Tag Archives: social media

Linkedin and Sales Channels

As technology partners tend to be early adopters of some types of social media, I thought it might be interesting to look at how some individuals working in technology partners are using social media.  Now, I have railed on about small samples with big pretentions, but I thought I would share with you some crude observations of the  first 109 individuals I looked at.  They were from around the world working in various job functions in companies varying in size from large enterprises to medium sized businesses, with an even split between those with technical, sales and line management roles. There were 17 individuals from APAC, 48 from EMEA, 1 from Latin America and 43 from the US.  I only looked at whether they had a LinkedIn profile and how many contacts they had.  I may broaden this to 500 individuals, time permitting, to get more a accurate picture.  Though some individuals on LinkedIn keep their profiles hidden, revealing only their job function, I knew enough about these people’s responsibilities  to know there were none like that in this sample.

In the US, 23% had no profile, whilst in Europe that figure rose to 40%.  Of the 6 Germans in the sample, none had LinkedIn profiles.  Checking on Xing, which originated in Germany, I could not find them there either.  Likewise of the 9 people from Singapore, China, Japan and Korea, none had LinkedIn profiles.  In India, France and the US there was much evidence of use.  In the US, of those who had profiles, there were on average 64 contacts, whilst in EMEA it was 65.  The crude observations are these – LinkedIn is popular in India, some European countries and the US.  Penetration is low in most Asian countries and Germany.

How is LinkedIn being used? One can surmise that the most obvious reason contact lists are built  is because people wish to feather their nest in preparation for a company switch, but many people use it as a glorified contact list. As with Plaxo, you can be fairly certain that if someone changes company, you will still be able to get in touch.  But are they using it, as headhunters do, to prospect – to look for contacts of contacts?  I am told that is how it is being used by some partners.  A recommendation from an existing client is a powerful endorsement – but why not just ask the client directly instead?   Perhaps the best endorsement they make will be a phone call to another decision maker not on LinkedIn.

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Filed under Indirect, Social Networks

LinkedIn and Selling

Recently I came across a paper written almost two years ago by Tony MacKelworth, Social Networks: Evolution of the Marketing Paradigm. It must have been his masters thesis because there is a lot of meat that would impress most marketing academics.  MacKelworth now works for Microsoft UK but at the time he wrote the paper, he worked for AMaC,  a 2.0 company if there ever was one.  By doing so, he had an excellent set of contacts to work with, and managed to get 897 fully completed questionnaires from senior executives worldwide, asking them to rate the various ways they get information that might influence their decision on a business offering. 

MacKelworth set out to prove that credence is related to the source of information, though that seems a no brainer. The work is distinguished by spread of its sample and the range of questions he asked.  It is particularly difficult to get senior executives to participate in any online survey, so one usually finds that iffy conclusions are drawn on small samples.  This study’s implications for B2B marketing are significant.

Telemarketing, SMS ads, banner ads, unsolicited emails – in other words, push communication were discounted by most people and even disdained.  It found that recommendations from friends were regarded by most people as the most authorative sources of information regarding external products or services.  A company’s web site, and recommendations from individuals’ LinkedIn networks were also respected.  The importance of getting a company web site in shape is well understood, but leveraging LinkedIn is more complex. 

Would encouraging employees to get to the 500+ level in LinkedIn help a company or increase its staff turnover?   Or should it merely encourage the evangelists?  My favourite IBM software evangelist, Ed Brill , no matter what his job description, has blogged and fought for IBM for many years and as a result maintains a loyal following of people who also have large LinkedIn networks.   My favourite Microsoft evangelist, Eileen Brown has done a similar thing for that company for many years and, sadly, has been laid off.  The trouble with such social networks is their value cannot be measured, but as MacKelworth has shown, they are vital. Perhaps his new employers should read his paper.

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Filed under Social Networks