Cut through the noise

There are simply far too many emails in the world – you do not want to add to the noise. And with Google’s new Gmail interface with a tab entirely devoted to sale updates and coupons, where all emails which includes an unsubscribe link get lumped together, it gets even tougher for email marketers to get through.  So here are 9 great tips on how to create a successful email campaign. First, 25 mind blowing stats about email marketing:

Email marketing is cost-effective and the results are easy to track. But it needs to be part of a holistic marketing strategy to generate great ROI. Shouting is not enough.

  1. Create target lists – Segment your audience into target groups by creating lists. Use such as location, company, industry or size, job titles, past purchases and demographic information.
  2. Personalize your content – Tailor your message and content to appeal to each audience by using short, personalized messages with industry-specific key words to speak to the audience in their own language. You can also include a call to action by providing a link to an article, whitepaper or something else valuable for the receiver. Try to experiment with both rich text HTML and plain text formats to see which gets the best response.
  3. Don’t forget the subject line – Because it is vital! A survey from Salesforce shows that the open rate increases with 58 % if the subject has fewer than 10 characters, so try to nail a perfect line and this will help out a lot.
  4. Alert sales – Be sure to alert sales when you execute a campaign so they’re ready to respond quickly to the resulting leads.
  5. Integrate with your web – By using Web-to-lead forms you can capture prospect information from visitors to your site. And check out the marketing automation apps on the AppExchange to find other ways to shorten the time between an inquiry and response.
  6. Develop a social media strategy – To increase your visibility and establish yourself as a trusted advisor and expert, develop a social media strategy on how to be present in different social media channels. In my next post I will give you some more detailed tips on how to use social media tools for business and how to build a successful strategy.
  7. Don’t spam – Respect you prospects and don’t spam them with emails, it’s important to give them the information and content they are interested in. Your goal is to have a conversation over time and to build a relationship between the prospect and your company and spamming includes neither one of them.
  8. Track results – Measure how users respond to keep refining your tactics. Think about what you want to measure and then identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to track.
  9. Nurture campaigns – Lead nurturing can have a dramatic effect on your sales pipeline so it’s important to alert your reps to follow up on leads being nurtured. You can for example use lead scoring as you can read more about here in my earlier post.

Get the right look

If you want to reinforce the look and feel of your emails and ensure your messaging always is consistent, try using an email template. At Salesforce.com you can find templates for text, HTML with letterhead, custom HTML and Force.com pages (Visualforce). This is not only great for the marketing department, it is also a great tool for your reps so that sales and marketing can speak with one voice. And it saves them time – time to spend on more selling. With Salesforce templates there’s also a built-in dynamic tracking feature so you can track which emails were opened, how many times and when each recipient last opened the email.

Remember to keep your templates up to date and easily accessible. For more detailed instructions on how to create your own email template, go to Help & Training. And if you need inspiration and want to see some great examples of email marketing, you should read this report from MarketingSherpa where they announced the winners of email marketing 2012.

 

Customer Company Tour Nordics 2013

Sign up for a day packed with exciting new sessions and breakthrough technologies during Customer Company Tour Nordics 2013. Come and meet us the 15th of October at Grand Hotel in Stockholm. Sign up here!

Turning leads into loyal customers

If you read my last post you may have learned how to increase the flow of high quality leads. But you really do not want to leave them out there in the void: If you manage them in a systematic and structured way, you can increase both the number of leads and the conversion rate: How many of those you turn into loyal customers.

By following these five steps you’re going to increase your pipeline and at the same time making sure you’re focusing on the right leads.

  1. First of all, just as Joe Pack explains in his article about Smarketing, you must align your sales and marketing teams to ensure no lead is overlooked. It’s a team effort. Map out your sales process and define clear hand-off criteria between marketing and sales. You have to define when a marketing lead is passed to inside sale and also when an inside sales lead should be converted into an opportunity, account and contact.
  2. Define your success metrics up front to be sure you’re not missing any important information when your leads move through the funnel. For example you can measure your pipeline by industry and then use a lead history report to show the number of open opportunities by converted lead industry.
  3. Now that you have several options to increase your leads (post) such as using your Web properties, SEM campaigns and social media, you can also import lists from Excel spreadsheets or from email applications such as Outlook and Gmail.
  4. Keep your data clean and avoid duplicate leads by using the “Find Duplicates” button in Salesforce CRM frequently. Also, create rules to avoid converting leads without email address or phone number.
  5. Track your lead-generation efforts and find out where you get most of your leads and which marketing tools that works best for you. By using a lead history report you can analyze revenue and pipeline to find lead criteria such as lead source, industry or annual revenue to opportunity amounts. You can also use campaigns with metrics like # leads, $$ pipeline and ROI. And at last, make it easy for yourself and get a clear view of your funnel by defining the stages of your sales process by using categorizing # sales qualified leads, # opportunities and # closed revenue.

It’s a team effort – so take a look at this video on how to establish an effective sales and marketing methodology:


Add lead scores to close the deal

Lead scoring helps sales to focus on hot leads and those most likely to result in a closed deal:

  • If you’re just getting started with lead scoring, use BANT (budget, authority, need and timing) data as a preliminary assessment of lead quality.  Then start to categorize your leads into levels of priority by using a point system to assign values to characteristics that align with successful sales. For example, you may assign 10 points to a CEO and 3 points to a manager based on the experience that CEO prospects result in more closed deals.
  • Categorize your lead data into explicit and implicit where explicit is the information you get from your own channels or by direct interaction, while implicit includes online behavior such as emails opened, click-throughs and downloads of marketing material. To come up with the best possible lead score you have to evaluate both types of data together because just knowing someone has repeatedly engaged with the corporate site is not enough. You also want to make sure the prospect’s profile shows if he or she can make purchasing decisions.
  • Once you identify qualified prospects with lead scoring you should automate the process by adding workflows and alerts, you can for example set up an email alert to notify a sales rep to follow up immediately.
  • Revisit your scoring criteria’s regularly as you learn more about how various characteristics correlate with success. And when you’re ready to take lead scoring to the next level you should check out the scoring applications in the AppExchange directory!

Just like the weather in Ireland, if it’s cold today, it can get hot tomorrow, so don’t disqualify a lead only because it’s not right for the moment. Update your fields with details why the lead didn’t qualify and keep an eye on it for the future.

Good luck!


Customer Company Tour Nordics 2013

Sign up for a day packed with exciting new sessions and breakthrough technologies during Customer Company Tour Nordics 2013. Come and meet us the 15th of October at Grand Hotel in Stockholm. Sign up here!

Become a customer company and turbocharge your lead process

During this summer I will share some best practices on how to become a customer company and how Salesforce CRM can help you optimize your marketing strategies. This first post is about how you generate more leads, since few things are more vital to a business than generating leads and future sales. And it doesn’t have to be as hard as it sometimes feels. Here are some great tips on how to become a customer company and connect with your customers in a whole new way.

Get to know your audience

If you haven’t by now, it’s time to take your marketing to the next level. Today, companies have to be more social than ever to create engagement and likeability.

  • By using a real time channel such as Twitter, you can capture leads by promoting your products and services, but most important, you can build relationships with both clients and prospects.
  • To know what to tweet about you have to do your research. Don’t underestimate the faithful old servant, your website, to find out what your prospects are interested in. By using Web-to-lead forms you can automatically capture information from visitors who already have an interest in your business.
  • Although, there is a few things to keep in mind before you create a form. Define what information you want to collect, consider where you should place the form and how much information is legitimate to ask for.
  • As soon as you have these parts in place, don’t be afraid to multiply your forms to capture different types of information!

Optimize and evaluate

But there is one problem, it doesn’t matter how great your website is, if just a few knows it exists.

  • Make sure to be where your prospects are looking by using for example Google Adwords.
  • To further search optimize your website there are also some great apps to use. Check out the AppExchange app SEO for Salesforce which automatically connects to intelligence data through Google Analytics. With the app you can also track your lead origins and report by search engine, keywords and campaigns through your entire sales cycle.
  • And remember! Evaluate your lead sources to see which one performs the best and gives you the best results.

By following these best practices you will soon increase the flow of high quality leads and at the same time build up your database of valuable information.

Customer Company Tour Nordics 2013

Sign up for a day packed with exciting new sessions and breakthrough technologies during Customer Company Tour Nordics 2013. Come and meet us the 15th of October at Grand Hotel in Stockholm. Sign up here!

Take a look at the keynote from the Customer Company Tour last year with JP Rangaswami talking about Business is Social:

Are banks big, impersonal and greedy?

One of the key ingredients to success is to simply listen and engage.

”People expect you to give a damn about them. Not only that, they expect you to prove it. And the only way to prove it is to listen, engage, give them what they want when you can, and, when you can’t, give them an honest answer why.” (Gary Vaynerchuk, “The Thank You Economy”)

This quote by the renowned entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, revolves around how social media has brought back the necessity for and possibility of the “small town shop” mentality.

Conversation and caring is central to business success

It’s the old fashioned approach to customer service: you walk into the butcher shop, and the owner greets you by your name, knows your aversion to pork, and realises the reason for your visit must probably be the big splash barbecue extravaganza next weekend.

What Vaynerchuk really means is that companies are starting to care more. By opening up to customer issues, complaints and different ways of life, they are better suited to provide a heartfelt service that makes sense on a 1:1 level. By caring more these companies will deliver a service that will be sought after. In return they will increase their competitive advantage through the power of word of mouth. Because these days, the customer is armed with the weapon of mass communication that can be used for or against you!

Does your bank really care for you

Let´s take banks as an example. These often very conservative institutions are facing important market changes really evoking a need for rethinking their strategy for business growth.

One of these changes is the mere fact that the confidence towards the banking sector as such is heavily decreasing. According to Ernst & Young (Global Consumer Banking Survey 2012) 59 % of the EU respondents find their confidence in the banks decreasing. 59 % who lack confidence – that´s a huge blow to an industry!

bild1

In Sweden, Länsförsäkringar recently performed a study asking 3,500 customers about their views of the banking today. A major finding was the perception that banks are putting their own interest over the ones of the customer. Only 4 out of 10 respondents felt that their bank knew them and provided advice based on that knowledge. In summary – the banks are still considered to be big, impersonal and greedy.

crop 5

crop 6

You could also look at banks as you would at a guest at your dinner table. For a study last year,  salesforce.com took a closer look at the “personality” of banks together with Psykologilabbet, a psychology practice in the forefront of psychology research. The study was based on the how banks are choosing to describe themselves, but more importantly how they are being perceived by the outside world (via media, blogs, forums etc.)  Psykologilabbet studied banks in the same way they would an individual – ranking them according to some key criteria that in total makes up a strong character (and a pleasant dinner guest) – credibility, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. This study showed that although the Swedish large banks are perceived as relatively credible, they overall score low in traits such as respect, fairness and citizenship.

bild3

All this, combined with the ease of customer taking their business elsewhere should make some of these institutions rethink. The banks paving the way and getting on board with the personalised, value adding approach will have a better shot at winning the race.

In Australia, the Commonwealth Bank, has managed to stick out in the fierce competition through understanding that the relationship with your customers need to be based on getting back to basics – engaging in conversations that bring value to your client. Going back to my butcher example – “I have just the right piece of strip steak for you, and if you like to get it perfect medium rare leave it alone for 9 minutes on one side and 7 on the other”.


Direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A98NFBm8b9U

Commonwealth Bank understands that the client´s financial world really isn´t hapenning inside the bank office: It´s when you are out and about and see a house you´d like to buy, or when drafting your exciting business plan and need to quickly grasp your funding opportunities. The personal, financial conversation you would have with your bank contact therefore needs to get extended to that world – without losing the value factor.

And this is where social comes in

By running the business on a platform allowing for collaboration, the services provided become relevant to every customer. You see a house you like? Take a picture, the bank compiles the information needed, and the loan gets approved while on site.

However you´d like to package your offering, your approach needs to be based on the love for and knowledge of your customer. Same rules of relationship apply whether you are a small shop or a large corporation. So, you need to ask yourself “Do I give a damn?”

Share and Grow – sincere, open, likeable Swedish innovators – you will be sorry you missed it

Conferences, seminars, trade shows, events – the hype this spring are Social Media events. Most of these are focused on understanding social and what it can do for business, still making the point that it really is good for business. But it is – so why do we keep arguing that point?

There is the travelling road show of SMW – Social Media Week which hit the Nordics last week – and then there is SSMX.

SSMX grupp

It’s different. It’s owned by the delegates and it’s as flexible and unpredictable as a friendly amoebae – constantly evolving. These people – and the rest of us – are here growing as a professional, growing our business, growing our influence by sharing what we do with others. Very social.

Sincere – Open – Collaborative – Interested – Authentic – Likeable

Sessions vary from a heavy focus on technical innovation to practical examples to workshops where we sit in a circle and discuss and challenge each other. All sessions are initiated and run by the delegates themselves. Many of them filmed on the spot to share with those not there – take a look at some of them, you will be inspired.

http://video.ssmx.se/

Disruptive Leadership

It’s a myth that the social innovator scene is dominated by young geeks and nerds. I attended a session at SSMX with @johanlange who wrote the book LUCKc taking lean one step further. Once again, one session evolves into a continued exchange, and I will now attend his follow up breakfast sessions in Stockholm discussing out of the box leadership.

Changing the outcome – through Twitter

It’s a myth that social enthusiasts are techies only. I attended a session with @johansbuzz showing just how significant the social presence is in times of crisis by example of the labour union’s perspective of the negotiations with the employees last fall that led to the agreement that kept Scandinavian Airlines flying – at a time where the ultimate worst case was bankruptcy. If you understand Swedish, there is a recording of the session

http://unionenopinion.se/2013/02/unionen-delade-med-sig-pa-ssmx/

Social Customer Service – #UnitedBreaksGuitars

We had an interactive session discussing social customer service by example of airlines. 40 people in the room contacted airlines via three different channels

  1. Twitter
  2. Facebook
  3. Contact Me Forms – Email

Before the session Datasift.com  had analysed 100,000 tweets to/from 33 different airlines to check how responsive they were.

The same winner emerged during the experiment: it took KLM 28 minutes to respond with a qualified/useful answer to the Facebook post. (More on this study and results/experiment in an upcoming blog. Lots of data to analyse.)

What is SSMX – and these unconferences – and how to fertilize innovation?

Try googling SSMX or look it up on Twitter #SSMX (once you learn to ignore a less favourable ongoing Twitter conversation in Japan which had a completely different, and definitely not business facing use of the tag).

Karin Bäcklund SSMX 2013

People share pictures – don’t we all. Here are some nice ones that are truly artistic by @deeped

But they share content, reflections, discussions, presentations, feedback, research and already now feel inspired thinking about how to contribute to the next major sharing event in this community. There are similar unconferences happening across the Nordics, as an example the WebCoast

https://www.facebook.com/webcoast

… in Gothenburg taking the conference out into the region.

Sweden is a big  country with long distances to travel, and not everything happens in Stockholm. Another not to be missed social innovation event is happening over a weekend on an island off the southeast coast called Tjärö. Bring your tent, and beware of the sheep

http://www.swedensocialwebcamp.com/

sswc-lounge.jpg

The most innovative countries in the world. Come see us.

Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland (and Australia and Canada) had the highest internet penetration/usage per capita in the world back in the early 1990s when it all took off. At the time I was a business analyst and spent a lot of effort trying to understand why.

Finally I know:  it’s because it was social.

It’s human nature to want to engage with others, and if you think about the geography and demographics of the above countries, there are a lot of people who are physically isolated from each other and/or the world. If you have to drive 80 km to the nearest library, it makes sense to search for your information online. If you have to drive 80 km to meet up with your peers after work, it makes sense to engage with them on Facebook or Twitter instead. (Especially right now, when there are extreme temperatures (on either end of the scale) in all of the above countries.)

There are many lists of innovative countries provided by various consulting groups and government and independent research groups. There is never a completely unbiased view; it all depends on the metrics. But it is remarkable that all lists, regardless of the research parameters, list the above countries who were Internet early adopters, in the top tier.

What is the Nordics secret sauce of innovation?

Those who say “it cannot be done” are interrupted by somebody already doing it

Sweden – and most Nordic countries – are not necessarily innovation-friendly in terms of startups. But if you are driven by the passion of your idea, and not just by a narrowminded focus on making profit early on, there is a pool of extremely well educated people, the Born Digital Generation, who take nothing for granted, and who just do it. Take a look at the list below to show just a few remarkable Nordics innovation achievements.

Want to be innovation-inspired?

Here’s my suggestion: join the Born Digital Generation in the Nordics on one of these upcoming social media events (listed below). And feel free to ping me @echristensen42 with more events so that the list can be expanded.

Increasingly, these events are not your standard-shelfware of conferences with speakers pitching their products or showcasing their own brilliance. The Born Digital Generation wants to own the discussion and even decide on the agenda through crowdsourcing – or in this case Friendsourcing. These people already know each other – through social media. The events are just a chance to have some facetime.

         
Iceland Reykjavik Internet Marketing Conference http://www.rimc.is/en/ March 21-22 Great lineup of visionary speakers
Sweden SSMX – Sweden Social Media Exchange www.ssmx.se February 22-24 Unconference – agenda is friendsourced
Sweden SSWC – Sweden Social Web Camp http://www.swedensocialwebcamp.com/ August 15 – 18 Unconference – 450 creative minds on an island.
Norway Webforum http://web-forum.no/ March 14-15 Setting the stage for social in Norway
         

And here’s a reminder – a list of Nordic innovators you may or may not know were… Nordic (thanks to @dortetoft and Thomas Madsen-Mygdal for the comprehensive list):

  • Linux was invented by Linus Torvalds (Finland)
  • C++ was created by Bjarne Stoustrup (Denmark)
  • Microsofts C# (C Sharp) and so also the .Net-platform came from Anders Hejlsberg (Denmark)
  • PHP-scripting was created by Rasmus Lerdorf (Denmark)
  • MySQL was invented by a Finn and a Swede (not sure of their names, can anyone help?)
  • Ruby on Rails – we can thank David Heinemeier Hansson (Denmark)
  • Opera was built in Norway and Iceland (not sure of their names, can anyone help?)
  • Linus Torvalds (Finland) gave us GIT
  • The Danish company Umbraco provides the CMS-system on the Microsoft platform ( Niels Hartvig)
  • Skype was invented by a Dane and a Swede (Janus Friis, Niklas Zennström)
  • Oh, and don’t forget Spotify (Sweden), Angry Birds (Rovio-Finland) and Minecraft (Sweden)

More references:

http://bizzen.blogs.business.dk/2013/01/28/it-ivaerksaetter-norden-gor-det-godt-men-for-smat/

http://www.swedishtradehistory.com/Assignments/From-circular-to-the-internet/

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/market-data/communications-market-reports/cmr12/international/icmr-5.07

http://www.globalinnovationindex.org/gii/main/2012rankings.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-03/switzerland-sweden-are-world-s-most-innovative-countries.html

http://www.ideaconnection.com/blog/2012/07/highlighting-the-worlds-most-innovative-countries/

http://www.wired.co.uk/topics/wired-european-startups

Good people to follow if you want to be on top of Nordics innovation (feel free to add to list – ping me):

@annika

@hampusbrynolf

@trulytherese

 

Social will fast forward you from the Stoneage to satellites

Not all of us may want to ride a satellite. But we certainly would not survive for very long in the Stoneage. A year ago, at a conference with the Group CIOs of Europe’s biggest companies, a CIO had the courage to stand up and tell us how his organization made the journey to complete business transformation. How they did it, is not as remarkable as the speed at which it happened: “6 months ago we were in the Stoneage – now we are trying to figure out how to make our satellites move faster”.

The propellant was social. By breaking down the internal boundaries on the new platform, they made the leap from transactions to engagement. Not only internally, but even more so when interacting with customers and business partners. Now you might think the company in question was one of those agile, high techs who are used to all things digital and the Internet of things. It wasn’t – it was a hard core manufacturing company with traditional products and traditional markets. And French.

You raise your arm in the audience and ask the obvious question: But how?

R. “Ray” Wang from the Harvard Business Review has one really good explanation: people-centric values, delivery and communication style, and timing. http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/05/how_to_engage_your_customers_a.html)

And salesforce.com Chief Scientist JP Rangaswami explains it with warmth and humour in this recording from Cloudforce Nordics in Stockholm on October 23, 2012:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgE7NbViu38&feature=plcp

Social is about people. Business is about people. Transformation is about people.

By building your journey on what matters to people, you will engage both employees and customers. Running your business will no longer be a series of data transactions; with the help of the many available social tools it will be run by data driven conversations .

Social – the ultimate acronym

Did you ever think about the best way to describe what social disruption is all about? To move the discussion away from the channel (not social=Facebook page or social=Twitter account) and to what really matters, I have come up with this inspired by JP Rangashwami @jobsworth :

s = sincere

o = open

c = collaborative

i = interested

a = authentic

l = likeable

There are many excellent examples of organisations, companies and individuals who can subscribe to all of the above. One great example is the Danish TV&Broadband provider YouSee

Another – from the other side of the world, Toyota

But even if you only identify yourself with a subset of these letters, I would still categorize you as “social”. Let me elaborate:

Sincere

If you don’t mean it, don’t post it. Or retweet it. Or spread it. As a company or an individual it must be what you stand for.

Open

Be open to feedback and suggestions. Make yourself approachable and transparent and make sure to engage when someone reaches out. If you don’t they will stop trying. And that was not the intention.

Collaborative

At the end of the day, you and your audience are in the same boat. If you do not collaborate on moving the boat forward, you will ride in circles. Join initiatives that make sense to the common goal and be generous in sharing them to evangelize.

nterested

Do you care? Do you want the audience to care? Show it. Respond, engage, reflect. Don’t just retweet other people’s content. Show who you are and that you care by commenting and making suggestions.

A uthentic

Your brand equals the sum of conversations about your brand, a @Radian6 executive told us when they joined salesforce.com – and we embraced that. So we joined the conversation to listen and engage – never hiding who we are and who we work for. But we joined as individuals – being true to our selves.

L ikable

It’s easy to be angry, to criticize, to rant. But let the others do that – those who want to interact with you and your company don’t need to hear what you are upset about, they want you to share their pains, not yours. Be the kind of person/company you would like to invite for dinner and enjoy having at your table.

Social disruption means that you as an individual or as a company engage along these lines, by showing that you care, by being true to yourself, by sharing for the benefit of a common objective: Ultimately, the success of everyone involved. – that is being social.

Social Disruption

With complacency comes stagnation. That is why we need disruption to continue to evolve; whether it is climate change, an earthquake in Japan, or a fundamental change in how technology is used to interact between people. Social is such a disruption. To be truly social, however, you must understand that it is another element of human behaviour, not a technology. So whether you want to create a company Facebook page, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn group or whatever platform you select – it’s the people behind it and what they post and think that matter. And who’s perspective and thoughts we value.

Remember when we said “where did you hear it first” when major events shook our world. Well, not sure about the rest of you, but I hear it first on Twitter.