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Doug Davidoff

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The Most Common Mistake that Stalls B2B Sales & Revenue Growth

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Feb 16, 2017 4:00:00 PM

The Most Common Mistake that Stalls B2B Sales & Revenue GrowthI will admit that as a student in high school and college, I hated science classes. It really didn’t matter the discipline - chemistry, biology, physics - had no interest. The classes didn’t make sense to me, the labs were painful and frankly, I was just grateful that I was able to squeak by to graduate (to this day I still have an anxiety dream around chemistry class).

Now that I’m older (and wiser) I regret the lost opportunity that my distaste for science created. Today I find myself referring to scientific principles that I’ve learned since graduation. Even more so, I find myself talking about and modeling the process of science, and I’ve realized that the scientific model is a great model for any business desiring accelerated and sustained growth.

I’ve also learned that my distaste for these classes wasn’t really my (or science’s) fault. Instead it was the fault of how the classes were taught and the labs were run. The problem - and this is a HUGE problem that plagues small and mid-market businesses - was that the focus was on getting the right answer, rather than on discovery.

The scientific methodology is, or at least should be, all about the discovery of “the truth.” Experimentation is crucial to discovery. Effective experimentation requires that you eliminate the “judgment” of results. Testing out a hypothesis that turns out to be false is just as valuable (and in many cases more valuable) than testing one that turns out to be true.

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Topics: Performance, B2B Sales Strategy

How to Ensure Your Proposals Don’t Suck So You Win Business

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Feb 3, 2017 1:00:00 PM

How to Ensure Your Proposals Don’t Suck So You Win BusinessAnyone involved in sales, marketing or demand generation should make it a point to get involved in buying processes from time-to-time to see how others manage the sales process. I’m lucky enough to see multiple processes on a regular basis.  

Between the prospects I’m discussing services with, working with our existing clients and in my role as CEO of Imagine (on the buying side) I easily participate in many processes every month.

There’s one thing that about 90% of them have in common with each other - they suck! I mean they’re really bad.mThey’re boring, self-centered, confusing and basically a waste. And the lynchpin of their suckiness (is that a word?) has got to be the proposal. That critical point where the seller is going to deliver the full proposition and demonstrate how their solution fills the needs of their prospect is so bad, so often that I’m surprised people actually buy.  

The reason it’s so bad isn’t because of a lack of time, attention or even money. I know many companies where the costs of developing a proposal are in the tens of thousands of dollars. You’d think with an investment like that, it would be the best part of the process. Unfortunately it’s not.

In my experience, there are four primary reasons that that proposals are as bad as they are. I share the fixes below. Before I get to the solution, let me be clear that when I talk about proposals I’m talking about formal and informal proposals. If you’re asking someone to buy something from you, you’re making a proposal. Following these rules is crucial to success.

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy

The Executive's Guide to Effective Lead Nurturing

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jan 27, 2017 11:00:00 AM

The Executive's Guide to Effective Lead NurturingThe following is an exerpt from our ebook The Executive's Guide to Effective Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing has become a critical part to business success in today’s technology-savvy marketplace. Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. (DemandGen) Gone are the days of cold calling and waiting for customers to break down the doors for your product or service. Social media sharing and access to unlimited information online has allowed for businesses to conduct research on a product or service, and make a purchase decision on their own. Much research supports that buyers are typically 60-90% through their decision-making process before they actually speak to a live person; and even when they engage with a salesperson earlier there is more competition for their attention than ever before. How can your business stand out in this clutter of information and position itself as “the” best option for customers?

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Topics: Lead Nurturing

Five Reasons Good Sales & Marketing Messages Fail

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jan 12, 2017 4:00:00 PM

Five Reasons Good Sales & Marketing Messages FailMessaging gets a lot - A LOT - of attention from both marketers and sales executives. For good reason too. An effective message is like a large lever (give me a lever long enough and I can move the world). Conversely a poor message will thrust you into a thorny patch of commoditization and irrelevance.

As you’d expect with something as important as a company’s messaging, significant time and money is spent on the effort. But stop for a moment and do the following:

  • Look at your website
  • Review your sales and marketing collateral
  • Think about how sales conversations are started with prospects

Now, ask yourself, “what is the message we’re conveying?” Are you happy with it? Does it stand out and resonate with customers and prospects? Is it a competitive advantage?

I know the answer for most of you is, “no!” I know this because in workshops I conduct across the country when I ask executives, marketers or salespeople to share their message, almost all of them start off stuttering and blathering about themselves. I can also look at the results of marketing and sales efforts and see that the message isn’t working.

Having been directly involved with the assessment and development of hundreds of companies’ messages, I’ve learned five key reasons that good messages fail.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, B2B Sales Strategy

5 Priorities for Every Demand Generation Executive's List in 2017

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jan 3, 2017 4:00:00 PM

5 Priorities for Every Demand Generation Executive's List in 2017The fresh air of a new year. Anything is possible and confidence is running high. I’ve always found the New Year to be exhilarating. Days are getting longer, and there’s a “clean sheet” to build upon. There’s also something extremely powerful about the next five months, where holidays are minimal and people are focused.  

Unfortunately, by the time we get to May, most organizations and executives will be back to feeling overwhelmed, consumed by the daily news cycle, with worries about the future of the economy or any number of distractions that are outside anyone’s control.

Over the years (I like to think I’ve gotten wiser through the years) I’ve come to learn that while excitement and energy feel really good, the key to advancing one’s agenda is the focus on a limited number of priorities.  As our Operations Manager likes to (constantly) remind me, “If everything is important, then nothing is.”

If scaling revenue growth is at the top of your agenda, here are five priorities that need to be on your list:

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Topics: Sales Development, B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Cycle

A Visit from the Ghosts of Business Past, Present & Future

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 22, 2016 12:00:00 PM

jacob-marley.jpgWhen I was in elementary school, I was in the drama club. My 5th grade year, I was Jacob Marley in our “production” of A Christmas Carol. I’m sure that experience is one of the reasons that Marley has always been my favorite character.

For those that don’t know, Marley was Scrooge’s business partner in Charles Dickens’ famous Christmas story. More importantly, Marley was the “visitor” who alerted Scrooge that the three ghosts of Christmas - past, present and future - we’re coming and to be prepared for it.

I always find myself thinking of good old Jacob Marley this time of year, and not just because an infinite number of story variations are being broadcast constantly. I think of him, because as we begin to slow down for the break, it’s a wonderful time for reflection. So, while there’s no Tiny Tim in this story, now is a great time to find a quiet space and review three very important questions before the New Year kicks in.

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Topics: Performance, Sales Training/Coaching

3 Go-to Emails I Use to Advance B2B Sales Opportunities

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 21, 2016 1:00:00 PM

go-to-email.jpgDecember has always been a fascinating month for me.  Filled with the anticipation of what the next year will bring as well as contemplation of what the last year has been. It also includes the chaos of preparing for the holidays, seeing friends and relatives and working to finish things up so you have a clean start after the new year.

For me, the last month has been very intense as we’ve been working (hard) to close outstanding business, and to move opportunities along so they’re in a strong place post holidays. While the phone is still a very important tool for any salesperson, email communication has become more important than ever. In today's world there are times when email is more conducive than the phone to move things forward.

Over time, I've found three emails that I go to time and again to move opportunities along, and I'm going to share the approach of these emails with you today. It's important to note that there's no such thing as a "magic-bullet" email. Email works when it's personalized to the situation, and fits the context of everything else you are doing. I share these emails for inspiration.

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Training/Coaching

How to Assess the Effectiveness of Your Sales & Marketing Content

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 16, 2016 4:00:00 PM

assess-content-effectiveness.jpgSales and marketing organizations create a tremendous amount of content, virtually everyday. In addition those items like website, blogs, white papers, ebooks, etc. that we consider “content marketing,” emails are being constantly written, brochures and sales collateral are being created, proposals are developed and delivered and more. Yet despite the time and money expended, for decades there were no means to be able to assess the real effectiveness of the content.

You were left to debate what was or wasn’t working based upon feelings and beliefs. Of course, one of the biggest problems with this approach is that what sellers see as important is often quite different from what the buyers perceive as important.

The good news is that today there are many tools that you can use to assess how your visitors, leads and prospects are engaging with a variety of your content. In addition to tracking key performance indicators, it’s important you pay attention to more qualitative items as well.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Performance

5 Reasons B2B Salespeople Fail to Use CRM Effectively

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 9, 2016 4:00:00 PM

reasons-salespeople-fail-to-adopt-CRM.jpgIt amazes me how often the topic of CRM adoption is raised. I remember when I first got involved in sales and programs like Act! For DOS (remember DOS) was the focalpoint. It seems that for as long as there have been computers, the topic of sales force automation and CRM adoption have been top issues for sales teams.

The sad part is that many of the issues and obstacles companies face today are basically the same as what they faced 36 years ago. The good news is that a whole new breed of CRMs have been developed and their growth demonstrates the pain that still exists surrounding CRM.

Be careful though. No matter how much you like a CRM, remember that it is just a tool and its effectiveness will depend far more on how you deploy it than how good the tool actually is.

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy

3 Criteria to Assess the Effectiveness of Your Sales Process

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 6, 2016 3:00:00 PM

3 Criteria to Assess the Effectiveness of Your Sales ProcessI was talking with a prospect a few weeks ago about his (lack of) sales process. He took exception with my comment, saying that they did have a process and that it was defined by their pipeline stages.

Those stages won’t shock anyone who has been in sales anytime in the last three decades. Here’s how it was set up:

  • Initial Contact Made
  • Qualification
  • Demonstration
  • Proposal
  • Negotiation
  • Closed/Won
  • Closed/Lost

While those are certainly steps in the sales journey, they don’t meet Imagine’s definition of a sales process or sales methodology. As I explained that to my prospect, he asked a very insightful question, the answer to which I share here. His question: “Why Not?”

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Topics: Sales Development, B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Training/Coaching