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It's More Than a Tool; It's a Brand

Ribon+cutting.jpgIt might seem like a waste of time and resources to invest in a marketing plan around an internal initiative, but I can tell you from what I've seen with our clients, it is critical to have a promotional plan in place once you’re ready to start introducing your staff to your social intranet. Imagine if you took the time to develop a sleek UI and in-depth training program, but no one showed up? Opportunity missed.


Treat your social intranet like a new product launch. Start by coming up with a name for your community. It should be something that ties your community vision and mission together with your company culture and/or your existing branding. For example, our social intranet at JCS is called “The Bridge” because of our company tagline – “Your bridge to social business.” Develop a logo and creative theme you can use within the community design itself and throughout your branded communication assets such as email updates, presentation slides, posters, etc.


Next, develop your pre- and post-launch communication schedule across various channels – email newsletters, webinars, videos, print, and even your existing company intranet if you have one. Your pre-launch messaging should build awareness of the new platform and drive people to register for training opportunities. Your post-launch messaging should highlight what’s happening in the community so far to generate more interest and continue to encourage people to register for training.  Highlight your “wins” to help sustain and enhance the credibility of the change that is taking place.


And don’t forget about your advocates I mentioned the Phase 1 - UI development stage. Think of them as brand ambassadors helping to spread the word about the benefits your community has to offer. Ask them to mention your newly launched network during their team meetings and have them suggest ways they can use it to work better within their teams. Give them swag to hand out or signs to post in their cubicles – whatever creative and effective tactics you can think of. Reward your power users by featuring them on the front page of the site; show how their efforts have resulted in lower costs, higher revenue and improved customer service.  Remember, you can’t do this alone, so engage people who want to participate and empower them to help you reach your goal.


What tactics have you used to drive adoption of a social intranet? What worked? What didn’t?


Part 1: User Experience | Part 2: Training | Part 3: Marketing

It’s that time of year again when the technology, film and music industries collide at the South by Southwest Conference & Festival in Austin, Texas. SXSW Interactive kicks off the conference on March 8 and over five days hosts interactive panels, events and meet-ups for seasoned and emerging professionals.


SXSWi is your chance to learn from industry thought leaders on a wide variety of topics including social business. Social business software, like ours, helps people connect and collaborate to get more work done and improve execution in critical business functions. This technology is shifting how people communicate and work internally and externally in business.


As the world’s most powerful social collaboration platform we know social business. Therefore, we’ve combed through the SXSW schedule for the best panels to attend if you’re interested in learning more about social business. Click here for our recommendations:


Jive's Top 10 SXSW Social Business Panels



What are your favorite sessions? Comment below!


What is a Social Workflow?

A social workflow is a sequence of input and interaction steps that achieve a structured outcome through the use of social technologies and/or paradigms.


Why Should I Use Social Workflows?

Process and workflow are inevitable necessities in modern business, but to spout an unconventional truththey don't have to suck!  Remember, they were created to make work-life more efficient.  In fact, that's the premise behind companies implementing enterprise workflow platforms: to optimize daily operations.  A common caveat with this solution is a tendency to make decisions based on what the technology can do versus what the business actually needs, which can result in inefficient execution.  In a way, this is where the workflow stigma begins: when the loss in productivity operating within a workflow exceeds the value in efficiency and oversight it was meant to provide.


Social workflows are about providing flexible options to divert simple processes away from complicated solutions that take control out of the hands of the worker.

Two core components of workflows are routing and execution. Routing is about triaging requests and assigning resources, while execution is actually about doing the task at hand.  In many cases, routing is intertwined with execution as a result of technology requirements.  This is not always a bad thing, but I'd argue that it's highly inefficient over time to be considered a standard practice.  Routing inside workflows become outdated extremely fast in the modern enterprise.  As knowledge workers learn the intricacies of systems, they will naturally find ways to short-circuit the system for faster outcomes.

I know I'm not the only one who has tried to expedite a workflow by tracking down approvers down via email, IM, or sometimes even "laptop in-hand cafeteria stalking" … (don't judge) … just to get them to click a simple button.

Doesn't it make more sense to harness that extra energy and effort to get more work done, rather than working harder for a less than zero increase in output?  Using social technologies and some best practice guidance, you can effectively "crowdsource" the routing phase of most workflows to the workers themselves.  This allows for an infinitely more adaptive routing paradigm that leverages the total mindshare of the company (past and present), while simplifying workflow steps and expediting time to completion.


When to Use Social Workflows?

Its important to note that social workflows are not always a full replacement for traditional workflow solutions. In some cases, compliance and security dictate a workflow's definition, regardless of efficiency; however, these use-cases tend to be dwarfed by the vast number of opportunities that are not bound by such restrictions. The single most valuable aspect of adopting social workflows is that once implemented, all workers can mix and match these as a blueprint on how to self-service information on any process across the enterprise.


Here are some questions that might help you decide if social workflows will work for your situation:

  • Does the workflow (as designed) still reflect the workplace, ideal process, and outcomes I value?
  • Is the workflow complexity a product of forcing technology, or a real functional requirement?
  • How much of this workflow is really execution versus routing?
  • If I have a means for people to come together and execute reliably, is a workflow still needed?

How to Use Social Workflows?

Here is an example of a simple blueprint that anyone can follow, that is built atop a series of social workflows:

  1. Find Functional Process Collaboration Place - Official place for asking questions about the process.
    • Find Functional App to Execute Process -  Interactive guide to execute the process.
    • Find Functional Documentation about Process -  Instructions on how to execute the process.
  2. Find Functional Team Collaboration Place - Group of people responsible for the process.
  3. Find Functional Expert - Specific person responsible for a piece of the process.
  4. Find Process Expert - Someone who frequents the process and can share tips & tricks for successful completion.


In the early stages, people are directed to a specific place to execute a task.  Once there, documentation is available to walk them through, and if the process is complicated or requires a bit more structure for reliability, then a simple #socbiz app can be built to bring about the desired behavior.  If questions arise, people can find others who are relevant to the process by virtue of the functional teams, social graph or talent discovery provided by the platform.  Each step in this blueprint has a social workflow working under the scenes, where parties have agreed to synchronize their focus and behavior around the platform to benefit the system as a whole.


Do you have a story where you've uprooted a legacy process and replaced it with a socially charged alternative?  If so, share your story in the comments below.


Tune in next time, as I share my best practices for social workflows on the Jive platform and how those best practices can eventually feed a #socbiz app revolution in your enterprise!

Not Just How, But Why

Bubbles.jpgRegardless of the user-friendliness of your chosen social collaboration platform, you have to recognize that this is more than just a new tool to learn how to use - it's a new way to run a business and a massive paradigm shift in the way people work. Make sure you take the time to develop a comprehensive training program that covers both the technical how-to's and the reasons why your company is implementing an enterprise social network. Letting people "in" on the strategy side helps build trust, which gets people on your side and facilitates the organizational change required to make your social business vision a reality.


As you develop your training program, start with an introduction to social business and provide examples of how admirable companies are successfully running enterprise social networks today. Specific evidence definitely helps – otherwise, it's all hype. Get case studies from your technology provider and leverage those statistics to prove business value. If your technology provider can’t provide statistics, borrow Jive’s McKinsey report, The Social Economy – full of ammunition for credibility wars. If you already have a few groups using your social intranet as a proof of concept, that’s even better. Have a show-and-tell session to demonstrate real-life work scenarios at your company. People need to know that you’re there to make their work lives easier, not shove another tool down their throats.


How did you go about training your teams on your social intranet? If you could do it over again, what would you explain in more detail?


Next week, we'll wrap up this series with marketing tactics to promote and grow your community.


Part 1: User Experience  |  Part 2: Training  |  Part 3: Marketing

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 12.42.34 PM.png

In order to be a high performer, a knowledge worker must always:


  • focus on the right tasks
  • have all the skills necessary for the role
  • work as efficiently as possible and work with others whenever appropriate


That means they must do five behaviors effectively:

  1. Understand their organization's overall strategy, and how they contribute
  2. Informally learn from others in similar roles
  3. Find experts and their knowledge to improve work in progress
  4. Collaborate with others to create and deliver quality work products
  5. Share their knowledge with others


Obstacles to Achieving Higher Performance


Unfortunately, traditional intranets, knowledge management and collaboration applications pose significant obstacles to achieving higher performance. Let's grade how they deliver in each of the five behaviors.


Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 4.13.34 PM.png


1. Understand their organization's overall strategy, and how they contribute


Grade = C


How do most organizations communicate to employees about corporate strategy? Typically, Corporate Communications writes an article that appears on the intranet homepage, which is the default browser homepage. In many cases, executives are asked to cascade emails to their direct reports until it reaches everyone in the firm. So, as a knowledge worker, I'm responsible for paying attention to the intranet home page, even though it is not where I spend my time during the day. Or, if I get the thing as an email, here's to hoping I see it among all the other unread items, and that my immediate manager hasn't prefaced it with his or her own perceptions that could negatively influence my own.


And forget about asking for clarification, or even sharing my agreement or excitement. Even if I could do that in the intranet home page version, what are the chances that others will chime in, since they too, do not spend their day camped out in the intranet?


Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 3.19.15 PM.pngWhy is feedback so important? According to McKinsey research, 55% of strategies do not include an effective and aligned execution plan. Gaining buy-in to a company's strategic direction is KEY to executing on it. A quick way to gain buy-in is to give your most expensive and skilled employees a voice in developing it.



2. Informally learn from others in similar roles

Grade = B

In a many intranet/collaboration/knowledge management environments, there are communities of practice dedicated to specific job functions. Many of these are thriving communities, both on and offline. But, consider how long it takes a newcomer - whether a new hire or newly acquired hire - to find these communities and start benefiting from them. Do their hiring managers introduce them? Do they find them weeks later through word-of-mouth? Or, is it part of their onboarding program? Does the intranet or KM system figure out who they are and recommend communities to join? Not likely.



3. Find experts and their knowledge to improve work in progress


Grade = C-

Take a look at your intranet, collaboration tools, and/or knowledge management systems. Do you have quick and easy access to your colleagues' work products, particularly the ones you don't know yet? Imagine if you could browse what people are working on to passively learn from them (i.e., you wouldn't need to interrupt them at all). Typically, you must ask a question - most likely through an email blast - and hope someone takes time to answer fast enough to make a difference in the thing you're working on right now.


Or, maybe you've got a micro-blogging tool or an HR app that helps folks find people with the knowledge you're looking for. What about their work in progress? What about their finished projects? Do people only log into that tool when they need to find someone, or have time on their hands to help others? The point is, you'll learn more from others by seeing what they've worked on (assuming you have access), versus reading their resume, or hoping they're online to answer your question.


4. Collaborate with others to create and deliver quality work products


Grade = D


Employees are typically stuck using multiple disconnected, non-mobile collaboration apps, so it's rather difficult to keep track of decisions made or actions needed across tools. This is also true if all they use is email, meetings and conference calls. Now, if the work is document-centric, life is a bit easier with decent document management tools. But, what about all the conversations, action items, and decisions needed to create those documents? That's what I mean by "collaboration."

Take a moment and look at your inbox and calendar. We all are trying to use a 40-year-old tool to do things it was never intended to do.


5. Share their knowledge with others


Grade = C


Organizations with thriving knowledge management cultures do this the best, and likely deserve a better grade, but the majority of organizations out there don't have such a culture. There's the age-old problem of trying to get people to share what they know proactively, when the best knowledge transfer happens in the moment, in context. I don't know what I know until you ask a question, and I like you enough to answer. Which is why we use email so much, except that knowledge transfer will briefly live in someone's inbox, never to be seen by anyone else. How can this in-the-moment knowledge transfer scale, you ask? Stay tuned.


Fostering collaboration and innovation within your organization is not easy, download this resource kit to learn more

Does any of this happen in your organization? What other obstacles do you experience?

Note: In my next post, I'll share how social can be used to remedy these problems.

UPDATE: Part 2 - Why Your Intranet Should Be Seamlessly Social

Big+Jack.jpgLast year, a number of companies invested in social business software as a means to enhance collaboration, communication, and innovation among employees. But several of these companies are still in the planning or proof of concept stages of launching their social intranets. While these organizations have taken the right initial steps create a social business, few have the resources and expertise they need to launch an internal community successfully. Many are now asking themselves, “now what?” and more importantly, “how do we get people to use this?”


Launching an enterprise social network is no easy task. It takes a considerable amount of strategic planning and technical experience to ensure a successful deployment and gain full adoption. This three-part blog series will focus on key drivers of social intranet adoption to help you plan your social business strategy: user experience, training, and marketing. While this is by no means a comprehensive checklist, these are the key components we (at JCS Consulting) see as the most frequently missed opportunities to drive adoption of enterprise social networks.


Part 1: User Experience – Less is More

User+Experience.jpgWhen it comes to the design of an enterprise social network, we all want to keep it simple, but it’s much easier said than done. With all of the bells and whistles we get with some of today's most advanced social collaboration technology (like Jive), we’re left with too many options. So how do we set this up the “right” way?


If you find yourself going down a complicated path, remember -- this is first and foremost a communication and collaboration platform. Focus less on where to store content, and more on the actions and behaviors you want to encourage. It will make your social intranet much more useful, therefore increasing your likelihood for adoption.


Before you build out anything, take the time to interview team members across multiple departments in varying roles within your company. You want to talk to the people “in the trenches” getting the work done, not just the people calling the shots, because these are the folks who will likely become your “power users” and, more importantly, your advocates that will help drive adoption within their individual teams. What is it that people need to do get their job done? Where can you help? Build your community around those use cases, and the design starts to make more sense.


What initial use cases have you determined for your social intranet? Which teams or departments are you struggling with?


Part 1: User Experience  |  Part 2: Training  |  Part 3: Marketing

Your employees waste on average 28 hours per week just trying to get work done. Instead of driving growth and innovation, they're searching for information, slogging through email, and reinventing the wheel. We've invited three social business experts from Gartner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Jive Software to examine this problem and share proven tactics from the trenches for increasing productivity and strategic alignment.


Join us in an interactive webcast to hear a success story from Simon Levene at PricewaterhouseCoopers on how his team implemented a social business platform that accelerates employees' ability to collaborate with each other and bolster employee productivity.  Plus, Gartner analyst Larry Cannell will share insights on the evolution of social business platforms and the impact on the market.


Learn about:

  • The evolution of social business technology, from general collaboration to driving specific business results
  • How to roll out social business technology to yield measurable gains, like improved productivity
  • How organizational dynamics impact social business initiatives
  • How to find specific examples where social business drives measurable business results


Due to popular demand, we're hosting this webcast twice (with Q&A at both):


Wednesday, February 27 at 11am PT / 2pm ET

Reserve your seat here.


Thursday, March 7 at 10am GMT

Reserve your seat here.

In order to celebrate the public release of our The specified item was not found., we conducted a series of interviews with the winners of our 2012 Jive Awards to see what successful community deployments were all about. Our first interview is with deeparamesh, Global Community Manager at Millward Brown, winner of the 2012 Engage Employees Award. Millward Brown is a global research and brand agency, and they received their award for their innovative approaches to fostering cross-departmental collaboration and information sharing. 2-5-2013 10-07-55 PM.png

How is Millward Brown using Jive?

Our Jive community which serves as our global intranet is called the Greenhouse. It is a one stop shop for all of Millward Brown’s employees across all of our companies and regions, so they can share and collaborate across the globe together in one platform.


Users have better access to knowledge – from our learnings, papers and information on our solutions, and also to more informal knowledge as its helped to connect colleagues globally to leverage their expertise. Employees are using Greenhouse as a means to connect, collaborate and learn from each other and from internal experts. This has helped them tell a better story and create more meaningful impact on our clients.


Greenhouse is also being used to brainstorm new thinking, ideas and learning. It fuels thought leadership and innovation across the company.


What do you do as a Global Community Manager?

I work closely with our Enterprise Community Manager ReeceO, Global Web Administrator TracyW, and Global Head of Knowledge Management ElMystico on day-to-day operation of Greenhouse. This includes: answering user questions, communicating any new advancements to our community, listening to the needs of our employees, adapting our community to suit their needs, curating content, sharing best practices, and providing targeted training.


I also work closely with our Regional Ambassadors, who helps champion our community in North America, Latin America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia. My focus is on strategies to help improve participation and adoption in the different countries/regions. Most importantly, I make sure that we are on track with executing our Community Strategy and adapt new initiatives in the Greenhouse so that it continues to work hand in hand with key Millward Brown initiatives. This often involves working with various global and regional teams to determine the best use of Greenhouse to reach their goals.


What success have you seen in your community thus far?

We have a very active community and our employees are using Greenhouse in the way that we had expected. Based on our recent one year analytics, Knowledge is the most active space in our community and this is completely in line with our company mission and what we created this community for – to share knowledge.


We are a global company, and we are all used to working with people in different offices, sometimes for years before meeting them face to face! With Greenhouse, we can see what our colleagues look like, and this has also helped build a better connection with employees across the globe.


It is also interesting to see how our community is even bringing about a cultural change. It has made it easier for employees to voice their opinions with senior management and vice versa. It’s amazing to see this happening in our company.


I have grown accustomed to hearing conversations of colleagues around me to “find it in the Greenhouse” or “Have you checked out the Greenhouse.” It’s great to see that it has become a part of our employee’s everyday working lives.


What piece of advice would you give to people new to social business?

The biggest challenge for someone new to social business is not the technical aspect of it; but the users. Make sure that social business fits with your corporate culture. It’s important to understand the people in your community, their culture, what they want out of it, and continually adapt your community to better suit the needs of your users.


Millward Brown was already a collaborative, knowledge-focused environment, Jive just gave us a tool to help nurture and enable that culture.


To learn more about using Jive to foster collaboration and innovation within your organization, download this resource kit.

Benchmarking the Social Intranet


Of late, I've been crunching some numbers. My aim is simple - how to get a better sense of what adoption figures mean and how we might begin successfully benchmarking the social intranet. The inspiration for the exercise came from a call with Gia Lyons and Claire Flanagan of Jive Software and I'd like to thank them for providing the means to apply some ratios to a social business platform roll out for internal collaboration, i.e. the social intranet. For my example I'm going to use some of the key adoption metrics generated  from Jive's Community Manager Reports (CMR) tool. These are as follows:


ActiveUsers who have viewed at least one item in the previous 30 days
ParticipatingUsers who have commented, liked, rated/voted, edited, or created content in the previous 30 days.
ContributingUsers who have created new content (blogs, wikis, threads, video etc) in the previous 30 days
Logged in usersUsers who have logged in at least once since site creation
Total usersAll system users, excluding disabled


Whilst these are how Jive provides core reporting, they could equally well apply to IBM Connections, SharePoint, Blue Kiwi or any other social business platform.

The Social Business Adventure of Five Fictional Companies

To bring this exercise to life, I've created some adoption data tables for 5 very different companies.These are fictional entities constructed for this exercise but all are in sectors that I've engaged with in social business projects over the last 15-20 years or so , namely, technology, education, finance, media and energy.  Given this, I can apply some insight into these companies but I must state that some of the adoption rates are aspirational! The companies are as follows: American Gasoline (AG): global oil and energy company; Royal Bank of Ireland (RBI): an EU bank; Silicon Valley Circuits (SVC): a leading tech company; Media Moguls (MM): a successful media company; and University of Chiswick (UoC): a prestigious UK university The adoption rates for these companies are as so:


ActiveParticipatingContributingLogged in UsersTotal Users



As a bar chart, this looks like this:







What are we to make of these figures, how well are each doing and how do they benchmark?


Representing Social Business Adoption as a Percentage


The first thing we need to do is turn these figures into percentages.  Taking the total users in the system as 100%, we get the following table:


% Active% Participating% Contributing% Logged in Users% Total Users


Benchmark 1: How many employees are using the site?

This is based based on conversations at the Social Business Council and research conducted there earlier in the year by Susan Scrupski. The basic consensus is that we should aim for getting half of our employees at least viewing material in the site in a 30 day period - Jive's Active Users.





As we can see here, in only one of my examples, Media Moguls, has this been achieved. This is not uncommon - I comment I hear often from other people working in driving social business adoption is that getting to 50% is very difficult. In some ways it's a crude but pretty indicative mark - is the site being at least viewed by most the employees?

Benchmark 1: a target 50% of employees viewing content in a 30 day period.

Benchmark 2: How widely is the social business platform rolled out?

This benchmark is a simple and effective measure of how widely the social business platform has been rolled out. You might well get a situation where there's a very lively and value-creating community but where this is an enclave with the company. Here we're looking at the total possible universe of users and how many have ever logged in. The total universe is all those who can have access - (most likely the total in Active Directory, as below). Jive's figure here is that 90% should have logged. When we look at our communities this is how they pan out:




On this benchmark only the Royal Bank or Ireland and Media  Moguls are doing well. At American Gasoline, a third of all people in the company have never logged. Clearly there's some wider internal communications work needed here to expand the community out and to get people using the site.

Benchmark 2: 90% of employees should have logged in to the social business platform

Benchmark 3: How active are communities?

The  benchmark I'm going to apply measures how active the communities are. So far we have useful benchmarks on the very big picture but in order to get a clearer comparative overview of the companies, we need to apply some further measures. These will then allow us to start to benchmark their actual performance against each other in terms of the sites themselves. What we're trying to find out here is how active the people currently using the community actually are. The way this is calculated is take the total who have ever logged in as 100 and then calculate percentages of Active, Participating and Contributing Users against that. The % Jive think should be active here is 50% or more. This is important to separate out Logged in from Total System users, in that for many companies, the total number of system users are as likely as not being pulled in from Active Directory by an LDAP synch. As we saw above, the system users might not even know the site exists. What we need to know therefore is, of those who have logged in, how does their activity and thus the site, fare? So how do our communities measure up?




The result is patchy. If 50% is the benchmark figure for Active Users, against those who have ever logged in, then we can see that only Media Moguls and the Royal Bank of Ireland have achieved that figure. Of the rest, the majority of people who have ever logged in have not returned in the last 30 days. And remember, Active users in Jive's terminology is just those who have viewed something. If we're looking at those generating new content or commenting on existing content then the figure is even lower.

Benchmark 3: the number of Active Users should be 50% or higher when measured against those who have ever logged in.


Benchmark 4: Is the site more than just somewhere to visit?


The final benchmark left me a bit incredulous at first as I thought it unrepresentative of a lot of the communities I'd seen. It certainly seemed a stretch goal at first. What this benchmark provides is a way of seeing if the site is being used by just a handful of people or whether it's being used by a lot of people as a potentially useful business tool. To provide more depth to this benchmark it might well be necessary to flesh it out by looking at what people are doing and whether the site is simply a document store or being used for effective collaboration. Nonetheless this is a useful measure - what we're after seeing here is how much people many of the users are actually creating new materials rather than just viewing or commenting on existing documents and discussions. In my opinion it's a very good measure of the health of the community and how embedded its use is in day to day activities by a wide group of people. Certainly, if a community met this benchmark then it would be a strong sign of successful and wide usage. What this benchmark looks at is the number of people creating new content, Jive's Contributing Users, against the number of Active Users. For Jive this figure should be 75%.


When we look at our communities this is how they fare:




As we can see here, none of the communities meet this mark. Royal Bank of Ireland does best here with nearly two thirds of the community using it to generate new stuff. At the University of Chiswick however, only a tiny proportion of the community are creating new items. Now it might be argued that a social intranet will follow the pattern of the consumer web with Altimeter's 90:9:1 rule, showing a small proportion creating genuinely new content and the majority of users simply lurking. The difference here though is that we're looking at a business tool. If the tool is successfully embedded into day to day business then why are the majority of users not using it to create new materials? Are they not making new stuff (unlikely) or are they making them and collaborating using e-mail? Either way, this is indicative of how people are using the site - is it a business tool or a lurker's paradise?

Benchmark 4: the number of User creating new content (Contributing Users) should be 75% or higher, against the number of Active Users.



There may well be mileage in producing target ratios against the 90% we expect to have logged in or other such measures. Whilst I'm tempted to start extrapolating out more figures from my fictional companies, especially around and usage, or even providing them with working strategies to address their different challenges, I shall stop here. Maybe for future posts. These figures are of course somewhat heavy handed (the term 'Instrumental Reason' comes back from my Critical Theory days)  so please see Deb Lavoy's excellent article in CMS Wire 2013 Prediction: Social Business Tech will Stop Blaming Culture for Failure for a more nuanced look at the value social business we can bring to the table rather than just the numbers. Nonetheless I do think they provide a useful way to make sense of Jive's Community Manager Reports and to measure the success of a social business platform against industry norms. In the future it might be possible to get anonymous feeds from Jive's CMR of the data that could then feedback into CMR about how a community was doing. In the meantime we have Excel and calculators - (and please let me know if you spot any errors in my arithmetic! ) and at least privately, how your real communities measure up against the ones here. And also, if you have your own benchmarks to share, please do let me know.

Reposted from: Benchmarking the Social Intranet



Looking back on my blog, Riding the Social Wave: Social Support Part 2, I realized there is room to provide more direction on a critical area: how to effectively use a customer-facing community in a business-to-business scenario. At Jive, every customer receives a private space in our customer-facing community (the Jive Community) to discuss sensitive topics. Any customer at Jive can also create a discussion in a public space or group in the Jive Community. Anyone can join the Jive Community, browse the public spaces and groups to learn about our product offerings, and hear from other customers. For business-to-business companies, setting up private and public groups is essential. Here are some tips:


Create Private Spaces

If you are a Jive customer, your private group consists of only your own employees and Jive's customer service representatives to ensure privacy. Creating private spaces and groups in your support community:

  • Create a private space for each of your customers. This is critical to avoid privacy concerns and allow for open conversation between your customers and your employees.
  • Create problem-specific groups in customer spaces.  In the customer space, you can also create customer groups to address issues specific to your customer.  This is an incredibly resourceful way of organizing your company documentation about your Support Communities.

Create Public Spaces

Unlike other social platforms, you can customize your customer support community and make it quick and easy. Additionally, you're able to create a community of customers that can help their peers. Creating public spaces and groups in your support community:

  • Create spaces for your different product or service offerings.
  • Provide common Q&A information in each of public spaces.
  • Link to these spaces on the homepage of your support community. Make it easy for customers to navigate to these different groups from the homepage of your customer community.
  • Regularly share plans and pertinent information to build loyalty. Give people a reason to visit the community. This is the best place to talk up your achievements, plans, and highlight customer success.

Create an engagement process for your gatekeepers/staff

  • Use gatekeepers (community managers or support staff) to control content-flow between customers and employees, keeping your company voice.


  • Have individual staff respond to inquiries and coordinate internally.


This process in practice is illustrated below. Starting on the left, you have your customers and their options for finding information in your customer community.  Then comes the role of your gatekeepers or individual staff, controlling the flow of information from internal resources to the customers. And last, your social intranet, where answers are being determined to respond to customer questions and concerns, product release schedules, etc.




The Jive Support Space is a good example of this:  Support Space.  Inside this space we have a variety of other links to important areas of information, such as Social Business Space, our highly successful Developer Space, and our essential Website Information & Feedback Space where we regularly get feedback from customers.  We then have spaces on our social intranet where Jive employees collaborate on responses to inquiries through those spaces in the Jive Community.


Be sure to organize all your spaces and content in a manner that can grow and evolve. For more information on creating a successful customer community, download this resource kit.


How have set up your customer community? I would love to hear your thoughts and stories!

There are a few major areas of focus for sales leaders in 2013, and mobile is at the top of the list.  It's no surprise that 75% of sales organizations are either using tablet technology or plan to do so in the next 12 months (Sales Executive Council).  The single largest hindrance to sales productivity is a lack of access to answers to customer questions, selling materials, and most importantly, the people required to close deals.  Even if you have 5 years selling with a company and work 9-5 down the hall from experts at headquarters, this is still a huge problem.  However, the reality is that over 60% of sellers are working remote and 100% of field sellers are road warriors.  Although most of us have given sellers access to email and CRM data via mobile, most companies still have not deployed tools to help sellers achieve quota faster, grow deal sizes, or increase win rates.  As one CIO put it, "we began by essentially given our sellers very expensive toys, much like when I give my 4 year old my iPad as a distraction at dinner".  So, how do we turn toys into cutting edge sales applications to achieve a demonstrable return?


Aberdeen wrote a report in 2012 on sales mobility, in which the first required action stated that companies must, "Enhance sales performance with ready access to marketing collateral and reinforced training content," and also stressed use of social media and collaboration tools.  This is completely different from giving a seller access to a contact's email to recreate the wheel on a deliverable requested after a meeting.  The big shift in 2013 is that companies are focused on impacting the quality, effectiveness, and turnaround time on the interactions happening both internally and with customers; regardless of location, connectivity, or device.

There are a few best practices learned from Fortune 500 companies we partner with who take a simple, thoughtful, and scalable approach.  Their approach mimics the most highly addictive apps their sellers already download in their personal lives, which drives enormous adoption.  However their strategy becomes the catalyst for sales transformation initiatives that drive revenue.  Key steps our clients take are:

1) Less is MoreJivePresent.png

The first step is to focus on a few high priority use cases.  The question to answer is what is the killer sales app for your team?  If you're in Healthcare it may be sharing compliant content with a doctor in a 15 minute conversation.  For Financial Services it may be presenting a pitch book with an investor. In almost every industry it's just getting answers to questions or finding experts and not waiting weeks.  Pick key areas and roll out first and gain adoption.  A few we scenarios to think about could be:

  • A seller is in a cab going to a first meeting and listening to the "Sales Top Gun" podcast station and previous recordings of sales calls.
  • The VP of sales posts an announcement getting out of a cab on the 3 reasons he is excited to sell a new product launch.
  • The seller @ mention the product manager with a question regarding this new launch.
  • That afternoon they thumb through a presentation on an iPad with a C-level buyer engaged in an interactive dialogue.


2) Experience is King

Too many companies today spend millions on custom development permutating every selling scenario and piece of data sellers need and try to condense that down to a 4 inch screen.  But, the beauty of mobile apps is that they have a simple and elegant experience with a swipe of a finger.  Make sure the experience:

  • Is segmented with relevant content per type of seller and language.  Also, many clients provide a new hire training to watch videos in their off time.
  • Ensure that sellers can access this online, but also offline for tablets that don't have cell plans.
  • Brand their experience and ensure it can be shared with clients in meetings, to change the conversation.


3) Roll out and Refocus

You will learn far more after a deployment about user experience, new use cases, and content required in the sales process than you could imagine.  By starting simple and understanding the highest priorities from your users you can follow a more agile deployment model.  Key things to focus on here are:

  • Be able to monitor and report on the overall usage but also most popular content.
  • Gain feedback through the application however also with a core power user group.
  • Continuously add teams, content, and capability to add value.



So, what can you expect for outcomes?  Aberdeen found that companies supporting best in class sales mobility have a 13% higher sales quota attainment.  Also, a top tier global consulting firm found that Jive customers deploying just a few of these use cases increases sales / rep by 13%, with a 12% higher win rate.  Don't wait to arm your sellers with a new way to learn, drive customer conversation and meetings, and win deals faster as your competitors may already be on their way down this path.


For more information, download this free resource kit. How are you enabling your sales team on the go? Comment below.

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