Social Media has changed the way consumer and business manager alike make their purchase decisions. The web has become the most influential resource in figuring out what to buy. Depending on the research, target audience, product or service, the percentage of new purchase decisions based on mentions and recommendations range between 72% to 90%. That is true for both B2B and B2C customers.
It is hard too imagine a manager making a purchase decision purely based on advertising inputs and conversations with vendors. In the Tech industry estimations are that those purchase decisions are even at nearly 100% based on public mentions, reviews, and recommendations.
A business executive cannot stay put and just hope that their solutions are good enough and be recommended. They have to be proactive and stimulate mentions and recommendations. And in today’s wide open online world it is not too difficult to do so.
Smart executives focus on four business units.
Marketing being the obvious one. Marketing was always the group that was responsible for sparking demand, responding to market changes and stimulating interest. A marketing department that is able to stimulate mentions and recommendations represent a huge competitive advantage over those who do not.
2) Partner Networks
Distribution channels, including resellers, broker, dealer, alliance partners are highly influential channels directly addressing certain market segments or geographies of a given vendor. Like the general marketing those channels need to be aware of the shifts in purchase behavior and able to address those changes with smart ways to stimulate conversations around their brands
3) Sales Organization
Sales people are typically the most social teams in an organization. However they are not automatically web savvy. Most have been trained over years, even decades to follow specific processes and have the hardest time to bring their sales processes in alignment with the new buying pattern.
4) Customer Experience Management
CX or CEM is a relatively new discipline in most businesses. However, it has just become a very significant investment when it is coming to mentions and recommendations. Businesses providing a good customer experience are obviously much ahead of their competition that has only mediocre or even bad customer experience.
The ultimate Social Media objective
In today’s extremely competitive world being mentioned and recommended is one of the most important aspects of business success. Companies like Zappos, Star Bucks, Jet Blue, Virgine, SalesForce.com, BMW, SAP, coming from all kinds of industries covering both B2B and B2C, have outperformed their competition mainly due to the fact that their customers are happy and say it across the Internet.
It isn’t “Social Media” per se that makes any difference – but the way Social Media is leveraged in a globally competing world. A rock solid social media strategy is paramount to leverage the web to a degree that it positively affects the bottom line.