MUST READ: Best answer EVER to the question, “What’s the best CRM?”

If you are interested in CRM and aren’t already reading the work of Brian Vellmure, you should be.  Brian scored a home-run with this post answering the question, “What’s the best CRM?” It’s a must read for customers, and a great perspective for vendors to adopt. Without question, this post is one of the best CRM posts I have  have read in ages.

It is accurate, realistic, and practical.  More significantly, the whole psychology & practice applies to any business app selection, not just CRM.  It should be kept at hand for customers to read, and read by the rest of us as vendors and consultants to keep our focus directed correctly.

The very best part of his approach is that it is also the way that we should approach and answer prospects any time we are asked, “What’s the best X?” for technology.

You’ve all heard the term ‘solution fit’, but let me introduce you to the term ‘Situational Leadership’, which is what Brain’s demonstrated in this post. When we’re asked to guide organizations in decision-making and selections, it isn’t about walking in the door to provide answers.  Situational Leadership means that you work to help customers figure out what are the right questions they should be asking themselves. “What are we really trying to accomplish with our customers? (our culture, our budget, our processes, our people, and our goals and objectives?)

There is no single, ‘best’ answer to anything, and this is most especially true when we’re asked to weigh the merits of one product or another for a client’s needs.  Fit is indeed determined by need and goals. Brian’s more accurate refinement of the question leads to a critical shift in perspective for those looking for an answer.  It’s not about the answers – it really is about the questions you’re asking:

“How can we get a deeper understanding of our prospects and customers, create a well crafted vision of how to listen and respond better, and enable people throughout our entire organization to execute in the most efficient. effective, and profitable way?”

Adjust your question slightly and adjust your outcome significantly.

ARE YOU HELPING YOUR CUSTOMERS ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS, OR JUST TOSSING OUT ANSWERS ABOUT YOUR PRODUCTS?

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Note: This year’s CRM Idol lucky winner will also receive four hours of of free consultantion by phone with Brian, too! 

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My Kind of Thought Leader: An Inspirational Lesson & Perspective Gut-Check from a Japanese Survivor

This is my kind of Thought Leader who truly understands Realtionships.

I saw the most incredible man in one news clip about about the aftermath in Japan. I wish I’d noted the town he was from, but I do recall that it was in one of the Northern-most towns worst hit by the tsunami. His entire village was devastated.

Yet, this hunched little old man was traveling from decimated home to home, digging through the debris for only one thing -> he was salvaging photographs. He held several out to the reporter like the most precious gems and said, “Look! Look at these! This one looks like little children on a kindergarten outing to a fire station. These are what we must recover. They will be treasures for someone if all else is lost.”

I could’ve dove through the tv right then & there to bow deeply before that wise old soul for his wisdom & love for his fellow man.

He GETS IT.

If I could do a single thing for the people of Japan, I’d travel around like that little wise man and spend my time collecting their real treasures for recovery. Gma’s silk kimonos. Pictures. Hand-crafted art. Great Uncle’s war medals. The human history that can’t be rebuilt or replaced.

The culture.

Intermission is Over – And A Twitter Homecoming

I never did get around to putting up the message that I would be

for an extended span of months, but I’m chuffed being on the other side of the intermission.  My first twenty-four hours back in the zone have been filled with inspiration, tasty brain candy, laughter and a surprisingly warm Twitter homecoming. When I opened TweetDeck for the first time in months to play catch-up, little did I know the treasures I’d find. 

The first gem was in learning that @BlogBrevity, a Thought Leader DJ, will be speaking at TWTRCon SF10. Angela is a powerful communicator who understands crowd concepts and conversations – they’re lucky to have her. 

It was stimulating to also check in with @Brainzooming, a guy worth his weight in diamonds when it comes to inspiration, especially when I need a rocket tied to my behind to get back to blogging. Mike oozes creativity writing about or sharing juicy goodies that feed all of my pet passions like collaboration, innovation and dryer lint. Never a dull moment learning more about corporate strategy, or discussing spray-tanning’s impact on the love of the colour orange. 

I’d forgotten just how much I enjoy Twitter and the exchange of ideas with people like Angela and Mike, plus many other interesting brains like these sparkling jewels that I follow:

Damn it’s good to back among the living, and the sharing.  Catching up on my feed was like walking into Aladdin’s cave.  Riches in heaps & piles!

Twitter Goddesses Ignite SM Neophyte Experiment

So, there I was, wondering along in the SM wilderness when The ThoughtElf poked me and said, “Oooh! Look!  Behold that sassy, shiny, successful Goddess over yonder. She looks like a Deep Thinker Who Digs.”

Which is how I met @MarketingVeep, Kelli Schmith – a very cool and accomplished Lady, (even though she does spell her first name wrong).  In sharing insightful posts, much humour and introductions to her Goddess soul sisters, she inadvertantly lit the fire that started a new Neophyte Social Media experiment today. Enter Brooke Green, of the Caskey Sales Leadership Coaching Team.  Brooke comes fully loaded with ammo for inspiration.

Today, she lobbed the Cherry Bomb Manifesto at me. I was quite inspired by this idea within:  “Passion is not a luxury. It’s an imperative.” Sally Hogshead (Cherry Bombs is my kind of manifesto.) I was suddenly passionate to experiment and read as many manifestos in the next hour to see what I could see.  Here’s how it went:

Experiment du jour: for the next hour I will read as many manifestos as I can and see what I gleanabout 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

 1st Manifesto: Cherry Bombs: A Supplemental Kit to “Radical Careering” http://tinyurl.com/ld7tt7 (passionate read for the passionate)about 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

 2nd Manifesto: An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth http://tinyurl.com/6eyqr2 >Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.about 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

 3rd Manifesto: YSL Manifesto http://tinyurl.com/lmpvbp > Ignored the text, profoundly distracted by the sexy shoes.about 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

 4th Manifesto: The GNU Manifesto http://tinyurl.com/2zzran >made me realize how little I miss Unix. Thnx MSabout 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

 5th Manifesto (Literally reading my way thru Google results): LuLuLemon Manifesto: http://tinyurl.com/dgv4f6 >refreshing! a design graphicabout 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

 #6: Russell_Einstein Manifesto http://tinyurl.com/dkjwx >Scientists worry about Weapons of Mass Destruction in 1955 (H bomb) deja vuabout 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

 ! Finished my experiment du jour. Read 6 manifesto in an hour and gleaned: Sexy Shoes are da bomb & YSL has sexier platforms than GNU 😉about 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

 Another experiment du jour observation: how serendipitous that in 6 random manifestos 2 had bombs 2 were about passion & 2 had platforms?about 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

 @CaskeyChick You ignited experiment -> I just did a random manifesto read with fascinating results. I feel like lobbing more CherryBombs.about 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

After that adventure in Neophyte Social Media Experimentation I was so passionately excited that I told Chris Brogan he’s too sexy for his boxers. And he thanked me.

A wonderfully creative day for this fledgling Social Media student. I feel as if I’m a baby one step closer to Demi-Goddess status thanks to a nudge from Kelli (who still spells her first name wrong) & Brooke the Bomber.

Twitter Ego Health Check

It's all about... Me!

That’s right – It’s all about ME when it comes to my standards for Twitter ettiquettte in regards to my personal ‘brand’.

I’m an unapologetic anomaly in the Twittersphere – I don’t care if you follow me; I care about being selective about those who I choose to follow. I care more about finding the right people to listen to, than I do about who might listen to me. (Which is 100% opposite of what I practice & preach with a business persona.)

I’ve always been a bit cynical about the subjective value of Twitter popularity ratings for personal branding. I’m not at all ignorant or oblivious of the norms and rules, however, I’m also not ashamed to admit that when it comes to my personal Twitter account -> I’ll set the rules as I see fit. 

It is easy to be fearless and indulge myself in the luxury of writing this for two reasons:

  • Very few will read this and become offended
  • It’s all about me regardless – I don’t mean to offend, but I’m not going to follow you or add you to a list if it doesn’t suit my selfish purpose in the first place.

All of the recent chatter about lists has only further high-lighted the issues I have with accepted Twitter practices. I find most behaviors are as insincere as over-the-counter utterances like, “Have a nice day,” or “Thanks,” when the waiter brings the coffee you ordered 10 minutes ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a Canadian so being excessively polite comes with the culture – I won’t stop thanking hard-working servers anytime soon. On the other hand, I’m also not going to thank you for a ‘thank you’ or for RT’ing something I RT’d from someone else.

My point is that I don’t need or acknowledge platitudes-by-rote. If I RT’d you – in all but a very few cases, I did it for ME, or followers who might benefit. There are several people I follow who I will consistently RT when their content is great in hopes that others will follow them with shared reverence, but I can count those people on one hand.

The rest of the time when I RT, I am not trying to raise YOUR profile (sorry); I share to incite further conversation or thought with people who share a common interest in my passions.  If you get more followers out of it, that’s great, but it isn’t my primary goal. Don’t waste keystrokes to thank me for my selfishness.

Take it for granted that if I bother to share your tweet, self-interest played a part in it – and it very well might not have been your intended reason. More than likely, I did want to put brain-candy out there to chew on, but I might just have easily wanted to incite a riot. 😉

Likewise, I’m not enamoured with random mentions that don’t add to discussion. The people I have come to appreciate the most on Twitter are those who use mentions to engage in conversations.  You know… back & forth communiques that are actual discussions? Mentioning me in an attempt to thank me for something or other is a banal effort that won’t stir my brain.  It isn’t innovative or original. It is just a learned behavior that applies grease to the squeaky wheels of culture. Like saying thanks without looking at the service person you’re thanking.

But, we’re heading into a new cultural period.  Mentions don’t equal acknowledgement of value. Perhaps they’ll carry more weight when applied more judiciously.

I have no desire to make money via Twitter, nor do I use my ‘personal brand’ account in relation to any singular vendor.  Therefore, I’m quite mercenary in how I wish to participate in (use) Twitter. I’m all about connecting with mentors, experts, and big-thinkers who gift me with their thoughts as brain-food & affordable education. It’s all about me, and using the Twitterverse to learn from the best of the best.

 Those that offer consistent constructive value are those I will RT – without ever caring or hoping for a thanks.  (When you’re playing at that level of the game, you really don’t need it, do you? Fandom is irrelevant when you have apt students vs. random followers?)

Which somehow brings me to a clumsy transition to Twitter lists – without a witty segue. 

My Twitter Lists Are All ABout ME. (Deal with it.)

I don’t create my new lists to entice others.  Rather, I am structuring them as a way to categorize people I follow, or who follow me, according to my evolving interests and my own taxonomy.  (Ouch! I know, but just live with it – it is my system and I like it.)

I’m not overly interested in how you might classify me, nor will I be offended or excited by inclusion or exclusion on any list. 

You use Twitter your way.  And I’ll use it mine.

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Comments welcome – ruthless critiques are desired.  You might change my mind about ettiquette for personal Twitter accounts, but I doubt it.

Learning by example…

Hello, my name is Kelly and I’m a Social Media neophyte.

Luckily, this student has had a few serendipitous encounters with several experts willing to share their knowledge – teaching by example.  I’d like to introduce you to several of the thought-leaders that have recently mentored me (whether they knew it or not,) in sifting through mountains SM information to find the real precious jewels of education.

The first, Chris Jones, is a master collaborator.  I don’t even recall how I met Chris on Twitter, but I’m grateful that I did.  As the founder of #smchat, #e20ws, and #ecosys Chris has rallied social media innovators and leaders as active contributors in weekly twitter chats to define the principles, discuss the modes and assess outcomes of Social Media. The workshops are lively, informative and thought provocative for all – expert or newbie.

Aside from the obvious knowledge imparted, the act of using many SM tools in order to inspire collaboration like this is an education and demonstration of the power of social media in itself.  Chris helps to surface prizes on the SM treasure hunt.

Another stunning example of an expert practicing what he preaches can be found on TheJordanRules. Jordan is an accomplished Digital Strategist with an enviable client list – and the most graphically pleasing blog I have seen.  It is sharp and edgy with clean, crisp graphics. 

Even more appealing than the look of the blog, the content is consistently peppered with examples, questions and instruction that is knowledge-driven, not opinion oriented.  It is like visiting a diamond mine filled with the highest quality gems like this ‘ Review of the Importance of Social Media Management‘.

These are just two of the SM thought-leaders that I’ve been fortunate to be a student of recently.  I’d recommend both to the SM experts out there, too.