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What I Learned at Dinner with a Top IBM Sales Executive That You Should Know, Too

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I work in a crazy industry. And if you work in advertising or digital marketing, you know what I’m talking about. It’s nuts.

Oh, sure, there are some great things about this business — you’re constantly learning new things, you get to help others grow their business, and you get to work with smart, colorful people.

But one not-so-great thing about this industry is that I need to replace about 30% of my revenues each year just to have 0% growth.

How can that be?

Well, in any given year, about 1/3rd of an advertising agency’s clients leave the agency, cut their budgets or go out of business. So each year, I have to replace the 1/3rd of my revenue just to be break even.

See? Crazy.

I’m Not the Only One Who Has to Keep the Sales Pipeline Full to Stay in Business.

In fact, if you work in software, healthcare, insurance, or just about any other B2B company, you know what I’m talking about. In any given year, a certain percentage of your business walks out the door, and in order to grow, you have to replace that business (and then some).

So, what does all this have to do with having dinner with a top IBM sales executive?

As you know, IBM hires the best and the brightest in their field. They also provide some of the best sales training in the world. So when I found myself having dinner with one of their top sales people, I figured I could learn a thing or two.

We spent most of the evening talking about the IBM brand, their messaging strategy and their sales process. We also talked about their business strategy, their perspectives on the marketplace and even some of the well-documented blunders the company had made over the decade.

But when we talked about the IBM sales process, I was surprised by the simplicity of their approach. Yes, they had some bells and whistles that I hadn’t thought of. And yes, they had a massive team of very smart people hunting down new business all the time. But the one thing that this top executive kept mentioning throughout the dinner is something that you and I have easy access to, if we set our minds to it.

And that something is discipline.

IBM’s Secret Weapon is That They’re Incredibly Disciplined About Staying on Task.

In a sense, I was pleasantly surprised that this top IBM sales executive didn’t need an expensive gadget or technology to make his system work. All he needed were a few basic tools and the discipline to consistently use those tools day in and day out.

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I have discipline. So do you. And with a few simple tools to keep us on task, we can probably do a much better job keeping our sales pipeline full.

So, with that in mind, I did some homework on the essential tools I need to keep my business humming. What follows are 3 of my favorites which are designed to 1) improve my efficiency, 2) streamline my sales and marketing process, and 3) systematize my approach to keeping the pipeline full.

Ready? Here goes:

Act-On Software: I first got to know Act-On when they sponsored our sister blog called the 60 Second Marketer. Over the course of time, I’ve grown to love the simplicity and power that their marketing automation platform brings to the table.

Would you like to manage, measure, customize and optimize your lead generation campaigns? Do you want to track the results of your online marketing efforts in order to figure out what’s working and what’s not working? If so, then you’ll want to take a spin through the Act-On platform, which is designed to do all that and more.

(Side note: I recently wrote an e-book for Act-On called Likes Are Great, Leads Are Better. It covers several important topics, most notably how to turn social media engagement into revenue for your business.)

Oktopost: I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been satisfied with Hootsuite. Even though I paid extra for the Pro version, it didn’t seem as though it had everything I needed. So, I did some exploring and got in touch with the folks at Oktopost.

Oktopost has everything Hootsuite has, and then some. The analytics are better and the campaign management is better. Best of all, the online dashboard is clean, crisp and easy-to-use, which is a big plus in my book.

If you’re ready to take your social media management up a notch, check out Oktopost. I liked it so much, I dumped Hootsuite and switched over permanently.

SalesLoft: What Act-On does for marketing, SalesLoft does for sales. Their platform is designed to provide B2B sales teams everything they need to 1) track down prospects, 2) engage those prospects via email or voice mail, and 3) nurture those prospects through the sales funnel.

If you’re business relies on a dedicated sales team for outbound prospecting, and you’re looking for a platform that will keep your sales team on-task with a specific set of goals and benchmarks, you’ll want to take a spin through the SalesLoft platform. It’s a great platform for businesses that really want to take their sales prospecting methodology to the next level.

The Bottom Line:

In the end, what my friend from IBM taught me was that you don’t need big, expensive tools in order to keep the sales funnel full. All you need are a few reasonably-priced tools that can facilitate the process along with a heavy dose of discipline to stay on task.

If you have those two things — tools and discipline — you can make significant impact on your business and your career.

I’ve covered 3 of my favorite tools in this post. Did I miss any? What are your favorite tools you use in your sales and marketing program?

Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, an Atlanta-based advertising agency and digital marketing firm that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.

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What Every Advertising Agency Executive and CMO Should Know About Digital Media

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If you work in an advertising agency or as a marketing director at a corporation, you may have heard a lot of buzz about Programmatic Media Buying and Real Time Bidding.

What is Programmatic Media Buying? In a nutshell, it’s essentially computerized media buying, although that may be an oversimplification. Peter Naylor, former evp at NBCUniversal says that Programmatic is “…advertising’s newer, better mousetrap. (It’s) a catchall term that many people are using to categorize everything from behavioral and intent-based targeting to real-time bidding and exchange-based buying of inventory.”

But Programmatic isn’t the only thing you need to understand. You should also wrap your mind around Real Time Bidding.

Real-time bidding (RTB) refers to the means by which ad inventory is bought and sold on a per-impression basis, via programmatic instantaneous auction, similar to financial markets.

That definition probably didn’t clear things up much, but fear not — our friends at Fiksu created an infographic that does a good job of laying out what Programmatic is and what Real Time Bidding is, and how both of those technologies can be leveraged in mobile.

The infographic begins to introduce some of the important concepts around digital marketing that you should know about. It doesn’t cover everything, but it’s a great start.

Speaking of which, if you want to learn more about digital marketing, programmatic and real time bidding, stay tuned to these pages. We posted a great overview of the important concepts in digital marketing on this post last week, and will be doing more and more posts on this topic as the days go on.

In the meantime, check out the infographic below. It’s a great overview about a quickly-evolving topic and should get you headed in the right direction on some of the more complex and sophisticated topics that are coming down the digital marketing highway as we speak.


How to Use Digital Marketing to Grow Your Sales and Revenues

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Are you interested in learning more about digital marketing? If so, then you’ll want to read a new book on the subject called Targeted: How Technology is Revolutionizing Advertising and the Way Companies Reach Consumer by Mike Smith and published by AMACOM.

I’ve been in the digital marketing and advertising business business for several decades. One of the things that has kept me interested is that the industry is in a constant state of flux and change. Sometimes, those changes can be very good news for businesses because if they jump on a new technology or technique, they can differentiate themselves from their competitors.

But other times, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date on all the changes and new technologies that are being introduced.

That’s Why Targeted is Such a Valuable Resource

Mike Smith has done a terrific job of laying out the world of digital marketing in consumable and digestible chunks. Each concept is laid out carefully with just the right amount of detail so that you’re not overwhelmed and are always asking for more.

What follows is an excerpt from the book which provides an overview of the digital marketing landscape — an important subject for anyone interested in learning more about all the different players in the digital marketing world.

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Targeted, by Mike Smith, is a must read for anyone interested in digital marketing.

Publishers: If you have followed the news even casually over the last few years, it’s likely that you came across a story about publishing in crisis. (In fact, you probably saw that story on a screen instead of reading it on paper.) While rumors of newspapers’ last gasps have been greatly exaggerated, no one in any part of the media food chain would deny the industry upheaval that is reshaping the publishing world.

For our purposes, a publisher is any content provider whose business model is providing information that is paid for by advertising. This includes portals like AOL, MSN, and Yahoo!; traditional news and special interest outlets such as,, and; search engines such as Google and Bing; and social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. These publishers may be “platform agnostic.” That is, they may deliver content by means of more than one medium. So, for example, Hearst provides Esquire’s content both in print and online.

Ad Networks: Now we’re getting into the heavily trafficked part of the toll road, where the most transactions take place. As Internet use expanded, most ad agencies did not have adequate media-buying resources to select and purchase ad spaces (impressions) across the multitude of websites suddenly sprouting up. Ad networks arose to meet this need for selective and efficient ad space allocation for presenting what are called display ads, which look like little billboards. They bought ad space in bulk from publishers, often at prices far below the full retail prices publishers asked for. Often, the impressions they bought were those the publishers were unable to sell – or unable to sell for good prices (known as remnant inventory). Then the ad networks resold their aggregate inventory across the Internet to advertisers and their ad agencies. (See Chapter 5 for a more detailed account of this moment in interactive advertising history.)

Some of the noteworthy ad networks are AOL’s, the Yahoo! Network, DoubleClick, Microsoft Media Network, and 24/7 Real Media. DoubleClick (which now operates a major online ad exchange) is owned by Google, providing the search giant with a perch at many locations long the toll road – as publisher, exchange, network, and advertiser. Smaller ad networks, such as Blogads, Deck Network, and Federated Media, help advertisers reach more specialized, niche audiences on sites that have limited ad inventory. By using these smaller networks, advertisers gain the benefit of knowing they are reaching a desirable, very selective segment of consumers.

Ad Exchanges: The primary function of an exchange is to aggregate ad space (supply) from publishers and sell it via an auction, thereby matching the supply with the demand (the advertisers), theoretically with greater efficiency than if publishers and advertisers interacted one-to-one. Publishers might divide their inventory among, and advertisers may buy impressions from, multiple ad networks, operating as intermediaries. In contrast to all that dividing and allocating, the premise of an ad exchange, as with a stock exchange, is the consolidation of inventory so that these inventory-clearly, ad-serving transactions can take place with greater transparency and scale and at prices that work best for buyers and sellers.

This category of the toll landscape has seen a big consolidation over the past several years. The most prominent ad exchanges have been acquired by major online media conglomerates. Right Media was acquired by Yahoo! in April 2007 for $680 million. DoubleClick was purchased by Google in May 2007 for $3.1 billion. Microsoft bought ad exchange AdECN in August 2007 for an undisclosed amount.

Demand-Side Platforms: As the road between publishers and advertisers became more crowded with intermediaries, advertisers and their ad agencies began looking for help navigating the increasingly complex terrain. So-called demand-side platforms (DSPs) were formed to work for and consult with the buyers of online advertising. They offered expert services helping advertisers select potential audience members across ad networks and exchanges by, for example, helping them pick the right media and/or actually buying the media on behalf of their clients, promising advertisers that they could greatly improve their ability to target and buy specific audiences. By aggregating demand by means of DSPs, ad agencies and media buyers can better manage their campaigns across a range of sites. DSPs such as MediaMath, DataXu, and Turn Inc. help improve the selectiveness of those who buy ad space.

Supply-Side Platforms: These are companies that work with and consult for publishers, the sellers. Their role is to help publishers make the most money in selling their media; that’s why they are sometimes called yield optimization companies.

Since mass-media advertising began, brands have sought assurance that their ads were being heard or seen by the right prospective customers at the right time. Yet, as we saw earlier, the fragmentation of Internet audiences, the vagaries of viewers’ attention, and their flitting among sites have raised doubts about the ability of publishers or ad networks to deliver the right target at the right time. Supply-side platforms (SSPs) rose to the challenge with technologies that demonstrated to advertisers that they were reaching those they wanted to target. SSPs work on behalf of publishers to help them sell more impressions and/or sell them at higher prices. Prominent players in the field include Admeld (now owned by Google), PubMatic, and the Rubicon Project. Publishers often enlist their help when they want to maximize their revenues by selling remnant ad inventory.

Data Aggregators/Suppliers: The growing use of the Internet has created a deluge of digital information about you: the identity and address of your computer, the make and model of your car, the online and off-line destinations you visit, and myriad other facts about your preferences. Given the increased splintering of online audiences, behavioral data about who is doing what and when grows more valuable.

BlueKai, eXelate, Nielsen, Intelius, and Spokeo are some of the companies currently providing or mediating the exchange of data. Such data gathering is controversial because it arouses concerns that it infringes on our privacy. The increasing amassing of data files about individuals is met with suspicion, especially by consumer advocates, who view such data gathering as if it were a video camera keeping us all under surveillance. Nevertheless, it’s likely that the growing volume of Internet traffic will only add to the amassing of data, especially as content is served in new ways by new networked devices (for example, tablet computers such as the iPad).

Targeted is a Must Read Book for Marketers of All Shapes and Sizes

If you’re in digital marketing — even if you’re only on the periphery — this is a must-read book. It’s perfect for anyone interested in learning more about the digital marketing landscape and how you can use it to grow your sales and revenues.

Excerpt from Targeted by Mike Smith provided by AMACOM Books. ©2015


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B2B Marketing: How to Use B2B Behavior Secrets to Improve Your Marketing ROI

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Are you interested in learning more about B2B marketing? If so, I have some good news — there’s plenty of new data and research about the B2B marketing process that you can sink your teeth into.

That’s a positive trend. After all, there are more stories written about B2C marketing than there are about B2B marketing. That’s understandable — Coca-Cola, AT&T and others spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year creating advertising campaigns, social media campaigns and content marketing campaigns focused on the B2C consumer. So, it stands to reason that there would be a lot of data around B2C consumer behavior and how to leverage it for business.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of information about the B2B consumer. In fact, research and insights into the B2B buying process have helped many companies improve their marketing ROI quite significantly over the past several years.

A driving force behind the improvement of B2B marketing ROI has been the fact that business-to-business marketers are now viewing their customers as individuals rather than as an enterprise entity. In other words, B2B marketers understand that a they should market to an influencer quite differently than they market to a decision-maker and the other players in the B2B sales funnel.

Here’s a graphic from a webinar I recently conducted with Oktopost that highlights the different players B2B marketers have to contend with when developing their marketing campaigns.

Target Markets in the B2B Marketing Landscape:

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As you can see, the B2B landscape includes Initiators, Users, Influencers, Deciders, Approvers, Buyers and Gatekeepers.

The B2C landscape is somewhat simpler — in many cases, there’s just a buyer/user, although there are some B2C scenarios that have an influencer as well as a buyer/user. [In my youth, I developed marketing campaigns for Franco American SpaghettiOs, and we would advertise to the influencer (the child) as well as the buyer/user (the parent) to ensure we covered all our bases].

10 Questions Every B2B Marketer Should Ask Before Launching Their Next Campaign

What follows are 10 questions I posed to the B2B marketers who tuned into the Oktopost webinar. I’m sharing them with you because I think they’re a great starting point for any B2B marketing campaign.

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The questions above can help you lay the foundation for your next B2B marketing program. B2B marketing tends to be a little more complex than B2C marketing, so the questions can be used to sort through some of the fundamental issues.

If all of this talk about B2B marketing is of interest to you, you might want to take a look at the SlideShare deck I’ve included below. It includes several B2B marketing secrets, some of which include the following:

  • The Second B in B2B is Actually a C
  • People Buy for Emotional Reasons and Rationalize Their Purchase with Logic
  • Sometimes People Buy for Reasons that “Reason” Will Never Know

My favorite secret in the presentation is this one:

  • Women are Smarter Than Men

Of course, that’s not really a secret because most women know this already and the men will catch on eventually. But it highlights a key point of the entire webinar — in order to succeed in B2B marketing, you need to speak to your prospects as individuals, not as mass entities.

Okay, ready to check out the slides? Terrific. Here goes.

How to Use B2B Consumer Behavior Secrets to Grow Your Sales and Revenue

Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, an Atlanta-based advertising agency and digital marketing firm that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.

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How to Use Social Media to Improve the Results of Your Next B2B Marketing Campaign

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Are you using social media to help with your B2B marketing campaigns? Studies show that 92% of B2B buyers use social media to engage with sales industry thought leaders. Said another way, your prospects want to talk with you before they buy from you, and they’re using social media as a channel to facilitate that conversation.

The bottom line is that you can improve the results of your next marketing campaign by leveraging social media as a lead nurturing tool.

How? Check out the infographic below, brought to us by our friends at Leadspace. It provides plenty of good data on why using social media for B2B marketing campaigns is important, and how you can leverage social media to improve the results of your next B2B marketing campaign.


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Posted by Jamie Turner, marketing author and CEO of 60 Second Communications and the 60 Second Marketer.


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