Social Media Strategies Summit to be held June 9th to June 11th in NY

The Social Media Strategies Summit will be held in New York from June 9th through June 11th. The summit will offer a series of workshops and speeches focusing on social media. Topics will include Content Creation & Storytelling, Content Marketing Strategies and Social Media Strategy Development.

Speakers will include Michael Marinello, Bloomberg, Soniya Monga, LinkedIn, Angie Moncada, Citi, Mindy Stockfield, MTV Networks, and Chris Jacob, Salesforce.

For more information about the conference, please check the website –

http://socialmediastrategiessummit.com/new-york-2015/

AA-ISP Inside Sales Conference in Denver on June 10th

The AA-ISP Inside Sales 2015 conference series will be held in Denver on June 10th. Topics will include Selling Best Practices, Trends & Technologies, Leadership and Prospecting & Social Selling.

Speakers will include Trish Bertuzzi, The Bridge Group, Steve Richard, VorsightBP, Ken Krogue, InsideSales.com, Bridget Gleason, Yesware, and Josh Evans, Velocify.

Below is the website link for more information – http://www.aa-isp.org/inside-sales-2015-denver.php

How to sell subscriptions

selling magazine, digital and newspaper subscriptionsSelling subscriptions isn’t hard. However, you still have to apply the same sales and marketing rules if you want to be successful. And these days, subscriptions just don’t apply to magazines or newspapers. Thanks to the internet, we have seen an explosion of subscriptions other markets, including entertainment, technology, communication and healthcare.

I’ve sold subscriptions to software and niche publications.

You would think that selling software subscriptions would be easy. You just do a demo, set up a trial, and the customer is impressed with what you have to offer, and then pays for your product.  However, like any sale, you still run into objections. And the higher the price point, the more objections you need to overcome and the longer the sales cycle you need to manage.

When I sold password security software, my sales cycle would run from one month to two years. This was because I was usually dealing with a lot of decision makers in different divisions within the company that I had to convince.

With niche publications, the biggest challenge you face is all the free content available online. So it’s important to offer unique information that your average customer would have difficulty finding online, or doesn’t have time to find through Google searches.

This is why I always laugh when telemarketers try to sell me print subscriptions to the Washington Post. I mean, really?!? With all the free news information online, I have no problem keeping up with international, national and local news. Sure, I may occasionally buy the print Sunday edition to read the comics, or get coupons, but beyond that, I just don’t need a print newspaper anymore.

Niche it down. The more unique your publication, software or service, the better chance you have of increasing and retaining your paid subscriptions.

When selling subscriptions, here are some good rules to follow –

1). Offer good marketing content on your website that attracts prospects. That would include blogs, white papers, case studies and interesting articles.

2). Create a good prospect list to contact by cold calling, emails and direct marketing. Obviously, target those that you feel will have the greatest interest in what you are selling. Also, it goes without saying, start with your potentially highest paid prospects and work your way down the list to the lowest ones.

3). Contact expired subscribers and try to bring them back on board. Maybe you could offer them a free trial, a special one-time discount or some other incentive.

4). Offer free trials for x-number of days.

5). Provide testimonials on your website. Or better yet, have a video collection of testimonials to send to your prospects.

6). Ask for referrals. Maybe offer a discount per referral.

7). If you are offering an online subscription with network licenses, make sure everyone subscribing to the license is using your service. Also, if someone leaves, immediately contact the key decision maker to find a replacement. Nothing hurts more than having a 20 user license and seeing it reduced in half because employees left, and you never bothered to quickly find their replacements.

8). Keep track of subscribers moving from one company to another. If an old subscriber lands a new job with a company that’s not currently subscribing to your publication or software, contact them and bring them onboard. Use LinkedIn to keep, Google Alerts and industry newsletters to keep track of your current subscribers.

9). Engagement. Create a discussion board to allow your subscribers to offer ideas and exchange information. This is also a good way to moderator what your subscribers are thinking that could help you make improvements. It also helps you to build a community. Customers today are not just interested in buying and using your products or services – they want to feel like they are part of your company, and they want to interact not just with you, but other clients too.

As mentioned in Zuora, Inc’s SlideShare presentation “Driving Success in the Subscription Economy”, there are 6 steps for a successful subscription campaign – Acquire, Nurture, Collect & Automate, Measure, Iterate, and Scale.

By Acquire, use the personal touch, offer value, and make it easy to access your information or services.

By Nurture, keep clients engaged and make it easy for them to renew and move through different subscription plans. In short, reduce the friction.

By Collect & Automate, make it easy for clients to pay and provide them with accurate billing information.

By Measure, use tools like CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to gain insights of your subscribers, and help you make smarter decisions about cross-selling and up-selling.

By Iterate, test to find out which pricing and feature strategies work best to enhance customer relationships.

By Scale, ensure your system is secure and scalable as you expand your client base and offerings.

And finally, below, I have compiled a series of articles I found on how to sell subscriptions. Please let me know what you think.

Alix Stuart, in her article “How to Sell Subscriptions – for Everything”, makes a good point of making sure your clients are committed to paid subscription model before you pursue that option.

Offering good content is obviously a key to your success, as pointed out by 3dcart in “How to Sell Magazine Subscriptions Online”.

Steve Burge from OSTraining, offers good advice in his article “Lessons Learned from 5 years of Selling Subscriptions.”  For example, he warns against using most payment processors and not to use PayPal directly.

Is there still a market for print magazine subscriptions? Rebecca Sterner in her article “How to sell Magazine Subscriptions” seems to think so. She outlines a series of strategies for selling both print and digital subscriptions.

MarketingSherpa makes a strong point in its article “Five Rules for Selling Subscriptions to Web Sites and Email Newsletters” about the need to survey your clients. How else are you going to sell and increase subscriptions unless you know what your readers want from you?

Please let me know if you have any comments.

Three (3) ways to distribute leads to your Sales Teams

If you have been in sales for a while, you know that sales leads are usually distributed to sales teams in three ways. Each way has its advantages and disadvantages.

1). Geographic territory: States and/or countries are assigned to salespeople. You are responsible for prospecting any leads in your assigned area. In addition, any incoming leads from your location are handed over to you. Sometimes lead transfer can be a little sticky, especially if you are dealing with large corporations with several global locations. In most cases, where the corporation is headquartered is usually the determining factor in whether that lead is assigned to you or another sales person. In addition, I once worked for a small publishing company that actually assigned “fenced off” accounts, i.e., large national accounts would be assigned to other salespeople even if some of those accounts fell into your territory.

2). Market segmentation territory: Rather than assigned leads based on geography, you are assigned leads based on specific market segmentation. This type of distribution is common if you work for a large corporation. Examples would include law firms, academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, federal and state governmental agencies, etc. Sometimes market segmentations may be broken down further by employee size or estimated revenue. For example, one group of sales people may be responsible for Fortune 500 companies, while others may be responsible for Fortune 100 companies, and so on.

3). Round Robin: This process appears to be most common in start-ups or small companies. Under Round Robin, leads are assigned to the sales team on a first come, first serve basis regardless of size or geographic territory. Usually the sales manager oversees the process to ensure fairness. Sometimes the sales manager may use his discretion to fall out of the Round Robin process and assign specific leads to salespeople he feels will have a better chance of closing the sale. For example, you may have someone who has experience working with financial institutions, or someone else who has experience working with automobile companies.round robin leads

During the Round Robin process, if your lead bucket is too full, a sales manager may temporarily suspend you receiving more leads until you close more sales, or put leads on a back burner to contact them later.

Lead distribution is always a touchy subject. While there is never a full proof way of handing out leads, salespeople need to be reassured that leads are being distributed fairly.

Please let me know if you have any comments or know of other ways leads are distributed.

Recommend: “The Big Book of Sales” by Alan Gordon

a1bc63e7c7cb0ff24a660c0654f03104There are literary hundreds of books offering sales advice these days. Some books are good, some are bad and some are mediocre.

But to paraphrase Will Rogers, “I never read a sales book that I didn’t like.”

That’s true. No matter how bad a sales book is, I always receive some good nuggets of information.

But there is one book that offers you a ton of nuggets. So many in fact, that I’m surprised that the book is actually free. I’m referring to “The Big Book of Sales,” by Alan Gordon.

Mr. Gordon, a sales coach, has written a 151 page book offering “nuts and bolts” advice on how to sell. Written in plain English, he covers such topics like how to find the right decision maker, needs development questions, how to get appointments, cold calling, and closing techniques.

Why is his book so important? From Mr. Gordon’s website, he makes the following points –

“Half of all salespeople struggle to make a living.”
“Three out of four salespeople are not following  a framework or sales process.”
“7 out of 10 small businesses express concern about finding and retaining good quality salespeople.”

I would also add that many companies offer little or no sales training or coaching. In fact, many new salespeople are constantly complaining on LinkedIn sales discussion group boards about the lack of sales training or coaching from their employers. Sure, new salespeople can learn about the products and services they are selling, but they receive little training on how to sell. As a result, new salespeople become frustrated. They quit. Employers are faced with high turnover and the cycle continues until someone finally suggests that training and coaching could stop the bleeding, as well as boost the bottom line.

Along with his book, Mr. Gordon has more than 50 videos on YouTube. His presentations are clear, concise and extremely instructive. Unlike some sales training videos, Mr. Gordon gets to the point quickly. While he plugs his book at the beginning of each video, he quickly jumps into the topic of the day. He doesn’t waste time telling you his life’s story, or how he got into sales. He wants to help you become a better sales person, and he demonstrates that in each video presentation that he offers. Mr. Gordon is a true sales professional.

Now, why is his book free? Simple. He wants you to download the book and share it with others. You see, Mr. Gordon realizes that he’s not going to earn a lot of money selling his book. Instead, his goal is for you to hire him as a coach.

While I’ve never used him as a coach, if Mr. Gordon’s book and videos are any indication of how he can help you, I would strongly recommend that you use his services.

Below is Mr. Gordon’s first video from YouTube –


(Special Note: I have not received any payment to endorse “The Big Book of Sales”. In fact, I was so impressed by Mr. Gordon’s YouTube videos, that I actually paid $10.00 for his publication. I felt so guilty about downloading his book for free, I decided to pay him).

Today is Pack Rat Day (really)

pack rat

Salespeople, along with many office workers, have a bad habit of being pack rats. You know when I mean. Your desk or files are jammed with old compensation reports, sales literature, marketing brochures, and an array of other documents that you have never gotten around to properly file or read.

We are so busy making sales calls, trying to hit or exceed our quotas, and traveling to trade shows, and we just let our documents pile up.

Computers were supposed to eliminate paper – you know, “paperless” offices. However, I suspect the opposite is true. We are now dealing with more paper than ever because some of us just don’t trust our computers to safely secure our documents.

In celebration of you and all pack rats, today is officially “Pack Rat Day.” Yes, it’s an official holiday. No one has any idea of the origin of the day. I’ve did some research online and I couldn’t find anything.

To all you pack rats out there, here is some advice – it’s time to let go. Believe me, the less clutter you have in your office, the better off and more productive you will be.