Dia de Ação de Graças

Essa semana nos EUA onde eu moro é quando as pessoas param (o único feriado quando as coisas realmente param por essas bandas) por uma razão importante. Não estou falando do peru assado nem das liquidações nos shoping centers.

É hora de expressar Gratidão.

Gratidão é a emoção positiva nós sentimos quando recebemos um benefício. Dizer “Obrigado” é expressar essa emoção que, eu acredito, é a essência da vida em comunidade. É reconhecer o fato de que nós dependemos de outros para viver, para ser.

Se não tomarmos cuidado, começamos a usar “Obrigado” como mero protocolo social. As vezes é bom trazer o significado da expressão de volta ao consciente.

Quando penso muito, fico incomodado com nossa expressão para expressar gratidão. “Obrigado” parece dizer que “agora eu te devo alguma coisa”.

Não sou historiador ou linguista, mas minha teoria é que a expressão tem raízes em um momento histórico onde gratidão era moeda social trocada por lealdade política ou algo assim.

Em minhas andanças pelo mundo, eu sempre me interessei em saber a expressão local para expressar gratidão e a atitude social por trás da expressão.

O meu “obrigado” favorito é o da Malásia. Eles dizem “Terima Kasih”. Traduzido literalmente, significa “Receba Amor”.

Para ver como o mundo diz obrigado, aqui está uma lista de Obrigados em outras línguas.

Obrigado por ler meus artigos nesse blog e Feliz dia de Ação de Graças.

Time to Say Thank You.

This week is the time of the year when we in the US take a break from our busy lives to do something very important. No, not eating turkey and cranberry sauce. No, not researching the new gadget to buy during the Black Friday sale.

It is the time we use to express Gratitude.

Gratitude is a positive emotion we feel in acknowledgment of a benefit we have received. Saying “Thank You” is the way to express that emotion which, I believe, is the basis of life in community. It recognizes the fact that we depend on one another to live, to be ourselves.

We get used to say “Thank You” as a matter of social protocol. This is the time to bring its meaning back to consciousness.

I grew up in Brazil and my native language is Portuguese. We say “Obrigado“, which is not my favorite expression because it equals gratitude with indebtedness. Literally, it says “I owe you something”.

In my travels around the world I have always taken interest not only on the local word to express gratitude, but also on its literal meaning and the social attitude behind it.

My favorite form of “Thank You” is the one used in Malaysia. “Terima Kasih” sounds very friendly and it literally translates to “Receive Love”.

I am no historian or linguist, but I theorize that words equating gratitude and indebtedness have roots in a period in history where gratitude was used as social currency between levels of hierarchy, where favors were exchanged for political loyalty. Words that equals gratitude with love reflect a more equal exchange between peers.

I have been blogging on Social Business for about a year now. I think we are shifting from a business environment where stronger relationships are more people-to-people and less customer-to-company or people-to-expert. In Social Business, gratitude has to be more like love and less like indebtedness.

For more on Gratitude, see the article on Wikipedia (BTW, Wikipedia needs support and is asking for donations, not out of indebtedness, but true gratitude).

Here is a list to say Thank You in other languages.

Namastê (from Sanskrit), used in Nepal and India, is a salutation that roughly translates to “I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me” (“Thank You” is “Dhan-ya-vaad”). It feels to me like how the ideal Thank You should be like.

With that in mind, I would like to say Thank You for reading, agreeing or disagreeing, providing feedback and teaching me through interaction.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Why Sales People Dislike CRM Software

Using CRM Software is a solitary experience. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Art (c) Beatrice K


Last Sunday I posted in Twitter a statement I first heard from @johnlima a few days ago. It generated a wave of responses.

In CRM, we have solitary experience, engaging with a database. In SCRM, we collaborate and engage with real people.

The first part of that tweet matches my experience using classical CRM tools and what I hear from sales people. Classical CRM software excels in process automation and storing transactional data but provides a poor user experience because it is designed primarily with the needs of management in mind. The user feels they are feeding data to the CRM system so that it can produce reports, but it doesn’t help sales to do their job.

Social CRM (both the processes and the tools) is a response to changes in the business environment and the shift in control from companies to customers. Whether it is a cause or a side-effect of the change, well-implemented Social CRM software should help sales people to engage with customers and, as a result, sell better.

Anyone who believes in software as good solutions for both user and business problems share that perception and expectation. That explains why so many people expressed opinion on a sleepy Sunday afternoon.

Now, most of the responses that did not agree with the tweet interpreted it as saying “front end instead of back end”. They focused on the fact that the structured portion of CRM continues to be important. Providing a better user experiences does not negate the analytical and transaction strengths of classical CRM.

The challenge for CRM systems in the future is this: Can we help Sales people to sell and feel the tool helps them to maintain relationship with customers? Can we, at the same time, reduce the burden on the sales people filling up forms to feed a static database? Can we, while doing that, keep allowing for structured and transactional data to be captured for analysis?

Yes, we can. That is the challenge CRM software vendors need to focus on, whether they call themselves “CRM” or “Social CRM”.

Social Business is as Old as Business

How Social Media is bringing us back to the future

In a recent series of Social CRM seminars, I asked several audiences to complete this sentence:

The closing of a sales deal depends on….

Not once did they fail to answer on the first attempt and in unison: Relationships. We all have this deep intuition that the sales process has always been social.

But the prevalent Sales Model and Customer Relationship (CRM) processes used by companies today is not consistent with that intuition. We try to automate and reverse the natural sales process into an marketing-driven analytical/statistical exercise.

Sell, Keep Customers Happy

Let’s go back in time, before mass marketing, when we lived in smaller communities. If I want to sell something, my first task is to develop a product or service that solves someone else’s problem.

Then I search my network of relationships for people who (a) have the problem I address and (b) are ready to use my product. Once the sales transaction occurs, I stay engaged with the customer and make sure they are happy. Happy customers will not only come back for more, but would also connect me to new customers in their network of connections to grow my business.

The Emergence of Marketing

Then mass communication media (print medium first, then broadcasting, then e-mail) became available and changed the world. These media made it possible to communicate with a very large number of people at very low cost.

But classical media had characteristics that were different from direct interaction: it was unidirectional (did not support engagement) and was controlled by the corporation.

The game changed and a new sales model that is marketing-driven emerged.

We turned the natural sales process upside down. Marketing leverages media to broadcast to the largest possible number of people. Because the majority of people either do not need the product or are not ready to consume it, only the very few who were poked exactly at the right time respond.

Those who respond become “leads” and are handed over to Sales. Once the transaction occurs, the company has little incentive to stay engaged. That explains the disregard most classical companies have towards Customer Service. We then just repeat the process (poke a thousand, watch for the two or three who happen to be ready, complete transaction, disengage).

That analytical/statistical model works well and a model that works well wins. That is how we moved away from the natural social sales model towards a marketing-driven model. But a model lasts only until the parameters that made it a winner change again.

Enter Social Media

While Social Media is not equal, it has two interesting characteristics that are similar to direct interaction: (a) it is bi-directional, allows personal engagement, (b) it enables peer-to-peer communication outside of the control of the corporation. It also promises to scale better than direct interactions.

The possibility that is now open is that companies can return to the natural sales process: create good products, sell it. Maintain the engagement with customers and make sure they are satisfied. Happy customers come back for more and, because they can communicate peer-to-peer, bring new customers within their network of social connections.

If the social model with social media can be more efficient than the classical model, the pendulum will move again.

Back To The Future

Marshall McLuhan explained us that “The Medium is the Message”. The medium we use not only affects our communication, but has the potential to change the way we think and behave and shift underlying business models.

Are we switching Sales model overnight? Unlikely. Are we shifting to a Sales Model that is less analytical/probabilistic and more social? I am very confident we are. Are you?

The world has changed (again). It is time to adapt.