Archive for May, 2010

26th

Why a Professional Blog?  Let me count the ways… But first, let me break TWO BIG MYTHS.

No time…” We’re talking an hour a week (depending on how fast you organize your thoughts and type). And you can always dictate the post to an admin and have them load it into the editor.  ‘Time’ is not the issue.

Who cares what I have to say?”  First of all, it’s not just about the human audience.  Search Engine Marketing is a big part of it.  Second, your network cares what you have to say.  Your customers.  Your prospects.  Your business partners.  Heck..  Your Mom!

What’s your other reason for not doing a professional blog?  Comment below and perhaps the crowd can give advise.

So Why Blog?  What the ROI?  Here’s my take… And this is by NO MEANS everything.  Just off the top…

  1. Search Engine Leads – Gain new and/or previously off-the-radar sales opportunities
  2. Reinforcement of existing sales processes started through other means
  3. Social Media Optimization – Establish Social Relevancy within Social Media Marketing
  4. Establish hooks, interest, and engagement with prospects for when the time is right
  5. Viral marketing and referrals with all-of-the-above
  6. Competitive advantage, or, at a minimum, keeping up with the competition
  7. Application of the knowledge and understanding gained from using the tool to client projects
  8. Improved self-awareness and awareness of market perceptions
  9. Use for free market research
  10. Improved Web-content writing skills
  11. Enhanced potential to write a book based on the blog history and your new skills (whole nuther optnty)
  12. Improved public speaking and presentation skills for sales and marketing presentations – yep… odd but true
  13. Potential to gain speaking ops at industry or local biz-dev events
  14. Improved marketplace visibility for the blogger/organization
  15. Great chance to understand Web analytics
  16. Better success leveraging Twitter and Linkedin

Are you blogging?  Post a link and share your ROI stories?  If you’re not, hope you get started.  You’ll be glad you did.  Caveat – gotta do it right.

Btw, I’m working on Part 2 of my last podcast.  Nibby and Chris share thoughts on their blogs.  Couple great case-in-points.

Oh yeah, awesome event listening to Ken Blanchard last week.  Phenomenal teaching.  Terrific stories.  He laughed, he cried… Unofficially recorded the talk on my ipod.  Pretty compelling stuff.

Qwik pics shot this morning.  Love Spring and Summer in Northeast Ohio.

Took 45 minutes on this post, btw – including the pictures.

12th

The game seems to have changed.  The art, process, career – call it what you want – of selling is being changed by Social Technology, even in the lagging industry of insurance.  Skeptical of this?  You have only to look at your most recent sales – or losses.  Whether B2B or B2C, do you have a sense that the buyers, BEFORE they decided whether or not to buy, engaged in an effort to “check you out online”? In this due-diligence process, what did they find out about YOU (B2B) or your product reputation and/or brand reputation (B2C)?  Was this act on behalf of the consumer as common just two years ago (2008)? How about 2005?  Even if it was common in those days, did it carry as much weight in the purchase decision?  I think if you really look at the trends, you’d have to admit that the selling process has changed.

Think about it.  How would you characterize the most recent selling paradigms we’ve seen over the past few decades.  As a B2B sales guy since 1988, I’d say I’ve seen three distinct era’s in 20+ years, certainly with convergence and overlap.  Generally speaking…

  1. 80′s / early 90′s – Relationship selling
  2. early/mid 90′s – Solution-oriented selling
  3. late 90′s, 2000′s – CRM-based selling

What do you remember about the pro’s and con’s of these earlier phases?  What struggles did you have adapting to the changing paradigms?  Any funny anecdotes that come to mind relative to this?  How would you characterize what we’re seeing now with Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs and their impact on sales?  Consumer/Client rating?  Retweets, ShareThis, Recommendations?  Email marketing?  Podcasting?  Viral video?  Content syndication?

My own funny story… I remember when I was selling for ADP in Phoenix around ’91/92, a couple years into it, I got my first laptop and bought a copy of ACT!  That year I made President’s Club for the first time – a really big deal for me just starting out trying to establish myself as a capable sales guy.  Relative to my small patch in east Mesa on the rural areas to the east (Globe, Payson, Show Low) the tools definitely helped me get to the next level.  But I now had a new challenge.  “Where the frickin’ OUTLET around here???? I need a POWER SUPPLY for my laptop!!!” :-)  So much for McDonalds – not outlets!

Stories? Thoughts?

Selling from a hotel room at a conference.

11th

Many are asking what I’m up to these days… Howzitgoin’ with WebWisedom… etc.

It’s actually amazing.  So much has happened in the first 4 months of business….  I’ve spoken at a couple conferences, attended a couple others, worked on a couple insurance e-Commerce projects, helped a client get a blog up and running (not quite public yet), made some mistakes, had some victories, put thousands of miles on rental cars (with a few exceptions, I despise the airlines and the whole airport scene), rebranded the blog, have a 2nd blog/e-com site in dev, worked on my first book and working on a chapter of a crowd-sourced book, invested in a MacBook Pro and so learned a bunch of Apple tools, created a viral video for an association – and oh, yeah, helped my wife with some major work on the kitchen, and helped the kids with college stuff.  Lot to bite off, eh?!?!

Here’s how things have netted out and the opportunities for YOU, my clients and partners.  My focus is on Social – Social Technology education, Social Tech strategies, and Social tactics.  I’m helping clients assimilate Social into their enterprise, their on-going sales efforts, and their marketing strategies.  Any Comments?

Social Tech Education – 1/2 day or Full-day Workshops

Myth-busting
Getting every level involved, speak with one voice, common language and vocabulary
Executive – Develop into Online Thought-leaders
HR and Ops – research candidates, listen, learn, share
Sales & Marketing – Socially Facilitated Selling versus Socially Directed Buying
Policy development to govern SM habits
Side-bar:
Executive Coaching – access to my tools, my monthly tips, my stream, and my schedule

Social Tech Monitoring

Brand, Reputation, Conversations – You… and your Competitors

Social Tech Planning

Research into You, your Clients, and their customers
Create a Plan
Ongoing accountability and coaching

Social Content Syndication

More on this later. Very special.

Social Tech Management

Basic:
- Consultation
- Strategy development
- Support
Advanced:
- Avatar
- Development
- Community/Network

Blog Consulting

Authors and Content Strategies
Technology Implementation, including Social Net integration
Promoting and Marketing
Ongoing Coaching

Related Social Tech Strategies Development Workshops

High-Beam/Low-Beam Leadership Training
Building a River of Information
Socially Facilitated Selling and Socially Directed Buying
E-Word-of-Mouth and Viral Marketing
Online Reputation Management
Revenue-on-Demand

Specialized Enterprise Social Tech Training

“Listening” tools and strategies
Concepts and strategies for Online Reputation Management
Collaboration tools and strategies – Wiki’s, Crowdsourcing, etc.
High-beam v. Low-beam Leadership and the impact on Enterprise Social Tech adoption within the enterprise
- critically important and perhaps the most needed today
Constituent-based Web design
- the vast majority of Web properties are designed incorrectly
Social CRM – this is really getting at the heart of things.  And this is where our customers and clients want us to go – for THEIR benefit.

Any Comments about any of these things?  What struck you about or within this list of Social Tech stuff?  It’s a lot.  Curious.

Kelle, my daughter, celebrating her 20th birthday.  Phew!  I made it through the teens!

Love this shot!

6th

Favorite Myth/Cliche about Social that I heard this week:

“I don’t get twitter!  What would I want to know what someone had for breakfast?!?!”  Is that something you heard this week?  Is that something you said this week?  What’s your favorite?  Just so you know, as I crafted this post, I checked twitter.  Here’s a link to a story tweeted by someone I’m following that was right there on my tweetdeck timeline.  Is this helpful or is this ‘what someone had for breakfast’?  And this is just a little snippet I learned in about 60 seconds…

Change of Subject: Curious on your thoughts… What concepts does the phrase ‘Socially Facilitated Selling‘ bring to mind?  I’m writing a chapter in a crowdsourced book on Social Technology.  The chapter speaks to this concept of Socially Facilitated Selling.  It also will discuss Socially Directed Buying, more applicable to B2C sales and marketing.  Curious what your thoughts are on these concepts.  Might even be able to give you a mention in the book.  That’d be neat… Post your insight in the Comments below.  Join the conversation!

Speaking of books, I’m about 75% done with the book I’ve been working on through the Fall and Winter.  Hopefully I’ll finish this summer, then crowdsource the design of the book.  Those of you who’ve agreed to read the manuscript, really appreciate it!  Anyone else that wants to comment, here’s the topic of the book: How is e-Business like exerciseShare a thought in the Comments.  If I use your Comment in the book, believe me, you’ll know!

Wanna see something really interesting?  Check out this article by the World Future Society that I saw in their email blast.  This is a great organization, fun to listen to, and always inspiring to contemplate.  One of these years I’m going to a WFS Summer Conference.  Join me?

105 MILLION TWITTER USERS.  Did you know that Twitter was the first Social Network that was adopted by middle-aged people First?  Interesting.

Last thought for today.  I keep hearing people use the excuse of ‘no time’ for not getting in the game of Social Tech.  What if I told you I could save you at least 30 minutes a day by optimizing your basic Web-browsing behaviors and practices?  Would you shift that time to writing a blog or just listening across your network of peers, associates, colleagues, and visionaries all around you?  Interesting thought that might get you started.

Thoughts on all this?  Please comment.  Remember – Lurking is Lame.  Join the conversation.  (This post took 45 minutes.  Good use of time?)

As I shared on Facebook this morning, it’s days like this that make me glad I live in Northeast Ohio.

3rd

First, I understand that this is really podcast #1 under the banner of WebWisedom and SocialTechCoach (site in dev), but it’s taking some time to get my blog re-branded, moved, etc. (the age-old situation of the cobbler’s children…).

I’m often asked, “Mike, all that stuff you’re doing with your blog and linkedin, facebook, twitter… Is that paying off for you?  Are you getting meaningful results?”  “Absolutely!”, I say.  To drive the point home, I chatted with a couple people who are achieving solid results from their Social Media and Social Network Marketing efforts within their insurance practices.  These are two guys, btw, that I ONLY know through Social Media, Chris Jordan and Nibby Priest.  Judge for yourself, do you think it’s payin’ off for them?  Note some of the intangible and perhaps surprising benefits they mention as well.  Nibby and Chris would love to kick around your questions and comments.  I know the other readers and listeners would appreciate the dialog as well, so please use the Comment button below to connect with them on thoughts…. Thanks SO much.

Listen in.

Picture from this weekend, kids choir at church… Kids’ll do the darnedest things in the middle of singing!


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