Jessica K. Jeffcoat, Research Analyst, Growth Team MembershipTM
By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices than people on Earth, according to Cisco. Mobile marketing is no longer a “nice to have,” as customers increasingly demand access to information on their own terms. Information must be at their fingertips, whenever and wherever they want it. Therefore, it’s critical that companies establish a strong mobile presence and incorporate mobile technologies into their marketing mix.
However, Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Team Membership program’s recent survey of nearly 500 B2B and B2C marketing executives reveals that the majority of respondents are not yet using mobile marketing tactics, and those who do, rate their mobile efforts as “average” at best. Furthermore, close to half of them don’t plan to begin using mobile in 2013, and even more have no future plans to use mobile marketing…ever.
Mobile Tactics: The Business Model Divide
Among the respondents already using mobile, the survey uncovers notable differences between business models. Whereas most B2B marketers use mobile versions of e-mails and mobile-optimized web pages, the majority of B2C marketers do not. B2C marketers, on the other hand, choose mobile-social integration (i.e., the launch of an offer from a mobile Facebook fan page) as their preferred mobile tactic.
The majority of both B2B and B2C respondents intend to start using mobile apps and mobile-optimized websites in 2013. Surprisingly, most respondents across the board do not plan to use mobile versions of e-mails in 2013.
What should you do? Although mobile apps may not be appropriate for all businesses, all companies must optimize their e-mail and websites for mobile access, if they want to keep existing customers and attract new ones.
New Marketing Platform, Same Old Limitations
Talent and cash limitations are common challenges for marketers, and mobile isn’t any different. Survey respondents identify insufficient budgets and expertise as the chief obstacles to their mobile efforts. The majority of marketers globally (54 percent) anticipate only moderate budget increases for mobile activities in 2013, which makes it unlikely their primary concerns will be addressed in the near future. Accordingly, marketing departments must maximize their limited resources and apply them to at least the basics: ensuring customers and prospects have mobile-optimized access to their companies’ e-mails and websites. Mobile is not the way of the future; it’s where your customers already are.
Access our infographic that examines how companies in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe are using mobile technologies, the obstacles they are facing, and their future plans.
Jessica is a Research Analyst for the Growth Team MembershipTM (GTM), a best practices research and consulting program within Frost & Sullivan. Follow her on Twitter at @jkjeffcoat
Until very recently, I didn’t really understand social media’s relevance in the B2B world. I thought Twitter, for example, was simply a way for crazed (or very bored) teenagers to stay on top of the Kardashians’ latest shenanigans. But when my team, Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Team Membership (GTM), ventured into the Twitterverse a few months ago, I set up an account with some trepidation. What would we tweet about? How would we find interesting people and organizations to follow? How would we get people to follow us and find out what content resonated with them? How would Twitter help our team gain a better understanding of the business environment and the key interests and challenges of our existing clients and prospects?
It’s been much easier than I expected to find worthwhile topics to tweet about—whether it be sharing information about our latest GTM research, events, and team blogs, or simply forwarding interesting business articles on topics related to the executive functions GTM covers (Sales, Marketing, Corporate Strategy, Corporate Development, R&D/Innovation, Market Research, and Competitive Intelligence). There is no shortage of fascinating thought leaders and companies to follow, and it’s remarkably easy to find them. Monitoring Twitter mentions and re-tweets has shown us which content resonates most with our target audience. And although gaining followers is not instantaneous, the more quality content we post, the more followers we get. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the vast amount of information out there on Twitter and other social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, that can keep us in the loop on trending topics and help us track the interests and needs of existing and potential customers.
Speaking of trending topics, a very popular subject in the social sphere lately has been how critical it is for Sales to use social media in its prospecting and client development. If a sales rep doesn’t want to be left behind, he or she must take advantage of the virtual treasure trove of information social media offers to deepen existing customer relationships and establish new ones.
However, GTM’s latest global survey of sales executives indicates there’s room for improvement in this area. The survey reveals that 46 percent of the 564 respondents (69 percent of whom come from B2B companies) still are not using social media in their sales activities. Even fewer (14 percent) have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems that capture social media activity.
Social media is not the way of the future; it’s where our prospects and clients already are. 62 percent of Fortune 500 companies have active corporate Twitter accounts and LinkedIn claims executive-level members from all Fortune 500 companies. These platforms give Sales a unique opportunity to glean critical insights on its target audience.
But exactly how can Sales use social media to close more deals? In a recent article, 4 Ways Social Media Can Help You Close More Sales, social media expert Shannon Duffy provides the following four tips:
- Make Sure People “Like” Your Reps: Duffy suggests that sales reps should routinely participate in social media training to make sure their social profiles are polished, have a unique and likable voice, and demonstrate expertise.
- Know Where Your Customer Goes: Not only should you look for your clients and prospects on sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, you should seek out online communities to discover their interests, opinions, and needs.
- Nurture Your Top Prospects: You (or your company’s social media team, if you have one) should follow your top accounts and prospects, to stay on top of major company news. Re-tweet customer announcements and congratulate them on key wins.
- Connect with Social Data Insights: Avoid wasting time with the wrong company leads by finding accurate business data via social platforms. Ideally, social information will be tied to your company’s CRM system to more easily manage what can be an enormous amount of data.
My own recent foray into using social media in the business sphere has demonstrated just how broad the business application can be and how much potential there is for gleaning valuable customer insights. It’s clear that social media is not going away anytime soon, if ever, and Sales reps’ ability to apply social media information to better understand and serve customers will continue to be a key predictor of their success.
Jessica Jeffcoat is a Research Analyst for Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Team Membership program. Follow her on Twitter at @jkjeffcoat.
If you had told me a few years ago that today I would be a happy resident of San Antonio, Texas, I would have said you were crazy! As a fifteen-year resident of the Washington, DC area, with the DFW airport as my only point of reference, my notions of Texas were a bit—okay, completely—pop culture-based. Texas conjured up images of gun-toting, boot-wearing brutes, and the extent of my San Antonio knowledge was from Pee Wee’s quest for his long-lost bike.
So, when I stepped out of my comfort zone and moved to San Antonio a little over a year ago, I was faced with many new realities. I was living in a new state with a new husband, three new step-kids, and a new house. To say I experienced a jolt to my system is an understatement. But it wasn’t just on the personal front. My professional life experienced an overhaul as well.
DC is an intense, power-driven city where it’s the norm to be completely consumed by your career. As an intelligence analyst for a government agency, I provided policymakers with analysis aimed at helping them make better policy decisions. I felt like I was making a positive contribution to something bigger than myself, as cheesy as it might sound, and it felt good. So, how would I fill that void in Texas?
First, there’s this thing called work-life balance. If you’re not familiar, you should Google it. Second, I learned how to apply my interests and skills to my new Texas-based job. I no longer live and work in what often felt like the center of the universe (which feels more and more like a good and healthy development). But I do feel like I’m still helping people, which I’m realizing was the crux of what I loved about my job in DC.
As a best practices research analyst with Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Team Membership program, my team’s research focuses on tools that executives need—across industries—to drive growth in their companies. My team identifies companies that have successfully overcome commonly-faced challenges and showcases these companies’ best practices as a road map for other executives to learn from. Like our cross-industry focus, I have found that my foundation in research and writing goes beyond industry specifics. As our best practices research enables executives to avoid reinventing the wheel, I have been able to build upon my existing skills to learn the intricacies of best practices research (an ongoing process). Our research provides executives with a fresh perspective to inspire better decision-making, just as learning from my business-savvy colleagues has helped me develop a broader world view. Although I still have much to learn, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the applicability of my formerly policy-focused skills to, and my growing interest in, the business world.
I now realize that the culture shock I experienced moving to Texas had less to do with adjusting to Texas itself—Texans are warm, welcoming, and family-oriented—and more to do with learning how to leave my DC mindset behind. I still feel like I’m helping people, just a different audience, and I’m happy to be embracing this new chapter in my career and life.
Jessica is a research analyst for Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Team Membership, a best practices research group. Follow her on Twitter at @jkjeffcoat.
The future is inherently unpredictable, forcing companies to conduct strategic planning in the face of great uncertainty. As a result, many companies struggle to develop strategies that take into account long-term threats and opportunities, while balancing short-term priorities. Scenario planning is a structured methodology you can use to test existing strategies against varied future states or scenarios. Scenario planning is not meant to predict the future. Instead, it allows you to explore a series of high-impact, uncertain—yet plausible—future states. This knowledge, in turn, enables you to recognize the “signposts” of scenarios as they unfold and react accordingly.
Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Team Membership (GTM) profiled Merck & Co., Inc. (the global pharmaceutical company) and how it applied scenario planning. Merck’s objective was to better anticipate how different strategies would hold up against the state of the global healthcare environment looking out 10 years. What follows are some of the key insights the team gleaned in understanding Merck’s approach.
Garner Internal/External Insights and Buy-In
To establish plausible scenarios for the future, it is important to involve a cross-divisional team to garner the full range of views within the company. It is equally important to tap into external perspectives on the industry, and outside scenario-planning consultants, to lend credibility and objectivity to the effort. Finally, C-level buy-in and participation in the initiative must be secured.
Challenge Assumptions about the Future
Before you can start exploring future scenarios, you must first understand your existing assumptions about the future. What is the conventional wisdom about where the industry and economic, political, and regulatory factors are headed over the next 10 years? What assumptions about the future underpin this outlook? Once this information has been brought to light, you need to challenge your underlying assumptions to explore alternative future scenarios. It can be helpful to pose this question: What if, and how could, your assumptions about the future turn out differently? The answers to this question uncover they key uncertainties you have about the future and allows you to start envisioning different future scenarios that could emerge.
Explore Future Scenarios’ Implications
After considering a range of alternative future scenarios, it is important to focus on a digestible number of scenarios—generally no more than four—to explore in depth. It is essential to filter the scenarios by plausibility and impact to select the most significant, relevant scenarios for your company and industry.
- Identify signposts of the future: A critical step in evaluating the final group of scenarios is to identify early indicators that would signal each scenario is coming to pass. A company should continually monitor this list of indicators to look for early warning signs so it can determine what, if any, strategic shifts are necessary. This enables you to hedge your bets against future risks and gain a first-mover advantage.
- Test current strategies against divergent futures: It is important to think about how your company’s current strategies would perform in the context of each scenario. What challenges and opportunities would you face? What actions should you consider taking now to prepare for each scenario?
Revisit Investment Decisions
Once you have identified and explored the most plausible scenarios, the next step is to present your findings to executive management and help them internalize the scenarios’ implications. It can be beneficial to run an investment exercise with executive management that compares their current long-range resource allocations with the allocations they would make in the context of each future scenario. If a particular scenario were coming to fruition, how might your company change its resource allocations toward existing and new business areas? This type of exercise can translate scenario planning into strategic discussions and decision-making about the future.
Learn from Merck’s Approach to Scenario Planning
Scenario planning enabled Merck to embed longer time horizons in its strategy planning, gain a deeper understanding of its internal capabilities and the competitive landscape, and prompt scenario-based resource allocation decisions.
- Register for a complimentary webinar on May 22nd featuring the Merck case and learn how Merck used scenario planning to explore long-term threats and opportunities.
- Download a three-page sample of the Merck Best Practice Guidebook, Scenario Planning: Fostering Long-Term Strategic Thinking.
- If you have questions regarding the Growth Team Membership™, contact us at GTMResearch@frost.com, follow us on Twitter @Frost_GTM, or visit us at www.gtm.frost.com.
By Jessica Jeffcoat, Research Analyst, and Holly Lyke-Ho-Gland, Research Lead, Growth Team Membership™ (GTM)
Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Team Membership™ (GTM) recently completed its 2012 survey of sales executives globally. The executives were asked to identify their most pressing challenges for 2012. GTM will focus its best practices research to address the prominent issues identified in the survey.
Sales Leadership in 2012—A Snapshot
- Implementing lead generation strategies is the primary challenge of sales executives.
- A lack of personnel is the root cause of the primary challenge.
- In comparison to 2011, staffing levels will remain static while budget levels are expected to increase moderately in 2012.
- Companies attribute 20 percent of their sales to distribution channels and partnerships.
- In the main, Sales uses social media to identify and qualify leads.
- LinkedIn is the primary social media platform used by Sales, and is typically used to improve sales reps’ knowledge of customer needs and to boost brand recognition.
2012 Sales Leadership Survey Executive Summary
The 2012 survey reveals that sales executives continue to wrestle with a perennial issue: improving customer focus. Specifically, sales leaders must employ more effective tactics to generate high-quality leads, map their sales cycle to customers’ purchasing behavior, and incorporate customer feedback into their sales strategies.
To examine these challenges in more depth, the survey asked respondents to “root cause” their top internal challenges by indicating if they stem from issues with staffing, process, technology/systems, or strategic alignment. Sales executives attribute their challenges to two primary causes: limitations in staffing (limited resources and lack of knowledge) and processes (ineffective processes and inadequate communication). Sales executives are unlikely to see staffing improvements in the next year, as most respondents anticipate staffing levels will remain static in 2012. Budgets, however, are expected to increase moderately in 2012. Despite concerns over inadequate staffing and processes, nearly half (49 percent) of the survey respondents rate their function’s effectiveness as “above average.”
Given social media’s prominence and its ability to give sales executives an additional window into customer needs and behaviors, the survey asked respondents about their use of social media. The majority of respondents (54 percent) indicate they participate in social media as part of their sales approach. More specifically sales reps are employing social media to identify and qualify prospects, collect information on customer needs, and maintain customer relationships. Sales executives predictably are using LinkedIn as their primary social media platform and are conducting individual searches and joining special interest groups to enhance their understanding of customer needs. While the majority of respondents actively participate in LinkedIn’s special interest groups, few sales executives moderate their own groups and thus do not take full advantage of LinkedIn’s ability to help boost brand recognition.
In response to questions about their use of virtual and social media tools in sales activities, respondents indicate universal use of tele-presence and/or live streaming video to increase sales productivity. However, the majority of sales executives indicate they are not employing social media CRM systems (e.g., Nimble), monitoring platforms (e.g., Radian 6), or dashboards (e.g., Hootsuite or MediaFunnel). This is unfortunate given that these tools magnify the benefits of social media activities by collating customer information, which helps facilitate the creation of customer insights. In addition, more than half of the respondents do not use predictive analytics—the analysis of customer behavioral data to identify patterns and provide insights for customer interactions—which is a key customer analysis tool. It is noteworthy that most sales executives are not using these tools despite citing the need to improve their understanding of customer needs and behavior.
- There were 564 respondents.
- The respondents work predominantly for privately held (56%) rather than public (34%) companies.
- The majority of the respondents (69%) work in a business-to-business environment.
- Most of the respondents (39%) come from firms with revenues below $100 Million (USD).
For a more detailed analysis of the survey results, including analyses by business model, please see the attached report.
If you have questions regarding the survey, or are interested in learning more about GTM’s marketing best practices, please contact us at: GTMResearch@frost.com, follow us on @Frost_GTM, or visit us at www.gtm.frost.com
- page 1 of 1
- April 2013 (1)
- March 2013
- Febuary 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012 (1)
- June 2012 (1)
- May 2012 (1)