This week, we're all about social and sales. I think about social media, the effort we're making, our relative success levels and ROI at this time every year because our annual strategy meeting with the Board of Directors and Senior Business Team is coming up. And I'm always thinking about sales because it pays the bills. That being said, here's what caught my interest this week.
This is a nice post from Marketo that reinforces businesses--and specifically marketing pros--are being asked to become publishers today. This is not an easy transition, especially for smaller companies when one or two people handle a multitude of marketing responsibilities.
It strives to outline a day in the life, covering all of these areas: thought leaders items (including definitive guides and whitepapers), blog management curation and contribution, webinar program planning and production, copy editing all contributed content (if you're lucky to get any) and ensuring all content is on-brand, consistent in terms of style, quality in tone and optimized for search and social promotion.
That's not exactly a small job on its own, but its helpful to see a specialist's take on the role.
This sounds too good to be true and it is--to a degree. The infographic is solid and thorough on Facebook and Twitter. However, it is focused exclusively on an analysis of competitors versus your own performance in general or against an established standard. Plus, it only targets these two social sites. What about LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and so on?
That being said, I agree that it is important to look at your competitors pages, popularity, interests, feedback, types of posts and, most important, engagement ratio. But this is only one part of the equation if you are monitoring stiff competition.
For Affinity Express, it is even more challenging. Our competitors aren't really active on social media so there is no comparison. Plus, we most often come up in opportunities against internal personnel who don't have a club or group on Facebook!
How great that small businesses are getting recognized for their social media efforts! Check out the winners. Some of the features that set them apart for the judges at Social Media Examiner are:
- Amazing engagement
- Good use of contests and/or discount promotion
- Strong visual branding with apps and cover photo
- Responsiveness to posts
- Variety of content
- Visual branding
- Tie in to Facebook with core marketing or other efforts
- Number of recommendations
What really struck me is that the smallest number of fans among the winners is 1,732 for Dog Pack Snacks and the largest is 677, 079 for Legendary Whitetails. But the average among the rest of the pages is 20,307. Despite not having an enormous number of fans, these sites pull out all the stops. This makes me wonder, for those medium and large companies who are not putting in the effort, what are you waiting for?
Affinity Express is working hard to find the right formula to engage our key audiences: clients, prospects and employees. More than any other social medium, we use Facebook for employees and I look forward to hearing feedback when I visit our team in Manila later this month. I want to know what content they enjoy (although it seems to be photos of team members above all else) and what other material they'd like to see. I also plan to begin surveys of our clients before the end of the year to gauge their interest in connecting with Affinity Express on social media.
Another great reminder from Hubspot: marketing cannot exist in a vacuum. We have to have the same goals (driving visibility and new revenue) and the same language as our sales coworkers. A lead to me cannot be something that stinks to our sales team. In fact, I have to know questions our team wants answered upfront or I won't even get a response to my emails, let alone follow-up to the leads I provide. The points made in the post are relevant:
- What does your sales process look like? This is the question I asked a new representative recently so I can better provide sales support and marketing tools. We went through tools, features, benefits, objections, follow-up tactics and more. Now I have a good sense of how she works to close deals and can anticipate her needs, as well as customize presentations and collateral.
- What qualities make a lead good or bad? It might be the contact's function or level, the volume of ads or other marketing production tasks or the time frame for a decision. Every business has specific criteria. If you don't understand them, you can't realistically pass on warm leads because you won't be able to recognize them.
- Are there specific marketing offers that signify a particularly strong or weak lead? For us that often means the number of people performing marketing production tasks or the budget for outside help such as an agency. But if I get an inquiry from a company in Italy when we focus on the English language, the number of full-time people doesn't matter so much anymore (in the short-term anyway).
- Do leads typically have the right expectations about what they're getting? If our marketing materials are effective, we are conveying the nature of our services, the features and the benefits to increases rather than decrease understanding. There is no point getting people interested in a service we do not provide. I also don't want traffic to my website from people not looking for digital and print marketing production--quality over quantity.
- What is the number one thing leads like and dislike most about our offers? Our recent campaign to major retailers has an offer of a free month of service, which could be worth many thousands of dollars. But if that isn't clear or of interest to our prospects, then it is not a tactic we should use again. Only sales can give us this feedback because no person on our list is going to call me up and say, "Hey, CMO to CMO, I just wanted to let you know that I don't get/value your offer."
- What are the top reasons a lead doesn't close? Is it the outreach, the positioning, the promise, the support materials, the proposal, the pricing or anything else that doesn't seem to work. This is hard to get from sales because most people don't act to gather data for marketing. Plus, most sales people I know do not ask the probing questions about "What stands in the way of us working together?" or "What concerns do you have." But if you can partner and get this kind of information, you can be relatively invincible equipping sales with effective tools and materials.
- Are there any ways marketing can help or do better? Set up a monthly meeting to discuss this. Sales won't always be able to tell you what you can do better or differently (or to their credit, they'd be marketers instead of salespeople), but they can explain where something didn't work or what they think would help.
No, I am not a "Star Trek" fan but I had to include this post from Mashable in honor of our CTO and senior director of IT (who I believe is actually more into "Star Wars"). Beyond that, it's just cool. It seems that Google has gone deeper than usual to mark the series 46th anniversary tomorrow. There are even scenes to help you work through the story.
That pretty much exhausts my comments on the subject, as (gasp) I was not a fan then or now. Please hold your comments on that but feel free to add your input on any of the other articles featured.
As always, enjoy your weekend and have a great week at work. Sent me the great articles you've found recently!