Archives for posts with tag: Engagement

I’ve written before about how the Irish language has some quite unwieldy versions of some of the most common words and phrases you’ll ever need, like hello, hello back and thank you.

It also has no words for yes and no, incredibly.

Instead, it makes do with a much more engaging and involving set of answers, that has exact parallel in English and which I use a lot myself.

‘Did you finish your lunch?’ ‘I did.’

‘Have you done that report?’ ‘I haven’t.’

‘Will you come with me to the meeting?’ ‘I will’

‘Can you commit to the end of this month for the order?’ ‘We can.’

‘Are you in charge?’ ‘I am.’

It’s an altogether more accommodating language, reversing the questioner’s word order and creating a kind of subconscious closeness and empathy. Nothing less than you’d expect from a very friendly people.

Do I like it? I do.

 

 

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I was at a music concert the other day. Popular music. It was the main act of the gig and featured a band who were not stellar or globally known but have a few hits under the belt that you would recognise.

I couldn’t name any of their songs while we were driving to the gig, but when they came on you knew them, and could sing along. There were 2 or 3 thousand at the gig, most of whom, I would guess, were fans.

Like a lot of bands, they had a new album coming out and so played a lot of new stuff. Whenever they played one of their big songs, however, the reaction of the audience was immediate and immense, visceral really.

It got me thinking, saddo that I am, about B2B marketing. This connection, this way of moving people, this level of engagement in a band/brand is something that B2B marketers can only dream about. After all, when you hear your favourite song come on, from your favourite band, the song that evokes a great holiday or time in your life, a song that you named your first child after, it inspires a feeling that you’re unlikely to see replicated when you come into work on the Monday and fire up the software that you couldn’t do your job without.

Both things, work and play, are interactions on a 1:1 basis, and even though B2B is selling to a business not a consumer, you’re still selling to an individual, or more likely a collection of individuals, each with a degree of influence and power, but individuals nonetheless, with their own set of likes, dislikes, preferences, reasons for deciding one way or the other.

Perhaps it’s wrong of us as B2B marketers to even think about trying to emulate the kind of engagement that brands strive for with people when they’re out of business, away from work.

Then again, perhaps moving people as consumers and moving people in work is not so different after all.

Want to know what the most important word will be for sales and marketing professionals in 2016?

Engagement.

Well, it’s out there now.

I used to think the key word was ‘resonate’, but that doesn’t go far enough. When what you say resonates with someone, it’s like they’re a string you’ve plucked. You’re on their frequency, to mix a simile and a metaphor. But the string doesn’t vibrate for ever, it fades away, or loses interest and it becomes immovable, in both senses of the word.

No, to succeed we all need to engage our audience. If we work in sales, we have to get our customers engaged so that they will do something with us. If we work in marketing or sales enablement, we also have to engage our sales people, those internal customers who never read an email we send them, or a document we prepare for them. We have to find ways of making them listen and realise that this is what they need, what they have been asking for, what is going to make them more money because they can satisfy more of their customers and prospects.

Sales engagement – and partner engagement for that matter – is a crucially important slice of the pie, but it’s often the slice that gets left to go cold. And no-one likes cold pizza, at least not like they do sizzling warm pizza that engages the senses.

So if engagement is the key word in 2016, what is the key process for us for the rest of this year?

It’s this: the journey to establish and effectively communicate what we have – or what we will need to have – that will truly engage our customer.

It’s easy for us to think we’re doing a great job of staying close to our customers or our staff. We’re sending regular emails, having regular meetings, touching base as often as we can.

We tend to forget one simple, inalienable fact. Communication does not equal engagement.

Your customers are not buying from you because they’re not engaged.

Your staff are not changing the way they do things because they’re not engaged.

It’s a question of commitment. Think of eating your egg and bacon. The chicken was involved, but the pig was committed…

Communication does not equal engagement, and engagement is what you need, if you want to achieve or change something. You need to start involving people earlier, getting their buy in, and asking them the why questions, starting with why they’re not engaged, why they’re not committed.