Orchestrating User Adoption from the Innovators to Laggards

Words like change, transformation, and automation will always generate a wide range of reactions throughout the rank and file of an organization, and our reaction to these words are good indicators as to which group we belong to on the adoption curve.

Innovators and early adopters tend to be motivated by change and late stage adopters and laggards tend to resist it.  Paradoxically, both groups have roles of equal importance in the user adoption process.

Knowing where users and people belong on the adoption curve and organizing them into user groups will enable a phased approach to managing the user adoption process. This approach to user adoption is preferred and will provide a more seamless diffusion of your innovation throughout each stage of the user adoption process. Furthermore, this will ensure that by the time it reaches the laggard group, the bugs will have already been worked out.

Successful innovations will reach a tipping point – which is the point that it is widely accepted and adopted by laggards. However, by the time that happens, count on the next innovation already being in play, and have a plan in place to repeat the cycle of innovation again.

imgres-1

Documenting business processes, conducting frequent business process reviews, building and running knowledge management and collaboration portals, establishing a talent management program, and investing in the professional development of your people will have a direct impact to continued success of any future business transformation initiatives in the future.

As companies transform, it is important to retain a high level of diversity across the organization. Take into account the tacit knowledge that could be lost when choosing to acquire new talent.

Make the language of change pervasive throughout your organization and create a business culture that is comfortable with change and ready to adapt to it.

On a personal level, be prepared for change, because change will happen. Invest time in your own professional development. Always be learning and be willing to step out of the comfort zone.

For more on this topic, I suggest reading the following two books:

“The Tipping Point – How Little Things Can Make a Big difference” by Malcolm Gladwell.

“Diffusion of Innovations” by Everett Rogers

Follow my blog at Social2Direct.com

The rise of the chief marketing technologist | IBM THINK Marketing

marketingtechnologist

Source: The rise of the chief marketing technologist – IBM THINK Marketing

This article was written by Marco Antonio Cavallo from CIO and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Whenever we hear the word “digitalization,” we must understand that it is the sound of inevitability and irreversibility. The digital economy isn’t on the horizon anymore, it′s here and it is here to stay. It’s no longer a secret that the digital economy is changing the world at an unprecedented rate. Companies that are looking to succeed in this fast emerging new economy must transform themselves by reinventing their business models, strategies, processes, and practices, and that impacts on the roles of all of its employees, as well as bringing departments to work together, once everyone is more and more dependent of technology to function.

It’s no surprise that marketing is rapidly becoming one of the most technology-dependent functions across all businesses. Gartner has predicted that by 2017, a company’s chief marketing officer (CMO) would be spending more on technology than its CIO, and that is becoming more credible every day, as many CMOs have adopted technology in their everyday activities, showing that technology became the core of marketing nowadays. Every year, CMOs are globally directing their budgets to the usage of technology or software in many different marketing areas.

IDC Research has released a few predictions on how marketing will strategically use technology to accelerate client acquisition, brand awareness, to gather and analyze market and customer information and even to optimize its operational efficiency in order to generate more revenue for companies and be more accurate when directing resources, mainly by enhancing customer experience.

1. In 2017, CMOs will spend more on content marketing assets than on product marketing assets: For decades, the product launch has reigned as the kingpin content event. With a “bill of materials” stretching through multiple Excel pages, product marketing assets suck up a major portion of the marketing budget – and much of that content is wasted. The days of product content dominance are numbered. Product content will remain important, but it will take its place behind the content marketing assets matched to decision-journey stages.

  1. By 2020, 50 percent of companies will use cognitive computing to automate marketing and sales interactions with customers: A few leads go right to sales. But the majority need further qualification and extended nurturing. Companies will increasingly turn to smart systems that automatically assess and respond to buyers at the point of need. IBM recently added Watson to its marketing cloud offerings. The question is not when cognitive marketing will become mainstream – but rather, will anyone notice?
  2. In 2017, 20 percent of large enterprise CMOs will consolidate their marketing technology infrastructure: Marketing has been absorbing marketing technology a bite at a time for more than a decade. Many organizations now manage dozens (if not hundreds) of point solutions. Just as marketing environments are hitting the wall of this operational complexity, marketing tech vendors are building solid integrated platforms – able to be tailored through a partner eco-system. A fortuitous convergence of supply and demand.
  3. By 2018, predictive analytics will be a standard tool for marketers, but only a third will get optimal benefit: Early adopters of predictive analytics for buyer behavior report amazing results. The benefits come from the ability to discover hidden segments that have a high propensity to buy. Marketers can also better serve these segments with behavioral targeting. However, the majority of marketers face big challenges to achieving the benefits. Chief inhibitors? Lack of statistical skills, stubborn organizational silos that won’t integrate data, and a culture that resists truth when it goes against tradition.
  4. By 2018, 50 percent of CMOs will make significant structural changes to their “intelligence” operations and organizations: “Intelligence” as a capability is growing in importance in modern marketing organizations. Intelligence includes market intelligence (MI), business intelligence (BI), competitive intelligence (CI), and social intelligence (SI). In the past, these four functions were spread around the enterprise. Now, IDC sees more companies consolidating into a larger, single, intelligence group – often combining with intelligence functions from other areas like sales. The elimination of silos in this important area is a positive sign.

With that perspective, it is clear that technology has turned a black art into hard science. Marketing now must be well versed in customer data, analytics, mobile, social and marketing automation tools, and that requires new type of executive. The Chief Marketing Technologist is emerging at the center of this transformation as a part strategist, part creative director, part technology leader, and part teacher professional. Its mission is very clear: align marketing technology with business goals, serving as a liaison to IT, and evaluating and choosing technology providers. About half are charged with helping craft new digital business models as well.

The best CMTs are able to set a technology vision for marketing in the digital age. They champion greater experimentation and more agile management of that function’s capabilities, as well as act as transformation agents, working within the function and across the company to create competitive advantage and collaboration. It is not difficult to enlist some of the main reasons why this new executive has emerged:

  • Software became the chief means of engaging prospects and customers: A marketing team’s choice of software and how to configure and operate it, along with how creatively the team applies it, materially affects how the firm perceives and influences its audience and how the audience sees the firm.
  • Digital marketing and e-commerce skills: once those two methodologies increasingly augment or replace traditional touch points, the importance of mastering those capabilities grows. Digital marketing budgets are expanding annually at double-digit rates, and CEOs say that digital marketing is now the most important technology-powered investment their firms can make.
  • The rise in digital budgets: it is not merely a migration of spending from traditional to digital media. A growing portion of marketing’s budget is now allocated to technology itself. A recent Gartner study found that 67% of marketing departments plan to increase their spending on technology-related activities over the next two years. In addition, 61% are increasing capital expenditures on technology, and 65% are increasing budgets for service providers that have technology-related offerings.
  • Efficiently manage all this technology: there are now well over 1,000 marketing software providers worldwide, with offerings ranging from major platforms for CRM, content management, and marketing automation to specialized solutions for social media management, content marketing, and customer-facing apps. Relationships with agencies and service providers now include technical interfaces for the exchange and integration of code and data. And bespoke software projects to develop unique customer experiences and new sources of advantage are proliferating under marketing’s umbrella.

The reason why this is a growing role within companies is very simple. In this new digital economy environment, the CMO and the CIO must collaborate closely, although this executive-level cooperation isn’t just enough. A supporting organizational structure is also needed and vital for this collaboration to work properly. A company can’t simply split marketing technology down the middle and declare that the CMO gets the marketing half and the CIO gets the technology half. Such division might look good on paper, but it leaves yawning knowledge gaps in practice.

Marketing might not understand how to fully leverage what IT can offer, and IT might not understand how to accurately translate marketing requirements into technical capabilities. Instead, marketing technology must be managed holistically. In a virtuous cycle, what’s possible with technology should inspire what’s desirable for marketing, and vice versa. The right structure will help marketing become proficient with the array of software it must use to attract, acquire, and retain customers. It will help marketing leadership recognize how new technologies can open up new opportunities and allow marketing to deftly handle the technical facets of agency and service provider relationships in both contract negotiations and day-to-day operations.

The chief marketing technologist role itself is already an acknowledgement of just how important the marketing group is to driving revenue within the organization and, when properly resourced, how today’s marketing information systems are driving the current and future growth of the business. Only by bringing the CIO and the CMO together can the CEO have a complete picture of what insights must be acted upon quickly in order to establish or maintain the top market position. In a nutshell, the power comes from the intersection between marketing and IT.

Today, companies can no longer afford separate silos between marketing and IT. The rapid collapse of these silos means that one person must be able to converse seamlessly between both groups. While many CMOs are getting their arms around the technology side of their business, the natural evolution of this role is for the CIO to improve its marketing skills in order to grow into the Chief Marketing Technologist role. The faster we embrace these trends, the bigger the impact we will have on our bottom line. This is the imminent future of the industry, and it’s the reason chief marketing technologists will be in high demand within 2017 and in the years to come.

The Sales and Marketing Promance (technology not included)

Many businesses lack strong alignment between their sales and marketing organizations. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s important to understand the barriers that prevent alignment. Six common barriers include:

  1. Success in the sales and marketing departments is being measured differently.
  2. Sales and marketing have a different vision of the ideal target customer.
  3. Actionable customer insight sits in disconnected databases.
  4. There is a lack of view of customers and their buying preferences.
  5. Broken processes make it impossible to track what is working.
  6. The technology is too hard to use so that there is limited adoption.

 

These barriers lead to the disconnect and are making it difficult for organizations to make the most of their sales opportunities and go to market investments. As an example, companies are unable to provide the right offers to the right people, at the right time, because customer insights live in disparate locations and the company’s go-to-market strategies are uncoordinated and inefficient.

To address this disconnect, businesses are turning to applications and new technology to help build cohesive sales and marketing alliances. The common mistake businesses have been making in their rush to technology is that they forget to address their people and process challenges first.

The promises of the digital revolution and emerging technologies are often not in line with management’s expectations. Many mid to large sized companies have rushed to replace older systems that worked, to new and unproven cloud based technologies that are not living up to expectations. Many of these decisions were based on unrealistic, pie-in the sky, cloud in the sky promises (no pun intended) and the pain is just beginning to be felt by customers.

The reality is that many companies launched into cloud based technologies without a good business plan. So perhaps 2015 will be the year many companies awaken to a reality check.

The pendulum is about to swing in another direction. Brace yourselves.

Good times ahead.

Cheers,

rvargas@solomonconsult.com

Managing User Adoption from the Innovators to Laggards

Words like change, transformation, and automation will always generate a wide range of reactions throughout the rank and file of an organization, and our reaction to these words are good indicators as to which group we belong to on the adoption curve.

Innovators and early adopters tend to be motivated by change and late stage adopters and laggards tend to resist it.  Paradoxically, both groups have roles of equal importance in the user adoption process.

Knowing where users and people belong on the adoption curve and organizing them into user groups will enable a phased approach to managing the user adoption process. This approach to user adoption is preferred and will provide a more seamless diffusion of your innovation throughout each stage of the user adoption process. Furthermore, this will ensure that by the time it reaches the laggard group, the bugs will have already been worked out.

Successful innovations will reach a tipping point – which is the point that it is widely accepted and adopted by laggards. However, by the time that happens, count on the next innovation already being in play, and have a plan in place to repeat the cycle of innovation again.

imgres-1

Documenting business processes, conducting frequent business process reviews, building and running knowledge management and collaboration portals, establishing a talent management program, and investing in the professional development of your people will have a direct impact to continued success of any future business transformation initiatives in the future.

As companies transform, it is important to retain a high level of diversity across the organization. Take into account the tacit knowledge that could be lost when choosing to acquire new talent.

Make the language of change pervasive throughout your organization and create a business culture that is comfortable with change and ready to adapt to it.

On a personal level, be prepared for change, because change will happen. Invest time in your own professional development. Always be learning and be willing to step out of the comfort zone.

For more on this topic, I suggest reading the following two books:

“The Tipping Point – How Little Things Can Make a Big difference” by Malcolm Gladwell.

“Diffusion of Innovations” by Everett Rogers

Follow my blog at Social2Direct.com

5 Steps to Building Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are like sketches of the customers to whom your company serves. When creating a persona, it’s best to focus on one customer segment per product/service at a time. Once you’ve selected a target audience, you want to identify the influencers and decision makers within those companies and then create your persona around them.

5 Steps to Build a Persona

Step 1: Define their current situation

  • What are their priorities and what are they doing to meet their goals today?
  • What alternatives could be in place or are they considering?
  • What problems are limiting their success?

Step 2: Define their demographics

  • Job title
  • Years in current position and place in career – whether they’re young and just starting out or have spent most of their career with the same company and can provide insight on risk tolerance, influence increasing change within the company, etc.
  • Company size and revenues
  • Industry

Step 3: Identify their attributes

  • Role – Their place in the company and who they answer to.
  • Responsibilities – What or who they manage and what outcomes they must achieve.
  • Threats – what could derail the deal?
  • Motivations – both professionally and based on company objectives – could also be what they want to avoid.
  • Influencers – who can aid in affirming the project or stall it from moving forward?

Step 4: Understand their preferences

  • Where do they spend time online? Offline?
  • How do they participate with social media? Do they?
  • What keywords, phrases and search terms resonate with them?

Step 5: Draft the buyer persona value statement

  • I need to solve [FILL IN BLANK], in order to achieve [FILL IN BLANK].

Speak to people and use third party data to help complete your personas. A few examples follow:

Use Business Intelligence Portals:

  • Search by industry, size, title.
  • Assess profiles, click through to review LinkedIn profiles.
  • Use at least ten profiles to identify common themes.
  • Access the industry information to gain insight to challenges and opportunities.
  • BI portals also offer in-depth research on specific industries, helping you to define priorities and challenges quickly.

Talk to Salespeople:

  • What areas of the business are they focused on?
  • Who are they speaking with?
  • How do prospects frame the problem?
  • Who else do they have to convince?

Talk to Customers:

  • What problem did we solve?
  • What else did that enable?
  • Why did they choose us?
  • What obstacles did they have to overcome to buy?

Knowing your audience and having a personalized business plan is a foolproof formula to create new business leads, and strengthen old ones.

Content Marketing | 3 Rules

Today, a company’s success depends greatly on on its ability to effectively manage its brand awareness, market conditioning, and demand generation programs.

Technology enables companies to automate how, when and what is communicated to its market today. However, content must still be curated by people and in today’s digital market place it is imperative that content follow three basic rules…

1. Be Customer Centric

Buyers consume content to address a challenge or pain, and they are evaluating their options. If your content is difficult to find or doesn’t provide answers to their needs, they will ultimately arrive at another content provider that very well might be your competitor.

The trend emerging with B2B buyers is a decreasing level of engagement with sales people during their awareness phase. Engagement with Sales these days happens during the down selection process and as they narrow down their options to just a few providers.

Today, more than ever before, a company’s success requires that its content be relevant, timely and personalized so that a high level of value is maintained throughout the customer engagement process.

Perception is managed through effective content management.

2. Build and Maintain Alignment on Personas

Create buyer personas. Set up panels comprised of external buyers and internal content curators.  Align both groups against your buyer personas will help align your company to your buyer types, and will help improve how content is synthesized for your company’s target audience. Your personas should drive everything how you communicate with your buyers’ journeys as they make decisions to choose you or your competitor.

3. Communicate Intimately | Personalization

Avoid speaking in your company’s or industry’s language. Use real words and when and wherever possible apply personalization that addresses the specific pain or need of your customer.

Follow me at http://social2direct.com

The Sales and Marketing Promance | Technology not included

Many businesses lack the alignment between the sales and marketing organizations. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s important to understand the barriers that prevent alignment. Some common barriers include:

  • Success in the sales and marketing departments is measured differently
  • Sales and marketing have a different vision of the ideal target customer
  • Actionable customer insight sits in disconnected databases
  • There is a lack of a 360-degree view of customers and their buying preferences
  • Broken processes make it impossible to track what is working
  • The technology is too hard to use so that there is limited adoption

 

These barriers lead to the disconnect and are making it difficult for organizations to make the most of their sales opportunities and go to market investments. As an example, companies are unable to provide the right offers to the right people, at the right time, because customer insights live in disparate locations and the company’s go-to-market strategies are uncoordinated and inefficient.

To address this disconnect, businesses are turning to applications and new technology to help build cohesive sales and marketing alliances. The common mistake businesses have been making in their rush to technology is that they forget to address their people and process challenges first. 

The promises of the Digital Revolution and emerging technologies are often not in line with management’s expectations. Many mid to large sized companies rushed to replace older systems that worked, to new and unproven cloud based technologies that are not living up to expectations. Many of these decisions were based on unrealistic, pie-in the sky, cloud-high promises (no pun intended) and the pain is just beginning to be felt by customers.

The reality is that many companies launched into cloud based technologies without a good business plan. So perhaps 2015 will be the year many companies awaken to a reality check.

The pendulum is about to swing in another direction. Brace yourselves.

Good times ahead.

Video: How Massive Enterprise Companies Buy & Sell In 2016

At Sales Stack Conference 2015, we sat down with industry insiders from massive enterprise companies to discuss the secrets of how they buy and sell.

Source: Video: How Massive Enterprise Companies Buy & Sell In 2016

Predictive Analytics | Applying it to #Sales and #Marketing

Several weeks ago, I was in a meeting with a group of senior executives at one of the oldest business information companies in the United States, and the conversation shifted to lead generation:

“Results are horrendous, incredibly weak. Much of these leads are unusable. High percentages from Gmail, AOL, Hotmail… So many unknowns and, well, at least some decision makers, along with the rest of usual useless information.”

Anyone who works in today’s digital marketing space knows this is a common conversation that is hard to fix.

So, is bad #data the real issue for us or is it that we are chasing down the wrong path?

Think about it. We spend millions of dollars chasing individuals who download content, attend webinars or throw business cards into fishbowls at conferences and shows. We spend very little trying to figure out what is really going on inside a company of interest.

Things that sales and marketing agree on:

  • Purchasing is a team exercise
  • Figuring out what the consensus inside of buying teams is a tough job to figure out
  • There is a value to downloaded content as a proxy for team interest
  • An individual act tells us nothing about its organizations intent.

Is it time to devalue the downloaded white paper as our lead generation currency? (Sales people will love this one, Marketing, maybe not) 

More to the point, isn’t it time to evolve and begin the process of understanding the corporate body language through a variety of data points that are already available to us? Would it not be better to understand that the almighty download can and should be part of a larger canvas where a broader, more accurate picture emerges?

Even at it’s broadest level, #predictive #analytics can come in some simple forms.

6 examples of simple forms that apply basic predictive analytics:

  1. You can use any number of competitive search tools to understand what keywords and key phrases are collectively perceived as important when prospects begin their journey to find you
  2. And if you look historically backwards, you will be able to see what changed and potentially why
  3. You can also develop an understanding for funnel position (where companies are in the sales funnel by segmenting out keywords based on a natural progression of educating oneself.
  4. You can then use that analysis to make sure your own website is in tune editorially – are you mapping to what is important at that moment in time to companies that are consuming the content aligned with your objectives?
  5. You can find sites where these keywords exist ON PAGE in ways that align with your objectives. Page Indexing has grown up and become very sophisticated.
  6. Just this simple knitting together of these two components begin to give you an indication of trends and volume of content that is out there and that your prospects are consuming

Then do this:

  • Use IP identification and targeting to match who you see on your site and who is consuming the relevant content across the Web. This type of targeting will enable you to report back on which companies are most active in consuming specific keywords across contextually aligned sites.
  • This gives you a marriage of your data and external data that help you develop prioritization for sales, messaging across marketing, content development and most of all – IT GETS YOU OUT OF DEPENDING ON WHITE PAPER DOWNLOADS as your proxy for interest.
  • Once you add your crm and marketing automation data, revealing what companies you currently talk to are most engaged – you have a clear path to a strategy.

To review:

  • Analyze the competitive set to understand how everyone is deploying search and keywords
  • Utilize page indexing to understand where the content is
  • Use IP identification and targeting to tell you who and what and how many from where
  • Knit your own data in to complete the virtuous circle

The age of #Predictive #Automation is upon us. Take the initial steps needed to understand organizational #intent and funnel position, and your sales organization will stop complaining about those lousy leads you send them.

Pre-crime arrives in the UK: US Next?

You can now be ushered out of a shop, even if you haven’t done anything wrong yet.

Source: Pre-crime arrives in the UK: Better make sure your face stays off the crowdsourced watch list | Ars Technica UK