Social Selling Goes Automated: Putting Marketers in First Gear

The buzz around social selling has grown to a thunderous clamor in the past year so it’s not news that social selling is now an essential part of an effective sales strategy. Far more than just a trend, social selling is a technique shift that has impact on all stages of the funnel and works across all industries. As we shared in a previous post, “Social Selling – A Little More Effort, A Lot More Revenue”, personalization from collected social media data can be the do-or-die strategy that determines the outcome of your sales efforts. In the “old days” of selling, it was all around “knowing the right people”. Today, it is knowing about the right people.

However, marketers face a real challenge in their attempts to manage and integrate the flood of information that is collected from the variety of programs that monitor separate channels — programs that often exist in silos. To add to this chaos, today’s cross-device user is more difficult to track and engage. Forty percent of people begin browsing on one device before completing their transaction on another (Source).

So how does a marketer capture and integrate all this user activity and data into effective social selling to create a seamless and curated experience for the customer? It’s no simple feat. As Marketo Chief Executive Phil Fernandez summarized, “Consumers are expecting relationships to follow them around as they move through all those places […] We move around devices and apps without thinking about it, but what brands are saying to us doesn’t.” So how does social selling become a seamless reality, and further, an automated reality?

To start answering this question, many players are beginning to bridge this gap. Most recently, Marketo has partnered with LinkedIn to create an integrated solution designed to help companies tell a consistent story across channels. The partnership combines Marketo’s Engagement Marketing Platform with LinkedIn’s Lead Accelerator product to help bridge the gap across digital, social and offline channels and generate more relevant conversations with customers.

In particular, the solution aims to address holes in prospect and customer data that stem from abandonment issues — a true sore spot in achieving holistic social selling. When a prospect visits a web page then closes his browser, that prospect is forgotten. With the new integration solution, the prospect can be targeted across devices with a series of messages across LinkedIn social ads, display ads and other channels. So though the prospect left your website as an unknown visitor, he is effectively targeted based on his Linkedin profile and on-site behaviors. This can then engage the prospect to click-through to one of these targeted ads and fill out a form to access a relevant piece of content. This information is automatically synced to the company’s Marketo system and can now be leveraged to drive a more curated experience and conversation.

In sum, the key capabilities of the integration include:

  • Nurturing known Marketo contacts with sequenced ads that align with a company’s existing digital nurture strategies
  • Nurturing anonymous prospects based on their Linkedin profile and onsite behaviors to generate leads
  • Optimizing ad creative and nurture stream design through platform-supported A/B testing
  • Measuring program impact during the buy process through built-in reporting

Though this most recent offering isn’t revolutionary, it is likely that it will serve as precursor to other powerful developments and functionalities that will yield more fluid and robust automated social selling solutions. We will need to continue to keep a pulse on this evolution of social selling as more key players push to alter and evolve a marketer’s capabilities. Stay tuned!