Posts Tagged ‘metrics’

social media relationshipsThe new year is coming on us and as we say good bye to 2009, which for most industries was a challenging year, we need to keep our eyes on the future. By far, 2010, will be the year when social media marketing is going to get really SERIOUS. You may ask, what does that mean?

For most part, like every maturing industry, here is what we can expect:

1. Consolidation: All the companies that support features and functions for Twitter and Facebook will see some consolidation.

2. Metrics Matter: For those managing marketing budgets, will start to put practices and metrics in place that will help them analyze social media spend and ROI.

3. More Adaptation
: The MarketingSherpa report also notes U.S. marketers plan to increase budgets, cites eMarketer. Retail and e-commerce marketers are more likely to increase social media marketing budgets next year, 79%, followed by publishing and media at 63% and computer hardware and software companies at 55%.

Here is a small twist: It is true that 2010 will make ‘social media’ more serious and that brings us back to SOCIAL in social media.

Whatever we might do in terms of setting policies, metrics and practices around quantifying and qualifying social media, we can be rest assured that PEOPLE and RELATIONSHIPS will rule the space of social media.

Here is what we can do to become more competent contributors and users of social media:

1. Are you listening? : If you really think that there is someone  (other than moms) interested in what you ate for dinner, you can forget about it. As a contributor ( company or an individual), you will have to bring “quality” to what you have to say… and even more important than what you have to say, is what you listen. If you have the competency to listen on social media, there is good news. A new career is shaping up, people who can listen on social media will be valued and compensated. This is where new ideas, fresh perspectives and solutions will be created.

2. Are you giving good help? : For a decade, the business world had a nice ride telling what consumers should buy. With social media came a new revolution, where a consumer was able to make informed decisions based on help from people he/she trusted. The real question is “Is your customer service responsive?”, “Are you keeping the promises you make to your consumers?”, ” Are you willing to break some traditional and outdated rules that hurt your consumers?”

3. Are you building long -term relationships?
: We have to give up our instant gratification mentality. Patience and perseverance – TWO KILLER APPS to WIN OVER MANY. Building long-term relationships means, you will have to first invest and nurture in those relationships – without getting anything out of them. And this means, to give a lot of help, a lot of value and a lot of time. Your content, your customer service and your response time – need to be impeccable to RULE the SOCIAL MEDIA Kingdom.

Welcome to 2010. I can’t wait to begin the ride….


Selling when you’re not there

by Wayne Turmel on December 18, 2009

selling when not thereThere’s been a lot of research done about how customers- especially B2B customers- buy online.  The difference could mean a lot of money to your company and make your sales force’s jobs easier.  The good news is it means less work for you and your sales people if you do it right.

The problem is that many companies are still locked in last century’s sales thinking. That model was: hook them early in the sales cycle and get them to commit to a demo as early as possible. This webinar, usually delivered by a Subject Matter Expert, assumed they were starting at Square One. This doesn’t fit the way they want to buy from you now. They want to meet you armed with research and get their questions answered by someone (your sales person) who can help them buy.

Not surprisingly, companies are acting much like you and I do when we shop. CFOs and Purchasers (well, actually their underpaid and overworked assistants) are spending a lot of time cruising websites and shortening their list of prospective vendors. Only when they have a pretty good idea of the features they’re looking for- not to mention the approximate price and how you compare to the competition- will they  ask for a demo or to speak to a sales rep.

The implications of this are pretty profound:

  • Metrics matter Take a good look at your website’s analytics. When are people visiting your site? (if it’s a lot of after hours, you’re getting shopped out).What are they looking at? How long do they stay? How many take the next step to ask for contact with your reps?
  • Make sure you have something to measure If they’re not staying long, they aren’t finding what they are looking for, which is enough information to qualify you as a prospective vendor. The more information you provide (video demos, pre-recorded webinars, articles and industry research) the more they will look at you as an expert and a resource. This can only help.
  • You’d better know what your customers think they know Just because they’ve clicked the “schedule a demo” button doesn’t mean that’s what they need.  It’s critical that whoever they talk to next ask questions about what they have already read or seen (they don’t want to sit through redundant information) and where they are in the sales process (are you talking to the buyer who will need different information than someone doing the screening for them?). All of this means…
  • The people who demo need to be (or at least think and present like) sales people Many companies use “sales engineers” or Subject Matter Experts to do the demos to customers, which is fine (obviously you need someone who knows what they’re doing, and that isn’t always the sales person of record) but their job is not solely to demonstrate functions and features. They need to ask the questions that qualify the prospect, identify where they are in the sales process and move them through the sales cycle.  What are you doing to help prepare them for that role?

Does your website reflect this new buying reality? What are you doing to help customers move themselves as far along the sales cycle as possible, and what are you doing to help your SMEs and sales people bring them the rest of the way?


Quality #7: Productivity and Quality

by Tanmay Vora on November 17, 2009

speed_velocityWelcome to the seventh post in this 12-part series on QUALITY, titled #QUALITYtweet – 12 Ideas to Build a Quality Culture.

Here are the first six posts, in case you would like to go back and take a look:

  1. Quality #1: Quality is a long term differentiator
  2. Quality #2: Cure Precedes Prevention
  3. Quality #3: Great People + Good Processes = Great Quality
  4. Quality #4: Simplifying Processes
  5. Quality #5: Customers are your “Quality Partners”
  6. Quality #6: Knowing what needs improvement

#QUALITYtweet Tracking productivity without

tracking the quality of output is like tracking

the speed of a train without validating the direction

In F1 racing, one of the primary challenges for a driver is to keep a close eye on speed and direction. One wrong move at a high speed and car bumps with the edge of the track.  “Speed” when combined with direction is termed as “velocity”.

One of the rules of management is, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” But an obsessive focus on metrics can prove harmful for organization’s health because:

  • You may be measuring wrong things that do not directly relate to organization goals
  • You may only be measuring outcomes without focusing on qualitative aspects.
  • You may be using measurement as a sole base for decision making without considering the variable/unknowing aspects of your business.

A lot of resource managers in technology and business area narrow their focus on hardcore metrics that reveal volume but not quality. Examples could be number of hours logged during a day (versus tasks achieved in those hours), number of modules completed in a day (versus quality of those modules), number of cold calls made during the day (versus quality of research and depth of communication in each call). This list can go on, but you get the point. More, in this case, is not always better.

Metrics are important to evaluate process efficiency, but not sufficient. Quality system of an organization should have processes to assess both qualitative and quantitative aspects of work. How can this be achieved? Here are three most important pointers:

  1. Hybrid approach with focus on good management: Measuring productivity solely by units produced could be a great way to manage in manufacturing world. In knowledge world, where the raw material for products or services is a human brain, qualitative approach combined with common-sense metrics is a great way to ensure balance between quality and productivity. Key to higher productivity in knowledge based industry is ‘good management’.
  2. Quality as a part of process, rather than an afterthought: Quality is not an afterthought. Quality has to be built through process by people. Process should have necessary activities defined at each stage of product to ensure that a quality product is being built. These activities can then be measured and improved upon. Process also shapes up culture of an organization and hence due care must be taken to ensure that quality system does not form a wrong culture. Process has to take care of softer aspects of work including trust, commitment and motivation levels of people.
  3. Measure to help, not to destroy: Metrics are like a compass that shows direction. In order to move forward, you have to walk the direction. Metrics can give you important trends, but these trends need to be analyzed and worked upon. Key challenge of any process manager is to ensure that metrics are used to evaluate process and not people. If you start using metrics as a base for rewards, you are not allowing people to make mistakes. When people don’t make mistakes, they don’t grow. As an organization, you don’t grow either.

Process can be used to gain “speed” or to gain “velocity”. The choice is yours.