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21 Nov 17:43

This letter General James Mattis wrote to his Marines is a must read in military history

by Paul Szoldra

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Retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis is something of a legend in the US military. Looked at as a warrior among Marines, and well-respected by members of other services, he's been at the forefront of a number of engagements. 

And with the 66-year-old retired four-star general having met with President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday to discuss a possible job offer as defense secretary, it's worth looking back on what he was really like in uniform.

He led his battalion of Marines in the assault during the first Gulf war in 1991, and commanded the task force charging into Afghanistan in 2001. In 2003, as a Major General, he once again took up the task of motivating his young Marines to go into battle.

One day before beginning the assault into Iraq, on March 19, 2003, every member of 1st Marine Division received this letter, written in Mattis' own hand.

In the letter, he tells them, "on your young shoulders rest the hopes of mankind." He conveys a sense of staying together and working as a team, writing, "keep faith in your comrades on your left and right and Marine Air overhead. Fight with a happy heart and a strong spirit."

He finally signs off with the motto of 1st Marines: "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy."

You can see the full letter below:

general mattis marines letter iraq

SEE ALSO: 19 unforgettable quotes from legendary Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis

Join the conversation about this story »

21 Nov 17:41

Putin vows ‘countermeasures’ to NATO expansion as Russia deploys more mobile coastal defence missiles

by David Filipov, Washington Post

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to take “countermeasures” in response to NATO expansion, a report said Monday, pointing to possible critical tests for the Western alliance and President-elect Donald Trump’s calls for outreach to Moscow.

No details were given on possible Russian action, but Russia announced Monday it has bolstered its defensive missile strength in the Eastern European enclave of Kaliningrad.

The Kremlin has voiced concerns about the membership in NATO of former Soviet republics and countries from the former East Bloc.

NATO, meanwhile, has moved to strengthen its presence along its eastern flanks, including the Baltic states. But a major wild card has been introduced by the election victory of Trump, who has suggested that his administration will seek to improve relations with Russia.

Ernest Doroszuk/Postmedia Network
Ernest Doroszuk/Postmedia NetworkNATO fighter jets fly in formation above the NATO airbase in the city of Siauliai, the home of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission in Lithuania on Sept. 1, 2014. Clockwise from the left: British Typhoon, Polish Mig-29, Canadian CF-18 and Portugese F-16.

“Why are we reacting to NATO expansion so emotionally? We are concerned by NATO’s decision-making,” Putin was quoted as saying in an interview to be broadcast on Russian TV later on Monday. The advance text was carried by the state-run RIA news agency.

Hours before the broadcast, Russia said it had deployed mobile coastal defence missiles to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave wedged between Lithuania and Poland. In October, Putin stationed nuclear-capable cruise missiles in Kaliningrad, further arming a region already bristling with weaponry on both sides.

Putin has expressed optimism that the election of Trump, who has questioned the U.S. commitment to NATO allies, might improve relations with the United States, currently at a post-Cold War low. On Sunday, Putin told reporters in Lima, Peru, that “the U.S. president-elect confirmed his intention to normalize U.S.-Russia relations.”

Putin also met for what was probably the last time with President Barack Obama, whose relationship with the Russian leader soured over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, its proxy war in Ukraine, and its aerial and missile bombardment in Syria of forces opposed to President Bashar Assad.

“I said both of us always treated each other’s positions with respect, although the dialogue between our two countries was rather complicated and sometimes it was difficult to work with each other,” Putin told reporters at an economic summit in Lima. “I thanked him for the years of joint work and said we would be glad to see him in Russia anytime if he found it possible or necessary or had a wish to go there.”

21 Nov 17:37

60 Essential Keyboard Shortcuts Every Office Worker Should Know

by Alan Henry

Of course, you may not need all 60 of these, but knowing them will make you flexible, fast, and ready to work with whatever tool you’re presented with, whether it’s a Windows PC, a Mac, an Excel spreadsheet, or a Powerpoint slideshow. Plus, there are extras in here for Gmail and Chrome to boot.

Read more...

21 Nov 17:36

17 travel tricks flight attendants say can save you time, money, and aggravation

by Business Insider

flight attendant

  • Want the best travel tips and packing hacks? There's no one better to ask than flight attendants.
  • Flight attendants have a great deal of experience making the travel process more efficient and enjoyable.
  • From how to secure upgrades and free goodies to hacks for packing lighter, flight attendants shared their best travel tips and packing hacks.

Traveling can come as second nature to flight attendants, who often spend more than 80 hours in the air a month.

So, who better to turn to for travel tips and tricks than the people with extensive knowledge on the matter?

We asked flight attendants to share their best travel hacks and packing tips with us, and we scoured the internet for more.

Here are 17 secrets that could help make your travel experiences easier and more enjoyable:

SEE ALSO: 8 things cruise-ship workers want to tell passengers but can't

DON'T MISS: 11 truths about flying only flight attendants know

Get more attentive service from your flight attendants

"While most passengers tend to choose seats that are at the front of the aircraft so that they can disembark first and have a better chance of securing their preferred meal option, flight attendants know that if you're sitting towards the back, you'll receive the most attentive service," a flight attendant with 2.5 years' experience wrote for Oyster.

"The reason is simple: We like to avoid responding to call bells from the front of the plane because answering one means potentially flaunting whatever item the passenger has requested to everyone else along the way," she wrote. "This can cause a problem since planes often don't have enough extra vodka, pillows, earplugs, and toothbrushes, or the time on shorter flights to deviate from the service schedule."

"For passengers sitting near the back of the plane, however, it's much easier to slip in that second mini bottle of wine," she added.

Read more: The 10 best airlines in the world in 2019, according to travelers



Iron your clothes faster

"Use your flat iron to touch up your clothes when you're in a rush and there's no time for the ironing board," a flight attendant with 30 years' experience told Business Insider.



Always sleep in clean sheets

"Don't sleep on hotel sheets that don't have creases from being folded; someone slept on them already," a flight attendant with 19 years' experience told Business Insider.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
21 Nov 17:34

These economic 'black swans' could rock global markets

by Elena Holodny

Societe Generale is out with its latest quarterly chart of swan risks that threaten to rock the global financial markets. 

This time around, China is the big "'pure' economics" risk in the G5. SocGen argues that it's the major economy with the "most significant risks with pockets of significant excess in housing, high debt levels and a burgeoning NPL problem," and thus they see the risk of a hard landing at 20%. Taking it one step further, they added that "insufficient" structural reform "leaves the economy at very significant risk of a lost decade, which we set at a 40% probability."

In their chart, SocGen lumped together broader political risk, pointing to the numerous upcoming European elections, potential spillover from policy uncertainty in the EU, and "significant uncertainty" regarding future US policy. But overall, they note, Europe's the big space to watch politics-wise. 

Separately, they also argued that bond yields are the "Achilles' heel of global markets," arguing that "market pricing on Fed rate hikes, however, remains modest and there is to our minds significant risk of a more disorderly repricing of global bond yields. Such a scenario could have very negative spillover, not least to emerging markets."

We should note that it's a bit of a faux pas to call these forecasts "black swan" events, given that black swan risks are, by definition, nearly impossible to see coming. But when they materialize, it's bad — and that's the point SocGen's team seems to be making.

On the positive end, the team also points to two upside risks: significant fiscal accommodations and fast track reform in the US, as well as more capex.

black swans november 2016 COTD

SEE ALSO: GOLDMAN: Here's one of our favorite trades for 2017

Join the conversation about this story »

21 Nov 17:34

How B2B Businesses Can Use Data Storytelling to Cultivate Thought Leadership and Facilitate Sales

by Danny Wong

Storytelling is an important tool in any B2B sales leader’s arsenal because it allows you to ignite the prospect’s imagination and encourages them to picture themselves in the scenario you are describing. Data is always going to have its place in the world of B2B sales because of its impartial ability to tell real truths and inspire confidence in the audience. Cultivating a position of thought leadership is an innovative way to disseminate your brand’s expertise on a particular subject and provide value for your leads before they even come into contact with a representative from your company.

So what do intrepid B2B leaders do with this information? They take a cue from journalistic outlets from around the world and combine all three tools in order to more effectively engage their prospects and build an innovative sales operation that will put them head and shoulders above their competitors. The reason that data journalism is all the rage is because it accomplishes with readers all the same things you hope to accomplish with your prospects: it engages with preliminary value quickly, backs up claims compellingly, and stimulates the audience’s imagination.

Locating the right data sets for your stories

The first step in getting started with data storytelling is finding the appropriate data sets to incorporate into your narrative. The best advice I can give is to start broad, and let the conclusions drawn from the data tell you where the story is going to go. This way, you’ll avoid a potentially damaging scenario where you’re manipulating data sets after the fact in order to try and make them support your conclusions. As your investigation begins, start with the largest data sets available and work smaller from there; think high-level economic data from the census bureau or industry-wide trends.

Integrating the qualitative and the quantitative

Once you’ve found the appropriate data and analyzed its results to come to a particular conclusion, it’s time to devise a strategy for weaving that data into a compelling story which will cause a reaction in the reader’s brain. Experts will tell you that while data is extremely powerful it can’t tell a story on its own, which means it’s up to the storyteller to integrate the two components in a way that will have maximum impact.

The qualitative aspect of the equation simply can’t be overlooked. According to research from neurochemist Dr. Paul Zak, his team showed test subjects a video featuring a compelling dramatic story arc compared with others who viewed a control video. The subjects who watched the video with the effective storytelling arc featured enhanced levels of oxytocin in the brain. The scientists also gave these subjects the opportunity to donate their lab fee to charity, and found that they could accurately predict the likelihood of doing so 80% of the time by analyzing these oxytocin levels. It’s clear that well-constructed stories have a tangible impact on the reader, and they can even inspire changes in behavior, such as persuading to investigate a solution or even motivating to purchase.

With data supporting your claims, there’s no need to fear the controversial

Many B2B leaders believe that their content should shy away from controversial topics in order to not offend potential prospects. Their rationale follows that all press may be good press for B2C companies who can elicit value from widespread attention, but B2B organizations don’t resonate with the public in the same way, so the benefits of publicity gleaned from controversy are less manifest.

The great thing about using data, however, is that it allows you to embrace controversial subjects with the power of facts to fall back on. It gives you the possibility to make waves in the thought leadership world by making a statement about something that people are talking about, while at the same time remaining committed to telling the story that the data reveals to you.

To take a very timely example of this let’s take a look at Foursquare. There’s not much that’s more controversial than politics, and Foursquare, like many brands, largely aims to stay out of the political arena for fear of alienating anywhere from 40% to 60% of their users. However, when Foursquare recently published a report detailing how Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was negatively affecting the foot traffic at several of his various properties, especially among women in more liberal states, it wasn’t a political story. It was simply a series of data sets gleaned from their users which revealed an interesting and controversial truth about a news cycle’s effects on a brand.

So while standing out through controversy can be beneficial, it’s important to remember that value to the prospect is always the primary goal. As long as the data you choose and the tale you craft around it provide unique value to the reader, then you will be able to use these compelling narratives to establish your credentials with your prospects and drive sales in your organization.

21 Nov 17:34

Consider Content a Gift To Your Future Customers

by John Miller

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Is your business a giver, or a taker? Obviously, your business has to take at least a little something or else you won’t be in business very long. But is your company perceived as helpful? Or are you viewed as piranhas looking to devour every cent you can from the market?

If you’re viewed as piranhas, you won’t be successful for very long; it’s not a very repeatable way to conduct business. But there’s also some nuance here – you might not be seen as out-and-out bad guys, but you also might not be perceived as caring about your customers’ fate.

In other words, are you more focused on your own needs than your customers’ needs?

While the wheel is turning in terms of how businesses interact with their potential customers, the majority of companies remain extremely focused on making the sale. That’s obviously vitally important, but if you lead with what is going to line your pocket you are not going to be very successful. Your brand’s success is an outcome, not the sole purpose of conducting business.

People and companies today want to do business with companies they know, like and trust. You must have a strong relationship in order to gain and keep someone’s business. You need a relationship that is seen as mutually beneficial.

Truth: Your marketing department’s job is to build a relationship with potential customers. It is not to tell the world how awesome your company is. You’re paying them to make customers want to buy from you.

This is easy to say but not always easy to do. And, certainly, a lot of companies never get the distinction right. These companies might realize some near term sales wins, but they’ll always be playing catch-up.

The Buyer’s Journey begins with you inviting potential customers into your space by offering them something – consider it a gift, something that shows how much you care, that demonstrates some small amount of sacrifice on your part. When you’re operating online, this gift is almost always some type of content (not a single blog post, but maybe a series of posts, or the content hub that offers thoughtful articles and other content). Consider it an olive branch that demonstrates your empathy for their situation. Forget going for the sale right now; they’re not going to sign a contract today anyway, right?

They key is to understand how reciprocity works. It’s about the give-and-take between you and your customers – they already know that you want to sell them something, you don’t have to be all up in their business about it. However, most customers today want to know that you don’t just want to sell them something; you want them to succeed. They want to know they have a partner that is committed beyond just the initial sale. If that isn’t you, then they can certainly find it somewhere else in the global marketplace.

When your brand demonstrates it’s trying to help them live their lives or run their business, they become interested in having that relationship.

In today’s customer-driven marketplace, you must give your potential customers something of value. Something that’s good for them, something they want, something so good they’d actually pay for it. This is how you build good will; ultimately, some of those prospects are going to return your good deed. It doesn’t mean they’ll automatically buy from you, but it does make them far more likely to do so.

21 Nov 17:33

3 New Stats You Need to Know About Social Customer Service

by Tamar Frumkin

We are living in the middle of a digital, social revolution. These words may not resonate as strongly inside of your being as they should, since this message has been trumpeted for years. Warning bells are awakening our society to embrace the rapid technological changes to our lives, while reminding us to savor the remnants of old school, human service and engagements that we may in fact be taking for granted.

As we’ve witnessed the internet meld every online store, checkout counter and storefront into one marketplace, it has never been more competitive or challenging for brands to get the necessary edge to “win”.

Social Retains Humanity

Commentators and armchair sociologists have given countless insights on the stunted socialization of Millennials who grew up in Social, as well as the negative effects of too much screen time for the rest of us. But, social channels, when used as engagement platforms and not merely publishing portals, are just another way for human-to-human, and human-to-brand contact.

Where the nuances of human engagement may be void, technology on social has found ways to capture a sort of digital body language and tone enhancement to create a more robust experience on social channels. With platforms such as WhatsApp, Messenger and iMessage supporting photo/video sharing, audio notes and even the drawing, heartbeat features on iOS 10, a more palpable human experience is being delivered, particularly on private, social messaging channels.

This humanity is one of the main features that brands can use to individuate themselves in a one marketplace world. When things go wrong, as they always do, social channels are what your Millennial customers (and Millennial-minded customers) trust to find human engagements and actionable conversations.

3 New Trends in Social Customer Service

In August of this year, Conversocial conducted a survey to understand Social, Mobile customer trends to investigate if brands are really connecting with their consumers on the channels they love. Here are the top five takeaways that you need to understand about this newly evolved, empowered social customer.

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1. The Rise of Social Service Privatization

Sharing that Facebook Messenger is a channel customers love isn’t shocking – considering this private channel has surpassed the one billion user threshold after only five years in existence. However, despite the growing list of service-oriented features being steadily rolled out by this Social giant, some brands are still hesitant to adopt this preferred channel for Social Customer Service.

3 out of 5 consumers under 65 (not 35) prefer you connect with them through channels like Facebook Messenger. – Conversocial Report: The State of Social Customer Service

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Social’s unique value props are efficiency and humanity, and Messenger has both in spades. An entire customer relationship can be managed now on Messenger as well as bot integration for automation of the high volume, repetitive queries needing an extra helping of efficiency and requiring less agent attention.

2. Your VIP Customers are #SocialFirst™

You may automatically assume that only Millennial customers prefer Social Channels to resolve their service issues. Considering that this segment of the population is just dipping their toes into the workforce, the image of a #SocialFirst customer base may not summon a very high value segment. However, that is simply not true.

There is a positive correlation between income and preference to use Social Customer Service.
Customers earning more than$150K per year, undeniably prefer Social Customer Service.

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3. Brands Need to Step Up Their Social Game

Unfortunately, not all brands are available for their customers on Social channels. And customers who depend on these channels to connect with their favorite brands find themselves disappointed by digital dial tone when reaching out for service on social.

In our study, we found that 30% of the respondents who use Social Customer Care say that issue never got a response or resolution; 30% say it took more than thirty minutes. Thirty minutes is an eternity for customers reaching out in crisis mode. The rule is no longer fail me once, shame on you…it’s fail me once, goodbye! In fact, 62% of consumers have stopped doing business with a brand or organization due to one poor customer service experience. (2015 Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report) Ouch.

Social-Media-Customer-Service-Response-Times.png

But there’s more…

In our latest report: The State of Social Customer Service, we gained many more insights about this new breed of social, mobile consumer, what they prefer and what is still frustrating. To learn more about the latest trends in Social Customer Service, download our report now.

21 Nov 17:33

Simplifying Email Marketing: 6 Ideas for Reaching and Engaging Your Subscribers

by Richard Smith

email-marketing

Believe it or not, emails are still one of the best ways of reaching out to people. If reports and surveys are to be relied upon, marketing products and services via emails enhances the sales figures by a whopping 138 percent. This figure is actually substantial as compared to marketing campaigns initiated via other avenues. Therefore, it is imperative for every business to indulge into email marketing while keeping up with the newly devised concepts.

Why Email Marketing?

There is a definite reason why you should value email marketing. Your subscribers are hungry for newsletters, insights and specific hacks which are best released in the form of emails. While the metamorphic dotted line has finally been drawn, most of the subscribers are already primed to purchase your products and services. Individuals keep on checking their inbox and almost everybody trusts you and your vision.

The idea here is to keep up with this trust while making some serious profits. This is where email marketing comes right into the picture.

While there are many conjectures focused around this form of marketing, here are six of the most effective ideas for amplifying the results. These tips delve into the basics of email marketing while unearthing the hidden treasures for the marketers.

So let’s get started

  • Focus on an Impactful Subject Line

Every marketing strategy or rather campaign emphasizes on an impactful initiation. When it comes to email marketing, this cardinal rule becomes all the more important. While creating an email, you must clearly focus on the heading or the subject line to be precise. Unless you opt for a strong subject, the email ends up in Spam or Trash as subscribers hardly have the time to read out the entire matter.

In this section, I will be summarizing a few ideas to optimize the subject lines— in order to resonate perfectly with the concerned individuals.

  1. Aim for Shorter Lines– When it comes to creating the perfect subject line, you shouldn’t invest in more than 6-10 words. Rambling isn’t the way to go as emails with shorter subject lines have the best open rates.
  2. Be Wise with the Words– Refrain from sales rhetoric and opt for something classier.
  3. Personalize– Bulk emails will never get you the desired profits and this is where a personalized approach can be of great help. If a subject line is carefully drafted for a company or a subscriber, the email is more likely to be opened. A survey suggests that personalized mails are opened 41.8 percent more than the general ones.
  4. Being Benefit Oriented– This is where efficient copywriters pitch in by creating subject lines with defined prospects. Do summarize the mail-opening benefits, associated perks and the gains while being original and definitely within the desired word limit.
  5. SHOUTING isn’t the Way– Typing everything in Caps is a strict no-no unless it is done occasionally. Typing words in caps feels more like shouting to the subscribers and this approach shouldn’t be used while drafting the subject line.
  • Work on Call-to-Actions

From a marketing perspective, an email without a CTA is only an attractive showcase of your vocabulary. You must let your prospects or subscribers know what action you need them to take. CTAs are more like the subject lines— they should be short, clear, concise and still pretty descriptive.

The CTA must resonate and actually convince the readers— compelling them to click-through. Once you have distilled the CTA to its core benefits— you must curb the verbosity and look to added punchiness to the same. Apart from a typical written approach, you can also opt for time-sensitive offers— encouraging people to pitch in. FOMO is something which is still perfect for pulling in a sizeable audience.

  • Leverage Emails (Mostly Transactional)

Here is a trick that most marketers are missing out on. Transactional mails are like receipts with definite offers and other form of CTAs. They help with cross-sell and upsell. Moreover, they have at least 4 times higher open rates as compared to other emails.

Many firms which are already leveraging these kind of mails are actually reverting back to the user with a definite call to action— dipped into a sumptuous sauce of time-specific offers. Transactional emails confirm a registration and even enlist the points which made the user register, in the first place. Once the recapitulation is initiated, these mails leverage the emotional quotient and reveal the offer— which can then be availed by clicking through or subscribing.

  • Large Scale Personalization is Imperative

While personalizing the subject line comes in as an optional resort, the body needs to be customized— every single time. The best part is that personalized emails have higher open rates and even better click-throughs associated with them.

However, before we start discussing them, it is important to understand what personalized emails actually mean. These are user-specific mails which are customized according to the preferences, purchase history, location and even specific interests of the subscriber base.

Unlike the years gone by, email marketing strategy has evolved and the concept of personalization has also changed. Even though the emails are drafted according the specific interest levels, there are software in the market which can automate the mail sending process and sometimes even the entire campaign.

The only thing you need to do as a marketer is to gather information and specific data sets— corresponding to the subscriber. This info can then be fed into the servers and used for personalizing the emails.

To be clear, transactional mails work on the same principle of personalization. The response mail from the company is triggered by a specific action of the subscriber. This approach needs to be extrapolated in order to covert customers and appeal to them on a larger scale.

  • Go Mobile

Here is a vital piece of information which suggests that almost 70 percent of daily emails are read over a mobile interface. Marketers should therefore target the smartphone audience or rather the millennials, often via a dedicated approach. Firstly, the concerned emails need to be responsive i.e. they should look good even on mobiles.

Next, you should look to reduce the length of the emails as a reader logging in via the smartphone won’t be willing to read a lot of text. The next step for marketers should be to root their smartphones for unlocking the true potential of the device. This allows them to install specific applications which can then help with the email marketing campaign.

As a marketer, you need to be on the move and willing to work at all times. A rooted handset can therefore be a great resource to have. Apart from this technological input, marketers must look to invest in the sentiments associated with a marketing strategy. While the iOS and android root guide helps with the technical aspects, here are some of the important tips for revamping the email marketing strategy, targeting a typical smartphone:

  1. Trim the Text
  2. Always Include a CTA
  3. Fit in Images

There are many email marketing platforms which offer a sneak peek of the way a specific mail looks on the mobile interface.

  • Opt for a Split Test

While each one of these tips can be useful towards catering to a specific audience base, it all pans down to split testing for refining the marketing campaign. The idea here is to segregate the entire audience base into smaller pockets and bombarding them with specific campaigns. Depending upon the reception of each campaign, you can opt for the most popular strategy.

The idea here is to change one variable at any given time as experimenting way too much can negatively impact the performances. You can either change the subject line, corresponding CTA, headlines, images and even the layout— targeting large-scale split testing.

Bottom Line

Email marketing is resourceful but needs to be pushed out of the oblivion in order to make a difference. These six strategies can be extremely useful for those marketers who are willing to delve into the world of emails while reaching out to their respective subscriber base.

21 Nov 17:33

Giving Patients an Active Role in Their Health Care

by Len Schlesinger
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As payment and care delivery models shift in the United States from episodic, fee-for-service care toward population health and value-based reimbursement, health care leaders are focused more than ever on patient engagement as a key to driving down costs and improving outcomes. And yet, as so many of us know who have attempted to manage our own care or tend to sick family members, the U.S. health care system rarely feels like it’s been set up to help us succeed.

What’s needed is a fundamental redesign of the patient’s role — from that of a passive recipient of care to an active participant charged with defined responsibilities, equipped to dispatch them, and accountable for the results. In other words, we need to view the patient’s role as a job and then design that job in such a way as to drive the best health outcomes possible.

The Patient’s “Burden of Treatment”

Patient advocates and others who have studied the U.S. health care system have catalogued the degree of “unpaid,” and unsupported, work patients take on in service of their own care. The average, low-risk patient must follow up on referrals to specialists, fill and manage medications, and comply with physical therapy and other regimes. With legacy, pre-internet software systems still the norm in most hospital environments, patients also become unpaid couriers, shuttling critical health data from one provider to the next.

According to a 2015 survey on the patient experience, nearly 30% of patients physically carry x-rays, test results, and other critical health data from one provider’s office to the next. And 55% say their medical history is missing or incomplete when they visit their doctor.

Insight Center

For patients who suffer from chronic or complex conditions, as a Mayo Clinic paper recently argued, the “burden of treatment” must be shouldered alongside the “burden of illness.” A 2012 study cited by the study’s authors estimated that the self-management of a chronic illness demands, on average, two hours of patient work each day — work that is often poorly supported, stressful, and frustrating in nature.

For all the articles advocating for “patient-centered care,” this is the change that we ultimately must be willing to make: Rather than having patients as passive recipients of care, they must be active producers of their care, in partnership and coordination with physicians and clinical staff. So what are the requirements for getting to that end state?

Account for Patient Work Across the Full Care Journey

First, we need to acknowledge and account for all the patient work that now goes unrecognized and unsupported. This means grappling with the complexity of tasks patients take on as they seek care across an ever-expanding number of settings — work that varies widely depending on acuity level, disease state, demographics, insurance type, socioeconomic conditions, and so on.

For years, hospitals and medical groups, looking to move the needle on patient satisfaction, have focused largely on managing and optimizing isolated episodes of care. CAHPS surveys, for example, which serve as the industry standard for measuring the patient experience, focus on patient satisfaction with individual encounters within a single institution.

But the way we access and experience care has changed. Where we used to have a lifelong relationship with a family doctor, we now switch doctors frequently due to scheduling issues, changes in insurance coverage, and other factors. We’re also more likely to seek care outside the walls of health systems or the boundaries of specific networks — whether it be through urgent care visits, virtual consults, or alternative therapies. And we know that much of what affects our health, for better or worse, happens between visits. Who is accountable for measuring the patient experience over time and across all of these disparate care settings?

As we shift toward population health, with provider reimbursements tied directly to improved outcomes, we need to move from managing episodes of care to managing the entire patient journey across the full ecosystem of care. The patient journey becomes the operational backdrop against which patients, physicians, and other staff and caregivers must play their respective parts.

Intentionally Design the Patient’s Job into the System

If the patient is to have a job in the care-delivery process, we must apply the same principles of intentional work design to their jobs as we do to those of physicians and clinical staff. In a recent Physician Leadership and Engagement Survey conducted by athenahealth with 2,000 doctors, we found that only 20% of doctors surveyed reported high levels of engagement in their jobs. Those who were highly engaged, however, pointed to a few key drivers: trust in leadership and the system, open communication and feedback, and an operationally effective work environment that allows them to deliver high-quality patient care. It’s not a stretch to suggest that patients would be engaged and motivated by the same drivers.

We know from classic management theory (e.g., the work of J. Richard Hackman and Greg R. Oldham) applied and tested in other service-industry contexts what good job design looks like. Well-designed jobs, for example, give individuals a clearly defined role to play with sufficient autonomy and regular performance feedback built in. This not only allows people to execute tasks effectively but also gives them a sense of meaning and satisfaction in their work by seeing the connection between their efforts and outcomes.

In contrast to this ideal work scenario, the roles and responsibilities of patients currently are almost never clearly defined or fully supported. Patients routinely take on frustrating tasks, such as the transfer of vital information from one provider to another, that technology should be designed to handle. They struggle to get access to the information they need to tend to their own care, and get little feedback or satisfaction from seeing their actions move the needle on results. For patients to be satisfied with care, motivated to play their part, attentive to required screenings, and compliant with care, they need the support of a system designed to help them do their jobs effectively.

Support the Patient through Network-Enabled Technology

Saying that the patient has a job to do does not in any way suggest that patients must shoulder the burden of their responsibilities unsupported. Technology is the key enabler of patients’ success, providing the information, visibility, and feedback they need to do their jobs.

So what does this look like? As part of its research and development efforts around population health management, athenahealth has begun the work of mapping out a series of patient journeys tied to distinct patient types. The goal is to understand all the key points of engagement that are needed in order to support the patient before, during, and between visits. Naturally, the patient journey and points of engagement look very different for a healthy 28-year-old than they do for a 55-year-old smoker with diabetes and hypertension. But both have jobs to do that can only be done effectively with the support of surrounding technology.

For example, data aggregated from a multitude of sources — from electronic health records to insurance data — can be used to paint a complete picture of the patient. Smart scheduling systems and patient portals help patients access care on demand. Reminders via text and other modes help the patient arrive on time and prepared. Open data exchange allows personal health information to travel from one provider or encounter to the next so the patient isn’t playing courier.

For high-risk patients, wearable devices and care management apps help them stay compliant and connected to care teams 24/7. Technology can’t do patients’ job for them. They still need to embrace behavior change and take accountability for their own care. But it can make their job easier to do, more likely to be effective, and more satisfying and rewarding.

It’s widely accepted that we will never realize the goals of health care’s Triple Aim — reducing costs, improving the health of populations, and improving the patient experience — without putting patients at the center of their care. To do this effectively, however, health care leaders must do more than retool old mission statements or retrain physicians and frontline staff. They will need to reorient their thinking to acknowledge the critical job of the patient, design it thoughtfully into new operational frameworks, and invest in the networked technology required to support it all. Only when patients, physicians, and staff are all working together, fully engaged and enabled to do what each does best, will we achieve the clinical and financial outcomes we are all aiming for.

21 Nov 17:32

Business Lessons From 6 Startups That Pivoted to Success

by Augustus Franklin

“Famous pivot stories are often failures but you don’t need to fail before you pivot. All a pivot is is a change in strategy without a change in vision. Whenever entrepreneurs see a new way to achieve their vision – a way to be more successful – they have to remain nimble enough to take it.” says Silicon valley entrepreneur, Eric Ries

A great idea is valuable. It’s becomes more so when you’ve grown your idea into your own business. That’s why it can sometimes be hard to let go of your original idea and change into something new.

In a startup, pivoting can mean the difference between becoming a success or slowly fading away into nothingness. Although pivoting can be a challenging process, startups have an edge over established companies when it come to flexibility. Startups are hotbeds of change where new decisions and experiments are tried and dropped every day. Let’s take a look here at a few startups that have learnt along the way and applied this knowledge to their business, embracing change on their road to success.

Jet

jet-business-lessons-from-startups-that-pivoted-to-success

Source: Investors.com

The product

When Marc Lore launched the e-commerce startup Jet.com in 2015, he envisioned a company that would compete directly with bigwigs like Amazon and Walmart and offer the consumer highly competitive prices. Selling items at breakeven prices meant that the $50 annual membership fee would be the sole source of profit for the company.

The failure

The membership fee wasn’t an ideal plan with customers preferring to pay more for products rather than commit to an annual fee. The membership was isolating a large user base that Jet couldn’t afford to lose.

The pivot

A little over two months after launching the company, Lore decided to drop the membership free, the core revenue driver of the company. Jet would have to raise prices to supplement costs but Lore believed that higher prices, sales commissions from site merchants and revenue driven from their proprietary smart checkout technology would more than make up for the losses. The site was still offering products, albeit a smaller selection at prices 4%-5% cheaper than Amazon.

Jet was bleeding money, but now it was slowly capturing the market with more than $1 billion dollars in annual gross merchandise sales in its first year. With the recent Walmart acquisition of Jet for $3.3 billion dollars, it’s safe to say that Jet hit it big.

The lesson

Startups spend so much attention on capturing the market that their revenue stream becomes second fiddle. A solid revenue model will see the company through rough times and should be established from the start.

Keaton Row

keaton-row-business-lessons-from-startups-that-pivoted-to-success

Source: Fortune

The product

Cheryl Han and Elenor Mak built Keaton Row founded Keaton Row in 2012 as a free personal styling website. The site offered one-on-one connections between a client and a stylist. It enabled women anywhere in the country the luxury of a personal stylist.

The failure

Keaton Row spent its resources bringing in new stylists from across the country to expand their business. The business took off and people loved the product. But Han soon realised that they had very few repeat customers. Their business model was not retaining customer loyalty. With stylists spread across the country Keaton Row could not create the meaningful relationship that would keep customers coming back.

The pivot

Han decided that the business model needed a makeover if it meant to survive the long haul. In a matter of a few months, Keaton Row shrank its network of stylists from hundreds spread across the country to a few full-time stylists based in their New York office.

Since the pivot, Keaton Row has doubled its customer base and according to Han, customers are spending more than they used to. The startup has raised more than $17 million in seed funding as on June 17, 2015.

The lesson

Just because your end goal remains the same doesn’t mean that you have to stick to the same path. If your current strategy isn’t working for you, brainstorm new ways to reach that goal. Keaton Row found its way by bringing its workforce in-house. Find out what works for you.

CloverPop

cloverpop-business-lessons-from-startups-that-pivoted-to-success

Screenshot

The product

Eric Larson started Cloverpop in 2013 to help people make better decisions. The tool was meant to help people plan out and act on big decisions ranging from “mortgages, business loans and real estate to employment, education, marriage and parenting” according to their announcement. Clover pop made money from their paid-for coaching service and by charging a referral fee if the user became a client.

The failure

The number of people using Cloverpop to make personal life decisions did not grow at the rate Larson had hoped. Users were hesitant to ask personal questions using the app.

The pivot

Larson made the decision to refocus the company’s efforts to the business sector. Changing their consumer audience to a niche sector helped Cloverpop access an untapped market. Business managers were increasingly using the product for major business decisions related to hiring, firing and reorganisation. Larson says Cloverpop has helped roughly 5,000 managers make nearly 20,000 decisions after their business pivot. Cloverpop went on to raise $1.8 million in seed funding on Oct, 2015.

The lesson

Your startup may have the right product on your hands. But identifying the right market is just as important. Changing their consumer audience to a niche sector (here:business) helped CloverPop stay on track.

TRNDLabs

trndlabs-business-lessons-from-startups-that-pivoted-to-success

Screenshot

The product

TRNDLabs started making their Pokedrone in 2014 to capitalise on the huge fan following for the augmented reality game Pokémon Go. The Pokedrone was a miniature flying drone that paired with your smartphone to make playing the game easier.

The failure

The company ran into some technical and legal difficulties from the creators of the game. The creators as well as a lot of players believed that the Pokedrone was ruining the spirit of the game.

The pivot

Since TRNDLabs could not associate the product with Pokemon Go, they developed a new marketing strategy for the Pokedrone. The company released the first ever affordable selfie drone, The SKEYE Nano 2 FPV. They capitalised on a consumer trend once again, this time the selfie rage, and breathed new life into a product that was all but doomed.

The lesson

TRNDLabs successfully identified marketing trends to sell their product. When their original strategy didn’t fit, the marketing team went out and found a market where their product did sell. If your product is not the right fit for the market, maybe you are in the wrong market.

Bounty to Periscope

persicope-business-lessons-from-startups-that-pivoted-to-success

Screenshot

The product

Kayvon Beykpour and Joseph Bernstein started Bounty in 2014 to answer a simple question, “Why isn’t there a way to see what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world?”. Bounty let users see what was happening around the world by putting in a location based request for real time images.

The failure

The spotlight was already on Instagram which was the go-to place for location-based images. Bounty was a neat tool, but it wouldn’t be making any waves.

The pivot

Beykpour and Bernstein realised that the only way to make their product big was through video. The newly rebranded video live-streaming app, “Periscope” turned out to be the product that made their dream of – seeing the world through someone else’s eyes – closest to reality. It speaks to their success that Twitter acquired the startup even before they launched for around $100 million.

The lesson

A product that stagnates is a product that fails. Businesses have to constantly evolve their products to form a better fit for the marketplace.

StyleZen to Ahalogy

ahalogy-business-lessons-from-startups-that-pivoted-to-success

Source: LATimes

The product

Michael Wohlschlaeger founded StyleZen in 2011 as a fashion shopping site that created a personalised and fun shopping experience for buyers.

The failure

Although StyleZen had a following of loyal customers they struggled to expand the user base.

The pivot

After trying out Facebook and Google ads, Wohlschlaeger started experimenting on Pinterest. He developed a methodology and tools that led to amazing traffic and growth from Pinterest. Realizing the potential of the technology, StyleZen was shut down and the company focused their attention on helping businesses leverage Pinterest as a marketing platform. The company rebranded as Ahalogy has raised more than $7 million in funding as on May 14, 2015.

The lesson

StyleZen did a full-scale revamp of their business model after identifying a new arena for growth. Do not be afraid to change directions when you stumble upon a new direction for success.

When you’re running a startup, adaptability is your biggest ally. It does not make sense to throw your money and marketing might at an unyielding market before figuring out if your product is the right fit. “Great ideas” are a dime a dozen in the startup world. Adapting to the tide of consumer preferences and a well thought through implementation strategy are what really matters.

21 Nov 17:31

Relevance and Authority: Creating Content People Trust [Podcast]

by Jeff Korhan

Episode 41 of Landscape Digital Show reveals how creating content people trust depends on the authority of the source and its relevance.

Relevance and Authority: Creating Content People Trust

What kind of content should I create?

This is a common question that has an easy answer. Create content that people trust. Google defines this as:

1. Content that is relevant to your target audience.
2. Content that enhances your authority

Relevance and authority are what Google uses to determine the content that will see the light of day. Obviously, there are hundreds of secondary factors involved, but what Google presents for search queries is what is most relevant, and that is greatly influenced by the perceived authority of its source.

To be more accurate, Google has consistently stated that its primary objective as a search engine is to deliver the most relevant information as quickly as possible for every search query. To do that, they rely heavily on authority because that earned credibility assures Google the information is likely the most trustworthy

Authority Takes a Stand

People trust or at least respect authority. Traditionally, this authority is derived from a particular position or testimonial of another person of authority.

You have to determine the type of authority that will best serve your business. And you have to be clear about it.


You have to choose your authority and make it a consistent theme of the content you create.

This is why many businesses struggle with content creation. They take on all kinds of work that fails to stand for something meaningful.

Your work should demonstrate expertise in a particular area. And your content should reflect that body of work.

This is a combination of the products and services the business offers and the unique experience that accompanies them.

Relevant Content Rings True

Claiming to be an authority in multiple domains is nearly impossible. It just doesn’t ring true with most buyers that are seeking a relationship with a company that seems to be speaking only to them.

To do this you have to become best in class for your targeted audience. This is accomplished by creating products and services that are supported by content that attracts, engages, and inspires that audience

The best way to determine the right content to create is to talk to your customers one-to-one. And do the same with people you think should be your customers but are not.

  • What are their top challenges?
  • Where do they go for solutions now?
  • How to do they make new discoveries and stay informed?

Using their responses you want to create what may be the most important piece of content. And that’s a buyer persona that guides the creation of all future content.

What motivates buyers often surprises companies that are in love with their products and services. More important is to fall in love with the buyer personas that become customers by creating content that speaks directly to them.

Call to Action

The call to action for this episode is to get clear about your authority and then develop a strategy for creating relevant content that becomes a growing and trusted body of work that speaks to that authority.

21 Nov 17:31

Social Outreach: Right Brain First, Left Brain Second

by Alex Hisaka
  • right-brain-left-brain

We make buying decisions based on emotion. The latest iPhone you’ve convinced yourself you need. The overpriced, artisanal roast dinner that reminds you of grandma’s cooking. The flashy sports car you shelled out for (when what you really need is a SUV).

It’s how our brains are wired. While we tell ourselves our choices are based on level-headed logic, cognitive science suggests that we careen through life making snap-decisions based subtle (and sometimes, not-so-subtle) emotions. Then we justify our choice with logic.

Emotions play a critical role when it comes to business decisions. But long before it’s time to buy, emotions are also key to initiating and developing valuable sales relationships via social selling.

Whether personal or strictly business, all relationships are built on emotion. We form impressions of the people we’re buying from based on emotional reactions. And if we like and trust the person selling to us, or believe they like us, we’re more likely to buy.  

The best salespeople know how to trigger emotions in their prospect. When done skillfully, this can help them create connections, inspire interest in what they’re selling, and close the deal.

Social selling is a great strategy to do this at speed by arming salespeople with insights.

Connect With Emotion

Social selling is geared towards building emotional connections. With a wealth of insights on prospects right at your fingertips, you can instantly make a warm connection—rather than going in cold. To increase your chances of getting a response, make your initial outreach personal and aim to engage the right brain.

Check out their profile before you make contact to glean insights on their interests, passions, and career goals. Look for common ground—did you both graduate from the same college? Root for the same team? Browse the recent posts they’ve shared, liked, and commented on. These may be clues to the business problems they’re grappling with right now—the problems you can help solve.

A personalized engagement yields better results than an impersonal email from a stranger. It’s the difference between a subject line that reads “Boost you ROI!” and “Loved your recent article on growing a small business!” Which are you more likely to open?

Dazzle With Logic

Emotion is just the tip of the spear: once you’ve got a foot in the door, hit them with logic. You’ve delighted your prospect with an unexpectedly friendly message. You’ve drawn them in by establishing a connection. You’ve sparked emotion. Now, you have to appeal to the logical left brain.

This is when you give something meaty. Teach them something new.  Surprise them with an insight about their profession, company, or industry. Hint at how your products and services will help them solve their business problems. When you combine a logical message with an emotional connection, the logical reasons to respond will resonate much more strongly.

Social selling is just that: social. And that means emotional. From initial outreach to building the relationship and closing the sale, feelings drive every decision your prospect takes. Emotional connections should always be the first step. Trigger the right emotion and your prospect will be much more receptive to your logic-driven sales pitch. 

Selling should be simple—it’s all about human connections after all. But with increasingly more power in the buyers’ hands, sales can be a tricky process. Social selling simplifies things.

Find out how in our Simplifying Sales: The Effortless Guide to Using Insights for Sales Success eBook.

      
21 Nov 17:31

It Would Be Funnier If It Didn’t Hurt So Much – Marketing Blunders

by Randy Milanovic

We see blunders all the time in marketing, especially when people try to take shortcuts or listen to bad advice that ends up working against them. No matter what kind of decision you make, though, you can rest easy knowing that someone else has probably done worse.

Today we want to help everyone feel a little bit better about the guffaws they’ve committed, and to show just how surprisingly easy it is to do something that will make you want to smack your own forehead at times.

Marketing Blunders

Here are three blunders that will leave you sighing in relief that you didn’t make them…

#1 “Leads? What Leads?”

A while ago, we undertook a complete website redesign and development project for an established business. A successful enterprise with a great product, smart management team, and dozens of positive success stories.

That’s why I was so surprised when I got a call one day, out of the blue, from an executive at the firm. He seemed a bit baffled that all of our activity hadn’t led to a single lead. He was getting some phone calls, sure, but nothing from the website form we had anticipated would be popular with prospects. His question, basically, was “where are all the leads we should be getting?”

confused by no lead notifications

That’s not the kind of question I’m accustomed to receiving, and my mind momentarily went blank. Then I started digging. In the back end of their contact management system, I could see dozens and dozens of contact requests.

A few questions later, I learned he had been annoyed by the number of email alerts he was getting, so decided to unsubscribe. Yes, his website was generating multiple sales opportunities a day, but they weren’t even going into his SPAM folder.

Mystery solved, his sales team frantically began calling the leads. Some of them were saved, but a lot of the opportunities were lost. The losses probably totalled several hundred thousand dollars. Luckily, though, new leads continued to come in. He has since re-subscribed to his email notifications.

#2 Going Old School Sales on New Prospects

Working with another client, my team helped to create a rather large website. The company had customers around the world, with differing personas and motivations. In order to help them appeal to buyers, we created tailored campaigns, each with specialized content designed to attract and qualify prospects.

I was sure that we had done great work, and that the organization was going to be very pleased with the results. However, through the course of a few short meetings, I learned that they were becoming increasingly distressed with the lacklustre sales and revenue figures that were coming in.

After looking through the relevant metrics, I couldn’t understand what the problem might be. They had a great search engine position, lots of engagement on their content, and a few thousand new contacts from interested prospects (more than quadruple historical numbers). I wondered what possibly could be going wrong?

hard selling prospects can leave them feeling alienated

The only way to figure it out was to trace a few of the opportunities from start to finish.

What I discovered with a bit of detective work revealed that their old-school sales team was taking information requests and treating them as buying signals, pouring on the sales pressure. As a result, an embarrassing low ratio of leads had committed to take the next step.

The moral of this story is that the Internet has changed everything. Buyers like to gather information and move forward at their own pace. Deploying an inbound lead generation approach only works if you understand the buying process. Come on too strong, and you’ll scare the game away.

#3 Patience Is Still A Virtue

A couple of years ago, we had a client come to us with a unique challenge: they had a new professional development program, and wanted to attract a very specific type of international enrolee, but we had to do it on a shoestring budget. We were intrigued and relished the chance to see what we could do.

By optimizing an advertising spend of just $500 per month, we were able to increase this site’s key page views by a staggering 15,000%. At the same time, we beefed up their content and optimized their website to the point that their Moz (DM) ranking rocketed up from 2.4 to 6.4, taking them from obscurity to the top of their industry in just a few months.

I was shocked to learn one day that they were dissatisfied with our work. Rather than looking at these early indicators of success, they expained that very few prospects had decided to commit to purchase.

foreign enrollment

In drawing these conclusions, they overlooked the fact that their target audience was living and working overseas and would have to relocate to North America in order to attend, plus the first courses wouldn’t begin for many months, and that the goal of the campaign was to build awareness.

Do you have a better blunder to share? Get it off your chest by sharing your story in the comments below or in social!

21 Nov 17:29

Why ‘Trumpflation’ may not provide the growth fix that the world’s largest economy needs

by Joe Chidley, Financial Post, National Post

Bond yields are rising. Stock markets are exuberant. The U.S. dollar is soaring. The generally accepted reasoning is simple: With the U.S. election victory of Donald Trump, markets are expecting higher growth and higher inflation in the world’s largest economy.

Inflation, when it’s tied to economic growth, can be a good thing. And for years since the Great Recession, inflation globally has been desultory — even in the U.S., which has been growing more robustly than other developed economies. As well, Trump has been clear that stronger economic growth ranks high among his ambitions. His campaign has officially estimated 3.5 per cent GDP growth under his policies; less officially, Trump himself has said four or even five per cent is doable.

So the inflationary boost of Trumponomics, assuming it happens, will be fine, right?

Well, the answer to that depends on what kind of inflation we’re talking about. Will it be the good kind that comes from sustainable economic growth? Or will it be more of a sugar rush that comes from government spending and short-term fiscal stimulus? Or, worst-case, will it be the really bad kind, where prices increase but growth stagnates or even declines?

Obviously, it’s hard to project because the actual outlay of Trump’s economic policies is still very much up in the air. We can really only go by his campaign promises, such as they are, and so far there is little indication he plans to veer far from his script.

Part of that script is a pledge to revitalize infrastructure, something that even Democrats have agreed is sorely needed. His plan involves throwing a trillion dollars at building stuff over the next decade. That seems like a lot of money.

But is it? As a share of the overall U.S. economy, it’s kind of a “meh.” Let’s say the trillion is spent evenly over 10 years, which amounts to US$100 billion annually. America’s nominal GDP at the end of the third quarter was just under US$18.7 trillion. So the projected direct spend on infrastructure would boost GDP by only about half a per cent.

Even that spend, however, is assuming a lot. According to an October paper by Trump advisers Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, the trillion in infrastructure would come largely from the private sector, incentivized by a tax credit. Now, no doubt there’s a lot of room for private equity in infrastructure, but the public-private partnership model isn’t really feasible for every project. Private investors might be all over infrastructure with clear future revenue streams — like toll roads — but they might be skeptical about the likely returns from “fixing our inner cities,” something Trump cited as a goal in his victory speech.

If private investors don’t step up, the federal government could just borrow the money. That will add to inflationary pressure, incentivizing the central bank to raise rates, while not producing very much incremental growth.

With the U.S. nearing or at full employment now, inflationary pressures are already there. But they will be aggravated by Trump’s plan to cut personal and corporate taxes. By independent estimates, those cuts will amount to more than $6 trillion over the next decade. Given that Trump has no clear plans to cut net expenditures, the U.S. budget deficit will soar.

A family court judge ruled the situation was 'entirely lawful' and Kyle Casson has been allowed to adopt the baby — his son but also, legally, his brother
A family court judge ruled the situation was 'entirely lawful' and Kyle Casson has been allowed to adopt the baby — his son but also, legally, his brotherA British mother has helped her 24-year-old son become a father by carrying his child as a surrogate. In the procedure, the first of its kind, Anne-Marie Casson, 46, became pregnant using a donor egg fertilized by her son Kyle’s sperm. Kyle, gay and single, had wanted to be a father "for some considerable time." After surrogacy clinics across the country turned him away, and a female relative who had volunteered to be the carrier developed medical difficulties, Ms. Casson and her husband, Alan, decided she should step in and be the surrogate mother. A family court judge ruled the situation was "entirely lawful" and Kyle has been allowed to adopt the baby — his son but also, legally, his brother. Lawyers point out that family members are increasingly acting as surrogates in the U.K., but the Cassons’ case is unique: Kyle is the first single man in the country to have a child through surrogacy and the first to use his mother as the carrier. "I cried and cried," said Kyle, describing his happiness at his son Miles’s birth. "I could not believe it." [protected-iframe id="4a9d6b61b54b97de2c356038a98316fc-37979189-35425974" info="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/embed/video/1165215.html" width="620" height="403" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"] The Cassons’ case has ignited huge controversy: the procedure may have taken place in the sterile surroundings of an IVF lab, but the participants’ consanguinity raises the spectre of one of the few remaining taboos — incest. Twitter reaction to the story ranged from "nothing wrong with this" to "gross," "disgusting" and "selfish." Robert Flello, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, spoke of his "many concerns and worries" about the case. Jill Kirby, a social policy analyst, finds it "very disturbing that any mother would consider it healthy or appropriate to give birth to her son’s child. What is even more worrying is that the High Court has granted the son an adoption order, partly based on the ‘closeness’ of the relationship between the family members involved." Ms. Casson countered these attacks by pointing out that Miles "is not biologically tied to me, other than he’s my grandson. I love being a parent and for Kyle to experience that. I would do this for him." She and Kyle have said that friends have been overwhelmingly supportive. [related_links /] Lawyer Natalie Gamble, whose firm was involved in the Cassons’ case, said surrogacy using close family members has become commonplace. "We have seen many instances where sisters, brothers-in-law, cousins, help one another out in this fashion," she says. "It is difficult to speak of precise numbers, but U.K. law, which does not permit advertising for a surrogate or for a surrogate to offer her services, is pushing couples to look among family members for surrogacy." For Ms. Gamble, the only issue raised by the Cassons’ case is a legal one. "U.K. law does not allow singles, like the son [Kyle] in this case, to apply for a parental order, or birth certificate; so the young man had to apply for an adoption order instead," she says. 'I love being a parent and for Kyle to experience that. I would do this for him' She is campaigning to change the law, which she says condemns children to forfeit "a U.K. birth certificate which reflects their true parentage, and instead must either become adopted children, or live in limbo without resolved legal status." A report described how baby Miles, now eight months old, "clearly has formulated a secure attachment to the father," adding: "The father understands that the child will need to know about how he was conceived and feels that he will utilize the security of the family structure to support his son in understanding that he is a very much wanted child." The Cassons’ case has set a precedent. More and more unconventional conceptions like theirs are likely to ensue. "I did not choose to be gay. I was born that way. I was born unable to have kids,’’ said Kyle Casson. ‘‘Being a dad was a high priority in my life and now I have done it."

Supply-siders will argue that the tax cuts will spur economic growth enough to cover the deficits, but history suggests otherwise. When Ronald Reagan became president in 1980 pledging trickle-down benefits, the deficit was 2.5 per cent of GDP; by the time he left, it was five per cent. Notably, Reagan presided over a recession from mid-1981 to late 1982. For the early part of that recession, inflation ran in the double digits.

Of course, that was a different time. But Trump’s economic vision includes other elements that may well result in both higher inflation and lower growth.

One of them is his anti-immigration stance, which would kick people out of jobs that domestic workers don’t want.

Another is his protectionist bent, which includes punitive tariffs on imports from Mexico, China and potentially Canada, among others. Trump claims these measures protect jobs. But even if we accept that (I don’t), somebody has to pay for them. Generally, consumers foot the bill, in the form of higher prices. Again, history: In 1980, successively more restrictive tariffs and quotas on carbon steel cost consumers more than $85,000 for every job saved. That’s nearly $250,000 in today’s dollars.

Let’s not forget that consumers comprise two-thirds of the U.S. economy. They are the least likely to benefit from Trump’s tax cuts, although the wealthy will do very well. They are already at or near full employment, suggesting there aren’t many more jobs to be gained from stimulus. If rates rise, and inflation ramps up, everything will be more expensive for them. Wages may go up, but probably not fast enough to keep up with inflation, nor modestly enough to leave corporate profits unscathed. That will hinder, not help, growth.

Of course, it’s possible Trump’s economic “plan” will result in higher growth and acceptably higher inflation. Maybe the U.S. can avoid rampant consumer price increases and higher deficits. Maybe a recession isn’t around the corner. We’ll see.

But in the meantime, let’s not pretend that the lessons of history can’t apply in the brave new world of President Trump.

21 Nov 17:28

‘A fresh start’: Wind rebranded as Freedom Mobile, promises to free customers from contracts

by Emily Jackson

TORONTO — Wind Mobile is changing its name to Freedom Mobile in an attempt to ditch lingering baggage associated with its brand before it launches its new LTE network in its biggest markets, Toronto and Vancouver.

Freedom Mobile
Freedom MobileFreedom Mobile's new mascot.

The Freedom brand unveiled Monday reflects a shift under Wind’s new owner, Shaw Communications Inc., which has spent millions on network upgrades since it bought the wireless upstart for $1.6 billion almost a year ago.

“It was a chance for a fresh start with fresh new owners and a fresh new network,” CEO Alek Krstajic said in an interview on the new brand, which aims for likeability with a teddy bear mascot named Freddy and an upbeat jingle.

“It’s hard to say, ‘I don’t like Freedom,’” Krstajic joked.

Wind is trying to distance itself from the old Wind branding as it rolls out its LTE network in two markets on Nov. 27, well ahead of schedule, with an expected completion of fall 2017 across its entire footprint.

Poor network quality and customer service problems plagued Wind when it entered the market seven years ago as part of the Conservatives’ push for four competitors in each market. But Shaw gave it a chance to change its reputation by investing $121 million on network upgrades in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta in the first six months after the deal closed. Wind surpassed one million subscribers this summer.

While the Big Three still have network and handset advantages — Wind customers will need new handsets to use Freedom’s LTE network since most phones are not yet compatible with the AWS-3 spectrum band it uses — Krstajic said the upgrades help level the playing field.

It was a chance for a fresh start with fresh new owners and a fresh new network

Freedom will continue to push Ottawa for advantages for smaller wireless competitors in the upcoming 600 MHz spectrum auction, Krstajic said.

“The three incumbents have had a big head start, they were given their big tranches of spectrum for free 30 years ago,” he said. “In order for us to be able to survive and have a sustainable offering, we need low band spectrum.”

Shaw plans to launch its own mobile service eventually, Krstajic said, but for now is setting up Freedom as a less expensive flanker brand, similar to Rogers-owned Fido and Telus’ Koodo.

“We’ve been pretty clear there’s going to be a need for two brands,” he said, although he kept silent on the timing.

Meantime, Freedom will follow Wind’s strategy with plans at an implicit discount to the incumbents. There are no plans for “crazy discounting,” Krstajic said, noting that the new entrants went bankrupt when monthly plans were in the $20 price range.

Freedom’s flagship plan will cost $45 per month for unlimited talk and text and 6 GB of data.

Analysts welcomed the rebranding and the earlier-than-expected LTE launch.

The announcement was a “milestone” that will give the carrier a shot at attracting more profitable customers in time for the holiday shopping season, Scotiabank analyst Jeff Fan wrote in a note to clients. Shaw will also save money on the increasingly costly licensing agreement with former Wind owner Vimpelcom to use the Wind brand, he wrote.

Barclays analyst Phillip Huang noted the decision not to use the Shaw brand for wireless indicates it will take some time to close the network quality gap with the Big Three.
“Rebranding to Shaw would dilute the brand for its cable business,” Huang wrote.

The announcement comes just before the federal government is expected to make a decision on whether to approve Bell’s proposed acquisition of Manitoba Telecom Services. That could take the number of wireless players in Manitoba down to three.

Huang wrote that Shaw’s investments outside its traditional footprint “may reflect some success with lobbying the government in entering other markets” such as Manitoba.

Financial Post
ejackson@postmedia.com
Twitter.com/theemilyjackson

21 Nov 17:24

With $8 Billion Harman Purchase, Samsung Bets on Cars

by Jesse Boskoff

In the middle of November 2016, the business world was awash with rumors of a major acquisition. Samsung Electronics, the consumer tech titan of smartphone, computer, TV, appliance and VR fame, let the world know that it had intentions to branch out even further. Its target was the automotive tech firm Harman International Industries, well-known for its in-car audio equipment, vehicular navigation and infotainment offerings.

The Heart of the Deal

In a news release, the president of Samsung Electronics declared that the Harman acquisition would help the company tap into a future where smart tech and connectivity become commonplace in vehicles. With the deal, Samsung joins numerous other tech players that have recently acquired firms that might help them make bids for smart-car market share.

Even Footing?

This acquisition may not be quite as large as some similar mergers, like Softbank’s $32-billion purchase of ARM Holdings, Qualcomm’s $39-billion NXP buyout or Arago Technologies’ $37-billion Broadcom deal. Nonetheless, it could still have the desired impact.

The Samsung deal stands out because the company seems to have gone straight for a firm that already has direct standing in the auto tech market. For instance, companies like NXP make a huge range of other semiconductor products in addition to devices for use in connected cars. Harman brands, like Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Becker and Revel, have long been known for their use in vehicles.

A Harman acquisition will also grant Samsung direct control of existing supplier deals with global automakers, like Toyota, BMW, Subaru, Lexus, Hyundai, Ford and many others. This could give the deal longer legs that heighten its chances of success.

A Push Against Apple and Google

Why would Samsung make its announcement now? Observers say that the firm is gearing up for a long struggle for supremacy against other consumer tech giants.

It’s been suggested that Samsung seeks to compete with possible plans by Google and Apple to develop their own intelligent vehicles. Whoever succeeds stands to corner a rapidly growing market that could soon dominate the entire automotive sector.

As these firms are already natural rivals in the realm of smartphones, it only makes sense that they’d continue their battles in this novel domain. Samsung’s approach of targeting component suppliers instead of automakers themselves, like Apple tried doing with BMW, could also give it a major edge.

What Will This Mean for Consumers?

These trends aren’t anything new, but it looks like the common folk may benefit. Support from new parent companies like Samsung might let auto-tech firms like Harman deliver cheaper perks, such as infotainment, augmented navigation and user interfaces.

The biggest change to look forward to, however, may occur as more vehicles implement telematics hardware that connects them to the cloud and other Samsung devices. Features like intelligent driver aids and safety assistance, which have long been promised to consumers, are also likely to be spurred on by Samsung’s push for increased market value.

21 Nov 17:24

Does Your Resume + LinkedIn Read Like a Blueprint or a Brochure?

by Virginia Franco

The reality of today’s job market is whether you’re a CFO or a mid-level professional, you’re lucky to get a 10-second skim read the first time a recruiter finds you on LinkedIn or scans your resume. This means whether you hire a resume specialist or approach the writing DIY, you have to showcase your value at lightning speed.

 

As a result, their resume and LinkedIn are dense with too much information that outlines all aspects of their job description peppered with a handful of achievements.

Unfortunately, this approach yields documents tough to digest quickly and that don’t easily convey how you are ideally suited for the role.

The Vacation Research Analogy

I liken today’s resume reading to selecting a vacation property. When choosing how to spend a week of precious R&R – – do you look for the number of hotel rooms available, the location of the fire exit and the list of all the menu items included in room service? Hardly.

You look at the big picture. Does the destination have the amenities you enjoy? Do lodgings meet your standards? Is the resort in appealing surroundings? If the print or online brochure ticks the right boxes, you’re likely to make the resort a serious contender.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Vacation research is akin to resume and LinkedIn reading. In both, the big picture, and not the fine print, is what makes you give it serious thought after an initial review.

Transforming Your Career Blueprint into a Big Picture Brochure

Translating the big picture to a resume and your LinkedIn means focusing on your achievements. If you’re in sales, work for a company that tracks your stats and had a banner year, outlining the big picture is fairly easy. Show your stats and rankings and voila! An achievement-focused resume that shows the reader how you can help them.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: If you work directing teams that span operations, marketing, administration, HR or perhaps finance – you must dig deeper as results are often hidden in plain sight.

Quantifying for The Big Picture

#1 What Makes Me Proud?

When and if you walk out the door, what you are proudest of? 9 times out of 10 I recommend you lead with your response.

Did you stop your organization from losing money, get the same amount done with fewer people or build a strong network across an organization? Maybe you developed your team to the point where they operate exceptionally well without you?

These are all noteworthy achievements that give the reader a sense of how you can make a difference in your next role.

#2 Did I Save Money?

Saving money is often just as important as bringing money to the table.

If you negotiated discounts, identified financial discrepancies or reworked a process so that less money is spent – you can articulate the achievement by calculating the savings in either dollar figures or percentages.

#3 Did I Save Time?

Time savings is a huge value-add to companies looking to increase their operational efficiency.

Did you rework a process that used to take days and now takes hours? Did you introduce a new methodology or bring automation to a team or process that shaves hours off a task? Spell these out to quantify the savings.

#4 Are People Happier Because of Me?

When morale is suffering and retention levels are on the decline, readers will take note if your talent lies in transforming a culture or retaining clients, customers or employees.

Take a stab at quantifying happiness by seeing how many people or customers stayed, or look at satisfaction scores if available and see if there is a measurable uptick.

If you can somehow measure morale or customer satisfaction, you’ve got a quantifiable achievement worth putting down on your resume.

#5 Did I Contribute to Improving my Company’s Circumstances

It may be hard to determine the impact of your individual contribution to the company on a large scale. Take a look at your company’s growth (revenue, market share, associate) during your tenure. Did your company survive where competition failed or did it stem the bleeding?

Noting your part of the team effort that contributed to the achievement will show your role in the big picture.

A Brochure Frame of Mind

These questions are the types I ask my clients during our 90-minute resume branding strategy consult. Ask them yourself! It’s a great way to help you craft career documents that read like a marketing brochure.

My clients are often surprised and pleased at what their answers uncover – no doubt you will be too!

21 Nov 17:21

40 Trumped-Up stocks and why you should own them

by Jonathan Ratner

Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election and the surprise boost it provided for U.S. equity markets, has and will continue to force investors to reassess their positioning.

While the S&P 500 has risen roughly two per cent since election day, there has been a much more significant rotation between asset classes and sub-sectors.

So what’s the ideal way to position a portfolio now that Washington will be controlled by Republicans and Trump?

Jonathan Golub, chief equity strategist at RBC Capital Markets, suggests focusing on investment characteristics that should benefit most from pro-growth policies.

The first is value, since low-P/E stocks tend to do best when economic growth is strong, and they have been out of favour for much of the recovery.

Golub also recommended companies with domestic focus, since the U.S. dollar appear as though it will remain strong.

The strategist also highlighted operating leverage, as strong growth will likely help economically-sensitive firms that have high fixed costs.

On the tax front, Golub noted that a reduction in corporate taxes should benefit companies with higher effective tax rates.

Finally, he pointed out that low volatility stocks are usually very sensitive to interest rates. As a result, they are likely to underperform as rates rise.

Based on an equal weighting of these five characteristics, Golub put together a list of 40 “Trumped-Up” stocks that he thinks will do well under a Trump administration.

AmerisourceBergen Corp. (ABD/NYSE)
Alliance Data Systems Corp. (ADS/NYSE)
Aetna Inc. (AET/NYSE)
Alaska Air Group Inc. (ALK/NYSE)
Ameriprise Financial Inc. (AMP/NYSE)
AutoNation Inc. (AN/NYSE)
Anthem Inc. (ANTM/NYSE)
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY/Nasdaq)
BB&T Corp. (BBT/NYSE)
Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY/NYSE)
Cardinal Health Inc. (CAH/NYSE)
Capital One Financial Corp. (COF/NYSE)
Discover Financial Services (DFS/NYSE)
Express Scripts Holding Co. (ESRX/Nasdaq)
Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX/NYSE)
Gap Inc. (GPS/NYSE)
Huntington Bancshares Inc. (HBAN/Nasdaq)
Nordstrom Inc. (JWN/NYSE)
CarMax Inc. (KMX/NYSE)
Kohl’s Corp. (KSS/NYSE)
Legg Mason Inc. (LM/NYSE)
Lincoln National Corp. (LNC/NYSE)
Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV/NYSE)
Macy’s Inc. (M/NYSE)
McKesson Corp. (MCK/NYSE)
Navient Corp. (NAVI/Nasdaq)
Nortfolk Southern Corp. (NSC/NYSE)
PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (PNC/NYSE)
Ryder System Inc. (R/NYSE)
Regions Financial Corp. (RF/NYSE)
Staples Inc. (SPLS/Nasdaq)
Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN/NYSE)
Tegna Inc. (TGNA/NYSE)
Tesoro Corp. (TSO/NYSE)
Unum Group (UNM/NYSE)
Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN/Nasdaq)
United Rentals Inc. (URI/NYSE)
U.S. Bancorp (USB/NYSE)
Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC/NYSE)
Zions Bancorp (ZION/Nasdaq)

21 Nov 17:21

2 Key Factors that Distinguish Satisfying Content from Forgettable Ideas

by Stefanie Flaxman

Have you ever read a blog post, listened to a podcast episode, or watched a video and thought: “I kind...

The post 2 Key Factors that Distinguish Satisfying Content from Forgettable Ideas appeared first on Copyblogger.

21 Nov 17:20

Beware of the Dark Side of Marketing Performance Measurement

by David Dodd

illustration-for-091116-post

“Yes, a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side.”

For the past several years, marketers have faced growing pressure to prove the value of their activities and programs. As a result, they are placing greater emphasis on measuring the performance of marketing tactics, channels, and programs, and some marketing leaders are allocating budgets and basing marketing mix decisions on performance measures.

Overall, this has been a positive development. It’s hard to argue that marketers shouldn’t track and measure the performance of their activities, and use performance metrics to guide marketing investments. Common sense says that this approach should lead to better marketing decisions.

But there’s a potential dark side to the current fixation on marketing performance measurement. The problem arises when the ability to measure a marketing activity becomes the primary criterion for determining its value.

When taken to the extreme, this way of thinking can lead marketers to choose marketing tactics based largely on ease of measurement. As a recent blog post put it, “While marketers once accepted as fact that they didn’t know which half of their budget was wasted, today they’ve done a 180 and believe that if it can’t be measured, it’s not worth doing.”

I can understand why marketers are tempted to think this way. After all, in an environment where proving the value of your work can mean the difference between keeping or losing your job, marketing methods that are easily measured can appear to be the safe choice.

But making ease of measurement the prime criterion for determining value is short-sighted and ultimately dangerous. It’s a classic example of the McNamara Fallacy at work. The McNamara Fallacy was named for Robert McNamara, the US Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War. The term was coined by the noted social scientist Daniel Yankelovich, who described it this way:

“The first step is to measure whatever can easily be measured. This is OK as far as it goes. The second step is to disregard that which can’t be easily measured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to presume that what can’t be easily measured really isn’t important. This is blindness. The fourth step is to say that what can’t be easily measured really doesn’t exist. This is suicide.”

Ironically, some of our efforts to improve marketing performance measurement have also exacerbated its dark side. For example, most marketers are now focused on measuring the impact of marketing activities on revenues. So, we’re now constructing complex attribution models in an attempt to assign revenue dollars to specific marketing activities.

Measuring the performance of marketing activities that produce quick results is relatively easy. It’s much harder to measure the performance of marketing activities that may not bear fruit for months or even years. For example, the content that you create and publish this year can produce a positive impression in the mind of a potential buyer, and that impression can influence a buying process that won’t even begin for a year or more. Likewise, some of the sales you closed this year were probably due, at least in part, to marketing activities and programs that you ran last year .

In a recent interview, David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell, described the importance of long-term effects in these terms: “You do well this year, not because of what you’re doing this year, but because of what you did in the previous 5 years.”

Marketing activities with long gestation periods, and those whose impacts are several steps removed from the final buying decision can be very difficult to measure. But many of these activities are vitally important for marketing success. Unfortunately, when we fixate on ease of measurement, we can end up under-investing in these critical marketing activities.

As Albert Einstein purportedly wrote on his blackboard: “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

Illustration courtesy of Kory Westerhold via Flickr CC.

21 Nov 17:20

How to Write a Killer Cold Email Campaign – The First Message

by Marta Zalewska

Creating a successful cold email campaign is the Holy Grail of a cold mailing. It’s also a pain.

It takes a ton of time, effort, nerves and a slight caffeine overdose to craft a masterpiece.

And yet, when you click send and wait for a tsunami of positive replies nothing happens… I bet you’ve experienced this at least once.

After a year in a company that lives off cold email campaigns, I’ve learned that there may not be a universal email template that converts everyone but with a few simple steps you can achieve great results.

In a cold email campaign, testing is everything

The first thing that you should always keep in mind, whether this is your first cold email campaign or you’ve already sent hundreds of messages, is that each target and each prospect is different. There is no single message that will be effective in every market for every product.

The only thing that will get you consistent results is constant testing. Improve your templates, compare results and remember to only test one part at a time – this way you will be able to see which approach works better. This may sound a bit overwhelming at first but don’t worry, we’ve outlined the essential guidelines to help you craft your killer cold email campaign.

Subject line

The ultimate goal of your cold email campaign is to turn a cold prospect into a paying customer. But before you can persuade anyone with well-written email copy and a great offer, you first have to convince them to open your email. And that’s why a subject line can either save or kill your whole cold email campaign.

Never forget to:

  • Personalize – If you include the prospect’s first name in the subject line, it’s less likely that email clients will flag your message as spam. Plus, it will grab a prospect’s attention if they see their name among a sea of impersonal email.
  • Keep it as short as possible – It’s best to keep it less than five words. Long subject lines look salesy.
  • Never mislead your prospects! – It may give you higher open rates but once they see that your email and subject line have nothing in common they will either: a. completely lose interest in your product, b. report you as spam, or c. give you bad press.
  • Avoid using ‘salesy’ words Terms such as ‘buy’ or ‘offer’ trigger spam and that’s not how you want to be perceived. You can check which words should be avoided here.
  • Make it casual – You can write a question or an unfinished sentence. Another idea is writing subject lines completely in lowercase letters.
  • Send up to 3-4 messages in one thread – Try to make it continuous but once you see that one approach is not working switch it to something a bit different. Remember, always be testing.

The Preview

The subject line is only one element that encourages a prospect to open your email. Another crucial part is the preview. The preview is the opening of your email that’s already visible in the inbox before clicking on the message. It’s crucial for getting your message opened so remember to:

  • NEVER start with describing you or your company! – Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes for a second. Would you care about some stranger’s name and occupation? Probably not.
  • Start with something you have in common – Mention a conference you both attended, the same type of company, anything that will make them feel like you’re not just a random person but someone who understands them. When they see that in their inbox they will be more willing to read your email
  • Make a personal touch – Write like their friend, not a salesperson. One technique we like to use is to write your email to a friend you actually know first. This will help you keep the content real and conversational.
  • Address a problem – Mention a problem which can be solved by your product which shows you understand and can relate to their pain. This approach is called the ‘event’ and is one of the most effective in the cold mailing. It appeals to both a recipient’s head and heart – you can make their job easier and spare them stress and time.

The Body

After writing the opening it’s time to get to the meat of the message – the body. Most people don’t read emails (especially sales emails) thoroughly. How do we know that? One day I sent a draft of a cold email campaign with an internal note in the message to 300 people (I know, it was stupid. Lesson learned). But I still received replies from people who praised my message. Conclusion? Prospects just skim emails and decide if your offer is worth their time if something catches their attention. So remember:

  • Keep it as short as possible – Most of the people check their email on mobile devices and don’t bother to even skim long messages. Your first contact should be about getting their attention.
  • Use more paragraphs – They make the message clearer, easier to read, and help you keep it better organized.
  • Make your keywords stand out – Putting keywords in bold, italics, or underlining them will draw their attention to the most important points. However, be careful not to overuse it because the message may look sloppy and unclear.
  • Use bullet points or lists – List the 3 most important benefits or features to highlight the most important points to the reader.
  • Use short, simple sentences – Three simple sentences are easier to tackle than one long elaborate sentence. This is especially true for non-technical readers in your market.
  • Try to keep it casual – Try to make it sound like you’re sending a message to your friend or colleague.
  • Use positive language – Avoid using negative terms as they are counter-effective. Show the profits your product can generate by creating a positive image of your company and product.

Write the body of the email so it is worth the time of the person reading it.

The Pitch

Another critical component of your email copy is the pitch. You are selling, so you need to communicate how special your offer is.

  • Sell value – Remember to always put emphasis on ‘you’ and ‘your’ rather that ‘I’, ‘me’, or our’.
  • Keep it casual – Just like the rest of the message.
  • Focus on BENEFITS, not features – Emails should serve the customer not the product. So show the results that your product will deliver and not just the cool bells and whistles of the product. Start with the “why” not the “how”.
  • Don’t reveal all of your cards in one message – If you do, it won’t be clear what the most important point is and you won’t have anything new to add in following messages.
  • Use numbers – They stand out in plain text, draw attention, and give solid information about your product.
  • Give social proof – Show how you’ve helped other companies, preferably ones that are similar to your prospect. Talk about how you specifically solved their problems.

The Call-To-Action

After you’ve addressed the problem and showed the solution, you need to guide the prospect to where they can learn more about your offer (and buy). It’s time for your Call-To-Action.

Your Call-To-Action (or CTA) should be:

  • Short – Choose one consistent CTA, it’s easier for the receiver to know what to do.
  • Direct – Propose a date of the call or meeting. You may also give some options for the prospect to choose but remember to stick to one action.
  • Specific – The more specific you are, the more tangible the offer becomes. The more tangible the offer, the more likely someone is to take action.

The PS

Last but certainly not least, is the PS. And please never underestimate it. The PS is one of the most frequently read parts of an email.

It significantly stands out, after your signature, from the rest of the message which makes it a great place to give some additional info. You should include something important about your product, company or offer. Be sure to keep it short – don’t ruin the advantage of PS by adding more than one or two short sentences.

21 Nov 17:16

Top 5 Lead Generation Tips in Management Consulting

by Lee Frederiksen

“You’re only as good as your last workout” is a common saying among athletes, but the underlying premise is just as applicable to many business development practitioners: you’re only as good as your last contract.

Among professional services firms and especially within the management consulting niche, there are many factors involved with getting the next contract. The strength of relationships among buyers and influencers, the brand, where prospects are in their buying cycle – just to name a few – all can affect getting that signature and lead some firms to question what marketing activities to focus on.

 

Fortunately, there is data to guide firms. The Hinge Research Institute has a growing body of research that shows the benefits of engaging in digital marketing. For example, in a recent report by Hinge, we found that most prospective buyers do the following:

  • Look at your website (80.8%)
  • Search online (63.2%)
  • Ask colleagues (62.4%)
  • Review social media (59.9%)
  • Talk to a reference (55.5%)

Understanding that you ignore your online presence at your own business development peril, how should a management consulting firm address its strategy? For lead generating ideas, let’s look at these five points above through another lens:

  1. Website. This is your home base where you control the positioning, messaging, visual elements and level of interaction with audiences. Be aware of your company’s brand development strategy so that the website reflects the company you want to become. Consider offering various levels of educational content about issues faced by target audiences. They will come back for more.
  2. Online presence. With so many prospects potentially Googling you and your firm, you need to exist beyond the website with a strong, business-oriented authority. Get published with thought leadership pieces in other blogs, get quoted in the press, or speak at an industry event.
  3. Ask colleagues. Since audiences will ask their friends and colleagues about you, you must try and avoid the “I’ve never heard of them” response. Building your network within your niche with credible content can allow those influencers to respond positively. You may never even know they did, but cultivating a network creates the foundation for opportunity.
  4. Social media. Here’s where you can really amplify your expertise. Review your LinkedIn profile and give it a makeover as needed. Add the right photo and summary statement, join and participate in the right groups, and add links to places where you’ve been published. Do the same review of your company page. If there’s only time for one social network in your life, LinkedIn is the one.
  5. References. Professionals you put forth as references will of course say good things about you (or else you wouldn’t use them). But help them out a little. Stay in touch with them using that content they’ll find useful. They will appreciate knowing that you have a position on an issue, are the thought leader on a topic, or otherwise have staked out some area of strength. It gives them something to talk about other than “he’s a great guy” or “she delivered everything she said she would.”

At times, marketing your firm can feel like an overwhelming task. Where do you invest your limited time and money? What will work and what will not? One of the best ways to find answers is to examine how buyers select firms like yours. Our research has illuminated a path forward: invest in your website, build an online presence and build a strong network online and offline. The most successful firms use these strategies with great success. Now it’s your turn.

Additional Resources:

  • Get a step-by- step guide to building a powerful referral strategy with our free Rethinking Referral Marketing executive guide.
  • Dig into the research behind generating referrals today with our free Referral Marketing for Professional Services Firms research report.
  • Better understand today’s buyers with our How Buyers Buy Professional Services research report.

 

blogoffer-horiz-LeadGen-Guide

21 Nov 17:16

Wall Street is finding ways to make money off your every move

by Rachael Levy

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron poses for a selfie with young entrepreneurs, during an event with members of StartUp Britain at Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, in this June 23, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/Files

Wall Street is finding ways to make money off your every move

Investment firms like hedge funds are big buyers of so-called "alternative data."  That's data that comes from the apps we use, the online shops we buy from, and the GPS tracking within our smartphones.

This info helps investors figure out where to put their money and gives insight into, for instance, how stocks will perform – which companies will continue to rake in cash, and which ones are likely to flop.

The market for this data is expected to double in the next five years in the US, from $200 million today to $400 million, according to a recent TABB Group report. The amount of data that can be packaged into investment insights is expected to increase as our devices and apps glean more info from us. 

"The deployment of billions of sensors that can monitor any type of device, from fridges to gas tanks, will significantly increase the quantity and quality of data that is made available for analysis," the report said.

Below are some of the ways vendors are tracking your spending and tastes, according to the report.

SEE ALSO: There's a new breed of trader on Wall Street, and they're becoming the new 'masters of the universe'

Satellites are tracking cars in store parking lots

It's already common for satellites to track the number of cars in shops' parking lots. This helps investors figure out which stores are popular – or which companies may be having layoffs if fewer cars are showing up.

Investors used to track this kind of data manually, so satellite imagery is a big step up in terms of efficiency.

This imagery is also expected to get better, with better detail of objects on the ground. Drones and airplanes are expected to provide higher resolution images, too.

The photos can even help determine the health of the soil and agriculture on the ground. That's particularly valuable to commodities investors that bet on factors like crop yields.



Shopping receipts in your email inbox are being monitored

They say nothing in life is free. That goes for the apps that organize our emails, send us coupons and help process refunds. In turn, those free apps may sell the data that we produce.

One of the big sources in this category is receipts. Investors are already using anonymous data gleaned from credit card statements, but the rise of online shopping, and the digital receipts we get in our email, is a boon. That's because emailed receipts are usually itemized, giving investors greater detail into what people are buying.

This type of data sharing should increase, since online shopping is expected to grow. At the same time, brick and mortar stores are also increasingly sending digital receipts.

The data doesn't come without its challenges. For one, receipt data may be biased to a particular demographic or age group – i.e. those that are most likely to shop online. This type of tracking is also harder to implement in Europe, which has stricter privacy rules than the US.



Your phone is tracking the shops you're going to

More than 90% of purchases are still made in brick and mortar stores.

Cell phones, and the location tracking within them, can help investors figure out who is shopping where.

Social media apps like FourSquare have already predicted earnings results, by tracking how many people were going in to a store.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
21 Nov 17:15

Here's what will happen if Amazon tries to sell new cars online in the US (AMZN)

by Matthew DeBord

Amazon Vehicles

Business Insider's Eugene Kim reported last week on Amazon's desire to sell cars online

The internet giant is rolling out a program in Italy, in partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, that appears to be aimed at initiating transactions for car dealers, then turning them over for the finishing touches.

This makes sense in Europe, where many buyers spec out their vehicles before taking delivery.

However, if Amazon hopes to supplant car dealers in the US and sell new vehicles online, it should drop that plan immediately. Car dealers will never stand for it, even if consumers might love the idea.

The only way to sell new cars in the US is to own a car dealership as a franchise. Tesla is an exception in over 20 states where it has established stores as a manufacturer selling direct to consumers, but it has been stalled in other states, and in any case, the automaker isn't currently big enough to be a threat to car dealers nationally.

Rather than taking on car dealers — an undertaking that's rife with failures, as the major automakers have discovered when they've tried to do it, even before the internet came along — Amazon will probably pitch itself as a generator of very high-quality sales leads.

How it might work

Buyers will likely visit the Amazon Vehicles site, research a new car, maybe even start to spec one out, and then be presented with dealership, financing, and insurance options. This package will then the passed along by Amazon to a local car dealers or dealer network that's partnered with the program, in order to complete the deal. 

Amazon will pocket a fee if the sales goes through, and the dealer will get the sale.

This is already an established online business, with a variety of auto-information sites generating dealer leads.

There is a potential problem, however, with Amazon's entry into this business: pricing.

In Italy, a 30% discount is being applied to sales. Dealers in the US might accept a price cut like that for very slow-selling models, but if the leads that Amazon passes on to them for other vehicles are so substantially discounted, dealers will lose too much money. If they're flooded with el-cheapo leads, then they won't want to participate in the program.

What about Amazon at some point becoming a true direct-seller of new cars?

car dealership

Again, the discounting could be a problem. Amazon would have to buy new vehicles from carmakers and devise ways of delivering that inventory to customers. It would in effect become a car dealer in its own right. If it moved into insurance and financing, it would eventually have to build physical dealerships. 

There are some car mega-dealers in the US who might see that as a pretty big threat and would use their influence and the state and federal level to block it. The automakers would get sucked in and have to choose sides, and if history is any lesson, they'd choose the dealers. 

From the consumer side, Amazon.cars might sound great, but car buyers' longstanding issues with car dealers are actually economically counterproductive. The price is never set in stone. Everything is negotiable — and ultimately the dealer has four key goals: sell you a car; sell you a car loan (or get you to lease the car); sell you insurance; and get you back to the dealership for service and eventually a trade in.

If you walk off the lot over something as trivial as price, then the dealer achieves none of those goals.

The car-buying process is intimidating, especially for first-time buyers, so people think that they internet will somehow save them from the struggle. But the internet already helps them, by greatly increasing their ability to research vehicles and sales information, to come to the dealership with a solid idea of what they should pay.

What companies like Amazon really want to do is aggregate potential buyers in large numbers so that they can create a mass discount market. But Amazon probably already knows that both dealers and carmakers wouldn't stand for this, so it's reasonable to assume that buying a new car directly from Amazon won't ever happen. 

SEE ALSO: Amazon is going to sell cars online

Join the conversation about this story »

21 Nov 17:11

Top Tools for Selling Online Courses

by BloggingPro

If you aren’t using a powerful enough course creator platform, you will soon realize that creating and selling your online courses can be such a nightmare.

Not only would you need to host all your content, but you would need to setup sales funnels, capture leads, market your courses, and setup other crucial integrations as well (among other things).

If you are quite uncertain about which course creator platform you should use to house your online courses, then allow me to share — and unpack — these three remarkable course creator tools.

While there are several of these tools in the market, I decided to write specifically about these three because I’ve gotten several inquiries about them from my community.

1. Kajabi.com

kajabi

One thing’s for sure, the guys over at Kajabi really walk the talk. They weren’t exaggerating at all when they said, “All The Tools You Need… Under One Roof.”

As I unpack Kajabi right now, you’ll realize how powerful the platform is and why everything you need to sell, market, and deliver your content is in fact in one place.

The dashboard

kajabi_dashboard

As you can see, Kajabi’s dashboard looks clean and organized. All the features are added and arranged in a neat and familiar fashion, making it easy for their users to navigate the platform without feeling the slightest bit overwhelmed.

The marketing features

kajabi_features

Kajabi’s marketing features allow its users to setup websites, run email marketing campaigns, create landing pages, nurture a community, and add third-party integrations. It even allows its users to set up affiliate marketing programs (among other things).

If you’ve checked out several of Kajabi’s competitors and the solutions they offer, then you’d have realized by now that Kajabi’s marketing features are a cut above the rest.

Product creation

To create a product, you simply need to click “Product” on the menu, click the “+ New Product” button, enter your product title and description, and add your product thumbnail. You can then start adding your content.

Landing pages

landingpage

The platform has 23 free landing page themes to choose from. Check out how clean and professional-looking their themes are.

* Note – You can also upload your own landing page theme.

What’s even more amazing is how the themes have a preset layout for all sorts of purposes (e.g. long form sales, course sales, optin forms, minimal sales, etc.). The preset layouts make it easier for you to start creating your landing page without having to do much editing.

balboa

Pricing

Kajabi has three pricing points:
Basic
Billed Annually: $103 / month
Billed Monthly: $129 / month
Pro
Billed Annually: $311 / month
Billed Monthly: $389 / month
Premium
Billed Annually: $719 / month
Billed Monthly: $899 / month

Pros
Kajabi has all the bells and whistles that business owners need to start selling online courses. The best part is, that’s not the only thing the platform is capable of. It also possesses several marketing tools that you can use to drive more viewers and subscribers to your content, helping you generate more sales.

Cons
If there’s one thing about Kajabi that I’m not a fan of, it’d be how they require their users to enter their billing information even when creating the trial account. Some of their competitors do not ask for this information.

2. Thinkific.com

thinkific1

Despite Thinkific’s severe lack of marketing features, there are a lot of good things to be said about it.

For one thing, the website looks clean, crisp, and easy to navigate. Even if you are new to course creator platforms, you’ll find that Thinkific is pretty intuitive — you’ll never get lost when you’re on the website.

Signing up with Thinkific is dead easy, as well. You just need to click the “Get Started Free” button, type in your Email, Password, and the name you want to use for your Thinkific website.

After which, you’ll be taken to a page where you will be asked to choose a color scheme for your website — you have three options to choose from.

thinkific2

After selecting the color scheme, you will then be asked a couple more questions (about 3 – 4) then you’ll be taken to the dashboard.

Here’s how their dashboard looks.

thinkific3

Creating your course

You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to setup and format your course once inside the platform.

Simply click the “My Course” option on the top left hand of the dashboard, click the “Create New Course” option, enter the name of your course (you can edit this later so don’t sweat it), click “Create Course,” then you can start adding chapters.

Here’s how the page looks after you click the “Create Course” button.

thinkific4

After you click the “Add Chapter” button and enter your chapter title, you can now start adding your content.

The platform gives you the option to select the type of content that you’re going to add (e.g. Text, Video, Quiz, Survey, etc.).

thinkific5

The process is pretty simple, isn’t it?

With how easy to use the tool is, you shouldn’t have a hard time figuring out how it works.

Pricing

Thinkific has four pricing points:

Starter: Free
Essentials
Billed Annually: $39 / month
Billed Monthly: $49 / month
Business
Billed Annually: $79 / month
Billed Monthly: $99 / month
Advanced
Billed Annually: $219 / month
Billed Monthly: $279 / month

Thinkific’s pricing is considered reasonable (competitive, even) when pegged against its competitors.

Pros

Thinkific’s UX and UI is pretty decent. I can’t stress enough how easy it is to use the platform to the point where even a total newbie can figure out how to setup his/her own course.

Cons

As mentioned previously, Thinkific lacks the marketing tools to help its users grow their businesses. You can’t create optin forms; it doesn’t allow you to do email broadcasts, and they don’t have autoresponders (among other things).

Not having a powerful enough marketing tool is a major letdown for Thinkific. Considering how noisy and competitive the internet has become, your chances of succeeding in business are close to none if you aren’t giving enough emphasis to marketing.

3. Ruzuku

ruzuku1

If there’s one thing that sets Ruzuku apart from its competitors, it’d be how minimalistic the platform feels. However, while that may be a good thing for some users, others consider it a huge disadvantage.

Creating a course

The moment your account is created, you won’t be greeted by a plethora of features or functionalities unlike the first two platforms we discussed. The only thing noticeable you’ll see is their “Create a Course” button.

ruzuku2

See what I mean?

What’s more, when you click the “Create a Course” button and add a title for your course, this is how their interface is going to look.

ruzuku3

With how uncomplicated their interface is, the users are never going to feel a sense of overwhelm when using the platform.

Pricing

Ruzuku has three pricing points:

Starter
Billed Annually: $58.08 / per month
Billed Monthly: $79 / per month

Bootstrapper
Billed Annually: $74.75 / per month
Billed Monthly: $99 / per month

Up-and-Comer
Billed Annually: $83.08 / per month
Billed Monthly: $149 / per month

Pros

In addition to how simple and easy to use Ruzuku is, it is one of the most affordable course creator platforms in the market.

If you don’t have the technical know-how to start your own online training portal and your pocket isn’t as deep, then Ruzuku might be the platform for you.

Cons

The platform is a bit too simplistic to the point where it lacks several crucial features. For one thing, it barely has any marketing features. It’s sales features are also quite lacking since it doesn’t allow upsells, monthly subscriptions, and bundles (among other features).

The platform’s design customization is also quite inflexible.

What’s next?

Overall, it looks like Kajabi wins by a landslide since it is the most comprehensive platform that you can use to start selling digital content. You can even use it to collect leads, do upsells, run affiliate marketing campaigns, or turn your leads into paying clients.

Are there other course creator platforms that you think should be added to the list? Please add them in the comments section below. Cheers!

4 Tools to Connect with Influencers and Explode Blog Traffic

 

21 Nov 17:10

3 Sales Forecasting Mistakes That Could Cost You The Business [Free Template]

by dkhim@hubspot.com (David Ly Khim)
sales-forecasting-mistakes.jpg

Whether you're a consultant working with a sales leader, a sales manager coaching a team, or an individual rep trying to assess your pipeline health, you should be using data to drive your sales forecasting.

But many of you aren't -- so sales forecasts are often inaccurate.

Many forecasts are based off gut instinct or emotional attachment to a deal.

Rather than relying on their feeling that there’s a 90% chance a deal will close, sales professionals should strive to be data-driven in their jobs. They should look at historical data and be able to say, “Of all leads that become opportunities, 50% will agree to a demo and 50% of those will close,” and refer to an objective set of factors that indicate the likelihood of each individual sale to be made.

This data often lives in a CRM. If you don’t have that data (likely because you don’t use a CRM), Doug Landis, Chief Storyteller and VP of Sales Productivity at Box, recommends that all sales leaders and reps track their sales activities.

If you've already been doing so, use the data in your CRM based on each stage to determine average likelihood that a person will proceed to the next stage. This way you eliminate as much guesswork as possible and get one step closer to a data-driven sales forecasting process.

For example:

Sales Stage Leads From Previous Stage
Appointment Set 1000 100%
Appointment Completed 500 50%
Opportunity Confirmed 400 80%
Demo 200 50%
Closed Won 100 50%

funnel-7.png

In the table and image above, you can see the percentage of people who move to the next stage. This translates to the probability that a deal will move to the next stage.

By using those probabilities, you can more accurately forecast the likelihood that a deal will move through the entire process and close.

Using a simple sales forecasting tool, you can list your opportunities, the potential deal size, and the likelihood of each deal closing.

Download a free sales forecasting template here to start forecasting sales more accurately and make smarter business decisions.

The difficulty of creating an accurate sales forecast doesn't lie in these calculations: It's in creating a defined sales process, properly qualifying leads, and actually collecting data. These three activities are the foundation upon which forecasting is built, and if you're making any of the three mistakes below, your ability to accurately forecast will be seriously impacted. Here's how to address each problem.

1) Your sales process isn’t clearly defined.

A defined process ensures that reps have a shared set of measurable criteria they can refer to when advancing deals through each stage of the sale. Without defined criteria, reps may prematurely move a deal to the next step in the sales process. At the very least, they'll each rely on their own set of criteria to determine when a deal is ready to be moved forward or not, resulting in an inconsistent and inaccurate forecast.

2) You don’t have proper qualification criteria for each stage of the process.

As mentioned above, each step of the sales process should have clear qualification criteria to move a lead to the next stage. Without a proper qualification framework, reps may move deals through the sales process and realize in the final stages that the lead isn’t qualified to buy. By accurately qualifying leads, reps know where they are in the buyer’s process and know the type of conversation to have with them.

By having that defined sales process and clear qualification methodology, the data you collect will be more reliable to use for forecasting.

3) Your data isn’t reliable.

Here’s an example scenario where improper qualifying could skew your data:

Your reps are eager to demo your product. Each appointment they complete is assumed to automatically be an opportunity because they spoke to the lead. Because of that, they move to the next stage of demoing the product. After the demo, the rep realizes that the person isn’t ready to buy and is still considering other options.

Imagine if all your reps were doing that. Your sales pipeline will look like this.

Sales Stage Leads % from Previous Stage
Appointment Set 1000 100%
Appointment Completed 500 50%
Opportunity Confirmed 500 100%
Demo 500 100%
Closed Won 50 10%

It would look like a lot of people were becoming opportunities and getting demos, but few were closing. It would make you think the problem lies in the demo stage. In reality, the problem is that far too many appointments are being marked as opportunities.

Define your sales process and implement a proper qualification methodology, and your data will be much more useful for forecasting. Then plug that data into a sales forecasting tool to determine how much revenue you can expect to make the next month or quarter.

Don’t have a forecasting tool? We put together a free Excel template that you can use. Click below to get it.

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21 Nov 17:10

23 Sales Podcasts Every Rep Should Listen To

by afrost@hubspot.com (Aja Frost)
After a long day at the office, Netflix is usually more appealing than cracking open a sales book or streaming a sales training video on YouTube.

Fortunately, there's a simpler way to learn new sales techniques without having to set aside extra time in your day -- through podcasts.

The next time you're walking the dog, commuting, exercising, cleaning, or doing any other task that doesn't require mental energy, pop in your earbuds, press "Play," and learn from sales leaders and experts.

1. Conversations with Women in Sales

Dedicated to becoming the best resource in the world for female sales professionals, Barb Giamanco's podcast is a platform for female sales leaders to share their stories. Episodes highlight leadership, career management, overcoming adversity, and more -- all featuring female executives you need to hear from.

Notable Episodes:

2. Your Sales MBA Podcast

Looking for a podcast with actionable advice? Look no further. Aparo and Hoffman produce weekly shows that dive into how to craft the perfect pitch, maneuver tire-kicking, and close deals faster -- a perfect listen for the rep who's actively selling and looking to scale their skill set.

Notable Episodes

3. B2B Growth Show

This daily podcast is geared toward helping B2B sales executives achieve growth. Learn about sales team management, creative business development strategies, time-saving sales tools, B2B strategic partnerships, aligning sales with marketing, effective prospecting, negotiation techniques, and more.

Notable Episodes:

4. The Advanced Selling Podcast

This podcast focuses on tactical tips and techniques you can implement immediately. One week, Caskey and Neale discuss lead generation; the next, they talk about communicating value or resolving objections about price.

You can get even more out of this podcast by downloading its app, which'll give you access to bonus content and the ability to ask the hosts questions. Listeners can also join the LinkedIn group for the opportunity to connect with other sales professionals and swap advice.

Notable Episodes:

  • How Not to Annoy Your Prospects: In this episode, Caskey and Neale interview the head of a digital agency to learn buyers' biggest pet peeves.
  • Commission Detachment: While money is always a powerful incentive in sales, reps must also genuinely want to help prospects. This episode covers techniques for balancing your motivations.

5. Women in Tech Podcast

  • Hosts: Espree Devora is producer of "The Girl who Gets it Done," host of "WeAreLaTech.fm," "Uniting LA Startups," and, of course, "WomeninTech.fm."
  • Length: 20-60 minutes
  • Listen on: Player.fm | iTunes

Get inspired by just a few of the top female executives in tech. You'll get tips on how to excel in your career, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, empower yourself as an independent business owner, and more.

Notable Episodes:

6. Sales Gravy

Excited about the idea of podcasts, but not sure when you'd have the time to actually listen to them? Try the Sales Gravy podcast. Most of its episodes are around five minutes, so you can easily fit them into your schedule.

Blount consistently shares practical and inspiring advice on everything from overcoming your fear of rejection to doubling your callback rate.

Notable Episodes:

  • 3 Steps New Sales Managers Should Take Now: Transitioning from an individual contributor to a team leader is challenging -- especially in the sales world. Discover the three things you should do when you first make the jump.

7. The Salesman Podcast

If you're eager to learn more about the role of influence, body language, and psychology in sales, subscribe to this almost-daily podcast. Sales professionals at all levels will find value in Barron's interviews. He has a knack for asking questions and letting his guests take center stage.

Along with sales leaders like Dave Kurlan and Trish Bertuzzi, you'll hear from former FBI agents, Stanford University professors, and startup CEOs. Barron's questions are designed to elicit tactical advice you can implement right away.

Notable Episodes:

8. Sales Success Stories

This podcast features interviews with the top 1% of sales professionals. Scott uncovers everything about the best sales professionals, including their favorite sales books, habits, routines, and tips.

Scott not only continues to produce a continuous stream of interviews with top performers but has also built the Sales Success Community to help listeners connect with like-minded sales achievers.

Notable Episodes:

9. In the Arena

On this podcast, sales expert Anthony Iannarino interviews well-known sales professionals from both B2B and B2C companies. The topics run the gamut from social selling and sales automation to balancing your priorities and eliminating excuses.

Every guest provides a fresh perspective on sales, making this show a great choice if you want to expand your knowledge.

Notable Episodes:

10. The Ziglar Show -- Inspiring Your True Performance

This top-ranked business podcast is focused on self-improvement. Each week, Ziglar and Miller spend roughly 30 minutes to an hour exploring new ways to improve your career.

Most of the episodes are inspired by Zig Ziglar's philosophy; however, they're not explicitly focused on sales topics. To give you an idea, past subjects have included positive peer pressure, meditation, and purposeful procrastination.

Notable Episodes:

  • Sell With a Story -- Paul Smith: If you want prospects to remember your points, Paul Smith (yes, the same Paul Smith from #6. recommends framing them in stories.

11. The Sales Evangelist

Enjoy tips and actionable wisdom from a B2B sales pro who knows how to hustle in this daily podcast. Sales trainer Donald Kelly interviews experts in sales, business, and marketing, so you can learn how to take your career up a notch.

Notable Episodes:

  • Rethinking the Way You Sell: Sales expert Jeff Bajorek talks salesperson-centric versus customer-centric selling, the power of connection, strategies for scaling, and more.

12. Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast

  • Host: Rotating hosts from the Bowery Capital team, an early-stage venture capital firm focusing on technology startups
  • Length: 25-45 minutes
  • Listen on: iTunes

This podcast focuses on the unique challenges of startup sales. However, its tips are applicable whether you're working at a young company or a large-scale enterprise. Previous episodes have delved into subjects like writing emails that convert, perfecting your sales script, and balancing personalization with automation.

Like what you hear? Bowery Capital has been producing this show since 2014, so there's a lot in the archives.

Notable Episodes:

13. Accelerate!

Six times a week, Paul interviews sales giants like Jeffrey Gitomer, Robert Cialdini, and Jill Konrath. You'll learn strategic insights to generate value for your customers and advance your career.

Notable Episodes:

  • What Do Buyers Want From Sellers: Deb Calvert, president of People First Productivity Solutions, breaks the code of how to tell what buyers really want from salespeople.

14. Get in the Door: Sales Prospecting Strategies & Tactics

Get in the Door is a podcast that focuses exclusively on helping you connect with new accounts. During each episode, host Steve Kloyda interweaves practical suggestions with examples and stories taken from his own sales career. Kloyda believes strongly in serving the customer and thinking about the "why" behind your goals.

Notable Episodes:

15. The Sales Babble Podcast

This show features selling tips for small and medium businesses and entrepreneurs. Helmers explains sales concepts in easy-to-understand, plain language.

The topics range from broad (prospecting, setting the right mindset, winning referrals. to specific (selling new or unproven products, pitching startups, selling to government institutions, and so on..

Notable Episodes:

16. The Jordan Harbinger Show

If you can't form genuine connections with your prospects, you'll probably struggle. But all hope isn't lost if you're not naturally charismatic. Harbinger says he was lacking the social skills he needed to advance professionally -- so he decided to learn them. Now, he shares his insights with his podcast audience.

Each episode features several fresh, research-backed tips from guests like Simon Sinek, Nilofer Merchant, and David Burkus.

Notable Episodes:

17. Sell or Die

Together, Gitomer and Gluckow have created a podcast that centers around the art and science of selling.

They invite leaders in sales, marketing, and personal development to join the conversation on each episode leading to lively discussions on dealing with rejection, artificial intelligence in sales, and more.

Notable Episodes:

  • The Toughest Sale: Gitomer interviews insurance industry expert Mark Steinberg as they discuss the toughest sales in their careers.

18. Sales Pipeline Radio

Have you caught the latest wave in sales growth? Industry favorite Matt Heinz is here to help. Each episode features an expert in B2B sales or marketing.

Learn about driving greater volume, velocity and conversion of sales pipelines, from demand gen to lead management and more. The goal? To help you find, manage, and win more business.

Notable Episodes:

19. Make It Happen Mondays -- B2B Sales with John Barrows

  • Host: John Barrows, founder of JBarrows Sales Training
  • Length: 30 minutes
  • Listen on: iTunes

This sales podcast is recorded live on Facebook every Monday and covers everything in the sales cycle from calling to closing, along with career growth and success topics. Each episode features actionable takeaways and anecdotes from John's career.

Notable Episodes:

20. The Sales Podcast

Host Wes Schaeffer answers questions about growing your sales, inbound selling, and the entrepreneurial mindset. Looking for a straightfoward, practical take on sales? This is your podcast.

Notable Episodes:

  • Michelle Weinstein is the Pitch Queen: Shark Tank veteran Michelle Weinstein shares her tips on adding value on top of value, anticipating and addressing objections in your pitch, and her secrets for practicing.

21. SaaStr

Hear weekly interviews of the most prominent operators and investors on how to attain success in the world of SaaS. You'll learn how to get from $0 to $100m ARR, how to scale, and how to hire. Sales, investing, and entrepreneurial tips meld effortlessly in this industry-favorite podcast.

Notable Episodes:

22. Conquer Local with George Leith

If selling to local businesses is your game, this weekly podcast is chock-full of tips and strategies that make it easier. In each episode, George Leith interviews sales leaders and talks about his own 30 years of experience in the industry.

Notable Episodes:

  • Rank Fishkin: Startup struggles & sales strategies: In this episode, George sits down with Rand Fishkin to talk about his experience growing Moz, and what he learned as an entrepreneur and CEO. Plus, Fishkin has a ton of valuable advice to improve your sales strategies.

23. The Failure Factor

  • Hosts: Megan Bruneau, therapist, executive coach, and Forbes contributor
  • Length: Approximately one hour
  • Listen on: iTunes | TuneIn

For salespeople, fear might look like worrying that if miss your quota again, you'll lose your job. Fear is part of a salesperson's career, and therapist Megan Bruneau has strategies to help you do more than cope with it. She shares how listeners can capitalize off their failures to achieve fulfillment and success.

Notable Episodes:

Roughly one in five U.S. adults say they're monthly podcast listeners. If you're not already one of them, the shows on this list might convert you. For more sales resources, listen to our playlist of motivational songs next.

21 Nov 16:41

Do I Choose An Inbound Or Outbound Marketing Strategy For Lead Generation?

by Lewis Stowe

Do I choose an inbound or outbound marketing strategy for lead generation?

Should I pursue an inbound or outbound marketing strategy?

Have you ever asked this question? Your business depends on getting leads to convert into sales and you have limited resources with which to do it.

I am in a unique position to answer this question as I work on inbound strategy for a company whose solution helps other companies maximize the effectiveness of their outbound marketing strategies. How does that work?

I’ll let you in on a little secret. There isn’t a single answer. Every business has different resources and needs. Inbound might be great for one business and outbound might be great for another. That said I believe that the combined use of both inbound and outbound marketing strategies will deliver the best results for most businesses.

The benefits of using an outbound marketing strategy

outbound marketing strategy

An outbound marketing strategy is for those who want, to quote Aaron Ross outbound guru, predictable revenue. An outbound marketing strategy has a few discernible benefits:

  • You start talking to clients immediately
  • Email automation helps it scale
  • Your company will see predictable growth

One of the hardest things about starting a business is uncertainty. Will people buy my product? Will I have enough funding to keep going? Can I deliver on my promises?

It’s up to you to deliver on your promises but an outbound marketing strategy can answer those first two questions.

The beauty of an outbound marketing strategy is that you have a sense of control over what you are doing. You still need to persuade people to buy your solution but you are the one who is seeking them out, not the other way around.

The first step

The first step in identifying your customers is creating an ideal customer profile. You can target the exact people who could most benefit from your product and would be most likely to buy from you, with your ICP. More importantly, you can start talking with them immediately. It beats waiting for your customers to find you. That sounds pretty tempting, right?

And that’s not even the best part. It can be done entirely through email. Why is that a benefit you ask?

  • Because emails can be automated and scaled.
  • An email has a better chance of getting past gatekeepers, going directly to the decision maker you want to connect with.
  • Depending on the tool you use, you can spend as little as five minutes a day sending out your drip campaign, compared with the hours you would need to spend calling up leads individually, only to get denied by their secretary.

So what is the result of all of this?

When done correctly, you can see predictable growth. This means that you can generally gauge your conversion rate by the number of people you have employed to do lead qualification and close deals. This all sound pretty good right?

Challenges with an outbound marketing strategy

Well, there are some challenges to consider when employing an outbound marketing strategy.

  • Costs rise in a linear fashion
  • You need high-quality prospects

Outbound does scale! Still, one person can only qualify so many leads at a time. Therefore your prospects will only grow as long as you are spending more man-hours qualifying leads.

The other big sticking point is the quality of the leads that you get. There is a lot of lead generation data out there from multiple sources. It can be a lot to sift through. The best strategy is to buy high-quality data which is up to date, as the value makes up for the extra time you need to qualify bad leads. Of course, this can cost more so you need to be prepared to shoulder this burden. Luckily there are some great tools out there to automate the process like Growbots. They provide up to date data and integrated emailing tools. So is there a way of ensuring that I get good leads which grow in an exponential fashion? There is, it’s called…

An inbound marketing strategy

outbound marketing strategy

The fact that you are reading this shows that the first stages of our inbound strategy have worked. It has a few main benefits.

  • Growth is exponential
  • It doesn’t require a huge team
  • You get very high-quality leads

You can start inbound from your first day. The difference is the amount of patience required. It usually takes half a year to really get going. If you do it right, you get showered by good leads. So how does inbound work?

A good mantra for inbound is the same one that my grandmother had for persuading people to do things, “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” Now you may be asking, what does inbound marketing have to do with my grandmother wanting me to smile more often?

Think about it. When you smile more, people want to spend more time with you. You develop a reputation as a likable and engaging person. You will be somebody people will want to listen to and spend time with.

In the same way, inbound relies on content that people like and find engaging.

Good content

With good content,

  • You show that you have mastery of the field that you operate in.
  • Your customers will be more likely to see if your product would be a good solution for them
  • Your customers will come directly to you, unlike with outbound.

Therefore a lead generated through an inbound marketing strategy will already have some knowledge of your product and will have signaled an intent to buy. So does it require a ton of people to pull this off?

The great thing about inbound is that it only requires an individual or a small team.

As they create more content, more becomes available to draw in customers. If done correctly, the popularity of your content will increase. With a good SEO strategy, your content crawling up search rankings leads to a self-perpetuating pattern of more clicks and higher rankings. This pattern leads to exponential growth without having to grow your team exponentially. Sounds great. Why would you use any other strategy? There are a few…

Challenges with an inbound marketing strategy

While the rewards can be great there are some things you need to watch out for:

  • It takes a long time to see results
  • It requires a more skill to reach the desired outcome
  • The outcomes are less predictable

The biggest thing going against inbound is the amount of time you need to wait before you see any results. You need to make a larger upfront investment and then be prepared to wait for it to pay off.

Additionally, you need to be prepared to either spend time developing the skill set or hire someone who has it already. There is a skill set to develop with outbound as well but it is generally a bit easier to bring to a functional level.

After all that, the rate of growth is less predictable than with outbound. You can’t be certain that a piece of content will convert in the way you want it to for a while after it’s published. So which one should you choose?

Find a balance

outbound marketing strategy

It is best to employ a balanced inbound and outbound marketing strategy. There are some businesses which might work best employing exclusively outbound or inbound.

  • If you want to start growing immediately and don’t mind hiring people to qualify your leads or using a service like Growbots, outbound is a great option.
  • If you want to keep your overheads low and are willing to wait a while for your content to start paying dividends, then inbound is great for you.

Most companies that I have come in contact with fall somewhere in between. They have found it is best to use both strategies to create cost effective scalable and sustainable growth.

So how can you get these two opposing ideas to work together? It isn’t that difficult. They are two methods for achieving the same end. What is that end?

Producing qualified leads.

Let’s say you are the CEO of a startup and have just released your product. Congratulations! Let’s get you some leads to sell to. You have probably already been personally glad-handing personal contacts and people you meet at conferences. It has probably worked so far but it doesn’t scale that well. Now it’s time to establish sustainable growth.

Three things you need to do first

  1. Create an ideal customer profile
  2. Establish a blog
  3. Start scraping the web for leads or start going through Growbots’ database.

Your ideal customer profile is the person who you are going to be writing your blog and your drip campaigns to. It is very important for setting the tone for the rest of your communications so better get this one right.

Once you are done with that, start writing for your blog. Think about the topics that your customers are interested in.

Don’t use it as an advertising circular. Think of it instead as a conversation with your customers. If your conversation is good enough, they will want to learn more about you. Don’t forget to keep SEO in mind while you do it. Try to publish regularly, say at least once a week. If you can do more than that, even better!

Now don’t expect your blog to get you very far initially. You are investing in more click-throughs later on.

Think of your blog like a savings account. Each blog post is a deposit and click-throughs are compounding interest. As each post gets more click-throughs, your search ranking will go up. With higher search rankings, your click-throughs will get even higher.

Start prospecting for leads

When you are not writing your weekly blog post, you can start prospecting for leads. This process will take more time than your blog post. You should focus your efforts here because lead prospecting will be more important for creating revenue in the short term.

As soon as you start generating targeted leads, it is time to start putting together drip campaigns. Through these, you will be able to test your message by reaching out directly to your potential clients. You should start seeing results after about of month, which should turn into a predictable revenue stream.

As you make more money hire more people to prospect, all while you are writing the blog. It might even be possible to hire an additional content creator but your priority should be people to work on your outbound funnel.

Now let’s fast forward six months

outbound marketing strategy

If you put together your blog right, you are now generating strong leads from your inbound funnel which complement the steady stream from your outbound funnel. Inbound can take a few tries though so maybe you are still relying on your outbound funnel to keep your account executives busy. The beauty of combining both methods is that you never lose your revenue stream while you figure out inbound. Once you have both, you can use them together to continually sustain growth.

So how do I proceed?

  • Evaluate your needs and decide on whether you are going to pick one strategy or go for a mixed strategy
  • Create your ideal customer profile
  • Start prospecting, blogging, or both
  • Evaluate how things are going. Optimize the strategies that are working and experiment with new ideas with the strategies that aren’t

If you choose to go for an inbound marketing strategy, you can look for a blog platform here. If you choose to go for an outbound marketing strategy, you can do yourself but be aware that Growbots is a cost effective way to automate the process. Doing it manually may take you a day to prospect 200 leads and send out messages to all of them. The cool thing about Growbots is that you are able to go from prospecting to starting your drip campaign in as little as five minutes.

You can get started by reading about how to prospect, write the first email of your campaign, and write the follow-up emails as well. For those who want to supercharge their outbound marketing strategy by automating it, check out Growbots.

21 Nov 16:41

How to Use the Six ABM Processes to Align Sales and Marketing and Drive Real Results

Account-based marketing is built on six processes that flip the focus from generating leads to courting the companies you want to do business with. An added benefit: total sales and marketing alignment. Read the full article at MarketingProfs