A CRM (customer relationship management), MAP (marketing automation platform) and social media management tool, are three essential parts of every mid-market or enterprise B2B companies marketing toolbox. Just consider the numbers:
- 95% of B2B marketers have created corporate social media accounts.
- CRM leads all enterprise software categories in projected growth.
- Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as outbound marketing, while costing 62% less.
It’s clear that B2B marketers are finding that social analytics, CRM’s and MAP’s are incredibly valuable on their own. But the real value emerges when they’re integrated with each other.
A social-CRM-MAP integration will give you a comprehensive view of your relationships with leads and customers via social channels and other outlets, allow you to serve social content that reinforces customer loyalty, and gives your sales team an intuitive understanding of customers to inform every touchpoint.
Integration among key database systems will yield richer insights throughout every aspect of your marketing—knowledge that can completely transform your marketing ROI, the more data you have about your prospects, the better you can nurture them. Which in turn will enable you to increase sales and revenues.
Here are 6 key insights that you’ll gain by tying together your social analytics, CRM and MAP.
1. Customer Sentiment
Knowing how your customers feel about certain products, marketing approaches, and most importantly, your relationship with them. In one study, 96% of businesses didn’t hear from dissatisfied customers—a recipe for disaster, if you don’t figure out why customers might not like you. A combined social analytics-CRM-MAP solution can make those sentiments clear to your sales and marketing team members, making for stronger responsiveness to customers and better social campaigns.
First, an integrated solution can help you identify what customer sentiments exist. While logic and facts must be carefully balanced with the role of emotion in B2B marketing, it’s still important to consider instances of complaints, questions, concerns, or praise, and how those form an overall picture, within and across relationships, of the customers’ feelings about your company. Secondly, an integrated solution shows you how and where those sentiments arise about your brand and products throughout the sales cycle.
One way to understand customer sentiments is informally. Sit with your marketing team and sales reps to go over major touchpoints with customers and the overall sentiments that seem apparent in each. Look at email, blog comments, social media messages, phone calls, and in-person interactions. By taking note of the most frequently-arising thoughts, opinions and feelings, you can brainstorm adaptations to your marketing strategy to eliminate complaints, increase positive sentiment and optimize your overall campaign.
If you’re an enterprise-level firm with complex products and customer profiles, or a smaller company that simply wants an edge, you might also hire a data mining firm or statistical consultants to help you perform a formal customer sentiment analysis, which digs deeper into attitudes, thoughts and motivations by analyzing the text of customer interactions. When it comes to data, the richer it is, the better—and it can be gathered from your social engagements as well as your CRM.
2. Customer Buying Behavior
B2B products and solutions are complex. That means, understanding what makes your customers tick is essential in B2B marketing.
All of your customers will have their own quirks. For each one, you’ll need to know such things as:
- Are there multiple key- people interacting with your sales associates, or just one?
- Does this customer make purchases faster or slower than average?
- How complex is the buying decision for this company (that is, how many steps are involved, and how might you serve the appropriate content at each point)?
An in-depth knowledge of customer behavior can both inform current customer relationships and enrich buyer personas for smarter engagement of future leads.
By integrating your social media management with your CRM and MAP, you see the “thought process” as it’s revealed through social communications—both implicitly through the way your leads approach major buying decisions, or perhaps explicitly through customer reviews, blog posts, and mentions of your brand via social.
In addition, an integrated solution can provide closed-loop reporting that delivers important lead intelligence to your sales staff. They’ll know what each lead needs in a touchpoint, which questions have been answered and which ones haven’t, and the tone and rhythm of social media interactions, all contributing to smoother and swifter movement through sales funnel.
3. Customer Advocacy Opportunities
Customers who really like your brand might be ideal candidates to spread awareness of your company to their peers. And that means greater ROI for less effort. There’s hardly a B2B marketer who would argue with that equation.
Bomgar, a remote support management provider, experienced a 700% percent increase in customer referrals through a detailed customer advocacy strategy. If that sounds inspiring, customer advocacy might be the ticket to new customers, and an integrated marketing solution will be a great aid in the process.
With just social monitoring, you’ll see how customers are actively talking about your brand and products on such places as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. If they love what you have to offer—and have begun to prove it by linking to blog posts about your products benefits on Facebook, or Tweeted praise for your company—you can approach them to ask for case studies and testimonials, with rewards for doing so.
By integrating your marketing solutions, these interactions become much easier to measure and take advantage of. For example, the email and website analytics you gather can be used to paint a more complete picture of your customer’s interests so your outreach to such customers and similar prospects will be all the more tailored, encouraging more conversions and more brand loyalty.
4. Enhanced Sales Intelligence
Aside from knowing customer behavior, sales associates need to understand the bigger picture of buying motivations in customers. With social media management-CRM integration, they’ll be able to track customer interactions from inception to present day, revealing all of the sentiments and behaviors that are relevant as buyers decide what they’ll buy and when.
An integrated solution can help clarify which specific team members should be assigned or added to accounts based on enriched insights from a combination of social messages, emails, blog comments and other exchanges. For example, if one qualified lead is particularly gregarious on social outlets, eager to share helpful information with their peers—and this is confirmed through various interactions outside of social media—it might make sense for a particular sales staff member who’s personality and social media presence is well-aligned with that prospect to join that account.
An example of enhanced sales intelligence in action? One of our customers used detailed sales insights arising from the integration of Oktopost and Marketo to identify the most important leads to pursue in a large product launch. This means more sales and better relationships.
5. Customer Experience Intelligence
One of the best ways to keep loyal customers, regardless of your industry and market position, is to make sure those buyers are getting the most out of your products, and that their experience with your brand is smooth and satisfying. The customer experience intelligence that the B2B marketer can gain from an integrated solution is yet another key advantage of combining social with CRM and a MAP.
In order to know whether customers are truly happy with your products, you can assess sentiment and how it evolves over time, as mentioned before. With the greater knowledge about how your customers really feel as they move through your sales funnel and consume your downloadable materials, you’ll gain substantial insights about how you might enhance the experience for them.
A combined solution can also help you create a discussion hub through your web presence that’s integrated with all aspects of your marketing outreach. For example, customer support and experience issues can be tied to your presence on social networks, such as through LinkedIn Showcase Pages and Facebook Groups, where customers can voice their thoughts and you can respond directly.
Insights from your CRM can also add to your customer experience approach. If you take comments, questions and suggestions from leads and customers obtained via email or phone, and combine them with data from your customer support forum and social media presence, you’ll be able to construct a complete blueprint for improving the experience leads have as they learn from you and buy from you.
6. Lead Generation Wisdom
What’s one of the biggest points (or as some might even say, the only point) of marketing? Lead generation. And with the rich data sets that come alive when you bring together your social analytics, CRM, and MAP, you’ll have everything you need to plan a successful lead generation endeavor.
First of all, by combining current customers’ information with their social presence, you’ll see how they interact on social networks as well as the social messages and gated content they first responded to. Such knowledge is useful for updating customer profiles to keep current buyers happy and in your fold, as well as for refining buyer personas to target similar prospects in the future.
And, by integrating social analytics and customer relationship data with your MAP, you can tie certain content and marketing collateral to specific leads and customers, building an even greater database of lead generation wisdom. Perhaps certain types of buyers respond more to your case studies than they do your webinars. Or maybe some buyers work through a casual tone and have shorter buying cycles, and other buyers belonging to a different segment prefer a more formal tone and a longer buying decision process.
Whatever the case, your integrated solution will allow you to see exactly how your leads become attracted to your products, and what you can do to gain similar leads in the future.
Integrated social, CRM, and MAP = Richer data, better marketing and more sales
It’s simple. The more you know about your customers and leads, the better you can serve them and enhance conversions, marketing ROI and revenues. Putting together social media management with CRM and a MAP is a winning solution for gaining that knowledge and using it to full effect.
Cover Image via @Andreas Levers