C-Suite Network, the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders, today announced the launch of C-Suite Collective 1.5, the newly enhanced exclusive online community for business leaders to discuss best business practices, industry news and offer support to their peers. New enhancement features include integrations with Zeetings and C-Suite Academy, which provides additional opportunities for members to connect and engage in a collaborative online space.
The C-Suite Collective, powered by Jive Software’s industry-leading JiveX customer community solution, offers business leaders a personalized dashboard that displays network activities, profiles to easily find and connect with other C-Suite colleagues of their caliber and relevant online services and resources. Members of the Collective also have access to pertinent news and information gathered from C-Suite TV, C-Suite Radio, C-Suite Book Club and industry news and content shared by other members.
“The Collective strives to provide a leading community for its members. Our members are true visionaries, and this online platform encourages a place for members to collaborate, learn and share insights,” said Thomas White, CEO and co-founder of C-Suite Network.
The C-Suite Collective will introduce its enhancements at the C-Suite Conference in Boston, March 29-31. Zeetings, the leader in online meetings, will provide the system for polls conducted at the event. The polls will produce stats on C-level leaders to improve information and messaging in the Collective.
“The C-Suite Conference brings together the corporate world’s leading minds, and Zeetings is proud to help make sure those minds are engaged, heard and understood,” said Robert Kawalsky, CEO and co-founder of Zeetings.
Along with the private, online community, members have access to C-Suite Academy, an online learning platform. Content from top thought leaders, such as Dr. Tony Alessandra, Shep Hyken, Dr. Willie Jolley, Sally Hogshead and Scott McKain, is available at no charge for the personal use of C-Suite Collective members.
To find out more information and request your exclusive membership to the C-Suite Collective, visit http://c-suitenetwork.com/join/.
About C-Suite Network
C-Suite Network is the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders, with a focus on providing growth, development and networking opportunities for business executives with titles of vice president and above.
C-Suite Network brings leaders together through C-Suite Collective, a private online community for executives. C-Suite Network also offers invitation-only conferences held three times per year, custom-tailored content on the C-Suite Network blog, C-Suite TV, C-Suite Radio, C-Suite Book Club, and educational programs from C-Suite Academy. Learn more at www.c-suitenetwork.com, or connect on LinkedIn, Twitter andFacebook.
About Jive Software
Jive (NASDAQ: JIVE) is the leading provider of modern communication and collaboration solutions for business. Recognized as a leader by the industry’s top analyst firms in multiple categories, Jive enables employees, partners and customers to work better together. More information can be found at www.jivesoftware.com.
Zeetings is revolutionizing how we present. From eBay to EY, thought leaders at leading organizations are embracing Zeetings. Unlike existing presentation software, Zeetings is not about producing slides but rather about creating a genuine connection between a presenter and their audience.
Zeetings boosts audience engagement by making your presentations social, interactive and accessible to audience members via any connected device. Zeetings sparks discussion before, during, and after the presentation by fusing interactive elements such as polls and Q&A with your presentation content in a secure virtual meeting space. Analytics monitor engagement and help you understand what resonates with your audience.
Zeetings is extremely simple to use. To get started, presenters simply upload content (PPT, PDF, Video) and broadcast in real time, or share an access link over email, to their audience. Zeetings is great for team meetings, board meetings, keynote presentations, lectures, and sales calls. Suitable for small teams and large enterprises alike. Visit www.zeetings.com for more information on Zeetings or email Rob Kawalsky firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a personalized demo to see how Zeetings can work for your company.
Read more at MarketWired
by Steve Olenski
Whatever your business or service is, a successful marketing campaign involves driving traffic to your website, and then on-site conversion. Without those two actions, your company is dead in the water.
The financial industry is among the most dedicated service industries in managing their marketing. Here are five valuable lessons to learn from their successful strategies:
- Use recognized influencers to drive traffic to your brand.
It can be a celebrity, like Mike Ditka, who is associated with equity index products. Or anyone else who is a recognized talent or authority. Don Orban is the Executive Director of Retire Iowa, and he recommends tailoring the influencer to the product or service as closely as possible:
“When you’re dealing with people’s money and especially with their retirement accounts, you want them to know they’re dealing with someone who shares their goals and orientation. Hollywood glamor or a Super Bowl ring may not be what reassures your clients; instead you may want a spokesperson who is trusted and shares senior’s values.”
- Use compelling content (images, videos) to drive consumers from Pinterest and Instagram to your direct website.
Both of these platforms are fantastic in getting customers who are browsing the web to land on your website. Pinterest is full of headlines meant to tantalize those interested in financial planning, such as “The 30 Day Money Cleanse” or takeaways like “Free Printable Financial Planner.”
- Incentivize your customers.
Customers who have purchased an item from your website need an incentive to spread the word, e.g. a discount on their next purchase when they spread the good word on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media. How about a free e-book for repeat customers? This kind of customer retention strategy pays hefty dividends.
- Simplify every step of the sales funnel.
Remove steps, minimize forms, add confidence builders and ensure progress is clearly signposted for the prospective customer to minimize drop-out. And, if your website has a remarketing pixel placed on all of its product pages throughout the site, when someone drops off without making a purchase you can serve an advertisement to them for that specific product over a 30-day timespan.
Joey Muller, an expert in online direct marketing at Sum Digital, says “Don’t only ‘prospect’ for customers; with the right platform you can re-engage users who have already shown an interest in your products or services. Use remarketing techniques to close more customers.”
- Find a strategic position in the industry.
The CEO of BenefitGuard, Matt Bradley, is an advocate of this principle: “When we examined the competitive landscape, we found several large areas of opportunity. We then designed our services in such a way to solve the problems that we saw in the industry. Then we started to broadcast our message in ways that the rest of the industry had not yet considered.” Financial institutions, both great and small, use a host of tracking sites to follow their rivals. Can you afford to do anything less?
*This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.
Steve Olenski was named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred. Steve is a senior creative content strategist at Responsys, a leading marketing cloud software and services company. He is a also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing and co-author of the book “StumbleUpon For Dummies.” He can be reached via LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter @steveolenski or at the nearest coffee shop.
by Mark Sanborn
In Part 1 of ‘7 Reasons Why Executive Speakers FLOP,’ Mark Sanborn explains that public speaking — like all skills — needs to be developed, esxpecially for C-Suite leaders. He cites an unclear purpose and lack of preparation as two big reasons why speeches and presentations are delivered unsuccessfully. In this post, he continues with the key mistakes to avoid when speaking to a room.
Failure to capture attention
The scarcest resource in the world used to be time; today it is attention. The average listener is bombarded with messages from many different sources. From email to radio to voicemail to cell phones, everybody is trying to tell us something, and your attempt to give a speech is just one more bombardment.
That’s why what you say and how you say it had better grab the audience’s attention right out of the shoot. You don’t have time to “warm up.” (e.g. “Thank you for inviting me to be here today. It is indeed my pleasure to address you. What a great meeting it has been so far. Blah blah blah blah blah.”)
As my friend and high-powered speech coach Ron Arden says, “In the theater, you’ll never see an actor warm-up on the audience. They warm-up backstage.”
So forget the hackneyed concept of warming up the audience. Hit them square between the eyes with something that will break their preoccupation with what they need to pick up at the grocery store on the way home from work.
Most importantly, make your remarks relevant. Postmoderns are less interested with the question “Is it true?” and more interested in the question “How does it affect me?” Sure, you need to be intellectually honest to prove your points, but never forget to prove that your message matters to the listener.
Ego-driven leaders are more concerned with what followers think about them than they are with what followers do because of them. But you don’t necessarily have to be arrogant to be pompous. Sometimes it happens accidentally when a speaker confuses impressing a listener with influencing him or her. Impressing people is, for the most part, a head-game: It changes what they think of us. Influencing people is a behavioral game: It changes what people do because of us.
A preoccupation with self is deadly. Self-absorbed speakers present to get their needs met, rather than meet the needs of the audience. The audience instantly recognizes it.
One of the best-kept secrets in speaking is this: The audience wants you to do well. Everyone knows how painful it is to watch a speaker bomb in front of others, so instinctively, the audience is pulling for you. And they’ll cut you a lot of slack — and allow for mispronunciations and other mistakes — if you are sincerely interested in them.
If you speak down to them or try to blatantly impress them, they’ll turn on you like a pack of rabid dogs. It won’t be as obvious as the rabid dogs, but beyond their polite or at least neutral non-verbals, they’ll be mentally dismantling you for being a pompous ass. You wouldn’t be asked to speak unless someone believed that you have credibility and something to say. That is enough. Don’t undo that assumption through efforts to prove your status to others.
“Isn’t life a thousand times too short to bore ourselves?” That wasn’t uttered by a tired audience member, but it could have been. Helen Keller said it.
An audience today contains many people who were raised on MTV. That means they spent formative years watching music videos that often contained 150 images in the course of a minute. Watching a talking head is, for them, about as stimulating as watching software load.
Nobody ever flops who entertains. Don’t get me wrong: to be simply entertaining is not in itself a worthwhile goal for an executive presenter, but is sure beats the alternative, which is to be boring. Sell the sizzle and the steak.
Great restaurants know that the presentation of cuisine is as important as its preparation. Presentation and perception go hand-in-hand.
“Amusement” comes from two words meaning “not to ponder.” “Entertainment” on the other hand, is engaging. The value of entertainment for a speaker is that it mentally engages listeners. I’ve found the best way to educate is to slip good ideas in on the wings of entertainment.
By the way, telling a joke is risky. When it works, it works well. When it fails, nothing fails worse. The best way to avoid groaners is to use humor in such a way that it illustrates your point. If the audience doesn’t laugh, the illustration is still of value. And if they get a chuckle out of the humor, that’s just icing on the cake.
Remember this variation of a familiar acronym: FEAR is False Endings Appearing Real.
I’ve seen it a hundred times. A speaker starts to conclude, even tells the audience of his intent, and then tells a pithy, witty story. The audience responds favorably. The speaker gets a rush. “Wow, they liked that. I’ve got an even better story,” he thinks to himself. And then he ends again, with another story/quote/challenge/admonition/etc. Like a junkie who has just had a good fix, the speaker keeps ending until there is no positive response, but rather visible signs of disgust. By then, it is too late.
You can only effectively conclude once, yet I’ve seen executives conclude over and over. Each false ending weakens the message that was in front of it. The false ending nightmare usually begins with these words, “In conclusion….” That triggers hope in the audience’s mind. “Hey, it’s almost over!” They expect you to wrap up quickly.
In my mind, that means either summarizing or making a final point. Several points, or the introduction of new points, is not a conclusion.
A simple rule to remember: A good ending happens only once.
The beginning of excellence is the elimination of foolishness. You can bump up your speaking performance by analyzing your last presentation by asking these seven questions:
- Did I stick to my allotted time?
- Did I develop and present purposefully?
- Was I thoroughly prepared?
- Did I capture attention at the very beginning?
- Did I positively influence listeners?
- Was I appropriately entertaining, or at least not boring?
- Did I end only once?
An affirmative answer to each of these questions virtually guarantees that the next time you make a presentation, you won’t be a flop. Not only will you be flop-proof, most likely you’ll be perceived as an articulate and effective speaker.
*This article originally appeared on MarkSanborn.com.
Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Sanborn is an international bestselling author and noted authority on leadership, team building, customer service and change. Follow Mark on Twitter @Mark_Sanborn.
by Kelly Jo Horton
You’ve reached that point: You need to take your marketing to the next level, beyond the email program that your company is outgrowing.
You know that marketing automation will let you scale your efforts across the board, provide your customers and prospects with more relevant and timely content, save time on campaigns and track everything, so you can prove marketing’s value. You’ve either gleaned this from your time in the trenches, or you know it instinctively from all of the research you’ve done. You could go on and on about all of the things you could do — if you just had a great marketing automation platform.
What’s in it for your company?
That’s all well and good, but the key stakeholders you need to buy into your plan don’t care about what you love about marketing automation. They want to know what’s in it for them.
Sell the CMO
First, you need to find a champion. Selling your CMO on marketing automation could go one of two ways. If the enthusiasm for adopting a marketing automation platform originated with your CMO, then you probably won’t even need to pitch the idea. However, if your CMO has been in place for many years and is satisfied with current marketing efforts, you’ve got an uphill battle ahead of you. Either way, your CMO won’t get fully on board until you can prove that investing in marketing automation is a good business decision — because his or her reputation is on the line.
Three things the CMO cares about:
- Marketing you can brag about
- Ability to segment and target
- Doing more with less
Every CMO dreams of having stellar marketing that is respected within the company and the envy of every competitor. One of the highest forms of flattery for a CMO is to have sales reps tell them that the leads their team is generating are awesome. Come to the table with case studies from companies that have implemented a marketing automation solution, and see a marked increase in the close rate of leads generated by marketing.
Whether you’re a team of one or many, marketing automation will help you scale your efforts across the board. Automation and scheduling are your friends. Your CMO will want concrete examples of how a marketing automation platform will allow you to provide more relevant content to the right audience at the right time, as well as the numbers to prove that marketing is contributing to conversions — and the bottom line.
Pitch specific examples of how you and your team could be more productive and prolific if you had access to a marketing automation platform. Develop a scenario or two about the outcomes in terms of generating and converting leads, and use numbers to help tell the story about how that would affect revenue.
80 percent of CMOs at top-performing companies indicate that their most compelling reason for implementing marketing automation is to increase revenue, and 76 percent say it’s to get higher-quality leads. (Gleanster, 2013) That’s a roadmap for the case you should make to your CMO.
Sell the EVP of Sales
Great sales organizations are successful because they have honed their sales processes and made them repeatable. The relationship between marketing and sales may be strained or non-existent if marketing has been delivering low-quality leads in the past. Adopting a marketing automation platform can help you foster conversations about sales and marketing alignment.
Three things the EVP of Sales cares about:
- Quality of leads
- Cost per lead
- Disruption of process
You can bet your EVP of Sales knows exactly how many leads marketing delivered to the pipeline last year and exactly what percentage of those leads became customers. The challenge will be to convince the EVP of Sales that adopting a marketing automation solution will increase the quality of leads generated by marketing efforts and shorten the sales cycle. Come armed with data points from industry case studies.
Be aware that your EVP of Sales may see marketing automation as a disruption of their tried-and-true ways. Emphasize the fact that the sales team will not have to learn the new platform but will benefit from the additional lead information generated by the marketing automation platform and synced to their CRM. (And when you begin to look at platforms in the market, look for one that delivers marketing and contact intelligence right into the CRM platform, so the reps don’t have to leave the CRM to make use of it.)
Companies that use marketing automation see 107 percent better lead conversion, 40 percent greater average deal size, 20percent higher team attainment of quota and 17 percent better forecast accuracy. (Aberdeen Group, 2012) What EVP of Sales doesn’t want a higher rate of lead conversion and bigger deals? The numbers speak for themselves. Use them.
Sell the CEO
Depending on the size of your organization, you may or may not have to pitch to the CEO. This will be your most complicated sell because you will have to address both quantitative and qualitative concerns. And let’s not forget, the CEO has veto privileges over everyone, so it’s imperative you get buy in from this person.
Three things the CEO cares about:
- The entire revenue cycle — top-line growth and profitability
- Customer satisfaction and loyalty
- The competition
The CEO is more concerned with the big picture than the minute details. Focus on how a marketing automation platform will benefit the company’s bottom line by increasing sales and revenue, maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty and keeping a leg up on the competition. Provide your CEO with a few bullet points of data from case studies relevant to your industry.
Sell the CIO
Your CIO is not concerned about the marketing piece of this solution, so drop the marketing speak and put on your technical hat before you talk to him or her.
Three things the CIO cares about:
- Data and system security
- Implementation requirements
- Ongoing demand on IT team
You have to get your technical ducks in a row before pitching to the CIO. If your company has a standard list of security questions for vendors, get that filled out before you schedule a meeting. Do you know what DKIM is? How about DNS? Whitelisting? Be honest. If you aren’t completely comfortable with fielding technical requirement questions, set up a call with a technical resource on the vendor side so the CIO can get answers to any questions he or she might have.
The CIO will want to be assured that implementing this new marketing automation platform will not have a big impact on his or her (already overburdened) team. Prepare an implementation timeline with estimated hours for each task so there are no surprises down the line.
Sell the CFO
You may or may not get the opportunity to pitch to the CFO, but even if you don’t, you can bet the CFO will be looking closely at any of the financial breakdowns you put together for the other executives. So be very sure your numbers are accurate.
Three things the CFO cares about:
- Controlling costs
- Return on Investment (ROI)
- Reducing risks
The CFO’s main concern is controlling costs for the company, which includes understanding the ROI of every proposed purchase that comes across his or her desk. The CFO is not someone who takes risk lightly and will require data to prove that other companies in the same industry have made the investment in marketing automation and seen success.
The CFO will also want to review any financial terms and agreements that need to be signed off. 70 percent of top-performing companies indicate their investment in marketing automation generated a positive ROI after the first year of use. (Gleanster, Nov 2012) Emphasize the fact that a marketing automation platform will allow you to generate reports, which will give the executives better visibility into the ROI of your marketing efforts.
You Can Do This
Are you still with me? You can do this. You now have some insight into what it’s going to take for you to sell your passion for marketing automation to your C-Level executives. There’s no shortcut to success here. Do your homework and be prepared.
*This article originally appeared at Act-On.com.
Kelly Jo Horton is a marketing and technology consulting for B2B, B2C and hybrid. She works in the trenches of digital marketing, constantly searching for the emotional hook and human connection in every interactive campaign she designs and deploys. Kelly is a Primetime Engineering Emmy winner in the Interactive Media category. Follow her on Twitter @KellyJoHorton.
Act-On Software is the world’s fastest growing marketing automation company; its cloud-based marketing automation platform is the foundation of successful marketing campaigns everywhere – from small, simple and direct, to complex globally implemented programs. Follow @ActOnSoftware on Twitter.
C-Suite Network co-founder Jeffrey Hayzlett provided the forward for Barefoot Wine founders and New York Times Bestselling authors Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey’s new book. In “The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People,” Jeffrey writes that a company can be in a “bad mood” when employees believing their best days are behind them, not ahead of them.
When your whole company is in a bad mood, employees don’t feel that they have a stake in its future—and that’s a problem. Here, Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey explain how to turn a bad mood around by helping your employees develop an entrepreneurial spirit.
Is your company in a bad mood? The signs aren’t always overt. People aren’t biting each other’s heads off or glaring sullenly across the conference table. (That’s home, not work!) Instead, it feels like everyone is just…coasting. Rather than digging for solutions, they make a cursory effort and then lay the problem at your feet. They’re not cage-rattlers and idea-sharers; they’re “yes men” and passive compliers. And if you could be the proverbial fly on the wall (instead of the boss in the hall), you suspect you’d hear far more bitching and blaming than the faked enthusiasm you usually hear.
That’s bad mood in workplace parlance. And Michael Houlihan says your apathetic clock-punchers are the creations of a culture that’s set up to squelch their inner entrepreneur.
C-Suite Network co-founder Jeffrey Hayzlett offers five essential tips for maintaining the spirit of an entrepreneur in the C-Suite. He says the best C-Suite leaders, like Richard Branson or Elon Musk, never stop looking at opportunities through their entrepreneurial glasses.
Adapt, change, or die. No one knows this statement to be true more than the executive teams in the c-suite. They know that when companies stop adapting or changing – they die.
That’s why c-suite executives are always pushing the envelope. They know that if they lose that drive, the hurry-up feeling, the company they have been tasked to lead will lose that feeling too.
It’s why c-suite leaders must always keep an entrepreneurial mindset when it comes to business, and instill that entrepreneurial spirit company wide. My friends Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, founders of the iconic Barefoot Wine brand, wrote a book on their experiences starting a brand from their laundry room called The Barefoot Spirit. They talk about the challenges and opportunities they faced as they built Barefoot Wine and how they capitalized on every one of them through entrepreneurship. They share how every employee, from front-line to CEO, needs to come at every situation with an entrepreneurial spirit.
DocuSign CFO Mike Dinsdale discusses how it became the standard for digital transaction management on MYOB, premiering on C-Suite TV Oct. 21. His interview with Jeffrey Hayzlett was filmed at the premier C-Suite Network Conference in Dallas.
The fifth episode of MYOB (Mind Your Own Business) features DocuSign’s Chief Financial Officer, Mike Dinsdale, talking with host Jeffrey Hayzlett about DocuSign’s period of hypergrowth and how DocuSign is leading the charge in the digital transaction management landscape.
With over $100 million in their coffers and over 1,000 employees, DocuSign is one of the fastest growing companies in Silicon Valley. The company is always looking for ways to innovate, expand and accelerate its business and one sure way of doing that is by adopting and believing in the philosophy that winning the enterprise also means winning the customer. Consumers demand a secure system they can trust and DocuSign believes they have the tools in place to continue generating such a high consumer confidence. By 2020, it is predicted that Digital Transaction Management (DTM) will become a $30 billion industry.
Jeffrey Hayzlett hits the stage at Jive Software’s JiveWorld 2014 event, along with a top-tier panel of experts, to define the culture of success. He follows with a keynote to addresses what every business leader must face: getting ready, getting going, and creating and sustaining momentum.
Primetime TV host and Contributing Editor for Bloomberg Television, Jeffrey Hayzlett, joins an expert panel on Tuesday, October 21 at JiveWorld 2014 in Las Vegas, hosted by the Jive Software, the leading provider of modern communication and collaboration solutions for business.
In addressing the topic “Defining the Culture of Success,” Hayzlett will be joined by Elisa Steele, EVP Marketing and Products — Jive Software; Mark Bonchek, Founder and Chief Catalyst — thinkORBIT; and Azure Antoinette, CEO, Commissioned Poet and Author — Millennial Advocate.
The expert panel starts at 4:20PM MT at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
“This is a tremendous top-tier business panel, and am excited to unleash our expertise in how today’s leaders can define and create cultures that are unique and authentic,” Hayzlett said. “I’ve ran (and sold) hundreds of business and understand the importance culture plays in motivating employees to be at their best.”
C-Suite Network CEO Thomas White reflects on insights gleaned from the very first C-Suite Network Conference in May 2014 and details what attendees can expect at the next event this fall in Marina del Rey, California.
The C-Suite Network held its inaugural conference May 4 through 6, 2014, at the Fairmont hotel in Dallas, Texas. The conference brought together top executives from companies like SAP, Mattel, GAP, Accenture, AIG and Sony Electronics for an opportunity to engage with their peers and learn from an inspiring panel of keynote speakers and on-stage guests. C-Suite leaders from T-Mobile, Mitel, DocuSign and Jive Software shared their secrets for disruption and innovation through interviews with host Jeffrey Hayzlett.
The May conference had three primary focuses: Disruptive business models, technological breakthroughs and innovations in customer relationships. On-Stage Showcases wowed C-Suite leaders with their unique products and services, highlighting the changing business landscape and capabilities of marketing and customer service in the digital age. Many walked away with new ideas and solutions they can use for the betterment of their companies, teams and customers.