Archive for November, 2007

Marketing Your Small Business for BIG Profits. David Mason

Marketing Your Small Business for BIG Profits. David Mason. 2007. ISBN 978160037077 This is a simple, skinny and pragmatic book full of do it now advice. Written for a small business audience, there is still very good advice for the tech industry, which tends to view marketing in a simplistic and out of date fashion. ( And we are supposed to be such “smart” guys in this industry. )So how is marketing really working for you? ) His appendices are worth the price of the book, such as “The top 5 most powerful headline formulas. EG No 1. How to Headlines—–>How to pay less taxes and keep more money for yourself

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Top Dog Sales Secrets. 50 experts show you proven ways to skyrocket your sales. Michael Dalton Johnston ed.

Top Dog Sales Secrets. 50 experts show you proven ways to skyrocket your sales. Michael Dalton Johnston ed. 2007. ISBN 9781934346143. I have really taken my time reading this book. It looks at the sales process after you gain the lead, so it is planted squarely into sales efficiency. How ever some of the treatments of qualifying a lead, are very appropriate in our sales effectiveness model. For my money, if you are in sales today this is one book you need at your side. The experts are truly expert. One book with insight from:

Tony Alessandra, Jim Domanski. Dan Kosch, Mark S.A Smith, Bob Bly, Colleen Francis, Tina LoSasso,Art Sobczak ,
John Boe,Tom Freese, James Maduk, Dave Stein, Dianna Booher, Patricia Fripp, Jim Meisenheimer,Bill Stinnett, Ed Brodow, Ari Galper, Michelle Nichols, Joel Sussman, Bill Brooks, Joe Guertin, Rick Phllips, Julie Thomas,Jon Brooks, Joe Heller, Tom Reilly, Will Turner, Shamus Brown, Craig James, Tom Richard, Al Uszynski, Bill Caskey, Brian Jeffrey,Llinda Richardson, Steve Waterhouse, Tim Connor, Michael D. Johnson, Keith Rosen, Wendy Weiss, Kevin Davis, Dave Kahle, Mike Schultz, Roger Dawson, Ron Karr, Jacques Werth, Jill Konrath, Anita Sirianni .

One example from Jim Domanski:

Prospect: “Hmmmm. Let me think about it.”

Rep: “I understand completely. If l were in your shoes I’d want to think about it as well. Now ask one of the following questions:

  • “May I ask what concerns you still have?”
  • “May 1 ask what’s causing you to hesitate?”
  • “May I ask what questions I’ve left unanswered?”
  • “May I ask what your final decision will be based on?”

Get this book. Do not wait. Then read it. Sales advice you can take to the bank.

80% of Decision Makers read email on a PDA

80% of DMs read email on a PDA. More great stuff from Marketing Sherpas 2007 report.

So how does your email content look like on a blackberry screen? If it is like most with HTML, its really bad. Would you read it on a Blackberry?

A lifetime ago I sold to UNIX gurus who ran multiple windows on their screens. Their mail window was small and narrow., If I sent wide emails, they looked terrible and did not get read. Well the blackberry has the same limitation but worse. Take a look. revise, tighten up your messages, and drop the HTML

Oh the same report says influencers are likely using regular screens. So they could not tell you this.

RIM

7-25 Decision Makers on $25K plus sales deals these days.

Have a plan7-25 Decision makers on $25K plus sales deals, so says Marketing Sherpa in their 2007 report. If there was one metric which told the story as to why selling is more challenging today this is it. If even a small company involves 7 people on a $25K buy, that adds so much more complexity to any deal. We know that getting to people via cold calls takes three times more effort than few years ago (up to 19 tries at times!). Do you think that your sales folks are really going to be talking to the decision maker in a few cold calls and follow-ups? Is your nifty new sales process going to really speed up the sales cycle? Yah and that blazing fast CRM is going to save the day.

And I’m Santa Claus.

The only way that you will accelerate your sales revenues, is to ensure that your marketing is aligned with sales to drive prospects to sales , when prospects are much further along the sales process than your sales force has ever been prepared to engage them.  Prospects are already past the brochure, demo and product specs. They want to know how you and your product are uniquely better at solving their problem than the others on their short list!

Far from having one or two bluebirds who fly in each year, ready to buy something like your product, your sales funnel could be chock full of sales ready blue birds. Your sales people must be talking to people who want to buy, have the need and knowledge that you are a viable contender ready to solve it for them.

The ensuing buying process is still arduous, but you must engage the 7-25 people involved in the deal. Your insight into the client and pain will then be higher and your close rations will go up. Sales guys will make much more money and the company will make even more. As a bonus your competitive position will skyrocket up.

The real crime is that this is straightforward with the funds you are spending today. It requires you invest, not just spend the money. Rocket Builders has a service, where we sit down over lunch with select clients and expand on what we see is not working and explore if we can help them get more revenue for their money. In return the clients pledge that they have the desire and the will to change. If you are committed to change, give us a ping!

Content as a weapon, knowing that clients find you first.

Content is a weapon, you must help clients find you.weapons

In a recent post I mentioned that the sales process starts before you think it does Clients look for solutions long before they hit your website. This begs the question, how do you best create a weapon out of your content? The core idea is that you must populate the web with your content in as many places as possible so that the seeker can find you. This has to be much more than using SEO, paid ads, campaigns, newsletters, trade shows and magazine promotions/placements. Good content talks to seekers in their language, about their problem, using example companies just like themselves. To do this well, marketing has to really step up to the plate.

Marketing Sherpa tells us that 75% of decision makers use webinars as an information source. They love them! More decision makers than influencers use webinars . Do you make a regular use of webinars with good content on your site? Also, fewer folks each quarter are attending the live webinar, but they will go to them later (up to a year) This means your archive of webinars has a much longer lifespan than previously expected. Leave them up for as long as you can.

We help some clients become a thought leader in their field. This allows for numerous postings, comments, and article submissions on your site as well as others. This increases your cultivation of analysts who write about your vertical. Of course to do this you have to be a “leader”. Leadership is something that Canadian companies all to often squander until their US cousins figure out the business and do the sales and marketing right. Remember, prospects are not interested in you, they are looking for experience in solving their problem.

Todays blogosphere allows anyone to be a commentator on issues in an industry. There is a lack of thoughtful, regular, perceptive comment that stimulates discussion and idea generation. In less than a year. a thoughtful blogger who posts useful info on relevant sites with good follow-up content on their own site can become a thought leader.

Everybody Lies. Dr. Greg House (Hugh Laurie) 2005

Get down to business

Everybody Lies. Dr. Greg House 2005. Hugh Laurie as the lead of House, has created a miserable, irascible and cynical character, Greg House, who’s core belief is that everybody lies. Knowing that, he will still find out the extremely rare ailment and solve the problem. As sales guys we are very familiar with everybody lying to us. However I want to explore those areas beyond the normal lies that we sometimes miss. Here are a few.

  1. The CEO announces a 20% stretch goal for sales. When pushed by the VP’s of Sales & Marketing as to why this goal, the answer is, “If you guys just add 20% more sales guys this quarter, or close 20% more business, we can meet these goals. ” There are two lies here. The CEO has likely attended a “Gazelles” workshop and 20% seemed like a good number to pick, it has no rooting in the business metrics . The second is that he has announced it to the Board already so there is no negotiation.
  2. The VP Ops has planned manufacturing at a 5% linear growth. over a year ago. When sales closes or does not meet targets, Ops is all up in arms about the impact on his numbers. The lie is he plans according to what he can make and not according to any cooperative work with the sales and marketing team. Reality says that in today’s market, lots of events can derail orders. Ops must be as dynamic as the market, and better at it each quarter.
  3. The CFO announced revenue predictions to the CEO based on past performance, with no upfront hedging on the value of the dollar or interest rates. There really is no hard financial data, only certain revenue allocations and now best guesses.

So when all these lies come home to roost, it is the VP Sales and VP Marketing who’s heads are on the block. The sales team who are often start out gung ho to hit those numbers will lose confidence when the truth comes home. This drives the numbers down as well.

So if everybody lies, acknowledge it, roll up the sleeves and work as a combined unit to understand your metrics, your clients, their environment,and what is achievable from the get go. Forget the games, selective revenue allocations, quarterly market dance, just tell the truth to your investors, board and employees. Its not easy but you can build on it.


News from the trenches- The sales process starts before you think it does

News from the trenches- The sales process now starts well before you think it does. Just had a coffee today with Colin McWhinney at SalesXperts., the best demand gen guys locally I have ever worked with. He follows my postings but does one better by being very active in using this stuff. Just love this guy!

News flash: He has noticed in the last year that the customer is first engaging the sales force about 20% of the way down the sales process. What does this entail? . Prospects go online to identify their problem and look for solutions. By the time the customer engages the salesman, they have created a short list of companies to talk to and they believe that this company is one of a few that have the potential solution to their problem. This immediately creates two problems.

1. Most sales people are unable to shift gears to accommodate the needs of these customers. They do not want a demo, a brochure or a proposal. They want you to quickly get up to speed on their business and issues and how your product brings value. How are you different? The results of a poor response is that the opportunity disappears as fast as it appears.

2. Marketing becomes of No.1 importance with the brand promise, materials in the public eye and the ability to drive “qualified leads ” to the sales funnel. The Marcomm dept has to really be on top of things. But you never will never know its not working.

Hidden problem. Are clients looking at your online “story” and dropping you from their shortlist, and thus never engaging you? Guess what? You will never know!

So business is changing yet most sales training is stuck in the 90′s . That is so like , yesterday.

This is why ( I must sound like a broken record) our process, Precision Sales and Marketing is so successful. Our research led us to these ideas over two years ago. A recent client had geometric increases in sales in under two weeks using our approach. So what is it costing you each day to ignore this? Guess what? You will never know!

You will never know the wrong turns

Customer Satisfaction is Worthless. Customer Loyalty is Priceless. Jeffrey Gitomer

Customer Satisfaction is Worthless. Customer Loyalty is Priceless. Jeffrey Gitomer. 1998, 2007. ISBN 188516730x. This was the one Gitomer book I had not read. Each of his books is so much fun to read, and they are so right on the money. As a long time sales guy, I always learn something new from Jeffrey, including in his weekly newspaper columns., and sales caffeine newsletter. Priceless words on every page such as;

  • Customer satisfaction is at an all-time high . Customer loyalty is at an all-time low.
  • Companies only train once in a while instead of every day.
  • 80 % of US business is based on Word of Mouth.
  • Be a student first, always a student.
  • College education prepares you to play “Jeopardy” and “Trivial Pursuit”. The rest of what you need to learn about your success you have to learn on your own.The courses you really need they never gave.
  • He quotes Jim Rohn, “Formal education will earn you a living.Self education will earn you a fortune.You determine how much fortune you will earn by how much self-education you decide to get.”

This book overdelivers in true Gitomer style. He believes that serving is the extension of selling. We do too.

Some of the reasons that selling is harder today – Saman Haqqi on The Era of Sales 2.0

November 06, 2007Sales is harder

Saman Haqqi, Vice President of Marketing at Landslide, presented a compelling workshop about The Era of Sales 2.0: New Tools and Workstyles to Supercharge your Sales Performance.

Saman began by setting the stage with the changes that have happened in the selling environment over the last five years:

  • distributed teams
  • brief product training
  • limited face-to-face time with corporate office
  • online selling via web – limited face-to-face time with buyers

Additionally, buying behavior has shifted:

  • buying cycle begins long before sales cycle
  • buyers always online, never available
  • buyers are well informed
  • they don’t want features presentations, they want problem solutions

These changes have affected sales performance; lowering the percentage of reps who meet quota to 57%, increasing the number of calls it takes to close a sale, and increasing the percentages of deals lost (30.3%) and no-decision deals (21.3%). Additionally, the ramp time for new sales reps has extended beyond a year for 27.8%.

But, there’s hope. Saman explained that Sales 2.0 includes tools that help salespeople prepare, interact, engage and close customers while remotely following a company’s best selling process. These tools enable two-way conversation, not just enabling the download of content, but encouraging the upload of content from customer to company.

Sales 2.0 is the transition from chaos to process-based selling. More feet on the street won’t help get us there. She says that sales needs to be thought about almost as an assembly line – a consistent and repeatable process. If everyone does their own thing, then outcomes aren’t predictable and sales will stall.

One of the more interesting things Saman shared was that they have taken C players, given them sales training and seen them performing at 70% to 80% of A player level after one year. Prior to this program, the C players would have been at 30% of their A player counterparts. Given turnover and the difficulty in finding great salespeople, this should give companies hope that if they get their process tuned, they too can multiply their results.

The critical factor is that products and selling environments are getting more difficult. Complexity increases the need for performance improvement.

Sales process is not a one-size-fits-all process. It needs to be constructed in a way that’s adaptable as each deal is different.

One of the processes that needs to be embraced is the streamlined funnel. Better results will be derived if the focus is on interested leads, not all leads. Spending time on unqualified leads can waste your efforts.

Saman stated that marketing needs to become relevant to sales.

We could not agree more at Rocket Builders.

Fishing for Love on the Net. A guide for those searching for love. Myles Reed Jr.

Fishing for Love on the Net. Myles Reed Jr.2007. ISBN 9780595424917. Discovered this book while researching for one of my Internet investments . This is a straight forward summary of one man’s six years of experience with Internet dating sites. He eventually found and married his soul mate in Norway, not the US. This book has points which are useful to neebies and old hands at Internet dating. Very easy quick read with summary information at the end of each chapter. This book could definitely signal that Internet dating has entered the mainstream.

Fishing for Love on the Net: A Guide to Those Searching for Love