I went to London a few days ahead of our Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference. On Sunday, people were celebrating The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, thanking The Queen for 60 years as their royal Monarch.
I went to London a few days ahead of our Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference. On Sunday, people were celebrating The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, thanking The Queen for 60 years as their royal Monarch.
Today's blog post is by Al Campa, CEO of Reachable. He is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of the company.
With all the changes in business, one thing remains the same: business is about people. Despite globalization, technology revolutions, social networks, and razor-thin competitive margins, business is still about people working with people. People who can’t connect effectively with others rarely do well in business.
Consider sales, for instance. We buy things from people we have positive relationship with, people we like and trust. And if those relationships stay positive, we keep buying from them over many years. So one would assume that when companies assign sales territories and determine which sales reps will sell to which accounts, they would consider the strength of social relationships in their assignments.
In reality, however, most sales territories are determined by geographic boundaries and physical proximity. Sales reps are assigned to nearby zip codes or area codes, or they are assigned by state boundaries where they live. Yeah, who cares about whether they have good connections, solid relationships, and reliable networks? If the zip code matches, well, anyone can see that’s what’s important, right?
To make the best use of this social proximity, Reachable has created an online solution that helps businesspeople leverage their personal contacts and the contacts of others in their organization, to broaden their professional network and reach people they need to know – people to people, rather than area code to area code. Our research shows that having an existing relationship with an account or prospect makes the likelihood that you’ll be able to engage that prospect or account three to four times higher.
At Reachable, we believe that social connections and relationships are solid gold for a sales organization and should be leveraged as much as possible. We make it possible for a company to leverage and manage the connections of all its employees, as well as its customers and partners. And we integrate these connections into the sales process. Assigning leads and accounts by social proximity, rather than geographic proximity, will increase account engagement and account knowledge and increase close rates.
Reachable offers a number of capabilities that make leveraging social selling easier for reps who have contacts spread all over the map. Considering that reps probably have contacts in one or more email address books, social networks, databases, etc., Reachable brings together these contacts so reps don’t have to check different places to see if they have a connection with a lead or within a target account. Once a user has imported his or her contacts, Reachable scours all contacts to find potential connections.
In addition, being able to leverage the networks of others can extend one’s reach dramatically. Reachable’s ShareGroup feature lets salespeople leverage the contacts of trusted associates on their sales or executive teams. Users opt-in to be a part of a ShareGroup and are able to leverage one another’s network as if they were their own. Contact information (email, phone numbers) are not shared but can be requested from the contact owner. This lets users take full advantage of the collective network within their company while maintaining contact privacy.
Many salespeople spend much of their day working within their CRM system. Reachable is tightly integrated with such popular CRM systems as Salesforce, so salespeople never have to leave their CRM app to take advantage of Reachable. Within CRM systems, Reachable uses proprietary algorithms to automatically rank leads, contacts, and opportunities by the strength of a user’s relationship to them.
Salespeople now have much more information at their fingertips than they had even a few years ago. Company information is available via Hoover’s, Thompson Reuters, or Google. Information about people is available via LinkedIn. Facebook and Twitter provide social information. But in spite of this deluge of new information, close rates may not be improving. Cycle times are not decreasing. Sales teams are not getting more productive, because critical insight, rather than background information, is the key to engaging prospects and closing sales.
Insight is a window into company goals, key business problems, and the critical initiatives a company is launching to achieve its goals, as well as the key people internally who are assigned to make it all happen. The insight on a company’s business problem can come from only a trusted internal source, not Twitter. If you don’t have relationships in an account, you are never going to find out what its key initiatives are and how you can help solve them. It’s all about the people you need to reach, the information you need to have at your fingertips, and the ability to engage with those key people to help solve the problems they deem critical.
These are just a few of the Reachable capabilities that can help salespeople become more people-to-people effective. To find out more about the Reachable solution, go to www.reachable.com.
Today's blog post is by David Satterwhite, VP of Sales and General Manager, Americas, for Good Technology (www.good.com). He is a successful sales executive with a proven track record for building and scaling worldwide sales, services, and business development teams for various high-tech companies. Follow David on Twitter @Satterwhite1.
There are three megatrends emerging today that stand to push our customer relationships and sales strategies to a whole new level: social media, mobility, and security. We all know that building and sustaining strong customer relationships is key to a successful sales strategy. But in today’s environment, being “social” with your customers refers to not only wining and dining current and prospective clients (OK, that helps, too); it refers also to your sales team’s ability to effectively share information, build customer communities, and engage regularly with clients and one another through new media channels.
As of today, there are more than 825 million users on Facebook, more than 130 million members on LinkedIn, and upwards of 140 million active users on Twitter generating 340 million tweets per day. More than 400 million Google+ members are expected by the end of 2012. Not only are these online communities growing, but they are also increasingly going mobile. According to a report by comScore, in August 2011, 72.2 million Americans accessed social sites and blogs from their mobile phones, a 37 percent increase from a year ago. And considering your sales force is always on the go, there is a true dependence on smartphones and tablets in order to embrace a social customer culture and communicate with customers, partners, and colleagues, anytime and from anywhere.
Mobile devices are also catalysts for improved productivity by way of any number of social-business applications that not only improve an organization’s productivity, but also enable real-time collaboration with its sales team and customers. If your company has a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place, all the better; sales reps can use the devices that they’re most comfortable with to do their jobs.
But while mobility and BYOD certainly enhance the sales professional’s ability to do his or her job more effectively, they also bring important security issues to the table. In sales, we’re privy to sensitive customer information. If the integrity of that data is compromised in any way – because our iPad is stolen or we download an infected app – the consequences for our clients could be dire. The impact of a security breach ranges from multithousand dollar fines to brand damage and customer attrition. The bottom line: mobile security in today’s app-central business environment is no joke.
Establishing a mobile-security strategy that includes BYOD and social-media access becomes, then, another important enabler of a successful sales strategy. A “containerized” approach that effectively sections off a mobile device into work and personal components can solve this problem. Data is encrypted and password protected, and IT can quickly and easily wipe all company data from the device if it gets lost or stolen without having to wipe personal information.
The intersection of social applications, mobility, and security hold enormous potential for sales teams to sell more, with greater customer satisfaction, while reaching sales goals faster. Let’s look at some of the key benefits that your organization can achieve by combining these three elements:
Achieving sales goals is the cornerstone of any company’s success, and a savvy organization will create an integrated approach to selling in today’s evolving business environment. By effectively deploying a secure, social mobility strategy, organizations can take advantage of tools that will enhance customer responsiveness, improve productivity, accelerate sales cycles, and of course, keep customers coming back for more!
I'm convinced that social insights are the key competitive differentiator for impacting revenue cycles today.
Today we get social insights from information and data shared on social networks. But really social insights are nothing new to any experienced sales leader. Many sales professionals remember walking into a prospect's or customer's office and looking around to get a sense of what kind of person they'd be talking to. Were there photos of family on the desk? Sports trophies on shelves? Degrees on the wall?
People carry their accomplishments, hopes, fears, and dreams around with them. These are the kinds of things that great salespeople excel at uncovering. Context clues -- what the person wears, how the person talks, etc. -- can help you figure out what is most important to this individual. These clues can help you establish trust and rapport.
Today all of this information and more is readily available to you via a simple LinkedIn search. Your prospects and customers might be on Twitter right now, sharing details about themselves and their lives that can help you create a meaningful connection.
Reps who use social insights to uncover business concerns, personal interests, career history, common acquaintances, and more are better equipped to make connections with prospects that ultimately lead to more sales. Sales teams that can access a deeper level of knowledge beyond names, titles, and contact information automatically become more competitive by collapsing the sales cycle. The thing that amazes me is that many sales leaders and their teams have yet to tap into the rich resource of social insights to learn and listen to uncover opportunities.
I believe that sales leaders who act immediately to capture and use social insights will gain an automatic edge over the competition. Tomorrow I'll be discussing the power of social insights in more detail during my webinar, "How to Impact Revenue Cycles" with Ralf VonSosen, Vice President of Marketing at InsideView. He'll be sharing the compelling results that companies have been getting by incorporating social intelligence into their lead-to-revenue process, including explosive growth in call-to-opportunity ratios, true sales opportunities, and close rates.
Register now to join us and learn how your team can start seeing similar benefits today.
Nicole Merrett is vice president of CRM marketing for Sage North America, a supplier of business management software and services for small and midsize businesses.
Here are seven suggestions to help you craft more effective email campaigns and get better response rates.
With email marketing, you never need to settle for one formula because you will often have the flexibility to make improvements as you go. So make taking advantage of trends and technology the constant in your digital marketing programs. This will help you achieve more tangible results.
This guest post is by Rebecca Corliss, head of the social-media lead generation team at HubSpot. HubSpot is a marketing software company in Cambridge, MA, that makes inbound marketing and lead management software. Follow Rebecca on Twitter as @repcor.
Social media is a fantastic, quickly growing channel that marketers around the world are using specifically for B2B lead generation. By promoting your best blog and lead-generation content, your company can successfully grow a large social-media reach and funnel a portion of that reach into traffic and leads for your business. But what tools should a marketer use to generate leads most effectively through social media?
This article will walk you through the most useful social-business pages, monitoring applications, and measurement tools that will help you fully and easily manage your social-media lead generation.
Company Business Pages
1. Facebook Business Page – Facebook is a great place to collect "likes" for your company. Use your Facebook Business Page to showcase some of your most intriguing and fun content to your community. To optimize your Facebook page for lead generation, make sure to post a solid mix of fun, visual content and business-focused educational articles that can funnel your most qualified prospects to your Website.
2. Company Twitter Account – Use your Twitter network to develop a fast-growing community of people who will look to you via your Twitter account for interesting information and links relevant to your industry. People especially appreciate content that is educational or information that will help their business.
3. LinkedIn Company Page – Company pages on LinkedIn have been rapidly improving, including a new status-update feature (similar to Twitter or Facebook) that can be used to share similar content with your LinkedIn network. Company Pages also have a "Products and Services" tab, where you can promote specific offers. You can also use this tab to request product recommendations from your network as an additional promotional tool.
4. Pinterest Page – Pinterest has gained popularity recently and can be a great way to promote your company's most visual content and drive traffic back to your Website. Use Pinterest to create "boards," which will act as a collection of the best visual content around a specific topic. Make sure that your collection includes content from your company and others. Promoting your content exclusively contradicts the nature of the site and could anger your followers.
Monitoring & Posting Tools
5. HootSuite – It's important to monitor social buzz around your company to prove that you're listening and receptive to feedback. Use HootSuite to monitor a constant stream of your company's mentions or other search terms that are important to you. Be sure to respond to relevant requests for help, kind words of praise, and other tweets that deserve a reaction from your company. HootSuite also allows you to schedule posts for the future to help you save time later.
6. TweetDeck – TweetDeck is another monitoring tool. Download TweetDeck to monitor most important terms and mentions for your company, similar to HootSuite; however, it does not include the same publishing and scheduling features as HootSuite.
7. TweetChat – Ever consider hosting a Twitter Chat related to your industry? (HubSpot's Twitter Chat is every Tuesday at 3:00pm ET.) Twitter Chats are a great way to create a wave of Twitter content around your company by hosting a crowd-sourced discussion. Use TweetChat to consolidate the conversation to one page and encourage chat participants to follow your company.
8. HubSpot – HubSpot is all-in-one inbound marketing software that includes analytics tools that help marketers measure how much traffic, leads, and customers you generate from social media or other channels. Use it to prove the true ROI that your social channels drive for your company – a great way to argue the value of social media to your management team.
9. Google Analytics – If you want more in-depth Web page analytics, use Google Analytics to learn how specific pages within social networks are driving traffic to your Website. This will help you figure out which are the best sources for promoting your content to drive the most visitors.
10. Topsy – Topsy is a great Twitter search tool to analyze usage of specific keywords and hashtags. If you are promoting a specific Twitter campaign that has a hashtag, use Topsy to understand how often that hashtag was used before and after the campaign.
11. Klout – Curious to know how influential your social accounts are? Klout helps you understand how much pull you have over your network on Twitter, Facebook, and more. You can also see how it changes over time based on the content you offer or the number of retweets you receive.
12. Twitter Counter – It's very important that your social-media reach grows consistently so that your business always has a fresh network of visitors to attract to your Website. Use Twitter Counter to understand the rate at which your Twitter account is growing and recognize any key dates that led to significant growth.
With these key tools, marketers can optimize their social channels for lead generation and measure success with meaningful metrics. Over time, you’ll learn which social channels drive the best leads for your business, and with that data, you can focus your efforts on the ones that are most effective.
Technorati Tags: Facebook, Facebook Business Page, Gerhard Gschwandtner, Google Analytics, Hootsuite, HubSpot, Klout, Pinterest, Rebecca Corliss, Selling Power, Topsy, TweetDeck, Twitter, Twitter Counter
Today's guest blog post is by Paul Alves, chief executive officer and cofounder of AG Salesworks.
When I was a rookie sales guy, I didn't put much stock in creating a business plan. My motto was, "Give me a list and a phone, and I'll make it happen." Guess what? It worked; I did make it happen. But what I learned several years later is that I could have made more happen with less work, if I had only taken the time to plan.
As a salesperson, you are running your own business. Your support can range from no support at all to a finely tuned marketing machine. Either way, it is up to you to succeed. Failure is not an option.
Every successful campaign starts with a plan, which should have two major areas of focus: database development and a proactive, outbound teleprospecting/email plan.
Build Your Database
The first step is to create a quality database. Think quality over quantity. While it is tempting to create as large a data base as possible in hopes that just the sheer numbers will produce prospects, this is only true to an extent. Yes, you need lots of prospects, but if they are not a great fit, they will only dilute your focus on the best opportunities.
Scrub Your Database
As you work through the process of building and scrubbing your database, think about whether or not your prospects look like your ideal customer. Do they look like the last several closed deals? Build a database in your CRM consisting of quality prospects that you know are a fit for your products or services, and be diligent about scrubbing and adding to it every day. This is the pool from which you will find prospects to fuel your pipeline.
Develop a Teleprospecting/Email Strategy
Now you are ready to create a well-planned, consistent, proactive, outbound teleprospecting/email plan to ensure success.
Think of your prospects as a network of professionals who you can help. Reach out to them with a phone call, and if you don't catch them directly, leave a voicemail followed up by an email introducing yourself and your company. Explain to them why you believe they should take a few minutes to speak with you. You might try a message like this:
Take the time to research your prospect's business online prior to reaching out. Leverage social-media information that you can find on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. When you call, be brief, and provide specific examples as to how you have helped similar companies. Give them a compelling reason to speak with you, not a fluffy marketing pitch. These people get calls every day, and if you don't sound like a peer who can add value, they will not take the time to speak with you. You have to stand out, and if you don't, then you're just white noise like all the rest.
If you have a marketing team to help you, use it. Collaborate with marketing staff; let them know what messages resonate and which ones fall on deaf ears. Always fine-tune your message for each industry segment and job function. Don't use one boilerplate message on every call. Customize, individualize, and optimize your calls. Engage interested prospects, and remove those who are not ready to buy, but always keep in mind that it is your job to add value on every call. Don't be afraid to drop prospects into the nurturing bucket and let an automated marketing process take care of them.
Build your database, reach out to your prospect universe consistently with a value add message, set a goal to complete an x-amount of quality conversations per day as appropriate for your business, and hit that conversation goal every day. Executing on your plan will turn your target rich pipeline into dollars.
Today's blog post is by Christopher Cabrera, CEO of Xactly Corporation, the industry leader in sales compensation automation.
The French information-technology company Atos recently announced that it will give up email over the next 18 months. Instead, all 74,000 employees will use instant messaging and a Facebook-like interface for internal communication. Atos CEO Thierry Breton said 90 percent of the emails employees receive are not useful, and 18 percent is spam. Breton has not sent an email in three years. (Source: WSJ)
Here's how I think Atos stands to benefit from its email ban:
Is Email Dead, As Some Pundits Have Predicted?
This remarkable departure from email reflects a radical shift in the corporate culture and illustrates how social technology transforms workplace communication. Point-to-point email communication seems to get displaced by social information streams that everybody in the company can join to collaborate, comment, challenge, and vote on. I am reminded of the free flow of information in an ancient Greek forum, where every citizen contributed to the ongoing dialogue aimed at improving the state.
Today, autocratic leadership is taking a backseat to community ownership. Our Chatter and Jive culture allows employees to contribute to the corporate information streams in real time. These live conversations instantly reflect and shape what's taking place in a company. They empower every employee to feel he or she has a meaningful stake in the company. Everyone contributes to the welfare of customers and the company.
Technology motivates people to truly participate in the progression of their culture and company. It's also important to note that the boundaries of the workplace have shifted. Work is no longer a place we go to. Work is what happens in the Cloud. We need only a browser to connect to people around the globe 24/7.
Inspiration and Compensation in a Time of Transformation
The new workplace offers employees a huge opportunity to contribute their ideas and talents, and as a result, companies need to rethink their compensation strategies. Visionary sales leaders transform their operations, not to serve and support those who are reluctant to change, but to empower a future generation of technology-enabled high performers who are motivated to leap tall buildings. As sales leaders, we need to constantly align our processes, including our modes of communication, to reflect these shifting priorities.
When you provide the right motivation, you can influence how employees act and salespeople sell. As our adage at Xactly goes, "incent right, sell more."
Are your salespeople, processes, and technology aligned to inspire your sales force? What are you doing to cultivate a future-oriented corporate culture that attracts and retains top talent and promotes excellent performance?
To learn how to improve sales performance by leveraging what Gen Y cares about, check out Xactly's “Tips for Incenting Gen Y.”
Today's guest blog post is by Caitlin Roberson, founder and CEO of Wordisseur, a content marketing consultancy that specializes in sparking conversations online for technology vendors. Follow her on Twitter @CaitlinMarketng.
I just attended the "Sales Strategies in a Social & Mobile World" conference, and if the pulse of the room was any indication of how fast social business is changing, then prepare yourselves for a head-spinning 2012. Check out the conversation on Twitter (#s20c).
Below are the key takeaways from the invigorating day, which include the following:
5 Key Sales and Marketing Trends
4 Principles for Social-Media Success
3 Steps to Sales Transformation
Here is a crib-sheet version of the preconference roundtable:
Your takeaway: Sales transformation will deliver predictable sales performance. Just check out how many leads @PAKRAGames sources through social media:
It all comes down to the value you deliver. @AnnekeSeley's RT said it best:
Thanks to @Sales20Conf – and everyone quoted here – for a fantastic conference.
Technorati Tags: Anneke Seley, Caitlin Roberson, Gerhard Gschwandtner, HubSpot, Jeff Hayzlett, Jon Ferrara, Mark Roberge, Michael Lodato, Nimble, Pakra Games, Sales 2.0 Conference, Sales Strategies in a Social & Mobile World Conference, Selling Power, Social Media, Twitter, Wordisseur
This guest blog post is by Julie Bevacqua, Vice President of Global Marketing for CDC Software. As a natural networker and team motivator, she has encouraged, guided and steered her team to play a major contributing role in maintaining the company's online presence.
As the business world continues its shift from what the seller wants to what the customer demands, simple tools such as Facebook's "Like" are getting a lot of attention.
You no longer have to imagine what the customer does or does not like about your products or services. If you're lucky enough to have a Facebook following, they'll tell you!
Depending on what you sell, a large percentage of Facebook's 500 million users could be your market. According to eMarketer, the 2011 forecast for ad revenue spend on Facebook is $4 billion. But with all this money being poured into Facebook, savvy marketers are beginning to ask questions:
And the ultimate question: what is a fan "Like" really worth to my business?
The value of a fan can mean different things depending on your business. Consider Papa John's: would you connect with your favorite pizzeria on Facebook? Nearly 2 million fans seem to think it's a great idea. Papa John's started its page only after discovering that people were actually creating Papa John's fan pages!
In this instance, the value of a "Like" is tangible and hard to ignore. For some companies, the value may mean an actual sales figure; for others, the evangelical aspect of a "Like" proves invaluable. How do you know what your fan value is?
Such companies as Syncapse have assigned a value of $136.38 to each fan, while Vitrue brings it down to $3.60! In fact, Vitrue has released a free tool: Social Page Evaluator, which helps you set a value to your Facebook page. While some argue it is not necessarily the most scientific way to assess your online marketing strategies, it does provide a starting point.
As with any social media, metrics are still being worked out, and the results are often hard to compile. So step outside the box and explore these five ways to determine if Facebook "Likes" can work for your business.
1. Consider the nature and size of your business. It is important to understand that the actual advantage to a company will depend on a number of factors, including its size and ad spend, as well as the nature of the goods and services it promotes. Smaller enterprises may well focus their efforts on Facebook, while larger companies will regard Facebook as part of a bigger social-media strategy that spans the enterprise.
2. Question your transactions. More and more retail stores are using Facebook to target their clientele by offering such things as a promo code in exchange for being a fan; however, you may need to give more in order to be "Liked."
3. Reassess your evaluation methods. Having someone "Like" your page is not enough. You need to track the results to see if these "Likes" convert into paying customers, repeat customers, evangelists, etc. Use analytics to track your statistics, and base your campaigns at least in part on the results they produce.
4. Recognize the sustaining value of the social media you select. Twitter has adopted far fewer changes than Facebook, which is constantly reinventing itself via applications and advertising methods. Can your business keep up with these changes?
5. Outline your social-media strategy. All new media require an investment – time and money – before they show results. Define your goals and objectives and assign resources. The quicker your business can adapt and convert "Likes" into actual sales, the better the chance you have of becoming a Facebook success story.