Good Selling Checklist: Activities and Competencies

, , , ,

There is a continuum of different B2B business models – from luminary consultants to commodity products – and each model needs to have a distinct structure for marketing and sales.  Before we assess sales team readiness, we begin by ensuring that the right revenue architecture (the product and process of marketing and sales) is in place and aligned with the target business architecture.

For businesses with a complex, solution sale or consulting sale, there are sales effectiveness attributes that we look for. Below, we’ve outlined competencies, activities, and attributes for good selling. Sales executives, client managers and account reps that sell complex products, business solutions or consultative services should possess the following:

Blog Post Checklist

, , ,

Before you publish a blog post, ensure the content, and context meet your company’s standards and the post is optimized and ready.  Too often, authors get off topic or write overly complicated information without proper context resulting in a less than positive response and engagement.  When we publish a post or work with clients on publishing a post, we use a checklist to remind ourselves to address a range of important factors.  Below is a Blog Post Checklist that includes questions you can ask before pressing the ‘publish’ button.

Download and save for later use!

Read more

Pipedrive Review – A CRM That Works With You

, , ,

There are an incredible number of CRM Apps out there. I have looked at several and wanted to mention Pipedrive as a great option for companies looking to focus on sales. It does a great job at pipeline management – with a nimble sales ready focus and good integrations using Zapier.

Companies like it because:


1. The visual pipeline is powerful. The pipeline view is fantastic- visual drag and drop pipeline

2. Sales always needs an orchestrated next step. You can easily set that up and when an action is completed, it prompts you for the next step.

3. Managing contacts and companies is always a difficult challenge. the contact and company data management and synchronization is easy and tailored.

4. You need to track pipeline health and hygiene performance to meet goals. You can set up pipeline velocity metrics and track performance

5. Most CRMs are so cumbersome, they don’t get used. Pipedrive is built for the sales person.

6. If you are an Apps user, this is a no brainer. Pipedrive syncs with Google Apps.

7. Not expensive.

Read more

B2B Marketing Statistics – And Some Perspecitve

, , ,

I received these statistics in a recent email and I thought they were worth sharing further with some comments. I am adding some implications as I see them below each one:

Eye-OpeningA whopping 68% of B2B organizations have not identified their funnel. (Source: MarketingSherpa)

  • Without a defined funnel, it is very difficult to develop a predictable forecasting capability.
  • Defining your funnel – with the buyer in mind – helps you develop the specific content you need to engage buyers at different stages.
  • In most of our B2B work we help define a collaborative qualification model between sales and marketing where sales teams have early insight into marketing leads. By taking a “decision support” approach, the organization is not leaving it up to marketing to determine the relative value of a lead – often the sales rep can help make the judgment supported by the behavioral data.

Read more

Lead Scoring in Act-On

, , , , ,

By John Nielsen

Lead scoring is the process of evaluating and assigning points to prospects and leads using marketing automation tools. Points are distributed based on the attributes associated with a qualified lead.  It is important to understand whom you are marketing to when managing a campaign, sending irrelevant content to your followers is a quick way to lose.  To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, below are a few tips one can easily follow to update your contact lists and help identify priority focus using lead scoring.

Read more

Vermont Solar – A Professional Sales Process

, , , ,

I am operating out of our Vermont Office – which is really a home office looking out over the mountains of northern Vermont including Mt. Mansfield and the surrounding hills  a few miles from the pristine Caspian Lake in Greensboro.

Today’s highlight includes the installation of a solar energy system to generate sustainable energy for our home.  In keeping with this blog’s focus on sales and marketing, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on the sales and marketing process that I experienced with the team from SolarTech in Vermont.

So, what was the marketing and sales cycle? Actually it was very typical of a “considered sale”.

The cost (before incentives) of the Solar Trackers  are over $50k – clearly an investment that requires consideration. Incentives bring this down nicely and the payback is reasonable considering the local cost of energy. So, this was a very substantial investment and a classic “considered sale” – where content and the web plays a role along with an active sales process.

1) My first step was research. Of course I spoke with my social network – others in the area that had experience. After learning that I wanted a tracker to maximize power,  I went to the web to search for trackers in Vermont and quickly found All Earth Renewables.  They did great work on SEO – on the first page of my organic search results. Their web presence includes Facebook and Twitter.

2) I posted to the AllSun product on Facebook – seeking to learn more from my network about options for solar power and researched forums to see whether there were any comments. I later ended up connecting with an experienced solar expert who looked over the proposal and the technology solution.

3) I wanted to discuss a solution, so I filled out a form on the web site seeking contact with a sales representative. The conversion form online was clean and simple. I had an introductory email within hours.

4) I was introduced to a channel partner, SolarTech, who managed the sales cycle. Rich Nicol engaged professionally in all aspects of the sale from feasibility to economic ROI. He handled all the objections and concerns and mapped out a solution tailored to our needs – a classic professional sales process.

In order to get this sale,  All Earth Renewables and SolarTech needed an integrated sales and marketing process.

  • Web visibility – organic search and social media
  • Channel Management – with an effective channel website including testimonial
  • Quality value proposition and product
  • Accessibility in a clean, professional website
  • Knowledgable and professional sales approach
  • ROI and product content
  • Professional service delivery leading to references and validation.



10 Measures to Justify Marketing Automation

, , ,

We are often asked about the business case for marketing automation. In the end, it is a numbers game. There are plenty of operational advantages of course  – sales and marketing alignment, single solution replacing point solutions, etc. But, in the end, it is about revenue.

So how does marketing automation increase revenue?

Here are 10 (plus 1 bonus) metrics to consider and some volume impacts you might expect to get from well run marketing automation (and creative campaigns):

Read more

Ruthless Qualification – 3 Ways to Save Time


A year ago, we posted this blog article “I will pretend to sell, if you pretend to buy”. This was a mantra of my old boss and friend, Sherwin Uretsky and one of his famous “12 sins of selling” that I am still trying to remember.

I thought I would dust off the conversation and reinforce the ideas with three key  points.

Read more

Launching the Revenizer!


The recently published CMO survey (link: ) is quite timely for our team at Revenue Architects. The survey indicates both the growing importance of key revenue metrics and the relatively poor and inconsistent adoption of the right metrics as indicators of revenue performance. While no two businesses are exactly alike, there are a number of key metrics that are leading indicators of future revenue performance.

Last week Revenizer was formed as a new company to deliver a performance-oriented revenue scorecard and collaborative tool for executives. Revenue Architects’ Phil Rogers and our colleague, Satish Boppana, and I formed Revenizer to build and deliver a new generation revenue performance scoreboard and collaborative platform. Betaspring in Providence, RI is backing the project with their industry leading accelerator program.

The vision is to help revenue executives create a growth and revenue culture.

As we talk about all the time at Revenue Architects, sales, marketing and service must work together in a more joined-up and collaborative process for revenue. The days of separate and non-aligned sales and marketing organizations are giving way to a more unified revenue value chain. The disruptive forces of digital and inbound marketing and social media in the buy-sell process is accelerating this trend.

Revenizer will integrate leading web apps from social to CRM to give business leaders one place to go for the key revenue indicators needed to manage performance. It will also provide best practices and expert and user collaborative content to guide teams on revenue performance improvement strategies. With Revenizer, a business can better execute its revenue strategy with greater transparency, focus, organization and knowledge  – accelerating revenue growth.

If you want to join the beta team of users and help shape this exciting solution, please contact us!


Is Content Marketing Over-hyped?


This week, I was invited to speak at a Content Marketing Webinar with BrightTalk ( ) – Other than learning to turn off the mute button when speaking (gulp!) it was a good discussion.  In preparing for the meeting, I was asked to consider best practices and thought I would offer a few from my perspective here.

Is Content Marketing over-hyped? 

My answer is yes- but I think it is still critical to an effective online presence. By embracing some solid practices, content marketing is an effective and a critical component of a marketing strategy, sales strategy and revenue architecture.

Today businesses need to attract and engage audiences with content – the trick is to make sure you focus on relevance!  There is a proliferation of content as businesses are scrambling for search visibility and placement and it is easy to get caught in the noise.  This article may be hard to find through search unless I pack it with the right key words that are relevant to the searching audience. For broad topics like this, I recognize that the article may get a little lost among the noise – but at least I am engaged in the conversation and offering a perspective, perhaps maintaining a level of credibility.  If a potential client is considering Revenue Architects, they will at least see that we are engaged in these important revenue architecture topics.

I advise my clients to really think long-tail and relevance if the content goal is visibility and awareness through search marketing. With so much content on the web, what can you add to the conversation?  For Revenue Architects, we will start to write more about how integrated sales and marketing is applied in different industries we work with – these articles will increase relevance for our target segments.

What were these best practices we were talking about? Here are a few from our perspective:

1) Relevance – as just discussed, try to ADD to the conversation by bringing in new relevant content to your audience. Repeating and repurposing what is already out there is not “digital native” and also not helping differentiate.

2) Integrated Programs: Think about the mix. More digital video combined with blog posts, white papers and briefs. Webinars and video together? Connected into a trackable program with tools like Marketo or Eloqua and applying personalization.

3) Audience Aligned – obvious but we often forget. Are we writing for the CIO? CTO? CEO? VP of Sales?

4) Pipeline Aligned: What content works to generate interest? Educate? Facilitate decisions? Modular content will help your audience get just what they need and not be forced to navigate through your entire story.

5) Top-down:  Use persuasive communications to drive your message forward.

6) Peanut Butter:  Make your content sticky and spreadable: These are Amy Hunt’s words. Make your content sticky “I want to check this out” and spreadable “I want to share this with Jim”

7) More Free:  We all think we have premium content and that we deserve your personal information in order to share our great insight. Increasingly your content will need to be more distinctive and value-add before you should expect to get people to register for it – or hand over extensive demographic information. Permission marketing suggests a value exchange – make sure you have one. Premium content should be valuable enough to collect profiling information from your audience – and the more relevant the questions are to the content, the better.

These are a few thoughts on content marketing, there are many more. What do you think?  Good luck and good selling…