Monday, September 23, 2013

Social selling, lead generation, personal branding & how not to be a 'slimy' consultant: What I'm reading today

Whether I’m in front of customers on any given day or not, I continue to be amazed by the number of ways that we can both stay in touch and relevant to our customers and prospects and much of the reading that I’m doing today focuses on the various ways that marketers (regardless of whether you are in a direct sales role or not) can stay connected.

Today’s first offering comes from Gerry Moran (@GerryMoran on Twitter) who happens to run social media for SAP in North America.  Gerry makes the case that the time that sales people are spending in front of customers has declined by 15% in recent years (something I’d agree with), but social affords all of us the ability to be both more compelling and relevant to both customers and prospects… all while avoiding the dreaded “I’m constantly selling you something” moniker.  One of the most important takeaways from this post is the fact that if you are not part of the decision making process early… you’re in serious trouble.  Social affords us the chance to be a part of those conversations both early and often.  Think about how an online conversation over time impacts how you feel about a particular company or individual and you’ll quickly realize just how important being and engaged and interested participant in a prospects online interactions can set you up for a ‘warm conversation’ at the very least… and ultimately a quicker path to a sale.

I've been a major fan of the concept of personal branding for as long as I can remember and any chance I get to review a piece that helps me refine my thinking on this topic and just as importantly make my own brand better… I’m happy to do it.  This piece (written by a new discovery for me – Jim Joseph - @JimJosephEXP on Twitter - and the President of Cohn & Wolfe), outlines some basic thoughts on personal brands, but also includes a link in the second paragraph that will take you to 17 other terrific articles from Entrepreneur Magazine that I’m certain will help you start the new week with a wealth of thoughts about how to make the most of your personal branding efforts this week.

Another piece I found this morning was written by one of my longtime favorite thinkers on social Lilach Bullock (@lilachbullock on Twitter) who hails from the UK and who always produces consistently useful content.  Today’s offering covers a topic that I find myself returning to repeatedly both in my interactions with my clients and folks that I work directly with every day.  They invariably understand that ‘being social’ is important because there is such a critical mass of folks in that space now… but the ROI discussion always seems to creep in….. and for sales facing folks this issue gets even more important as we review the limited time that we have in any given day.  Simply put… after you read this piece, you’ll never question again how you can use social media to create what we’re really after each day… more leads… more engagement… and hopefully in the end more business.

Finally, I've come to be a HUGE fan of in recent months (if you haven’t had the chance to spend some time on this site make today the day you change that oversight) and on Saturday the site published a terrific podcast that outlined some of the core principles that I try to use in conducting my business every day.  They may seem self-evident, but it helps to be reminder on occasion of what constitutes a growing and sustainable business over time.  I hope you’ll find the 13 minutes you spend listening as useful as I did… and more importantly would encourage you to think long and hard about the “bonus tip” mentioned in the post… if you aren't keeping up with the changing dynamics of your business (regardless of what it is)… no amount of experience can save you from the dust head of history.  An ad for lifelong learning if I've ever heard one!

I hope you’ll find some materials of interest in today’s edition and as always… I’d love to hear your feedback either directly – or in the comments sections below.

Thanks for reading. 


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