This week I moderated another Social Media Today webinar as part of their Best Thinker webinar series, this time on the topic of: Scaling Social Globally: Best Practices for Engaging with an International Audience. This webinar was sponsored by Act-On Software and featured Mike Stenberg (@stenmic), Global Vice President of Digital Marketing for Siemens, and Andrew Ashton (@AndrewLAshton) Social Media Analyst at Yum! Brands. We discussed the best practices in scaling a social media team and content on a global basis.
Here are 3 of the key take-aways:
- Team structure matters – Andrew talked about an approach he called the Dandelion approach: having a central team that can provide training and social media tools to more distributed teams that can engage on a local level.
- Roll out a common set of tools – Both Mike and Andrew talked about having one tool — like BrandWatch or Netbase, respectively — to give them one version of the trust across all markets. In Mike’s case, he has 160 markets to evaluate, while Andrew has 120. Strong translation capabilities and sentiment scoring were also mentioned as key features.
- Make it feel like one social team globally – Both Mike and Andrew also highlighted that while it’s important to have the local teams engage in a dialog with clients, they also felt you needed tools like Yammer internally to help coordinate efforts and answer questions in real time coming from the local teams.
To get a copy of the slides or listen to the replay, please click here. You can also scan the highlights of this webinar on Twitter by reading the following Storify:
I had a chance to catch up with fellow author, Simon Sinek to discuss his book called – Start With Why at the World Business Forum held in New York at Radio City Music Hall on October 7-8. My goal was to go a bit more in-depth on how to get started for B2B marketers, hope you enjoy the interview.
For those that follow this blog but are not yet familiar with your book Start with Why, give us little background.
A few years ago, I discovered that every single organization on the planet, even our own careers always function on the same three levels: what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. Everybody knows what they do. It’s the products we sell or the services we offer. Some know how we do it. It’s whatever you call it, your differentiating value proposition, your USP, the things that you think make you different or stand out from the crowd. But very few people and very few organizations can clearly articulate why they do what they do. But why I don’t mean to make money. That’s a result. I mean what’s your purpose, what’s your cause, what’s your belief, why does your company exist. And those that understand the why can clearly communicate it have an unbalanced amount of influence and success and loyalty in the marketplace with greater ability to innovate on all the rest of it.
Can every company have a why?
Not only can a big company have a why, every company does have a why. It comes from the founder. It’s the reason why they started the company. Those that are started from market opportunity, I read this article in a magazine and I realize that those tend to be very weak and they tend to not do well. But when a human being personally suffered or people close to them personally suffered something and they found a solution to whatever that problem was and that was the birth of the company, that’s a clear purpose.
Where’s the right place for a marketer to get started?
A good place to start is when companies are formed around real problems. It has to be born out of the cause of the founder. If it wasn’t a specific problem, then that founder has their own why, and the company is formed in their own cause. Virgin is Richard Branson. It’s the same thing. So you can usually go to the personality or the cause, the why of that founder.
How do you make it stick with the organization?
The why is the sticky part because it’s the visceral part. The why talks directly to the limbic brain, which is the part of the brain that makes decisions. It’s the emotion and feeling part of the brain. So when we start with why, that’s what makes it sticky. You can start with what and people might enjoy it for a moment. You describe the product, what it does, and it may or may not appeal to some people. But it’s the why that makes it interesting and makes people viscerally connected to it.
How do you make a strong why work in a B2B professional services organization?
The good news is that even consultants, accountants, or engineers are still human beings. So as much as they like to believe that all of their behavior is rational, it’s not. Otherwise they would only buy the cheapest product and they would never be loyal to anything. When the why is clearly communicated, it viscerally appeals to people, and they feel connected. And being a part of an organization with a clear sense of why becomes part of our self-identity. We wear the tee-shirt that they gave us at the company picnic. We don’t wear it to bed or paint the house. We wear it with pride and don’t want it to get dirty because it’s part of our self-identity.
Have you made Google Plus a part of your marketing strategy yet? If not, you could be missing out on a great opportunity to grow your audience. After all, it’s not every day that a social media website goes to great lengths to make your business more visible, but that’s exactly what you’ll get from Google’s services. By giving every plus profile a page rank, Google makes it easier for everyone to show up online in the search engine. And, with every comment, mention and +1 your content receives, you will rank higher on one of the most popular search engines in the world. If you don’t believe me, just check out the following infographic.
This handy guide will show you exactly why Google Plus is such a useful tool for businesses and B2B marketing. Even if you’re not sure how to get started, this infographic, provided by SmartVirtualPhoneNumber.com, will show you how to create an account and become active on the site. The more active you are, the more noticeable you will become. In addition, you’ll be able to take advantage of all the tools associated with Google’s social media service, including Google Hangouts.
If you’ve been looking for another way to reach out to potential business partners or create a larger following, Google + might just be able to provide the boost you’ve been looking for. Don’t wait any longer, make Google + a part of your business plans today!
It’s apparent that there’s a missing vital component in the quest to modernize marketing. Today’s marketing organizations are aggressively modernizing, automating and adding more digitally centered marketing tactics as they focus on their mandate to discover prospects and create new customers. To meet the challenge, CMOs have turbocharged Marketing Ops teams and are building their “Marketing Clouds,” leveraging marketing automation to nurture prospects, adding CRM to manage pipeline and customer relationships, while spending millions on branded websites and social pages, coupled with billions on media to promote their offerings. We are not connecting that media investment, the prospects generated, nor their data, with our marketing systems and processes. Integration between the two is a critical missing link.
The prospect marketing effort, which is predominantly driven by third-party media investments in content syndication, search and advertising, is still very fragmented and, worse, seldom measured or optimized. Disconnected and unable to adequately track and optimize media spend, marketing organizations struggle with lead velocity, mixed data quality and a lack of ability to attribute results back to the source or measure ROI. This is a tough hit for marketing executives as they realize how much money they’re actually spending on media to create prospects—$40 billion+ on digital advertising alone in 2013, according to the IAB.
Here are 3 areas of focus for CMOs and marketing pros who are out to modernize their approach in order to drive a higher return on media and technology investment should consider:
- Integrate third-party media investment and data with marketing systems and processes. Today, engaging with the media community (publishers, affiliates and other sources) combined with the internal marketing processes necessary to get data into systems, requires numerous manual processes—hours of data scrubbing and lots of spreadsheets passed between media providers and marketing teams. A more efficient approach is to automate by integrating the prospect and lead data garnered from media campaigns and partners directly with your marketing automation system and/or your CRM. Ensuring the data is delivered directly into your current systems eliminates numerous manual, resource-intensive tasks.
- Validate prospect information in order to inject quality, actionable data, and thereby increase lead velocity and lower media costs. Once you decide to directly inject prospect data from your third party media sources, it becomes essential that the media-driven data you’ve paid for is validated, cleansed and formatted for your marketing systems (Eloqua, Marketo, Salesforce, Pardot, etc.). This not only ensures that you get what you paid for from your media investment, it also allows you to more rapidly get down to the business of nurturing and developing customers.
- “Close the Loop” to garner actionable insights that can be applied to optimize media campaigns and marketing programs. Today, we have the ability to gather data from every campaign we run but most of it we can’t and don’t act on. Whether you leverage banners, email, content syndication, telemarketing, search or a combination and whether you utilize cost per acquisition, lead, sale, click or incoming call, you need to analyze marketing performance data by media channel, media source, creative, content, offers and campaigns all in one place. Then you can more easily acquire insights that can be applied to optimize campaigns by focusing on higher performing tactics, redistributing media spend across the most successful media sources, and applying the resulting audience data to fine tune targeting parameters.
Taking action on the missing link is a necessity. If you are investing in media to generate prospects and acquire customers, be certain to connect those media programs with the rest of your marketing systems and process.
This post was written in collaboration with Integrate – learn more about Integrate at http://www.integrate.com
With constant access to a growing list of channels and devices, today’s connected customers are no longer satisfied with vanilla, one-size-fits-all experiences and offers. To stand out in the increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace, many C-level executives from the world’s most iconic brands are not content with just “Keeping Up With the Joneses.” Instead, they are actively seeking opportunities to better understand their high-value customers across every channel and device.
The reason for this is simple: These customers are more often than not brand loyalists and willing to persuade others to become regular brand purchasers if they’re kept happy and engaged consistently in every single place they are interactive with brands. But the task of keeping brands happy and engaged beyond one big “win” isn’t easy. It requires CMOs and the entire business, for that matter, to combine their internal resources with technology that’s both powerful and agile enough to boost customer engagement and revenue long term. And a brand’s success today, in this hyperconnected and digitally dependent environment we live in, depends heavily on leveraging digital to reward high-value customers. Rather than spout out a to-do list of tactics that show high-value customers they’re appreciated, here are some specific benefits instead that can be derived from deep and sophisticated forms of segmentation:
Don’t confuse high-value customers for high-volume customers.
In the less digitally savvy days, brands and their teams of analytics “experts” would navigate through Excel spreadsheets with massive amounts of data. In those days, there was sometimes confusion and lack of knowledge as to what constitutes a high-value customer. As a result, high-volume customers would often be mistakenly categorized, and subsequently treated, as high-value customers. But the reality was, and still is today, that people who interact with a brand frequently aren’t necessarily going to be the ones that have the most value from the perspective of consistent engagement, conversions and sales across multiple channels – from being inside a physical store to making a last-minute purchase on their mobile devices or shopping from their PCs. So it was common for those brands to see a huge surge in traffic for a short burst of time, but after the excitement faded, so did the engagement and ROI.
Marketers today need to adopt a more realistic and accurate definition of value that’s based on “the combination of opportunities to convert and increase potential order value, and maximizes both, while at the same time, yields your highest value customers.” But identifying the best customers online and serving them the content they need is easier said than done. The key to obtaining a 360-degree view of high-value customers means personalizing and differentiating every message by offering an array of online content to drive maximum conversion and revenue uplifts.
To get there, the modern brands of today must, and I repeat must, push beyond the basic forms of personalization – think product recommendations or ads that chase you around on the Web. Instead, these brands are likely to be best served by leveraging the power of technology, real-time data and automated segmentation to effectively profile individuals who are in actuality high-value customers. That identification is the first hurdle that brands need to overcome. From there, it’s all about extending personalization across every device and channel to delight and please consumers with the most humanly relevant, easy-to-navigate and engaging offers.
Tap into the beauty of data to boost cross-channel ROI.
The urgency to identify high-value customers online is being fueled by a number of factors. First, the online channel represents the biggest growth opportunity for most brands. According to a new Forrester Research global eCommerce report, e-commerce revenues are going to continue to grow in 2014 as customers’ online buying habits evolve. Meanwhile, a new study released by IBM in 2014 reveals that brands stand to lose $83 billion due to poor customer experiences.
When you think about it, that’s a lot of revenue that could be left on the table if brands don’t put every segment of their customers first. For example, brands are able to gather intelligence on channels shopped — including Web, tablet, mobile phone or store — and then integrate data from a CRM system, POS, DPM or other source to help augment customer profiles. By combining intelligence on shopping history, search history and Web behavior, this combined intelligence can help brands identify when to offer an in-store promotion, extend a seasonal offer or make a product recommendation. If brands are able to identify their high-value customers, then they can scale the business more efficiently and ensure that every decision and action they make is focused on delivering the right actions defined by the right data.
Discover unique attributes of unique markets.
One common challenge that today’s brands face is a tendency to make decisions based on data points as opposed to data profiles. In these instances, it’s not that uncommon for brands to use pre-existing data models to identify their buyer personas as well as the content and offers they deliver on their websites and mobile sites.
By using automated segmentation and targeting, brands should be able to detect segments unique to their brands and industries. This process turns traditional targeting on its head because buyer profiles and offers are all determined by real-time intelligence gathered against real-time customer behavior. One example of such a data profile could be a “weekend shopper” persona. Based on their digital behavior and purchase activity, these shoppers may spend significantly more money (at multiple channels) than mid-week shoppers. So it’s more than likely these shoppers would be frustrated and intolerant of being shown irrelevant and mismatched offers that would better suit mid-week shoppers. That is where many brands today realize that even with all the benefits of technology, they have made shoppers that much less tolerant and patient with poor experiences.
Move away from campaign analysis; bring it back to the customer.
One of the ways brands have traditionally gathered intelligence on customer behaviors is through basic A/B testing of different content and offers. Building on the quantifiable value of testing, many innovative brands are now shifting from campaign-driven analysis to a more holistic and accurate customer-driven analysis. By doing so, marketers can get a more robust and humanistic view of every single customer segment, as well as being able to identify which segments are performing better than others. With businesses – across all teams – being challenged to consistently demonstrate ROI, this ability to gauge the value of high-value customers and appropriately target them with the best content on the best devices at the best times and places, is especially critical to success.
When faced with multiple products, the time it takes for a shopper to make a purchase decision between them is usually three to seven seconds. These critical moments are known as the First Moment of Truth (or FMOT), and they determine whether or not all the advertising and promotion marketers have invested will pay off. Thanks to the Internet, another critical moment for consumer/brand interactions is also getting attention: the Zero Moment of Truth (or ZMOT). ZMOT encompasses the time between consumers’ first exposure to advertising for a product and the ultimate purchase decision—with emphasis what happens in between those two things: online research of the product.
According to a study by Google (who came up with the ZMOT concept), before deciding whether or not to buy:
- 50% of shoppers used a search engine to get more information on a product or brand
- 38% comparison shopped online
- 36% checked out the brand/manufacturer’s website
- 31% read online endorsements, reviews or recommendations
These behaviors have redefined the way marketers now plan for online shoppers—causing a tremendous shift away from the way they used to plan their campaigns. Marketers who sell high-end goods like electronics, furniture or cars are no strangers to these shopping patterns, but these days, customers apply them to practically everything they buy. Having a good product and a solid awareness campaign is no longer enough; now there’s a more informed and discerning customer base to cater to. They check in with their trusted third-party sources, and expect your message to be consistent from desktop to mobile to tablet and back again. It’s a tall order…but not an impossible one.
Here are some ideas to help win at the Zero Moment of Truth:
Back in the day—uh, about 10 short years ago—marketers knew more about their products than their consumers did, and had the luxury of acting as the gatekeepers of brand information. These days, consumers aren’t as passive; they’re active, engaged and are likely to know as much about what’s being sold as the people selling it to them (if not more). When they have something to say about a product, they’re not just saying it to the company that sold it to them, they’re talking to each other, at an exponential rate.
Mobile tech and devices are crucial to this process. On the go, customers search for store locations, compare prices and features, and call family and friends to get opinions. At home, they’ll respond to a TV or radio ad by firing up search engines on their second screens. So optimizing company websites for mobile is a no-brainer.
Here are some things to consider when doing so:
- Improve page load speeds by leaving out huge graphics and Flash content.
- Make sure your site design translates to smaller smartphone screens as well as it does to larger tablet and desktop ones.
- Use A/B and Multivariate testing on as many site elements as possible—namely, content, design, shopping cart process—to see what gets your mobile audience excited.
- Don’t be afraid to track mobile marketing separately from other web campaigns; according to Google’s study, mobile-only campaigns perform 11.5% better than hybrid desktop/mobile ones.
You already know people are talking about your brand on the Web, so you need to do your utmost to embrace and be a part of that conversation.
If people are searching for your brand online with questions, you’d better have useful and engaging answers for them—because if you don’t, your competition surely will. Product reviews and recommendations are major resources for consumers doing research; make sure they’re prominently displayed on the product pages of your website.
Don’t be nervous about opening up your site to user comments and feedback, because honestly…most reviews are good reviews. According to a Bazaarvoice study, 80% of online reviews on a given retail site are written by the top 20% of the site’s most committed and loyal customers. Even the occasional thumbs-down is a good sign; shoppers see negative reviews as proof of an unbiased, truthful environment.
Video is another crucial aspect of ZMOT; product showcases, how-to demonstrations, B2B case studies…whatever your market, customers will want to see what you have on offer before opening their wallets. Shoppers love to send videos to each other via email, post them to social networks or embed them in their blogs or personal websites, so make sure your videos are easy for customers to share. Try adding a YouTube channel to your social media arsenal. Increase the reach of your TV advertisements by posting them online.
If there’s no stylistic connection between your company’s main website, your social media pages, and your offline marketing campaigns, shoppers are bound to get confused or challenge the legitimacy of your online presence. Keep branding elements and logos consistent between all your marketing channels, so consumers trust that they’re exactly where they need to be and know precisely who they’re dealing with.
Don’t just pay attention to style—your content also has to be consistent across channels and campaigns. Shoppers are using various pathways to find you; if they see conflicting product descriptions or huge price discrepancies between channels, they’re likely to lose confidence in your brand and look elsewhere. Also, it’s important to keep your online content fresh and updated. If customers keep seeing the same old commentary on your main site, or your social media sites haven’t been updated in months, they might think you’ve gone out of business—and you’ll lose their business.
A huge part of succeeding at ZMOT is being able to define and understand your target audience, in order to provide them with specific experiences attuned to their needs. Not only are consumers seeking information about your products, but their searches also allow you to gain insight that helps you give them exactly what they’re looking for.
Use information gathered from website behaviors to create user profiles that can be segmented by various attributes: geography, time of day, viewing device, media channel, web browser, etc. This personalized approach can be as simple (one or two collected insights) or as complex (mathematical algorithms that dynamically adjust and predict displayed content) as your specific campaigns require. Once created, these profiles provide better, more relevant customer engagement.
Product reviews and recommendations come back into play here, because when consumers engaging in ZMOT use them, they’re not thinking of them as opinions from strangers—instead the reviews and recs are perceived as coming from people like themselves, who’ve been in the same situation and had similar questions. Personalization helps online marketers connect consumers with the product advice most suited with their particular need, which can lead to a desired purchase. Those customers can then post their own reviews or recommendations, informing other consumers undergoing their own ZMOT…and the beat goes on.
ZMOT is a fantastic way to gain awareness on customer interest and satisfaction; putting these various methods to work for you will keep your brand in the forefront of shoppers’ minds and attentions, giving you the ability to trounce your competition and make the sale.
The phenomenon of big data certainly comes with big promise. After all, having terabytes of data on customer history and behavior is certainly better than trying to extrapolate from just a few data points.
For sure, online marketers who make sense of big data are going to be better able to build customer experiences around hard data and evidence rather than on hunches and guesswork. Instead of working on intuition, or crude analytics, you could use definitive evidence to design product pages that lure your best customers directly toward the shopping cart. You’d know exactly when to introduce your promotions and offers, and you’d know which promotion would work best with each particular customer. You could optimize your online interface, so that everything from search to registration to “Place Order” was virtually friction-free.
Getting to that point, however, requires first harnessing the data. It is no small feat to integrate huge amounts of data from a variety of sources. It is even trickier to figure out exactly how to translate that information into more visits and fuller shopping carts—in real time, customer by customer.
The good news is, there are technologies and tools that make it much easier to find the gold hidden in the data—and use it to refine your online marketing with laser precision. But there’s a mind-set at work here, too—a way of thinking about data that may involve some shifts in culture, depending on where your organization is right now.
Having worked with a number of online marketers who needed to tame big data, here are six steps to help you get there:
1) Think continuous evolution and iteration, not instantaneous.
Yes, big data can fundamentally shift the way you do business. But don’t try to change everything at once. It’s far more productive to adopt a “test and learn” philosophy. Two dozen incremental improvements in site design or wording or personalization can get you much further than trying to “innovate” in one fell swoop. We see this every day.
The most successful marketers are optimizing and refining all the time. They steadily move ahead, with a thousand baby steps, finding something to improve almost every day.
Note: This tactic may call for some adjustments to Web development processes. The most agile marketers can typically go “live” with tweaks, adjustments or tests in a matter of hours. (Slow marketers wait for the next release. Don’t do that.)
2) Align big data goals with your individual business goals.
Create separate initiatives or projects for each of your business goals, such as acquiring new customers, boosting conversion rates, improving customer loyalty or increasing lifetime customer value. This approach makes it much easier to determine what type of data to reel in, and exactly how to use it. Focus a team or a project on one objective at a time.
3) Sell the concept internally.
In some organizations, moving toward data-driven, evidence-based marketing may call for some extra communication to get everyone on board:
- Encourage knowledge sharing, continual learning. Let everyone know what you found out.
- Simplify everything. Present data and outcomes in easy-to-understand terms that managers can use to make decisions. Use pictures and graphs.
- Communicate plans and achievements across the organization. Don’t hide results.
4) Create one team for big data.
You will need to include marketing strategists, analytics gurus and Web developers. And especially creatives, who may sometimes feel threatened or hampered by having to work with hard evidence.
Then integrate with those responsible for e-commerce and site optimization. No silos allowed.
Find a committed, obsessed, dedicated executive to drive the process and act as a focus for future customer experience innovations.
5) Your own data is best. By far.
The real-time data that your website and CRM systems are gathering is far more valuable than anything you can obtain from an outside vendor. Because it’s about your own living, breathing customers, it is data that your competitors don’t have. Advantage, you.
Examples of the typical aggregate data you can capitalize on in a big data strategy:
- Acquisition source
- Interaction behavior
- Transaction behavior
- Recency of visits
- Frequency of visits
- Social attributes
- Form inputs
- Conversion rates
- Conversion values by product or category interests
6) Aim for real-time optimization, customer by customer.
For most marketers, the goal should be to make in-session decisions as to what customers should see, what offers you recommend and what you say to them.
Craft a custom experience for each visitor, and they’ll buy more.
Do all of this, and they’ll be back.
This article was originally published on iMedia Connection
When Wal-Mart announced plans to use its retail locations to fulfill online orders last week, the media and business community broke into a collective game of word association. The word? Amazon.
Prior to breaking the news, Wal-Mart was already one of the few companies that could compete with Amazon online. But after unveiling how it plans to do so—by fulfilling online orders in its own stores—Wal-Mart became Amazon’s first serious threat.
The irony is that Wal-Mart will fulfill these orders using Amazon’s own in-store locker strategy. Wal-Mart has the significant advantage of already having 10,000 retail locations—something Amazon can’t currently compete with. For Amazon, staying competitive will either require rolling out a slew of its own physical locations (which is a possibility considering its test store concept last year) or establishing partnerships with 3rd-party brick-and-mortar retailers (something it is very much in the process of doing). In the meantime, however, all Wal-Mart has to do is boost its online game. Well, and install the lockers.
Clearly Amazon and Wal-Mart have different product sets. They also don’t overlap 100% in target customer bases, and there are a bunch of other things that are fundamentally different about their models… But for the sake of oversimplification, let’s say that all Wal-Mart has to do to rise to ecommerce supremacy is up the online ante. What exactly would that take? A lot. But Wal-Mart’s two most crucial priorities will be helping online customers navigate its extensive product list easily and quickly, and streamlining online and offline operations to create a turnkey overall experience.
Priority #1: Wal-Mart must transform itself into an invisible (and psychic) personal shopper to help customers navigate its vast inventory.
Like Amazon, Wal-Mart has a massive product offering. This isn’t a new problem for either of them, but as the race to fulfill orders guarantees quicker turnaround times and more convenience after placing the order, Wal-Mart must control every thing it can before the order is placed to ensure it’s actually placed through them. In this case, that means making sure customers can find what they’re looking for, quickly and easily. Or, in the case that customers don’t know exactly what that is, helping them figure it out with a fairly high degree of accuracy.
The good news is that this isn’t Wal-Mart’s first rodeo; they’re not exactly starting from scratch. They know who their customers are and they’ve got tons of data from past purchases and online behavior to inform their efforts.
They’ve also got enough content to appeal to every person in the US if they want to – it’s just a question of surfacing the right content to the right people. Therefore there is no extra work involved in getting more products or content; the challenge is simply using it better.
To act as an invisible personal shopper, Wal-Mart must master what they do with this powerful combination of content and data—and when they do it. The goal is to use it in real-time, as customers are browsing their online store. This is different from standard product recommendations—things like “people who liked this, also like that”–which online shoppers have become accustomed to. Retailers now have the technology to go far beyond these persona/segment-based tools.
They can make use of both historical data (what this particular individual has looked at and/or purchased in the past) and current data (what this particular individual is looking at right now) to make predictions that will shape a particular customer’s experience in context and real-time.
Priority #2: Create a streamlined and turnkey experience across all touch points between online and offline visits.
With this new model comes the potential for far more room for error than ever before. Online customers who will now be traveling to Wal-Mart’s physical locations to pick up their orders will no doubt expect a consistent experience from the moment they order all the way to fulfillment. Along the way, there are a number of touch points, including email, direct marketing, advertising, customer service, and so on.
Building on the idea of personalizing each individual’s online experience, Wal-Mart can easily improve each subsequent experience—something that may seem like it involves a significant level of complexity. But with the right infrastructure, it can be completely automated and dynamic.
The key to accomplishing this is putting visitor profiles at the heart of each cross channel experience. In other words, Wal-Mart can use the same model of targeting used online to inform which content each customer sees across all other channels. In the end, the digital channels match email marketing matches advertising matches direct mail matches messaging at the point of pick-up (a phrase I just coined, mind you), and so on.
At the end of the day, Wal-Mart’s rise to online dominance really just revolves around turning an otherwise complicated shopping experience into one that feels quaint and easy. It can accomplish this by setting up a strong behind-the-scenes infrastructure that puts the customer experience at the forefront. And isn’t that what their new strategy is all about—giving the customer what they want where they want it?
Recently there has been a lot of conversation against the importance of relationships in selling such as this recent Harvard Business Review article on Selling is Not about Relationships which makes it seem like social media would not make a good fit for sales people.
But a new RAIN Group report proves otherwise and shows that sales people that truly “connect” with buyers in this “always on” environment we live in to win more often. So here are 3 reasons why …
Social media provides great way to connect with potential buyers
- Social media provides the sales person with unprecedented ways to connect with potential buyers, increase likes or followers to the business, build relationships and most importantly start conversations.
- Social media provides the sales person with a platform to allow for their online personality to shine and begin that trusted relationship which can create affinity with the buyer
- Social media provides the sales person a platform for sharing value, which builds reputation and affinity for the seller
Social media provides a platform to collaborate with potential buyers
- Sales people can use popular online meetings tools like Google Hangout or even GoToMeeting to create spontaneous meetings with potential buyers
- Other technologies like Postwire can be used for more direct collaboration with more middle of funnel prospects
- Social listening technologies like Radian6, Hootsuite (or whatever your favorite is) will allow you to chime in at most relevant times with potential buyers, middle of funnel prospects or even existing customers – keeping you top of mind at all times!
Social media allows you to educate potential buyers with new ideas
- Social media provides plenty of ways to do this. Sales people that tweet their own ideas or find blogs articles that espouse their position – make it easy to connect with buyers. Content is king so being able to use it to your advantage is key.
- Marketing teams provides the platform and resources to sales to be able to do this. Too many companies in my opinion leave it to the sales team to figure this out all this by themselves. Content is the new collateral. If marketing creates the platform and the sales team can bring it to life with customers then sales will surely flow.
An integral part of the sales process is getting to know your prospects and establishing relationships—and it turns out social media can help you accomplish this quickly and easily. Follow the steps above to help your sales team make the cash register ring using social media. Remember – when you’re there alone there is no one to compete!
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