Or how to use technology to sell something.
Through the process of curating marketing technology articles, I have the opportunity to see trends rise and fall, sometimes quickly and sometimes strung out over many quarters. Of all the positive, upward trends in the B2B space, Social Selling tops all, and I’m continually surprised how it is largely ignored by all players (client, vendors, service providers, media, etc.). But the trend is too strong right now, and I think you’ll see Social Selling cross the chasm in 2014.
We can thank Jill Rowley from Oracle (Eloqua) for her seminal “The ABCs of Social Selling,” and if you haven’t read this, please do so now. And in today’s Alert, I’ve included three scoops that should provide you with the direction you need to formulate a social selling plan. Catch the wave.
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In May, Forrester teamed up with the IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) and VisionEdge Marketing (VEM) to survey marketing leaders about how they demonstrate marketing's impact on the business. About a week ago I (finally) published Forrester's take on this important survey (subscription required).
Key among the findings: marketing leadership continues to use metrics to report on performance and justify budgets. But far fewer use data and analytics to analyze purchase patterns, fine tune the mix, and understand customer lifetime value - actions that can have a bigger impact on overall performance. The bottomline here is that marketing's impact doesn't matter if CMOs fail to link what they do to business goals.
To help CMOs shift their measurement perspective from outputs to outcomes and to put a sharper focus on business agility, I recommend four key actions to take:
1) Clarify which outcomes the business wants.
2) Go beyond ROMI to expose the full scope of marketing's influence.
3) Model and monitor customer lifetime value.
4) Measure existing customer value as well.
Sometimes I get self-conscious that I'm making sophomoric statements regarding the CMO and the usage of data and technology to drive the function, i.e., am I stating the obvious here? Then I come across articles such as Laura Ramos' above post, and I don't know whether to be shocked that this is still occurring, or pleased that I'm making the right call.
Digital marketing offers greater opportunities for businesses over the next year than more traditional channels, according to a new report.
When asked to identify which three marketing channels offer the greatest opportunities, half of brands (50%) mentioned social media followed by email (43%) and websites (35%).
In fact the top 10 most cited channels are all online, with the most popular offline channel being direct mail at 8%.
The findings come from the new Econsultancy and Responsys Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2013, which contains a comprehensive analysis of the use of online and offline marketing channels, integration of display advertising and use of mobile for marketing.
Only 20% of the respondents are retailers, so don't completely disregard the data, although I think 50% is too high/optimistic, and is setting social up for failure. For the B2B entity, social is a channel and a sales tool.
Email marketing is a blood sport. In the last 20 years, the only thing that’s changed with email is that great email senders continue to get punished more and more by email service providers.
Utilization of these list hygiene services can improve the percentage of emails that make it to the inbox, reduce your risk of being blocked by the Internet Service Providers, and reduce the risk of getting fired by your Email Service Provider… they’re worth the investment if you’ve got an old list or collaborating on one.
- BriteVerify – tools you need to remove invalid emails from your customer databases, email marketing campaigns, or online newsletters and keep them out for good. You can easily drag and drop a file, share the file via the cloud, and get detailed reporting on your list without ever contacting the company. They also have an API if you’d like to integrate your email verfication with them!
- DataValidation – offers you an easy-to-use, customizable solution for maintaining a clean and accurate email database.
- eHygienics is a professional email verification company. They remove bounces, threats, protestors, litigators and all other perceivable hazards from subscriber databases. eHygienics offers real time API platforms which are used daily by subscribers worldwide.
- FreshAddress helps companies that depend on email to drive revenue by building, updating, segmenting, and cleaning their email lists.
- Impressionwise‘s data intelligence platform is based on policy-driven rule sets and real-time scanning algorithms that use a multi-layered approach to identify, validate and protect against a wide range of e-mail-based threats.
- LeadSpend – Remove harmful email addresses before you mail! Whether you have a single list to validate, or many, we provide several secure and easy-to-use list upload options.
- StrikeIron – Quickly and effortlessly verify and validate email addresses and domains to ensure their accuracy before you spend unnecessary time, energy and money, increasing your message deliverability by 90%.
This is an excellent reference tool. How many contacts have you collected over the years? Rather than use a mailer to clean your list, and ruin your rating, these tools should help!
Search Engine Marketing - Paid search visits have a 35% higher conversion rate for e-commerce websites compared with visits from organic search, according to a recent report by MarketLive.
The report, which was based on data from more than 200 e-commerce websites with over $1.5 billion in combined annual sales, found that visitors arriving from paid search links had a 2.6% average conversion rate in the first six months of 2013, compared with a 1.9% conversion rate for organic search visits.
Yeah I know: this is B2C e-commerce oriented. However, it should prompt the thought as to the efficacy of your inbound programs based on conversions, not visits, especially with regards to the inclusion of PPC as a part of your mix. Don't ignore PPC without the proper analysis.
Like it or not, you need to build a significant following on Twitter in order to take full advantage of the platform. These 17 tactics, including two brand-new Followerwonk features, will boost your efforts.
You might ask, why do I want more followers anyway? Twitter does little for SEO (at least not directly). Well, I don't want to get into a whole sales pitch for social media generally, but a few points stand out:
- Twitter is a lightweight, frictionless, and serendipitous way to engage customers. It doesn't require an email blast or the customer actively visiting your site. Once they follow you, they'll encounter you on their timeline during the normal course of their social experience. The little pings and pops you'll have with them accrue tremendous value.
- Your follower count is a good measure of your influence, and other people see it as such. The more followers you have, the more you'll attract, and the more you can use your influence to drive customers, conversations, and engagement.
- The more you are followed, the more likely you will appear in the "Who to follow" Twitter promotion on the left hand side of Twitter.com.
Followers vs. the RIGHT kind of Followers. Big difference. Anyway, the author co-founded Followerwonk, so he should know the right way to boost your followers. Go for it.
Having your personal social selling command center will help you put all of the important social media tools at your fingertips!
I use HootSuite, after a few years of trial and error testing, as MY social selling command center. There are other tools, so you will need to pick one that is comfortable for you. You will need to build out these five screens to help you navigate and respond to the many sales opportunities flooding in via Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging and other social media channels.
- Listen For Key Selling Triggers. Set up a stream to listen for key sales triggers. This action will give you real-time data on what’s being said about your discrete and multiple streams of relevant information, like Big Data and Cloud Computing.
- Observe Social Media Activity Of Key Contacts, Media Publications and Relevant Social Media Channels. Devise a stream for your command center that shows you all the social media messaging of your customers, completion, thought leaders and media publications. You can have all of your key contacts in one stream, or add streams to cover separate customer, competition, thought leaders and media publications.
- Message And Respond To Your Contacts. From your command center screen use a stream of your contacts or listed people to direct message (i.e., like an email for Twitter) your customers to start or respond in a private conversation, to reach out to non-followers with a Twitter mention to engage in a public or semi-private conversation, or to reply to any message that is directed to you.
- Schedule Your Content. Regular content creation, curation, and deployment are the dilithium (that’s the Enterprise’s fuel) to your personal branding engine! A command center, like HootSuite, will let you schedule messaging so you can ration your “content fuel” over time for better performance.
- Measure The Performance Of Your Messaging. If your content and social selling messaging activity is working, then you want to do more of it. When it’s not working you need to change it. However, if you are not able to measure your work, then you cannot make these changes. Your social selling command center can help you easily make that decision since that measurement data is just a click away!
You have three social selling blueprints in front of you: this one and the two adjacent scoops. With these three scoops, you can plan out your social selling strategy. You're welcome.
The verdict on social selling is in: It works.
Here are 10 tips to get you rethinking what you know about social selling, and on the right track:
- To build your company’s page following, start running campaigns geared toward people already engaged your company to drive awareness and call to action to follow your LinkedIn page.
- Make your Twitter profile as professional as your LinkedIn profile. Use the same photo across your social networks so you’re easily identifiable, and make sure to link up to your LinkedIn profile in your Twitter bio.
- Don’t be afraid to get personal on Twitter. It’s a channel to share professional insight, as well as things that interest you outside your every day that support your personal brand.
- Get your employees in on the discussion.
- Stop thinking of LinkedIn InMail as a general email channel. Leverage the insights you can gather form profiles and other social networks to indicate that you’ve done research on the person you’re connecting with.
- “Who’s viewed your profile” is a goldmine for helping you make connections with people who already demonstrate an interest in your personal brand. Monitor these visits and send personalized emails from sales reps who manage that particular account with a link to their individual sales rep profile.
- Cross-reference your profile viewer’s names with your nurture functionality in marketing automation and establish parameters for when it’s appropriate to shift from nurture communication to a one-on-one dialogue.
- Be insights driven and gather intelligence and social information that helps you prepare for sales conversations.
- Leverage LinkedIn to create personas based on activity, groups they participate in and, topics of interest. Look for correlating behaviors and defining attributes that align with your target buyers to establish propensity to engage, and even buy.
- Demonstrate real value in groups by participating in discussions and sharing relevant content. Sexton suggests a “4 to 1 approach”, to share four update items about news in your industry, customer and partner networks, and one promotional item that supports your company news.
OK, now add this to the adjacent scoop where I said you need to seriously examine eGrabber Account-Researcher. One more social selling scoop coming up...
Social Media Tools: Discover the tools social media pros are using today and get more out of your social media marketing.
The list of 14...
- Mention was developed as a user-friendly replacement for Google Alerts.
- My favorite new social media tool is Addvocate.
- The best new tool I’ve seen in many months is called Swayy.
- eGrabber Account-Researcher is so incredibly powerful for researching prospects that it’s absolutely worth the $80 a month fee.
- Enter Compfight.
- Tagboard is my new cool social media tool.
- A cool social media tool that has helped me get a better handle on effectively managing my Twitter account is ManageFlitter.
- Socialbakers has an effective tool called Analytics Pro, which provides an understanding of how your brand stacks up against your competitors.
- Post Planner is a content management tool that runs as an application within Facebook.
- That’s why it was refreshing to discover a new free Facebook page analytics tool from Komfo.
- An interesting tool I recently discovered is Rignite, which helps monitor several social media platforms.
- One of the coolest social media marketing tools that I’ve discovered and used is SocialOomph.
- Zapier has changed the social media marketing game for me in the most dramatic of ways.
- She recommended two tools: FixYourFunnel (an Infusionsoft-specific tool) and Mobivity.
Your Action Item: click through on each (and article for additional feedback), and incorporate those that are appealing. For those involved with Social Selling, don't ignore eGrabber Account-Researcher.
With recent posts mentioning the rise of contextual and implicit queries, we are now seeing a deep personalization of search. This takes many forms, and has very real implications for our work as marketers.
Amit Singhal [of Google] is right when he says that "Answer," "Converse," and "Anticipate"—deep personalization of search, I called it—is going to change search as we know it.
Is this maybe the reason why the Search Team at Google is now called the Knowledge Team? Is this maybe the main reason for "Not Provided" keywords?
What I know is that personalization is already so heavily present in search that avoiding it in the name of a fading neutral search is not doing good SEO.
Moreover, personalized search is clearly telling us how SEO alone is not enough, but that content, social, and email marketing by themselves are also not enough to obtain a real and complete success in Internet marketing.
Personalized search is pushing us to hasten the destruction of silos between Internet marketing disciplines, and hopefully it will oblige marketers to change and embrace a more holistic way of promoting a business online.
The author builds the case that personalization has come to Search, and it’s a compelling case. Google's influence across its many offerings makes it a formidable tool, but the question remains as to specifically how the marketer can take advantage of Google's reach.
The reach of the modern marketing department is growing every day, touching more buyers, through more touch points, and generating more leads than ever before.