As a fan of the series “Mad Men” TV series, I have to share this comparison of the sales profession development with you. When we compare the decades from 1950-2010, we realizte that there were some significant differences. From Don and his friends’ wild office parties and massive whisky as well as martini consumption to a straight organized reality where sales automation has taken over and social media rules the communication between people.
Although, we still here at the universities and in seminars from the advertising Gods like Leo Burnett and David Ogilvy, Don Draper’s world has seen a radical shift in sales profession. But in which direction…? The guys from Leads360 have created an infographic that defines the main trends we saw lately…
- 1960: In-person pitch.
- 1970: Door-to-door vacuum pitch.
- 1980: Not really specified in any direction…
- 1990: In the beginning email messaging, later customer relationship management (CRM)
- 2000: Social integration (Social Media)
- 2010: Intelligent sales automation
“Over the last 50 years, many of these fundamental sales strategies have remained incredibly valuable,” states the infographic. Maybe you find the reasons why when reading through it.
Today, we are talking of Facebook as the barbeque with “friends and fans” and of Twitter as the chatter at the toilet. Well, it seems that we haven’t moved away from socializing. Maybe we just need to add some drinks next to our screens…
Year after year, Edelman is publishing their Edelman Trust Barometer. The 2013 version just came out and it is offering some helpful findings, pictures and illustrations how C-level managers, employees and brands can build trust. Edelman polled 31,000 people in 26 countries and as they have the comparison of the last three year (2011-2013), it is interesting to see the changes in the “Edelman Trust Index”. From a global perspective, the positive signs are that the global trust index goes back to normal after some bad development in 2012.
Definitely, one of the main messages the report gives, is that the general public and better “educated citizens” don’t really trust government officials (13%) and business CEOs (18%) to tell the truth. Business CEOs ended up second to last with 43% only. So, it is not only the marketers that lack credibility in the eyes of their CEOs internally – externally the CEOs seem to be the people – employees, customers and partners – just the human brand economy CEOs need to become successful with their business. The most trustworthy people seem to be academics and experts, followed by technical experts.
The study offers an interesting list of 16-trust building attributes (named “trust performance clusters”) every organization should pay attention to, and live and breath. All points make sense and every single one seems worth-while being considered and double-checked with your own organization.
Leadership seems to face a crisis at the moment. The study makes clear that people distrust their company leaders, or don’t seem to get what they want from their bosses. Globally, the employees expectations in the areas business performance, integrity, products, purpose, and services always score low numbers and don’t hit public’s expectations. Especially under engagement, when it comes to how leaders are taking care and treating their employees, the leaders fall short in their ratings: just 24% feel that businesses do what ever they can to meet the employees’ demands.
“We’re clearly experiencing a crisis in leadership. Business and governmental leaders must change their management approach and become more inclusive… They must also pass the test of radical transparency.” Richard Edelman, President & CEO, Edelman
From an industry sector’s point of view technology wins in building trust (77%). Banks and financial services (50%) as well as media (53%%) rank lowest in trust scores. Edelman thinks that transparency in their business processes might help. Also, the way these economies are explaining their businesses could improve trust building as shareholders want to know how these companies operate and make money. Social Media could play an important role.
As long as people don’t understand how organizations operate, what companies and brands do with the money they invest in their products and services, they will doubt that they really get best value and service for their money. Even more, when companies don’t take their responsibility to open communication serious which most companies do when they don’t respond internal and external comments through social platforms. The more companies become social businesses and open up their communication, the more they create an atmosphere of transparency and collaboration, the more customers will engage with their community centers, the more people trust that companies really do whatever they can – WITH the help of employees, partners and customers.
“This confirms the democratizing trend of recent years with influence and authority moving away from CEOs and government leaders to experts and peers,” finds Edelman. And we agree with them.
Watch their video summary and then start checking on your own trust building tactics. And let us know if you experience the leadership issue in some way as well, or not…?!
Most professors might answer in a diplomatic manner: “There is always two sides of the coin!” Smart bloggers love to look into the future and prefer outlooks to reviews. However, those always rely on findings and insights which bring them to life in the end.
So, I have dared to head for an outlook in 2015, into the future of web strategy. As many managers are not quite familiar with the term “web strategy”, let me define it our way. In 2012, we have often realized that there is quite some misunderstanding what web strategy really means:
“Web Strategy translates the organisational targets and values in roadmaps for the top management and their teams in terms of all generated and doable business processes via the Web. Web Strategy creates a picture of the future of client communication which connects the networking trends of the Internet and the tools of modern web development with the individual business tactics of a cooperation in order to develop a superior company vision. ©The Strategy Web GmbH 2012″
Bearing this in mind, I have written a blog post that defines a futuristic view on some new job titles. It shall illustrate which old job roles might become critical as well as which new challenges arise in companies when changing or restructuring organisational frameworks in companies. So, let me define some new job roles that clever managers should be thinking about. Each top management should be thinking carefully whether or not they will need one of these job roles in their company. I am quite sure that these job roles will become important in the future on web strategy.
And don’t be surprised when I give those job roles kind of a hierarchy. The formula behind it is quite simple…Knowledge x Data x Content x Culture x Clients = Company Success
a.) Corporate Knowledge Officer
The main challenge for any HR department is to tie the pearls of the corporate value chain long-term. These employees are the knowledge of the company, the pillars of productivity. If one of those pillars leaves the company behind, the person takes the knowledge with them, and often all of their knowledge gets lost. But what if employees understand that the feeding hand of a company offers less pension protection by 2025? What if by 2020, Millennials, the generation that will make up almost 50% of the global workforce, will deny the traditional workplace mentality and start making their knowldge available more on a project basis? What if knowledge workers stop working for one company but prefer to share their knowldge in a “buy-my-brain” mode?
Leaders who believe in Social Business, those who want to secure knowledge and make it “always-on” available shall consider the position of a Corporate Knowledge Officer. They are game changers for analysts, market researchers and leading consulting corporations.
b.) Corporate Data Scientist
The world speaks Big Data. Buzzword or biz value? There were not many words you could hear in 2012 at web events, where “web stategy” still often is a foreign word. Why Big Data rules? Well, just look at how much data is being generated in 60-Minuten on the web, or how fast reactions and conversations evolve. That’s why data is becoming a challenge for the whole value chain of the company. However, which business is able to accomplish a job role which is said to become one of the sexiest in the future according to Harvard Business Review? Where is this person located in the excel sheets of businesses that unites the capabilities of a logician, explorer and mathematician in one person? There are not many avalaible yet. Corporate Data Scientists are those brains who know how to turn the process of 0 and 1 upside down in order to draw some conclusions for new content and values.
Leaders that don’t want to stop at data mining or business intelligence processes should figure out the value of the Corporate Data Scientist. They are challengers for PR and marketing decision makers who need to prove their credibility by showing facts to their CEOs.
c.) Corporate Content Officer
Content forms data. The problem? Content is the weakest production department of companies. In most cases PR experts or publishing houses have taken over the content production. Although most media companies are struggling themselves with unique content generation. But who is meant to do the content research? Who is able to write and schedule stories? Who can prioritize, aggregate and curate content? And where will companies find the publishing expertise to become a media company? If content marketing is the future, who will pioneer on the path from PR and marketing to the journalistic hybrid of corporate publishing and community management in the company?
Leaders who see conversations as an opportunity and understand the sense of integrated communities in websites will evaluate the position of Corporate Content Officers. They are the media coaches and editors-in-chief of businesses who bring all company departments to produce content for their special business area.
d.) Chief Culture Officer
The modern development in content and data generation as well as a new understatement for knowledge management is walking on the stage of change management. A stage that Grant McCracken featured in his book. Employees need to find the deeper sense in the evolution of new platforms in business processes. Employees need to understand the complete benefit of tools and tactics before they will be forced to make use of them. Especially, for those employees who do not like email communication but shall start working with communication streams and updates all of a sudden. Stream-Working is a culture of openness and transparency which is not everybody’s friend. And sometimes the best lighthouses might not embrace those changes.
Leaders who know about the challenges of working with multiple project platforms will appreciate the additional benefit of a Chief Culture Officer. This job role will be the prolonged arm of the management team, the “personified culture geek” and at the same time working very close with the HR team.
e.) Chief Customer Officer
Customer change the rules of the game via open communication, praise and critic. What was top-down is now bottom-up. Customers are kings. A sentence that made people cry some years ago. Today, the 3R’s of the social customer -Rating, Review, Recommendation- make managers and leaders start crying. They let whole revenue streams start shaking at times. Those managers who get their experience from digital conversations with customers, who appreciate when data becomes content, and who create a culture of cooperation and collaboration, then you live and breathe the values of empathy that customers are longing for. Then companies create the right fascination for brands, products and their own company.
Leaders who accept the community of customers as the ecosystem of perception, and who believe in brand advocates, critics and moaners as equal process partners will think about integrating a Chief Customer Officer as an institution that is meant to drive business growth. They will be game changers for sales people and customer service employees.
Never before have I spoken about and discussed so much about new job definitions and job roles in my life like in 2012. On congresses as a moderator, on B2B events as speaker, or as a rebellious start-up panelist.
Will one or some of these job roles become reality? You decide…
Social Business still far away for companies? B2B Execs see Social Media reputation as a corporate blind spot
Is Social Media really so far behind in the mindset of executives, especially in B2B? Well, according to the Zeno’s Digital Readiness Survey conducted by Harris Interactive it is. The poll asked 300 U.S. corporate executives of various industries and titles of VP or higher, including C-suite executives (primarily B2B) with annual revenues of at least $1 billion. The study comes to a conclusion that surprises us: Many executives fail to consider Social Media reputation when making business decisions. Over one-third of executives (36%) stated that the CEO of their company does not care or cares little about the company’s reputation in Social Media.
Although many companies out there like us advice the leading management how to work with Social Media and how to turn the company into a Social Business, the findings show that still 10% of organizations do not take any action at all to engage with audiences online to address a damaging article or Social Media post. And when it claims that managers would at least take some action to respond to an online crisis, it tells me that Social Media is still not a hotspot for companies and brands.
The main findings of the survey…
- B2B executives (43%) say their CEO largely ignores their company’s online reputation (B2C only 30%) when making business-decisions.
- B2B executives are slower in response. Only 45% of business executives see their company can respond to a negative online post within 24 hours (B2C 63%)
- B2B executives are twice as likely (13%) to say that their firm would not engage an audience online at all to defend their reputation (B2C 6%)
- Executives in larger firms (10,000 employees+) are more likely to say their CEO always or sometimes considers their company’s Social Media reputation versus those in smaller companies (71% versus 55%).
- Executives in smaller firms ignore Social Media reputation when considered business decision-making more than larger firms (45% versus 29%)
“Given the explosive growth of today’s digital platforms, the Zeno Digital Readiness Survey shows a much larger percentage of companies than one would expect turning a blind eye to valuable customer views and insights. (…) These businesses, regardless of sector, risk serious reputational damage, as well as miss out on important stakeholder feedback, when they ignore social media conversations about their companies and their industries.” Mark Shadle, Managing Director, Zeno Corporate Practise
The study claims that Social Media is a “corporate reputation blind spot,” especially for B2B companies. From our work in 2012 we can only agree with these findings. Although this is surprising when considering that Social Media accounts for almost 25% of people’s time spent online, and that consumers allow companies and brands a response time of 60 minutes for customer service. Companies that don’t want to ignore their online reputation, meaning their business community from clients to partners to employees, should think about the 5Cs of Social Business and how to turn their companies around in order not to put their business reputation at risk.
Now, the IBM Institute for Business Value published a report, called The Business of Social Business: What works and how it’s done. The study surveyed more than “1,100 businesses around the world and conducted extensive interviews with more than two dozen widely recognized leaders in social business”.
And these guys had some answers, basicallly 3 main topics came out as their main ROI aspects:
a) creating valued customer experiences
b.) driving workforce productivity and effectiveness
c.) accelerating innovation.
And the final numbers? How about the ROI? Well, there are two other studies that need to be mentioned when quoting this study: the works of Deloitte and McKinsey. The McKinsey Global Institute study found that the top-line growth for Social Business can improve between 3 and 11 percent, while productivity can be enhanced by 2 to 12 percent.
The other study by Deloitte explains that 41% of responding business executives believe social networking helps to build and maintain workplace culture. Compared to the just 21% of employees with the same view, these results illustrate a massive perception gap between business leaders and their employees. Furthermore, 45% of business leaders think that Social Media has a positive effect on the workplace culture (vs. 27% of employees) and 38% believe it allows for increased management transparency (vs. 17%).
Still, it also suggests that most companies have best prctise guidelines in place but still worry too much about those guidelines in these changing times that comes alongside the employees’ use of Social Media. They demand a better workaround process concerning the risks.
However, these might sound obvious to those people familiar with Social Busines in general, all studies emphasize the importance of the cultural aspect of Social Business. Reading through them, they give straight hints to how to make your business culture become social-driven…
1. Figure out how to incorporate social metrics into traditional efficiency processes.
2. Be clear on the risks involved and how to manage them.
3. Although managers hate this word: change management. It still is one! nevertheless, it will nonetheless require tried and tested techniques to influence corporate culture and performance.
With a sub-sample of Social Business savy companies the IBM study makes clear that the percentage of companies using Social Business for promotional benefits will increase slightly (from 71% to 83% in two years). The amount of businesses that use Social Business to generate leads and revenue will increase dramatically (from 51% to 74% in two years). Another massive benefit will come from post-sales support which is expected to increase form 46% to 69%.
The economy is worse than most of us have ever seen. It is more difficult than ever before to keep a business up and running. Here are some common pitfalls that businesses can encounter and the ways to avoid them:
Inability to Reach Desired Sales Goals
If your sales figures are less than desired, your losses can multiply as you fail to meet all of your fixed cost requirements, such as overhead and payment for your inventory. One strategy to reverse this trend is to lower your prices. This could result in attracting more customers to help cover your expenses. It will also buy you time until your business is able to rebound. Lowering prices is also effective when you don’t have any funds for promotions or advertising.
This is one of the biggest reasons why small businesses fail. It can include anything from the inability to manage people, customer relations, financial aspects, marketing or security. Starting a business is completely different from managing employees. Some people are more suited to one task than the other. If you feel that you don’t have the ability that it takes to manage people, you need to hire someone who has experience in this area. The same goes for the financial aspects of your business. If you are not good at crunching numbers and keeping track of the books, bring in someone who has managed the finances of other businesses. This will allow you to focus on your strengths. LexisNexis debt recovery can help your business with all of its skip tracing and debt collection needs.
Location is a key factor in the success or failure of many businesses, especially those in the hospitality and retail businesses. They need a location that is visible and in a high traffic area. Retail stores and restaurants need sufficient parking and a steady flow of drive-by and walk-in traffic. Before you decide on where your business will be located, carefully study the area. Check the information about the population and see if it matches your desired market. Is the population stable, increasing or decreasing? It would also be wise to check the local business trends for the area. Find out how many businesses have opened and closed recently.
These are just a few of the many issues that can trip up a business owner and cause financial hardship. Always do your homework and don’t rush into any major decisions. It is always best to learn from the mistakes of others. This will allow your business to prosper where they failed.
For most companies Social Media is still the main tool to leverage external communication in a modern world. it is seen to be the integral part of modern business playground. However, a study by FedEx and Ketchum called “From Social Media to Social Business” define the internal transformation that enterprises are going through with their internal communication.
The study asked 85 executives and communication “thought leaders”, people like Jeremiah Owyang or Brian Solis, and different executives from enterprises like AT&T, IBM, Bank of America, or G.E. among others. The executive came from large companies. Most of them (88%) have 2,000 or more employees, and the majority showed annual revenues of more than $2.5 billion.
It makes clear that the external versus internal divide in how Social Media is executed definitely exists. The external point of view shows that 69% of executives aim at increasing brand awareness among clients, and 68% said they aimed to increase brand awareness versus general public as their major business goal when using Social Media. And when, 51% think their companies foster Social Media best ways to improve relationships with customers, it shows the power execs expects to arise from online conversations.
The funny thing is that, although 88% monitor online conversations, 84% also doubt the effect that measurement offers. Still, they believe in it. The target executives are predominantly looking at is 84% engagement, 69% impressions, and 53% influence.
From an internal perspective, 85% of respondents find an increase in employee participation through Social Media in the last year. Sharing expertise and collaboration is for 44% the main aim, but also internal programs and initiatives get their boost for 38%. For 64% of executives Social Media changes the way companies’ communications, marketing, or HR teams is executed by their employees.
Although companies are not quite clear about the challenges (data privacy, transparency concerns or legal issues) that arise from Social Media engagement in both ways, internally and externally, many companies see the benefits. The study comes to the conclusion that “the impact, value and reach of social tools is expanding beyond the realm of consumer/brand management, and transforming organizations into social businesses. Social tools are increasingly being leveraged inside organizations, impacting internal interactions, culture and structure.”
Would you agree with that? Or what are the challenges that arise from fostering social business?
Unfortunately, most business owners don’t consider establishing a reputation management campaign until disaster has already struck. While taking measures to control your company reputation after slanderous or other undesirable information is plastered on the Internet is an important step, sometimes this post-situation management isn’t effective at clearing your business name.
In the fast-paced world of social media and digital information you must take preemptive measures to keep your business name and brand unwavering in the eyes of your customers, both current and potential.
Steps of Reputation Management
Reputation management isn’t a new concept within the business world, but since the introduction of social media platforms and its various spin-off websites, this mode of safeguarding your company’s good name has altered from print-only mediums. Although the specifics of a reputation management campaign can vary, the three most common principles include:
Establishing a Reputation
While this may be the most complicated and time-consuming process, establishing a good reputation within your industry is paramount to long-term success.Reputation Maintenance – Now that you’ve built a solid reputation within your industry for quality service, products and customer care , you must maintain this reputation. Reputation maintenance involves a myriad of steps, which may include continual monitoring customer reviews on social media sites and updating a business blog with vital and free information. Reputation Recovery – Even by following the aforementioned steps, it’s still possible to receive bad marketing from competitors or jilted customers. This is the most important step out of the aforementioned as it involves rescuing your reputation through a series of marketing techniques and positive business promotions.
Although securing your reputation is a continual process, professional reputation management consultants demystify the abundance of information about reputation management. Due to unique circumstances that can tarnish your business reputation, it’s important to place your business focus not on covering up negative remarks, but replacing these remarks with positive truths.
While certain forms of reputation management are considered manipulative as they attempt to alter search results, other forms don’t necessarily alter results but rather place the focus on the positive qualities of a particular business or person. The most effective way to accomplish this goal includes:
Publishing several websites that spin your business in a positive light. Soliciting mentions in highly respected third party directory listings.Proactively respond to criticism found in public spaces with an explanation and solution.Offering a level of transparency within the company so current and potential customers are aware of your business practices and procedures.
Many companies and brands are asking themselves (and us): “How fast do we have to give some feedback or answer when somebody is pinging us on Facebook, Twitter and the likes?” Or: Do we have to give some feedback on the weekends? And the answers we have heard were quite astonishing. Many managers in companies still think they have got a day or two to reply to their customers – whether they are speaking with them on email or on one of their realtime streams. Many test we have done so far, have shown us that most companies don’t react at all, some not on weekends, and some after one or two days. Be sure, if you offer your clients a realtime channel, they will use it – and they don’t care if the problem comes up on a weekend or not.
In a recent research by Convince and Convert we can find some clean answer now: 42% of the respondents expect an answer in the first 60 minutes! What comes even worse for companies: 57% want the some reaction time no matter what time of day it is or whether it is a Saturday or Sunday. In total, 67% expect some response by companies in the someday.
Still, many companies don’t have the right resources to satisfy their customers Social Media expectations. And there are many reasons for it: not enough resources, lack in modern process management or lack in technical establishment. Some companies started mentioning their opening hours in the info or biography fields which kind of makes sense and becomes a state-of-the-art workaround for the interim period until companies understand what a full-fledged social business with proper community management means. And this definitely goes away from the “9-to-5″ workplace we know from our fathers.
The main challenge for companies and brands is to find out what the deeper demand of the status update, the comment, the review or a rating is. Remember the 3R’s? In the end, what we have learned years ago, is that people want to have the feeling someone is taking care of them immediately. This does not essentially say that companies or brands have to supply the best possible answer or solution. Many managers have still not understood the fine difference between these topics.
What we would like to know is: Do 60 minutes feedback time make sense? Should we try to be more patient as users? Is a quick feedback really that important if our lives are not depending on it? You give the answer…
Interview: “Social Business = Creating a smarter workforce & a proven solution to business challenges”
One-on-one interview with Ed Brill
Ed Brill is Director, Social Business and Collaboration Solutions, at IBM. Brill is responsible for the product and market strategy for IBM’s messaging, collaboration, communications, and productivity products, including Lotus Notes and Domino, IBM SmartCloud Notes, IBM Sametime, Lotus Symphony, IBM Docs, and other related social business solutions. Brill’s focus is on extending and growing the success of these solutions through customer engagement, partner ecosystem development, and harnessing the breadth and depth of the IBM organization.
The Strategy Web spoke with him about the relevance and future of Social Business.
Why is Social Business not only a buzzword?
Leaders in every industry are leveraging Social Business technology to disrupt their industries and create competitive advantage. They are improving productivity and unleashing innovation by tapping into the collective intelligence inside and outside their organizations. With social, they’re creating a smarter workforce and proving that social business isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a proven solution to business challenges.
According to Forrester Research, the market opportunity for social enterprise apps is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016. According to IBM’s CEO Study, today only 16 percent of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers, but that number is poised to spike to 57 percent within the next three to five years.
What does it take to make a business “social”?
Organizations have quickly learned that a Social Business is more than just having a Facebook page and a Twitter account. In a Social Business, every department in the organization has embedded social capabilities into their traditional business processes to fundamentally impact how work gets done to create business value. A Social Business utilizes social software technology to communicate with its rich ecosystem of clients, business partners and employees.
Social business is a strategic approach to shaping a business culture, highly dependent upon transparency and trust from executive leadership and corporate strategy, including business process design, risk management, leadership development, financial controls and use of business analytics. Becoming a Social Business can help an organization deepen customer relationships, generate new ideas and innovate faster, identify expertise, enable a more effective workforce and ultimately drive its bottom line.
What does it mean to change the culture of a company?
Changing an organizations culture to embrace social must start from the top. Senior leadership must buy in and promote a culture of sharing, transparency and trust. Recent studies by IBM see this shift, today’s C-Suite recognizes the potential of social. Consider this, according to IBM’s 2012 CEO Study, today only 16 percent of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers, but that number is poised to spike to 57 percent within the next three to five years. Similarly. IBM’s 2011 CIO Survey of 3,000 global leaders indicated that more than 55% of companies identified social networking as having a strategic significance to their company’s growth. And finally, 2011 IBM CMO Study reports that CMOs are using social platforms to communicate with their customers, 56 percent view it as a key communication channel. These senior leaders are the key to social business adoption and there’s a real shift occurring, social business is now a business imperative.
What role is the flexible workspace playing in the process?
Companies are able to build virtual teams out of expertise and leadership, regardless of their physical location or title on the organization chart. Today’s workforce expects to be able to share, post, update and communicate with colleagues, customers, and ecosystem using social tools to get real work done. Through those tools, employees who work remotely, use flexible “hot desks” in company offices, or open floorplans can leverage tools for instant e-meetings, video and audio tools, and embedded applications to process knowledge and activities faster and deliver more value to the organization.
What’s your advice for companies to become a “social business”?
Companies around the world are now focused on becoming Social Businesses, Forrester Research estimates that the market opportunity for social software is expected to increase 60% annually. But perhaps the most daunting part of becoming a social business is how to start the journey. That’s where creating a Social Business Agenda plays a vital role. In order to become successful in social business, an organization needs to create its own personalized Agenda that addresses the company’s culture, trust
between management and employees and the organization and its constituencies, engagement behind and outside of the firewall, risk management, and of course, measurement. The sponsorship for such an activity can be driven by leadership, lines of business, or other organizational catalyst roles.