Social Enablement of the Channel
Posted: 8/1/2012 by 13
Social media represents substantial opportunities for companies to directly engage with prospective customers to drive new B2B or B2C sales. Most organizations, whether small or large, are starting to use social media to communicate to and work with customers, prospects, partners, analysts, journalists, and other influencers. Unfortunately, channel-centric companies that sell through intermediary sales channels usually don\\\\\\\'t have close relationships with their end customers and have yet to find ways to leverage social media to reach out directly to new prospects and existing customers.
That said, companies that have embraced Sales 2.0 know they can generate 30% more inquiries* if they regularly produce social media content. These same companies also understand that an increasing number of IT buyers are being influenced by web or social network-based content.
So look at this content challenge as an opportunity rather than a deterrent. Think outside the box. There are probably great resources already at your fingertips within your organization - your employees. Perhaps it\\\\\\\'s time to discover their ability to think creatively and transform what is usually perceived as a marketing function into an organizational function.
Employees engage more if they are actively contributing to an organization. Asking for volunteers to create a regular blog or post social media content will therefore not be seen as a chore but rather as being a part of the bigger picture, enabling them to improve their own visibility both within and outside the company.
Now that you have volunteers creating your content, you need a platform to ensure that the content moves through a workflow process. The content needs to be compliant to your social media guidelines or legal requirements and have the required social media tags. Once approved, it\\\\\\\'s all about pushing the content through the right channels, whether these are internal or external. These exciting messages need to reach as many of the right end customers as possible.
A note of caution: If you are using your channel partner community to amplify your messaging then some support is often required, either from the software platform and/or social media training. This way messages can be properly positioned and correct responses made. Social media is a two-way communication - once it goes to the customer, the partner must be in a position to comment and respond to all replies. Be sure to equip your partners to respond, so they can build their relationship as the trusted advisor to the customer.
Content, enablement and relevance are the key components to ensuring your message is delivered and valued by your extended sales ecosystem. You might just be surprised - some of your best available content might be within an arm\\\\\\\'s reach to your colleague.
*source Sirius decision
About our Guest Author
Michael Cotton, VP of Sales and Marketing, purechannelapps, has over 20 years experience of direct and indirect sales management within the high technology industry. A proven leader who has the ability create and implementation a sales strategies on a global basis to drive high and sustainable growth.