Social Element

Part
01
of six
Part
01

Best Practices: B2B Networking, Part 2

Some additional best practices for marketing agencies looking to network with potential clients are building relationships with potential clients, offering keynote speeches at conferences, and winning relevant industry awards.

Building Relationships With Prospective Clients

  • According to marketing experts, networking with and landing new clients is less tactical and more philosophical, and building strong relationships with potential clients is an excellent first step.
  • It's a proven best practice to take time to talk with clients, understand their pain points, and ultimately solve their problems.
  • According to Andrew Gray of Tailoe/Gray, marketing agencies should be prepared to build relationships and trust in a casual environment with targeted communities.
  • When networking with potential clients and trying to build relationships with them, marketing agencies' primary goal should be to listen and ask questions.
  • Gray also believes that agencies may never achieve a casual conversation with potential clients through cold calls. Better alternatives to cold calls are volunteer work, getting involved with non-profits, and other community projects for a chance to connect with potential clients and know their needs.
  • Marketing agencies should strive to build trust and establish relationships in casual environments to ensure that the sales process is smoother.
  • According to Dave Beltramini of Shape.io, building a relationship of trust with potential clients opens up the client's advertising problems to the agency, or even getting referrals to the potential client's network.
  • According to Andrew Schutt of Elevating Web Marketing, building relationships with potential clients is his agency's biggest client acquisition tactic.
  • Jens Karlsson of YourMajesty advises marketing agencies to "build IRL relationships with people you click with. Always make sure to be relaxed around current clients and joke around a bit to make them feel comfortable. The product should always be solid but people will come back to you, and recommend you, if you're a fun group to work with."
  • According to successful marketers, it's not wise to target potential clients directly. Marketing agencies can connect with people the potential client relies on, middle-market clientele, and trusted advisers.
  • According to Hubstaff, as a marketing agency's network of relationships grows, so does its client list.

Speaking at Conferences, Offering Keynote Speeches, and Winning Awards

Part
02
of six
Part
02

Best Practices: B2B Networking, Part 1

Best practices for marketing agencies looking to network with potential clients include attending networking events and cultivating face-to-face encounters, developing strategic partnerships, and creating persuasive content to promote lead generation. Specific success metrics were limited, but many of the sources cited include testimonials from agencies that tout the success of these networking strategies.

Attend Networking Events & Have Face-to-Face Encounters

  • Marketing agencies can initiate large enterprise client relationships by attending networking events, such as chamber of commerce meetings, trade shows, or other business association events.
  • Once a connection is made at such an event, marketing agency leads need to pursue face-to-face follow-up meetings, visiting the client's office and making in-person presentations.
  • Attending business-oriented networking events is a best practice because it puts marketing executives in the same room with the potential decision makers for enterprise companies.
  • In-person connections, involving looking a lead in the eye and shaking their hand, distinguishes a marketing agency from all the "digital noise" in their potential client's inbox.

Strategic Partnerships

  • Building strategic partnerships is a best practice for marketing agencies looking to network with potential clients because it facilitates relationship building.
  • By developing strategic partnerships with agencies and organizations that have a shared clientele or industry vertical focus, the marketing agency has the opportunity to both refer clients and receive client referrals from their partners.
  • Marketing agencies often offer specialty services, and partnering with other agencies or service providers that can fill the gaps in the marketing agency's portfolio allows for growth potential as both agencies can potentially bring new clients to the other.
  • Agencies can benefit from strategic partnerships through reciprocal guest blogging, co-hosting a webinar, or co-sponsoring an event.
  • While specific success metrics were not forthcoming, a number of recent, high-profile agency strategic partnerships suggests that agencies consider this networking strategy a success. Some recent partnerships include 85Sixty and Digital Operative, Dentsu and USHOPAL, and Element Three and Powderkeg.

Online Lead Generation & Content Creation

  • Numerous industry experts tout the importance of bringing the clients to the agency, rather than going out to find them, by offering content that will draw potential clients to the agency's website.
  • Some agencies ask their large enterprise clients to provide reviews on industry directories.
  • Marketing agencies that offer targeted content on their websites, such as white papers and blog posts, bring enterprise clients to them by offering useful case studies, video testimonials, and informative podcasts, while others reach them by writing for industry publications their client's read, such as AdWeek or Ad Age.
  • Eric Siu, with Single Grain, landed a $500,000 account because a would-be client at a conference recognized him for his podcast.
  • Creating content that shows an agency's expertise is a great way to connect with big clients by offering them the assurance that the agency is a good match for them.

Research Strategy

We searched marketing industry sources, such as Digital Agency Network and Ad Age, as well as business publications, such as Forbes and Inc. We looked for commonalities among the relevant articles to identify best practices. Then we did additional research on those best practices to determine if success metrics exist. We searched for success case studies, marketing executive interviews, and industry KPI data. While specific metrics were not found in most cases, testimonials by agency executives provide evidence of success.
Part
03
of six
Part
03

Best Practices: Lead Generation Teams

Proper positioning and getting the right people on the team are some best practices to consider when structuring the lead generation teams in marketing agencies.

1. PROPER POSITIONING

  • The lead generation team/department should be placed within the broader marketing department as they will work with both the sales, customer service, and product development teams to define and provide the criteria for what makes a "lead, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, sales accepted lead, opportunity, customer, upsell opportunity, and retention opportunity, etc."
  • Lead generation teams could be divided into field marketing, partner marketing, lead development, and marketing operations, among others. Marketing operations might also be sub-divided into "marketing technology, website, project management, and analytics."
WHY IT IS THE BEST PRACTICE
  • The integration of the lead generation team into such a position helps to establish a killer process that leads to sustained growth and profitability. Marketing agencies that utilize this practice tend to perform better than the competition.
  • The lead generation team can leverage high-quality content and targeted inbound marketing and demand generation methods such as blogging, SEO on-page optimization, direct mail, and print ads to capture qualified sales leads.
SUCCESS METRICS
  • Marketing agencies that position their lead generation team close to the sales team and with a killer flow process between departments tend to generate high-quality leads regularly, and the companies creating the most leads are the ones with the highest success.
  • For example, 82% of companies with annual revenues of $250,000 or less report generating less than 100 leads per month compared to 8% of companies with revenues of $1 billion.
DIFFERENCES ACROSS AGENCY SIZE
  • Smaller marketing agencies would hardly utilize this type of structure, as they tend to hire a single person to handle the lead generation programs, as well as to configure setting up the marketing technology.
  • As the size of the agency increases, there would be more resources to accommodate this kind of structure.

2. GETTING THE RIGHT PEOPLE ON THE TEAM

  • In structuring the lead generation teams to work efficiently within the marketing department, it is essential that the marketing agency employs the right people, with the right skills, and assigns them to the right tasks.
  • As well-organized teams are best positioned to succeed, Gino Wickman broke down the process of ensuring the right employment strategy through the development of a GWC scorecard.
  • The scorecard assesses the individual based on whether they get (G) it, want (W) it, and have the capacity (C) for it.
  • In the G-section, it evaluates the individual's understanding of his/her role, responsibilities, culture, and pace, as well as whether they know what is expected of them.
  • The W-section considers their passion for the job, including whether they would enjoy certain responsibilities, as understanding a task alone does not provide enough motivation to do it and vice versa.
  • Lastly, the C-section analyzes their availability, mental, physical, and emotional capacity to carry out specific tasks efficiently.
  • A "no" in any one of these areas automatically disqualifies the candidate for the position being considered.
WHY IT IS THE BEST PRACTICE
  • By using this scorecard or any other relevant assessment method, the marketing agency can properly decide on the best-suited candidates and their specific roles in the lead generation team, coordinate their internal resources effectively and balance workloads properly.
  • If the agency has the right staff in the wrong team or vice versa, it is reducing its chances of success. As such, the same applies to the lead generation team.
SUCCESS METRICS
  • According to McKinsey, matching the right people for the right jobs could increase the Global GDP by $2.7 trillion. This statistic shows a direct relationship between proper job matching and improved productivity, which is applicable in marketing agencies as well.
DIFFERENCES ACROSS AGENCY SIZE
  • The available talent in a small business marketing agency is very thin and streamlined to a few people who might be handling more than one job task. However, mid-to-large size agencies have more access to available talent and can select individuals with deep expertise in certain areas to handle specific tasks.
Part
04
of six
Part
04

The Social Element: Competitive Landscape

While there is no publicly available information to fully answer your question, we have used the available data to pull together key findings: The names and titles of the marketing and sales leadership teams at Sysomos and Conversocial have been provided in the attached spreadsheet. There is limited information on Converseon’s marketing and sales leadership teams. Below you will find an outline of our research methodology to better understand why the information you have requested is publicly unavailable, as well as a deep dive into our findings.

Summary of Findings

  • The marketing leadership team at Sysomos (subsidiary of Meltwater) includes Ariane Reineke Sunder (Head of Marketing, Americas), Ambera Cruz (Marketing Director, Asia-Pacific), and Selena Priya (APAC Content Marketing Lead).
  • The sales leadership team at Sysomos includes Christian Finstad (VP Sales & Customer Success), David Houston (VP of Sales, Americas), and Michael Gorodisher (Head of Sales, Large & Strategic Accounts).
  • Ian Abrahamsen (Marketing Manager) is the only known employee at Converseon’s marketing department.
  • The responsibilities of Jane Quigley, the Chief Client Officer at Converseon, include overseeing business development and client relationships.
  • The marketing leadership team at Conversocial includes Shane Mac (SVP of Marketing & Partnerships) and Harry Rollason (Marketing Director).
  • The sales leadership team at Conversocial includes Josh Buller (Head of Sales, North America) and Robin Caswell (Head of Sales, EMEA).

Research Strategy

To identify the marketing and sales leadership teams at Converseon, we first examined content published by the company. As Converseon is a privately-held company, it does not publish annual reports. The company did not mention any employees on its website and social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Next, we examined the list of Converseon employees on LinkedIn. Ian Abrahamsen (Marketing Manager) is the only member of Converseon’s marketing department who has a LinkedIn account. There are no employees on LinkedIn with “sales” in their titles or responsibilities. The responsibilities of Jane Quigley (Chief Client Officer) include overseeing business development and client relationships, which we have assumed are similar to the sales function.

Lastly, we examined articles that talked about Converseon. None of the articles examined mentioned any members of the company’s marketing and sales leadership teams. The articles that featured Converseon focused only on product launches, interviews with top executives, and others.
Part
05
of six
Part
05

The Social Element: Competitors

Sysomos, Converseon, and Conversocial are three examples of direct competitors to The Social Element. These companies offer similar social media solutions and products and have at least a branch in the U.S. The companies are analyzed below and the findings also included in the attached spreadsheet.

Sysomos

Converseon

Conversocial

Research Methodology

To find three direct competitors to The Social Element, we used business intelligence tools for profiling companies such as Crunchbase, Datafox, Zoominfo, and Owler. We then checked each company individually to ensure its products, services, and solutions are similar to those of The Social Element. Next, we narrowed down our approach to focus on companies with less than 300 employees, and those with a location in the U.S. Finally, we used the information on each company website and its professional sites like LinkedIn to fill up the attached competitive landscape spreadsheet accordingly.
Part
06
of six
Part
06

Best Practices: Lead Generation (1)

The marketing agency business is extremely competitive, making it critical to employ effective practices to generate leads. Marketing agencies must stand out from their numerous competitors, and three of the most effective strategies for accomplishing this are: engaging in targeted networking, developing an authoritative presence in the industry, and using optimal software and website content.

EMPLOY THE POWER OF NETWORKING

  • A key practice for a successful marketing business is building a "bank of connections" comprised of current and former satisfied customers and industry colleagues. Referral networks should include upstream service providers, other marketing agencies, and niche partners.
  • Customer referrals and positive feedback are both powerful lead generators. Almost nine in ten consumers now trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Agency representatives should ask satisfied current and former clients to serve as referrals and to provide glowing reviews for the company website.
  • Online tools such as LinkedIn are a key ingredient for generating B2B leads. It is critical to participate in both local and national marketing networks on LinkedIn. According to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog, “1 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers and 40 million are in decision-making positions.” One marketing agency expert claims that LinkedIn is a "treasure trove" of large (enterprise) company leads.
  • Agencies should utilize both local and national connections to locate information about smaller networking events. These events should be attended as much as possible, as they are powerful opportunities to grow a network and to make new business friends. Agency representatives should avoid large, impersonal networking events, and focus instead on creating genuine, meaningful connections and relationships with like-minded individuals. Such connections will generate leads down the road.
  • Marketing agencies should host their own networking events and publicize them widely. These events allow the agency to showcase their own work and eliminate the competition, as the event's audience is completely controlled.
  • Networking is a particularly effective tool to win the business of large companies. It is critical to determine the senior employees of the company by researching the company's website, publications, or press mentions. The agency should use LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media outlets to try to find the name of a mutual colleague who might be willing to provide an introduction.
  • If a mutual colleague does not exist, enterprise clients have numerous mid-level managers for smaller divisions of the company. As website design company GoMedia recommends, “Find someone else internally who you’ll be able to connect with an art director or marketing director of a smaller department versus attempting to take on the head of the corporation. Start a conversation through email, LinkedIn, Twitter, whatever works.”

ESTABLISH AN AUTHORITATIVE PRESENCE

  • Developing a reputation as an industry expert can generate leads. Volunteer to speak at small, industry-specific events, where speakers are considered experts in that field. One marketing professional indicated that although he was not truly a music marketing guru, he spoke at a conference in the music industry and was subsequently invited to attend and speak at numerous other related events. He then gained national recognition for his marketing company.
  • Strive to achieve awards in the marketing industry, as this publicity may convert into leads. Popular digital marketing awards include AVA Digital Awards, Internationalist Awards for Innovative Digital Solutions, and The Webby Awards.
  • Create effective webinars and blogs that demonstrate authority, reciprocity, and likability. Offer to guest blog to publish more content about the marketing agency's expertise and to gain even more exposure.
  • According to Cisco, a worldwide leader in IT, networking, and cybersecurity solutions, “By 2020, online videos will make up more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic (85% in the US).” Vimeo and YouTube generate millions of viewers every day and are the perfect platforms to target a specified audience with videos highlighting marketing expertise. Because more information is conveyed in less time, video content yields the highest social reach. Providing a link to the marketing agency's website is an effective lead generator.
  • Low-frequency content marketing is imperative. Rather than posting new content on the agency website on a daily or weekly basis, add new material less frequently. New material should be thoughtful, unique, and establish the agency as an expert in the industry.
  • Authors are widely perceived as authorities, thus publishing in the marketing field is a powerful method for generating leads and public speaking opportunities. When a copy of the publication is mailed to a key representative at the prospective company, the agency becomes memorable and is easily differentiated from the competition. An example of this phenomenon is the book Blue Ocean Strategy, which has sold 3.5 million copies promoting The Boston Consulting Group’s renowned marketing principles.
  • Publish expert content anywhere possible, including LinkedIn, Quora, and Medium. Hosting AMAs (Ask Me Anything) establishes the agency as a reliable authority in the marketing arena and can assist with landing enterprise clients.

USE LEAD-GENERATING SOFTWARE AND EFFECTIVE WEBSITE CONTENT

  • The best marketing software automates prospecting and outbound sales, builds a qualified and appropriate prospect list, and automatically reaches out to these companies with a personalized email.
  • Technology stacks” are groupings of software that effectively generate and manage leads. This software includes remarketing tools like Adroll and Google Dynamic Remarketing, which targets visitors to the agency's website who have not immediately converted. These visitors will then view ads on selected websites that are designed to lure them back to the agency's landing page.
  • A high-performing CRM software, such as Salesforce or Zoho will analyze leads and categorize them, thus allowing the marketing agency to provide more effective follow up.
  • Email marketing software, examples of which are MailChimp and GetResponse will generate personalized responses to those leads in order to secure conversion.
  • Marketing agencies should utilize software to assist with search engine optimization (SEO). This software determines which web pages have a high ranking for keywords associated with the agency. One SEO company boasts that using their software increases website traffic by 95%, conversion rates by 37%, and yields a 60% increase in leads generated.
  • Marketing agency websites should always include an effective landing page. This post-click, standalone web page urges the visitor to take advantage of free offers from the agency. Companies using 40 or more post-click landing pages generate 120% more leads than those using less than 5. Including engaging media on the landing page can boost the conversion rate by as much as 80%.
  • Effective lead capture forms can increase the conversion rate of the website from 0.96% to 8.1%. The key is to offer website visitors unique free offers, such as proposals, introductory consultations, marketing tools, or a personalized audit. Marketing company Instapage recommends, "Determine what offer will attract your ideal client. You need to be original and truly helpful to your prospects if you expect them to redeem your content."
  • Marketing agency websites should include skimmable copy, positive reviews, customer testimonials, authority badges, case studies, and a creative "sign-up" button which allows users to link to social media to pre-fill the website forms.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To complete this research, it was imperative to consult the websites of successful marketing agencies, many of which offered insight into how B2B leads are generated. We then reviewed numerous marketing company websites to determine trends in website content, style, appearance, and landing pages. We also consulted the websites of several software companies offering marketing technology designed to enhance sales, referrals, and lead generation. Finally, we accessed a variety of social media sites to ascertain how they are instrumental in providing exposure for marketing agencies. We attempted to determine metrics of success for each best practice and when possible, we noted specific strategies for generating the business of large companies. It should be noted that our research concluded that the three practices cited, when broadly applied, are all applicable to lead generation for enterprise clients.
Sources
Sources

From Part 06