Not too long ago, we wrote a post describing how the social business model can be used to drive your agency to do more. Another important benefit of the social business model is that it can actually help you increase your leads, which of course can extend benefits across your entire organization. Here are seven ways that the social business model can help your company increase leads. Let’s explore each one in some detail.
1. Fewer Silos Means Better Funnels
In an organization where marketing and sales are separated into their own silos, lead development, measurement, and generation are all extremely difficult. When those two departments don’t communicate effectively, you run into even more problems. The social business model provides a way for all departments in your company to talk to each other. That means that sales understands how marketing is trying to generate leads. Marketing communicates with sales when someone visits the website, and marketing and sales work together to decide how to develop that lead into a new paying customer. As this process becomes more seamless and as it remains in line with the desires of the company’s management, it’s easier to increase the number of leads being generated.
2. Connectivity Means Exponential Growth
One of the first facets of a social business that IBM defined in its 2011 paper defining Social Business (The Social Business, Advent of a New Age) was “engagement,” defined as enabling people, “whether customers, partners or employees – to form networks to generate new sources of innovation, foster creativity, and establish greater reach and exposure to new business opportunities.” Imagine empowering some of your most loyal customers to reach out to others who might be interested in your products or services. Would you be able to trust them with your brand and with your message? In the social business model, the answer is yes. We wrote a post earlier this year offering some ideas on how to get your customers to talk to each other.
3. Boots on the Ground Means Better Feedback
IBM, in defining a social business, talks about the need to depend on knowledge from sources outside of your company. Do you have a product champion who is still working in the field? Do you have connections with a person who is well-known and influential in your industry? If you are open with such contacts, you can rely on them for valuable information. For example, are your contacts noticing that some of your customers are grumbling about a product flaw? Are some of their contacts calling for a product or service that your contact feels you could offer? Being able to react to customer sentiment before it becomes a problem and being able to serve potential customers’ needs before those needs are verbalized can enable you to increase the number of leads your company receives.
4. A Willingness To Do Business In New Ways Means Contact With New People
Has your company primarily relied on trade shows as ways to meet your prospects and customers? There is nothing wrong with this strategy and face-to-face meetings in an industry-relevant setting can be conducive to lead generation. However, modern technology has developed to a point where merely doing “what has always worked” can almost appear to be behind the times. Perhaps some of your prospects no longer attend conferences because they know they can access any presentations via SlideShare or YouTube and any companies via website. How are you reaching those people in a personal way? Social Media can be a big help in this regard, but it is not the only answer. A “question of the week” feature on your website can be a great way to encourage prospects and existing customers to talk to you. A YouTube video of you talking about your brand can reach people who might prefer browsing videos versus traveling on a plane to an exhibition center. Evolution can reap many rewards.
5. Living Your Brand Means It’s Easier For Your Brand To Catch Fire
In a social business, where communication is open across all available networks, it is of the utmost importance that everyone, from the CEO to the administrative assistant to the newest customer, is fully aware of the company’s brand, mission, and value proposition. If your employees and your customers know that you walk the walk as well as talk the talk, it will not be hard for them to talk about you when the opportunity arises, especially if a potential customer asks questions pertaining to what you do. People like to affiliate and recommend companies that will make THEM look smart. If you are in touch with your brand and if your brand is strong, people will be happy to recommend you, and your leads will increase.
6. Measuring Means You Know What’s Working
Open communication is only half the battle. Your employees need to make sure they are communicating the most vital information. If a marketing tactic is not working, the focus needs to shift to something that will increase lead generation. If leads are not converting to sales, marketing needs to hear that from sales. Without a means to measure these marketing tactics, however, everyone is working in the dark. In this scenario, it’s possible that you could continually invest money into a campaign that simply cannot work for your company. One of the best ways to increase leads is to stop doing things that are either not helping to generate leads or that might even be turning potential leads away.
7. Knowing Your Customers Means Knowing Your Future Customers
Do you know who your customers are? Do you know who they turn to for expertise in your field (whether it’s you or someone else)? Do you know how they prefer to receive information from you? Do you know what they struggle with and what’s on their minds? Reaching out to customers at as many touch points as possible is a key component of the social business model, but it’s also a strong lead generation tactic. Communicating where your customers are means it’s easier for them to pass on your message. Understanding your customer base means you’ll have an easier time finding future customers. Eventually, if you can create a loyal customer community, good reviews of your company will spread to potential customers without you having to work as hard. What better way is there to bring new leads into your company?
Increasingly, marketing and business experts are declaring that the social business model is the wave of the future. Companies that fail to embrace this new business methodology will slowly fall behind the times. The benefits that the social business model can bring to your lead generation efforts offer a glimpse into what you could embrace – or what you could miss – in the months and years to come.
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