Expectations for 2014

Knowing is caring…Is this the year of your information revolution, or perhaps you are already there?

In my blog “The final destination isn’t Integration, its Collaboration!!” I wrote about the need to look beyond collecting information and focusing on the collaboration you are trying to achieve. With the current trends you really need to keep your eye on the ball…

There is no doubt that Big Data will be a major topic during 2014. The leaders are finding useful applications and the laggards are slowly waking up…same as for 2013 really. My wish is that companies start developing sound information strategies, for those of you who are unsure of what I mean with strategy, check this out. An important component in the “what” element is defining your structured and unstructured data sources and how you intend to use them, if your results don’t correspond with your intention you are either asking the wrong question or collecting the wrong information.

The second big thing for 2014 (also the same as for 2013) is content marketing. This is your beacon to the world. Most companies see this as a marketing gimmick. Be wary, you are underestimating people’s intelligence and patients. You need to publish useful information, information that is relevant to the reader.

The key to successful content marketing in 2014 for the average company is in cultivating and transforming the knowledge & experience of specialists inside your organization into regular, meaningful contributions that educate, challenge and entertain your primary audience

Oliver White, Head of RebelLabs – From the article The Future of Content Marketing: 50 Experts Share Their 2014 Predictions

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/content-marketing/future-content-marketing-50-experts-share-2014-predictions-0722560#4kuxF35LWI3KPeGq.99
With content marketing the requirements on your sales reps will also need to shift. They need to be as much of an expert on the area as a well-educated customer. The sales reps will need time to read what is posted from your company and from the competitors. A sales rep will have the need to assess the customer and adapt sales method to each client knowledge. In many cases they need to bring the customers back a step in the pipeline and re-educate them on your product/service as they have drawn wrong conclusions about what it will do for their business. Collaboration…

The third big thing is not new at all, Social Media. What is becoming increasingly better is the range of tools you can use and there are more and more people who actually know what they are talking about. It does not take much effort to do this on a small scale, but take a look at what your competition is doing first to set the right level, I know your customers are. This an excellent way of collaboration with your customers, learn more of what their aches and pains are (possibly getting some positive feedback). Collaboration…

The fourth big thing is Microsoft. Having seen what they are developing and what needs are rising, there is no doubt that they will take market shares. It feels like mobility is finally really happening and the industrial applications are coming into place. All CIO’s need to take a look at the latest demos of Dynamics CRM 2013, Dynamics NAV 2013, Dynamics AX 2013, Office Excel 2013 and Office Access 2013. It’s all just so much better. Microsoft has now provided companies with an easy means to create personalized apps with Windows 8, making seamless solutions for users at the touch of their screen. Internal communication has also taken a leap forward. Yammer is now integrated in Dynamics and SharePoint making it easy to comment, tag and search for information. Collaboration tools needed for your possibility to succeed. All the news is about…collaboration…

Apart from my last input regarding tools, most of things that are being written around trends are from the inside out. It is about your collaboration with the outside world. While this is important for your long term survival it is quite pointless if you have an internal chaos. Allowing your sales people to meet a client without knowing that they have an open quality claim is not ok. A sales rep promising a delivery within 6 months on a product that has a backload for the coming 7 months is not ok. A development department changing the properties of a product at the last minute and not letting sales and marketing in on the discussion is not ok. The interdependencies are there, where is the support? With the right tools and motivation you can achieve so much more…

And finally, a word of inspiration. This holiday we met up with the relatives and I was talking to a young girl in her early twenties who lives in London. She works at one of the fancy hotels and loves her job. What struck me was how good her manager has been to inspire and to set goals and demands. As a receptionist she was required to be able to know the current status of the hotel. How many guests, what suites are available, what the revenue was last night, and so on. Inspired by the need to know things about the business she also checked what guests where arriving and googled them to find out who they were and where they came from. She could then great them with a “Good morning Mr. P, how was the dentist conference in Paris?”, or selecting the right magazine and music for a guest checking into the presidential suite. Most important was her awareness that all customers where important and that they are all potential VIP’s. Knowing is caring…
Wordle

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