Elections for Mayor of Bristol and President of the USA on are created a huge amount of media attention.

Behind the scenes, I hear that Barack Obama has a very sophisticated communications campaign in place, not just to win votes but also for fund-raising.

Locally in Bristol I have had some input into the campaign of Dr Jon Rogers.

I can see many parallels with business and sales and marketing lessons that sales people and business owners can learn.

Clearly, the message and the outcome is different, but, setting politics aside, getting ones message out, and inspiring people to take action are essentially similar.

Contact Management and Relationship Building

Three points in particular I’d like to highlight, relating to Contact Management, which supports effective Relationship Building:

1. People – knowing who you want to reach is one key aspect. For politicians it’s the electorate, and there are lists available. There are also donors, the media and other groups. For business it’s decision-makers and buyers in a particular chosen market, and again there are lists available, or one can build ones own list. Information will be known about people, which enables them to be categorised, prioritized, and to be known as individuals or groups, in order to understand and to meet their needs better.

2. Activity – communication with people takes place in so many ways now. Multi-channel communication is ever more important, to be where your audience is, within reason. Whether it’s live events such as rallies, hustings, exhibitions and trade shows, online events such as TV interviews, debates and webinars, phone calls, email and social media, direct mail, and many more.

3. Systems – we now rely on systems to store and process information and to communicate. To hold contact records and to communicate, there are multiple applications available. We may use a simple spreadsheet, a contact management system, a customer relationship management application. In reality we probably use multiple systems, with the difficulties of data being in different places, and communication activity being fragmented.

Marketing and Sales Systems

Three Marketing and Sales systems I use every day are:

1. LinkedIn – I use this business network to connect with, to ‘listen’ and to communicate with people I know, and people I’d like to know better. It helps me to ‘be found’ and to ‘find’ people where there are opportunities to get to know each other, to help and to work together. I’m running online training modules to share what I know and how I use LinkedIn. If you’d like to find out how to get more from LinkedIn please check the LinkedIn Training Modules here.

2. Nimble – This is a leading application in the new ‘Social CRM’ category. At its heart it is essentially a contact management system. It’s a place to store and retrieve information about people and businesses. It is a system that helps me manage multi-channel online communications. For example it provides me with an in-box of email and social media messages, and the ability to initiate or reply through email, social, or pick up the phone and so on. I communicate increasingly through Social Media and it is particularly strong here. Further information about Nimble here.

3. InTouchCRM – This is an integrated marketing and sales system that fairly uniquely combines and integrates 7 applications into one. At its core is a strong email marketing system (that I use for these Funnel Friday emails), It also has Survey and SMS capability. It supports mail-merge for printed letters and mailshots. Then there is the sales activity support, for phone calls, meetings and more, There is also Help-desk and project support, and recently introduced Social Media integration. The ability to define multi-step auto-responder sequences is one neat feature, particularly useful as a follow-up to website registration. More details about InTouchCRM here.

If you would like a chat or advice on how to improve your marketing or sales, lead generation, website, or related topics, please email me.

Have a great week.

Mark Stonham