"The biggest difference is just sort of the potentially the number of people involved in the process, the complexity of the process, and sort of the length of the process. All those things are sort of linked. Because typically for B2B, the sales cycle is longer. It’s a more complicated sales process because it might involve multiple purchasers, beyond even husband and wife or something like that. It could be four, five, six, ten people sometimes. Then, it’s typically a longer sales process and evaluation process."
Who Should Own Social Media In An Organization?
Mike sees value in every department taking advantages of social media tools and technologies. The social media activities of a company should not be siloed off to one department or person.
"Marketing should use social media. Customer support should use it. Sales should use it. Finance should, everyone within the company, there are uses for social media technologies in how they do their jobs"
Initially, when companies are adopting these new tools, the marketing department is a great place to start. They can be the champions to really push the change through an organization and change (for the better) how their companies operate.
Social Media Isn't a Strategy, It's A Technology.
When the phone was invented companies didn't make a phone department. Mike thinks that dedicating an entire department to social media may be a little overkill.
Inbound marketing is a strategy
. Social media is a technology and a tool in the marketers overall holistic inbound marketing approach.
Measuring The ROI of Social Media
When measuring the ROI of social, closed looped marketing is key.
"We get a ton of ROI out of our social media efforts... we can see and measure the number of visitors coming to our site, the number of leads we’re getting from social media, and the influence that that has on the amount of sales, the number of customers we’re getting."
Spillover Effects of Social Media
There are spillover effects in every facet of marketing. This is where hard ROI numbers can get murky.
To get a better grasp of ROI from your efforts you need to understand what metrics to look for from each channels.
"There are definitely spillover effects of social media. We see that. We see when things go hot and there’s a lot of conversation around a topic, other metrics of ours improve. But there are spillover effects of almost every type of marketing. When we send a big e-mail blast, we actually see people tweeting and sharing that e-mail, right? So there are spillover effects from e-mail into social media."
Channel or Content Strategy?
Mike thinks what you have to say is far more important than where you have to say it.
Focus more of your efforts on
creating useful, interesting, valuable content
and then work on spreading it through various channels.
Is Is Worth Investing to Grow Fan Bases?
In a word, Yes. Most B2B marketers would agree that an additional name in a database is valuable to their company.
Mike suggests that spend time building up your fan base because of the increasing value of these social channels.
How are people going to spread your content if they aren't following you on different social media outlets? Make sure you are highly visible in these channels and providing value.
The Evolution of the Database
"I would say that if you take the evolution of the marketing database and it started way back when there was the Sears & Roebuck catalog or the Montgomery Ward catalogs were some of the first mail order catalogs. You had a mail database. " that then moved on to the phone database to the email database and now we are adding in social media profiles into the mix.
Social CRM not quite there yet, but there are a number of players in the space poised at solving the issue.
Are Customer Personas Necessary for a B2B Company?
Mike says absolutely! B2C has been using personas effectively for a while now.
Tailor your content around your customer personas, tailor your sales process around these personas, customer support as well.