Last week I collaborated with Trish Bertuzzi & Matt Bertuzzi (from The Bridge Group Inc) and Lori Richardson (CEO of Score More Sales) on an American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) Boston Chapter event. The event was hosted by Cathy Bilafer, Director of Inside Sales and Lead Development at Kronos. Our overarching topic: “Using Content to Move the Sale Forward”. With buyers demanding that salespeople bring value to the table, we advocated the benefits to salespeople of using content to share expertise and insights.
So what do we mean by content?
I began my presentation segment, “Ten Tips for Using Content to Set the Buying Vision”, by asking the assembled 100+ inside sales professionals:
Was this answer a surprise? A bit, as I would have thought more hands would go up. At the same time it points to:
Content is now a centerpiece of business-to-business (B2B) inbound marketing. Marketers are regularly creating content to help attract potential buyers to their companies. Potential clients are consuming this content. In fact, data from IDG shows that IT decision makers consume on average nine (9) pieces of content during the purchase process.
The reality is buyers are doing their own research. Left to their own devices, buyers will not typically speak with a sales rep until they are roughly 2/3 through the buying process. At the same time, buyers tell us they respect and trust the person who helps them set the “buying vision” and go with the vendor who does more often then not. Said differently, the vendor who disrupts a client’s satisfaction with the status quo—by articulating a better outcome with a clear path to achieving it—most often wins the deal. Sharing valuable content to educate is one way a salesperson can engage a potential buyer early on—ideally even before the prospect realizes there is a problem.
There is a lot written on the importance of aligning marketing and sales to achieve the ultimate goal of growing revenues. Most marketing organizations are creating a lot of content to help create leads. I see a huge opportunity for marketing and sales to collaborate on helping sales reps learn how best to use content to drive revenue.
When you log into Postwire today, you’ll notice a major change to the User Interface. I’ll review the changes and then do some background on why we decided to change it.
The first thing you’ll notice is the new navigation bar.
The goal with the nav bar update was to make it one-click to do the major things that most Postwire users need to do. Click the logo or the Home icon to see your list of Postwire Pages, view activity, or add content to an existing page. Click My Content to manage your collections of content. Click Quick Share to make a new Postwire Page to share with new people.
At the top of the Home Screen, we now include a 6-step orientation to help our users get acclimated with Postwire. If you step through these tips, you should be able to understand the lay of the land.
We made several updates to the page list, including adding a Page Search, adding column headers, and cleaning up the Outgoing/Incoming filter tabs in favor of a dropdown.
We had a lot of complaints that the Activity Feed was pretty noisy and most users tended to ignore it. We refreshed the design of the activity to make it more readable as well as filtering the activity to make it more effective.
The number one thing we hear from new users is the confusion between Libraries, Collections, and Pages. With the redesign of the “My Content” page, we aim to make it very clear that My Content is where you organize and store content for later and Pages are where you share that content. To achieve that, we made the following changes:
We only include the activity feed on the home page now. As a result, we make the collections span four columns wide. This should make it easier for users with a lot of content.
When we segmented our users, we found that they either had no libraries or many libraries. As a result we refactored the Library Navigation into a dropdown instead of having many tabs across the screen.
When most users created a new Postwire Page, it was very overwhelming. There was tons of text and buttons all over the place. With this update, we aim to make it very obvious for people to understand what a page is and how to add content.
The main difference that most people will notice is that it looks much more clean. Also, we moved the Invite button up under the Title & Description.
You may also spot a few more helpful tips in different areas to help new and existing users understand Postwire better.
Pages with a lot of activity could really slow down the page load. Now, we’ll only fetch the activity when you request it by clicking on the tab.
When you click the Use Existing button, you can choose from your collections as well as choosing from Most Recently Added. Most Recently Added includes any content that you’ve added to either a collection or page. We aimed to solve two problems with this feature.
For users who have a lot of content, they can have trouble finding the stuff they use often. This should help greatly.
There are a fair amount of users who never create a collection but might have one piece of content that is the same on each page. Rather than creating a collection to hold that one item, they can simply go to Recently Added Content and select it.
Even though it seems that these are relatively small changes, we’ve been working on them for about a month because we’ve tweaked almost every screen in Postwire. After a recent round of usability testing, we’re pretty confident that this new layout will be easier for users to understand and use. If you are confused, don’t hesitate to click the Help Button in Postwire to initiate a live chat.
All companies strive for smart growth in revenue and profits. How do you align employees around a single vision and metric that creates the right culture to achieve that smart growth?
Many folks will say this is an unattainable goal. But I ask: would you ever design a system that says it is okay for clients not to have a really good experience?
Ali Riaz, now CEO of Attivio (www.attivio.com), was the person who taught me the concept of 100% referenceable client base. Ali set this is a goal when he and SId Probstein (@sidprobstein) founded Attivio.
I had been involved in subscription businesses since I started working back in the late 70′s. In those businesses, a key metric was your renewal rate. Our goal was renewal rates of 98% per year. Yes, only a 2% loss rate for the year. The only clients we could tolerate losing were those that went out of business.
That is why Ali’s concept of 100% referenceable strongly resonates with me. Getting a 100% renewal rate was almost impossible given clients could go out of business or there might not be a fit between their need and your product any more. So 100% referenceable meant you could lose a client, but they had to be referenceable. That means any person could call them and they would provide a positive reference.
Referrals for new clients will be your least expensive cost of acquiring new clients. If clients love you, they will refer people to you. Yes, they have to LOVE you, not like you, to refer.
Over the next few months we will look for ideas on things you can do to make clients love you.
P.S. Creating a 100% referenceable mindset and culture pays off: CONGRATULATIONS to the Attivio team for raising $34 Million in growth funding from Oak Investment Partners! Read more here.
Did you hear the news?! We released Postwire Pro on Monday! With a Postwire Pro account, you can set privacy settings on a Postwire Page to require a login to view it.
A: By default, all new Postwire Pages will be PRIVATE. This means that the links (urls) to the Page are not publicly available, but if you or one of your recipients shares the link, the Page can be viewed.
With a Postwire Pro account, you can be more restrictive. You can make each Postwire Page SECURE. To view a SECURE Page, you must be specifically invited and logged in to to Postwire.
SECURE Pages are especially helpful in healthcare, deal negotiations and other sitations where extra security and confidentiality are required.
Unlimited Private Pages
Plus Password Protected SECURE Pages
Offer expires 10/15/12. Price valid for first year.
One of the most gratifying aspects of working in a startup is working closely with our early adopters. These folks are as passionate as we are about our product and mission. They are the fuel that keeps us going at warp speed. They share feedback (good, bad and just plain ugly) and help us gain (and regain) clarity to achieve our vision.
David Marinac, President and CEO of StandupPouches.net has been a huge fan of Postwire from the very beginning. He is a supplier of customized packaging, specifically stand up pouches used for food, pet treats, soaps and more. David says Postwire helps his high-touch business respond faster and more completely to win more business.
No stranger to video, David once mentioned he hoped to promote Postwire on video. Still, we were blown away when this polished and glowing testimonial arrived unannounced the other day. Of course, we couldn’t help ourselves and wanted to share it right away with you here.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, David.
-The Postwire Team
Postwire lets you collect & organize all of your content and then select & publish private, personalized, visual views of it for each prospect, client, customer, or member. You can upload your own thumbnail images and edit descriptive text, as well as control the placement of content items.
- Amy Devine, Corporate Sales Executive, Globoforce
More often than not, the salesperson who helps a buyer see the way to achieving a greater outcome than sticking with the status quo is the salesperson who wins the business. In fact, according to Forrester Research, 65% of the time a potential client will buy from the salesperson who sets his buying vision.
In presenting a point of view to a prospect, sales reps often share information. A question for many is how much info to share with a prospective client and when to share it.
One strategy for presenting information to set the buying vision can be compared to the very popular poker game, Texas Hold’em. In this card game, players typically make single bets after each card is shown. Eventually, one card player might sense an opportunity and go all in, placing all of her chips on the table because she believes her hand will win against all others. This forces everyone else to fold or match her bet.
Here’s how I connect this card playing metaphor to a content sharing strategy for salespeople to aid in setting the buying vision:
In the first situation, ignorance is bliss and the prospect is in learning mode. He’s very busy and craves simple. In content sharing terms, simple means sharing a single piece of content. For example, one really good article that talks about why not taking action has negative consequences–like why not addressing energy efficiency in a data center causes significant issues beyond cost. If your prospect shows interest by reading this article, then you can suggest other related educational content. You begin to set the buying vision, one card and single bet at a time. Jill Konrath has a wonderful concept TMTQ (Too Much Too Quick). Read it here.
In Situation 2, the buyer already knows he has a problem and is actively seeking solutions. This is your chance to show him a complete path to success. Yes, describe your solution, but also provide information on other options he might consider as alternatives. Present likely outcomes and what it’s like to do business with you. Your goal here is to impress him by providing the relevant information in an organized fashion to enable him to quickly and confidently make a decision. In this case, your information helps him see you as the “right” partner. Knowing what he reads gives you insights to enrich your conversations and openly address any concerns. Just as Texas Hold’em is played with 7 cards, restrict your all-in information sharing to 7 or fewer pieces of content.
Determine your prospect’s concerns and bring content addressing them to the table–share the right content in the right context. It’s not always easy to assess when less is more. When in doubt, share only what matters to avoid overwhelming. Be poised for when the opportunity is ripe to go all-in.
Upload any image you want. Consider taking a screenshot of the nice graphics in your ebook. Here’s how:
Michael Heffner, Enterprise Sales Account Manager from Tableau Software says:
The last week of August we rocked with Cyndi Lauper and 2800 others in Boston at Hubspot‘s annual user conference, Inbound 2012. As Hubspotters and other inbound marketing enthusiasts know, it’s much easier to start a conversation with someone who’s interested in what you have to say. And the conversations we had with folks who stopped by Postwire’s sponsor table flowed! Postwire naturally picks up where Hubspot leaves off by making it easy to pass the content baton to salespeople and other client-facing employees to continue client conversations.
In speaking with the #Inbound12 crowd, we learned that some folks plan to use Postwire to educate buyers by anticipating and answering the questions buyers must ask to make purchase decisions. There were others who made a beeline to our sponsor table from Laura Fitton’s breakout session on “Inbound PR”. Laura plugged Postwire as a way to build relationships and share your ideas to attract media attention “without being a self-promotional jerk”. Several small business owners saw ways to differentiate their services using Postwire. I especially enjoyed meeting a woman who owns a doggie daycare and training business. She was excited about creating a Postwire Page for each client to provide educational materials & short videos capturing the away-from-home antics of her clients’ beloved pets!
Yes, Inbound 2012 was awesome! A hearty welcome to all of our new Inbound 2012 friends!
Knowing when a prospect or client engages with the information you share is one of the features many Postwire users love. Postwire’s tracking reporting gives you feedback you might not otherwise get, helping you to respond faster with greater insight. But who is this “Someone from Asia Pacific Network Information Centre near San Jose, CA – US has viewed your Page Inbound12 Highlights“? Want to learn more? Read the full blog post: How Does Postwire Tracking Work?
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