It's amazing that there's so much great content out there surrounding demand generation and B2B sales and marketing! Here are a few that stand out to the Smashmouth crowd from last week:
Are Your Inside Sales Reps Good Detectives? A guest post on AG Salesworks' Sales Prospecting Perspectives blog provided an interesting comparison to inside sales reps and detectives. The author likens his approach to that of Columbo and collects as much detail from his prospects as he can.
"I find that people are willing to share one more thing with me in order to get me off the phone. This one thing may turn into a longer conversation that could bring out more pains and needs from the prospect and in time, turning this ‘not interested’ person into an opportunity for our clients."
Whatever You Do, Don't Do This During a Sales Meeting. Jill Konrath, sales strategist and author of SNAP Selling, has an article on ScLoHo's Collective Wisdom blog about limiting the amount of time you speak during a sales call and keeping quiet during that most critical meeting -- replacing your competitor!
"Top sellers realize that replacing an incumbent is a slow, deliberate process. They understand it takes time to demonstrate value and develop strong relationships. Knowing this, they put together a one-step-at-a-time account-entry strategy that advances the sales process much faster than if they tried to do everything in a single call."
7 Fluff-Free Reasons Your Online Content Isn't Spreading. David Siteman Garland, author and entrepreneur from The Rise to the Top website, wrote a guest post over at inbound marketing evangelist HubSpot's blog. Garland shares some great thoughts as to why your content may not be as aflame as you'd like it to be.
"Normally there isn’t just one answer and it isn’t black-and-white. Some things directly matter and others go a little bit deeper with more abstract, yet equally important ideas like trust and authority. But, everything adds up."
Like I said, there's a lot of great information out there; what would you have added from the week?
Photo Credit: steve.wilde via Flickr
Last month was the Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston (my comments here). I connected with friends and colleagues with similar desires to increase sales and marketing production with no holds barred.
I had the opportunity in Boston to present on the topic of Increasing Productivity Without Increasing Headcount and then participating on a panel discussion on the topic. (video below)
Since my attendance at the first Sales 2.0 Conference, I had discussed with Gerhard that the topics of sales and marketing in a 2.0 world just can't be discussed separately. So the highlight of my day was when he closed the session by announcing that the next "Sales 2.0 Conference" will be known as the "Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference".
Thanks to ConnectAndSell for inviting me to speak.
Video of my presentation:
There were some great B2B Demand Gen articles posted this week, and here are the handful that stood out for the Smashmouth crowd:
Old Spice: The Man Your Content Could Smell Like - The big news this week was the Old Spice Man answering people's questions and Twitter updates with personalized responses. The originality of this type of content marketing is refreshing.
"Not too long ago Old Spice was a brand that was largely forgotten or something that was worn by your father. This weekend, watching the latest commercial (embedded below), my boyfriend asked me if he should switch over to Old Spice. The momentum Old Spice is creating goes beyond just 'silly Web videos'. They’re using remarkable content to capture brand awareness, eyes, and in the end, sales."
To read more about this, check out SEO/Blogging/Twitter guru Lisa Barone of internet marketing company Outspoken Media.
Create Your Own Content Category - Joe Pulizzi, marketing strategist over at Junta42, has a great article on his site about owning your own "keywords."
"If you are talking about the same concepts and content as your competitors, what value are you adding to the conversation? Are you truly providing anything that will differentiate you from your competitors, over the thousands of other messages out there your customers are possibly engaging with?"
For Those About to Rock...Show Up First - Paul Castain, sales trainer and sales blogger at Paul Castain's Sales Playbook, wrote a great article that shares 13 tips on how effective sales people can "show up" and get found, all while weaving Slash and George Lopez into the mix.
"People like Slash understand that they need to be seen. They also understand that you can’t be seen if you don’t show up."
There were a lot of great blog articles this week surrounding B2B sales and marketing - which one got you thinking? What did we miss?
*Photo Credit: suttonhoo via Flickr
I started penning this piece about summer last week when AG Salesworks published a great article touching on some of the tactical issues of lead gen in the summer. It got me thinking that there must be some research to support a fact Green Leads is confident about: rather than slowing during the summer, lead generation activities actually heat up.
For the most part, it's popular opinion that it’s harder to sell during the summer. It makes some sense, right? We tend to think of this as a lazy season, one filled with family barbecues, homemade iced tea and hours spent lounging in a hammock.
Sounds good? Fewer people working, right?
That’s not necessarily the case. According to Gretchen Weber, a freelance writer for workforce.com, people are taking less time off. Regardless of the amount of time off we’re given, or earn, Americans are using less of it. We may think that because summer is so low-key it’s a good time for us to regroup from the rush of Q1 and to gear up for a big year-end. Not so, my friends. The implication for those of us in the B2B lead generation business is crystal clear: DO NOT SLOW DOWN.
Here are three reasons why you should not slow down your demand generation efforts this (or any) summer:
- People are more likely in the office - Just as the article from Weber pointed out, people are using less and less of their time off. Use that knowledge to engage in your demand gen efforts with great enthusiasm. Because we’re utilizing less of our vacation time, there is a greater likelihood that we’re going to catch people at their desks, whether we’re emailing them or calling them. Don’t assume that they’re not there; you know what your middle school teacher taught you about “assuming,” right? If our prospects are in the office more, so we should be.
- Schedules are less hectic - Though the summer typically offers no relief from the heat, it does tend to free up people’s schedules. For us, this means that people are more likely to be responsive to appointment setting. That brief break from a busy schedule affords us the opportunity to schedule a time to talk with decision makers and influencers. If we’re really using fewer vacation days, it stands to reason that we’re not all too comfortable with an “open” calendar. Use that to your advantage and get yourself time in front of your top prospects.
- Five years of data proving otherwise - When all else fails to convert the non-believers, pull out data. At Green Leads, we’ve got five years' worth of data that proves to us that the summer months, specifically July and August, are better than September for setting appointments for our clients. Yet every year, clients want to slow down for the summer and turn back on in September. It's counterintuitive, but the summer is prime time. Lead gen is about pipeline too, and working hard during the summer sets up the fall for success as well.
What do you think? Is summer a time for relaxing or maximizing your Demand Gen efforts?
Photo Credit: *Micky via Flickr
Guest post by Paul Simon, Sharper Content, @paulcontentman
We all form instant impressions when meeting someone new. Guess what? The same thing happens when we read something from someone we don't know - and the proliferation of social media puts an awful of "new" people in front of us.
As Michael Damphousse says, "Good content creates value. Value creates trust. And, yes, trust creates leads."
On the Internet, it's all about content, whether you have a product to sell, service to offer or leads to pursue. The best content is clear, concise and compelling, creating a bond and a relationship with the reader. Can poor writing, misspellings and grammatical errors interfere? You betcha.
A few days ago someone in a sales group on LinkedIn posed this question: "Love reading and participating in this group, but I could not help noticing all the blatant spelling errors in our posts. Do you think it reflects negatively on our attention to detail and professionalism not to re-read our posts before we hit the send button? "
Intriguing responses followed, some dismissing an occasional error in a group comment as inconsequential and others characterizing them as a general lack of professionalism. Here are a few of my favorite comments:
"Numerous mistakes indicate a lack of attention to detail. If I am thinking of hiring someone to take care of my business, I want someone who is brilliant in their field AND cares about the details..."
"If one person, someone who is important to you, forms a negative image of you because of something you've written, doesn't it make sense to be more mindful? I would hate to think that I was shut out of an opportunity because I failed to take a few extra minutes to ensure that my spelling and grammar were up to snuff."
As someone who makes a living writing and editing other people's copy, I've often wondered about the same thing when I see a lot of errors. I've made my share of typos in rushing out an email here and there, but it does seem that a business communication rife with errors really gets you off on the wrong foot.
Can you afford to take a chance? Are your content marketing efforts going to impact demand gen? You owe it to yourself to pay attention.
Not sure I'm going to pick up the new iPhone just yet. I'm hearing about issues with the antenna, but I'm sure I'll have to make a decision when one of my daughters drops her phone into the pool this summer and I need to sacrifice my current iPhone as a replacement. It's been a tried-and-true pattern the past 3 summers.
The iPhone 4 brings Apple customers a nicely improved design and several new features: the ability to make video phone calls, to record (and edit!) HD videos and true multi-tasking, just to name a few. What this means to me (and you) is its connection to Sales 2.0.
It's all about the evolution and use of technology -- I feel as if Apple values prospects and customers and wants to bring them value. The nature of technology is that it has to evolve, and the technology we have today is astounding. The cool part is that it's only getting better!
Sales 2.0 is all about evolution as well. It's about changing the way sales and marketing do our jobs and adapting. Sales 2.0 means that we have to evolve.
Here are three ways we can keep that evolution going:
- Improve our prospect's interactions with us - These interactions make or break the sales process. Got a poorly designed website? You and I both know that if you do, your prospects aren't coming back. Got a content-rich, informative website? Chances are they'll keep coming back even after they purchase. Is your marketing value embedded within the content prospects see as valuable? Does the sales team have the tools and information it takes to make prospects feel they are gaining value and in control of the buying cycle? Prospects want what prospects want, not always what we want.
- Better qualify MQL's - We've evolved how we bring value to prospects; now we've got to do a better job at qualifying them as MQL's (marketing qualified leads). Evolve the Quality vs. Quantity. Apple doesn't market the new iPhone to kids and teens in hopes that they will be prospects walking in to talk to an Apple Genius. They market to adult users who can afford the premium phone/service. Salespeople want the same kind of leads. Whether you do this through appointment setting, teleprospecting or lead scoring, make your sales reps want to thank you for every lead.
- Accelerate word of mouth marketing (WOM) - How many of you bought iPhones because someone let you hold it? Testimonials and referrals (word-of-mouth marketing) is one of the best -- if not the greatest -- source of new prospects for most companies. Is this Sales 2.0? Optimizing it and helping sales and marketing teams take advantage of it certainly is. Create tools, buzz and reasons for customers to bring you prospects.
Have you bought an iPhone 4? What do you think of the changes?
(Side note: what do you use it for as it pertains to sales and marketing? Me ... I've loaded Salesforce, LinkedIn and even a link to my presentations should I meet a prospect on the road.)