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Simplify Sales with Remote Product Demonstrations

I spent the last eight months on the front lines of the virtual demo world for Cisco. Working from our headquarters in California, I met with people from all over the world to demonstrate our latest products — without a single plane trip. Using collaboration technology sales teams can avoid travel expenses, sell more, and increase productivity.

Most significant business purchases require some form of travel. Companies need to send sales experts out in to the world to demo their products. Or, depending on the products or the situation, customers often travel to the vendor’s site. Although travel involves expense and time, personal interaction is important to customer relationships. Travel can make the sales process more cumbersome and time consuming. But without travel, you limit the degree of direct engagement you might have before a customer makes a buying decision.

How Can Remote Demonstrations Add Value to the Sales Process?

Remote product demonstrations are providing companies with a less-expensive option to engage with customers. And the best part of it is that neither customers nor your technical experts have to travel as much. Just as video is changing the nature of meetings, it’s also a fitting solution Read More »

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Indoor Wi-Fi Location and Beacons: Better Together Part 2

wifibeaconLocation-based services have been getting a lot of attention lately and people are increasingly curious about how Wi-Fi and beacons play together in the hot space that is indoor location technology. In my last blog I reviewed how beacons work and how to differentiate when to use Wi-Fi and beacons. There’ve been some great questions about beacon technology and how it complements Cisco’s location-based Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution, so I want to follow up on these topics with everyone.

What types of beacons are there?

Generally, there are two different classes of beacons: transmit only and backhaul enabled.

Transmit only beacons are exactly as they sound -- they simply transmit information to anyone that is capable of hearing (bluetooth enabled smartphones). They do not receive or pass any data or information upstream.

Apple’s iBeacon is the best example of this type of BLE beacon. You can think of them like the navigational beacons used by airplanes when on approach to major airports. The beacon doesn’t even know the plane is there, but the plane is aware of the beacon and knows where the beacon is allowing it to take the correct action. Same is true for smartphones and transmit only beacons like iBeacon -- the intelligence is located in the mobile application which must recognize the beacon and take appropriate action.

Backhaul enabled beacons generally include a Wi-Fi chipset for either management or data capabilities. Some backhaul enabled beacons are USB enabled and take advantage of whatever connectivity exists within the PC they are connected. Read More »

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Using Ongoing Marketing to Nurture Leads: Do You Know What it Takes to Get to “Yes”?

When I started in my sales career many years ago, I didn’t have the luxury of an established client base or a robust CRM package that reminded me who to call. I didn’t have a marketer funneling leads to me or setting up appointments on my behalf. No, each day I came into the office and started “pounding the phones”, making cold calls, and hoped to get a live person on the phone so I could talk to them about whatever I was selling. When I got a “no”, I wrote the opportunity off and went on to the next cold call. It didn’t take long to realize this was an exercise in futility because 80 percent of other sales people were calling these exact same people using the exact same tactic. So, I thought about the way I wanted to be treated and the kind of people I liked to buy from and changed the way I approached prospects.

Although I didn’t know the official concept at the time, I started formalizing a lead nurturing approach. I shifted my mindset so that every prospect that said ”No”, was looked at as a future “Yes”. I set up call reminders on my calendar and started calling these prospects consistently at mutually agreed upon intervals. Overtime, I established relationships with these prospects, and ultimately, I closed business with more than 60 percent of them! More importantly, more than 80 percent of these clients worked exclusively with me and stopped working with other vendors! All because I took the time to nurture the relationships, made a commitment to their success and put in the hard work to make it happen. Although the process was labor intensive, it got the job done. Had I only realized what I could have accomplished by implementing a similar process through marketing campaigns, my sales could have grown exponentially higher.

Fast forward to today’s electronically-connected, ultra-complex business climate and the ”relationship” element is even more rare and impactful than ever before. Although the sales person is still a critical component of the sales process, marketing campaigns have become a much more cost effective way of nurturing prospects and staying in touch with customers. Establishing a schedule of ongoing, targeted marketing activities is an impactful way to nurture leads and keep your company “top of mind” with your prospects. However, the concept of prospecting or lead nurturing through marketing is still not a focus for most companies or sales teams.  But the statistics speak for themselves on the impact that nurturing has on business. Here are some current statistics related to lead nurturing: Read More »

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Indoor WiFi Location and Beacons: Better Together

wifibeaconIn just two years, indoor location technology has taken off and attracted a lot of buzz across industries, from retailers to healthcare. But it’s no longer a conversation about just Wi-Fi – the introduction of beacon devices, including iBeacon, has added a new dimension to location technology for IT and their line of business counterparts to grapple with on how to leverage it to better reach their customer base.

Some customers have been asking about beacon technology and how it fits in with Wi-Fi, so let’s start from the beginning:

How do beacons work?

Beacons are sensors that send out Bluetooth low energy (BLE) tracking tags.  These sensors can be placed around a venue, such as a store, and a mobile device can pick up the BLE signal and determine that it is in close proximity. When a mobile app is built off of this technology, it can be used in interesting ways to interact with the end user, such as notifying a customer of a promotion for an item they are close to.

I’m having trouble differentiating Wi-Fi and beacons. What do I need to know? Read More »

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The Secret Formula for Success: Leveraging Promotions for the Win-Win

Last Saturday, I spent a few hours scouring department stores for “that just right pair of black flat shoes” needed for an upcoming networking event.  On the third stop, there was a large sign reading “Buy One – Get One Half Off”. Now, I didn’t NEED two new pairs of shoes, but after finding those black flats and a pair of sandals, you would have been hard pressed convincing me otherwise. And when I saw the same offer on workout socks, I felt like I had won the shoe shopping lottery!

A great sales promotion is designed to get you in the door, capture your attention, make you feel you’re getting an incredible deal and, if all goes well, compel you to buy more product or services than you originally planned. The optimal situation is where the customer feels they got the best end of the bargain and so does the seller. It’s a win-win for everyone.  This is the recipe for repeat business and increased loyalty.

So what could possibly go wrong? Read More »

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