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April 21, 2010
The Social Media (Selling) Event of the XeeSM

Thirty thousand business users can’t be wrong.

OK, they could be, but in this case, they are right on the money.

In fall 2009, I told you about a new service called XeeSM (pronounced see-sum), launched by Axel Schultze and the team who brought us the Xeequa Social Media Academy, where you can post links to your most important social media links and other sites in one place, in my case http://xeesm.com/JEFF/. Or as I call it at my core site, a one-stop social hub. I love it for that reason alone: Instead of loading up Web sites, news releases, ads, e-mail signatures, and everything else with an ever-growing laundry list of social links (“Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIN, oh my”), now you can cover all your online bases with just one.

That’s great, but I already own 10 domains. Why not just grab an unused page on one of those sites and list all my links there?”

No harm in that, but staking your claim to a piece of real estate on XeeSM puts you on the social grid fast. It’s a crowdsourcing-based product built on more than 1,000 inputs and feature requests from a rapidly growing community of more than 30,000 business users. One way I know it works: At its last reassessment, Google upped all pages on my reasonably well-connected core site to PageRank 3, while my XeeSM page was already a PageRank 4. Like all networking/social media services, XeeSM lets you run open searches on its user base. OK, so right now it’s tens of millions of users short of LinkedIN and Facebook, but if XeeSM achieves LinkedIN- or Facebook-style near-ubiquity, you could find all relevant links for pretty much anyone you want to find not by doing look-ups on each of 20-30-50 social-networking sites but by doing one look-up on one site: XeeSM.

XeeSM is a place to find and be found, and as the community grows, it’s only going to get better, but Schultze and team have far bigger plans, and I’m enjoying watching them roll out enhancement after enhancement like each new burst of color and sound at a fireworks show. XeeSM, in full flower, is a social business application designed to be used by sales, marketing, product management, and support to enhance the selling process, build brand image and industry relationships, develop customer personas, and improve the customer experience. It is also designed to help HR learn about candidates, finance to see the people behind the numbers, and more.

Why is this important? As I’ve discussed in this space and elsewhere, interactive marketing and social media are largely about creating less push and more pull. While direct mail, cold-calling, print, billboards, and other traditional sales and marketing approaches can still have their place, think of them now like the fats-oils-sweets group in the food pyramid: Use sparingly. Relying on them today results in potential customers hanging up on you, tossing your colorful flyer in the recycle bin, changing the channel, and turning the page. Your best prospects today are more focused on their cellphone/mobile/PDA/laptop, and your message needs to be there. To bring our food analogy full circle with a half-twist, interactive and social media are fast becoming the main course.

But I already have a Web site, send an e-newsletter to our mailing list, write a blog, and post tweets on Twitter.”

Good going, and you’re ahead of many of your peers. Now XeeSM can help you close the loop (and close business) by actively bringing sales processes into the equation. As Schultze and Andy Rudin ask in their white paper, "The Principle of Social Selling," “Is it getting easier for me to sell? Are my sales cycles trending shorter?” Unless you can honestly answer yes, it is time to update your sales strategies and tactics. XeeSM will represent a clear upgrade for most with things like social network management, tracking of connections, activity and outcomes, and a flow-based forecasting model based on buying patterns. Not just “CRM” but a new flavor of social CRM, open enough to allow a free flow of connections but closed enough to protect your critical corporate data. Ready integration with existing IT infrastructure so you don’t have to mold your business processes to XeeSM, you mold it to meet your needs. Last but not least, something Xeequa intriguingly calls “genetic computing” to analyze what it terms the DNA of your business relationships.

At one time, socializing in business was reserved mainly for salespeople who took prospects and clients to the golf course or out to lunch/dinner. (I know, sales executives, I know. Everyone thinks it’s great fun entertaining clients, but to those of you who do it all the time, it can be anything but fun. Read on.) Social media can reduce the need for those other social business obligations and level the playing field for everyone else by providing new ways to start conversations and open doors. Today those doors are constructed of social networks, groups, and user communities, and if a critical mass of users gets behind XeeSM, it could be the ideal way to get a handle on them all.

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For years Jeff Cotrupe was the analyst who "named Stratecast but never joined the firm." Those days are over: He has now joined Stratecast, a division of Frost & Sullivan, as Program Director, OSS/BSS Global Competitive Strategies. If you compete in the global communications market, Stratecast offers the critical strategic insights you need to WIN. You can connect with Jeff on all social media sites at XeeSM and follow StratecastF&S and Jeff on Twitter.

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