April 1, 2013 12:00 AM
There is more data available than ever, which, in many ways makes it more difficult for sales and marketing professionals to find the data they need to pinpoint the companies that have a high propensity to buy their product or services. A 2012 report by Aberdeen Group found that salespeople, on average, spend 200 hours of non-productive time annually searching for customer data. This lack of insight into business behavior has led to a decline in the efficiency and effectiveness of B2B sales and marketing.
March 29, 2013 12:00 AM
In the heat of a sales call, it's easy to get carried away and possibly follow a tangent that the prospect is leading. That's not a bad way to gain some useful personal insight and information about the prospect. However, you always want your salespeople to be in control of the conversation and the sales call. They are there for a specific purpose and to gain detailed information about the prospect’s requirements, budget and upcoming projects for which your products or services are ideally suited.
March 25, 2013 06:06 AM
After several years of slashing costs, trying to get every ounce of efficiency possible out of the organization in order to meet analyst and stockholder demands, most studies show that CEOs have come to the conclusion that it’s time to grow the top line. Organizations will usually focus on ways to improve the effectiveness of their operations first, minimizing costs wherever possible. However, cost reduction does not grow the business, and pressure will continue to mount on CEOs to increase revenue and margin.
March 22, 2013 12:00 AM
There’s no denying that social media has taken the world by storm. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter boast millions of users. Social media is a huge engagement, staffing, retention and increasingly, branding tool. It’s at the foundation of what I call tri-branding. Tri-branding is when companies use social media to link both product and employment brand, as well as to get their customers to sing their praises or live their brand.
March 19, 2013 05:44 AM
Most sales managers feel some resentment toward their teams at some point in their careers. It’s unfortunate, but understandable – particularly when the team isn’t meeting sales targets. And to make matters worse, most sales managers feel they can sell better than many of their team members.
You may be asking yourself: Why can’t my team sell more? Why are some team members taking up so much of my time? And why won’t they just do what I tell them?
March 15, 2013 12:00 AM
The world of marketing automaton is alive and very well, thank you! Major vendors are growing 30% to 100%+ per year, while the number of marketing departments using marketing automation is climbing dramatically. Case in point: The Pedowitz Group. We were recently inducted into the 2012 Inc. 500 ranking America’s fastest-growing private companies...living proof of the power of marketing automation to increase profits.
March 12, 2013 12:00 AM
The sales pipeline is the lifeblood of any business. It’s a well-known fact: organizations live and die by the numbers, regardless of the product, service or solution. So, the defining question for any company is: Is your sales engine working?
There are consultants, managers, technologies and teams of sales reps already at work in your organization. So, it’s time to take a moment to take a fresh look at how everything’s actually coming together.
March 8, 2013 01:00 AM
We’ve all heard the adage that stories sell, but did you know that claim has been scientifically proven? Jerome Bruner, a cognitive psychologist, said that a fact wrapped in a story is 22 times more memorable.
March 4, 2013 01:00 AM
When you speak with sales training professionals with the regularity that I do, it’s only natural to develop some insights about the recent trends affecting our industry. As impartial analysts, however, my firm, ES Research Group (ESR), relies on empirical data to draw real conclusions. So we conduct research.
March 3, 2013 01:00 AM
Whether as a result of a merger, acquisition, divestiture, new CMO or other major catalyst, you may be involved in an effort to refresh or rebuild your B2B brand. In today’s sales and marketing environment, it’s a bigger challenge than ever before. But it also has a much higher potential impact on your business.
March 1, 2013 01:00 AM
As this issue was going to press, the Wall Street Journal published a story by Bill Gates in which he explained that the secret to fixing the world’s biggest problems could be summarized in one word: measure.
“In the past year, I have been struck by how important measurement is to improving the human condition. You can achieve incredible progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal,” Gates wrote.
February 27, 2013 01:00 AM
To ensure success, a company’s culture needs to be structured to align with the wants, needs and demands of its employees and customers. Companies must be transparent in what they do and why they do it to attract and retain people, and they must treat employees and customers like they matter.
If you want a company that attracts and retains loyal employees and customers, creating your own unique culture is priority No. 1.
Unique Culture, In a Nutshell
February 25, 2013 10:30 AM
In researching our cover story topic, we discovered Funnelholic.com, a fun and insightful B2B blog by Craig Rosenberg, an independent consultant based in Northern California. In his Jan. 5 post titled “Ridiculous ramblings about the marketing automation market,” Rosenberg talked about the changes this new software platform has already experienced.
We reached him on the phone. Here are some of his thoughts from that discussion.
What are we talking about when we talk about marketing automation?
February 25, 2013 10:52 AM
SMM:Your new book, “To Sell Is Human,” offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling and states that everyone is in sales in one fashion or another. Who will benefit most from it?
February 25, 2013 01:00 AM
It’s the all-too-familiar statement that sales managers hear from their salespeople: “I need to give my client this discount or we’ll lose the job. We’ll make up the margin on higher volume from the client.”
February 22, 2013 01:00 AM
Successful marketing increasingly depends on well-timed, relevant and proven content being delivered to prospects. The trend of buyers researching products well before they engage with a representative is only going to increase. This, combined with the sheer volume of marketing communications and vehicles, has led to an ever-growing need for marketing automation and lifecycle tools.
When chosen and employed correctly, these tools boost effectiveness by:
February 18, 2013 01:00 AM
The question for 2013 is not so much what is the state of marketing automation, but rather, what difference does marketing automation make to a company’s growth? We call this Revenue Marketing, which means marketing is making a measurable contribution to revenue. This is the ultimate promise of marketing automation, from which sales and marketing teams benefit most.
February 15, 2013 01:00 AM
Working recently with a client in selecting and implementing a CRM system, it struck me that sales organizations haven’t moved past traditional metrics, sales process, recruiting, training and coaching. There’s a new sales landscape that really isn’t so new. It left the station when the Internet arrived, and has moved full speed ahead with the increased availability of product/service information on websites and through the plethora of social media. Buyers no longer rely on salespeople as a primary resource, and they are for more empowered by their knowledge.
February 11, 2013 01:00 AM
Objections can cause doubt and confusion for prospects and salespeople. This can frustrate your team members and cause them to avoid objections. But as you know, objection avoidance can lead to fewer sales.
As part of your sales coaching, help your team members embrace the philosophy that objections are a welcome and natural part of their sales conversations. When they learn the value of objections, they’ll be open to discovering more effective ways to leverage them to facilitate prospects’ buying decisions.
February 8, 2013 01:00 AM
There was a time when a salesperson could fulfill a unified role as a vendor, trusted advisor and challenger. But today’s hypercompetitive market requires the salesperson to play two distinct yet complementary roles – that of Consultant to the customer and Strategist to both the customer and his or her own organization.
February 4, 2013 01:00 AM
A new approach to selling has developed through the use of social networking sites. Social networks allow sales representatives to generate stronger leads, eliminate the gatekeeper from the process and set up solid appointments to introduce their products or services.
February 1, 2013 01:00 AM
Sales is a process, especially in a consultative sales environment, and depending on the industry, your sales cycle could be multiple months long. CEOs in far too many cases step in to take control or manage the sales process, particularly when sales don't happen. I have seen it all. CEOs doing the sales training, CEOs being on initial sales calls, CEOs coming to the rescue. It can cause panic and fear with the sales staff and otherwise utter confusion both internally as well as with prospective clients.
January 29, 2013 01:00 AM
In 15 years of analyzing company perceptions about their own customer values based on blind surveys, we have turned up a disturbing finding: in our study of over 100 organizations, less than 5 percent of companies actually “sell” what’s most valued by their customers.
January 22, 2013 01:00 AM
January 21, 2013 01:00 AM
I’ve been involved in winning business in the recessions of every decade since the 1970s. During all that time, there has never been a tougher environment for anyone who needs to win business than the present day. It’s not the recession that’s different; things may feel difficult but there have been worse recessions in my business lifetime.