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Four Sales Tools To Use During This Economic Downturn

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Four Sales Tools To Use During This Economic Downturn

When the economy is making all of us nervous, we start looking for ways to make the most of every click and every lead.

Here are the tools that help you close more sales by utilizing your current tricks and contacts, i.e. without investing more in marketing:

1. Walnut.io: Make the Most of Your Product Demos

Product demos are the most powerful sales tools. But they are also the most challenging tools because they often require design skills and live presentations. The result is often unpredictable making it difficult to identify what went wrong with different prospects and how to improve your process.

Walnut is an innovative tool that helps sales reps create personalized and interactive product demos that close deals.

Its key features include:

  • Create personalized and engaging product demonstrations for each prospect.
  • Put together ready-to-go product demo templates by use case that are quick to reuse and publicize.
  • Guide prospects easily with interactive annotations.
  • Use built-in analytics to identify what works well and where you are losing sales.
  • Work faster by integrating all your demo data with your CRM.

In a nutshell, Walnut allows you to increase product demo conversions. It makes your tool more productive by allowing them to reuse demos and focus on what works. It also makes it easier to convince larger decision making units because you can send all your prospects a link to an interactive demo that will help them understand your product value proposition.

2. DealHub: Make the Most of Every Lead or Prospect

DealHub is a deal acceleration platform that helps sales teams sell more with the help of smart technology. It offers tools that make it easier to generate proposals and quotes, and helps teams stay organized and connected, all while syncing data with your Salesforce or HubSpot CRM. 

While other Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solutions require extensive coding and ongoing maintenance, GealHub can be easily configured using code-free settings, to ensure everyone on your sales team gets what they need out of it. The platform also includes tools to help teams analyze and understand the sales process and customer behavior. 

All of this is designed to help teams be more efficient and productive, and to give buyers a better experience.

DealHub’s key features are:

  • Guided Selling Playbooks are tools that help salespeople create accurate quotes, sales materials, and legal contracts. 
  • Contract Lifecycle Management helps manage contracts, their progress, as well as handle electronic signatures and storage. 
  • DealRooms are virtual spaces where buyers and sellers can work on deals, and see each other’s actions in real-time. 
  • The Sales Workspace is a place where sales teams can see their own completed and outstanding tasks, as well as analytics (what works well and what yields no results) all in one place. 
  • The Open Data Platform makes it easy to connect with other sales tools and share data.

Dealhub makes it easy to work with large decision making units and adjust your process to each stakeholder.

DealHub is a sales tool that helps teams work more smoothly and efficiently. It helps leaders connect with their teams and manage sales pipelines, all the way through to e-signatures and subscription billing payments. DealHub also helps teams keep track of interactions with leads and stay organized throughout the whole sales process.

3. Nextiva

Cross-platform marketing automation software allows you to track the behavior of your visitors. You know, of course, that not everyone who visits your website is ready to do business.

But there’s no way to know just how interested (or disinterested) they are unless you have at disposal a tool that points out the content they have consumed on the website, the resources they have downloaded, the number of newsletters they have subscribed to, how often they have visited the website, and how many times have they checked out your products/services in earnest (by going all the way to the check-out page).

Your leads may be at various stages of buying, but with access to the data points listed above, you will be able to send targeted messages to them depending on where they are and the next steps that you want them to take. Carefully crafted emails, content experiences and social media messages can be compelling and give them just the nudge needed to make a purchase!

Nextiva is a smart platform for businesses of all sizes to capture and convert leads. Nextiva is at the top of their game with software that promises to help businesses manage leads and market to them in a targeted and structured way across channels.

So much of marketing is about nurturing leads and keeping them interested season after season as they keep visiting your website. Some might never make a purchase. Others might be waiting for the right moment.

With Nextiva, you can attract the right customers and keep them engaged. Its SEO tool analyzes the performance of your existing keywords and recommends more competitive ones to improve your web ranking. Its “engagement platform” helps you collect rich customer behavior data, which can be integrated with social media platforms to create targeted ads.

Nextiva also helps you engage visitors with personalized content (based on their browsing behavior and data derived from the visitors’ location) to keep them interested. 

If you’re emphasizing account-based marketing (ABM) practices, you can even manually create an audience segment of VIP leads from your email list and surface different content experiences to people visiting your site from these companies.

With the help of a tool like Nextiva, you gain insights into the behavior of your visitors/customers, zero in on the right ones and send them personalized content, improve your Google search rankings (so that more of the relevant people can find you), and make social media an integral part of the marketing mix.

After all, it doesn’t matter how someone found you, as long as they have found you and are interested in your website. Your marketing efforts should be able to direct traffic to your website from whatever platforms (including social media channels) you have a presence on.

Nextiva has separately priced plans for their various services. You have to get in touch with them for pricing.

4. Leadfeeder: Turn Visitors into Leads

Leadfeeder is a specialized B2B automation tool that helps businesses weed out the time wasters and focus on promising leads – even when people who visit your site don’t opt in via any of your lead capture forms. This is one of the most effective organic B2B lead generations tools out there allowing you to make the most of your current positions.

Its integration with Google Analytics helps the tool glean data that is worth its weight in gold. Leadfeeder’s code isn’t slowing web pages down so it is perfect for speed optimization.

With Leadfeeder, you can find out exactly which businesses have visited your website, as well as the specific landing pages they visit and for how long. (If they are in your target demographic and have seen the product demo or checked out the pricing, you know a sales call might be in order).

Procuring details on these companies is easy and helps marketers qualify leads. Leadfeeder also offers lists of email addresses, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles associated with people who work at these companies, so that your marketing team can organize contacts according to priority. Then, salespeople can warm up leads across channels and make calls to pitch when the time is right.

What makes Leadfeeder even more useful is its integration with a number of popular marketing tools, such as Salesforce, MailChimp, Zoho, Pipedrive and webCRM. With the help of Zapier, which Leadfeeder rolled out an integration with in late June, you can now push Leadfeeder data to hundreds of other platforms, like Google Sheets, AdRoll, Todoist, Slack, and several more CRMs.

Making your sales team more effective is the first step to increasing your ROI and surviving an economic crisis. I hope the tools above will help you close more sales and build a foundation for future success!



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(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!

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(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!



It’s important to us that you, our valued customers and partners, can identify with the tools you use daily.  

In that pursuit, Optimizely set out to simplify the way we talk about our product suite. That starts, first and foremost, with the words we use to refer to the technology.  

So, we’ve taken a hard look at everything in our portfolio, and are thrilled to introduce new names we believe are more practical, more consistent, and better representative of the technology we all know and love.  

You may have seen some of these names initially at Opticon 2022 as well as on our website. In the spirit of transparency, the team here at Optimizely wanted to make sure you had full visibility into the complete list of new names, as well as understand the context (and rationale) behind the changes. 

So, without further ado… 

Which names changed?  

Some, but not all. For your ongoing reference, below is a complete list of Optimizely products, with previous terminology you may be familiar with in the first column, and (if applicable) the new name in the second column.  

Used to be… 

Is now (or is still)… 

Meaning… 

DXP 

Optimizely Digital Experience Platform 

A fully-composable solution designed to support the orchestration, monetization, and experimentation of any type of digital experience — all from a single, open and extensible platform. 

Content Cloud 

Optimizely Content Management System 

A best-in-class system for building dynamic websites and helping digital teams deliver rich, secure and personalized experiences. 

Welcome 

Optimizely Content Marketing Platform 

An industry-leading and user-friendly platform helping marketing teams plan campaigns, collaborate on tasks, and author content. 

DAM 

Optimizely Digital Asset Management 

A modern storage tool helping teams of any size manage, track, and repurpose marketing and brand assets (with support for all file types). 

Content Recs 

Optimizely Content Recommendations 

AI-powered and real-time recommendations to serve the unique interests of each visitor and personalize every experience. 

B2B Commerce 

Optimizely Configured Commerce 

A templatized and easy-to-deploy platform designed to help manufacturers and distributors drive efficiency, increase revenue and create easy buying experiences that retain customers. 

Commerce Cloud 

Optimizely Customized Commerce 

A complete platform for digital commerce and content management to build dynamic experiences that accelerate revenue and keep customers coming back for more. 

PIM 

Optimizely Product Information Management 

A dedicated tool to help you set up your product inventory and manage catalogs of any size or scale. 

Product Recs 

Optimizely Product Recommendations 

Machine-learning algorithms optimized for commerce to deliver personalized product recommendations in real-time. 

Web 

Optimizely Web Experimentation 

An industry-leading experimentation tool allowing you to run A/B and multi-variant tests on any channel or device with an internet connection. 

Full Stack 

Optimizely Feature Experimentation 

A comprehensive experimentation platform allowing you to manage features, deploy safer tests, and roll out new releases – all in one place. 

Personalization 

Optimizely Personalization 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to create/segment audiences based on past behavior and deliver more relevant experiences. 

Program Management 

Optimizely Program Management 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of an experiment. 

ODP 

Optimizely Data Platform 

A centralized hub to harmonize data across your digital experience tools, providing one-click integrations, AI-assisted guidance for campaigns, and unified customer profiles. 

 

So, why the change?  

 It boils down to three guiding principles:  

  1. Uniformity: Create a naming convention that can be applied across the board, for all products, to drive consistency 
  2. Simplicity: Use terms that are both practical and concise, ensuring the names are something that everyone can understand and identify with  
  3. Completeness: Develop a framework that showcases the full and complimentary nature of all the products and solutions within the Optimizely suite 

 As the Optimizely portfolio comes together as a complete, unified platform, it’s important that our names reflect this, as well as support our 3 key solutions (i.e. orchestrate amazing content experiences, monetize every digital experience, and experiment across all touchpoints).  

Other questions? We’ve got you covered. 

Q: Why have you made these product name changes? 

    • We wanted to simplify how we talk about our portfolio. The renaming applies a naming convention that is both practical and concise.  

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect the products I own? 

    • No, there is no impact to product functionality or capabilities.  

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect who is my Customer Success Manager or Account Manager?  

    • No, there are no changes to your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager. 

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect the ownership of the company?  

    • No, ownership of the company has not changed. We have only made changes to the Product Names. 

 

Q: Have any contact details changed that I need to be aware of?  

    • Only contact details for former Welcome customers has changed. These are the new contact details you should be aware of: Optimizely, Inc.| 119 5th Ave | 7th Floor | New York, NY 10003 USA. Phone: +1 603 594 0249 | www.optimizely.com 

 

Q: Where can I send any follow up questions I might have?  

    • If you have any questions about the Product Names, please contact your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager.  


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Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts

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Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts


Every year, we see new trends entering the world of email marketing.

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

Who doesn’t like to have a good experience consuming content?

I know I do. And isn’t that what we – as both a consumer of content and a marketer of content – all want?

What if you create such a good experience that your audience doesn’t even realize it’s an “experience?” Here’s a helpful mish-mash of easy-to-do things to make that possible.

1. Write with an inclusive heart

There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone who constantly talks about themselves. Check your text to see how often you write the words – I, me, we, and us. Now, count how often the word “you” is used. If the first-person uses are disproportionate to the second-person uses, edit to delete many first-person references and add more “you” to the text.

You want to let your audience know they are included in the conversation. I like this tip shared in Take Binary Bias Out of Your Content Conversations by Content Marketing World speaker Ruth Carter: Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns.

Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns, says @rbcarter via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

2. Make your content shine brighter with an AI assist

Content published online should look different than the research papers and essays you wrote in school. While you should adhere to grammar rules and follow a style guide as best as possible, you also should prioritize readability. That requires scannable and easily digestible text – headings, bulleted text, short sentences, brief paragraphs, etc.

Use a text-polishing aid such as Hemingway Editor (free and paid versions) to cut the dead weight from your writing. Here’s how its color-coded review system works and the improvements to make:

  • Yellow – lengthy, complex sentences, and common errors
    • Fix: Shorten or split sentences.
  • Red – dense and complicated text
    • Fix: Remove hurdles and keep your readers on a simpler path.
  • Pink – lengthy words that could be shortened
    • Fix: Scroll the mouse over the problematic word to identify potential substitutes.
  • Blue – adverbs and weakening phrases
    • Fix: Delete them or find a better way to convey the thought.
  • Green – passive voice
    • Fix: Rewrite for active voice.

Grammarly’s paid version works well, too. The premium version includes an AI-powered writing assistant, readability reports, a plagiarism checker, citation suggestions, and more than 400 additional grammar checks.

In the image below, Grammarly suggests a way to rephrase the sentence from:

“It is not good enough any longer to simply produce content “like a media company would”.

To:

“It is no longer good enough to produce content “as a media company would”.

Much cleaner, right?

3. Ask questions

See what I did with the intro (and here)? I posed questions to try to engage with you. When someone asks a question – even in writing – the person hearing (or reading) it is likely to pause for a split second to consider their answer. The reader’s role changes from a passive participant to an active one. Using this technique also can encourage your readers to interact with the author, maybe in the form of an answer in the comments.

4. Include links

Many content marketers include internal and external links in their text for their SEO value. But you also should add links to help your readers. Consider including links to help a reader who wants to learn more about the topic. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  • You can link the descriptive text in the article to content relevant to those words (as I did in this bullet point)
  • You can list the headlines of related articles as a standalone feature (see the gray box labeled Handpicked Related Content at the end of this article).

Add links to guide readers to more information on a topic – not just for SEO purposes says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

You also can include on-page links or bookmarks in the beginning (a table of contents, of sorts) in longer pieces to help the reader more quickly access the content they seek to help you learn more about a topic. This helps the reader and keeps visitors on your website longer.

5. Don’t forget the ‘invisible’ text

Alt text is often an afterthought – if you think about it all. Yet, it’s essential to have a great content experience for people who use text-to-speech readers. Though it doesn’t take too much time, I find that customizing the image description content instead of relying on the default technology works better for audience understanding.

First, ask if a listener would miss something if they didn’t have the image explained. If they wouldn’t, the image is decorative and probably doesn’t need alt text. You publish it for aesthetic reasons, such as to break up a text-heavy page. Or it may repeat information already appearing in the text (like I did in the Hemingway and Grammarly examples above).

If the listener would miss out if the image weren’t explained well, it is informative and requires alt text. General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text. That’s a short sentence or two to convey the image’s message. Don’t forget to include punctuation.

General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text, says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For both decorative and informative images, include the photo credits, permissions, and copyright information, in the caption section.

For example, if I were writing an article about Best Dogs for Families, I would include an image of a mini Bernedoodle as an example because they make great family pets. Let’s use this image of my adorable puppy, Henri, and I’ll show you both a good and bad example of alt text.

An almost useless alt-text version: “An image showing a dog.”

Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.

It wastes valuable characters with the phrase “an image showing.”

Use the available characters for a more descriptive alt text: “Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.”

It’s more descriptive, and I only used 112 characters, including spaces.

Want to learn more? Alexa Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist, has a helpful article on writing effective image descriptions called The Art of Alt Text. @A11yAwareness on Twitter is also a great resource for accessibility tips.

Improve your content and better the experience

Do any of these suggestions feel too hard to execute? I hope not. They don’t need a bigger budget to execute. They don’t need a lengthy approval process to implement. And they don’t demand much more time in production.

They just need you to remember to execute them the next time you write (and the time after that, and the time after that, and the … well, you get the idea.)

If you have an easy-to-implement tip to improve the content experience, please leave it in the comments. I may include it in a future update.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.

If you have an idea for an original article you’d like to share with the CMI audience, you could get it published on the site. First, read our blogging guidelines and write or adjust your draft accordingly. Then submit the post for consideration following the process outlined in the guidelines.

In appreciation for guest contributors’ work, we’re offering free registration to one paid event or free enrollment in Content Marketing University to anyone who gets two new posts accepted and published on the CMI site in 2023.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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