If you were to try and make me pick the best conversation I had this week, whether it was through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Quora, email, phone, on other blogs, on my own blog, or in person- I would have a hard time choosing. Clever as I may be sometimes, I have learned something from every single one.
Maybe it is because my favorite radio station is featuring the Led all day (oh please, I beg you- no 'Stairway', for the love of all things Zep), but as I sit here with my Friday morning coffee and look back at what happened this week, I have observed a common thread in them all.
Marketing is the matchmaker, but sales needs to do the dating.#socialselling Sales should (be able to) own social media. Agreed? RT plz.— Carole Mahoney (@minetmarketing) April 10, 2013
Smarketing Week Review
First, I've been reading Frank Beltzer's book "Sales Shift". I promised Frank a written review when I am done (and I will) but you should read it yourself- don't wait on me. If you had listened in on my discussions this week around "Sales Shift", you would quickly realize that everyone has different take-aways. My first is that the shift in sales needs to be in alignment with the way people buy-online. And that means social media, (you know-that internet 'trend' where people actually use their relationships to help them make their decisions) needs to be a sales activity, because social media is meant to build individual relationships of trust. The internet has given the buyer the power of information everywhere they go, for everything they do, and as a result, transparency is a lot easier. Good for buyers, bad if you want to try to trick them and that delights me.
There were also several conversations with other Hubspot Partners. Most of them had attended the Buyer Persona and Content Development broadcast and want me to help them learn how to develop/refine their own process around buyer persona profiles so that they can continue to scale inbound marketing services for their clients (the GPS system for sales). It was these conversations that lead to the guest post "Where does sales and marketing alignments start?".
That post I wrote for David Weinhaus' 'Inbound Agency Selling Blog' is really for my inbound colleagues, but it applies to all businesses. If you are not an inbound marketing agency, consultant, or freelancer- all you need to know is that Smarketing is essential for scalable growth. Inbound marketing agencies that are not figuring out their 'how' to align their process and services to a clients' sales activities are doing them a disservice. In My Opinion. Certainly read the post and offer yours, or check out the Buyer Persona Jump Start Course that a select few are grabbing onto while they can.
The Small Business Advantage Every Large Business Wishes They Had
When I talked with Alyson Stone, the content manager for Nimble (disclosure: I am starting to become a Nimble fan myself), I was curious why she decided to leave salesforce.com for a start-up CRM. Before I had the chance to ask, she read my mind and said "Small business can do better business because they understand naturally the value of social and word of mouth. They can react faster to the needs of the customer. Working with small businesses is both a challenge and a reward." This stuck with me because growing up in a family of entrepreneurs taught me about the impact a personal and individual approach has and how it can transform problems into opportunities. If you understand the small town rules, it will help you grow your business.
Alison Hinson also discussed with me an article she is writing for Mainebiz "How to Assess the Value of Social Media". As we got into some of my how-to tips and recommendations, she seemed surprised by some of my answers. When I told her that ultimately, social media is effective for sales, not for marketing- she said I was going to ruffle some feathers. Good, they need to be ruffled! I replied. When I told her how much time I spend 'in social media' she asked. "So how can you tell a solopreneur or entrepreneur that they need to be spending at least 2 hours a day in social media?"
"When you believe that your social media interactions are actually sales conversations- whether it is for prospecting, research, networking, or closing business, 2 hours a day total is conservative. When you understand that it is about building relationships and understanding others, and not pushing yourself, you will see the value."
Large companies to need treat their customers like individuals, and that is something successful small businesses already know how to do.
I have my ideas on how to pair the scalability of social for larger companies while keeping the small business service level. What are yours?