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

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 22, 2016 11:00:00 AM

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 12:00:00 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

6 Ways B2B Demand Generation Teams Can Start 2017 Strong

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Dec 20, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Start-2017-strong.jpgWOW! We are less than two weeks away from 2017. It’s hard to believe that another full year has passed. I feel like it was just a few months ago when we were planning for 2016.

At Imagine, as we reflect on 2016, we can pat ourselves on the back for a few things but like many of you, we’re also painfully aware of the things that didn’t go quite right or even surprised us.

In 2017, we’re anxious to get started on the right foot. We spent Q4 doing things to help position us for success but there’s still a lot of work to be done in the first quarter if 2017 is going to start strong.

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Topics: Demand Generation

How to Assess the Effectiveness of Your Sales & Marketing Content

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 16, 2016 3:00:00 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 Elements of an Effective B2B Social Media Strategy

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Dec 13, 2016 3:00:00 PM

social-media-strategy.jpgI think we can all agree that social media is a key piece of the inbound marketing puzzle. Without it, it is very difficult to promote the content you’re creating for your target audience.

But for small marketing teams or even teams of one, is it possible to create and manage a social media strategy that gets results? In reality, who really has time to “listen” and respond every day? Like everything else, you get out what you put in, right?

Yes. Managing social media can be a huge challenge for small marketing teams and even large teams. If you want social media to be more than just a huge time suck, it begins by creating an effective strategy to guide your efforts.

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5 Reasons B2B Salespeople Fail to Use CRM Effectively

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 9, 2016 3:00:00 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

4 Ways to Inspire B2B User-Generated Content

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Dec 8, 2016 2:00:00 PM

b2b-user-generated-content.jpgWe recently returned from a family vacation in Orlando, Florida. Like everyone else who goes on vacation, I spent lots of time online researching what to do, where to stay, where to eat, etc.

Of course, the big attractions all do a pretty good job with inbound marketing. There is a lot of content available on their sites to help potential visitors do a large part of the planning and booking.

However, what I found most valuable when planning the vacation and again while we were there was not content from the companies themselves. The most useful content was user-generated.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

3 Criteria to Assess the Effectiveness of Your Sales Process

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 6, 2016 2:00:00 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

[Video] What You Need To Know When Launching or Revising Your Growth Playbook

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Nov 30, 2016 3:30:00 PM

successful-business-growth-strategy.jpgA few weeks ago I shared an article here on the Six Stages of a Successful Growth Strategy. The launch of such a strategy is an exciting time for everybody. You deal with possibilities, address limiting obstacles and emerge with a strategy that creates clarity and confidence...two necessary and powerful ingredients of success.

There's a downside to the excitement however. It's easy to underestimate what's involved in transforming that clarity and confidence into real prospects, sales opportunities and revenue. This often leads to a deadly mistake in execution.

In the video below I share this secret, and highlight the keys to successfully navigating it.

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

5 Components of a B2B Blog Post That Converts

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Nov 29, 2016 4:00:00 PM

blog-posts-that-convert.jpgAnyone can blog. The concept really isn’t difficult to grasp and all of the evidence supports the idea that it can be a game changer for B2B marketers.

In fact, according to HubSpot, companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. And B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month.

That said, while the concept itself is easy to understand, achieving results is much more difficult. What and how you write and publish each post plays a critical role in the overall success of your blog.

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