When it comes to Twitter and other social sites, it’s easy to mistake sheer numbers for impact. In other words, the number of followers or friends you have does not necessarily equate to anything—influence, popularity, what have you. That’s because personalization is what counts. I’ve blogged about the power of listening to customers. As companies tout millions and billions of followers as proof of value, hidden in plain sight is the real story of what counts—the information that matters to each individual.
One example is the partner service advisors (PSAs) at SAP. Like any large, global company with numerous products, SAP can be overwhelming for partners. The PSA’s role is to guide them through the maze quickly with invaluable sales and marketing enablement so they can bring in revenue faster. Now a new program aims to speed up everything, giving BusinessOne partners in North America the ability to follow their designated PSAs on Twitter.
I recently talked about this pilot program with Hy Pailakian (@SAPPSA_Hy) and Francois Lapalme (@SAPPSA_Francois), two PSAs on SAP’s Partner Service Delivery team in Montreal. Appropriately named “Follow Your PSA,” it was developed in response to partner feedback about not being able to find information quickly. The idea is that tweets will give partners faster, easier access to the information they need when they need it.
Here’s how it works. Partners follow their assigned PSA, receiving tweet updates real-time. These are typically CEOs who get hundreds of emails a day. In just 140 characters, their PSAs can feed them a quick snapshot of the specific information they want. Personalized tweets will eliminate guesswork along with search time. Busy partners can grab information on their own time minus a barrage of impersonal emails that may or may not contain what they’re most interested in.
We’re talking about what training they need and where to get it. Immediate access to best practices from industry leaders. Timely reminders to ensure they’ve met all requirements so they’re certified to sell SAP products. Information about special deals such as how to get discounts on SAP HANA, the company’s innovative in-memory computing solution.
Hy and Francois told me they’re excited about the ability to embed links, pictures, videos and more into their tweets, directing partners to targeted pages on Partner Service Delivery Interactive or the PartnerEdge website. Both sites offer tons of information including documents, partner polls, and blogs by topic relevant to each partner.
SAP plans to extend the Twitter program to all PSAs in different regions. But the Twitter campaign is not an end in itself. It is part of the daily, ongoing conversations that allow PSAs to understand each partner’s unique reality and tailor information to those needs. Used correctly, social media tools like Twitter can have a powerful impact in business as long as companies don’t focus on numbers at the expense of people.