The 75% channel often dismissed by businesses

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to speak at the third annual IQPC Channel Management Summit in San Jose (see presentation below).  The topic: “Social Media in indirect sales. In accordance to the world trade organization (WTO) over 75% of all trade is done through any kind of independent sales channels. You won’t buy a car directly from a car manufacturer, most tech products are sold through resellers and VARs, most insurance policies are sold through brokers, most food is sold through independent stores, most consumer goods and most everything (75%) is sold through an independent channel organization. Continue reading “The 75% channel often dismissed by businesses”

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The top 10 social media questions marketers want answered

You probably downloaded and read the 2010 Social Media Industry Report shared on the web a couple of months ago. In the report, authors listed 10 questions considered as the most asked questions by marketers (consultants or marketing managers, directors). I’d like to share those questions on the Social Media Academy blog for having your feedback, insights and comments. For each question, there is a small list of sub-questions helping to better understand the question itself.

Here they are : Continue reading “The top 10 social media questions marketers want answered”

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My tire dealer’s Social CRM

My tire dealer (Western Tire) and my local car dealer are using social media in an innovative way – different from what people may think and very successful.

First what they didn’t do:
– No fan page
– No online community
– They have both no blog or any major “presence”

Now what they do:
– The majority of their team mates have an account in Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace
– They asked their clients if they are in the social web and if they may connect. In order to make it easy for all parties to exchange the sites and networks they asked them to share their Xeesm (a little free tool to keep all your social sites).

– The car dealer sales people start in the morning and visit all the clients they have so far and visit their profiles to know what is going on in their client’s lives. Some chat about vacation photos or whatever is appropriate. They do that until a client enters the store and then often get back to their laptop and again meet clients in the social web. It shifts the “image” of the ugly car dealer sales guy to a much more caring person. They use our Social CRM system to visit on average 50 contacts a day. With 4 sales people that is about 4,000 customer touch points a month. Is the social car dealer a new chance for the car dealer guild? This one certainly is.

– The Tire dealer is different as they have high noon early in the morning. Once the daily dose of tire repairs is in, they start to connect with clients like the car dealer above. The tire dealer is now thinking about renting an old airfield to let customers on it and “burn their tires” literally. Simply because they found that a lot of their customers are 19 year olds who secretly burn tires on the street and share their photos on Facebook. But only if you care about your customer you know what they actually do – once in a while ;). The guys in that tire shop are very different. The live in their cell phone and push us hard to change the app to make it better work for them. There is only one computer in the shop.

Now this started a few month ago when one of my tires blew up and we chatted about our respective business. The next step now is building a fan page – but with a specific theme, content and purpose – not to just have one.

Axel
http://xeesm.com/AxelS

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My tire dealer’s Social CRM

My tire dealer (Western Tire) and my local car dealer are using social media in an innovative way – different from what people may think and very successful.

First what they didn’t do:
- No fan page
- No online community
- They have both no blog or any major “presence”

Now what they do:
- The majority of their team mates have an account in Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace
- They asked their clients if they are in the social web and if they may connect. In order to make it easy for all parties to exchange the sites and networks they asked them to share their Xeesm (a little free tool to keep all your social sites).

- The car dealer sales people start in the morning and visit all the clients they have so far and visit their profiles to know what is going on in their client’s lives. Some chat about vacation photos or whatever is appropriate. They do that until a client enters the store and then often get back to their laptop and again meet clients in the social web. It shifts the “image” of the ugly car dealer sales guy to a much more caring person. They use our Social CRM system to visit on average 50 contacts a day. With 4 sales people that is about 4,000 customer touch points a month. Is the social car dealer a new chance for the car dealer guild? This one certainly is.

- The Tire dealer is different as they have high noon early in the morning. Once the daily dose of tire repairs is in, they start to connect with clients like the car dealer above. The tire dealer is now thinking about renting an old airfield to let customers on it and “burn their tires” literally. Simply because they found that a lot of their customers are 19 year olds who secretly burn tires on the street and share their photos on Facebook. But only if you care about your customer you know what they actually do – once in a while ;). The guys in that tire shop are very different. The live in their cell phone and push us hard to change the app to make it better work for them. There is only one computer in the shop.

Now this started a few month ago when one of my tires blew up and we chatted about our respective business. The next step now is building a fan page – but with a specific theme, content and purpose – not to just have one.

Axel
http://xeesm.com/AxelS

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Nice spam prevention on LinkedIn

Most of us noticed that LinkedIn groups are often times as bad as your email inbox – full of spam. No more conversations just webinar announcements and email catcher.

LinkedIn made a great move to alert group managers if an account has zero or very low number of connections and want to join your group.

Once you check the persons profile you will quickly see it is an account just setup to go into groups and promote whatever they can.

Here are some good examples how quality leads to become the largest groups: Continue reading “Nice spam prevention on LinkedIn”

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The most unique hiring process you’ve ever seen

Consider yourself warned – this is not the way you typically apply for a job – but it’ll be a fun ride!

Xeesm is making great progress and is at a stage where we want to expand. We grew from 1,000 users in January to 30,000 in March and over 80,000 in June.

We are hiring agile people who can help grow our customer base even further. Check out our Jobs Page, learn about our Company Culture, and please review our (very unique) Hiring Process (don’t send us resumes).

Xeesm is not your typical company. Already in the hiring process you will learn that you are going to engage with a different beast. Because: selected customers and business partners will be part of the hiring process. yes, we live and breath social media and why should we be different when we expand our team. You will want to know what it is like working with us, our partners and customers and we’d love to get to know you but only in an “interview” but in the way you connect with us and our world. Today we are looking for a

Customer Engagement Manager

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The Social Technology Cloud

The level of confusion around technology and technology definitions is increasing. The Social Media Academy together with Xeesm worked on a way to resolve confusion and help explain the major pillars of the Social Technology Cloud.


Social Networks
Social Networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Myspace, Orkut, Xing and many others serve a variety of purpose in business as well as private lives. They become instrumental in an engagement to create a better customer experience as it allows to meet and to listen to customers where they are. However Social Networks are not exclusive to sales and marketing teams to connect with clients.

Online Communities
While Online Communities had some ups and downs in the past, they will become a strategic play in a companies customer engagement strategy. All businesses will very soon want to provide a dedicated platform for their customers to meet and converse online – way above and beyond the classic support communities. While market leaders including Lithium, Jive and Ning will need to improve their community offering to serve a broader customer spectrum including SMB companies, online communities are an integrated part of a social business engagement.

Social Media Monitoring
A whole different type of solutions are Social Media Monitoring products. While most started out to identify sentiments in the market and learn what customers saying about their brand, Social Media Monitoring became a strategic solution in lead generation and opportunity identification. Social Media Monitoring tools help feed CRM and Social CRM systems and continue to be paramount to monitor brand attitude and brand value. Leading brands include Alterian/Techrigy, Scoutlabs (Lithium), Radian6 or Sysomos and many others. New applications in the SMM field will include influencer identification, business partner monitoring and other more granulate ways to better understand the needs of a given ecosystem.

Social CRM / Social Relationship Management
SRM and SCRM systems are again different beasts. They are built to help teams actively engage with customers, prospects and partners as well as other market constituencies. Sales Teams, Marketing Teams, Product Managers, Service Teams don’t ‘live’ in the SRM or SCRM tool but use it to quickly reach to their contacts and focus on specific objectives or goals while still socializing. SCRM and SRM tools provide the bridge between the external social web and internal systems. While a customer may never have direct access to an ERP or CRM system, they should have access to a Social CRM system. And like the traditional CRM systems also SCRM systems need to have functionality such as Forecasting, Opportunity Management and provide some work flow guidance to the sales, marketing or support teams. Market leader Xeesm.com and young companies like SocioToco or Gist try to enter this market with dedicated solutions to support business teams in their challenge to create a better customer experience.

Social CRM is a solution that supports a “Business Strategy” (not a social crm strategy) that most likely is set to create a better customer experience measured by increased advocacy for brand, products and services. Social CRM needs to interface with Social Networks, Social Media Monitoring, Branded or non branded online communities on the outside and traditional IT on the inside. Only if the actual customer has access to that Social CRM system, the attribute ‘Social’ is appropriate.

Tools
In addition to the four major pillars of the Social Technology Cloud there is a large offering of tools. Currently more than 5,000 tools support the above core systems and many of the core systems establish themselves as platforms to support and host those tools.

An industry in the making
The Social Technology Industry will be a Billion Dollar industry by end of this year. While the majority of the revenue is generated through advertising and sponsorships, many of the services and tools for professional usage is sold as subscriptions or consulting services and trainings.

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Leadership Class Summer 2010 – Social Media Academy

We are wrapping up the admission process and just give a last call to join the Leadership Class Summer 2010.

Leading technology firms evaluated training institutes and selected the Social Media Academy as the one with the best reputation and most comprehensive training program in the world.

The Summer 2010 class will have a brand new segment:

Social CRM as this became a strategic element of any social media engagement.

All former students will get a free update class.

Enrollment for the Spring 2011 Leadership Class will be open week after next.

Last Minute Admission (Summer 2010):

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