The Sales and Marketing Promance (technology not included)

Many businesses lack strong alignment between their sales and marketing organizations. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s important to understand the barriers that prevent alignment. Six com…

Source: The Sales and Marketing Promance (technology not included)

The Sales and Marketing Promance (technology not included)

Many businesses lack strong alignment between their sales and marketing organizations. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s important to understand the barriers that prevent alignment. Six common barriers include:

  1. Success in the sales and marketing departments is being measured differently.
  2. Sales and marketing have a different vision of the ideal target customer.
  3. Actionable customer insight sits in disconnected databases.
  4. There is a lack of view of customers and their buying preferences.
  5. Broken processes make it impossible to track what is working.
  6. The technology is too hard to use so that there is limited adoption.

 

These barriers lead to the disconnect and are making it difficult for organizations to make the most of their sales opportunities and go to market investments. As an example, companies are unable to provide the right offers to the right people, at the right time, because customer insights live in disparate locations and the company’s go-to-market strategies are uncoordinated and inefficient.

To address this disconnect, businesses are turning to applications and new technology to help build cohesive sales and marketing alliances. The common mistake businesses have been making in their rush to technology is that they forget to address their people and process challenges first.

The promises of the digital revolution and emerging technologies are often not in line with management’s expectations. Many mid to large sized companies have rushed to replace older systems that worked, to new and unproven cloud based technologies that are not living up to expectations. Many of these decisions were based on unrealistic, pie-in the sky, cloud in the sky promises (no pun intended) and the pain is just beginning to be felt by customers.

The reality is that many companies launched into cloud based technologies without a good business plan. So perhaps 2015 will be the year many companies awaken to a reality check.

The pendulum is about to swing in another direction. Brace yourselves.

Good times ahead.

Cheers,

rvargas@solomonconsult.com

NEVER FORGET SOMEONE’S NAME AGAIN WITH THIS MEMORY TRICK

Fast Company LogoEVER MEET SOMEONE AT A SOCIAL EVENT AND IMMEDIATELY FORGET THEIR NAME? TRY THIS TECHNIQUE FOR UNDERSTANDING AND USING MEMORY’S NATURE TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.

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.

THE SOLUTION TO OUR FORGETFULNESS?

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…

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

Source: blog.automational.com

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.

PROOFREAD

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.

USE A CLEAR “FROM” NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS

Generic senders such as “info@company.com” 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).

HAVE BACKUP VALUES FOR DYNAMIC CONTENT

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: ${Recipient.contact.firstname[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: ${Recipient.contact.firstname[0]!”Customer”}.

TEST YOUR LINKS

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.

CHECK YOUR TEMPLATE ON MOBILE DEVICES

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.

INCLUDE A TEXT VERSION OF YOUR HTML EMAIL TEMPLATE

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.

CHECK YOUR SUBJECT LINE

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.”

KEEP IT SHORT

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.

CREATE RESULTS WITH A CLEAR AND COMPELLING CALL-TO-ACTION

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.

BUILD BRAND CONSISTENCY: TONE, VOICE, AND IMAGERY

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.

BECOME A CONTENT CRITIC

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

 

When to Buy Data

The quality of a company’s data will have a direct impact on the performance of its people, process and technology. Maintaining the quality, timeliness, and completeness of a company’s data will often require working with external data suppliers.

The decision to buy data should only happen after a data assessment, gap analysis and cost benefit analysis have been completed…

The Data Assessment – is an iterative process that aligns to company’s data strategy and go to market plan, and involves:

  • Identifying all data sources
  • Reviewing the data collection procedures
  • Interviewing those responsible for data and analysis
  • Analyzing sample data for quality
  • Setting segmentation based on personas
  • Documenting business process

 

Data assessments provide qualitative and quantitative insights into data’s…

  • Reliability – Data provides stable and consistent collection processes and analysis
    methods.
  • Validity – Data should clearly and adequately represent the intended result.
  • Timeliness – Data should be available at a useful frequency, should be current, and should be
    timely enough to influence management decision making.
  • Precision – Data have a sufficient level of detail to permit management decision making.

 

Gap Analysis – A gap analysis will identify missing, incomplete or inaccurate data through the data assessment process. Below are examples where data may need to be acquired:GapAnalysis

  • Information missing pertains to specific individuals (i.e. email addresses, phone numbers,etc.)
  • Behavioral information like purchasing patterns, memberships and affiliations, technologies used, etc.
  • Credit score and risk rating
  • Online search history unavailable (cookies, device information, etc.)

 

cost_benefit_analysisCost Benefit Analysis – Justifies the decision to buy data using the findings from the gap analysis and data assessment. It is a comparison of the costs of all options against their total anticipated benefits.

DataQualityWhen to buy data | Cleanse, Enrich, Acquire?

Quality data continues to be a challenge for companies today, and buying data does not guarantee its quality. When using purchasing data from a new supplier start small, inspect the data, and test performance.

Work with major data vendors that are known suppliers of quality consumer and business information. Major suppliers like D&B, InfoGroup, Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, Acxiom, and TeraData are able to provide consumer or business level intelligence that includes their interests, spending patterns, financial information, demographics, firmographic information, and so on.

 

Content Marketing | 3 Rules

Today, a company’s success depends greatly on on its ability to effectively manage its brand awareness, market conditioning, and demand generation programs.

Technology enables companies to automate how, when and what is communicated to its market today. However, content must still be curated by people and in today’s digital market place it is imperative that content follow three basic rules…

1. Be Customer Centric

Buyers consume content to address a challenge or pain, and they are evaluating their options. If your content is difficult to find or doesn’t provide answers to their needs, they will ultimately arrive at another content provider that very well might be your competitor.

The trend emerging with B2B buyers is a decreasing level of engagement with sales people during their awareness phase. Engagement with Sales these days happens during the down selection process and as they narrow down their options to just a few providers.

Today, more than ever before, a company’s success requires that its content be relevant, timely and personalized so that a high level of value is maintained throughout the customer engagement process.

Perception is managed through effective content management.

2. Build and Maintain Alignment on Personas

Create buyer personas. Set up panels comprised of external buyers and internal content curators.  Align both groups against your buyer personas will help align your company to your buyer types, and will help improve how content is synthesized for your company’s target audience. Your personas should drive everything how you communicate with your buyers’ journeys as they make decisions to choose you or your competitor.

3. Communicate Intimately | Personalization

Avoid speaking in your company’s or industry’s language. Use real words and when and wherever possible apply personalization that addresses the specific pain or need of your customer.

Follow me at http://social2direct.com

The Sales and Marketing Promance | Technology not included

Many businesses lack the alignment between the sales and marketing organizations. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s important to understand the barriers that prevent alignment. Some common barriers include:

  • Success in the sales and marketing departments is measured differently
  • Sales and marketing have a different vision of the ideal target customer
  • Actionable customer insight sits in disconnected databases
  • There is a lack of a 360-degree view of customers and their buying preferences
  • Broken processes make it impossible to track what is working
  • The technology is too hard to use so that there is limited adoption

 

These barriers lead to the disconnect and are making it difficult for organizations to make the most of their sales opportunities and go to market investments. As an example, companies are unable to provide the right offers to the right people, at the right time, because customer insights live in disparate locations and the company’s go-to-market strategies are uncoordinated and inefficient.

To address this disconnect, businesses are turning to applications and new technology to help build cohesive sales and marketing alliances. The common mistake businesses have been making in their rush to technology is that they forget to address their people and process challenges first. 

The promises of the Digital Revolution and emerging technologies are often not in line with management’s expectations. Many mid to large sized companies rushed to replace older systems that worked, to new and unproven cloud based technologies that are not living up to expectations. Many of these decisions were based on unrealistic, pie-in the sky, cloud-high promises (no pun intended) and the pain is just beginning to be felt by customers.

The reality is that many companies launched into cloud based technologies without a good business plan. So perhaps 2015 will be the year many companies awaken to a reality check.

The pendulum is about to swing in another direction. Brace yourselves.

Good times ahead.

Five reasons Twitter’s character limit increase is a terrible idea | Econsultancy

It’s somewhat sad that something as seemingly innocuous as an update to a social media site can cause so much online furore.

Source: Five reasons Twitter’s character limit increase is a terrible idea | Econsultancy

Video: How Massive Enterprise Companies Buy & Sell In 2016

At Sales Stack Conference 2015, we sat down with industry insiders from massive enterprise companies to discuss the secrets of how they buy and sell.

Source: Video: How Massive Enterprise Companies Buy & Sell In 2016

Predictive Analytics | Applying it to #Sales and #Marketing

Several weeks ago, I was in a meeting with a group of senior executives at one of the oldest business information companies in the United States, and the conversation shifted to lead generation:

“Results are horrendous, incredibly weak. Much of these leads are unusable. High percentages from Gmail, AOL, Hotmail… So many unknowns and, well, at least some decision makers, along with the rest of usual useless information.”

Anyone who works in today’s digital marketing space knows this is a common conversation that is hard to fix.

So, is bad #data the real issue for us or is it that we are chasing down the wrong path?

Think about it. We spend millions of dollars chasing individuals who download content, attend webinars or throw business cards into fishbowls at conferences and shows. We spend very little trying to figure out what is really going on inside a company of interest.

Things that sales and marketing agree on:

  • Purchasing is a team exercise
  • Figuring out what the consensus inside of buying teams is a tough job to figure out
  • There is a value to downloaded content as a proxy for team interest
  • An individual act tells us nothing about its organizations intent.

Is it time to devalue the downloaded white paper as our lead generation currency? (Sales people will love this one, Marketing, maybe not) 

More to the point, isn’t it time to evolve and begin the process of understanding the corporate body language through a variety of data points that are already available to us? Would it not be better to understand that the almighty download can and should be part of a larger canvas where a broader, more accurate picture emerges?

Even at it’s broadest level, #predictive #analytics can come in some simple forms.

6 examples of simple forms that apply basic predictive analytics:

  1. You can use any number of competitive search tools to understand what keywords and key phrases are collectively perceived as important when prospects begin their journey to find you
  2. And if you look historically backwards, you will be able to see what changed and potentially why
  3. You can also develop an understanding for funnel position (where companies are in the sales funnel by segmenting out keywords based on a natural progression of educating oneself.
  4. You can then use that analysis to make sure your own website is in tune editorially – are you mapping to what is important at that moment in time to companies that are consuming the content aligned with your objectives?
  5. You can find sites where these keywords exist ON PAGE in ways that align with your objectives. Page Indexing has grown up and become very sophisticated.
  6. Just this simple knitting together of these two components begin to give you an indication of trends and volume of content that is out there and that your prospects are consuming

Then do this:

  • Use IP identification and targeting to match who you see on your site and who is consuming the relevant content across the Web. This type of targeting will enable you to report back on which companies are most active in consuming specific keywords across contextually aligned sites.
  • This gives you a marriage of your data and external data that help you develop prioritization for sales, messaging across marketing, content development and most of all – IT GETS YOU OUT OF DEPENDING ON WHITE PAPER DOWNLOADS as your proxy for interest.
  • Once you add your crm and marketing automation data, revealing what companies you currently talk to are most engaged – you have a clear path to a strategy.

To review:

  • Analyze the competitive set to understand how everyone is deploying search and keywords
  • Utilize page indexing to understand where the content is
  • Use IP identification and targeting to tell you who and what and how many from where
  • Knit your own data in to complete the virtuous circle

The age of #Predictive #Automation is upon us. Take the initial steps needed to understand organizational #intent and funnel position, and your sales organization will stop complaining about those lousy leads you send them.