October 15, 2010
Inbound marketing is a team sport and I dont mean just the marketing team, I mean the entire company. The sales and marketing teams are trying to accomplish the same goal, create new customers, so why not work together? I have worked with other organizations where sales representatives believe they are the root of each sale; however this couldnt be further from the truth. As a sales person I respect my marketing team, they are the life blood of the company and without them my job would be extremely hard. To fully realize all the benefits of both the Sales and Marketing teams it is important that they work hand and hand. Here are 9 things your sales organization can do to help marketing:
1. Stand in Your Marketers Shoes For a Day
I try and do this as much as possible at HubSpot. You may think closing a cold call prospect is hard; imagine pulling leads out of thin air. Take a day or even a couple of hours to shadow your marketing department to really understand what it takes to generate those leads you get. Go to your marketing department and ask if you can help them with an upcoming project. Make sure you have an agenda on what you are looking to observe or learn. You will have a new found appreciation for your marketing department, trust me.
2. Provide Positive and Negative Feedback to Your Marketing Team
Marketers thrive off of data. If you as a sales person can provide quality feedback, both positive and negative, your marketing team will not only love you but be able to provide you with better leads. Ask your marketing team what data they would like to see both positive and negative. Once you have the type of data they would like to see use your CRM system to religiously record the information in each prospect profile.
3. Spread the Word Using Your Own Social Media Network
Every sales person should be involved in social media, at the bare minimum Linkedin. If youre not, do it now- really, GO. Take the content your marketing department makes and share it with your network. This will not only allow you to attract more potential leads to your own pipeline but it will also make your existing customer base happy to see that you are involved and interested in your product.
4. Help Out with Content Creation
I dont want excuses from sales reps about why they cannot create content. You can pick up the phone right? Imagine not picking up the phone for an hour but still somehow generating leads, thats content. Sales people should be flocking at the opportunity to create content. There are so many benefits: leads, getting your name out there, leads, using your knowledge of the product in a way your customers will understand, oh did I mention leads?
5. Make a List of Top Questions Asked During Calls Share it with Marketing Teams
Create a word document or a notepad with questions you get during your prospecting calls. Every couple of weeks send it over to your marketing department. With feedback from the front lines your marketing department can create content that will answer those questions which will resonate with your customers, allowing for a more informed more qualified lead.
6. Be Willing to Experiment and Try Something New
That says it all. Be willing to try new things and keep an open mind. Your marketing department looks at the successes of other companies and does research on new marketing efforts before they turn them over to the sales team. If your marketing department asks you to do something, do it as instructed, dont gripe until after the fact. Keep in mind theyre testing something, the time to gripe comes when the test is complete and feedback is due.
7. Agree on Expectations and Help Both Teams Holding Their End of the Bargain (SLA)
Because Sales and Marketing should be a team you need to have goals that make sense for both parties. For example at HubSpot we use a Service Level Agreement that assures all efforts are matched equally on both sides. It works like this: if Marketing promises to provide each sales person with 75 leads a month than the sales reps are required to touch those leads a calculated amount of times to best utilize those leads and maximize the amount of feedback available.
8. Touch Every Lead
If you get a lead you should place at least one call and send at least one email no matter how bad it may be. Only then do you have the right to give negative feedback cherry picking is not always effective and doesnt provide accurate data for use in improving target leads.
9. Sell Happy Customers
This one comes from Inbound Marketing Guru and HubSpot VP of Marketing Mike Volpe and I could not have said it better: Make happy customers who will refer others and say good things online, don’t trick customers and sign people up that will end up being unhappy only to post bad reviews and things about the company. Selling happy customers leads to referrals and who doesnt like referrals?
The sales and marketing take away here is work together. You cannot row a canoe up stream unless you are both rowing in the same direction.
Darion Miller is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at HubSpot
Download: How to Improve Your Sales Marketing Alignment
Posted by Darion Miller on Fri, Oct 15, 2010 @ 08:00 AM
October 15, 2010
William Raveis agent, Patty McCarthy, explains why all sellers should get a bank appraisal before putting their house on the market. Take a look. ..
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2010/10/15/home-appraisal-process/
October 15, 2010
Article source: http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/UUPWXRkuxlc/
October 15, 2010
The Gap logo fiasco has, once again, brought the ethical issues surrounding crowdsourcing design to the forefront. To combat this recurring problem, Behance has introduced a new spin on the crowdsourcing model that doesnt include speculative (spec) work.
Rather than asking designers to submit an entry for a client competition, in which compensation is only awarded to the winner of the contest, designers are asked to submit the best work from their portfolios. If the curators and community like what they see, theyll move on to the next round. Those who are selected get the full creative brief, prepare it for the client and get a paid regardless of whether their pitch is chosen or not.
This is more like the model used in architectural firms, rather than the speculative model employed by most crowdsource design sites. It allows new or unknown designers to get exposure for their work.
Problems with Spec Work
Before we get into why spec work is bad, lets discuss what it is. Spec, or speculative work, is providing a good or service for potential payment. Elisabetta Bruno of ThinkCreation writes on the NO!SPEC website that, in the context of design spec work, Spec requires the designer to invest time and resources with no guarantee of payment.
Spec work has always existed (and has been a thorn in the side of professional designers everywhere), but with the InternetInternet, its become a lot more common. The pitch usually goes, Hey read this brief, submit your idea. If I like it, Ill pay you $X.
The problem, of course, is that if you are a professional or an aspiring professional, you should be compensated for your work. There are different schools of thought regarding where you draw the line between a contest and something speculative; however, if someone requests a logo or a finished design based on a set of parameters, and wants to see the ideas and thoughts before they agree to pay up, thats spec work.
In the case of the Gap logo, the company took a bad situation (the negative reaction to the logo) and made it worse. Many in the design community thought the request for new logos via FacebookFacebook was utterly disrespectful of the discipline of design, and a devaluation of the profession. Plus, it didnt work. The Gap didnt get a better logo from the crowd; it ended up reverting to its classic logo.
This isnt to say that no good can come from crowdsourcing or that an alternative to the traditional agency model isnt needed, especially for up-and-coming designers.
The Behance Approach
The Behance approach uses crowdsourcing to help the best content and the best designs rise to the top in a design competition, but without any entries or work being submitted on a speculative basis.
As an example, in the Identity Design Showdown, Behance members are asked to submit any work from their portfolios that best exemplifies excellence in identity design. From here, the sponsor, Simple, will put together a panel to choose their five favorite works.
At this point, those five designers will be offered a consulting agreement and invited to join Simples Design Roster. At this point, any designer that chooses to sign the contract will get a brief and be guaranteed $2,500 for their submission. If a designer is chosen, he or she will receive a $5,000 bonus and get credited for the design.
In other words, the idea isnt to create work specifically for the competition, but to showcase your existing work. Only if you are chosen to go to the next level will you be asked to create anything new and, at that point, youre still guaranteed minimum payment. Its an interesting way to use crowdsourcing without asking for spec work.
Of course, some will point out that the rule about submitting existing portfolio work is going to be hard to enforce. Were sure that there will be individuals who will create work specifically with the aim of getting to the next level of the competition. This is unfortunate (unless it is purely a creative exercise), but we still feel this falls out of the realm of traditional spec work.
Future of Crowdsourced Design
When it comes to the idea of crowdsourced design, there are heated opinions of both sides. While I personally am against speculative work and think its destructive to the design community, to designers and to individuals who procure these kinds of submissions, I recognize the benefits in utilizing a larger, more global pool of designers.
This is one reason why I like Behances latest approach to competitions and why I hope that other companies will consider using this sort of approach, rather than trying to convince designers to submit completed briefs for free.
Image courtesy of Behance
Article source: http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/VaYLHvVNJ1M/
October 15, 2010
This post is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark as a new part of the Spark of Genius series that focuses on a new and innovative startup each day. Every Thursday, the program focuses on startups within the BizSpark program and what theyre doing to grow.
Lijit is the alternative site-search platform that powers the search experience on the more than 12,000 sites that make up The Lijit Network.
As a startup that has been around since mid 2006, Lijit might be easy to write off as past its prime and that would have been a fair assumption last year when the company pulled in a modest $80,000 in revenue for 2009.
CEO and Founder Todd Vernon tells Mashable that since the introduction of its new Ad Services platform in early 2010 that everything has changed. As of September, the company was on $3M annualized run-rate revenue and we expect to close December at $6M in annualized run-rate revenue, he says.
Annualized run-rates are merely predictions around revenue, but Vernon goes on the record to discuss how Lijit which has taken approximately $17 million in funding over the years is inching its way towards profitability.
From $80K to $6M in Revenue Potential
Vernon tells Mashable that, to date, 2,000 publishers (17% of the entire network) have opted-in to Lijits ad platform. As such, these publishers automatically display targeted display advertising served up by Lijit brand partners based on search data to site visitors. The Lijit offering is a click-through based publisher-alternative to Google AdSense. Publishers, advertisers and Lijit all take a cut of the display ad action.
The introduction of the Ad Services platform has been the most significant catalyst of growth. In early 2010, The Lijit Network was seeing 200 million monthly pageviews, but now post Ad Services release that number is closer to 800 million pageviews and 55 million uniques per month.
The company has finally settled into some serious revenue potential, but its been a long time coming. The network more than doubled in the first half of 2010 and if we knew that was going to happen as fast as it did, we would have pushed on the ad platform faster, Vernon admits.
Lijit attempts to differentiate itself from its bigger search competitors by offering free search and site analytics, and, perhaps more importantly, treating publishers as partners.
We help really great publishers monetize their site but it is more of a partner relationship than a faceless ad network relationship, says Vernon on Lijits hands-on approach.
Vernon credits these relationships as an important driver of growth. We help them build their business, he explains, Publishers like working with us and agencies want us to help them connect with publishers so its a win-win.
Growth via Mobile
Lijit is also inadvertently attracting new publisher signups through its newly released Lijit Stats [iTunes link] iPad app for publishers. With the iPad app, Lijit publishers can watch their web analytics in real-time with data that includes reader geography, online site mentions and search queries.
You can literally see a new person hit your site less than two seconds after it happens, explains Vernon.
Lijit Stats for iPad is just a few days old, but is already seeing a great response, reports Vernon. I have been shocked with the interest so far. Its literally driving new service adoption even though it was designed for publishers already using our service.
An iPhone version of the stats application is said to be coming soon and could help further Lijits mobile app-inspired growth spurt.
Run Rates and Reality
When Vernon points to a projected annualized revenue run rate of $6 million in December, hes predicting that the company will make $6 million from December 2010 to December 2011. Those are ambitious predictions to say the least, and well be much less skeptical once the company converts more of its publisher network into ad platform users.
If anything, though, trends in online advertising certainly help these predictions sound more plausible. As Mashables Lauren Indvik reported earlier this week, Display advertising, which includes banner ads, digital video, rich media and sponsorships, garnered more than $4.4 billion in the first half of 2010, a 16% increase over the same period in 2009.
Sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark
BizSpark is a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.
Article source: http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/Y8-Zi0IGYcU/
October 15, 2010
Article source: http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/6YircFe4LEI/