This post is a little different. It isn’t about Inside Sales, per se, but I am talking directly to you, Sales & Marketing leaders.
I have been heavily “a-conferencing” the last 3 weeks (who doesn’t love a 2PM cookie break!?). A question that keeps coming up for Sales & Marketing Executives is:
Where should I spend my time in social media? Which sites matter most?
At 2 separate conferences – 2 different presenters who I respect immensely have responded with the following conventional wisdom:
Now, I don’t disagree. This is excellent advice and Trish, herself, has advocated as much in her Fishing Where Your Buyers Swim presentation.
My only concern is that this is tactics presented as strategy. Hear me out for a minute. Let’s say you are trying to accomplish the following:
(Note: this is a loving nod to those dear, sweet parents & grandparents – who send out joke forwards that we all read for the first time in 2005.)
Target Market: Senior citizens
Objective: Reach seniors with a joke forwarded via email
Here’s my advice: To reach seniors with your joke email today, you need to have already sent the email out 2+ years ago.
Why? Because seniors are laggards in the adoption lifecycle. They aren’t influenced by the people tweeting jokes / posting youtube videos (aka innovators or early adopters).
Seniors are influenced by recycled joke emailers (aka the late majority) and those folks won’t see/forward that joke you publish today until 2012.
Example #2 (more B2B)
Target Market: Salesforce.com Administrators
Objective: Get a speaking spot at Dreamforce 2011 (a 25k+ attendee conference)
Here’s my advice: It isn’t about spending time in the social channels where attendees are today. It’s about focusing on where the major influencers in the Salesforce.com world are spending their time (Salesforce Product Managers, CRM bloggers, Consultants, etc.).
Why? Because being invited to speak at a conference doesn’t generally happen when the audience (your ideal buyers) knows you and are dying to hear from you.
It happens when Dreamforce organizers, influencers & other speakers (aka the early majority) DO. And your attendees (aka the late majority) trust them and let them set the agenda.
So what am I advocating?
You are a Sales & Marketing leader. Be strategic as you invest in social channels. Be where your buyers are going to be in 6-12 months.
If your buyers aren’t on Twitter today, but the bloggers, influencers, big mouths, etc. in your space are, then that is where you have to be – and now.
Only once you are known, liked & trusted (read: followed, listed & ReTweeted) by those folks will you have ANY shot of being relevant to the early through late majority – once they get on the bus.
So please, be real, be interesting & be strategic. You might find yourself speaking at events more, hiring in an entirely new way or building pipeline via social channels.
I want to highlight a few people who I think are doing it right (off the top of my mind – no offense if I failed to include you).
They are real people, with real day-time responsibilities, who go above & beyond to stand out in the social media world.
- Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) – VC at Union Square Ventures
- Gary Ambrosino (@garyambrosino) – EVP/COO at TimeTrade
- Jim Keenan (@keenan) – VP, Sales Strategy & Operations at 2Wire
- Marci Reynolds (@marcireynolds12) – Director, Operations at ACI Worldwide
- Mike Damphousee (@damphoux) – CEO/CMO at Green-Leads
- Pete Caputa (@pc4media) – VAR Sales & Marketing Manager at Hubspot
OK, I’ll step down from my soapbox now. Please feel free to tell me I am wrong.