SAP is planning a deeper integration with LinkedIn along with the ability to use clickstream data to identify engaged contacts as part of an update to its Marketing Cloud later this year.
Speaking at a user group session within its SapphireNOW customer event this week, SAP Customer Experience global VP Jackie Palmer said the integration will mean B2B brands will be able to run campaigns through SAP Marketing Cloud within LinkedIn, as well as target specific groups.
“I have to say this is has been a long time coming,” Palmer admitted, citing legal and contract issues with Microsoft, which owns LinkedIn. “The development work has been done for eons.”
While she cautioned that the product roadmap was subject to change, Palmer said SAP Marketing Cloud will also add a number of features aimed at assisting those focused on account-based marketing (ABM) and lead generation. This includes the use of clickstream data, which she said will allow brands to capture key performance indicators that relate to how a buyer might behave on its web site and better understand the level of engagement within a particular account. There will also be support for managing multiple relationships between contacts within an account.
“When you’re marketing in B2B, you need to very quickly try and figure out who’s related to who, and who you should be focusing on,” Palmer said. “SAP is a gigantic company — we have a lot of buying groups. With your complex companies, you probably have the same type of situation.”
That more granular capabilities will likely appeal to SAP Marketing Cloud customers who spoke on the show floor at Sapphire. Chris Helm, senior solution consultant at Pennsylvania-based software developer Bentley Systems, said the product’s existing capabilities are already helping in this area to some extent.
“We’ve been more easily able to identify interest,” he said. “In the past people would go to the web site, click on a link and we’d spam them … with the way we work today, we might end up with a smaller number of leads, but more of them might move into into the ‘opportunity’ phase.”
At Houston, Tex.-based Centerpoint Energy, SAP Marketing Cloud has been used to develop propensity models across its customer base to identify who — based on lack of engagement — might be likely to leave, or who might be at risk of leaving based on interactions with field technicians. Those who score as a high risk get increased attention and followup, according to the firm’s director of corporate marketing, Tina Curry.
“It’s no longer a lead nurture but a retention nurture,” she said. “It’s an areas where we’re just as active as we are on (customer) acquisition. If you’ve done a great job, you can even turn them into promotors.”
In South America, meanwhile, SAP Marketing Cloud became the key martech tool involved in an unusual campaign from chemical firm BASF that created a “Black Friday” promotion for its B2B customer base. Beatriz Gardin Berdu, the firm’s digital platforms manager, said the campaign involved e-mail and a special landing page, among other elements, and succeeded in driving sales for 40 per cent of the inventory BASF had targeted. Although the idea borrowed from the consumer concept of Black Friday among retailers, Berdu said the work required close partnership with its sales team.
“People don’t buy acrylic acid on impulse,” she said. “They would usually visit the page at least three times before a purchase.”
The Black Friday campaign also involved hundreds of e-mails between departments within BASF and third parities like its agency. To reduce that flood of messages in their inboxes, Berdu said BASF turned to Ruum, a tool SAP recently introduced that allows for communication directly within Marketing Cloud.
Palmer said SAP is exploring other features in Marketing Cloud that will foster collaboration, specifically between marketing and sales teams. A marketer will able to automate the process of informing a sales rep about the contacts they have in their database, to double-check if they’re correct and to confirm it’s okay to contact them. Someone within a buying group might be on maternity leave, for instance, and only the rep would know who was filling in for them.
“Or you might have the rep say, ‘No, I’m going to be talking to that person tomorrow. I’ll give them the offer. Don’t bother them,’” Palmer said.