Q4 2014 Sales Enablement market news and trends

As my list of Sales Enablement solutions has grown, I would like to take a look at some recent Sales Enablement market news and trends:
Continue reading “Q4 2014 Sales Enablement market news and trends”

Loyalty and rewards programs in Canada

Shario app
Shario app (also see these visuals)

Normally, this blog is focused on Sales Enablement for b2b.

Here my list of Canadian Sales Enablement companies / experts.

Here my worldwide list.

As a Canada-based co-founder of Shariomobile app for customer referral & loyalty at brick & mortar businesses – I started a work in progress list of similar apps / solutions / companies in Canada.

I also added a few eCommerce players.

Let me know what I’m missing. Last update 13-Mar-2021:

“A 2014 Maritz (Bond Brand Loyalty) report found that 90 percent of Canadians are members of at least one loyalty rewards program. We have also quickly embraced online shopping and have a high penetration of mobile usage. Almost 80 percent of Canada’s addressable population owns a mobile phone, according to a 2014 eMarketer report. These factors, along with companies like Starbucks and Tim Hortons who have tied loyalty to mobile payments, are helping to drive Canadian comfort levels with mobile payment adoption.”

AdvanTag advantag.me
Aeroplan Montreal-based Aeroplan loyalty program for Air Canada Used to be made by AIMIA. Aeroplan® Membership Card. Aeroplan is a coalition loyalty program. Used to be owned by Aimia, a global loyalty management company. The Aeroplan program was created in July 1984 by Air Canada. Montreal, January 10, 2019 – Data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company Aimia Inc. (TSX: AIM) (“Aimia”) today announced the completion of the previously-announced sale of Aimia Canada Inc. (“Aimia Canada”), the owner and operator of the Aeroplan loyalty program, to Air Canada, pursuant to the share purchase agreement entered into and announced on November 26, 2018 (“the share purchase agreement”).
AIMIA (see Aeroplan). Montreal, January 10, 2019 – Data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company Aimia Inc. (TSX: AIM) (“Aimia”) today announced the completion of the previously-announced sale of Aimia Canada Inc. (“Aimia Canada”), the owner and operator of the Aeroplan loyalty program, to Air Canada, pursuant to the share purchase agreement entered into and announced on November 26, 2018 (“the share purchase agreement”).
Air Miles by LoyaltyOne, Inc. AIR MILES® Reward Program Membership Card www.airmiles.ca Airmiles is currently testing iBeacons and will be testing Android Beacon technology soon (end of 2015 / start of 2016)
Altitude – Air Canada rewards its most loyal customers through its top tier recognition program, Altitude, that offers frequent flyers
AMEX Rewards / American Express Rewards
Android Pay / Google Wallet app
AvidTap
Avion points – RBC’s Avion cardholders earn RBC rewards points. The most significant benefit of RBC’s Avion card is that you can fly on any airline, with no blackout periods or seat restrictions. “Two of the most popular travel rewards programs in the country are CIBC’s Aerogold and RBC’s Avion.”
belly card bellycard.com
Best Buy Rewards Best Buy® Reward Zone™
BMO Perks™ – BMO partnered with merchants for exclusive offers and savings when using a BMO MasterCard with specific merchants
Bond Brand Loyalty (see SynapzeINSTANT™)
Buytopia (Toronto’s buytopia.ca launched SnapSaves, now owned by Groupon; an app that pays consumers cash to shop) snap.groupon.com
CAA The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is rebranding its two-decade old loyalty program to CAA Rewards™ from Show Your Card & Save®. Over the last 15 years, CAA Rewards has grown to be one of Canada’s largest loyalty programs, with the most partners worldwide – more than 164,000 locations for savings worldwide, including 110,000 retail locations in North America & popular online merchants.
Canadian Tire Rewards / Canadian Tire Money® – Canadian Tire debuts mobile credit card app, game and loyalty card; September 23, 2015: “new mPay & Play mobile app available to all holders of the retailer’s Canadian Tire Options MasterCard. Allows users to pay for all of their Canadian Tire store purchases, redeem loyalty points, and unlock badges to collect bonus digital Canadian Tire money.” Canadian Tire’s new mPay&Play app for its MasterCard customers combines mobile banking payments with loyalty programs & promotional offers.
cardstar cardstar.com expresscheckoutapp.com
Carrot Rewards app. More Rewards morerewards.ca was one of four charter loyalty providers – joining Aeroplan, the Cineplex Scene movie rewards program and Petro Canada’s Petro Points – to partner with the new Carrot Rewards app, which rewards customers for making positive lifestyle choices. Toronto-based Social Change Rewards, which developed the app Carrot Rewards. Created with funding from both the federal & B.C. governments, as well as a reported $2m from VCs, the Carrot App awards points to users who make positive health & lifestyle choices, such as taking a healthy quiz or looking at a healthy recipe. The app is designed to capitalize on Canadians’ love of apps & loyalty programs. The average Canadian has 4 loyalty cards in their wallet, with more than 50% saying they frequently use them to accumulate miles & points.
Checkout 51 checkout51.com
CIBC Aerogold. Two of the most popular travel rewards programs in the country are CIBC’s Aerogold and RBC’s Avion.
CIBC mobile payment app
Clubovahi clubovahi.com Toronto, Canada
Drop Loyalty Inc. “One rewards program for all your favorite brands.” Launched in Canada on the iOS app store June 29, 2016. earnwithdrop.com https://www.joindrop.com “By linking any credit or debit card you use for every-day purchases, Drop will find your purchases as you make them. As Drop discovers your relevant purchases, it rewards you with points” (Built in Toronto, ON). “Already raised $1 million CAD in funding from U.S.-based investors like ff Venture Capital, White Star Capital, and Rothenberg Ventures.” Highline VC is the only Canadian investor. “The company is partnered with brands like Wealthsimple, Foodora, Chef’s Plate, Urbery, Thirstie, Carnivore Club, & FanXchange, […] “With some of the programs out there in market, a lot of brands that are promoted are not exactly the brands that young people shop at,””
Delta (see Marriott Rewards)
Denny’s Canada loyalty and rewards program – MyDenny’s, a new social, loyalty platform
Esso Extra®
Flipp (iOS/Android) flipp.com Flipp takes the weekly flyers crammed in your mailbox and puts them on your phone or tablet in a clean, searchable app.
GasBuddy (iOS/Android/Blackberry/Windows Phone) gasbuddy.com finding the station closest to you with the lowest price per liter
Global Payments Inc. / Global Payments Canada; integrating their payment technology offerings with Virtual Next’s (see below) mobile payment & loyalty solution. Merchants will be able to accept payment via both Apple’s & Google’s digital wallets. Goal: launch the product in fall 2015.
GoodLife Fitness Member Advantage goodlifefitness.com/member-advantage/ goodlifefitness.com/rewards“Living the GoodLife is more than just a gym membership.” Introducing the GoodLife Member Advantage Program. Exclusive to GoodLife members
Groupon snap.groupon.com
HBC Rewards hbc.com/hbcrewards/ Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) Hudson’s Bay Rewards™ Card. thebay.com
hmv Canada, retail destination for music and entertainment. The company’s loyalty rewards program is called pure purehmv.com. 1.7 million plus activated members. The affairs, business and property of Pure HMV Loyalty Limited (In administration)(the Company) are being managed by the Joint Administrators. The Joint Administrators act as agents for the Company and contract without personal liability. Neil David Gostelow, William James Wright and David John Pike are authorised to act as insolvency practitioners by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Pure HMV Loyalty Limited (In administration) is registered in England No 08384690. Registered office: 15 Canada Square, London, E14 5GL. We are bound by the Insolvency Code of Ethics.
Holt Renfrew – Feb. 11, 2015 registration for Holt Icon Privileges was opened; microsite, HoltIcon.com Canadian department store chain Holt Renfrew is rolling out a new bespoke rewards program: Holt Icon Privileges
Influitive influitive.com helps companies mobilize their advocates to boost referral leads, reference calls, social media participation and more. Toronto & San Francisco
Kangaroo Rewards kangaroorewards.com mobile loyalty and rewards program. Muscle Depot already deployed the Kangaroo Rewards program across all their locations in Montreal, Laval and Blainville. A Mobicept Product
Key To The City: T.O. Key To The City @TorontoCityKey Toronto Key To The City! Get instant loyalty perks citywide with your own key. Show The Key. Get The Perks. torontocitykey.com
KnexxLocal (with Instamonial™, KnexxLocal’s free mobile app, local businesses can get more word-of-mouth referrals) Canada, Toronto, ON
Kobo Super Points aims to make reading more rewarding. Kobo launches rewards loyalty program where customers instantly earn points with every eBook and magazine purchase they make online at Kobo’s site, or via Kobo’s free reading app. They can redeem those points from a catalogue of more than one million titles across a variety of genres.
Linkett linkett.com formerly WestonEx / westonexpressions.com “Creating Consumer Engagement & the Ability to Track it”. Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Loblaw (see Ugo and PC Plus)
LoyaltyOne, Inc. (see AIR MILES®)
Marriott Rewards, Marriott International’s award-winning loyalty program, is being expanded to include Delta Hotels and Resorts. Marriott Rewards members can now earn points or miles and Elite night credits, and redeem for free night stays, at twenty-one Delta Hotels across Canada, with the brand’s fourteen remaining Canadian properties joining the program in late April 2016. Delta Privilege members will also now enjoy the full benefits of Marriott Rewards membership. “Marriott Rewards’ expansion to include Delta Hotels gives our members even more choice when traveling in Canada,” said Don Cleary, President of Marriott Hotels of Canada. Delta Hotels features properties located in major Canadian centers of business as well as popular tourist destinations, including its flagship property Delta Toronto, Delta Ottawa City Centre, and the elegant Delta Grand Okanagan Resort—all of which are now available for members to earn and redeem points. Marriott International acquired the Delta Hotels brand in April 2015.
McDonald’s offers a McCafe sticker card for regular coffee drinkers
Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), mobile payments venture co-owned by US retail chains. CurrentC, CurrentC & Logo, MCX, MCX Merchant Customer Exchange & Design and all associated proprietary marks are trademarks of Merchant Customer Exchange LLC
Metro (adds mobile component to loyalty program)
metro moi™ Program
mobilexco The Mobile Experience Company, Whitby, ON, Canada mobilexco.com Mobile marketing platform, Tether™, helps businesses build relationships with people. Fosters 1:1 connections between merchants & customers and tracks their actions across all media touch-points (online & offline). Measures everything in real-time & easy to identify actionable insights. Simplified the world of mobile marketing – No apps to download. No special hardware required. Tether-Experience-Management-Platform
mobizou mobizou.com Location Based Mobile Marketing Platform with loyalty & referrals. Calgary, AB
Mopals
More Rewards morerewards.ca is one of four charter loyalty providers – joining Aeroplan, the Cineplex Scene movie rewards program and Petro Canada’s Petro Points – to partner with the new Carrot Rewards app, which rewards customers for making positive lifestyle choices.
New Rewards – a joint program between Copeesh! and New Canadians. Coming soon.
Omnego Inc omnego.com (white-label mobile app platform that empowers mobile engagement between businesses and their mobile users)
PayRange Inc. payrange.com mobile payment solution for machines, launching the vending industry’s first mobile based rewards and loyalty platform designed specifically for automated retail. The company is distributing its BluKey™ device to operators in the US and Canada. Consumers can download the free mobile app for iPhone or Android.
PC Points/Plus anyone can join the new and improved PC Plus programme to earn free groceries at select stores across Canada. Besides being your actual points card, the app lets you load special offers of the week (the items that are going to earn you extra points), see your points balance, find participating stores, get recipes and create shopping lists. 1000 points equal $1 in groceries.
Perka digital loyalty marketing platform launched April 2011. First Data, the global payment processing company, acquired Perka after purchasing Andreessen Horowitz-backed mobile payments startup Clover
Perkopolis perkopolis.com
Perkville perkville.com
PETRO‐POINTS™
plum® rewards; Chapters plum points are collected by buying in-store at any Indigo, Chapters, Coles, Indigospirit, World’s Biggest Bookstore, SmithBooks and The Book Company locations
PunchTab
pure (see hmv Canada)
Qriket qriket.com
RBC Royal Bank of Canada grew its mobile wallet user base since moving from a SIM-based model to host card emulation (HCE). Support for gift cards, loyalty cards and digital receipts is also being added to its HCE wallet. The new features will allow customers to manage and redeem loyalty points from more than 150 loyalty programs as well as track the return or warranty period for purchased items by interacting with digital receipts stored within the app.

Royal Bank of Canada Exploring Blockchain Loyalty Program

Ribitt ribitt.io @ribitt_rewards Ribitt is a platform to discover & experience the best local shops in every neighbourhood. Be Rewarded for Shopping Local: Earn points on purchases you already make at neighbourhood shops & redeem them at any shop for anything you want. iOS & Android app. Toronto & Peterborough, ON
RBC Rewards – Redeem your Visa rewards points for merchandise, travel, gift cards/certificates, charitable donations & RBC Financial Rewards vouchers.
RedFlagDeals (iOS/Mobile web) redflagdeals.com If there is a deal to be had in Canada, it is most likely being discussed on RedFlagDeals long before you hear about it.
Referral Rock referralrock.com @ReferralRock Customer Referral Service – Design, track and manage your program to get more customers
RewardingYourself Loyalty Wallet by LoyaltyMatch Inc. loyaltymatch.com (Loyalty and Gamification Saas Platform)
RewardLoop (mobile rewards program that rewards you for spending at your favorite merchants) rewardloop.com
Richtree Market Pass By Natural Markets Food Group richtreenaturalmarket.com
Rogers readies loyalty points program in bid to keep customers from switching to rival carriers. Rogers Communications will launch the national rewards program in stages, starting in Red Deer, Alta.
Rogers Mobile Shopper solution (enables customers to engage with brands in-store through mobile offers, applications & mobile payments technology. RioCan, Canada’s largest owner of shopping centres, is first to trial the Rogers Mobile Shopper solution in select Ontario-based shopping centres)
Save‐On‐More
SCENE® Card http://www.scene.ca SCENE points
Scotiabank SCENE® Card. Earn SCENE points by paying with your Scotiabank® SCENE debit, SCENE VISA or SCENE Prepaid VISA card.
Sears Card Sears Canada Inc announced updates to loyalty program and credit card transition process; says enhanced Sears club loyalty program is set to launch before the holiday shopping season 2015
Shario @shario https://angel.co/shario customer referral & loyalty app for brick & mortar businesses. [Full-disclosure: I’m was co-founder of Shario. It was designed by User Experience Design company MING Labsbehance.net/gallery/11853341/Shario-App
Shopify (Reward customers for each new customer that they bring to your store: Apps like Zferral and ReferralCandy automate this. Traditional loyalty programs where rewards are offered to repeat customers based on how much they buy: Apps like PunchTab & Incentify)
Shopkick
Shoppers Drug Mart (Optimum Rewards Program) Shoppers Optimum® Card
Simply Good’s coupon app GetLoop
SmoothPay smoothpay.com
Snapsaves (iOS/Android) snapsaves.com now owned by Groupon snap.groupon.com
Snipp Interactive Inc. Loyalty Program Of Choice For Unilever, L’oreal, Proctor And Gamble, Kellogs
SnipSnap Coupon App by SnipSnap App LLC
SPC Card student loyalty program SPC Card with 1.1 million members; digital Student Price Card. The digital SPC Card is available via the SPC Card mobile app on iTunes and Android devices. Giving students relevant offers based on their location, making redemption easy via the Digital Card, and adding personalized offers the SPC app is engaging millennials. Soon to be accepted at all of SPC’s 15,000 partner locations throughout Canada, making it one of the largest mobile loyalty card activations currently in market.
Square (“Create and Apply Rewards with Square Register”)
Starbucks (My Starbucks Rewards). Starbucks has both an app & rewards card that gives free drinks & food to frequent customers. Starbucks Canada announced that it will bring the company’s innovative mobile ordering feature, Mobile Order & Pay, to approximately 300 company-owned stores in the Greater Toronto Area. Beginning in April 2016, you will no longer reach gold status with 30 stars or 30 transactions, and then score free food with 12 stars. Instead, with 2 stars awarded for each $1 spent, it takes 300 stars to get to gold and 125 stars for gold members to get freebies.
Stocard is a mobile Startup from Germany that has set the goal to make customer loyalty go mobile, thus making loyalty solutions more powerful for consumers and retailers.
Subway is expanding its Wi-Fi-enabled loyalty program to 600 Canadian stores following a successful pilot, highlighting how fast-food chains can leverage mobile to drive in-store traffic, especially among millennials. Subway has collaborated with Turnstyle to power the rewards platform, which will send a mobile coupon for a free sandwich to consumers who sign into the store’s Wi-Fi for the first time. This tactic is well-poised to bring hordes of new consumers into Subway locations and fuel a myriad of loyalty sign-ups, even among individuals who initially only want to use the complimentary Wi-Fi.
suretap™ wallet by Rogers Communications rogers.com/web/content/suretap
Sweet Tooth Rewards (turn-key points & rewards app for your Magento eCommerce store)
SynapzeINSTANT™ – Jan. 27, 2016 – Bond Brand Loyalty has rolled out an innovative new solution to help North American banks lead in the competitive landscape of reward and loyalty programs, all while offering bank customers a near “endless aisle” of instant redemption with leading retail brands. Better yet, the standalone rewards app requires no large-scale retailer POS integration or associated expense. SynapzeINSTANT™: A new app-based solution for any bank with a credit card loyalty program. It was created to help ease the ever-increasing costs financial institutions endure while trying to differentiate.
Tab Payments: Canadian restaurants currently using Tab Payments will be able to upgrade to Velocity’s payment and loyalty platform
The Club Sobeys Program
The More Rewards Program
Thirdshelf (retail app & loyalty platform) thirdshelf.com
Tim Hortons added a smartphone payment option to its lineup of mobile apps across iOS, Android, BlackBerry. Called “Pay with TimmyMe” it uses a pre-registered Tim Card to allow payments from the smartphone. Also launching its own loyalty rewards program partnering with CIBC for a Visa credit card that accumulates points redeemable at Tim Hortons stores.
TimePlay the company behind Cineplex TimePlay. Platform that delivers interactive, multi-player experiences while providing a targeted portal for offer delivery & e-commerce. Turns a mobile device into an interactive gaming device enabling thousands of participants to engage together and influence outcomes on a second screen. Toronto, ON, Canada & Los Angeles, Venice, CA
Turnstyle. “Subway’s expansion of Turnstyle throughout its network will continue to help the brand learn more about its customers, increase its marketing base and grow meaningful customer engagement opportunities,” said Chris Gilpin, CEO of Turnstyle. “The platform will enable new Subway restaurants to increase customer loyalty (visit frequency) and create compelling omnichannel marketing initiatives.”
Ugo (initially allow customers to load their TD Visa, President’s Choice Financial MasterCard & PC Plus cards into a mobile wallet. PC points can be redeemed at Loblaw & banner store locations)
Velocity: Canadian restaurants currently using Tab Payments will be able to upgrade to Velocity’s payment and loyalty platform
vicinity rewards (developed by US-based company, FiveStars. Launched in Canada by Rogers Communications. Vincity is a loyalty program for small business that rewards customers when they visit their store.)
Virtualnext virtualnext.com, Toronto, Canada & US based. Virtual Next is working together with Global Payments (see above)
Wallet (part of iOS)
Walmart Rewards
WestJet Rewards®

Prospecting and lead generation

On February 7, 2012, Lauren Carlson wrote ‘5 Social Media Strategies for B2B Sales Success’. In her post Lauren presents five ways in which B2B sales professionals can leverage social media to find and win more business. E.g.:

“[…] Try searching social media sites and tools for certain signal phrases, such as “seeking vendor recommendations,” or those that mention specific pain points your company can address. Refine your searches to social media channels your target customers use, such as by relevant industry hashtags on Twitter or industry-specific groups on LinkedIn or Facebook. This method of discovery requires minimal effort and can uncover leads that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. […]”

From my own experience I would add zapier.com and ifttt [both can be set up to search twitter etc], socialmention, and of course Google Alerts [which can be a bit slow] as free tools that allow companies to track their brand, to identify their potential customers, or as Laura writes to “track their competition. They can see what tactics their competitors are using” and when the competition is failing at something. However, Lauren also mentions “that many C-level execs aren’t chatting it up on Twitter and LinkedIn”, but that the people, who influence them or at least have access to them, could be.

Check out Lauren’s blog post for some great examples of how B2B sales professionals can get creative with social media.

The Importance of Context

On September 7, 2010, Matthias Roebel from BizSphere wrote “The Importance of Context for the Enterprise 2.0”:

Just a few days ago Joe Galvin from Sirius Decisions wrote about how important Social Media – as an approach for better internal collaboration – is as part of a Sales Enablement strategy. I think he is absolutely right. What used to be the informal coffee corner chat before nowadays is mimicked in Social Media platforms. Over time, people will learn that even within an enterprise the sharing of information is beneficial for everyone in the end. Yes, there may be a lot of sceptics around, especially in sales teams, but with the right programs and incentives offered, they will make the jump to the new social collaboration paradigm.

However, the flip side of extensive social collaboration might be the appearance of new information silos as well as growing information overload. Without the social collaboration being moderated to a certain extend, it might lose some of its potential impact on the overall performance of the sales teams. Aaron Roe Fulkerson discussed this in a recent blog post: “The importance of context: why Enterprise 2.0 still fails to deliver value”.

web 3.0 with BizSphere

 

A company might use a lot of different types of social collaboration platforms – the challenges is: How can they be orchestrated in a way, that actual knowledge exchange is taking place across existing team and functional structures? And how can the content generated be aligned to some generally agreed upon enterprise structures? What companies, that are serious about implementing a Social Media strategy for sales, should think about, is to create and maintain an enterprise context.

Enterprise 2.0 from a Sales Enablement point of view

Then collaboration can take place within this context and will add greater value to a broader audience. Ideally, the enterprise context should constantly evolve based on feedback gathered during the ongoing social collaboration.

Chief Listening Officer – Chief Listener – CLO

One of my past job titles explained by Advertising Age:

‘Chief Listeners’ Use Technology to Track, Sort Company Mentions
Relatively New Role Is Becoming More Commonplace in Major Marketing Companies

by Irina Slutsky
Published: August 30, 2010

“[…] the CLO’s job is one of “broad listening” – as Dell has such a deep penetration globally in so many different markets.

“Our chief listener is critical to making sure the right people in the organization are aware of what the conversations on the web are saying about us, so that relevant people in the business can connect with customers,”

Unlike many social-media jobs, this position is very inward-facing. She’s listening to Dell customers and consumers and giving all the intel to her Dell colleagues internally.

[…] “Dell has been listening for four years and created a position called ‘Listening Czar’ two years ago.

[…] said their companies were driving innovation through customer feedback. […]”

An Enterprise 2.0

I just found the following graphic in the blog post ‘The hyper-social organization’ by Joachim Niemeier @JoachimNiemeier from June 29, 2010. I’m not sure who the author of the graphic is. When this is an Enterprise 2.0, then I can’t wait to see how an Enterprise 3.0 looks like (with everything being semantic).
Hyper social

Relating this to Sales Enablement, I would like to point to my post ‘Information Architecture?’.

Graphic from Dion Hinchcliffe but altered with regards to ‘Sales Enablement Application’ instead of ‘online community’.

Also of interest to you might be my posts ‘Constant loop of quantitative and qualitative feedback in a sales enablement portal’ and ‘Without a guiding context you can never be sure how a word used as a tag was meant’.

Reading list – July 9, 2010

All blog posts below were posted on July 9, 2010:

The Sales Force of the Future

More on Social Media and B2B Buying Cycles

How Knowledge Management Is Moving Away From the Repository as Goal
(video blog)

How Enterprise 2.0 Sales Teams Will Use Social Networks

On Mar 24, 2010, on cmswire.com Len Rosen wrote: How Enterprise 2.0 Sales Teams Will Use Social Networks:

“Are private social networks becoming entrenched in Enterprise 2.0 businesses with sophisticated sales forces? “We’re not there yet,” states Jennifer King, Director of Sales, Central Region for SAS Canada, the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. SAS is one of many software companies involved in complex solution selling. “Our sales teams are knowledgeable with many years of experience,” states King. “They are just getting their feet wet when it comes to understanding public social networks.”

SAS in many ways is an Enterprise 2.0 business. But it is still getting its head around the tools of social networking. King states, “We have invested in a lot of communication tools including email, bulletin boards, internal chat, blogs, and SharePoint for document sharing. But we have yet to embrace social networking internally.”

At Avnet, an international distributor of electronics, computing and storage products, and a company that is embracing Enterprise 2.0, Charlie Babb, Vice President of Sales and Marketing states, “the answer to every single sales challenge we face already exists somewhere in our company.” Babb recognizes that mining that information is critical to sales success. He asks, “How do we go get it? How do we synthesize it? How do we improve it? How to we get it out to the field? How do we update it?”

SAS and Avnet have been using technology to support sales for many years. They along with many other companies have embraced today’s CRMs, software tools that are great at capturing lead demographics and tracking sales cycles. Knowledge sharing tends to be vertical, that is, sales managers can see what is occurring through report roll ups usually to some kind of dashboard. But CRMs are inherently clumsy when it comes to cross-fertilizing knowledge from one member of a sales team to another.

When Social Networks Interact with Sales DNA

Think about the social networking experience on a public platform like Facebook. Information can be shared in many conversations whether you create a discussion, post something to your wall, or respond to someone else’s posting, view a friend’s video, write your own blog or comment on a friend’s blog. Now translate this functionality into a sales department. Are sales people willing to be a friend to others? When I entered sales 37 years ago it was clear to me right from the start that I was in competition with every other sales person in my company. This competition was company fostered. Rewards were never given for sharing. Every year the best of us survived the “cut” to continue selling. The worst of us got “pink slipped.” Knowledge sharing was not in our sales DNA. But every sales manager wants answers to the questions that Charlie Babb posed, and one way of fulfilling that goal is through the deployment of a private social network.

Two years ago I was approached by a company here in Canada that had 400 locations coast-to-coast, a central office in Winnipeg, and regional offices in all 10 provinces and the 3 territories. The sales force was 4,000 strong. Imagine creating a network for knowledge sharing and cross-fertilization of ideas for such a distributed army of individuals, many of them working from home offices with their only connection electronic using the phone and Internet.

I sat down with the VP of sales and asked him what were the challenges within his organization. One was harvesting the knowledge that existed within the staff. Another was spreading the knowledge wealth. A third was retaining staff. The company had web resources, email and other means of electronic communications but they didn’t have a social network. The company had a tradition of rewarding peak performers, not just for sales success but also for attaining levels of certification based on taking company-sponsored programs.

This is the perfect scenario for deploying a private social network framework with all of its communication attributes. enableconsultants.com Enable Consultants, a Toronto-based software developer, encounters many of these types of companies. Faith Exeter, President, remarks, “Organizations need a way to harvest collective wisdom that is friendly, informative, engaging and fun, and serves to meet revenue and other business objectives.” Enable builds many different types of private social networks, each meeting particular industry or market niche requirements. “We find when we talk to marketing people, who tend to be younger and digital natives, they immediately grasp the value inherent in implementing social networks inside the firewall.”

However, Exeter goes on to state, “getting sales departments to buy-in takes considerably greater effort largely because they tend to rely on past experience as their model. And experienced sales people tend to be digital immigrants, not as savvy or accustomed to social networking and its uses.”

In an Enable sales social network every sales person has a profile, a personal calendar, a bulletin board for receiving short messages, a blog, a place to store documents, a place to upload videos and pictures, chat, and receive and send email. Every sales person can be partnered with a team. Interaction is encouraged and rewarded through a point system with points given for online participation and group interaction. Knowledgeable sales people acts as content experts and through sharing information with knowledge seekers receive rewards.

Sales 2.0: The Rise of Social Capital

The adoption of social networking in sales organizations has recently been given a new name, S2.0 or Sales 2.0. The implementation of a private sales social network changes communication. Company sales knowledge gets quickly disbursed. When a knowledgeable sales person answers a question the information is not only read by the person asking the question but is captured for all letting other sales people view the results or enter key search words to see the answer and other answers of similar relevance.

In a sales social network answers can come from unlikely sources. Employees who may be quiet in a meeting may feel empowered when in a virtual space, sharing knowledge that is uniquely held. These are the hidden gems within your organization that a social networking application can mine.

Insights from known knowledge workers can be flagged by the application with automatic system alerts going company wide whenever they post something new. Instructional videos can be posted online, accessible anytime, anywhere. Sales departments can build best practices wikis, or industry-specific documentation shareable company-wide. The knowledge shared internally can be made available to externally, giving selected customers and prospects access to important information to help them make buying decisions. Postings can go mobile as well making any cell phone a knowledge resource.

For companies who have sales teams that are multi-generational, facilitating communications using the media that is most comfortable represents a real challenge. Baby Boomers get email. Digital natives, those in their 20s and early 30s, use instant messaging, texting and social networks. For young workers email is communication for old people. Social networking and all its many communication tools is where it’s at.

In the Miller Heiman report, “Megatrends That Will Impact The Way We Manage Sales Organizations,” it states:

“today’s young social networkers are tomorrow’s salespeople. Having grown up with social networking, they’re likely to continue relying on this way of communicating and collaborating throughout their careers.”

The report refers to the collective value that social networking provides as “social capital,” almost as important to an organization as intellectual capital. They conclude, “Organizations with rich social capital enjoy access to venture capital and financing, improved organizational learning, the power of word-of-mouth marketing, the ability to create strategic alliances, and the resources to defend against hostile takeovers.”

About the Author

Len Rosen is a Toronto-based consultant working with companies on the use of technology to enhance small business productivity. He has a particular interest in the business application of social media and social networks. Len has been at it for 36 years. He is a contributing author to a number of web sites and publishes his own small business technology blog.

Social Media Marketing for B2B – A podcast interview

I just listened to this podcast interview with Paul Dunay from Avaya on social media marketing for B2B (SMB) by Chris Herbert, from June 4, 2010:

Producers: Chris Herbert, B2B Specialist & Founder of Mi6 and Donna Papacosta
Industries: Cross industry with emphasis on hi-tech
Audience: Senior Leaders, Marketing/Sales managers and professionals

Welcome to our second episode of “The B2B Specialists” podcast series. A series dedicated to having and sharing interesting conversations with professionals in our field.

Here’s the link to listen to the podcast with Paul Dunay, Donna and myself.

In this Podcast Episode

What’s new in B2B marketing for 2010? We dive right in to a conversation with Paul Dunay, Global Managing Director of Services and Social Media marketing for Avaya. (see below for more details about Paul). We talk about how social media is being used in B2B marketing and sales both at Avaya and in general.

Show Notes

00:49 We welcome Paul Dunay who tells us a little bit about his career, publishing endeavors and educational background.
02:35 Paul talks about what’s new in B2B marketing. The conversation includes:Linkedin and SEO; Facebook advertising; Mobile marketing “grows up” and the role a corporate web site plays vs “offsite content”.
05:10 We talk about how some companies are neglecting their web sites. Sites need to be current and a content production schedule should be in place. Paul’s advice: “Think like a publisher. Plan what content you will produce and over what time frame”.
07:10 We talk about how a blog platform, like WordPress, is an ideal platform to use to produce a website, especially for small to midsized businesses. It’s a “swiss army” knife for web marketing.
08:19 Paul gives some great examples of how Facebook can be used for B2B marketing.
14:00 The conversation turns to the adoption of social media. Where should a company start and how to measure ROI? What Paul is doing to show ROI at Avaya.
18:23 We talk about Avaya’s use of Twitter to support customers and how advocates (loyal customers) are helping support Avaya in return. These brand ambassadors act as unofficial spokespersons for Avaya. They can also become formal references and case study candidates.
22:55 Paul talks about how he shows examples of Twitter conversations to members of the Avaya management team so they can see the positive impact they are having on the Avaya brand. This helps turn social media skeptics into believers. One twitter conversation led to a customer purchasing an Avaya systemin less then 15 days.

About Paul Dunay

Paul Dunay is the Global Managing Director of Services and Social Marketing for Avaya, a global leader in enterprise communications, and author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley 2009). Paul is an award winning business to business marketer and publisher of the blog Buzz Marketing for Technology. Paul is on our “A” List of B2B marketers.

Links of Interest

Paul’s Blog
Paul on Linkedin
Paul on Twitter
Blog post on Linkedin and Search Engine Optimization
Avaya’s Customer Support Twitter account

Market Intelligence Information

BidManagementTools.org posted ‘One Company’s Approach to Marketing Intelligence’, on March 26, 2010:

“[…]

Market Intelligence Is More Accessible Than Ever

Thanks to improvements in technology and to the social Web, even bootstrap/small companies can cost-effectively access and process market information.

Examples of relatively, inexpensive easy-to-use sources of market information include highly-specialized blogs, search engine analytics, off-the-shelf customer relationship management (CRM) and sales enablement systems, and hybrid solutions that integrate basic functions from several of these technologies to help businesses determine what’s working and then replicate success.

Larger, better-capitalized companies have even more options. They can purchase better systems, and they can afford the human resources to make better use of the systems already in place.

But Resources Are Tighter

Still, everyone is trying to do more with less. Which means that companies that formerly invested in market intelligence as well as strategic and tactical marketing are now figuring out where to make cuts. If the want ads are any indication, many smaller companies are beefing up marketing communications at the expense of strategy and market intelligence.

On the other hand, some of the larger companies are taking the opposite approach. One sales executive told me recently: “A few years ago, we had lots of opportunities and pursued those that were easy to close. Now that everyone has to justify every penny they spend, we really have to understand and communicate our unique value to even get in the door.”

Consequently, his company has stepped up its market research and invested in honing its value propositions in each of its major market segments. […]”

 

See below BizSphere’s view on the information architecture for Sales Enablement where Market Intelligence (MI) and Competitive Intelligence (CI) have their place as well as value propositions for each industry vertical etc…:

information architecture for sales enablement