Social Media Marketing

The 5 Most Unusual Daily Habits Of Highly Effective Social Sellers

They publish daily.

Believe it or not, top social sellers publish content to LinkedIn Publisher, their own blog or in Medium, everyday. They don't just publish what they think, they maintain a running 'string' of backlinks to mash up into the articles providing social proof of what other thought leaders think. This builds a content foundation of authenticity and veracity. They reference other articles, they newsjack current events and they respond to technology trends, world news and Google / Twitter trends. They are unabashedly utilitarian in helping their following with Youtility content; this is highly actionable content their dream customers can use to better their business and lives – right after reading it and in real-time.

  • Are you publishing daily on LinkedIn – yes you read that write – daily? Do you publish for others? In other words, is your work featured on other highly trafficked sites with author attribution?
  • Have you built a list of evergreen sources and a strategy for mashing up recent topics that matter?
  • Are you a trusted thought leader, subject matter expert and referenced source on the bleeding edge of your industry?
  • Do you have an active YouTube channel where you curate other amazing video content but also your own videos? Are they real raw and authentic or overly slick?
  • Do you participate in Twitter chats, Tweetups, Google Hangouts, Social Hangouts on YouTubes and interactive webinars? Are you a guest speaker on webinars for software companies?

If not, this is the number one habit I suggest and witness top enterprise sellers picking up in 2015 to rocket their success in #strategicsocialselling. Teach your customers with new insight in a public forum. Like Challenger says, teach with new and compelling insight that you've garnered from being active in your sector by listening to the common challenges and pain points that run rampant in the key verticals that you serve. Provide a channel: be the brand and face of that brand, channel and company. We are living in the age of the 'rise of personal brands' after all. Think edutainment! Share stories of customer success and case studies. Collaborate with other elite social sellers on content – very soon you'll be one. Even collaborate with your customers and friends, encouraging them to guest post on your blog.

They comment daily.

What's unusual about the most active sellers in your company on social media? They're frequently the top sales people too. Back in the day when social media was controversial, they studied top performing university students and found paradoxically that those most active in social media had the highest marks! Your top sellers frequently have a Social Selling Index Score of over 70 out of 100, which is quite rare. (It's humbling to see that mine has shot up to 82 after applying these methods.) Yes, they have a high Klout score too, a dizzying array of followers on Twitter and their stream is so jam packed with useful, wow content – you'd probably wonder, 'when are they actually working and how are they putting all this out to good use for our bottom line?'

But that's just how effective they are in social media, nurturing the funnel, edutaining and providing unexpected value daily. What's better for the bottom line than deeply satisfied customers and your customer's customers? What's better than a new customer that converted 90% of the way because they've been following your top reps blog for 9 months! As the face of your brand, they are proactive meets interactive. And commenting is a science and art form unto itself. Top sellers are actively participating in groups with provocative comments that foster deeper conversation and peel back the onion on commonly shared pain. They participate in the groups where your top customers go like CMOs or LinkedIn CXOs. They ask the questions that matter, effectively and frequently. When they read an article anywhere on the internet, they take the time to comment at the bottom with a track back to their blog or your companies site unlocking a landing page for a free white paper with game-changing insight. I've noticed an incredible delta between the interactivity levels of top social sellers versus those that are passively curating and monitoring.

  • How many comments do you post per day?
  • Are you solely hitting the like button or are you slowing down to fully read what's compelling in your stream?
  • Have you set up Lists and Filters for Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. so that you have a 'string' to cross reference when you write and comment?
  • Are you open sourcing everything to reduce friction and make it easy to buy from you (3.0) or gating everything to get backlash, increase bounce rates and negatively impact conversion rate optimization (2.0)?
  • Do you go share these social updates and push them out in non-duplicative ways to each social network or is it the same link inelegantly spammed everywhere hurting your SEO? Don't post the same link in every group you participate in, not even two? Never do this! Participate in groups by asking open questions and actively threading. It's a paradigm shift... trust me. I get many invites each week from this meta-tactic alone.

They courageously connect daily.

If you're not leveraging a Premium LinkedIn account, I would argue you're missing the full value of the system. It's incredibly affordable if you sell anything over $100. If you sell products and services over $250,000 into the enterprise, it's worth its weight in Inca Gold. Let me explain... Like any tool, it's how you use it – you'll get what you put in. Top social sellers exhaust their InMails... every single one. I use every InMail that I can and I'm courageous about it. I recently wrote a very senior executive at LinkedIn and was thrilled to get a warm response and some good strategic advice on improvising / improving content strategy. It's gratifying to see the team at LinkedIn 'dogfooding' their own product and practicing what they preach. People often ask if I 'work for LinkedIn?' No, I promote it like crazy because it works and the network effects are singular. I pay a premium for it because I would pay 10X more for the tangible revenue it drives into my consulting business and the power of the network alone that it's allowing me to build as a speaker, bestselling author and consultant who is well known in Australia but still breaking into international spheres:

  • Honestly, are you exhausting every InMail?
  • Are you courageously writing to the actual CEO, President or very important top officer (VITO) that can sign your contract?
  • Are you being courageous when you reach out maintaining relevance and respect or are you playing too small in social?

They listen, curate and share daily.

Top sellers don't just hit the 'like' button. They go further than that. When they read something in Publish that inspires them, they send a friend request with a tailored message. They take the time to study targets before connecting. They often have the luxury of an enterprise LinkedIn Sales Navigator subscription that allows them to passively monitor key contacts in major strategic accounts so they can stay alert for trigger events before reaching out. Top sellers are listening to the Crunchbase feed to see who gets funding and connect in with them – daily. Funding is a phenomenal trigger event as is M & A, as are job changes and transitions, promotions or a big initiative on the docket announced in the media. The biggest, baddest, boldest trigger events are often hiding in plain sight. It's all about how we look at our streams as highly effective social sales people of the new age. Train your team on all the mechanics of Trigger Event Selling and build in measurable KPIs, metrics and critical success factors into your CRM dashboards to track leading measure activity levels. Something like an SSI score can even be SPIFFed or bonused around. At a few leading enterprise technology companies I'm even aware of a special status for the highest ranking social sellers in the company. Hint, one of them is top top social seller on my strategic social selling unicorns list!

Top sellers are cross referencing with LinkedIn Premium Data, with Rapportive for reverse email lookups. They're calling into the switchboard to verify phone numbers, understand political power bases and mapping organizational charts. They're being hyperactive in how they combine all mediums of outreach: Social, Mobile, Calling, Research – Google+, Facebook, Twitter. Top sales people are tracking email w/ Yesware and watching in social – putting all of this together into a gestalt to generate intel and insight. As they listen, they share. As they curate they comment and 'prosume' which is the opposite of consume. They write blog posts in response to other blog posts. They remix and mashup. They stoke provocative comment threads and take those conversations off line or amplify them back online in their own groups. Yes, they start their own groups and frequently help to moderate the company's official Facebook Page, Twitter Account or LinkedIn group. (Which can have several admins by the way!)

  • As a manager are you bringing Sales and Marketing together weekly?
  • Are you encouraging your top sales people to become micro-marketers?
  • Are you just phoning it in with the like button?
  • If you had to meet the last 5 authors of Publisher Posts you liked in person, would you be able to honestly reflect on what they wrote? Just think, these could be your next dream customers!
  • Are you filtering with TweetDeck or HootSuite? Are you leveraging social filtration technology and tools to step up your game? Are you leveraging Buffer App to Tweet while you sleep to accommodate your base on different time zones? Are you building highly targeted Twitter Lists so that you can retweet with comment?
  • Here's a big one: Are you sharing your compelling sales story and you personal life story? Are you featuring customer wins and testimonials? More importantly than anything else in this article – are you making the content about them? For them! Is it immediately useful and applicable to their job today?
  • Are you writing passionately about the things you know best in life and tying these insight back to business? (Sports, music, philosophy, history, politics + your brand + your software + your UVP!)

They aim straight for the top daily.

This last point is a fascinating one. I was approached and am now coaching an executive who read my book that is consistently closing six figure deals in under a 90-day sales cycle fully inside, by applying my RSVPselling framework and this last point daily. I have been consulting companies on how to build a LinkedIn War Room to ramp revenue and dramatically lower cost of field sales, which is very different from a traditional Web 2.0 Social Media Command Center.

Don't be intimidated by the senior executives in social media. Every CXO was once just starting out. Richard Branson encourages a leapfrog strategy in which you go high courageously. LinkedIn InMails give you the ability to write to just about anyone in the system. Do not waste them. Do your research and reach out with a compelling business case. My book, The Joshua Principle, tells the story of how a fairly junior sales rep landed a key meeting with the CEO of his biggest target account to bring home the biggest deal of his career and jumpstart his trajectory into sales leadership. I recommend you read it as a blueprint for generating just what that key insight will be as you improve how to develop the acumen to connect at the very top.

Senior executives focus on outcomes and risk. They'll be more impressed if you understand their balance sheet, annual report and what they're sharing in social, at conferences and in the minutes of their quarterly call, then if you parrot puffery and cliches back to them or show up with static thoughts printed out. You can't be canned – you have to understand! You would be surprised how much subject matter expertise you already have and in many industries, how little exposure business leaders often get to technology acceleration and change from the corner office. If you're in a disruptive business or unit of a big company acting disruptively, you have a severe edge. The savviest CEOs I know are always looking to constantly converse and network to keep their skill set sharpened and their knowledge ahead of the curve. They want to meet with Millennials – they're looking to be reverse mentored. So many sales people will aim lower and be too intimidated. Reaching high will make all the difference in your ability to sell top-down as you beeswarm and build consensus with social connectivity across the organization. Be careful – not everyone in an account should be wantonly added in social media. There are always frenemies and competitors in every deal, the greatest of which is 'do nothing' aka the dread status quo!

  • Are you analyzing a company and aiming one level too low? Are you afraid to access the C-Suite? Are you just sending a passive friend request rather than researching for 15 minutes to a half an hour and writing an extremely targeted and customized message that is timely and relevant with your bespoke CXO LinkedIn invite or InMail?
  • Are you slowing down to connect with less people more meaningfully or mass adding off a conference attendee list?
  • When powerful people add you back on LinkedIn or Twitter are you sending a personalized message?
  • Are you tweeting at top thought leaders, bloggers and the tech media that covers your sector? Are you inserting yourself into the conversations that matter? Are you paying it forward - giving to get? Sharing to be shared?
  • Here's a really big one: Are you playing up to your audience's intelligence or dumbing yourself down? Why not write content to help leaders in your industry advance even further? That right there, is the yellow brick road to the emerald city of Trusted Advisor – digitally. Paradoxically, you'll get noticed if you cater to your audience's existing expertise and advance the knowledge base further rather than the constant drone of: basics, basics... basics.

Now it's your turn: What are the daily habits and routines of the most effective social sellers that you've noticed, that I may have forgotten to include on this list? What's your secret sauce in social? Are you willing to share it below in the comments for the Youtility of everyone reading? If so, thank you!

I'm endeavoring to live every principle in this post every day right here.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Mike Licht

Social Engagement: Pillar Four of Strategic B2B Social Selling

Social engagement is simply how we establish connection and build relationships with people in social media. All the rules of the physical world apply including professionalism, good manners, respect and integrity.

Blasting someone with your uber-messaging Gatling gun projection machine causes people to recoil. Baiting people with content to capture their details and then launching a ‘shock and awe’ bombardment campaign damages your brand. Too much ‘noise’ creates selective deafness in your audience.

We’ve all been on the receiving end… instead use social listening and social research to be targeted and relevant for those with whom you pursue a relationship. Be a Hawkeye cupid sniper rather than a worrier with an arsenal.

The way we sell is more important than what we sell. How we open the conversation is far more important than how we close the sale. Masterful openers set the agenda and establish value. When we engage anyone in business we need to:

  • Introduce ourselves within a trusted network

  • With relevant context that creates value in a conversation

  • Leading with insight and respecting their time

  • Without pressure or manipulation

All of this can be done in social with LinkedIn being the critical platform for B2B sellers. Be where your customers are... where do they go online to research and gain insight? What online communities are they part of? What do they look for before they look for you? Here are the things to focus on:

  • Use Sales Navigator to determine social proximity for good old networking to secure an introduction. Warm introductions trump cold calls every time.

  • Pick up the phone and call them... it still works a treat!

  • Lead with why, rather than with what you do and how you do it. Be clear about the business value you offer in terms of delivering outcomes and managing risk.

  • Be a giver not a taker. Ensure that they take more from the meeting than you.

  • Create well conceived templates that you tailor for InMails and emails to anchor meeting and conversations. Convey that you've authentically researched them and their company thoroughly to glean actionable insight. 

  • Become a valued member of the online communities in which your targets participate. No creepy stalking or cheap self promotion... just weigh-in with insight and become known to the group as a valued member.

  • Be clear about what the next steps should be.

  • Always follow-up in a timely manner on every small commitment.

Connect in context, engage with relevance, focus on business value (delivering their outcomes and managing their risks) and endeavor to build a relationship of trust.

Feel free to weigh-in. How do you engage using social and what are your tips for others? Here is how to go back to my Social Selling overview.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Spreng Ben



Key Social Selling Metrics. What Should You Measure?

Social selling is all the rage but poorly understood. All the rules of professional selling in the physical world apply to online social selling. We need to build networks of trust and engage thoughtfully with context and value. In B2B social selling I've nominated 6 pillars for sales success:

All of your social selling activites should be focused of getting on the phone with the person!!!!!!

Call on the phone.jpg

I've written previously about the key metrics to measure in CRM but how do you drive the right behaviors and activities in social? What gets measured gets done yet according to Jason Jordan and Michelle Vazzana in Cracking The Sales Management Code, 83% of what is measured (typically in CRM systems) cannot be managed. That's because you can’t manage results, only activities and inputs. This is a profound point... we must focus on coaching and managing the right activities that feed into objectives (KPIs) that in turn create revenue and margin results.

I’ve worked in large corporations where there has been an insane focus on the forecast call… endlessly asking the same questions of sales people, baiting them to go and blow the deal with inappropriate pressure and also train customers about end-of-quarter discounts that will always be available (despite hollow threats to put the price back up). Opening is far more important than closing and if you want accurate forecasting, then understand the customer’s process and timing for the necessary approvals and administrative tasks. Want more revenue, then coach and manage the activities that create and progress opportunities. We need to earn revenue in the way we engage and by creating real business value for the customer.

In today's world, sales people need to be micro-marketers and value engineers, leveraging technology and tools to greater greater yields in delivering ever increasing revenue targets in relentlessly commoditizing markets. Sales people need to rediscover the lost art of writing... I firmly believe that if you can't write, then you can't sell. I also believe that sales management is the weak link in the revenue chain and sale managers need to coach and also hold their people to account for executing the right inputs the right way, consistently week-in and week-out.

What should we focus on and what should we measure? It all depends on what you're seeking to achieve... what's your strategy? As an example; are you publishing to attract audience or to evidence your credibility? Here are potential input metrics to measure as you take your team on the journey of B2B social selling. Don't try and implement too many... pick the few that will make the difference based on your social selling maturity and strategy.

  • Trigger events captured (eg; new decision driver or buyer roles who joining target industry organizations, regulatory changes, scandals, mergers and acquisitions).
  • Unique content created (eg; LinkedIn Updates shared, LinkedIn Publisher or other blog posts published, Linkedin Group discussions initiated, Tweets generated).
  • Unique content views, comments, likes, shares, retweets and stars.
  • Other people's content curated (eg; retweets, likes, shares, comments, Google+, etc.).
  • Researched thought leadership papers written, strategies documented, account plans created.
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator 'accounts' and 'leads' created.
  • Customer industry associated joined and meetings attended.
  • Tailored InMails sent with accept and response rate.
  • Phone calls made and meetings booked.
  • Emails sent.
  • Inbound connection requests (this could be the cornerstone metric for successful content publishing moving from push to pull)
  • Referral requests per day
  • Profile views
  • Monthly LinkedIn SSI (Social Selling Index) change
  • Visibility rank in LinkedIn network
  • LinkedIn connection count
  • Appointments set from all this both on phone and on site

 And specifically for LinkedIn's Sales Navigator:

  • Leads saved
  • Accounts saved
  • Custom leadbuilder searches saved
  • TeamLink referral requests
  • Trigger events tracked, most important job changes, promotions and lead recommendations

How will you measure each metric? Will you be able to trust the data? Which few have the biggest impact? How will you recognize and reward the leaders who embrace the social selling journey?

This is an excellent post by LinkedIn's Alex Hisaka on Measuring Your Team’s Social Selling Performance. It's a must read on this topic. Here also is a brilliantarticle on social ROI by Kevan Lee from Buffer (an app I use in my social strategy).

The last of the 5 pillars is 'social collaboration' and CRM is an important tool for sharing information across a team as your pursue complex opportunities and manage large accounts.

Bonus content: What to measure in CRM.

Published research nominates the failure rate of CRM implementations at more than 30% with one research paper nominating the figure at 70%! But in my opinion failure has nothing to do the CRM technology. Every organization needs a CRM to be truly customer-centric and it should be the platform on which process automation and deal coaching occurs. Here are the 8 things I recommend you manage in a CRM for complex B2B solution selling because there is an ‘activity lever’ can be pulled:

1. Qualified pipeline as a percentage of target / quota. I recommend 3-5 times coverage and if it’s low, the sales person can execute activities to build the pipeline

2. Opportunity qualification score. A qualification snapshot should be done progressively as deal moves through stages. Poor scores should create actions to gather intelligence or execute tasks that improve the situation

3. Number of meetings that progress the sale (with call plans completed). Call plans should be forms within your CRM, not Word documents, and the meeting notes and actions from the call should also be logged in CRM.

4. Discovery completed. This is different to the qualification process. It’s all the information you need to be able to properly propose a solution. Again, this should reside within your CRM so that when you move from selling to implementing, and then to supporting; you have a single view of the client for all aspects of customer lifecycle.

5. Number of opportunities reviewed by sales manager. Again within the CRM with your sales methodology integrated and evidenced by a new qualification snapshot score and actions created.(TAS Dealmaker, Pipeline Manager and Sales Pipeliner are excellent plugins for Salesforce CRM. Oracle and SugarCRM also have good solutions to align to process).

6. Proposals submitted (accepted and validated by the customer) following documented discovery process.

7. Deal time in each stage (excessive time in a stage reduces likelihood of winning). This is the most difficult in the list to ‘pull an activity lever’, but we should nevertheless understand the customer’s process and timing.

8. Close plans validated by customer. Close plans are the secret to accurate forecasting. Best practice is to rename the document to ‘Project Alignment Plan’ and then sit with the customer to validate that we are all on the same page and can meet their expectations with resources and timing. (eg; have our legal people available for contract negotiations at the right time, have our project manager available for kick-off planning when needed, etc.)

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Stevie Spiers - Does he measure up

How To Double First Appointments with Mike Scher

There’s been much written about how cold calling is dead and that social selling is the new black. But I recently caught-up with Mike Scher, CEO of FRONTLINE Selling, when he was in Sydney and we discussed how it’s never been tougher for business people to secure initial meetings with their new potential customers.

His company developed what I call ‘a relationship establishment methodology’ following a study of 1.8 million outreach efforts from a range of companies across multiple industries. Mike believes they’ve removed the guesswork that sales people go through about who to contact, when, how and how often. Mike knows that cold calling alone isn't enough and I ask him to explain his Staccato Methodology.

“Staccato is actually quite simple. It’s a multi-touch approach that makes sense because it’s well defined, very specific and manically precise. We know that the sequence, frequency and interval of touches makes a real difference in how effective the effort is. “

We all know that the way we execute is just as important as the strategy of what we are doing and Mike went on to talk about how they execute the touches to deliver appointments with the right people.

“We embed our methodology in technology to playbook what the sales person needs to do. In essence we combine ‘know what’ with ‘know how’. People need to know what to do which is the touch points (voicemails, e-mails, etc.) to deliver and also when to send them. ‘Know how’ is knowing the best way to execute those touches. For example, our research revealed that sending e-mails with permission versus not, yields dramatically higher responses.   Our methodology is best practice for how to execute. For example, we enable sales and marketing teams to inspire the key player to give permission for sending an e-mail.”

Mike is masterful at bringing sales methodology, process and technology together for creating initial contact with target prospects an achieving this is the Holy Grail of Sales Enablement which I’ve defined here. But what about the role of the most powerful social selling tool ever invented… it’s not LinkedIn or Facebook, nor is it Google – it’s the telephone. Human to human (H2H) interaction is what complex business-to-business selling requires to begin the process of meeting face to face and building relationship of trust and value.

We all know that cold calling is tough and with less than 3% success rate but what about warm calling? I asked Mike about how does that fits into his methodology and the role of phone calls generally.

“There are a number of reasons why the phone is critical to your outreach effort. First is that the prospect lists you're using are not 100% accurate. Most are not even 80% accurate which means using the phone enables you to navigate and close the gap inherent in the list by uncovering new prospects within an account. Second; the phone is critical because we all consume messages differently. Some us are visual learners, some kinesthetic.  Many of us are auditory learners and hearing is the best way to communicate, hence the phone and voicemails are proven to be effective tools. The goal is person to person connection and hearing someone's voice is the next best thing to meeting them in person."

The take-away message here is that an integrated approach to outreach is key; sales leadership must bring methodology, process and technology together to playbook and coach sales people to be more effective.

Mike knows what he’s talking about with 18 years in enterprise software sales and was a frequent President’s Club winner. He started FRONTLINE selling about 12 years ago to help sales people secure more first appointments with the right people. Their software solution called Staccato™ software works seamlessly with popular CRM applications such as and enables a sales leader to manage their own prospecting process and pursuit models. Mike Scher’s methodology doubles the number of first appointments with the right people. His worst performing clients only experience a 50% increase which is still dramatic.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier YES!

How To Rise Above The Competition With Content Publishing

I define Strategic Social Selling as the strategy and process of building quality networks online that attract clients and accelerate the speed of business. People and technology work together to drive efficiency in personal human engagement through social listening, social publishing, social research, social engagement, and social collaboration. These are the 5 pillars of B2B Social selling for sales enablement.

After social listening, social publishing is the most important pillar for those who are seeking to build their pipeline and create a narrative that earns conversations at the right level. Publishing also has other benefits... it evidences our credibility when buyer's research us before meeting or purchasing, and having sellers write is the best sales training they'll ever experience. Anyone who doesn't constantly read to remain current in their industry cannot honestly call themselves a professional, and anyone who can't write can't sell in complex B2B selling today.

According to Corporate Executive Board (CEB) Research, 95% of buyers expect insight from the seller. Yet Forrester Research highlights that 85% of sellers fail to meet buyer expectations while CEB research found that 86% of sellers fail to differentiate in the mind of the buyer. We clearly have a problem but it can be solved when sales people embrace imperative to write within the guidelines of their company and with management and marketing serving as editors.

Constantly ask yourself what do people see when the find me online? ... uber sales person? ... job seeker? ... or do they see a person of credibility, insight and integrity who can help them transform or improve their business?

What should sales people write about? The first thing I encourage my client's sales people to proactively write about is the objections they encounter. For example, my recruitment industry clients hear a common objection of "I'm too busy to meet so just send me CVs if you have any candidates", I therefore help them write a Publisher post in their LinkedIn profile about how much time is wasted by poor filtering of candidates caused by not understanding what defines cultural fit (beyond qualifications, skills and experience). I also encourage them to write about the real costs associated with hiring the wrong people. All of this reinforces the value of a recruitment consultant who takes the time to understand what defines a successful employee beyond the obvious things in a job description.

Social content publishing is powerful on so many different levels. Some believe that sales people should not be content creators but I disagree and here is why. Done well, it can achieve the following:

  • Evidence credibility, insight and domain knowledge when buyers research us
  • Set the agenda about the value we offer and the values by which we operate
  • Proactively deal with objections and position ourselves
  • Attract audience and even leads. Don't believe this is possible? This screenshot is from a blog post I published about why Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software must evolve to Customer eXperience Management (CXM) and Peter posted a comment which was a lead for any CRM provider.

Here are my tips for standing our from the crowd and rising above the wall of white noise in social media.

  1. Ensure you have a strategy for themes, brand champions, publishing channels and content amplifiers.
  2. Identify your audience and then write for the one person or role you are seeking to influence. This makes it targeted, personal and on point.
  3. Be clear in your own mind about why your message is important and what you want them to do about. But avoid any call to action that overtly seeks to sell or paints you as a salesperson.
  4. Create a catchy headline (think like a newspaper editor).
  5. Use an eye-catching picture that has an abstract relationship to your topic. This post is a good example (it's a real photo and always provide attribution) Flickr creative commons is an excellent source of pictures that don;t breach copyright.
  6. Have an opening that hooks, a body that informs and a close that motivates or inspires. Deliver insight rather than mere information.
  7. Aim for 700 words and don't ramble. Longer is okay and some of my best posts with more than 200,000 reads were well over 1500 words long).
  8. Create back-links to other content but never use click-bate to take people to another site where they have to complete forms or register to view content.

If you're the leader of a business, bring sales and marketing together to create a social content publishing strategy to amplify corporate initiatives and enhance personal brands in a manner consistent with the corporate image and message. People buy from those they like and trust; then they focus on best value and lowest risk. The buyers journey begins online so ensure they find you and your people, and they they are attracted by what they see. Content publishing really is the best social strategy to stand out from the crowd. Be inspired by the 3 minute video below showing how Mobula Rays soar.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by: - Octavio Aburto / iLCP

Catching The Right Technology Wave

Everyone is seeking brand cut-through yet automation usually results in people being bombarded and blasted rather than being provided with relevant insight and assistance. Amidst all the tools for sales and marketing, which ones are right for you? The most important thing to focus on is social listening and social engagement but this migraine inducing infographic from Scott Brinker at shows the overwhelming scale of choice that befuddles many.

I believe that the key to delivering best Customer eXperience (CX) is to adopt a mash-up of technologies to listen and engage with potential and existing customers but the choice is bewildering. There are 43 categories in the infographic above and they include social media, mobile marketing, video marketing, content marketing, CRM, sales enablement, e-mail, SEO... all offering a cornucopia of choice.

I recently sat down and discussed the importance of technology tools for social engagement with Adam Fraser, founder of social media technology specialist EchoJunction, and he told me which five he uses to great effect with his clients. His wisdom will help you navigate the sea of choice to decide what's right for your social sales and marketing efforts. Here is Adam's opinion about the plethora of sales and marketing tools and how they can be harnessed.

There are a few issues worthy of note about the MarTech landscape report:

  • We now live in the world of the API and web services – all software companies now pretty much have to “play nicely” with partners/potential competitors alike, hence opening up their platforms for integration and development purposes.
  • A number of niche, specialist tools now exist across a wide range of marketing technology areas.
  • One tool is unlikely to be suffice for all of your marketing software needs; integration between a variety of tools is a likely outcome – think “mash-up” not ‘marketing ERP’ when developing the technology solution that is right for your business.
  • Maintaining “one version of the truth” and “one view of the customer” are key over-arching objectives – don’t allow data silos to form, meaning different departments would be acting on different data pools/views of the customer
  • Strategic planning your technology architecture is critical: don’t rush out to procure a range of tools without thinking about your overarching data integrity, security and governance needs.
  • No question – the worlds of the CMO and CIO are converging. The marketer of today needs to be familiar with blueprints, roadmaps, cloud solutions and data architecture. Familiarity with technology and analytics are now table stakes for marketers.

Even within the social media marketing sector (a single sub-sector in the visual above) a broad and deep range of options exists. To help make some sense of this, I segment the enterprise social media software market (at a high level) along functional lines as follows:

  • Social listening tools such as Brandwatch, Netbase, Radian 6 and Sysomos.
  • Social customer service tools such as Conversocial, Lithium and SparkCentral.
  • Social reporting and analytics tools such as Simply Measured and Social Bakers.
  • Social publishing tools such as Buffer, CoSchedule and Postplanner.
  • End to end social media technology platforms (which can perform all of the above) such as Tracx, Spinklr, Sendible and Hootsuite.

Of course there are many more segments, particularly in the tactical social media marketing execution area. Yes, even the social media software sector arguably needs its own segmentation and infographic! At a high level the choice comes down to ‘best of breed’ verticals connected to each other via API integration and an ‘end-to-end’ platform for all of your social media needs. With either approach, integration to a CRM system is likely to make sense to ensure that critical one view of the customer is facilitated.

Which approach and software solutions are right for your business? That of course depends. Start with the business problem you are trying to solve, develop your marketing strategy, and create specific IT requirements; then (and only then) think about the technology solutions you need to facilitate your strategic plan. Too often I see people jumping to a “shiny new toy” before they know what business or marketing objective they are trying to achieve. This is cart before the horse.

The choice can certainly seem over-whelming for digital marketers but with the right approach and strategic planning, these marketing software tools can be a great facilitator and accelerator for your business and marketing operational needs.

Useful insights above from Adam Fraser and I also asked him about which social tools he prefers. Here's his answer: Brandwatch for social listening; Conversocial for customer service; Simply Measured for social analytics; and Marketo for for lead scoring, nurturing and drip marketing. As an end-to-end tool he likes Tracx which does a bit of everything and also content scheduling to multiple social platforms. There are many other excellent tools other than these but after much research these are the ones Adam has identified as enterprise capable, high quality offerings in this space which cover the vast majority of use cases.

Adam also does a weekly podcast which makes for great listening where he recently interviewed me on the misnomer of 'social selling'.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Jeff Rowley Jaws

Why Customer Experience Trumps Customer Service

Andrew Vorster is a brilliant futurist and technologist from the UK and we were both speaking at a recent Customer eXperience (CX) conference. He made the important distinction between customer service and customer experience while explaining how technology is disrupting traditional business models. I asked him how he sees the customer experience of the future. Here is his response.

"I have to start out by saying that many people I come into contact with immediately start talking about 'customer service' as soon as I say 'customer experience'. I point out that while customer service is an important facet of the customer experience, most people will only experience your customer service once they are a customer."

"But the customer experience begins way before that point in time and it's a large component of how your brand is perceived"

"Marketing departments are therefore been the early adopters of technology, constantly seeking new ways to augment and amplify engagement by using technology. Take for example this stunt pulled by Pepsi in London which is an example of people experiencing the brand, augmented by technology. The goal of a customer experience is to evoke positively memorable emotion and I think Pepsi certainly hit the mark on this occasion."

But it’s not just about a new advertising format. I constantly ask clients about how they can you use the 'Internet Of [their Company’s] Things' to enhance customer experience. There is a fantastic example of how Samsung proposes to use its own technology to save lives on the road in Argentina by rendering its trucks 'see through'. This is a incredible example of using technology to improve lives and deliver innovative customer experience."

Andrew believes this technology should be rolled-out globally and that those who lead with practical innovation that improves lives create powerful following. I asked him how he thinks it converts to revenue.

"Can you imagine the first time you experienced one of these trucks on the road? I think that the enhanced customer experience would make you think very positively about Samsung as a technology company and would quite possibly influence your next purchase decision."

"When you enhance customer experience you increase loyalty. Rather than pushing marketing messages and offers, think about how to create exceptional customer experience. Meat Pack is a trendy footwear store in Guatemala and they used a clever combination of technology including indoor location sensors and real time marketing to generate the kind of customer experience that its target market would love.  Hang in there watching this video explaining how 'Hijack' works... it has customers sprinting at break-neck speed to do business with them."

Meat Pack's “Hijack” campaign successfully created a buzz around the brand on social media through customer advocacy – who wouldn’t want to share that kind of experience with their friends? I came across a great advertising campaign in Australia the day before my opening keynote – it’s for Hahn Superdry beer and the slogan goes “if you’re not collecting experiences, you’re not living” ( The campaign is full of aspirational dreams and activities that many of us stuck in suburbia might yearn for but deem to be way out of reach. But that’s not the point. The point is that deep down, we are all “experience collectors”. How will you leverage technology in the future to give your customers an experience worth collecting?"

Andrew makes excellent points and is not saying that great customer service isn't important. He highlights that service should fit within the overall customer experience that you create well before someone becomes a client. How do people feel about you and your brand before becoming a customer. Sales and marketing must work together to innovate and create best end-to-end customer experience.

Contact Andrew here in LinkedIn and also follow his Publisher page. If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Craig Sunter - Some people are just never happy!