Category Archives: Traditional Marketing

Salesforce Journey : From CRM to SCRM & becoming a Social Business Strategist Vendor

I attended a Salesforce.com presentation here in Hamburg two months ago and was positively surprised at the genuine way Salesforce Germany presented their company and its (S)CRM-cloud services to the audience.  
Salesforce has been on a shopping spree now for the last two years so I decided to review and log in, hopefully most if not all, the services available to this “Group of companies” they seem to be building at the speed of light! One can also wonder if the integration of all these added services are as swift as Marc Benioff’s proactive, agile and moving forward shopping style! Their latest acquisition is GoInstant a powerful co-browsing interactive Internet tool sharing! GoInstant lets you engage and interact with family members, friends, customers in a “dead-simple & frictionless way”! No software is needed, no downloads!
 
Having an issue with signing documents? Marc Benioff comes to your rescue with Docusign a platform that let you receive and sign any document online on any device thus anywhere! Need to buy a house on the go: No problem, just sign electronically with Docusign and you are ready to go!  Now let’s say you are stuck in Hamburg like me today and would love to spare yourself the exhausting over the pond ride to San Francisco via London or Copenhagen but still need to hold this important meeting while enjoying the commodity of communicating, sharing any form of content via a video conferencing webinar: Here comes Marc Benioff’s help handy again with DimDim, which has also been acquired by Salesforce! 
 
But there are much more tool; here again all of them listed for you with a slide with this slide including the companies’ respective logos:
 
 
1. Buddymedia including Profilebuddy, Reachbuddy, Conversationbuddy, Buybuddy Conversionbuddy, Analytics & Dashboard tools included and allowing user to create and deploy customized interactive content on social network, share the content on the networks, generate engaging conversations, create and manage effective social media campaigns, drive content across social networks and finally analyze your interaction within your network!
2. DimDim: version collaboration, recently acquired by Salesforce, is a video content sharing for webinars & webmeetings of all sorts.
3, Docusign: makes it easy and fast to get your documents signed. Whether you need to close a big sales contract, keep your company trade secrets safe with an NDA or buy a home, Docusign is the easiest, fastest, most secure way to get a signature—anytime, anywhere, on any device.
4. GoInstant: Truly interactive co-browsing is now possible! GoInstant lets us engage and interact with our partners or potential partners in a dead-simple & frictionless way. No clunky software or downloads, just the click of a link and you are sharing in no time!
5. Desk: Ealier known as Assistly is for companies that support a worldwide market and in need of a solution to manage their support communications. Now there is one: with Multilingual Customer Support, you now can support your customers in a language they understand.
6. AppExchange: Need an app? Find, try, and install the right apps—plus find developers and services—for your business.
7. Chatter: Bring the power of social networks inside your company with Chatter—a free, private and secure social network just for your business. With Chatter.com you can connect with your coworkers to work together and be more productive. Updates on the people, projects, and files that you care about most are automatically pushed to you, so you always know what’s going on
8. Data.com: The trusted, proven cloud database for all your social enterprise data.
9. Do.com: Easily create and share tasks, projects, and notes with your team so you always know what needs to get done, no matter where you are
10. Force.com: is the proven cloud platform to automate and extend your business and deliver the social enterprise.
11. Heroku: Build powerful customer apps in Ruby or Java, and instantly deploy and scale them to millions of users.
12. Radian6: Make sense of the social media buzz with social monitoring. Listen, measure, and engage with your customers across the social Web.
13. Remedyforce: was developed by BMC Software and salesforce.com to revolutionize your approach to IT service management. You get ITIL functionality out of the box. Plus you gain peace of mind because it’s built on the Force.com platform.
14. Rypple: Build a results-driven culture with social goals, real-time feedback, open recognition, and easy coaching.
15. Sales Cloud: Give reps and execs what they need to connect with customers and close deals faster.
16. Site.com: Design and publish websites, social pages, and mobile experiences in lightning speed with the first Web CMS in the cloud. It’s built for social, so you can easily add Twitter streams, Facebook likes, and more.
 
Did I forget anything? Please let me know and drop me a note: would also like to read about your personal experiences and thoughts on Salesforce.com and all the acquisitions it has done so far! 
 

2 Main Issues to Consider While Migrating To CRM Salesforce Cloud Computing

I just returned from a Salesforce presentation: Social Enterprise Essentials: a fine event organized in the SAS Radisson hotel here in Hamburg City with wonderful people among others: Kerstin Daher and Ulrich Hoffmann: “Welcome to the age of the networked enterprise”:
  • Sales Cloud: as a sales enterprising tool
  • Service Cloud: innovation and customer service / care
  • Chatter: a private social network for business
  • Force.com: cloud platform for custom app development
  • Radian6: seminar & case study around the international CEBIT computer show in Hannover.
I cannot help but be reminded that we are in Germany and that charm and chivalry remain integral part of our French vocabulary! There is no need to get into the details of these applications since there is plenty of information on the pages attached to the links provided above! These topics were addressed quite thoroughly during this very well organized one day infomercial.
 
Salesforce is using this Cloud tsunami development to certainly establish a stronger business base in Germany and Europe with a significant deployment of man power hosting an event this year in Hamburg city with roughly 250 in attendance.
 
Well done Salesforce for putting together a sales oriented IaaS, PaaS and SaaS package ready to go: it is undeniable that those tools are in place and ready to unleash their power if implemented properly! The need for Cloud CRM is there and the trend not to be stopped! Add BYOD to smart phones & tablets commercialization and you’ve got the right foundation for a Salesforce thriving business potential and its US$ 3B turnover if I understood the presenter correctly!
 
Well done Salesforce for buying Radian6 last year and adding  Heroku  and  Ripple to your 2012 cloud shopping tour, obviously en route to moving from traditional CRM to a more social CRM or SCRM. I was impressed by the morning Radian6 presentation, which completely convinced me of the most “in real time” detailed analysis utilizing countless internet sources of information! It is also worth adding that Salesforce updates its platform three times a year definitely trying to keep up with the relentless social media pace moving forward at the speed of light!
 
Salesforce is mostly keeping up but I was a bit disappointed though when asking about full integration of social media new comers such as Google+, Pinterest and Pinwheel! For now the social media platforms being taken into consideration are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Klout more is probably coming but without any concrete information on future developments.  
 
Salesforce did a great job at presenting an installed and operational cloud structure but did not initiate us to the two main challenges to be faced when
a) implementing a social business / enterprise culture 
b) migrating from legacy structures to PaaS and IaaS,
which are both the foundation for a successful social cloud migration! When I challenged one of the presenters with these two core issues I was kindly requested to “find out more from their service partners” and was told that Salesforce is not responsible for creating a social enterprise or migrating from legacy systems! Correct! However, these two main issues remain and furthermore what happens if a company decide to do a U-Turn and retreat to its former legacy system?  
 
 
Who is going to write a company culture book and educate both staff and management that it is mandatory and obligatory in a 21st century hyper connected company to share strategic customer information? How are we going to motivate sales, marketing & customer service among others to share their confidential customer data and transfer it to a centralized cloud database? Not that easy Salesforce  and we know how much silo thinking isolates information and keep it to itself! The real answer is obviously the undeniable need to create first the right company culture. There is no need for cloud or centralized strategic information if company staff and management are both reluctant to share knowledge and business insight!
 
I regret that QR codes were not put on our badges, which would have helped the networking and exchange of information between participants. A well deserved mention to Claudia Hilker, who managed to pull off a 30 minutes presentation on social media strategy! Well done Claudia and thank you for the book! Looking forward to getting a free copy of the latest “advanced” version!
 
Thank you again to Salesforce and the hospitality extended to all of us with great drinks and good choice of food: Well done and compliments for a well-organized event!  

25 Ways to Transform Your Business, Promote Innovation and Optimize Your Sales Results (Part 2)

Reminder: your USP (Unique Selling Passion / Proposition) and Web-strategy should have been identified and ratified.  This is the core of knowing what your business delivers! Furthermore your first piece of social media real estate should be your blog: if you do not have one yet start one right now!
 
1. Develop your Social Media accounts strategy in 5 main groups:
2. Position your Social Network Icons on the top of your blog with a one click procedure automatically opening in a different tab or window so that your visitor does not have to leave your site in order to connect and find out more about your business.
 
3. Identify your customers: possible health food store customer segmentation:
4. Make it easy for customers to sign up to your newsletter with a one click subscription via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+!  Consider Pinterest, Pinwheel and other social media trendsetters, and remember Social Media is not static: It moves and changes all the time!
 
5. Please eliminate the outdated and annoying “Captcha” sign up procedure: believe me I have given up many times for not being able to read the hidden letters properly and failing to register three or four times in a row and “see ya later alligator”!  
 
6. Consider instead signing up to free web services such as Disqus and Livefyre to encourage visitors to easily comment on your site or blog! You’d be surprised how many blogs and websites do not offer this free service! Additionally use the one click Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ sign up procedure for those who do not own a Disqus and Livefyre accounts: the goal is to make it super easy for visitors to engage with your business.
 
7. Offer signed up visitors and customers the facility to upload pictures, blog articles or vlogs: think of Amazon again and how it is possible to record a video comment on the site! Trust your crowd when they are registered: look up how Lastfm encourages its community to upload comments and pictures of unknown artists: do the same be opened and social: your business will reap the rewards.
 
8. Customize your monthly newsletter so that both prospects and subscribers receive the information they are specifically interested in other words “Convenience Marketing”. (Think again of how cleverly Amazon solves this issue with: “customers who bought this item also purchased….”).
 
9. Run a tombola for best content of the month: It will motivate followers and fans to participate! Divide it in sound, video, blog & picture: It will encourage viewers to visit more often your website while leaving their customer’s / prospect’s footprints helping you in return to keep up with trends, interests and blog content marketing priorities.
 
10. Adjust the content of your website blog according to your subscribers’ interests (please review previous point).
 
11. Offer Subscribers and VIPs the privilege to guest blog on your site / blog: you will then have less to write and create! (Remember blogging might be difficult disciplinary exercise for you as it is for most of us: trust me on that one).
 
12. Insert your company’s main twitter account on the web front page with a Twitter live feed on website, blog and Facebook Fan-page (it should be possible to insert your Twitter feed into your Facebook Fan-page).
 
13. Accept most credit and debit cards, PayPal & Square as well as main currencies making it very comfortable for potential customers to buy from your business.
 
14. Develop a one click payment system procedure: (sorry again but think of Amazon!) for both physical and web. Make it convenient and fast for both registered customers and visitors to do business with you! Spell out payment / shipping / returning terms so there is no misunderstanding: be generous: trust FIRST and then you shall be trusted.  
 
15. Start planning your mobile payment strategy now because it is a very present issue with companies such as Square or PayPal right around the corner and do not underestimate BYOD’s commercialization.
 
16. Apply (if you can) a free shipping and return policy strategy right from the beginning: Think of the Culture & Service giant Zappos (now part of Amazon) with their 365 days return policy.
 
17. Make it possible for customers to order online and pickup their order in your physical shop: reward them for doing it the first time and surprise them with freemium especially if they are coming for the first time to your shop.
 
18. Organize book ordering for your customer and in shop pick up and pay as a convenience they will love dropping their book order at your shop and will come back to pick them up and pay for them: one more visit for your business!
 
19. Accept orders per Fax, Email and plan accepting them in the future via Twitter, and Facebook for registered accounts.
 
20. Use QR codes for informing customers about promotions and more updated product information.
 
21. Send QR codes to your Twitter followers or Facebook fans via Twitter or Facebook for special promotion while geo-positioning them via Twitter and / or Foursquare
 
22. Organize a Tweetup with your community and engage with them by organizing a special event around your business. Do not forget to create a hash-tag about your event and to remind your participants to tweet while attending. 
 
23. Always send promotion and call to action with your monthly company newsletter and make it personal
 
24. Develop a customer loyalty program with a Business Membership Card including four levels: Silver, Gold, Platinum and VIP Statuses: Organize perks accordingly with best privileges for the highest membership level! This will increase customer loyalty
 
25. Print social media icons on all collaterals and make them visible on both physical and virtual shop (Part 3 coming up this week)

How to Transform Today’s Traditional Midsize Companies and Literally Drag Them Into Digital and Social 21st Century Transformation? (Part 2)

My favorite book (The Bible) states: without vision people perish: what a true statement and without vision many companies disappear such as this old-fashioned German Drugstore outlets Schlecker struggling to find an angel investor before the end of this very month! It is sometimes sad to be able to predict that some businesses won’t be around within the next 3 to 5 years if they do not drastically change their Modus Operandi! Often companies are way too busy with “business as usual” while not spending enough time on strategy! “If you do not know where you are going you will most likely end up somewhere else”: an old adage we all know!

Today many SME (if they have not done it yet) should heavily consider creating a new responsibility, which could be something like a “Business Facilitator”: a savvy strategic thinker, who ties up four main challenges companies are facing today!  An all-around talent, visionary, influential, inspirational and above all motivational! Some would name it a CIO but may be it should be a bit more like a CBF (Chief Business Facilitator)?

I came across some quotes from CEO leaders not only talking but walking the leadership walk and embracing the turbulent changes our networked society is forcing upon us!  In the social enterprise people and culture are the two driving forces and building blocks our Business Facilitator will increasingly have to take into account:

1. Social Culture

Creating a “Culture Is Your Brand” philosophy à la Zappos and studying Tony Hsieh’s culture book would certainly be a very good start! Without enterprise culture it is going to be tricky to create motivated employees to positively and actively participate in social media communication!  How many companies out there still use Twitter as an “Inbound” marketing tool or a pricelist Email alternative? Painful! Check out the Marketing Master Coca-Cola Content 2020:  CEO Muhtar Kent thinks that marketing is getting more and more data driven and “Coca-Cola needs to be part of Digital Marketing and IT closer to customers”.

2. Content or Inbound Marketing

How does one keep patrons drinking coffee?  By providing WIFI in all Starbuck outlets so that both business people and Twitter addicts may connect to their favorite social media accounts while sipping on their preferred coffee specialty. Or by starting a monthly campaign such as: “Global Month of Service”! How about letting customer pay in its U.S. stores with a smartphone app tied to their loyalty and payment cards? Social is important to Starbuck providing its Facebook fan page with an online suggestion box while letting fans send gift cards! Being sociable seems to be “a must” for Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz who is also upgrading his IT Infrastructure for point of sales inventory management, CRM and Labor Scheduling tools!  Desktop Virtualization is also a hot trends IT department are implementing in order to accommodate BYOD and the commercialization of smart phones and tablets.

3. Social Business

Social Media is constantly changing and the first three most visited platforms in March 2012 were Facebook, Twitter and surprisingly Pinterest overtaking layout-old-fashioned “veteran” LinkedIn! It is now impossible to do business without making Social Media full part of a Marketing Strategy: And this involves a lot more than sticking a Facebook and Twitter logo on a website!  Videos themselves are becoming an integral part of the social media portfolio and if you have not yet seen the 2012 Cartier Video, I recommend you watch it! To this day it has been viewed 14.586.933 times! Airlines are also beginning to use videos such as: “KLM Surprise” and “Air China in Sweden” as well the outstanding Mini Getaway Stockholm Case Study, which already took place a year ago in Sweden! Some funny campaigns also involving an entertaining “Dollar Shave Club” and the Guinness St Patrick’s Day Commercial 2012!

4. Modernize IT infrastructure and move to the cloud while embracing mobility

Legacy systems may sometimes be responsible for slowing down technology growth and we all know mobility demand is on the rise: it is now time to reconsider a more focused cloud outlook!  Lowe’s CEO Robert A. Niblock has understood Lowe’s need to zero in on modernizing IT infrastructure with faster internet connections and deploying a gigantic action to equip store personnel with 42.000 IPhones. He also recognizes the challenge of a multi channel strategy while planning to equip both call centers and retail outlets with better access to company’s 250.000 products, customers’ accounts as well as being able to close sales on Iphones! TJX’s CEO Carol Meyrowitz has similar priorities with a multi channel strategy: “We continue wanting to marry shop and web since Ecommerce gives TJX the opportunity to sell things, which are not carried in the physical shops”. Procter & Gamble’s CEO Bob Mc Donald plans to move accounting from traditional responsibilities to operational: “accounting systems aren’t designed today for operations–they tend to look backward–but we’re working on integrating our operational system with the financial system to move in that direction.”

The Business Facilitator’s challenge is immense but one thing is for sure silos have to be dismantled: Over are the days were company departments could allow themselves to work “independently” as a block almost against each other! Time has come to transform our work environment into a social networked place following the example of Apple and Starbucks with their IT helpdesk coffee shop allowing employees to choose IT smart phone & Tablet on display and directly bill them to their departments as well as technical support and suggestion on how to make IT run better!  

10 Fundamental Ways to Transform Your SMB, Promote Innovation and Optimize Your Sales Results (Part 1)

Social media or not, Customer Service is what is being added to customers’ purchase before and after the sale has been executed! B2C retailers and B2B platforms should heavily reconsider rewarding both regular customers and brand faithfulness with additional perks and special privileges! Customer loyalty cards are already a given and let’s be frank we all know that most of those are not adding much value anyhow! It is now time to harness your creativity and develop a state of the art Social Business Marketing Enterprise!

1. Ratify your USP (Unique Selling Proposition and Unique Selling Passion) in order to focus the targeted customer audience your business will want to reach! The more precise the better! Brainstorm and debate: If you are still not sure about your USP make a turnover hit-list of your top 30 to 50 (or more depending on your business size) best customers and ask them personally to give you some input into what they would love your business to communicate about and sell! This will be a great way of getting them involved right from the start.

2. Your first piece of real estate should be your blog before even starting a website! Create one right away if you do not have one already and start communicating with your clients, prospects, visitors by posting relevant information around your USP relating to your audience, business and core values by publishing the following information:

  • Own and guest posted articles
  • Own videos (think of Gary Vaynerchuk’s creativity and audacity)
  • Videos uploaded on your site relating to your audience
  • Interviews, Podcasts and Webcasts on specific topics of interest
  • E-books, White papers, E-articles
  • Pictures, Recipes (if you are in the food business)
  • Featured articles linked to other sites (it will help SEO)

3. Refine your Social Media portfolio by making sure you have accounts in the following areas narrowing it down to 10-12 platforms at the most:

4. Create a digital company newsletter, which should include blog content with some specific items reserved to your exclusive circle of contacts and personally delivered to their mailbox always including a call to action! Consider making this letter custom made according to their preferences and interests by adding personal perks and offers.

5. Customer Content Marketing: Communication goes both ways: Reserve plenty of space for your visitors to upload the same sort of material your company is uploading:

  • Customer articles and / or links.
  • Give them the freedom to build their community on your website: it will dramatically increase your traffic!
  • Customer videos, personal videos even if not relating to your business (be personal and social and grant them the freedom to communicate)
  • Personal pictures, anecdotes they would like to share with their peers
  • Events customers want to share with your business and their community
  • Trust them first, in return they will start trusting your business

6. Read, listen and consider what your customers are sharing with your business on your blog / website; it will definitely help you fine tuning and adapt your blog-menu to your audience’s tastes, needs and expectations.

7. Make it simple and easy for visitors to sign up and upload any media content (picture, sound, video & text) and please drop this annoying “Captcha” by facilitating the signing up process with most popular media sites Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or YouTube.

8. Transform all your written collaterals by physically including your customers’ most relevant Social Media Icons

  • Ad your company’s blog & website link(s)
  • Ad Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube and Pinterest logos to all your printed collateral including business cards
  • Facebook, Twitter logos and links should automatically be printed on your cash register receipts with a call to action changing on a regular basis
  • Make your inside signs with your blog address, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest discretely visible on both physical and virtual shop.

9. If your business owns a physical shop give your customer the flexibility to sign up on site (with a touch screen computer) to your blog, Facebook Fan page or follow you on Twitter: Reward them on the spot with some free goodies and thank them with a smile.

10. Embrace mobile devices (Smart phones & Tablets) Please do your company a favor and organize smart phones for your sales and marketing people ASAP! It is not a toy it is a modern marketing tool you cannot afford not to have! Make also sure that the same web / blog content is readable on any platform and remember BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is not a buzz word anymore it is reality! Welcome to the 21st century “tradigital” business!

It is extremely important to keep up communicating with customers while delivering content in real-time! In future posts we shall review more items on how to make SMBs more competitive in this thriving mobile social media environment!