Last week, we presented at Salesforce’s Dreamforce 2012 conference on the topic of social sales and marketing enablement. Here is a brief overview of our presentation along with the slides.
Build your social market value – The theme of the presentation was how to build social marketing value by enabling the sales team socially. This entails training sales team to participate in social conversations with prospects and customers, building credibility and being transparent.
Social media plays an important role in the demand generation funnel adding credibility to the sales process. Social may or may not directly drive conversions in your organization, but it certainly helps connect the dots within your marketing channels. Think of social as a bridge between your marketing campaigns and sales conversion process. A bridge that helps drives qualified leads and loyal customers.
Department Participation – Before using social there was a level of disconnect in our organization between sales and marketing. Marketing generated leads and transferred to the sales team who converted these to customers. Both teams operated in silos like a relay race. Then we created social programs and social training for sales people. The training and programs helped us align our approach more like a three-legged race.
Social Integration – We use social cross functionally across all three phases of the demand funnel. We use Facebook and LinkedIn ads at the awareness stage to fill the top of the funnel. We have content marketing programs in the consideration phase and powerful presentations on Slideshare for decision making phase.
SharePoint Tuesday is a great example of one of our popular cross-functional social initiatives. SP Tuesday is a monthly live Q&A program. In this live session, prospects and customers can ask their most pressing questions directly to the Rackspace-employed SharePoint MVPs (most valuable professionals).
What are the three internal resources in your organization that you can build a social program around it?
Sales Training – Our seven-step training program covers the basic from setting up profiles all the way up to using LinkedIn and other social tools for relationship building. We train sales people to connect with prospects and participate in conversations.
Professional Recommendations – One other tool that we use at Rackspace are the LinkedIn recommendations. A recent survey by LinkedIn confirmed “reviews from your professional network” being the most trusted form of recommendation.
We took this information to heart and collected 500-plus recommendations from prestigious brands such as JP Morgan Chase, IBM, Amazon, eBay and several others. We worked with LinkedIn to remove the internal employee recommendations so it does not skew the results.
Social Media is a process – Social media is a process, and we have learned this from our experience. Our initial approach lacked strategy. We were expecting results too quickly without detailed process and planning. As a result, we were forced to go back to the drawing board.
Finally, we took a holistic approach and built our social team. We developed social programs and training for sales people. These programs and integration of social across the demand funnel has allowed us to become successful in our social projects.