Question: If I had to choose between starting an AR-Sales partnership or launching a social media initiative, which way should I go? If I did both, but with limited resources, how should I divide my efforts?
During the happy hour after the first session of our STRATEGIC ISSUES advanced AR seminar, one of the attendees asked these great questions. Both Dave and Carter answered immediately and in unison:
Why? Even a simple AR-Sales partnership pilot will give the AR team an opportunity to gather real world examples of the analysts impacting sales opportunities. These types of hard sales numbers, even in anecdotal form, are powerful tools for illustrating the strategic value of AR. In addition, a pilot project can demonstrate how AR can work to arm Sales to close business by either mitigating negative analyst commentary or leveraging positive analyst commentary. Again, this is very powerful evidence to show that AR has a real world, measureable return-on-investment (ROI) that cannot be surpassed.
When it came to the second question, the answer took a few more seconds but not much more:
“90% AR-Sales, 10% social media”
Why? It really does not take that long or require much day-to-day effort to put into place a simple social media program. At a minimum, AR professionals need to be monitoring their top analysts’ blog posts and Twitter tweets. No particular market has all that many analysts that blog or tweet on any particular day. Therefore, if done efficiently – i.e., using a RSS reader – monitoring these analyst communications channels should only take a few minutes a couple of times per day. Simple and efficient, but it can yield incredibly valuable intelligence about analysts’ activities, opinions, and “what’s between the ears.”
- AR programs should check to see which of their Tier 1 analysts are using social media and start a simple monitoring program using RSS
- AR programs should read SageCircle’s six-part series on the AR-Sales partnership concept starting with AR-Sales Partnership [part 1]: It’s not about pushing outreports
- AR programs should set up a low-key pilot AR-Sales project to start gathering sales impact data and demonstrating how they can help Sales close business
- AR programs then need to develop a reporting program that communicates to executive sponsors and stakeholders the economic impact of AR, thus demonstrating hard ROI
Bottom Line: During any time, but especially during a recession, AR needs to focus on the activities that matter to executive sponsors. Launching a low-key AR-Sales partnership pilot is a critical success factor for illustrating how AR is not a cost center, but a revenue-generating, strategic activity.
Question: What are the barriers to you launching an AR-Sales Partnership pilot?
SageCircle has a full portfolio of intellectual property on the AR-Sales Partnership program: best practices (how to’s), training for AR & Sales & executives (live in-person, live distance and recorded), plan builder workshops, advisory and tools (eliminates re-invention of the wheel). Click here for more information or call us at 503-636-1500 to learn how SageCircle can help you launch an AR-Partnership program quickly and efficiently.
In short – BOTH. I’m biased though … I’m working on both 😉
While I am intrigued with the prospect of doing both, if I had to allocate money to the effort I’d pick the AR sales partnering. That said and to Carter’s point, I think you can start to put in place a social media program with very little monetary effort.
Most definitely AR sales – we have have good success with our AR sales program – we are impacting sales revenues and our executives have commented on it.
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