My New Addiction

I have to admit my addiction. I never thought it could happen to me, at first I wasn't even sure I liked it and didn't really understand the hype, but that didn't last. I am officially addicted to speaking in 140 character soundbites - Twitter has taken another victim.

Let me start by saying this isn't completely my fault. As someone who makes a living in the world of marketing I need to make sure I completely understand what the next big thing is - and it is obvious that Twitter has positioned itself as the next big thing. Even if the folks at Twitter haven't figured out how to make a dime yet  it doesn't mean that inventive marketing teams haven't. So again, I didn't do this to myself on purpose, it was because I am dedicated to my work. No really - I swear.

By now if you have done any research you have surely heard success stories like Zappos or JetBlue and how they became some of the big pioneers to capitalize on this strange new technology. These big companies took a chance on a social media fad that was never initially designed as a tool for business. They turned out asto be visionaries, so to speak. But with the monetary investment needed to get started on Twitter (It's free for those of you who don't know) it is shocking that more businesses haven't jumped in with both feet.

At first I started with the SAVO corporate account. I started slow, posting occasionally about events, webinars,  what have you. I didn't have much of a following so I started to actively seek out key media, analysts and customers and started following them and soon enough a number of them were following us back. This was pretty cool, it was kind of like feeling some power. From here I started using Twitter search to see if anyone was talking about the key conversations that matter to people where our product can be effective. I started following more people and in turn more and more people began to follow us. Sure, not every follower is the right fit for SAVO, but there are definitely people of influence getting our message.

However, it got to a point where I just couldn't sit online, there is obviously a lot of other work to get done, so I began trying out some of the numerous applications out there intended for maximizing the Twitter experience. I tried out applications like twihrl, digsby and Tweetdeck. While I found value in all three, the tool that worked best for me for the corporate account was Tweetdeck. You download the software for free from the web and the world of Twitter is there at your finger tips without having to have a web browser open. I set up my deck with columns for customers, media, analysts, keywords, etc. I will do occasional checks over the course of the day, but Tweetdeck also has the pop up notification letting me know when something has been added and in which column. It is seriously a very powerful tool which I highly recommend for anyone running a corporate account. 

Other tools I use for the corporate account include twurll to shorten the URLs I link. It also allows me to track the click-thrus in real time. I also use friendorfollow to track who is following us that we aren't following back and vice-versa. I listed SAVO in multiple directories including Twellow and WeFollow

To expand our presence we set up accounts for our CEO and our Development Staff. There is only so much I can say with our corporate account and that is why it is important to expand our voice and reach on Twitter.

However, I couldn't stop with just the corporate account so I expanded by creating a personal account, which actually led to the creation of this blog. The world of 140 characters had begun its creep into all realms of my life. I thought being on Facebook and LinkedIn was enough, but no, Twitter with its clean interface came calling. So I began posting, a little bit here about the Boilers, a little but there about marketing. And those tools, the digsbys and twhirls that did not work for me and the corporate account work perfectly for my personal account. Digsby, allowing me to link Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and my Gmail without having a browser open is one of my favorite gadgets.

I have found some pretty cool people to follow that have linked information I may never have found on my own. The community you can create for yourself in twitter is what is really amazing. The amount of knowledge (good and bad)that can be shared is astounding. If I want to find an article or expert on a topic I now search Twitter first and then go to Google if I can't find exactly what I am looking for. Twitter also allows you to experience world events in real time, one I found quite interesting was EarthHour and the fact people were using technology to communicate about not having the lights on.

It is amazing how it happens, one day you are fine living your life without Twitter. Then you give in a little, just to see what its like. You know, because all the cool kids are doing it. You shrug it off, walk away but then you come back and before you know it Tweeting is something you begin to say without snickering. This is when you know you are hooked - that is, until the next big thing comes along.


What is Sales Enablement?

OK, the Boilers just broke my heart, they just couldn't get over the hump....anyway...

I want to delve into a topic that I reference often, but have not yet described, that is Sales Enablement. Sales Enablement has garnered quite a large amount of buzz in organizations across the globe, and this is a good thing. The best definition I have heard for Sales Enablement is this: SE is the ability to get the right information to the right person at the right time in the sales cycle. Seems simple enough right? Then why is it many organizations have not put focus on this until recently?

For years companies have been mandating better sales performance, they have put in place CRM systems, put money into training systems and placed quotas on sales people. If you can succeed great, if not the cycle repeats itself and organizations continue the cycle of losing money while new reps are ramping. Smart companies have realised that an investment into enabling their revenue generating teams can help break this cycle and can put their reps in a position to have better, more informed conversations.

Think about it - if you are a sales rep do you feel like you are equipped to handle every potential conversation that can present itself on every sales call? Do you have the best most accurate competitive information and product information? Are your sales materials designed in a way that enable you to have the right conversation based on who you are talking to, the vertical they are in and the right point in the sales cycle? Jeff Summers, COO at SAVO wrote a great piece on utilizing sales enablement that explains this facet.

As budgets continue to get tighter, and in some instances, revenue generating teams get downsized it is important for organizations to look within their own walls for ways to better position themselves for success. If a company can capture the best insights, best practices and sales techniques from their top sellers and make this information easily accessible to others on the sales team they are positioning their other sellers for success.

It is not about who has the flashiest sell sheets or slickest PowerPoint deck, this is not going to help you win the deal if it is not relevant to your prospect. Your prospect has needs, and unless you can find away to connect with those needs and solve their problems there is no chance you are going to close the deal. You need to figure out their pain points and explain how your solution aligns with these needs - you can no longer lead with product.

I don't want to just put this all on the sales team - we marketers need to play a bigger role in enabling sales. We can create all the collateral in the world, but if it is not useful to sales, are we useful? We need to open the lines of communications and find out what is working for our sales teams and build our marketing strategy around this. Sales Enablement only works when it is a complete team effort.

More and more companies are putting forth the resources toward better Sales Enablement - is yours? How well is your team positioned for success? 


It has been a while since I have updated this - I am so ashamed. 

First things first, congratulations Boilers on winning the Big 10 Tourney and congrats on winning the first round game in the tourney - keep it up.

So far this tourney in general has not been too exciting, but something that is interesting to note is how slow twitter has been due to what I am guessing is a high tweet volume due to the tournament. The power of social media again shows that it is the future, marketers please keep paying attention. Traditional advertising is dead - there, I said it.

Sure, there were some OK ads at the Super Bowl like Shanapotomus - and the Jordan commercial with Rip Hamelton running right now is clever, but print ads are being pulled from budgets in B2B and B2C both and even when the economy comes back I don't see money going back - the smart money is going to Sales Enablement and Lead Generation and the smart strategy is social media, SEO and your corporate website. Working for the leading Sales Enablement software obviously biases me to what technology you should use for SE, but even if you don't use our software, make sure as marketers you are doing something to make sure your focus is on making sure your sales reps are having smarter, more efficient and effective communications in the field. Don't just make flashy glossies and white sheets, make sure you have tools that are easily customized for specific selling situations. Make sure sales can take what you have given them and customize it to the right audience at the right point in the selling situation (but make sure you do it in a way that they don't destroy your branding.) It is tough, but necessary.

The smart companies are the ones laying the groundwork now in both Sales Enablement and Social Media. Although all of these channels may not make sense for your business, some of them will - look at twitter, look at blogs, look at YouTube and Facebook, make sure you are represented on LinkedIn - but make sure you have a unified strategy in mind - also, above all remember to be authentic.