It’s no secret that when sales and marketing work together, sales can jump. Add production teams, and these groups can create a well-oiled machine: one that can generate demand, predict need and increase sales. When you’re a manufacturer, that insight is critical to running a smooth operation.
“A penny saved is a penny earned.” We’ve all heard the wise words of Ben Franklin at some point in our lives. And when it comes to your personal finances, it’s generally pretty good advice. Even when it comes to business, specifically your co-op / market development fund, there’s a tendency for leadership to be content with money going unspent – it helps the marketing and sales teams finish the quarter or year within their budget and the leftover money simply drops to the bottom line. But when you really look at the numbers, sorry Ben; a penny saved is revenue left on the table.
Did you know that the cold call is not unique to sales? It happens in the class room as well. When a teacher asks a question of a student who hasn’t raised their hand you can feel the temperature drop, because you’ve got a cold call in action. The teachers’ goal is to keep her students attention by introducing the possibility that anyone can be asked to speak at any time. By doing so she hopes to reduce the chances the students will be preoccupied and tune out. I probably don’t have to tell you what some of the students are really thinking.
Jun 06, 2014
Many companies are leveraging indirect sales channels and partnerships as a strategy in today’s competitive market. The goal in channel relationships is building the perfect mix of partners that will reach a large number of customers and improve the customer experience while reducing costs.
There’s a big payoff to understanding your market – the better you get to know your target customer, the bigger the rewards. Focusing on selling to the wrong prospect can lead to wasted time and even failure, but is there a foolproof method to finding the perfect client?
Feb 25, 2014
In a world where people spend most of their day (including their spare time) using their cell phones and computers, companies have to use different techniques to reach their target market. It’s not about going door-to-door or making 50 calls a day anymore.
Cold calling is outdated. Social media websites have changed the landscape of sales and are becoming a quick replacement for connecting over the phone. Communication via email and social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (which have millions of user available to connect with) make it easier to reach out to customers. Instead of making multiple calls in one day, it’s much more common for a company to send a message to a company they consider a prospect.
Dec 17, 2013
An article from chiefoutsiders.com recently published the statistic that most buyers are usually 70% through the sales cycle before they make initial contact with a sales person or company representative. As the article points out, this has some serious implications for marketers and how they go about their job. Where I think marketing has the biggest impact on the sales cycle is in the content it delivers, whether directly or indirectly, to support the sales team.
When it comes to content strategy, it’s easy for blogs, articles and white papers to tell you what to do and how you should do it as though every situation is the same and every company is the same. That simply isn’t the case. Resources, talent and circumstances are different for every company at every level. Whilst perusing the World Wide Web, I came across this article from Direct Marketing News. It offered up some interesting statistics about content strategy and includes these tips to improving your content strategy:
- Determine content gaps in the buyer journey and create targeted content to fill them.
- Develop fully segmented personas for more targeted content marketing.
- Develop a tightly focused content development plan for lead generation.
- Use the technology the company already has in house to start measuring the performance of a company's content marketing efforts.
- Eliminate underperforming content after six months if it's not producing the desired engagement or conversions.
Those are all great tactics to employ, and I am by no means attempting to belittle the thought that went into them, but at the end of the day, how reasonable are these strategies for certain businesses in certain industries? Let’s take a look at each of these again and try to reconcile the ideal, text-book way to do things with the harsh realities of organizational limitations:
Determine content gaps in the buyer journey and create targeted content to fill them.
There will always be content gaps. Identify the largest gaps and address those first. Determine how “into the weeds” you need to get with your content as it pertains to the products/services you offer. Don’t let a content gap turn into a content black hole that swallows up all of your time, attention and resources. A little content, especially if it’s good content, can go a long way.
Develop fully segmented personas for more targeted content marketing.
This really comes down to time and people-power. If you have a smaller marketing team, generic isn’t always the worst thing in the world. Good content on sales methodology, for example, will often have nuggets of knowledge relevant to anyone is sales; you wouldn’t necessarily need to write one specifically for sales in Industry X. You can get crafty with titles and promotional text (on social media, for example) to present generic content in a more targeted context without repackaging the same message for every segment of your audience.
Develop a tightly focused content development plan for lead generation.
This should be the backbone for every content marketing strategy regardless of budget, time or resources.
Use the technology the company already has in-house to start measuring the performance of a company's content marketing efforts.
For SMBs or organizations with limited marketing budget, this will typically mean utilizing free resources like Google Analytics and social media and measurement tools (you should be pushing your content through social media, by the way). This will work for a centralized marketing department, but when marketing and sales are working in unison on a campaign (meaning more people are involved) more detailed tracking and metrics may be required. This is where marketing resource management systems and marketing automation systems can provide support to both sales and marketing teams.
Eliminate underperforming content after six months if it's not producing the desired engagement or conversions.
Archived content, unless the information or branding elements within it are grossly outdated, isn’t harming anything by staying on your site. No one ever had too much content. Reuse a white paper in a tweet if it hasn’t been downloaded much in the past few months. Having a large pool of content – even if it’s not the most clicked or downloaded content on your site – allows you to keep your messages fresh on social media or email campaigns without having to write two new white papers or three new case studies every month. Not to mention unless you have a team solely devoted to content development, six months is simply too frequent of a turnover rate for content.
Okay, so don’t forget about branding, but everyone always talks about social media in the context of branding. So today, we’re going to focus on social media’s role in building your bottom line by closing deals…
It’s very easy in life to embrace an “out with the old, in with the new!” attitude. After all, newer is most always perceived to be better. The problem with this attitude is that it supposes the correct course of action is one or the other; a classic “if not A, then B” scenario. While that’s a theorem that’s important for software developers, mathematicians and philosophers to know, it’s not necessarily a good rule for businesses to follow.
Oct 23, 2013
It’s an inevitable point in the life cycle of every great advancement or leap forward: that moment when the exceptional becomes the norm. It happened with phones, televisions, automobiles – things that were revolutionary concepts when they first arrived, but eventually nearly everyone had one, and suddenly owning such items isn’t viewed as remarkable, rather as necessary.
The same holds true for business skills, and that was the focus of a book I recently read by Jay Baer called “Youtility.” New technology has always demanded new skills, but as we’ve seen time and time again, as the technology becomes more prevalent and “the norm,” so too do the skills required to operate it, and that has an impact on how businesses should look for and asses new talent.