Eight Skills for Today’s Marketers

Toronto

I couldn’t agree more with Kathleen Schaub’s post ‘Eight skills for tomorrows marketers’ from November 9, 2009. However, I’m with Keith who commented on her blog that the title should read ‘Eight Skills for Today’s Marketers’:

“[…] Marketing’s most interesting new roles require skills from non-traditional disciplines.

For your next marketing hire, consider people experienced in the following areas:

1) Sales Skills: Now that 100% of B2B buyers repeatedly touch the web (both vendor’s sites and those of 3rd parties) throughout the buying process, marketing must stay active from “cold to close”. No more filling the top of the funnel and passing leads off to sales. Tony Jaros, VP of Research from Sirius Decisions asks a radical question – why is the web still in Corporate Marketing? No longer just a corporate brochure, the web is central to revenue generation. IDC’s CMO Advisory Practice says that some leading organizations (Intel, for example) are hiring CMO’s with sales backgrounds. With new organizational structures such as Demand Centers and with pressure for better sales enablement taking center stage, people with working knowledge of sales AND marketing are golden. All marketers should learn about selling.

2) Social Media Skills: It’s no secret that social media dramatically changes the buyer-seller-influencer dynamic. But only those actively participating in social media tangibly appreciate the differences between old-style one-way media conversations and the group interactivity.

3) Influencer Marketing Skills: Advocacy and relationship roles such as AR, PR, developer relations, customer advocacy, community managers and evangelists continue to move beyond traditional boundaries and broaden their role to more types of influencers. Influencer50 has identified 24 types (Barbara French lists them here).

4) Journalism/ Storytelling Skills: With buyers getting the majority of their information from the web and with sales enablement increasing in priority, there’s no end to the need for juicy, targeted content. David Meerman Scott suggests that we hire trained journalists. Our customer segments and our eco-systems would be their “beat” – listening for stories, mashing them with our messages and placing fresh, relevant, content within the conversation.

5) Process Design Skills: Marketing automation is just beginning to penetrate its market. Forrester says it’s less than 5% adopted. As anyone who has been part of a re-engineering effort can attest, it’s not the automation that increases productivity. It’s the process changes that automation enables and enforces. Deploying marketing automation will require skills such as process modeling, project management, the ability to train and manage change, as well as ease with technology.

6) Data/ Analytics Skills: Technology captures and makes available enormous amounts of data about buyer and seller behavior. What does it all mean? Two of the most valuable uses of data are the ability to reveal a buyer’s “digital body language“, as Eloqua’s Steven Woods’ new book discusses, as well as the ability to closely link marketing performance to business performance. Real data about customer behavior and real ties to revenue promise marketing leadership a bigger seat at the executive table.

7) Design Thinking Skills: CEO’s want to know, “how can I make my company more innovative?” In addition to R&D, marketing would be a natural place to source talent. In his new book, Change by Design, Tim Brown, CEO of design shop IDEO, talks about how leading companies are tapping into right-brain tricks that those schooled in the arts practice, such as brainstorming, role-playing and scenario-building (see his TED talks here).

8) Domain Expertise: Customers don’t care about our products. They care about themselves and their problems. Building a bridge between our products and the customer’s care-abouts requires knowledge of both realms.”

The importance of video in Sales 2.0

Chad Levitt wrote the great blog post ‘Next Generation Sales Reps Use Video To Win’, on February 7th, 2009. Mike Meisner commented:

“[…] I don’t see many […] posts out there about the importance of video in web/sales 2.0. People would rather casually watch a demo/video than have to attend a scheduled presentation or even a webinar […]. It’s the ultimate in providing accessible information. […]”

From Chad’s post:

“[…] The next generation of sales reps are using technology to grab mindshare through surrounding their prospects with helpful content. They do this without being intrusive and let the customer engage at their own pace. The content you can surround your prospect with is endless.

Video Presentations are the easiest way to surround your customer

[…] sites like YouTube, Vimeo and Viddler allow you to store and share your videos easily.  […] Once your video presentations are created you can begin to e-mail your customers links to your presentations and create many types of interesting campaigns. […] By using video, you give your presentation more reach and increase the chances of it being watched again. Your prospect can review the parts that were important to them on their own time in their comfort zone. And prospects make the buying decision in their comfort zone first and then tell you about it later. […]

Video presentations are less intrusive than standing in front of your customer delivering a live presentation. The world is moving towards less intrusive ways of connecting with people and you can get ahead of the pack by developing videos of your sales presentations. Your video presentation will also help reinforce the message you delivered in your live presentation and increase the chances of you making the sale. […]”

Obviously the text above has been written from a sales perspective. If you are in marketing you should google the term ‘social media release’ as a video should be a part of every social media press release. The nice thing about having your video uploaded to a public site is that everyone can email the link to others and once in a while even in a b2b settings things go viral.

Those of you who have posted videos on YouTube might know this already; the ‘Insights’ part where the owner of a video can track metrics around it has been improved by Google. The following is a screen shot for a video I posted during my studies and for me it is interesting to observe who is embedding it / where it gets how many views from and which audiences I reach:

video insights

When it comes to Sales Enablement, it goes without saying how important it is to not only provide sales people with streaming versions of videos but to also provide downloadable versions of these videos in the Sales Enablement application/site. That ensures that the sales people can screen high quality video in front of the customer even in situations without access to the intranet or internet.

Social Media Revolution

Via Chad Levitt’s post ‘Do You Believe in the Social Media Revolution?’ from August 24, 2009 I found the video below:

“Very interesting video from Erik Qualman (@equalman) over at socialnomics.com that highlights how social media is changing the ways companies do business and ultimately the world economy.

What does this have to do with the sales profession? Well, everything.”

Job opening – Sales Enablement Community Manager

[Sales Enablement] Community Manager – Job opening on monster.com

Job Summary

“Location: Telecommute
Industries: Business Services – Other
Job Type: Full Time, Temporary/Contract/Project, Employee
Relevant Work Experience: 5+ to 7 Years
Education Level: Bachelor’s Degree
Career Level: Manager (Manager/Supervisor of Staff)

About the Job
We are a sales enablement company and are looking to build a content rich social network for sales professionals. We are looking for a Community Manager that will help us build, launch and grow this network which will bring together training/coaching and collaboration for all things sales.

An overview of the position:

Collect, edit, and publish content on our site. Manage outbound messaging programs that deliver broader (# of subscribers/fans) and deeper (frequency of engagement) connections with community members and prospects. Activities to include: editorial responsibility for our site, development and management of email program plans and content, development and management of outbound messaging plans and content on social media platforms.

Responsibilities:

· Ensure that the best, most current, most compelling content is available for community members based on analysis of trends and activity on the site/forums etc.

· Create / implement a content plan.

· Work with key contributors / outside SMEs / contributing editors to identify the best content and provide it to consumers via the site and outbound messaging platforms (email, facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).

· Customize the user experience based on preferred content

· Set time frames for publishing and goals for engagement experience.

· Set time frames for publishing and goals for views/engagement in outbound messaging platforms including but not limited to: email, facebook, Twitter etc.

· Develop broader (# of subscribers/fans) and deeper (frequency of engagement) connections between community members via effective program design and content selection/editing.

· Consult with teammates regarding frequency of communications on social platforms considering quality of content, fan/subscriber engagement, and fan/subscriber growth or attrition.

· Oversee report production, develop action plans for improvement, and distribute to managers and executive team.

· Create dashboards, oversee report production, develop action plans for improvement and distribute to managers and executive team.

· Recruit guest contributors

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

· Dynamic publishing and/or outbound messaging professional with at least 5 years of experience

· Editorial sense (Being the digital “Editor in Chief”)->content and story developer with specific skill in digital communications.

· Self directed. Able to create plans, execute, and achieve results with little specific direction.

· Natural entrepreneurial instinct and ability to succeed in variety of situations and political environments

· Strong marketing understanding and excellent analytical skills

· Excellent production knowledge: use of content management systems, publishing workflows, approval cycles, publishing to multiple platforms

· Extensive knowledge of at least one robust content management platform used to power a large-scale site

· Knowledge of one or more of the following will be a plus: search engines, analytics applications, ad-serving technology and email systems.

· Excellent planning and project management competencies

· Strong knowledge of or background in Sales would be great”

Social Selling

I guess the term ‘Social Selling’ is equivalent to the term ‘Sales 2.0’. On June 09, 2009 http://blog.marketo.com wrote…

“[…] as buyers started to research their purchases online, preventing the sales rep from deciphering the buyer’s intention from their physical actions. So sales professionals reacted, spending their time pouring over online data, trying to understand what made a good buyer. Because it was difficult to tell which online behaviors were part of the buyer’s decision path, sales couldn’t just focus their energy where there would be the biggest payoff. And when they did reach the buyer, it was often after they had made much of their decision, leaving the sales rep to negotiate price and mail out a contract. Marketing tried to help by scoring leads and only passing the ones that met certain criteria, but this still meant a heavy burden for sales, who had to look through pages of online data for the leads that were given to them.

Sales is now ready to take back some of the control, with the evolution of social selling. Social selling is the use of web 2.0 technologies merged with traditional sale strategies, enabling sales to prioritize their time again, and help serve as experts in the product selection process instead of just serving as negotiators. But there are many misconceptions about its use.

Misconception of Social Selling

True Social Selling

Sales is notified when leads visit your site

Sales is notified when a qualified lead does something interesting on your website

Sales can view a list of all of their leads in their CRM

Sales can sort their leads in their CRM by priority, allowing them to contact leads when they need the most attention

Sales can see all the companies that visit your website

Sales can see the companies in their territory that visit your website, and can access and import key contacts at those organizations into their CRM

Sales must go to multiple websites to find contact information

Sales can access Jigsaw, Demandbase, & LinkedIn directly through the tools they are already using

Sales must learn to go through all their lead’s web activity and email activity to identify the best leads and to figure out when to make contact

Sales is alerted when leads participate in interesting activities that indicate they are a hot prospect

Sales must learn to use new email tools inside their CRM or other external tools requiring training

Sales can use Outlook to reach prospects, and data is sent to their CRM, with enhanced information about opens and click-throughs

Email templates are kept in the CRM

Email templates are accessed in Outlook

Sales must sit in front of their computer watching for interesting online body language from prospects

Sales can subscribe to receive Facebook style status updates for the prospects, companies, and actions they think are most important, allowing them to work on the go without missing an opportunity

Marketing tells sales when they need to work with a prospect

Marketing passes leads to sales, and, if needed, sales passes leads that need nurturing back to marketing

Sales must spend hours looking through information in multiple systems to understand what is going on with a prospect

Sales can use RSS to send all the different types of prospect information into one system, saving them time and effort

 

While sales may not go back to days on the golf course, with social selling they are able to go back to prioritizing their time, focusing on the qualified leads that will be the biggest sales earlier in the buying process. This will not only cause for increased success, but increased margins and shorter sales cycles, making their contributions evident to the entire organization.”

 

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“.

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]