By Sramana Mitra and guest author Sudhindra Chada
SM: Is that normally in terms of blogs?
DF: Blogging is a big part of it. Twittering is a part of it. Brainshark is a part of it, putting out rich media communications in the community. So, the social media world in my view is just another distribution medium of content, of communication, and people gravitate toward those types of content and conversations that are of interest to them professionally or personally. In the business world, if you are selling products and running a business, you need to join those communities or create those communities that are going to drive inbound traffic to your website to take the conversation offline and get into the other parts of the sales and marketing. I think all of the SaaS technologies that are available now; there are 923 SaaS applications through the app exchange integration just through Salesforce. There is an application for everything; these applications integrate in a matter of minutes with no IT overhead. I have seventeen SaaS technologies running in the cloud all integrated, and I have two systems administrators. I have no hardware on site, just two people running all of this. When you take all this sales 2.0 technology and you bring into that all the social media technologies, there is a lot of technology going on here. An organization needs to be very adept in its ability to pick and choose among all these technologies and then assemble the right team of people and train and mold them into an effective and efficient process, leveraging all that technology so that they are successful.
SM: Talk to me a bit more about your organization challenges in making this happen. This kind of process you are talking about is relatively new in this industry because these technologies didn’t exist a few years ago. What in your experience are the challenges in transitioning the organization to this mode of sales 2.0?
DF: There has not been a challenge on that front. My philosophy is to focus on the results. Before you pick any technologies or build any processes, the business has to ask what you are trying to achieve, and then you have to break down those results into components. A business like ours, we want to set certain revenue objectives. Now you have to break down those objectives into other, more manageable pieces. You can’t just say $50 million and you are done. To break it down, I mentioned a number that is burned into my head and is important to us, 2,970 MQOs.
SM: What are the other numbers that help to break down the process?
DF: Probably a hundred various metrics. At least between sixty and eighty metrics. The size of the database, the additional records we add to the database, bounces, opt-outs, inbound increase, program response rates, account development conversion, and sales accepted leads are all measured. There is a marketing waterfall and a sales waterfall. There are probably ten to fifteen metrics in each of those that need to be defined, understood, and then sold to the organization. Everybody has to understand that these are the results that we need to achieve. So it’s like, Hey marketing people, these are the fifteen different numbers that you are responsible for, and if you don’t do this, sales is going to tip over and die. And sales, if you don’t pick of those MQOs and run them through your process, we are going to die. Everybody is in this sandbox together, and we all have to play nice. So, I am very big on focusing on what are the results we want to achieve, breaking those down into sales, marketing, and service metrics. Then you build the processes, a human process of how you are going to do this. And the last thing you do is pick those technologies and put them together. If everybody understands the results and his or her role in the game, I do not have a problem getting the sales CRM adoption. Because they just look at technology as a tool to assist them in getting their job done; they all know that they could never even approach doing their job without the technology. So it is a nonissue. The technology is there only to support the people on the process and to get results. I don’t put any technology before marketing people unless it is going to help them market and it is directly attributed to those metrics, results, and productivity. The entire notion of adoption and all those things we struggled in years past is because we were trying to force down an accounting system. Those CRM systems of years past did not help them sell. They were systems of record for making sure somebody did not walk out of the door with a Rolodex. That is useless. If a sales person tells me today, Dave, you have to hire me because I have a great Rolodex, that is a red flag that this person does not come from the world of sales 2.0. It’s not how many contacts you have in your Rolodex, it’s how many contacts you have on LinkedIn.