Tag Archives: marketing

Blog surfing at its best – love this site

30 Jan

I am sure most of you guys here are familiar about StumbleUpon. If not, check out their site.

StumbleUpon discovers web sites based on your interests. Whether it’s a web page, photo or video,the personalized recommendation engine learns what you like, and brings you more.

Today I literally stumbled upon a blog surfing site called Condron.us. Coldron is to blogs what StumbleUpon is for websites.  Here is what the makers of Coldron claim about their site

Condron.us is a blog surfing website.
(Basically like channel surfing but for blogs).

If a blog surfer finds a blog that interests them they can stop and read it or bookmark it for future reading.

How does it work:

Condron.us provides bloggers with free exposure to large groups of potential readers by pulling recently updated blogs at random from wordpress and blogspot.

If you are a blogger, journalist, PR executive then you must use condron to index your blogs . The forum in the site helps you connect with fellow bloggers from all around the globe as well!

Great social media tool !

Check out the site for yourself and let me know what you think.

I loved the site from the word go!

Business Development and Sales Management – Best Practices for sales pitch

30 Jan

Never underestimate the importance writing down your sales pitch even before you go about making that cold call which will bring in business.

Here are the essentials

First Rule: Watch and Learn:

Making a sales pitch is an art not rocket science. And to learn art you need to learn it from the guru. So, before you make the first sales call watch how your Senior (anda  successfulone at that) sales guy does it. Watch him, understand the pitch he is using and learn from him. I am not asking you to ape him. I want you to learn is modus operandi and tweak the sales pitch the way you see it fit.

Second Rule: Ink it down:

No point in watching the guy do the stuff, nod your head and walk away! That won’t do. You need to watch him do it form. If you have a VP of sales, in your company, and if he is the amicable kinda guy then watch him giving the sales pitch. I have always noticed that the best sales guys are always ready to impart knowledge. If he is the nice-types, then ask him to show you how it is done. And no, dont ape him. Learn from him. Do it 20 times for 20 days if you have it.
And write your own sales pitch. I mean it.. literally.. Write it down, mono ami. Write down your sales pitch word by word, syllable by syllable. I don’t care how long it will take you to do it. If you are smart enough – 1 day. If you are bright then – 2days. If you are the hard working type- 3 days. Anything more, then you are gonner!

LOL… Just Kidding. Take your time but get it done.

So, get the first draft ready, think about the pitch, the product you gonna sell and refine it.
Dont worry the pitch will get further refined as you go down the lane of selling.

Third Rule: Get the decision maker on the phone:

No use in dilly- dalling with the guys who cant make decisions. At best he can help you connect with the top guy. But when you make the call ask ” Can you please connect me to the head of Marketing” or ” Head of Business development” or do what i did when i made my 10th sales call,       ” Can you connect me to the Chairman of your company , please” .. Of course you wont be connected to him, but if you aim high you are bound to hit couple of inches down that, right? So someone will connect you to top dog in the company. Make sure he is the decision maker.
And go ahead and make your pitch, Sir!

Fourth Rule: Get Rejected:
That’s right! If you get the sale done in your first call then where is the fun, dude? You need to get rejected like zillion times to become the great sales guy you wanna be! So go ahead and fail and fail royally! But make sure you learn your lessons from it. If you dont know where you are going wrong, then ask your sales head to sit with you when you are making the call. That ought to do the trick. He will point out the mistakes to you. Now, he may not be the best judge but at least you will get a start, right?

And throw out your blasted ego and pride here… will ya?

Fifth Rule: follow… follow.. Follow-up:
This is really important. If you are gonna be the sales guy in your company, dont ever forget the cardinal rule.

After you make you sales pitch send in a follow up mail saying – “It was great talking you. I will connect with you (at time at Date) as agreed. Meanwhile, you can reach me at the following contact coordinates”. And then go ahead and give your contact details.
And if the sales call was a successful one then follow up it with a mail on the details of the product/service you are offering in the form of pdf format. send in your details in your pdf format only!
And hey, remember the rule, follow up.. Keep doing the follow up thingy. If he doesnt reply then mail him after couple of days (you will instinctively know when). If he still doesn reply, then call him . Remind him. Be nice. Be polite. Sound enthu (not over enthu).

Big Idea: Crying child gets the milk

Seventh Rule: Maintain a pipeline report:

Always maintain a proper pipeline . It should have the following fields:
Company name, Web address, Phone number, Mail id , point of contact name, and the decision maker, status of the sale, expected closure time.

I am not really a sucker for CRM. I rather put it in my excel sheet and share it with my team. And no, am not advocating that CRM is bad. But this is my personal choice. You take the call on this. Most companies insist on using CRM solutions. But my advice to those companies is that they need to get their sales people get familirize on how to use a CRM.

Most sales guys use Ms Excel anyway!

Eighth Rule: Keep in touch:
Your job is not over once you are done with the sale. You need to keep in touch with your client. Build relationships of trust. Do not disappear from your client’s radar.At least once a month shoot him a mail asking him what he thinks of your product find out profile of the  end users of the product are etc. If you give a analysis to your product manager it help me improvise on the product/services your company is offering.

Dont give him a chance to come to you when there is an issue. At the same time let him know where he can reach you and that he can reach you any time he wants.
This ensures that you have already a solid groundwork done before you go ask him for a sale again.

Ninth Rule: Build Trust:
This is paramount. People dont do business with products or company brand name. They do business with people. People who they can trust. So make the right moves for him to trust you.

Be fantastically good at giving him world class service even if you are not a world class company. You don’t have to be HP or WPP to give world class serice. Gain his trust with good service. Simple things will do – prompt reply to his mail, regular follow ups etc… Find your own ways to keep him happy.
These days almost everyone is Linkedin, facebook or Orkut.
Go ahead and connect with him there. It is ok to get a bit personal. Social Networking is ok these days !

The Tenth Rule: Love your customer’s, customer.

I dint say “love your customer”  … Read it again! I said – Customer’s customer. Your client’s end user.
The book by Ram Charan ” what the customer wants you to know” was not exactly the best sales book ever written but i did like what he said – Understand your customer’s end user. If your product can make that “customer” happy then rest assured your client will call you to give you the sale.

So what is it that you’re waiting for? Go ahead and do your research!

Here is an article from the business week which caught my attention and upon which i put up this post –

Sales Stuck?  Try Sticking to script

Other blog posts for you to read :

Successful Sales Starts with Listening

Tips To Being A Great Sales Person
Look forward to your comments on this…

How to write a good Resume

21 Jan

Here is an good blog post  which gives you thoughts,tips and ideas on how to write a good Resume.

I am sure lots of people in India and Abroad and running pillar to post to secure a good and stable job and to get a good job you need to get a good,crisp resume which is top-notch so the you will land up with a plum interview . And the rest is in your hands to convert the interview to job on hand.

So use the ideas given here, click and follow the links available in the article to check out some good templates on writing effective resumes.

Good Luck on your job hunting !

Thoughts on Chennai Sangamam : Great Marketing and Novel initiative

17 Jan

I recently visited one of  shows, part of Chennai Sangamam Open Festival program and I was completely floored by it.

Few notes and thoughts :

Great Initiative : A fantastic initiative by Department of Tourism and Culture , Govt of Tamil Nadu to provide a great platform for rural artists to showcase their talents in music and dance . A great place of convergence where urban meets rural folks. But most important of all a great eye opener on the great , rustic music and dance culture of India , sans borders.

Ingenious Marketing : One of the ways the organizers used to promote the Festival was to paint the Govt buses with images of the artists performing for music and dance numbers. But the icing of the cake was – and i must say this was really ingenious – to let artists sit inside the buses and play their music while commuting.

This is simple and great marketing at zero-cost . See, the organizers had figured out their audiences. The people who are going to watch these programs are not going to come from those who are driving Honda city’s or Hyundai Verna’s. They are not going to be people who were living the hi-funda lifestyle.Your typical audience is the regular guy who on one hand enjoy beats of A.R Rehman but at the same time bow their heads in veneration when it comes to traditional music. These are the people who migrated from their native districts and villages to Chennai seeking out jobs and better life, leaving behind their old ancestral house,grandma’s thair sadams and green agricultural lands ( reluctantlyI must add ) to join MNC companies, Railways, Public Sector Banks and other govt job.

  • The audience is the guy who catches the9 am , 23c bus from Aynavaram to Life Insurance Corporation and working hard so that he can fuel his son/daughter’s engineering dreams.
  • The audience is the lady who got married and moved to Chennai with her husband and now takes care of her house and kids and 25 years later still reminiscing her grandma’s manga thoku ( homemade mango pickle). She still hums folk songs learnt when she was a kid. She still craves for the traditional foods made by her great grandmother, which is so famed in her native place. I am sure you can see her walking every day in the evening all the way to a small mom and pop departmental store to buy vegetables/fruits and other groceries to feed her kids and husband when they come back home.
  • The audience is also the 28 year old guy who moved to Chennai , to some engineering college, finished his BE in CSE/ECE/I.T etc and couldn’t go back because he got campus placement in TCS and still paying EM I’s to bank which paid his college fee. He could be married and his spouse could be an IT professional as well. He rides a bike or takes a  bus either to his office or parks his bike ( for Rs 3) and takes the train to the IT corridor where his company is housed.The same , boring job of coding, software testing . These days he is not sure when he is gonna be asked to clear his desk for good.Recession triggered pink slips are galore. He still remembers how he and his school friends played gilli danda, ko-ko in his Theni/Trichy/Madurai district. And he can still remember how after coming back from school, he takes a dip at the village lake/river and then goes to folk play/dance programs held under a thatched hut or a wooden stage . He still loves such music and any day prefers it over disgusting women, scantily dressed and dances on stages and gets paid a whooping rs 50 lac for a show ( I will come to that later).

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Now imagine what if one fine day , when the Dad on his way to LIC office in Mount Road, in the 23 C; the house wife on her way to the departmental store; the IT prof guy on his way ( 8.30 am train so he takes the 7.45 am bus) to office; hears the same old , rustic, traditional, familiar folk music and smiles when he sees the artists dressed in bright red/green/yellow colors, majestically holding those from-my-native-land instruments ? What if it refreshes his mind, makes his day, gets him pumped and then he does something which he has never done while commuting in the bus : he taps his foot in sync with the rhythm of the music . The same old , from -my-native music. What if that bus has stopped at a traffic signal and the artists are playing their music and

Now Imagine , my dear friends! –

The Dad and the IT guy in the same bus, the lady is at the same time crossing the road . The bus is waiting for the green signal to come . The Dad looks awe struck at the music, the IT guy taps his foot and the housewife hums the her own native song from her land. This is a micro perspective. What about the hundreds and thousands of buses running across Chennai and millions of Chennai people listen to the artists playing everyday in the morning and evening while commuting in bus? What kind of effect will it bring ? Wont the lady go back home and pester her husband to take her to the festival? Wont the Dad take his family to the festival during the weekends? Wont the I.T guy sms his wife and ask her to meet him at the festival after office?

This is marketing at its best ! If you disagree with me , you are welcome to criticize !

Now how much money, do you think, was involved here, for marketing? What would  percentage do you think the advertising agency would take had they been hired for this ? What other costs do you think was involved ?

Govt would have incurred the cost of letting the artists in the bus free of cost and also paid  the artists who painted the images in the buses.  Any other cost involved ?

Zero! Zilch ! Absolutely nothing ….

I now look forward to the next chapter of Chennai Sangamam !

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Social Media platform from Oglivy PR – Great Stuff !

12 Jan

I had to pick and put this news here .

Oglivy Public Relations Worldwide has joined hands with Netvibes to launch one of its kind Social Media dash board and I love it !

It is aimed at Marketeers , Brand Managers, Communication Professionals to keep track of Social Media news and ideas from across the globe.

The Daily Influence is a great initiative from the company because the future of advertising, marketing and PR is gonna be played in the corridors of Social Web.

Check out the link above to know more …

Save money using Webinar for lead generation and sales

7 Jan

When I was working for mobile-worx, a mobile advertising company , we had to connect with lots of prospective clients and customers. Our office is based out of Chennai and we had our clients coming in from other cities of India and Abroad. As a start up company we dint have enough resources to travel all the way to these cities to talk to our clients , talk about our product and give a demo.  To cut costs in traveling we instead chose to use online meeting tools .

Here is what we used to do :

First we identified our client – either an advertiser or content developer.

We then made our first cold call , connected with the head of sales or marketing and gave a brief intro about our product.

I then followed it up with a mail , a document ( let me remind you guys that when you send a document about your product to prospective clients always use pdf) about our product and a tentative time to fix the next call meeting.

Once we fixed the call meeting we informed our client that while we wont be able to come to their city personally we can give a demo of our product online itself. It was simple. We log-in to our account, generate a url and pass on the url to our client with his log-in details. Once the client log’s into his account he can easily watch the demo sitting in his office through his computer screen while we used to run through our product online. There was no cost involved for us except for the broadband connection and a monthly/yearly amount we used to pay for the services.

While giving demo , we used Skype to talk to him, simultaneously explaining every step involved in using our product.

It would be like remote accessing the images from my computer screen in yours.

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I personally thought it was a fantastic way to communicate with clients. It helped us reducing lots of time and tons of money which would have otherwise been spent on traveling, hotel stay, commuting, food and other miscellaneous expenses which would be obviously paid by the company. It also gave us more time to focus on improving our product and connect with more clients and customers.

This is not to say that one should not to go out to meet clients personally. Meeting clients in their office is still the best way to connect and build relationships in business. Meeting them in person creates personal rapport with them which an online meeting can never compensate. But there are times when one can use Online meetings tools such as these and still make a great impact with clients and customers.

All i am trying to do here is to show you how you can use Web technology to connect with clients and use it for lead generation. A  tool like this is extremely useful for start up companies and SME ‘s . For an SME owner , he may have his client in Netherlands or Alaska . It is not possible for him to go all the way there to meet a “prospective” client and seal a deal. There is  no guarantee that the deal will come through in the first place. For him Web conference technology will come in very handy.

Go To Meeting , product of Nasdaq listed Citrix Systems Inc is a great online Web confercing tool. You can conduct online meetings using  Goto Meeting and Webinars using GoTo Webinar. You must visit their website to know more about their products and what they can do for you and your sales team.

They have now released a White paper on how companies can use Webinars to

  • Generate Leads
  • Increase Awareness
  • Build Loyalty , and more.

You can gain access to their White Paper here : 9 Management Practices for Exceptional Webinars

I think this is a great way to use a social media tool t to promote a brand and service – White papers, podcasts, webinar’s etc ..

Also read about Web Conferencing in Wikipedia to know more.

12 steps to successful PR campaign by Stephen Davies

28 Dec

I stumbled upon this interesting article on Public Relations and I thought I would share it here .

Stephen Davies of 3W PR writes on 12 steps to a successful PR Campaign.

Read on…