Tag Archives: inbound marketing

Adding Social to your CRM

Why Social CRM?

Knowing where your prospects came from (and why) out there in the big world wide web will help marketing fine tune its social campaigns and double down on the ones that are working.  This will lead to your prospects getting the answers they are asking (where they are asking them), then track them all the way through sales and customer support for a 360-degree view of your customer’s journey through your company.  This of course leads to happier customers and better reporting, accountability, and ROI.   It will help your sales get insight into their prospects from their very first interaction with your company up to and including theirs. 

Everything you know and love about your current CRM is still useful and relevant.  Now they have just allowed you to add your social efforts into the mix to make more educated decisions and provide better reporting for all your programs instead of just outbound campaigns.

These same tools can help you track and improve your branding efforts and make your responses more effective.  They can be used to better track your interactions with brand leaders and other influencers to improve those relationships as well. 

Before marketers jump into a big data discussion and shell out a great deal of money, I suggest coming up with a list of questions you want answered first, and then look for the best app to do those things first.   After all, analytics is all about making the best of the data that we have, and there are plenty of sources to obtain that data. 

 

What do they track?

All your social media interactions.

Imagine someone is really upset with your product and needs help, is frustrated and complaining online.  Social CRM can show you where, what is going on with them and why.  This allows online activities to be routed to your best resource to help them, and tells them where to go (twitter, Facebook, blog attack, or rant. You need to be there where your customers are, not waiting to read about it. 

Most of the commercial social CRM packages serve up the information with a full view of all that person’s online activity in one location.  They will make recommendations, and serve up actionable information.  I have used Nimble and Salesforce IQ, and I have to say I loved them both.  Both were about $25/mo. Since my marketing budget at this company was next to nothing, so cost was one of my main considerations in that instance.

 

Where do I start?

There are so many Social CRM applications out there to choose from, so many in fact that everyone answering that question online suggests you need to first sit down and figure out what questions you need answered. What problems are you trying to solve? What new opportunities do you think you are missing out on?   What does management want you to track?  How are you doing it today?

With your requirements in hand you will be better able to start narrowing down your selections.  There are dozens of great tools in each category to help with gathering, rating, sorting, and analyzing.  It will be much easier to start with the dozen tools that provide your most needed capabilities and go from there. 

So, the first step is to figure out what information you are looking for.  What problems are you trying to solve?

Example: Say you decide you want to start tracking your prospects much earlier in the sales cycle.  Instead of waiting for prospects to contact your sales. you want to start tracking them the moment they click on your online content.  You want to then follow them through their journeys toward deciding on a solution. 

Here are some other things you may want to discover with a new Social CRM solution:

  • What did the prospect click on first? What did they do next?  And after that?
  • Did they go straight to your online offer and get it, land on your website, or did they call sales?
  • Where did they spend time on your website before clicking the buy button?
  • Are they asking questions online that are going unanswered?
  • How many of your social media contacts turned into leads? What was the ROI for that social media campaign?
  • What is your social marketing effectiveness?

With this information you can now track the success of your social media programs, provide ROI to management, as well as allow your sales to observe your buyer’s journey from their first click onto your content page.  You know with this sales could better gauge where prospects are in their journey to make it possible to provide the right information at the right time.  This is the difference between inbound marketing and “spray and pray” marketing (which we all agreed was inefficient and annoying a decade ago). 

 

I have my list of data that I want to track with my new Social CRM app…what now?

Say you have a great CRM and everyone at your company already knows how to use it, but today it is only capturing outbound information, or lists of contacts to spam, or prospect contact info after they have talked with sales and have been entered into your sales cycle.  It is great at everything a CRM should be great at, but you are missing the entire first part of your marketing lead cycle and are having a hard time tying the ROI to the campaign it came from.  First thing you should do is contact whoever sold you your existing CRM to see if they have an add-on for social media.  If they have it and it provides what you need it should not be a tough sale to your management. No retraining, no rip and replace.  Just an upgrade or add-on depending on your provider.   Many of the existing CRMs are playing catchup so chances are if your CRM provider does not have it, they will soon.  If you are using salesforce.com for instance they now have add-ons, you can buy to capture social media results.  Sales IQ is only $25 a month and provides CRM capabilities as well as some basic social media tracking and information about your prospect’s online activities.    If your current CRM solution provider does not have social CRM capabilities, then you will have to look at some new apps.

 

So which ones should I start with?

With many social marketers still trying to figure out which metrics to track and which metrics management is looking for coupled with the fact that there are literally hundreds of new companies providing marketing/social media analytics solutions.  How do I start?  Which ones should I focus on?

With your social CRM wish list in hand you can review a few product matrices like these below to see if any have the feature sets you need.   I put together a shortlist here focusing on the ones I have been asked about in interviews (which I totally hadn’t heard of at the time), or which have overwhelming market share in this space so would be remiss to not mention.

Here is a short list I pulled off Capterra’s website Capterra.com  that takes the top 10 Social CRM software solutions and shows you what each contains.  I provided this because it helps you see at-a-glance an overview of what is included in these commonly used Social CRM packages.

 

Let’s take a look at the categories common to these applications: 

  • Type of deployment (PC or cloud)
  • Contact management (duh!)
  • Customer Support module (so you can see 360 degrees of your prospect’s experience)
  • Email Marketing
  • Interaction tracking – Manage all your social conversations. Make real-time responses to prospect posts when they happen. Move from sharing content to having conversations to closing deals, right from the Social Tab. (from Zoho.com)
  • Lead Management
  • Marketing automation

Nothing new here except for Interaction tracking right? A couple new categories, but nothing you can’t pick up easily. And wait until you see Interaction training.  Very cool stuff! 

And here is another shortlist of popular Social CRM applications This one is from Megan Adam’s LinkedIn skills online training. Her course takes an hour and makes Social Marketing CRM easy to understand from the perspective of a traditional marketer.  It was very informative and engaging enough to hold my interest even with The Big Bang Theory playing in the background.    That’s a pretty good training!

So with your list in hand Google Social CRM plus a few tags from your “must have” list.  Just past the ads should be your short list to start with.  Click on a few of them and notice how well those companies all start tracking and interacting with you from the second you land on their first page.  Try a few free trials to get comfortable with the genre and see what you like.  Most have really good online training and people happy to help you with your education.  You are well on your way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regaining Relevance with New Marketing Technologies

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Do not despair if you blinked and missed out on the last four years of changes that have happened in the marketing industry. A lot has happened, a 180° from push marketing to pull marketing.  Maybe you are asking, “how has that effected the job market?” “What’s up with all these new applications and terminology?  There’s just so many of them! How much of it is applicable to whatever will be my next position?  Which of it am I likely to run into out there?  Will I even like these new methodologies, much less embrace them? 

Well, good news!  If you have studied pull marketing for the consultative sales rep in a past life, then you will be happy to know that the rest of the world has finally caught up to what we knew back then was a better way to sell and market.  The tools back in the day would not accommodate our needs.  Back in the day, even if we could theoretically get access to the data, it was cumbersome and untimely to obtain.  Now we have great new tools available and every marketing management platform has grabbed onto inbound marketing methodology.  It is mainstream enough now that you may be reading and hearing about “new marketing” techniques everywhere you look.  Once you dig in you will realize you already know 80% of this stuff.   

 

To get started there are a few important high level marketing terms you will run into on job descriptions for marketing positions now.  There is a new skillset expected even for marketing titles you used to rock.  Now these are all part of every marketer’s job description.    

  • Digital Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Inbound Marketing
  • Marketing Analytics (not your college marketing analytics)

There are things you can do today to be more efficient on a modern marketing team.  You have to learn the language modern teams are using, but your years of experience are more valuable than anyone is taking into account here.  We have had to learn a new technology every four years since dinosaurs and spam.  Probably because not enough old marketers are embracing the technology, to be on those teams, to show their value-add.  

You can be caught up with the concepts and applications in a couple months of online training and free trials.  I am happy to talk through my journey in case it can help.  The information provided is my opinion as a newb to a lot of these applications and classes.

Be careful when taking online training to use common sense to separate each provider’s subtly inserted product hype, from the sound marketing practices to be learned by their courses.  Side note: I think it is interesting that the coursework screams education early and product info when they are ready to buy, but HubSpot cleverly peppers all their training with information that will be helpful later to select their product.  An additional but lesson in the lesson.  

 

Spray and pray was always bad.  Now it’s a crime

The main story here is that sales and marketing had to stop trying to shove content down potential client’s throats in hopes that they might someday be interested in your product (what we used to call “spray and pray”).  Instead, we are expected to start providing educational content for future prospects much earlier in the sales cycle (what we used to call consultative sales and marketing) so your content is out there waiting for them at each stage of their purchasing journey (now called the buyer’s journey). 

Since customer buying habits have changed, sales and marketing have to change or get left behind in this new buyer’s world where online education is now king. 

 

Right content, right place, right time according to the buyer’s journey is the order of the day

This idea of being where your customers are already at (since they start their buying cycle when they do their first search to figure out what their problem is called) enables you to better guide the sales cycle and become a trusted adviser earlier in the process.  If you are waiting for them to need your product, then you are missing 2/3 of their buyer’s cycle (called the buyer’s journey). 

Graphic below includes language and methodology examples borrowed from HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certification course.  I have summarized several concepts into the two graphics below to explain these concepts using terminology traditional marketers should already know. 

Their line of reasoning is that your competition is out there advising prospects and creating their buying criteria before you even learn about them as a possible future opportunity.  Sound like your team?  If so, please keep reading.    These rehashed concepts, plus some awesome tools, better hand-off between sales and marketing are the foundations of what is called inbound marketing. 

 

 

Better Handoff between marketing and sales leads

Another big shift (that I just love) is that the best in class marketing methodologies like HubSpot and Marketo both have beefed up that ever problematic lead handoff from marketing to sales.  Hubspot uses a definition and supports it with their software around what a “Marketing Quality Lead (MQL) is, and what a Sales ready lead (SQL) is.  Both teams are involved in the handoff criteria, qualification, and are responsible for that MQL/SQL area of the funnel.  Both teams are accountable for this handoff and thus have better insight into the complete sales cycle. 

Marketing is tracking what happens to their leads after sales gets them to continually improve their leads, and sales has more control over the lead criteria and acceptance of a MQL as a SQL.  Prospects are more closely tracked by both teams and receive content when they need it now.  I really like this process and software from preliminarily checking out their free version online. 

Marketo has a “Marketing qualified / Sales accepted closed loop process at the handoff stage that keeps leads in marketing until they are determined sales ready and thereafter treated with respect by sales.  That’s the plan anyway.

You have heard all this before right?  Well, at least now many (to most) companies are using one of these two marketing platforms that seems to enforce, or at least supports this behavior.  Thank God, it’s about freaking time!

 

Meet the new boss, he’s a lot like the old boss

Marketing for the consultative sales rep is fashionable again.  Pull marketing is better defined and supported. Remember back in 2005 when great marketing books like “Lead generation for the Complex Sale,” by Brian Carroll, or Marketing Led Sales Driven by Ajay Sirsi were first out?  Mr. Carroll’s methods assumed sales reps were selling in a consultative fashion already, and lays the groundwork for much of what has been incorporated into the two most popular marketing platforms today HubSpot and Marketo.  

That is something good that started out old school and has received a fresh coat of paint.  Back in the day, even behemoths like HP trained every direct or reseller sales rep in Mercury’s consultative selling training programs.  Avnet, NetApp, and reseller sales reps were taking consultative selling training in order to participate in any of my programs ten years ago.   methodology training and tools a decade ago.  More marketers are being asked to assist in helping their sales reps sell in a more customer centric fashion.  They are selling in a more consultative fashion and are solely focused on pull marketing techniques, you are already well on your way.

 

Plenty of great marketing apps to learn

Here are the main categories and tools that companies want you to be able to use now.  Fortunately, if you go online, take their training courses and a free trial and within a week you are good to go.  Tools today are much easier to learn and use.  Here is an example of digital marketing tools from Smart Insights at http://www.smartinsights.com/

 

All these apps are created to help you put your content where your prospects are looking for it, earn trusted advisor status, make it fun, and to track it.   It is assumed you have created and provided product information to your sales team for the convert stage.  To gain better insights into your buyer’s persona and journey.  And to leverage it at every stage of the buyer’s journey.  Most of these tools are intuitive to use, low cost, and fun to create with. 

Here is another one I like from Cheifmartec.com.  Instead of splitting everything out by RACE (which is very cool), it sorts them by marketing category / task, kind of lines them up by where it falls in the marketing cycle for each marketing discipline.

 

Storytime?

Way back in the day I was an Air Force Finance troop.  If you have been a marketing pro for ten or more years you probably have had to take an accounting class at some point as well.  Everything was manual and they used debits and credits on ledgers to balance.  When learning that crap you couldn’t imagine it ever being useful unless you planned to become a CPA.  Then out came QuickBooks.  It was transaction based and it could do all your basic accounting tasks without requiring the user to use debits and credits anymore.  They weren’t missed, and small business everywhere could get rid of their paperbound and expensive accounting person.  If the owner herself was too busy to do the books on QuickBooks themselves, they could hire a computer savvy college graduate to come in and use QuickBooks for a fraction what they were paying before.  So, let’s call the old accountant Agnes and the new QuickBooks using graduate “Betty”.  Agnes got the boot after ten years of doing the books manually.  Life is good for Betty and management for a while.  Salary expenses were down, everything was getting done, the reports looked great, and everyone was busy.  One day the books were off by a hundred dollars.  Something got off somewhere.  Betty looked at every transaction, but was not able to understand anything going on in QuickBooks underneath the graphical user interface (GUI) to dig into those debits and credits listed on the internal QuickBooks source forms.  All that old school accounting was still in there buy QuickBooks hid them and used them internally to serve up its information to the GUI that Betty had learned to use.  Now everything they loved about QB was exactly what was wrong with QB now.   

When Agnes came in to do her “old cheapskate of a boss” a solid favor, she could easily understand the source documents and internal forms QuickBooks was pulling from.  They looked exactly like old school balance sheets and ledgers that Agnes had been doing everything on.  Agnes and the new hire quickly found the problem together, Agnes charged her former boss a butt load of money, and Agnes learned how to use QuickBooks and with the new skill and old ledger experience was able to get a new job making a whole lot more money.  Sound familiar?  It should. Your skills will all still be useful.  You have hard earned experience and perspective.  If you can pick up some new concepts, vocabulary, and skills you will be more capable than members of your team who read about it in books and never had to deal with some of the craziness we have. 

The Job Search (What I Didn’t Know that I Didn’t Know)

The Job Search

They say to tell your stories in blogs without mentioning yourself in them, make them about the audience.  Well this my story, for you to judge and decide if any of this relates to you.  I’m going to tell you what I did, how I prepared, what I studied, then what happened.  The search, the training, the interviews, putting myself in front of dozens of companies to get to the “real scoop” of what they were looking for and asking about.  Then the time consuming process I worked through to go get the education I should have had before applying to even a single job.  Now, you can learn from my mistakes and hopefully shave two months off your next marketing job search.   

After my marketing consulting gig for a small Japanese software company finished recently, I started looking for a full-time position in which I could work as part of a team again for a high-tech company.   I love managing a team of like-minded marketers more than anything.  I mean, contract work from my home office is great -when it is great.  At times though I found myself putting in 16 hour days, falling out of touch with industry best practices, I stopped attending or being able to afford all the affiliations to great marketing organizations like the Business Marketing Association (BMA) and Gartner that I had become accustomed to.  Working for myself kind of sucked because my boss was a slave driver. Plus, with the healthcare scene what it is today, I decided to go to work again as part of a marketing team again.   I started applying for jobs online.

 

I initially did the following that everyone does:

  • Brushed off my resume, looked up resume best practices for 2017, and updated everything.   
  • Applied for no fewer than 30 positions per day spending extra time to make sure each application, list of skills, and cover letter had been optimized according to the position I was applying for.   
  • Made sure examples of my work are available on my website MadScinceConsulting.com, included my portfolio, and included links.
  • Called former bosses and referrals to make sure they are still happy to receive calls.
  • Updated my LinkedIn page and upgraded my LinkedIn account to LinkedIn pro.
  • Added my information to more than two dozen job boards like: LinkedIn Pro, Marketing Ladders, Virtual Vocations, Indeed, Glass Doors, Dice, Beyond, and many more.
  • Posted my resume and information on to more than 50 company career sections for consideration at all the places I wanted to work.
  • Submitted all my information to the local recruiters.
  • Notified my network of professional friends know I was available. If I find a position at their company, I would send them my information and the job to forward to their HR for me.  

 

As a result

I have had twenty-five phone interviews and seven face-to-face interviews.  Every one of the interviews went very well until they started asking me about my experience with new marketing technology, concepts, and applications.  I had heard or read about them all, but I would not lie and say I was an expert in marketing analytics, agile / scrum, inbound marketing, or digital marketing or social media marketing management experience. 

So, here was an opportunity.  On my resume I have listed several marketing titles so I was interviewing for a nice sampling of open marketing positions.  My last interview was with the President of a local high-tech product reseller.  He told me he had to cut off the applications for the one position at 250 resumes.  He selected the nine best to talk with.  I made that cut.  He said he would pick the three best out of the nine to come in and interview in person.  That’s some serious competition.  I was easily making it to the top 3% of the list for call backs for an interview, but had not made the final cut yet.

I kept hearing requests for tools I had never used, or asked about terms that no longer mean what they used to.  They say not to list things on your resume that will date you if you are in the younger or older spectrum of applicants.  I am here to tell you that this extends into the tools you are familiar with and certificates you keep current.

 

Put up or shut up

When I didn’t get any of those positions, I decided to do something about it.  I needed to not only become a subject matter expert in many new concepts and best practices, but I also needed to become proficient at using the tools that support these methodologies. 

So, here I am, an innovative, award winning corporate marketer.  I have made a lot companies a whole lot of money.  I’m talking hundreds of millions here.  Won a full ride scholarship for an MBA in Global Management with a concentration in International Marketing.  I won Phoenix Marketer of the year in 2012.  Also, through my company Mad Science Consulting I have implemented sales and marketing processes and best practices successfully for SMBs, mid-sized, and large enterprise customers internationally and domestically.  I have always stayed on top of the marketing industry and monitored the changes happening in sales and marketing practices, but obviously I had not been paying close enough attention.  I thought there would be social media marketers and traditional marketers and that companies might want both.  Aink!  Wrong answer.  I was unaware how quickly and how extensive the changes were.  New marketing methodologies are being practiced wholeheartedly by most companies now.  Even traditional marketing roles like Product and Channel marketing now require healthy understanding of inbound, digital, social media and analytics.  I have also come across requirements for agile marketing and SCRUM experience for product marketing positions. 

In tomorrow’s blog, I’ll share some of the amazing things I’ve found as well as ways to get yourself up to date and stay relevant in this fast-moving market.

Why TraDigital Marketing?

There is a lot of great marketing going on in both traditional and digital marketing disciplines, but people tend to stick to their own camp — either you are an old-school traditional marketer, obsessed with metrics and controlling the conversation, or you are a new-school marketer, putting up flashy social media campaigns and blowing past the old, boring techniques of the past.  Here’s the deal, though — in this new marketing landscape, it’s no longer enough to be one or the other.  It’s essential to become what we call a TraDigital Marketer, pairing traditional and digital methodologies to build something new and powerful.

So this blog is for you, traditional marketer that wants to learn more about new marketing techniques put into a context that should be easy to pick up for someone familiar with old-school traditional marketing techniques.  You can stay relevant in this new economy.  New marketer who may be interested in some nuggets of ancient marketing wisdom, well TraDigital Marketing is for you too. You can become more grounded in business concepts that broaden your marketability Let me tell you how:

For Traditional Marketers

The more I study current marketing techniques, the more relevant I see the experience we have as Traditional marketers is.  Concepts such as marketing for consultative sales reps is very in demand.  BANT is still relevant to the sales reps.  Inbound marketing is a deepening of what we used to call pull marketing (now married to current technology capabilities).  So many of the concepts I studied in HubSpot’s inbound marketing certification was stuff I had heard before, peppered with a new philosophy.  It’s a whole lot less mysterious than I thought it would be. 

If you are like me, a corporate marketing expert trying to bring myself up to speed on all new technologies and overcome decades of legacy internal sales and marketing processes at your company, the numbers and ROI are there and it all makes perfect sense.  If only you could get your legacy CMO to pull their head out of “the good old days” just long enough to see the world has changed and their methods have not.

I cannot tell you how many business owners I talk to that are desperately trying to re-swizzle and double down on their outbound efforts.  They keep getting less results, their teams are more discouraged trying to cold call or spam people that just keep getting less and less patient with them. 

Remember “pull marketing” vs. “push marketing” techniques that we all studied and mastered a decade ago?  Then remember “marketing for the consultative sales rep” studies we all started about the same time?  Well, just take all the cool technology available today and apply those concepts to it and you pretty much have what HubSpot and others are calling “Inbound” marketing today.  There are a lot of easy to use tools to help you get there.  Think about how much effort your teenage kid will put into learning a new app.  Well that’s the target market for these new apps, so how hard do you think it is going to be to pick it up?  Not hard at all! 

Like most of us, we can list old courses taken or old technology used, speak to a plethora of examples of relevant experience, but the next round of job interview questioning involves the names of current applications they use that they want the next marketing person to be experienced in.  Those questions stopped me cold every time. 

I did not recognize even the names of most of the applications they are asking for me to know.  To make myself relevant again, I have spent the last two months studying applications, downloading free trials, and obtaining new certs.    I will take you along on that journey and continue to report in how my job search is progressing to hopefully help other old school marketers shave months off their search by preparing beforehand, before you actually need it. Of course we should all be staying on top of this stuff anyway, but if you are reading this I imagine you are a fellow marketer who wants to read about this stuff.

For digital/Inbound/social media marketers

You are on the cutting edge, you know the hottest applications and you make it all look great.  That’s awesome!  That said, I too often see splashy new media marketing folks who don’t understand essential marketing and business concepts.  You can throw a lot of gorgeous stuff out there and get literally no response.  Or you can get a great response and miss it, because you aren’t checking metrics or don’t understand setting up KPIs (key performance indicators) or tracking ROI (return on investment). Okay, there is a lot of good stuff, great stories, and “foundations of marketing stuff” to be learned from traditional marketing. Pairing what you know with traditional marketing knowledge will make you formidable. A true TraDigital Marketer is priceless in the new marketing landscape.

There are many lessons to be learned from other’s mistakes, or the grey areas between push and pull marketing.  You have the benefit of new tools and better methodologies, but when it gets messy that is where traditional marketing techniques can help. There were books, seminars, trainings, and analysis that laid the groundwork for the new sales and marketing models that are every bit as relevant and useful for filling gaps today as they were 10-15 years ago. 

In future blogs, I will list my favorite traditional marketing resources, along with the modern marketing concepts they were laying the groundwork for.  Also, feel free to help a marketer out.  If you have firsthand experience regarding anything I am struggling with in this forum, please speak up.  I am doing my best to take something new to me and make it comfortable for others to learn from.  I am sure any traditional marketer reading this blog would welcome your insights and perspective as well.