Tag Archives: Marketing and Advertising

Sales People – Play Your *Position (*It’s Changed)


Parents who have watched their children growing up playing soccer can appreciate this.  It’s the phenomenon I call “swarm-ball” where the young kids cluster around the ball, eyes fixed on it, and move as a swarm up and down the field, flitting around to the brink of exhaustion.

Years go by.  Then, something magical happens.  All the coaching sinks in and like a light-switch, the players lock into the concept of playing their position.  Suddenly all the lost energy becomes focused and efficient.  Players are making passes, assists, and goals more often with less exertion and more accuracy.

Sales people have a position to play in a selling process too – and it’s changed.  Radically.

In recent years, as the internet has exploded and buyers are more educated than ever, sales people can no longer afford to just “chase the ball.”  Buyers don’t like it.  They won’t tell you – they just won’t buy from you.

It boils down to this, you are no longer the source of information on your product or service.  Whether they have it or not, clients will come to you feeling as though they have all the knowledge about their purchase (want proof of this trend? Ask your Doctor if Web MD has caused her any frustration in this area with the medically “brilliant” patients she now must deal with).  Clients do their homework first.  We all do this when we buy. 

My respected friend, Ardath Albee (follow her on Twitter immediately if you don’t yet – http://twitter.com/#!/ardath421 )  is a thought-leader in content marketing.  This is the art and science of generating interest, attention, value, and engagement (that leads to YOU and the active selling position you play).   Here is Ardath’s new concept of a sales funnel:

The bottom line is that you as a sales person no longer work the entire funnel.  You and your organization need to need to put good, valuable content out there to capture the interest, gain the attention of, communicate value to, and Engage potential buyers.  This is where your position kicks in.  At this point is where you can make a huge difference as a sales person.  You can have more qualified sales conversations, and close more sales, if you play your position

Don’t to shoe-horn your clients into being “sold” on your product.  Instead, play your position by leveraging content marketing techniques to engage clients in the front end of the funnel while you bring value to buyers in key conversations and their decisions to buy. Be the best possible player you can be from “engagement” onward in this funnel and you will score more goals!

Are You Content Marketing?


If you are marketing today and not doing so through organized publicity of your intellectual capital through Content Marketing, you’re missing the boat!

Before you jump in, there are a few things you need to know:

  1. It’s a LOT HARDER THAN YOU THINK!   This takes planning, organizational alignment, rigorous scheduling, and new processes to start,  and – most importantly –  discipline to maintain.
  2. It’s a LOT SIMPLER THAN YOU THINK!  The tools available to support your efforts in this area were simply inconceivable only a few years ago.  Now they enable you to do this complex job more efficiently and effectively.
  3. It’s about WILL POWER!  Focus and tenacity are the hurdles here.  If you have them, you can be winning with content marketing in very short order.

What are the benefits?  “Brand Stickiness,” “Google Juice,” – whatever you want to call it, will bring recognition>leads>business!

The graph displayed here is an image from an excellent research piece done by Roy Young of  Marketing Profs and Joe Pulizzi of  Junta 42 “(B2B Content Marketing, 2010 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends” [download here] that will give you an overview of the major components of a content marketing effort, along with some very useful statistics.

Some highlights:

  • Nine out of 10 B2B marketers are using content marketing to grow their businesses.
  • Enthusiasm for content marketing is high; however, marketers are still unsure about the effectiveness and impact
  • Content marketing deployment is high across industries, with no single industry reporting below 78% adoption
  • Web traffic is the most widely used success metric (56%) followed by direct sales (49%)
  • On average, B2B marketers allocate approximately 26% of their total budgets to content marketing initiatives
  • The largest challenge is “producing the kind of content that engages prospects and customers” (36% of respondents
  • Social media and article posting are the most popular tactics and are currently used by 79% and 78% of B2B marketers

Get this paper and digest it today!

A Call For Expertise in Preparation


If you’ve read this blog you know I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin.  His posts really make marketers think about the job we’re doing.   It’s probably the best blog out there for marketing professionals, and Seth is very economical with his words.

Yesterday he posed a particularly provocative thought on preparation.  The challenge is to think about the level of effort and expertise you are applying to your preparation.  Basically, are you a pusher or a leaner?

He argues there are three levels of preparation: “Beginner,” “Novice,” and “Expert.”  Basic premise:  Most of us languish in the novice stage and never push hard enough to reach expertise.

As sales and marketing professionals, we can take this to heart in many areas:  Go-To-Market Planning, Pre-Meeting Planning, Product Development, Websites and other marketing efforts.  Do you ever find yourself phoning it in?  Why start if you’re not going for something brilliant?

Jeff Bullas’ Top 5 Posts…


I’ve sung the praises of Jeff Bullas in past posts.  If you’re not following him on Twitter, it’s your loss.  Pound for pound, it’s the best social media direction I’ve found out there.

Here is an interesting post of his from this summer.  It is from his blog readers’ perspective.  The focus is what they have found “most newsworthy and topical in the last 90 days.” 

Summary:

  1. 30 Things You Should Not Share On Social Media
  2. The 7 Secrets to Ford’s Social Media Marketing Success
  3. 20 Things You Should Share On Social Media
  4. Twitter Reveals 11 New Facts on its Traffic and Usage
  5. How To Use Twitter For Business: 5 More Incredibly Interesting Case Studies

As usual, great stuff.  Thanks, Jeff!

If We All Had These Core Values…


While reading another fantastic blog post by Jeff Bullas  (who if you don’t follow on Twitter you must – as he highlights and summarizes some of the most interesting concepts in social media marketing today)   I ran across this summary of the 10 core values driving the online shoe retailer Zappos.  Jeff’s focus was linking these values to  ways in which social media reinforces the culture and the success of Zappos, and it’s a great post. 

I’m still just processing this list (for the first time) on a simpler level.  I am simply struck at how different these values are from most of the generic, boring, homogenized core values in corporate America.   While reading them I asked myself (and urge you to do the same) how much better would my (or any) company be if we focused on these unique values?

Have a look and let me know your thoughts.  Here is a link and the list:  

  • Deliver WOW Through Service
  • Embrace and Drive Change
  • Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  • Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  • Pursue Growth and Learning
  • Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  • Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  • Do More With Less
  • Be Passionate and Determined
  • Be Humble
  • The Two-Year Sales Cycle That Proves Nurturing Works


    Yesterday, I had the satisfaction of closing a sale on which I’d been working for over two years.  I can’t describe the feeling better than to say this is why you get into sales!

    A two-year sales cycle is crazy!” you say?  I would submit that it is more the norm these days when you look at the total life of a deal.  As you can imagine this represented the culmination of many, many touch points with my client.

    In their outstanding book “Professional Services Marketing,” the partners at Wellesley Hills Group espouse the concept of “Nurturing.”  I could not agree more.  As mentioned in the book, the “long sales cycle” equals the months and even years that it takes to foster a strong relationship while the client builds to a point where they have a real initiative and funding and are thus in active buying mode. The concept is that the “short sales cycle,” once the client is able to buy, is much shorter – perhaps only several weeks. 

    But you need to focus on the nurturing that puts you in a position on the long-cycles so when that buyer is ready, you are a trusted source for solutions and the obvious choice.

    What are you doing to stay in front of your highest priority customers monthly, or even weekly, to nurture your way to more sales?