Marketing automation platforms have lacked the tools needed by small- and midsize businesses to mine the social media for prospective sales, says a provider of cloud-based B2B marketing automation software. That gap was closed today. The provider, Pardot, says it has upgraded its SMB offering to let businesses track the life of a lead from, say, the initial visit to a Facebook page to a sealed deal in Salesforce.
The new features include automated access to sales prospects' social media profile data and posts and the ability to schedule and send social media messages to prospects. The result is an integrated solution for social as well as traditional marketing campaign management, Pardot says. From a single, easy-to-use interface, marketers can now plan and execute targeted and timely campaigns across digital channels.
The Pardot platform features customer relationship management (CRM) integration, email marketing , lead nurturing, lead scoring and ROI reporting to generate and qualify sales leads, shorten sales cycles and demonstrate marketing accountability.
"There’s no denying that social media is a powerful force in today’s marketing world," said Pardot co-founder and COO Adam Blitzer. "But until now, marketing automation platforms have lacked the tools that are necessary to truly engage sales prospects in a social media environment. Our new profiling and messaging features solve this problem, and we’re proud to be the first cloud marketing automation vendor to offer what we believe is critical functionality."
Unlimited user licenses are $1,000 a month, with no contract required.
Through integration with Qwerly, a social media data-mining application, the Pardot platform automatically populates its system with prospects' public social profile data, using the prospects' email addresses. It scrapes Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, among other social networks, and in many cases is able to add a prospect's photo, location and a short description the prospect's record.
The system is successful in retrieving this kind of enhanced information 20 percent of the time, Blitzer told BusinessNewsDaily.
The addition of social-posting features will help marketers manage their social media sharing and schedule Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn posts in advance.
This is still the Wild West for marketers, with acceptable practices and procedures still evolving.
"The next wave is going to be the development of best practices," Blitzer said. "It's easy to cross over into being creepy."
These enhanced social sharing and profiling features are in addition to Pardot’s current social media capabilities, which includes a bit.ly connector, integration with the AddThis bookmarking and sharing service, and custom URLs that enable users to track links across any online medium.
"Social media is no longer something new and fun you can do to attract attention; it’s an absolute requirement,” said Adam Kaiser, marketing director for IVCi, a company that uses the Pardot platform. "Pardot makes it easy to leverage tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and consistently provide a ROI that justifies our investment in them.
"I can now track the life of a lead from a visit on our Facebook or LinkedIn page to a closed opportunity in Salesforce. That’s about as practical as it gets."
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Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.