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5. Do you have a top-down and/or a bottom-up approach to targeting decision makers?

Ultimately, you want to be able to reach those who can make purchasing decisions, but contrary to the hype, most of those folks are not on social media channels - yet. Frame it like this: 

Do you understand the behavior of decision makers in your area, what job titles they have, and how to reach them?

Do you understand the purchasing process and what role hands-on subject matter experts and SAP technical pros play in the decision making process? These hands-on experts are the folks more likely to be accessible on social channels. My research has found that social-media-savvy subject matter experts do have a "bottom up" impact on the SAP decision making process. Note: there is an in-depth piece on the topic of SAP, social media, and decision makers on

6. Do you have analytics in place on your web site to measure referrals and traffic increases, and to evaluate the results of all your campaigns and social media activities?

Do you benchmark your web site traffic to weight the effectiveness of different campaigns? Do you study marketing automation and create scenarios for folks to opt into exactly the kinds of content and updates they want from your firm? Have you inserted URL trackers into your social campaigns and links so you can get at least a better, if not perfect, the idea of how your social traffic flows into web referrals? And how, in turn, some of those become legitimate prospects? Do you study your "first click" traffic and lead results rather than only focusing only on the very last click ("last mile") in the lead gen process?

7. Have you defined how your social media "hub and spoke" model will work?

In almost all cases, your web site will remain the hub (rather than, for example, Facebook - a terrible idea as a hub for most B2B businesses). Which "spokes" will you focus your resources on? LinkedIn? Twitter? The Sap Community Network? (You may want to include timeframes for when you will roll out to each spoke, as you won't be able to hit them all in year one). Remember that consistency of content creation and active participation is vitally important, so don't launch more spokes than you are ready to maintain in a quality manner. And resist the compulsion or social media pressure to be on a spoke just because some "gurus" think it's cool or the industry press gets excited about that site's pending IPO.

8. Are you ready for the challenges of transparency?

Social and community participation will generate plenty of feedback, some of it difficult to swallow and challenging to your current approaches. Are you prepared to enter a tough feedback loop, engage openly with the community, and provide transparent ways of showing how you've  incorporated key feedback - even if feedback that might have been relayed in a harsh manner?

9. Social is almost always a fail unless you have quality free content to share.

(In this case, "free" should mean that the majority of the shared content does NOT require a sign up first, though some shared content such as webinars can require a free sign up). But make sure that free-for-registration content is a minority of what you share.

10. Have you developed a curation strategy? In other words, have you identified the key bloggers, analysts, and influencers in your space and subscribed to their content? 

And are you sharing the best of that content with your own audience? Ideally, when you curate and share content, you are doing it in a way that adds a human element, such as annotations on why you think the content matters. Over-automating curation can turn into a fail. Remember not to define your area narrowly in terms of SAP-only, but to look at overall trends. Example: If you have an SAP mobility product, make sure you are tracking overall influencers in the mobility space and you know who these folks are. Tip #1: Over time, you can begin to engage with them as you develop your own content and share more of your expertise. This is not done from the vantage point of "we'd like you to give our firm some coverage," or "we'd like to schedule a briefing," but rather from the vantage point of "two experts talking to each other." Tip #2: Once you have tracked such influencers, subscribe to them in a newsreader or an email client, putting you in a position to "curate" and share some of that content. Curation can be part of a broader content creation strategy, though be careful not to overdo it on aggregating other people's content. Curate with selectiveness and thought. Check out the JonERP piece on the power of pull and ERP content curation.

11. Set up "sentiment trackers" to monitor when you and your brand are mentioned in social channels.

Have you figured out how you will prioritize these mentions if you cannot reply to all of them? Do the team members who will be public facing in social channels have adequate training and clear social media guidelines to follow? Do they have some power to resolve issues that are raised by the community? (If not, they will seem like ineffective mouthpieces). Are they given some freedom to express their own personality? (If not, they will come off as inauthentic product pushers). Note: Do NOT overpay for expensive "sentiment analysis consulting." Many of the best tools are free - see my aforementioned "power of pull" piece for more on that.

12. Define a content strategy that includes free, easily shareable content as well as premium content.

If you have higher revenue SAP products and services, you will be giving away your content in order to share valuable work with the community and heighten your visibility. Don't make the mistake of trying to charge for content that should be used to build visibility, goodwill, and increased lead generation. You will want plenty of free content, particularly on your web site. SEO is not a key consideration other than titling your content in a relevant way for search.

There is a detailed piece on the myths of SEO and how to avoid getting ripped off by SEO "gurus." on Great - make that awesome - content is the key here. There's so much content in the SAP marketplace that it's become very difficult to compete on quantity and timeliness with the big news sites. That means you'll need to achieve real quality - not quantity - in order to have value. Many still mistakenly think quantity is the key, but it's actually consistency. I have one contact who does a great blog post once a week, and that one post has a big impact. It comes out like clockwork.

Here's how free and "free premium" content work together:

Free content is a true asset for search engines and the best content to share on social channels. The best free content combines thoughtful blog posts as well as stand-alone how-to articles in a library format. (See the myths of SEO piece for more details on this.)

"Free premium" content typically sits behind a firewall and requires a free sign up in order to access the content. This type of content can also be shared on social channels, though ideally it is not the only type of content you share. Free premium could mean signing up for access to a white paper library or webinar replay archive, but more often, it could mean future webinar signups or signups for individual surveys or quality PDFs. The signups themselves should not be cumbersome, but should include a few relevant fields that meet your salespeople's needs, such as job title and phone number and/or email address. Get your sales team's input on the data they want captured there, and make clear to the registrant what they are signing up for in terms of future communications.

Ask your marketing team regarding "free premium" content: are the signups integrated into your CRM system and automatically or easily sorted based on lead relevance? When signing up, do your registrants have clear options in terms of the frequency and type of communication they are opting into? Make sure the premium free content truly is worthy of the time it takes to get access to it. And make sure access is immediate, rather than a manual step to wait on once information is submitted.

Note: Few - if any - vendors in the SAP ecosystem have figured out how to balance these kinds of free content. Some even make the mistake of requiring visitors to pay for such content. That means there is real opportunity here for savvy firms who want to make a lasting contribution to the community and gain a good result for their efforts.

Here's the clickable Table of Contents for the four part web version: 

Keys 1-4 - Avoiding SAP Marketing #Fails (and Report Introduction)

Keys 5-12 - The Challenges of Transparency

Keys 13-21 -  Don't Get Fooled by SEO and Social "Gurus"

Keys 22-31 - Why Buying Influence Doesn't Work

Download this entire "31 Keys" feature as a PDF (128KB)


Links to additional articles cited in this document:

SAP, social media and decision makers

Power of pull and ERP content curation

How to avoid getting ripped off by SEO "gurus."

On SAP Mentors and leadership

Have follow up questions?

Contact me on LinkedIn, Facebook. Twitter, or Google Plus.

About Jon Reed

jon-headshot-150x150.jpgJon Reed is an SAP Mentor and independent analyst who blogs, Tweets, and videocasts on SAP market trends. Jon is the driving force behind, an interactive web site that features Jon's long-running SAP podcast series - unscripted conversations about SAP trends. Jon's client services are focused on the creative integration of media into a mold-breaking business strategy. Jon is also an Enterprise Irregular, an influential consortium of enterprise bloggers and practitioners.

Jon has been publishing SAP market analysis for more than fifteen years, and he is the author of the SAP Consultant Handbook. Recently, Jon and partner-in-video-crime Dennis Howlett launched - a video commentary web site for the on-demand enterprise. 






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