Tag Archives: sales enablement

Brand

The Google Profile, Google+ and my own personal brand

google plus

google plus (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

With the advent of Google+ and the new-prominance of my Google Profile within the tool, I figured it was time to give it a makeover to more truly reflect who I am today. I’ll be updating the language to highlight current assignments, projects, skills, obsessions. And who knows, maybe I’ll actually put into practice the grandaddy of all web writing principles — brevity.

The exercise will drive massaged Twitter and LinkedIn profiles as well, and perhaps even a few existential ruminations. Here’s one: In the rush to write off the social phenomenon as petty, narcissistic, and now-obsessed, perhaps we could all benefit from a meditative and brutally sincere approach to personal profile management. Done well, it could prove a centering ritual, and further motivate us to live and work up to our own hype.

So much for brevity…

Meantime, here’s the old Google Profile language for posterity’s sake:

I am a business writer first and a sales and marketing professional second.

My current focus is in the area of front-end business-to-business (B2B) sales operations—specifically on equipping reps in the field with the best possible materials to meet the requirements of their customers’ buying process. Sales document optimization is an outcomes-based process after all—and an outlet for my skills in information design and desktop publishing. But the area I find most gratifying is also the one in which I find sales organizations in the greatest need. It’s Sales Knowledge Management, it’s a technological and cultural enigma, and it’s a singular joy for a worker of my temperament.

Sales Knowledge Management is a systematic approach to collecting, synthesizing, and sharing critical corporate, market, and product insights throughout the sales team, and broadening the availability of that knowledge into multiple contexts—from sales letters and e-mail to proposals to online customer portals. With enhanced access to knowledge and easy-to-use assembly tools, reps can spend less time finding answers and creating materials—and spend more time selling. (For a more detailed discussion of SKM roles in B2B selling organizations, refer to my post on the Roles of Sales Knowledge Management.)

The contents of my blog are my own thoughts and observations—codified and organized to help me better think through problems, remember solutions, and maybe even help others experiencing the same issues in their work and their lives. I am interested in the phenomenon known as enterprise content management, and the structured communication processes necessary to move knowledge between producers and consumers.

While I understand that any discussion of knowledge management must go above and beyond technology, my training and background often compel me toward the tools and methods used by those involved in content creation and management. I’m influenced by Shaun Slattery’s work on Textual Coordination. (For my take, see my post Toward a Technological Repertoire in Mediated Writing.) Similarly, I’m intrigued by the use and benefits of social media and user-generated content in a professional environment—the so-named Enterprise 2.0 movement.

From time-to-time, I’ll post items I find interesting from my iPod, from around the internet, around town, or around the house I share with the best wife, two sons, and dog a guy could ask for.

TechNet on automatically creating Word documents including list fields

It’s fairly straightforward to get this working (certainly no code is required, just SharePoint designer) and the technique could be used to automate all manner of business processes.  For example, you could create an ASPX page containing drop down fields and calculated fields that automatically creates a quotation document or you could have a form that captures all the details for a job vacancy that would create a standard looking job advert.

Great for capturing client proposal data for later tracking purposes, and generating a shell template including relevant fields. With a little added controls and quick parts magic, I could foresee having SharePoint list choice column options dictate a cover page graphic. Lots of potential here.

Shane Gibson on Traditional versus Social Websites: Is there a portals spin?

In writing Guerrilla Social Media Marketing Jay Levinson and I developed a quick comparison between traditional websites and social sites. Guerrillas know that to build community and consent your website and homebase must be social.

While he speaks directly to public-facing corporate marketing engines, some consideration of these concepts is worthwhile within the closed confines of a corporate portal. This is particularly the case if your portal supports a hierarchical and globally distributed sales team, as mine does. Including and promoting social elements can be a challenge.

Shane Gibson’s Social Media Calendar — the Blog, the Podcast, the Template!

There are many aspects to success in social media. Having a solid goal, knowing your core target market and of course monitoring social media conversations and your brand. Producing great content and engaging community are also vital. All of this has to be grounded in a solid implementation plan in order to work over the long term. A goal, great content, and community engagement are not enough to succeed using social media as a marketer, sales person or entrepreneur. We also need to ensure that we are consistent in our approach, message and community involvement.

Shane Gibson is a speaker and writer of some renown in the world of social media and sales. This piece covers a simple, ironically low-tech, calendar for team social media coverage.

Social Selling

Providing writing support to sales reps IS sales enablement

Gerhard Gschwandtner talks with Deborah Dumaine of Better Communications about the importance of good writing for sales success. The usual suspects are all here:

  • Don’t make it all about your company
  • Use a style that matches the recipient
  • Don’t use texting language
  • Don’t make grammar mistakes
  • Spell check
  • Proofread before you click send

As a professional communicator attached to sales teams, I see this all the time–in proposals, in letters, on LinkedIn.

The temptation is often to write these reps off as either wholly incompetent or else so narcissistic as to believe their smile or their product will seal the deal for them.

In the complex world of competitive bids, even the greenest of salespeople understands the old saw about buyers “looking for reasons to NOT deal with you.” Your logo’s the wrong color/font, your proposal’s too long/short, your handshake’s too firm/dead-fishy.

“Why,” I would ask myself, “would anybody allow this writing to leave the firewall bound for a prospective paying customer?”

Today, however, I’ve seen too many reps who don’t know subject from predicate actually succeed quarter over quarter, despite their indigent deliverables. And why? Bright smiles. Strong offerings. Just-right handshakes. And a driving determination to serve the customer despite the hurdles and hoop-jumping of a longer cycle.

Writing, to these grinders, isn’t everything.

Now if you know me, and are familiar with my writing elsewhere on this blog, you’ll understand where I’m headed here. Sales support, enablement, administration, operations (pick your title) must be more than CRM expertise and conference calls with revrec (though these too are important).

A well-maintained and usable library of sales scripts and templates, mapped to the sales workflow, integrated into corporate applications, and trained trained trained. This is the task of enterprise sales support. This is a critical component of an effective sales operations program.

We should expect a minimal level of writing skill from our sales professionals in the field. But we shoot ourselves in the foot withholding tools to help them write better, faster, and more consistently.

Social Selling

Forrester’s Santucci on the updated sales enablement definition — and why it’s important

Sales enablement is a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving life cycle to optimize the return of investment of the selling system.

via blogs.forrester.com

A Unified View of your Customers | AIIM Webinar

What if a CRM could be integrated with a document management system? This would allow all business process owners to view and act upon the documents that provide an important piece of the total customer picture. An integrated solution can make documents such as invoices, contracts, memos, brochures, and sales tools immediately accessible to sales and account managers, as well as to customer service representatives. When this solution is delivered in the cloud, it provides increased access across an organization, no matter where employees are located.

Primarily geared toward support and customer service organizations—that often feature high-volume, low-complexity transactions—and refers to managing historical documents specific to the customer, such as contract documents. Does mention collateral and potential upsell/cross-sell implications, however.
ROI includes time savings (including customer call time), business-specific metrics around productivity and profit, and customer satisfaction (huge in the age of social media), and reduced risk of brand damage from the errant distribution of outdated documents beyond the firewall.
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