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3 Strategies for Effectively Developing the Right Calling Approach

Posted by Steve Bookbinder on Feb 23, 2017 8:19:00 PM

Whether you’re new to sales, or an experienced pro, developing the right approach to making sales calls is a strategic advantage.
 
As a salesperson, oftentimes the first impression you make is over the phone. Whether that’s talking to a new prospect, building a client relationship, or maintaining contact with long term clients.
 
Developing an effective calling approach and phone persona is essential to your sales success. But how can you develop an approach that will consistently drive results?
 
Consider these 3 strategies as you develop, refine, and optimize your calling approach: 
 
sales call approach ideas


1. Personalize Your Message

Think about who you are calling and why you are calling them before you pick up the phone.

First, we must consider what kind of leads are you calling and what’s the right strategy for each?

For example, let’s say you were just assigned a new lead. This lead came in through the website as an inbound lead who downloaded your newest eBook. What’s the approach for this type of lead?

To start, we must do our best to research who the person is, what company they work for, why they might be interested in the eBook, and whether they’ve downloaded any other resources from your website.

Why are these things important?

Because each piece of information helps you paint a picture of who you are calling. The more you know about the company, the person, or the industry in general will set you up for success because you’ll be able to tailor your message by saying something that resonates with the lead.

In this inbound lead example, you could personalize your message in a simple, yet logical way by helping them identify the key takeaways from the eBook they just downloaded and offer ideas about how the information applies to their job, company, or industry.

Taking this approach helps you position yourself as an expert, presents your company/offering in a positive light, and lets you take the role of the helpful salesperson who is educating them on new information and solutions.

 

2. Build Your Sales Story

 Identifying the right approach for each type of lead is only part of the game. The next step is to build your value proposition by crafting a compelling sales story.

We often think that facts and figures are what motivate people to take action. But the truth? Facts and figures aren’t nearly as effective as telling a great story.

Let’s say you’ve got a prospect on the line and they want to learn more about your solution. Instead of rattling off numbers that will mean nothing to them, consider walking them through the story of how you’ve helped other companies, maybe even mention a competitor of theirs, and help them visualize how your product and/or service delivered results for that company.

For example, you could say something like: “We’ve had a lot of success with companies like yours who have experienced some of the same challenges you may be facing, so I’d like to learn more about what you’re doing, tell you how we’ve been implementing solutions for businesses like yours, and see if there’s a match.”

You’re not only going to get their attention fast, they’re going to want to know how they did it, when they started doing it, how far behind they are, and what they need to do to catch up.

 

3. Understand the Rhythm of the Call

Listening is the key to a great conversation. So when we are speaking with prospects and clients over the phone, we must listen to the rhythm of the call and make certain decisions based on the rhythm.

If you ask a question and the other person responds as soon as you finish speaking, this probably means they’re tuned in. On the other hand, if there’s a long gap and their response doesn’t really relate to the question you asked, they’re probably not connected to the conversation.

As sales professionals, our goal is to ask 2nd level questions in order to create a more substantial conversation. 2nd level questions, asked in the right context, encourage the customer to share relevant information needed to understand their true interest in our business solution as well as their motivation to help their organization acquire it.

This is the type of conversation when the customer reacts to the salesperson’s interest and capabilities by sharing relevant information about their background, biases, plans as well as their power, influence, and motivation to buy.

The best way to help them make more sales is to maximize their time with people most likely to buy and minimize their investment in time with the rest.  At the same time, sellers need to dig out opportunities that are not immediately obvious but lying just below the surface waiting for a skilled salesperson to uncover and close.

 

Conclusion

Remember these 3 strategies the next time you’re ready to pick up the phone, and you’ll be on your way to building a connection with your prospects and clients while creating a more open sales dialogue.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2013 and has been updated.

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Topics: sales, tips, selling, sellers, prospecting, value, skills, sales tips, sales training, digital media training, cold calling, call, small business, improving, marketing, strategy, phone

7 Strategies for Selling Search Engine Marketing

Posted by Steve Bookbinder on Dec 29, 2015 9:30:00 AM

1. Start with a Great Target List

If you observe veteran search marketing salespeople, you will see that they receive inbound calls and email inquiries quite frequently from potentially ready-to-buy advertisers. Unfortunately, half of the calls will be less than optimal and shouldn’t be considered real prospects, but the other half will be first class opportunities.

Watching those veteran sellers, you may wonder what sort of magic makes them so effective. What is the real magic? The seller and his/her company have been prospecting for years.

The odds of cold calling someone today and reaching the final decision maker is low. But you can sow the seeds today- make sure they already know about you, and make them impressed enough to remember to contact you when they are ready.

So if you want a successful career, think ahead to the advertisers you want to be working within the next 1-3 years and begin pursuing them, without appearing desperate. Each day, given that you will have to make about 10-30 calls (especially if you are in your first year of SEM sales), you should be having at least one good conversation with a decision maker/advertiser.

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2. Prospect Every Day

Although this seems obvious, especially given the point mentioned above, it can sometimes be difficult to carry it through. Since you sometimes actually reach an interested advertiser, you lose some prospecting time.

The "interested" calls can easily go on for about 10-45 minutes. Those calls often result in the promise to send something. That something can take an hour to 3 days to prepare. Managing your time so that, despite these needs, you still find time to prospect enough, ideally, you should aim for a call to be only a few minutes long that results in a face-to-face meeting.

3. Prepare for Each Meeting Like an Investor

Before investors will put their money into a company, they want to know everything about that company. Therefore, apart from the information you will glean online and from various databases, etc., you need to make sure you understand how big the vertical is, how big a share your target-prospect has and what their plans (ideally budget) and timing needs are to grow that share.

This level of information can only be acquired through conversations with the prospect. You may even need more than one good conversation before you can learn enough about this advertiser.

Remember, you are also trying to determine if this advertiser is a good fit with your own agency. Given your competition, you may never get a second chance at getting that advertiser back.

4. Create a Presentation that Tells Your Agency's Story

The normal flow of events leading to a sale with a new advertiser goes either through the RFP process or through a process led by the search agency. The RFP process gives the customer total control while the other gives the agency total control.

Either way, you are likely to need two presentations. The first is either the RFP response or your agency's initial presentation; the second will include the agency fee structure.

If you are involved with an RFP, you will likely be presented with a variety of categories (for example Proprietary Technologies, Bid Management Strategy, Service Team Structures, etc.) with a series of detailed questions below each. Your answers should tell a story about how your agency services accounts.

If the sale is outside the RFP process, then the focus still needs to be on telling that story: the story of how your agency's philosophy of servicing accounts is a superior fit for that particular advertiser.

5. Create a Sense of Urgency

Assuming the advertiser is trying to improve the ROI of their search campaign, the seller needs to be specific about the advertiser's timing for those changes. Even if the advertiser's goal is to increase their SOV of search traffic (and conversions) to their vertical by the following year, the good search seller will be able to build up a sense of urgency in the client.

How does one do this?

By building a backward timetable.

Let's say it's currently January, and the advertiser wants to take advantage of the Q4 traffic increase. By describing each and every step leading up to October/November/December along with the amount of time needed to test and optimize each step (including keywords selection, creatives, matching strategy, landing page, etc), you can easily show the advertiser that starting in January may not even be enough.

6. Involve Your Team of Experts Pre-Sale - Without Wasting Their Time

If the seller is the smartest person in their agency, then the advertiser will suffer having to work with a not-as-smart service team. On the other hand, if the service team is a bunch of rocket scientists that the advertiser never meets, then the advertiser may have trouble visualizing the benefits of working with them.

Make sure you as a seller appear well-informed, but then top yourself by introducing the advertiser to at least one additional member of either the management or the service team - ideally both. Consider the introductions of other team members a great "next step strategy."

7. Stay Involved While Handing Off Campaign to Your Account Management Team

Some agencies ask their sellers to stay involved after the sale - some even insist that the seller joins weekly Account Manager calls. Other agencies ask that the seller cleanly hands off the advertiser, turning to focus on the next sale.

Either way, the seller is well advised to make sure they schedule a conversation (or 2, 3 or 4) during the first week/month of the new advertiser's campaign with both the Account Manager and the client. The last thing a search seller wants is to learn - too late - that the advertiser was unhappy and unable to get resolution through the account team.

How to Transition into Digital Ad Sales - eBook

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Topics: training, sales process, prospecting, value, sales tips, sales training, marketing, strategy, phone, account manager, agency's story

Marketing Matters: How to Get Your Startup Set for Success

Posted by Anna Adamczyk on Jan 12, 2015 8:45:08 AM

As a marketer, you’re constantly being bombarded by everything you should be doing and keeping up with to be successful.

“It’s all about content! It’s all about mobile! It’s all about video! No! It’s about social media!”

(Actually, it’s really about all of the above and more.)

If you’re working at a well established company perhaps all these new demands of marketing are somewhat manageable, but if you’re working with a startup that’s just trying to get on its feet - you’re strapped for resources and need to learn how to prioritize to make the most of your efforts. While it’s essential to read up daily (if that’s not possible, then at least weekly) on new data and trends affecting marketing and your industry, you should be pragmatic in what to apply instantaneously to your endeavors and what you should hold off on until you’re better suited to utilize its full potential.

startup-rocketMost successful brands have accepted and now fully embraced the notion that “success depends on their ability to build rich relationships with consumers hungry for engaging content and personalized experience”. However, for a startup that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath all of that lies the need for a solid and unique product or service that almost naturally lends itself to the viral marketing that everyone strives for today. If the actual quality of the product doesn’t hold a light to its marketing hype, then you could just pack up now. In the digital world, traditional “word-of-mouth” has been amplified by social media so conspicuously that in order to stay afloat, your foundation needs to be essentially unshakeable.

Since you’re hopefully marketing something that has true value for its target consumer audience, you need to allocate your time and resources to produce engagements, experiences, and relationships that your customers crave. The first logical place to start is with branding and positioning. Get that website (you obviously have a website, right?) into tip-top shape, make sure the user experience is optimal, and that your various marketing personas can easily find any information they may be seeking.

Now determine which social media channels best suit your company (Hint: It should at least be three to four) and set up those pages without delay. To actually begin using your website and social media presence to your advantage you need to formulate a plan with relevant content and posts. This article from HubSpot can help you get started on creating a plan for your content marketing. Some pieces of content may simply be used for informational and branding purposes on social media, while others can be made into CTAs that will help you gather information about potential leads. Consistently blogging or perhaps vlogging, if you’re not much of a writer or simply love being on camera, and establishing your brand as a regular and influential voice in the field will attract readers and viewers to help share your message. Using lead information, expanding your email marketing campaigns will help you continue to distribute your content and keep customers engaged with your offering.

Hopefully after you’ve established your first few marketing channels and start to see them gain traction, you’ll begin to research various promising advertising options that your brand could utilize with their resources to complement and enhance your organic marketing efforts. Always planning, staying consistent, measuring, and enhancing your campaigns will help create the momentum you need to move your startup forward. If you’re resourceful and creative, while marketing a great product or service, you’ll undoubtedly achieve success.

5 Digital Media Websites You Should Be Checking Daily

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Topics: marketing, digital marketing, marketing strategy

Understanding Social Media Marketing and Advertising: Part 1

Posted by Anna Adamczyk on Dec 12, 2014 9:23:00 AM

We know that it’s difficult to make sense of everything that’s happening in the digital space. It seems that every time you think you might be on top of it, everything changes and the current starts flowing in a different direction. We want to help you understand what’s happening in the digital advertising space, whether you’re a marketer or a seller. It’s time to start transitioning into selling digital media, so understanding and embracing the latest trends will help you stay relevant in today’s market.

In this post, we’ll focus on social media marketing and the newest trends you should know about. Social media networks are constantly evolving and providing new ways for users to connect and express themselves, as well as, offering fresh opportunities for brands to advertise and reach their unique audiences.

What do marketers and brands need to know about social media?

social_media_tornadoBrands can use social media to enhance their shared and earned media strategies. By strategically cultivating their audience through social media, marketers can reach and stay in touch with their existing and potential customers. Realizing the power of recommendations, as well as, appropriate brand-user interactions, can help brands continuously refine the loyalty loop in their sales process.

Knowing your brand’s audience is key to formulating a strategy and utilizing the most effective channel for social media interactions. Although Facebook is the largest global social network, the fastest growing social media networks are actually Tumblr and Pinterest. Facebook’s audience is statistically older, Pinterest has a majority of female users, and Tumblr is mostly used by the younger generation. Keeping this in mind will help you match your data to channels which will best be suited to your brand. Ensuring you continuously provide users with content they would like to interact with and share will solidify your social media influence.

Advertising on social networks is also an extremely effective way to market your brand and products. Targeting on large, established networks provides countless ways to reach an interested customer through the enourmous amounts of data available. Balancing your paid social media efforts with a more organic approach to customer-brand interactions, will help produce an efficient social media strategy for your brand.

What should advertising sellers know about social media?

Similar to marketers and brands, sellers need to know their audience. By having a handle on the data, they’ll be more capable and knowledgeable when presenting an advertising solution. Knowing what an advertiser is looking for in their overall campaign, as well as, their presence on social media networks is key.

If your audience is in a similar vein to that of the advertiser, then it will probably be a great match for both parties. Being aware of which social networks drive the most traffic to your site, can help be a determinant of where a brand can later anticipate to see social interactions if they advertise with you. If you are selling native advertising that is truly quality, brands will find this valuable to their social media strategy, since users love to share something they find interesting, entertaining, or useful. Staying on top of your data and understanding the advertiser’s intentions with regards to social media can help your sales efforts.

Read Understanding Social Media Marketing and Advertising Part 2.

Which aspect of social media do you find most useful as a marketer or a seller?

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Topics: selling digital advertising, social media, marketing, advertising, marketing strategy, social media marketing, social advertising

B2B Sales & Marketing: The Keys to a Happy Marriage!

Posted by Buff Parham on Nov 20, 2014 12:29:00 PM

While Sales and Marketing are very different operations, it's incredibly important that they work together effectively and efficiently in order to optimize positive results! Neither can be successful in isolation, and when the two are in synch, they become a significant force multiplier. One plus one becomes three or even more!

In a B2B environment, they "overlap" more so than they might in a B2C environment. Why? Because the market tends to be much more finite, and the value proposition is highly refined for a select number of prospects as opposed to mass consumption. The "Go-to-Market" strategy is a very sophisticated one that recognizes and respects the competencies and challenges of the businesses that are being targeted.

Marketing focuses on formulating a compelling value proposition for a given product or service. It addresses the front end of the AIDA cycle (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Acquisition). Building awareness and interest still revolves around producing and distributing the value proposition's message to as many likely prospects as possible. Marketing analyzes the marketplace, recognizes competitive threats, and moves accordingly to put forth the best value proposition possible.

Sales focuses on monetizing the value proposition, overcoming objections and obstacles in the process. Sales address the "back end" of the AIDA cycle, gauging and enhancing a potential customer's desire to buy and converting that  desire into an actual acquisition--getting the signature on the dotted line. Having a well- established and clearly stated value proposition to start this process is critical to success!

The value proposition is the common denominator that ties Marketing and Sales together. Both parties have a serious stake in this item--it's the centerpiece of their collective efforts. Given that reality, it's quite important that any activity that pertains to the value proposition is owned by both parties and not just one or the other.

Formulating a value proposition in a vacuum is non-starter. Too often, Marketing will come up with one that makes perfectly good sense to that operation, but has little relevance to the marketplace that Sales encounters every day. Sales is then saddled with a product/service that is not positioned for optimal results. And that's based on a simple lack of communication and coordination regarding the Go-to-Market strategy.

key_happinessIdeally, Marketing and Sales work together seamlessly! In the best scenario, it's almost impossible to figure out where Marketing stops and Sales starts or vice versa. The two operations are coordinated, and totally aware of the needs and objectives of the other entity. This requires managers who see the bigger picture, and realize that being "territorial" about their respective operation is a recipe for poor results or even disaster!

Marketing and Sales working together should be a circular process as opposed to a linear one.  What makes the relationship circular is that sales serves as a "feedback loop" to marketing, providing "real world" insights on product/service acceptance, customer experience and competitive information, among other important pieces of data. That body of feedback is internalized by Marketing in order to refine and improve the offerings as needed.

The marriage of Marketing and Sales should be blessed and stressed by top management. Savvy CEO's expect these operations to work together effectively and will hold them accountable for doing so.  It's a necessity not a luxury. Quite often, we hear that Company "X" is "marketing driven" or that Company "Y" is "sales driven." In both cases, one entity is dominating at the expense of the overall health of the company. Sharing the power to develop and sell a company's products and services is the key to success!

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About the Author

buff_parham-1Buff Parham is a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He started in the mailroom at CBS, but quickly moved on to selling locally at KABC/Los Angeles and nationally for ABC Spot Sales in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. Buff then continued on to spend almost 12 years with Univision, first as General Sales Manager at KUVN/KSTR in Dallas, and then 5 years in New York as SVP/Sales.

Buff believes that hard work matters and that raising the bar and having greater expectations tend to generate greater results. In his spare time, Buff finds cooking and playing golf to be two of the best therapies for a somewhat hectic existence!

Connect with Buff via LinkedIn 

Check out Buff’s Blog www.BuffParham.com

Follow @BuffParham

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Topics: marketing, b2b, b2b selling

Enhance Your Marketing with Mobile Advertising

Posted by Digital Media Training on Nov 7, 2014 10:43:34 AM

Mobile devices are ubiquitous, and their use is rising. According to the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of American adults own a cell phone, and 58 percent of American adults have a smartphone.  Consumers spend 60 percent of their internet time on mobile devices, and the numbers continue to rise. Therefore, incorporating mobile advertising in a traditional media campaign can definitely give you an edge.mobile-advertising-smartphone-marketing

Ads in mobile apps

In-application ads appearing on mobile devices can help you target the people you want to reach in a more dynamic and interactive way than a magazine advertisement. The two can be used hand-in-hand to reinforce your brand.

Placing ads in mobile apps can be very broad—think ad networks that share advertisements across multiple applications—or very narrow, such as event-based ads, which can hone in only on users who perform a certain set of actions on a specific application.

Mobile-optimized video

As more and more clients and prospects begin to use mobile phones for online video viewing, making sure that video advertisements optimized for a small screen becomes paramount. A well-designed video should have critical information front and center, and it shouldn’t be too busy: because mobile screens are small, tiny details may get missed, so it’s better to cut out extraneous visuals when creating a video you hope to use on various screen sizes.

Also, keep in mind that videos often take a very long time to load on mobile devices, so make sure to test your videos on multiple platforms to make sure it meets your performance needs.

Viewable ads

According to the IAB, a viewable ad is “an advertising message that appears on a user’s device in such a way that it creates an ‘opportunity to be seen’ by the user.” That means that you can determine whether the ad will be viewed based on whether it meets certain parameters you select. For example, you may choose to only display videos if the screen is not obstructed, or if the viewer has been inside an app for a significant period of time.

Best practices

Mobile advertising is most effective when it is designed for how a user interacts with his or her phone, rather than simply making a large website smaller. This may include limiting features to the most important ones, creating slideshows or multi-panel scrollable advertisements for tactile mobile phone users, and requiring users to scroll past an ad before it disappears.

Banners can be locked to a single space, but sophisticated advertisers create ones that can be easily viewed no matter how someone holds their phone-- in both landscape and portrait formats.

Push notifications are one other form of mobile advertising that is highly interactive.

Bottom line

Incorporating mobile into your overall marketing strategy is one more way to reach prospects. Tracking the data from each campaign will allow you to further refine and improve your strategy.

Understanding the Mobile Advertising Landscape

 

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Topics: mobile marketing, mobile advertising campaigns, marketing, mobile advertising landscape

How to Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling & Marketing

Posted by Anna Adamczyk on Oct 10, 2014 11:59:00 AM

You’ve probably known for a while now that cold calling is something everyone dreads - whether they’re on the initiating or receiving end. This past Wednesday an incredibly timely piece popped up on Mashable - Your Sales Strategy Shouldn’t Rely on a Cold Call - written by HubSpot’s CMO, Mike Volpe. And yesterday ClickZ posted an article about The Importance of Personalization. Although outwardly their messages don’t seem to be overly similar, if you’re a seller or a marketer, you should really take the wisdom they provide to heart.

Hopefully you’re ahead of the game and already putting the insight of these two articles to use in your daily work activities. If not, then it’s time to catch up. Let’s be honest: it’s almost 2015 and the internet and all of the information it provides about nearly everyone and everything isn’t just going to disappear anytime soon. So why are some of us not really making the most out of what we have? Why are we still punishing ourselves (and others!) with completely frozen cold calls and generic messaging? Surely we want to make our lives easier and have our potential clients and customers like us from the start. What should we really be doing?

ice_meltingFrom our experience, it’s completely fair to surmise that one of the main reasons most sellers struggle to meet their sales targets is because they’re having a hard time connecting with prospects to schedule first appointments. Even for the most outgoing, enthusiastic personalities out there it must make you feel just a bit anxious to pick up the phone and attempt to start a conversation with a complete stranger who almost certainly has a predisposition of utter contempt at the thought of picking up cold call. And for the rest of the population, well most of them will probably procrastinate picking up the phone unless their manager happens to be nearby. With the resources that are literally at our fingertips all day, it seems to be a natural conclusion that we should start utilizing them to make our daily outreach efforts more pleasant and overall much more effective.

Doing research via LinkedIn and a general web search can give you a general feel about almost anyone you may be trying to reach. Having some more information about them (just don’t get creepy!) can help you connect more easily and confirm that they are indeed the prospect you should be reaching out to. You need to do your best to find out enough about them to be able to make a strong case for why your product or service would specifically be of particular use or interest to them.

Reaching out through online social channels first can help you initiate contact rather seamlessly if you approach it in the right manner. By not giving them your sales pitch, you can earn their interest by offering some relevant information that is personalized to them about the industry, or solutions to the problem they might have (the one your product or service may eventually help fix). This first note will prime them for further connections either online or ultimately over the phone or in person, since they’ll hopefully now feel as though you truly have a personal interest in assisting them. Although it may take a bit more effort upfront, taking the time to utilize social channels instead of simply picking up the phone and dialing, will be more effective in furthering the sales process.

If you’re not the one selling directly, but taking on your company’s marketing efforts, it’s time to really get personal with your audience. It can be difficult to remember that actual human beings comprise your consumer base, not just the data that represents them. Undoubtedly extra customization and personalization will take more effort and resources than simply standard, cookie-cutter messaging. However, it can help your brand’s audience feel more reassured and confident that they’re actually special. Paring effective personalized marketing with appropriate social brand interactions can improve overall sales by building brand affinity.

Taking the time to find out what your prospects and customers really value and learning to position yourself in such a way that your genuine desire to help comes out and will ensure you never have to make a cold call again. Using more of that same personalization in your marketing strategy will also help increase consumer engagement and ultimately sales.

What is one of the worst cold calls you’ve ever made or received?

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Topics: sales, cold calling, marketing, social selling

Six Steps: How to Leverage Data for Increased Marketing Insights

Posted by Anna Adamczyk on Oct 6, 2014 2:12:53 PM

The amount of data that advertising campaigns produce is enormous and can be entirely overwhelming. It may seem completely insurmountable and if it’s not analyzed properly, the insights will get lost, and render all of your efforts worthless. A key to any successful advertising campaign for a marketer is to gain an understanding of the data and apply it to the other campaigns waiting in the wings. For all of you forward-thinking, enthusiastic marketers out there - here are six steps to getting the most out of all of your campaigns and how to use your data purposefully.

1. Take off those rose-tinted glasses

Hopefully you’ve approached all of your campaign launches with certainty and confidence. But when the data comes in, it’s time to take off those rose-tinted glasses and get ready to see the sometimes raw reality. That’s not to say that it’ll be bad, it might just not be exactly what you imagined. There probably won’t be any entirely unexpected surprises, but you should be prepared to see facts and figures that aren’t completely aligned with your initial positive outlook.

2. Paint the real picture(s)

Paint_brushes

Now that the rose-tinted glasses have come off and the reading glasses have come on, it’s time to sit down and look at the nitty-gritty. Spreadsheets filled with numbers don’t really speak to most of us. We’ll generally need to express the data visually. Creating more easily readable charts and graphs from all those numbers by helping put them in context will enable us to get the most from what’s been gathered.

3. Look for patterns

Since the data is now laid out visually, it’s crucial to look for any patterns that were hidden amongst the numbers. They may seem to jump out at us, but some of them might be a bit harder to find. Consistent patterns probably aren’t flukes so give them the attention they deserve. Think about what they mean and their implications. Do they depict something you expected or is this a new trend that’s emerged? Can it really just be an anomaly?

4. Give it a voice

When you’re tired of staring, squinting, gazing, thinking, and discussing - it’s time to write. Keep it simple, but make sure that you commit yourself to writing a few statements summarizing the insights that have materialized. Giving the data a voice can help you reach more definitive conclusions about the campaign as a whole and help to guarantee that you have gleaned all of the wisdom from the numbers.

5. Put it to work

Now that you’re clear on what’s happened in your previous campaign, it’s essential to reap the benefits. So maybe everything didn’t work out as expected or maybe it did, but put the instinctive urge to dwell aside and start fresh. You have the necessary knowledge to make the next campaign an even bigger success, so put it to work. Apply those insights to the future campaign and enjoy watching it thrive.

6. Forever and ever and ever...

You’re now on to the next campaign, but realize that this isn’t over. It will never be over. The process of using data to gain marketing insights is an ongoing one, where you’re constantly learning and evolving with each new campaign and every set of data it produces. Accept the fact that you’ll never have all the answers, but acknowledge your perseverance and determination for improving each time.

Data can be an unwieldy beast and as a marketer you have to become its fearless tamer. Approaching campaign statistics with an unruffled calm will help you make the most of what it has to offer and provide you with its secrets to help prepare you for what’s ahead.

What is the most surprising insight a campaign’s data has provided you with?

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Topics: marketing, advertising, marketing strategy, advertising strategy

Navigating Native Advertising: How to Get it Right

Posted by Anna Adamczyk on Jul 28, 2014 4:03:00 PM

Recently the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Edelman Berland conducted a study (Getting In-Feed Sponsored Content Right: The Consumer View) to understand how consumers perceive and feel about in-feed sponsored content on news related desktop sites. Focus groups with news site consumers in New York City and Washington D.C. informed the official nationwide user study. Participants were presented with real world in-feed sponsored content, which was ranked as the most appealing and least intrusive form of native advertising, on three categories of desktop news sites: general news, business news, and entertainment news. The results provide a glimpse into the how consumers perceive native advertising.

news_laptop_desktop

Findings from this study show that overall in-feed sponsored content engagement is higher on entertainment and business oriented sites, rather than general news sites. General news readers are also significantly more skeptical of how sponsored content adds value to their experience, compared to business and entertainment news readers. Overall the general news readers, which skewed just slightly older than the other two groups, consistently saw in-feed sponsored content as less likely to result in positive brand uplift for the brand or the publisher.

In addition, conclusions drawn from the study reveal a consensus among the groups that sponsored content must be relevant, authoritative, and trustworthy in order to work best for all parties involved - the brand, the agency, the publisher, and the reader. Brands and publishers also seem to have a mutually beneficial relationship with regard to in-feed sponsored content if they are both perceived as credible. This kind of native advertising seems to be most effective for established brands trying to build up and differentiate their image, deepen existing customer relationships, and to launch brand extensions, while being least effective for trying to generate new brand awareness.

Based on the results of this study the IAB and Edelman Berland have formulated several take-away recommendations for brands and agencies, and publishers. Brands and their agencies are encouraged to have a “win-win or no deal” Stephen R. Covey mentality while embracing storytelling and curbing the urge to sell. They should also begin leveraging their authority and credibility when negotiating with publishers, and publishers should encourage aligned brand marketers to work together in a more authoritative manner . Publishers are also spurred to control the experience and be prepared to turn away from advertisers who are non-relevant and untrustworthy, as well as, being transparent and providing superior disclosures.

The findings of this study probably don’t seem shocking or entirely novel, but they do solidify a true foundation for what we already seemed to know from our own digital consumption habits. The question is how to leverage this knowledge as a marketer and a seller.

Any good marketer should already be hyperconscious of their brand, its image, and any and all relevant data regarding its customers. Simply pouring the budget into native because it’s ‘in’ won’t really get you anywhere. Ensuring your brand has a story to tell is the surest way to success. Crafting these stories in a format suitable to the consumer demographic will make them effective. Finally, only high quality pieces of branded content should be used to advertise on relevant websites to further the brand’s image. There is no one-size fits all advertising strategy for any brand, especially when it comes to native advertising.

As a seller, the key piece of information to keep in mind is your audience. Making sure you only reach out to reliable, relevant advertisers and only offering current advertisers with an appropriate,  fitting target audience the opportunity to create sponsored content, will help guarantee that the site’s reputation remains in superior standing. Becoming truly discerning with regards to whom you sell native advertising spots to will help further enhance the success of your relationship.

What subject would you be most interested in seeing a study conducted on?

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Topics: integrated sales, digital sales, marketing, advertising, marketing strategy, native advertising

How to Utilize the Power of B2B Social Selling

Posted by Kevin Kiriluk on Apr 21, 2014 12:30:00 PM

 

Social Selling has become a hot topic that continues to buzz around blogs, discussion forums, social networks, and most likely you've heard a co-worker talking about it right in your office. But, how eaxctly are sellers using the power of social media to gain traction with sales opportunities and generate new sales leads?

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Salespeople are discovering new ways to reach prospects. They are doing this through their own social networks by creating and sharing valuable content provided by the brand, which ultimately helps grow their personal brand and book of business as a seller. Growing your personal brand is not only beneficial to your company but it allows you to extend your offerings even further.

Today, in 140 characters or less you can sell a product, make connections, and build meaningful relationships. Seems simple right? But wait we’re not just talking about Twitter, brands are building their business through Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc... You must maintain your relationships by staying unique, discussing ideas, and becoming active in your industry. This is similar to Content Marketing, except you must become the social chorus of your brand and promote your content throughout the digital landscape.

Outlined below are a few steps to help get you started with Social Selling:

Step 1. Who are you trying to reach?

Just like marketing, salespeople should have a targeted audience that they are trying to reach. This is when you must start researching your target's online presence and how they interact online as social buyers. A study by ITSMA showcases The Rise of the B2B Social Buyer and supporting methodology. From these results, you can most likely see which category of business fits your target.

Step 2. Join a network

Once you've identified your target audience, it’s time to find out what social network would work best to connect with this audience. For example if you’re a B2B seller, Linkedin or Twitter might be a great place start. Linkedin offers you the ability to connect with like-minded professionals and is a more formal social networking website (without the cat videos). Make LinkedIn work for you by creating a great profile, presence, and connecting with others.

Twitter has become the online ‘word-of-mouth’. 140 characters allows you post quick snippets about events, offerings, topics, questions, and whatever else you might be eager to share. It’s also a great way to test your ‘elevator pitch’ by really getting the point across quickly and effectively. Another tip is to post frequently so your social reach can grow as you contribute to topics, interests, and essentially grow your follower base. Remember, you are ‘social selling’ so make sure that what you're offering is beneficial to both parties by leaving the hard sell till after you've established your credibility and authority.

Step 3. Interact

Hashtags are a great way to interact and discuss topics you might be interested in or your potential customer is. These hashtags can be used as keywords to help grow your presence; but do make sure you are actually contributing to the discussion rather than just adding noise. Here are some fabulous Twitter conversations you should be aware of: 10 Great Examples of B2B Twitter Chats

Step 4. Share

Content is the key to success on social media. If your company has a regularly updated blog or promotional material it is important that you become a part of the social chorus of your company. Therefore promoting the brand and yourself. By sharing this content you can again contribute to conversations, grow your presence, and benefit by interacting with the people you are targeting. Content marketing is meant to capture information about a prospect's interests or challenges by enticing them to download a free guide or tip sheet. This enables the consumer to seek out and find the information they are looking for, which results in them coming to us instead of the other way around. Who doesn't love a warm lead?

 

We hope you have enjoyed this post about Social Selling, follow us on Twitter for topics!

 

 

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Topics: sales tips, social media, marketing, strategy, inbound marketing strategy, media salesperson, social selling, b2b