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The Only Metric that Matters if You're Looking for Sales Growth

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jun 13, 2017 5:00:00 PM

The Only Metric that Matters if You're Looking for Sales GrowthAnyone who knows me, knows I love data and metrics. One of Imagine's core values is "In God We Trust, Everybody Else Better Bring Data." If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you are well aware that we often write about important metrics that you should be tracking.

As six of our most popular posts on the subject would indicate, we take metrics very, very seriously:

While I look at a lot of metrics when analyzing and tracking the effectiveness of sales and marketing efforts (some would rightfully claim that I look at too many), I've come to firmly believe that, over and above everything else, there is really only one number that matters. Or, to put it more accurately, if this one number isn't strong, no other metrics matter.

Pause for a moment and think about your business. If you could only focus on one metric to guide decisions on growing your business efficiently and effectively, what would it be? Go ahead, think about it...I'll wait.

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Topics: Performance, B2B Sales Strategy

5 Tips to Deliver Effective Coaching to Your Sales & Marketing Teams

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jun 1, 2017 4:00:00 PM

5 Tips to Deliver Effective Coaching to Your Sales & Marketing TeamLast week a friend and fellow business owner sent me an interesting article from Harvard Business Review, that highlighted the impact and importance of coaching in business. Reading the article got me thinking about the role of coaching today.

It's funny, because 13 years ago I started Imagine; and with our focus on sales coaching, I regularly encountered questions and objections about the whole idea around coaching in business. Coaching was still considered a soft skill, and it wasn't unusual that a business owner would say to me, "Doug, we need our salespeople to be managed better; I've got no idea what coaching would do."

Today the idea of coaching, or at least the thought of coaching, is far more accepted. More people are talking about it and more people claim they do it. Unfortunately, most of the coaching being done is ineffective. It either lacks the disciplined process needed to be effective, or it's really just management in disguise (or both).

When implementing coaching in your organization, it's important to clearly distinguish between the role of "managing" and the role of "coaching." Managing is about directing, instructing, overseeing and holding people accountable to specific results, typically short-term. Coaching is about exploring, facilitating, teaching and collaborating to build capabilities that allow one to produce at a higher level over the long-term.

Both roles are vital, and it's important that they not be confused or mixed together. There's nothing wrong, per se, with a manager also coaching, but when doing so, the manager must clearly separate the two functions. When they're combined, neither is effective.

When coaching, keep these five tips in mind to ensure that you get the results from your efforts:

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

5 Common CRM Mistakes Made by Sales (and Marketing) Organizations

Posted by Doug Davidoff

May 25, 2017 2:00:00 PM

5 Common CRM Mistakes Made by Sales (and Marketing) OrganizationsIt's a great time to be a sales organization. I often find myself wondering how different things would have been 10 - 15 years ago when I first started leading sales teams if I had access to the technology, tools and data that are readily available to companies of all shapes and sizes.

I can still remember reading the articles in magazines like Sales & Marketing Management, Selling Power and Selling as they debated the pros and cons of (what was then called) salesforce automation, and the challenges in getting adoption. Nothing got more attention or brought more angst to salespeople and executives alike than to topic of CRM.

Back then, the choice was to either spend millions of dollars on an enterprise CRM built out to your specifications, to buy clunky, suboptimal CRMs like ACT!, Maximizer, GoldMine, etc., or to go without a formal CRM. So, if you were a small or mid-market company (SME) you either went with a clunky CRM or no CRM at all.

The turn of the century brought us Salesforce.com who began what I like to call the democratization of CRM, bringing the costs down to where SMEs could afford it, with the capabilities of enterprise alternatives. While Salesforce.com was a great improvement, it was still expensive and unless you could afford to have it built out and customized to you, still clunky. Using it as a salesperson was difficult and frankly, annoying.

Today there are a host of CRM alternatives that literally take any excuse for not using a CRM right away. In 2005 I would kill for the CRM choices that exist today that are free. The good news is that more companies and salespeople are using CRM than ever before. Unfortunately they're still not realizing its true promise.

In our work as part of our Sales Enablement Services, we often analyze and advise on a companies growth stack, including their CRM. Having reviewed hundreds of implementations, I still see 5 very common - and very damaging - mistakes made when using CRM.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, B2B Sales Strategy, Sales Training/Coaching, Demand Generation

Website Not Performing? 4 Ideas to Make it More Effective

Posted by Doug Davidoff

May 18, 2017 1:00:00 PM

Website Not Performing? 4 Ideas to Make it More EffectiveRemember life before the Internet? When you had to physically go to the library to research a topic from an actual book; or you had to use the paper phone book, find a business number, and call them to gather additional information? I hate to show my age here, but some of you may not have these memories (oh, to be young!)

Fast forward to 2017. The internet holds the pulse of communication, and your B2B web page is the lifeblood of your business’ success. Without it, how would your customers and potential leads find you and then understand what problems you can solve for them?

More importantly, is your website generating the leads, and therefore the ROI that you expect?

If not, you’re at the right place. Creating a more effective website is not the migraine-inducing project that it used to be. Following are four ideas that will make your website more effective.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Performance

3 Ways Salespeople Can Use Social Media to Sell Better

Posted by Doug Davidoff

May 9, 2017 4:00:00 PM

3 Ways Salespeople Can Use Social Media to Sell BetterTake a quick minute to think through your last online purchase…how did you hear about the item? Was it while talking face-to-face with a friend? Or because of picture your co-worker posted on Instagram? When was the last time you made a purchase because of an article posted on Facebook?

If you had any doubt about the impact that social media has on purchasing decisions, let it go. According to Nielsen, heavy users of social media spend more than three hours a day on social media. In addition, 39% of heavy social users believe that finding out about products and services is an important reason for using a social network.

Is social media a part of your sales plan? Maybe you’ve been on the social media bandwagon for a long time, but it’s not generating the results you’d expect? Following are three ways that your sales team can use social media to sell better and in turn, create new, more engaged customers for your business.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Lead Nurturing, B2B Sales Strategy

Landing Pages Not Getting Converted? Here's What to Do About It

Posted by Doug Davidoff

May 4, 2017 3:00:00 PM

Landing Pages Not Getting Converted? Here's What to Do About ItIn Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2016 , both inbound and outbound marketing teams consider “converting contacts/leads to customers” as their top marketing priority over the next 12 months. It’s agreed upon that ensuring landing page conversion is critical.

If you’re not getting the response that you’d expect, or it’s taken a nose dive recently, following are three important keys that will help you refresh your pages. Read on to save time and generate the leads that will make your sales team – and your CEO – extremely happy.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Lead Nurturing

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

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Apr 25, 2017 1:00:00 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 5:00:00 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 5:00:00 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 5:00:00 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