As an organization, how much time do you think sales professionals spend on client consulting & educating new prospectsThe way this question is worded implies pre-sales activity. "Get to know you" activities including:  travel time, introduction meetings, email and other communications, packaging & sanitizing proposals relevant to a specific customer can cumulatively add-up to significant cost-of-sales.  How much time spent on a specific prospect is an ROI calculation based your expectation of future business.  Organizations believe most of us work on a project on a delivered document (proposal) basis & all of the travel, communications, and time spent directly on productivity, etc., are included in cost of goods sold.  Customers place value on the finished product and not on how long you invested to deliver it.  

“Social Media” is an efficient tool that is low cost and is now a crucial part of any successful businesses marketing plan if used and analyzed correctly.  It offers us a platform to interact with existing and potential customers and can often provide us with feedback and new ideas.  For example: integrating your business website with Facebook has never been easier and the benefits speak for themselves. Let’s all be honest here; a significant percentage of Facebook users (including professionals like us) check our profiles and News Feeds several times every day. Think of these log-ins as opportunities for exposure to your brand through creative content and interaction.  Social media isn’t just used for connecting with existing customers, it’s also a great tool for acquisition and smart businesses should be looking to join this trend. Unfortunately managing and aggregating quality leads from Social Media poses unique challenges to converting and turning prospects into customers.

Most progressive thinking organizations believe these challenges can be addressed if they take the time to develop an enterprise-wide “analytics” strategy and reinforce it with an operating model designed to harness the power of the analytics.  Analytics will take root faster if tied to business outcomes and if there is a clear business case that quantifies the benefits of the analytics.  Consequently, companies need to experiment with developing mechanisms that identify, track and realize the value of their analytics efforts.

Just like Social Media, “Self Service Technology Solutions” as a business offering is both flexible to deploy and able to scale quickly to meet customers’ needs.  Customers are demanding visibility into their technology investments and they want access to real-time tools presented in a way that is easy to navigate, understand and use. Through online and mobile interfaces, customers can access and use technology at their convenience, no wonder just about everyone is buying cloud services. The only thing not cloud is an antiquated appliance on-site, but even that becomes nebulous with remote workers and branch offices.