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You’ve got a great SAP business and you’re proud of what you deliver. Now you need to communicate your awesomeness to the world, and how you can help them achieve their goals and solve their problems – this is where marketing comes in!

If you are an SAP partner who is looking to learn more about marketing or review the fundamentals, then this post is for you!


It’s well-known that the Web is a great way to learn about almost any topic imaginable. Not only can you find articles and videos, but you can also find social media groups and posts, where individuals with common interests interact and share ideas. Not only can you “learn the ropes” about a topic, but you can also stay up to date on the latest and greatest innovations in that area.

You can use these techniques when conducting market research, to learn about your buyers, the industry in which they work, and their technology needs. This type of research is called social listening.

Why is social listening important?

Social listening enables you to learn about your buyers and the industry that you are serving. With this knowledge, you will be able to:

  • Craft marketing messages that speak to the specific needs of your buyers.
  • Demonstrate your thought leadership by making industry-level contributions when it comes to your offering and your technology expertise.
  • Raise your brand value and credibility by associating your business as one with a comprehensive awareness of the industry.
  • Discover new opportunities for development and pipeline.

Understand what’s going on in your buyers’ lives

By understanding their goals, and problems, and by staying up to date on the company and industry events that are relevant to them, you will foster greater empathy for your buyers and will be able to create messaging that better resonates with their needs and interests.

Remember that people buy from people who they know and trust, and you will earn trust by demonstrating your ability to see beyond just the offering you are trying to sell.

Understand what the industry is talking about

It is also advantageous to understand the industry as a whole. Use social listening to be aware of:

  • How technology is changing the industry’s landscape and the working experience of your buyers
  • Which challenges continue to exist and what new developments have been made
  • What technology features are needed by the industry, and which are most exciting

With this understanding, you will be able to envision how your solution, your business, and how SAP technology can contribute to the overall evolution and growth of the industry.

Find new accounts and brainstorm new ideas

Social listening can also help you find new accounts and leads. Specifically using social listening for account and lead generation is called social prospecting, and it gives you the freedom to expand your pipeline without reliance on purchased lists or waiting for prospects to find you.

By learning about the needs of your buyers and the industry, you might also conceive new ideas for offerings. You might realize there is an industry whitespace that needs to be filled or a solution to a process that can be optimized using technology you provide.

It’s easy to get started with social listening !

Just head over to a search engine and start browsing! Start with some obvious keywords and see what you find. Of course, it’s possible that your first few searches provide search results that are too broad, and you’ll need to refine your parameters.

In most cases, you’ll be looking at blogs and social media posts. But you should also visit Websites of fellow technology providers as well as industry leaders. There might also be videos and podcasts that might provide some ideas!

Even if the topic is not necessarily related to business software or technology, it’s a good idea to understand what your buyers are talking about, so you’ll be better prepared and have more opportunities to contribute to their conversations.

Ultimately, your goal is to identify the following:

  • Topics of interest to your buyers
  • Topic category classifications
  • Overall industry trends and interests
  • Specific technology needs and interests by your buyers and the industry overall
  • Notable thought leaders
  • Professional groups and associations
  • Social media presence (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, etc.)
  • Notable social media hashtags

Example

I want to offer SAP B1 to pharmacies in my territory. I need to understand why a pharmacy would choose a solution such as mine. I also need to understand how my offering might complement or compete with other pharmacy software solutions. I might also check to see what messaging already exists when it comes to SAP technology and pharmacies.

First, I’ll enter “pharmacy SAP B1”

  • I’ll find posts and articles by SAP and other partners
  • I’ll learn how SAP B1 is being positioned as an effective solution – Is it integration with other pharmacy systems? Is it specific line-of-business capability? Is it ease of use?

Then I’ll enter “pharmacy ERP” and “pharmacy management software”

  • I’ll look for blogs and articles written about ERP software for pharmacies, to understand what people are saying: I’ll need to verify the source of the articles however – are they written by vendors, by “promoters” or by independent writers?
  • I’ll see how other ERP providers are communicating their value

Then I’ll enter “pharmacy software show” or “pharmacy software conference” or “pharmacy show” or “pharmacy conference”

  • Perhaps there are tradeshows that I should attend
  • Where are fellow technology providers attending?
  • Does the tradeshow have its own website with a published agenda? Is it worth exhibiting here?
  • Does the tradeshow have a social media account I should follow?
  • What types of posts does the social media account publish, republish or like?
  • Can I find additional accounts or people to follow?

Maybe I’ll enter “pharmacy association” to see if there are professional associations I should be aware of

  • Does their Website have a “software” or “technology” category with articles I should read?
  • Are there notable tradeshows or conferences I should be aware of?
  • What happens if I enter “software” on the Website’s search tool – what articles will I find?

How about “pharmacy software” to see what other types of software are used by pharmacies

  • How can my solution integrate with these other systems?
  • What keywords differentiate my offering (i.e. enterprise management software) from other types of pharmacy technology? Can I use these keywords to refine my search?

Now I’ll try “pharmacy software blog” to see what articles are being written about pharmacy software

  • Are these articles being written by vendors? Thought leaders?
  • What needs are they focusing on?
  • What types of comments are being written?
  • Do these blogs have social media accounts I should follow?
  • Are the blog writers individuals I should follow or reach out to?

Tools you can use

In addition to running “organic” Web and social media searches, there are also a number of social listening tools that you can use that automate this process for you. A few examples are below:

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a free service where you enter a search query and Google sends you an e-mail with new results for that particular query. It saves you the hassle of manually running the search on a regular basis.

Grapevine6

You Grapevine6 in a similar way as you would Google Alerts. However you have more ways to customize your search. The tool also makes it easy for you to share discovered content on your social media feeds or via e-mail.

Google Trends

Google Trends is a free service where you can learn which search terms are used by people. More specifically, you can better understand which terms and combinations are more commonly used among users, allowing you to focus more on optimizing your Web content to appear when these specific terms are entered

Summary

In the past, market research was conducted through surveys and focus groups. While these techniques continue to be vital to learning about your buyers, you should also consider using social listening techniques on the Web to also learn about your buyers first-hand!


This is the next post of my blog series Communicate Your Awesomeness. Feel free to contact me directly if you’d like to have more discussions related to marketing!

Want even more? You can now sign up for a number of free and paid marketing services delivered by SAP and its trusted providers. Check out the SAP Partner Benefits Catalog or contact your PSA for more information!

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