Too often these days, I hear B-to-B marketers mouth claims like, "We got this new [fill in the brand] automation tool, so now we can reduce headcount." Or, "Once this automation system is installed, it will take our marketing to the next level." This worries me. Marketers sometimes see automation as a silver bullet. But it's only a tool
The ugly truth is, for many of us, engaging customers creates profitless prosperity—impressive marketing statistics that don't ultimately, directly help generate leads and sales. Engagement is creating momentary value that is aloof from any kind of sales lead management process. Yet businesses who do create sales using social selling know something the rest of us don't. Let's find out what that something is.
You cannot control your customers anymore. Instead, it's time for you to enter "the conversation" or risk becoming irrelevant to them. And when you start conversing, you must be transparent and humanize yourself. It's imperative to assess the sentiment of your fans and detractors on the Web—take the pulse of your brand image. It's also time to map customers' social graphs and architect personas to keep them within your control.