Category Archives: Marketing

You’ve made your bed.  Now sleep in it.

LinkedIn is for Business!

Salespeople have tools.  Just like a carpenter, electrician or roofer.  LinkedIn is one of Sale’s tools.  If you decided to build a LinkedIn profile, then understand what you’ve gotten yourself into.

At least once a week I read a post from a non-Sales executive complaining that they are being contacted unsolicited by someone trying to sell them something.  No kidding!  What a shock?

It’s as if they think that the sales reps at the company they work for aren’t doing the same thing to others on LinkedIn.  But that’s OK.  As long as a sales rep doesn’t contact me.  My guys can do it.  But don’t bother me.

I know I’ll be barraged by the “pick up the phone” gang.  And maybe from the email marketing contingent.  I get that.  As I said, LinkedIn is one tool in the belt.  It can’t be relied on to make quota.  Every mode of communication must be applied to pipeline building and sales in general.

But LinkedIn will be used by sales reps to contact people they don’t know.  It’s a fact of your professional networking life.  If you are in the position of influencing a sale or happen to be a decision maker, change your thinking.  You put yourself out there by building a profile.  Just because you only did it to get a better job doesn’t mean a sales rep is going to ignore you.

One last point.  Since you thought that accepting every invitation you ever received was such a clever idea, we’re going to contact you to get to your network.  So those 5,000 people you’ve never met, spoke with or even know, we’re going to contact you for that too.

Sweet dreams.

Enterprise Mobility

“Waiting for Godot”

I have a Google Alert for Enterprise Mobility.  It’s left over from a time in my career when I thought, along with a lot of so-called visionaries, that mobile devices would replace laptops for most large company employees.  The promise of providing access to business data, CRM and ERP functions, etc. was touted as being just around the corner by CEO’s of software vendors and the many analysts they paid to agree with them.  Even the CEO I worked with told us at one point just before our Chapter 11 filing that we were in a “tornado” market.  Yea, OK.

So here I am.  Nine years after drinking the Cool-Aid and four years after giving up on pushing the Enterprise Mobility Jell-O up the enterprise decision making hill.

And what are the headlines from today’s Enterprise Mobility Google Alert?

The Enterprise Mobility Conundrum: How to Control the Data?

Enterprise mobility now more of an “apps play” in Australia

IT Managers Increasingly Pressured by the Growing Complexities to Deliver Enterprise Mobility

Majority of enterprise mobility usage described as ‘entry level’ or ‘opportunistic’

Microsoft asks What is Happening Inside Enterprise Mobility?

These headlines are very familiar.  If I went back into the archives, I’d imagine I’d find very similar headlines in 2008, 2009, etc.  The only one missing is, “iPhone will overtake BlackBerry in the Enterprise”.  That headline drove a lot of people’s heads into the sand.  This included our CTO who wanted an iPhone deal before he would put an engineer on building an iPhone version.  Like BlackBerry, we had a hard time learning from the likes of Polaroid or Kodak.

Why did I bother to write this post when my business is helping companies grow their revenues?  I wrote it because I care about the salespeople and sales management that are sometimes sold a bill of goods by analysts, software executives and journalists that talk and write about unrealistic market opportunities.

As salespeople, we’ll never really know if the hype will lead to revenue.  Just because some Angel Investors throw their disposable capital into a venture (over and over) does not validate a start-up or a market.  And based on the Enterprise Mobility market, even VC money may not be enough.

Salespeople and sales management need to dig deep to understand if the company’s solution is a fad or a trend.  Understanding the difference and where the market is in its evolution is critical.  And if you find that the hype is not matching reality, get out.  Your talent will be appreciated by others with real market potential.

Finally, if buyers of a solution view implementing your technology as a burden and have questions that can’t be answered, beware.  Apparently 2017 is no different than 2008.  The Enterprise Mobility market is still “Waiting for Godot”.

Sales Is Not an Island

Sales versus Revenue

How well do ALL of your employees support revenue growth?

I ask my clients to do a bit of self-analysis when working with them to increase revenue. Man on IslandExecutive Teams, in general, view the Sales Team as the driver of revenue rather than the entire company.

When discussing sales with start-up CEOs, they believe that by simply cold calling contacts in their primary market segment they will find the customers necessary to generate the next round of funding.

In both cases, an assessment of how the entire company is supporting the revenue generation process is essential. How well is Marketing providing interested parties willing to consider your solution? What level of testing has Product done to ensure your offering satisfies the pain points of your prospects? Are revenue expectations developed by Finance reasonable? How well is Support communicating with Sales to uncover up-sell opportunities within the customer base?

Sales is not an island. They cannot do it alone.

CEOs and Executive Teams should be constantly asking themselves how well they are doing at supporting the revenue process. Unfortunately, my experience has shown that a company’s ability to internally analyze themselves is a challenge. Existing process and pressure can get in the way of objectivity.

When was the last time you did an in-depth analysis of your company’s revenue generation process?

If someone winks at you at a bar, do you tell your friends you got married?

Woman WinkingAt what point does Marketing become a fantasy?

Software companies often build freemium business models. Those who may or may not work for well-known brands have the ability to subscribe to use the software for free. Marketing, in its quest to achieve credibility, scrapes the logo of that major brand from the site and posts it on the software company’s site to announce the major brand is now a happy client.

Where does this fall on your integrity spectrum?

Imagine that you work for H&R Block as an IT Analyst and you subscribe to a free version of a SaaS solution. Would you want to assume the liability associated with the use of the H&R Block trademarked logo?

Now fast forward to a sales rep’s conversation with a new prospect who’s just reviewed the vendor’s web site. How does that rep respond when asked about H&R Block’s use of the software? Is it ethical to put a sales rep in a position to have to justify Marketing’s position that a free “user” (and I use that term lightly) is an actual “customer”?

Sales reps are often in very challenging positions. Their employers are obligated to provide strong, credible support and collateral materials in an effort to support the sales process. This provides funding for all functional areas of the company.

Don’t compromise the integrity of your sales department in an effort to impress analysts or investors. It’s simply not good business and of course, should you be discovered, good luck explaining the significant benefits the national brand is realizing.

One free user does not a customer make.