What Is Value #1 On Forbes…

My latest article on Forbes is called What is Value? The Costco Value Proposition.

My most recent article on Forbes entitled What is Value trended to #1, thanks everyone!

My most recent article on Forbes entitled What is Value trended to #1, thanks everyone!


Surprisingly I had a few negative opinions of Costco from some bargain shoppers, but most people agreed with me. Fun article about Price, Quality and Speed. I also mention Southwest Airlines, Zappos, and my friend Matt Dixon’s new book The Effortless Experience.

Survey: Top 10 Reasons People Love Salesforce.com and Marc Benioff

On the eve of the week of Dreamforce ’14, the annual tradeshow of salesforce.com in San Francisco, we reached out to tens of thousands of customers of the cloud-based sales, service, marketing, and analytics platform and asked what they loved most about the company and the man behind the company, CEO Marc Benioff.

Trending to #4 Most Popular on Forbes and #5 Most Active Conversations

Here is what 280 respondents said were their Top 10 favorite things about the company offering:

1-    Ease of use – 16.1%
2-    Customizable – 12.0%
3-    Cloud based – 11.9%
4-    Reporting – 8.0 %
5-    Organizational capability – 6.9%
6-    Dashboards – 6.3%
7-    Integration options – 5.9%
8-    AppExchange ecosystem – 5.2%
9-    Pipeline management and forecasting – 2.7%
10- Continuous improvement – 1.9%

Other notable mentions were availability, innovation, mobile integration, lead management capabilities, and the fact that it was built by people who care about customers and know about sales.

The company itself was noted for culture, social responsibility, market leadership, unique community, and emphasis on client success.

Specific products mentioned often were Chatter, Data.com, the API, Pardot, and Work.com.

Only 6 people said they don’t like the Salesforce products.

Of those respondents who knew about Marc Benioff his Top 10 endearing qualities were:

1-    Visionary – 18.6%
2-    Philanthropist – 14.1%
3-    Leadership – 10.2%
4-    Innovation –7.3%
5-    Guts – 6.8%
6-    Focus on Client Success – 4.1%
7-    Public Speaking capability – 4.0%
8-    Cloud pioneer – 2.8%
9-    Smart – 2.8%
10- Energetic – 2.3%

Most notable after his visionary status were his philanthropic ventures which have set an example of a corporate giving-back model that Marc calls the Salesforce Foundation.

Marc Benioff and the Salesforce Foundation sponsoring The Concert for Kids featuring 2013 Billboard's Artist of the Year Bruno Mars benefitting the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals

His innovative 1/1/1 Model where the company donates 1% of time, equity, and product to integrate philanthropy into their business has influenced countless individuals and companies including our own InsideSales.com to ‘Take the 1/1/1 Pledge’ over the last 15 years.

He has plowed the deep snow in so many areas that matter.

The foundation website shares that they have given $68+ million in grants, 680,000 hours of community service, and donations to over 23,000 nonprofits. Stated causes include reduced poverty, more jobs, less hunger, better education, fewer homeless, cleaner planet, productive workplace, and more successful graduates.

His annual Concert for Kids is featuring Bruno Mars, 2013 Billboard’s Artist of the Year, on October 14th, at the City Hall and Civic Center Plaza to benefit the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals.

Marc was particularly hailed as a leader and innovative and courageous in taking on Larry Ellison of Oracle and for his emphasis on sharing what he had learned and gained to improve client success.

Noted just outside the Top 10 were his inspiration, relentless improvement, attitude, charisma, ability to execute, and the fact that he comes across as a real person.

Only 3 people had anything negative to say about Mr. Benioff.

His hair, shoes, and book Behind the Cloud were also recognized, as well as a call-out for getting his start as an inside sales representative years ago while still at Oracle and the fact that he used a telesales or inside sales model for the first 6 years to launch the Salesforce CRM to market leadership.

Several hashtags were highlighted like #DF14 and #RoadToDF14, and others were started including #WeLoveSalesforce, and #ThanksMarc.

With so much craziness leading up to Dreamforce 2014 it’s important to recognize that hundreds of people were willing to take time and share why they love Salesforce.com…

And to say…

Thanks Marc!

Author: Ken Krogue
Connect with me on LinkedIn | Follow me on Twitter | Follow me on Google+
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

Social Nurturing: 7 Keys To Acquire Contacts Through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook And Google+

How do you get to know influential people using social media? We have developed a very powerful new model that does this very thing and brings amazing results, we use it at InsideSales.com.

We call it Social Nurturing. Think of it as the phase the comes before lead nurturing, where you build awareness and turn it to curiosity.

The term ‘Social Nurturing’ was coined by my dear friend Thomas Oldroyd.

Social Nurturing helps you get to know influential people using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+

Is Social Nurturing just for prospecting or sales?

No.

It is a useful model whenever you want to get to know influential people whether they be entrepreneurial gurus, prospects for your business, influencers in your industry, partners in a business channel, readers on a blog or column, friends in the ‘cool’ clique at school, potential employers, or just followers on social media.

Is Social Nurturing the same as Lead Nurturing?

No.

It comes before lead nurturing, and by definition, uses social media only.

Lead Nurturing is the process of progressing interest into need, or leads into qualified prospects.

So what comes before interest?

Think about it, there are several stages somebody goes through before they are interested in you, what you do, or what you have to offer. Social media offers tools and access to people like never before in the history of the world.

How do you use social to meet influential people?

Here at InsideSales.com we have been testing the use of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , Blogging, Klout, and many more social media platforms in a model we call ACQUIRE.

The steps to ACQUIRE influential social relationships are:

  1. Awareness: They have to know you exist.
  2. Curiosity: They have to be curious about you and what you do.
  3. Qualify: You need to decide if it is worth building a relationship with them.
  4. Understanding: They need enough information to know roughly what you do.
  5. Interest: What you do must be intriguing to them.
  6. Relevance: Both parties should have meaningful value for each other.
  7. Engage: This is where active commitment begins: whether it be an influencer, a target prospect, a customer, a friend, etc.

We call this process Social Nurturing. And there are three best practices I’ll reveal later (when we have polished and tested them) that really make the ACQUIRE model work.

Social Nurturing is a cool phrase that Thomas Oldroyd on our team here at InsideSales.com coined to describe that process that sits in front of Lead Nurturing and uses social media to turn awareness into interest.

How do you actually use the ACQUIRE model to make influential contacts using social media?

We have lots of ideas and testing in process (in other words, this is so new we are still learning.) We have had absolutely incredible results so far. For example, we were able to use the ACQUIRE model in September to set appointments with 1230 people who were going to be at a trade show in San Francisco to come and meet with us at the show (we did it before the show even began.)

For perspective, years past with traditional methods we had around 50 pre-set appointments at the same show.

My Forbes readers may want to reserve a seat for my webinar where I’m sharing our first findings. Then my team is putting it into a downloadable eBook in a few weeks you will have access to also. The price of admission is your feedback and comments as you try it yourself personally and in your business.

‘Testing’ means we honestly don’t know the outcome, we welcome your help.

As our testing concludes I will share the tips, tricks, best practices, and your feedback, ideas, and stories of social nurturing in part 2 of this article, probably right after the holidays.

Stay tuned – Ken

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Author: Ken Krogue | Follow me on Google+
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

What is an Entrepreneur?

What is the difference between an entrepreneur and someone who just runs a business?

As is often the case, I may not exactly know what it is, but I know what it is not.

What is the difference between a leader and a manager?

A leader worries about her people; a manager worries about his boss.

Leaders walk in front and show others the way. They lift the heavy boxes first and, like Tom Sawyer, they start out by painting the fence better and faster than the crowd who gathered to watch them. It is awe that makes the crowd members pick up a brush and join in. But unlike Tom, they stay involved through the process and keep recruiting others. (Entrepreneurs figure out vinyl fences don’t need paint.)

Leaders don’t stop for nearly as many breaks or gather around and watch others, unless they are learning and comparing. They always hoe to the end of the row, even in heat, a rainstorm, or when supper is calling.

Leaders begin to sing out when the song begins, because they know the other voices will soon blend in and hide the fact they are slightly off key.

Leaders seek out the one lagging beyond, find what makes them tick, then challenge them to keep up and to keep time.

Leaders are like the Marines… first in… last out. They don’t punch a clock, they get a job done, even if they mop up what’s left behind.

Leaders work on the system, managers work in the system.

Leaders are like Tom Sawyer, they start out by painting the fence better and faster

Leaders like exempt over non-exempt. They demand a fair salary, they don’t ever want to be measured as just an hourly wage. But they will work hard and long under one if they have to, even if they get sent home by their manager before overtime rules kick in.

A manager never quits a job until they find one that is better.

Leaders rarely get fired. But they often get fired up. They will quit any job that asks them to do something they don’t believe in. But they will work at any job if the reason is strong enough or they have given their word.

Leaders are shepherds with a staff who call out with their voice, not sheep herders that ride horses with lots of smart dogs that nip at your heals.

Entrepreneurs know you need to be both a leader and a manager… in that order. They always start with a leader, and then find a manager.

They know a great leader is the ultimate solution to any problem. They pay ten to a thousand times more money for a great leader than a great manager… in a heartbeat.

What is the difference between finance and accounting?

One is a tool with leverage, the other is a method with scrutiny.

One puts the world at your feet, the other keeps the IRS away.

Finance finds the money at all costs. Accounting finds the cost of money.

Finance uses predictive analytics and statistics to gauge the odds of success. Accounting uses bookkeeping to track success and report to finance.

Accounting hears there is a recession going on. Finance finds counter-recessionary trends and catches a wave.

Finance steers through the land mines and sees trends on the rise. Accounting reports on the cost of running aground.

Entrepreneurs practice both and hire both. And pay much less for Accountants.

 

What is the difference between sales and marketing?

Sales are the Navy Seals, the Green Berets, the Rangers. Marketing is the Air Force that rides high and sees far. They can’t win a war by themselves, but they sure look good to the folks on the ground kicking door to door.

Sales seeks out and solves need.

Marketing causes awareness and turns it to interest.

Sales wishes Marketing would educate interest into need before it gets to them, so they don’t have to. But they do if they need to. It just takes longer.

Sales knows that interest is the counterfeit of need.

Sales yells at Marketing for not generating enough good leads. Marketing yells back for not calling them all before they get cold.

Sales makes a way, marketing finds a way.

Entrepreneurs know they are both right, but that sales is the last to ever turn off the lights.
What is the difference between a statesman and a politician?

A statesman, or stateswoman, wades into the fray, a politician maneuvers through it.

A statesman fills his hand against the odds. A politician feels the odds against his hand.

Ethics and law are a statesman’s guide, with greater good as the motive. A statesman is honest when nobody is looking. He speaks up even when he is the only one in the room who is willing to.

He would serve for a single dollar, and often does. He would love to put down the heavy burden, but only does so when those he loves and is duty-bound to uphold are out of harm’s way.

Entrepreneurs are the statesmen (and women) of business.

 

What is the difference between faith and belief?

Faith is action, it is of the body. Belief is thought, it is of the mind.

Faith comes after hope, which is the fuel of the heart… desire… purpose… motive.

Faith is an assurance that what you have seen happen before, though you don’t see it now, will happen again… if you act and work.

Faith knows it’s enemy is doubt.

Belief hopes to become faith someday when it grows up.

Faith is based on truth. Belief may not be based on anything.. It doesn’t know.

Faith will risk it all and is willing to pay the price for every blessing. Belief flees because it isn’t sure, and wavers when things get really difficult.

Others look at faith and say “I get it!”

They look at belief and wonder if they get it.

Faith only wonders why.

Belief worries how.

Entrepreneurs know that belief turns to faith based on truth, assurance, and action… always action.

What is the difference between church and religion?

Church is a place you go to, on the outside. Religion is within.

A church is a building you go to worship on a specific day each week. Religion can be found on a mountaintop… alone.

Religion may or may not be had in a church.

A church is what you identify with. Religion is who you really are.

Some religions believe in God or god, or no god. But they live it.

Religion is the sum total of your habits. Habits are the true garb of religion.

Entrepreneurs hire people from all churches, but look deeply for those who live their religion, whether it includes a belief in God or not.

 

What is the difference between learning and understanding?

Learning goes to the source by itself, practices and rehearses, engages, memorizes and teaches back, and walks away with a treasure.

Understanding watches the teacher do the problem on the board and gets it then, but can’t figure out the ciphers in the textbook at home in the evening.

Learning goes to Lynda.com for $25 a month, where every software package lies at its fingertips, and in six months figures out how to start a company building websites.

Understanding gets a degree after four years, finds a job, and then works for somebody else for six years to pay off student loans.

Understanding is the counterfeit of Learning.

Learning goes to school to sit on the front row and ask questions.

Understanding takes notes to pass a test.

Learning cares much more about the quality of the question.

Understanding cares more about the completeness of the answer.

Training is what the trainer does. Learning is what sticks.

Teaching is what a teacher does. Learning is what a student does.

Learning is the valuable residue that is left over after Teaching occurs.

Learning counts only if it is measured and can be applied.

Learning leads to an education. Understanding leads to a degree.

Learning leads to an entrepreneur. Understanding leads to an employee.

Entrepreneurs don’t spend much of their time as an employee.

Only long enough to learn on somebody else’s dime, and from somebody else’s understanding.

Entrepreneurs don’t usually have an MBA, but they hire as many of them as they can.

 

Author: Ken Krogue
Follow me on Twitter | Follow me on Google+
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

31 Twitter Tips: How To Use Twitter Tools And Twitter Best Practices For Business

For years I have wondered what the value of Twitter is for sales and business. Everyone knows the indisputable value of LinkedIn for B2B sales, marketing, B2B prospecting, and entrepreneurs in general. But Twitter is gaining traction in B2B.

31 Twitter Tips: Twitter Tools and Twitter Best Practices for Business

31 Twitter Tips: Twitter Tools and Twitter Best Practices for Business

This article shares some of the latest Twitter strategies, tactics, tools, and best practices.

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger has a really cool ebook called 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. It it gives you 1 thing to do per day on your blog for an entire month. It is for those who never quite get around to it because they are so busy.

Think of this article as “31 Days to Be Using Twitter to Build Your Business.”

Latest Research by Trish Bertuzzi and The Bridge Group: Most Leverage Comes With Dialer Software and Lead Research

Article about Inside Sales Jobs Trended to #3 Most Popular on Forbes the very day it came out on March 29th, 2013

Article about Inside Sales Jobs Trended to #3 Most Popular on Forbes the very day it came out on March 29th, 2013

#3 Most Popular on Forbes! When you think about inside sales or selling remotely, one of the first names that comes to mind is Trish Bertuzzi, the President and Chief Strategist of The Bridge Group, Inc. Her experience goes back two decades and her awards, recognition, eBooks, and Board Affiliations would take up all the words I have allotted in this article. She runs the largest LinkedIn Group about the inside sales space called Inside Sales Experts, with 23,212 members as of today. I could (and often have) gone on and on about Trish.

But it’s her research I want to talk about – Ken

Inside Sales Experts is the largest LinkedIn Group focusing on Inside Sales

Trish Bertuzzi and her firm, The Bridge Group, Inc., pulls together an ongoing research study every year for the last five years on “Lead Generation: Metrics and Compensation Report for B2B technology companies” that has become a watermark for the entire industry. One of many of her areas of expertise is in gathering, recruiting, compensating, and onboarding talent for the hottest game changing segment of all of sales and marketing: inside sales.

(If you are crawling out from under a rock and wonder what is inside sales? or what is the definition of inside sales? I have a primer to catch you up. Ken)

This year 197 business-to-business (B2B) companies in the technology space answered about key metrics that drive success in inside sales, the fastest growing segment of sales and marketing.

Half the companies declared themselves to be software companies with a third specifically in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or cloud computing segment with the rest focused on hardware sales, a combination, or other.

In fact, 24% of the companies described their sale as a “New Concept,” requiring extensive education to make buyers aware of their solvable problem, what Harvard Business School Press authors Kim and Mauborgne call “Blue Ocean,” where there are no other competitors. My company, InsideSales.com, is in this category.

37% had a “New Paradigm”, where they offer a more effective solution in a fairly crowded space.

And 39% face off in an “Established Market” that is highly competitive where they have to differentiate themselves in what “Blue Ocean Strategy” calls Red Ocean, where the sharks are swimming in heavy competition for limited food sources.

I want to highlight a few very important findings.

Trish Bertuzzi - Forbes Magazine article - Inside Sales Jobs and Career Growth up 54%

Bertuzzi notes that average job experience is down 20% from 2.5 years in 2010 to 2.0 years in 2012. That percentage of respondents requiring less than one year of experience has doubled in the same time frame, noting:

“The job itself hasn’t changed, but the hiring landscape has certainly shifted. Between 2009 and 2011, demand for lead generation reps grew 54%. That is significant. With demand outstripping supply, companies are moving further down the experience food chain.”

The average tenure of a lead generation rep in an inside sales department has fallen from 2.4 years in 2009 to 2.1 years in 2012. Again, denoting less experienced sales reps entering the sales department in droves. This has also driven down the average compensation from $77,000 in 2009, to $71,600 in 2012.

But note, this is NOT a lessening in the value of the role, but a number of factors including companies now hiring less experienced reps.

But from a positive note for more experienced reps, sales reps making more than $100,000 has risen from 8% in 2010 to 20% in 2012. Those making $85,000 has grown from 21% to 27% in the same time period.

Another interesting trend is in 2010, 50% of lead generation teams reported to the Marketing department. In 2012, 70% of teams report to Sales, with sales particularly driving the Outbound Prospecting component.

Of great interest to my company particularly is the groundbreaking research Trish has led in the area of sales reps using dialing technologies. 21% of companies  researched are now using this highly leveraged resource, leading a Bridge Group opinion that:

We think dialing technologies might be the #1 productivity tool to invest in. Having more conversations with your target audience can only lead to more pipeline and that is never a bad thing!”

Average dials per day have risen to 56, the highest level in 5 years.

Specifically:

  • 4% of groups make less than 19 dials daily
  • 31% make 20-39 dials daily
  • 34% make 40-59
  • 11% make 60-79
  • 9% make 80-99, and
  • 11% make more than 100 dials a day.

The big news for outbound groups is an average of 59 dials without a dialer, and 81 dials with a dialer, an increase of 37.3% in output.

Mark Roberge - Senior Vice President of HubSpot Claims the More Quality Content You Put on Blogs... The More Leads

At InsideSales.com, we have pioneered dial rates well over 300 dials per day from lead generation reps. Much like my friend Mark Roberge of HubSpot, who claims the more blog articles they write every day the more leads they generate, we find leads, appointments, and sales just keep going up with more calls, but especially contacts. With competitive gamification models in place like those from my friend Chuck Coonradt, author of Game of Work, these paces are easily maintained. We have a few clients whose reps top 700 dials in a day without burnout.

And guess what? Just like Trish Bertuzzi and her team verify, “more conversations … is never a bad thing!”

There seems to be a sweet spot for each company, whether it is 120, 170, 350, or 700+ dials in a day. But companies still have a lot of leverage to reap by increasing the dials their teams are making with 120 as about the minimum. I see thousands of dated managers of inside sales teams who balk at these numbers and say things like, “Our company is different, we have to personalize our calls, or we have to do too much research before we call.”

I say bunk!

What that really means is they haven’t won the battle of turf with the rest of the company and the outside sales teams or marketers are holding them back with their “traditional” (read archaic) methodologies. Just fix the problems and take the research function out of the hands of the inside sales reps and turn them loose to succeed!

How?

Steve Richard of Vorsight Teaches Inside Sales Teams his 3x3 Method: Take 3 minutes to find 3 Things in Common with Your Prospect

It seems to center around that fine balance between quantity of calls and quality of calls. Quality is based on pre-call planning, 3×3 analysis techniques like those espoused from my friend Steve Richards of Vorsight, and data scoring, targeting, and appending. We call this pre-call enriching of the data “Lead Research.” It is becoming a new specialist position that sits in front of the lead generation teams.

This is becoming such a hot topic that I have committed Mark Ruthfield, my friend at Zoominfo, the list company we have tested three years running and have found to have the strongest contact information, to share their secrets in lead research and data append in a lead research webinar next week.

Mark Ruthfield - Ken's Friend at Zoominfo Sharing a Webinar on the Power of Lead Research

The final page of this landmark study asks a question and summarizes:

“What percentage of a given day do reps spend figuring out who to call and how to reach them as opposed to having conversations with buyers? Most likely, far too much. That wasted time serves as a productivity killer.”

“We are seeing an emerging trend of hiring (either full or part time) a resource that does nothing but keep contact and account data “clean.” These resources utilize a combination of online and phone research to keep CRM data immaculate and sales-ready (think: org charts, current contacts, direct dials, etc.)”

The Bridge Group adds nearly two dozen other very relevant and important findings in this research study. I highly recommend if you are in a sales or marketing capacity that you access this incredible study from Trish and her team.

Here’s the link again: “Lead Generation: Metrics and Compensation Report for B2B technology companies

Thanks Trish, for all you do for our exciting industry of inside sales!

Author: Ken Krogue |
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

Top Problems of the Inside Sales Industry faced by Managers and Reps

Ok, the election is over. Like it or not. Fellow entrepreneurs… it’s time to get back to work and create those jobs we are supposed to be so good at creating. No excuses, we need results. – Ken

Inside sales has been the high-growth area of sales and lead generation since the market crash of 2008 when companies scaled back travel and high cost positions in favor of a new generation of sales people, a high velocity business model, and leveraged yet affordable technology that companies rent instead of buy.

In fact the inside sales industry has proven to be counter-recessionary, growing more when the economy struggles. Research done in conjunction with Dr. James Oldroyd and infoUSA has shown that inside sales is growing at a rate that is 15 times greater than the traditional outside sales model.

Inside sales is where the jobs are.

And where they will be for the foreseeable future.

Why?

Inside sales is far more efficient and more effective at creating revenue in small and mid-size businesses over the phone and through the internet. But now even large enterprise-class businesses have crossed the Geoffrey Moore chasm  to bet on inside sales in greater numbers than ever before.

The membership of The American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) boasts companies like IBM, ADP, Abbot, Cisco, Dupont, EMC, FedEx, Hershey, HON Company, Level 3, LexisNexis, McGraw-Hill, McKesson, Oracle, Pfizer, and salesforce.com, to mention a few.

Inside sales is where the growth is, and the cost isn’t.

Those who bet their jobs a few years ago on inside sales, remote sales, virtual sales, or sales in the cloud, still have their jobs. And they are hiring.

And they are getting promoted.

I started the inside sales department at Franklin Quest, before they merged with Stephen R. Covey’s Covey company and became FranklinCovey. We were the fastest growing department for four straight years at what was then the second fastest growing company in all of America.

That was 1993 through 1997.

The name ‘inside sales’ was just starting to be used instead of telesales or worst of all, telemarketing.We all thought ‘tele’ was a four letter word.

I think it still is.

Inside sales is not telemarketing.

Telemarketing is that annoying call at dinner time that makes you say “no” seven times before hanging up. The ‘Do-not-call’ legislation has curbed much of this abuse from companies still using a predictive dialer technology that is nearly forty years old. Telemarketing is single call, scripted, high pressure, lower ticket sales items, small business to consumer sales.

Inside sales is professional sales done remotely. It is multi-call, strategic, professional, higher ticket sales items, and mostly business to business (B2B) or larger business to consumer (B2C.)

Cover of "Iron Man (Two-Disc Special Coll...

Cover via Amazon

The inside sales prodigies are becoming much like Tony Stark, encased in his Ironman suit, with superhuman speed, strength, and a heads-up display. Notice the young, scrappy, tech-savvy, Gen-X or Millennial sitting at the controls.

They do eight hours of work in 2 hours. then they go home at night and have a life.

Inside sales professionals are using power dialers with new predictive 2.0 technology elegantly integrated into customer relationship management solutions like salesforce.com; hosted in the cloud. They still rely on the intelligence of the salesperson, but they are fused with nanosecond reflexes of machine learning and predictive analytics that recommend who to call and when to call and continually improve with more data.

The Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation still think it is all about the relationship.

The Amazon top-selling Challenger Sale book, by the Executive Board, completely disrupted that line of thought.

Inside sales is at a stage much like in the movie Moneyball that depicted how baseball was forever changed by the  A’s in 2002, when they learned to rely on statistics, not intuition.

Back then we in inside sales were fighting just to be recognized. We got the scraps off the table from an entrenched outside sales or field sales infrastructure that had ruled for fifty years or more. But they had one key flaw, they didn’t know technology and wouldn’t use it. They still won’t. We were the Gen-X and Gen-Y Millennial generation that grew up with technology.

We use it, we live in it.

The top problems of the inside sales industry today are vastly different than even recently. Nobody questions the viability anymore of the sales department that uses web conferencing tools like GoToMeeting or the cool new multi video and web conference tool iMeet. Lives in LinkedIn, and sells over the phone and through the web far better than it’s aging predecessors. In fact, recent research is showing that outside sales is spending half their day trying to catch up by using the exact same remote selling approaches we pioneered.

Bob Perkins, the Founder and CEO of The American Association of Inside Sales

Bob Perkins, Founder of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals

Bob Perkins, Founder of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals

Professionals or the AA-ISP says that “Inside and Outside Sales are converging into just… sales.”

So what are the top problems of the selling remotely or inside sales today?

The InsideSales.com Research Division just recently finalized nearly a year long research study that surveyed over 200,000 companies with inside sales departments. There were 608 respondents with 350 inside sales managers and 258 inside sales reps. An executive summary is available.

Respondents were asked to select the top problems they faced and could make multiple selections.

Top Problems of Inside Sales Managers

The Top Problem for Sales Managers was ‘Finding Good Leads.’

Here are the top seven problems for Sales Managers compared visually:

Top Problems of Inside Sales Managers

Top Problems of Inside Sales Managers

  1. Finding Good Leads = 56.9% of inside sales managers ranked this the number one problem.
  2. Hiring the Right People = 48.3% ranked this number two.
  3. Making Sure Information is Reported Correctly = 41.4% ranked this number three.
  4. Properly Training Reps = 36.0% chose this as number four.
  5. Compensating Sales Agents = 20.9% made this top problem number five.
  6. Employee Turnover = 14.0% made this number six.
  7. Using the Right Equipment = 9.4% chose this number seven.

Sales Managers mentioned 34 other problems besides these 7, with Motivating, Contacting Leads, and Better Software as the rest of the Top 10 Problems of Inside Sales Managers.

Deeper analysis shows some very different weighting of concerns of Inside Sales Managers based on the size of the company they work for:

Top Problems of Sales Managers based on Company Size

Top Problems of Sales Managers based on Company Size

Companies with less than 20 employees felt ‘Finding Good Leads’ was far and above the  Top Problem they care about, and ‘Compensating Sales Agents’ hardly matters.

Companies with more than 5000 employees cluster leads, hiring, compensation, and accurate reporting almost equal by comparison.

Top Problems Faced by Inside Sales Representatives

The top concern voiced by inside sales reps on the front line was ‘Making Contact with Leads,’ linked with the top concern of sales managers of finding good leads for their reps.

It’s all about the leads… and contacting busy decision makers.

In fact, the top four issues that sales reps deal with are connected with contacting, accessing, defining, and inaccurate leads:

  1. Making Contact with Leads = 46.1%
  2. Accessing Decision Maker in Company = 41.5%
  3. Knowing who to Contact and When = 35.3%
  4. Inaccurate Lead Information = 20.2%
Here are the top five problems faced by inside sales representatives:
Top 5 Problems faced by Inside Sales Representatives

Top 5 Problems faced by Inside Sales Representatives

5. Lack of Product Knowledge = 13.6% of sales reps aligned on product knowledge as the fifth top problem they face.

The full report by the InsideSales.com Research Division outlines 29 additional problems mentioned as they responded about problems they face on a day in and day out basis.

Additional problems in the top 10 include ‘Specific problems contacting leads’ and ‘Lead generation’ as #6 and #7 top problems, with ‘Communication problems’ #8, ‘Pricing’ #9, and a tie for #10 with ‘Creating demand’, ‘Administrative work’, ‘Showing value’, and ‘Training.’

Notice that three more of the top 10 are still issues relating to leads. That is a total of 7 of the top 10 issues related to leads.

Besides the broad issue of leads, notice the emphasis on contacting busy decision makers. #1, #2, and #3 are all related to this concept of improving contact ratios.

A contact ratio is the amount of contacts divided by how many dial attempts. 10 contacts divided by 100 dials is a contact ratio of 10%, which is about average.

My favorite new measurement of success in inside sales and web marketing is the contacted ratio. The amount of leads contacted divided by the amount of leads.

Our research shows only 27% of web-based leads ever get contacted by a sales rep.

This stat should scare the daylights out of every CMO who is generating leads and sending them to sales reps, and every CEO who approves the budget.

It also explains a lot of the contention that seems to exist between marketing and sales. Marketing is wondering what sales does with their leads… it seems there may be reason to wonder.

We have secret shopped over 14,000 companies in the last five years by going to their web sites and submitting a fake lead, with a real phone number and email address. We track how fast sales reps respond, and how many call attempts they make before giving up. We call this a ResponseAudit.

The scary thing is that only somewhere between 64.2% and 30.7% of leads ever even have attempts made at a phone or email response.

(NOTE: a phone response is showing to be 35x more effective than an email response, especially only an auto-responder. People see through these and aren’t impressed any more. But an auto-responder is better than nothing.)

Why even have a website?

5 Years Growing our Business

Have you ever tried to start a campfire with gasoline?

I have.

If you don’t have tinder, sticks, branches, and logs in place. It just goes POOOOOF!!!

And you waste precious petrol at $4 a gallon. And singe eyebrows, nose hairs, and bangs. And you smell funny ’till you take a shower.

That’s what happens if you try using publicity too early in a startup business.

When Dave Elkington and I started InsideSales.com we agreed that we would do it in five specific phases:

Year 1: Get the Product right.

Your product is everything. Does it need to be perfect? No. It should work well, get it in production. I know many companies who polish the fenders for years and never start the engine. We liken our company to a bus that carries 140 people and we don’t pull over for anything. We hang people out the window to change a tire at highway speeds. The key is listen to customers and be really good at what you do. Oh, and know a LOT about the industry or audience you serve. You should know wayyyy more than they do… but still listen.

Year 2: Build a Support team to help customers use it.

It’s about people… great people. Answer calls, solve problems, respond quickly, exceed expectations. Sometimes we grew so fast our skirts were showing pretty constantly, but fix it fast, care for their business, and listen. The customer is (almost) always right. The only time he/she isn’t, is when they are a jerk repeatedly. I just refused to take a customer because he had cussed out or treated rude five of my people. And nothing we could do would please him. I happily gave him the phone number of my three favorite competitors.

Year 3: Crank up Sales to begin growth.

You probably need more guns on the ship. Sales solves all problems. But you can’t sell a product that customers hate. And sales reps shouldn’t service customers, we learned that. They say nothing happens until you sell something. One word… True.

Year 4: Expand Marketing to accelerate growth.

Why not put marketing before sales? You need leads to begin of course, but have people to close the leads before you generate them all or nothing happens. Our research shows that inbound leads close eight times more likely than outbound cold calling. But nothing closes itself (except ecommerce websites.)

Year 5: Pour PR on the fire for a high velocity business.

Now is the time. PR doubles or triples the overall effect if the foundation of logs is built. There is no greater leverage than PR. Create real, buzzworthy, interesting, compelling, valuable stories and research. Respond to everything. Build a research and PR team. Answer important questions to your customers. Be bold, be audacious. Know your brand. Be true to your brand. You may even go “viral” occasionally and drink from the holy grail.

Then of course, keep adding to the product, support team, sales, and marketing before they become the bottleneck. Oh, and you may need accounting, training, quality control and HR in there somewhere (details… details…)

Otherwise it just goes POOOOOF!!

Author: Ken Krogue |
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

The ‘Core’ Model of Generating Real Content

I have been mulling over the firestorm of response I have received from my Forbes ‘The Death of SEO: The Rise of Social, PR, and Real Content‘ article that went up at noon on the 20th of July.

Copy writers and marketers agreed with me and cheered.

SEO ‘gurus’ made me tighten up my semantics. Dell Computer thanked me. Adam cursed me. Google never said a word. Then those who claimed to be ‘professional’ almost agreed with me. The real professionals were easily picked out by their approach and expertise. We all agreed that onsite, internal, or technical SEO is more important than ever (the practice of making your content adhere to best practices so Google ranks you high.)

Those who didn’t read the entire thread to my final comment are still stuck at the beginning arguments. I tried to help them skip ahead. The ethical questions that were raised were addressed in comments and individual email conversations that are still continuing even now.

But I had one category of response that intrigued me. Several comments said it is too expensive for the average business owner to consistently and cost effectively generate real content. I wholeheartedly disagree.

I want to address two issues about this:

  1. My definition of real content.
  2. How can entrepreneurs generate real content?
  3. The Core content model

DEFINITION OF REAL CONTENT

Notice I said ‘real content’. Not just ‘great content’. Content can be great but not real.

That is the crux of the whole ethics question.

Real content is specifically designed to provide direct value in the Internet experience. Real content can be text, audio, video, pictures, drawn in an infographic, or more I’m sure.

My assertion is that content that is generated to point to other content, isn’t real content, it’s fake content. If it’s sole purpose is to raise the ranking in Google of other content, it’s counterfeit content. Nobody writes real great content only for the sake of backlinks to other content that only the Google bots read and index.

I wonder if Google could give us a feel for how many items of fake content there is on the Web that points to real content.

10 to 1, 100 to 1, 500 to 1?

I know examples of companies with 600 fake articles pointing back to one landing page of ‘real content.’

14 WAYS TO GENERATE REAL CONTENT

  1. Answer a question.
  2. Tell a story.
  3. Highlight trends.
  4. Research best practice.
  5. Compile tips.
  6. Point out a problem.
  7. List good (or bad) examples.
  8. Recognize who.
  9. List what.
  10. Warn when.
  11. Show where.
  12. Debate why.
  13. Demonstrate how.
  14. Restate so what?

Here is a series of recent steps I went through this year to develop some ‘real content’ that utilizes the ‘Core’ content model. Notice how many different outlets, media, and events I address and leverage with the same core idea. The views and comments indicate this has been strong content.

There is much more depth and what may be a helpful graphic in my Forbes article I’m putting out in a few minutes called “The Death of SEO (Part 2): Generating Real Content.

Here are the options to a ‘Core’ content model (if you think of others, please comment.)

  1. Webinar
  2. On-demand webinar
  3. Podcast
  4. Slideshare of your powerpoint slide deck.
  5. Embedded video
  6. Youtube video
  7. Audio download in .mp3
  8. Audio presentations formatted to iTunes, Droid, and Amazon
  9. Blog article
  10. Derivative blog articles
  11. In-depth “how-to” articles
  12. eBooks
  13. Emails and RSS feeds
  14. Complete and piecemeal Tweets on Twitter
  15. LinkedIn Shares and Discussions
  16. Facebook Shares
  17. Google+ summaries (with strong keywords)
  18. Use Bit.ly to link to other content for human navigation
  19. Pinterest graphics
  20. Infographics
  21. Cheat sheet summaries
  22. Paperback book
  23. Hardback book
  24. Bundles, kits, or combinations of this content

The comments were made that entrepreneurs or executives can’t take the time to generate real, great, content.

I don’t think you can afford the time not to.

Top 30 Articles on www.KenKrogue.com (with total views) and a Summary of Ken’s Forbes Articles

  1. What is Inside Sales? Our Definition of Inside Sales | Ken Krogue – 56,369 Views
  2. Inside Sales Best Practices – 9,281 Views
  3. Inside Sales Tips by Ken Krogue – 5,488 Views
  4. My Final Comment on my “Death of SEO” column on Forbes – 6,411 Views
  5. 31 Linkedin tips – How-to-use-Linkedin-Best-Practices for B2B Prospecting – 5,680 Views
  6. Prediction – SEO will be Dead in 2 Years – 3,976 Views
  7. KPI – Key Performance Indicators – 2,285 Views
  8. Inside Sales versus Outside Sales – 2,226 Views
  9. Is Leaving a Voicemail Worthwhile? – 2,100 Views
  10. Inside Sales Tips – How LinkedIn Gives you 3 Free SEO Backlinks – 3,057 Views
  11. About Ken Krogue – 1,943 Views
  12. Inside Sales is Top Method of Lead Generation – 1,074 Views
  13. Inside Sales Training – 1,888 Views
  14. Good to Great by Jim Collins – Ken’s Notes Summary – 1,526
  15. Inside Sales Tips – Skip to the Beep – 1,392 Views
  16. Inside Sales Best Practices: 7 Ways to Increase Contact Ratios – 1,360
  17. Climb the Trust Ladder to Increase Results in Prospecting – W/ VIDEO! – 1,339 Views
  18. Harvard Business Review says Sales is No Longer About Relationships – 1,148 Views
  19. Inside Sales Tips – No Vacations Last Week of the Month – 1,140 Views
  20. Lead Generation Strategies: When to Call, When Not to Call? – 1,049 Views
  21. Inside Sales Tips – Specialize – 998 Views
  22. Inside Sales Tips – Interest is The Counterfeit of Need – 898 Views
  23. Behind the Cloud – Ken’s Notes – 877 Views
  24. 6 Reasons Salesforce Users Need Hosted Dialer Technology – 856 Views
  25. Demand Generation Tactics and Strategy – 689 Views
  26. Power Dialers – 665 Views
  27. Inside Sales Best Practices: Gathering Direct Dial Phone Numbers – 601
  28. What is Lead Response Management – 573 Views
  29. Ken’s Rules: The Business Card Rule – 430 Views
  30. Josh James Shares 36 Startup Rules – 399 Views

A Complete Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes Articles, Including his newly updated “Definition of Inside Sales” and his #1 on all of Forbes (and his most controversial) article “The Death of SEO

Author: Ken Krogue | 
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

 

My Recent Forbes Article – 3 Google Tools to Help Start a Business

In my recent column (it actually rose to #9 Most Popular) on Forbes.com I showcased three Google tools any entrepreneur can use to short cut traditional (archaic) SWOT analysis and endless market research and consultant advice when starting a business.

My First Forbes Article - 9th Most Popular - 3 Google Tools to Check before Starting a Business

My First Forbes Article (Ranked 9th Most Popular) "3 Google Tools to Check before Starting a Business"

In case you missed it, here they are:

  1. Determine if There is a Market for Your Idea with Keyword Search
  2. Check the Trends Around Your Market Segment and Product Idea with Google Insights
  3. Know your Competition Using Your Keywords and Search Results

While there is value in knowing about these tools, the value is slightly diminished if you don’t know how to use them. Here’s a simple how-to guide for implementing these 3 Google tools before starting a business.

Determine if there is a Market for Your Idea

Use the Google Keyword Tool to save boat-loads of time in market research. It will reveal key information about your market and about the behavior of your target customers. The Keyword Tool enables the entrepreneur to see exactly what people are searching for, both globally and locally. The results give you an idea as to whether your market is crowded (with competitors) or not (low, medium or high). The results give you an idea of how large a base of prospects are out there searching for your product or service (traffic by keyword). To get the most value out of the tool, type in a few keywords related to your market or a competing market, product or service. Any surprises? For example, when I typed in inside sales, outside sales and field sales, inside sales was definitely experiencing a wave of increasing traffic.

Check the Trends

Within Google Insights you can review traffic history surrounding the keywords that reflect your market segment and product idea. The result includes a timeline graph of the traffic trend and shows divergence or convergence of two or more keywords. For example, comparing inside sales with outside sales and field sales, Google Insights says search traffic on the keyword “inside sales” is growing rapidly while search traffic on the keywords “outside sales” and “field sales” is shrinking. Go with the trends and look at the history of the trend to determine on which side of the adoption wave your business idea resides – advancing or receding.

Know your Competition

Once you determine there is a market for your product and you have selected several keywords that best reflect your product, use these findings to do research on your competition. Search each keyword and use the top three or four search results to investigate your competition. Go visit their sites. Get familiar with what they deliver, how they position themselves and what their key selling points are.

Using these three simple tips, in a short amount of time you have gained mountains of information regarding market growth, prospect interest in your product, whether it’s a crowded space or not, who your competitors are and how they market themselves. Use this business intelligence to inform your go-to-market strategy and how best to enter and position your product.  As you build out your sales team and begin to need sales automation that support best practice processes – search on insidesales.com and give us a call.

Keep a look out for my upcoming columns on Forbes.com. Be sure to ‘follow’ me on Forbes and join the comment discussion!

Author: Ken Krogue |
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles