All posts tagged Social Media

Social Selling for the Modern Buyer

Social Media Cube

Most of us would probably agree that the average person does not want to be sold to. As much as we all buy products and services and experiences, we don’t want them to be sold to us. People don’t like to feel the pressure. When we recognize a need or a problem we look for a solution, and that’s when we traditionally reach out to Sales. Buyers have to contact Sales to inquire about a solution, get more info, and eventually make a purchase. This puts Sales in control: the buyer has to come to them.

But the modern buyer operates within a completely different environment, so the modern salesperson must fill a completely different role. With such free access to information, buyers can do their research without ever contacting a company. They can seek out reviews online, find testimonials on social media and find out the general public sentiment about a company before Sales has a chance to get involved. If the company has an e-commerce system, buyers can pretty well avoid every potential Sales interaction.

Social media provides a wonderful new environment for the modern buyer, but the modern seller is able to benefit too. Sales can see how prospects interact in the social environment as they volunteer information about themselves in real time. They can track what prospects are reading, who influences them, where they seek out information and so on. This gives Sales an opportunity to tap into the same networks and build trust within a community the prospect already belongs too. Now, when a prospect is ready to make a purchase, guess who they think of first?

Not only that, it facilitates customer-Sales interactions in a way that benefits both parties. Sales listens to prospects and customers in real time, meaning a better understanding of customer needs. Prospects hold Sales accountable to always provide engaging information rather than make constant sales pitches. Plus, this power-neutral relationship allows less formal and more immediate communications: Sales can reach out to new prospects or rekindle interest by old customers without ever picking up the phone.

Social Selling is defined in Eloqua’s Grande Guide as “the practice of leveraging social networks…in the overall sales function, from lead generation, to closed deal, to account management”. Social Selling is a way of responding to the changed buyer environment, and it works better for both parties. Sales is able to connect with potential buyers much earlier in the cycle and start building a relationship that can lead to more and bigger purchases. And buyers still have control over what information they provide and the degree to which they engage with Sales.

As much as the way the modern salesperson does her job is changing, the goal of Sales is still very much the same. Fundamentally, Sales is responsible for getting a buyer to the point where they can purchase. Buyers still start the cycle by seeking solutions to their problems. Branded thought leadership content is great during this information gathering stage. Then buyers narrow down the list and compare their best options. Sales can share internal and external content that touts the benefits of their solution. When the prospect is ready to buy she looks for social proof. Having an engaged social media following of current and past customers is exactly that kind of proof.

So Sales is still working towards the same objective, they’re just taking a different route through a new environment. Now, Sales accompanies the buyer throughout the whole purchase journey. “Selling to” a prospect means building a relationship over time, building trust with the buyer, and eventually making a transaction. And what better way to build that relationship than to engage “socially”, with Social Selling?

Exploring the Marketing Technology Landscape – Part Four

Carrying on in our discussion of integration in marketing technology, let’s look again at Scott Brinker’s “Marketing Technology Landscape” graphic. In exploring the subject headings used, the sizes of various categories and the companies in each category, we can tease out a few interesting correlations, but we also raise some interesting questions. Continue reading →

Social Media: Is it Public Relations or Marketing?

If you’re not using social media, you are missing out on infinite potential. It has evolved to become one of the most valuable tools for a company, because it allows for better communication, branding and accountability. Customers are able to reach out to brands in a much more personalized manner, and this makes for stronger and more trusting relationships. Marketing and PR each have a stake in the viral world, and they can sometimes cause conflicts with their different agendas. So what is the solution? Bring them together.

Social media is an opportunity for a two-way conversation between customers and brands, and so it is often classified as a PR tool. However, it has recently been used by marketing departments as free advertising – brands are using these channels as a means of promoting new products and services. Although both departments have different roles, the most successful campaigns are when the two sides can collaborate to create campaigns and strategies that reflect the entire company goals.

To learn more about how marketing and public relations can come together over social media, read our article here.

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A Response to Forbes’ Eclectic CMO

The role of CMO is one of the most coveted and sought after positions in a company. It’s a role that combines creativity, leadership, and strategy, and it changes with even the slightest movements in the industry. As the marketing world begins to blend in with other industries, like technology and public relations, the role of a marketing executive also changes.

A recent Forbes article discusses the shifting responsibilities of CMOs, and how the expectations are moving away from the original big-idea strategies, and towards a more diverse set of skills. While having experience in marketing is always going to be an asset, there is also a dire need for digital and technological skills, and experience with operations, public relations, and strategy development.

If you’re able to try your hand at roles in each of those industries you gain powerful connections, and this enables you to become an influence. The value of a following, and maintaining the role of a thought leader, should never be undervalued: you become a voice that has the power to change, not only your company, but the industry.

The way to become the best CMO is to diversify your skill set, and to move beyond the traditional marketing responsibilities. Having a formal background in marketing is no longer the main requirement for holding that executive-level position, because new skills are becoming increasingly more valued.

Fortune 500 Companies and Their CMOs: The Value of Social Followings

Fortune 500 Companies and Their CMOsThere are a lot of things that go into a successful marketing strategy, and one of the most important channels to focus on is social media. It has become both the easiest and more vital way of getting information out to customers, brands, and the rest of the world, and yet there are a lot of marketing executives that are still missing this integral step. Within the Fortune 500, there are some companies and executives that have done exceptionally well in the jump to social marketing, but there are also a large number that haven’t made their move.

Over the course of five week, Couch & Associates, Inc. looked at B2B companies in an attempt to see whether they had anything in common that was keeping their social activity in the dark. Based on the study, we found that if your Chief Marketing Officer doesn’t have a social following, or a personal strategy, your company doesn’t have success over social channels:

  • Over 50% of the CMOs didn’t have Twitter accounts, and of those that did only 20% posted regularly
  • CMOs that didn’t have Twitter accounts or accessible LinkedIn accounts worked for companies that had the lowest rate of new followers
  • Less than 5% of the CMOs had a Facebook page as a Thought Leader
  • Companies with “unsocial” CMOs had the lowest number of posts on company LinkedIn accounts, and the lowest number of two-way engagements on their company’s Facebook wall
  • Companies that didn’t post relevant pieces that distinguished them as thought leaders had the smallest increase in Likes over Facebook

Read more about the study, and why social media is so important for executives.