According to Gartner Research, “Gartner Says Capitalism Going Social Will Require Organizations to Build Two-Way Relationships with the “99 Percent”
The impact of social capitalism is not only driving inward exploration but outward. Yes, it’s always good for businesses large and small to create a corporate culture that is more open, collaborative, and enabling. But, at the same time, companies must apply the best practices of a socially capitalistic workplace into a socially capitalistic community of partners and customers.
The days of keeping everything inside your own 4 walls and creating something of real value for the masses is easier said then done. You need partners, and the time has never been more right to form close partnerships within your industry.
So, who to focus on? One would immediately THINK BIG, but, innovation is not necessarily led by the largest companies. In a recent study on the Harvard Business Review’s blog network, researcher Maxwell Wessel offers a framework for how big companies should go about innovating (via @Fortune), but seldom do. The reason I have been focused on those companies that may THINK BIG, but act small… Companies that act small have 5 key attributes that I find attractive in partnering:
1. Agile – always changing/adapting their business models to grow.
2. Opportunistic – always looking for opportunities to build their brand.
3. Quick – always wanting and needing to move fast.
4. Hungry – always having that entrepreneurial spirit.
5. Loyal – always open to contributing to joint success.
But always remember, it’s not one-sided. It’s not an “if you build it they will come” mentality Companies that THINK BIG but act small usually lack 1 critical resource, okay 2 critical resources: time and patience. The program you put together must have a compelling value for them to spend their limited time engaging, and the rewards of said engagement had better come quick.
This is a very cool infographic linking technology to the sales process. Not only does it provide the who’s who of software companies that deliver apps for prospecting, qualifying, nurturing, and closing, underneath the covers it reveals what every marketing person have some level of focus on…content.
All to often, we think the role of content is at the top of the funnel: lead generation, and that is where we place a majority of the emphasis, and rightfully so, because without leads, the rest of the enablement process falls apart. But, in addition to lead gen, content plays a critical role from nurturing & prospecting to qualifying and closing . At each stage, the difference between success and failure lies in creating quality content to one, meet the needs of the customer, and two, meet the needs of sales as they navigate through the sales process.
When I look at this process, I see opportunities to learn what makes quality content. I ask myself the following questions:
- What content is driving the most web traffic & creating the most leads?
- How can that content be leveraged into a sales script for prospecting?
- What questions are potential customers asking and how do we use content to best address those concerns ahead of time?
- How do potential customers engage for more information? Is it via webinars, online forms, social media?
- What does the art of negotiation look like? Are there consistent “asks” that could point to something marketing could address through programs?
- How happy is the customer? How has our solution benefited them? Is there a case study opportunity here?
Of course, there are more questions that arise than simply the ones listed above, but these are the most common. By working with sales through the process, marketers can get a better grasp of the needs of the customer. The more intelligence collected, the greater the opportunity to create the right content.
And the right content just might speed this entire process along.
- No B.S…”we’ll see right through it.”
- The fresher the better…”tell me something I didn’t know.”
- Cut to the chase…”what’s in it for me?”
- What: There seems to be a lack of rich media with the exception of infographics, the list is pretty old-school. Suggestion is to focus more on leveraging video, webinars, e-books, etc. Content that enables the target audience to better interact with the content and thus the publisher.
- When: The fact that we are producing content with consistency is a good thing. What is glaring is the thought that each piece is published once and at a single point in time. Perhaps to give the content more attention, we should be sharing more often. Share different pieces of content on social networks several times over the course of the month or quarter. Sharing it only once limits it true potential.
- Where: The obvious gap here, with the exception of social networks, is that the content lives entirely on the company website. Find the places where the target audience lives and start repurposing content into contributed editorials, comments on blog posts, or to answer questions on IT forums.
- Whom: Maybe this segment is simply too broad. How can we further segment this audience to create content of better quality, and geared to a specific group of people within the IT Pro umbrella?
- Why: Although we are addressing each stage of the buying process, should we be doing more to drive decision? Is relying only on case studies and only on a quarterly basis limit the impact? Dive in deeper to that further segmented audience to understand what additional content types will drive decision.
- How: Metrics are always a challenge, and no where do we look at number of leads, customer acquisition, or even sales. Can we do a better job of linking content closer to the sales cycle? Marketing metrics like views, comments, shares, etc. are nice, but do they communicate the ultimate goal of content marketing, and that is to create sales opportunities?