What’s the best social media strategy for my business? What social marketing applications should my company use? How can I help my sales team be successful with social selling? How can I integrate social into my marketing mix?
These are questions we hear every day from customers trying to navigate the rapidly changing world of sales and marketing in the age of social media. While there may be correct answers to any one of these questions on any given day you ask, the problem is the answers seem to change every day. And if you don’t have a strategy for getting at the answers yourself, you’re likely to follow the same trends as everyone else, wherever they happen to lead.
To find the right answers for your social sales and marketing approach, you need some grounding in the fundamentals to be able to navigate the new world of persistent disruption. New technologies are constantly emerging to streamline, accelerate and automate sales and marketing processes, while other new technologies are constantly emerging to change the way buyers learn about products and make purchase decisions. So how do you keep up?
Marketing and sales managers are struggling to cut through the clutter of gurus and trends to identify the shortest critical path to results.
An Agile Approach to Marketing and Sales
Over the past several years, Agile methodologies borrowed from software development have been increasingly applied to marketing and sales as a way to deal with the disruption and complexity. Many Agile concepts do have meaningful applications to marketing and sales, particularly demand generation. But in practice these concepts need to be adapted to be effective.
At SocialRep, we have a unique perspective on this challenge—both for ourselves, and for our customers. Our roots are solidly in marketing and sales fundamentals, having started out as an agency in San Francisco’s high-tech world providing branding and lead-gen services to some of the world’s fastest growing companies. But when we started developing our own sales and marketing tools, we began adapting some of the Agile methods our engineers were using to improve our sales and marketing programs, and we learned something important that we now strive to impart to all our customers and end users:
Marketing and Sales are Needlessly Complex.
From positioning and messaging to lead generation and sales, there are endless theories, gurus, methodologies, secrets, trends, hacks and apps. Whether we’re serving a small regional company or a global enterprise, we see marketing and sales managers struggling to cut through the clutter to identify the shortest critical path to results. We see companies regularly switching PR firms, advertising and marketing agencies, technology platforms and consultants, trying to keep up with trends and find new ways to generate growth.
So we became advocates of what we first called “practical strategy”—a way to narrow down all the theories and methodologies to a core set of tactics that work. We collected dozens of the best frameworks and methods we could find, stripped them down to just the essentials, and began applying them not with the mindset of a guru, but the mindset of a geek. It’s not about having answers, it’s about figuring out what works. And that turned out to be a natural fit for an Agile approach to marketing and sales.
If you’re stuck trying to nail down your positioning and differentiation, you can’t be very effective enabling your sales team to deliver results.
Focusing on the Things that Matter the Most
Now we’ve begun documenting our approach and providing it to customers and end users to augment our social selling enablement applications and services. The point isn’t to replace whatever frameworks or methods you may be using today—as long as what you’re doing is helping you find a path to revenue, keep doing it. The point is to provide a clear focus on the core fundamentals of marketing and sales that matter the most, and strip away the extras that might be getting in your way. After all, if you’re stuck at trying to nail down your positioning and differentiation, you can’t be very effective with a social media strategy or enabling your sales team to deliver results.
We call our agile approach to marketing and sales The Fastest Path to Revenue, which we’ll explain in more detail over the course of this series of posts. Just like the “Minimum Viable Product” often used in Agile Development, The Fastest Path to Revenue is an organizing principle that helps you focus your time and attention on the things that matter the most, particularly when your market, or your marketing ecosystem, is being disrupted by competition or new technology. It’s a way of recalibrating your objectives and figuring out what works, and it’s helped us help a lot of customers figure out their own approach to social sales and marketing.
We’ll kick off the series with a few posts on the basics, and then we’ll build on that foundation with posts that dig down into the details at the core of sales and marketing fundamentals, and how they apply to the world of social media. So make sure to subscribe to our email updates (sign up on the sidebar), and if there’s a challenge you’d like us to address, comment here and let us know.