Sometimes one of the important aspects to career success can be something intangible like how likeable you are.

That vague feeling of goodwill is often determined by how genuine you seem when interacting with others. One of the first steps to showing someone you sincerely care about what they’re saying is remembering what they say—especially their name.

According to a Dale Carnegie training course I took last year, the sweetest sound to anyone’s ear—no matter what language it’s in—is their name. Without nailing down this first step, it can be difficult to move forward in building a genuine professional or personal relationship. Unfortunately, this can be a difficult task since someone else’s name often doesn’t mean anything to us (it’s just another word) so it’s difficult for our brains to remember it.


According to the course, our memory works best when we remember scenes and images. Our minds are “associate machines” so in order for you to remember something—like a name—you need to form your own association to it.

This is called the memory-linking technique.

It works like this: When you meet someone, pay close attention to what they’re saying so that you can use the details to associate them to your images. Associating a name with a personality trait, an occupation, a visual cue, or where someone’s from is an effective tactic.

Read more…

How More Accessible Information Is Forcing B2B Sales to Adapt

jan16-05-563960997by: Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer

Over the past 20 years, information technology and digital channels have changed the way consumers shop for products ranging from cars to homes to electronics. Those forces are dramatically changing the way B2B companies and their customers approach buying and selling, too.

Business buyers are more connected and informed than ever before. Sellers must respond. For buyers and sellers alike, this creates complexity, anxiety, and opportunity all at the same time.

From the buyer’s perspective, information technology and digital channels provide access to information and enable self-sufficiency. When a buyer wants to learn about virtually any product or service, an internet search yields thousands (if not millions) of results, including online articles, videos, white papers, blogs, and social media posts. In addition to supplier websites that showcase specific solutions, there are likely to be online sources (ranging from the self-serving to the unbiased) to help buyers learn and compare solution alternatives. Buyers can also use self-service digital channels for new or repeat purchases and for training and support. Using information technology and digital channels, buyers can take over many steps of buying that salespeople once cherished as their source of value.

Buyers are at different levels of self-sufficiency: any single buyer can be at one level for some purchases and at a different level for others. Sometimes buyers prefer to eliminate the salesperson completely. According to one corporate technology buyer: “Our supplier’s customized self-service purchasing portal makes it easy to place reorders, track shipping, and return products hassle-free.” Other times buyers seek help from salespeople. The same corporate buyer relies on salespeople when evaluating new technologies: “It’s more efficient to work with a few trusted salespeople, compared to spending hours on my own sifting through all the information and misinformation that’s out there.”

Because of the diversity of buyer self-sufficiency, the traditional methods sellers use to customize their selling approach for customers are no longer enough. Considering factors such as customer potential and needs is still relevant. But today, customer knowledge/self-sufficiency is a growing driver of how customers want to buy. At one end of the spectrum are the “super-expert” customers, skilled in gathering information from many sources and self-sufficient in using that information to make purchase decisions. At the other end of the spectrum are the “information-seeking” customers, who want help with examining and evaluating the plethora of information. Many customers are in between these two extremes, or are at different points at different times or for different purchases.

Smart sellers match their selling approach to the customer’s level of buying knowledge and self-sufficiency. For example, when leaders at Dow Corning observed in the early 2000s that some customers wanted an easier, more affordable way to buy standard silicone products, they created Xiameter, a brand that includes thousands of less-differentiated products sold exclusively through a low-cost, no-frills, self-service online sales channel. Customers who desired a higher-touch approach could still purchase products under the Dow Corning brand name, which also includes specialty silicones backed by research and technical services.

As sellers need a more customized approach to reaching customers, they have a big arsenal of data and technology at their disposal. Systems (e.g., CRM), tools (e.g., data management, analytics), infrastructures (e.g., mobile, cloud), and information (e.g., big data) give sellers knowledge about buyers and enable sales force members to make smarter decisions. And sellers who once connected with customers primarily through personal selling can now use an array of digital communication channels to supplement or supplant face-to-face sales efforts.

Consider the impact of information technology and digital channels from the seller’s perspective. Here are examples from several industries.

  • Finding banking customers: “Social media allows us to cost-effectively reach out to more prospects and showcase our services.
  • Understanding specialty chemicals customers: “Big data and analytics help us improve customer targeting and achieve more cost-effective deployment.”
  • Acquiring advertising customers: “We now have richer demographic information to help us create more powerful sales messages, resulting in more sales.”
  • Serving and growing business logistics customers: “Our salespeople use a business review app to guide quarterly account reviews with major customers. By sharing data about performance and cost savings, these discussions enhance customer value and retention.

Information technology and digital channels can help sellers become more effective and efficient, but they can also be a source of disharmony and confusion if implemented without thought. Too many sellers have wasted millions of dollars on sales technologies such as CRM systems and data warehouses that never lived up to their potential.

Success for sellers requires many sales force changes beyond information technology and digital solutions. To start, salespeople need new competencies. Customers are no longer interested in meeting with “talking brochures,” so salespeople must do more than share product information. They must adapt to each customer’s level of knowledge and self-sufficiency. They must use email, social media, webinars, video conferencing, and other tools judiciously to maximize their own productivity and make things more efficient for buyers. They must help their companies coordinate customer outreach across multiple communication channels to ensure buyers get a well-orchestrated and consistent message.

For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, gone are the days when the majority of physician education occurred through face-to-face contact between salespeople and physicians. Companies are now tracking individual physician communication preferences and are reaching out with the combination of face-to-face visits and/or digital methods (e.g., websites, email, podcasts, virtual detailing, video conferencing, mobile apps) that best meets each physician’s needs. Salespeople need competencies as orchestrators who can ensure an effective and efficient connection.

Developing new sales force competencies is just a start. Sales leaders must also reengineer their sales forces by implementing changes across the entire range of sales force decisions: roles, size and structure, hiring, training, coaching, incentive compensation, performance management, and sales support systems.

Source: HBR: How More Accessible Information Is Forcing B2B Sales to Adapt


Big Data Trends | Strategies driving investments in data

IDG Enterprise logoLast year, IDG published a study 2015 Big Data and Analytics, Insights into Initiatives and Strategies Driving Data Investments that was based on interviews with 1,139 IT leaders from nine industries with high tech (16%), government (12%), financial services (11%) and manufacturing (9%) being the top four industries surveyed.


Key findings Infographic:

Below are a few key take-aways, the report is embedded at the bottom of this post:

  • 80% of enterprises surveyed have data-driven and big data projects in implementing or planning stages today versus 63% of SMBs. 37% of enterprises have deployed data-driven projects in the last year, and 18% are in the process of implementing or piloting projects as of today.
  • 83% of organizations prioritized structured data initiatives as critical or high priority in 2015, and 36% increased their budgets for data-driven initiatives.
  • Improving the quality of decision making (61%), improving planning and forecasting (57%) and increasing the speed of decision making (51%) are the three most common business goals and objectives driving data-driven initiatives in organizations today. The following graphic compares which business initiatives are driving big data investment and the positive impact of big data on each.
  • 36% of enterprises expect their IT budget allocations for data-driven initiatives increased in 2015, 41% anticipated budget levels would remain at current levels and 21% aren’t sure. Only 3% say data-driven and big data-related project funding will decrease.
  • Data analytics continues to accelerate as the most preferred solution for gaining greater business insight and value from data, with this category increasing in importance 55% from 2014 survey results. In enterprises, data analytics (65%), visual dashboards (47%), data mining (43%), data warehousing (40%) and data quality (39%) are the five most preferred solutions. In my discussions with CIOs in financial services and manufacturing companies, the shift away from pre-built dashboards with common metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to the flexibility of defining their own data models in metrics is the future. Dashboards in financial institutions need to have the flexibility of quickly integrating entire new metrics and KPIs as their business models change. For manufacturers, the need for interpreting shop floor data to financial results is what’s driving data analysis and dashboards in the many manufacturing industries adopting analytics today.
  • The number of enterprises who have deployed/implemented data-driven projects increased 125% in the last year, with 42% still planning data implementations as of today. The following graphic from the study illustrates a comparison of 2014 and 2015 plans for considering, planning and implementing data-driven projects.


View the report here:

Download the IDG Report: 2015 Big Data and Analytics, Insights into Initiatives and Strategies Driving Data Investments

12 Great Content Marketing Ideas in 12 Months |

getty_109439748_78464Content marketing is an important part of any business, especially if you’re looking to drive traffic and sales through optimizing search engine traffic. So what better time than now to start the new year off by establishing a content calendar? At our business dashboard startup Dasheroo this is exactly what we’ve been working on, and even though this provides a great blueprint for what we’ll need to produce, it’s just the starting point.

Source: 12 Great Content Marketing Ideas in 12 Months |

Mobile online checkout and AI to be front of mind in 2016: Deloitte | ZDNet

mobileMobile online checkout and cognitive technologies are set to boom in 2016, according to the latest predictions made by Deloitte.In the Technology, Media & Telecommunications 2016 report, Deloitte believes the number of individuals who use a third-party touch-based payment service to make a purchase on their devices — which covers both smartphones and tablets — will increase by 150 percent to reach 50 million regular users.

Source: Mobile online checkout and AI to be front of mind in 2016: Deloitte | ZDNet

Email Pre-Flight Checklist: What To Do Before You Send – Automational Blog


email-marketing-automation-blogIt’s unfortunate when you send an email to a marketing list only to realize that you’ve misspelled a critical word or left off an important part of your message. It’s worse when your opens and click-throughs don’t live up to your expectations, and you don’t know why until someone informs you the email you sent them arrived with broken formatting, or wasn’t readable on their smartphone.

To help remedy this, we’ve created a short list of things to double-check before you send the email to your list.


It’s easy to skimp on proofing since Microsoft Word and iOS Pages have so many tools to help out. One example of why electronic checks aren’t enough: “two bee or not too bee” is a sentence that is comprised entirely of words that are spelled correctly, but clearly convey the wrong message. Until spellcheckers have a better grasp of context, be sure to check your email for spelling and grammar errors before you send. These errors can damage your organization’s professional reputation and distract your recipients from your message.


Generic senders such as “” or “Sales” often get ignored. Make sure that the values you use for your “From” name and email clearly indicate who you are in order to avoid confusing your recipients. If they don’t recognize who the email is from, they aren’t going to open or read your message. The “From” identity should be someone that the reader knows (their account manager), recognizes (the CEO or other notable person), or would be expecting an email from (Customer Support or Automational Newsletter).


Include a default value if you incorporate dynamic text into your emails. If a recipient’s first name is blank, for example, and you’re using a first name personalization, you want to ensure that this field is filled with something like “Loyal Customer” rather than nothing at all, which would cause them to receive an email that started with, “Dear .”

When you add dynamic text to your template, it will look something like this: ${[0]!””}. Including a default value with your dynamic text (just in case that data isn’t filled out for a recipient on your list) looks something like this: ${[0]!”Customer”}.


Make sure all of your links work prior to sending your email. Broken links will prevent your recipients from accessing your content and may make them less likely to try again in future emails.


You already know that a huge percentage of emails are read on mobile devices, but do you know how your template will respond to the variety of devices and browsers with which it could be opened? Most marketing automation tools will allow you to preview your message on different sized screens and make sure everything appears as intended.


The text version provides additional support for your template so anyone who doesn’t receive HTML emails (whether by choice or because their email client doesn’t support it) can still read your email. Including a text version will also decrease your spam score.


Your subject line is the first part of your email that your recipient will see, so it is vital that it grabs their attention and gives them a good idea of the purpose of your email. Sending out emails with an irrelevant subject line or with a subject line containing typos or grammatical errors can decrease your email open rate and harm your credibility. Include keywords that will resonate with or appeal to your audience, while avoiding key spam trigger words or phrases such as “free,” “earn money,” or “meet singles.”


Regardless of the purpose of your email, remember that your email is just one of dozens (maybe even hundreds!) of emails that landed in your recipient’s inbox today. Consider this a “back to the basics” best practice: keep it as short as you can without losing the core message.

Break the content into sections for better readability. Ideally, your recipient would read every word of your email, but in truth, many readers will probably skim the message. As you’re writing, make it your goal that the reader should be able to determine the key elements of your message and the action you’d like them to take with only a 10-second scan through your email.


What are you hoping to achieve with this email? Generate registrations to an upcoming event? Drive downloads of your latest eBook? Include a very clear call-to-action that instructs the reader to do just that (“Register Here” or “Get the eBook”). Limit the number of links and options within the email to encourage the customer to act on your primary offer.


The customer should be able to recognize your company identity immediately when they open and read the email. Always include your company name and logo to reinforce your brand. The tone of the content should match your company as well. An email from a pet sitter could be fun and playful, but imagine getting an email from a funeral home with the same tone.

Whether conversational or more conservative, make sure your tone is consistent across communication channels, speak to your audience in a simple, straightforward manner, and keep pushy sales lingo to a minimum.


Before your email is marked as spam, double-check your content for potentially problematic words and phrases. Words like “discount,” “pharmacy,” and even “spam,” as well as large numbers, dollar signs, or excessive exclamation points, can make your message seem less credible.

Providing relevant content, writing an appropriate subject line, and using professional language and punctuation will help boost the legitimacy of your communications.

| CRM & Marketing Automation Tips

Download a one pager of this list via: Email Pre-flight Checklist


Bogus Web Traffic Continues to Plague the Ad Business – WSJ

Marketers continue to waste billions–an estimated $7 billion, at least, this year–on buying online ads that people do not see, according to the Association of National Advertisers.

Source: Bogus Web Traffic Continues to Plague the Ad Business – WSJ

Marketo’s CMO on the new future of digital marketing

marketo_cmo_illoMarketo CMO Sanjay Dholakia puts the current — and future — state of marketing into perspective.

The scene: A smoke-filled room clamors with anger, frustration and optimism as men in earth-tone suits and skinny wool ties debate — from art to copy to product placement — the best ways to sell dishwasher fluid. At long last, they agree, clink their glasses of brandy and set a plan in motion for six months down the road.

That’s marketing in a nutshell, right? A closed-door, one-size-fits-all operation that moves at the speed of molasses.

Well, let’s just say that picture is a little outdated. And not just because of the outfits.

Today, technology plays a massive role in marketing strategy and execution: Automation has turned guesswork into a precise science and months of planning into nanoseconds. Companies like Marketo are leading the way in marketing automation technology, pushing boundaries and helping CMOs everywhere embrace the future.

Of course, this is pretty complex stuff. So we had a chat with Marketo CMO, Sanjay Dholakia, to put the current state of marketing — and the future — into perspective.

Source: Marketo’s CMO on the new future of digital marketing

The Ecosystem CMOs Need To Build Now – CMO Nation

The marketing world has undergone a dramatic shift: digital now touches nearly every customer interaction. Marketing has become a technology-powered discipline, with the two areas so interwoven that chief marketing officers are projected to spend more on technology than chief information officers by 2017.

The rise of digital has led to the emergence and explosion of marketing technology (MarTech) applications and platforms. Marketers can now collect and analyze large and disparate volumes of data—and make their insights actionable with a degree of precision just years ago was only a dream. This gives more power to the CMO, who constantly aims to address the basic question of marketing: how to engage and acquire customers for the long term by making engagement and acquisition more attainable and measurable.

Source: The Ecosystem CMOs Need To Build Now – CMO Nation

Facebook Stats that Every Social Marketer Should Know

With over 1.23 billion active users (including 71% of online adults in the United States), a 94% increase in shared content since 2012, and enough spending money to buy several small countries, it’s clear that Facebook isn’t going anywhere soon. Smart marketers are already using Facebook’s impressive reach to their own advantage, but the network is still relatively new and constantly evolving. It’s hard enough to keep up with Facebook’s changing algorithms – how can marketers be sure they’re using Facebook strategically, not just “marketing at random”?

In addition to arming yourself with a rock solid social media tactical plan (click the link for a comprehensive sample plan, including high-level objectives and granular action items), marketers need to approach their Facebook strategy with the most up-to-date insights and stats.

How can you be sure you’re using Facebook strategically? Check out stats from TrackMaven’s new report, The Marketing Maven’s Guide to Facebook.

Source: Facebook Stats that Every Social Marketer Should Know