarks
  • confused looks
  • crying
  • something different than what you asked for
  • the complete opposite of what you asked for

For many of you, this is confusing. The creative process is supposed to be collaborative and part of that collaboration is making the materials as accurate and impactful as possible. So why are the people who need the feedback and revisions so resistant to making them?

Presuming you have the right people in the right roles, and everyone is a mature professional—and if that’s not the case, you have bigger fish to fry—it basically comes down to providing the right inputs. Armed with clear, concise information, it’s amazing how quickly your creative team can solve problems and get your materials where they need to be.

Here are six ways to improve your feedback for more efficient revisions:

  1. Consume it before you critique it.

If the review process finds you immediately grabbing a pen and marking “what’s wrong,” you’re missing an opportunity to understand the work like the audience will. You’re also creating a mindset where you’re presuming something is already broken. Reading or looking it over twice is key—once as the audience, once as the reviewer. This gives you the context you need to better understand the intent of the work rather than jumping immediately into the mechanics of it.

  1. Consolidate inputs.

A common process for most creative work is an initial draft followed by 2–3 rounds of revisions. Unfortunately, many changes come to creatives in bits & pieces, resulting in significantly more rounds and increased inefficiency. And as revisions can often come from multiple sources, it’s also normal for one person’s revisions to counter those of another. To avoid this, for each round of changes, consolidate and prioritize feedback from the team into a single list.

  1. Avoid one-person focus groups.

Sometimes large-scale projects, like campaigns, warrant getting reactions from the target audience—and for good reason. Actual feedback from those we’re trying to reach can be invaluable. Unfortunately, what happens more often is “I shared the logo options with my wife and she didn’t like any of them” or “The barista at Starbucks didn’t care for your cattle vaccine tagline.” Outside inputs can provide needed perspective, but unless it’s the actual target, it usually just sows confusion.

  1. Something is better than nothing.

A phrase every creative has heard at some point (sending a shiver down our collective spine) is “I’ll know it when I see it.” This is essentially creative skeet shooting, simply tossing one idea after another and waiting to see what doesn’t get blown away. Not only is it demoralizing, it’s a serious waste of resources, costing you time and money as your team essentially tries to read your mind. At minimum, tell your creatives two things: “Make it less ____ and more ____.” With those two simple blanks filled in, they’ll arrive at what you want faster—even if you’re not sure what it is yet.

  1. Set the goal, not the solution.

All too often, well-intentioned marketers will “help out” by providing painstaking how-to instructions or actually doing the work themselves (e.g., “I’m not a writer, but I wrote two pages that you can use”). Few things will disengage your creatives faster, because your underlying message is “You’re another pair of hands to me, not a mind.” If you want their best work, point out the problem you’re trying to solve and let their unique skillsets provide the appropriate way to get there.

  1. SCORE it.

News flash: “I don’t like it” isn’t valuable feedback. Step into the paint department of any big-box building retailer and there are hundreds of paint chip colors offered. That’s because taste is completely subjective—even among professional marketers and skilled creatives. One person’s “love it” is another person’s “disgusting.” Instead of providing feedback in terms of what you like or don’t, use the SCORE method to more objectively review creative work:

Strategy – How well does it deliver to the objective/intent?
Creativity – How unique and distinctive is it (vs. others in marketplace)?
Ownability – How easily will you be able to claim it as your own?
Relatability – How well will the audience connect with it?
Extendibility – How well will it work with variations?

By utilizing the SCORE method, you’ll not only be able to judge the value of the creative work more objectively, but the answers will assist your creatives by providing them with actionable feedback.

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