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Mike Gospe: "Shortening the Sales Cycle with Persona-driven Marketing"

Your marketing team may be lengthening the sales cycle and not even know it. We are victims of our own desire to sell to anyone and everyone. Collectively speaking, in our race to help sales make quarterly numbers, marketing teams fall into the trap of casting as wide a net as possible for fear of leaving out a potential audience segment. Unfortunately, this approach of broad inclusiveness leads to a mish-mash of messaging and an ineffective marketing campaign that actually extends the sales cycle. Here are 3 practical steps marketers are taking today to hone their go-to-market strategies and shorten the sales cycle. More...

Mary Gospe: "SEO Makeover: Top 10 Search Engine Optimization "Must Dos"

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of designing and maintaining websites so that they appear high in Search Engine Results Page (SERP) listings organically, that is, not via paid search ads. The goal is for the site to be found when people are researching the products and/or services you offer-the ultimate in "pull" marketing-by providing relevant content (often referred to as keyword-rich content) throughout the site. SEO takes into account site content, structure and in-bound links. More...

Mike Gospe: "Worth Talking About: Assessing Operational Focus & Alignment"

As the summer winds down, it's common to find executive teams reviewing and assessing their corporate and departmental objectives and goals as they plan for Q4 and next year. The biggest challenges these teams face may not actually be related to the business, per se. Instead, it's in their ability to carve out quality time to gather the team to conduct a thorough assessment and come away with meaningful, relevant, and agreed upon priorities. More...

Mike Gospe: "What came first, the CAB or the executive relationship?"

In recent months I've been surprised to hear of companies choosing to forego a Customer Advisory Board (CAB) program because they don't have a relationship with the key executives they want to invite. Obviously, CABs work exceptionally well when those key executive-to-executive relationships are already in place. More...

Mike Gospe: "Mechanics of a Lead Generation Blueprint"

One thing is for sure: no two marketing blueprints are exactly alike. This is because each blueprint is guided by a company's over-arching marketing objectives, target audience priorities, key messaging, availability of relevant offers, and of course, timing. This is why when it comes to marketing blueprints, be cautious of anyone who promotes a "one size fits all" approach to lead generation. More...

Mary Gospe: "Sales Playbooks: It's a Whole New Ball Game"

In my recent article entitled "What is Sales 2.0?", I touched on some of the new Web 2.0 applications that are helping take enterprise selling to a new level. These applications include online tools for prospecting, account intelligence and sales operations. And now a common selling tool - the sales playbook - is being transformed by Web 2.0 technology. More...

Mike Gospe: "Marketing Blueprints in Action: How to Build an Awareness/Thought Leadership Blueprint"

One of the most common types of marketing programs is the "awareness & thought leadership" program. This specific program has the objective of focusing the company on the business and solutions topics target audiences cares about. Instead of immediately diving down to the feature-rich technical jargon, this program positions the vendor as a business partner, and thus allows for a consultative approach in dialoguing with customers and prospects. More...

Mary Gospe: "What is Sales 2.0?"

There's lots of buzz these days about Sales 2.0. Articles and blogs on the topic are posted daily; webcasts and videos are prevalent and even books are hitting the shelves. In this article I'll offer definitions and examples that will help answer the question "what is Sales 2.0?" More...

Mike Gospe: "7 Keys to Improving Your 2009 User Conference"

Planning your 2009 user conference? You're not alone. If your conference is in the spring, the next couple of months will be critical for fine-tuning the conference strategy, aligning the event within the overall integrated marketing plan, and nailing down the agenda. More...

Janet Gregory: "Be Careful with That Ax: Strategies for Reshaping Expenses and Staffing"

The economy is unstable. The economic outlook is soft. The prudent thing to do in business planning for 2009 is to reduce expenses. Which programs get cut? Where should staff be reduced? What perks or benefits get cut back? There is a method to this madness. More...

Mike Gospe: "Marketing into the Storm: How and why the financial crisis will turn you into a better marketer"

The financial crisis will have a detrimental impact on our marketing and sales budgets in 2009. In this crisis, marketing leaders need to re-invent marketing not just as a functional discipline, but as the business fiber that connects prospects to companies like never before. More...

Mary Gospe: "Boosting Email Campaign Effectiveness: Tips for improving Deliverability and Response Rates (Part I)"

Email continues to be a popular and effective marketing medium. The DMA reported in its 2007 Response Rate Trends Report that "email produced the highest absolute response rates for those whose primary objective was to generate leads." Although it is relatively easy to launch an email program, doing it well takes some planning. More...

Mary Gospe: "Boosting Email Campaign Effectiveness: Tips for improving Deliverability and Response Rates (Part II)"

To improve deliverability and response rates, successful marketers are segmenting their audience and delivering messages and offers that are relevant and personalized. Personalization can occur not just in the greeting, as in "Dear Mary" but by providing content that reflects a recipient's interests, website behavior and buying history. More...

Mike Gospe: "Lead Generation Blueprints in 30 Minutes: How one Company quadrupled their Marketing ROI"

Not long ago one of my clients asked me to take on the role of an interim director of field marketing. This mid-sized Internet security company enjoys a solid customer base and a number of rich product offerings. But, with fierce competition and a lengthy sales process, the ability to produce well-qualified leads in a timely fashion has been difficult. More...

Mike Gospe: "How Sun Re-invented the Marketing Campaign"

Good marketing can be equated to playing chess. Chess grandmasters are winners because they have been trained to think several moves ahead. And in this planning they are able to react to their opponents' moves with skill and finesse. They study the situation, making note of possible moves and then follow-on moves. They anticipate reactions, and then act accordingly. This very same approach is what Sun embraced in 1997 to reinvent its approach to marketing. More...

Anne Bakstad: "What is Process Mapping and How Does it Help You Launch Successful Products?"

Successful companies everywhere use process mapping to both develop and improve processes. The tool technique can be used for discrete sub-processes like reengineering an accounts payable or other backend business process. Or, it can be used to develop new, comprehensive processes like building the full quote to cash process to support the launch of a new product or a new line of business. More...

Anne Bakstad: "Product Launch Readiness: Ten Common Pitfalls to Avoid"

In addition to all the externally focused activities required to ensure a successful product launch - marketing, advertising, PR - there are a number of activities that companies need to focus on internally. It is common to encounter numerous pitfalls when preparing to operationally support new products and services in the market. Being aware of the pitfalls and knowing how to avoid them has a huge impact on the success or failure of a new launch. More...

Mike Gospe: "Customer Advisory Board: Frequently Asked Questions"

Many companies, both large and small, are considering or are already running customer or partner advisory boards. These sessions can be very effective tools to gain feedback on strategic priorities and company direction while solidifying relationships with top customers. Here are a few answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about these forums. More...

Mike Gospe: "The Truth about Campaign Management: Recognizing a good integrated Marketing Campaign is easy, but working the Process takes Practice"

The single, basic truth about world-class campaign management is that it is easy to say, but hard to do. It is hard to do because to do it properly requires following a disciplined, systematic approach that becomes both a guide and a tool for helping a company make better marketing and sales investment decisions in order to optimize its performance. More...

Gary Katz: "Marketing Operations: A Three-Phase Self-Assessment to Determine If Your Marketing Organization Is Ready To Change Its M.O. Now"

Marketing Operations is an emerging discipline with the potential to significantly increase performance and accountability in complex marketing organizations. This article identifies those characteristics that signal your organization's readiness for M.O. and answers these questions: What does that organization look like? What are its primary pain points? What is its vision for the future? What pressures are driving it to consider undergoing substantial change? More...

Mary Gospe: "Boost Response Rates by 10 Times: Three Keys to successful one-to-one Marketing"

The problems of one-to-one marketing are being solved by personalized marketing. It used to be that these programs were plagued with logistical issues and high costs. Recent advances in digital printing technology, combined with more efficient database marketing systems and the Internet now make the delivery of personalized, relevant and targeted communication easier and more cost-effective than ever. More...

Gary Katz: "Marketing Operations: Solving Marketing's Seven Deadly Sins"

Busy corporate marketing groups can be so focused on tactics and fire fighting that they jeopardize their marketing investment. Some leading companies have embraced Marketing Operations to improve performance, measure ROI and run marketing with an operational focus. This article discusses how Marketing Operations tackles the seven deadliest marketing sins that plague companies of all sizes. More...

Mike Gospe: "Expect more out of meetings: Professional facilitators can keep your meetings focused and productive"

Running a successful meeting yourself isn't always as easy as it sounds, especially when you need to balance managing the meeting while actively participating in it. Partnering with a professional facilitator can help do both. More...

Allan Linden: "Speed up Marketing Initiatives with Digital Asset Management"

Your company's digital assets (those electronic files holding print ads, brochures, photos, etc.) represent a crucial component of its marketing success. But, are they scattered about? Hard to find, and share? New technology, Digital Asset Management, enables you to centralize and organize these electronic files for rapid retrieval and usage, reducing costs, increasing efficiency, and making your business more competitive than ever before. More...

Peter E. Cohan: "The Content-Free Buzzword-Compliant Vocabulary List"

“Our powerful software is flexible, intuitive, easy-to-use and integrates seamlessly with your other tools. Robust and scalable, your organization can enjoy the benefits of our best-of-breed world-class offering.” How many times have you read this in marketing materials for software? Does it provide you with any real information – or is it simply a string of meaningless buzzwords? More...

Peter E. Cohan: "Death by Corporate Overview"

We often hear the question, “How much of our company’s corporate overview presentation should we include in meetings?” Good question. The answer: as little as possible! More...

Mary Sullivan: "A Blog is a Two-Way Street: Benefits of Business Blogs"

Suddenly, business blogs are hot. Major publications are telling businesses, “Catch up, or catch you later” (BusinessWeek, May 2, 2005). Why should businesses use blogs when they’re already expending time, energy and budget on traditional media and Web content? Must you have a blog just to show you’re forward-thinking and cool? More...

Mary Gospe: "The Scoop about SEO: Seven Steps to Organic Search Engine Optimization"

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a strategy to understand and leverage how search engines like Google and Yahoo! rank results. The goal is for your website to be listed at the top of relevant search results so prospects investigate your offerings before those of your competitors. More...

Mike Gospe: "Do you know the "Voice" of your Customer?"

You can greatly improve your chances of succeeding in today's marketplace if you focus your efforts on addressing the business issues that face your key customers. Consequently, it is more important than ever that you know "the voice of your customer" and that you use this knowledge to create competitive solutions that deliver real business value. More...

Guy Smith: "Touching Brands: Your Brand is only as strong as your Toilet Paper"

From within the bowls of Starbucks, their branding guru had summarized the Starbucks brand into an extremely concise brand statement: A great coffee experience. This brand statement encompassed the Starbucks store design, bean selection, barista personalities . . . even their toilet paper. More...

Sridhar Ramanathan: "Sales and Marketing -- A Sibling Rivalry or Business Partnership?"

Sometimes sibling rivalry is a good thing. It can actually push kids to carve out their identities more distinctly and to perform better. The same is true in the business world. CEOs often encourage some healthy tension to push the organization to higher levels of performance. More...

Guy Smith: "Defeating Commoditization of Technology Products"

My client's face was stuck somewhere between horror, disbelief, and anger after I said "Over time, all products become commodities, including yours." Then again, most people take bad news poorly. More...

Sridhar Ramanathan: "The Bottom Line in Growing Top Line"

There's one immutable reality in sales. Sales is a veritable "funnel." The more you put in, the more you get out. Even a small improvement in some key ratios will make a direct, immediate impact on sales. Let's look at three parameters in particular. More...

Bette Daoust: "The Seven Deadly Sins in Selling"

Sales organizations make the same classic mistakes on a repetitive basis. The objective of this article is to provide you with an opportunity to compare the behaviors of your sales force to the findings of our experience. More...

Sridhar Ramanathan: "The Outsourcing Business - Is it Right for You?"

If you run a channel business, you're probably asking yourself, "should we get into the outsourcing business?" Gartner Group estimates that midsize business spending on IT management services will exceed $15 billion by 2006. If you're responsible for top line growth, you can't afford not to take a hard look. More...

Sridhar Ramanathan: "POCs - A Golden Opportunity for the Channel"

For every adversity there's a seed of opportunity. At least that's how I see the current challenges in the high technology sector. Keith Newman's article "Get your MoFo Rising" struck a chord with me having just finished advising my client, a collaborative services company, on how to exploit the trend towards Proof-of-Concept (POC) in pre-sales. More...

Mary Gospe: "Building a Successful B2B Sales Development Organization (Part 3)"

Once you have defined your sales development operations and processes, it's time to begin hiring, training and motivating your team. More...

Mike Gospe: "Building a Successful B2B Sales Development Organization (Part 2)"

How do you equip your sales development group to perform like a team of Michael Jordans and guarantee these results? In this article, we'll walk you through the "best practice" process used by many large and small businesses today. More...

Mary Gospe: "Building a Successful B2B Sales Development Organization (Part 1)"

What are companies doing to cost-effectively boost their sales pipeline? Learn how to accelerate revenue generation, shorten the sales cycle and lower the cost of sales through telephone-based prospecting. More...

Dennis Fernandez: "Top-10 Most Common Intellectual Property Rights Mistakes During Venture Capital Due Diligence"

Learn from the mistakes of others: why it's not too late to start filing patent applications even after certain public or private disclosure of the invention; why you should not underestimate the importance of trade secrets and confidentiality. More...

Mike Gospe: "Making the Pitch: The Five Most Important Lessons of Presenting to VCs"

A good technology, even coupled with a good CEO bio, is not sufficient for winning the financial support that your company deserves. The fact of the matter is that the CEO's presentation and skills as an orator are equally as important as the product or service he is selling. More...

Rob Elmore: "How to conduct a customer-focused marketing audit"

For an enterprise systems marketing executive leading a team, especially in a time of challenge or change, it's often wise to conduct a comprehensive "marketing audit." This is an analysis of what's working well in the current marketing and sales programs, what's not, why, and what needs to change so you can better drive new customer sales and revenue growth in the future. More...

Rick Kaplowitz: "Seven Ways To Work Effectively With Your Business Process Outsourcer"

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) means hiring an outside vendor to handle non-core but essential business needs. This article details seven ways small to midsized companies can get the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of outsourcing. Learn how to reduce overhead costs while securing expertise that is often not available internally. More …

 

George Mattathil: "FCC Ruling: An Opportunity for the Phone Companies"

The recent Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ruling provides a rational basis for evolving the telephone network infrastructure for future communication needs. The ruling has retracted the earlier position that deregulation could be the engine for promoting next generation network (NGN) capabilities. More...

Diana Yoshikawa: "A New Breed of Incubators"

Along with much of the U.S. economy, incubators in Silicon Valley have recently experienced a dramatic downturn. The focus of this article is to look at a different breed of incubators -- those who either incubate international startups or are foreign owned. More...

Derek Cheng: "Winning Strategies for Email Marketing"

Email can be the smartest, most effective junk mail on the planet. That's the good news. The bad news is that like a piece of junk mail that might offer 0% financing or a 20% discount on air-duct cleaning, email (especially if viewers perceive it as spam or scam) is often and easily ignored. More...

Keith Rayner: "Ensuring Success for Your First International Expansion"

For smaller companies, a first move abroad can seem enticing but daunting. This article encourages you to explore and move ahead with your international options, points out three pitfalls you might encounter, and gives you some comforting advice on how to avoid them. More...

Rob Elmore: "Avoid a "Trap" in the Priorities of Product Management vs. Product Marketing"

Successful high-tech firms at all stages -- startup, mid-stage, and established -- focus continually on driving customer revenue growth through plans and actions for New Business Development. As you take such actions, however, it pays to avoid a revenue-killing "trap" that you can easily fall into: How you manage your Product Management priorities internally vs. how you set your Product Marketing messages externally. More...

Kim Ruby: "Connect with Your Customers: Email Newsletters"

Permission-based email newsletters are a powerful way to interact with your customers and increase quality traffic to your site. A well-researched and well-designed opt-in email newsletter will increase brand awareness and customer loyalty, and is highly cost-effective when compared to traditional direct marketing. More...

Mike Gospe: "The Seven Critical Success Factors for Launching & Driving a Successful Business"

Despite the current economic winter, the entrepreneur spirit is alive and well. But for every company that has deciphered the magic code to grow marketshare in a down economy, dozens still struggle with the challenge. This paper highlights seven critical factors that successful businesses have embraced. More...

Pat McHenry Sullivan: "Ten Secrets of Winning Business Plans"

As a business owner, you're called to go where no business has gone before. Sometimes, like great adventure heroes, you'll have to move ahead before you know where you're going. Still, there's no substitute for a business plan. The best plans enhance your creativity, your vision and values. Here are tips for creating a winning plan. More...

Frank Cohen: "Finding A Job in Silicon Valley Is Still a Possibility"

Every week at least 3 people come to me and ask if I know who is hiring. The recession is in full swing and a lot of people are changing jobs. Finding a good Silicon Valley job might have become a little more difficult but it is possible. Here are a few ideas. More...

Tony Wessling: "Invoking Cliches Gets You Nowhere - But the Alternative Takes Guts"

Why are companies allowing their brand image to be reduced to a monkeyshine? More criminal yet, who in the marketing communications industry is promoting this sort of meaningless bandwagonism to their clients? More...

 

George Mattathil: "Internet Vulnerability"

The recent (Oct 21, 02) Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on all the 13 root domain Nameservers highlighted one of the vulnerabilities of the Internet. What is the solution? This type network problem has been solved, but not for the Internet. More...

Barbara Angius Saxby: "Web Services: A Floor Wax or Dessert Topping?"

This paper provides an overview of Web Services and discusses the opportunities for software companies by application sector. What is all of this hype about Web Services? What IS a Web Service? Why is it important and who should care? More...

Guy Smith: "Technology Marketing in Tough Times"

We have gone from boom to bust, from dot com to dot bomb. Many technology marketers know nothing except the roaring 90's, and now face mature markets, constrained customer budgets and technology gluts. But recessions create opportunities if you understand how organizations react to tough times and how to overcome their new resistance. More...

Markus Hoevener: "You Get What You Pay For"

Markus, an online marketing specialist, talks about search engine services and that you can't get a personalized site promotion or search engine optimization service for a few dollars. There are many services out there, that promise "guaranteed top ten position" or "submission to 100,000 search engines and directories", but you get what you pay for...

Markus Hoevener: "Money for Nothing"

This article reflects some experiences that we had while launching the Goto-Silicon-Valley.com web site. Bye bye philanthropy? I don't think so :) More...

 

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