Establishing a Social Selling Role within My Company

I think I am at the crest of something new here. I have scoured the web for job titles, blog posts and anything I could find on companies that have a role specifically designated to social selling. I have found nothing. Social selling is not new by any means, but I am in the process of establishing and training a person in my company designated specifically as a social sales person. The early results are promising and very exciting.

It came to a point where I had someone who I saw was clearly talented at social media. There are certain aspects you look for in someone, you can’t force someone or really even train someone to be great at social media if they don’t have a few certain things about them. So I knew this person could do quite well in the social media marketing capacity in which we already operate. However, we already have the needs covered there. It also just so happened that this person had sales experience, so it made the decision to do this, that much easier.

Social selling is something that many people have been evangelizing about for some time. I have been a proponent of it for a while as well and have lead training sessions with my sales staff on social selling and social prospecting best practices for the past couple of years. I’ve come to believe in it so much that I felt like there was a void within our organization. I wanted someone to handle this role and be responsible for the task, full-time.

Again, certain attributes are essential to someone who is going to be highly effective at social media for business. I learned this by watching my social media manager take the role and explode it out to a highly successful marketing channel for us. I also saw a handful of people prior to her not do as well. Our social media marketing has certain goals, which we achieve, pretty easily. I wanted to take most of the same things that made us successful as a marketing team in social media and apply those to this social “selling” role. That’s why those attributes were so important. I was going to put into place a similar strategy, similar tactics and similar tools, with some slight variations.

With this new social selling role, I defined a daily, weekly and monthly plan, most of which is more closely related to marketing than to a traditional sales role. Without a doubt, I consider this person in the role a marketer over a salesperson. Daily, weekly and monthly sales objectives and daily, weekly and monthly marketing objectives, clearly defined and the plan laid out. Marketing makes up 80% of the role, sales is 20%.

The results have been strong so far, I firmly believe that I have the right person in place to make this go very, very well. Fortunately, a few years of B2B and B2C social media marketing trial, error, failure and success has given me the ability to put the tools in place that will help make this person successful and will help this person to realistically hit the daily, weekly and monthly tasks we have identified. I think we have the right strategy, the right tactics and achievable goals. Let’s see how it goes!

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How Social Media Strategy “Should” Look at the Enterprise Organization Level

Social media for business is really great. Businesses can seemingly compete on a pretty level playing field (for the most part) with their competitors when it comes to social media marketing. Companies that are successful in social media can gain massive exposure, generate leads, syndicate valuable content, grow mentions and backlinks etc. if they know what they are doing. If your following is bigger than your competitor’s, then you have an edge. So a small business with a huge, targeted following can achieve greater results (again, if they know what they are doing) from social media marketing than could a medium sized business with a much larger marketing budget (putting social media ads to the side here for the purpose of this article). All in all, this seems pretty true right? Well, larger businesses have a much greater asset than simply their company’s social following, that is, the people that work for them.

My experience has shown that individuals generally can be far more successful at achieving many of the goals often associated with social media marketing than a business. AKA, a person’s social media account can do more than a business account. Social media in general is driven by people looking to branch out to other people, not people looking to be sold to. I don’t know of any large organization that is doing this, but here is what a social media marketing strategy should look like, in an enterprise organization.

Obviously, they take the same approach to strategy any business who is successful on social media takes, content sharing, connecting with influencers etc.

The collective following of their employees is the untapped resource I am blogging about here though. Enterprise organizations should be utilizing this. These companies should create a plan to take advantage of this massive social media marketing resource. Here are some ideas for that strategy:

–          Encourage employees to be active on social media

–          Provide them with the tools (make them available on the company network)

–          In some cases, the social media team can manage certain social media tool application for the employees

–          Train people on how to use social media and the tools you have provided

–          Train people on do’s, don’t’s and how to promote a consistent brand message

–          Establish feeds to get them to move your corporate digital content and lead gen content

–          Establish incentives for participation and etch out “social media time”

If your company wants to run a webinar on a hot topic and you are expecting the primary source of promotion to be social media, your firm’s 40,000 Twitter followers will result in some pretty decent results, I’m sure. However, your firm’s 500 employees who are actively engaged on Twitter and probably have about 200 followers each, would be a heck of a lot more effective. My organization has had a great deal of success with this and we have yet to run in to a problem from it. Almost everyone in our company is set up with all the tools and techniques, many of the accounts are actually managed to a certain extent by our social media team, while the employee still has full access. The shares, retweets etc. gain us exceptional results, consistently. If you mature your enterprise social media strategy and harness your employee’s social following (and we all know we should, remember, marketing is not a department, its a company mindset), then you can eventually make your enterprise social selling strategy really rock!

(Time-Capsule Note: Here in 2013, the enterprise world isn’t quite ready to accept a social selling strategy…)

The Emerging Role of the Chief Marketing Technologist

As we all know, technology changes fast in the modern world. This is particularly true in business and marketing where the tools used to promote a product become more advanced every day. Many businesses have assigned the tasks of utilizing these new technologies to an emerging position starting to be referred to as the “Chief Marketing Technologist”, aka CMT or CMTO.

The Chief Marketing Technologist role is not a simple one. The person holding the position is usually responsible for a wide range of marketing tools and tactics from SEO to Marketing Automation to Social Media Strategy. The CMT usually needs to have a firm understanding of a variety of skill sets such as IT, finance, marketing, sales and more.

Digital Marketing
Digital marketing and inbound marketing are key terms in the role of the Chief Marketing Technologist. In fact, according to most definitions, digital marketing makes up the majority of the role. Things like video and delivery networks, content marketing, webinars, white papers, PPC, SEO, social media, content marketing, mobile marketing, web analytics, online lead generation, email marketing, website CMS etc. are all things that a Chief Marketing Technologist must be a Subject Matter Expert in.

A Chief Marketing Technologist also has the know how to plan the design and functionality of a company’s website. Layout, contact capture strategy, UI, URL structure, conversion optimization and more.

Mobile marketing is an emerging aspect of digital marketing. Google Analytics makes it pretty easy to pick through your website’s traffic data and see how well or not well your website is performing when it comes to mobile traffic. In general, mobile traffic requires a slightly different approach in order to optimize conversions. A successful CMTO has experience implementing the various best practices around mobile traffic conversion.

Social Media
Social media is still so under-utilized by many organizations. Even many great marketing organizations have yet to figure out what it takes to be successful in social media. A CMTO has experience in social media success. Define the company’s social media goals (all of which are pretty similar no matter the industry), identify the tools, identify and train the talent, educate the entire organization on do’s and don’ts (yes, an entire organization, each employee should play a role in social media for business, but that’s another post entirely), implement the strategy and succeed. There is so much that social media can do for a company, a good CMTO knows what is out there for the taking and has the knowledge to go and get it.

Analytics
Big data, website analytics, multivariate testing, business analytics etc. are key terms to a CMTO. Marketing has always been about tracking and analyzing data to be able to improve a campaign’s effectiveness. Today, more data is available and greater metrics are able to be utilized. A CMTO has deep experience mining data and using it for improved ROI and revenue performance management.

Sales
Its no secret that marketing and sales go hand in hand. A strong Chief Marketing Technologist has experience and strong knowledge in the role of the sales staff. The lead pipeline is perhaps the most essential element to this. lead nurturing, lead scoring, CRM and marketing automation are knowledge points essential today’s lead marketer.

Social selling is the next aspect directly relating to the CMTO. This is an emerging area for sure. Some would classify this under the actual sales department, some would classify it under social media, but it requires a strong Chief Marketing Technologist’s leadership to truly champion social selling. Along with the actual social selling tactics and strategy are the tools needed to be successful. There are many social media tools out there, which ones are essential to your sales staff in order for them to be successful? You better ask the CMTO.

Information Technology
IT now plays a key role in marketing. Everything from application development to web development to video hosting platforms requires a somewhat firm grasp of information technology principles. In order to now implement the full set of marketing tools needed by a successful digital marketing organization, the Chief Marketing Technologist needs to know how the IT resources behind them work.

Perhaps the Chief Marketing Technologist is simply a redefinition of the CMO. Maybe this is where marketing is headed. Either way, its a really cool role that requires completely unique experience. For more information and to see my inspiration behind this post, check out what Scott Brinker is doing here. He has some great stuff on his blog!