Apr 102017
 

My friend Chris texted me a picture of the The Boss Baby from the movie of the same name that is in cinemas right now. The baby’s line “… Cookies are for closers.” is a reference to Alec Baldwin’s character from the seminal ‘sales’ film Glengarry Glen Ross of course. In that film Alec Baldwin and a host of sales characters interact in a real-estate sales office as the company goes about countering slumping sales with, er, leads and, cough cough, some motivation.

Boss baby

So, need some sales inspiration? Need to find the tip of the spear of materialism? Need to laugh at the exaggerations, salesmanship, hyperbole or incredible lines? Here is a list, in order of release, for you salespeople and observers of salespeople.

These films should mostly focus on the ‘sale’ rather than are about salesperson’s lives and other endeavours, but included are films that at least delivered a good line or two.

Now don’t go watching these! Instead, get out there and sell something!!
1. Tin Men (1987)
2. Cadillac Man (1990)
3. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
4. Jerry Maguire (1996)
5. Boiler Room (2000)
6. The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
7. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009)
8. Love & Other Drugs (2010)
9. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
10. Unfinished Business (2015)

Let me know what I missed.

*Things That Need To Go Away: High-pressure aggressive sales (which thankfully is as obsolete as the cathode ray tube television).

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Mar 142017
 

Unless one is dealing with an invading army (whose soldiers have eyes that emit their version of LASER no less!), being ignored is rarely a nice experience. It makes one feel unwanted, rejected and base – all the qualities that evolution has taught humans to dislike. Some may be more immune to the negative reactions that come with it than others. Most persons, however, would regardless take it badly.

Every salesperson has experienced it time and time again. The customer who does not reply. The prospect who does not follow up subsequent to a first conversation. The follow-up call that does not happen. The e-mail goes unreturned.

It is a sad reality that whether out of carelessness, a lack of class, being busy, politeness or pressures at work many sales e-mails go unreturned. It is ironic because promptly responding or a firm ‘no’ would go a long way towards saving everyone time, but alas let’s not launch into a discussion of logic and illogic here.

Instead, let’s look at what to do in such situations.

First and foremost, you have read it here before. Make you communication relevant and personalized. If you have not already then read this. Spending time researching calls and e-mails is better and more conducive to success than the alternative. It is ultimately a time-saver to invest time to look for relevant and applicable information.

Secondly, every salesperson should be frank enough to disqualify as well as qualify his or her customers and pipeline. Time and resources need to be spent on productive work and not folk who are uninterested or inattentive. This is not an invitation to rely exclusively on inbound marketing, but rather insistence to deal in reality and productivity. If you have more good leads than bad or more leads than time then you are in a good situation to execute on this advice anyway.

Thirdly, if the salesperson knows a game is being played the best advice is to not play. After all, one is not gamed if he or she is not playing. Focus should be on productive work. At the very least, one has detached himself from the negative effects of this behaviour.

With that said, here are several bullets based on my experience that will help with the response rate.

  • Be prompt. Respond right away to inbound calls, e-mails and leads. First, this in and out of itself increases one’s chances, but also if multiple follow-ups and attempts are needed the first one was the aforementioned. Importantly, per Insidesales.com, “the odds of qualifying a lead in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 21 times and from 5 minutes to 10 minutes the dial to qualify odds decrease 4 times.”
  • Do leave a voice-mail. Voice-mails are likely retained whereas missed calls are not. Hearing your name and reason for call also begins the process of awareness.
  • Unanswered e-mails require follow-up. No, not of that kind. Of this kind: forward your last e-mail and keep it as short as possible. Exclude a salutation and signature and ask a simple follow-up question. The details and explanation are in the original e-mail that are being forwarded.

“Want to follow up in case this e-mail got buried.”

“What would be a good next step?”

“Is there some way to find out if this is a priority?”

That is it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Things That Need To Go Away: Sales And Customers Working Against Each Others’ Interests. Collaboration, Service and Honesty Wins.

 

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Feb 042017
 

PCMag has updated its rating of accounting software in an extra useful way.

First, the ratings are determined by a panel of the magazine’s community members.

Second, in addition to the ratings there is a directory of 66 products available for perusal in the category.

Sage (formerly Sage Software, the publisher of Sage 300, Sage One, Sage 50c, etc.) has won the category. SAP has lost the category. Not bad, given how it is the smallest of the top-rated companies from a revenue perspective. Perhaps it is a testament to the power of focus as Sage has been shedding product lines and trimming its portfolio in the last ten years. It also dodged a bullet when its intended acquisition of MYOB did not go through – although it did get sued for it.

While six products are listed the top contenders do not offer the buyer as many choices and make finding a top software for each market segment easier. PCMag’s list has curiously mixed products for personal use (Quicken), SMB (QuickBooks and Sage) with Mid-Market products (Microsoft) and Enterprise Solutions (SAP and PeopleSoft). Also, the two ‘swift’ products either belong or belonged to Intuit.

Top Accounting Software rating

An earlier article also provided a guide for Cloud-based accounting software.

 

*I used to work for Sage, Microsoft and Oracle.

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Dec 132016
 

Who here has not received an offer of employment with a strict deadline of 24 or 48 hours for the candidate to accept? On the other side of the table, how many employers or recruiters reading this have added a clause to their offer insisting the candidate accept within a day or two or else…

The reason for such clauses and conditions seems straightforward.

  • Employers need to know where they stand as they have a need to hire for backfill or expansion.
  • Employers and recruiters have a requisition to fill, which they would like to close as soon as possible in order to move on to the next task.
  • Recruiters work on contingency and would like to get paid.
  • Assigning a deadline to a candidate and offer pushes the candidate to accept thus taking him or her off the market.

Please Stop.

Very tight deadlines are signs of a woefully unprepared employer at best and a red flag against the employing firm at worst. Long-term relationship demand respect from the start and sensitivity towards the other party and not to mention reality.

As a team manager I had a candidate join another group’s team only to leave a week into the job for a position at a credit card company. She obviously preferred the alternative she eventually chose, but had accepted this job under the gun and fearing losing either. Such scenarios are actually quite common.

While these concerns all have some merit they are one-sided, dated and not in line with modern times and, by implication, counterproductive. Why are they working against candidates and employers? Employers derive no benefit from enforcing a clause, which either recruits an employee who may join holding a grudge or feeling pushed or could quit in 3 weeks anyway if he or she were interviewing elsewhere. Fact of the matter is that employers and employees have to see employment as a collaboration where both parties profit and are working towards a common goal. There is no place in the modern workplace for a company that feels superior to the needs of its employees or for an employee who feels above the ‘law.’ If a company gives itself the right to interview multiple candidates and assess them based on its elected criteria, then the employee has the right to interview multiple employers, take time to assess the offer, discuss it with an employment lawyer, consult friends, family or mentors and be comfortable.

While it is reasonable to have deadlines and ask for specific time-lines putting a gun on someone’s head cannot have a happy ending. What does work instead is respectful communication between the parties including an explanation from both sides on with what they are working.

The invitation for candidates, employees and employers to come together benefit from frankness and be supportive of each other should be regardless of the economic climate. Being patient is not helpful to immediate needs perhaps, but will pay dividends in the long-term. Whether it is boom or bust times should not matter. Genuine respect is the way to go and one of the keys to a productive relationship. It also saves everyone time and probably money too.

 

*Things That Need To Go Away: “You have 24 hours to accept our job offer or it’s on to the next candidate.”

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Nov 272016
 

There have been a couple of articles in these pages in the past regarding how sales managers need to understand the individuals on their respective sales teams in order to deliver personalized motivation and incentives. This concept resonates with me as a person who has risen through the sales ranks and also as a people manager who has seen the results in action. Articles have appeared here and here because it is something often on my mind. The book Drive partly dedicates itself to the same exploration.

Getting this process 100% right and reaching perfection is like finding the pink unicorn, but the more one applies oneself into this process the better it gets.

With that said, here is an article that is original and well worth reading for those managing diverse salespersons. Written by academics and authors Christian Homburg and Sebastian Hohenberg of the University Of Mannheim in Germany this research piece addresses sales management, training and human resource departments and discusses motivation and incentive planning within different cultural environments, which is applicable at multicultural sales settings or for sales managers in matrixed and multinational organizations.

Bottom-line again: different people need different approaches and a one-size-fits-all approach is lazy and less productive.

Image from Sebastian Hohenberg and Christian Homburg (2016) Motivating Sales Reps for Innovation Selling in Different Cultures.

Image from Sebastian Hohenberg and Christian Homburg (2016) Motivating Sales Reps for Innovation Selling in Different Cultures.

Image from Sebastian Hohenberg and Christian Homburg (2016) Motivating Sales Reps for Innovation Selling in Different Cultures.

Image from Sebastian Hohenberg and Christian Homburg (2016) Motivating Sales Reps for Innovation Selling in Different Cultures.

*Things That Need To Go Away: “That Is How Our Incentives Have Always Worked And That Is How They Will Keep Working…”

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Nov 252016
 

Forecast accuracy is a touchy subject at most companies and among most sales leaders.

Most sales professionals have the same attitude towards forecasting as a cat does towards a swim in the sea or a diner has towards a rat in his soup. Being held down to a commitment is a part of it. Spending valuable time in a CRM, or would-be, system that outwardly does not provide value to a salesperson’s bottom-line is the major anathema to salespeople. This is difficult argument to overcome because the manner in which CRM/spreadsheets/forecasting tools are (mis)used at companies leaves a lot of room for criticism of the kind. However, when done correctly systematic forecasting is useful not to mention mandatory.

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Photo Credit: Cedric Servay

The stock method of forecasting at companies is:

  • Tally the total amount of forecast dollars available. This is typically done for the Quarter and, by extension, for the year, although a company like Salesforce, for example, forecasts monthly.
  • Review which percentage of forecast dollars in similar previous timeframes ended up as sales wins. For example, if 25% of the forecast amount from previous year’s same quarter ended up being a completed transaction then the same ratio should be applied again. Note the opportunity to explore ways to improve the ratio.
  • A thorough review should be applied on top of the above pattern to special deals in the pipeline. That is, if there is a particularly big deal in the pipeline or a especially large miss is occurring in the forecast timeframe then those have to be distinctly taken into account. These one-time ‘events’ need to be taken into consideration exceptionally as they are exceptional to the pattern. Sales managers need to have a bracket for what makes this deal ‘special’ within the context of the company’s average deal size.
Photo Credit Modestas Urbonas

Photo Credit Modestas Urbonas

Special ‘events’ or deals which need added consideration include:

  • Special deals in the pipeline (as described above)
  • Extraordinary misses in the pipeline (as described above)
  • A special scrutiny of the Top 10 of the biggest deals being forecast
  • A special scrutiny of the deals in pipe for the Top 10 biggest existing customers for the territory
  • A special scrutiny of the deals in pipe for the Top 10 biggest customers by company size for the territory
  • Deals which are considered won already although are not officially booked yet.

 

With the process outlined there are several undertakings that would complement the above and should be mandatory.

  1. Everyone needs to be trained on the system and shown how the calculations are rolled up. One should not assume everyone knows, or can figure out, how to use Excel/Google docs/CRM/methodology of choice. Speaking the same language is a must if the company is to work in lockstep. Define and explain your stages, nomenclature and its prerequisites and, if using a tool like Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce.com, Sage CRM, Maximizer, etc., use the out-of-the-box templates and definitions as much as possible. Forecasts need to be a lot more science and a lot less art.
  2. Consistency wins. For the sake of credibility and not sending a message of pointlessness stick with the regimen and enforce it for the medium-term. It will become a matter of lost authority if the company asks for a work and time commitment with forecasting and does not follow through. The sales team needs to routinize the updating of the system.
  3. The process and time spent on the above need to be justified and explained. Having a clear sales forecast enables sales managers to report accurately and be accountable to the company, but also it must be a tool in identifying where and whom requires assistance. That is the personal aspect of forecast accuracy and it is very important. Forecasting is ultimately ironic if it does not help sellers sell to buyers and does not identify buying patterns and cycles. Please read that last sentence again. The macro picture is one of a company which knows, understands and addresses its pipeline and can make better decisions towards its own fiscal health, which helps everybody within the ship.
  4. Think about incentives to motivate the sales team to adopt and maintain the routine. How about 5% of the sales team’s variable depending on forecast thoroughness and maintenance?
  5. It also needs mentioning that companies should automate this process as much as possible. Given how it is a mostly inward looking process and is not adding direct value to customers liberating sales teams’ time to spend more time on customers is a bright idea.

 

And here is the most important thought in all of this to emphasize: the above must not come at the expense of team morale and a customer-focused sales process. Salespersons and sales managers cannot get lost focusing on the above at the expense what is more important: working with customers.

Photo Credit: Greg Rakozy

Photo Credit: Greg Rakozy

*Things That Need To Go Away: New Forecasting Process Or Tools That Are Here Today; Gone Tomorrow

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Nov 052016
 

Target Marketing is the concept of identifying interested and relevant prospects and introducing one’s goods and services to them through appropriate channels.

The key concept here is the adjective ‘relevant.’ However, wherever you look and whichever metric you measure it by this concept is a bust for the advertiser and the professional marketer. The failure of the concept, however, is even more dramatic when one contrasts it with the riches earned by the media and the channels involved.

Here are a couple of examples of the failure of the concept, which are directly related to the dearth of success in personalization as a key component of relevance:

The traditionally obvious example is your TV or radio set. They propagate advertising messages that are irrelevant or undesirable to the vast majority of their viewers. Here is the analogy: imagine if you had a $100 grocery budget every week and managed to waste $80 of it. In other words 80% of the budget is spent on items that end up down the proverbial drain or into trash. That clearly would be unacceptable, yet that is what is happening week in and week out (in TV and radio advertising, hopefully not your grocery budget). The 20% effectiveness rate may of course be quite exaggerated.

irrelevant

Enter the baron of personalization and relevance: the Internet. The web is the forum that leverages the magic of technology to render old media, well, old, and cure what ails marketing. A myriad of technologies have popped up to track the audience online and ensure relevance and effectiveness. Except let us actually examine the evidence. Here are two examples to which conceptually many could relate:

  • You are fifteen-years old and go on the Internet to watch a video of your favourite Montreal, Canada-based death metal band on YouTube. First, however, you have to watch a thirty-second video of an application called Grammarly, which is a grammatically inaccurate name for a company and namesake product that improves one’s grammar when applying for jobs, writing to a love interest or asking for a raise and other reasons.
  • You are a dutiful daughter who lives in an apartment and on a Saturday morning decide to order your retired mother a book on gardening from Amazon. The mother, you see, maintains a small garden behind her house as a hobby and a passion. Thereafter and forevermore – or at least until the daughter dumps the cookies and PIEs – she will see a selection of gardening books, tools and paraphernalia every time she visits Amazon (from the comfort of her twelfth floor pad).

The missed opportunity is not just in millions of wasted advertising dollars. It is also in the realization that there is an opportunity cost in not delivering relevant content to where it belongs and the potential for ill will. Does anyone not believe that annoying customers with impertinent advertising content is a wasteful marketing sin? Moreover, annoying potential customers can have a lingering adverse effect. Thousands of viewers were annoyed by Burger King years ago when the fast food chain’s commercials overlaid the live game during the world cup of football.

So, what needs to happen on the Internet and the coming universe of IOT? There is the promise of cognitive analytics to give tooth to target marketing, but fact of the matter remains that as of today the potential is unrealized. What then? The answer: give users options. The use of the word ‘option’ is deliberate and used as a contrast to ‘choice.’ Users do not have a choice given how not accepting cookies, PIEs, location-based tracking or registering renders many websites unavailable or useless. Instead of insisting on personalizing based on an algorithm and software imposed on users let the user community have full control on the information exchanged and degree of trade off. Being upfront and blunt about the tracking and information extracted and giving users options to consent or deny whilst explaining what withholding consent may mean is the only results-oriented path. This, however, should never result in a lack of access or being denied service. Customers should be able to search the web, buy books and leave comments on a forum, as examples, without the force of being tracked and targeted if they so choose. The proportion of the population that does consent to personalization and targeted marketing should be able to do so in degrees and in a customized fashion. What that means is the power to say ‘yes’ to tailored deals like those for metal band sweatshirts, but simultaneously and on the same platform, being able to say ‘no’ to grammar optimization apps (and 1,000 other equally unwanted ads). Another option, of course, is to say no to all of it: age, gender, income, location, the lot of it.

The down-side and why this is not done? A much smaller proportion of the audience will opt in. Marketing and technology have to live by the sword and die by the sword of results.

The up-side? The information provided by consenting users is much richer, pertinent and likely to lead to marketing success.

In other words, no more annoyingly immaterial gardening books being pushed to someone living on the twelfth floor while pretending relevant ads are being consumed.

mismatch

*Things That Need To Go Away: Claiming Customer Benefit As A Euphemism For Ensuring More Sales

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Oct 302016
 

CMO has a nifty infographic on Online Marketing (also known as Web Marketing or Digital Marketing – in a moment you will know why I added the acronyms with which you are already familiar) they have borrowed that I wanted to share.

It is informative, easy to read and connects the dots on how to attract visitors, affiliates and buyers on the web. It is well worth a study to find the components and understand the relationships among the various concepts.

untitled

However, to make it easier for everyone and create an even more unified set below you will find the definitions* for all the terms involved as well offering the components for each topic under them. So here it is above (image) and below (definitions) for everything you need this side of good content, which itself should be

  • long-form,
  • current and updated and
  • shared directly and, in turn, by influencers who received it from you directly or indirectly.

 

SEM: Search Engine Marketing is the purchase of advertising on search engines based on specific words or phrases input by the person using the website.

Tracking Codes: similar to cookies, these are a unique set of letters and numbers, essentially a code, which track users across the web for variables such as referring website, geographic location, keywords used and more. On a URL address the tracking codes appear after the question mark (?).

Bid Management: is the optimization of marketing spend on Internet marketing and advertising.

CPC: Cost Per Click refers to the cost to the advertiser every time someone clicks on one of its advertisements and is directed towards a designated web page. It is also known as PPC.

PPC: Pay Per ClickSee CPC

CTR: Click-Through Rate is the percentage or proportion of viewers who click on an advertisement on the Internet versus the total number of visitors to the web page who potentially view it.

Conversion Rate: a subset of CTR, this is the number of visitors who click on an advertisement and take the action desired by the advertiser such as make a purchase or register for an event.


Mobile Advertising: is advertising to customers who use mobile devices, which access the Internet. The metric is rising in importance as, according to Wikipedia, as much as 45% of Internet traffic stems from mobile devices.

Smart Phones: are mobile telephones, which have features that allow users to visit the Internet. The term is anachronistic as these devices increasingly do much more than allow for telephone calls.

MMS: Multimedia Messaging Services is one protocol for exchanging rich media over mobile devices.

Mobile Web Banner: pictorial advertising on the Internet which is designed to be best viewed on mobile devices.

Mobile Rich Media: these are similar to mobile web banners, which also feature audio and video.

SMS: Short Message Service is the protocol for exchanging text-only communication over mobile devices.


Inbound Marketing: uses content, relevance and channels to attract consumers to you. Relevant content blogging is one example of this type of marketing. Attractive Instagram or Pinterest images are other examples.

Leads: are persons, collectives or organizations which are interested enough in what you offer to show active or passive interest. The definition needs to be agreed to by all concerned at the company.

Sales: is the receipt of money or something of value in exchange for a good or service that is wanted or needed by the buyer.

Customers: a person or organization who buys or consumes another’s goods or services.

Improvement: is the act of making the activities of inbound marketing better.

Buy Cycle: the period of time and patterns of customers issuing buying commands.

Traffic: the number of visitors to a website and how often they return.


SMM: Social Media Marketing is the use of so-called Social Media (Pinterest, Twitter, etc.) websites to reach a desired audience.

Communities Online: are the users and visitors to websites which marketers target based on their particular interests.

Viral Marketing: is the type of marketing that through interest or innovation encourages users to pass on the message and advertising to other persons such as contacts.

Multimedia: is the use of audio, graphics and video in an interrelated way to promote a marketer’s message.

Mash-ups: is a web application, which presents content and features from more than one source to present a new system, advertisement or service. An example is the use of Bing Maps to locate specific type of retailers.

PR: the use of websites to promote one’s message. The websites could range from industry-specific websites to posts on websites like LinkedIn and twitter.

Conversion Rate: a subset of CTR, this is the number of visitors who click on an advertisement and take the action desired by the advertiser such as make a purchase or register for an event.


SEO: Search Engine Optimization is the process by which webmasters design and promote their websites to place nearer the top of search engine results thus attracting more visitors

Offsite Optimization: is the portion of SEO that happens elsewhere on the Internet. This includes having other websites link in, mentions, presence on Social Media and more.

SERPs: Search Engine Results’ Page is the specific page referred by a search engine based on the user’s query.

Backlinks: are links elsewhere on the Internet which point to the website in question.

Meta-tags: are a piece of code in the Internet’s language, namely HTML, that allows search to classify the website.

White Hat: refers to SEO techniques that are considered to honestly improve SERP and contrast with deceptive methods such as spam backlinks or including false descriptions in meta-tags.

Onsite Optimization: is the portion of SEO that happens on the website itself. This includes having visitors, mentions, coding, offering video content and more.


Web Site: is a collection of pages on the Internet or World Wide Web (www) that reside under one domain name.

URL: stands for the Uniform Resource Locator and is the alpha-numeric address associated with a website.

CMS: Content Management System allows for the creation and maintenance of the components of a website such as text, audio and video and their organization.

E-commerce: Electronic Commerce refers to the conduct of business on the Internet and could be as simple as the exchange of e-mails or a sophisticated purchasing and interaction engine.

CSS: Cascading Style Sheets is an Internet language which gives form to the way a web page is presented and with which sources it interacts.

JS: Java Script is an online and offline language that in the context of the Internet is used in conjunction with HTML to typically address the website’s interactions with its visitors and functionality. JS, among others, detects the browser, device or operating system used to visit it.

PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor is a language for the servers on which websites reside. It allows for dynamics websites and operation.

HTML: Hypertext Markup Language is the default language of the Internet used to create web pages’ content and format.


Media: images, audio or video presented or distributed or consumed on the Internet.

Images: a digital picture.

Ads: attracting attention to one’s goods or services on the Internet.

Videos: including visual media on a particular website.

Articles: including text information on the website.

Banner: pictorial advertising on the Internet.

Slides: refer to communicating through a presentation on the Internet.

Comments: a program that allows users and visitors to leave comments on websites to encourage visitors and interaction.


Affiliate Marketing: is an arrangement whereby website owners share revenue with ‘affiliates’ in exchange for web traffic, sales, promotions or registrations.

Advertiser: is the website owner in the affiliate marketing relationship.

Pay Per Lead: also known as PPL, this is the payment by advertiser or the website owner based on number of conversions or leads.

Cost Per Action: also known as CPA, this is the payment by advertiser or the website owner based on a predetermined contractual action such as visitors or sales.

Publisher: is the person or organization that promotes a product or service belonging to the advertiser in the affiliate marketing relationship.

Pay Per Sale: also known as PPS, this is the payment by advertiser or the website owner based on actual sales figures stemming from the affiliate. This metric has lower conversion rates, but is most ideal for advertisers whose goal is sales.

Affiliate Networks: is typically a middle-man or intermediary organization sitting between the website owners and advertiser and their publishers or affiliates. In exchange for a share of the revenue affiliate networks allow website owners to reach a larger audience and broader channel.


E-mail Marketing: is sending e-mails with commercial intent to either prospects or customers.

Landing Pages: is the web page a visitors arrives at based on clicking or responding to an advertisement or invitation.

Spam: also known as junk mail is the kind of e-mail which is unsolicited and often illegal.

B2B: short for business-to-business, this type of marketing is often more focused as it deals with the aim of commerce between two organizations.

B2C: short for business-to-customer or business-to-consumer, this type of marketing is often more broad as it deals with the aim of commerce between an organization and persons as customers. It is expected that B2C has shorter time span and is simultaneously quicker than B2B on average.

Clients: are customers (whether persons or organizations) or users of a product or service.

Links: often highlighted and underlined, links are pieces of code on the Internet whereby clicking on them allows users to jump to another web page or website.

Newsletter: or e-newsletter as sometimes called in Internet parlance, is a regularly or semi-regularly sent to actively communicate with prospects or customers.


Banner: is a graphic advertisement on a web page that is often clickable.

Adclicks: advertisement clicks are the number of times a form of advertising on a web page are clicked on by visitors.

Impressions: refers to the number of times an ad on the web is fetched by its ad server and sent to be viewed based on the presence of a viewer. Impressions, sometimes roughly called ‘eye balls,’ are monetized through the CPC or Cost Per Impression price.

Hover Ads: are web ads that hover over the page and are not dismissed by scrolling elsewhere on the web page.

Ad Server: is a server on the Internet which holds different ads for different participating websites and ‘serves’ them conditional on certain criteria such as the presence of visitors.

Content Ads: content advertisements are ones which offer more information and information than the standard ad aiming to persuade with an educational element. Other ad types are concept ads, which offer high production values, pop up ads and more.

Skyscraper: no surprise that skyscraper ads are vertical banner ads that run along the side of a web page.

 

 *The definitions are mine and offered, as much as possible, in the specific context of this article.

 

*Things That Need To Go Away: Intrusive, Invisible Or Opaque Marketing That Also Breach Privacy Rights 

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Sep 072016
 

You read it correctly. The title is not a typo.

In an article that was sent to my inbox this week the author reports that it is ten times more effective to train your sales managers as opposed to your frontline sales people. The article, which seems to be based on a slightly older talk by Neil Rackham the author of the famous SPIN selling books and program for an organization called the Sales Management Association, also cites a study with the same organization. The study surveyed 161 companies about their sales budget and found that those, which allocated more than 50% of their training budget to sales managers saw the greatest increase in sales and hence the most return on investment. The degree of return increases the more of the training budget is directed at the management team.

This assumes sales managers are concentrating on being teachers and given time and mandate to transfer their knowledge onto the frontline.

Naturally, the study does not suggest or target a complete abandonment of training for salespersons. For instance, sales will still be trained upon hire and be introduced to new products or versions. Importantly, the coaching will be administered by sales management. However, if one chooses to give this premise credence, one could justify its veracity by remembering that the concept of leverage applies here as it does to maintaining a partner or reseller channel for example. After all, companies maintain a reseller channel in order to scale in a way that they could not on their own. A sales manager works with multiple salespersons at the same time. More importantly, and again if you believe this study and I always recommend examining every piece of data meticulously, the proof is in the pudding i.e. the facts speak for themselves.

It would be useful now to get some feedback or thoughts from those affected – sales people and sales managers – and from sales trainers here. The implications are important as the sales budget and companies’ revenue depend on it.

Do you agree that a more effective training budget is better deployed on sales managers than on the frontline? It is certainly novel and food for thought.

manager-training

*Things That Need To Go Away: Obligatory Sales Training With No Follow-up Or Carry-Through

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Aug 082016
 

We know that Fear And Pain Avoidance sells.

We also learnt that Insulting And Boring Sell (well… maybe).

What about confusing? Does that sell? According to a study from the University Of Arkansas confusing targets via a “Disrupt-Then-Reframe” technique also sells. The research shows that keeping the technique’s order intact and the components intact are crucial.

The technique suggests confusing or ‘disrupting’ the buyer’s thought process and while they are trying to figure things out make a strong statement, which is to your benefit that claims it is all simple and easy to purchase. This goes against the traditional advice that should a customer be asking questions or not understanding the best way for a seller to go is to clarify things. This technique suggests doing the opposite of allowing the customer to figure things out.

According to the study, the rate of purchase of cards from a seller went from 35% to 65% when the salesperson announced the price of cards as “300 pennies” then went on to explain that it means “$3” before stating that “it’s a bargain.” This study also shows that resistance from those who are on the fence is not overcome through additional incentives, but through the DTR technique which disrupts the resistance when customer has purposefully been distracted.

*Things That Need To Go Away: Clever Sales Techniques That Sell Unneeded Wares

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