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The Most Elusive Metric: Measuring the Customer Experience in B2B

by Giles House
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When people hear the term “customer experience,” their thoughts most often turn to B2C relationships. Perhaps the epitome of this is American Girl, a doll line produced by Mattell that focused intensely on the customer experience (described in depth by Paul Greenberg here). American Girl immerses the customers (to be more accurate, the customers’ children) in a series of experiential activities that make the dolls much more than a mere product. The American Doll customer experience, as effective as it is, does not translate into the B2B space – business buyers have nowhere near the time to spend with B2B [...]

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Five Ways Marketers Misuse Marketing Automation – and How to Correct Them

by Chris Bucholtz
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Marketing automation technology enables marketers to reach more potential customers faster and with more measurable results than ever before. It’s truly a golden era for marketers. However, technology doesn’t mean that marketers can shut their brains off and allow their marketing departments to go on autopilot. In addition to marketing’s need to forge closer bonds with sales – something that will be accomplished more through soft skills than software – marketers must use the technology at their disposal in smart ways. Otherwise, the technology merely allows marketers to screw up faster and on a broader scale than ever before. Here [...]

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Lead Nurturing: the Extremely Lucrative Thing Most Marketers Ignore

by Chris Bucholtz
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As a journalist, I learned to be wary of unattributed numbers, especially when they were offered to me by vendors. Too often, they recalled the old gag “Did you know that 87 percent of statistics are made up on the spot?” But sometimes – when sources are credible, and multiple sources confirm the story – numbers can be believed – even when the story they tell seems unbelievable. Such is the case of lead nurturing. We all know our companies should be doing it; many of us have heard our CMOs talk about it in company meetings or planning sessions. [...]

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Marketing and Sales: Building Bridges

by Jen Kling
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We’ve all seen or heard sales and marketing bad-mouth each other, but here are some facts to prove bad relations prevail. A mere 26% of sales reps say marketing consistently delivers sales-ready leads; the overwhelming majority think otherwise. And only 10% of marketers feel that sales follows up on leads quickly enough. Apart from heightened communication and coordination, how do you build a bridge over these troubled waters? Here are some pointers. Lead Definitions – A CSO Insights’ 2014 Sales Performance Optimization Study found that one in two companies does not have a definition for what makes a qualified lead. [...]

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How to Do Fail-Proof Sales Forecasting

by Christine Dorrion
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Sales forecasts are known to go wrong and understandably so, given that many of them are based on little more than hope. An Aberdeen survey points to an average sales forecast accuracy of just 81%. Now that will not make your CFO happy, will it? Being in sales operations, a large chunk of my time is spent forecasting and here are some things that I have seen work. Good Data: Forecasting is only as good as the data you have at hand. Keeping CRM systems up to date is a perennial problem across organizations with reps disliking its very nature, [...]

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How to Eliminate Waste in Your Sales Process

by Poornima Mohandas
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According to Smart Selling Tools, only 35% of a sales rep’s time is spent selling. What about the remaining 65%? Is it full of Muda? What is Muda? Muda is a Japanese word meaning waste and is a key concept in the famously efficient, Toyota Production System. “Eliminating waste is the key to efficiency” in the just-in-time system pioneered by the world’s largest car maker. Simply put, Muda comprises all tasks that are unnecessary and add no value. It applies not just to the factory floor; it applies just as well to your sales organization. Check out this infographic to [...]

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5 Proven Tips to Motivate Your Sales Reps

by Eric Brown
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First, let’s be 100% clear: The fundamental and most important character trait for a top-performing sales rep is motivation. Everything starts from there. Reps have to face hurdle after hurdle, objection after objection, “no” after “no”, with a smile on their face and a deep-rooted desire to overcome and win, no matter the odds or obstacles. They have to be persistent, tenacious, and relentless in the pursuit of their goals; it all starts with motivation. While you should hire sales reps that are self-motivated, that doesn’t mean organizations can sit this one out. Keeping reps happy, focused, and motivated is [...]

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4 Tips to Make the Perfect Acquisition

by Poornima Mohandas
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The mergers and acquisitions markets are super hot this year with blue chips like Pfizer and Comcast doing the rounds. Deal volumes have soared to over $1.75 trillion, the highest level seen since the Great Recession. But just because your company is cash rich and credit is cheap doesn’t mean you should go shopping to buy the first shiny object that catches your eye. So how do you identify the companies worth buying; distinguish the fads from the trends? Should you put your trust in a first-time CEO? Do you tend to underestimate a company because it’s unknown? These are [...]

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Are Your Sales Reps Stuck With Spreadsheets?

by Poornima Mohandas
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At a time when mobile phones are the primary device to clear inboxes and people spend over two hours a day on the mobile web, how modern is your sales force? Despite all the great new apps, devices, and technologies out there, often the only technology that sales reps use is a CRM platform, which is a reporting and forecasting tool that can do little to speed up the sales process. Let’s take the example of a sales rep in the manufacturing sector. For every meeting the rep has to lug around heavy pricing books and product books. An interested [...]

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What Makes Some Sales Reps Better Than Others?

by Eric Brown
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Some surveys indicate that sales reps add value to the customer conversation only 20% of the time, that means only once in five meetings! That is pathetically low coming at a time when buyers have heightened expectations, refusing to engage with reps until they have completed 70% of the buying journey, giving reps very little time to make a difference. In the digitally evolved marketplace, where information is at buyers’ fingertips, there is just no room for second impressions. Reps have to be great out of the gate. But every sales leader knows that not all reps are great. If [...]

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