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September 2011

What Do You Wish You Had Asked Your Marketing Automation Vendor?

SLMA Note:  This is one of the best articles I have read on the subject of choosing a marketing automation system.     The author is Lauren Carlson of Software Advice.  I have  added some thoughts (encouraged by the author Lauren Carlson) and I have printed the majority of article. 

The orginal appears here.  In more depth.

If you want to download a Marketing Automation Softwear Buyer's Toolkit click here

by Lauren Carlson, CRM Market Analyst, Software Advice 

They say hindsight is 20/20. If you’d only known A, B, C, you might have done X, Y, Z a bit differently, right? 

Given that we can’t accurately see into the future, as consumers, we often seek out the advice and opinions of our peers. With the Internet and social media, it’s easier than ever to find out what Tina paid for this or why Joe chose that. Logging on to Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and other third-party review sites gives us instant access to what other like-minded consumers are saying about the products we are interested in. 

We were curious about what marketing automation users would do differently with 20/20 hindsight. In other words, if they could go back and buy their software all over again, what would they have changed? So we polled some software users and asked them: “What questions do you wish you had asked your marketing automation vendor before purchasing?” We outline the questions users wished they’d asked.  

The Four Categories of Questions 

While we polled many users, we simplified their responses and singled out the top 10 most popular questions they wished they had asked. Then, we separated those responses into four categories: integration, support/training, road map and maintenance. Below you’ll also find several actual responses from our participants that better illustrate what they learned through the purchasing process. (Note: All individual participants and companies are anonymous.) 

Clarifying Communication around Integration 

Arguably one of the biggest pain points in any software implementation is integration. Most companies purchasing a new system will have one or more existing systems that the new solution must integrate with. All marketing automation systems will offer some level of integration but the depth varies and is often unclear. This lack of clarity seemed to be a big issue among respondents. Many took integration at face value without inquiring further into the level of integration offered. 

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Five Social Media Must-Haves for Crisis

written by Chris Syme  

Crisis: something you have to plan for in order to survive it, but hope you never actually have one.

Organizations and businesses that don't plan for crisis will be left behind when the inevitable happens. Thorough crisis plans don't have to be 50 pages long, but you need to have one. Your organization's crisis plan should include a social piece in the communications section. Real-time is the fastest way to join the conversation, provide help and information, and direct the messages. Social helps you be your own media. So, how can social media play a positive role in crisis? Here are five social media must-haves in crisis:

1. Emergency website home page or news page: Your website developer will be able to set this template up and keep it ready to go for a time of crisis. You can either re-direct your URL (depending on the severity of the crisis and need for real-time information), or just have it as a prominent link from the home page. If the crisis is severe enough, for instance involving public safety or tragedy of some kind,  it might be worth having a home page re-direct for the first 24 hours of the event. Recently, Missouri University of Science and Technology initiated their "Emergency Home Page" when there was a shooter on campus. You can see the template and details here.

Emergency websites should include (above the fold) necessary contact information for the public, those involved or with family involved, and press. If you have a press room on your regular website, the link should be prominent in contrasting color in crisis time. Press may need background information, bios, pictures, fast facts, news releases and much more. If you have an online press room available, they won't need to call or email for the basic info. The press room should also include a schedule of upcoming releases and press conferences. Icon links to social media platforms where crisis info is available should be above the fold and in contrasting color to backgrounds. News stories related to the crisis should be listed in chronological order with date and time in headline.

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Do you have an Ernestine in your company handling your leads?

#155 Expediting sales leads must be a priority. (1)

Having your lower paid employees (a receptionist or clerk) sort your sales inquiries and take their time to pass them to your highest paid employees (salespeople) is stupid.

Most of the time the inquirers (or leads) sit with the receptionist for days and weeks as they try to get around to it. Get leads into the salespeople's hands as fast as possible.

  • Web leads can be directed into most CRM systems and show up in the salespersons territory immediately.

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2011 Top 50 in Sales Lead Management is coming, is your headshot ready?

This is a reprint from an article on the SLMA website, but it seemed timely to post here.

The Importance of a Good Head Shot

There are instances when you may be invited to speak at an event, participate on a panel, guest author an article, get nominated for an award, or get promoted. These events have one thing in common; they all require a good headshot of you. A headshot is a photo, not an avatar or cartoon but a photograph of yourself from the shoulders up dressed professionally.

If you have ever been asked to speak and don't have a high resolution headshot to provide, it is almost guaranteed that the people posting the information will turn to the popular online photo resource, "GOOGLE," to find what photos they can of you. It may not even be you, or it may of you dancing on tables, wearing a Halloween costume or worse. Go to Google and type in your name if you don't believe me. Then, click on the "images" category in the left of the results. Any of these could be used for your headshot if you don't provide one even if they are not you in the photos.

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Never Underestimate the Power of Grabbing Someone by their Self-Interest.

It took me years to figure out that self-interest drives all decisions. Normally I am not a believer in absolutes of any kind (an exception is that 45% of all sales inquiries turn into a sale for someone), but I believe people ultimately make all decisions and take actions based on their own self-interest.
Even those who are the most altruistic, upon examination, succumb to this maxim. IStock_000003381885Small

Of course, acts of heroism, in private life or the military may be the exception (so much for absolutes). Even in these extreme cases where the ultimate sacrifice is risked and sometimes paid, people universally feel it was done because it was the right thing to do and that is a form of self-interest.

Before you accuse me of not trusting in my fellow man, let’s consider how this affects us in sales and marketing, especially those of us who deal with Sales Lead Management, CRM or Marketing Automation.

Continue reading "Never Underestimate the Power of Grabbing Someone by their Self-Interest." »