Moving Everything From Raw Meat To Hand Grenades!

Jay Schoenwaelder discusses how Dorner conveyor systems are being used to move everything from raw meat to hand grenades.  What an eye-opener!  Think about the challenges in marketing a set of solutions into 1,200 different industries.

From CAD Tools, to a worldwide network of specialized distributors to YouTube and FaceBook, Dorner is applying a rich, integrated set of tools to deliver their value proposition.

Jay Schoenwaelder talks about using Dorner converyor systems to move fast – move smart!

Speaking of “Move Fast.  Move Smart.” take a look at this:

Building Market Share With Market Research

Do you really know what your customers are thinking?  Do you know what they value?  Do you know which ones are complaining?  About what?

David Line, President of InfoSearch International discusses how market research combined with intelligent statistical analysis can be used to build market share.

David Line, President of InfoSearch International

Radio – A Whole New Ball Game

It’s happened to me again…  A whole chunk of my knowledge about sales and marketing just got blown up; has become utterly obsolete.  I’m specifically talking about radio.

For years, I “knew” that radio had very little if any potential in the world of B2B sales and marketing.  Sure it’s great for B2C, but that’s about it.  It’s an old, tired technology.  KA-BOOM! A whole new light bulb has turned on for me.  You’ll probably catch on faster than I did, but it’s quite clear to me now that RADIO! – in the context of the internet and social media – can solve the prospecting problem.

Yeah, you read that correctly, solve the prospecting problem.  The bane of us all!  Not to oversimplify, but the strategy basically boils down to replacing the cold call with a request (or should I say offer???) to appear as an expert guest on a radio show.  (Think about it…  It might take a few minutes for that thought to sink in.)

And it’s even more than the critically important job of establishing a relationship and credibility with an executive.  It’s also about creating a treasure-trove of really strong content for your web site, blog and e-mail campaigns; for the customer’s web site, blog and e-mail campaigns; for the radio station’s web site, blog and e-mail campaigns; for your business partners’ web sites, blogs and e-mail campaigns.  Talk about an SEO bump!  Might even get a show (or 2 or 3…) to go viral.

Click below to listen to an example.

CSIA Executive Director Bob Lowe 1/18/11

Consider the relationships getting established and strengthened throughout the conversation.  Consider that it’s posted not only here, but also on the Dreamland site and the CSIA site.  Consider the fact that the content is of interest to all current CSIA members, prospective CSIA members, CSIA Partner Members and customers of CSIA members.

Let the whole RADIO! concept roll around inside your brain for a while.  Then reach out to Dreamland Interactive.  Yep, I put my money where my mouth is and formed a new company with two partners to get out in front of this growing and way cool phenomenon.

Email here to book a future guest on Dreamland Radio.

Do You Listen To Your Customers?

Well, do ya’??? It’s so, so easy to say, “Of course! I’m not a silver-tongued devil, I’m a silver-eared devil.”

OK, let’s say you actually do listen intently after you ask a question.  Let’s also say you’re constantly alert for stray comments, body language and all the little nuances of customer communication.  With all that, is it possible for you to totally miss a massive buy signal?

Before you answer, “Yes, of course,” read this post.  (Then read the series.)  And don’t give me any baloney about how this example is B2C, or not your industry or some other load of self-righteous crapola.  This is a $24 Billion (with a “B”) company.  They continue to stiff a loyal, trying-desperately-to-be-helpful customer.  Their inattention would have driven this guy off if he weren’t on a mission to make a point.  The point?

Listen on the customer’s terms, knucklehead!

It’s obvious that the Publix corporate marketing team is oblivious to e-Rep and social media. Are you equally oblivious?

Think About It…

Dunbar 150 – Dreamland 45,000

Two colleagues and I have decided to profoundly change the way B2B sales is executed.  (Really… We did…)

It all started last November at a barbecue joint in Birmingham, AL.  (Read about our Dreamland experience.)  At the time, none of us knew the other two also had the Don Quixote gene, ever-ready to embark on a grand quest.  It’s been a fascinating ride so far, and the windmills keep getting interestinger and interestinger.

E-Rep – the electronic alter-ego of the “H” or Human Rep – is at the core of our vision.  We convinced a real, live client to buy in.  They’re paying us real, live money to build one.  More accurately, to build them a set of E-Reps; one for each of their H-Reps.  This train has left the station…

There are lots of reasons we think we can pull this off, one of the main ones being Dunbar’s Number.  Based on lots of anthropological data, Dunbar says a single person can maintain a stable relationship with at most 150 others.  We can’t prove it (yet), but we think a rudimentary E-Rep can maintain stable relationships with 45,000.

For just a moment, assume we’re not insane.  Assume it’s actually possible.  You could enter the business battleground backed by an army of 45,000.  Your competitor enters with 150.  The poor slob brought a knife to gunfight.

Might be worth your while to keep an eye on Dreamland Interactive.

E-Rep: Do You Have One?

It’s no secret that yours truly believes that every “H-Rep” needs an “E-Rep.”  Your electronic alter-ego helps deliver not only your value proposition, but more importantly real, tangible value in terms of information, knowledge and insight.  He/She/It is also on duty 24 X 7 X 365!

So what portions of an E-Rep do you have implemented? Here’s what I have:

  • Web site (of course…)
  • E-mail (of course…)
  • E-Newsletter (2 X per month)
  • Podcast (2 episodes per month)
  • E-Book (2 of them – on web site here, here & here, Google Books & Amazon for Kindle here & here)
  • YouTube Channel
  • Blog (with RSS feed and additional syndication via LinkedIn, Customer Think & FaceBook)
  • Multiple guest posts on multiple blogs along with lots and lots of comments
  • LinkedIn presence (profile, blog, active in multiple groups)
  • Twitter presence (Tweets limited to providing links to what I consider to be valuable content)
  • FaceBook company fan page (at the moment includes
  • Google Profile

What else could/should be on the list?  How much time should an H-rep invest in developing and maintaining a E-Rep?  (I invest approx. 1 hour per day.)  Are you committed to implementing an E-Rep yourself?

“They” Said It Better

Here are the words that reached out of my PC this morning and slapped me upside the head:

  • You can buy attention (advertising)
  • You can beg for attention from the media (PR)
  • You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales)
  • Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free: a YouTube video, a blog, a research report, photos, a Twitter stream, an ebook, a Facebook page.

The only thing I’ll quibble with is the third bullet which I believe should refer to traditional sales.  The philosophy represented by the above four points SCREAMS, “E-Rep!!!”  An E-Rep is all about earning attention.  I intend to keep beating this drum.  All of we sales types, all of we “H-Reps” need an “E-Rep,” our own personalized electronic alter-ego.

I came across this bit of insight via Jeremy Sluyters who got it from David Meerman Scott who got it from Randy B. who got it from somewhere, maybe his own brain…

Remember KISS? (Are you sure???)

Sometimes the “obvious” is not so obvious.  What seems perfectly clear to me – because I work with it day in and day out – might be terribly confusing to normal person; i.e., customer.

A colleague’s focus on “Minimalist Marketing” along with references in a “Quick Reference Guide” to things like discharge/recharge/refresh mode, trickle vs. standard, choices among mA, mAh or Ah and warnings about overheating and fire hazard prompted me record the following video.  So… in the spirit of Keep It Simple Stupid:

Did Google screw up big time; or did they just transform B2B Social Media into a MUST-DO-NOW?

by Todd Youngblood

I could suggest that since Google keeps hitting home runs, you ought to brush up on the newly announced Google Social Search (external link). That wouldn’t be bad advice given that quite a few, pretty obscure early adopters of their past technologies have become famous and made a fortune. I won’t, though. I will, however, assert that social search, and therefore social media and web 2.0 just became absolutely essential for effective B2B sales. (Notice I said, “sales,” as opposed to, “marketing.”)

To begin to understand why, consider the diagram on the left which shows the all-so-familiar exercise of “googling.” Your customer searches for “X” trusting in Google to sort through the gazillion pages out on the internet to deliver the most relevant results. That’s what they do all the time. (That’s what you do all time! That’s what we all do all the time!)

What are the odds your stuff will be listed on the first page of the search results? Second page? An “early enough” page?

Now consider the diagram on the right, and the fact that any searcher will have more trust and confidence in information from a known source. The better I know the source, the more I trust the information.

In this case, the searcher decides to “toggle the social search switch.” Good ole’ Google then takes the first set of results and passes them through another filter. If the result did not come from a web page, blog post, tweet, or some other social media “share” thingy specifically connected by the searcher to one of his or her contacts, it doesn’t show up.

Did you get that last sentence? Did it sink in? If the searcher has not already voluntarily “connected” to you, your content does not show up.

OK, the negative spin there was to get your attention… The real question is how to harness this new set of tools to enhance your visibility, credibility and profitability. There are three key pieces to the puzzle. The first takes lots of real effort, sustained indefinitely. And it’s not traditional sales work. It is, however, what will become the guts of the selling process in our brave new world. The second takes a good bit of continuing work, but entails just a minor wrinkle on something most reps are already pretty good at doing. The third is quick and easy.

Puzzle Piece 1: Your Content

Everything you’d talk about to a customer needs to be embedded into internet-based media. Everything. (I told you it requires a lot of real effort!) It can (& should) be text and/or images and/or audio and/or video. It can (& must) be on a mix of your web site, blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., along with whatever other new technology becomes available.

Content creation is NOT something an individual rep or sales manager can afford to avoid or delegate. You can only depend on the marketing department and others on your sales team for some of it. They can handle the general, overview stuff; the overall value proposition. Only you can provide the nuances and unique intelligence required by your specific prospects and customers. (WARNING: “In-your-face” comment coming here… If you disagree with this paragraph, think again. I’ll blog more on this topic. I’m pretty certain you’ll agree eventually.)

One last note on content; and it’s really, really important… The content you develop must be of interest and value to the key decision makers in your territory. This is much easier said than done, and is the true test of your sales skills. What do you have to communicate that will resonate instantly with the customer?

Puzzle Piece 2: Your Connections

Think in terms of LinkedIn (external link) to get the basic concept. Establish LinkedIn connections to all the decision-makers and key influencers in your territory. Do it! It’s not all that difficult. It’s where all those traditional selling skills come in. And remember, without the connection, they’ll never see your content! (Maybe connect up via Plaxo (external link) too.)

Puzzle Piece 3: Your Google Profile

Create one and keep it current. There’s a subtle message in the “Add custom links to my profile” section. It allows for multiple links to places you post. How many places on your list? Mine has 11.

Have a sneaking feeling Google just invented something that’s about to hurl you out of your comfort zone? If you don’t, you should.