A great use of 30 minutes

Want to make good use of 30 minutes?  Read the blog post from Salesforce,  here, and follow some – or all – of the suggestions for improving your sales skills.

We are all selling all the time even if sales is not our official role.  The blog post is a quick read with several different activities you can do, each with an estimate of the time commitment.  They are a good starting point for any of us.  If you want to know more there is a link to download 100 sales tips. 

See below for one tip, check out the post for more and remember to keep moving!







Thoughts on Productivity

It was a siesta for Winston Churchill, even in the midst of the Second World War. Instead of getting more done aim to have less to do in the first place. Be realistic, and doing it all may not be realistic. Being industrious isn’t enough, after all even ants are industrious. Give your employees recognition and praise, productivity rises. 

Those ideas are from “30 Real Quotes on Productivity You Can Relate To, How billionaires, writers, leaders, and philosophers think about productivity”.   Read it here

It’s worth a visit to read these great quotes about productivity from a very diverse set of individuals including Warren Buffett, Stephen King, Bruce Lee, and so many more. You are bound to find a favorite and, hopefully, inspiration. Remember this for the next time you need to move from procrastination to action! Tell us which quote you like most or share your favorite quote from another source.

Advocacy – there’s a science to it

What motivates someone to share their opinion?  How can you influence them to try to persuade others? A recent article  from Stanford Graduate School of Business titled “Where Do Advocates Come From?” cites a range of research into advocacy.

Professor S. Christian Wheeler and PhD graduate Omair Akhatar coauthored a study which found that you can persuade people with fixed attitudes to advocate by positioning it as an opportunity to stand up for their views, rather than as one to engage in dialogue.  And for people that believe attitudes can change, the opposite is true.

Another cited study showed that those who are uncertain are more likely advocates than those who are moderately certain!  Titled “the Curvilinear Relationship Between Attitude Certainly and Attitudinal Advocacy by Lauren Cheatham and Zakary Tormala confirms what we often see, those that are very certain on a topic are more likely to be advocates than others.  Their surprising study shows advocacy has a J curve, peaking with those highly certain, lowest for those of moderate certainty, and rising again for those with low certainty.  They found people with low certainty do share their views, they often want to gather further information, and are open for discussion.  Someone highly certain can come across as judgmental, not so those in the low certainty category.

Interesting thoughts.  We need to take time to frame our discussions and messages appropriately and not overlook those advocates that still have questions.  Science can help us be more effective.  What do you think of these conclusions?

What problem are we trying to solve?

We’ve all been there.  The meeting that starts out well.  It may even have an agenda, there may be a review of previous meetings and work done to this point.  And then, to quote the author of a recent blog post, “pigs fly”.  The meeting gets out of control with all sorts of discussion and proposals and things seem to go in circles. 

Charles H. Green wrote a blog post for TrustedAdvisor LLC, here, where he explains why he uses a consistent question to bring the group back to task.  “What problem are we trying to solve?”  It sounds so simple, yet is very effective.  It’s a good question and is framed in a neutral way to get the group back to the real issue.  As Green states, “Logically it has the same effect as saying, ‘You fools are all over the map – you can’t even define the problem’ – but the emotional effect is totally different.” 

Sometimes this simple question surfaces that there are multiple problems at hand or differing views that need to be resolved before progress can be made. 

Try it in your next meeting and see if brings everyone back to the key issues. Let us know how it works for you.

Content Marketing: B2B Research

The Content Marketing Institute recently released a new report “B2B Content Marketing.  2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America” available  here.

Just what is content marketing?  To quote them: “Content marketing is the practice of creating relevant and compelling content in a consistent fashion to a targeted buyer, focusing on all stages of the buying process, from brand awareness through to brand evangelism.”

Relevant and compelling content is very important to our organization as I’m sure it is to yours.  This report focuses on B2B engagement and shows in general companies feel they have improved over last year, more success and impact from their content marketing.  Especially interesting is the information on what differentiates the top performers, those that say they are extremely or very successful with their content marketing efforts.  Just two stats from the report – 81% are clear on what success is and 88% of top marketing performers measure the ROI of their content marketing.

Do you have clear goals in this area and how do you track return?  The report is worth a read, give us your thoughts.

Take time, improve

It’s easy to continue day to day with the same processes but sometimes you need to take a step back and think about how to improve. We just had a series of brainstorming sessions on ideas to positively impact Referential.  What might we do, big or small, that would have a strong effect on our work?  As you can imagine there were many great ideas!  We began to implement the changes right away.

One request was an easier way to know what time it is throughout the world. We do work with customers everywhere and need to know what time it is in London or Sydney or New York.  For those of us that like an online world clock we now have a couple of great urls to choose from.  For those who prefer looking at actual clocks, we now have 5 clocks on the wall so you can easily see the time in a variety of locations. It sounds simple but it’s been really helpful to very quickly see the various times.  In fact, it helped with a call to SE Asia just this morning!

Another quick one to address was improvements to calendaring. We all have to track appointments with our clients via their preferred systems as well as our Referential meetings.  Consolidating all that into one view of our commitments was something we had each done, though differently.  We now have a single approach that gives us each a consolidated calendar and a view into the free/busy times of everyone on staff.

Some of the suggestions will take time to implement, be it the outdoor seating area or various automation requests.  What’s most important is we have a team culture that values change and improvement and suggestions from everyone.  This wasn’t an isolated event but something we do often as part of our ongoing desire to be the best for both our employees and our clients.

Process review for us – growth for our clients

We have many clients and each has a slightly different advocacy program. Over time, added experience and viewpoints has increased our knowledge and capabilities. Together, those led to our decision to do a complete process review. It’s good to take a step back now and then to ensure we’re using the best processes and tools across the board. It’s also a chance to do some cross training. Team members who work on accounts where our services are very focused might not have yet had the opportunity to participate in the full range of our offerings.

The first step was to update our master template. This will give us a refreshed starting point for new clients and updated documentation for training new hires. This process review is an opportunity to look for growth for our clients. We can share best practices and genericized information about where other clients are seeing the most impact. And we know there’s no better salesperson than a happy customer!   As we help our clients harness the power of their happy customers it leads to increased sales. And that’s really what we’re here to do, help our clients grow.