Social Selling is about sincerity, honesty, and helping madlibs with @kyleporter

You know when a company jumps on the scene and everyone is like: “Salesloft, I have heard that name”. 4-5 months ago that was me because they were cranking content and getting out there in the social sphere – I didn’t know them yet, but I saw them. Now, I know them. They are helping sales people gather web intelligence on their buyers – one of the critical elements to selling today. Kyle Porter is the CEO and is this week’s madlibs participant. I am sure you have seen him, but if you haven’t, watch him – he is an up-and-comer on the sales internet.
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Enemy Mine: Why Everyone Needs a Rival

When we were starting Tippit (soon to be Focus), a gentleman named John Luongo was an observer in our board meetings. He had a storied career at Oracle and then was the CEO of Vantive. He had lots of advice for us, but one thing in particular that he said has always stuck with me: “You really need to pick an enemy.” I actually mentioned this concept in an earlier post on the marketing automation market.

Here is what John meant: Management should declare an enemy and rally everyone in the company around beating this enemy. Sales will want to outsell the enemy, product will want to produce a better product than the enemy and so forth. John described how, in his early days, Oracle obsessed about beating Informix (which Oracle did handily). Sure, you could simply say, “Pick a goal to strive for” — but that doesn’t play on primal, competitive instincts. I love this concept, and I see at least five distinctive benefits:

1.      It helps everyone focus: Having a rallying cry gives teams a reason to come to work each day. It also can help you make decisions on where to put your energy.

2.      It motivates: See above.

3.       It serves as a scoreboard: Scoreboards work.

4.       It fosters our natural mean streak: That’s always a good thing.

5.       It can provide a ‘measuring stick’: Take a reference point like a competitor’s product and say, “We will beat their functionality (or even their website).”

No, obsession is not healthy, but having an enemy makes so much sense.

There are some great examples of this, but by far my favorite is University of Colorado football. In 1982, Bill McCartney took over as head coach of the Colorado football program; at the time, the team couldn’t win a thing (in 1980 the team was 1-10; in 1981 the team was 3-8 — you get the picture). One of the first things McCartney did was name Nebraska as Colorado’s primary rival. Nebraska was a perennial powerhouse, had defeated Colorado 14 times in a row, and could care less about Colorado. Honestly, anybody following college football at the time would tell you McCartney was crazy. That’s why this is the perfect example: McCartney made the best team he could their measuring stick for success. His “enemy” was perfect for the team to aspire to, and it set a bold, “hairy” goal for his program to achieve.

Here is what happened next:

  • Four years later (1986) Colorado beat No. 3-ranked Nebraska 20-10.
  • In 1990, Colorado won the national championship.
  • In all, McCartney created a national powerhouse of a program.

You might ask me if this is the first article in the “business-aholic” stage of my life. Maybe, but the decision to declare an enemy is something even department and organizational heads can do. In other words, this concept is still very “Funnelholic.” As a marketer, I love to have an enemy. If I had to decide on my marketing plan, I would use my enemy as my measuring stick. I would want to create a better website, blog, social media presence, content, advertise where they are and so forth. All of this makes my program better and, for me at least, makes it more fun — I get to keep score and compete.

Choose an enemy, you’ll be better for it.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Don’t Tug on Superman’s Cape: 5 Tips to Help Marketing Deal with Sales

Last week, I went to Silverpop’s B2B Marketing University.  As I have blogged before, I don’t write about conferences unless I can write about something interesting. This event was awesome — the content was great (not your typical BS), 180 people were in the audience, and the questions were engaging. I was having writer’s block going into the event, and I left with three posts (coming soon). Props to Silverpop.

OK, so during Malcolm Friedberg’s presentation, someone in the audience asked for advice on how to handles sales. (The actual question is not important, but it had something to do with convincing sales to let marketing nurture instead of passing the leads to them directly.) Anyway, I was sitting there thinking that, here we have Malcolm on stage talking about marketing automation processes, etc., and one of the questions that comes up is the age-old issue of the sales-marketing divide. Boom. Funnelholic blog post.

One thing I have noticed as Marketing 2.0 continues to gather steam is that all of us in the marketing blogosphere can act like dealing with sales is easy because we are all in marketing-dominated companies. But in the real world, sales is the powerful and dangerous entity. That’s not an insult. That’s reality. Sales is on the front line — they are type-A, aggressive, unforgiving folks. It’s rare to find a place where marketing is in the catbird’s seat.

If you don’t have sales on board, however, you will have NO ROI. So act, don’t complain.

So, here is how you know you have a problem with sales:

  • Sales tells you that you suck — Do I need to explain?
  • Sales ignores you completely — Sales is a “you are either helping me or in the way” type of crew, so if they view you as being in the way (fairly or not), prepare to be ignored.
  • Sales tells everyone you suck, but not to your face — It’s amazing how many sales leaders are passive-aggressive, but I see it all the time. Which leads to …
  • Sales is really nice to you: Beware of smiling sales management.

Here is how you tell you have a good relationship:

  • When leads don’t convert, they look into what they can do about it. Good.
  • They ask for more of your leads. Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

Here are 5 things you should do to foster a healthy sales-marketing relationship:

1. Have a meeting: I know this sounds obvious, but here is my point. If things are bad, then have a meeting. If you are starting the relationship, have a meeting. In the meeting, tell sales the following:

  • MARKETING will create an infrastructure (nurturing, phone) to pass qualified leads to the sales team. (Again, stop passing raw inquiries to sales.)
  • MARKETING AND SALES will AGREE on a unified lead definition to live by.
  • SALES will sign an SLA that, if MARKETING hits the unified lead definition, they will follow up an agreed amount of times.
  • MARKETING AND SALES will meet at least biweekly to optimize the program.

2. Create a unified lead definition: I give Brian Carroll the credit for this term, but gurus like Stu Silverman have been making the lead definition the key to sales and marketing success for years. Here is the essence: sit down with sales and AGREE on the definition of a lead — what marketing passes to the sales team. Look, sales will forget — particularly when one an account executives complains — but you can always refer back to it. When sales comes back and says, “none of your leads are closing,” offer to revisit the lead definition. Keep in mind that the lead definition dictates volume, and when you discuss definitions, you have to make sure sales understands the volume implications.
3. The sales SLA: When you agree to a unified lead definition, you also need to agree on sales’ activities after you pass them a qualified lead. Do this. It’s only fair.
4. Have weekly sync-up meetings: You can do this biweekly, if necessary. Just don’t let it slip. Don’t just talk about the numbers, talk anecdotally. Remind everyone that the meeting must be honest but not accusatory, because the wheels can fall off these meetings very easily if you are not careful. On the other hand, they can’t be a meaningless rubber stamp either. Optimization is a two-way street.
5. Just try to get along: I hate to say it, but if you are the marketer, you have to lead this charge. Sales is always moving, so have a plan and instigate peace. Both sides will win as a result.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Steroids and Painkillers for Sale: The Funnelholic’s Take on the Sales 2.0 Conference

I’m  a day or two late on my write-up of the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, but that’s the story of my life. As an aside, I am not the kind of blogger who has to blog on every event I go to. I only write when something moves me. Period.

Here is my take on the Sales 2.0 Conference:

1. The Sales 2.0 conference is BLOWING UP: I think they will need to change venues to Pac Bell Park next year. This year was sold-out, and the place was wall-to-wall people.  Congrats to Gerhard Gschwandtner (CEO and organizer of the show) and his crew. Why is it growing? Gerhard cares about/believes in what he is selling and you can tell. That manifests itself in the content and organization of the conference.  Also, the attendees care. This isn’t a trip to Vegas for CES. People are there to learn how they can get better.

2. Sales 2.0 concepts and products are the steroids and painkillers that sales and marketing need to elevate their game: I couldn’t get this out of my head when I was at the conference. Sales 2.0 tools are legal steroids. Look, I don’t need to tell you that performance-enhancing drugs have been putting up big numbers for the last 10 years in sports.  Unfortunately for athletes, they are illegal.What Sales 2.0 vendors are peddling are legal and without long-term medical issues, and they enhance performance. Perfect.

Sales 2.0 painkillers are tools that remove some of the laborious parts of the sales process such as compensation reporting, reporting visibility, etc. Like real painkillers, the they’re addictive.  But unlike painkillers they won’t kill you. Instead they make life easier.

3. People believe: You know, it’s also cool to be around believers vs. skeptics. Conversations were around “what are you using?” It’s exciting to see sales and marketing managers getting together trying to make their teams better.

4.   Revolution is upon us: I have mentioned this before, but I remember talking to venture capitalist Doug Pepper (@dougpepper), who said, “Marketing is the last place in the enterprise that hasn’t been automated and made more efficient.” I think this is true for sales too … and it’s awesome.

Think I had fun? I did …

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

210 B2B Marketing Tips for 2010

Drumroll please …  I present the 210 B2B marketing tips for 2010. Let me tell you, this was quite an adventure, one that I will certainly do differently in the future.

Basically, the sequence of events went like this:

  1. Decide on topic: 210 tips for 2010
  2. Start writing them off the top of my head
  3. Get to 65
  4. Still determined, decide to ask for help
  5. @scottalbro, @cjablonski, @tlotl, @mschmier and @damphoux come to the rescue

Much of what you see below is attributed. Some, however, like the input from @scottalbro, were fed to me conversationally through stream of consciousness, so I didn’t attribute them. He is a great writer and would not be crazy about my translation.

So, without further ado, here they are. I hope you enjoy them.

  1. Contribute to the conversation (@tlotl)
  2. Create remarkable content (lots of it) (@tlotl)
  3. Distribute remarkable content (@tlotl)
  4. Evolve beyond managing CPL (@tlotl)
  5. Bring data to Sales management (@tlotl)
  6. Talk to in-market prospects (@tlotl)
  7. Close the buyer loop (@tlotl)
  8. Talk to people who have bought/customers (@tlotl)
  9. Talk to people who chose a competitor (@tlotl)
  10. Sit in on a sales call once a week
  11. Sit in on a prospecting call
  12. Create a lead scoring system
  13. Implement a lead scoring system
  14. BTW, if you are just starting on scoring, don’t get too extreme. Scoring means deciding which leads are better than others.
  15. Implement a lead nurturing program
  16. Judge lead nurturing progress via the conversion rate after 1 month metrics
  17. Buy a marketing automation platform
  18. Implement a marketing automation platform (no shelf-ware)
  19. Create a unified lead definition
  20. Get the unified lead definition signed off by sales
  21. Don’t agree to restrictive BANT criteria without considering all the people you won’t have sales talk to (if you think about it, they probably do)
  22. And if you are in a hyper-targeted market (e.g., are focused on managed service providers only), your unified lead definition should be only: the right person with interest. Anything more restrictive means one lead a month, and your organization in trouble
  23. Meet with sales weekly/bi-weekly for anecdotal closed loop feedback
  24. Make a decision based on metrics
  25. Make lots of decisions based on metrics
  26. Over-rule a metrics-driven decision with a decision made from the gut
  27. Basically: Balance metrics with intuition
  28. Oh, and track everything you can
  29. Oh, and yes, the numbers will never be perfect, but they should be enough to help you make decisions
  30. Follow the top marketing mavens on twitter
  31. Read content from top marketing mavens on twitter
  32. Ask a question you want answered on (OK, you can ask it on LinkedIn, too)
  33. Create a lead management plan that starts from the top (lead generation) to a passed lead (P.S., based on your unified lead definition)
  34. Read your competitors marketing materials
  35. Fill out a lead form on your competitors site and see how they qualify, convert and nurture you
  36. Do a at least one webinar a month
  37. Make the webinar focused on business pains and issues, NOT a demo for your product
  38. Leverage experts and thought leaders in your industry to speak
  39. P.S., have those same experts create white papers, blog posts, etc. for you
  40. Think of webinars for ALL aspects: quantifiable lead generation, lead nurturing, education, thought leadership
  41. Create a lead qualification organization (dedicated phone-based team focused on following up on leads)
  42. Optimize your lead qualification organization
  43. Read scripts, emails etc.
  44. Send an email to your clients that doesn’t sell them anything but instead helps them do their job
  45. Then send these helpful emails monthly
  46. Then use the marketing automation system you bought to track efficiency
  47. Don’t forget your current customers, or to put it another way, market and foster goodwill with your customers
  48. Update your social media profiles for completeness and marketability even if you aren’t looking for a job (LinkedIn,, Facebook)
  49. Start a blog
  50. Update your blog weekly minimum
  51. Don’t write about yourself, your company, etc. on the blog, except once in awhile
  52. Put marketing, lead generation blogs into your Google reader
  53. Allot 22 minutes a day to reading industry-related content
  54. Respect every single lead (@cjablonski)
  55. “Systems design” your programs (@cjablonski)
  56. Make calculated risks routinely (@cjablonski)
  57. Delight the most loyal (@cjablonski)
  58. Surprise your customers (@cjablonski)
  59. Be your target audience (@cjablonski)
  60. Rip and replace your strategies (@cjablonski)
  61. Manage your brand symbols (@cjablonski)
  62. Nurture as if you meant it (@cjablonski)
  63. Cleanse your sales pipeline (@cjablonski)
  64. Be authoritative
  65. Track your metrics based on opportunities created and opportunities
  66. Get everyone on CRM (seriously — Its 2010)
  67. Get a sales 2.0 tool
  68. Increasing connects increases conversion
  69. Don’t complain about what sales is doing with your leads
  70. Don’t complain about sales in general
  71. Urgency. Just be urgent
  72. Call your lead generation vendors and optimize the program with real data
  73. Post your content on third-party Web sites to capture traffic not going to your Web site
  74. Get tweetdeck, hootsuite or something to manage your twitter content
  75. Re-evaluate your Web site. Chances are it sucks
  76. Clearly define what your product is and the use case it solves for in buyer language on your Web site, in materials, etc. — how many Web sites do you go do and you can’t figure out what the f*** the vendor does?) (@mschmier)
  77. Optimize your landing pages for conversion
  78. Considering pulling fields OFF your landing pages to get more people to download
  79. Go to one of the following trade shows: Marketing Sherpa or Sirius Decisions.
  80. Stop going to industry trade shows that don’t work
  81. However, don’t think about immediate conversion, judge the show by important meetings had (could be with customers) and the “right” people. If you are looking at short-term conversion rates, you will cancel them all.
  82. Test a new lead generation source whenever you can (or you’ll never know what works)
  83. Not sure what to do about Facebook — if you can get business there, write me back for next year
  84. Read the book: eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale by Ardath Albee
  85. Read the book: Digital Body Language by Steven Woods
  86. Buying a list is not a lead generation strategy
  87. Buying leads is not a lead generation strategy
  88. Instead, figure how to convert leads, then buy leads or lists — if you know how to convert, you can buy till the cows come home
  89. Remember: white paper leads are the start of a conversation, not the end of the conversation
  90. Try new things, always (I think I already said that)
  91. Channel partners are terrible at following up on leads; if you pass them leads, run them through a lead qual team first or buy appointments
  92. Replace “always be closing” with “always be helping”
  93. Map and understand how your buyers make decisions
  94. Re-evaluate your target buyer persona.
  95. Confirm the target buyer persona and tell everyone in your organization till they tell you to shut up (it’s that important that they know)
  96. Make your written content one page. Buyers are busy
  97. Consider simplifying your message — bring back “simple as 1-2-3” messaging
  98. Buyers love lists, they just do. Lists are easy to read and set an expectation with the reader that it will only be “X” number of points in the offer
  99. Create a diverse mix of content (webinars, white papers, podcasts)
  100. When following up on leads, combine phone and email
  101. Optimize everything about the phone and email process: scripts, emails, sequencing
  102. Meet with sales leadership and get them on board. Act like a sales person. They will barf on you at first, but don’t quit — get buyoff
  103. Spend some time and money, and you WILL make more money
  104. Metrics aren’t just cool, use them to make you better (and look better!)
  105. Warning on all this: Sales will always be from Mars, and marketing will always be from Venus
  106. Consider all the touch points in a campaign not just the messaging — message, landing page, follow-up, etc.
  107. When considering, draw a process map to represent the various touch points
  108. Create metrics for each touch point
  109. But pick three overall metrics you will look at every day
  110. Did I mention social media? Have a twitter strategy, use LinkedIn too
  111. Do things on social media, but if you move money away from pure demand generation for social media, that is bad, because …
  112. Social media is not a “down the funnel” lead generation strategy, measure social media buy link-backs and traffic, not people ready to buy tomorrow
  113. Oh yeah, and if you’re judged only by finding people ready to buy tomorrow, warm up the resume
  114. Run a VITO campaign. They still work if you combine phone follow-up with the marketing portion
  115. Throw your hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care.
  116. Talk to your CEO more than the VP of Sales does
  117. Talk to your prospects using case studies
  118. Peers are the most trusted source of information for other buyers — leverage your customer network via webcasts and references to re-enforce your value proposition (@mschmier)
  119. Online vs. offline is very 2009 (@scottalbro)
  120. Online AND offline is very 2010 (@scottalbro)
  121. Create a list of 210 tips for your target buyer
  122. Do email campaigns — they still work.
  123. I know I mentioned podcasts earlier, but don’t do them. They don’t work
  124. Choose someone in your company who will be your voice online
  125. Stop advertising in trade magazines
  126. If you are fortunate to sponsor a big sporting event, make sure you get tickets as well because you should at least get personal ROI
  127. Make sure you provide a demo. The self-service buyer craves it (this falls under “down the funnel” content)
  128. Understand your competition and give sales real competitive language, not high-level outdated, irrelevant stuff (everyone considers more)
  129. Where are your users online? Figure out where your users are online and create a strategy as appropriate. Hint, most SMB buyers probably aren’t tweeting all day. (@mschmier)
  130. The phone is still the most important tool for conversion to opportunity.
  131. Go to sales training — if you can sell, you can market
  132. Read a sales book, see above
  133. Try emails using the exact opposite of best practices
  134. Oh, and send an email on Sunday morning. People will open it
  135. Social media is not a panacea (@cjablonski)
  136. Improve field-to-headquarters information flow (@cjablonski)
  137. Research your industry buying cycles (@cjablonski)
  138. Deliver on your intent, daily (@cjablonski)
  139. If you don’t believe in your value proposition, rewrite it (@cjablonski)
  140. If the average person can’t understand your value prop, rewrite it
  141. Social media is WOM on steroids (@cjablonski)
  142. Keep emerging submarkets on your radar (@cjablonski)
  143. If you pay for impressions, then you will get impressions(@cjablonski)
  144. Give away your best content for free (@cjablonski)
  145. Learn your company’s elevator pitch (@tlotl)
  146. Write your personal elevator pitch (@tlotl)
  147. Claim your area of unique expertise (@tlotl)
  148. Challenge any assumption more than 9 months old (@tlotl)
  149. Learn how to (effectively) explain social media to executive management (@tlotl)
  150. Don’t let the bastards drag you down (@tlotl)
  151. Don’t get defensive
  152. Append your house list. Why wouldn’t you?
  153. Be the first to develop a Google Wave marketing strategy (@cjablonski)
  154. Throw your hands in the air and Google Wave them like you just don’t care
  155. If you spend more money on promotional items like t-shirts and pens than you did on demand gen, then shame on you
  156. Facilitate conversations between experts (@tlotl)
  157. Create content for every buyer persona you create (business users want something different than technical)
  158. Consumer marketers are light years ahead of B2B marketers. If you want to know what’s cutting edge, it’s them.
  159. Don’t overvalue title filters with content syndication; identifying organizational interest is the goal.
  160. P.S., Directors and VPs don’t download white papers online.
  161. Keep voicemails under 30 seconds
  162. In voicemails, don’t sell the product, sell the next step (e.g., just ask them to read your email), because …
  163. You should send an email after you leave a voicemail. You will get an exponentially higher open rate.
  164. Speaking of which, in lead gen and marketing, you should sell the meeting, demo, or next step not the product
  165. If you throw a party , invite the neighborhood — don’t filter webinars
  166. Keep marketing and generating demand in December, or you’ll end up with no pipeline in January.
  167. Understand common prospect objections and help attack them in your collateral.
  168. Assess the ROI of your fixation on ROI (@cjablonski)
  169. Elevate your marketing database hygiene (@cjablonski)
  170. Shoot for viral when you have the talent (@cjablonski)
  171. Make a contingency plan for your guerilla marketing idea (@cjablonski)
  172. Don’t write off direct mail (@cjablonski)
  173. Work with “frenemies” to serve the community (@cjablonski)
  174. Don’t hire someone to write your blog (@cjablonski)
  175. Be interesting by being interested (@cjablonski)
  176. Help make sales people be trusted expert advisers(@cjablonski)
  177. Don’t begin a survey with demographic questions (@cjablonski)
  178. Have conversations not sales pitches (@cjablonski)
  179. Create versatile content: Can you use this content in a white paper, webinar, blog post, etc.?
  180. Marketing is either a critical advantage against your competitors or nothing at all (obsolete, ineffective, etc.). Think like sales when you build your marketing strategy — build it to compete
  181. When considering everything you can do in 2010, remember you will be judged by pipeline created for sales
  182. Knowing the above, when trying to figure out whether to put money into lead gen or branding and you can’t afford to do both, I think you know the answer now
  183. Repurpose old content (@damphoux)
  184. Measure CPO (Cost per Opportunity) (@damphoux)
  185. It’s not a sales process, it’s a buying process (@damphoux)
  186. Interview candidates from competition (@damphoux)
  187. Ask prospects which competitor you lost a deal to (@damphoux)
  188. Ask them why (@damphoux)
  189. Pounce on a Web lead if they abandoned their visit on the Contact Us page (@damphoux)
  190. Make the goal of the first sales call to get a second (@damphoux)
  191. Different sales reps at the same company can benefit by different leads (introductory appointments for one, qualified leads for others) (@damphoux)
  192. Not all sales people know what’s right for them — think of them as teens and give them what you think is right for them (@damphoux)
  193. Log into your webinar platform an hour early and get all presenters set up early (@damphoux)
  194. Do demand gen programs targeting your existing and past clients (@damphoux)
  195. Never pay a lead gen team by the hour, pay for results (@damphoux)
  196. Spend a day with your lead gen team or vendor (@damphoux)
  197. Teach your sales team the best practices of handling the leads you worked so hard to generate (@damphoux)
  198. Learn how to use a tweet scheduler, but still be personal most of the time (@damphoux)
  199. Your most important landing page is your home page (@damphoux)
  200. One of the highest converting forms is the Subscribe to Blog by Email form (@damphoux)
  201. Selling doesn’t start until sales is talking with a prospect. Set introductory appointments for them (@damphoux)
  202. Do AB testing with a simple 3 line email, instead of a formal email marketing piece (@damphoux)
  203. Read the Pounce, Pause, Nurture or Wait debate (@damphoux)
  204. You spend thousands, if not millions of dollars building your contact database, so invest a little bit to maintain it with dedupes and validation (@damphoux)
  205. Attend a tweetup (@damphoux)
  206. Create a simple slideshare presentation and make every marketing and sales member of your team loads it into their LinkedIn profiles. Stagger them so they continually go live (@damphoux)
  207. Favorite, Like, Retweet people promoting your offering (@damphoux)
  208. Build a twitter “List” (@damphoux)
  209. If you see business cards lying on a sales rep’s desk, get them entered into a spreadsheet/CSV for free (@damphoux)
  210. Never try to do a list over 10 by yourself (especially 210)

Thanks, @scottalbro, @cjablonski, @tlotl, @mschmier, @damphoux.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Happy Holidays: 7 Gifts for the Stocking from the Funnelholic

Economy be damned, I’m in the Holiday spirit. I thought I would share my Christmas list for b2b sales and marketing around the world.

Here is what I hope b2b marketers find in their stocking:

  1. A lead-nurturing system and process: The marketer’s Nintendo. Next year you gotta nurture, you’re SOL next year if you don’t . You can have Santa stuff an Eloqua or Marketo in your stocking or you can outsource it.  Either way, gotta do it.  If you already have it and are using it, Christmas came early.
  2. An aggressive marketing plan: Santa doesn’t give you this, the CMO and Exec Board does. Hiding will lead to failure. Yes, you have to market smarter next year, but that doesn’t mean not market at all. Pipeline doesn’t come out of the blue, it comes from you. I have seen two types of organizations:  1) those that want to cut budget and hide (you’re dead) and 2) those who know that next year more than ever, the organization needs them to serve pipeline for Christmas dinner. Note to self: Be number 2.
  3. Budget: See above, but Santa needs to give you some dollar bills.
  4. Your job: Not to be flip on something so negative, but let’s call it like it is. I don’t want to lose your job, lord knows lots of people are.
  5. Happy sales guys: Envision the sales team singing Christmas carols at your front door. Next year will be hell for sales team, so here’s to hoping you can help enough so they’ll recommend you for the “nice” list over the “naughty.”
  6. Pipeline: Well, isn’t that why we are all here?
  7. Closed Business: See above – we gotta keep the lights on folks.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Eating Nails for Breakfast: 2 Weeks with Sales and How It Made Me a Better Marketer

Tip of the day for marketers: Do “ride-alongs” with sales as you consider your marketing plans. I have spent the last two weeks heavily involved with our sales team, and I learned a ton. Getting feedback is helpful but watching the every-day pain a salesperson endures is eye-opening. If you really want to add value as a marketer, you have to  identify the “have-to-have’s” for your customers, the sales team. The best way to do it, is to see for yourself.

Follow the entire from lead to close.  Here is what I recommend:

  1. Watch and listen to lead conversion conversations and day-to-day lead follow-up “agony”: If you have a lead development team, sit with the good ones and watch them go through their paces. Listen to conversations, watch how they figure out who to call, watch what their screen looks like when they do call, watch them handle objections, listen to prospect reactions, and so on. It’s humbling – and so helpful it hurts. If you don’t have lead dev, sit with one of your sales reps as he or  she goes through their day.
  2. Sit in on a couple value prop presentations: If you can watch this face-to-face, you can see the prospects’ reactions. Go again with only your best reps and see how they’ve probably altered your message and preso based on what they feel works or doesn’t.  You can see what’s really effective on the street and what they care about.
  3. Sit in on executive meetings: The decision maker/executive messaging is so critical to sales getting the deal done. Watching and listening to this interaction is beyond instructive. Even the questions they ask alone will tell you a lot about how to message and what sales tools are essential to success.
  4. Talk to some customers: You can use a market research firm for this to get bigger feedback numbers, but you should at minimum talk to a couple yourself. Find out why they bought, what their impressions were of competitors, and so on.
  5. Talk to some sales you lost: Sales guys never give these up, but this could possibly be the most helpful of all. Why did we lose the deal? Followed by, what can I do in marketing to make it better.

The ride-along will help you do your job better and, as a result, help you provide real value to the company’s bottom line.  So eat some nails with the sales team and your marketing plans will get applause not boos.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Making It Work in 2009: 6 Quotes from Martin Scorcese Put Things in Perspective

One of the young guys I work with asked me the other day how I come up with blog posts.  The truth is, they typically come to me throughout the day regardless of whether I am working with clients or at home watching television.  An idea will pop in my head, and I realize I can blog about that.  Conversely, when these epiphanies don’t pop in my head, I am completely screwed.

Here is what you need to know, I am wholly focused on helping marketers improve what they do in general and put the strategies and processes in place to make it through the economic storm that is in full swing.  The other thing you need to know, is that I want to be irreverent and fun in the process.  So, I was sitting there watching “Good Fellas” this weekend (for the 20th time), and a couple lines stuck out to me as bloggable.  I decided that I should take a whack at some Martin Scorcese lines in my next blog post.  Now, here we are.

1. “Every man … every man has to go through hell to reach paradise.” — Max Cady (“Cape Fear”)

I had to start with this one. Who knew that Scorcese’s psychopathic killer in the horror movie “Cape Fear” would make the list.  The quote just resonated with the times that we face today.

I wonder if there is a silver lining to the world’s current chaos. Nothing forces people to improve than adversity.  In good times, efficiencies are just good ideas.  In bad times, they become necessities.  For one, this applies to anyone in marketing. All the things on your list must get done: Marketing automation, ROI tracking, quality control, effectiveness, and payback in all your marketing activities. Now more than ever, marketing departments need to eliminate waste and become efficient, optimized machines. Doug Pepper from Interwest told me two years ago: “We believe marketing is the last place in the organization where there is opportunity to optimize their processes,”  He’s right, and now the pain is more acute than ever.

Your marketing should reflect this ideology as well.  No matter what  you are selling, you and your organization are trying to help companies and people make it out of the downturn.  Don’t talk. Make your processes better to win when every one else is losing.  Those fun little features aren’t interesting anymore.  We need companies to understand in times of extreme pain, it’s time to change, and my solution is the way you get there.

2. “I got some bad ideas in my head.” — Travis Bickle (“Taxi Driver”)

Direct mail with little return, “sexy” campaigns built with your ad agency that look good but bring no return, physical trade shows, tchotchkes… These are bad ideas.  These are antiquated marketing vehicles that marketers did so that they could show their boss something tangible, but now the boss wants tangible results.  Cut the “cute.”

By the way, this does not mean you shouldn’t try no ideas, but just keep in mind, that these should be focused on results not the overall sizzle factor.

3.  “In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and to keep them coming back. The longer they play, the more they lose, and in the end, we get it all.” — Ace Rothstein (“Casino”)

Great quote, something I wish I would remember at 2 in the morning in Vegas when I am even or up.  This quote conjures up one thing: lead nurturing.  I am a broken record on this one, but I can’t get over the  idea that 80 percent of leads deemed unqualified end up buying anyway.  In 2009, we have to stay in our prospect’s faces.  Budgets will open up and when they do, you need to be there.  And you need to make sure you are fighting for the few budgets that are left.  The case for lead nurturing is strong. Take it from Ace: you’re job is to keep them in the casino.

4.    “You put my money to sleep, I’ll put you to sleep.” – Nicky Santoro (“Casino”)

Marketing in 2009 is going to about real cost-savings and real return on investment.  No one will buy anything next year because they want it, it will be because they need it.  The way you achieve that is developing real stories with real numbers about how your solution will either save them money or make them  money.  And here is the challenge: they don’t believe you anymore.  Terms like ROI, cost-effective, and so on that have been part of your marketing and value prop for years are old news.  The trick is to market real stories of real cost savings with real people.  Studies show that more and more buyers turn to their peers when deciding on a solution.  What this means is  get real customer stories with numbers they can understand and show them how spending money with you makes them money in the long run.  Simply put: you lose if you don’t.

5.   “ … the guy’s gotta come up with Paulie’s money every week no matter what. Business bad? F**k you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? F**k you, pay me. Place got hit by lightning huh? F**k you, pay me.” —  Henry Hill (“Good Fellas”)

Sorry for the profanity, but here is the message to marketers:  this is how sales guys look at the world.  The way sales is measured is so much easier to quantify than almost anywhere else in the organization, “F**k you, pay me.”  Welcome to their world people. ROI is the name of the game here.  If you have read my stuff before, you know that I believe that marketing ROI should be judged by opportunities and pipeline created.  That being said, you have to actually achieve these goals.  Do not spend money on anything that does not pay out … and remember, no excuse will work, management wants to get paid.

6. “Lennon said, ‘I’m an artist. You give me a f**king tuba, I’ll get you something out of it.’   The point I’m making with John Lennon is – a man could look at anything, and make something out of it. For instance, I look at you and I think ‘what could I use you for?’ ” – Frank Costello (“The Departed”)

I will follow this up with Donald Rumsfield: “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want.”  As an ex-consultant and third-party “listener” to what’s going in marketing, all I hear are complaints about the constraints on their job: “product sucks, sales sucks, I have a small budget, I need resources to get it done.”  None of this will help you in 2009.  You have what you have and you need make the most out of it.  You are marketers, you should be able to take the product and “make something out of it.” Your job is to to sell ice to Eskimos.  That’s right, we used to say that only about sales, but that falls on the marketer too.

So there you have it, Martin Scorcese’s marketing tips.  And I had fun writing it …

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Sales Is Still from Mars and Marketing Is Still from Venus

“Sales is from Mars and Marketing is from Venus” has been used on a number of occasions when describing the gap between sales and marketing.  The marketing automation, lead generation, and lead nurturing industry and their gurus have spent the past two years talking about “sales alignment” and how we can bridge the gap between the two sides.  Obviously I am one of those people.  I have sat in both seats and have felt both side’s pain.  And I do believe marketers have made big strides. There is so much information (including from me) on how we can fix this divide that I truly believe we are in a better place than we have been in the past.

On the other hand, there is one thing you can’t solve: the fact that you can align all you want, but sales is still born and raised on Venus, and marketing is born and raised on Mars.  You are different people and your relationship will always have its ups and downs (and in some cases, all downs).  So I decided to have some fun and help everyone understand each other’s differences:

*My buddy at HP was telling me how a sales optimization consultancy had done a study where the best sales guys got Cs in school.  The rationale being that school is NOT good training for sales guys whose key skill is convincing people verbally and school is better-suited for reading and writing.  Technically a C average is a 2.0, but I couldn’t do that.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

3 Changes Marketers Must Make to Survive in This Post-Apocalyptic World

The economy is the pits, and things are looking to get worse.  I can’t get up on my pedestal and convince everyone why, but I can say that when every investment bank on the street falls on its face, we have a problem. And these aren’t small players, by the way. These are institutions.

We can’t play dumb, we have to be proactive. What’s incredible is the forthcoming list is not much different than my previous posts. They’re just more vital, and if you haven’t considered these already, get with the program now.

The Funnelholic list:

  1. Retarget: I am already hearing around The Valley that companies are making big changes in “who” they are trying to sell to. Companies whose revenues were tied to selling things to Wall Street and financial powerhouses have new targets in their sights.  Evaluate your market, because things are about to change.
  2. Remessage from “nice to have” to “have to have”: In an earlier post, I commented on the difference between selling steroids (the nice-to-haves) vs. pain-killers (the have-to-haves). During the recession, you have to solve problems. Forget about trotting out exciting new technologies. The term “ROI” is losing its allure as a selling point. You have to dig deeper. Figure out what the real pain points are and be the pain killer.
  3. Redefine: The qualified-lead definition will have to change.  I remember in ’01, the sales guys were still saying: “I only want budgeted projects with decision makers,” yet there were no budgets and  decision makers were all getting fired.  Recessions mean it’s time to evangelize and SELL.  The first reaction from buyers is to tighten those purse strings. You need the magic touch to open them.  Selling becomes harder.  One of our clients who sells to SMBs is telling me what used to take 1 guy and 3 phone calls to make a deal, is now taking 3 guys and 10 to 15 phone calls to sell.   Open up the lead definition to let more people in.

I only have one thing to say: “It’s on.” Your life is about to become exponentially harder. Retrench so you’re ready for the Brave New World.