I’ve always respected the value that technology bloggers bring to their readers/followers and have embraced them in my marketing strategies for vendors that I have and do work with. However, it has recently struck me how few sales people know about the key bloggers in their sphere, and how few engage in Social Media (SoMe) activities, such as Twitter. Whilst it’s very common for the technical community not only to engage in SoMe but also know the key bloggers, it is still an under-utilised “tool” in the world of sales. This got me thinking, who is responsible for providing the intel on bloggers to sales?
Well, the obvious answer is, of course, marketing. And we need to educate sales folks to understand the value and importance of bloggers. I wonder how many times a sales person has spoken to a prospective, or indeed current, customer without knowing they are a blogger and perhaps provided some snippet of information that could be broadcast globally without their knowing it?!
I conducted a small, totally unscientific, statistically invalid sample research to validate my thoughts, and with one exception, none of the sales folks were aware of any of their customer’s or partner’s that wrote a blog. While they’d heard of the likes of Brian Madden and Doug Brown, they were not aware of people (either customers or partners) they had previously met writing a blog. The stats speak for themselves:
- 25% are aware of vinternals for example,
- 0% are aware of virtualisedreality however,
- 75% are on twitter
As stated, this was a very small sample but I do believe it generally represents a vendor’s sales force’s limited knowledge of bloggers. And in my experience generalisations are generally true!
What is the morale of the tale? As with any engagement, always know who you are talking to, as a sales person you should do your research before engaging with customers – there is a wealth of knowledge out there; Google, LinkedIn, etc. There are a number of vendors that embrace bloggers extremely well – I won’t mention them, because they know who they are! –in my experience it is the exception not the rule.
I recommend marketing should provide sales a monthly, or even fortnightly, overview of key blogs that contain mentions and content of their respective solutions. This way, sales can peruse coverage and become au fait with influential bloggers that may well be their customer – or hopefully might be in the future.
Vendors are generally great at maintaining their own blog and I am sure their sales people read these, or perhaps blogs that are written by their colleagues. For any vendor reading this blog, I wholeheartedly encourage you to not only have a very clear understanding of the key influential bloggers in your respective market, but also to ensure you embrace them and treat them as important, if not more so, than some of your key press and analyst contacts.
Jane Rimmer is owner of hiviz-marketing , a strategic marketing consultancy servicing the IT industry.