Sales and Marketing

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Interesting (and Some Surprising) Marketing Data
I love real data derived from statistically-significant research from real business owners...On marketing in general...60% of business executives lack confidence in their marketing decisions and list it as the biggest reason for their lack of growthOnly 30% of mid-sized companies feel they are...
 
 
How Do You Market An Innovation That Promises to Make You Invisible?
It's been a long time since I was an active deer hunter, but I love innovation and when I first heard about Deerblind, I was impressed based on the science of what they had created.  Their elevator pitch goes something like this:Deerblind is a new patent-pending camouflage pattern...
 
 
Mastering the Sales Pipeline for Maximum Sales Success
I recently received an email from a couple of young entrepreneurs that I am mentoring that were a bit downcast.  They had given their best pitch to a prospective client, but it fell flat and they did not get the business. Here are a few tips that I shared with them on how to think of the...
 
 
Guest Blog: How to Build Your Brand Through Effective Marketing
Brand Building or Brand Marketing is a popular form of traditional marketing that small business owners often attempt to employ. The only problem with this type of marketing is that it is not effective - at least not for the small business owner. Do you remember saying or hearing one of your...
 
 
Why Are Websites So Confusing?
This is what happens when a company's focus is on their internal view of the world and maximizing their sales and profits rather than focusing on the customer's external view and maximizing the customer experience... Do you sometimes get the feeling that Internet portals, search pages, social...
 
 
Avoid Market Confusion with New Product Launches
The recent Netbook (see definition below) launch is a case in point of poor alignment between what consumer's want, what they thought they bought and what they actually got.  It stems from core marketing issues of the lack of i) proper market research, ii) proper product positioning...
 
 
How Marketers Should Plan for Recovery
In case the downturn is getting you down, don't forget to plan for the recovery and your emergence on the other side of this current mess with the positioning and strength to thrive.  Will you have cut too deep?  Will you be ideally positioned to take advantage of the reshaped market...
 
 
Don't Get Too Personal With Customers
I wanted a haircut, not a relationship.  But the lady at the Great Clips counter stood her ground behind the cash register terminal with her hands frozen on the keyboard, demanding my name, address and phone number so she could enter it into their system to "form a relationship with me to...
 
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How Would Walt Disney Market in 2009?
Even though Walt Disney was not a believer and even though his productions were not glorifying to God in their storylines, we can still learn much from his business genius, after all, Jesus did tell us to learn from the children of the world, but apply it to our Godly endeavors in his parable of...
 
 
All About Royalty Agreements
I have been getting more and more questions about royalty agreements: what they are, how they work, how to negotiate them, etc. This is a typical question I got just the other day: We are beginning negotiations for a royalty/license agreement. What is the customary way to value what we...
 
 
The Unique Selling Proposition
This is a good article that defines the unique selling proposition and provides tips for how to create one for your product or service... Although I've harped on this before, I continually get marketing campaigns submitted to me for critique that contain zero benefits or reasons why a customer...
 
 
How to Market in a Recession
As the market melts down, companies will often second guess their marketing investments and wrestle with what a proper strategy should look like during troubled times.  Harvard Business School marketing professor John Quelch has these recommendations: for how to market in a recession:...
 
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Price Is Not the Problem
Given the current market conditions, it is entirely understandable why a small company might question its pricing strategy and consider lowering prices in attempts to maintain their sales volume and keep pace with a lower overall market.  The article below explains why pricing is not the...
 
 
7 Steps to Successful Cold-Calling
Any sales and marketing professional will tell you that cold-calling (calling up a customer prospect that does not know you or your business) is usually an important part of any sales and marketing strategy.  But it is typically the activity that sales professionals try to avoid like the plague...
 
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Customer Segmentation: Find Your Sweet Spot
Every entrepreneur needs to know his customers and segment them to better understand their behavior, why they buy and how to get more customers like them.  For a quick and easy definition on customer segmentation, look here.  For more advanced marketers, the following article lays out...
 
 
Seven Tips for Managing Price Increases
A key part of any sales and marketing strategy is the decision about how to price your product or service.  The more your product or service is a "commodity" and readily fungible or substituted by other products or services, the more you need to price at the prevailing market or at most at...
 
 
Overcoming Customer Objections
Having a prospective customer say "no" or voice an objection is a walk in the park for the seasoned sales professionals, it feels like a slow pitch to be knocked out of the park.  But that same objection to a sales novice will often cause the novice to pack up and scramble out of the...
 
 
Making Audiences More Receptive to Your Message
Entrepreneurs are constantly selling, marketing and presenting - it's the nature of what we need to be about as we seek to provide products and services that meet real needs.  Whether or not you are an expert at these skills, this article offers some excellent tips on not only connecting...
 
 
Low-Cost Marketing Via Blogs
Public relations is one of the cheapest forms of marketing (click here for more on different types of marketing) and with the explosion of blogs, creating low-cost PR-like marketing has never been easier.  Blogging is also a great way to build customer community as well.  This...
 
 
Know Your Customers or Risk Losing Them
Landing a new customer is usually five times as expensive as retaining or up-selling an existing customer.  Customer retention is key in my property management business where our customer relationships are contractual, recurring revenue types of relationships.  The average contract losses...
 
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Marketing Malpractice: The Cause and the Cure
I talk to many would-be entrepreneurs that think they have a killer idea, but in most cases they have not adequately field-tested the need for their product or service.  Understanding a customer's need and then helping the customer fill that need is the basic goal for any new product...
 
 
Six Negotiating Pitfalls to Avoid
One of the most memorable classes at Harvard Business School was in a negotiation class where two teams were involved in a negotiating exercise in front of the entire class.  Those of us that were watching had been handed out a brief that outlined what each side wanted.  Both...
 
 
The Most Important 30 Seconds of Any Sale
We've written before on the importance of an elevator pitch - that all important, fact-filled summarized statement of your product or service value proposition.  This article raises a few more points about the elevator pitch and an example of how it can be used effectively. The most...
 
 
How Can Start Ups Grow?
If you are trying to bullet-proof your business to insure that you don't fall prey to the statistics that reveal a 90% failure rate, this interview with Harvard Business School professor Mukti Khaire is an interesting read.   Professor Khaire's research shows that new ventures that...
 
 
The Problem with Multilevel Marketing
Periodically, I will get questions about multilevel marketing (MLM) and whether or not I recommend it as a business opportunity. For those of you that are unfamiliar with that term, other terms for this type of sales and marketing include network marketing and pyramid marketing -- think...
 
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Q&A

Good Case Studies For Product Managers At Startups?
What are some good Harvard Business School cases for product managers at startups? ...
 
 
How to Grow a Home Inspection Business
I’ve transitioned from being a licensed general and electrical contractor to a certified home inspector. While at first, I sought business from everybody and anybody, I am now trying to position myself as the inspector of choice with a focused group of successful realtors. Finances are...
 
 
Need Sales and Marketing Resources for New Insurance Business
Thank you for all of the resources on sales and marketing that you offer.  I am planning on becoming an independent insurance agent for a large insurance company.  Will the resources from New Venture Lab and Venture Academy help me get leads and will that be my...
 
 
Growth Strategy for a Veterinary Practice
When it comes to growth strategies, what advice do you give to medical professionals (I am a veterinarian) who tend to not only be the "CEO" but also the main revenue generator?   It seems that my business structure is more of a diamond shape, if you will, with myself being the top and...
 
 
Connecting with NVL Members
I have a service that I would like to alert NVL members about.  What is the best way to do that? ...
 
 
Trying to Create a New Brand of Personal Care Products
I have developed several formulations for natural personal care products from skin creams to toothpastes and balms, etc.  I have a relationship with one contract manufacturer that can produce some of the products and I’ve been working with two large consumer packaged goods companies in hopes...
 
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How to Buy an Email List
We are trying to grow our customer base and we would like to buy email lists.  Do you have any good sources that you recommend?...
 
 
Limiting Prospects Based Upon Lifestyle
I am a financial advisor and I recently met two "men" at the airport who turned out to be living together in a gay lifestyle.  I started a conversation with them and we ended up talking for several hours both in the terminal and on the flight.  The topic of our conversation was primarily...
 
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Leveraging Your Relationships Into a Finder's Fee
For the last few months, I’ve been working with a patent holder to commercialize his product on a local basis.  I also happen to own a company in the same industry and plan on distributing the product to my customers.  Recently, he asked me to introduce the product to a national...
 
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Sales Pipeline Management
I've picked up from some of your materials and blog posts that sales pipeline management is a big deal.  What exactly is sales pipeline management?  Please explain......
 
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How To Get Sales and Marketing Experience
It is quite apparent to me from reading through your site and listening to your presentations, that sales and marketing skills are essential for an entrepreneur.  I am a young man without any experience in sales and marketing and I am curious what you might suggest for someone in my...
 
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Measuring the Value of Advertising
I have a six person service company and would like to know your estimation of the value of advertising, especially yellow page and radio....
 
 
Customer Segments
How do I define my customer segments?...
 
 
Effective Marketing
What are the most cost effective methods of marketing?...
 
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Marketing Budget
How much should I budget for marketing?...
 
 
Definition of Differentiation
What is meant by the term "differentiation"?...
 
 
Customer Elevator Pitch
What is an "elevator pitch" and what do I need one for?...
 
 
Important Elements of a Sales Process
What are the important elements of my company's sales and marketing process that I should think about? ...
 
 
Entrepreneur's Selling Skills
How important is it that an entrepreneur is skilled at selling?...
 
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Personality and Sales
To what degree does a person's personality limit his being a skilled salesman?...
 
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Necessary Sales Skills
What skills are essential to becoming a good salesman?...
 
 
Answering Objections
How does a salesman skillfully respond to objections?...
 
 
Marketing Strategy for Land Development Services
I recently launched a company that provides services to local land developers and builders.  What kind of marketing or advertising do you recommend for me to build my business? ...
 
 
Feast or Famine on Sales
I find myself really struggling right now to maintain an even level of sales.  My work seems to come in chunks and by the time I'm finishing up, I have to jump back into sales mode and it always takes me a month or two to rebuild enough momentum to bring in more sales.  I'm not sure if...
 
 

Links

Recommended CRM or Sales Force Automation Software
 

Quotes

Walking the Talk
When the reputation of a company is more positive than its underlying reality, this gap poses a substantial risk - Robert Eccles, reputational risk consultant ...
 
 
Brand Experience Matters to Consumers More Than Loyalty Clubs
Some 52% of people in a survey said their memberships in loyalty clubs (from credit cards, banks, and other companies) influence their buying decisions; but 54% said they'd give up their memberships if they had a negative product or service experience with a brand, according to the Chief Marketing...
 
 
What Types of Ads Actually Work vs. Those That Do Not
Over one-third of Americans (37%) say that television ads are most helpful in making their purchase decision while 17% say newspaper ads are most helpful and 14% say the same about Internet search engine ads. Radio ads (3%) and Internet banner ads (1%) are not considered helpful by many people....
 
 
How US Consumer Spending is Changing
After two decades of unsustainably high spending, US consumers are suddenly behaving pretty much as they have in the past. US consumers have responded to the global economic crisis by curtailing their expenditures, paying down debt, and saving more—all logical responses to a recession. Yet most...
 
 
How People Make Purchase Decisions: An Update
Despite the ascendancy of social media, customers still prepare for purchase decisions using a combination of old media, new media, and old-fashioned conversations with friends and family. According to a March 2009 survey by Harris Interactive, the most common methods of gathering information prior...
 
 
Lee Iacocca on Marketing
When the product is right, you don't have to be a great marketer. - Lee Iacocca, American businessman and author; former CEO of Chrysler...
 
 
Proverbs 20:14
It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth. (KJV)...
 
 
Scott Cook on Customer Focus
Be dramatically willing to focus on the customer at all costs, even at the cost of obsoleting your own stuff. - Scott Cook, founder of Quicken and Intuit...
 
 
Leo Burnett on Advertising
Advertising is the ability to sense, interpret... to put the very heart throbs of a business into type, paper and ink. Advertising says to people, "Here's what we've got. Here's what it will do for you. Here's how to get it." Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it...
 
 
Mary Kay Ash on Sales
Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ''Make me feel important.'' Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life. - Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics...
 
 
W. Clement Stone on Sales
Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect. - W. Clement Stone, prominent businessman, philanthropist and self-help book author...
 
 
Zig Ziglar on Sales
"Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust." "The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity." "You can't hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have." "An optimist is someone who goes after...
 
 
Jeff Bezos on Sales
If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful. - Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com...
 
 
Donald Trump on Sales
People get caught up in wonderful, eye-catching pitches, but they don't do enough to close the deal. It's no good if you don't make the sale. Even if your foot is in the door or you bring someone into a conference room, you don't win the deal unless you actually get them to sign on the dotted line....
 
 
Howard Schultz on Marketing
Customers don't always know what they want. The decline in coffee-drinking was due to the fact that most of the coffee people bought was stale and they weren't enjoying it. Once they tasted ours and experienced what we call "the third place".. a gathering place between home and work where they were...
 
 
John D. Rockefeller on Marketing
Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing. - John D. Rockefeller, famous American industrialist, philanthropist and founder of Standard Oil Company...
 
 


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