7 Steps for CMOs to Better Leverage Social for Marketing and Sales

Social as part of Fabric cloth

Many marketing executives have asked me how they can possibly compete against their larger competitors when they only have a fraction of the marketing budget.  Social media certainly offers the opportunity to level the playing field; however, with all the activity around social, we have yet to tap into its ability to impact our marketing organization at scale. Here are just a few ways for you, as CMOs, to better leverage social, including ensuring that it is part of the fabric of your organization:

  1. Stop thinking in siloes.  Social media can, and should, be part of all pillars of your marketing strategy.  Yes, that would include Lead Management and Sales Enablement in addition to pure Awareness Building. (refer to chart below)

Social as part of Fabric

  1. Be a Social CMO.  There is no doubt that the impact of social media will continue to increase in every part of our lives; and if you haven’t already, you need to embrace social. As Beth Comstock, GE’s CMO, says, ‘I believe in immersing myself in social to truly understand it.’  Follow some of the more active CMOs on Twitter to familiarize yourself with only one part of the “social” world: The Top 20 Most Social CMOs in the Fortune 100.  A personal CMO favorite of mine on Twitter is Vala Afshar of Entersys. (@valaAfshar)
  2. Put someone in charge of social media. As CMO, you are certainly accountable for deploying social across your organization; however, who is responsible on your team for this strategy? (i.e., per the RACI model)  This individual needs to be your internal thought leader for social, always thinking about how different parts of your organization can best leverage social to improve marketing ROI and sales productivity; and be the thought leader and evangelist for social across the organization.  This person should also help your marketing team build social metrics into their existing marketing dashboards, in addition to ensuring that you have social metrics built into your own CMO dashboard.
  3. Don’t forget about the customer! Identify your top customers and influencers and learn everything you can about their challenges and needs. But most importantly, learn how and where they gather intelligence online along their buying process as well as how you can best engage them from a social media perspective.  Yes, even if your buyers are pure techies, they most likely still leverage social media; either in their professional or personal lives.
  4. Develop and execute a consistent inbound marketing strategy:  As Guy Kawasaki says, “If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing: If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.”  Where to start?
    1. Create great content that is of high quality and extremely relevant to the needs of your buyers;
    2. Leverage this content across many types of vehicles without the fear of experimentation (e.g., ebooks, blog posts, videos, infographics, Tweets);
    3. Market these assets, gorilla style;
    4. Analyze the impact of these efforts.
    5. Return to #1, content creation.  (and check out HubSpot for some great inbound marketing tips)
  5. Leverage social for lead generation:  Social should be a part of every stage of your lead management process.  A few examples:
    1. Top of the Funnel:  Tap into the reach of your team to Tweet highlights of your latest eBook with links to the download.  Always experiment with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN and SlideShare for generating contacts.  No matter who you sell to, there’s no doubt that your buyers either today or in the near future will spend a significant amount of time on one or more of these social media sites. Check out Jason Miller’s (social media strategy guru at Marketo marketo.com) post about How to Use SlideShare to Generate Leads.
    2. Middle of the Funnel:  Nurture, nurture, nurture. Earn your marketing prospects’ interest with great content about their industry and function in addition to the more specific insight into the product or solution they may be interested in learning about. For example, through progressive profiling, learn what most interests your prospects and invite them to relevant webcasts. Repurpose your best content across different marketing vehicles and activities to stay top-of-mind when your prospect is ready to engage with your sales team.
    3. Bottom of the Funnel:  (sales) Ensure that your social interactions with prospects get passed on to the sales reps, embedded within the opportunities in your sales force automation system. Use Chatter within your Salesforce.com application to more rapidly respond to sales reps’ needs. (i.e., social for sales enablement)
  6. Tap into the plethora of available marketing automation solutions. Just a few examples include:
    1. Campaign management for lead nurturing and scoring (e.g., Eloqua, Marketo, Neolane). . and certainly don’t forget a seamless integration into Salesforce.com for a closed-loop lead management process.
    2. Content curation for inbound marketing: (e.g., Curata)
    3. Social media monitoring: check out “20 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools”;
    4. Social for sales enablement: Chatter, Jive Software, SAVO

No doubt, this is only the tip of the iceberg for building social into the fabric of your marketing strategy.  What else would you add to the list?

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