Does social media drive leads and sales?

MacMcIntosh Contributor Ambal Balakrishan of Click Documents has this interesting series of posts, called ClickInsights, in which she asks B2B marketers to share their opinions about specific topics for her blog.

I like this approach and Ambal often contributes by sharing posts with us but this time I decided to pick and highlight some individual interviews Ambal did when writing one of her ClickInsights posts. Some of them date back from a while, but they haven’t lost their value.

In this post, I share the view of M. H. (Mac) McIntosh, one of North America’s top B2B marketing consultants and an expert on the subject of using marketing to generate leads and drive sales, on social media marketing in business-to business. By the way, you can download a free eBook by Mac, called ‘Lead Generation Tactics: A Recipe for Success’, here.

Think of social media marketing as being more effective for branding, awareness and SEO, than for generating leads or driving sales.

Sure social media is getting lots of buzz, but is it really productive at meeting what I believe are the primary objectives of B2B marketing—driving leads and sales?

Three categories of B2B sales and lead generation via social media?

Although I’ve been diligently searching for evidence of success at generating B2B leads and driving sales via social media, the only clear cases of success I’ve found to date seem to fall into these three categories:

  1. Those businesses which sell products or services directly related to social media marketing to those who are interested in learning more about it, or need help getting their social media marketing up and running.
  2. Very small businesses (often solo-practitioners) including consultants, speakers, trainers, copywriters and designers who have the time required to effectively use social media as a way to market their products and services on a shoestring budget. In general the small businesses which seem to be most successful with using social media marketing to drive leads and sales are those which invest twenty or more hours each week in social media marketing.
  3. B2B salespeople who are using social media, specifically LinkedIn, as an effective one-to-one sales tool for finding and contacting prospective customers.

So if none of the above apply to you or your business, I recommend you consider social media to be one of the marketing tactics you can use to accomplish your branding, awareness and SEO objectives.

But suggest you look elsewhere in your B2B marketing communication toolbox when your primary goals are generating leads and driving sales.

Successful B2B marketing includes using a broad range of tactics. Get your free copy of the “recipe for success” guide, written by Mac, that gives you the knowledge on how to drive lead generation.

M. H. (Mac) McIntosh is considered to be one of North America’s top B2B marketing consultants and an expert the subject of using marketing to generate leads and drive sales. In addition to consulting, Mac conducts marketing workshops and seminars, writes regularly for leading marketing and business publications, is the publisher of Sales Lead Report, a newsletter with more than 15,000 subscribers, and Sales Lead Insights, his B2B marketing blog. He holds the Certified Business Communicator (CBC) designation awarded by the Business Marketing Association and was designated by BtoB magazine as one of its “Top 100 in BtoB Marketing. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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