As we wind down the year and look to turning a new leaf, it is time to recognize those who are working to improve the world of B2B selling and marketing – thanking them for what they do and encouraging you to reach out to learn and grow in the coming year. Developing professionally by expanding your knowledge is one of the best ways to grow market share. Please create a plan for your professional development in 2012. Keep these folks on your radar to do that:
Guy Kawasaki – you are enchanting. Alltop is THE place to find great blogs on any topic and get a preview before you click. Plus, like us, you love hockey.
Jill Konrath – you keep us thinking, and you write in a way that people “get it” – thanks for setting the bar high, for your focus, and for being a mentor to many of us in the selling profession
Jonathan Farrington – you are blazing a trail in sales and marketing leadership and have taught me how to rally the troops when you want to get something accomplished. I’m thrilled to be connected with Top Sales World.
Hubspot – you walk your talk in content creation and offer us amazing lessons in pull versus push.
Special Hubspot recognition – Dan Zarella – you work is amazing. Thanks for all the contribution of marketing data into the business world.
Gerhard, Lisa, Larissa and all at Selling Power and the Sales 2.0 Conferences – what great ideas you’ve brought to the B2B world.
The team at RainToday – you put out incredible stuff. Hope to meet you all in 2012.
Great sales and marketing aggregator sites like Focus Top Sales World Smart Selling Tools The Customer Collective Salesopedia Eyes on Sales.
Cheerleaders for getting endorsements on your website: the Testimonial Director team. Chris and Colleen – love what you do.
New “magazine” approach (love this) of SoldLab also the G&B Magazine new digital magazines for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Nice stuff.
IBM – one word, Watson. How cool is he/it? Also to the trailblazers within EMC, HP, and other technology companies working to stay on top of business and grow it.
Marc Benioff – founder and creator of Salesforce.com, you get our attention, and then you create amazing new products and services
Mari Smith – Your journey to prominence has been graceful and powerful. Continued success.
All my Sales Shebang peeps including @jillkonrath @ardath421 @cfrancisvoice @goforno @sharpenz @annekeseley @annemillerny @eisellingpros @danitabye @debbiemrazek @jeanettenyden @referralsales @kellymccormick_ @kendraleelka @upyourtelesales @sellingtools @bridgegroupinc @josianefeigon @salesdiva
Twitter, Facebook for business, and LinkedIn – all B2B companies need to be using you in 2012.
Twitter at least for research and for listening. Facebook for a business page since everyone is there already, and LinkedIn to use deeper and broader than most B2B companies now use it.
My colleagues in B2B sales training, coaching, speaking, and writing – more about you soon. Special note to friend and colleague Miles Austin of Fill the Funnel, Craig Rosenberg of Funnelholic (with new baby this year!), also Trish Bertuzzi (and Matt) at The Bridge Group and the consistent, helpful sales blogging of Anthony Iannarino.
We’re more proud of our blog at Score More Sales and our business Facebook page than ever and are committed to great valuable content for you every business day of 2012. May I better absorb and learn about Google+, Quora, and other tools I feel we should understand.
Post the sites we missed as “comments” – I promise it was not intentional – there is so much good stuff out there!
Call us if you need help with B2B sales prospecting, bringing B2B sales opportunities to closure, or getting your team fired up for 2012 – we travel throughout North America – and beyond, when invited.
We talk to entrepreneurs every day who want to turn their ideas, products, and services into dollars but struggle with selling. One reason we find struggle is because most small business owners have little or no background in sales. In fact, some people can’t even use the word “sales” because of the negative stuff it conjures up in their minds.
We love sales – it is the culmination of combining great branding and marketing – clearly getting YOUR message of differentiation and value out to the world – and then asking companies and individuals who really would benefit – to work with you. Unless you are an amazing writer and content creator to draw tens of thousands of potential prospective customers to your website, you will need to know how to reach out and grow your business.
Even with great content creation, there comes a time when you need to further connect by phone, or through well-crafted emails to move these opportunities forward.
So, we bring to you the idea of having a sales contest – whether you are a company of one, or a sales rep in a Fortune 500 corporation. How do you do this?
Set your own game plan – choose something that will motivate and inspire you – and think BIG. A trip to Spain, Caribbean cruise, or a piece of property for that vacation home. Then create some activity goals, such as talking directly to a dozen of your strategic partners with next actions for each, or to find 50 more “probable” prospective We are serious about this, for a couple of reasons -
1. It will help you focus on activities that lead to more revenue
2. It will help you find the low hanging fruit – or quicker opportunities sooner
3. It will help you build the pipeline of sales opportunities, because you need more opportunities than you may think. Not all of your more “probable” prospective customers are ready to buy, and to work with buyers and their buying process, you need a lot of opportunities.
You can set a number of smaller goals – a new smart phone or iPad or something that will actually help you grow business. Also, you can team up with someone who shares your drive and enthusiasm to build revenues as an accountability partner for this project.
Have you set a goal to bring some of your business to closure? Post in the notes what you did, or what you plan to do if this in any way inspires you to take action.
Our revised 50 Days to Build Your Sales is available soon! Get inspired and take action!
How well do you know others who sell in your niche, your space, your target market? What if you thought of your “competitors” not as such, but rather as “industry counterparts”. Do other companies and professionals do EXACTLY what you do? I doubt it – in most cases, YOU are the differentiator and your business is different because of your background (and those who work with you).
I get the chance each year to spend time with amazing women in selling – sales strategists, top keynote speakers, authors and consultants in sales effectiveness and sales enablement. It is called, Sales Shebang, and is put on by best-selling sales author Jill Konrath. Konrath’s thinking is that since around half of sales people are women, why not have more sales strategists, trainers, and conference speakers also be women – as successful role models and as a voice different than the “old guard” or the “old boys network”? As Jill’s star rises, she welcomes the opportunity to let other amazing womens’ stars also shine. I find it totally refreshing and amazing.
When a conference organizer says that there really aren’t as many visible women in selling, Konrath suggests they just haven’t had their 5 minutes of fame yet – and often will suggest two or three others, in addition to herself, who could speak on a panel or in a breakout session on selling.
So what do my peers do when we all get together? Hide our best stuff, and keep distant from others? Nope – we share million dollar ideas. Openly. Can you do that in your industry? What if you could?
Think how powerful collaboration is over competition (that’s one of the tenets of business networking platform Biznik.) The idea is that, as a small business owner and entrepreneur, you don’t have time to re-create and re-create things that have been done over and over by others. Learn from other people’s mistakes – and gain ground.
They do this in the small college town of Bellingham, WA – north of Seattle. Web Designers Unite is where local web professionals share ideas and leverage each other to do bigger work – in a SMALL town! I wonder why we don’t see more collaboration like this in New York or San Francisco or Chicago?
What could YOU do if your “industry counterparts” helped you win and grow? What is stopping you from organizing your own group or event? Post if you have done this or are doing it – we’ll share your stories, and it helps other biz owners think bigger.
Are you a little wobbly with your social media strategy? Do you feel like you got it, so you start going faster, then you fall down on your rear? You get back up, and fall down again every so often? That is the life of a toddler, my friends – and it is also what happens when we adults do new things.
It can be frustrating. Sitting with a dozen small business owners yesterday, it is clear that everyone is at different levels and on top of that, we all have different temperaments as well as skill sets. The business owner just now getting into her first social media experience – but has years of writing background is most likely to do better than the biz owner with very little writing background.
Another will have a short attention span or worse, little patience to try something new. One will be very open and excited by this new world of tools and will go gangbusters – learning all that she can, and thrilled to be building business.
Out of a room of 12 business owners – how many will really get it? How many will run like a toddler then fall and get back up a few times? It is a lot easier when we are 13 or 14 months old to have the will to perfect walking and running.
In the small community where this class is held, there are some small business mega-success stories with social media. One company – Logos Software, now the largest developer of Bible software, made $300,000 in ONE weekend due to their social media word-of-mouth marketing.
Another business rock star, Anne-Marie Faiola, founder of Brambleberry (a soap-making supply company) and SoapQueen.TV just won the US Small Business Administration’s Washington State Business Person of the Year award, and knowing her, she may win for the whole U.S.
This post is not about tools but rather about attitude. Just like my little buddy in the photo, those building new skills and learning new concepts need to be aware that there will be falls. There will be joy, and perhaps some low moments. Instead of crying, like our toddler would do – or stomping his feet – we can be open minded and ready to learn.
What is your area of frustration when it comes to social media? Many business owners and sales professionals tell me that they don’t have any more time to spare for social. If it meant more dollars in your pocket, would you be able to make time for it? I have seen too many successful social media revenue projects to know that it is worth your time to invest. Just next time you get frustrated, don’t stomp your feet or throw a tantrum – be OPEN to how these tools can actually propel your business forward.
Post your thoughts – it makes for great discussion. What is your biggest frustration with social media currently? What has been your biggest breakthrough or realization?