Brain Vibe

marketing muses to stay engaged

Go Mobile – B2B Sales Social Network

As marketing is trying to figure out how to leverage the current “it” technology of social media, where is sales in all this?  Quite possibly still trying to figure out how to generate enough business and maintain rockstar status to avoid the last technology they were forced to use – CRM/SFA.  Let’s face it, CRM/SFA at the end of the day probably benefits marketing and management more than it does sales.

When talking about social media, it is really less about the technology and more about new and better ways to connect to customers in a one to one manners.  This is what sales is all about.  Add to the fact that social media is also highly portable through mobile devices and you have a tool for sales that aligns nicely to what sales wants, better engagement with customers.  While it may be tempting and on the surface seem easier to integrate into existing web and business applications utilizing laptops as clients, sales is not about the laptop.  Sales is about its mobile phone.

Why go mobile media with sales:

  • The app is on the device sales uses most
  • Mobile apps are simple to understand, simple to use, and simple and fast to set up
  • The app is within touch of how sales interacts with the customer
  • Mobile apps already exist to mash into mobile network, CRM/SFA apps within the enterprise
  • Always “on” connection – wifi or mobile network

Getting sales to leverage social media is probably not going to be as much of an issue as it is adopting the mechanisms to do so.  Social networking is ultimately what sales does.  Simplicity is really the key.  I’ve worked with and know some extremely savvy and business oriented sales people that are the best because they are a consultant first, sales person second.  A good number of these friends and colleagues sell some of the most complex technology solutions out there.  Yet, when it comes to using anything more difficult than their Blackberry for a phone call or email, forget it.  If they can’t figure it out without using a manual, using it is never going to happen – unless under threat of docked commission.  It is no wonder The Sales 2.0 Network says that sales is still in the technological dark ages.

Providing usable tools that fit neatly into a sales persons favorite tool, their mobile phone, makes things familiar and accessible.  Today’s social media tools are simple to use, easy to understand, and ready to use in seconds.  Having these tools connected to account profiles, contacts, service records, transactions, and marketing content provides a mechanism for a more robust engagement with customers.  Social media becomes an extension of the consultative process.

Preassure on Enterprise Apps

Companies like Oracle, SAP, even Salesforce.com are on the hook to leverage mobile apps that integrate with CRM/SFA systems with simplistic interfaces that we have today.  Mobile technology with these enterprise applications is there, but needs to be mashed with social media apps and networks bringing sales closer to the customer.  Focusing requirement gathering efforts in marketing may seem the right path at first, but it is sales that actually could prove the wiser point of entry.  Marketing may be driving the need for social media integration but, leveraging sales leadership for insight into their relationship practices might yield better results for B2B organizations using social media.  After all, who is already networking and how similar is that to what social media and networks is all about.

Potential Cost Savings

Yet, even without tight integration with existing enterprise applications, today’s social media apps are already a powerful mechanism.  On top of that, there is a low or no cost of entry for companies.  Pilot programs to deploy these social media apps can act as the foundation to gather requirements for more robust and mature platforms.  In the process, marketing is also learning from these social media interactions to improve its own use.  It may even be cheaper having sales go mobile on social media than spending marketing dollars and also seeing ROI.

Related Article:  Giving Control of Social Media to Sales for B2B Marketing ROI

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Hey teacher, can you give me a tweet?

He He…Alright, maybe not the most appropriate title, but there is a point.

My school system has embraced technology.  It is all about going green.  Really it is about saving money to avoid printing notices.  Regardless, noble effort. But, I have to pull the info. Drives me crazy. I actually have to think about it! The shame of it all (can you hear the whine?). Oh, there is the monthly email that comes out from the school, teachers, PTA, and so on. If there is a hot topic being debated then an email arrives on that. But, if you are like me, my mailbox is pretty full and things get lost.

So I had a thought, what would or could mobile and social media do for cities and towns? Think about it, Obama raised millions and drove his entire campaign through social media. I was listening to his podcasts two years ago. He nickel and dimed his way to the top and drove home his message of change mostly through PR.

  • What if teachers could use Twitter to send parents a reminder that the class project was due in 2 days?
  • What if you could create educational games for kids to purchase and download on their phones and iPhones to play and proceeds went to the school?
  • Would you like to participate in the school committee meetings via webinar or Skype technology and submit questions?
  • How about a social network for parents and teachers to connect and discuss issues and topics?
  • Wouldn’t you love a blog from the Superintendent, principle, and your child’s teacher?
  • Could schools leverage social networks, phone applications, and other Web 2.0 media to raise much needed funds?
  • What about kids blogging to each other in a book club, sports club, or any other topic that promotes writing, journalism, and community connection?
  • Wouldn’t you love to tweet a teacher? (Get your minds out of the gutter – Twitter!)

Anyway, you get the point.  Think of the possibilities.  Social media and mobile media can make the difference between parents being involved, kids getting more out of education, and teachers and schools connecting in meaningful ways with all families.

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