Twitter for Product Marketers

Via rocketwatcher.com, I’m subscribed to, I found “7 Reasons Why Good Product Managers Must Be On Twitter”:

  1. Connect with other PMs […]
  2. Get in touch with (potential) clients […]
  3. Listen to customer feedback […]
  4. Locate the experts […]
  5. Share good and relevant articles […]
  6. Grow your online-reputation […]
  7. Let people know about your product […]

Read the full blog post at webproductblog.com

Here is the response “5 Not Obvious Reasons Product Marketers Should Twitter” from rocketwatcher.com:

“Thomas Fuchs Martin over at webproductblog.com had a great post called “the 7 reasons why good product managers must be on Twitter” which covers the big reasons like listening to customer feedback and connecting with other PM’s. This then got me thinking about other perhaps less pressing reasons to be on Twitter and I give you…

5 non-obvious reasons product marketers should Twitter:

  1. Communicate Bad News […]
  2. Spy on the Other Guys […]
  3. Get inside the heads of Analysts and Experts […]
  4. Find People you Want to Hire (and some you don’t) […]
  5. Prove you’re human (so people cut your company some slack when you screw up) […]”

Read the full blog post “5 Not Obvious Reasons Product Marketers Should Twitter“.

Buyers want the sales rep to provide information that is tailored to their unique needs

Jeff Ernest @jeffernst wrote “Sales 2.0 term still not used or recognized by sales leaders”, on May 19, 2009:

“[…] when a speaker asked a room full of sales and marketing folks “Who’s heard of the term Sales 2.0?” About 25% of the hands went up, almost entirely vendors. My take on the reason for this is that the definitions of Sales 2.0 that the vendors are bandying about are too focused on the usage of Web 2.0 tools by sales reps…namely social networks, blogs, wikis, etc. I’ve got a very different definition of Sales 2.0, and it starts with the buyer…

Because of all of the social media resources available to buyers today on the web, power has shifted from sellers to buyers. No one can deny that buyers today are much better educated about a seller’s offerings long before they talk with a sales rep.

Sales 2.0 is all about how the changing buying process requires changes in how companies sell. Buyers get frustrated if sales people are giving them the same general information they already have. They are demanding that sellers add much more value, by giving them information that’s tailored to their unique needs, at the exact time they need it.

Once we stop talking about Sales 2.0 as Web 2.0 tools for sales reps, and start recognizing it as a fundamentally different way to sell, it will become more relevant to and recognized by sales and marketing practitioners.

In a Sales 2.0 world, sales reps need to be better prepared than ever. What are you doing to prepare your reps?”

document generation

document generation feature tour

 

“Why re-creating content again and again? Why ending up with multiple versions of the same content across your enterprise? There’s a way to create a sustainable content base for your enterprise. BizSphere content re-use and single sourcing technologies allow you to plan and execute your content production in an organized way enabling content consumers to auto-generate the documents they need, when they need it – instantly and on-the-fly.”

This goes well beyond slides libraries! Basically brings it to the next level by breaking up slides into what they call ‘content nuggets’ and using web 3.0 concepts to auto-generate customized files out of a mind-bobbling number of possible combinations. Saves real dollars / time normally spent on designing PowerPoint or other doc types. No more outsourcing to graphics agencies. Just pick the template and hit “generate”. The result will be polished and include cross-selling opportunities and case studies from the chosen country…

“Six issues that content and inbound marketing technology fails to address” from on Wednesday, April 15th, 2009:

“[…] Generic content does not work anymore, you need to address each stakeholder, if you are selling to a CIO, CFO, HR, you need specific content to address their business requirements.”

Sales 2.0 Technology – Real Opportunity or Sales SOS? March 21, 2009 by Darren Cunningham, Director of Product Marketing at LucidEra [Links added by the author of this blog].

“[…] make my sales team more effective, not just efficient?

According to a recent IDC study (Don’t Understand Sales Enablement? You’re Not Alone!, 2009) 57% of customers feel that sales reps are not sufficiently prepared about the solution they offer, the country they are in and the industry the customer is working in. Therefore, by providing the seller with the latest and most specific content and experts within the organisation can help him prepare faster and better before his/her pitch.

Cross-Referencing the own offering portfolio (this product can be sold with this service, logistics say that this product is often shipped together with that product, etc) can enable upselling as well.”

Ten Ways Twitter has Completely Changed the Sales Process

10 Ways Twitter has Completely Changed the Sales Process

By Pat Kitano (@pkitano) on May 21st, 2009:

“[…]

Pre-Twitter [or lets say Pre-Sales 2.0] Post-Twitter [or lets say with Sales 2.0]
Sales opportunities run through channels and pipelines Sales opportunities also arise out of cloud, provider and client find each other via “shared business interest”
Sales happen closer to where the sales force is physically based Sales can happen virtually anywhere with priority based upon size of opportunity
Relationships and networks facilitate execution Sure, relationships matter, but older networks usually don’t facilitate new opportunities. Twitter builds new networks quickly via search, target and network
Referral-based networking systems conducive to building business connections Sure, referrals work, but credible online reputation will now serve as a “self-reference”
Scheduling conference call three weeks in advance (frankly, I always thought this was arrogant) Instantaneous, and serendipitous conversations happen
Hard to get noticed by decision makers Retweet decision maker, compliment, and comment. Easy to start a conversation.
Dealing with the “gatekeeper” Twitter facilitates direct communication between relevant parties
Sales calls limited from 9 to 5 On Twitter, business conversations can happen any time (if one so chooses), because Twitterers are generally on 24-by-7
Closing requires face-to-face Twitter, social media and the recession facilitates closing by most economical means possible
Tedious sales support based on phone tree systems and locating the right resources Twitter begins to replace the phone system with new support and CRM tools (note Salesforce is integrating Twitter)

Mass media being replaced by social streams of information

Thomas Baekdal (@baekdal) from baekdal.com put trends into a great graphic and wrote a blog post on April 27, 2009:

http://www.baekdal.com

“[…]

2007 – Me too

3 years later the social element if the internet showed just how powerful the voice of the people really is. The TV was [for] the first time no longer the primary source of information, and newspapers are struggling to survive.

Everyone wanted to create their own little world, and connect it with their friends. But 2007 was also the turning point for the traditional websites. It was once the most important change, but now people compared the traditional websites to newspapers – a static and passive form of information. We wanted active information. We wanted to be a part of it, not just looking at it.

The blogs also started to get in trouble. Just as TV had eliminated radio (because it was better and richer way to give people LIVE information) so are social networks eliminating blogs. A social profile is a more active way for people to share what they care about. Social networks are simply the best tool for the job, and the blogs could not keep up.

2009 – Everything is Social

2 years later, today, the new internet is completely dominating our world. The newspapers are dead in the water, and people are watching less TV than ever. The new king of information is everyone, using social networking tools to connect and communicate.

Even the traditional website is dying from the relentless force of the constant stream of rich information from the social networks.

In the past 210 years we have seen an amazing evolution of information. We could:

  • Get information from distant places
  • Get it LIVE
  • See it LIVE
  • Get to decide when to see something, and what to see
  • Allow us to take part, and comment.
  • Publish our own information
  • …and in 2009… be the information.

But 2009 is also going to be the start of the next revolution. Because everything we know is about to change.

The Future

The first and most dramatic change is the concept of Social News. Social news is quickly taking over our need for staying up-to-date with what goes on in the world. News is no longer being reported by journalists, now it comes from everyone. And it is being reported directly from the source to you – bypassing the traditional media channels. […]

But social news is much more than that. It is increasingly about getting news directly from the people who [make] it. Instead of having a journalist reporting what some analyst are saying, you hear it from the analyst […]. Social news is about getting news from the source, directly, and unfiltered.

A new wave of entertainment is emerging […], one dominated by the games, video and audio streams. Instead of tuning into a TV channel, you decide what to see and when to see it. We are no longer subscribing to a channel, where someone else decides what you can see. You decide and control everything about the experience.

And a new concept in the form of targeted information is slowly emerging. We are already seeing an increasing number of services on mobile phones, where you can get information for the area that you are in. E.g. instead of showing all the restaurants in the world, you will only get a list of the restaurants in your area.

This is something that is going to explode into in the years to come. In the world where we have access to more information that we can consume, getting only the relevant parts is going to be a very important element. And, this will expand far beyond the simple geo-targeting that we see today.

2020 – Traditional is dead

In the next 5-10 years, the world of information will change quite a bit. All the traditional forms of information are essentially dead. The traditional printed newspapers no longer exists, television in the form of preset channels is replaced by single shows that you can watch whenever you like. Radio shows [are being] replaced [by] podcasts and vodcasts.

The websites have a much lesser role, as their primary function will be to serve as a hub for all the activities that you do elsewhere. It is the place where people get the raw material for use in other places. And the websites and social networks will merge into one. Your website and blog is your social profile.

Social news, as described previously, is going to be the most important way that people communicate. The traditional journalistic reporting is by now completely replaced getting information directly from the source. Everyone is a potential reporter, but new advances in targeting will eliminate most of the noise. The journalists will turn into editors who, instead of reporting the news, bring it together to give us a bigger picture.

The news stream of the future will be personalized to each individual person, and is constantly adjusting what you see – much the same way as Last.fm is doing today with music.

Everything will incorporate some form of targeting. You will be in control over every single bit of information that flows your way.

In 2010, two new concepts will start to emerge. One of them is intelligent information, where information streams can combine bits from many different news sources. Not just by pulling data, but summarizing it, breaking it apart and extracting the valuable parts.

Instead of reading 5 different articles on the same topic, you will be presented with one, highlighting the vital point of interest.

The world information is also going to be available almost everywhere. The concept of having to get the paper, sit in front of your TV, or look at your computer, will be long gone. Information will not be something you have to get. It comes to you, wherever you are, in whatever situation you happen to be in.

In the same way, information will not be something you ‘consume’ a certain times – like you did with prime-time on TVs. The information stream will be a natural part of every second of your life. It is not something you get, it is something you have.

The static and controlled forms of information that we see today will soon be a thing of the past.

Get ready!

Ask yourself. Are you still trying to get journalists to write about your products? Are you still making websites? Is your social networking strategy to ‘get a Facebook Page’?

…or…

Are you making yourself a natural part of people’s stream of information?”

With this great thought I would like to hand it over to Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) and April Dunford (@aprildunford) with the blog post “What Marketers can Learn from Chris Brogan’s ‘Next Media Company'” from rocketwatcher.com:

“Chris Brogan is a social media marketing smarty-pants.  There are a lot of folks out there (in marketing especially) that bill themselves as “Social Media Experts” because, like, they use Facebook a lot, but Chris, my friends is the real deal.  If you don’t read his blog you should and following him on Twitter is great because he interacts with everyone.

His latest post “The Next Media Company” is a must-read for anyone thinking about what social media means for traditional media and communications in general and that mean YOU, dear marketing readers.  In it he outlines a set of characteristics that he believes the next generation of media companies should have. Here are a few points I have picked out that I think are really important for marketers to think about:

  • Stories are points in time, but won’t end at publication. (Edits, updates, extensions are next.)
  • Media cannot stick to one form. Text, photos, video, music, audio, animation, etc are a flow.
  • Everything must be portable and mobile-ready. (Mobile devices need to evolve here, too).
  • Everything must have collaborative opportunities. If I write about a restaurant, you should have wikified access to add to the article directly.
  • Contributors come in many shapes: onstaff, partner (how pros like TechCrunch link to Washington Post), guest (for love and glory only), and conversational come right to mind. Who else?
  • Collaboration rules. Why should I pick the next cover? Why should my picture of the car crash be the best?
  • Everything is modular and linkable. Everything is fluid. Meaning, if I want the publication to be a business periodical, then I don’t want to have to read a piece about sports.

Now go back and think about your company website, your marketing materials, your customer facing information in any form.  How much of that is interactive/collaborative/fluid?  How much of your customer facing communications crosses media types?  How much of it is mobile-ready?  Is all of your customer-facing content being created inside the organization?  Do you make your customers read a bunch of stuff that isn’t relevant to them, just to get at the bits that are?  Do you collaborate with your customers?

If you are in marketing, you are in the communications business and the way we are communicating is changing, in my opinion, for the better.  The next great marketing company is going to be thinking a lot about the same things the next media company is thinking about.”

Read this blog post on rocketwatcher.com

In Sales 2.0 marketing’s role is no longer limited to filling the pipeline with leads

Mike Damphousse interviewed Anneke Seley from Phoneworks and author of the book Sales 2.0, May 2009:

“[…] What do you think smart sales and marketing execs should do to maximize both inbound and outbound activity?

Anneke: In an ideal world, marketing campaigns engage every qualified customer and sales reps just have to respond to incoming inquiries. But not all customers respond to these kinds of “direct response” marketing campaigns. Sometimes a highly-personalized phone and Web contact strategy -often called “Prospecting 2.0” or “Cold Calling 2.0” – yields the best results. As mentioned in my book, salesforce.com discovered this in 2003 when the company started a concerted effort to sell to large companies and traditional demand generation marketing wasn’t reaching target accounts. In innovative, Sales 2.0 companies, sales and marketing execs work together to design and execute different kinds of programs to reach different kinds of audiences. This is part of the Sales 2.0 philosophy to “sell in the way your customer wants to buy” (or engage).

Mike: You just mentioned that the union of selling and marketing is greater every day. What would you tell a marketing exec if they asked why they should be at Sales 2.0?

Anneke: It’s getting harder to discern where marketing ends and sales begins. In Sales 2.0, marketing’s role is no longer limited to filling the pipeline with leads; marketing is now essential in nurturing leads and keeping prospects and customers engaged even after they interact with sales. If you are a marketing exec, spend a day hanging out with us sales “guys” at the Sales 2.0 conference to learn our language and feel our pain! (This reminds me of a male colleague who reads Cosmopolitan magazine to better understand women.) By the way, it must be said that sales and marketing cooperation works best in companies in which sales and marketing execs share performance metrics, supported by incentive compensation, so CEO’s should come too!

Mike: Do you see sales people as Hunters or Gatherers in a 2.0 world?

Anneke: Both. But in Sales 2.0 companies, sales people are usually one or the other (new business reps or reps who look after customer accounts). And we usually refer to Gatherers as “Farmers”. […]”

Sales trainers embrace the 2.0 era!

Yesterday (May 9, 2009), I spoke to someone who said he doesn’t care about this new thing called ‘Twitter’ and he doesn’t want to take the time to find out what it is. I’m going to let Karl Goldfield speak. I found his rant from July 19, 2008 via Seamus Whittington Crawford’s post from Sunday, May 10, 2009:

Karl goes on a rant about technology and sales training. Here is my favorite part of his (unedited) challenge to sales trainers:

If you are not tweeting your blog posts and sending newsletters to keep your mind trust strong in the frontal lobe of your prospects and customers; if you are not joining groups and connecting on Linked In or E-cademy, Facebook or Plaxo; if you are not using Jigsaw or Salesconx to find your the top level prospects; if you do not set up google alerts and research news aggregators for trigger events; if you do not use Genius or Leadlander, then Landslide or another Process driven tool to manage your lead cultivation, what on earth are you doing?

[…] if you are not using VOIP and SAAS, or this whole paragraph is in a new language, get off the soap box and go back to the classroom. It is time to learn a new game, then teach others. Go, now, get moving!

I love it! Karl is absolutely right. Sales trainers who procrastinate, waiting for their clients to drag them into the Sales 2.0 era are going to lose any competitive edge they might currently have. Sales trainers need to understand, embrace, and integrate sales-enablement and learning technologies into their IP (intellectual property) and the delivery of their IP.

The new relationship between technology and sales effectiveness:

I speak with sales trainers every day. Too many tell me that they don’t get involved with technology for any number of reasons. Most of them aren’t explanations, they’re excuses.
Sales trainers: Do you want to be considered a leader by your clients and the sales training industry? Join the companies that are already there. Prove, with auditable performance metrics, that your approach, process, tools, content, etc., either integrating with, or leveraging, relevant Sales 2.0/Web 2.0 technology, enables your clients to achieve their sales performance goals and objectives, whether that be more sales, higher contract values, shorter selling cycles, or all three. […]”

Sales Communications

A blog post on Sales Communications from rcommins.wordpress.com from April 29, 2009 [links added by the author of this blog]:

“[…] A group of about 30 sales, sales ops and marketing leaders discussed their challenges in most effectively enabling sales and getting “the word” out to sales team without propagating billions of emails and creating random chaos. All of this while the rep really only cares if he is a hero or a zero this quarter.

[…] there are lots of good sales communications methodologies. What makes them suck or not is not the methodology in itself, but whether it was executed well. […]

So, what does it take to execute a sales communication strategy?

I think so many “corporate types” kill themselves over developing a killer strategy, only to put it on the shelf when the end of the quarter rally comes along. Leadership is by far the killer success factor here – focus on that, and you may have a chance to pull things off.

Another hot topic (for another night) was how to leverage social media tools for sales enablement. […]”

important characteristics of how typical sales reps at large organizations roll

On February 25, 2009 Sameer (@sameerpatel) from pretzellogic.org wrote a great blog post with some important characteristics of how typical sales reps at large organizations roll:

  • “Media watching is not a sport for sales reps. Feed them the good stuff & they’ll consume it.
  • Data/Intelligence extraction over collaboration. “Give to Get” doesn’t fly with most sales reps.
  • Good reps know exactly which 8.75 data types help them bust quotas. No more, no less.
  • In spite of the above, don’t expect them to dig for it. They’d rather use the time to cold call a lead.
  • Sales often ignore a lot of what marketing might offer or recommend.
  • They don’t personalize portals & intranets.
  • They rather search than browse; they want answers, not search results. (ok, who doesn’t!)
  • CRM apps often morph into reporting mechanisms that sales reps are mandated to use.
  • Pre-sales engineers (in the case of High Tech) often do most of labor intensive tasks in the sales cycle (assembling proposal components, finding SMEs and references, etc).

[…]

Here’s the beginnings of a framework to identify what works for a sales organization at large organizations:

An information management architecture that can surface the good stuff as well as support a 90% consumption / 10% contribution model.

Traditional collaborative systems and social networks are built to enable…well, collaboration and being social. As a sales rep what I need is aggregation around news and information (person, customer, prospect, industry news) relevant to my customers that show up in SalesForce or HighRise. User and topical tags help me drill deeper and find authorities or stories on topics that can help me engage a new lead, up sell a customer, build a more compelling proposed solution, or deflect a customer satisfaction train wreck that’s about to hit. The kicker is that I shouldn’t need to browse too much or worse, contribute to be able to extract.

Augmenting or if necessary, even by-passing some of the traditional marketing qualification processes by providing a direct contextual lens into prospect and customer activity

New qualified opportunities are just as likely to show up on these social platforms as they are via traditional marketing programs such as events, email and webinars. Based on accounts I manage or territorial prospects, as stated by my CRM system, dynamically assemble a direct, real-time view into customer and lead activity. Examples are customer activity on support and developer forums, prospects commenting about specific products on blogs, or lead activity on LinkedIn, Techmeme and Satisfaction that might help me spark a conversation.
Federated, persistent search that folds social discovery into SFA/CRM processes and technologies, thereby enrichening the data available at each step of the sales cycle
For instance, say I’m in the proposal creation phase of the sales cycle: Let me look up preset searches and tags on specific content sources (e.g. specific wiki spaces where SMEs hang out, highly rated solution white papers, links to relevant online demos that everyone’s raving about) so I’m putting my best foot forward.

A push architecture so the critical intelligence can find the sales rep (not the other way around)

I’m not going to keep revisiting content sources (blogs, wikis, forums) to see if there’s anything new that I might care about. Make it easy for me to filter and subscribe to specific events on blogs, support and community forums, wikis etc., (e.g. a new white paper emerges or my customer comments on a blog) via Email, RSS, SMS, IM. Let the information find me.

The ability to broadcast a question and receive an answer

Sales reps want answers. Search functionality provides results; people, however, provide answers. The ability to ask questions to groups of relevant people and quickly crowd source the best solution or identify experts that can credibly address a solution is imperative. This needs to be both open ended as well as around an existing topic (a bookmark, link, comment, video, etc.)
There’s certainly other technologies or components to consider when trying to conceptualize how Sales can benefit from an Enterprise 2.0 enabled world. For instance, ESME is designed to let globally disparate users easily huddle around tasks at hand and the recently announced lifestreaming capabilites from Yammer is trying to bring Friendfeed-like capabilites to the enterprise. […]”

 

immersive Internet experience

In my blog post How can Sales 2.0 webinars, presentations and virtual conferences evolve beyond the 1.0 style? I pointed to web.alive as an immersive Internet experience, that with its 3D voice (spatial audio) allows for collaboration in virtual worlds right within your browser. All you need is to install a browser plug-in (just like you need a browser plug-in to see Adobe PDFs) and then it works best with a stereo-headset.

An example for one out of the three main markets web.alive targets is assisted eCommerce or lets call it social shopping.

web.alive is also targeting the education vertical for eLearning / distance education and the third target market is of course online collaboration.

BusinessWeek on web.alive from May 19, 2009:

“[…] Lenovo has more ambitious plans. The company’s eLounge site — available on the Web to any PC user—will let customers talk to Lenovo sales reps, and voices will get louder as avatars get nearer to other residents of the site. “It allows us to create a cocktail party effect” in which people can listen in on several conversations at once, says Nic Sauriol, leader of Nortel’s Web.Alive unit. Open Universities Australia of Melbourne plans to use the Nortel software to let prospective students chat with instructors and each other. […]”

[Disclosure: Until October 1, 2009, I used to work for the company behind web.alive]

Tune up your marketing strategy for the C-Suite

Mark S. Bonchek (@mbonchek) from engagingexecutives.com wrote the blog post ‘Marketing To The C-Suite’ on May 1, 2009:

“In this economy, access to the C-Suite has become more important than ever. Budget decisions that a were made by a Director or VP a year ago are now getting made by the C-Suite.

A couple ideas on how to tune up your marketing strategy for the C-Suite.

Test your value propositions and messaging with an executive audience. Sit down with your own CIO, CFO, COO, or CEO and ask them how they would respond to what you are bringing to market. If you have an executive advisory council, now is the time to be using them. If not, find your executive advocates and ask them (you know who they are: the customers you can talk to without feeling like you owe them a favor).

Double your focus on sales enablement. Your sales teams need all the help they can get these days. Chances are they aren’t accustomed to selling to the C-Suite, so they need to know how to talk less about product and more about value. They also need conversation starters, either interesting data about trends in the industry or stories about how other customers are weathering the storm. Remind them that the ABC’s of selling (Always Be Closing) don’t work in the executive suite. Instead, it’s Always Be Creating (Value). […]”