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Feb 20 Posted 2 years ago
I agree with Brad Miller that anyone can now disband their sales force because social media or social selling can now do all that valuable work. Social can, however, increase the reach of marketing messages to capture net-new prospects (friends of your current customers, for example) who would not otherwise know about your company or its solutions, social can be a source of educating and informing those prospects and current customers (through links to content assets) about your company's offerings thereby progressing them through the sales funnel faster or with less friction, social can improve conversion of those prospects and customers from tire-kickers to contacts and leads, social can give those prospects/customers assurance that "people like them" have used and have seen value from your products and solutions (ratings, recommendations, through blogs, tweets, and the rest), and more.
Social can also help sales reps (and others) establish their personal brand including their authority and expertise on a topic, can help keep them connected to key people in their assigned accounts, can allow them to watch/listen/observe their key client interactions, keep them informed of hot topics / issues / opportunities in key accounts and the industries of those accounts (including the competitors of their clients), can give them insight into the interactions and points-of-view of their contacts, and gives the sales rep an easy way to share information with their clients.
Those are just a few examples - there's much more. With that as a starting point, I do believe that social media (and social networks) can and will have increasing value to a sales force.
As for news: social media lets both positive and negative news travel faster and broader. It then gives companies an easy, quick way to clarify mis-perceptions or mis-statements, or to share their side of a story. If companies are watching / listening properly, it gives them an early warning of rising problem topics they can respond to more quickly and actively. It gives them access to opinion influencers, who the companies can focus on in a targeted way to sway opinions by sharing the full story, or to help guide the company to change its policies or practices. It's not all "happy talk" on social media and social networks; real tough issues get raised and addressed... and in the SAP world specifically we value and encourage open and frank discussions filled with facts and examples - and our customer bloggers are most often the ones who 'set the record straight' when controversial topics are raised. Like any tool, it can be used for good, or used to do harm; the most authentic, engaged companies and individuals will see the best overall results.
Feb 19 Posted 2 years ago
Eugene... I can't speak for any of the show’s presenters, but I was never suggesting sales people are no longer needed. Social is a tool that can be used for sales, and very effectively. Cat is an example of this. I doubt they would have closed the deal without a salesperson reaching out.
Feb 19 Posted 2 years ago
Thanks Mark and great to meet you as well.. I appreciate the additional insights.
Feb 18 Posted 2 years ago
If sales via Social Media is that easy we do not need sales people.
Also please distinguish betwen customer base new sales generation and "net new". Everybody quotes isolated incidents I have yet to see any company breaking sales by and non Social Media origin.
Who is going to be first?
Social media is part of marketing mix and mainly a communications of positive news tool. I doubt that SAP bloggers will tweet too much on recent SAP State of California fiasco.
Sow I am of Wow (or Fad) News Sceptic.
Feb 18 Posted 2 years ago
Nicely summarized, Brad! (Also good to meet you at the event)
Further information on blogs and bloggers at SAP:
About 6,000 of our (approximately) 2 million community members (customers, partners, employees, competitors, analysts, influencers on the SAP Community Network, or SCN) blog actively or occasionally. On average, they produce / publish about 25 blogs per day on a wide range of ~400 topics related to SAP products, solutions, business topics, and more.
Any of the ~2 million SCN members can blog. All anyone needs to do is register (low barrier: email and password), accept the terms-of-use (pretty standard stuff), and away they go: they have access rights to post questions or to answer questions in discussion areas, to contribute to the wiki, to comment on other people's blogs, or to publish their own original blogs. We don't pre-screen or censor beforehand. We do have "monitor for abuse" or "flag for moderation" buttons whereby other community members can flag questionable content to a moderator. This is rarely necessary (less than 1 percent of the time) as the community members police themselves and others -- after all, it's "their" community.
About 100 SAP employees have blogging as a component of their goals or KPI's. In other words, actively outreaching to our ecosystem of customers, partners, and prospects via blogging is seen as a key component of their jobs. It reflects the growing value SAP is placing on this activity.
We value the rich conversation and insights our customers and partners and employees share in the community, and we a lot to encourage open and collaborative sharing of experiences and opinions. It's what makes the SAP community so rich and vibrant.
Any of your readers can take a look (and can join if they'd like) at http://scn.sap.com/welcome