By Pat Hinds
I hear my kids talk about all the friends they have on Facebook; one will say she has 250 friends and the other will say she has 300 friends. I tell my kids the people on Facebook are not necessarily friends, they are more like acquaintances. When I ask my kids how they use Facebook they admit that their primary communications are with a few people, but they view information of acquaintances that keep them up-to-date on the happenings of these people.
I have been in sales for many years; not too long ago, my prize collection was my Rolodex of business cards — at the peak I had 400 to 500 cards. When I would go on a job interview I would talk about all the contacts I had and how I would leverage all these contacts to drive sales for the company. In reality my situation was more like that of my kids, I had hundreds of acquaintances and a much smaller group of contacts. When I started the new job I would call the people I had regular contact with; then I would start looking at all the cards in the Rolodex to try and figure out who I should contact next.
I hear the same concerns from many of my clients today; they expand their sales force and hire a rep with the expectation that the new rep has all these great contacts. After the first 90 days the new rep call volume drops due to the fact the rep is now moving from friends to acquaintances. This problem can be solved if the company takes the Facebook approach; this approach includes building a database of acquaintances and providing access to the users to view content and keeping it fresh.
The following are recommendations of business tactics and tools that will help companies maintain a relationship with customers and prospects (acquaintances) creating an environment of warm calls vs. cold calls:
1. Territory Design– Companies need to identify the market that they want to communicate with, then build a territory and support the territory by collecting company and contact data. Good sources for company data are Hoovers, Dunn and Bradstreet, Jigsaw, and Salesview .
2. Build a Data Base – Companies need to get territory and customer information into a database that will allow them to automate and target communication to prospects and customers.
3. Leverage Marketing Tools– Mail outs, flyers and newsletters are still a good way to communicate with prospects in a territory, but you are now able to leverage a host of Web 2.0 marketing tools. Products to consider are Bright Talk, Slide View, Youtube, Linkedin, Groupmail and blogging with products like Word Press.
4. Build Content – In order for the tools to work you need to build content; this can be a power point, text, video and voice and it has to be targeted and relevant to your audience.
5. Be Consistent – To be top of mind you need to communicate on a consistent basis, it does not have to be daily or weekly; you can communicate once a month or quarterly.
6. Measure – Make sure you are able to measure the response to the tool and the content you are using/building.
Topics: Business Intelligence