In B2B tech marketing, lead generation is one of the most carefully managed and measured aspects of the business. For some marketing functions, such as digital marketing, field marketing, trade shows and events, it’s relatively easy to generate hard ROI (return on investment) metrics from each campaign. Expenses are carefully budgeted and allocated, and opportunities are managed in a marketing automation or CRM (customer relations management) system, so you can calculate to the dollar how much each campaign has cost per qualified lead, opportunity, and sale.
But here in the world of social marketing, it’s still much harder to prove the direct revenue contribution of social monitoring, publishing, and engagement. It’s harder, but not impossible. Leaving aside the qualitative values that can only be obtained through customer surveys and focus groups (values such as brand awareness and preference), the really important numbers have to come from the CRM or marketing automation system – conversion metrics as a prospect engages with a brand across one or more social touch-points.
Most medium-sized and large enterprises now use a social marketing management platform to publish to social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and to track the effectiveness of each post, typically according to the number of clicks, retweets, shares, likes, and so on. And most such organizations also use marketing automation tools like Eloqua and Marketo to nurture leads as they move through the buying process.
Yet from my research, it appears that few companies have engineered any kind of automated connection between their social engagement platforms and lead-gen systems. Adobe and Oracle have full-function suites that bridge social and marketing automation (indeed Elqoua is now part of Oracle’s suite), but instead of settling for an “all in one” platform, most enterprises have taken a “best of breed” approach that integrates tools from multiple vendors.
The marketing team I work on has been using the Sprinklr social marketing management system for about a year, and we were interested in checking out their new Marketo integration. We now have the new module up and running, and successfully transferring leads into Marketo. Passing prospect identities (as opposed to each unique social touch-point) is only part of the use case, but it’s an important milestone that should be recognized. We are now generating leads that are coded as “social leads” – a first step toward measurable social ROI.
There’s much more to be done, a subject for future posts.
That graphic? It could be a lead about to be absorbed into the whirlpool of a marketing automation system. Or, perhaps a NASA image of matter surfing on ripples of space-time around a black hole.