Jon Ferrara was a recent guest on our podcast, B2B Nation. The podcast is made up of expert opinions & advice on the most important topics in B2B sales and marketing today to help you evolve and push your strategy forward.
In this episode, we discuss 2015, how social fits into CRM, and the importance of relationships.
Below are my six key takeaways from the conversation.
1. Before you engage with another person, you should have the context of who they are and what you and your team have done with them before.
Context says what’s happened before, what’s happening next. Insight is who are they and what the business is about. With contexts and insights, you can engage in an authentic and relevant way that can drive the behavior that you want to drive – ideally that person adopting your products and services. The problem is, is that it’s too much work to do that. And so as I said to you before, we spend 60% of our time as salespeople looking people up and logging what we know and having to go to the CRM to work. And that the realization that I came up with in 2015 is that your CRM should work for you and then work with you everywhere you work.
2. You shouldn’t have to ever even go to your CRM ,it should just be working for you in the background and then with you wherever you are.
So, if I want to know who Josh Bland is, I can hover and discover, click and connect, wherever I am. Whether I’m on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, or even the CRM my company makes me use; so that I can basically let the computer do the digital stuff of looking up and logging and let me do the human thing, to engage to stay top of mind. Because It’s not a funnel anymore, it’s a journey on the life cycle of your customer, and you never know when they’re going to make a buying decision. And what you need to do is walk into the digital footprint, add value to their journey so they see you as a trusted adviser, so that when they do make a buying decision, they think of you.
3. Life is social, business is social.
People buy from people they like, and they like people who know them, and it’s your job to understand who somebody is and what their business is about before you ever try to sell them in anything. As a matter of fact, I don’t think you should be selling anyone anything. You should be serving other people because the more people you can help grow the more you’ll grow. The thing is, when I started Nimble, social wasn’t thought of as a platform for business. They thought that Facebook was a place to hook up with a high school sweetheart and LinkedIn was a place to get a job. The reality today, you can’t throw a stick without somebody talking about branding, and networking, and social-this, and social-that. Just like when the internet first started where everything was eToys and iContact, today it’s just the internet. Nobody thinks about the plumbing when you turn the water on in your bathroom. And just like the internet, nobody thinks about it anymore, we just expect it to work. And social will be the same thing. Ultimately when we talk about CRM, let’s just talk about the cycle of customer engagement in the journey of you doing business with them. How’s that?
4. The more digital we get the more human we need to be.
And that human connection is the most powerful thing that you can have as another human being. People remember people because of sheer passion, plan and purpose, and that that doesn’t scale real easily and we need help with that. And that’s what I’m basically building with Nimble, is it’s not about sales and marketing, or prospects and customers, it’s really about building a relationship with the community of people around you in order to help you achieve your passion, plan, and purpose. That people make a big mistake thinking that they should just be bagging, tagging prospects and customers in order to grow a business. Imagine if you went instead of going after prospects and customers you went after the influencers of those prospects and customers.
5. I invented the first network of all relationship platform with automated sales and marketing before people even knew they needed network business software.
At that time I was 29 years old in an apartment and had $5000 in the bank. How do you take that to the market and sell it? There’s no way I could have advertised it. What I did was I figured out who is the key influencer of my core constituency in around the areas of promise of my product. Who is the influencer of a person who would buy a network business application? It’s the guy who sold the network. The Novell re-seller.
So instead of me trying to go and contact five million prospects, I cold-called 500 Novell re-sellers around the world, and I basically got them to use it because people sell what they know, and they know what they use, and that’s basically how we’re able to grow GoldMine without ever taking a dime of venture capital. And I believe these concepts translate to today, so if you’re a business person trying to grow a business, stop trying to bag-attack customers.
Figure out who are the key influences of your core prospects, and go out and build relationships with them and to help them be more successful at whatever they’re doing. Instead of trying to contact business owners, contact your trusted adviser, their accountant, their technology adviser, or their consultants and help those people grow and they will help you grow.
6. If you thought about last year as the year of content marketing, 2016 is going to be the year of influencer marketing.
It’s not a new concept, just like content marketing wasn’t a new concept because there’s a company called Glaxo Wellcome that’s a global pharmaceutical community that started out as a powdered milk company in New Zealand in the 1800s, and they basically built their brand by collecting customer letters and publishing it into a book. That’s content. Influencer marketing is stuff that I’ve used before and I’m using again to build Nimble, but the cool thing is, I’m using Nimble to build those relationships with those influencers, and I’m getting them to use Nimble for them to be successful with customers and they are then becoming our evangelists in helping us to scale the brand.