Hootsuite buys Sales Prodigy app to offer better tools for social marketing to potential buyers

The Vancouver-based social management platform will now offer more specialized capabilities to businesses looking for customers who post about their needs online.

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In addition to being a marketing arena for listening about a brand or getting a message out, social media can also generate leads. To sharpen its tools for that purpose, social management platform Hootsuite today announced it has bought Sales Prodigy.

The acquired firm, also located in Hootsuite’s hometown of Vancouver, has an iOS and Android app of the same name. Deal terms were not made public.

In its announcement, Hootsuite cited a recent Altimeter Group report that found 64 percent of organizations “have or plan to have [a] social selling program.” Hootsuite vice president of corporate development, Matt Switzer, also mentioned to me Forrester Research’s assessment that 74 percent of B2B buyers use social media to research and purchase, but 93 percent don’t have tools specifically for this purpose.

I asked Switzer: Isn’t this what Hootsuite does? That is, listen for certain signals and then allow marketers to respond? In the social selling section of its website, for instance, Hootsuite touts its engagement, uberVU analytics tool and publishing products to assist in that task.

“We do,” Switzer said, but the existing functions are not specialized, are intended for a broad reach and are not available in a specific app.

“The challenge of marketers is to get the message out to as many people as possible,” he said, while Sales Prodigy is focused on the task of letting you know when you can engage with a specific lead, and then reply. It will be integrated with Hootsuite’s content engine, so the reply can more readily include a white paper or a top 10 list, plus there will analytics on what works.

In a typical use case, a company wanting to sell business printers might look to the social networks for conversations where users are asking advice about great printers in a given price range.

Sales Prodigy is designed to integrate with a marketing/sales team’s existing customer relationship management (CRM) system, so that it automatically locates on social networks the users in selected profiles. It might automatically find on Twitter, for instance, a known prospect whose company just moved to new offices.

The app can then be set to listen for certain keywords in public posts, and the user can respond with comments, as well as content. If the prospect seems interested, the interaction is moved outside the Hootsuite platform to email, phone or in-person conversations.

Here are two screens from Social Prodigy. The left one shows the profile of a lead, and the right shows a post from a contact that provides an opportunity to engage with a reply or other action:

Social Prodigy screens



Sales Prodigy had been part of Hootsuite’s App Directory third-party ecosystem, but now the product will be integrated directly into the dashboard, maintained as a mobile app and rebranded in some as-yet-unannounced way. Switzer said he expected the final integration to be released sometime in the second half of this year, with pricing to be determined.


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About the author

Barry Levine
Contributor
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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