- Put your ear to the listening post: Listening in to conversations among key target audiences in the social sphere can give you direct, firsthand insight into their needs, desires and challenges. Perhaps a potential target is ranting in an industry forum about your competitor's product not serving company needs. Or maybe an individual who downloaded your e-book is now asking questions of existing customers, looking for product feedback to help make a buying decision.
- Understand job roles: Investigating potential targets' social profiles can give you much greater insight into their skills, expertise and what they really do for the company. For example, maybe the "Marketing Administrator" is really the social media expert within the company, or the "Helpdesk Technician" actually plays a key role in software procurement. Examining these subjective details can amplify your lead qualification process.
- Identify correlations: Perhaps you've discovered from your existing customers that many (or all) who have purchased your product or service also use another. But convincing another company to hand over its customer list to your sales team is unlikely. However, by tapping into the social sphere surrounding your shared target audiences, you can identify these individuals—either by the skills included in their profiles or online conversations between peers—and qualify and score them based on this correlation.
The best part about tapping into the social sphere to improve lead-gen efforts is the fact that the data is more accurate, thorough and genuine. Because many people use professional networking sites to market their skills, the profiles and data are cultivated, continuously updated and authentic. After all, few would have the nerve to inflate their credentials or lie about their skills in a public forum in plain view of their bosses or colleagues.
Of course, the challenge in pursuing this strategy is in both efficiency and scale. You could spend hours meticulously researching each lead one-by-one, but that would take time, resources and money you probably don't have and destroy the ROI. The answer? Automation.