The need for change is in the air; it comes up in every conversation. Marc Benioff, Salesforce’sChairman and CEO passionately espoused change at Dreamforce. His call to the world was that companies need to change or be left behind. He went one step further and gave a dire warning to CEOs – change thyself or fall from grace.
His rallying cry was for enterprises to start their own business “Arab Spring”.
Companies that do not become Social Enterprises will not survive this economic cycle. Becoming a Social Enterprise is, however, more than just having a Facebook page or a Twitter account. It is a transformation in how your business thinks, decides, works and collaborates. Brought into the enterprise by the Gen Y generation, social media has since redefined relationships within, between and among enterprises from the bottom up.
It was, however, the Millenniums who forced enterprises on the path of change. As they entered the workforce en masse, their refusal to use non-Googlesque technology and blindly follow processes dictated by corporate systems was the spark of the revolution. The rise of mobile as the new computing platform fueled the transformation to the Social Enterprise.
Successful transformations need roadmaps otherwise how do you know how to get from here to there. A roadmap for transforming to social selling is the Buyers Journey; a set of organizing principles for aligning company functions and roles to enable, engage and establish enduring relationships with buyers and market constituents. Through an ‘outside-in’ redefinition of how a company interacts with its markets, the Buyers Journey embraces and turns to an advantage the fact that over 70% of B2B purchase cycles are self-directed, trust-based, social and invisible to vendors and suppliers. Companies that embrace the Buyers Journey experience significantly faster revenue cycles, lower cost of sales and churn rates.
Like all transformations, the one for Social Enterprise is part people, process and technology. Changing people’s perspectives, beliefs, and attitudes about social technology is critical to the transformation. Frankly, that is Marc Benioff’s calling and one he performs very well.
My quest at Dreamforce was to discover if the technology was there to support Salesforce’s vision. Who were the technology vendors that help companies operationalize the Buyers Journey? While I didn’t find any paradigm shifters, I did discover some innovative solutions.
For a review of the vendors discovered, read on at http://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecrandell/2011/09/18/how-to-start-your-own-arab-spring/