Monday Mornings with Madison

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April 2014

Forget the ‘Sales Pitch’… The Seven Cs of Collaborative Sales Conversations

Every company or business must ‘sell’ its products or services to survive. As long as there is competition, there is a need for sales. It used to be that salespeople would lob fast balls of information about a product or service at a customer to make a sale. Hence the term sales ‘pitch.’ The problem with pitching information is that the customer’s response is to either swing to bat it away or duck to avoid it. Perhaps that is why the old-fashioned ‘sales pitch’ is being replaced with a better approach.

Whether face-to-face, on the phone or via some form of messaging or social networking, the method of selling in which information is spewed at a customer like a fire hose is largely ineffective in part because the pitch approach is a monologue, not a dialogue. Those still using that approach might consider ditching the “pitch” and instead treating the sales process as a collaborative conversation…. a dialogue in which the salesperson asks thoughtful questions, listens carefully to the customer’s answers, seeks to understand the customer’s needs, and offers a valuable solution to a problem. Here are the qualities of a great collaborative sales conversation.
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Effective Email Marketing in 2014 – Part 3

Email is one of the most popular and effective yet complex and frustrating methods of marketing used today. On the one hand, email marketing is cost effective, instantaneous and has the highest ROI of any type of digital marketing. On the other hand, email deliverability is unreliable and can be technically-challenging. Beyond the basics of good message, good design and email list validity / cleanliness, there are factors involved in the email delivery process that are beyond the sender’s control. That’s because an email does not go in a straight digital line from the sender’s outbox to the recipient’s inbox. Why? Well, it basically boils down to a fundamental flaw in the system. Traditional SMTP (email) servers were never designed to deliver bulk, outbound email. They were designed for individual emails. The primary workaround for bulk email, especially those that involve large lists, is batch deliveries and that causes delays and problems.

Even with batch deliveries, spikes in email volume raise red flags with major Internet Service Providers, such as Google, Yahoo! Hotmail and AOL. Given that many of the emails sent on a daily basis could be classified as spam – in that they are sent in bulk and are unsolicited — ISPs created sophisticated systems to prevent overwhelming their networks. ISPs scrutinize every message that comes on the network and decide what to do based on certain characteristics. Sometimes this scrutiny gets in the way of legitimate email delivery. For that reason, it’s important to implement best practices that increase email deliverability. Last week, we examined such basics as improving email address collection practices, and cleaning existing email lists. We also examined a key practice of getting email permission from all contacts. Beyond the basics, there are some additional technical steps that can be taken to help with email deliverability. Here’s how.
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