Logo: Glance

The Upside: Killer Sales Tips

46 posts categorized "Sales 2.0"

November 24, 2010

Vote for Us! Vote for Us! Glance Nominated for Top Sales 2.0 Solution

Glance is a finalist in the Annual Top Sales Awards 2010 in the Sales 2.0 solution category. Between November 24 and December 1, you can show your support for Glance by voting for us (see below)!

Glance is an extremely light weight, fast connecting sales and support tool which differs vastly from traditional web conferencing applications like Webex and Gotomeeting. Our service is engineered for impromptu conversations, rather than large scale, cumbersome, pre-scheduled events.

And, if you're a Salesforce user, you can soon start up a Glance sales demo right from within Salesforce, as we launch Glance for Salesforce on December 6. 

If you've never used Glance, you can try it free for 7 days.

Top Sales 2.0 2010 - vote here

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing

November 17, 2010

SEO Works and We've Got Proof! It's In the Turkey... (Plus 5 Tips to Make SEO Work for You)

It's that time of year again -- a blog post written 3 years ago by one of our software engineers extraordinaire, Debby Mendez, is getting the most pageviews on Glance's blog. It happens every November. Called "Cooking a Turkey in the Dishwasher: Good Idea or Gratuitous Complication?", it's beating posts with killer sales tips in them, like Sales Scripts: Would You Like Some Annoyance With That?, and Overcome Fear of Cold Calling with These 5 Tips From Sales Experts.

The reason? Its got a title that's heavily searched on during the holiday season. And our blog post is #2 on Google when you type in the phrase "cook a turkey in the dishwasher". See, apparently there's an old urban legend running around the US (and I've heard the UK, too) that claims you can steam-cook a turkey by wrapping it in tin foil and running it through the long cycle of your dishwasher (why you'd want to is another story...)

Unfortunately, that blog post is not actually about your Thanksgiving menu, but about the idea that cooking a turkey in the dishwasher is adding gratuitous complexity to a simple tradition -- good, ole' oven-cooked Thankgiving turkey. Analagously, we here at Glance feel that we don't want to heap superflous and complex features onto software that's engineered to be elegantly simple for our users.

But the real point of this post is that we've got proof that writing (relevant) SEO-friendly blog posts will draw leads to your site via organic search results.

And to make the most of that fact, here are 5 tips for writing SEO-friendly content:

  1. Pack your title with SEO keywords (blog titles are given significant weight from search engines);
  2. Link to your previous blog posts (creates a search engine push)
  3. Incorporate relevant and compelling images in your post (including images helps your post appear on Google, Bing or Yahoo image searches, and hey, why not use all possible doors to your content?);
  4. Tag your post (adds weight to the discussion topics throughout your post);
  5. And finally, use relevant keywords throughout your post (and give them more weight by bolding them and using them in subtitles).

(By the way, I guarantee we'll get more pageviews on the dishwasher-cooked turkey post(s) due to the number of times I've used the phrase in this post!)

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing, Glance Networks

Check out the "beauty of true software simplicity" by trying out Glance's elegant screen-sharing tool free for 7 days!

November 11, 2010

[VIDEO] Sales Prospecting and the Art of Improvisation | Tom Scontras Presents at Inside Sales Boston 2010

Ever think sales prospecting is a bit like Improv acting? So do we; and it turns out, there's lots to learn from the art of improv.

Watch this 30 min. video from AA-ISP's Inside Sales Boston 2010, and learn how improvisational acting can help boost your sales prospecting skills.

Tom Scontras, VP of Sales and Marketing at Glance presents tips to help you succeed, with special guest appearance by well-known Second City Improv actor, Alex Fendrich (otherwise, known as Glance's own "Don't Be That Guy" - Steve from Synthasaurus Software).

Watch the video - Prospecting and the Art of improv - Glance Networks
Tips I learned from the Tom and Alex's presentation:

  • Today's customers are totally overloaded and don't have time for you;
  • Sales pros need to "stand out from the pack" of all the OTHER sales calls;
  • Having a call plan is good, but...what happens when your prospect throws you a curve ball?
  • That's where the art of improvisation comes in - become skilled at it;
  • Plus...having industry knowledge gives you real confidence to improvise when needed.
  • Finally, practice, practice, practice!

 WATCH now.

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing

 

November 10, 2010

[VIDEO] Glance Asks | What Is Your Most Embarrassing Sales Situation? At Inside Sales Boston 2010

We've all experienced them, whether we want to admit it or not - those awkward moments in a sales call when we realize things haven't gone quite as we had planned. At the recent AA-ISP conference, Inside Sales Boston 2010, sponsor Glance asked colleagues in the Sales industry "what's been your most embarrassing sales situation?"

Watch and enjoy! (And watch for our cameras and mic at the next inside sales conference you attend - its your turn next!)

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing, Glance Networks

September 16, 2010

Sales Scripts: Would You Like Some Annoyance With That?

I’m a loyal Starbucks customer for a couple or reasons; the product, and the service.  More times than not; both are good.  However I’ve discovered a glitch.

Sales scripts are built to enable engagement through conversations, so they need to be embedded into a natural flow of give and take; not jettisoned through a plastic smile and corresponding tone. Like many of us uptight, type A’s, I have a routine.  My morning begins at Starbucks; Monday through Friday; between 7:20am and 7:30am, that’s where you’ll find me ordering the same thing every time: tall Pike and a Greek Yogurt with honey.

I walk in, stand in line, and watch as each customer orders their favorite drink and moves on. Process, and progress, it’s like printing money – I love it – everyday; everyday, except for Tuesdays that is. Tuesday is when Geoffrey, the way-too-happy barista works the register almost as aggressively as his up-sell-script.

My wife and kids will tell you that I am not a morning person and that to over-engage me prior to coffee can be an unpleasant experience. I think someone needs to tell Geoffrey this before he learns it firsthand. Regardless, I have been going to the same Starbucks, ordering the same thing for years. I know this, and I know that Geoffrey knows this. 

Yet, on Tuesdays, when I step up to the counter, I don’t get the same smile and instant service from him as I do with all of the other servers on any other day of the week.  Instead, I get the “up sell” – every #($&**! Tuesday for the last year:

Geoffrey:  Welcome to Starbucks can I interest you in one of our Pumpkin Spice Latte samples?

Me: That’s ok.

Geoffrey: Ok, can I get a drink started for you?

Me: Sure, I’d like one tall Pike, please.

Geoffrey: Wonderful, and can I interest you in some of our instant Via to take with you to the office?

Me: No, but thanks.

Geoffrey:  How about one of our lovely pastries, bagels, or muffins from our baked good case?

Me:  No thanks.

Geoffrey: We also offer warm breakfast sandwiches?

Me:  Had breakfast already.

Geoffrey: If you would like a pound of freshly ground, your coffee is free?

Me: That’s OK.

Geoffrey: Anything else?

Me:  The Yogurt.

Geoffrey: That will be $4.85, would you like your receipt?

Me: No.

Geoffrey:  I can stamp it and you can return this afternoon for a free tall coffee?

Me: I’m good.

Geoffrey:  You sure?

Me: I’m sure.

Geoffrey: Thanks for coming in.

Now I know Geoffrey is only trying to do his job, but he sucks at sales. Sales scripts are built to enable engagement through conversations, so they need to be embedded into a natural flow of give and take; not jettisoned through a plastic smile and corresponding tone.

Maybe some people ARE that happy in the morning, but not me; which is one reason why I have never, nor ever will buy anything from Geoffrey –  he doesn’t care about me, the conversation is not genuine; and it is abundantly evident that he is more concerned with completing his sales script for corporate, than building rapport with the client – sound familiar? 

So next time you are working with your Inside Sales team, remember my weekly encounter with Geoffrey;  and make sure to stress genuine conversation and rapport as the priority.  Sure you may not get through all of the questions you would like, but at least you will leave the prospect open and agreeable to taking your follow up call; even if it comes early on Tuesday morning, before coffee.

-- Tom Scontras, VP Sales and Marketing, Glance Networks

>> Try Glance to warm up your cold calls - try free for 7 days.

August 19, 2010

The Toughest Sales Job on the Planet: Convincing Voters to Cross Party Lines

I have marketed a lot of products in my time, some harder to sell than others.  But never have I run into the challenges presented by a political campaign. Wow. 

My brother, Dean Scontras, is running for the United States Congress and I've been working with him off and on over the last year.

As the campaign has progressed, his approach has evolved. Like with any great sales or marketing professional, you need to progress, maintaining your company’s core strengths, while at the same time keeping your thoughts and ideas fresh and in line with current customer demand – those experienced in the trenches day in and day out. 

Of course, when you’re a politician you need votes to win, and no matter what the circumstance, the more votes you can take from the opposite party, the higher the likelihood you will seal the deal.

I’m not sure what campaigning was like in the old days, pre-24 hour-in-your-face-cable-news-networks, but I can tell you that today, it's nuts.  I’ve learned that selling and marketing software is nothing compared to this stuff.

The closest analogy I can draw for you is that it’s like trying to convince a Microsoft user to join the Apple movement (or vice-versa); and even then, at least those platforms can co-exist!

But I digress, this isn’t a political blog (is it?), it’s about Sales and Marketing, so let me get back to the point: I think in all of this Sales 2.0 talk, tools, and rhetoric, we have forgotten some basic principles, present company included.  So here are 5 killer sales tips which I have re-discovered along the campaign trail this year. I hope some of this will jar a few thoughts lose from you, and possibly a comment or two:

  1. Kool Aid Can Make You Deaf: I worked for Microsoft once.  It was a cool experience, but to “fit in” you needed to drink the Kool-Aid. Internally any suggestion to propose heterogeneous solutions, even though they best met the customer’s need, were frowned upon. That’s why I believe that sales leaders who are willing to fore go “all or nothing” scripted answers in exchange for consultative, integrated solutions are the ones who are best at building brand loyalty, and along with it, a massive stream of predictable, repeatable revenue.  
  2. Run Respectable Campaigns: It is appropriate to point out your exceptional value, e.g., “here are the 4 unique innovations that our solution offers to your specific problems, which in your evaluation we hope you will challenge and discuss with us.”  Not: “Let me tell you why you don’t want to go with our competitor (insert random, unproven, invalid bashing here).  It only takes one small discovery of inaccurate data from your client and you will immediately be discredited.  No one likes mud-slinging, so don’t do it. 
  3. Be Genuinely Professional:  When presenting solutions and or interacting with clients remember to be yourself; human, compassionate, answer questions directly with credible solutions, backed by fact and when you don’t know the answer, just say so.  Remember when first engaging clients, you are an unknown; establishing trust and credibility takes time.  Before engaging, do your homework, and if possible, know your clients personality type (DISC) and interact accordingly; be genuine, but don’t be insensitive to who they are, and where they are coming from. In the end, you may not come to agreement on every issue, but showing appreciation and understanding of their world will go a long way. 
  4. Don’t Let the Ignorant Bigot Get You Down: They exist everywhere, so know one thing -- you simply are not going to get them to open their minds to other solutions. As incredibly valuable as your solution could be, the ignorant bigot is not someone to focus your selling efforts on. Instead, find influencers with whom they socialize, and work outside in. 
  5. Have a Firm Handshake: We forget sometimes that all of the people we meet outside of work are potential leads, or referrals.  So the next time you leave your cube, don’t just pack your laptop, remember to include your firm handshake and a well practiced, powerful elevator pitch; because you never know who you’ll meet along the trail.

-- Tom Scontras, VP, Sales & Marketing, Glance Networks

Learn the 3 Keys to Making the Successful Shift to Sales 2.0! REGISTER TODAY for the next Glance webinar, Tues. 8/24 http://bit.ly/cvoIyc

August 17, 2010

Glance Reviewed as Highly Effective Sales Tool for Financial Advisors, in "Technology Tools for Today"

Recently, a great review of Glance appeared in the Technology Tools For Today newsletter, which bills itself as a "the ONLY Practice/Management newsletter for Financial Advisors". Ted Rich, of Vinoy Capital, in Orlando, a long-time Glance customer, raves about using Glance to:

  1. Expand his prospect base geographically, without extra travel time and expense;
  2. Create more positive customer experiences; and
  3. Team sell with colleagues around the country.

Here's the text of Ted's article...

Virtual Meetings — Tools for Making Them Effective and Efficient

One of the unspoken truths of the RIA (Registered Investment Advisors) business is this – the majority of RIA firms focus their efforts on obtaining the largest number of qualified clients possible within one Glance.net reviewed in Technology Tools for Today hour’s driving distance from their local office. It is just plain fact that if you are going to meet with a prospect in person at least one to three times before being hired, and then meet with them at least quarterly forever, then having all of your clients within a short drive from the office would be the best case scenario for most RIA firms. It is also fact that many opportunities can and will arise for firms outside of their one hour circle, and then the decision must be made on whether the client will be large enough or important enough to justify the extra time and expense that will be incurred each year meeting with them in person using a similar frequency as with local clients. Thankfully, the astounding speed of progress in communication technology has provided at least one potential solution to these issues – the virtual meeting.

Let’s briefly define the virtual meeting for purposes of this discussion, and then review some tools for maximizing its value. Virtual meetings are simply an Internet-based version of a dedicated client or prospect meeting, with only the handshake, eye-contact, and body language missing. Those three things are no doubt important and should be accomplished at certain points in the relationship, but for most clients they are not necessary during every contact if expectations are properly set up from the beginning. One of the things we ask all prospective clients about is their comfort with technology, and it is a major factor in our determination of whether they will be a good fit for our firm.

The best thing about virtual meetings (not counting the dramatic time and expense savings) is that they only require a few simple technology tools, and those tools are amazingly easy and cost-effective to use. Since our firm rarely uses paper even during in-person client meetings, this allows us to conduct effectively the same meeting virtually.  In this article we will review how our firm has combined several of these tools to maximize the results of our virtual meetings, keeping in mind that the most important objective is that the client has a positive experience on their end, reinforcing the idea that this type of communication will be acceptable to them going forward.

The most important technology piece by far is the screen sharing software, and while there are many solid choices available in the marketplace, our firm has for several years been using successfully a program named Glance. The two things that are most important to us in this type of software are also the key highlights of Glancespeed and simplicity. One of the challenges of online meetings is that very often the client or prospect does not spend as much time with computers as most RIAs do. So if we are going to propose this type of meeting, the software has to be very easy to use. The last thing we want is for the client to spend ten frustrating minutes on the beginning of our call trying to get the screen sharing to work. Glance provides a very simple entry link that we embed into our firm website, and to get started it only asks the client to enter a four digit code and click one button (maybe an extra two clicks the first time they use it).

The other key feature that Glance makes so easy, is allowing different people from different locations the ability to control the screen at any time. This is very important to us since my partner, Michael Tracy, lives and works from Boulder, CO while I live and work from Orlando, FL. Almost always when we are in a virtual meeting together, there are parts of the meeting that Michael will present from Colorado and parts that I will present from Florida.  Glance makes this very easy, and it also happens to be very impressive to the client or prospect since this technology is still rather new to most of the world. Once we are connected, we simply show and discuss the same items with the client or prospect as we would be doing in a normal face-to-face meeting.

As a side note, one of the huge benefits of easy two-way screen sharing is that it drastically improved our ability to assist clients with technology questions regarding using our website, viewing their custodial statements online, viewing our online performance system, and many other items. Now, instead of trying to talk them through an issue over the phone, we can simply open a screen sharing session and control their computer screen so we can see exactly what they are seeing and walk them through the solution right on their own computer. This feature alone has been a huge time and headache saver for us and once again is very impressive to clients.

Many screen sharing programs also include an integrated audio component for a comprehensive virtual meeting solution, but we choose to use a separate service for audio. As mentioned above, often our audience is not as familiar with online meetings as we are, so asking them to receive video and audio through their computer is often too much at once. However, connecting to simple screen sharing and making a normal telephone call usually works very well, as once the screens are connected then all they have to do is talk on the phone and watch what we are doing. It also allows us to still connect with them on audio in case anyone’s Internet connection is acting up at this very inopportune time. For a one-on-one virtual meeting we just make a normal telephone call (using our hosted VoIP system), but since most of our virtual meetings are multi-party, we use www.freeconferencecall.com (FCC) as our provider of choice. FCC provides a Web-based application that provides a conference call line for our firm to use on demand. Our firm has a static phone number and access code that allows us to host conference calls at any time for a large number of participants (96), even though we rarely have more than five different parties calling in to our virtual meetings. Anybody connecting to our meeting simply dials the conference line at the appropriate time, enters the participant code, and we are all instantly connected. Our firm lines use a different host code so we can control features such as recording the call, muting the participants, etc.

The best thing about this system by far is that we are not responsible for getting everyone connected to the call. Every participant, internal or external, simply dials the phone number and enters the code at the designated date and time. Gone for us are the days of putting callers on hold while we try to use an internal conferencing system to connect multiple parties.

The two tools mentioned so far are all that is really needed for an effective virtual meeting, but a third tool we often use is the basic Web camera. We have found this a great way to connect with our prospects and clients regardless of whether we have ever met in person or not. In fact, our experience has been that it does not even matter if the client has a camera on their end, as video conferencing is even less familiar to most people than screen sharing. My partner and I use the cameras and Skype to videoconference together at least weekly, but for the virtual meetings we just use the cameras to show our smiling faces to our attendees. Almost any Web camera will work, but we usually prefer cameras from Logitech. That topic leads to a brief discussion of what a typical virtual meeting looks like and costs, so let’s expand on that here.

A typical virtual meeting starts with someone from our staff emailing detailed instructions to the attendees. These include exactly how to connect to the audio call, how to be ready to accept the code for connecting to the screen sharing, and even how to test their computer ahead of time to make sure they can use the screen sharing program. The email is very thorough and includes screen shots of places where the attendees need to click or input something to be ready to go. Once we are all connected on the audio call, the attendees are given the code for activating the screen sharing, and within a few seconds we are all connected there as well. Often this is the spot where we will use the Web camera to move the video picture of ourselves into the screen sharing box so that clients can see us live as we are making introductions and having small talk at the beginning of the meeting. Then as we move into the meat of the meeting, we simply slide the camera window out of sight so that we can focus on the PowerPoint, Excel spreadsheet, website or whatever else we are using as visuals for the call. If my partner and I are both on the call, the control of the mouse is easily shared back and forth even though we are usually several states apart. As the meeting is concluding, we often slide the camera window back into view so that clients can see us again as we sign off, giving it a very personal touch at the end.

So what is the cost for communicating with all of this advanced technology? About $40 per month for the Glance subscription, about $100 for Logitech’s best webcam, and nothing for the conference call service (every caller just pays their own long distance charges). We are still amazed at the low cost of providing high quality virtual meetings that we could only have dreamed of just a few years ago. In fact, last year we were referred to a prospective client living on the other side of the globe, and after just a single, two-hour virtual meeting, he was asking us to email him the documents so he could sign up as a client. It is highly unlikely we would have secured this client so quickly, or maybe even at all, if we were not already adept at hosting virtual meetings.

This communication method is available now and becoming more accepted (and even preferred) by clients and prospects, and the technology is ridiculously inexpensive. It has benefited our practice tremendously, and has extended our geographic reach so that our firm’s one-hour drive circle has grown to include any location on Earth with a high-speed Internet connection. Now that is quite a database of prospective clients.

-- Ted S. Rich, Vinoy Capital

* * *

VINOY CAPITAL, LLC is an independent, fee-only, registered investment advisory firm headquartered in Orlando, Florida with an additional location in Boulder, Colorado. Vinoy provides discretionary money management and selective, strategic financial advice to individuals, families and institutions. Contact related to this column should be directed to Ted Rich at 407-599-1104.

July 27, 2010

Are Software Sales Slow, or Is That a Tar Pit You’re Standing In?

My circle of professional friends is made up of 40 – 50 something’s, divided between the Route 128 beltway here in Boston, and Silicon Valley just outside of San Francisco. 

For the most part, we're all selling software to some of the largest companies in the world. Still in it for the passion of making a small “bit” of code known throughout the universe – or at least on Wall Street.

In his book “The World is Flat”, Thomas Friedman addressed our generation and the various projects which we worked on throughout the 80’s and 90’s – he referred to the events as “flatteners”. 

I don’t suppose we were consciously competent of it at the time, but in retrospect, wow, we did some huge deals, delivered ground breaking go-to-market programs, and launched products that literally change the world and our lives – virtually overnight.

I remember my good friend Michael Werner flying in from Redmond; he was coming to Boston to kickoff Microsoft’s first ever worldwide virtual user conference for a small project which he and his team created – they were building a network of programmers and thinking of naming it: “The Microsoft Developer Network” or MSDN -- a channel strategy to seed the world’s coding rock stars with Microsoft Visual Studio platform, hoping to displace Sun, IBM and all others.

I remember him telling me about Bill's latest "vision" on our snowy drive into Boston; of course, being the prophet that I am, I simply replied “…good luck with that one”.

The point I'm making is that in the 90’s, we laid the framework for online, real time communications, globally. We were working for tiny start-ups selling billions and billions of dollars of technology infrastructure and software to the largest companies in the world. It was intense.

I would spend hours in conversations with C-level execs at these companies, looking to gain a leg up on their competition by leveraging innovation.  Given the scale of these solutions, cost, budget allocation, complexity, and political risk; the Sales pros had to be there, on site -- relationships were the difference between winning and losing. 

The outside sales organization was not just a component of the business, in many cases it WAS the business. All of the momentum, all of the demand, all the incredible competition -- it was so crazy that many of us didn’t see the end coming, until, well, the end. 

  Fast forward 25 years later and things necessarily have changed. Its a Sales 2.0 world. Yet, there still remain hangers-on: High Tech CEO’s, VP’s of Marketing, Sales Managers, and dare I say, Board Members who refuse, for whatever reason, not to see the hieroglyphics on the wall. Who even today, cling to that cost heavy, inefficient and ineffective “Outside Sales Model”.

I am not suggesting that the need to build relationships with clients is gone; that definitely is not the case. Never will this perish (and if so, I hope I’m out of here when it does – because, that is a lost art; a blog post for another time, and something drastically lacking in all of this Sales 2.0 hipness).

What I am saying, however, is that the frequency, and need of the “schmooze” has greatly diminished, and gone with it, is the requirement for the armies that once ruled the road with nothing but Buicks, massive cell phones, and enormous expense.

Certainly some of the old school prospects still look forward to a big steak, but as decision makers of this past generation retire, they will be replaced by “Gen Y” buyers (Customer 2.0), who will just as easily do a deal via their iPhone and Skype, instead of dinner and a ball game. 

Yet, generational shift is only one of two “Sales world flatteners”; in fact, it will probably be the last piece to fall into place. 

The other flattener (and ironically the higher hurdle for many first gen sales people) was created by the very infrastructure and evolution that we built our livelihoods on; from LAN, to client server applications, to the internet, which lead to the .com’s, whose failure proved which commerce models worked (and which did not); ultimately bringing us today’s fast, stable, secure SaaS applications and Cloud Service architecture.

In other words, the groundwork laid over 2 decades ago, now makes it possible for any ISV serving the enterprise to build, host, deliver and manage mission critical applications – for cheap! 

If you don’t believe me, look at the data warehouse and business intelligence space.  I was part of the original Informatica Sales Organization. We were assisting the F500, or in my case Financial 100, with the data they required to run their business.

We were the start up sales team, all 5 of us; telling the story of how you could gain access to the data in your mainframe, transform it on the fly, store it in something called a Relational Database Management System, and while migrating, become Y2K compliant; all for the low, low price of a million-dollars.

Fast forward to the fall of 2009. Here at Glance we had a need to move data from our RDBMS (SQL Server), transform it to meet real time business requirements, and insert it into our Salesforce.com instance; allowing us at any point in time to track the vitality of our business.

Snaplogic For this mission critical application we evaluated the market and choose a tool from a new company in this space called SnapLogic; ironically, (ok, not ironically), whose CEO is Gaurav Dhillon; former founder of, you guessed it, Informatica. 

Here's the cool part, we got a demo from a very bright young guy named Vince Ko; no one needed to come and see us, we didn’t have to install anything locally, its SaaS, the implementation was done by SnapLogic experts from 3000 miles away, and oh yeah, we didn’t spend a million. (For proprietary reasons, let’s just say I bought a new bike this summer, and it cost more money than our SnapLogic annual subscription.)

My story is not unique. It is not a one-off-event, instead it is the rapidly accepted norm, the future of selling enterprise software, the alignment of Gen Y and Tech evolution. A shift which will retrospectively be seen as bringing to extinction the top heavy Outside Sales models of our past.

So if you’re an old guy like me, and you're still driving that Buick, or carrying that GI Joe cell phone, do yourself a favor and evolve your ways of thinking fast, before that tar pit beneath your wheels sucks you in for good.

-- Tom Scontras, VP Sales & Marketing, Glance Networks

Learn the 3 Keys to Making the Successful Shift to Sales 2.0! REGISTER TODAY for the next Glance webinar, Tues. 8/24/10 http://bit.ly/cvoIyc

July 15, 2010

Maximize Your Work Productivity in 12 Simple Steps | Surprisingly Astute "Must-Do's" From a Young Mind

My 11-year old twins came into the office the other day - strangely, they love to "play office" here in Glance's solar-powered, renovated mill space, usually dragging along a friend or two (obviously, they don't yet know the grind of the working world!). "Playing office" involves things To Do List, workplace productivity, business strategylike writing any and all thoughts on the whiteboard wall, making Powerpoints crammed with unusual clip art, rolling around on the swivel chairs, "leading meetings" from the conference table, and xeroxing non-paper objects. 

While the others were haggling over who got the red erasable marker, one of my daughters went off and wrote her work "to-do" list. Looking at it later, I realized that its a surprisingly wise and strategic compendium of business objectives and tasks, which if followed, will ensure workplace success:

J. G.'s To Do List

  1. Make them listen to me.
  2. Figure out what the company does.
  3. Get party organizer.
  4. Organize fundraiser.
  5. Make computer work.
  6. Ignore their fighting.
  7. Actually do my job.
  8. Have an opinion.
  9. Talk.
  10. Remind them that I'm not 21 yet.
  11. Give ideas.
  12. Go home.
Simple steps to a successful business: know your company mission, raise funds, brainstorm, have an opinion, communicate it, act your age, do the job, ignore petty distractions, make sure your technology works, and of course, celebrate your successes and don't forget to go home.

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing, Glance Networks

Follow Glance Networks on Twitter and Facebook for daily tips on Sales 2.0

July 08, 2010

The ONE Way to Lose Your Audience Before You Get Started: How to Make Your Social Media and Blog Headlines Stand Out

 The New York Post does it right. Sort of. Eye-popping headlines make you stop and read (or more likely, purchase). Unfortunately, their content doesn't always deliver. But then again, I'm not sure great content is anywhere in their mission statement.

But if you're trying to gain your prospect's attention, generate leads, or provide thought leadership in social media, you need to nail the art of great content plus great headlines.

After all, you have about 1 second to grab the attention of your audience scanning the millions of blog, FB, LI, and Twitter posts every day (Twitter alone sends out 50 million updates each day!)

You'll quickly know your headlines aren't compelling if your pages don’t seem to be getting the exposure you think they deserve; readers aren't re-tweeting them, or commenting on them; and nobody seems to be linking to them from their blogs.

Here are some not-so-compelling, real post headlines that I saw online this morning. None of them made me want to click:

  • Another Brick in the Paywall: I know its supposed to be a clever play-on-words, but it doesn't tell me why I should care to read it, or what it's really about.
  • The Zen of PowerPoint: Again, clever oxymoron, but I have only a few minutes to read in the morning, so I need to know exactly how this post will help me. If I don't see the immediate benefit within the title, I'll move on.
  • SEO Analytics 101: Sounds potentially interesting, but, gosh, with a title like that, it could be a tome! I don't have time for a tome. 
  • APCO Releases Reputation Study Finding: So, who is APCO, and what is a reputation study? Including one of the more interesting findings from the study, in the headline, might have drawn me in.

 

In contrast, here are some online posts from this morning, that I clicked on right away:

  • 7 Steps to Creating a Successful Online Business: Success in 7 steps?! That sounds right up my alley! And since I'm in online marketing, this post might have something I could use for my job.
  • 7 Ways to Start Building Your Personal Brand for Free: Not sure why good things are coming in 7's today, but its a manageable number. Plus, this headline tells me exactly what will happen if I follow the 7 steps, and oh, by the way, they don't cost any money! 
  • The Most Important Hiring Trait, Period. Do You Have It?: 'Nuf said. We all need to hire and get hired. You're crazy if you don't read this one. (And talk about inducing career paranoia! That second little sentence makes the headline.)  
  • Is Social Media Failing to Produce Business Leads?: Oh gosh, I hope not, since I'm the Social Media Strategist for my SaaS company. I better read this.
  • Help: "Our Closing Ratio Dropped by 50% in the last Quarter!" I know exactly what this post is about, its got a real problem in it, and purports to offer a solution. Probably worth my time to read.

So, what's the difference? Good headlines tell you, succinctly, what the article is about, and why you'll benefit from reading it. And they use controversy, mystery, energy, guidance, and fun to engage your interest and stand out from the pack.

Bad headlines are broad, general, boring, unspecific, and company-centric (as opposed to being reader-centric).

Nick Usborne advises using "catchy headlines, but applied intelligently, and always followed by great content." 

Need help writing your headlines? Tiffany Monhollon has some great suggestions in 57 Power Words for Writing Brilliant Headlines (and btw, that is a great headline, following all the right rules!) 


-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing, Glance Networks

Follow Glance Networks on Twitter and Facebook for daily tips on Sales 2.0 (and hopefully, some very compelling headlines!)