Articulate Your Business Case or Lose Customers To Competitors

We Are Out of The Hype Cycle: Digital and Social Applications Must Solve Business Issues: I know when I first started to learn about social media and digital applications, I could see how they could change business. It made sense to me. I think because I am an early adopter. I’m referring to Geoffrey Moore’s technology adoption curve. There’s the innovators, who create all this cool new software. And then there’s early adopters like me, that look at those innovator’s inventions and realize the impact they can make.

Having been in this business for a long time, one of the things that I realized was that not everyone can see the value of social and digital. It’s not an intuitive thing for them. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It just is what it is. And that’s why businesses (vendors) who are in the business of selling products and services really need to take a look at their product management and product sales teams. Are they organized to sell to those that “already” get the value? That’s like selling ice to eskimos. The people who get it, already bought your product.

MY POV: Where the rubber is now meeting the road is learning how to articulate the business value that digital and social applications, products and services provide. I am lucky to hear a lot of briefings on new things. However, what I am finding is that some companies need to really look at where the marketplace is in adoption of the new technology and perhaps shift some of their marketing messaging, but even more important to look at who are the persona(s) that they are developing products and services for? Are they for the early adopters? It’s a small part of the marketplace. Or is is for the early / late majority? That’s a much larger part of the marketplace.

Early Majority Want Your Help to Say Yes: And that part of that part of the marketplace (early majority) requires something different to convince them that they need this “new” product. They want to know what business challenges does it solve? They want to be shown how someone else had a “burning issue” and this product or service solved it and what the outcomes were.

If your sales pitch is not lined up that way, you maybe missing the market on the largest part of the marketplace. Don’t take it from me; reread  Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm— it’s all about changing how you market and sell as the marketplace matures. Those who do, will find prosperity and those that don’t, won’t.

Digital Disruption Transformation ChasmWhat Do You Need To Do Now? The key is to be able to articulate the business value. What is the business issue that your product or service solves? To know that, a business has to be really clear on who they are selling to. That means they need to define various personas and know what those personas face as daily challenges. They need to map out the-day-in-the-life of that professional. And they need to do this by going and talking to 10 or 20 or 100 of them. Don’t assume anything. Then align the challenges those professionals face with the solution you offer and can show an early majority person how your new “product or service” can solve their issue better than anyone else.

References, References, References: And having customer references is key, especially early majority customer references. Why? Because early majority folks convince other early majority people to take a chance at these new technology, processes and services. They believe each other more than they believe the vendor or even sometimes an analyst.

Watch Your Language: There’s lot’s of languaging issues in the current marketing of software and products / services. Almost everyone can claim to be influencing some aspect of customer experience. And by not articulating the business case of how that product or service clearly affects the bottomline, the buyer is confused and that slows the sales cycle down.

Understand Buying Signals: Your potential customers probably won’t say anything; they might say things like, “Hmmm looks interesting. Call me in a few months.” or “Send me a brochure.” NOTE TO SELF: Those are NOT buying signals. They are polite ways of saying, “I don’t have time for this; I don’t see how this applies to why my hair is on fire; I am not sure how I would apply this to what is happening in my department or company and I certainly have no idea how I am going to explain this in a business case to get my boss to say yes.

Do The Work: Don’t make your customer do the hard work. Create those business use cases. Create scenarios that the early majority can see themselves in. Articulate, even if it’s a back of the envelope calculation, the return on their investment. If you do this, it will make all the difference in your sales cycles, in your revenue and profits and your market position. If you don’t, someone else will.

Time to relook at where the marketplace is in the maturity of the digital disruption and stop all the fanatical “speak” and get down to business. At least that’s my take. What’s yours?

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research



7 Steps to Create Powerful Customer Experiences and Get Social Media ROI

In this webinar with Crimson-Hexagon, I walk through seven steps that help brands create powerful customer experiences as well as where the ROI is… which seems to be difficult for some people to see where the return on integrating social media into a business is possible. Here’s the link to listen to the webinar. In particular, I show how social media monitoring is key to a social media business strategy.

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Webinar: Muti-Channel Customer Service – Technology Affects an Agent’s Ability to Deliver Great Customer Experiences

Customer Service Professionals need to understand how the customer experience impacts the bottomline. Agents are the frontline for most companies and this research study found that agents with better technology provide better customer experiences.

According to a recent Harris Interactive survey, 90% of consumers say that a customer service agent’s perceived happiness directly impacts the overall customer experience. In other words, when an agent has the right tools to perform their job to the best of their ability the customer experience is positively impacted. The new integrated, multichannel agent desktops offer the right tools and they’re not just a trend but the new reality to engage with today’s channel agnostic customer.

Not convinced? I, along with and Kieron Lawson, LiveOps CTO of Applications discuss recent findings from my latest contact center agent research. You’ll hear real world testimonials and data that explains why now is the time to migrate to an integrated, multichannel desktop and what you should look for when making this purchase decision. To hear the webinar click on the webinar graphic: Liveops Webinar Agent and the Bottomline TMC

What Attendees Learn from the Webinar:

  • How and why an integrated multichannel desktop can result in 25 to 50% increase in agent productivity and agent happiness
  • Is 25% cost savings from these new desktops myth or reality?
  • Is it finally possible to truly improve first contact resolution, reduce customer churn and reduce average interaction handle time and increase customer lifetime value?
  • Should ‘going cloud’ be part of the decision?
  • See a demo of the recently launched LiveOps Engage and hear why this new integrated desktop can help you achieve your agent experience and customer experience goals

Who should attend:

  • Contact Center Managers/Directors/VP’s
  • Customer Support and Service Directors/VP’s
  • Operations Directors/VP’s

Kieron Lawson
CTO, LiveOps

  • Kieron Lawson is the CTO for LiveOps, Inc. In this role Kieron is responsible for establishing the technical vision of the company and leads all aspects of technology development based on strategic direction.


    Paula Bernier
    Executive Editor TMCnet

    Paula Bernier is executive editor for the IP Communications Group at TMC where she writes, edits and manages editorial content for the print & digital versions of INTERNET TELEPHONY, and writes for TMCnet.

    Bernier was formerly editor in chief of xchange magazine, a Virgo publication, where she worked for more than 11 years. While at that company, she also was the editorial leader for PHONE+ and Sounding Board magazines, as well as various e-books and webinars.

    Prior to that, Bernier was a senior writer for Inter@ctive Week, a magazine that was initially independently owned but was later acquired by Ziff Davis.

    Bernier got her start in telecom at Telephony magazine, where she spent nearly five years, leaving as the news director.

    She also has been on the reporting staffs of various mainstream daily and weekly newspapers in Iowa, Minnesota and South Carolina.


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Webinar Alert: “How to Make a Business Case for Social Media Analysis” 11/15 12:00pm EST

I thought my readers might be interested in attending an upcoming complimentary webinar featuring myself, How to Make a Business Case for Social Media Analysis on Thursday, November 15 at 12:00pm EST (9:00am PST).

Space is limited. Reserve your webinar seat today.


2.7 zetabytes of data exists in the digital universe today. Predictions estimate that 35 zetabytes of data will be generated annually by 2020.* IDC estimates that by 2020, business transactions on the Internet- business-to-business and business-to-consumer – will reach 450 billion per day.  Facebook alone stores, accesses, and analyzes 30+ petabytes of user generated data.* How do you make sense of it all?

Clearly, the rate at which businesses are able to quickly analyze, accurately interpret, take action and pivot on the myriad of consumer interactions coming through channels such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums, newsfeeds, mobile, et al, will be determining factors for future business success. With competition and the influx of interactions growing daily, some departments still struggle with their social media strategy and how to build a business case for the support and funding of a social media analysis initiative. 

Join Social Media ROI Strategist Dr. Natalie Petouhoff and Crimson Hexagon’s Vice President of Marketing Wayne St. Amand for an exclusive webinar. Learn how to make a business case for social media analysis that will improve your chances for social media budget funding and expand your business. 

In this webinar, we will discuss:

  • How to use a 4-step process to build a business case for a social media analysis initiative
  • How to distill a business case into one simple sentence
  • How to quantify social media benefits and the five benefit categories
  • Case studies on how leading companies are using deep insights in social media analysis to execute meaningful actions that prove the associated business case

Space is limited. Reserve your webinar seat today.



Dr. Natalie L. Petouhoff ~ @drnatalie
Social Media ROI Specialist and Social Business Strategist

Dr. Natalie is an adjunct professor leading a Social Media Business Course at UCLA and at Anderson School of Management. She helps clients by providing unique business perspective on how to apply social media to business.

She uses social media assessments to determine the capabilities and readiness of an organization or department. And then can set up social media business cases, measurement programs, using social media ROI calculators to help clients to develop social business strategies, tactical and real-world execution capabilities so that social media increases the bottom line.

Wayne St. Amand ~ @WayneSaint
Vice President of Marketing, Crimson Hexagon

Wayne St. Amand is a veteran marketing leader with a track record of significantly acclerating the growth trajectory and valuation of technology businesses. At Crimson Hexagon, St. Amand is responsible for driving business expansion through the company’s global corporate and product marketing efforts.

He works actively with the company’s customers to discover and communicate some of the world’s most groundbreaking uses of social media analysis technology.


Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts

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