We have all watched as the rate of change and increased corporate transparency resulting from Web 2.0 has increased the cries from the executive suite about “doing more with less” and “delivering documentable benefits”. Largely the focus falls on the sales teams responsible for the most visible custodianship of the revenue stream – new business, repeat, expanded, rescued, etc.
I have watched companies invest in a variety of ways to make their sales team more effective – to shorten sales cycles, increase the number of qualified leads, expand business in existing accounts and provide their Account Managers with the latest and greatest tools, tested or not, to generate growth. What I don’t understand is why the majority of companies are not more effectively leveraging their existing investment in marketing.
Anyone who reads this blog knows I am a proponent of Agile Marketing, not simply the application of a new process or approach, but truly evolving a marketing team into an integrated, accountable and Agile-centric force in the organization. And although I have met some executives interested in this approach, the minute I say I believe marketing should be placed on a variable compensation model…the crickets begin to chirp while the wheels start to turn. Then the questions…Why? How? When? Won’t marketing balk? and others.
Combining an Agile Marketing approach with B2B mobile strategy can result in supercharged marketing and sales results leading to significant business returns. With the number of mobile users globally increasing exponentially and over 60% of US smart phone users downloading mobile applications, there is little doubt mobile or connected computing has to be taken seriously by businesses. Unlike social media, where many B2B companies struggle to leverage the tools effectively, connected computing can be one of the most effective inbound marketing tools for a B2B company.
Morgan Stanley predicts that in five years time, the internet will be accessed more from mobile devices than the desktop. And while that is an interesting prediction, most will focus only on smart phones or smart devices in their strategies. For companies targeting an international presence, remembering the majority of mobile phones are not “smart” even though they can access the internet becomes important.
Language can sometimes be the largest hurdle when communicating with others. Each person brings different perspectives and experiences to conversations and not taking the time to understand what a customer truly means can quickly derail the sales process.
In Value-Selling there is a step in the process called “the plan letter” which essentially means that after each conversation with a customer or prospect, an email should be drafted that summarizes what was said and reiterates the agreed upon next steps. This gives the recipient the ability to clarify understandings and to acknowledge and agree the Account Manager’s understanding is correct.
Over the years it has proven to be an invaluable tool for me…not only in sales but in relationships in general (although sometimes the wife doesn’t relish getting an email or sticky note going over what we just discussed). As a result of the time and energy focused on these letters or emails throughout the process, the need to understand language and effective communication is an essential part of the Account Manager’s (and I would argue, any professional’s) responsibilities.
But language is challenge and there are five things to keep in mind when interacting in a professional environment in general.
Jerry Walters, President and CEO of AMS Legal Solutions, is a senior executive with over 35 years experience in sales combined with 15 years in marketing. Having worked for companies including Mentor Graphics, Harris EDA, Dassault Systems Spatial Corp., and Applicon to name a few, Mr. Walters perspective on Sales and Marketing spans more than 30 years allowing to him have first-hand experience with sales and marketing trends in various industries over the years.
AMS Legal Solutions, an early stage startup based in Colorado, has recognized the need for a SaaS project management solution for law firms facing increased pressure from large corporate clients to provide the same quality of services at more predictable and reduced rates. AMS Legal Solutions’ software will enable law firms to meet this need while increasing margins and establishing best practices for both hourly and non-hourly issues. As a start-up, AMS Legal Solutions faces sales and marketing challenges on a daily basis so I appreciate Mr. Walter’s willingness to spend time with me.
Hello, my name is Chad Sanderson and I am a social media addict. And like most addictions, it started with a simple Tweet. My friends were doing it and said it was cool – said I would be able to get more information, insight and networking accomplished. They said everyone was doing it. A little Twitter here, a little Digg there and of course some deli.icio.us Facebook with a dash of YouTube and Reddit and next thing you know I StumbleUpon everything…no, it won’t take too long. And so it started…a few minutes in the morning, then over lunch, perhaps just before dinner and the next thing you know I’m asking the dentist to move his arm so I can see the iPhone screen or holding up a bank line because I can’t put down the CrackBerry.
The amount of information, the patterns, the connections…oh the joy of it, the digital rush that comes from being both a consumer and creator of an even more intricate web of transactions is…well, addicting. The potential is still being uncovered and debated – best practices defined, tools built, dashboards decorated and if you check the number of users for the majority of these platforms you will find “they” were right…just about everyone is doing it. But what does it mean for business? How does a business leverage it all to enhance their brand rather than harm it? When it comes to marketing the uses are legion, but I have also found social media to be an invaluable tool for shortening sales cycles, increasing leads and generating new business.