Posts tagged as:

social networking

More than once over the last few months, I’ve had the unsettling experience of meeting with a potential client, planning to discuss how I can help their company, only to to discover they are no longer with their company.  As sign of the times, to be sure.   Moving contacts create challenges at existing accounts, but opportunities elsewhere.  So what does one do when your key contact at an account suddenly isn’t at the account?

A few thoughts:

Be proactive – diversify: Cultivate multiple relationships within each account.  Follow up with people you meet in meetings or who collaborate with you during and after the sale.  Ask your sponsor or champion to make a few introductions, particularly in different departments or organizations than their own.

Follow: Social networking tools make it easy to keep in touch as people move about.  Take note of status changes that may indicate a new position, employment status, or company.

Help: This is a time when active networking and introductions are more valuable than ever – offer them. Whether its a potential employer, employee, or partner, introductions are a great way to create value and build relationships.

Follow Up: Make sure customers who have bought from you before know how you can help them deliver results as they take on new roles in new organizations.

Systematize: Your top reps already do all of the above.  Consider spiffs or other programs to make sure the new contacts make it from personal spreadsheets into your CRM systems.  Help all reps get proactive by measuring the breadth of contacts at accounts on an on-going basis. Provide simple tools like email templates to make re-connecting easier.

Comment and share your own ideas on maintaining sales contacts in these tumultuous times.

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Start Conversations, Not Messages

by Lilia Shirman on February 13, 2009

in Customer relationships

Everywhere you look, its web 2.0, and even 3.0 with the central theme being interactive communication, user engagement, and the democratization of content.  But are we really interacting, or just blasting messages into the ether? Christopher Carfi’s recent post highlights a gem of a quote –  Leave it to the Amish to distill the essence of the shortcomings of much modern communication.

With so many channels for communication, it seems customers should be more engaged than ever.  Are yours?   If not, or if not enough, take a look at how much time you (and your marketing organization as a whole) spend on outbound marketing and messages, and how much on creating and participating in conversations with customers.

Your customers are participating in social networking and contributing to social media.  MyBlogLog, a site that attempts to consolidate data across multiple communities, lists 55 social media services. LinkedIn, Twitter, Technorati, Digg, Plaxo, a sea of blogging platforms…  And new ones pop up almost daily.

The good news is that there really isn’t hope or reason to maintain ubiquitous presence.  Instead, find out which ones your customers frequent, and design a process for participating in those.

Even better news: You don’t need to jump on every social media and networking tool in order to have conversations. You can make traditional marketing methods more interactive too.  Next time: Some ideas of how to do that.

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