By Simon Knight, Sales & Marketing Channel Manager, Dun and Bradstreet

Simon Knight

Social media is at the heart of Customer 2.0, enabling a new dynamic conversation with potential customers. However whilst companies are starting to formulate their strategies and successful case studies start to appear, without a clear view on how to capitalise on the interest generated, some cannot justify the investment.

The way B2B customers buy, just as in the consumer world, is changing. Part of the buying process is the sharing of relevant and valuable content to stimulate interest and action in prospective clients. The B2B decision making unit is more complex than in the B2C world, but ultimately it involves engaging with people and adding value to them as individuals within their business function.

As you take a prospect though their buying process and deliver value to them, the customer will exchange small amounts of information initially, which increase over time. How do you capitalise and build on the user details you capture to ensure you can identify and prioritise the leads? You can never have too much detail on who they are and what they do, particularly when you need to score your opportunities and decide where to focus your sales and marketing resources.

The ability to provide a sales ready lead in your CRM, containing all the data you need to progress your social media conversations, is now a reality, which maximises your returns on both social media activities AND your CRM system. Solutions now exist which can capture additional valuable data to build up a detailed understanding of the person and organisation, which can be used to determine how you deal with the opportunity.

Social media doesn’t equal informal and at the end of the day it needs to provide a measureable return on investment, just like any other Marketing activity. By demonstrating value and thought leadership you can help a prospect through their buying process and bring them into your marketing automation processes, delivering the lead at the right time to sales and therefore ensuring you maximise the social media opportunity.

Accreditation: Article supplied by The Institute of Direct Marketing (IDM), Europe’s leading body for the professional development of direct and digital marketers. The IDM offers a wide range of up-to-the-minute training courses, bespoke training solutions and internationally recognised qualifications, all devised and delivered by expert, real-world marketers. Visit the site to experience their range of online digital qualifications and the brand new Award in Data Management

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