Social Selling is the coordination of Social Reps and Sales Reps to manage the qualification and hand-off of social media prospects in a way that doesn’t undermine your brand experience. Sales Reps convert water flowing over the dam into revenue. Social Reps focus on making sure there’s always a steady supply of water behind the dam.
A few years ago my friend and colleague Maria Sipka introduced me to a couple of professors at Wharton working on a collaborative project about the future of advertising. They invited me to submit an essay on CRM to social, one of what grew to more than 200 essays from colleagues eventually published in the online Advertising 2020 project. They promoted dialog, researched and analyzed the topics of discussion and ultimately wrote a book on their findings, recently published by Wiley.
I got a chance to see a manuscript of the book when it was being written, so I was excited to see they used a quote from my essay—one that I thought was provocative. It was a quote about the degree to which, I believe, advertising has missed the point of social media by focusing on metrics that emphasize quantity more than quality. It’s the kind of criticism that doesn’t always win friends among colleagues, so when I finally got a copy of the published book, I was surprised to find they’d doubled down and selected a second quote, one for the opening page of the book.
Social media is a significant opportunity for the channel, because it provides a way to attract and empower partners with a new marketing capability, the activity of social marketing can significantly amplify the company’s reach, and the inherent engagement involved in socializing the channel supports better relationships between the company and it’s channel partners.
There’s been a stream of negative posts about social media in B2B circles lately—a marketer’s lament that social isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It sucks your time. It doesn’t deliver results. Everyone is so fake. In fact, social media is anti-social, replacing real friendships with artificial ones. Let’s all cancel our Facebook accounts and stop? this? life-sucking abomination, as if the loom might be broken.
Over the past several years, inbound channel marketing has grown to be one of the most influential approaches to modern marketing. Inbound marketing addresses a number of key challenges in marketing today, most notably the need to engage with customers in a more productive and sustainable way. ? Although inbound marketing has been growing by leaps ands bounds among both B2B and B2C businesses, it hasn’t yet taken hold in the channel, largely due to the challenges of scaling quality content for a distributed network of partners. Bits and pieces of inbound marketing have been adapted for the channel, such as social media syndication and content curation, but it’s high time for a true? Inbound Channel Marketing solution.
One of the most common refrains I hear among marketing solution providers in the channel is that any kind of partner marketing initiative must be blindingly simple for partners to execute. If you require partners to do so much as press a button from time to time, that may be too much to ask. God forbid you ask your partners to put some effort into their campaigns. The ideal scenario is for your partner to just open their mouth so your automated message can tumble out.