social media for sales and lead generation

Social Media for Sales Development

Social media extends far beyond the marketing department. For a sales professional, knowing how to use social media for sales is an essential step in dominating the World 3.0 marketplace that includes social chatter, live streaming events, and global markets.

To help identify some areas to think about: try these five tips regarding Social Media for Sales Development.

1. You and your company both have brands. In today’s age, when people become interested in something they turn to online searching with sites like Google, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Depending on the niche you are in, anywhere from 50% to 94% turn to online information searches to research your offer. Read more

Social Media Training in Seattle, Bellevue, Bainbridge and Portland

A lot of professionals and clients have asked for an opportunity to hear our staff present. Over the next two weeks our founder will be presenting at four different conferences to talk about social media and actionable business models. Here are some of the upcoming opportunities that are on different tactical applications of social media. If you have anyone in your network interested in some of these event topics, please pass along the info! Read more

Executive Guidance: Strategy vs Tactics of new media business

There are many executives who focus on cool new technologies simply because they read an article in some media magazine… usually the same executive comes back with “Wow, this sounds amazing!” and begin asking for tactics from staff and vendors to accomplish the same results.

The “This sounds amazing!” idea they took from the magazine is completely removed from reality and is almost guaranteed to have no meat to it.

It comes to most of us as no great surprise that most media coverage is rooted in selling “sexy.” If it isn’t hot now, the editor needs to make it hot. They need to make it sound fantastic. They need to sell magazines. When there is a blemish on the photo… it will get fixed. When there is a column on the spreadsheet that doesn’t match… it rarely gets corrected and often gets deleted.

New media has been caught up in this whirlwind for over a decade.

When an exec or client is stuck on the latest craze, we have to get them re-focused on functional tactics that can be applied to a holistic strategy that works for them.

You can’t simply carbon-copy an idea from six months ago that has now found some media coverage. There are some fundamental reasons for this:

  • If it is in print… you can guarantee it is at least sixty days old (if not six months old)
  • The spectacle that was made of the example is not really that sexy, not that easy.
  • The typical case highlighted by media is often comparable to winning the lottery.
    It leaves you thinking “sure it can happen…. and I hope it happens to me!”
  • The numbers being quoted are almost never supported and fail any due-diligence
    (taken out of context, 99.8% of statistics seem worthwhile.)
  • If it is being covered by a major media outlet: it is no longer unique

This leads us to ask questions that adjust the executives overall line of thinking. You have to engage those decision makers with applicable data that takes you outside of being an order taker, while detailing how you can add value to strategic decisions. The end result: create industry-changing projects that are based off demographic and psychographic trends, while maximizing the capabilities of the existing business.

Some bullet points that help this type of tactics vs strategy approach:

  • Think strategic:
    • Highlight where you where, where you are, and where you want to be.
    • Highlight where competitors where, where they are, and where you want them to be.
    • Use client discovery from all executives, not just marketing and public relations.
    • Allow business leaders to define vision, then backwards engineer tactics to get there.
    • Scale against existing project frameworks and introduce new ones.
    • Define team and individual accountability, take responsibility.
  • Ask questions:

    • What facts and details highlight if your exec team has a bad idea?
    • What is the pain point of the business no one wants to talk about?
    • How can you prevent executive hi-jacking of projects?
    • What team members are critical to success… and who needs to be eliminated?
    • If you are choosing to play in a new game arena…are you playing at the right scale?
    • Who on the team is a strategic asset, and who gets the tactics done?

This line of thinking and the questions around it create the difference between strategic and tactical thinking. If your executive team is waving around the latest industry journal saying “me too! me too!” and wanting to jump into ill-defined waters, help them understand the differences between selling media using sex… and building effective business assets for long-term success.

Online Reputation, the new credit score

To open up this conversation, I am going to lead with this statement: The ability to control your information and know how it is created, collected, sold, and profited from is a critical factor in today’s technology marketplace. It plays a very important role for the general audience who do not understand the value of personal information and how it has the ability to define not only who you are today, but also the opportunity that you have access to in the future. *The same basic rules apply to business credit and business reputation, but for purposes of this article we will focus on personal impact.

For decades the financial system has been dominated by the “big three” credit firms. They track and detail billions of financial records. The government has vast regulations about the ways firms collect this data and report it, requiring an extensive understanding of how positive and negative information balances an overall financial risk scorecard for every person. This process is so contaminated and convoluted that the idea of having your identity or credit card stolen causes fear in many adults.

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This fear is almost always rooted in the fact that the common individual has no idea how to properly manage personal credit. There are far too many constraints and ill-thought regulations regarding how your personal information affects the financial metrics of your life. One of the largest problems is that few (if any) controls effectively cross over international communication processes. When combined with government regulation that is years behind online and social trends, it opens up many points for abuse. This leaves each of us with the responsibility to manage our own well-being and support those in our network to have a healthy future.

It also leaves us asking: how does this relate to online reputation?

The best way understand online reputation is simple: online reputation is the “wild wild west” of personal credit. We are not dealing with a completely original problem, we are dealing with a generational problem that is now being magnified by technology and left unchecked. Imagine a world where anyone or anything can affect your credit score (preventing employment, destroying relationships, etc.) This damage could originate from such simple places as former co-worker complaining about your work habits or  accidental exposure of your social life.

Under this comparison Google/Yahoo/Bing are just like the top three credit unions… but there is no commonly acceptable or accessible methods for “Joe Average” to combat negative information. If something negative is showing up about you online, you are at the mercy of a completely unchecked, inconsistent, and profit driven marketplace.

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3searchscreenThe three biggest search engines quickly turn into three nightmares: fueled by overlapping “digital data” of both personal credit and reputation. This “digital you” becomes something that most individuals are not fully aware of and even fewer have the understanding to repair, protect, nurture, and leverage the asset over time.

The ramifications of this personal reputation problem is magnified by the size of your personal network. Like the common crime of vandalism, a reputation issue can affect a parent, spouse, child, friend, or professional peer and result in implications for you.

Some alarming issues of personal credit and online reputation:

1- There is no agreed upon metric for online reputation. An unpaid $10 parking ticket on your credit score can be written off as an unknowing mistake that few people now of. A bad conversation over $10 worth of drinks publicly displayed on YouTube can destroy your career.

2- Credit results are sorted by professionals who are trained to weigh appropriately. Reputation results are sorted by everyone who looks for your name, presented by a system (Google,Bing, Yahoo) with multiple sorting errors and irrelevant scoring factors.

3- Credit results go away over time. You can “solve” bad credit by taking care of the problem and paying your dues. With reputation, a black eye often remains long after the situation has passed.

4- Bad credit and reputation is compounding. Once you have it, no one wants to extend better terms and fees begin to pile on top of each other. A top ranking result on search engines causes more eyes to see the negative, encouraging like-minded negative interpretation and preventing positive interaction.

5- Credit has a series of checks and balances to confirm your identity (social security, birthdate, etc) and has a process for disputing accuracy. Online reputation has no checks and balances to confirm accuracy. If you have a common name or are accidentally included in the wrong scenario, your name becomes a liability.

The larger element driving the focus towards online reputation (as opposed to credit) is that it is readily available and free. Anyone and everyone with an internet connection will eventually “Google You” and find whatever information is available. This is in contrast to pulling a credit report, which has limited access and requires a fee to be paid.

As our society moves further into the digital age, we all have to keep in mind the simple steps that can be taken to prevent long term and catastrophic damage. I encourage you to visit our free digital downloads library where you can download some one page guide to monitoring and controlling your online presence.

What problems do we solve? The alphabet soup of analytics.

There are many overlapping questions that the team at Epiphany Metrics solves. Just like many business challenges, the online marketplace has hundreds of intersecting courses, with each individual metric appearing more like a letter floating in a bowl of soup than an actionable word or statement.  alphabetsoup

The first series of questions often revolves around the questions of sales pipelines and marketing functions in relation to the web, but in all honesty we find that many of the core answers surrounding these questions are rooted deeply in areas of brand, customer service, and even employee knowledge.

To examine some of the “quick and dirty questions” that many executive professionals ask, I wanted to simply offer some of the most common:

  1. What sites are my visitors coming from?
  2. Where is my audience collected online?
  3. Are there influencers in my market?
  4. How do my competitors create relevant traffic?
  5. What traffic sources tie into my existing workload?
  6. How can employees drive more exposure?
  7. What type of information does my audience want?
  8. What screen resolutions do my visitors use?
  9. Is my audience using mobile browsers?
  10. What audience segments do I have?
  11. Why are visitors leaving my site?
  12. How many leads are being generated?
  13. What is the quality of sales leads being generated?
  14. Where are our top sales leads coming from?
  15. Where are marketing dollars being best invested?
  16. What is the percentage of opportunities won vs. lost?
  17. What are my top opportunities and what are they worth?
  18. Who is driving my top budget impact?
  19. What is the volume of customer service cases?
  20. What is the cycle status of individuals in the system?
  21. What is your customer satisfaction rating?
  22. What is your employee satisfaction rating?
  23. How do you drive external revenue online?
  24. How do you drive internal revenue online?
  25. Is your business evolving as fast as the market?
  26. ?

Welcome to Epiphany Metrics

We are happy to be announcing the launch of  Epiphany Metrics. There are a lot of bright minds and talented professionals that are involved with this organization and as a professional, I am looking forward to developing some insightful new conversations with the team.