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How Sales Development Can Create Sales and Marketing Alignment

Posted by David Fletcher

Aug 26, 2016 1:00:00 PM

SD-Alignment-post.pngNo matter where you go or what you read, if you are in the sales and marketing profession, you have heard folks talking about sales and marketing alignment. While there are different levels of alignment and even different definitions of alignment, it is something demand generation teams are striving to achieve.

Did you know that highly-aligned organizations achieved an average of 32% year-over-year revenue growth - while their less aligned competitors saw a 7% decrease in revenue? (Source: Sales Enablement: Fulfilling the Last Frontier of Marketing-Sales Alignment, Aberdeen Group, September 2013).

With stats like that, who wouldn’t want to create sales and marketing alignment?

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Topics: Sales Development

How To Define Your Ideal Client Profile

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Aug 25, 2016 3:00:00 PM

ideal-client-profile.jpgThe single most important question you can answer as a business leader, marketing or sales executive is, “Who do we want to be a hero to?” The question, even in its simplest form, is quite difficult to answer and the implications of that answer have huge impacts on your business.

If you’re involved in complex, high consideration B2B sales, the question is even more complex, because you must answer it from two distinct perspectives:

  • The types of companies you want to do business with, or what I call your Ideal Client Profile (ICP).
  • The people who you must influence and connect with to make consistent sales and to delight as customers, or what I call Buyer Personas.

As the idea of buyer personas grows, I’m seeing with increased frequency a blur between the two, resulting in greater ambiguity and wasted growth resources. When the goal is creating sales and marketing alignment to enable consistent, scalable growth, creating clarity behind both is important to success.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Demand Generation

Are You Making These 6 Lead Nurturing Mistakes?

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Aug 23, 2016 3:00:00 PM

Lead-nurturing-mistakes.jpgLead nurturing…all the cool kids (in this case, successful marketers) have a lead nurturing approach in place, right? After all, as many as 75% of leads aren’t ready to buy and it is up to marketing to help them along their buyer’s journey until they become real, paying customers.

Seems like a no brainer. Lead nurturing is the way to go. Just last week I was having a conversation with a former co-worker. She was talking about her company’s recently implemented lead nurturing approach and how excited they were about it.

I was glad to hear they were thinking about their leads this way. However, I walked away from the conversation wondering if their approach was going to leave their leads feeling nurtured or spammed.

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Topics: Lead Nurturing

5 Post-SQL Keys to Ensure Your B2B Sales Team Hits Their Number

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Aug 18, 2016 5:00:00 PM

hit-b2b-sales-number-2.jpgI’m often asked how a company that started more than 10 years ago focused on sales advisory, building sales processes and training and coaching salespeople became an inbound marketing and sales development company.

The answer is actually quite simple. The world changed dramatically from 2004 - 2010. As we were coaching sales teams, we increasingly saw two major barriers that prevented the consistent results we strived for:

  • We saw that salespeople (for mid-market companies at least) were getting fewer and fewer opportunities. This not only made it more difficult to hit a number, it made it far more difficult to teach new skills. Changing while you’re scared that you don’t have enough opportunities is virtually impossible.
  • Even more importantly, what we saw was that by the time an opportunity got to the salesperson, the sales rep was put in a position of weakness. What later got dubbed The Zero Moment of Truth explained why this was happening.

We realized that if we wanted to solve the problems at the bottom of the funnel, we first needed to help the companies we worked with solve the problems that were happening at the top and the middle of the funnel.

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy

4 Pre-SQL Keys to Ensure Your B2B Sales Team Hits Their Number...Consistently

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Aug 17, 2016 1:00:00 PM

hit-b2b-sales-number.jpgHit the number. Three words that stand out and dominate the thinking of growth-oriented sales executives across the world. It’s no surprise that so much attention is paid to these words, as research continues to indicate that most salespeople are not hitting the number.

While there are plenty of blog posts, articles and books (oh my, there are a LOT of books) on the topic of selling better, I’ve found that the vast, vast majority of them take an individualized, technique-oriented approach to driving better sales results (heck, I’m sure I’ve written several of them).

What they miss is the structure. Don’t get me wrong. Skills, behaviors, motivation and technique are all very important.  But, if you really want to unlock performance and you want to sustain it, you need to focus on the structure of your approach.

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy

Are you Implementing a Digital, Content or Inbound Marketing Approach?

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Aug 16, 2016 1:00:00 PM

digital_content_inbound.jpgOver the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with family and friends that I haven’t seen for several months or in some cases, a few years. It has been a lot fun catching up on everything from kids to vacations to new houses to jobs.

Something that struck me about these conversations was the number of questions I was asked about my job. When I updated people on my current role with Imagine, they were totally intrigued by the idea of inbound marketing. They were so interested in knowing more about what that is and what we do at Imagine.

This was surprising to me because many of them, in their professional lives, deal directly with sales, marketing and/or leadership. I was shocked that they didn’t have a better understanding of what inbound marketing is and how it fits into the overall sales and marketing puzzle.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

4 Reasons Outbound Prospecting/Sales Development Fail (And What To Do About It)

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Aug 12, 2016 11:00:00 AM

outbound-marketing-frustration.jpgOutbound is back (actually it never left). Sales development is becoming so popular that it’s beginning to lose its meaning (and all too often its effectiveness). The good news is that this means companies are focused on real growth. The bad news is that it also means that there’s more noise and confusion in the market than ever before (I know, we keep saying that, but it’s true).

The number of crappy emails, calls and approaches that I’m seeing (both as someone being marketed to, and in the assessments we conduct) astounds me, in number and in just how bad some of these efforts are. And these aren’t coming from just small companies. Some are coming from supposed leaders in the demand generation industry.

I believe the reason for this is there’s significantly more pressure to move the growth needle, and companies wanting growth are realizing that today you must be proactive and go to the market more intensely to be successful.

As a result of this pressure, they’re rushing to execute, and the results are not particularly good. If you're considering (or are already) implementing an outbound marketing or sales development approach, here are the four reasons it will fail. Avoid these and you should be in good shape.

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17 Quotes to Inspire an Olympic Gold Finish to 2016

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Aug 8, 2016 1:00:00 PM

gold-medals.jpgIt’s hard to believe four years have passed since the last Summer Olympic Games. Yet, here we are. The best athletes in the world have gathered in Rio to compete at the very highest level.

History will be made during the next two weeks. People all over the world will be inspired by the athletes…by their poise, their grit and their pure determination. The stories of how they have achieved greatness will be shared throughout the event and the next generation of athletes will be motivated to keep reaching for the highest goals.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Sales Development

Technology: Sales and Marketing Friend or Foe?

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Aug 4, 2016 10:00:00 AM

technology-friend-foe.jpgToday, I received an email offering me a report about sales enablement platforms. Yesterday, I received six emails from sales development reps suggesting I talk to them about the technology their respective companies offer that I essentially can’t live without. Unless you’re living “off the grid,” I’m sure you’re experiencing some level of the same thing.

Technology in the sales and marketing space can be overwhelming…and scary. It can also be life-changing in a positive way. Finding your way in this new world is definitely a challenge. It really is hard to tell if technology is your friend...or your enemy in disguise. That’s why we keep writing about it.

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7 Reasons Your B2B Social Media Approach Isn't Driving Results

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Aug 2, 2016 5:00:00 PM

miter-saw-social-media-not-working.jpgOne of the tools in all inbound marketers toolkits is social media. Falls right into the attract phase of the methodology. All you need to do is identify the social media platforms your prospects are using, create your company pages and go. Promote the content that you have created specifically for your target audience and they will like it, share it and engage with it. Sounds easy enough, right?

As it turns out, it’s not that easy. There’s a lot more to an effective social media approach than just creating a profile and promoting your own content. In fact, if we go back to the toolbox idea, social media is more like a miter saw than your average hammer.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing