The longevity of a business is influenced by several factors. Its management, the impact of its services and products, its approach to the market, marketing efforts and of course, its customers all combine to the success of a business. If customers love your business and you know how to keep customers loyal through good service, you are headed in the right direction. Unfortunately, Bloomberg tells us that 80 percent of businesses fail in the first 18 months. Why, you ask? There are several reasons and one is lack of communication.

Communication is a way to develop a powerful relationship with your customers. Sometimes businesses ignore some of the basics of communication, and that will hinder business growth in a big way. Here are three communication mistakes your business may be making and how to overcome them.

 

You Lack a Clear Way for Your Customers to Reach You

You have a business website, and that’s a great first step. But do you have a few different ways your customers can contact you? You need to.

In addition to a phone number, you need to provide an email address where customers or clients can reach you. Another great option is a contact form that allows you to give people the choice to select what they want to contact you about, and makes it easier to organize and manage your messages. You should also link your social media accounts to your website so you can listen to customer inquiries.

 

You Don’t Seek Customer Feedback

Do you have any idea how your customers feel about your business? Do you ask them what they think or just hope they will tell you? Do you fear if you ask for feedback you may receive too many requests that you are unable to implement?

There are many reasons why businesses need to ask for customer feedback. You need to be aware if your customers need something or encounter a problem. Chances are, if something is wrong you will know right away. But what about all of those things you are doing well? It’s nice to hear that customers are pleased and that’s something many businesses don’t hear often enough.

Feedback also tells you more than the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of your customers. It also gives you tips on ways to improve your products or services, your marketing efforts and really almost any way you can better your business so you will succeed. Feedback can give you much more information than you may realize.

 

Your Customers Don’t Know How Much You Appreciate Their Business

There are several ways to show your gratitude. While you may feel you express your thanks to customers via your actions, communication is a way to pinpoint your appreciation. The content of the emails and messages you send your audience and the way you respond to inquiries and concerns and the frequency you thank your audience for being your customers are all parts of demonstrating that you care about them. By showcasing your feelings, you give your customers a reason to stay true to your business.

Another way to show your customers that you value them is to always keep them in the forefront of your mind. Send them personalized messages, offer them special promotions, and thank them for their business. If they offer feedback, make sure to acknowledge you received it and point out that you’ve implemented it.

Customers make or break your business, so never underestimate their power. In order to have a good relationship with your customers, you have to do more than just offer them products they like. The most successful businesses develop a personal connection with their customers and that is founded on communication.

What types of communication between a business and its customers do you feel are essential for a business to experience great success?

 

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

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Planning season is right around the corner; and Demand Metric is ahead of the game to help you get prepped for 2015.

Plan and organize all of your marketing activities for the upcoming year with our 2015 calendars. Currently, we are offering calendars for marketing communications, social media marketing, content marketing, video marketing, event marketing and PR. Each calendar allows you to document daily activities that automatically populate into a large summary tab for sharing with your team and executive management.

We also encourage you to take advantage of our 2015 management tools for project management and employee relations.

Get a head start on planning your marketing initiatives for next year, while maintaining an agile approach with Demand Metric’s customizable tools!

Read the source article at demandmetric.com

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‘Showpad and GoodData Partner to Deliver Data Analytics to Power Successful Sales Meetings’ on Yahoo Finance UK. Showpad, the leading mobile sales enablement platform, today announced a partnership with GoodData that will give businesses in-depth and actionable analytics from in-person meetings to increase sales success.’

Read the source article at Yahoo UK & Ireland Finance

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It is no secret that a bad experience – whether in store or online – can hurt the reputation of a business. New data out from Showpad and Demand Metric shows just how important experience has become because in a majority of cases (72%) bad sales experiences result in a loss of revenue.

Read the source article at BizReport

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The Blame Game

  • Aside from price, there is little agreement between sales and marketing professionals about why deals fail to close with qualified prospects.
  • Sales professionals cite the lack of marketing assets and support as the top reason they fail to close deals.
  • Marketers’ view of the top cause of failure—lack of empowerment to negotiate—is more sympathetic to their Sales colleagues. However, the second-ranked cause is not: lack of sales skill or ability.

Read more: http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2014/25682/why-b2b-sales-leads-dont-convert-and-who-is-to-blame#ixzz38t7PYGRH

Read the source article at MarketingProfs

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Recently, Demand Metric partnered with Showpad to find out how impactful bad sales experience are on sales opportunies, revenue goal attainment and the relationship between sales and marketing. This infographic highlights the key findings of the Sales Experience Quality Benchmark Report.

Read the source article at demandmetric.com

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By Pieterjan Bouten – CEO, Showpad

Today Showpad announced the results of a study commissioned by Demand Metric on the impact of a bad in-person sales experience. The study surveyed 250 sales and marketing executives for their opinions both on delivering and receiving a sales experience. While the news may seem bad:

  • 60% of respondents regularly had bad sales experiences.
  • 72% of those bad experiences resulted in an immediate loss of revenue for the business.

It actually represents a significant opportunity for businesses regardless of industry. If you dig deeper into the reasons why bad experiences occur, the aggregate rankings from both audiences identified these three key areas:

  • Lack of customer understanding
  • Lack of time or resources
  • Lack of alignment

While not easy to fix, they can be improved with the right information. But, before we talk about a solution, let’s identify why the areas mentioned above play such an important role in the performance of sales and marketing teams.

In the age of big data, businesses have an abundance of metrics on almost every part of their business with the exception of one: how sales collateral is used at in-person meetings. If you start by looking at marketing, this can impact the way content is built for field or channel sales teams. Are the materials effective? Does the message resonate with their prospects? Do distributors need different material than direct sellers? Unless you have a sales team that has time for detailed documentation and a clear structure for measurement in your CRM system, marketers will be flying blind.

Even if your sales team has the right materials—which is often not the case—they have to find, and deliver those materials throughout multiple conversations every day. These interactions may take place in an office setting but more and more are occurring in coffee shops, on construction sites or in hospital hallways. To complicate the matter, salespeople have to understand and be effective with the delivery of the content, often without any documentation or clear direction. These bits and pieces of content struggle add-up and directly impact their productivity.

Ass many of us know CRM systems have become something of barrier between sales and marketing. Even the best CRM products require integrations with marketing automation, content management, and a host of other applications that can be found both on and off the Salesforce AppExchange. These integrations can be complicated and often still require a high degree of human interaction to document valuable intelligence, but that’s changing.

Unlocking that valuable information around in-person sales interactions can be achieved using a mobile sales enablement platform like Showpad. This means your sales and marketing team can use analytics to gain insight in how sales collateral is impacting sales, improving productivity and content effectiveness while delivering a great sales experience

To that end, Showpad also announced today a partnership with GoodData that will extend the capabilities of our current product reporting to include better visualizations and provide marketing and sales professionals with a deeper level of insight into the content that resonates with customers and prospects. With this improvement, we can help sales and marketing teams work better together, enabling better sales experiences and faster business growth.

 

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In the digital era, the most successful companies will not only be on the cutting edge of product, they will be the ones who use social media as a part of their overall global business strategy. Social media allows different departments to build meaningful relationships with customers, partners, employees and influencers. These relationships are what delivers customer satisfaction, and ultimately drives revenue. 

In this webinar, HootSuite’s VP of Marketing, Dee Anna McPherson, shares insider advice on how to drive your key business objectives with an integrated, organization-wide social media strategy

This eWorkshop is ideal for any marketing professional who needs to create a social enterprise by building meaningful relationships with customers, partners, employees and influencers. Check it out @ 

http://www.demandmetric.com/content/eworkshop-building-social-enterprise

Read the source article at demandmetric.com

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Today, Vidyard announced that Salesforce Pardot customers can now identify online video viewers and track their viewing history as part of lead scoring, qualification and automated nurture programs. With this release, Vidyard now offers native integrations across Salesforce, enabling brands to leverage online video as a strategic component of marketing and sales activities.

Read the source article at Yahoo Finance

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Identify new prospects and predict when they will buy – at every stage of the buyer’s journey

6sense-240-safe

Overview

 

Remember the good old days of lead generation?  Invest in lead gen activities across multiple channels, use metrics to monitor the lead flow and channel effectiveness, optimize the mix, score the leads and pass the qualified ones off to sales.  Actually, that’s not so much the good old days but the here and now of how many marketing organizations try to drive revenue.  It’s a process with a lot of moving parts and it takes expertise and lots of attention to detail to keep this finicky process performing at acceptable levels.

To various degrees, technology and intelligence infiltrate the nooks and crannies of this process, but little of this technology is about enabling this process in a predictive way.  Most of the automation, however helpful, provides a historical view of the process performance.  We can know with a high degree of precision what has happened, but none of the technology has provided that crystal ball that lets us accurately see the conversion future of leads in the funnel.  This is about to change with a new product recently available from an emerging player to watch: 6Sense.

Amanda Kahlow, CEO and founder of 6Sense, got her start doing multi-channel consulting.  She helped B2B enterprise clients make sense of the historical data – a look in the lead generation rear-view mirror – to wring the last ounce of performance out of their processes.  At some point, she had an epiphany: let’s use this data to look forward and give sales and marketing organizations what they really want: accurate predictions about who will buy and when.

Five years ago, with a major client’s financial backing, Kahlow began turning the concept into a working prototype of a predictive marketing and sales intelligence system.  The prototype showed enough promise to raise an additional $12 million investment from two partners to refine the prototype.  Just less than three months ago, 6Sense emerged from “stealth” mode with a handful of B2B enterprise clients and the zeal to evangelize the marketing world about predictive intelligence.

6Sense provides a solution for identifying new leads and when they will buy – in every stage of the sales cycle – before they reveal themselves.  6Sense connects the dots between purchased behavioral data, data from relevant websites, Marketing Automation, CRM and other internal and external sources.  A data catalogue is created for every client product category.  So, when Dr. Emmett Brown goes searching online for information about flux capacitors, the vendors who sell them and use 6Sense are going to know who he is before he reveals himself, and when he’s going to buy with an accuracy that can exceed 90%.

 

Implications

 

6Sense claims its solution is “account based marketing meets predictive lead scoring.”  Marketing is increasingly about sustaining predictable levels of performance.  Organizations have little time or patience for endless trial and error experiments on the part of their marketing teams, tinkering with campaign and media mix parameters trying to squeeze some incremental results out of the effort.  What 6Sense does is enable the accurate prediction of the percent likelihood, how much, what and when an identifiable prospect will buy.

In early implementations, 6Sense is showing that it has the intelligence to auto-qualify certain leads it detects.  It almost sounds as if we can implement 6Sense and put marketing on auto-pilot, but even marketing predictive intelligence engines need input, and that input is in the form of campaign creation and execution.  6Sense can provide a rich stream of predictive information about the leads in the funnel, but marketing still has to do the creative work to get those leads there in the first place.

A major implication of 6Sense is its ability to uncloak some or perhaps most of the “unknown” activity that all marketers know is occurring around their content and lead gen efforts.  Many studies confirm what marketers have understood as a growing trend: buyers remain hidden from sellers much deeper into the sales cycle than they once did.  The buyers like to self-educate on the rich hoard of content vendors make available.  Increasingly, vendors don’t know who the buyers are until they’ve reached the late, decision stage of the buying cycle.  Now, 6Sense, using techniques like reverse IP lookup, and through other data it acquires, can let its users know who some of these “unknown” prospects are.  That level of detailed information is powerful.  This is not to say there aren’t any risks with using this information, but 6Sense makes getting it possible.

 

Considering what 6Sense claims to do, what Marketing Automation vendor wouldn’t want this capability tightly integrated within its system?  It could give any vendor a significant competitive advantage, so why not just buy this startup company?  When asked about her exit strategy for 6Sense, Kahlow acknowledged that she has received several offers for 6Sense, but isn’t yet interested in selling.  Her passion to take 6Sense onwards and upwards is admirable and the acquisition interest is both flattering and validation of what 6Sense is doing.  At the same time, now that the predictive intelligence cat is out of the bag, vendors who want this capability and can’t buy it will develop it themselves.  It took Kahlow five years to create what she offers today.  A well-funded Marketing Automation vendor – or bigger player – won’t take as long.

 

Actions

 

Marketers should familiarize themselves now with the capabilities of predictive intelligence, and determine if they will benefit from what it provides.  It may seem like a “no-brainer”, but 6Sense and any other solutions like it, if they exist, aren’t for everyone.  If a company’s products are bought via a “considered” purchasing process – advancing through the stages of need awareness, discovery, consideration and decision – then 6Sense is a great fit.  For products that are impulse purchased, 6Sense or other predictive intelligence engines are not positioned to provide significant value.

Just having the right environment for exploiting 6Sense, such as having a B2B solution acquired via a “considered” purchase process, doesn’t guarantee readiness to implement this solution.  There is surely a cultural readiness that is necessary to commit and get success from a predictive marketing intelligence platform.  Those marketing organizations that are analytics averse are probably far from ready to take this journey.  A data-driven mentality and belief in analytics is the foundation for success using a solution like 6Sense.

Marketing organizations that are eager to investigate predictive technology should understand that implementations like 6Sense require the development of a custom data catalogue, and each product requires a separate data catalogue.  The current process for implementing the 6Sense predictive marketing intelligence solution is between four and six weeks, and this is consistent with the challenges that many Business Intelligence solutions have: it takes time and some smart people to implement them.  As a small company, 6Sense will need to scale its customer onboarding and implementation process to address the demand it seems poised to get.  Given its current resources, 6Sense has the capacity to serve about 20 customers in the next two quarters.  Companies convinced that this predictive marketing intelligence approach is an imperative should waste no time getting in line.

Predictive intelligence is emerging technology.  It has tremendous promise and is already paying dividends for some early adopters. CMOs that don’t like to experiment may find that 6Sense is a little too early-stage for their comfort.  It is, however, a good fit for CMOs who want to explore predictive intelligence with a leading edge approach.

There are many reasons marketers should have intense curiosity about predictive intelligence, and near the top of the list is its ability to help marketing prove its value.  Marketing is most evolved when it functions and exists as a revenue center.  A solution like 6Sense can help many B2B marketing organizations leapfrog some evolutionary steps required to get there.

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