24 Aug

Till Retirement Do Us Part: An Employee-Smartphone Relationship

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Written by: Paulo Martin Mercado 

The term ‘Smart’ is associated with two things: quick-witted and internet-enabled. The latter is a new but widely abused concept, and its birth started with phones. Remember those phones whose functions are summarized into three (3) things, calling, sending SMS and playing ‘Snake’? After its ‘smartification’, it can now store and share photos, enable chat, and play cat videos. There are other objects that have ‘smart’ counterparts; smart toothbrush, smartpens, etc. But the king is still smartphone as its use can extend to the workplace.

Workers love their smartphones. In study by Ring Central, 40% of the respondents stated that smartphones and having intimate relationships is the number one thing they cannot live without. Why is that? Possibly because smartphones obliterate any barrier to communicating among employees, and communication is needed in a digital economy.  Employees agrees to this since according to a research commissioned by IBM, 82% of workers surveyed believe that smartphones will play a “critical role” in their productivity in the years to come.

But giving a smartphone is not enough. To totally maximize the full potential of the device, apps dedicated for work must be installed in it as well. One of the most important thing an employee should have is access to email. Not only does email inform a them about upcoming long weekends, it can be used to forge deals and manage client relationships properly.  Second, access to critical information stored on the cloud is also important. Critical documents (i.e. contracts) can be reviewed and edited while mobile, even send instructions via chat apps. These developments, something that was impossible 20 years ago, makes an employee and the company competitive in this fierce digital economy.

Cloud-based applications for work perfectly complement this new normal. It capitalizes on smartphone usage in the workforce, with its ease of use, and more importantly, its cost-efficiency. Cloud-based apps, like Google for Work, do not require companies to shell out a significant amount as licensing is relatively inexpensive and deployment is easy and fast. As an added bonus, cloud-based apps-for-work frees IT staff from maintaining servers and on-premise email related programs, giving them ample time to do core IT projects.

A company should not just provide smart phones, they should make the smart decision to embrace the digital economy by going all out cloud.

Sources:

http://www.computerworlduk.com/galleries/applications/8-best-email-providers-for-business-2016-3633613/

https://lineshapespace.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-cloud-based-email-services/

http://www.business2community.com/mobile-apps/4-ways-smartphones-can-increase-job-productivity-01274614#xagEGhvVIMe6b4zc.97

https://www.allbusiness.com/smartphone-use-and-productivity-are-rising-how-does-this-affect-your-business-14415704-1.html

http://www.ingrammicroadvisor.com/data-center/23-byod-statistics-you-should-be-familiar-with

Image source: http://www.freepik.com/free-vector/smartphone-cartoon-with-icons_753649.htm

24 Aug

Digital Mindset – How important is it for a company?

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We all know that we are currently living in the digital age, but what does this really mean for our organizations? Obviously, it means digital technology is an integral part of getting work done. Your customers expect you to be online; they expect your website to work on their phone; they expect your automated email systems to work. What was once an amazing technological marvel is now simply the cost of doing business. Welcome to the digital age.

And in this new age, you have to change the way your organization thinks and works. You need a digital mindset.

Having a digital mindset involves a new set of values and principles for the organization but applied individually based on role and priority. It starts with how customers perceive the organization’s brand and their expectations to how fast and smart their product and services are compared to others. This often requires individuals to understand and leverage digital technologies in new ways, and to shed old habits that are slower, inefficient, insecure, or digitally isolated from today’s trends.

Digital transformation has to start from within. Educational workshops and seminars will help stakeholders understand the entire digital landscape and why such a transformation would be beneficial to not only them, but their external partners as well, since it’ll increase business efficiency and harmonize the delivery of information.

A mindset that also focuses on the customers

In today’s digital age, innovators need to illustrate how the end-consumers and clients are now expecting unified customer experience across all channels, which is beyond what large enterprises can offer today due to sheer size. When a company doesn’t evolve quickly enough to overcome this hurdle, customers have no choice but to move to competitors to fill their service needs.

A perfect example of this is the online retail giant Amazon. Think about how easy your experience is as a user through customization; they manage customization in the middle of billions of dollars of transactions every year. And on top of that, they will actually pay attention to complaints from individual customers. As Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO of Worldwide Consumer, said, “Every anecdote from a customer matters…. We treat them as precious sources of information.”

This is the digital mindset: The processing of billions of dollars in transactions without ever losing sight of a customer anecdote. That’s hard work. In fact, that is central to the digital mindset: focus on the customer even though it will require more work. That’s just the way it works these days, and Amazon, a company that earned $107 Billion in revenue last year according to Fortune, has built that into its culture.

Digital transformation is imperative and collaboration is key

The companies with a digital mindset challenge the traditional ones. A look at today’s leaders shows that digital companies are leading. The biggest movie and television show provider is digital (Netflix); the largest store in the world has only one physical store and is digital (Amazon); the biggest music store is digital (iTunes, and followed closely by Spotify).

It doesn’t come as a surprise that, when we think about the most successful companies and their digital strategies, the highest performing organizations are those who are most collaborative and on the same page when it comes to technology.

Australian telecommunications company Telstra is another example of a company with exceptional collaborative efforts. Their 3Rs of social media engagement—representation, responsibility, and respect—is designed to assist and educate employees using social media to make appropriate decisions. With this approach, Telstra has maintained its position as Australia’s largest telecommunications company.

A global survey by the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) that measures “digital IQ” backs this up as they revealed that the most collaborative, digitally-savvy organizations are more confident in taking risks for future growth and benefit. Those cultures with the highest digital IQs see digital technology as a given for the organizations to perform, grow, compete, reach new markets and achieve strategic direction.

In other words, digital is a mindset among the world’s top performing companies. Local companies should learn from these industry leaders if they want to stay competitive in today’s digital landscape.

Image credit: www.eagleeye.com

22 Aug

The Myth That’s Hurting Your Sales

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“Myths which are believed in,” wrote George Orwell, “tend to become true.”

And when that myth is based on a statistic that discourages companies from directly engaging and conversing with prospective customers early in the sales cycle, it hurts sales and, ultimately, business.

The myth I’m referring to is the supposed trend toward delaying communication with sales reps until late in the buying cycle.

If this myth has your salespeople sitting on the sidelines and waiting for prospects to make the first move, it’s time to rethink your sales strategy. You need to strike early—when you can have the greatest influence on the sales’ outcome.

Ignore the Myth and Focus on Customer Needs

Depending on the study you read, today’s B2B customers are likely to complete 57 (CEB) percent of their decision-making before interacting with a sales rep.

Even if it’s true that buyers are reaching out to salespeople later, this may not be entirely by design. It may be out of necessity because:

  • Sales reps are too product focused and are not engaging prospects in a two-way conversation that helps buyers make an educated purchasing decision.
  • Vendors have bought into the belief that outbound marketing lacks value because it is intrusive and interruptive. They are, therefore, hesitant to reach out to prospects and rely instead on content marketing to attract them.

If you’ve bought into this passive sales strategy, you could be missing opportunities to help prospects make good buying decisions and thereby increasing your chances of making the sale. Contacting a company proactively enables your sales reps to:

  • Help buyers focus on real problems and formulate successful strategies.
  • Answer prospects’ questions when they’re struggling to determine the best way to solve their business issues.
  • Reach out to several of the decision makers involved in a complex buying decision.
  • Build a relationship with a company and be seen as a trusted advisor.

To get a jump on the sales cycle, here are three strategies you can adopt.

Gain the First-Mover Advantage in B2B Sales

Given that InsideSales.com reports studies show that anywhere from 35% to 50% of sales go to the vendor who is first at bat, a proactive, first-mover strategy is a true competitive advantage.

The first-mover advantage is more than being quick to respond to an inbound lead. It’s about returning to a proactive sales strategy that enables you to get ahead of the buyer’s journey. You can take the lead by identifying and reaching out to the companies most likely to benefit from the products, services and solutions you offer. In this way, you turn the sales funnel on its head.

On the surface, this may sound like a hit-or-miss approach that will require you to make more calls than your competition to get one conversation. You can short-circuit the process, however, by analyzing your marketing metrics to determine the firmographics of the accounts that convert best. Use your insights to identify similar companies that likely face comparable issues.

In other words, create an ideal company profile, then segment your database and target the organizations and individuals you are most capable of serving.

Reach Out and Consult With Your Ideal Prospect

Technology gives us many ways to reach out to prospects, but dollar for dollar professional B2B telemarketing provides many advantages.

Some vendors try to get in front of prospects by inviting them to attend an executive event. While events are one way to meet and answer specific questions, they require a high level of investment, careful planning to optimize ROI and are time-consuming. Plus, you cannot guarantee the individual you want to talk with will be there.

There are also downsides to telemarketing. If you structure a campaign by scheduling routine, product-oriented calls to pitch your company’s agenda, it negates your first-mover advantage. You need a professional B2B telemarketing strategy that focuses on what you can do to help prospects solve real problems. Such a strategy includes the following:

  • Research

Know how your company’s solutions have helped other businesses and how you compare with the competition.

  • Engage

Reach out to target companies with the intention of helping them improve their businesses.

  • Communicate

Start a two-way dialogue with prospects — listen to their issues and propose specific solutions.

  • Consult

When you take a consultative approach, you are building a long-term relationship that can earn you trusted advisor status.

Don’t Give Up After One Call

If at first you don’t succeed…try, try again. Even if you’re the first to call, you may not get through on your first try. Or even the second or third call.

It may take several calls before you get into a serious sales conversation. But when you’re building a lasting relationship, you have an opportunity to influence the discussion, bring attention to potential problems, help shape how the prospect writes an RFP and elevate your trust quotient.

Zig While Others Zag

Let your competitor wait until prospects are more than 50% of the way through the buying cycle. Meanwhile, get off the sidelines and be the first player on the field. And don’t just play the game. Shape it. Help your prospects solve their problems, gradually introducing your product or solution and showing them why it is a good fit. To do this, you’ll need to conduct an in-depth analysis of your best clientele and create a profile, so you can target the right individuals. Then, segment your database and reach out to them by phone. You likely won’t reach them the first time, but you will contact some individuals if you try, try and try again. It’s the first challenging step in what will hopefully blossom into a long-term productive relationship. Remember, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. They’re not, and that’s your opportunity.

Original article from: https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2016/08/the-myth-thats-hurting-your-sales.html

18 Aug

7 Secrets for Tackling Your ‘To-Do’ List Everyday

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When it comes to productivity, most of us start each day with the best intentions. We plan on plowing through every task that comes our way with maximum energy and creativity – and minimal distractions. And, occasionally, things actually work out that way.

But more often, they go something like this: You’ve got so many important things to take care of that it seems impossible to prioritize. Or a project takes longer than you thought it would; then an unexpected meeting comes up to steal what precious spare time you have left. Or, you can’t focus for more than a few minutes at a time because you keep checking your phone.

In other words, being productive isn’t always easy. But by building your to-do list the right way, taking steps to avoid distractions or time traps and having the right attitude, you can usually achieve most (if not all) of what you set out to do each day.

Here are seven simple secrets that business and time management experts swear by that can help you get more done in less time.

1. Write down your to-do list the day before.

Walking into your office without a plan for your day makes it more likely your time will get derailed with nonessential tasks. Instead, recommends life coach Danielle Faust, create your daily to-do list the night before, so you know exactly what you need to do once you sit down at your desk.

You can build in as many tasks as you want, but schedule dedicated time for each of them (with a couple of breaks thrown in) to keep you on track. If you need to prioritize, star the top three items that you absolutely have to complete, Faust advises.

2. Don’t start your day with email.

Replying to other people’s messages first thing in the morning is almost guaranteed to derail your priorities – so don’t do it. “Instead, start out on your own schedule and include 30 minutes at 11 a.m. and 30 minutes at 3:00 p.m. to go through your emails and messages,” recommends Michael Maven, a marketing strategist with Carter & Kingsley.

If you can’t hear your phone’s distracting dings without feeling that you must respond immediately, turn your phone and email notifications off.

Related: The 7 Rules of Personal Productivity 

3. Tackle the tough stuff.

You may be tempted to ease into your day by starting off with the simpler or less demanding tasks. But if that’s your way of avoiding the toughest, most dreaded item on your list, it’s really just procrastination. Instead, start with whatever thing you’re looking forward to doing least – and relish that satisfied feeling that you’re done with it. “Everything else will be downhill from there,” says Faust.

4. Make the most of meetings.

We’ve all sat in conference rooms for hours on end where nothing gets done. Avoid that by scheduling meetings for as long as you think you’ll need – but never longer, and invite only the people that truly need to be there, recommends executive coach and leadership expert Michael Beck. Another tip? Don’t waste time disseminating information. “A much smarter way to deliver information is in written form. If you had everyone brief you in writing in advance, then the actual meeting would be devoted to discussion and/or making decisions,” Beck says.

5. Give yourself a pep talk.

Doubting yourself can lead to negativity, and feeling negative about something means you’re more likely to avoid it. “If you believe you are going to fail, you are pretty much guaranteeing that outcome,” says workplace psychologist Michael Woodward. Instead, find ways to pump yourself up and make yourself believe that you’re up to completing a tough task; think about the last time you triumphed over a challenge.

When you remind yourself that, yes, you are capable of tackling whatever’s on your plate, you’re more likely to dive in – and less likely to procrastinate out of fear.

Most of us feel compelled to make sure that our day is as productive as possible, which can lead to feeling guilty over taking breaks. But short rest periods can help you reset and recharge, which can actually help you get more done in the long run, says business and marketing coach Sarah Dann.

“I like to use the Pomodoro method, 25 minutes of working, followed by a five-minute break,” she says. Whatever schedule works for you is fine, as long as you stick to it. Set a timer if you need to, and take advantage of productivity tools (try Google Chrome extension Strict Workflow) that block you from visiting distracting websites (we’re looking at you, Facebook).

7. At the end of the day, toss your to-dos.

Hopefully, you were able to cross every item off your list before it was time to close up shop. But if you weren’t, don’t leave that half-finished list hanging for tomorrow, because it’s a morale killer. Instead, toss it and make a new list with the unfinished items plus whatever else you need to accomplish the next day, says life coach M.A. Haley. “Throwing out the prior list, or filing it, is a great way to reclaim energy for the to-do list ahead,” Haley says.

Reference: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/252185

15 Aug

Use This Simple Technique to Increase Sales with Almost Every Buyer

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Instead of offering a quick product pitch at the first buying signal from your buyer, use this simple technique to add value and increase the size of each transaction.

When a buyer shares an issue that your product or solution can solve, it’s very tempting to swoop in super-hero style and with a big smile share how your product can most assuredly solve their problem. With great excitement, you confidently explain how your product or service is perfect for them. Laying out your case for your price, product and company, you’ve just wrapped up a stellar sales presentation–you might even win the sale.

Now that you feel great about yourself, I have just one question:

What did you do wrong?

Getting “A” sale is not as good as getting “THE” sale. What I mean is you may have sold something, but you left value on the table for the buyer and left credibility (and money) on the table for yourself.

Never allow your emotions to direct your sales call by excitedly and prematurely offering your solution. Let the conversation breathe. When you jump too quickly to presenting your product/service when you see an opening, you fail to uncover additional opportunities. You also demonstrate that you lack patience. It reveals to the buyer that you’re focused more on yourself and not them.

Instead,maintain emotional control and follow this powerfully simple technique:

The Right Hand Rule of 3
The Right Hand Rule of 3 is a simple technique I employ on almost every sales call when I’m in the Needs Analysis step of the sales process. You want to maximize the mutual value for yourself and your prospect. Therefore, when you get a buying signal from your prospect (they communicate an issue your product/service can resolve), here’s what you do:

1. Write the buyer’s issue on the right hand side of your note pad.
This column on your paper is exclusively for buyer issues. You know you’ll be getting to these issues once you collect them all.

2. Don’t immediately offer your solution.
That’s right – keep your product/service in your back pocket. Don’t play your hand too early. Your job is to maximize value for the buyer, so keep your solution to yourself while you move on to step three.

3. Ask a minimum of three (3) questions before you offer up your solution.
In order to find out the size and scope of the issue, ask follow-up questions about that issue. This shows you listened. By drilling down for more info, you learn the significance of the issue and effect it has on their operation. More buying opportunities occur when you patiently uncover the whole story instead of quickly jumping into a product pitch.

Example
Your prospect indicates that they have experienced excessive system downtime. Instead of quickly showing how your service reduces downtime, ask these questions:

1. How often does your system go down?
2. When it goes down, how long is it down?
3. How does this impact your Production?

You could also ask question #3 by replacing the word Production with other words like CostCustomer ServiceSales, or Reputation.

You get the picture. Ask drill down questions to find out the significance of this issue. In fact, this may be the first time your buyer has articulated the consequences of this issue. Hearing themselves say it can exacerbate the problem in their mind and your solution will be a very welcome relief.

Using this very simple technique can help you develop into a more confident and credible sales professional.

Reference: http://www.inc.com/barrett-riddleberger/use-this-simple-technique-to-increase-sales-with-almost-every-buyer.html