Bob Apollo is the founder of Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners, a UK-based B2B consultancy focused on improving sales and marketing performance for customers with high growth potential.
“There are a lot of competent marketing agencies focused on things like content, social, and inbound marketing. Equally, there are many respectable sales training organizations. We’re deliberately different. Our particular value lies in our ability to help the two functions work together more effectively to connect the marketing message with the sales conversation.”
“Our clients are all B2B-focused technology-based organizations. They are typically either post-startup expansion-stage businesses, or the entrepreneurial divisions of larger organizations. Many are in the process of entering new markets, expanding existing ones, or bringing a new class of product or service to market — but in every case they have high (but as yet unfulfilled) growth potential.”
All About Relationships
Nimble entered Bob’s world because he wanted to maintain great engagement with his clients and prospects, and to leverage the value of relationships in a world of social selling.
“Nimble helps keep me organized and efficient. Maintaining great interactions helps qualify leads and helps me educate my prospects and clients. Building relationships helps persuade qualified prospects that they can continue to learn from me — that I bring valuable insights to them. You can sell much more effectively if you are seen and respected as a knowledgeable expert.”
“I had become increasingly dissatisfied with traditional CRM — I was using a well-known enterprise product because it was widely-adopted across my client base, and thought I should use it myself. But it was based on an outdated paradigm, as social was an afterthought rather than an inherent part of the architecture. I found it clunky, top-heavy and expensive, with a lot of features I didn’t need.”
“When I came across Nimble, I knew it was a good fit. I didn’t need the bloated feature set of enterprise CRM applications. Having a really complete view of my customers and prospects — including a usable view of their social presence — was most important. With that level of intimacy, I could deepen and maintain relationships. I love the way Nimble puts my customer’s business social networks at the center of things.”
Each Day Starts “Nimbly”
“When I open Nimble in the morning, I feel connected. I look forward to seeing what’s been happening with my contacts. I get lots of clues about where I should put my researching efforts, too, based on what people are saying. I get this invaluable daily digest email about who is interested in me, what they’re saying on social networks — all through the lens of what is useful and valuable, with no clutter. The intelligence is all there in front of me, enabling me to see the patterns and work out where to invest my time. “
ROI for Social was an Act of Faith
Social media has brought about a significant change for Inflexion-Point, but Bob admits that the time he spent investing in making connections early on was an act of faith.
“I was an early member of LinkedIn and Twitter, and found them useful tools, but was not able to quantify the benefits. Now I have seen that social business is really paying its way. When I first started, my business was almost all coming from people and companies I already knew and traditional word-of-mouth references. This past couple of years, over 80% of our new business can be attributed to some combination of inbound marketing, events, syndicated blogging, and business social media connections.”
“New clients often tell that they first became aware of Inflexion-Point some time ago. People and companies have been finding us and following us, have seen us as trusted advisors and experts in our domain, and when they are ready to make changes in their business, have reached out to us for help. Business social media has an incredible network amplification effect.”
What a Difference a Few Years Makes
“Ten years ago, I was using classic outbound techniques to find business — now well-qualified new business is finding me. That has been a 180-degree turn. But what’s really striking is the interconnectedness of everything. Ideas can be expanded and repurposed across multiple media types. Comments can spark fresh ideas. Fans can spread the word.”
“That’s where Nimble really helps. I’ve laid the foundations. I’ve scattered the breadcrumbs. I’ve established the connections. Nimble brings it all together in one place. It’s helping me stay on top of all aspects of my business social network, and it’s helping me focus on the relationships that are most important to my business right now.”
Alyson is Director of Content Strategy for Nimble, and writes frequently for the blog.