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The Importance of Blogging: 6 Keys to Writing Effective Blog Posts

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Apr 25, 2017 12:00:00 PM

The Importance of Blogging: 6 Keys to Writing Effective Blog PostsHave you started blogging yet? No? You may be the only person left. I recently learned that 6.7MM people publish blogs on blogging websites, and another 12MM write blogs using their social networks. (Source: Nielson Social)

That’s a LOT of content floating around on the web. Is it even worth your time to write a blog? (I’m sure you’ve got a million other things on your marketing “to do” list.) BUT the answer is yes - blogging provides the opportunity for you provide a clear and consistent message about how you can solve your customers’ problems. Add to that, when businesses blog, they have 97% more inbound links. (Source: Hubspot)

How can you wade through the blogosphere clutter and make sure your information stands out? Following are six key points to writing effective blog posts.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing

5 Pointers that Will Improve Your Lead Nurturing

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Apr 18, 2017 4:00:00 PM

5 Pointers that Will Improve Your Lead NurturingSpring is in the air! It seems very appropriate to examine your lead nurturing program…are you nurturing enough to grow an abundant “harvest” of qualified leads? Lead nurturing, when done correctly, positively and directly impacts a business’ bottom line.

Following are some tips to improve your lead nurturing campaigns that will work to demonstrate the value of marketing, help further align your sales and marketing teams and arm you with data that shows the positive impact lead nurturing has on generating qualified leads.

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Topics: Lead Nurturing

Checklist: 4 Reasons that Marketing & Sales Emails Are Failing

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Mar 30, 2017 4:00:00 PM

Checklist: 4 Reasons that Marketing & Sales Emails Are FailingThere’s a lot of talk about the death of email as a marketing or sales tool. Everywhere I go, I hear people talking about how no one reads emails anymore, that there’s too much noise and that marketers/salespeople must give it up and find other tactics to succeed.

From my perspective, however, I think the death of email is much like the announcement of Mark Twain’s death...greatly exaggerated. Email is still a very important tool in the demand generation toolkit.  

While it is true that email trends are not good for most organizations, that does not mean that email is dead (or even near dead), or that preparation for its ending should be high on your list. What it means is that you have to up your game.  

Frankly, the primary reason that emails are losing their effectiveness for most organizations is because they’re too easy (and inexpensive) to use. The plethora of email marketing automation options has been joined by an explosion of email sales automation tools. While these tools make it much easier to send out exponentially more emails, it also means that more time and effort - not less - needs to be invested to make them successful.

If you’re looking to get more from your email efforts, be sure you’re not making these mistakes:

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Lead Nurturing

Understanding Your Customer: How They Define Value

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Mar 15, 2017 4:00:00 PM

Understanding Your Customer: How They Define ValueIn 2004, when I launched Imagine, I wrote an article that stimulated a lot of conversation. I would refer to the article often when helping companies design their sales strategy and approach to execution.

While it’s one of my favorite articles that I’ve ever written, I haven’t really thought about it over the last seven years. Then, almost out the blue, I’ve referred to and/or shared this article at least five times over the last three weeks. As the saying goes, “what’s old is new again.”

Given the frequency I’ve been referring to this, I thought it would be a good time to update it here on The Demand Creator Blog. The focus is on a crucial strategic distinction about how your target prospects, or personas, define and view value.

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Topics: B2B Sales Strategy

The Most Common Mistake that Stalls B2B Sales & Revenue Growth

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Feb 16, 2017 3:00:00 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 12:00:00 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 10:00:00 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

How to Use Social Media Data to Have Better Sales Conversations

Posted by David Fletcher

Jan 18, 2017 11:00:00 AM

How to Use Social Media Data to Have Better Sales ConversationsI think it’s safe to say that most sales professionals know that it is imperative to be as prepared as possible during all stages of the sales process, in order to communicate in an intelligent fashion with prospects. Today we have so much data available that comes from a variety of sources and sales professionals are at a disadvantage if they do not utilize it. Data is playing an increasingly vital role in helping sales professionals know when and how to contact their targets, and ultimately become more successful at closing opportunities.

Using data in the sales process has become so important in leveling the sales and buyers playing field. Let's not forget, most buyers today are well informed before they even speak to a sales professional. To make data even more valuable, there are more decision-makers involved in a B2B purchase than ever before. Here are three ways your sales team should be using data to have better conversations, starting as early as the initial conversation conducted by the sales development reps.

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Topics: Sales Development, B2B Sales Strategy

Five Reasons Good Sales & Marketing Messages Fail

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jan 12, 2017 3:00:00 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 3:00:00 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