From Inbound Marketing to Social CRM in the B2B Environment


10 March 2015

How is it possible for a piece of simple content to culminate in greater social awareness of existing or prospective customers? With a focus on B2B approach, I have reviewed some of the key Inbound Marketing practices – where the main objective is to achieve “registrations” through content, which serves to increase the “social” knowledge of the client and thus, enable companies to improve their relationship with them through Social CRM.

SEO as the first point-of-contact in B2B Inbound Marketing

First, if we start only generating content (without online advertising campaigns associated that achieve greater diffusion), we must consider that SEO, in a major way, is the first gateway or point-of-contact for our readers/customers/prospects; however, subsequently other methods of content diffusion, such as social profiles or newsletters, can be used.

Though it could be obvious to say it, and this is an issue that we discussed when talking about the difference between Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing, the essential basis for creating this content will consist in knowing the target audience profoundly. To understand the subtleties or needs of the day-to-day existence of the business, beyond their size, will help in conducting an SEO study that will enable content generation (i.e. keywords, tags, categories, etc.) in the most optimized way possible, thus positioning itself correctly.

Personalize messages to increase the rate of registrations in Social CRM

After structuring the various segments of the target audience, it is necessary to also know what type of user accesses the content, in order to show them a CTA (Call-To-Action) tailored to their specific characteristics. The same will not be directed to a first-time reader, who returns having left already registered cookies, as to a regular user who could leave behind profile data.

For this reason, certain criteria (Article in Spanish) must be determined for the user groups when creating the “calls to action” i.e. text, color, sizes, etc. This will help to personalize them in the best possible way to meet the ultimate objective to capture significant amounts of user data.

On the other hand, in addition to the different elements that make up a CTA, one must also think of the different formats or technology available (Article in Spanish); they must be adapted completely to the user in the least invasive way possible, in correlation with their browsing habits.

Offer incentives bring that real value to the B2B strategy

Since the aim is to get users records, we should gain their trust and offer them valuable content beyond simple articles, in order to enable them to leave their data or make use of “Social Login” features.

If we request for the user’s e-mail address or for access to their social profiles, we cannot expect to receive this without giving them something in return. Even more so, in order to make it possible for the reader to provide access to their profile data, we must ensure that the incentive provided can be consumed simply, in the most practical and unique possible way.

If we imagine, for example, a project focused on SMEs: would they find it invasive if business managers asked that they register for personalized tax information, themed content most necessary for their day-to-day, practical process whitepapers, or invitations to exclusive events in their sector? The answer is a resounding “no” because they will happily leave their data in exchange for useful information.

On the other hand, if, with the practical content as a starting point, we simultaneously create a community to provide additional information, to discuss topics, and to resolve these SMEs managers’ questions, it will also be a perfect excuse to ask for the registration of this community through ‘Social Login’. Thus, they receive, in exchange, a really useful environment in which to converse and resolve their day-to-day problems alongside likeminded people.

Here are a few examples of relevant content or functionalities that could help us to gain the right to receive the profile information of our readers in the B2B environment, viewed as customers or prospects.

Enabling ‘Social Login’ provides an advantage for Social CRM

Why should we try to make the user register using ‘Social Login’? The answer is simple: because that access provides a foundation that allows us to further develop the Social CRM strategy.

Some of the main advantages of achieving registrations through Social Login:

  • Since this is the Business-to-Business environment, encouraging logins through LinkedIn will allow access, in one click, to all the most interesting information: their position, industry, business, company size, etc.
  • The process is much simpler than filling out a form, and the entire process requires two clicks; as a result, a higher rate of registrations can be achieved.
  • We gather data regarding professional interests that are linked to the consumption of content and navigation surrounding the themes of our project.
  • It allows for rewards to the most active users or those most helpful in the communities, through CRM Loyalty (Article in Spanish) actions.

Link Social Database with CRM to enhance customer knowledge

Finally, to make the most of what Social CRM offers through the social data obtained in a content project, it will be essential to connect this database to the company’s pre-existent CRM system. And, as already analyzed by David Lastra: Technology for building Social CRM is prepared to generate benefits (Article in Spanish).

To do this, it is necessary to know the source of the structure of the CRM database right away and adapt the social database gotten through Social Login correctly; this will help to significantly widen the knowledge about existing customers as well as that of new prospects.

Once this is done, you must connect the CRM database with companies that offer CRM services, such as Salesforce and Zoho, or with those like Sugar CRM that offer open source solutions, or other valid alternatives in the market.

After the connection has been implemented, the company will have gained an increase in knowledge of their client in the B2B environment, enriching their database with information from their professional social profiles.

So, what do you do with all this new information related to your existing customers, as well as with all the data acquired regarding the prospective ones who have initiated a relationship with the company?

There is an ample amount of possibilities (Article in Spanish), but they will always be related to:

  • Future improvements in communications: This is enabled through new dynamic channels that give greater control to the current or future customer; they also allow the company to continuously learn to innovate in their relationship with these customers, thanks to new communication tools and environments.
  • Optimization of loyalty programs: Thanks to the contributions made by customers themselves or prospective ones in communities, and focused on their professional needs as extracted from content consumption or social data, it is possible to provide products or services that meet their needs or specific problems in their fields of business.
  • Personalization of customer service: Whether we’re moving in a B2B environment, behind the business, there are always people and Social CRM in customer service, and through this greater understanding of customer preferences, it will allow us to provide more human attention, much closer than in traditional methods.