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When it comes to creating a vibrant community, the major milestones include reaching a critical mass, achieving active engagement, and successful promotion of the community. Having managed several online communities, it has been my experience that the importance of a carefully constructed strategy cannot be overestimated.

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It can be challenging to convince management to invest in training community managers. Immediate payoffs are often difficult to demonstrate, given the long term nature of community building. If funds are available, I highly recommend checking out our professional services. However, if you are in the boat that most community managers are in, you have had to “learn as you go” – until now.

 

After some discussion, mostly prompted by the high response rate to Jive Talks: 10 Jobs in 1: The Life of an Internal Community Manager, we’ve decided to create a blog series dedicated to enabling the success of community managers. The primary goal of this effort will be to provide community managers with the information needed to be successful at (1) gaining adoption, (2) encouraging engagement, and (3) raising awareness.

 

What can you expect from this series? Excellent question. This series of posts will feature experts from Jive, as well as other industry leaders, who will share framework knowledge, along with tactical and actionable advice about how to craft a thriving community. Implementing these strategies will help enterprise communities remain active even when left unattended for brief periods of time (translation: finally, some vacation time for community managers! ). In addition, these posts will provide a constant stream of cutting edge information about effective community management. Topics will include everything from the Maturation Model to gaining executive sponsorship, the roll-out process to care and feeding of a community, measuring adoption to training employees, and MUCH more. Each week, be sure to check the new folder in Jive Talks located on the right labeled “Adoption Series” to get the latest and greatest advice on community building.

 

Don’t be shy about jumping in with a query or a comment. I’ve found that being a community manager can be isolating at times and we start to think no one else is running into the same problems – but they are. This is exactly what we are trying to surface with the series – the obstacles of internal and external community managers and actionable ways to overcome them.

 

Tune in and stay tuned!


Have some topic suggestions right off the bat  Internal Community Managers | Jive Community  and External Community Managers | Jive Community? Comment and tell us!

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PGi, a  global leader in virtual meetings, is no stranger to success, and when paired with the industry leader in social business software, good things are bound to happen.  In 2011, PGi shared a case-study about their use of Jive to enhance their corporate newsletter PGiLife, which subsequently went on to receive Ragan Communication's Award for Best Employee Magazine! Since then, PGi has been hard at work writing their next successful chapter with Jive … and that chapter is the iMeet Community!

 

The iMeet Community, a new Jive-powered online community for the support of iMeet, the company’s award-winning video conferencing product. The iMeet Community is a place where users of iMeet can go to find answer to common questions, from the basics of how to get started to in-depth technical support issues. But even more importantly, the iMeet Community is a place for users to learn innovative ways to drive their business goals. PGi, together with Jive, has empowered its users to become the experts.

 

The iMeet Community demonstrates that PGi is committed to innovation, transforming its support service into a truly social experience. By choosing Jive, PGi has powered the iMeet Community with the #1 provider of social business platforms to engage customers with questions, comments, stories and video. PGi is transforming Customer Care – and Jive is making it possible.

 

For more information on the iMeet Community and read the following press-release:

PGi Leads the Way in Customer Care Wave of the Future; Introduces the iMeet® Community

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It may seem far away, but SXSW 2013 action has very much begun.  Some people may be getting excited about the "networking" (aka parties), but right now we are focused on the speakers.  For a session to be part of SXSW, it must be voted into the program by the community.  All ideas have been submitted and now anyone can come on vote on what they believe would make a great session to be heard.  After scouring through the many different categories, sessions, speakers, panels, videos, etc submitted, I have highlighted a few that I believe will be insightful, enlightening, and important.


1. The New Way to IPO - SXSW PanelPicker

Deirdre Walsh will share how an IPO architect used social technologies to collaborate on confidential information; share updates with employees, investors, and customers; and engage the community using innovative techniques like displaying live tweets on NASDAQ's marquee in Times Square and creating infographics for financial information.


2. Enterprise Social App Integration - SXSW PanelPicker

Ryan Rutan and Mark Weitzel (OpenSocial Foundation) will discuss how integrating the enterprise social app with social business platforms leads to an easy integration pattern that works at scale to give face-lifts to legacy enterprise systems, thus extending the value of existing investments.  This will all be done with only HTML, JS, CSS and REST!


3. Content Marketing: Produce, Promote, Profit - SXSW PanelPicker

D.D.  Johnnice (SolutionSet) will talk about how to conquer the challenge on which content to push out and how to get it in front of your audience at the right place and time without having to become a publishing/production shop.  You will see effective content marketing strategies, how to ramp up production/publishing efforts, and how to automate your content marketing so you can get back to focusing on your core business responsibilities.


4.  Right content at the right place and right time - SXSW PanelPicker

Joe Chernov (Eloqua), Chris Silva (Altimeter Group), Ekaterina Walter (Intel), and Kathy Baughman will show how to map content along the decision journey, demonstrate the authority of different types of content along your decision journey,  share how to guage quality content, and show how the content of three brands align.


4. Boldly Go: Enterprise Apps, From Idea to Market - SXSW PanelPicker

David Brutman and John Wargo of SAP will explain the best lines of business and where one can have the most beneficial impact.  They will touch on how one can explore the enterprise app territory.  Finally, they will cover technical issues including implementation of an API layer to facilitate the flow of data into or out of one’s application or solution all the way to how to bring the app to market.


5. Supersize Me: Social Business at Enterprise Scale - SXSW PanelPicker

Scott Monty (Ford), Blair Klein (AT&T), Carissa Carmanis O’Brien (Aetna) and Eric Swayne (M/A/R/C Research will delve into their brands that have become adepts at navigating social business waters, each in their own unique way.   They will share how these transitions can be uniquely consuming and challenging. We'll meet the individuals leading these journeys and find out about their headaches, obstacles, successes and plans for the future.


6. Turning Business as Usual on its Head with Social - SXSW PanelPicker

Jeff Simmermon and Philip Blum of Time Warner Cable will talk about how they had to embrace social media and transparency.  They will explain how to strategize for a specific brand or business, how to address customer complaints, scaling social across the enterprise, measuring success and translating those results into business value, and more!


Here are all of the great session proposals from fellow Jivers:

  1. The New Way to IPO - SXSW PanelPicker
  2. Training Executives to be Social Leaders - SXSW PanelPicker
  3. Transform a “Like” to a Brand Advocate - SXSW PanelPicker
  4. Mr. SAASy Pants: Social Support in the Cloud - SXSW PanelPicker
  5. Enterprise Social App Integration #socbiz #ftw - SXSW PanelPicker
  6. The Illumination of Big Data - SXSW PanelPicker

 

Have a session to promote? Put in the comments below.

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Natural thought leaders are perhaps the most powerful force shaping opinion within any community. They inform and inspire others because these unofficial emissaries are respected and trusted by their peers. How does a company identify such supporters? As Deirdre Walsh out in her post, Jive Talks: 10 Jobs in 1: The Life of an Internal Community Manager, it is the job of the community manager to identify effective volunteer advocates. “Without these foot soldiers, the community will not take flight,” she points out.

 

I've found that finding those with the innate abilities to become brand advocates is not enough. As Internal Community Managers, it is important that we empower them with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to be successful influencers.  Although there are no hard and fast rules for helping sculpt an effective advocate, I've found that these steps are effective at helping the natural advocates reach their fullest potential:iStock_000018523150Small.jpg

 

  1. Educate them on the mission. Make sure that advocates know the why and how. Why are we implementing a social intranet? Advocates need to know the specifics of why and what is being improved. How is this social intranet going to help the company improve collaboration and efficiency? Advocates also need to understand how the social intranet is improving the way work gets done. This level of understanding is important not only for their understanding of the changes but because they need to be able to explain why it is important to their peers.
  2. Provide them early access. It is essential that we provide our advocates early access (or at a minimum, advance notice) to new product features and other relevant news. Encourage advocates to be early adopters so they can be the first to post in groups, create groups, use new features, you name it. By posting content first within the community, they earn the respect of their peers. It also lays the groundwork for productive and active conversations within groups.
  3. Prepare answers to the tough questions. There will inevitably be some naysayers and our advocates are our first line of defense. Preparing our advocates with answers to potential concerns or questions that arise can be done verbally or in written form. I recommend you write out the potential concerns and answers in the form of a cheat sheet. Be sure to ask for and include input from advocates. A great place to store this document is in an advocates group. Don't have an advocates group? Create one (that's the next step ).
  4. Connect them. This is best done in the community. Create a secret or private space just for advocates. This is helpful for several reasons: (1) it is an opportunity to show our advocates how the groups can be used; (2) it makes our advocates feel special; and (3) it provides a safe space to brainstorm ways to encourage other employees to participate.
  5. Brainstorm together. Work with advocates to determine specific ways that their department can use the technology. As Internal Community Managers, we are not part of every department in the company. So, it can be difficult to understand the needs of the various departments. Working with advocates from the different areas will provide a deeper level of insight and make developing success stories that much easier.
  6. Communicate early and often. Advocates only stay advocates if they are effective. Thus, it is critical to have regular conversations with our advocates, providing them a place to voice concerns and helping them overcome the obstacles they encounter.
  7. Recognize their effort. As adoption numbers begin to rise, we cannot forget to acknowledge the work of our advocates. We are in the unique position to recognize the achievements of our advocates within the community. Be quick to share credit for community achievements.

 

These steps are not just applicable to company-wide initiatives. These tactics can be used on a smaller scale as well - like Jive for Teams. As we work to build our community (of any size), keep in mind that it is just that - a community.

 

To theInternal Communities, what other strategies have you found effective for empowering your natural advocates?

jivetalks.pngAs a marketer at Disney for three years I got used to relying on email, status meetings, SharePoint, wikis, and large conference calls to plan marketing campaigns.  We produced amazing campaigns that won the loyalty of millions, but I knew there was a better way.  After joining Jive and immersing myself in our Social Business platform, I quickly recognized that getting to market faster was as simple as turning the strategies and tactics we were using externally in social media, internally.

 

Marketing is inherently social - we are the hub connecting the company spokes.  That's why I became a marketer - I love meeting new people, trying to understand their stories and motivations by sitting down and having a conversation with them.  Marketers have gotten wrapped up in the social media revolution (and with it have been drinking through the big data fire hose); yet, we haven't paused to think about how we can get social to work inside our teams.  To get our work done, we have to talk to our teammates, finance, legal, R&D, product management, agencies and consultants daily.  We've got multiple projects in flight, all at different stages, all the time - the proverbial jugglers.  But we get it done, we make it happen and hit our numbers - mostly.

 

I know, you're a marketer and you hate being marketed to.  But let me share a story.  This post is part of a campaign (full disclosure) that we launched on Tuesday, August 7th - Jive for Marketing Teams.  I started with Jive on June 18th, kicked off campaign planning July 9th and got to market August 7th - a full marketing program out the door in one month.  I don't say this to pat myself or our team on the back.  I write this because there's no way we could have done this without using our own products.

 

We developed and co-edited the launch plan using Jive's document editor where all key stakeholders contributed updates weekly.  We didn't need hours of meetings to agree on what the plan would be.  We all collaborated in one place, across the US and UK, and didn't have to worry about early morning calls before coffee to account for time zone differences.

 

I know you're thinking "one planning document is great, but what about..."

  • getting feedback on website updates,
  • developing training decks for sales and training them,
  • researching, designing and shipping an infographic,
  • writing and wiring a press release,
  • planning and posting across social media
  • scheduling and producing a webcast (coming soon....11am PST, Thursday, September 20th)

 

All of the feedback, edits, approvals and launches happened in our Jive platform.  I lost nothing in endless email strings.  I spent time partnering with my team on getting work completed, rather than talking about what we were going to do.  If you've read this far, you must be a marketer.  There's a better way to get to market faster, and better still, optimize your campaigns mid-flight.

 

Are you planning a marketing campaign now?  You should Try Jive.

 

If you're a current customer, share a story of how you've used Jive to plan your marketing campaign.

I have seen this year at the 2012 London Olympics how controversial tweets from athletes have sent them packing. In a business, a status or tweet bashing your boss or sharing confidential company information can have you fired, not to mention serious legal ramifications. The infamous saying "think before you speak" seems to be the classic response.


How many people actually recount that phrase when typing? It is so easy to hit the "send" or "enter" without realizing that your life can change in a minute because what you intended to post was taken out of context. A single impulse action can have serious consequences, however; we tend not to see that at the time. What we have to understand is that we are all human, and that acting in an impulsive manner is foreseeable. In fact, our economy thrives on impulse purchasing behavior and with the evolution of social and mobile it is only increasing.  Social media gives us a platform to convey our thoughts and feelings instantly - both positive and negative. To some, "Real Time Data" has become a "Real Time Problem." So how can we handle this double edge sword in business? 

 

Here are my three tips for creating social structure at your company:


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1. Educate your team.

In addition to having an outside firm or an in-house social media specialist handling your company's social media strategy, it is critical to educate the rest of the employees on how to effectively participate in social conversations. Who knows your product or service better than your own employees? They are the heart of your company and ultimately make the best brand advocates. They also have the added bonus of using their own social networks to increase brand presence and awareness. Recently, at Jive, we have started recognizing the most social employees every month. Using our App Partner Crowdfactory, we can tell what employees share

and how much influence they have.

 

With news flooding the social web every second, it is also important that a unified corporate voice remains intact. It is the a company's duty to educate its employees on how to respond online when it comes to company or competitor specific news. Real-time information can be overwhelming; but by providing general guidance to employees on a relative basis, they become more comfortable with social.


Everyone hates mandatory training so make it fun and exciting. Our customer, National Instruments creates an annual list of the top 10 worst social media examples as a fun way to get people to know what's right and wrong.


2. Create a basic social media policy.

Despite the risks of uncontrolled social media use by employees, 76% of companies don't have a clearly defined social media policy (http://www.socialbusinessnews.com/). By creating a basic policy for your company, employees can make smarter decisions and have something to refer to when in doubt.


At Jive, our official social policy is very simple :

    1. Jive is a social company -- we encourage you to use public social tools to get your job done.

    2. When you participate in social conversations, remember that you represent Jive and act accordingly.


Then, we share a variety of tips with employees to help ensure their success. Basic recommendations like "think before you post," "add value," "be transparent," "own your mistakes quickly" go a long way in empowering employees to participate in social conversations in a meaningful way.

 

3. Trust your employees.

Acknowledge that social is like water. It goes around all barriers.... so rather than trying to dam it or push it back, you have to channel it. While you channel social, expect that they will still use unsanctioned social while at work. You must anticipate and plan for it, segregate it on your systems, but don't ban it for personal use. Your company image and culture are defined by your employees. As Amber Naslund, President & Co-Founder of SideraWorks perfectly put it during her keynote at InnoTech Oregon, "If you don't trust your employees on Twitter, you've got a hiring problem not a social media problem." This quote really speaks to the heart of what employers need to do at the end of the day - train and trust employees to be brand ambassadors.

 

 

 

 

To employees everywhere: what do you like about your company's social media policy, training, education, etc...?

Have more tips? Comment below with your thoughts!

The primary role of an Internal Community Manager is to establish and maintain an environment where employees participate fully, becoming actively engaged in contributing and reaping the benefits of collaborating within the online community. To accomplish this task, it is necessary to not only encourage employee interaction but also eliminate roadblocks preventing participation. The first step in this process is to determine why an employee is not using social media. This can be done by sending out a simple survey or individual discussions. Once you are able to assess the why, you can help alleviate the root cause of employees' hesitation.

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I joined Jive in July as the new Internal Community Manager, and absolutely love it. Prior to my role at Jive, I worked at Integra Telecom, where one of my areas of responsibility involved training employees to use social media. I worked with a variety of departments: sales, support, human resources, and executives. In training these individuals, I discovered that reluctance in using social media boiled down to these six underlying factors.

 

The following details these six obstacles and strategies for overcoming them:

 

  1. "I don't know what to post." There are several ways to handle this attitude. First, you must lead by example. The old adage “do as I say, not as I do” is not an effective tactic for facilitating adoption of an enterprise social network. Leading by example is critical.  This means you must be both diligent and consistent in your use of the social intranet. Posting the type of content and in the style (long or short, grammatically correct, etc.) that you want others to emulate is essential. Why? Because people will look at your posts for guidance. Second, provide samples of content you'd like employees to post.
  2. "I don't see the value." Provide success stories. Articulate the value through sharing success stories that demonstrate how the social intranet can be used effectively for business communication and collaboration. Make the examples relevant to the employee by providing examples specific to the type of department where the employee works. Additionally, you'll want to have a list of best practices to share and add value by making regular posts with tips on using the social intranet efficiently.
  3. "I don't like writing." No sweat. An image is worth a thousand words. Attending an industry event or conference? Recommend that the employee takes pictures and uploads the photos with a quick caption about the event. Also, encourage employees to share industry articles - they can annotate an article reference with a couple sentences detailing why the piece is important.
  4. "I don't have time." With every company, there are numerous mediums through which management and employees communicate. To encourage employees to add yet another medium, there must be distinct value.  To enable employees to find information in a new medium, corporate communications should send a company-wide email that includes a link to where the information can be found on the social intranet. Using traditional communication methods to inform employees of the new location is the first step to changing behavior. The key: make using the social intranet an integral part of employee workflow.
  5. "I don't feel comfortable sharing my opinions." Encourage employees to share articles or summaries of articles. The articles should be relevant to the community on the subject matter that they have expertise in. These posts will serve as a news source for other employees and build confidence. Be sure to respond to these employees in a positive manner. For instance, you could use "Likes" and comments, such as "Great find!" to encourage their efforts.
  6. "This is boring." Nothing overcomes boredom like competition and prizes. To garner an influx of employee participation, craft competitions for the title of “Top Influencer of the Month” or the “Top Contributor of the Quarter.” Then, reward the winners with prizes.  Prizes should be determined based on the effort of the task. The greater effort required, the bigger the reward.

 

To further encourage participation, provide incentives to employees. Recognize employees that regularly contribute to the community. You can use personal notes, public recognition, or display their photos on the homepage of the social intranet, with a caption such as, “This Week’s Top Influencer." Be creative and be thoughtful about how and when you acknowledge employee contributions.

 

Bottom line: As an Internal Community Manager, it is critical that you listen, understand, acknowledge, and readily address the concerns of your community members.

 

To the Internal Communities, what other strategies have you found effective for overcoming these obstacles?

Register for the #1 Social Business Conference Today!

If there's one thing every company can rally around, it is the need to increase their Marketing and Sales effectiveness.  At JiveWorld12, we have an entire track assembled by elizabeth.brigham and Adam Mertz that focuses on using the Jive social business platform to do just that!  Come and listen to our amazing array of customer and partner presentations and learn proven ways to get maximum results!


Here's a quick look at this year's Marketing & Sales track for JiveWorld12:

 

Track 3: Unreal:  Marketing & Sales

Instead of butting heads, Marketing and Sales can now use Social Business Software to to their mutual advantage.  Marketers can instantly connect their most loyal customers with key prospects across the social web to drive brand awareness, lead generation, search engine rankings, and competitive differentiation. Sales can crowdsource answers in real time and get the support of the entire company behind each and every deal. This track features customers who are leveraging Jive to drive marketing and sales performance to the next level.  This track will focus on best practices, techniques, and strategies marketers and sales teams have implemented using Jive to strengthen their brands, increase sales and influence their markets

 

PresentationSpeaker(s)

October 10, 2012 - Session #1

Getting Past the Fear:  Engaging Customers in Financial Services

Wells Fargo

Speaker(s): Nathan Coles, Darius Miranda

Nathan Coles

October 10, 2012 - Session #2

Engaged Community Members = Renewing Clients

Eloqua

Speaker(s): Heather Foeh

Heather Foeh

October 10, 2012 - Session #3

Launching a Community Advocate Program:  Its Impact on Brand, Sentiment, and Customer Conversion

HomeAway

Speaker(s)Meredith Maspero, Kristen Keys

Meredith MasperoKristen Keys

October 10, 2012 - Session #4

Closing the Sale Faster & More Efficiently: Good Technology's Sales Enablement Strategy with Jive

Good Technology

Speaker:  Brian Carr

Brian Carr

October 11, 2012 - Session #5

Unexpecting the Expected:  Changing Behavior and Driving Engagement in an Online Community with SAP & Jive 5.0

SAP

Speaker(s)Gail Moody-Byrd

Gail Moody-Byrd

October 11, 2012 - Session #6

"Social Sales" Embedded in Devoteam Business Strategy

Devoteam

Speaker(s): Elise Bruchet, Marine Poncet

Elise BruchetMarine Poncet

October 11, 2012 - Session #7

Jive Apps:  Making Your Key Marketing & Sales Application Jive in Jive

HEDLOC - Bruno Pisano

INXPO - Chris Meyer

Bruno PisanoChris Meyer

October 11, 2012 - Session #8

Ringside with the Experts

Gino Rossi - Quest Software

Alyssa Rosengarden - Critical Mass

Gary Graeff - Steelcase

Marine Poncet - Devoteam

Gino RossiAlyssa Rosengarden
Gary GraeffMarine Poncet

 

For more information about JiveWorld12 or this track, please see:

I would like to announce my official resignation from the social enterprise app skeptics' club. For a long time I considered the business case for social networking in a corporate environment dubious at best. I just didn't see the return on investment.  But then I actually talked to some Jive users, all of whom claimed measurable gains from these tools in a variety of areas. Here are five ways they derive value from socialized business, beyond increasing collaboration.


Augment Communication Transparency, Efficiency and Accountability

PerkStreet Financial COO Jason Henrichs recently said he most enjoys the increased oversight that comes with social enterprise apps. Since all conversations are on the platform rather than trapped in someone’s inbox, management has a continuous view into the team’s progress. This also prevents work duplication and redundancies because everyone is literally on the same page. Also, since users can easily rope others into the conversation with the "@" and other shortcuts, users reported drastically reduced emails, meetings and inter-office calls. FlexJobs founder and CEO Sara Sutton also said  her social enterprise apps better fit communication into your workflow.

“Instead of emails that feel like you have to respond immediately, putting it on [Jive] ensures that only [staff] who have the time to check out the job will do so,” she says.


Streamline Project Management

Software developers at PerkStreet Financial also use socialized enterprise apps to facilitate scrum meetings, a key component of the agile software development methodology. Rather than hold their daily morning standup meetings in person, each member of the 37-person team posts “what I did yesterday,” “what I will do today” and “barriers to moving forward” using the hashtag #scrum.  The tag allows users to quickly see what everyone is working on and chime in when appropriate. With Jive, users can also employ shortcuts such as an “!” to pull information into the thread from CRM and other enterprise systems.


Find Experts Faster

Jive surveys show sales win rates increase an average of 23 percent, and time to find experts falls 34 percent.

Centerstance Inc. Managing Partner Greg Lueck says these platforms help his sales staff answer deal-specific questions expeditiously. He recalled one situation where a partner needed someone certified in Cast Iron software integration who spoke Mandarin. The resource manager working with the partner posted the query in Centerstance’s news feed.

“They had an answer within 30 seconds… in Mandarin,” Lueck remembers. In this and similar scenarios, the employee would have otherwise “relied on a central repository of all company’s experience that is located in one person’s head, or nowhere at all.”


Better Leverage Information and Insights

Social enterprise vendors have invested heavily in social and adaptive intelligence. These sophisticated algorithms suggest articles, files and experts based on the user’s position, connections, group memberships and resources they’ve previously accessed.

“Imagine you have 10,000 people in an enterprise. Sales materials, RFPs are constantly flowing through system… Jive makes the most of this information by channeling it to the right people,”
according to Jive Product Marketing Director Tim Zonca.

 

Generate More, Better Ideas

Jive provides several means for employees to contribute ideas–from responding to queries and surveys, to posting ideas in a group discussion threads. Users receive gratification when co-workers and leadership “like” their contribution. Then, they are continually rewarded as they watch project teams bring the idea to fruition.


Is Your Company Socialized?

From what I’ve learned, the question is no longer if socialized business will become the norm, but when. How do you derive value from social enterprise apps? Join the conversation with a comment here.

 

Ashley Furness is a Market Analyst for Software Advice. She conducts expert research and runs the company’s CRM blog. Her professional experience spans journalism, sales, advertising and SEO marketing. She’s a seasoned writer having produced copy forNew York Times-owned North Bay Business Journal and theAustin Business Journal, among other publications. You can follow her @CRMAdvice on Twitter.

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