Content is King (as found on the wall @ Joes Coffee in East Atlanta)

A successful harvest

Here at Dreamland we are always discussing new ways to adapt what we do to better fit our clients’ needs. During these discussions there always seems to be one or two new bits of jargon that seem to stick around. This week there is one that I just can’t seem to shake and it’s probably for a good reason. Harvesting content.  It’s something that almost every individual struggles with when it comes to creating a digital extension of themselves. Yes, you have your Facebook, your Linkedin, YouTube, blog, etc., but how much content is truly of value to anyone? If your last blog post was 6 months ago is it really doing you any good?

Harvesting content is not a simple task. I liken it to a farmer raising his seasonal crops. The first challenge for that farmer is to simply select the crop that will grow best given his soil, region and other variables. The same rules apply for growing your own content. You must first select what type of content is going to help you best achieve your objectives. Whether it be a strong blog, a podcast series, or a channel on YouTube, all of these media have outputs whose efficiency on delivering the message varies greatly depending on the message you are trying to convey.

Growing your content

Let’s use the example of a farmer trying to decide between mass production or growing organically. Both have their benefits and drawbacks. Mass production will probably result in less work for the farmer because he will be able to reduce his labor through using pesticides and other modern techniques to assist with his harvest. However, at the same time organic produce sells for much more per pound and also is a hot item. Once again this concept translates directly to how you want to grow your own content. What is more important quantity or quality? Can you achieve both at once?

I believe that you can. The strongest harvest of content is grown organically. Content that is developed organically is original and nearly impossible to duplicate. Does it take work? Yes!  Are there efficient ways to develop a large quantity of quality content? Yes!

We have found that when it comes to growing strong quality content, one of the most effective means is through a radio show or podcast. Think about it. Every 15-20 minute podcast averages almost 6 to 10 different blog topics. That is a massive quantity of quality content grown organically in almost no time at all.

Fire all the sales managers?

It’s not a totally crazy idea.  It might even be where we’re inevitably headed.  In any case, it’s worth pondering, if for no other reason because doing so would remove so much expense from a business.  (Anybody need some extra cash to invest?)

In fact, what got me thinking about the possibility of eliminating sales management was being told by the CEO of one of my clients that he was going to ignore my suggestion to hire a sales manager.  “Don’t need one,” he said.  “My CRM system is my sales manager.  “Hmmmm…  Since I had a hand in designing their sales process, and helped map it into their CRM, and preached incessantly how a good process supported by a solid CRM system ensured great discipline and accountability in the sales force, it was a bit tough to argue.

To that, add the power of today’s technology-based collaboration tools.  This  company has an internal wiki for sales best practices and tools that the sales team continuously updates and uses.  It’s like an electronic mentor.  No, it IS an electronic mentor.

And there’s more.  This outfit is also hell-bent on using  technology-based collaboration tools (dare I say e-Rep) to sell more.  This led them to learn a lot about blogs and social media.  Lo and behold!  Things like LinkedIn groups and the comment streams on sales blogs provide a whole ‘nother universe of sales mentorship.  It’s not only huge, it provides a perspective that is vastly better, broader and more innovative than even the best sales manager/mentor.

I won’t claim to have just presented a bullet-proof rationale for firing all the sales managers, BUT… I am convinced that well-designed, properly used techno tools CAN indeed be applied to ensure effective discipline, accountability and mentorship.  Tell me again the three key tasks of a sales manager.

What do you think?  Am I on to something here?

Yet Another Signal That “Every h-Rep Needs An e-Rep”

Dreamland Interactive, a business partner of The YPS Group, took a major step in its ability to deliver e-Rep content development services.  Their new radio studio in Atlanta, GA was specifically designed to support business talk radio and help clients solve the prospecting problem.

It’s no secret that I am a huge believer in the 24 X 7 X 365, deal-closing power of a e-Rep – an electronic alter-ego – a repository of a sales rep’s knowledge, insights and perspectives.   I’ve also come to realize that interviews of knowledgeable industry constituents are perhaps the best source of blog content.

This type of sales/marketing approach is a must-have in the B2B world.


e-Rep Strikes Again!

Here’s the chronology:

  • 11/25/04 – Initial telephone contact with company president
  • 12/17/04 – The one and only face-to-face meeting (…with the president mainly, plus a brief conversation with the founder)
  • 12/21/04 – Original proposal for a Sales Excellence Council
  • 01/10/05 – Opportunity recorded in my CRM as “Closed-Lost”
  • 01/10/05 through 04/18/11 – Not a single conversation or e-mail for over 6 years
  • 04/18/11 – Phone call from president
  • 04/24/11 – Proposal for Sales Excellence Council
  • 05/06/11 – Opportunity recorded in my CRM as “Closed-Won

That’s a sell cycle of 2,353 days.  Let’s just call it 6 years, 5 months for clarity.  That’s a new record!  (Hurray!!!! or Ughhhh…..?) (FYI – 80% of these things close within 13 to 17 months)

Or can I call this an 18 day sell cycle?

As I recall, I did a pretty good sales job on this opportunity back in the November ’04 through January ’05 time frame.  The timing just wasn’t right.  Then my h-Rep (i.e., me personally) initiated execution of a really lousy sales job from February, 05 through the first half of April, ’11.

My e-Rep, however, was hard at work that whole time.

That company president received 88 issues of The YPS Group’s Ideas! e-newsletter through that 6+ years.  Starting in the Fall of ’09 he was also exposed to 366 blog posts, 98 videos, 49 podcasts and who knows how many e-mail forwardings, Google searches, tweets, re-tweets, LinkedIn postings, etc.  My trusty e-Rep was out there pluggin’ away 24 X 7 X 365 beating the old Sales Process Engineering drum.

No, my e-Rep didn’t have the wherewithal to close the deal.  So what?  Between the two of us, we won.

How many deals are you not getting because building an e-Rep is too much trouble?