In my last post for Sensei Blogs, I discussed the disruption to customer acquisition strategies that has been driven by SoLoMo or social, location, and mobile technologies. The point was that the merging of these technologies, which has increased real-time user engagement by consumers and customer data collection by businesses, has ushered in a true paradigm shift in sales and marketing strategies.
However, as with any such shift in business marketing and communication, some businesses will take advantage and prosper while others will sit on the sidelines watching their competitors surge ahead. Understanding the technological underpinnings of SoLoMo is critical for modern businesses; however, for sales acquisition, it’s equally important to understand how this shift changes the manner in which sales and marketing teams must now build sales funnels.
They’re Not Prospects, They’re Relationships
Specifically, I’m referring to the manner in which sales and marketing teams acquire, nurture, and convert prospective customers. It may see like another social media buzz phrase, but prospects can no longer be viewed as contacts or “prospects” but relationships. Today’s prospects are armed with more knowledge and data sources than ever before, so traditional feature/benefit communications will no longer cut it. This access has effectively disrupted traditional brand-consumer communication paths and messages so we need to “amp up” our efforts. The technology of SoLoMo has accelerated these disruptors, making them real-time and more volatile than ever before.
To stay ahead of the customers’ increased access – and your competitors’ access to those same customers – sales and marketing teams must change the manner in which they prospect. For example, managing contact databases through traditional CRMs is no longer a viable practice; establishing relationships with prospects has become a key success strategy. However, until now, technology limited this concept to theory or management through a hodgepodge of software and manual exporting, importing, and filtering of data sources.
Managing Social Relationships
Traditional Contact Management Software (CRMs) are essentially digital Roledexes, which require much human management and intuition to “build and manage relationships” beyond e-mails and phone call scheduling. Marketing automation software streamlines the process one step further by offering drip communication schedules with emails and, in some cases, social posts but they don’t embrace the myriad of social profiles, data sources, and relationship context required.
So what’s the solution? As Danny Brown and I outlined in Influence Marketing, the future of sales acquisition management requires a more sophisticated understanding of one’s audience including the online sources through which prospects are communicating, whom they’re engaging in those channels, the relationships established in those channels, and the context that sways purchase decisions. This understanding can’t be found by funneling prospects through a customer relationship management software but through a social relationship management tool.
Imagine this scenario:
A salesperson searches Google for articles or websites belonging to target customers and scrolls through LinkedIn for targeted customer profiles by industry or geography Then – within that same site/browser – she clicks on a prospect’s name and instantly sees all his social profilesacross all social networks and websites: who he works for; his contact information; what he speaks about most; who he engages with most often on various social networks; what products or topics he inspires action on; and finally, how closely he matches your business’s customer profile?
Then imagine a one-click option that allows the salesperson to append all those data sources to an existing prospect file or to create a new profile. Now she can use that intelligence to plan, schedule, and execute real-time engagement based on actual insights from conversations and relationship metrics across all those data points instead of a pre-set time frame dictated by a CRM program.
Managing Disruptions in Customer Acquisition Strategy with Social Relationship Software
Even the best CRM programs exist in a silo where data must be manually entered or exported/imported from other programs. If the shift in brand-consumer engagement, which has been dramatically affected by SoLoMo, has taught us anything, it’s that sales teams must be equally social, mobile, and located where customers already are. They need to be more nimble than ever before.
Speaking of being nimble, Nimble, a pioneer in social relationship management software, announced today that it has released its newest version of its Nimble Everywhere strategy– Version 2.0 of the Nimble Contacts Widget for Gmail and Outlook. The company also debuted the ability to add Nimble’s Smart Contact profiles anywhere you work within Chrome web browsers.
The new Nimble Contacts Widget defaults to the Smart Summary view of any individual, which shows bio, company information, connections in common, and educational background in a concise, easy-to-understand plain English summary.
The Nimble Contacts Widget allows users to view social streams and signals related to that contact. It pulls and provides complete communications history of emails, notes, and events, in addition to social messages. Further, the widget also enables users to take action by adding a task, associating a new deal, rating the contact as important or starting engagement follow-ups directly within the app.
“Nimble” Any Contact Instantly From Your Browser
What’s most exciting to me in this release is the platform’s new ability to add a contact profile in Nimble directly from a browser – regardless in which website or social platform you find a prospect. By simply highlighting a name in the Web browser and right-clicking “Nimble Contact”, Nimble builds that contact profile automatically.
What’s so revolutionary for social businesses is this new ability to identify and build a relationship with prospects as we encounter them across the web, blogs, social networks or forums. Watch the Nimble Contacts Widget for Chrome demo video.
Will you make the shift or will you be watching others from sidelines?
To be successful today, businesses must shift to social relationship paradigms and software from traditional sales methodologies and customer relationship management software. Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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