The devil is in the demo

Posted on May 9, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

The devil is in the demo

You own it: great product, great service, great price. You venture out, get into contact with a prospect, get them to see your product and then… it’s all ruined with the demo. And often you think “it wasn’t that bad” or even “you got your best guy to do it”. Supporting customers into their vendor selection processes I’ve seen it all; failing technology, the technical monologue, the self-oriented sales representative and the cringeworthy attempt to rescue whats beyond rescue. And it all sounds so simple: “just show them what we got”. But the devil is in the demo, make it look simple and give it all. Doing a professional demo will require preparation and investment but its worth your effort because the demo will make or break the deal. You don’t buy a car without test driving it, do you? A prospect will not only evaluate functionality and performance but they will also evaluate you as a potential (long term) partner. So during the demo you have to make sure that you leave a lasting impression. So, how to avoid the pitfalls and prepare yourself to make that deal with the demo. Know your prospect and their business. It sound silly to even mention it but a short visit to the website of your potential customer, view the social media pages of the people you meet and reading some press releases can make a huge difference. It will help you to understand your audience. Your story needs to be adjusted to meet the needs of your prospect and their background will help you to find the right tone of voice. Setup a full demo environment. It will probably require some time investment but having a full demo environment that fully works and is up to date will make your demo run smoothly. It can be re-used and it allows you to show all the great features of your product. No need to switch between accounts to show that particular piece, no need to do a nervous search to make a sales rescue, and no compromising content. Follow the path. Have a step by step process to walk through all aspects of your product and be sure that this process is related to your prospects process. Logical steps that resonate to your audience will increase the ability of your audience to understand your product. A technological highlight is not what people need, they need a solution to their problem. Try to avoid too much technical talk and stay on the process path. Its not about you or your prospect but about the user. Your audience most likely is not target audience of your product. Procurement, consultants, project managers and business analysts will represent a user community. They know the user very well (or at least they should) so keep that in mind when you are doing your demo. How will your solution help the end-user and how will it make your demo audience successful? It never hurts to ask. When you prepare for a demo session (yes, you should prepare every-time) it can help to ask your prospect what they are expecting to see. Are their specific areas of interest, do they have real-life examples for you to incorporate into your demo and are there certain things that do not apply so they can...

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The benefits of corporate branding explained

Posted on Sep 21, 2015 in Infographic | 0 comments

The benefits of corporate branding explained

We kind of already know that corporate branding is to the benefit of any organisation and if you are able to build a strong and recognised brand, well, that it is almost the definition of successful marketing. If corporate branding is a new topic for you or if you would like to revisit your strategy, this infographic outlines the basic...

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A simple illustration of the AIDA approach

Posted on Sep 14, 2015 in Infographic | 0 comments

A simple illustration of the AIDA approach

Customer engagement is a hot topic at the moment and you can read a lot about how-to, aught-to and not-to. But, when reviewing a lot of these methodologies, the majority come down to the AIDA approach by E. St. Elmo Lewis, a common list of events that may occur when a consumer engages with an advertisement. It can become very complex to apply the AIDA model to your marketing activities when the definitions are unclear. The infographic gives a simple explanation of the 4 steps of the AIDA...

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How to improve customer experience & loyaly with metrics

Posted on Sep 11, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

How to improve customer experience & loyaly with metrics

Marketing is responsible for helping the organization acquire and retain customers, and grow share of wallet. For most organizations, customer service and support is an integral part of a complete solution. When performed effectively it can provide competitive differentiation and advantage, and increase customer satisfaction rates. But if the organization does not service/support (hereafter referred to as customer service) customers effectively, the customers you have worked so hard to acquire may defect. Even worse they may share their bad brand experience with their extensive networks (including via social media), making it more difficult to acquire other new customers.   So, you have a large stake in ensuring that the organization’s customer service functions have a positive impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty. Recognizing this fact many organizations are creating and executing a comprehensive plan to create a link between corporate, marketing, and customer service operational strategies; and to address customer expectations. A key part of developing the plan is establishing success factors and key metrics. What are the appropriate metrics for customer service and how can marketing leverage these for tactical and strategic decisions? A study conducted by Service Excellence Research Group in cooperation with Supportindustry.com identified some of the most common metrics being used to measure service and support and some data points that can serve as a possible benchmark. Service transaction volume. High volume support organizations often enjoy significant economies of scale from improvements in efficiency and effectiveness. It’s not uncommon for companies to manage 1,000 to 7,500 live support cases per month with nearly an equal number of transactions handled each month through self-services. Common metrics around support transaction volume include service level performance, the volume of support requests handled and the use of self-services. Each case is typically assigned a code indicating the type of issue. Reviewing the results may lead you to solution or packaging changes. Service delivery channel. For many organizations, the phone is among the primary support delivery medium for all live support requests followed by online support requests. Therefore, hold times and abandon rates continue to be key metrics. Use the metrics below to benchmark your company: Best in Class Hold Time: 56 Seconds Best in Class Abandon Rate: 4% to 7% Time to Resolution: First Phone Call (depending on the problem the phone call may be longer, but the problem should be solved in the first call.) Delivery costs. Another important metric for service and support is cost. Even though many companies have established fees for service and support, phone support costs can become a big expense for businesses. This cost is dependent on the size of your company and the volume of calls you receive. Rather than thinking of phone support as a cost, explore how phone support provides your organization with another way to invest in creating a positive customer experience. For example, every month you could ask the service group to communicate a new marketing message, e.g. promoting your user conference, or ask a question, e.g. would a customer loyalty program mean anything to you? Self-service. Research has found that two out of three customers prefer using self-service before requesting assistance. Measuring the effectiveness of self-service is therefore essential in determining success of the self-service strategy. Self-service typically happens on your website. High abandonment rates here may...

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Why are there still some people afraid of E-Commerce

Posted on Sep 7, 2015 in Infographic | 0 comments

Why are there still some people afraid of E-Commerce

E-commerce as an industry has grown dramatically in the last decade, but there are still many people who are distrustful of making purchases online. And perhaps with good reason: the thought of entering in one’s credit card over the Internet to a vendor that they are not necessarily familiar with, can be disheartening. However, while the number of online transactions is constantly increasing, there are a number of companies and individuals that have contributed to increasing the level of security in the online...

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Alignment and accountability: key cornerstones for your marketing plan

Posted on Sep 4, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Alignment and accountability: key cornerstones for your marketing plan

Working on a Marketing Plan? Don’t Pass Go Until You’ve Achieved Alignment and Accountability Limited resources and high expectations make it easy for marketing leaders to fall into the habit of ready – fire – aim. Of course there are times when immediate action (ready/fire) is needed. Creation of a marketing plan upon which your organization’s and your success depends is not one of those times. Taking aim first, helps ensure that your marketing efforts will move the right business needles to create value and that there is enough wood behind your arrow to be successful. Alignment and accountability help you take aim. Inextricably linked, they are the cornerstones of successful marketing organization and its plan. Achieve alignment as the first step in your marketing plan process Every marketing objective, strategy, program, and associated tactics and activities in your plan need to ladder up to a quantifiable business outcome. This level of alignment brings the visibility needed to do the right things right because priorities and direction are clarified. When properly formulated, each outcome, objective, and program captures a customer-centric performance target that when looked at holistically creates the data chain and metrics needed to measure marketing contribution, and monitor and optimize performance and processes. Without business alignment, it’s impossible to quantify marketing’s value and to select the right metrics. Even the most sophisticated data collection and analysis can be completely undermined by poor alignment. Consider the bottom-up approach to planning some marketing groups take that focuses on developing programs that include some combination of what’s always been done or what they best know how to do. As a result programs are disconnected (not aligned) from the business and metrics fall primarily into activity or output categories, such as number of campaigns or events produced or email open and click through rates. These metrics make quantifying marketing’s contribution to the business difficult, jeopardizing continued investments and obscuring the steps they should, and shouldn’t, be taking. Now compare that to the outcome-to-activity approach that Best-in-Class marketing organizations take creates a direct line-of-sight between programs, investments, and the business outcomes. This approach facilitates alignment and enables Marketing to clarify the strategic intent of all the investments it makes and to measure and communicate the degree to which marketing delivers on its commitments. It also helps determine the marketing effort and resources required. Tackle accountability next Once you have alignment, you’re ready to tackle accountability – the measurement and metrics aspects of your plan. You really cannot optimize your marketing by skipping metrics and measurement, the foundation for performance management. Understanding the impact of marketing on your business starts with selecting the right metrics and accurate measurement. When you incorporate the metrics into the plan, you establish the performance targets and relationship that will serve as the building blocks for your dashboard. Follow these 7 steps for a successful plan Alignment: Establish direct-line-of sight between marketing initiatives and investments and business outcomes. Armed with the business outcomes and clarity around how marketing is expected to impact them, you can develop the appropriate strategy and associated integrated program. Metrics: Create outcome-based metrics and develop and maintain a metrics catalogue. Data: Leverage accurate, timely, data. Develop a Data Dictionary and Data Source Inventory, Store this information in an accessible format, and update it regularly....

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5 criteria every marketing plan must meet

Posted on Aug 28, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

5 criteria every marketing plan must meet

Fact: Best-in-class marketers are better than their peers at aligning marketing with business outcomes, and clearly conveying their impact and contribution (accountability) to the organization. Alignment and accountability are inextricably linked and are the cornerstones of any successful marketing organization. Without business alignment it’s impossible to quantify marketing’s value and to select the right metrics.   Your marketing plan is one of the most powerful alignment tools available. Additionally, research has shown that companies with a marketing plan experience a 24-30% improvement in sales over those without a plan. Much more than a list of actions or an itemized calendar of activities and costs, best-in-class marketing plans:   Identify priorities, prioritize resources and enable organizations to select the best customer and market opportunities. Serve as the foundation for the activities that create and nurture the promise of value to the customer. Provide a direct-line-of sight between marketing activities and investments and business outcomes and results. Are a living roadmap that is anchored to the overall business’ outcomes and focuses on customer value, growth, and profitability. Guide the creation of your marketing metrics and marketing dashboard. How does your marketing plan stack up against our criteria? It is crucial that your marketing plan meets ALL of these criteria to ensure that you are connecting marketing to business results and ultimately driving revenue. Request a marketing plan assessment and let us help you prove and improve the value of your marketing. Our proven patent-pending Accelance® methodology and application was designed specifically to support alignment efforts, and ultimately produce an outcome-based marketing plan. by Laura Patterson – VisionEdge...

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The internet of things (IoT) in normal language

Posted on Aug 26, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The internet of things (IoT) in normal language

There is a lot of talk about The internet of things (IoT) but what it is really? When looking up the meaning on the internet it quickly turns into a tsunami of technical terminology which does not make it any more clear. So, lets just take it slow and step by step explain what it is, what it does and why its such a big deal. First thing is the Internet; well, you know it right. Its a global computer network that we use to communicate with each other and where we find information. The second thing is Things: again, you cannot believe how simple it is. Its items, objects… well just stuff. Basically it is everything you can touch. So, when there are electronics, computer programs or sensors build into our stuff, they can start talking to each other. And when stuff can talk, we call it “the Internet of Things”. So some examples; a thermostat in your home that you can access via your smartphone, a watch that you wear during exercising, a security monitor that you can access via your phone and wireless lights in your home which also allow you to set your personal color scheme. And why is it such a big thing? Well, there are many interesting applications of it regarding security, health monitoring, energy saving or just down right handy in your daily life. But the real interest for many organisations lies in the information that is created by our stuff. Yes, big data. And as a marketer we love to know what, when, where and how our customer is using our products and experiencing our...

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Marketing operations 2.0: leading the way to centers of excellence

Posted on Aug 21, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Marketing operations 2.0: leading the way to centers of excellence

It’s an exciting time to be in, or managing, a Marketing Operations (MO) role. The idea of combining process, metrics and technology into a marketing practice was introduced in 2004, in the book, The New Marketing Mission: How Process, Metrics and Technology Can Unleash Growth. Eleven years later, fueled by the growth of marketing technology, greater competition, and increased pressure from the C-Suite to improve and prove the value of marketing, more marketing organizations are implementing MO as a standalone role. Like any other discipline, MO is constantly evolving. We define MO 2.0 as the initiative Best-in-Class (BIC) marketing organizations are implementing to transform marketing into a Center of Excellence (COE). They are doing this by expanding the MO role and skillset to enable marketing and organization-wide agility including: Performance targeting, monitoring, and measuring skills; and process and technology optimization Strategic and leadership capabilities to drive change Fostering, institutionalizing, and modeling best practices and performance management skills Why is achieving agility an essential outcome of a successful CoE initiative? A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study found that agile firms grow revenue 37% faster, and generate 30% higher profits than non-agile companies. Agile marketing organizations are better able to adapt their marketing efforts, quickly and successfully, in response to changing customer behavior, market conditions, and business direction to improve market share and/or customer value. So, within BIC marketing organizations, MO focuses on these six key areas to transform marketing into a COE: Alignment: We know with statistical significance that BIC marketers take a different approach to aligning marketing with the business. They connect marketing activities and investments to business results, and take their alignment efforts beyond the sales function. MO facilitates the alignment process and oversee the development of a customer-centric marketing plan that ensures that the marketing investment portfolio supports measurable marketing objectives that will have a direct impact on the business. Accountability: BIC marketers have a framework for establishing the metrics to measure and report on marketing’s value, impact, and contribution. They know which outcomes and metrics matter to the leadership team. MO drives the development of the framework and key performance indicators (KPIs). They manage the mechanics of measurement, perform the analysis, and publish the performance results. MO translates marketing metrics into an actionable marketing dashboard that the leadership and the marketing teams can use to make strategic, tactical, and investment decisions. Analytics: In today’s fact-based environment, data and analytics are table stakes. Marketing organizations need to be able to quickly synthesize data and gain actionable insights. Marketers need the analytical muscle to build and use models to make smart investments and strategic decisions. MO constructs and maintains an environment that enables marketing to better use data and analytics. Automation: From marketing resource management to business intelligence to data management systems to reporting platforms to scenario analysis tools the technology available to help marketing measure and report on performance is extensive and growing. MO selects, deploys, and manages the automation and technology infrastructure to support the department. The deployment of a technology infrastructure, training, and change management falls under the auspices of MO and serves as the big “I”— the infrastructure that marketing needs to guide decisions, improve its capabilities, and prove its value. Alliances: Much has been written about the need for Marketing to form strong,...

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The evolving role of marketing operations

Posted on Aug 14, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The evolving role of marketing operations

The 2015 Marketing Ops Technology Summit will be held in New Orleans, October 18-21. In preparing for this event, we decided to reflect on the evolution of the Marketing Operations (Ops) role. Just six years ago, the scope was typically marketing project management and/or marketing governance. With the increased pressure on Marketing to measure its value and contribution, Marketing Performance Management (MPM) has moved to the front burner and Marketing Ops responsibility has expanded to better support this initiative. Today, the Marketing Ops function encompasses the development and implementation of the processes, systems, tools and skills necessary for marketing to drive business results, to manage and measure performance, and to facilitate the usage of data to make strategic decisions related to customers, the market and products, and program direction and investments. In many organisations, Marketing Operations is the function responsible for marketing performance measurement (MPM), strategic planning and budgeting, process development, professional development, and marketing systems and data. In this year’s MPM Study, conducted with Demand Metric, found that the role of Marketing Ops now includes the following: Performance measurement and reporting Campaign analysis and reporting Technology & automation & pipeline management Budgeting and planning; financial governance and reporting Data management Workflow process development and documentation Project management Strategic planning Organisation benchmarking & assessments Customer, market, competitive intelligence, research, and insights Analytics and predictive modelling Talent and skills development We delved further into the results to learn what Best-In-Class (BIC) marketing organisations (those that earned 90 or better score out of 100, from their leadership for their ability to prove their value and contribution) are doing in the realm of Marketing Ops. Of note was how committed the BIC group is to using data to make market, customer, and product/service decisions that create value for customers and shareholders. Six roles surfaced for Marketing Ops function among the BIC (in priority order): Customer, market, competitive intelligence, research, and insights Analytics and predictive modelling Data management Campaign analysis and reporting Budgeting and planning; financial governance and reporting Organisation benchmarking & assessments If you are committed to stay in, or aspire to join, the ranks of the BIC, it is essential that you integrate these six capabilities into your Marketing Ops function. by Laura Patterson – VisionEdge...

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