UK vs USA: The Impact of Social Selling on B2B

A white paper from C-Suite Best Selling Author, Lee Bartlett. Lee’s research study delves into the Impact of Social Selling on the landscape of UK vs USA.

 

Research Paper 2017: The Impact of Social Selling on the B2B Landscape in the U.K. Vs. U.S.A

  • How are UK vs. US-based B2B buyers responding differently to information overload, a proliferation of suppliers and legacy pricing models?
  • Why are multinational sales leaders adopting different sales strategies, hiring policies and sales training in the UK vs. the US?
  • Why is speed to market so crucial for international companies looking to expand into Europe?

These are crucial questions for C-Suite executives in 2017.

Sales Leaders from five multi-national companies were interviewed with substantial operations in both the UK and the US. The aim was to assess the impact of social selling in the UK and how the growth of social networks over the past 5 years has affected the way their teams sell. Its purpose was also to understand the short-term plan for how these companies will adjust to technological advancement, an increase in automation, and changing customer buying habits. Finally, it sought to compare the adoption level of social selling strategies in the UK with that of the US and understand what is driving any differences between each geographical location.

 

Key points from the study:

 

Tangible cultural differences exist between selling in the UK vs. the US. Customer buying habits differ and regional sales models, hiring policy and the respective depth of engagement expected from sales professionals support this.

Vendor confusion is driving customers to adopt new ways of managing suppliers. Customers lack context more than ever before, and this is an opportunity for sales professionals to differentiate themselves by connecting the dots and demonstrating value. An increasingly systematic procurement approach is exposing poorly executed sales processes.

A contracting vendor landscape is driving a deepening of customer relationships and greater emphasis on customer retention. Vendor consolidation is forcing companies to focus on speed to market, as less established products or suppliers with weak relationships, little business critical value and an inability to differentiate themselves, run a high risk of being culled.

Complementing outbound sales efforts with social selling strategies has proven to yield demonstrable pipeline revenues in a short period. This is seen on both sides of the pond, yet more so in the US. Similarly, inbound selling is a great platform to justify international expansion into Europe, but it doesn’t address the cultural adjustment when establishing a physical presence overseas.

Customers are forcing legacy companies to alter their business model and pricing strategies. Sales organizations are shifting from selling products, to solving their customers’ business critical problems. For example, in the B2B data vendor space, rather than sell end users licenses, suppliers are increasing service levels to help customers farm and aggregate their proprietary systems on the buyer’s behalf, helping them better manage scarce resources and solve budgetary issues, while maintaining output.

Customer buying habits have changed more in the past 2 years than the previous 20 years, and companies are re-engineering their sales processes to match the changing customer journey. For deeper insight into these points, download the full report here.

 

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lee Bartlett is a consultant, author of the highly acclaimed book The No.1 Best Seller, and specialist in taking new technology products to market. With extensive experience selling to the financial sector and C-Suite executives, Lee has built multi-national sales teams, been the co-founder and CEO of a tech start-up and sold extensively across Europe, the US and Asia. He shares his personal sales methodology and experiences in his book and blog, both of which discuss the mindset, strategy and processes of top sales professionals.

C-Suite TV Talks The Game of Selling, Always Be Closing, and Getting a Seat on the Board

December 08, 2016 09:00 ET

Best Seller TV’s December Programming Features Authors Mitch Axelrod, Steve Napolitan and Jill Griffin

 

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – Dec 8, 2016) – Best Seller TV, one of the top online business shows on C-Suite TV, announced its December programming featuring in-depth interviews with leading business authors Mitch Axelrod, author of The New Game of Selling: Attract, Convert, and Keep More Customers and Multiply Profits, Steve Napolitan, author of Capture Clients and Close Deals: A Simple Way to Gain Clients without Convincing or Chasing and Jill Griffin, author of Earn Your Seat on a Corporate Board – 7 Actions to Build Your Career, Elevate Your Leadership and Expand Your Influence.

 

Mitch Axelrod, author of The New Game of Selling: Attract, Convert, and Keep More Customers and Multiply Profits, talks about the old game versus the new game of sales. Being in business for more than 30 years, Mitch talks about the old sales strategies being all about manipulation, convincing, and closing the sale. The new approach is about doing what’s right for the customer and the company. He says, “If the customer isn’t right, it’s better to break and move on.”

Another key difference between old and new is that the old game was always a pitch; whereas the new game is more of a conversation and it can be summed up in one sentence: it’s not just business, it’s personal. Axelrod says that in order to create a good relationship with customers, companies need to stop being systemic and silo themselves behind rules and procedures. If those get in the way of the customer, you’re putting roadblocks ahead of customers, potentially damaging that relationship. He adds, “If when given the choice to follow your rules or obey policies and procedures or love and serve customers, love and serve your customers 100% of the time.”

 

Steve Napolitan, author of Capture Clients and Close Deals: A Simple Way to Gain Clients without Convincing or Chasing, talks about the process of making a human connection with clients, rather than just trying to make a sale or push them into a product or service they may or may not want. He argues that the sales process is very simple — find your perfect client, ask them what they want and then give it to them.

Steve is someone with a background in film, not in marketing, but learned the ropes quickly when he realized he could make a human connection with potential clients by asking the right questions, rather than just pitch them and sell them something. He says that executives are looking for solutions to their problems, but if what you’re doing is pitching them, they may or may not buy what you’re selling them. However, if you build a relationship and reach out to them at a deeper level, they’ll eventually trust you to solve their problem.

 

Jill Griffin, author of Earn Your Seat on a Corporate Board – 7 Actions to Build Your Career, Elevate Your Leadership and Expand Your Influence, talks about how to get on corporate boards, testing one’s readiness and the importance of having more women serve on corporate boards. Griffin says that being on a corporate board may give someone an ‘elite status’ — as they have to be appointed. They must also test their readiness before joining as it requires approximately 250 hours a year to serve. She compares being on a board to “getting an MBA every year” because she feels “I’m surrounded by people smarter than I am.”

Her book gives guided steps on how to actively prepare if you’re thinking about joining a corporate board. Griffin stresses that people need to do their research to see which boards have (or may have) openings that are relevant to one’s industry. She also talks about what women need to do get themselves on corporate boards; and believes the problem is the pipeline at the top. Since the pipeline doesn’t include many women, Griffin’s advice to women is: go in early, stay late and network because that’s where the most opportunities take place. The more networking they do, the better their chances to be seen and, eventually, appointed to corporate boards.

 

All episodes of Best Seller TV will air throughout the month on C-Suite TV and are hosted by TV personality, Taryn Winter Brill.

Best-selling author, speaker, and former Fortune 100 CMO Jeffrey Hayzlett created C-Suite TV to give top-tier business authors a forum for sharing thought-provoking insights, in-depth business analysis, and their compelling personal narratives.

“We’re closing our 2016 showcasing the old way of doing things versus the new way of doing things. Customers are a key component to any business and knowing how to reach them is something that’s constantly evolving as customers get more demanding,” Hayzlett said. “Also, since our audience is always looking for the next big thing, I think they’ll find the ‘how to’ steps of getting on a corporate board incredibly beneficial.”

 

For more information on TV episodes, visit www.csuitetv.com and for more information about the authors featured in Best Seller TV episodes, visit www.c-suitebookclub.com.

 


About C-Suite TV:
C-Suite TV, an entity of the C-Suite Network, is a web-based digital on-demand business channel featuring interviews and shows with business executives, thought leaders, authors and celebrities providing news and information for business leaders. C-Suite TV is your go-to resource to find out the inside track on trends and discussions taking place in businesses today. This online channel is home to such shows as C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett, Executive Perspectives Live and Best Seller TV, and more. C-Suite TV is part of C-Suite Network, the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders. Connect with C-Suite TV on Twitter and Facebook.

Time for General Managers to Step Up?

By: Jim Doyle

prime-time-front-coverIn my book, Prime Time: Transforming Your TV Sales Staff into a Sales FORCE, I write about the critical role General Managers play in high-performing sales staff. Frequently, the General Manager is the only person who can get the high level relationships we need to impact business. Even a simple phone call from the big boss to say ‘thank you’ can make a huge difference in the relationship with a client. And General Managers who are heavily involved with clients make a huge statement to their teams about the critical importance of customers.

 

Visibility of General Managers

Today, only a very few GM’s truly understand the role that they can play.  I recently asked a Top 20 market GSM about the visibility of General Managers in his market. He said that two came from news and were invisible. (Probably his prejudice, as I’ve seen former News Directors who are incredible at this.)  One was new to the market and was out on what he called “the apology tour” to try to fix some badly broken relationships. Only one was actively involved with clients. Is that market the exception? Sadly, it’s not. I think it’s actually pretty typical.

As leaders today, we’re looking at all these big things we can fix as we deal with a changing industry. And we should. But sometimes, the simplest thing can have the most impact, especially if you’re the station that does it first and best.

 

Are Your Customers Important?

It comes down to a pretty fundamental question. How important are customers in your life? Important, you say? Well, how does your calendar this week reflect that? How much time have you spent interacting with customers? How many clients have you called to say thank you?

And, how engaged are you with client results? We have to become new business machines, and the big miss in new business is how often a client comes on one time and goes away because the campaign didn’t work. That’s horrible… but it can be fixed.

It really comes down to whether you, as a General Manager, are going to be facing outward toward the market or facing inward. Are you focused exclusively on your product or also focused very much on your customers?

We’ll be in sad shape if the top leaders of our stations don’t know the people in their towns who are their largest customers. When a huge spender in a market tells me they have NEVER met a TV station General Manager, I find that astonishing. Yet, I hear it all the time.

The General Managers who do this well have a huge impact. When my friend, the late Ray Schonbak, came to FOX in San Diego he announced to his team, and to the market, that he would meet 100 clients in 100 days. What a huge statement that made. Ray was always out with clients. I recently met another GM who did something similar when she moved to a new market. She made a lot of friends.

 

Product or Customer Obsession

But isn’t it sad that the majority of GM’s might not have met 100 clients in their entire tenure in a market? Does that say something about us as an industry, when our leaders are more focused on the product than on customers? I think it’s a symptom of a bigger problem. We continue to act like our business is back in 1995. In times of abundance, growth and high demand, being obsessed by the product probably made some sense. Today, great leaders are still obsessed by the product, but are also obsessed by customers.

We need more of those kinds of General Managers. A lot more!

— See more at: http://www.jimdoyle.com/blog

 

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim Doyle began his broadcasting career as a TV sales rep in Portland, Maine. During 30+ years in advertising and broadcasting, he has owned an advertising agency, been Director of Sales for a TV station group, and General Manager/part owner of a radio station. Jim has served as Chair of the TV-B Sales Training Committee. In 1991, he founded Jim Doyle & Associates, a sales training and management consulting firm, specializing in helping television sales reps and managers build successful partnerships with advertisers and significantly grow revenue. Jim has presented marketing workshops for business people in more than 500 cities, nationally. In addition to Prime Time, he’s the author of Don’t Just Make A Sale… Make A Difference: How Top Achievers Approach Advertising Sales; The Leaders Edge, a weekly coaching newsletter for television sales managers; and numerous audio and video programs, including UPGRADE Selling®; The ADvantage – Producing Ads that Renew; Significantly Increasing Dealer Ad Impact; and TVSales.101 – Succeeding in The Digital Age of Television – a basic selling program for new and veteran AE’s. He is a Certified Speaking Professional with the National Speakers Association.

C-Suite TV Talks Customer Service, Making Change Happen and the Inside Out Approach

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – Aug 17, 2016) – Best Seller TV and Executive Perspectives, two of the top online business shows on C-Suite TV, have announced their broadcast episodes for August. Best Seller TV will feature in-depth interviews with leading business authors Adam Toporek, author of Be Your Customer’s Hero: Real World Tips and Techniques for the Service Front Lines and Joy Marsden, author of Keep Stepping! Essential Ways to Lead Yourself and Others Through Challenge and Change. Executive Perspectives features a sit-down interview with Alan Fine, founder and president, InsideOut Development, talking about the core principles that make success possible.

 


 Best Seller TV

In his book, Be Your Customer’s Hero: Real World Tips and Techniques for the Service Front Lines, Adam Toporek wanted to take a conversational approach to customer service that could be digested as a reference book, aimed at front line employees. Toporek states that front line employees — those who work directly with customers, whether via phone, email, or face-to-face, tend to skew younger and don’t have time for fluff, but still want to learn to be more effective when working directly with customers.

Toporek helps clarify the distinction between customer service and customer experience. Customer service is just part of the one-on-one interaction with a customer; whereas customer experience refers to the entire journey a customer has with an organization, including marketing pieces or emails from the organization. Toporek’s book aims to motivate front line employees, making them more confident in using the necessary tools and techniques to provide excellent customer service.

Joy Marsden, author of Keep Stepping! Essential Ways to Lead Yourself and Others Through Challenge and Change, talks about why people need to constantly move forward after challenges in order to achieve their goals. She states how a person’s initial response to a crisis is to stop or stand still but stresses that, “If you want to achieve, you have to move.” In order to achieve more, one must shred behaviors — which she defines as taking stock of things we need to let go in order to move forward.

Marsden says that successful companies share one important trait: they stretch boundaries. By stretching boundaries, they become agents of change and continue to move forward, no matter the obstacles ahead.

All episodes of Best Seller TV will air throughout the month on C-Suite TV and are hosted by TV personality, Taryn Winter Brill.

 


Executive Perspectives

Host Jeffrey Hayzlett talks to Alan Fine about his journey from athletic coach to business coach and how both industries share a core set of principles that make success possible. As a former tennis coach, Fine turned his coaching style from outside in, to inside out — which encourages athletes and entrepreneurs alike to remove the roadblocks that are focused on an internal dialogue.

Fine tells Hayzlett that tuning out the noise is “simple, but not that easy” to do. He says that people tend to choose what they listen to, which is why high performers can easily tune out the noise. Fine also lists the fundamental principles of the inside out approach: knowledge, faith, fire, and focus and adds that focus is the most important of all the principles because, “If you want to change a belief, you need to start on something different.” Everything starts with our choice of focus.

All episodes of Executive Perspectives are hosted by Jeffrey Hayzlett and can be seen throughout the month on C-Suite TV.

Best-selling author, speaker, and former Fortune 100 CMO, Jeffrey Hayzlett, created C-Suite TV to give top-tier business authors a forum for sharing thought-provoking insights, in-depth business analysis, and their compelling personal narratives.

“The dog days of summer are here and so are some of the best episodes of C-Suite TV. Best Seller TV has two incredibly insightful authors in Adam Toporek and Joy Marsden talking customer service and being able to constantly move forward. I’m a firm believer in adapt, change or die and I think these two authors definitely fit that bill,” Hayzlett said. “My interview with Alan Fine draws useful parallels between the world of sports and business that can be applied to any business industry, at any level.”

For more information on TV episodes, visit www.csuitetv.com and for more information about the authors featured in Best Seller TV episodes, visit www.c-suitebookclub.com.

 


ABOUT C-SUITE TV:
C-Suite TV is a web-based digital on-demand business channel featuring interviews and shows with business executives, thought leaders, authors and celebrities providing news and information for business leaders. C-Suite TV is your go-to resource to find out the inside track on trends and discussions taking place in businesses today. This online channel is home to such shows as C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett, Executive Perspectives and Best Seller TV, and more. C-Suite TV is part of C-Suite Network, the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders. Connect with C-Suite TV on Twitter and Facebook.

 

ABOUT JEFFREY HAYZLETT:
Jeffrey Hayzlett is the primetime television host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV and is the host of the award-winning All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on the CBS on-demand podcast network, Play.It. Hayzlett is a global business celebrity, Hall of Fame speaker, best-selling author, and Chairman of C-Suite Network, home of the world’s most trusted network of C-Suite leaders. Connect with Hayzlett on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or www.hayzlett.com.

Would You Hire You? 10 Ways to Add Value to Your Position

By: Doug Sandler

Ask yourself this question and have the courage to give an honest answer: Would you hire you? If words like passionate, excited, motivated and inspired describe you, you probably will get the gig. If, however, you are struggling to find the right words that fit or more importantly, if you are saying to yourself, “I would be positive, passionate, motivated and inspired by my work, but…(fill in the blank),” chances are good you wouldn’t get a call back or a second interview for the position. Excuses will not help boost your value, only action will.

Here are 10 questions that will help determine your value at work:

CONTRIBUTION
Do you contribute to a positive office culture or does your attitude at work fan the flame of average? The overall profitability of the company you work for is attributed to the culture created within that organization. Companies like Zappos, Wegmans, Apple, Nordstrom and dozens more are household words because of the amazing culture created by the people that work there. You have within you the ability to be better than average. Make sure you prove it to yourself and add to your value.

EFFORTS
Do your efforts take the customer experience to the next level up or does the effort elevator not quite make it to your floor? If you haven’t already realized it, your effort is felt by everyone around you, not just your company’s customers. Everyone you come in contact with is your customer and they all need you to be positive. Your value at work is directly related to the contributions you make to your company.

PROBLEM SOLVER
Can you add problem solver to your resume or do you prefer to hand issues to someone else in your office? You don’t need to be an investigator like Sherlock Holmes or as smart as Einstein, but contributing to problem resolution or supporting someone trying to solve a problem will add value to your role. It’s valuable to be a part of the solution. Under no circumstances do you want to be a part of the problem.

GOING THE EXTRA MILE
Do you go the extra mile for your company or do you take shortcuts as you find them? Creating system improvements and working to provide exemplary service are qualified as going the extra mile. However, creating a shortcut that potentially can lead to less than stellar performance grades will diminish your value. Change for the sake of change will not add to your value.

ARE YOU AN INFLUENCER?
Would you describe yourself as an influencer or someone that is influenced? You do not need to be assigned to a management position in order to be considered an influencer. If you are well respected in the workplace, you are boosting your value.

PROCESS IMPROVEMENTS
Does the idea of creating a new and improved system inspire you to look for ways to streamline your work process or would you prefer leaving systems in place? Making simple systems improvements or providing suggestions to make a process easier proves you are not just doing your job but actually thinking about the bigger picture. Creative thinking improves your value.

ARE YOU A GOOD LISTENER?
Are you a good listener or are you at the office water cooler adding to the rumor mill? A good listener knows that he doesn’t know everything but wants to learn from someone more wise and with more experience on the job. Seek out a mentor where you work. Knowledge is power and will contribute to your value. Water cooler conversation and gossip contributes to negative office politics and should be avoided.

TEAMWORK
When a team is needed to accomplish a task would you describe yourself as a volunteer or a captive participant? Teamwork, partnerships and cooperative effort involves building relationships. Great relationships equal better business. Whether you own your own business or work for a large organization, you should look for opportunities to work on a team. Teamwork sparks creative thinking. If you find yourself in a position to accomplish a task as a part of a team, don’t shy away from role.

UNSCHEDULED MOMENTS
Do projects, customers, vendors, phone calls and emails slow you down from doing your job or are they a part of your job? Do not live in a vacuum at work. Remember that communication is a part of your job. In order for your company to exist, these relationships are essential. Each opportunity to communicate with your customers and vendors/suppliers is a chance to strengthen your brand. Lean into these unscheduled moments to gain trust and add value to your position and your company.

INCREASE YOUR VALUE
Do you have a bright light passion for what you are building or do you see passion as something only dreamers dream about? Increase your value by being more kind than you need to be, friendlier than others expect you to be and put your heart out there for others to see even more than you already do now.

Embrace the role you play at work and don’t just go through the motions. Honestly, anyone can be average. Average offers no value. Being average is not a stepping stone to anything other than mediocrity. Being average will never amount to happiness, it will only amount to getting by. Have the strength to set your sights on your bigger goals and be passionate about the contribution you make at work. Passion adds value. Have the courage to dream bigger and to be passionate about the responsibilities you have at work.

About the Author

Doug Sandler has over 30 years of business experience as an entrepreneur and leader. His book, Nice Guys Finish First is a #1 ranked Amazon Best Seller.  As a podcaster, Doug has interviewed Arianna Huffington from HuffPost, Dan Harris from Good Morning America, Ron Klain, White House Chief of Staff and dozens of celebs. He specializes in teaching others the “how-to’s” of building relationships and strengthening connections. Doug is a nationally recognized speaker and writer.  His weekly posts reach hundreds of thousands of readers. Doug has been titled by a leading social media marketing company in the top 100 of Social Media Thought Influencers to follow.

Why Customer Service Training Is the Ultimate Differentiator

 

By: Adam Toporek

We live in a world of incredibly sophisticated tools and techniques for designing customer experiences. Comprehensive big data, detailed customer personas, and extensive customer journey maps are just some of the tools organizations use to imagine and create best-in-class customer experiences.

Yet, too much of the work done in the C-Suite doesn’t translate to the front lines, creating a gap between design and execution.

Good customer journeys too often go bad.

For many B2C organizations, the failure is human; team members simply do not deliver the experience as designed or are unable to adapt when the customer’s experience deviates from the expected journey.

What separates the best-in-class customer experience companies from the rest are culture and training.

Why Training Matters

The real world that frontline teams experience is messy and difficult. From broken systems to irate customers, frontline reps have to navigate a wide variety of emotional, organizational, and psychological challenges.

Most customer service training deals with technique not emotion, with systems not psychology; yet, what frontline reps struggle with is the mentality of service — understanding their own outlooks and attitudes and coming to grips with the psychological mechanisms that cause customers to act the way they do.

Even the best frontline team members are not designed to be successful at reactive service, to say and do the right things when the going gets tough.

On the front lines of service, training is what separates the average Joes from the superheroes.

Tips for Effective Training

There is an old expression: “Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.” The message being that if you practice the wrong things, you will not get the desired results.

Too much customer service training is focused on the perfect journey, on “here’s what to do when everything goes right.” But effective training should address the challenges that frontline teams face in the real world, the “what if” scenarios that derail frontline team members and throw customer experiences off track.

Here are three key areas that you can center your training around:

·     Delivering Effective Communication — How much of a customer’s experience centers on communication and yet how little focus does this crucial aspect of service get in most training? Communication training should focus on key areas like first impressions and greetings, delivering key experiential moments, and handling difficult situations. Communication training should incorporate key phrases, power words, and, whenever possible, real-world simulation through role play.

·     Creating Painless Transfers — In Be Your Customer’s Hero, we discuss the 7 Service Triggers that are hot buttons for customers today. One of the most important service triggers is being shuffled, which refers to the hassle and stress of being transferred repeatedly to resolve an issue. Transfer training should focus on how to minimize the number of transfers through better routing and empowerment and how to eliminate the stress associated with transfers through techniques like warm transferring and assuring accountability.

·     Anticipating Expected Issues — While customer issues are never completely predictable, organizations can find patterns in the most common service issues. In my customer service keynote speeches, I often advise applying Pareto (or 80/20) analysis to identify the few challenges that make up the majority of service issues. By training for these expected issues, teams will not only be able to navigate them more effectively but will also learn key principles that they can apply to other situations they face.

The above tips are but a few of the many customer service training ideas you can implement to make your team’s customer service skill set Hero-Class®.

Differentiate Through Training

To set your organization apart from its competitors, begin by designing a heroic, best-in-class journey and then create a robust training program to help make sure that journey is consistently well-executed.

Many organizations create excellent customer journeys that succeed on a piece of paper or a computer screen but are never fully realized for customers in actual practice.

In a world where sophisticated customer experience design tools are available to almost everyone, it is execution that wins the day and training that separates good service from great.

In customer service, training is the ultimate differentiator.

About the Author

Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. As a 3rd-generation entrepreneur with extensive experience in retail and franchising, Adam brings a unique lens to organizations that need to train their frontline teams to deliver Hero-Class® experiences to customers.

Adam is the author of Be Your Customer’s Hero: Real- World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (AMACOM, 2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog.

From Huffington Post to Entrepreneur, Adam has appeared or been cited in nearly 100 different media outlets, including podcasts, radio, and television.

Adam has an MBA, a Certificate in Customer Experience from the Center for Services Leadership, and is a Certified Net Promoter® Associate. When he’s not speaking or delivering high energy customer service workshops, he can be found co-hosting the Crack the Customer Code podcast and writing extensively about customer experience and customer service.

 

Executive Briefings: Email Marketing, The Gateway To The Digital World

By Thomas White, Co-Founder and CEO of C-Suite Network, The Worlds Most Trusted Network of C-Suite Leaders.

The C-Suite is a vast audience of leaders who all have a little extra insight into their industry and the current business world. I sit down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to share that insight and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Matt McGowan, President of Adestra. Matt has been one of the leaders in the digital media world for more than 10 years, working with companies like Incisive Media and Google.

 


 

IS EMAIL DEAD?

There is conventional wisdom that email is dead as a marketing tool. Rather, the new marketing avenue is social media. Is that the right assumption, or is this way off-base?

It is way off-base, but it is not a bad off-base. Studies have shown from different organizations asking different questions to different people, “What do consumers rely on for information from commercial entities? Companies?” The overwhelming response is email. Email is the core that really taps the understanding of what the consumer is. Email is the most native kind of product when it comes to mobile devices. The first thing a consumer does when getting a new mobile device is to set up their email account. 50-70% of users are accessing products, company websites, apps etc. via mobile devices these days. It’s literally the easiest way to get in touch with the consumer if you do it right.

 

 

HOW TO PLAN AN EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY

How do you build an email marketing plan based on today’s technology that deals with the reality of people wanting to restrict how much email actually gets in to their inbox?

It is not about the amount of email that you send, but it’s about the type of conversation that you are having with the consumer. There are a lot of email service providers available to the consumer – Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo etc. All of these providers are stepping in the way of email in a good way, to protect the user and to weed out the stuff that is irrelevant. An email marketing plan needs to find the path using relevant information to power the message. The message needs to be one-to-one vs one-to-many. This is the direction companies are going, marketing to a person vs an audience. Companies need to focus on less email, but more on targeted email.

 

How do you create an email strategy that is one-to-one or relevant to the recipient?

Businesses need to believe in a practice of incremental innovation. To get to that one-on-one conversation, it’s not about the grandiose leap from nothing to something, it is about the incremental steps the marketer can take over time to increase relevancy with the audience. When you are sending one-to-many messaging you are sending stop-shop marketing. Incremental innovation is the idea that every week, know your customer, then try to do something that gets you closer to that one-on-one message. If you look at it over a year, you’ll have enough innovation in your marketing efforts. This will provide movement to make major strides. If you look at it in the short term, it’s going to seem like it’s not enough. It starts with knowing your customer and then making those incremental steps.

 

 

IMPORTANCE OF THE CRM RELATIONSHIP

How important is it to integrate the CRM (customer relationship management) ecosystem to email marketing and sales strategies?

You first want to make sure all of your customer data is located in your CRM. In order to use that data, you will need to secure an automation platform or ESP (email service provider). You will then want to connect your CRM with your ESP. Over time you will start to incrementally innovate and try new things. What you will end up with is an always-on campaign that is working for you even when you are sleeping. With the rules that you’ve built over time, the campaign will work on your behalf and communicate with your customers to get your message in front of them. This way you can continue to develop a successful relationship with your customers. Then you will be able to build much more complex profiles of what is interesting to your customers as well.

 

How important is engagement with the customer prior to attempting one-to-one email marketing, and how do you go about establishing this engaged relationship?

You need to be authentic. You are not going to engage with everybody that is on your mailing list. Some people are going to sign up just to get a discount or more information. You can start a relevant conversation instantly by asking two or three key questions that lead you down the path of relevance. Don’t try to push your business on them. Rather, from the questions you asked, offer them something that is valuable and useful.

 

 


Email Should Lead the Pack on All-in-One Marketing Platforms

By: Ryan Phelan, Vice President of Marketing Insights, Adestra Inc.

At a recent conference, I talked with a marketer whose company sends marketing emails through an all-in-one platform.

“Why do you do that?” I asked.

“Because it’s part of the marketing automation package we bought,” he replied. “It’s all part of one platform.”

“Is it doing what you need?” said I.

“No, but it’s all connected, so I have to use it,” he answered.

I’ve had this conversation many times before thanks to a trend among companies to consolidate their marketing services through an all-in-one platform for email marketing, lead nurturing, B2B or B2C marketing.

I can understand the appeal of having one dashboard to manage instead of five or six – one platform to rule them all, so to speak. I use a brand-name platform myself for lead management and nurturing, but I stick with Adestra for my email needs because the platform’s email module doesn’t have the deliverability management, reporting and ease of use that I love about Adestra. It also integrates just fine with my platform. So, it’s a win-win for me.

Marketers tell me they look at single-platform providers because they need to work with tools that are integrated. However, many all-in-one platforms still have integration issues, meaning you still have to perform some functions manually.

Down side of one-size-fits-all marketing platforms

All-in-one platforms are usually made up of technology from companies the big cloud providers acquired and then assembled into a platform.

It might have an email module you can use to send messages, but it’s not necessarily the best-of-breed service an email marketer needs to succeed.

Email marketing is more than just sending email. Does the email module give you detailed, granular reporting? Can you build messages quickly? Does it integrate with your ecommerce and customer-care databases for segmented, triggered and real-time messaging? Who helps out when something goes wrong?

An all-in-one platform takes away your choice of vendors. You end up making your decisions based on the technology the platform provides instead of being able to surround yourself with best-of-breed technologies.

Although omnichannel marketing has broken down the old silos among communication channels, we still do our work in a siloed environment. The tools you need for email marketing are different those for mobile marketing, social, SMS/texting and the web.

Getting back to best of breed

Although analysts and industry pundits had been urging companies to consolidate all of their marketing needs on a single platform, I’m seeing more marketers looking beyond the portfolio and seeking out best-of-breed technology again.

If you use an all-in-one or cloud service, see if the email function is the best email tool on the market or just bolted-on technology. Look under the hood to see if the platform offers true integration that requires no effort or hours from your IT team. Is it the best email tool you can use or just the tool that’s offered?

Email in an all-in-one platform should not be just one tool in a suite of others. It should be the tool. When you’re evaluating vendors, the buying decision should rest not on the suite as a whole but on the quality of the individual tools that make up the suite.

Your marketing landscape is not a straight line with applications scattered all along it. It is a circle with your company in the middle.

If you can’t execute a necessary function, look for a new provider. Looks for the right partnerships outside of the marketing suite. The focus is on integration timelines and scalability.

If you can conquer that, you have a winning solution.

The Top Three Economic Indicators to Watch: Global Growth, China, and Crude Oil

By: Christopher S. Rupkey, CFA, Managing Director and Chief Financial Economist, MUFG

With the increase in global financial market turmoil at the start of this year, there are questions about the direction and health of the U.S. economy. So what are the signs we can look at now to gauge the economy’s health?

The strength of the dollar both helps and hurts earnings overseas with approximately 50 percent of U.S. manufacturing companies exporting throughout the world. Behind the strength of the dollar and weakness in financial markets early this year are three basic factors: global economic outlook, China, and crude oil.

 

Global Economic Outlook

The U.S. economy is at full employment, so payroll job gains will be less this year. This means little for the economy or the well-being of consumers and companies, except fewer buyers with new paychecks will be able to purchase goods and services.

We do not see the same level of investment from U.S. companies as in previous recovery cycles. The question: can the economy go forward at a satisfactory pace without companies making those investments?

The U.S. economy is growing and yet many believe China’s slowing economy and currency uncertainty could have spillover effects here. This worry could be based less on economic factors and more on psychology. Sometimes consumers can get the wrong impression about the health of the economy, and such nervousness leads them to curtail their spending.  The economic outlook is not as rosy as it was 12 to 18 months ago, but there are still strong indicators out there showing the economy will move forward this year at a moderate pace.

The Fed is looking to raise rates two more times this year and for the economy to grow from 2 to 2.5%. Unemployment in the Euro zone is above 10%, but continues to decline. The International Monetary Fund looks for around 3% growth for each of the next couple of years. China’s outlook is still at 6.5% growth. Many of the world economies look good, even if global markets can sometimes panic and trend lower temporarily.

 

Commodities Driven by China’s Infrastructure Growth:
The Boom and Bust Cycle

During a commodity boom, prices go up; on the bust side, prices go down. These days, we are feeling the effects of the bust side of the cycle. This cycle is implicitly tied to China’s rapid growth in the middle of the last decade. China was able to manufacture goods inexpensively, so the U.S. and other world manufacturers moved factories overseas. They helped Chinese manufacturers build the infrastructure to produce goods for export. There was a tremendous desire for natural resources like steel, iron ore, copper, and crude oil in China to set up this infrastructure to produce exports.

Today, China is not the same manufacturing powerhouse it once was and there is no longer the same demand for these natural resources. Global commodity prices are falling. Companies in countries like Brazil, Chile, and Peru are not able to sustain the revenues from the boom period, so economies in these countries are hurting.

All commodity booms and busts end however. Prices fall to such a low level that commodity manufacturers stop producing. Currently, we are waiting for the bust to hit bottom; we see signs that we are getting close to that point.

 

The Road Ahead

We see the typical economic cycle driven by interest rates and housing. With exports slowing, the domino effect will be felt throughout the supply chain. Because of market turmoil, many have second thoughts about the strength of the economy and outlook. The U.S. presidential election impact remains to be seen.

At this point, business leaders are cautious, without being overly pessimistic. There is business risk involved with planning, knowing that unforeseen factors can play on forecasts, so they are wisely proceeding with some caution.

 


Christopher S. Rupkey, CFA

Managing Director, Chief Financial Economist

MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

crupkey@us.mufg.jp

A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with an A.B. in Economics, Mr. Rupkey then received his M.A. in Economics from Columbia University in New York. Mr. Rupkey spent his early career working for Larry Kudlow at UBS Paine Webber, moving on to become  Chief Economist at Cantor, Fitzgerald. At MUFG Union Bank, N.A., Mr. Rupkey is presently Managing Director and Chief Financial Economist in the Economic Research Group, focusing on financial markets, Federal Reserve policy and international economies including Japan. He has published the Financial Market Weekly for the bank for more than 20 years.

Mr. Rupkey is frequently quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, Reuters, Yahoo, and other investor publications. From 2001-2002, Mr. Rupkey was President of the Money Marketeers of New York University, a club in New York made up of Wall Street dealers and New York Fed staff, and was President of the New York Association for Business Economics in 2009-2010. In September 2013, Mr. Rupkey was awarded the 2012-2013 National Association for Business Economics (NABE) Outlook Award. The annual award is presented to the NABE Outlook panelist with the most accurate economic forecast for the previous four quarters.

 

About MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation

Headquartered in New York, MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation is a financial holding company and bank holding company with total assets of $120.9 billion at March 31, 2016. Its principal subsidiary, MUFG Union Bank, N.A., provides an array of financial services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, and major corporations. As of March 31, 2016, MUFG Union Bank, N.A. operated 370 branches, comprised primarily of retail banking branches in the West Coast states, along with commercial branches in Texas, Illinois, New York and Georgia, as well as two international offices. MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc., one of the world’s leading financial groups.

Visit www.mufgamericas.com for more information.

 

 


 

Analyst Certification

The views expressed in this report accurately reflect the personal views of Christopher S. Rupkey, the primary analyst responsible for this report, about the subject securities or issuers referred to herein, and no part of such analyst’s compensation was, is or will be directly or indirectly related to the specific recommendations or views expressed herein.

The information herein is provided for information purposes only, and is not to be used or considered as an offer or the solicitation of an offer to sell or to buy or subscribe for securities or other financial instruments. Neither this nor any other communication prepared by MUFG Union Bank, N.A., (collectively with its various offices and affiliates “MUB”) or should be construed as investment advice, a recommendation to enter into a particular transaction or pursue a particular strategy, or any statement as to the likelihood that a particular transaction or strategy will be effective in light of your business objectives or operations. Before entering into any particular transaction, you are advised to obtain such independent financial, legal, accounting and other advice as may be appropriate under the circumstances. In any event, any decision to enter into a transaction will be yours alone, not based on information prepared or provided by MUB.  MUB hereby disclaims any responsibility to you concerning the characterization or identification of terms, conditions, and legal or accounting or other issues or risks that may arise in connection with any particular transaction or business strategy. While MUB believes that any relevant factual statements herein and any assumptions on which information herein are based, are in each case accurate, MUB makes no representation or warranty regarding such accuracy and shall not be responsible for any inaccuracy in such statements or assumptions. Note that MUB may have issued, and may in the future issue, other reports that are inconsistent with or that reach conclusions different from the information set forth herein. Such other reports, if any, reflect the different assumptions, views and/or analytical methods of the analysts who prepared them, and MUB is under no obligation to ensure that such other reports are brought to your attention.

The articles and opinions in this publication are for general information only, are subject to change, and are not intended to provide specific investment, legal, tax or other advice or recommendations. The information contained herein reflects the thoughts and opinions of the noted authors only, and such information does not necessarily reflect the thoughts and opinions of MUB or its management team. We are not offering or soliciting any transaction based on this information. We suggest that you consult your attorney, accountant or tax or financial advisor with regard to your situation. Although information has been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable, neither the authors nor MUB guarantee its accuracy, and such information may be incomplete or condensed. Neither the authors nor MUFG shall be liable for any typographical errors or incorrect data obtained from reliable sources or factual information.

©2016 Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The MUFG logo and name is a service mark of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc., and is used by MUFG Union Bank, N.A., with permission. Member FDIC.

 

10 Sales Tips for Asking More Effective Questions

By: Dr.  Tony Alessandra

What is the #1 rule in sales? Ask more questions! Sometimes the most knowledgeable expert is the most likely to fall into the trap of talking too much. Remember to slow down and let your prospective client do most of the talking. Study after study tells us that the most effective sales tips a trainer or manager can reinforce involve asking a lot of questions. Hall-of-fame keynote speaker on the subjects of sales and customer service, Dr. Tony Alessandra, shares his top 10 sales tips for asking more effective questions…

 

1) Ask permission.

In some situations, it’s understood that you’re there to gather information. In other situations, it’s appropriate to show respect by asking permission to ask questions.

Example question: “May I ask you some questions about your business?”

This may be a rhetorical question, but it’s worth asking anyway.

2) Start broad, and then get specific.

Broad, open-ended sales questions are a good way to start gathering information. They put your prospect at ease because they allow any type of response.

Example question: “Could you tell me about your business?”

This is a non-threatening way to begin. Listen to what your prospect says and what she omits. Both will suggest areas to explore in greater depth, such as, “Could you tell me more about how absenteeism impacts your bottom line?”

 

3) Build on previous responses.

Any good interviewer knows that the most logical source of questions comes from the interviewee’s responses. Dovetail your questions with the responses by listening for key words.

Example question roleplay:

[Prospect] “I own six flower shops that specialize in large event decorating.”  

[Salesperson] “You specialize in large events. Why did you choose that niche?”

[Prospect] “Lower overhead. I can work out of a warehouse rather than a storefront. I don’t have to maintain perishable stock; I order in large quantities only when needed, which keeps my prices down.”

[Salesperson] “What do you mean by large events? How would you define that? What are the minimum orders?”

 

4) Use the prospect’s industry jargon, if appropriate.

If you’re talking to an expert, show your expertise by sounding as if you’ve spent your whole life in his industry. If you’re talking to a neophyte, don’t embarrass him with your technical jargon. This is especially true in retail sales in which customers look to salespeople for guidance, not confusion.

Every field has its own jargon, and you may be an expert in yours; however, your prospect may not be as well versed as you. Avoid questions that will confuse your prospect or worse, make him feel inferior.

Example question not to ask“Was the baud rate of your present system satisfactory?”

Example question to ask:  “Were your telephone transmissions of data fast enough?”

 

5) Keep questions simple.

If you want useful answers, ask useful questions. Convoluted or two-part questions should be avoided. Ask straightforward questions that cover one topic at a time. It’s best to ask for one answer at a time.

Example question not to ask: “What do you think about the marketing plan and will the new ad campaign confuse customers and would that confusion actually be beneficial to the long-term product growth?”

This will not produce a meaningful answer. If you ask a two-part question, people tend to either answer the second part only or only the part they were interested in or felt safe with. One question at a time!

6) Use a logical sequence for your questions.

Prospects like to know where your questions are headed. If they can’t tell, they may suspect you’re manipulating them. By following keywords and asking sales questions in a logical order, you will keep your intent clear and build trust.

7) Keep questions non-threatening.

Start off safe, general, and non-threatening. That means asking open-ended questions that don’t touch on sensitive subjects. Later, after you have built up trust — and when it is appropriate — you can ask about financial ability, business stability, credit rating … anything relevant.

Example questions: Here’s a post that highlights seven questions one sales rep uses to ask more intense questions in a light and friendly manner. 

 

8) If a question is sensitive, explain its relevance.

It makes sense to justify a sensitive question to your prospect. After all, she has a right to know why you are asking.

Example questions: Here’s a post on how to ask sensitive sales questions without upsetting your prospects.

 

9) Focus on desired benefits.

Many prospects will not know all the benefits of your product or service. Therefore, don’t ask them what benefits they are looking for; tell them what benefits will be theirs! When you ask them what they want, have them generalize about the improvements they would like to see.

10) Maintain a consultative attitude.

Remember, you’re a liaison between your company and your customers; you are a consultant. As such, you want to question your prospect in a way that will yield the maximum amount of information with the least effort. To do so, take the pressure off the questions. Ask them in a relaxed tone of voice. Give time for the answers, even if it means sitting quietly and waiting. Don’t be in a hurry to get to your next appointment. The investment you make in time now will pay off handsomely when the prospect evolves into an annuity.

 

 

Dr. Tony Alessandra has a street-wise, college-smart perspective on business, having been raised in the housing projects of NYC to eventually realizing success as a graduate professor of marketing, internet entrepreneur, business author, and hall-of-fame keynote speaker. He earned a BBA from Notre Dame, a MBA from the Univ. of Connecticut and his PhD in marketing from Georgia State University (1976).

Known as “Dr. Tony” he’s authored 30+ books and 100+ audio/video programs. He was inducted into the NSA Speakers Hall of Fame (1985) and Top Sales World’s Hall of Fame(2010).  Meetings & Conventions Magazine has called him “one of America’s most electrifying speakers”.

 

Dr. Tony is also the Founder/CVO of  Assessments 24×7.  Assessments 24×7 is a global leader of online DISC assessments, delivered from easy-to-use online accounts popular with business coaches and Fortune 500 trainers around the world.  Interested in learning more about these customized assessment accounts? Please CONTACT US.