Tag Archives: sales

Social Media and Customer Service

socialmedia_customersupport

I noticed this series of tweets with Chris Heuer, Social media Club Founder, on Twitter the last couple of days.

Before I continue, I do want to disclose that I was previously employed with the company that Chris is referencing in his tweets. The purpose of this post is to solely highlight the increased use of social media for sales, customer service, and customer feedback.

Now back to where I was headed =) In the past, most of these sales and customer support activities were done out of the public eye either through customer advisory boards, email customers surveys and other communications methods. However, as more potential and current customers seek information from trusted sources, that is our social graph and friend networks, these previously “secret” processes are being brought to the surface.

From a sales perspective, I recently wrote about the pros and cons of using Twitter for sales prospecting.  In this case, we are now seeing how one has to be careful with connecting with customers with social media, especially with someone like Chris who has over 10,000 followers. Here are my recommendations for engaging with prospects or customers via social media:

  1. Acknowledge the Person’s Feedback: In this case, Chris was unhappy with the amount of time it took for a response and when he was finally contacted, the level of understanding for his business. By recognizing these two points, the company would have acknowledged their mistake. As Alli Gerkman wrote recently, “Sometimes ‘Sorry’ is the Best PR”
  2. Take It Offline: The first tendency is to want to respond via social media to tell your side of the story. While I would have also responded via Twitter back to Chris, my message would be about connecting offline. This way, you demonstrate that you are listening online and being proactive.
  3. Personalize the Brand: I realize there is a lot of discussion about having a “corporate” brand on Twitter vs personal ones. I strongly believe that a corporation should have a corporate brand. With that said, I have also recognized the value of “personalizing” who is managing the Twitter feed. And so your corporate brand isn’t associated with anyone person, you can say that the marketing team or a couple people are responsible for the Twitter feed. In this case, I am unsure who is responding back to Chris.

These are just a few of my ideas – what do you think?

 UPDATE: The company subsequently sent a tweet to Chris apologizing with a plan to call him today.

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Using Social Media for Customer Support – three things to consider by @csalomonlee: http://bit.ly/UnRQs

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SiriusDecisions Reseach: Implications for B2B Marketers

Per a press release by Sirius Decisions, the research finds that best-in-class companies are “…rejecting a ‘defensive posture’ by still working to close deals or at least lay groundwork for future business despite buyer anxiety and retrenchment,” notes Alden Cushman, SiriusDecisions’ research director and benchmarking analyst.”

The goal is to position the company for when the economic upswing happens. Key points in the release included:

  • 44 percent to reduce marketing spend for 2009
  • 25 percent will report flat spending
  • Spending on advertising will decline by 17 percent and events down by 12 percent
  • Focus is moving from lead generation to lead maturation

Next steps for your marketing efforts

What does this mean for you?

  • Be very clear about who your target audience is and what influences this audience to make a purchase decision which means
  • Refine your definition of a “sales-ready” lead by communicating with your sales team
  • Create an aggressive lead nurturing program to move prospects through the funnel to deliver “sales-ready” leads to your salesforce
  • Take this opportunity to leapfrog your competition by investing in areas that will increase your company’s awareness and value proposition to your key audiences

What other recommendations would you make?

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SiriusDecisions B2B research and what this means for your marketing programs by @csalomonlee: http://twurl.nl/zsssg1

 

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All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.