Search:

7 Attributes of an Effective Sales/Marketing Playbook

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jun 27, 2017 2:00:00 PM

SalesAndMarketingPlaybook.pngPlaybooks are back! When I first got into professional sales (in the ancient days of DOS), playbooks were a hot topic. Back then, the keys to organization and sales success were in the ability to create better approaches that enabled sales reps to perform at their highest levels. The focus was on training and process, embodied in a playbook.

Somewhere in the mid-late 1990s the focus turned from optimizing and building organizational capabilities, to volume and velocity. As the economy heated up and demand skyrocketed, the focus on playbooks virtually disappeared. At the beginning of this year I was talking with a senior sales executive about our sales enablement services and the focus turned to marketing and sales playbooks. He kind of laughed and commented, "Are playbooks coming back? Really?...Yeah, I don't think we really need a playbook; we have mainly senior reps and they don't need one."

I quickly responded, "The question is not, 'Do we need a playbook?' The fact is that you have one. The real question is do you want a purposeful playbook that guides actions and innovation, or a haphazard one that hides and confuses things?" He quickly got my point.

Today, more than ever, playbooks are crucially important. Both sales and marketing processes have multiplied in complexity, and the successful orchestration of complex interactions, involving all parties involved in the customer acquisition process, is continually increasing in importance for successful outcomes.

There are a variety of playbooks every growth-focused company should have:

  • Lead Generation Playbook
  • Marketing/Inbound Marketing Playbook
  • Lead Management Playbook
  • Sales Development Playbook
  • New Sales Playbook
  • Account Management/Customer Success Playbook

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Doug! Stop the insanity...this is O-V-E-R-K-I-L-L!" I used to think that way too, and I remind you: you already have a playbook for each one of those areas. The question is: do you want it to be purposeful or haphazard?

I'll cover the components of each of those playbooks in a future post. Today, I want to focus on the six commonalities that all effective playbooks possess.

Read More

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

[INFOGRAPHIC]  The 7 Levels of a Growth Organization

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jun 21, 2017 2:00:00 PM

7-levels-of-a-growth-organization-615777-thumbnail.pngEarlier this week I was talking with a fellow business owner about growth, and the difference between those companies that are able to consistently execute against plan to achieve objectives, and those that are always jumping for growth but never really seem to go anywhere.

In the conversation I started talking about a construct I had put together more than five years ago, called The 7 Levels of a Growth Organization.  I shared the model and some of the tools we created to support it, and he almost immediately replied, "Doug, why aren't you still talking about this and sharing it."

Realizing I had no real answer to his question, I decided to share it today.  I'll also be writing more about it in the future again as well.  The model highlights the path to what I call a Demand Creation Monopoly, where customers value you so much that competition becomes irrelevant.  It highlights the stages you have to pass through, give you some insights into the actions you need to take to drive greater results on your sales growth journey.

Click the read more link to see the full sized graphic.

Read More

Topics: B2B Sales Strategy

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.

Read More

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:

Read More

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.

Read More

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

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.

Read More

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Lead Nurturing, B2B Sales Strategy

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.

Read More

Topics: B2B Sales Strategy

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Topics: B2B Sales Strategy

How to Use Social Media Data to Have Better Sales Conversations

Posted by David Fletcher

Jan 18, 2017 12:00:00 PM

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.

Read More

Topics: Sales Development, B2B Sales Strategy