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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

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

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

4 Key Sales Enablement Metrics for Growth-Focused Companies

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Nov 4, 2016 6:00:00 PM

Imagine_Inbound_MoneyBall-Sales Enablement.pngNext week, I’ll be in Boston for the largest gathering of marketers in the world, HubSpot’s 2016 Inbound Conference. Most exciting about the conference this year is the addition of sales-focused topics. As a result, it’s also now the largest gathering of people in the world focused on the entire marketing and sales funnel.

On Thursday, I’ll be speaking about what is fast becoming one of my favorite subjects, sales enablement. Specifically I’ll be talking about the crucial importance of this emerging discipline and how it bridges the divide between sales and marketing, allowing companies to grow faster and at lower costs.

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Topics: Performance, B2B Sales Strategy

9 Ways B2B Marketers Can Convert More Visitors to Qualified Leads

Posted by Maria Votlucka

Oct 18, 2016 1:15:15 PM

convert-more-visitors-to-qualified-leads.jpgAs an Inbound Marketing Strategist at Imagine, I spend time with my clients every month to review metrics and adjust our plan of attack based on what those metrics tell us. One of the things we consider is the visitor-to-qualified lead conversion rate.

Earlier this year, our marketing manager, Stacy, wrote a post about why your 10,000 visitors aren’t converting to new customers. While obviously, it is important to have visitors, if they never convert to customers that indicates a problem with your approach.

In a recent study, Holger Schulze of LinkedIn’s B2B Technology Marketing Group noted that 59% of respondents said generating high-quality leads is a top priority. And in my personal experience working directly with clients, I would say the priority of generating quality leads for B2B SMEs is closer to 100%.

The first step in that process is for the contact to simply move from a visitor to a qualified lead. If that step is broken, the rest of the process is doomed.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Performance

The 6 Marketing Metrics Your CEO Cares About (Even if They Don't Know It)

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Jun 28, 2016 3:30:00 PM

CEO-marketing-metrics.jpgWow…there are a lot of things marketers can measure these days. For years, it was difficult to provide any kind of meaningful data to support marketing efforts. It’s part of the reason CEOs have always been skeptical of marketing and the costs related to it.

Today, marketers no longer have that issue. There’s so much data that we can provide that it has shifted from not enough to maybe too much. Selecting the metrics to share with the CEO and senior leadership can be like picking which flavor of ice cream you want. While plain chocolate is always good, wouldn’t chocolate fudge-salted caramel-pecan be better?

More isn’t always better in ice cream flavors or marketing metrics. Are you sure you understand what metrics are most important to leadership? Are you sharing the data that really matters to the business or just a bunch of fluff?

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Topics: Performance, Demand Generation

What Would Happen if You Shut Your Marketing Off for 90 Days?

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Apr 20, 2016 6:00:00 PM

shut-marketing-off.jpgMeasuring the effectiveness of your marketing efforts is a critical part of any marketing or demand generation strategy. Marketers and business executives spend considerable time determining what to measure (if you’re still looking for good metrics, we’ve got some for you here) and reviewing performance.

While the key performance indicators (KPI) are certainly important and should be a regular part of what you review, what if there were an even more important metric (which very few think about) that, when monitored properly, can give you three powerful insights:

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Performance

The 5 Metrics to Assess the Strength of Your Sales Growth

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Apr 4, 2016 1:00:00 PM

revenue-growth-metrics.jpgIn case you can’t tell, I love (good) data. The effective use of data is one of Imagine’s core values. As the owner of a growing company, I use data and metrics to assess the effectiveness of our decisions and actions; and to guide the adjustments we make. As an advisor to businesses, I use it to determine what our clients need, and to assess how well we’re delivering.

As a sales coach, trainer and executive, I’ve sought to teach sales reps that stories are great (actually, they really are) but that, at the end of the day, if you can’t demonstrate what metric you’re going to impact and how, you’re not talking about anything valuable.

While I love data and metrics, I do have to admit that the world we live in today has a tendency to provide too much data. It’s insanely easy to get lost tracking so much data that no one has any idea what to do or to assess how well they’re doing it. The key is to determine a core set of key metrics that connect your efforts to outcomes, allowing you to effectively assess your progress and make smart adjustments.

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Topics: Performance, B2B Sales Strategy

Make B2B Email Marketing Great Again: 5 Email Marketing Metrics You Can’t Ignore

Posted by Maria Votlucka

Feb 18, 2016 1:00:00 PM

 What B2B Email Marketing Metrics are Most Important?Your SME’s B2B email marketing efforts should be the definition of an inbound marketing success story; continually setting the standards of excellence for your industry. Why? Because email marketing isn’t just big, it’s “Huuuuge.” According to WebMarketing123, 66% of marketers say that email marketing is their top performing marketing channel. 

Regardless of overflowing email inboxes across the planet, don’t buy into the myth that “People are inundated with emails today, and they simply won’t read marketing emails.”  It’s possible to get in front of the marketing noise with an email marketing message that reaches the right audience at the right time, increasing your ROI - but how? 

Before you can determine how to increase your email marketing ROI, take a step back and assess if you’re currently achieving the results that you want. You’re probably not since you’re reading this blog, so what’s a B2B marketer to do? Is the answer to send more emails more often? Not necessarily - so don’t burn the midnight oil just yet crafting another “brilliant” email or zoning out on metrics that don’t help you take action.

To quote Donald Trump, “In the end, you’re measured not by how much you undertake but what you finally accomplish.”

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Performance

6 Tactics to Transform a Good Salesperson Into A Great Performer

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jan 18, 2016 1:30:00 PM

top-performance.jpgMany years ago, someone shared a great hiring philosophy. The philosophy?  Hire only great people. Okay - not so insightful at first blush. But it continued.

When you hire bad people it’s not really a problem because you get rid of them quickly. The problem comes when you hire good people. With good people, you can never quite fully delegate responsibilities. You can’t delegate and forget. You must still manage them, and that means that as you get bigger, you gain too much complexity and stall.

With great people you can delegate it, forget it and what you get back is better than you would have gotten had you managed it. Therefore, it is only through the hiring of great people that you free people to allow for growth.

While this is great advice, it led to some of the worst hiring decisions I’ve ever made (for both me and when advising clients). Let me explain.

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Topics: Performance, Sales Cycle