CMOs Fail to Go Beyond Brand Awareness on LinkedIn & Prove a Clear Social Media ROI

CMOs Fail to Go Beyond Brand Awareness on LinkedIn & Prove a Clear Social Media ROI

5 Examples of CMOs Who Are Focused on the Top of the Funnel Instead of the Complete Funnel:


Xerox CMO, John Kennedy, mentioned that they are using LinkedIn to share content with their followers.  Through company page updates and sponsored updates, Xerox is supplying their audience with e-books, SlideShare presentations, and blog articles that offer advice on how to work better. He stated that “hopefully, we’ll provide useful resources that can help those who follow us perform better; and as a result, engender interest in the Xerox brand along the way.

That’s a lot of hopefuls. Hopefully, prospects will find and read Xerox’s content, hopefully, they will find it useful and hopefully, the content they read will generate interest in the Xerox brand in the process. You see, John is using the word “hopefully” because he cannot directly tie these LinkedIn actions to sales opportunities or even revenue.

And, because they are just focused on reach and getting brand awareness, there is no predictive marketing. However, when you focus on the complete funnel and pay strict attention to the next step actions prospects are taking as you build the relationship,  you can put a process in place that you know will lead to revenue.

Wiley’s CMO, Clay Stobaugh, mentioned that they’re focused on sponsored updates and sponsored Inmails, since they are getting amazing click-through rates. Now, I must admit that they’re getting an unusually high click through rate. But it seems like he’s just focused on leads and getting people into the funnel. Focusing just on leads causes misaligned goals with sales (leads vs. revenue) and marketing teams optimizing for cost per lead rather than true business growth.

It seems like there is misalignment here as Clay does not mention how many of the prospects who clicked through became paying customers – and how this paid media opportunity is driving real business growth. He’s getting a false sense of LinkedIn success by focusing on a low cost per lead – and if click throughs are not trickling down the funnel, Wiley has a high cost of business growth.

Lithium CMO, Kathy Keim, understands that marketers should spend less time  on volume at the top of the funnel and more on what is driving through to a qualified sales opportunity. I totally agree with that but I don’t agree with how Lithium is driving prospects to a qualified sales opportunity. They’re letting marketing automation programs take over once they get a prospect into the funnel using updates.

Lithium is just using LinkedIn for a top of the funnel tool instead of using LinkedIn to directly engage and interact with their prospects on a 1-on-1 more personal level to help grow relationships. They’re not thinking about the B2B buyers who are resistant to generic sales and marketing messages that are sent through automation programs – and those who want real relationships with experts as they make their decision. These are the people that are using social media (and LinkedIn specifically) throughout the complete buying process.

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These buyers are looking for vendors that can turn a vision into a clear path to value.

You can only do that if you take the time to build a real relationship instead of treating prospects like a lead – which is exactly what you’re doing when you let your marketing automation take over.

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use marketing automation and your LinkedIn efforts – you absolutely should! But, sales and marketing should be simultaneously building relationships and qualifying leads by using LinkedIn.

XOJET CMO, Shari Jones, is currently utilizing LinkedIn for two core functions – brand building and recruitment. Her marketing efforts are concentrated on their company page – which is top of the funnel. She’s failing to understand that LinkedIn is not about engaging with brands! B2B buyers on LinkedIn are looking for access to broader networks that can help them (not brands – but with actual visible experts) and they want relevant context to connect with those vendors.

To me, LinkedIn is a buyer engagement tool, not a brand engagement tool. When you actively engage with buyers and have a go-to-customer process in place that helps them solve problems and establishes trust – you will generate leads and sales opportunities. This is how XOJet’s LinkedIn program needs to evolve if they want to go beyond brand awareness and generate more leads and revenues.

Lastly, G2 Crowd’s CMO, Adrienne Weissman, stated that they are using their LinkedIn company page as an extension to their website. On their company page, they are sharing relevant content with their followers and specific audiences. So G2 Crowd is only taking the first step to building long-term value using LinkedIn. They are building a following and establishing their brand as an expert resource with the content they are sharing on their LinkedIn company page.

But, building long-term value that leads to ROI and revenue requires further educating your prospects via a nurturing flow and real relationship building that has prospects comfortably moving forward.

These marketing leaders are not realizing the real power of LinkedIn:

The Ability to Target Key Decision Makers, Build a Relationship and Leverage Those Relationships to Transition These Prospects Through Each Stage of the Buying Cycle.

LinkedIn marketing is simply becoming a numbers game. My recent LinkedIn marketing study shows this. I asked sales and marketing leaders as well as some well-recognized, trusted social media marketing experts and firm owners: What metrics are most important to you? What are you paying attention to?

Most of the sales and marketing leaders and social media experts chose clicks, profile, and platform post views, website traffic and superficial metrics like shares, comments and likes. They chose these metrics over:

  • Next step actions beyond the click, like and comment
  • Marketing qualified and sales qualified leads
  • Revenue

That’s why most of the sales and marketing leaders were mainly getting visibility and reach and that’s about it as depicted in the graph below:

The sales and marketing leaders who were regularly driving demand and creating sales opportunities (not leads but actual opportunities that went past the initial interest stage) were focused on revenue objectives. They were focused on having the right tools, content, and processes to help them meet revenue objectives using LinkedIn. They understood that you can’t measure the ROI of brand awareness and brand maintenance and that it’s not enough anymore to gain visibility. They wanted measurable results. They wanted to see leads and opportunities – and they wanted to see that these leads are being developed into customers.

Remember, you can’t create a path to LinkedIn revenue and ROI if all of your focus is on how much you expanded your network, how many people you’re reaching with your content and sales messages and what your click-through rate is on sponsored updates. You need to think beyond the top of the funnel – and focus on how you’re going to use LinkedIn to move prospects through the complete buying process.

Inside our latest webinar, I discuss the tools, processes, and content you need to prove a clear LinkedIn marketing and social media ROI. Watch this webinar to see how you can turn your LinkedIn leads into actual revenue!

About the Author:

Using her unique LinkedIn lead-to-revenue marketing approach since 2011, LinkedIn marketing expert Kristina Jaramillo has been helping sales and marketing leaders at Fortune 1000 organizations, small-to-medium sized enterprises and professional service firms get more marketing qualified leads and revenue opportunities using LinkedIn.

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