I’m delighted to welcome Douglas Karr, co-author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies, as a guest contributor. His point about one-to-one vs. one-to-many (sales vs. marketing) is an insightful one. More about Douglas below. Take it away, Douglas:
Social media caught many companies off guard and many other companies still resist the opportunities that engaging with your customers and prospects provide. As well, companies still don’t have a reporting hierarchy or reward mechanism that allows for the challenges that social media brings. Social media consultants sometimes don’t help – encouraging companies to dive in head first without understanding what the strategies, opportunities and downfalls are.
Perhaps most impacted are our sales and marketing organizations. Our sales organizations are under extreme pressure to close sales. Talented sales professionals are great at working around prospects’ objections and routing them directly to the sale. This is called objection management. Sales professionals are great communicators and work well in one-to-one situations to work the prospect into a customer.
Marketing professionals have always been talented at perfecting a brand and its persona online through one-to-many messaging. Marketers and public relations experts understand reputation management and how to craft, maintain and even repair a company’s reputation. However, the marketing department historically didn’t have to deal with objections nor did they have to speak directly to the prospect.
As companies dive into social media, we’re encouraging our sales teams to network and build authority on behalf of their companies using social media. We’re also pushing our marketing departments to create and deploy social media strategies, including blogging. Social media has a challenge, though… it requires both talent for building and maintaining a reputation as well as working through objections. Communications are both one-to-many and often one-to-one as we work through tweets and comments regarding our brands.
Our sales and marketing departments are not prepared for this. Historically, there was distance between the two departments and marketing simply handed off leads to sales. Now they’re both working in the same social networks, mediums and communities.
When Debbie talks about building content strategies, it’s important that both your marketing and sales teams be involved in the communication strategy… you may even want to reorganize your internal reporting structure to ensure consistency between sales and marketing. If you don’t, you could have two departments that are damaging each others’ efforts to attain their goals – which may be very different.
Exposing your marketing team to objection management training with your sales organization can help your reputation. Exposing your sales team to reputation management training can help ensure your brand strategy is kept in tact. Accomplish both, and your social media strategy will generate a lot more interest from prospects and customers.
Douglas Karr is co-author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies and founder of the Marketing Technology Blog. Doug is President and CEO of DK New Media, an online marketing company specializing in social media, blogging and search engine optimization for inbound lead generation.