Content to Conversation: A Sales Enablement Blog

SiriusDecisions 2011 Summit Review: Marketers are “Siriusly” Hungry

Posted: May 10th, 2011 | Author: Jody Canavan | Filed under: Content Development, Content Strategy, Messaging, Sales Enablement, Thought leadership, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Okay, I admit it − I was poolside one hour after I arrived at the beautiful Fairmont Scottsdale Resort. I smeared on the SPF 45, ordered the resort’s signature margarita and began reading my Summit registration packet.

Let’s face it − we’ve all been to dozens of conferences where the host suggests that if we leave with two new ideas and meet a couple of like-minded peers, we’ve had a successful trip. At first glance, this conference was going to be no different. The longer I sat in the glorious Arizona sunshine, the more I decided that I’d be perfectly willing to sacrifice a couple of keynotes, sessions and tracks for some much needed R&R. So I promised myself that as soon as the conference lost my attention, I would return to the south pool.

I never made it back. Not only did the conference keep my attention, it turned out to be one of the best events I’ve attended in years for quality of content, attendee interest/interaction and for building post-conference momentum.

SiriusDecisions couldn’t be more right when they describe their world as “the place where sales and marketing meet.” Every keynote paired marketing and sales execs who presented how they overcame the challenges associated with aligning their two organizations toward supporting sales and driving increased revenues. Every track reinforced this aligned strategy with analyst perspectives on best practices in demand gen, product marketing, sales process and sales and channel enablement − each followed by practical, proven examples of success.

Most relevant to my world was Marisa Kopec and Joe Galvin’s session on sales enablement, since that’s what we do. In the most attended breakout session of the conference, the duo together shared the nuts and bolts of an effective sales enablement practice. The statistic that hit home for many (and confirmed via live polling) was the fact that the greatest inhibitor to an organization’s sales force achieving quota was their inability to communicate value messages. The need for customer-focused/value-based messaging and content has never been greater, but alongside that need comes the requirement to map those messages to suitable points and conversations in the buyer’s journey − carried forth not only by sellers, but also via various other customer touch-points. This is one area where many organizations continue to struggle. (PS – We do that, too.)

And by the way, this is one of the slides the Kopec/Galvin team presented:

It seems to me Sales Enablement is another place where marketing and sales meet. I’m just sayin’…

I left the Summit with more than a renewed sense of purpose and a full bottle of SPF 45. The next few years are going to be tons of fun as marketing and sales continue to align and sales enablement practices flourish.


Tweet Like You Mean It

Posted: July 28th, 2010 | Author: Justin Bowers | Filed under: Content Development | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Twitter, it would seem, is here to stay. And as communicating at 140 characters a pop becomes increasingly commonplace, it’s no surprise to see businesses flocking to Twitter in droves.

While businesses have just as much of a right to tweet as pro athletes, your 10th grade niece and politicians do, it’s only natural for us to regard a company’s use of Twitter as a late-to-the-game move to attach itself to one of the day’s hottest trends.

So how can a business positively contribute to the Twitter community, while leveraging the site to more closely connect with customers, attract new prospects and expand its reach?

There are countless resources to help companies get their feet wet on Twitter – including lists of dos and don’ts, as well as 7, 50 and even 62 tips to follow – but common among these are a few simple rules any business looking to make the best use of Twitter should follow:

 

  • Embrace the sense of community Twitter provides – Like all social media, Twitter exists to help unite like-minded individuals. To this end, think about your tweets as a conversation starter. Have one of your chief technologists tweet about the accomplishments of a peer. Discuss an emerging industry trend. Follow, and be followed by, people and organizations with similar interests. Keep the discussion rolling. Whatever you do, build as many relationships as possible. You never know which connection will make 140 characters worth their weight in gold.
  • Don’t use Twitter for blatant self promotion – While Twitter can be a powerful marketing tool, the public will see through any attempt to tweet the virtues of your company to any and all who may read it. Instead, think of Twitter as a way to gain visibility. The more you engage the community, the more your name is seen on the tweets of people and organizations alike, the more likely the public is to want to learn more about who you are and what you have to offer.
  • Use Twitter to drive organizational improvement – Twitter offers businesses a truly unfiltered dose of public opinion. It may seem a bit scary, but search for your name in recent tweets. People are far more likely to be blunt and truthful over Twitter than they would be over a formal customer-sat survey, so seek out what consumers have to say about your products and services. This type of straight-from-the-horse’s-mouth opinion can really help your company make some significant improvements.

 

With some simple planning, Twitter can become a useful tool that, with little to no investment, can help your organization achieve great things. Just follow these simple rules and you’ll be well on your way. And remember –  tweet like you mean it!


Twitter Shock and Awe

Posted: July 2nd, 2010 | Author: Evan ODonnell | Filed under: Social Media | Tags: , , | No Comments »

I have a confession to make. I’m one of those people who is immediately skeptical of things that get really popular, really fast. I’m not exactly sure why that is, but it’s a characteristic that’s been with me for a while. Want proof? I didn’t get a cell phone until 2003, I’ve been on Facebook for less than a year, and I’ve never read a book in either the Harry Potter or Twilight series.

Sometimes my hesitation to bandwagon jump proves beneficial, as it has prevented me from, say, having to unload a box full of pogs on eBay. Other times, however, it simply delays me from getting in on the ground floor of something special.

Case in point, Twitter. Now I’m sure I’m not the only person who raised an eyebrow or two at a communications tool that limits you to 140 characters, but I was recently shocked and awed by its ability to foster valuable conversations in near-real time.

The other day, my girlfriend and I were watching TV when a new commercial for Diet Coke came on. The commercial itself was unremarkable, but the music playing in it was incredibly catchy. It was so catchy, in fact, that it immediately spurred my girlfriend to load up Google in search of the song title and artist’s name.

Within seconds, she knew the song was called “Sweet Disposition” and the artist’s name was The Temper Trap. “That was fast,” I said. She showed me how she found what she was looking for so quickly. Right there on the first page of Google search results was a window that was updating in real time with relevant tweets:

“Just saw the new Diet Coke commercial. Anyone know what song was in it?”

“Who knows the name of the awesome tune in the Diet Coke ad?”

And so on. Clearly, she wasn’t the only person who enjoyed the song. And then the answer tweets started rolling in:

“I’m pretty sure that was The Temper Trap. Song’s called Sweet Disposition.”

“Just heard Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap in Diet Coke commercial=more food for my iPod!”

And so on. Random groups of people were all having the same thought, at the same time, and thanks to Twitter (and Google, which aggregated the thoughts), they were able to converse and quickly exchange meaningful information. I was blown away.

On the surface, it may not seem all that groundbreaking. So a bunch of people were interested in a song from a Diet Coke commercial, big deal. But think about it a little longer and you realize that millions of other conversations are happening right now, about millions of other things unrelated to soda and music. And I’m willing to bet at least a few of those have something to do with your company/industry/business. Question is, are you participating?