17 Lessons Learned in B2B Sales and Business Development in 2017

Posted by Victoria Brown on May 3, 2018 10:53:54 AM

A recent Gallup Poll found that Americans vastly prefer spring to any other season. Everything is blooming, progressing from the previous dreary winter, and people tend to awaken and reevaluate. Sales reps have recovered from the end of the year crunch they had to do months prior and tend to be ready to ramp back into full work mode, ready to hit quota and make more deals than the year prior. However, you can’t expect to progress if you keep doing the same things over and over again. So in order to move forward, let’s move back for a second and reflect on some lessons learned in B2B sales and business development in 2017.

To no one’s surprise, technology continues to evolve and change the dynamic of the sales process. However, technology has altered the sales process so dramatically that those that choose not to progress immediately along side risk complete failure and being left behind. This brings me to my first point.

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Topics: Strategic Planning

What Is A Brand Identity System?

Posted by Robert Cook on Mar 1, 2018 11:00:00 AM


The term 'Brand' is tossed about so much that it has lost it’s core meaning. But in the context of identity it has a very specific meaning. Brand Identity is how your customer perceives and experiences your business offering through our human senses. The emotions you hope to engage with your promise are affected through visual communication. Most likely, your brand will be seen before experienced.

In the B2B world, visual engagement is often the beginning of the experience. If one comes across the name of your business in content, or if a peer refers or recommends a potential customer to your company, odds are they will go to your website to check you out and develop an impression from there.

The best way to manage that process is with a Brand Identity System.

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Topics: Branding | Visual Identity

What's the Difference Between Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing?

Posted by Frank Todaro on Feb 6, 2018 11:30:00 AM


Is there a difference between content marketing and inbound marketing or are you just trying to confuse me?

Marketers, both professional and amateur, are throwing around a lot of terms these days. Two of the terms that you will hear most frequently are: inbound marketing and content marketing.

What do they really mean?

Are they the same, or are there some differences?

And if there are not the same, do the differences matter?

They are definitely related terms. Let's examine the definitions, distinctions, and then suggest an approach on how to grow your business.

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Topics: B2B Marketing Strategy, Inbound Marketing

Why Hiring An Entry Level Marketing Coordinator has a Sh*tty ROI

Posted by Russ Waddill on Jan 8, 2018 11:45:20 AM

You know you need to add marketing help to your team in 2018. You cannot afford to pay an executive-level person, but you as the CEO or COO don't have the knowledge and time to manage a website, build a social media following, update your branding, learn graphic design and handle the regular updates to marketing collateral that is becoming necessary to grow your business.

So what should you do? The obvious choice is to hire what you can afford - a young, tech savvy entry level marketing coordinator right out of college who is hungry and knows about digital marketing! It sounds like a reasonable idea, right? They are on the web and their smartphone all the time. They can get your company up to speed on social media because the younger generation does that in their sleep. You can pay them to learn about website design and graphic design - how hard can it be?

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Topics: Marketing Strategy

Qualifying Target Customers and Pinpointing Their Core Needs

Posted by Victoria Brown on Dec 4, 2017 10:08:08 AM


THE most important conversation a salesperson has with their target persona is the discovery call. It is in this moment you are determining whether to dedicate time and effort to take the next step, or making the decision to part ways. The decision, however, is not always an obvious one. This is where sales qualification peeks its head out at you. Today’s buyers can be difficult. Decision makers are constantly on the go and usually pressed for time. With their inboxes and voicemail boxes being flooded by sales pitches, naturally they can be uncertain about sharing information. So when you finally score a chance to have a conversation with a decision maker you should be able to bring value to the conversation with open-ended, quality sales questions. This article will show you:

  • How to 'Dissect a Qualified Prospect', with critical questions at multiple levels
  • When to hit 'Eject' and Disqualify a Prospect
  • Different 'Qualification Frameworks'
  • And, key elements of the 'Qualification Process'

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

Is LinkedIn Sales Navigator Worth It For Lead Generation?

Posted by Victoria Brown on Oct 15, 2017 3:18:13 PM

As a business development manager, I’m tasked with helping my firm grow relationships with previous clients as well as identify and develop new clients. Essentially, prospecting clients has become my breakfast, lunch and dinner. With that said, whenever a recruiter, colleague or sales rep starts to discuss lead generation with me it seems to always begin with a LinkedIn discussion promptly followed by, “Well, have you tried their Sales Navigator Membership Program?” Many wave it off and say that it’s not in their budget to provide this resource for their team. Or a rep will say it’s not worth it if their company won’t cover the cost. 9 out of 10 times I typically find out that most people have no idea what LinkedIn Sales Navigator is and, further, that they simply shut down the idea upon hearing the cost of upgrading their current subscription. The scenario played out again this morning while grabbing coffee.

So, the question remains: Is Sales Navigator worth it?

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Topics: Marketing Strategy, Inbound Marketing

Generating Business Name Ideas Can Be Like Making Rocks Fly

Posted by Frank Todaro on Aug 10, 2017 10:59:02 AM


I came to marketing from a non-traditional direction. Most of my colleagues and competitors became marketers after spending time in some creative aspect of marketing. Many were designers or writers or even salespeople. I came to it from engineering. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but it seemed a good idea at the time. My degree is in mechanical engineering and, believe it or not, I learned some things about marketing and branding in engineering school.

One elective I took was in Aeronautical Engineering Principles. I hardly paid attention because either the teacher or the subject just wasn’t interesting to me at the time. I got out of the class successfully and didn’t think about it much until I got involved in a naming project for a client a few years ago.

One of the basics of aeronautics is the balance of lift, drag and propulsive force necessary to make something fly. You need enough force to move the object forward fast enough to overcome drag and take advantage of the lift that comes from the shape of the object. I remember the instructor saying, "With enough force you could make a rock fly".

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Topics: Branding | Visual Identity

Why Hiring an Agency on a Marketing Retainer Agreement Makes Sense

Posted by Russ Waddill on Jul 10, 2017 4:08:05 PM


When we launched our firm a dozen years ago, we focused on project work - meaning we sold our services on a project-by-project basis - for several reasons. We wanted to prove the value of our expertise and earn each new piece of work with our performance on the last. We had also gotten feedback from prospects and colleagues frustrated by conventional public relations or professional monthly retainers where fees were paid but no measurable work was done for months at a time. In addition, the work we focused on lent itself to defining a specific scope of work, setting a schedule, pricing it out and finishing it on budget and on time.

Fast forward to 2017 and the nature of marketing consulting has dramatically shifted. Nearly every element of the modern marketing mix is integrated and interdependent, like one efficiently running inbound marketing engine. With this in mind, here are the key reasons it makes sense for your consulting or professional services firm to hire an agency on a marketing retainer agreement.

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Topics: Website Design, Inbound Marketing, Consulting Firm Marketing

How To Integrate Sales and Marketing for Consulting Firms

Posted by Frank Todaro on May 17, 2017 11:10:37 AM


Consulting firms are struggling to adapt to changes in the sales and marketing playing field. They have hired a marketing person, they’re writing a blog and they are on social media, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. They still are struggling to find leads and the leads they get are not of the quality they want. What is missing? What should they do next?

The first thing - the VERY first thing - is to reorganize the new client acquisition efforts into one organization. Despite changes in the digital marketing arena, consulting firms have largely left their organization in place. The primary sales people are “professionals” who manage the delivery of services while they look for new relationships, whereas the marketing people are “administrative” staff. In other words, the marketing people are second class citizens in the consulting world. While this is changing in many organizations, the underlying attitudes have not.

The people charged with marketing for consulting firms today need to be on an equal footing with the sales people. Not for equity reasons, but for effectiveness reasons. Neither marketing nor sales can be optimally effective unless they are cooperating as equals.

So, if you manage a consulting firm, what should you do if you really want to transform your marketing and sales effort and make it more effective? There are several tactics you should consider. Some you can implement immediately, but others will take some time depending on who you currently have in your organization.

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Topics: Marketing Strategy

10 PowerPoint Best Practices for Creating Better Presentations

Posted by Robert Cook on May 9, 2017 10:31:43 AM

Microsoft PowerPoint is the most relied upon software for making presentations. There are other applications, but PowerPoint is by far the most commonly used. Microsoft estimates that there are 500 million users worldwide, with an estimated 35 million presentations given each day. That means, there are 400 presentations being made every second of every day.

PowerPoint is a great tool in the right hands. Unfortunately, many users depend on the software as a crutch for giving presentations. If you rely too heavily on the template options, you risk appearing amateurish and may cause more harm than good for all the hard work. And presenting is hard work. When your efforts are well planned and professionally executed, you are more likely to accomplish the goal of your presentation.

Follow these 10 PowerPoint best practices and give great presentations:

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Topics: Branding | Visual Identity