Monday, October 4, 2010

The State of Social Media

Here is a free white paper with some quality information from Brian Solis.

White Paper


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Is Cold Calling for Losers: Answered.

The video by Hubspot, if nothing else, was very funny.  It also does have a some truth to it.  Cold calling in the manner this video portrays surely will have minimal positive effects compared to the amount of time spent dialing.  There is no question that real cold calling is a high activity and low execution tactic with the best of them yielding a 1-3% success ratio.

However, cold calling is not all lost.  There are two main factors that need to be addressed when cold calling is an option that is being considered.

  • Create a Profile - Whatever it is you are selling has a target buyer based upon sex, race, age, income, etc.  Find out what these are and make this the basis for your list pull.
  • Contact Medium - In some cases research is available that will tell you what the best way to reach a particular target is; it may be calling it may not be.  This information can usually be had  based upon various breakdowns along demographics or industry.  Not heeding this information can be the nail in the coffin for this list of leads.
The importance of determining the best medium cannot be understated.  Cold calling a person that would be interested in your product/service, but catching them at the wrong time can yield a serious negative consequences.  For instance:  if you are "selling" a high performance driving experience at your race track and you call a gentleman that has purchased 4 Corvettes, the last one in the last 6 months, he would be a good target.  However, if you cold call this warm lead and reach him at a bad time and he does not want you to ever call him again; then you have buried a warm body.  Be careful not to do this by making sure the preferred and most successful mediums in which this profile can be reached.  The importance of this cannot be understated.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is Cold Calling for Losers?

Interesting video from Hubspot.  So, Is cold calling for losers?  We'll talk about it soon.


Monday, May 10, 2010

"Just Get Out There and Sell"

"Just get out there and sell" is the now infamous answer that a former boss gave to me.  What was the question I asked to trigger such an 'obvious' response that may only be fit for used car salesman: "what is our business development process?"  You might be thinking, especially if you have had a sales job of any sort, that is an oversimplification of how sales work and maybe even a downright ridiculous answer.  Nevertheless, this mode of thinking is prevalent not only in unqualified managers, but also in lots of businesses across the country and world.

No matter what you are selling - product, service or philanthropic ideals - there needs to be a process or strategy in place for achieving your organizations goals.  No matter what you call this process or strategy, here are four brief questions that should help you along the way:

  • What business am I in? May seem simple and obvious, but it can be quite complex.  Are you, for instance, in the office furniture, chair, or office chair business?
  • Who is my clientele/customer/prospect? How you answer the previous question will determine the answer for this question.  This will help you wisely spend your marketing dollars with proper allocation and help in developing a pipeline of potential customers.
  • What am I offering? Again, simple enough, but think about this carefully.  Are you simply selling a chair?  Are you selling a solution, that is to say are you selling a comfortable chair to for the employee to sit in and work?  Or are you selling the chair that will alleviate all bodily worries and make you work efficiently enough to be the next CEO of the company?
  • Why should they buy from me?  Almost for sure, you will not be the only brand in your market trying to sell what you sell to that particular consumer.  You need to provide legitimate value for your consumer, on some level, that will compel them to buy from you.  You want them to buy from you not just when it is convenient, but even when it is not.
These questions certainly do not exhaust the pre-planning questions you should be asking, but it is a good start!


    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Rethink What?

    In what I think is a very strange turn of events, AT&T announced they will undertake a huge re-branding project.  This represents a shift from their recent "ours is bigger than yours" campaign against Verizon concerning their respective 3G networks.  AT&T's goal is to re-brand themselves as an innovation and lifestyle company and they, I guess, assume a new tagline and dropping their name from trademark logo will do the trick.  Of course this will not really work unless they up their product development and get some much better product development.  And then there is that pesky network problem that there are still trying to run from.  At this point they need to focus on making the only lifestyle brand they sell, iPhone, actually work as well as it's supposed to.

    Interestingly, the new tagline, "Rethink Possible" makes me wonder.  While the copy does have a breath of innovation and out-of-the-box thinking entwined in it, it also makes me think of a basic question: does the line match the company?  Is AT&T really known for innovative thinking and lifestyle brands?  Esther Lee, VP-Brand Marketing has a huge task on her hands as she tries to move the consumers mind towards this line of thinking; and I do think it will take time.  In the meantime, maybe AT&T can rethink if it's possible to get those iPhones running smoother.


    Monday, November 30, 2009

    Dell: Part 2

    Originally there was not going to be a Part 2 to my original pontification of Dell's 54% revenue drop.  But, as if I needed to be proven right, last Tuesday on the Fox Business channels morning show, The Opening Bell, Alexis Glick, Charles Payne, Shibani Joshi and Ashley Webster opined about Dell as they see it.  So what did I hear from the experts on FBN?  All the buzzwords that got Dell into trouble in the first place.

    • Dell may be a one-trick pony - As if this is bad?  As we saw in the last post, Dell was the market leader and highly profitable when it was a one-trick pony.
    • Diversification - What?  They can't be serious.  Dell is diversified.  They sell everything from computers to televisions and almost everything in between yet their revenues dropped 54%.
    • More distribution - Dell does have extended distribution in retail stores; do they need even more?  Maybe they should re-open their mall kiosks since those did so well.
    This is a classic case of business management trying to expand the Dell brand to mean more things to more people, when they should be looking at contracting it.  Confucious said, "Man who chases two rabbits catches neither."  How many "rabbits" will Dell continue to chase before they figure it out?


    Friday, November 20, 2009

    Dell: A Case Study of MBA Thinking

    Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported Dell's quarterly profit dropped 54%!  Wow, 54%!  Are the automakers even down that much?  But I digress...  So what is Dell's strategy to change this issue?  According to the Wall Street Journal article it is to focus on "profitability at the expense of market share."  While I think this is blatantly ridiculous, clearly it's not working.  So what is Dell's real problem?  Dell's problem is the breaking of a classic branding rule: you can't be all things to all people.  Yet the breaking of this rule is common thinking amongst some so-called business experts and Wall Street analysts.  Dell has lost it's focus of computers to go after the MP3 market, smartphone market, televisions and a recent acquisition of Perot Systems to put them into the tech outsourcing business dominated by companies such as IBM and HP.  Is this a good idea? According to some of these experts...YES!  What is the best way to grow (because that's what business is all about)?  Sell more stuff!  But what happens when you just sell more stuff or try to?  You lose focus.

    What Dell needs to do is re-focus.  Dell used to be a highly profitable company, ironically, when they sold less stuff.  Think about it; how did Dell become the company that was #1 in the PC market with the best stock performance on the 500 companies listed on the S&P during the 1990's?  By selling one product, with one distribution method, to one consumer; personal computers direct to businesses.  Then what happened?  Analysts said Dell needs to keep up with their previous level of growth (there's that word again).  Dell listened to the analysts and in 1997 they announced they would go after consumers.  Then in 2003, they dove - pun intended - headfirst into the consumer electronics market.  You can even get a Dell in Walmart and Sears.

    What Dell needs to do is simple, but they will never do it.  They are third behind HP and Acer by unit shipments, only have a 1% profit margin in their consumer business, and now they are trying to take on IBM in the service sector.  Is that common sense?  No.  Dell needs to return to their roots; sell off the other businesses and get back to selling one product, one way, to one market.  There is no need to sacrifice market share for profitability.  Dell proved that in their early years, maybe they have forgotten.

    Nobody said it better than Al Ries and his 2005 book - Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends On It.

    Is your brand focused?


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