Salesforce wants to help Facebook become a veritable business-to-business (B2B) lead-generation channel. Traditionally, B2B organizations have used Facebook to surface contact information. However, following a contact from Facebook into customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation (MA) systems and through the sales funnel was a process managed by multiple disconnected tools. Salesforce Lead Analytics for Facebook aims to solve that issue.
The product, which works across Facebook, Instagram, and the Facebook Audience Network (Facebook's ad platform), is designed to tie data from a customer's first interaction (filling out a lead form) to a purchase and through subsequent resells and upsells. The Lead Analytics for Facebook dashboard shows marketers ad performance metrics (i.e., views and leads generated), ad-related sales performance (i.e., Did someone convert subsequent to clicking on this ad?), and artificial intelligence (AI)-based lead scoring via Salesforce Einstein to predict a prospect's value after he or she fills out a lead form.
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Other data featured in the dashboard include the amount of spend for a specific campaign, the click-through rate, the Pardot score rating the campaign's performance, the number of qualified leads generated by the campaign, the cost per qualified lead, and the campaign's return on investment (ROI). The tool is generally available for new and existing Salesforce Pardot and Marketing Cloud Advertising Studio Enterprise Edition customers.
"This is best-of-breed of what we've done for B2C [business-to-consumer] but now for the B2B marketer," said Chris Jacob, Director of Product Marketing for Salesforce Marketing Cloud Advertising Studio. "B2B marketers' biggest challenge is valuing advertising all the way down funnel…We wanted to measure the effectiveness of the campaigns from Facebook Ads all the way down funnel."
The B2B Dilemma
A recent study conducted by Econsultancy on behalf of Act-On Software revealed that 60 percent of companies struggle to find the resources necessary to successfully deploy MA within their organization. Other factors that contribute to less-than-ideal deployments are data management (48 percent), software complexity (44 percent), and integrating MA tools with other legacy software (37 percent), according to the report.
Salesforce's newest releases aim to capitalize on these B2B marketing-specific issues. In addition to Lead Analytics for Facebook, Salesforce also introduced Einstein Account-Based Marketing (ABM), a tool that seeks to automate the work done between sales and marketing teams to identify target accounts, marry data between sales and marketing databases, and execute campaigns to each account's primary decision maker. ABM is a mutation of Einstein AI, Salesforce CRM, and Salesforce Pardot marketing automation—except everything is geared toward prospect groups rather than individual prospects.
The Social Media Dilemma
Salesforce is undoubtedly feeling the heat with regard to B2B data on social media. After all, Microsoft, one of its main CRM competitors, is still in the process of acquiring LinkedIn, the world's leading B2B social network. Salesforce has urged regulators to block the acquisition, citing anti-trust and data privacy issues.
"Microsoft's proposed acquisition of LinkedIn threatens the future of innovation and competition," said Burke Norton, Chief Legal Officer of Salesforce, in a statement at the time of the announcement. "By gaining ownership of LinkedIn's unique data set of over 450 million professionals in more than 200 countries, Microsoft will be able to deny competitors access to that data, and in doing so, obtain an unfair competitive advantage."
In addition to blocking competitors from accessing LinkedIn data, Microsoft could also pull LinkedIn data into its Dynamics CRM tool for a supreme marriage of CRM and social media. The company could also just sell the data to a company like Salesforce but at a ridiculous markup. All of these factors have Salesforce re-thinking and beefing up its approach to B2B data collection, sorting, and usage via social media.