The following outlines the early stages of one of our Global Working Culture pilots, the Social Business Intelligence Pilot.
But before we dive in to what we are trying to achieve with the pilot, I first would like to start this blog post with a personal note. Due to recent stories about how some governments have been systematically monitoring and listening on individual, organizational, and even governmental private conversations, then it should come as no surprise that talking about Social Business Intelligence (which includes listening and monitoring) might come with some “luggage” that needs to be considered.
My personal opinion – when it comes to Social Listening in a B2B perspective – is that since the conversations we are listening to are publicly available then there is no legal or direct moral conflict. It’s like listening to conversations that take place among people at a conference or other open forum. But I will leave this to you decide on, since specifically the subject or “moral” is very personal. So please voice your own thoughts on this, I’m all ears.
What is Social Business Intelligence?
I don’t believe we have to describe this in detail, since you probably already have your own experience and knowledge about this. But in short, just so we are all on the same page, the definition of “Social Media Listening” is quite straight forward, here defined by SearchCRM:
“Social media listening, also known as social media monitoring, is the process of identifying and assessing what is being said about a company, individual, product or brand on the Internet.”
In Grundfos we call it Social Business Intelligence, since it includes both the external perspective as well as the internal. The external covers Social Media Listening and Monitoring of owned or not-owned channels and conversations. And the internal covers listening and collecting knowledge and insights from our internal Enterprise Social Network activities, like Yammer. The latter is something we do not do today, but might explore in the future. The focus of the below will be on the external listening perspective.
Where is the business value for Grundfos?
In this pilot we have decided to use Netbase as the listening tool. Netbase is a partner of SAP. But this is not a technology platform review or pilot. The purpose of the Social Business Intelligence pilot is to learn – hands on – what the business opportunity might be for Grundfos, and understand what processes or even culture that might need changing to unleash the value. At this early stage, our focus right now is to:
• Understand the tool, what it can do, and setting it up right
• Understand what use-cases we should focus on
• Understand best practice in how we communicate the insights to the right people internally
• Understand what we do with the insights
Some basic brand monitoring is already being done by the Corporate Communications department, who listens to what is being said about the Grundfos brand around the world. It’s a regular listening post, which for sure is a valid use-case. By actively listening to what people say about our brand, we can spot positive as well as negative conversations, and based on that make a decision how to approach it further.
Other typical use-cases are:
• Industry Research – use as a market research tool for industry insights, etc.
• Marketing Effectiveness – improve the effectiveness of marketing and/or brand tactics
• Lead Generation – identify conversations by current customers or prospects, looking to by a product or service
• Competitive Intelligence – monitor what competitors are doing online, and what customers and prospects say about them
• Brand monitoring – monitor positive and negative conversations about a brand (as mentioned above)
But we can’t focus on everything from the start. As I build my expertise in this area (yes, I’m an expert-in-the-making!) I’m starting to uncover specific areas where we can put this in a Grundfos context.
Use it for research and the identification of new opportunity within Water Utility, which is a strategic high growth area for Grundfos. This is within the area of solution selling: long lead time, complex installments, and many stakeholders. Due to the long lead time, social listening could perhaps help in identifying opportunities earlier by listening to conversations in social media. I recently found one example, where a Twitter user in South Africa tweeted about how the Department of Water Affairs in a municipal was concerned about poor waste water management. Two specific dysfunctional sewerage pump stations where mentioned as the main issue, which might be the early ‘alert’ for a sales opportunity.
Use it as part of our Competitor Intelligence activities. Primarily this could be used in the regular process of mapping what our competitors are doing, where the output is internal communication pieces to various stakeholders. But there might also be an opportunity to strengthen the intelligence around “copy cats”, where both known as well as unknown suppliers copy Grundfos designs and products, and sell them as either own products, or as Grundfos replicas.
Use it to better understand how to improve Support and Service. Already now, early listening activities shows a vast network of discussion forums and non-Grundfos owned communities, where end-users are asking “people like me” for support and experience. Grundfos can learn a lot from these conversations, insight that can be of value both in Business Development, as well as after-sales service functions.
Mind you, I haven’t concluded if there is an opportunity here or not. But the above seems to have all of the basic pre-requisites to be considered valuable areas for further investigation:
• There is enough conversations and user generate content
• There is an internal process where this can be applied to as a valuable insight
• There are resources (people) who can act on the insight
After the summer, I will come back with some further details on the above. Until then I wish you all a great summer. Remember: what happens in Vegas, stays on Twitter!
///Christian (follow me on Twitter)