Monday, April 18, 2011

Conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue

"A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That's why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet." Truman Capote
As I wrote here before, I strongly believe marketing and selling is all about building relationships. It's about engaging in a conversation with prospects and customers. The conversation can take many forms - it can take place online or offline; it can be carried out through a phone call made by a sales person, a discussion in your Facebook page, or auto-generated emails sent from your marketing automation system.

Here's the caveat: talking is much easier than listening.

Pitching your new product to an analyst is far easier than asking for her candid feedback. Telling your customers how they should have used your radically simple online service beats listening to their complaints.

Some vendors prefer not to go through the 'trouble' of conversing with their customers - that's perfectly fine as long as you're not a share holder in one of them. What ticks me off are the 'pretenders' - those who pretend they're interested in what you have to say. Those who ask you to respond to an email or fill out a survey, and then retreat to the comfort of silence.

For example, I recently received an auto-generated email from, an online scheduling service, trying to "reactivate" me:

Hi Ran,

We noticed you haven’t been Tungling.  Can we help?

This Tuesday we’re hosting a short webinar for new Tunglers.  It’s an opportunity to ask questions, share feedback and see a live demo.

The webinar is free and you can register here.

If you have questions or feedback, but prefer not to join the webinar, you can also reach out to us by replying to this email, through the Support Community, or on Twitter and Facebook.

We hope to see you back soon!


The Team

Since I do see the value in their service, but stopped using it for various usability issues, I took a few minutes of my time and described my issues.

Did I get any sort of response? No.

There's a better way. Here's the "activation" email I received from New Relic, another SaaS company:

I was looking through the list of people who signed up for New Relic this AM and saw your email address - but it looks like you didn't deploy the agent into your app anywhere - did you have problems?  Not what you expected?  

This is NOT an automated email by the way - I do this in the morning to make sure our customers are getting what they need!

Please let me know if there is any issue! 



I responded. Patrick, who must be a very busy individual, responded back. Easy, but that's what it is all about - talking, listening, talking... 

Conversation is a dialogue.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A shiny Salesforce marketing cloud

Both marketing and selling are centered around the age-old act of building relationships. If your prospects and customers are using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or any of the myriad social networking services out there, you can take relationship building to a new level - you can share useful content, help customers do their job, drive your tribe to create content, run highly targeted promotions, and most importantly, you can listen.

Social networks are highly effective means of communications, but they must be integrated into your marketing and communication strategy. Facebook is a great new tool for us marketers, but to get optimal results we need to make it work in conjunction with everything else we have in our tool bag.

The recent acquisition of Radian6, a social media monitoring platform, by Salesforce, might be an important step towards convergence of social media marketing with "traditional" marketing and sales.

Call it whatever you want ("cloud marketing" would make you fully buzzword compliant...), but if as a result of this acquisition we marketers would be able to get a holistic view of our marketing campaigns by combining Salesforce data with social media intelligence, then marketing will become a little more 'science', and a little less 'art'.

We evaluated Radian6 about a year ago and were deeply impressed. We're a Salesforce customer. I can't wait to see how the two platforms will be integrated. For example, if we'd be able to enrich our contact database with information flowing from social media feeds, or if we'd be given the opportunity to correlate sentiment with revenue, then the folks at Salesforce have done good!