Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top 10 Social Media Truths for 2014

Gartner forecasts that global social media revenue will be $29 billion by 2015. The inevitability of social media playing an important role in our 2014 marketing strategies cannot be denied. With that, we would like to share a new ebook "Top 10 Social Media Truths for 2014" from our friends at Prestige Marketing.

This free resource is filled with great nuggets of information and advice. A few of our favorites include:
  • It's OK to come late to this party. Research shows that 53% of marketers just started using social media in the past 2 years.
  • It is important to set the right social tone. "Carrying yourself like a normal person will build your relationship with customers better than going hashtag crazy or tweeting every hour on the hour, " advises Prestige.
  • Mobile devices are influencing purchase decisions both online and offline. Now is the time to add mobile component to your marketing strategy, even if it is just making sure you are meeting the minimum requirements of mobile users (e.g. Does your site load in less than 5 seconds on a mobile device? Are your buttons and link text large enough so users don't have to zoom in?).
  • With 73% of people preferring to get their information from articles rather than ads, content marketing is key for success with social media. It is essential to building trust and establishing credibility.
  • Be patient. It takes time for social to start firing on a lll cylinders. Stick with your strategy and build momentum slowly. Social will pay off in the long run.
For more excellent insight and tips, download your free copy of "Top 10 Social Media Truths for 2014" today!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sales People: Are You Asking the Right Questions?

How many times have you presented a great solution but your prospect or customer wouldn't take action? No matter how convincing your case was, they chose to do nothing.

The reality is that what we say does little to persuade prospects. It's when we ask the right QUESTIONS, we're able to uncover what they really value (and it's rarely price). That's when the sale occurs.

But not any questions will do. You need to plan. Learn how to develop great questions that zero in on the key issues so that you can create a sense of urgency and motivate others to act. When you ask the right questions, you empower your customers to discover for themselves the answers they're looking for, while positioning yourself as the ideal solution to their needs.

Ready to get started?

Check out this great on-demand webinar from our friends at Lorman. How to Ask the Right Questions for Sales Success is 102 minutes with Paul Cherry, founder of Performance Based Results and leading authority on client engagement strategies.

In this session, you'll learn:
  • 5 questions you should never ask on a sales call
  • How to get a guarded person to divulge critical buying information
  • The trigger words that elicit emotions (clues you need to sell to)
  • And more
This is a must-view for any sales person who needs help avoiding stalls, put-offs and price objections from their prospects. Access this on-demand webinar today!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Are You Developing Killer Marketing Content?

We've all done it. Written an article or a white paper, put it out there, and sat back to monitor what will surely be an enthusiastic response... only to find that it didn't produce many downloads and generated minimal buzz. What a bummer. So where did it all go wrong? Why wasn't the content compelling?

The experts at Act-On Software have some excellent advice for us content marketers in their new white paper, "Best Practices for Developing Killer Marketing Content," including some key questions all content creators should be asking themselves before they start to produce any content:
  • Do I know who I am talking to with this piece? Without a clearly defined target, marketers tend to write for everyone. Yes, it's true. The result? Too general. Clearly addressing your target's specific and unique challenges helps you connect with your prospect in a meaningful way. Be relevant!
  • What is my prospect's buying cycle? Hint: Each target may have a unique buying cycle, not all prospects are the same. So it is very important to create buyer personas and clearly map out the phases each prospect moves through before they purchase from you. Then, you can craft relevant content for each phase.
  • What do I want the buyer to do next? Is it a download? Product demo? Attend a webinar? Subscribe? Do not leave your prospect guessing. Be specific with your call-to-action. And, make sure what you are asking them to do actually helps them take the next step towards making a purchase.
  • How should I deliver this content? The times are changing and there are some compelling ways besides the trusty PDF to put your content out there. Consider what impact you could make by producing a slide-share, infographic or video. Is one of these methods a more effective way to communicate the specific message of your piece?
Have we got you thinking about your content? We hope so. For more excellent tips and advice, including insight into how you can effectively use images in content, download Act-On's free white paper "Best Practices for Developing Killer Marketing Content" today!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Be a Sales Coach, Not a Sales Manager

Sales coaching is a hot topic these days. And considering that very few companies actually train their sales managers on effective coaching techniques, it justifiably deserves our attention.

Most sales managers are promoted to the top slot because of their outstanding ability to sell, sell, sell, yet they do not necessarily know how to lead a team to successful selling. But coaching, and not number crunching, is the key.

Did you know that sales reps who receive just 10 minutes of coaching each day enjoy 17% higher goal attainment? Just 10 minutes. But managers need to make the most of these opportunities and should not:
  • Talk too much.
  • Pretend to listen.
  • Expect immediate results.
Coaching sessions are about listening to your reps, both their words and their body language, then asking probing questions to help them discover for themselves what their next steps should be.  It is the time to give concrete suggestions and ask open-ended questions.

Effective coaching also involves setting specific, short-term goals with your reps and then holding them accountable. Daily and monthly goals should correlate with the sales cycle and there should be a measurable target for each one.

Then, when targets are met, reps need to be celebrated. Managers must be so specific in their recognition that the entire team knows exactly what behaviors led to the success.

Remember: the best sales coaches resist the temptation to demonstrate their sales prowess. Instead, they listen and offer insight. They encourage. Successful coaches consistently show that they are invested in their reps' success and not preoccupied with their own.

For more excellent insights and tips, download 5 Steps to Better Sales Performance. We highly recommend this resource from the great folks at Salesforce.com.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Inbound Marketing Delivers 54% More Leads Than Outbound

You've carefully crafted your digital marketing strategy. You are actively working your SEO plan and social presence. You've kept your blog updated. As a result, your prospects can click through a number of different ways to land on your website. And when they get there, they expect to easily find the information they need to make a purchasing decision.

Because of this (and in spite of social media's popularity) we can all agree that your website is still pretty important. In fact, did you know:

  • You only have between three and eight seconds to engage a visitor to your website
  • Your visitor will only click between three to six times to find what they're looking for
  • Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads than traditional outbound tactics (HubSpot, The State of Inbound Marketing 2013)

It's true. And because prospects are savvier--and busier--than ever before, your website could likely use some attention. Lead nurturing is more effective with a true inbound website, one that actively engages and builds relationships with prospects.

In their new ebook series, Ektron provides detailed instruction on how to build a successful inbound website. There is so much information to cover, they have divided it up into parts. Part 1 explains SEO and social, while part 2 deals with content targeting and lead nurturing. These are both excellent resources and a must-read for marketers.

If you think your website is already well-functioning in its lead-nurturing capabilities, you should still check these out. We think you'll come away with a few new techniques to try!

Monday, September 23, 2013

How to Succeed At Selling to Difficult Customers

Customers today are more demanding than ever. Some will bully you to get price concessions. Others will put off decisions until you cave in. A few will even embellish the truth. Many won't think twice to take their business elsewhere if you can't acquiesce to their demands.

We can see why 4 out of 10 companies report they are not successful at selling the value of their solution and must resort to deep discounting to win business (CSO Insights). The time to take action is now.

Attend this live webinar on Monday, Sept. 30 and find out how to proactively manage your most difficult customer relationships and turn them into thriving and profitable opportunities. Learn the techniques to level the playing field and sell from a position of strength.

You'll gain valuable insight on how to create and sell value, understand what really motivates your customers, gain access to the right people, qualify opportunities up front before you waste precious time and resources, and close more business at the margins you want.

Highlights include:
  • Why difficult customers can create the best sales opportunities
  • Building and solidifying the right relationships
  • Overcoming objections, stalls and price bully tactics

This can't miss event is designed for sales managers, directors, account managers, presidents, vice presidents, account executives, analysts, consultants and other sales professionals.

Register today for "How to Succeed At Selling to Difficult Customers" happening this Monday, September 30 at 1PM EST/10AM PST, 90 min.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

We just had to share this one. Janrain's latest ebook, "The Greatest Love Story Ever Told" walks marketers through one of the most important relationships of their professional lives... the one their brand shares with their customer.

By breaking it down into the milestones we all recognize from the movies (Getting to Know One Another, Meeting the Parents, Happily Ever After, etc.) this clever ebook allows us to see quite clearly how best to woo our prospects over time and turn them into customers.

The key? Personalization.

Consider these stats:
  • Janrain reports that 56% of people will unsubscribe from email lists because the content isn't relevant to them, and 
  • 31% of consumers will leave a site if it has too many irrelevant ads.

But there is some good news for the lovelorn: Janrain reports that 57% of people are willing to reveal personal information in exchange for a more relevant online experience. Just like matters of romance, shared interests that are revealed over time help build trust and bolster credibility.

Because of this, we emphasize Janrain's key advice when courting prospects in social media, "... continuously be genuine, transparent and authentic in each and every interaction as trust is built." Remember: if you have ever communicated with a prospect or customer using social media, that communication lives forever. So be consistent.

There's much more in this ebook, including a list of 10 must-do's to build long-lasting customer relationships. (Our favorite: #7. Get personal without getting creepy.)

It's true that courtship - and not stalking - really does work. Companies that personalize online experiences see, on average, a 19% uplift in sales.  Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

Download "The Greatest Love Story Ever Told" and get courting!