Reputation to Revenue

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Customer references and solutions marketing: Building blocks for business impact

Reputation to Revenue

Not surprisingly, sales people selling solutions say that customer references are their most valuable tool. ITSMA has found this repeatedly in sales studies. Similarly, a recent internal study by a very large technology solutions provider found that their sales people said customer references were absolutely essential for selling new strategic solutions. Benchmarking the Best.

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Is sales enablement dead?

Reputation to Revenue

Sales Enablement is a huge topic in B2B these days. You can spend all day every day and still barely scratch the surface of all the dialogue, debate, and events exploring the "real" meaning of sales enablement, who is doing it well, what tools are most useful, and how social media will revolutionize the whole process. Sales enablement is a big area for investment. Indeed not.

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The lure of cheap content in B2B marketing

Reputation to Revenue

Or, perhaps most common of all, marketing content that is simply ignored by sales before it even has a chance to reach customers and prospects.  An article in MediaWeek on content mills like Demand Media and got me thinking about the dangerous lure of cheap content in B2B marketing. The mills themselves are mainly a B2C issue (at least for now!).

Marketing to key accounts: It's all about the relationships

Reputation to Revenue

Sales people tend to be extremely protective of their accounts. It's an obvious point, but how often do we produce marketing content, organize events, and build sales tools without being grounded in those direct relationships? It's no wonder sales people ignore so much of our carefully crafted work. The marketing folks certainly understand this. So, what do we do about it?

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B2B Marketing Trends for 2016

through their own research, without talking to sales—until late in the journey. Align marketing with sales: as buyers complete more of their journey online and sales pros get involved only later in the process, close. Focus marketing and sales resources within chosen vertical. normal point of sales/marketing contact. CEO, CFO, and VP of Sales/Marketing.

Two cheers for Eloqua's Content Grid

Reputation to Revenue

Don't get me wrong: I'm a huge proponent of companies and marketing organizations getting much more serious about creating and executing integrated content strategies to support marketing and sales. promotional" material that, at the end of the day, are still necessary to help make the sale regardless of how effective your inbound marketing is. Nice job, folks! What do you think?

Aligning marketing and sales.with what?

Reputation to Revenue

Marketing folks in B2B are obsessed with aligning marketing and sales. The problem, at least from my humble perspective, is that the discussion tends to rotate around the idea that marketing needs to align more fully with sales. Beyond the junior partner idea, another common, unspoken assumption is that sales is just fine where it is. sales sales2.0 What do you think?

Why is customer-centric marketing still more talk than action?

Reputation to Revenue

Ranjay Gulati’s more recent Reorganize for Resilence provides similar testimony, evidence, and examples of the power of customer centricity for solutions development, marketing, and sales (you can watch my partner Steve Hurley’s interview with Ranjay on our new  YouTube channel ). Why do we hear so much talk but see so little action? It is happening to some extent, of course.

Four steps to strengthening B2B customer connections

Reputation to Revenue

But our sales people have less time for relationship building and often little credibility in the executive suite. Beyond sales, it is difficult to know which face-to-face programs are worth funding. We're not building relationships for their own sake, and we're not doing it just for sales either. Isn't this just Marketing 101? Well, sort of. The CEO imperative makes sense.

B2B Marketing Trends for 2016

through their own research, without talking to sales—until late in the journey. Align marketing with sales: as buyers complete more of their journey online and sales pros get involved only later in the process, close. Focus marketing and sales resources within chosen vertical. normal point of sales/marketing contact. CEO, CFO, and VP of Sales/Marketing.

TL in 4D: Four dimensions for thought leadership success

Reputation to Revenue

Investing in internal education around your points of view is critical to equipping marketing, sales, and other customer-facing employees (which could be anyone online) to engage constructively on the issues that matter in ways that demonstrate real expertise. B2B marketers know that thought leadership is essential, especially when selling high-value solutions.

Aren't we past random acts of "selling"?

Reputation to Revenue

But it's hard for me to imagine that this archaic spray and pray approach to marketing and sales does the slightest good for your reputation, your pipeline, or your bottom line. Tags: Creating Demand Reputation Sales marketing sales selling telemarketing noticed you downloaded some research. Did you find everything you need? Me: To be honest, I don't remember.

More evidence that give-to-get is the key to success

Reputation to Revenue

You keep at it until they open up to a conversation that, over time, can lead toward an actual sales opportunity. not sales pitches). It's pretty much a cliche to say that marketing today is all about give-to-get. You provide customers and prospects with new ideas, new experiences, and new connections in order to earn their attention. The executives in the survey are saying "help me." 

Words and meaning: The power of alignment

Reputation to Revenue

Most important, she says, is defining marketing and business development "up" to a more expansive and strategic view:  For example, why should the term "marketing only connote the limited activities of, let's say, "building awareness," or "sales support?" Shouldn't the term "marketing be understood to also include targeting and segmentation? Pricing? Client loyalty? can be a powerful force. 

New research and paper on "Four Steps to Solutions Growth"

Reputation to Revenue

Better equipping the sales force to sell solutions. Tags: Creating Demand Marketing Reputation Revenue Sales Strategy B2B ITSMA marketing solutions Solutions Insights survey I'm pleased to announce the launch of a new Point of View series with my partners at Solutions Insights. Our first Point of View, Adjusting to the New Reality: Four Steps to Solutions Growth, is available now.

B2B Marketing Trends for 2016

through their own research, without talking to sales—until late in the journey. Align marketing with sales: as buyers complete more of their journey online and sales pros get involved only later in the process, close. Focus marketing and sales resources within chosen vertical. normal point of sales/marketing contact. CEO, CFO, and VP of Sales/Marketing.

The power of video: Outsourcing reality show illuminates the buying process

Reputation to Revenue

marketing and sales reality show, no less. And make no mistake, it's a buying process, not a sales process. Marketers (and sales people) would do well to keep this basic reality at the forefront of their thinking. No cash involved, but it sounded like an quick PR hit for me while helping out a great organization.  Endless "experts" (including, at times, me!)

The hard questions about social media for B2B solutions providers

Reputation to Revenue

But how to proceed is far from clear, especially for companies selling high-value solutions that typically require very long sales cycles with multiple influencers and decision makers in every transaction. The skepticism about social media for B2B is pretty much gone by now. How do we get their attention? Do we have the skills? Who in the organization is going to do the heavy lifting?

Put everyone in marketing? Yes, and with a social spin

Reputation to Revenue

This might involve sales calls, tests of a new channel, postings on Web sites targeting new areas or industry segments, sending more people to speak at industry conferences and cultivate relationship." Harvard management guru Rosabeth Moss Kanter last week suggested: "In a Recession, Put Everyone in Marketing." When times are tough, everyone needs to contribute to growth. Great.

The continuing rise of Account-Based Marketing: Four keys to success

Reputation to Revenue

It is, after all, a pretty labor-intensive approach, and it requires a lot of negotiating with sales and account teams. Internally, ABM can help prove the value of marketing, improve relationships with Sales, and strengthen focus on core customer challenges and potential solutions. One would certainly hope so!) I know we're all focused heavily on figuring out how to "socialize" everything in marketing these days (with good reason) and, especially as the 4th quarter looms, on doing whatever we can to help close sales before the end of the year. Don't skip this step!

Six steps to differentiating your solutions

Reputation to Revenue

Press release.internal webinar for the sales team.customer presentation.special briefings for the top account leads.white paper.update the public site with descriptions.collateral for the trade show. Tags: Campaigns Creating Demand Marketing Sales differentiation differentiators howto launch process marketing solutions Solutions Insights Aargh! Six weeks to launch, and so much to do. The solutions management folks have spent months putting together the new offering, and now we've got about 87 things to do to get ready on the marketing side.

Marketing as service: Samsung and Best Buy put customers first

Reputation to Revenue

Tags: Collaboration Innovation Sales Social Media Bazaarvoice BestBuy customer-centric innovation marketing Samsung socialmedia


Winning with thought leadership: Six lessons from IBM and Deloitte

Reputation to Revenue

Absent good answers, thought leadership initiatives quickly fall prey to more traditional priorities around lead generation and sale support. The irony, of course, is that good thought leadership has increasingly become a prerequisite to making lead generation and sales support actually work with high value deals. Absent something interesting to talk about related to core customer issues, would-be buyers pay little attention to straight-on sales pitches. How should we produce and package thought leadership content? How should we promote it? How can we measure success?

The new, new marketing: Health tech coalition may point the way

Reputation to Revenue

The buzz in marketing is all about social media, with Twitter as the flavor of the month and maybe even a tipping point in getting laggard companies to finally take the promise of social media seriously.  I'm all for it, of course. Certainly the hype can get tiresome, and there are huge strategy and organizational questions that companies have to face with social media, but I think we're well past the stage of wondering whether there's real gold in those hills. But social media was "new" in marketing five years ago. responses. Yes these are self-serving marketing programs. What do you think?

July is Sales Leadership Month

Your Sales Management Guru

July is Sales Leadership Month. As a sales leader you must always have a vision and action plans for a rolling six months, this is why July is the perfect month for anyone that has sales management responsibility—so why not name it Sales Leadership Month !  Ok, it is not an act of government and it is only Acumen’s opinion, but let’s explore why I feel that way.

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5 Essential Elements to Include in Every Sales Pitch


Effectively closing sales is the bread and butter of your business. According to researchers at the University of Florida, 20% of all salespeople make 80% of all sales (also known as the 20/80 rule or the Pareto principle ), which makes securing a spot in that top 20% crucial to running a competitive and profitable business. First and foremost, ditch the the “sales pitch.”

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Please Don’t Let Your Sales Reps Nurture Leads

The Point

Bear with me as I relate a quick story about lead nurturing: A few months back I became a sales lead. Perhaps I was an SQL (Sales Qualified Lead) at one point in the conversation, but no longer. I’m also a perfect candidate for lead nurturing. And secondly, and more critically, these kinds of “touching base” phone calls are the worst possible use of a sales rep’s time. But no.

Changing Your Sales Mindset


Unfortunately, most sales professionals focus primarily on learning sales techniques. Adopting a better sales mindset might be what’s required. With the typical sales mindset, techniques might be even be experienced by prospects as gimmicks. With this sales mindset, you’re going to work every day with an inherently conflict oriented mindset.

Sales 68

Emotional Sales Leadership

Your Sales Management Guru

Emotional Sales Leadership. I was recently interviewed on a podcast based in Europe around the topic of the importance of emotional leadership. In retrospect based upon the podcast I came away with even a stronger opinion on the topic of generating the right level of emotion-that is positive emotion into the sales team. HINT: Run an annual sales trip contest.

Sales 66

Successful Sales Coaching Best Practices


Sales is tough and ongoing sales development is a never ending process. Take it from us – our sales and sales development functions are constantly evolving as we look to accelerate our record growth rates over the past few years. Below are the interview answers provided by David Sill, an authority on B2B sales and the SVP of Customer Success at DiscoverOrg.

How Empathy Will Grow Your Sales and Marketing Pipeline

B2B Lead Generation Blog

Neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio stated, “ We are not thinking machines that feel, we are feeling machines that think. ” In our rush to obtain leads, drive opportunities and move the sales needle, it’s too easy to forget that we need to address the emotional needs (fears, hopes, wants, and aspirations) of our customers. Check out  How Empathy Will Improve Your Marketing & Sales Pipeline.

New Sales Competency – Use Content to Sell


Sales professionals have been slower to change their sales methods to adapt and align with new buying processes and the expectations of buyers. Those who are not actively and effectively using content to sell are missing an important opportunity to capture a selling advantage, lower selling time and costs, and accelerate successful sales outcomes. “Social selling” while new and popular, doesn’t yet represent a significant breakthrough in the way B2B sales people sell. The digital era has ushered in many behavior changes, especially for B2B buyers.

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Are You Practicing Sales Enablement or Sales Disablement?

Great B2B Marketing

Sales Enablement Service Level AgreementWe marketers like to think we are making a big contribution to revenue, but in fact, we may be doing […].

31 Tips for Improving Sales and Marketing Lead Generation Alignment

B2B Lead Generation Blog

Tweet More often than not, there seems to be a disconnect between Marketing and Sales. How does your sales team perceive the leads Marketing produces? The second thing I would ask is, when was the last time you talked with your sales team? Consider having short huddles daily and weekly between the marketing and sales team members. Be honest. The say leads, what leads?

3 Good Questions to Align Strategy, B2B Marketing, and Sales

B2B Lead Generation Blog

Have you intentionally linked your sales, b2b marketing, and strategy? . thought Frank had a practical approach to aligning sales and marketing. So, I reached out to him and interviewed him about what he’s learned through his research for his most recent book Aligning Strategy and Sales (Harvard Business Review Press). know something about sales. Frank Cespedes.

To Manage Sales You Must Manage Sales Leads


“Why,” I was asked, “must you manage sales leads in order to manage sales? Sales lead management is a marketing function, isn’t it?”. It was with a slight hesitation that the sales manager added the second sentence about sales lead management being a marketing function. The responsibility for addressing prospects’ needs remains a major part of the sales job.

Sales Management & Discipline

Your Sales Management Guru

Sales Management and Discipline. received a call from a former client that was concerned about the status of their sales team and VP of Sales-it seems that their revenue was off more than $2M over the previous year and below their growth goal! After that conversation I next interviewed the VP of Sales.   The VP of Sales and President failed on one major tenet of sales leadership; they forgot about the need for discipline. Development of a Sales Plan for the new year with quarterly objections/goals. Need more sales management resources?

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Sales Enablement Danger


Although marketing automation is now almost fully embraced by marketers, sales organizations are still not completely accepting of the technology benefits, nor are they trusting of marketing’s motives. Enter, the era of Sales Enablement. Sales enablement is a universal challenge. Is the target now a naïve Sales Enablement buyer?

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How Marketing Automation Changed My (Sales) Life


The post How Marketing Automation Changed My (Sales) Life appeared first on Salesfusion. Marketing Automation Sales and Marketing Sales Sales Pain Points

3 Magic Questions a Sales Manager Must Know

Your Sales Management Guru

Three Magic Questions a Sales Manager Must Know. One of the main roles of a Sales Manager is to help train your salespeople on how to stay on track during a sales cycle. During any sales opportunity coaching sessions consider asking these three questions with any sales opportunity: Why do anything? Sales Leadership Training Sales TrainingWhy now?