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4 Inbound Tactics that Can Impact Trade Show Success

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Sep 27, 2016 2:00:00 PM

tradeshowfloor.jpgUntil about two years ago, I was what is called today, a traditional marketer. I was responsible for a wide range of things. My days were filled with things like writing case studies and ad copy, branding initiatives, graphics support, direct mail campaigns, anything and everything associated with the website…the list goes on and on.

One of my favorite things from my life as a traditional marketer is trade show coordination. I love everything about it. From planning how things will look to executing pre and post show activities to working with staff to target specific attendees…I love it all.

The question is does making the transition to inbound marketing mean that I have to leave trade shows behind?

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Demand Generation

The Most Important Skill in Successful B2B Selling (And How to Do It)

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 23, 2016 3:00:00 PM

questions-salespeople-should-ask.jpgIt goes without saying that asking questions is crucial to an effective sales process. Much has been written about the importance of questions, and there’s a ton of advice out there about the types of questions you should ask and how to ask them. You can even find lists of questions to ask. Books, like SPIN Selling, have been written on the sole topic of asking questions. (Good) Sales managers (and sales trainers) spend an inordinate amount of time working with their salespeople on asking better questions.

Given all of that, I’ve concluded two things are true:

  • Asking good questions is really, really important.
  • Salespeople still mightily struggle with asking powerful questions.
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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy

[VIDEO PREVIEW] 5 Growth Strategies to Finish the Year Strong

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 21, 2016 4:00:00 PM

IMG-1667_LandingPage_Webinar-5_Growth_Strategies_Wide.pngWelcome to fall! It is hard to believe that we're only days away from the 4th quarter. How has your year gone so far? Is your organization ahead of plan? Behind plan? Somewhere close? 

How is your team approaching the 4th quarter? Are you looking at it as the last chance to "save" 2016? While these next 90 days can definitely impact overall results for the current calendar year, they can impact your 2017 results even more. No matter how the year has gone to date, the 4th quarter is the time to not only close business for this year but more importantly, it is time to start building a foundation for 2017.

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, Demand Generation

5 Ways to Build an Effective B2B Editorial Calendar

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Sep 20, 2016 3:00:00 PM

build-b2b-editorial-calendar.jpgAs a B2B inbound marketer, I spend a lot of time and energy creating content. Everything from blog posts to case studies to white papers to ebooks…you name it…and I’ve probably created it.

Because I spend a lot of time on content, when it doesn’t perform well, it is very frustrating. Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent hours creating something for essentially no gain. When I see two or more strikes in a row, I feel like throwing in the towel.

But throwing in the towel is not the right thing to do. As I have learned, making a few tweaks to the content itself or to the process can have a significant impact on results. And it all starts with the editorial calendar.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

3 Reasons You Need Focus on Your Sales Development Playbook

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 16, 2016 4:00:00 PM

focus-sales-development-playbook.jpgWhere has the time gone? I put my head down at the end of the 2nd quarter and suddenly it’s almost the 4th quarter. I always try to make sure that I stop at least once a quarter and really assess what I, and my organization, have learned.

Change is a frustrating - yet potentially powerful - force. The key is to harness its power and not let it overwhelm you. I admit, that’s something that’s much easier said than done.

This year has represented tremendous change - and opportunity - for Imagine. We’ve grown considerably, done some great work and (frankly) struggled in some areas as well. One of the areas that has undergone the biggest shift is an area we’re becoming quite well known for - integrating sales efforts with inbound marketing. The biggest lesson we’ve learned (or relearned) is how critical dynamic process is to success.

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Topics: Sales Development

5 Things I Want to Know About a Prospect Before I Make the First Sales Call

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 14, 2016 3:00:00 PM

You Only Get One Chance to Make a Strong First Impression

before-first-sales-call.jpgAs a part of my role on the growth team at Imagine, I spend a significant amount time having first conversations with prospects. These prospects can come from a variety of activities:

  • Select inbound leads
  • SQLs developed by our sales development rep
  • Referrals
  • Follow ups from speaking events that I do
  • The time I spend each month doing my own sales development work

In the old days, handling first conversations was easy. You simply made the call and started with a question as simple as, “Tell me about your company.” If you wanted to be bold you said, “Tell me about the problems you’re trying to solve.” Frankly, you didn’t really need to know that much about the prospect, as you could rely on them to educate you.

Today that approach will kill you. Valuable prospects have neither the time nor the desire to educate you on their company, their issues or their objectives. You must earn that right, and you do that by knowing your prospect before you engage with them.

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy

5 Ways to Get Your B2B Blog Back on Track

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Sep 13, 2016 1:00:00 PM

b2b-blog-back-on-track.jpgSo you have a blog. At least as far as you know, you have a blog. You can’t remember the last time you published anything to it but you know you have it and at one time you were publishing on a regular basis.

But as a small marketing team – maybe only one person – other priorities drew you away from your blog. After all, blogging is really hard work and there were other things that “needed” to get done.

Now, you find yourself in a position where you have been in the past. Lead generation is down. The sales team is clamoring that they are not getting enough leads. You remember a statistic you’ve read in the past, “B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not.” And then you think to yourself, why haven’t I paid more attention to the blog?

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5 Keys to a Balanced B2B Sales Pipeline

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 7, 2016 3:00:00 PM

declining-results.jpgA couple of weeks ago, I was catching up with a CEO I'd met through the speaking I do. He runs a mid-market company and several months ago he told me that he was implementing inbound marketing at his company. He was excited about the potential it brought and had credited the presentation I made to leading to the decision.

So I was checking-in with him to see how things were going. Unfortunately, I wasn't surprised with what he said. He told me, "Doug, we're still committed to inbound, but frankly we need to get our deal pipeline in order first. Sales are not where they need to be, and we are 'all hands on deck' to driving sales over the next 90 days."

I laughed (on the inside) when I heard this. I thought to myself, "Really...you've done little to no work on the top of your funnel in years, and your pipeline is weak. Who'da thought." I wished him luck, knowing that if I check back with him in 6 - 12 months his company will be weaker than it is today (which is weaker than it was 6 - 12 months ago). What's worse, he won't even realize that he's sealing his own fate.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, B2B Sales Strategy, Demand Generation

Are You Making These 5 B2B Email Marketing Mistakes?

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Sep 6, 2016 3:00:00 PM

b2b-email-marketing-mistakes.jpgI’m sure you’ve heard or read somewhere that email marketing is dead – or at least dying. I know I see blog posts and articles on that very topic on a regular basis. Some people keeping making that declaration even though the data clearly indicates that email marketing is very much alive.

Consider these statistics:

  • 73% of B2B marketers say email marketing is essential to growing their business. (Salesforce)
  • 59% of B2B marketers cite email as the most effective channel for generating revenue. (HubSpot)
  • 79% of B2B marketers say email directly generated ROI for their organizations. (Salesforce)
  • The number of email users worldwide is currently 2.6 billion and is expected to grow to over 2.9 billion by 2019. (MediaPost)

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

3 Most Important SEO Factors for B2B Marketers

Posted by Shannon Henrici

Sep 1, 2016 3:00:00 PM

EDITOR'S NOTE: Today's post was written by Imagine's newest team member, Shannon Henrici. Shannon has several years of experience providing SEO services. We are excited to have her on the team and plan to continuing sharing her knowlege with you through the blog.

SEO-B2B-Marketers.jpgWebsites are a critical piece of all demand generation strategies. B2B marketers spend significant time creating sites that look great, deliver the right message, provide multiple opportunities for conversion and leave their visitors wanting more.

But that is only half the battle. Those visitors need to be able to find your site in the first place…ahead of your competitors. That’s where Search Engine Optimization or SEO comes in. Over the last few years, SEO has changed significantly. Tactics that worked in the past, no longer work. Some tactics have even been “outlawed” by Google.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing