Businesses are all about the bottom line. While returning customers definitely make an impact, new customers are what allow a business to grow and evolve to its full potential. Lead generation is one way many B2B businesses acquire new prospects. However, not all leads that your business will generate will be ready to make a purchase right when you receive their information. Social media is an often untapped way that your sales and marketing team can nurture leads. Sure, pushing shareable content out through company and personal accounts is nothing new. But, using social networks as a way to have nurturing conversations is rarer. Here are three reasons why you should be using social media to nurture new leads.
Social Media Influences Business Decisions
Leads come in all stages of the purchase process and often times businesses are accruing leads through multiple channels and campaigns. Social media can help your business position itself in front of customers and prospects without being pushy. Because social networks are a place for conversation and sharing, your business can share it's great content marketing pieces, including white papers, guides and webinars, without directly selling.
- Nielsen found that at least once a month, 65% of social media users learn more about brands, products, or services. (Tweet this stat!)
- According to a report from LinkedIn, 85% of IT decision makers use at least one social network for business.
- A Dell study discovered social media sources of information are used by more than 70% of B2B decision makers. (Tweet this stat!)
If a lead has just come through your CRM system, route their social information to the salesperson that is a best fit. This can be based on product knowledge, past experience, geographic filtration, stage in the purchase process and so on. Once you've connected, focus on where the person is in the purchase process and use social media to deliver relevant and valuable content directly.
Social Media Improves Funnel Accuracy
Social media provides businesses with the opportunity to better understand their ideal customer and their individual customers. With the information and data your business can gather through social media, you'll be able to improve funnel accuracy which can lead to a better nurturing strategy overall -- not just on social media. You may even discover that your more socially active customers have a different funnel and purchase process than your other prospects. According to research from Aberdeen, 54% of those using social selling were able to improve sales forecast accuracy (Tweet this stat!). Sharing information including industry news, reports and case studies, and other relevant information and then monitoring who engages with it can help your sales and marketing teams redefine funnels for greater accuracy and improved conversions.
Social Media Establishes Credibility and Buyer Trust
In order to be effective with social media as a method of lead nurturing, salespeople and marketers need to make sure they are customer-centric. This means becoming a credible, trusted resource that buyers can turn to. According to IBM's Institute of Business Value, 60% of companies will have adopted social business practices in their sales functions within the next two years. Marketers and sales teams that use social media have the opportunity to help buyers at the right time and on the right platform. Buyers seek out information on social networks and it's the authentic conversations that will boost your credibility. If you're there to provide buyers with content, such as white papers and case studies, when they need it without including a sales pitch, you'll build their trust and establish credibility for yourself and your business.
Using social media for nurturing isn't enough. Businesses need to educate their sales team how to use external social tools for nurturing, not just direct selling. 90% of businesses that don't supply social nurturing training will fail. Don't be one of them. Consider the reasons listed above for why you should be using social media to nurture leads and then develop a strategy with sales training for how you can be the most effective and the most successful.
(Image Source: Nielsen)