Saturday, July 7, 2012

Do your homework on social media

If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
-Sun Tzu
Full of instructions on ancient military strategy how-to's;
many are still applicable to today's enterprise sales
Above is a quote from Sun Tzu.  It's underlining the importance understanding not only about your enemy but about yourself.  We all tend to think that we know ourselves well and become overly confident with our capability.  Sun Tzu is pointing out this common pitfall of not knowing oneself well enough.  Even though you may know everything about your enemy, if you don't have brutally honest understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, you are likely to fail because of not knowing yourself.

This quote is equally applicable to sales as well.  If you know your customer, competitors and yourself, you need not fear the next hundred quarterly targets.

But in the age of social media, this quote may need to be revised.  It's not enough to just know about your customer, competitors and yourself.  You must recognize your key customers, share information about them with your team members and engage with your customers.

One example is British Airways' "Know Me" program.  BA is implementing messaging system that sends information about specific passengers to flight crews and staffs after googling about passengers.  Program is designed to identify passengers who may have experienced problems with BA or important customers so that they can pay extra attention to them.

In another example, Shannon Duffy on her Mashable post suggests that sales team to engage with prospect's brand-level even before making sales pitch.

"... We’ve developed a three-step social media engagement plan that can be easily replicated: 
- Sales develops a top 50 prospect account list.- Sales and social media team identify top decision makers and social media evangelists in the top 50 list.- Social media team engages on a brand level before the sales rep gets involved."
- Shannon Duffy via Mashable

 Social is a great tool for any sales team.  If you are not using it as competitive advantage, you'll soon find yourself disadvantaged by competitor who will.

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