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The Case for Data Unification for Sales and Marketing

The Case for Data Unification for Sales and Marketing

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

In our book “Smarketing: How to Achieve Competitive Advantage Through Blended Sales and Marketing” Adam Gray and I provide a Blue Print for the merger for Sales and Marketing.

While people often see that this is about people and process (which we cover in our book, available on Amazon by the way), there is also the issue of data.

Many companies work in silos, in some companies I’ve worked in it’s been like children and toys. They are their toys and there is no way we are going to let anyone else borrow them.

The world has changed, the buyer doesn’t care, they are using social, the internet and mobile to do their own research. The lines between sales and marketing are now blurred if not now merged.

The Merger of Data in the Buying Process

If you didn’t know Microsoft approached us 18 months ago to work with them on a number of their products within the Microsoft Dynamics 365 range. With their purchase of Linkedin, the work in merging (not interfacing) the data in Linkedin with the Microsoft CRM has begun a pace. We are not, by the way, CRM implementors, we are working around the Social Piece on how Linkedin, Linkedin Sales Navigator and Microsoft Social Engagement (MSE) work together to form a single dataset entity. So product stuff over, what does that mean from a business prospective.

Microsoft Social Engagement (MSE) is a social listening tool. While this often “sits” in Marketing, while it can be used by Marketing for brand listening, it is also designed to be used by sales people. Each salesperson (all within the cost of the Enterprise Microsoft Dynamics licence) can listen for terms covering their own unique territory. This means that the sales people can use the tool to do the prospecting and it does this 24 hours a day and even when you are on holiday.

We have taken this data and integrated it into a Sales Navigator workflow. Sales Navigator, being, probably, the best social selling tool available on the market. But merging the power of MSE, Linkedin and Sales Navigator you have an extraordinarily powerful dataset to drive insight and behaviour change around social selling

That’s Not All

Not only that, we also started to build out the Hierarchy & Organisation Chart, powered by Sales Navigator, which writes back into Dynamics.

Now here at Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) we are the biggest cynics when it comes to most things “Martech” or “Salestech” – but what Microsoft & LinkedIn are doing in this space is truly changing the rules of engagement. 

Organisations that grasp this, drive and support the behaviour change required will reap the rewards. Now is this just “pie in the sky” no! People are already using this data as part of their social selling implementations, we are, for example, supporting RSM UK on their journey.

Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) also have a day strategy session where we work with organisation to create a data strategy. In this we talk about the different types of data, 1st Party, 2nd Party and 3rd Party, we work with you to understand your “as is” environment then look at the attributes that what you could do in the future with data in terms of sales and marketing working in unison. The output is a report that will provide a blue print for your future data capabilities.

Thanks to Alex Low for the inspiration and support in writing this blog.

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Usain Bolt, Your Expertise, Clients and Social Selling

Usain Bolt, Your Expertise, Clients and Social Selling

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

I was in a customer meeting with my co-founder Adam Gray the other day and Adam tells a story.

There is a 100 meters sprint, lined up are Usain Bolt, Linford Christie, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Tyson Gay, Donovan Bailey, Christine Arron and you. The gun is fired and 10 seconds later Usain, Linford, Florence, Tyson, Donovan and Christine will have passed the finishing line … you will probably have not.

I’ve started running 5K, which I thought at 30 minutes was pretty good, until a mate of mine put on facebook he could do 5K in sub 20 minutes. For me to cut 10 minutes off my 5K will probably take me a year of intensive training.

What is an Expert?

The thing is, Usain, Linford, Florence, Tyson, Donovan and Christine are experts, you and I are not.

The metaphor is similar for you and your competitors and your customer.

Your Prospects Know Nothing – You Know Everything!

You and your competitors are all experts and thinking your prospect is an expert is a major mistake.

Dave Trott in his book “Predatory Thinking: A Masterclass in Out-Thinking the Competition” makes a great point. Dave ran an advertising agency and he says that whenever you start a relationship with the client, this is the best and only time when you are the most like one of your prospects clients. As you get to know your prospect more and more, know their systems and processes, know what their products do, you become less and less able to talk in the language of your prospects client.

Case Study – Companies That Missed the Opportunity to Talk to Their Clients in a Language They Understood

For example, we had a conversation with a client, that needed to write some content, but we kept getting push back that they didn’t have time. The content needed to be on Blockchain.

  • Client: We need to get some content on Blockchain.
  • Adam Gray: We can do that for you.
  • Client: Laughs, what do you know about Blockchain?
  • Adam Gray: Nothing.
  • Adam Gray: What do you clients know about Blockchain?
  • Client: Nothing.

We ended up writing the content.

We met with a company recently and they said “what did you think of our website?”, we said, “to be honest, we don’t understand what you do from it”. It was then that the Sales VP opened up and said “yes, this is one of our problems, our founders are AI PHDs, they wrote the website and nobody understands it, can you help us?”

At my previous company they sold “ERP” and actually tuned their SEO for it on Google. Nobody knows, apart from suppliers what ERP is. Everybody else call it accounting software and that’s what “normal” people are searching for on Google. I know this as my previous company found that the only people that search for ERP are suppliers.

And that is the mistake that so many companies make.

You are experts, your client is not. Now your clients will go on-line and research for insight and knowledge, but they can never be as much as an expert as you. They change their systems, maybe once every few years, you are helping people all the time.

What can you do?

First and foremost people in Marketing and Sales need to recognise the problem. I’m not saying that you probably need to have a corporate content bonfire, but going forward you need to stop writing as experts and writing in a simple language that your customers will understand. Stop creating three letter acronyms (TLAs) that nobody will understand.

I realise your marketing / PR agency wants to get paid to write a white paper. The thing is nobody will read it. They may download it, but they will place it in the folder called “to read when I have time” that you never get around to. If it’s 300 to 500 words then somebody will read it there and then. Of course, nobody knows the article is good until they have read it. But if you put out short snappy content that is written in simple language and is good, people will read it, read it, read it. You may be a long term reader of ours, you won’t have read all the blogs, but you will know what we write is good.

You will also know, we don’t tell you how clever we are and we don’t fill it with lots of facts or ideas. One point or one idea, that’s it. That is how we are empowering sales people to write their own content. In fact all of our competitors and social selling “influencers” say that getting sales people to write is not possible. But it is possible as we do it.

One of the things we do in our social selling programs is to empower people to use a more simple language, the “tenacious, energetic, sales person” words are dispensed with and we teach people how to write with words and in a style that is relevant to your clients and prospects. 

If you are looking for a real sales transformation, contact us on social.

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Shooting video for your Linkedin feed

I’m Beautiful – Now I’m Taking That to Market

I’m Beautiful – Now I’m Taking That to Market

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

I had to laugh out loud the the other day, somebody had asked for advice where to start with Social Selling and all the “gurus” where piling in with links to there “get rich quick” courses, eBooks and articles “the ten things you need to do to be a social seller”.

It may amaze people, but Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) don’t do get rich quick courses or tick lists and why? They don’t work.

How Do you Measure Social Selling?

I recall somebody telling me that had implemented a Hubspot article “20 Things to do to be a Social Seller” or something, I asked them “how much inbound do they get?” Inbound, being people contacting you asking to buy. Or put it another way, fully BANT leads knocking on your door asking to buy. The answer was zero. Then you are not social selling.

What Other Company Does no Outbound Marketing?

Here at DLA we do no outbound marketing, we don’t advertise, we don’t send unsolicited emails, we don’t cold call, we don’t attend events and why? Because we don’t have to. We spend £zero on marketing, which is the same as $zero, it’s just our time on social. Our time on social being prospecting and how we get all our business through inbound.

So What has This Got to be Being Beautiful?

That’s just one thing you need on social.

Forget all these tick lists, click bait, get rich courses, just be yourself.

Forget all this corporate stuff, what you sell, that your company is number one in whatever you do, none of us care, so the last thing we want is you pushing it down our throats.

Forget all this corporate language, that you are “Energetic, tenacious, cross industry, customer experience sales exec”. For starters this is about being different, we are all energetic and tenacious. The second thing is that we think that we have to write in this pseudo-clever language so we look clever, but in fact we look the opposite. 

Forget writing, I have 10 years experience, I have 20 years experience *smiles* so you are setting yourself up as a yardstick to be measured against. 

It was Winston Churchill who said: “When you’re 20 you care what everyone thinks, when you’re 40 you stop … what everyone thinks, when you’re 60 you realise no one was ever thinking about you in the first place.”

The only advice I will give you about your Linkedin profile is that this is about your customer finding you, seeing you can help them and for you to look approachable.

That requires you to relax, stop selling, write about yourself, your passion, what drives you, what inspires you. You Linkedin profile need to read so that everybody knows you from that Linkedin profile, it should lift off the page so when people check you out before the meeting, they know that it’s going to be a great meeting. (Rather than cancelling the day before).

We were in a meeting the other day and we put up and example of what a good Linkedin profile looks like and the feedback was “I’m going to contact the person, they look like they can help me, they look really interesting and I haven’t ever met them”.

You are beautiful let people know it on your Linkedin profile.

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Why it’s Time to Strip out Cost from Your Organisation with Social Media

Why it’s Time to Strip out Cost from Your Organisation with Social Media

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

Once upon a time social media was something that was kept in the corner in marketing, somebody tweeted on it, every now and again. People dabbled a bit on Linkedin and Facebook, but it wasn’t really central to what marketing did. People pretty much forgot about it. People didn’t put any resources into it so they didn’t get much from it.

10 years later Things have Changed Big Time.

Sales Now Uses Social Media

First Sales started using social and were able to get $1 Million deals for a reduction in the cost of sales. Not only were they able to get leads and meetings quicker than the legacy methods, they were also able to accelerate the pipeline by the clever use of content.

Marketing Uses Social Media 

Marketing caught on and realised that their prospects were on social media, so rather than investing large sums on PPC (pay per click), ad words, events etc, they could find prospects earlier in the sales cycle. Better still, the new empowered buyers could find them and companies started getting inbound.

This new buyer was interested in companies that stop using interruption and broadcast methods such as advertising, cold calling, unsolicited emails, in fact they actively avoided the companies that used these techniques. Why? Because it pissed them off! Legislation and technology conspired against marketing, where as you could set packs of cold callers or emailers on unwitting people. The people fought back, with ad-blockers, junk mail filters, and blocked these people. Marketers realised that could do more for less by using social media. 

Customer Services Uses Social Media

Customer Service has known for a long time that they can strip out cost from the call centre by using social rather than a call centre agent. In studies the cost of handling a customer service call in customer service halved. If you aggregate that cost across all of the business, this will provide massive savings.

Human Resources Uses Social Media

Human Resources have been big users of social, in most cases just tactically posting jobs on Twitter. One of our clients was able to strip £125K ($163K) of cost from the business by posting just a blog to recruit people. Imagine the cost that could be stripped out of this was rolled out across the business? There is also the spin off of benefits that a company can become the employer of choice in that market sector.

Email is Replaced by Social Media

Social is also being used internally to remove the inefficiencies of email. Often used in segments of the organisation or in projects as it helps people collaborate across departments, countries etc.

Is Social Media Your DLS (Dirty Little Secret)?

Social Media has become a companies DLS (Dirty Little Secret) everybody uses it, but they use it on a tactical basis. There is also case study after case study of how people have used it across the organisation and stripped out cost, increased efficiency and effectiveness. So why are organisations not bringing this all together and using social as part of their digital transformation?

Social is after all natural, ever since humans realised on the Serengeti that to stop us being eaten by a sabre-tooth tiger we need to work together and that meant talking to each other. Social is friction-less, just by looking at the way we use social, it’s so easy and to a certain extent it’s free. It used to be something we gave the intern to play with, but social has grown up and companies are using it across the business to strip our cost, gain efficiencies and sell stuff.

Maybe it’s time to take a look?

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Social selling…is it your New Year’s resolution?

Social selling…is it your New Year’s resolution?

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

As we all come back to work after a lovely break over the Christmas holidays many of us are thinking bout our New Year’s resolutions. A new year a new start…losing weight? Quitting smoking? Getting fit? More active on social media…what?

Seriously, perhaps the best New Year’s resolution could be that of being more active on social media.

Why? We work with many groups of people within many clients and the move from “knowing I need to do more with my social presence” to “doing more with my social presence” is a big one. There is the footprint part – creating a great buyer-centric profile full of interesting things and reasons for the reader to engage with you – which is difficult, but is a capital expense of your time (mostly) write a great profile and it’s there for a while. The really difficult part is in chasing your behaviour. Posting every week, writing articles frequently, engaging with comments and shares every day, growing your network every day…these are less about techniques and are more about behavioural change.

So, what better a time is there than the new year to try and adopt a new behaviour. So here are a few things you can do this year to transform your effectiveness on social media.

  1. Write a short article to post on LinkedIn every week – it doesn’t have to be huge, just 300 or so words about something that is currently happening that you can give your spin on.
  2. Post at least once per week – perhaps a short thought for the day, or a video, or an image, but post something that might engage your audience
  3. Engage every day. Each day, go on to Linkedin and read some of what other people are posting, comment, like and share anything that you find interesting (because if you find it interesting there’s a reasonable chance that your connections will too).
  4. Connect. Always be looking to grow your network – seek-out interesting people and send them a nice personalised connection request, then once they’re connected to you keep an eye on them and try to engage them in dialogue (this is about growing your NETWORK and not about about simply increasing your number of connections).
  5. Tweet AT LEAST every day. Preferably many times per day. You can point people at interesting articles (some of which will be yours) and always try to be part of the conversations that are going on about the things you want to be known for.

Does this sound like a lot of work?

It needn’t be if you are efficient with when and how you do things, but it is a fantastic opportunity for you to excel and show your audience exactly what you’re about.

So don’t waste a resolution on something you know you won’t keep…use it for the new social media you!

Happy new year one and all.

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Why Your Business Needs a Social Media Blue Print

Why Your Business Needs a Social Media Blue Print

 by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

Yesterday we were running a Social Strategy day for our clients.  This doesn’t teach the CEO how to use Twitter, it provides the Management Team / Board of Directors / C-Suite with a Blue Print on how to use Social across the business.

Not in the tactical manor it is used across the business, but how to start seeing the Business Benefits, competitive advantage and incremental gains.  We look at the strengths, the weakness, the opportunities and the threats.

It’s a highly interactive session, which creates a collaborate and inclusive atmosphere.  Social, is after all something for everybody.  It isn’t just for sales, marketing, customer service and Human Resources (HR) all departments that are currently using social.  But using social across the business.

For example, the company we were with yesterday (as we do) run the business on Slack, which is social after all.

The company is a small AI start up, cool product and cool people as you would expect, but they suffer from the same issues that any other company deals with around social.  Control vs Empowerment.

During the brainstorm I threw some comments in to get the conversation going:-

  1. Can you retweet a competitors content?
  2. What happens if somebody Tweets something the shouldn’t – The Financial results, before publishing, slagging off the competition, etc etc.
  3. What will you do when you recruit people so they fit in with your social culture?
  4. The company is very keen to recruit a diverse and inclusive workforce, how do they get into a situation where people apply to them?
  5. How do we keep the blogging culture and get people right across the business to blog?

These are just some of the people issues we discussed and we cover in our programs.  And of course, the partnership you get from us, as you would expect as part of your social journey.

Let’s not forget, you needed a trusted partner, not “just” a LinkedIn (product) trainer, but one that understands all the ins and outs of rolling out social across a complex organisation. 

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