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Top 20 Small Biz Productivity Tools

Run your business in the cloud for almost nothing? You bet you can.  Here are my Top 20 small business web-based productivity tools. If you are a consultant or agency or a road warrior, chances are you’ll enjoy some or even all of these great time and money savers. They are all free or less than $20/mo and they had to be dead easy to use or they didn’t make the cut cause most small business people don’t have IT teams.mobile-worker1

  1. CRM - contact and lead tracking, sales and contact management, sales pipeline management and forecasting, customer service and business management. Keep yourself organized! Free version available from www.freecrm.com, from $7/mo at www.sugarcrm.com
  2. Market Research – Google Alerts is a “must-have” clipping service. Set up your favorite key words and www.google.com/alerts finds and delivers articles about any subject of your choosing to your inbox every day. Watch for news and mentions of your own company, your customers and your competitors. Free
  3. Creative Design – Want a design for a new logo, brochure, website or business card? Go to either www.crowdspring.com, or www.99designs.com, upload your requirements, run a contest and pick your favourite. You pick the purse size, I’ve seen contests get dozens of great results for only a few hundred dollars. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lynda Partner

June 2nd, 2009 at 11:34 am

With 18 comments

Kill the Blah Blah Blah – Less is the new more

One of my biggest pet peeves is what I call “blah blah blah marketing copy. Here’s an example:
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“XYZ provides the ideal combination of advanced technology and expertise to information providers. Our solutions and services lower costs, streamline operations, create efficiencies and generate new revenue for our customers. Our mission is to unlock the true potential of your market and partner with you in growth.”

Logically I know I was reading a description of what XZY company does, emotionally all I heard was “Blah Blah Blah”. I had no idea what this company did, none! Be honest, you’ve done it too right? Read something and had absolutely no idea what the product was or why you might benefit from buying it. You’re probably like most of us, who don’t admit this for fear of looking dumb or uninformed. Read the rest of this entry »

Yes you can make B2B sales happen using Twitter

Yesterday I sat in on a webinar. Speaker was very good and the points he made was clear and interesting and relevant but I found myself unsatisfied when it was all over. It took me a few hours to figure out why – he didn’t show us any examples of “good” and “not so good” and because of that he wasn’t as effective as he could have been.

I like examples, especially simple ones that you get right away. My simple mind perhaps? Whatever the reason, because I have been researching successful B2B uses of Twitter lately I thought I would share this example of how Twitter helped at least one company make a sale. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s wrong with good old-fashioned paper BRCs?

Marketers have been using paper survey forms to gather consumer information at your events for years. We print them, people fill them out and then we send them to a processing centre to enter into a database. Now we’re hearing about using electronic media such as personal computers, tablets, kiosks or personal digital assistants instead of paper.

The real question is “Should we switch or is this case a case of fixing what ain’t broken?”

I believe there are (at least) seven good reasons for using electronic data capture instead of paper. Some are more important than others, depending on the type of event, the audience and the type of data you are collecting. Read the rest of this entry »

The case to completely eliminate paper-based lead capture

grin620h1When I was researching the pro’s and con’s of paper-based lead capture vs electronic lead capture, I was especially taken with the security risks associated with paper. While we’ve all been operating with paper forever, its only since identity theft and spam that data security has become a major issue.

I truly believe that it won’t be long until using paper to capture personal information will be forbidden, first by financial institutions, and later by all credible organizations. Here’s why… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lynda Partner

April 16th, 2009 at 10:39 am

There’s so much more than name and address waiting for you

Right now, electronic lead capture at events and experiential marketing programs is all the rage and rightly so for a bunch of reasons but it always seemed like such a waste to restrict data capture to only contact information.

It’s easy to extend lead capture to bring something special, that extra value, that can make the difference between a good event and a great event. Using technology-based interactions with event visitors, you can get so much more with little additional effort or cost.

Here are the top 6 reasons you should invest in electronic data capture systems for your next event: Read the rest of this entry »