Marketing Automation does for Sales what Tinder does for Dating

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Marketing Automation

This is not a post about using Tinder for selling industrial machines or software. But basically Tinder has done the same for dating that marketing automation has done for B2B sales. Maybe it’s time to shed some light on this intriguing affinity*.

B2B selling is moving online and so is dating. 70% of purchase decisions are made before first F2F contact, and the exact same goes for dating decisions. What learnings can you derive for your B2B marketing strategy from Tinder? (For those of you happily unfamiliar with Tinder, it has revolutionized the online dating game since 2013)

Content is the king for generating leads 

Think about trade shows. They used to be the dating and mating platform of every B2B marketer. Two days of aggressively selling your brand to the point that you’re completely exhausted. The result: a bunch of new contacts in your Rolodex. So what about dating? Going to a bar, 4 hours of aggressively selling your brand and doing stupid dance moves to the point that you’re completely exhausted. If you were lucky, you’d go home with a new number on your phone (or worse, your alcohol-infused marketing efforts will end you up with a lead that you assumed to be “hot”, but the next morning will prove you otherwise).

Digital content is replacing tradeshows. With marketing automation, you can handpick you target groups, tailor content to their needs and generate new leads with CTAs (Call-to-actions). Content is the king also on Tinder. You can narrow down your target group and create captivating content – which means the 3 all-time best photos of you, preferably showing you skiing in the Alps and sunbathing in Maldives. If your content strategy is working, you just wait for leads to drop in (with the heart symbol as your ultimate CTA).

Nurturing leads – It’s the quality, not the quantity that counts

Leads used to be weak. Tremendous amount of sales work was wasted trying to turn cold leads into qualified opportunities. Countless phone calls and meetings while the hit rate remained at a steady 10%. Also in dating, you’d spend a lot of resources turning a cold lead into qualified opportunity: calls, text messages, booking a restaurant, buying your prospect a dinner and so on (and let’s assume that your goal is not a request for proposal in its true sense…).

In the modern marketing age, leads should not be weak. With lead nurturing and scoring, you can warm up your leads by an on-going dialogue and easily assign a score for every action a prospect makes online: signs for newsletter (+1), downloads content (+3), looks at the pricing page (+5), shares your content (+10). This has proven to be really effective – marketing is able to pass hot leads to sales, which will make sales people love the work that marketing does. On Tinder, you should not be passing the leads to another person – but think yourself as a fully aligned sales and marketing operations unit (maybe your “delivery” operations should be aligned to you marketing efforts, too). Your lead scoring in Tinder is quite straightforward: becomes a match (+1), starts discussion (+2), responds to your joke (+5), asks for a date (+10).

Analyzing and optimizing – learning as you go

So let’s say you have a feeling that your hit rate improved as a result of doing things in the digital world – be it B2B or dating. How can you know for sure and improve further?  The answer lies in the data. If you can track what you do, you can do tests, analysis and continuously improve. A/B testing is a basic concept in modern B2B marketing: create control groups, differentiate content and timing. But it (surprise,surprise!) works also on Tinder: the content you thought might work the best can prove to be the least appealing (bad photos, bad jokes, wrong timing).

To put this all into a perspective, it’s all about the process. Digitalization is forcing us to learn new ways of doing things – but at the same time, it allows us to collect data and continuously improve the status quo. Modern platforms are just tools to an end, while the goal should be a shift in mindset. So whether you’re trying to generate more leads, hit your sales quota or find the love of your life, you’d do best to embrace the new technologies.

Modern data-driven “lead generation” (click to enlarge)

* Insight for this article was collected during countless discussions about Tinder strategies in different group discussions.

The author is B2B marketing and sales professional (with elementary understanding of Tinder tactics).

Image credit (cc license): Guian Bolisay
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