Customer First Yields Success Over and Over Again

It is the CEO who thinks about his/her customer first that successfully leads employees, vendors, and all stakeholders to daily consumer-level wins, employee satisfaction and stakeholder confidence. It is the CEO who takes weekly incognito walks down the aisles of his/her retail outlets, listening & talking with customers/employees about “the small, real things”…it is such a person who will transform the enterprise into a united, healthy and joy-giving organism.

Julio Viskovich has recently posted an excellent example of how social business staff at a brand can help the CEO put customers first. Viskovich writes, “Just now I read a tweet addressed to my city ‘In #Vancouver and need a place to stay for the night. Any suggestions?’ It’s been 5 minutes and not a single hotel has responded. I’m thinking of reaching out and offering my guest room for $40 per night.” SOURCE: http://bit.ly/SocialSelling2013

Using smart social analytics, cutting-edge HR is now selecting brand leadership from within their own customer base. The new Chief Customer Executive and his/her cohorts are selected directly from the consumers and raised to power within the organization as advocates for the consumer alone. This smart new move by the HR silo using web intelligence is the latest indication of how powerful social tech has become: the customer and HR are conspiring to facilitate daily consumer wins…and wise brand stakeholders are on board with this revolution.

Social Business Intelligence Advance #4

The business intelligence solution that marketers want is the following: a cloud-based service that is comprehensively analyzing in real-time networks of regular customers AND matching these customers (and their friends) to upcoming deals specific to past purchases. For instance, if Amazon were to fully integrate its data with Facebook’s data, a profound level of matching would become possible. Senior leadership within major FMCG and retail entities should be actively cultivating technical vendors and in-house technicians to achieve this type of customer intelligence solution.

On Networks and Individuals – a vital shift for the corporate mindset

One of the most forward-thinking actions a large entity can take in 2013 is designing programs through which small and medium sized entities may become affiliates. To say this again: see your prospect list as a list of networks, NOT as a list of individuals. And begin now to study these networks, to segment the individuals within these networks and to devise scripts, business plans and strategic alliances with each and every one (where it makes sense).

Seeing individuals as networks is perhaps the most important mind change for the C-Suite. In a world of social networks and social business, such a leap is how large corporations will stay alive. As Peter Economides, a leading market strategist, has said, “Mass is the aberration, one-to-one is the convention.” We have to get back to the mindset of the neighborhood shop, the hyper-local one-to-one way of business. This is how economies will flourish again, and why large businesses should begin to invest cash into lucrative local pools of affiliates.

When a corporation receives access to social networks through its staff, when the C-Suite is introduced into these networks, the initial questions have to do with practical application. An employee seeking to demonstrate the practical application of social business need only pick up the old rolodex on the desk of his/her CEO. That rolodex, that little black book, IS the central symbol for clueing the C-Suite into the practical application of social networks. And the entity that started in 2007 to build online rolodexes, to segment these into lists of prospects, future employees, affiliates, vendors, and competitors, has already streaked out ahead of the entity just entering social networks.

Eleftherios Hatziioannou, Principal at Peopleizers, captures the dilemma for corporate leaders: “Marketers and the organizations behind them need to stop thinking in quantitative metrics only and add some deeper/relationship-based success factors to their strategies. However, these are more difficult to scale, because it takes one relationship at a time. This puts many businesses off. They think: How am I supposed to answer every single question out there? Isn’t it more efficient to just keep interrupting people with our messages the way we did in the past decades?”

Corporations wishing to succeed in social networks will have to divert a percentage of advertising & media spending towards a new “Relationship Marketing” Department, populated with customer-service minded folks — the mindset in this department ought to be more like the real estate agent vs. the call center “cold caller” who has to get through a specific number of calls before lunch. In this new Relationship Marketing Department, it’s about quality contacts and quality networks derived from research followed up with highly customized customer-service flavored sales — solutions-oriented sales leading to a long-term relationship.

Social Business Intelligence Advance #3

It is not enough to have a web intelligence solution that shows us where our own internal CRM is connected to important conversations and trends. We must also have a solution that shows us where our competitors’ CRM is connected to these same conversations and trends. In addition, we must have a solution that automatically delivers a set of individuals exactly like our best customers, complete with First Name, Last Name, Current Phone, Current Email, Current Social Links and cited examples of participation in these important conversations and trends. That’s the solution yet to be achieved in the social business intelligence world.

Social Business Intelligence Advance #1 and #2

When social business intelligence solutions provide a “Create Prospects CRM” button, the social analytics industry will have leapt one more notch forward. What it looks like is this: a series of 10,000 individuals have commented on a specific brand/issue over 1 month AND this CRM button collects Name, Current Address, Current Phone, Current Email, Current social links for each individual. Instantly. Downloadable in a CSV format or a colorful PDF “dossier-style” format. The social media monitoring solution that offers this button will become a global leader in prospect generation.

Advance number two is when this service is fully applicable across global borders, delivering such info for residents of all nations.

The Sweet Spot in Social Business Intelligence for Weaving Marcoms and Sales: The Machine & Marketing/Sales Process

CONTEXT:
A fierce debate still rages between marketing and sales in most organizations as the enterprise seeks to understand how to use social data for both silos. With exceptional software and smart cross-silo relations, marketing and sales can collaborate on nurturing and closing ideal prospects. This blog post has outlined the type of software needed to do this AND a sample sales approach for teams to consider.

WHAT THIS POST COVERS
This post covers three specific topics:

1. The exact description of an ideal social business intelligence “machine” that would serve both marcoms and sales.

2. The functionality this social business intelligence machine would possess.

3. A set of potent actions that combine a bit of marketing and bit of sales, thus demonstrating how one can progress from market research (using social data) to a closed sales deal.

THE IDEAL SOCIAL BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE MACHINE: The sweet spot for social business software is between the marcoms & sales silos, between pools of potential fans & fresh prospect data. The social business software of tomorrow will bring understanding between marcoms and sales, will create an easy funnel for “smart” fans/followers to become customers. Deriving prospects from social data has never been easier with the combination of solutions now avail to the marcoms & sales silos. Now these solutions need to be “merged” into one single machine. I describe this machine below.

THE EXACT FUNCTIONS OF THE IDEAL SOCIAL BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE MACHINE (as desired by Marketing and Sales silos):
In the coming powerful social business intelligence software (the “ideal machine”), we will see the following features:

1. Dials to find the exact people fitting prospect profiles. Imagine being able to pull every profile from every major social network AND THEN have dials to hone results down to exactly the customer profiles your business seeks.

2. Get suggestions from the software (from “the machine”) of other “pools of prospects” and prospect types BASED UPON your initial search.

3. Then, imagine pushing a “button” and getting current phone, email, physical address, add’l social links appended on-the-fly to the social profiles discovered thus far in the process above.

4. Now, mix in Topics of Influence & Volume of activity by each profile relative to the themes in your marketing & sales campaigns.

A SET OF POTENT ACTIONS FOR MARKETING & SALES AFTER EXTRACTING IDEAL PROFILES FROM THE SBI MACHINE:

1. STUDY THE LAST FEW DAYS OF TWEETS/SOCIAL MESSAGING: See what the individual is talking about. What is important to him/her? Jot down one or two specific points about these tweets/social posts/forum comments that you can compliment him/her on.

2. STUDY THE WEBSITE OF THE INDIVIDUAL: See how the individual presents himself/herself to the world. Find one to two items on the website to compliment the person about. This will make the call warmer and open an opportunity to collaborate.

3. SEND AN EMAIL TO THE PROSPECT FIRST: A powerful way to invite the person is to send a personal email wherein you introduce yourself briefly, lace in the compliments you discovered through Twitter, other social properties, blog comments, and his/her website, and then invite the individual into a collaboration.

See below sample of an email to send:

Dear Tom,

I am a Client Partner at BrandX, an FMCG group based in Los Angeles, California. Your materials online and, in particular, your steady stream of tweets chronicling your typical business process have impressed me. Would you have some time during the coming week to discuss what you are up to, what we are doing, and a possible collaboration with us?

Kind regards,

Client Partner
BrandX

4. SCHEDULE A PHONE CALL: When you get a reply to your email, schedule a call with the person. The call will involve listening to the Prospect, letting him/her know what we appreciate about him/her, what we saw in his/her materials and then working on an idea to collaborate on. It is a good plan to come to the call with some options that are personalized.

SUMMARY:
A fierce debate still rages between marketing and sales in most organizations as the enterprise seeks to understand how to use social data for both silos. With exceptional software and smart cross-silo relations, marketing and sales can collaborate on nurturing and closing ideal prospects. This blog post has outlined the type of software needed to do this AND a sample sales approach for teams to consider.

Weaving Humanity Into a Golden Chord For the Seventh Generation

Nowadays, the depth of avail data provides a foundation for putting the “7th-generation” puzzle together accurately. #SeventhGeneration

SEVENTH GENERATION THINKING: Customers can now be matched with products/services that truly serve a need every single second of every single day. The data is that rich now. ALSO, there is enough positive intent nowadays to make this a nurturing process…for the planet, for humanity and for the “seventh generation”. The throw-away culture of two generations ago is being replaced with “seventh-generation” oriented action-takers. AND, the depth of available data actually provides a foundation for putting this “seventh-generation” puzzle together accurately. #SeventhGeneration #ForwardThinking #WiseData

WARP-SPEED MANIFESTATION: Since the Internet is not a hierarchy, all images, text, movies and songs have the opportunity to grow very large and swallow preceding “giants”. As a collective entity, perhaps the Internet is like a serpent swallowing its own tail. Being within this multi-dimensional eco-system is a transformative experience for individuals and the collective. Humanity is undergoing an extremely rapid phase of evolution presently. Extremely rapid and deep. Humans are realizing how malleable time can be…particularly since ideas become flesh at light-speed now. What would have once taken an entire generation to unfold occurs within minutes in today’s world.

Each person has the innate ability to take a dream and make the images in his/her mind into a tangible, concrete physical experience.

WEAVE YOUR REALITY: An innate talent taken from humans long ago is the ability to create tangible physical realities out of intangibles. Slices of humanity do this for a living: artists, writers, inventors, business founders. But each person has the innate ability to take a dream and make the images in his/her mind into a tangible, concrete physical experience. Try this today. Draw something simple on a piece of paper, such as you walking to the fridge and getting a glass of juice. Then stand up and do it. Now add complexity to this and watch the most “impossible” images turn into physical experience. #PracticalMagic #FictionIntoReality #Here2There

Each person has the innate ability to take a dream and make the images in his/her mind into a tangible, concrete physical experience. Each person can quite easily go from “here” to “there” nowadays.

The Relationship between Marketing Communications and Sales

The Ideal:

The key to long term success is to have Imagination, Persistence, Compassion.

Fostering a deep, real and fruitful conversation between marketing communications AND sales is one of the most important tasks for senior managers nowadays. The marketing department is working with product development on a lovely garden. And sales is out there hunting, hunting, hunting to bring “eaters” to the garden. Market researchers see who the potential “eaters” are from a distance and, ideally, marcoms aids sales with extremely accurate messaging to lure the “eaters” into a rich and beautiful experience.

Joan Damico writes, “Marcom (Marketing communications) tends to operate from a longer term visionary / brand perspective. This often leads to a content clash with sales, which must meet monthly and quarterly revenue targets. There’s opportunity for marcom and sales to reach a happy medium between content that is visionary, such as thought leadership, and tactical content that is more immediately useable, such as ROI calculators and product comparisons.” (SOURCE: http://www.business2community.com/content-marketing/will-content-marketing-end-contentious-b2b-marketing-and-sales-relationship-0504728)

Damico’s excellent observation pinpoints the need for accuracy within the marcoms-sales relationship. Ideally, the two silos come to an understanding and are able to work together. The process of market research, content development and “message tweaking” can seem endless to the Sales silo. Salespeople want it “right now”. This is why it is wise of senior managers to start specific marketing programs six-twelve months PRIOR to attached sales initiatives. In fact, a deep market audit can inform a far more accurate sales process and marcoms can provide the sales teams with incredibly accurate and effective messaging due to the research. Likewise, sales can communicate their on-the-ground experience with customers to marcoms. That’s a very rich conversation and planning approach!

Seth Godin writes, “Valuable marketing campaigns are the result of time and user experience, not media and more media. Social media is a marathon, a gradual process in which you build a reputation. The best time to start was a while ago. The second best time to start is today. But turning it up to 11 isn’t going to get you there faster.” (SOURCE: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/06/the-thermostat-and-the-frying-pan.html)

When a marcoms team has been given a realistic lead time, their contribution to the sales silo will be very valuable. More managers have to realize the differing pace of marcoms and sales. And need to plan accordingly.

Questions for Social Business Intelligence Software Providers

CONTEXT:
Do you own or are you building a social business intelligence platform? If so, I’m interested in your answers. Why? Because I have specific projects I am working on where a satisfactory answer to these questions will result in a sale for you and a win for my clients. Looking forward to your thoughts on these question, all purveyors of social business intelligence solutions.

THE ULTIMATE GOAL:
If you are a social media monitoring solution, have you considered adding a social append function to your offering? Your customers want to see what people are saying about a brand or a market. AND they want to see EVERY bit of contact detail related to each of those commenters. We need blended solutions where the precision of Brandwatch filtering matches with the aspirations of Fliptop social append and is housed in the “nearly there” dashboard at Salesforce/Marketing Cloud.

QUESTIONS FOR SOCIAL BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE SOFTWARE PROVIDERS:

1. Is your social append to emails automatic and 100% correct?

2. Conversely, is address, phone, and email append to social profiles automatic and 100% correct?

3. When will any social business intelligence solution find the social account associated with an email, append this account, and place the photo of the prospect automatically in the photo slot within the sCRM interface?

4. I want to upload just a single column of emails? Can your social business intelligence solution automatically find and append all other info (social profile, address, phone, social streams).

5. What is the future of Salesforce’s Jigsaw?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jigsaw_(website)

6. What do you think of Jive’s new StreamOnce? If you had the chance to use Gist prior to its sale to RIM, how would you compare StreamOnce to Gist?
http://www.zdnet.com/jive-streamonce-aims-to-connect-microsoft-salesforce-google-apps-7000015367/

7. What is the max upload of emails for append in your social business intelligence solution?

8. Is the upload of contacts confidential? How do I know that?

Replacing email blasts with relationship marketing

No, it was the other guy, the guy who bought what worked, the one in charge of the real budget–he wasn’t easy, but he was worth it… ~Seth Godin

THE CURRENT SITUATION: Ever receive an email with a sales pitch? We all do. And what do you do with 90% of these? You do not have time to read them and you trash them. Many times even when the pitch is about something you really want or need. There just isn’t time to open that email and read the pitch, click on the link and do all the digital “paperwork” to get what you want.

Receiving an email blast from a company is different than receiving a helpful solution in the context of a comment thread in social networks. The former is likely to end up in the junk folder. The latter is “in context” and will be read every time. This is why corporations are ceasing email blast campaigns and building relationship marketing teams. This is why corporations are building customized communities based on customer needs and competitors’ shortcomings.

Eleftherios Hatziiannou writes, “Marketers spent fortunes every year for marketing research and data to understand precisely who their target group is, what they want and where they can reach them. Today people publicly say what they want by using social media. Wouldn`t it make sense to learn how to participate in this new kind of marketplace and thereby turn conversations into commerce?” (SOURCE: http://www.peopleizers.com)

THE DEEPER REALITY WITHIN CORPORATIONS: An organization that moves away from email to internal communications networks, such as Salesforce Chatter, Yammer or Sharepoint is an organization that gets the value of relationship marketing. In addition, such an organization gets the value of knowing the context in which an employee/customer is complaining.

Brian Solis, Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group, writes, “Collaboration takes more than the idea of Facebook behind a firewall. This is about aligning people around a common vision, to encourage engagement beyond the teams you know, to create inside and outside experiences that matter to employees, customers, and partners. Enterprise social networks represent the technology to bring your vision to life as they are merely tools that mimic the way that people connect and communicate in the real world.” (SOURCE: What’s the Future of Business – http://www.wtfbusiness.com)

It’s one thing to have an email, a name and a role in our marketing database. And then to blast a prescribed formula to segmented lists. It’s a far deeper action to have a complaint, a context AND an email, name and role. When an organization has EVERY complaint out there about a competitor/themselves PLUS the current contact info for those who are complaining, they have an opportunity to engage in conversations with those complainers one-to-one. This is called relationship marketing.

“We created a contextual social space where people interested by a topic (in this case the World Economic Forum – http://weflive.com/kpmg) could follow what what said about it and the brand was opening a discussion channel in this precise context,” writes Nicolas Dengler of Shore.li, http://www.shore.li

The question is whether they will use such information in a way that the customer truly gets and wants to respond to. Will they mobilize their marketing team to offer solutions one-to-one in social comment threads? Or will they simply do another email blast?

Ted Rubin, a world expert in relationship marketing, writes, “Creating the opportunity for customers to share via a social platform allows people to give feedback/suggestions real-time and therefore increases the brand benefit exponentially.” (SOURCE: http://www.tedrubin.com/blog/)

When asked about the difference between corporations running email blasts and those running Relationship Marketing campaigns, Giles Palmer, CEO of Brandwatch, the world’s premier social media monitoring service, said, “The answer’s obvious, isn’t it? The difference between email marketing and relationship marketing reminds me of a guy driving a car around a town centre with a big microphone screaming their message out versus someone walking through the crowd shaking people’s hands and talking WITH them. If the broadcast message is funny or informative, ok, it’s a way to get to a large number of people quickly. But if it’s not, it’s just noise. And who wants to be remembered as the noisy guy in the room.” (SOURCE: Personal call with Giles Palmer of Brandwatch, April 2013)

This transition from email blasts to relationship marketing IS the future of marketing and sales. And it is the next step in moving from a culture that looks at people as digits TO a culture that sees people as people.

SOLUTIONS:
Solutions for corporations to build relationship include (in order):

a) an audit of all complaints/feedback about a product/service (using listening tech, such as Social Media Monitoring tools),
b) a creation of responses internally and/or with the help of a content-marketing agency,
c) the assignment of an individual/team to respond within 24 hours to complaints/feedback in ALL social streams and comment feeds,
d) the creation of a “living” database where these responses and the resulting sales are documented.

PURPOSE OF SOLUTIONS:

1) To identify who is complaining about our competitor.
2) To offer solutions to these people directly.
3) To improve our products/services through knowing their complaints.
4) To increase awareness of our comprehensive understanding of this market niche AND of what our customer needs.
5) To increase sales.

IN BRIEF: Social prospects are developed THROUGH providing solutions in social comment feeds. Conversion occurs when a prospect finds the solution satisfactory AND better than a competitor’s solution. The process involves: identification of needs through listening, providing better solutions to these needs than competitors, follow up with people who want to use the better solution.

RESOURCES FOR FURTHER STUDY:

1. THE ULTIMATE EMAIL STATS LIST VIA HUBSSPOT:
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33901/The-Ultimate-List-of-2012-Email-Marketing-Stats.aspx

2. THE GRAND GUIDE TO SOCIAL SELLING VIA ELOQUA:
http://www.slideshare.net/Eloqua/the-grande-guide-to-social-selling

3: HOW TO DO RESEARCH IN SOCIAL NETWORKS VIA BRANDWATCH:
http://www.brandwatch.com/knowledge-base/ebooks/