For B-to-B marketers, identifying high-quality leads is becoming increasingly difficult in the modern business environment, for several reasons:
- Trendy job titles, like "Design Ninja" or "Chief Product Evangelist," are becoming commonplace, even in traditional industries, as companies try to convey a more creative and edgy culture. This makes it incredibly difficult to determine job roles and responsibilities—and exactly whom you should be targeting—within the company.
- Job-hopping is now an acceptable norm and is sometimes even encouraged, with some individuals changing job titles, departments or even employers every few months. Traditional, static and pay-per-lead databases simply can't keep up, which means a good portion of the contact data they provide is already out-of-date when you receive it.
- People frequently lie on Web registration forms. Content marketing programs often require leads to fill in contact details in order to download the latest whitepaper, report or other material. But, about half of buyers admit to fibbing about their job titles or company names, which fills your database with inaccuracies that waste your sales teams' time and energy.
These facts of modern business life create a nightmare for B-to-B marketers and sales teams trying to run efficient, effective lead-gen programs. Even with conventional titles and guaranteed-accurate data, identifying the ideal buyer within any organization can be difficult. The role of the chief technology officer (CTO), business analyst or human resources director vary from one organization to the next, as could the decision-making ability or influence that individual may have over purchasing decisions.
Marketing and sales teams need a more accurate, real-time and insightful way to identify their most valuable prospects. Surprisingly, the social sphere—professional networking sites, forums and other user-generated content platforms—provide a rich repository of accurate and actionable data about the people, their roles, job functions and value as potential lead targets. In fact, tapping into this valuable social data can even give you the ability to predictively target and score potential leads based on their likelihood to buy. How?