The proliferation of customer relationship management (CRM) platforms and marketing automation platforms has allowed business-to-business (B2B) marketers to focus higher up the sales funnel and seek out vendors to automate lead gathering.
At the same time, the growth of social media has provided a wealth of data on potential customers. It’s led some marketers to look toward automating their outreach in social media as well as use newly available data to beef up their existing lead lists.
“The kinds of things we’ve automated – with marketing automation platforms like Eloqua and Marketo – are the process of engaging with prospects,” said Lori Wizdo, marketing analyst at Forrester, referring to automating activities such as email campaigns and website behavior tracking. “But I can only engage in a relevant way if I have good insight into potential buyers. There is a lot of digital information available out there but it isn’t easy for marketers to harvest it.”
That available digital information is becoming more useful as CRM tools have become capable of handling it. It’s led to what Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher calls the “third generation of CRM,” where a company like his is able to automate what is being gathered at the top of the sales funnel.
“The first generation was about putting data into databases, and the second generation was about building automation platforms [like Salesforce or Marketo],” Bewsher said. The focus for Leadspace is to use public and proprietary social data to layer on top of a client’s existing sales platforms and find new potential clients, or add color to existing ones.