Getting an InsideView into Social Lead Generation

May 6, 2011

San Francisco startup InsideView sells a sales intelligence solution that many consider part of the Social CRM category. I spoke with their Inbound Marketing Manager, Koka Sexton, who has built out their presence on SlideShare. In this interview you will find great tips for any B2B marketer.

How did you get started with SlideShare?
I have been a fan of SlideShare for a while now, using it initially for research. I set up a company account not knowing the direction to be. And I first started uploading content when we had some regional marketing events that had public presentations. When our CEO Umberto Milletti went to SXSW he gave a talk on Social Espionage & CRM: Selling to Customer 2.0.  As is often the case he had people coming up to him asking if they could get a copy of the slides, so he asked me for help. So of course, I simply shared them on SlideShare.

What was the response to the presentation?

Within the first hour it had 400 hits on it. And then I realized I should start capturing leads, so I signed up for Silver Pro and turned on lead capture.

You progressed through SlideShare Pro plans quite quickly, can you share why and how?

In the first day and a half, we blew through the 30 leads per month that come with the Silver plan. In a day and a half it blew through the 70 leads that come with Gold. At that point at least I needed to upgrade to Platinum where there is no lead limit, even though I didn't what the upper volume would be. I also realized it was time to put some more resources into branding the InsideView Channel and more.

Initially when we were generating leads we weren't passing them directly to sales reps and instead put them into a nurturing campaign for pre-qualification. With SlideShare Platinum we were able to add custom fields to the lead form. This allowed the leads to be scored immediately so some that met a filtering criteria could be directly assigned to reps. Now we can track lead quality, and the quality of the leads is good, which further validates the Platinum level for us.

How does SlideShare Pro fit into your marketing strategy?

We are building SlideSare as part of a broader content strategy. We also evaluated what content portal or repository we needed for our content. We looked at what cost savings was vs. massive databases like SharePoint, content portals that reside within CRM systems like Salesforce, or creating one on our own with open source. While SlideShare was of course cheaper, cost wasn't the reason we chose to go with it for content strategy.

We wanted a directory of content with social components so people can find it on their own. Based on SlideShare Analytics we can see that a lot of people find it based on being in SlideShare already. This lets us broaden our reach beyond our own ecosystem that we direct to the Channel, and lets us be in the place where people are already looking for this kind of information are. We can store our content publicly, and push our own customers and prospects to it, but in an environment where people outside of our reach that are looking for content can find it.

How is this part of your social marketing mix?

My social strategy puts a high focus on the content we are generating and pushing that out on a regular basis. Initially I was thinking this was a repository for data sheets and corporate functional content, but realized that presentations could go viral, and put more of a focus on creating more content about the industry as a whole instead of us as a company.

This quality content is a driver for our thought leadership. Now we are specifically producing for the SlideShare audience based on what we are learning from the community, what is popular, and what gains engagement.

I like to be on the edge of social media and see what is coming out early. While I have full confidence in SlideShare's ability to grow, especially given past growth, some of these products are relatively new. But I did know that the social functions would help the content get further distribution into other social media and I could embed content into our blog or other properties. All while capturing leads and encouraging downloads. We also found our own ecosystem of customers and partners that also have SlideShare accounts, and now we promote each other's content.

Your Channel is pretty well built out, can you share how and why?

Having consistent branding was important to us, as was integrating our other social media efforts. We added Custom Content Boxes because our overall marketing strategy includes making things more social. Often people dont know who we are when they first visit the Channel. When they land, they see conversaitons in real time and we promote our other social profiles. If somebody goes to a destination and sees real-time conversations taking place it becomes inherently more transparent and they can see positive or edcation conversations. This helps validate our thought leadership and instills trust in our brand

Any tips for content creation or lead generation?

When you give a presentation live it generally includes no links. But when you when you upload to SlideShare you should give them links, to tweet this, go to our Facebook page and other ways so there is some interaction with that content.

One thing we tried briefly, but didn't work, was requiring people fill in the lead form on all of our content. We saw the numbers decline quickly. So you should make it [the lead form] optional for most people. Now, for us, data sheets and company specific collateral is gated, but general thought leadership stuff we open up.

So what's next for you with SlideShare?

Do more with videos and start experimenting with Zipcasts.  There is also a massive audience in SlideShare that we are just beginning to tap into, so I want to do some marketing to draw more people into the Channel.

Well, I think you just did. Thanks for your time!