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Designing a Better Demo Experience to Shorten the Sales Cycle

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Oct 31, 2017 11:30:00 AM

DougTwitter.pngI recently was a part of a debate on Twitter with Brian Moseley about the role of salespeople, especially in SaaS. As you can see, Brian was saying the sales rep is dying.

I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve heard about the “death of the salesmen” over the past twenty years, and I’ve come to learn that one should never underestimate the resilience and the relevance of salespeople.

Brian then made an interesting point. He tweeted in response to me, “In SaaS at least, prospects don’t want a “demo” anymore, they want a “free version” with all the features.”

That got me thinking, as I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of experiencing a multitude of demo’s over the last two months as we’ve been spending more time helping our clients navigate the technology they need to support their sales and marketing objectives.

Shortly before I was going to agree with Brian, I realized a flaw in the thinking. Most (like 90%+) demos are bad, disjointed, boring and self-serving. While I would agree that no one wants a bad demo, I disagree that no one wants a demo.

A quick note for those readers not involved in SaaS or not involved in giving demos- you can substitute the word “presentation” for the word “demo” and this post will still play to you.

Demos are still an important, potentially valuable touchpoint and the time has come to revitalize the demo. Here are some keys to making that happen:

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Topics: Lead Generation, Lead Nurturing, B2B Sales Strategy, Demand Generation

Deliverability:  Conquering The Email Marketing Problem

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 14, 2017 2:00:00 PM

email-marketing.pngFrom the days when Google announced their “email killer” Wave, I’ve heard marketers and consultants say things like, “Email is dead.” My response to those who say that to me is always: “Really? What do you use instead?”  

I usually don’t get an answer, or someone starts rambling on about social media, private communication networks like Slack, or they claim organic (or paid) search is the only viable strategy. They say if people want what you do then they’ll find you, and a marketer’s (or salesperson’s) job is to ensure that the right people can find you.

While there is certainly truth to the statement that people will find you (and no one can question the growing importance of social media, search and the challenge that communication networks like Slack represent) the fact is that email is still the number one tool in the toolbox for managing and developing business relationships. Consider (sources: Content Marketing Institute & Optinmonster):

  • 77% of B2B marketers use email in the marketing mix  
  • 91% rate email as a key piece of content marketing success
  • 2.7 billion people use email
  • 91% of users use email at least daily
  • You're 7x more likely to originate a customer via email than other channels
  • 58% of users cite it as the first channel they go to every day

The problem is that email is a “push” communication tactic, in a “pull” world. Additionally, when you’re sending an email to someone, you are competing for attention in what is probably the noisiest and toughest place to compete - the inbox. This means that your email strategy must rise to a higher standard. Good email marketing simply isn’t good enough.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Lead Nurturing

The Most Important Growth Dashboard in My Arsenal

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Aug 2, 2017 4:00:00 PM

growth-dashboard.jpgSix weeks ago I wrote about the only metric that matters. That metric is the number of people in your addressable market that are paying attention and are engaged with you.

Since I wrote that post I have had a number of conversations on the subject with both clients and business owner friends. The concept has had the same impact on them that it did on me when I first discovered it. There’s quickly a realization that much of the data we’ve learned to rely on as marketers and demand generation executives is often either useless or worse...misleading.

The world of data and analytics has hijacked an engineering term called the signal to noise ratio. In engineering it refers to a measurement that compares the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise. In data and analytics it means being able to separate the data that provides valuable insight from the data that merely creates noise or confusion.

The most common mistake I see when I assess an organization’s marketing and demand generation efforts is that they view a number of metrics - especially at the top and middle of the funnel - as a total, or average number. For example, I’ll often hear or see things like this: traffic is up x percent, we generated y leads, we’ve got z number of leads in our database.

The problem with averages, as the old saying goes, is that if I have one foot in boiling hot water and one foot in ice cold water, if I look at the average I’m fine...and in a lot of pain. And the problem with dashboards that reflect all activity is the data is skewed, often highly, by factors that don’t matter (like anybody not in your addressable market viewing your website).

Think of it this way. You’ve done a great job to build content designed for your desired personas so that it resonates with them, but is of little interest to others, and you’re also reviewing your web analytics. You know that time spent on site and on page is a good indication of engagement so you track that number.  

You begin to notice that, as you have developed your new content strategy, Google Analytics is showing that the average time spent on a page or on the site is down. You begin to panic. How can this be? Why are we spending all of this time on our content and site when the data shows we’re getting less engagement? How am I going to explain our investments when I talk with the CEO?

Suddenly you remember that in a typical month only about 23% of the traffic to your site is from your targeted personas. You realize that the time that 77% of your visitors (the ones that you’re optimizing your content not to resonate with) have a greater impact on that metric than the 23% of visitors who actually matter. It is for this reason that you must segment your audience and the dashboards you use to judge and monitor progress.   

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Topics: Lead Nurturing

Good Content is a Commodity: The Keys to Making Content Marketing Work

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jul 14, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Good Content is A Commodity: The Keys to Making Content Marketing WorkAaah, I remember the good old days. You remember them, don't you? You know, the days when creating good content was the key to successful content marketing and inbound marketing?

Don't get me wrong, you still need good content, but today it's a commodity. Let's admit the truth; there's more than enough good content out there on just about every subject. And while there's more bad content than good, and the volume of bad content is growing faster than good content; good content is simply not enough to drive your results.

But, before you jump to the obvious conclusion that this blog post is about the need to create great content, that is not what I'm suggesting. Frankly, as I've been studying the keys to success, I'm increasingly convinced that for most companies, creating great content is not the answer. Simply put, the investment of time and energy (and as a result - money) to get from good content to great content isn't justified - the juice isn't worth the squeeze.

How can I say this? Isn't this content marketing heresay? Look, I'm not saying having great content is bad. Instead what I'm saying is that if you're not utilizing your content (super) effectively, your focus should be on optimizing your process before enhancing your content.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Lead Nurturing, 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.

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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

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

The Executive's Guide to Effective Lead Nurturing

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jan 27, 2017 11:00:00 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

7 Ways to Use Video in B2B Email Marketing Campaigns

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Nov 1, 2016 2:00:00 PM

add-video-email-marketing-campaigns.jpgEarlier this year I wrote a post about why B2B marketers should be using video as part of their overall strategy. In that post, I talked about the versatility of video and how it can be used in a variety of ways. One of those ways is email.

Email remains one of the most effective channels available to B2B marketers. Did you know that the number of email users worldwide is currently 2.6 billion and is expected to grow to over 2.9 billion by 2019? That is nearly three times as many user accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined.

To support adding video to your email marketing strategy, consider this: according to the email marketing company Emma, adding video to your email campaigns can increase click rates by 300%. That sounds significant enough to give it a try, right?

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Lead Nurturing