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Having started my career in sales and attending countless sales training courses and seminars, there’s one thing that was engrained in my thinking for the better part of 20 years—“Sales is a process, regardless of which of the many ‘proven approaches’ you follow, and following a defined process will equal success.” Each of these processes shared one thing in common—they were all linear. One of the first steps in each process was learning how to qualify a customer. If they’re not qualified when you meet them, either move on or find a way to present something to them that would move them into a qualification phase.
No matter how you looked at it, the salesperson was responsible for capturing a potential customer early in their buying cycle and moving them through the proverbial funnel. Every company and executive sales leader subscribed to some sort of sales and marketing funnel.
So yesterday Microsoft unveiled it’s entrant into the tablet market with the new Surface. First, if that name sounds familiar, it should. In 2007 the Redmond juggernaut released the tabletop touch computer that has primarily been used in retail, hospitality and restaurants. In case you care, they are still selling it, but changed the name to PixelSense (yeah, how about “makes no sense”).
It’s been a couple weeks since the launch of Google+ and virtually every friend, colleague and client is asking each other’s opinions of the site. Most the these “personal reviews” seem to follow the same theme – they like having an alternative to Facebook, think Google is a better shepherd of their personal information and feel the site excels at segmenting their contacts the same way they do in real life.
I tend to agree that Google+ immediately makes you comfortable with the circles metaphor and much simpler (for now anyway) privacy management. What makes me the most curious as a marketer, however, is the potential for hyper-targeting using Google+ segmentation.
After Groupon turned down Facebook’s $6+ billion offer, the obvious happened today. Facebook launched the new version of “Deals” which incorporates the local business advertising and coupon model that is Groupon’s cornerstone. This new offering brings me to a question that we get continuously. “Is Groupon the 800-pound gorilla in social commerce?” I think the more appropriate question is whether Groupon is really social commerce at all.
Recently (okay it’s been two weeks), I attended the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. As a former salesperson myself, I was keenly interested in mingling with sales executives to get their perspectives on the evolving role of marketing and technology in their everyday lives.
Not surprisingly, the typical chasm between what sales expects from marketing and their perception of what marketing tends to deliver still exists. Salespeople usually believe that marketing is solely focused on brand development, and what they consider a lead is misaligned with what a salesperson believes is truly a sales-ready lead.
Historically, social media strategies and tactics have been the domain of marketing and PR in the enterprise, however that trend is changing—fast. The number one question CMOs hear from their Sales executive counterparts is “how can social media help generate and nurture leads?” As social media marketing matures, so do the expectations of its real and immediate impact on the top line. In this issue of the ThoughtMatrix newsletter, we discuss the role of social media in the sales process.
Traditionally, brands have looked at social responsibility through two lenses. First, brand association has been a focus. Aligning a brand with a cause or causes that are important to their constituents has been viewed as a way to build brand awareness and preference on a plane where consumers see them differently. Many brands also now see social responsibility, like green initiatives, as a vital part of their strategies of being good corporate citizens.
Apparently, if you really want an iPad, there are good odds you can get a free one, or at least it appears that way. You can’t help but notice the barrage of “Win a Free iPad” promotions running everywhere. They are promotions online, in print, on store windows — you name it. I decided to do a test this week and count the number of free iPad promotions that I noticed randomly throughout the day. The count for the week was 32. These were just the ones I noticed.