This year set New Years Habits, not resolutions

habitsThere’s nothing inherently wrong with resolutions when the clock strikes midnight in a couple weeks.  If you enumerate them well, they’re the outcomes and goals you want to achieve.  It’s your desired state, which of course is what you want to focus on, visualize and reward.

Problem is, goals don’t achieve themselves.

This year, think first about the habits you need to create, start, reinforce or even stop to achieve your resolutions.  Perhaps those habits should be where you focus in January and beyond to get traction, see results, and stick with it.

Let’s say you want to lose weight.  Go ahead and set a target.  But think also about what habits will get you there.  Sometimes even simple things can drive your overall behavior in the right direction.

For example, what if you simply weighed yourself every morning. Would that motivate your behavior during the day?

What if you committed to 10,000 steps each day?  Or drinking at least 64 ounces of water each day?

Sometimes simple habits reinforce and drive other behaviors, and habits, that make it easier to hit your goals.

Check this out.  And number three here.  Worth considering.

Robert’s App of the Week: LeadMethod

appoftheweek-300x284This is the latesLeadMethodt in a series of weekend posts highlighting a wide variety of applications we think are pretty cool. Most have to do with sales, marketing and productivity. Check out past featured apps here.

This is my (Robert Pease, CMO Practice Lead, Heinz Marketing Inc.) inaugural post on an “App of the Week” and, if your business includes selling through distributors and channels, take note.  LeadMethod gives companies visibility and feedback on the leads shared with their distributors.

Founder and CEO Justin Johnson has done a great job building a company that solves a huge pain in a very elegant way.  This story in Industrial Distribution Magazine is a great summary of how they are helping and here is a great quote that sums up the solution and value:

“LeadMethod has created a powerful, easy-to-use, web-based system that allows manufacturers to automate their lead capture and distribution process while offering their distributors a tool to easily organize their leads and provide feedback on their sales opportunities. The software also provides manufacturers with powerful analytics to understand what is happening with their leads, as well as their sales opportunities, sales forecasts and distributor performance.”

Odds are if you hand leads off to your distributors you have limited to no visibility into what happens to them and no real way to get feedback on their quality.  Once deployed, you can see performance across all your distribution partners providing better visibility into who is a high performer and can benefit from more direct engagement.  The team at LeadMethod has deep experience working with manufacturing and industrial products companies along with the challenges and opportunities present in their distribution channels.

I really like what this company is doing and how they are solving this problem for industrial companies but any company that sells through channels would definitely benefit.

Be sure to check out LeadMethod!

B2B Reads: why emotion matters & fickle friend or fan for life?

best-blogsIn addition to our Sunday App of the Week feature, we also summarize some of our favorite B2B sales & marketing posts from around the Web each week. We’ll miss a ton of great stuff, so if you found something you think is worth sharing please add it to the comments below.

In the meantime, here’s some of what we’re reading:

12 clever ways to use more visuals on social media
Adding visuals to social posts can be a game changer these days. Entice your followers to click on your links even more with a little image or some color. Good stuff, Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick.

The call that didn’t go the way you thought it went
Many sales people mistake questions asked to them as negative towards them and their sales solution. However, don’t think of them that way. Your prospect just wanted reassurance that your solution is the right one. Great point, Anthony Iannarino.

3 habits surprisingly killing your productivity
Getting your entire to-do list and then some accomplished might make you feel productive, however you are sadly mistaken. It’s time to stop these bad habits. Great reminder, CA Newberry.

How to curate content like a pro: 8 lessons (examples included)
A lot of people confuse the concept of content curation and curated content. Do you know the difference? How are you curating your content? Good tips, Heidi Cohen.

Fickle friend or fan for life? Turning customers into brand ambassadors
Referrals, referrals, referrals. These can be your best brand ambassadors when it comes down to it. Great point, Justin Gray!

Always be recruiting
You never know when you will run into your next employee or business partner. Take the time to get to know people. This is great advice, Craig Rosenberg!

How to create exciting content for a boring industry
Some topics in business might come across as boring. However, each of these topics have the potential to become interesting with a little digging and creativity. Great reminders, Brianne Rush.

Why emotion matters in B2B marketing
You might think that emotion only really matters in B2C marketing, but people in businesses having feelings too. The emotional appeal is just as strong from B2C to B2B. Good article, Chuck Green.

How to sort, triage & interview BDR and inside sales candidates

inside-sales-pic-180-620x413_600xWe get asked quite frequently for a cheat sheet of interview questions for inside sales and business development representative (BDR) candidates.  In most cases, it’s not enough to simply enumerate a handful of common questions that work in every hiring situation.

Further, successfully identifying and evaluating candidates starts well before the interview, and requires careful consideration & mapping of candidate attributes with your intended and/or existing sales culture, approach and methodology.

Below are several of our typical recommendations to improve consistency, efficiency and success of hiring insides sales roles.

Sort resumes based on customer-facing experiences 
Past inside sales experience is interesting, but not a primary indicator of potential future success.  In addition to knowing the personality traits, strengths and attributes you need, I recommend looking for past experience and success in a variety of industries that require a keen focus on customer understanding and engagement.  This includes hospitality, professional services, financial services, even food & beverage.

Look for industries and sales cultures that mirror your own approach and values
If you hire people out of hard-core call centers, they may have trouble adjusting to a more consultative, independent format.  Candidates that come from a similar selling situation will also more likely be able to get up to speed and productive quickly for you.

Look for manager (vs peer) recommendations on their LinkedIn profiles
It’s easy to get your selling peers to endorse you for a new job.  It’s another thing entirely for an active past manager to say the same thing.  Know the difference, and look for the latter.

Know whether you’re looking for independence, process adherence, or both
Are you going to give reps a goal and let them work independently?  Are you going to give everyone a specific process and expect consistent adherence?  Or a mix of both?  Be clear with candidates about what they’re getting into so there are no surprises.  This can help eliminate early new rep churn and morale/management issues that might result with mismatched expectations.

Drill into organizational & time management skills
No matter your culture or approach, being organized both overall and “in the moment” is a common differentiator that often separates the mediocre from great inside sales reps.  When you interview, ask questions about and seek examples of how candidates keep themselves organized and focused.  Get a handful of scenarios related to sales process, email management, etc.

Ask for work product
This might be my favorite part.  Have them spend 20-3o minutes pitching you on your product.  Here’s an outline of how we often do it ourselves.  Highly effective.

I’m sure I’ve missed tons of other key best practices.  What are they?  What would you add?

“How I Work”: Michael Brenner, Head of Strategy – Newscred

michael brenner“How I Work” is one of my favorite recurring features in Inc Magazine as well as via Lifehacker’s This Is How I Work Series, and recently several sales experts (including  Anthony IannarinoDave Brock and Trish Bertuzzi) participated as well.

Periodically moving forward we will feature a new B2B sales, marketing or business leader here answering what have become the standard “How I Work” questions.  You can catch up on everyone we’ve featured thus far in the “How I Work” series here.

This week I’m thrilled to feature Michael Brenner, head of strategy at Newscred and previously VP of Marketing & Content Strategy at SAP.  Michael has been a fixture on the content and B2B marketing circuit for years, writing a highly-popular blog and serving as a national board member for the Business Marketing Association.

Michael, suffice it to say, gets stuff done.  Here in his own words is how he does it.

Location:  West Chester, PA (WFH), New York, NY (HQ), Planes and Trains

Current computers:  MacBook Air

Current mobile devices: iPhone 5

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Hootsuite, Triberr, LinkedIn, Uber, Hotel Tonight, Trulia, Waze, BuzzSumo

What’s your workspace like? I’m a nomad but I’ve always surrounded my work space with pictures of family and sunny vacation spots. That’s where I look when the days get long and the stress gets high.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack? I schedule my action items. If I need to create a presentation (which is like, every day) I schedule it. I also schedule at least one hour a day for email, and I block Friday afternoons for catching up on all priorities for the week. I also try (and mostly fail) to avoid my phone after 8pm.

What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else? I don’t think I do anything better than anyone else. I make an effort to grow my personal brand every day in between work and family priorities. The trick is being authentic and engaging and adding to the conversation. I try to answer the questions I hear every day and re-purpose email responses and powerpoints into blog posts. I am sure many people do this better but it is a focus for me.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? My inbox is my to-do list. If it isn’t an action item, I file it or delete it. So I am always working towards inbox-zero.

What do you listen to while at work? I have a Pandora playlist I try to keep up with. Mainly Alt Rock with a classic rock twist that Jason Miller would be proud of.

What are you currently reading? I wish I had more time to read. Recently read Ann Handley’s “Everybody Writes,” Jason Miller’s “Welcome To The Funnel” and “Storytelling, Inc.”

What’s your sleep routine like? I need sleep. I’m happiest going 11-6 or 10-5 or 12-7+ on weekends if the family allows it.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “Successful people find something they love to do and then work harder than the next person.” My Dad taught me that, not so much in words, but the lesson was always clear.

Anything else you want to add? People always ask me how I find the time for blogging and social and often ask me about short cuts like if I bought my Twitter followers or if I have a ghost writer for my blogging? And the answer is that I do not take any short cuts or have any secret tricks. I make it important and build it into every day. I think I have built a following by just trying to helpful to a few people every single day and I think that persistence have paid off, slowly, over time.

Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see DREW DAVIS answer these questions.

How to keep an empty desk and still get a ton done

cleandeskI love a clean work surface.  It helps me stay focused, and keeps me productive with minimal distractions.  I know that for some, visual reminders are critical.  I used to be that way too.  Ten years ago, my desk was an absolute mess.

And I’d easily get distracted by something out of the corner of my eye, or focus on something that was urgent or fun or easy without triaging and prioritizing the important stuff first.

Now, my desk top at work and at my home office is as clean as possible, as often as possible.  At work, that typically means dual monitors, a keyword & mouse, a digital picture frame….and that’s about it.  At home it’s not much different.

Keeping such a clean desk, and still getting a ton done, takes a fair amount of discipline and process.  But since I’m traveling and away from my desk often, it also helps ensure that I always have with me the things necessary to get almost anything done.

Here are a few best practices that have been particularly helpful for me:

  • Processing Discipline: I take notes with pen & paper, but quickly thereafter convert action items, ideas and immediate to-do’s into tasks in Outlook, lists in Evernote or reminders in my calendar.  If too much time passes between note-taking and processing, it’s too easy to 1) forget about something, 2) not get it done quickly enough, and 3) let it get piled up with other meeting notes and to-do’s.  Quick and consistent triage is key.
  • Task Lists in the Cloud:  I use Outlook Tasks for 90% of my action items.  Some of my lists (especially for household projects, weekend honey-do lists and errands – think grocery store and Home Depot runs) have migrated to Evernote as well.  But it’s all available on every device, and it’s all digital.  It may start on paper, but it’s stored and completed online.
  • All Paper Becomes Digital:  Correspondence, hand-written notes, handouts from meetings – I convert it all into PDFs and store it in our Box system.  This eliminates a ton of paper (which gets cluttered and also can reside in only one physical location) and makes it really easy to access information later.  For example, in a meeting earlier today I was able to reference notes taken three months earlier – and it took me less than 10 seconds to call up those notes on my laptop.  Love it (yes I’m geeking out on this, but you’re still reading…)
  • Organized Drawers:  I previously would keep things on my desk not only as reminders but so that I didn’t lose them when I needed them next.  This included staplers, pens, etc.  Now I keep a fairly disciplined way of storing these things in desk drawers both at home and at the office.  This way I know exactly where to find something without needing it visible all the time.
  • Two Screens:  I’m writing this on my laptop, but when working from my office or home desk I use two screens not only to increase reading/working space, but also to use the second screen as an alternative to paper.  This works especially well when I’m referencing previous notes or something that has already been scanned into a digital format.
  • A (Temporary) Physical Inbox: OK, there is one more thing on my desk.  It’s a physical, wire inbox.  New items to “process” go in that inbox.  And given everything you’ve read above, you can guarantee it drives me NUTS to have stuff in there.  Even further motivation to process through it and make an immediate decision how to handle – do, delegate, defer or delete.  This too takes discipline to process on a regular basis, but I find it goes very quickly if I keep myself from getting distracted.

Geeky? Perhaps. Overkill? Maybe. But it works for me….


Seattle Marketing Operations Roundtable Recap

B2B 2015 Marketing Stack Wish ListBy Brian Hansford, client services director and marketing automation practice lead for Heinz Marketing

Earlier this month Heinz Marketing hosted a Marketing Operations Roundtable, sponsored by Oracle Marketing Cloud and Usermind.  The Seattle B2B marketing automation and operations community is loaded with innovative and incredibly talented people. Getting 30 of them in a room for an open discussion provided insights into challenges and goals for 2015.  Here are some of the highlights from our discussion.

Overwhelming Options

The Marketing Technology landscape has nearly 1,000 tools and platforms, according to Scott Brinker.  The options are overwhelming at times, even when most of our efforts focus on utilizing marketing automation platforms.  The key element is ensuring Marketing focuses on the overall demand generation strategy and objectives.  How will new platforms help us achieve our objectives?  While many of the technologies are compelling, they can be very distracting as well.

Detailed and Accurate Revenue Analytics

What has Marketing done for me lately? Marketing Ops and Demand Generation pros get this pressure daily to provide analytics that clearly show influence and attribution.  A critical area non-marketing execs get hung up on is “sourced revenue” opportunities. While sourcing is important, a more reliable and meaningful process is measuring the influence and attribution over time.  Marketing Automation Platforms don’t make this easy and Salesforce certainly doesn’t help.  Tools like Full Circle CRM and Brightfunnel are options to help in this analytics challenge.

Predictive Analytics – Will The Hype Deliver – It’s up to Sales

Predictive analytics is the latest shiny object in the marketing tech stack.  The promise is compelling.  However the organizations that use predictive platforms often encounter two significant challenges – complex implementation and sales adoption. Many predictive targeting and scoring solutions require a lot of administrative and manual set up “behind the curtain” and aren’t a pure plug and play technology. Predictive platforms are often very complex because of the hundreds of data sources they can pull from to identify and score opportunities.  These sources take time to build into models and test. Some of the solutions require offshore help in gathering and compiling the data so vendor’s data scientists can fine tune the scoring. If organizations adopt predictive lead analytics platforms, the sales organization must do their part to pursue opportunities, engage correctly, capture data, and provide feedback. This entire process can take several months and marketers need to understand this to set expectations.

Legacy Sales Behaviors Impede Marketing Success

The best marketing engine and demand generation programs in the world won’t succeed if Sales doesn’t do their part to consistently pursue leads and improve practices.  Several organizations described legacy sales behaviors that clearly don’t fit how customers engage today. It’s interesting that with the pressures on Marketing and advancements in programs, Sales doesn’t doesn’t show the same level of evolution.

Content Challenges Persist

Marketing organizations still struggle with content strategy, development, execution, and measurement. Many of the challenges include identifying what to develop and how to use technology to help engage customers and measure effectiveness. Mapping content to personas and customer journey stages is difficult, but the results are worth the effort.  Many companies don’t invest in content because the benefits aren’t easily measured. Customer audiences are consuming content in many different ways and want vendors that show empathy and understanding.  Yet B2B companies still rely almost entirely on whitepapers.  Marketers want to use different formats but often are clear how to measure the benefits and value to justify the investment.

Measuring Marketing Effectiveness

Marketing Automation and CRM all collect massive amounts of data. But tracking the right data that provides meaningful analysis is incredibly difficult.  Marketing influence and attribution are two of the most valuable categories of measuring effectiveness, yet they require the skills to configure systems correctly and even other platforms to measure. Using spreadsheets as the main tool for data collection is inefficient and often unreliable.  Companies need to invest in the right platforms and skillsets to measure effectiveness.

To wrap-up up the session, we asked the group for their 2015 Marketing Stack Wish List. Here are some of the ideas:

1. Improved and Consolidated Data Analytics – capturing the right data and reporting reliably

2. Consolidated analytics – too many platforms create too many inconsistent snapshots

3. API’s that work – Integrations are critical for a marketing stack to work. Vendors can do better with their API’s

4. Lead Process Management – easier and effective ways to implement a closed-loop lead management process

5. Content Strategy and Execution – marketers want to diversify the content they develop, focused on customers in their buying journey, and managed with an integrated platform

Heinz Marketing will conduct another Marketing Operations Roundtable in Q1 2015.  All Marketing Ops and Demand Gen Pro’s are welcome.

What are some of the topics you would like to discuss with your peers?

Five reasons to start sending hand-written notes

Handwritten-NotesIt’s a lost art, but can quickly become your secret weapon.  Few people take the time to send hand-written notes anymore, but they can have amazing power.  Perhaps more than ever before, they stand out and make you look really good.  And if used effectively – in the right contexts and timed well – they can help you win and influence more business as well.

Here are a few examples to get you started.  Why not use the last few weeks of the year to start a new habit?

By the way, if you don’t feel like you have time to write them yourself, try MailLift.  It works brilliantly.

  • Executive thank you notes:  Encourage your management team to write quick, hand-written notes to customers and top prospects.  It can be a simple “thank you for your business” or “thanks for attending our event.”  Just a couple lines, a couple times a week, can go a long way.
  • Gift promo codes:  Thank loyal customers with a surprise coupon and a hand-written coupon code.  I’ve actually tested coupon codes delivered via a machine-printed letter and a hand-written letter.  The huge increase in conversion rate made taking the time to write notes worth it (especially if you outsource that effort to an intern or admin or MailLift).
  • Customer service follow ups:   Put a stack of note cards and envelopes next to the desk of your high-touch customer service reps.  Encourage them to write a short thank you note to customers after a good call, including their business card or a branded sticker or something fun.
  • Event attendee follow ups:  Divvy up the cards between those who attended the show or staffed the book, and have people knock them out on the flight home.  Have an admin or intern coordinate getting them stamped and mailed.
  • Job candidates:  It’s a good practice for candidates to send thank you notes to prospective employers.  But what about sending a thank you note to candidates you’re wooing and recruiting?  It says something about the culture you have, and just might help sway your preferred candidates to come on board.

Of course, sending a hand-written note is more time consuming than firing off an email or social media message.  How do you lower that barrier and increase your likelihood of making it a regular habit?

  • Have note cards and envelopes ready and nearby: If it’s as easy are reaching into a drawer, you’re far more likely to write something than digging through a closet or wondering what you should wrote on.  Simple cards with your logo in a corner should suffice, but even generic non-branded cards are fine.
  • Have postage:  Stick a pack of forever stamps next to those note cards.
  • Create a daily reminder: I use my daily do list, but you can use whatever system keeps you organized (calendars, task lists, etc.).

Tip of the iceberg, these ideas are.  What else can you think of? How could you start leveraging hand-written notes to drive your business objectives?


Matt’s App of the Week: Evercontact

appoftheweek-300x284This is the latest in a series of weekend posts highlighting a wide variety of applications we think are pretty cool. Most have to do with sales, marketing and productivity. Check out past featured apps here.

Hat tip to Mark Roberge from Hubspot for turning me onto this one.

Evercontact sits in Outlook, and works in the background to scrape email signatures from my inbound emails.  It either creates new contacts or updates contacts already created.  It can sync with, and you can purchase a one-time “Flashback” add-on that will analyze thousands of past emails to update tons of data at once.

This has been huge for me.  Now, finally, my contacts are getting updated.  I know who’s calling on my mobile phone.  I can find phone numbers far, far easier on the road.

Huge fan. Worth checking out.

B2B Reads: leadership playbook, top blogs & proven remedies

best-blogsIn addition to our Sunday App of the Week feature, we also summarize some of our favorite B2B sales & marketing posts from around the Web each week. We’ll miss a ton of great stuff, so if you found something you think is worth sharing please add it to the comments below.

In the meantime, here’s some of what we’re reading:

What’s missing from your landing page? The diagnosis & how to fix it
Having more words on your landing pages could make all of the difference. Why you ask? How else will your prospects figure out what you are trying to sell them! Good point, Neil Patel!

6 ways to measure webinar ROI
The ultimate goal measurement of ROI on webinars is dependent on the closed deals. However, there are multiple other ways to tackle webinar ROI. Good stuff, Shelby Britton.

Why your content is sabotaging your lead generation
A lot of the time, sales and marketing teams will repurpose old content for lead generation campaigns. While this works a lot of the time, sometimes it can just miss the mark and create a gap between their targeted audiences. Great reminder, Mike Nierengarten.

The leadership playbook: Five cool things leaders do
Being a leader can be challenging and difficult work. Make it fun and rewarding with this five cool ideas. Great ideas, Anthony Iannarino.

What will happen with marketing technology in 2015?
Marketing and technology are like brother and sister. And, they are only going to get closer. What do you think will happen with marketing and technology in 2015? Great predictions, Scott Brinker.

Don’t cross the line between persistence and impatience
Sales people are taught to be persistent to seal the deal. However, there is a fine line between persistence and impatience. Where do you think you fall? Good point, Kelley Robertson.

The top 50 marketing blogs on the Internet right now (+ advice from #1)
Need some marketing tips or tricks of the trade? Check out the top 50 marketing blogs right now. Great list, Dharmesh Shah.

10 proven remedies for a rough week
It’s all about your way of thinking. Instead of asking “Why?” ask yourself “Now what?” and go from there. These 10 tips can get you through your toughest week. Thanks Gina DeLapa.