Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Personal: On the Divide Between Corporate and Customer Engagement Strategy

It is strange to think that I got more insight compared with the audience from my presentation last week on Social CRM. It must be a drag for them listening to me for about 40 minutes or so and realize that what I am saying would not see the light of day in a corporate setting. There's nothing really bad than being pressed for 'sales' but sometimes the direct way of offering products and services back to back with highlighting 'your supposed needs' doesn't work all the time.

Putting yourself in the shoes of a customer may seem cliche but heck, it still works (ask criminal profilers). All too often, I find myself cringe when in contact with a company person who tries to hook you into a conversation all the while looking for an opening to pitch his product and schedule a sales call. Try as I might, I think he is just waiting for my defenses to back down and deliver that sales punch his manager would be proud of. Begrudgingly, as a result, customers like me would feel as if we were duped or victimized rather than feel valued.

So what would be the ideal approach? Hmmm, the normal one, I guess. The one where I'm treated as a person. It seems like it's a lot of effort but then it's for the long run and not just a one-shot deal. Coupled with a really great product or service, this type of engagement which places the customer, before the company, would make a subtle but powerful knockout punch that will resonate even after the initial meeting.

As they say, customers like to be treated as kings. Yet more than anything, royalties find a deep longing for persons whom they can trust.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spreading the Gospel of Social CRM

There's a vast space between reading and harping incessantly about useful, interesting new information and formally presenting it to a group of paying attendees. Well, at least, that's how it is for me.

Although confident that I already had the finest of resources on Social CRM (thanks to Twitter, no less) the pressure of delivery (and delivering) still was a matter that needed to be resolved.

Honestly, I needed help but won't settle for quick fixes nor morale boosters. So here's what I did:
1. I reminded myself to focus on one particular idea on what I believed Social CRM is ultimately about. Repeat: Customer Engagement Strategy.

2. Prepared speaker' notes, which was subjected to continuous edits even to the last few hours before my scheduled presentation.

3. Read and follow the tips from Presentation Zen! Great resource for those who will be doing Powerpoint or Keynote presentations.

But then again, everything's easier said than done. Oh, and a bit of stage fright, plus Murphy's Law (sudden inability to use my prepared notes and the spotlight directed on my face) didn't help either. For one thing, the light actually caused mental blocks and I'm pretty sure that I staggered during those opening slides. I knew I had to dig deep to be able to recover and not waste the audience' time. How? I breathed and felt present in the moment. So much for eye contact but then again, I honestly tried.

So how did I fare? I'd leave that to my mates who were there but deep down I believe, there's a lot of room for improvement. However, I'm willing to do this over again - which brings us to another solution I missed pointing out.

Believing in your topic material

Fortunately, I truly do.

Plenty of thanks to the social crm gurus - whose names I listed on the slides deck - for upload soon, from whom I got much of my insights and content as well.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Small Mercies

Writing is easy; good writing isn't.

When part of your work expects that you fill up blog space for not one but several sites, writing becomes a bit more than you can handle. I know it isn't journalism for Chrissakes but I'm no journalism graduate, either. What I do know is I love certain types of words and that they're bugging me no end that I have to get rid of them by putting those thoughts into paper or ether.

Still, there are quite a few tricks that make blogging for me more palatable.
  • My Space. I'm not referring to the social network. What I mean is that I find it easier to write when I'm all alone, free of distractions. As a parent, you can only do that at the wee hours of the morning. Office is a bit ok, too.
  • Inspired. It could be a movie, a story or some event in your life and voila, the words keep flowing as if you're on auto-pilot. On the other end, think rants!
  • Props. Amazing what encouragement can do, though, it does come few and far between. Much as you don't do anything for money or recognition, you'd have to acknowledge that these things work like magic pills, at most times.
In spite of these, it's fair to admit that I won't be seeing the rainbows end - no in a few months or even years. Thankfully, I am not compelled to - plus, there's twitter.
Speaking of which ... by some stroke of luck, there's this Business Intelligence blog post that felt there was some value to a post I had written about SaaS simplicity. I'm putting it here because even I can't believe those words came from me (and I love that shot of those colored pencils!)