Expert Advice for Achieving Sales and Marketing Success in 2016

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Sales and Marketing Tune-Up!

By a Panel of Sales and Marketing Experts

A panel of sales and marketing experts highlight for you the hot branding, selling, and marketing tactics to focus on in the upcoming year. Drawing from these experts’ years of expertise, you can learn how to: get your personal brand launched and kept alive; use top techniques for mixing a successful sales cocktail; build a successful sales team from scratch; develop a systematic approach to cross-selling; make “Marketing to Millennials” a prime focus of your business; market with bloggers/online influencers; and ignore five unhelpful web marketing metrics. By implementing these branding, selling, and marketing tactics in your own business’s marketing program, you can increase revenue, success, and build a strong customer reach in 2016.



Keep Your Personal Brand Alive

By Marsha Friedman

Turn on the television, pick up a newspaper, or visit the Internet and you will be inundated with messages about brand products. Tide is a brand. Pepsi is a brand. Nike is a brand. And so are you — or at least you should be. If you open a dictionary, the word “brand” is defined as a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name. These days you need to be that product. Here are a few suggestions to tune up your personal brand, get it launched, and keep it alive:

  • Make sure your website represents you exactly the way you want to be seen. This is one of the best places to control your image. That could mean you want to be viewed as witty, intellectual, or physically fit. It could mean you want the world to see you as an expert in a particular field. Maybe you want to convey an image of trust.
  • Maintain a strong social media presence. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites are invaluable tools for networking or getting your message out quickly under your personal brand. Also, make sure you have a unified message that weaves through your website, your social media sites and anything else you use to promote yourself. Design elements should be consistent from one platform to the next as well.
  • Keep your presence alive in traditional media, too, making yourself available for interviews. Media appearances act as a third-party endorsement, casting you as an authority in your field. This also needs constant cultivation. If you were quoted in a newspaper article last year, then you’re last year’s news. Even worse, if your competitor is quoted in an article today, they’ve become more relevant than you and are winning the personal-branding war.
  • Branding yourself is not a one-shot deal. Your branding effort never stops. It’s ongoing. The bottom line is that creating a personal brand is one of the keys to success in today’s world. By branding yourself — making sure the world knows who you are and the expertise you have to offer — you not only set yourself apart from your competitors but you also open the door to new opportunities.

Marsha Friedman is a public relations expert with 25 years’ experience developing publicity strategies for celebrities, corporations, and media newcomers alike. She is the founder and CEO of EMSI Public Relations ( She shares her knowledge in her Amazon best-selling book, Celebritize Yourself, and as a popular speaker at organizations around the country.



Mix the Perfect Sales Cocktail

By Anthony Caliendo

With thousands of different sales techniques and philosophies that salespeople attempt to master, we find ourselves using trial and error, sampling and tasting until we think we’ve mixed the right sales cocktail that will increase our closing ratios. The following are five top techniques for tuning up and mixing a successful sales cocktail:

  • Sell yourself. Selling is not about selling your product or service; it’s about selling yourself. First and foremost, you have to think of yourself as your product. What attracts consumers to a product? The packaging, its features, its price, its guarantees? As a sales person, you have to market yourself in the same manner. You are the manufacturer of your product: which is you. Dress for success, channel confidence and charisma from within, and attract your buyer to you.
  • Make your prospect comfortable. You have to make your customer want to engage with you and do business with you. Even with today’s online researching and buying trends, they will not buy from you if they do not like you and trust you.
  • Master “The art of asking questions without asking.” Learn how to open up the dialogue and then learn how to listen. Listening is a skill: Not everyone is born with the ability to listen. But if you want to learn how to improve your sales skills, learn and practice your listening skills. Next thing you know, you’ve gathered all the info you need for your closing arsenal. Now close.
  • Isolate your buyers’ hot spots. Create value, create need, and create solutions for your potential buyers. Hone in on what is actually important to your buyers, and then be prepared to give them the solutions they are looking for, not the pitch you’ve been preparing for months.
  • Recognize Emotional Drivers and Negotiate Accordingly. You are pitching a product to your prospects to solve their problem — not to solve yours. So when your prospects are giving you clues as to what they may be thinking or feeling, you need to recognize that this is what drives them to make their final buying decisions. So tune in and negotiate accordingly.

Anthony Caliendo is a self-made man, entrepreneur, corporate visionary, leadership coach, and author of The Sales Assassin – Master Your Black Belt in Sales. Learn more at


Build a Successful Sales Team from Scratch

By Eliot Burdett

Building a sales team from scratch is one of the most difficult and important tasks of a business owner. Hiring the wrong salespeople costs dearly in time and treasure. Fortunately, there is a tuned-up, 9-step formula for success:

  • Don’t build too soon. Any entrepreneur yearns for revenue streams, but if the product is not ready, the offering is shifting, the budget for an industry leader is not there or the appropriate management support is not in place, hiring salespeople can be a waste of limited resources.
  • Define your sales team structure.Before hiring can commence, clearly defining the structure of the sales team is critical.
  • Assign territories.Defining sales territories focuses selling efforts and prevents employees from targeting the same accounts and cannibalizing their efforts.
  • Map out individual sales goals. Identify the goals used to measure success for each sales team member. These should include not only revenue goals but also the sales activity required to achieve the revenue.
  • Determine the base and commission.Sales compensation plans vary widely across industries and companies, but as a rule of thumb, new business development positions pay a 50/50 split of base salary and commission.
  • Hire based on sales DNA and not resume. Ideally, hire a candidate that has a proven track record of selling in startups. However, more important is to measure their sales DNA which we define as key traits of successful sellers such as ambition, perseverance, confidence, optimism, sense of urgency, desire to influence others, flexibility and ability to deal with uncertainty.
  • Focus on the things thatattract top sales talent. The key is to make eye-catching job ads, offer a viable and well-defined career as opposed to just a job, get compensation offers right, and focus on attracting gainfully employed sales people.
  • Implement a structured onboarding program.The first 90 days of a sales rep’s employment are a critical time. Each day should be mapped out in terms of training on the product/service, the market and customers, and the selling approaches, systems and tools.
  • Measure success.It is critical that a new sales hire’s performance be monitored and measured closely.

Eliot Burdett is the Co-Founder and CEO of Peak Sales Recruiting, a leading B2B sales recruiting company launched in 2006. He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast. Visit


Develop a Systematic Approach to Cross-Selling

By John Boe

The proactive, ongoing sales process of cross-selling is designed to provide your customers with a full spectrum of your company’s products and services. Not surprisingly, two of the key elements that drive effective cross-selling are trust and convenience. Your customers’ trust in your company can be converted into additional sales that are not directly related to their existing products. The good news about the cross-selling process is that it’s one of the most profitable and least risky endeavors a sales rep can undertake. It pays to cross-sell, because when you go the extra mile and provide information about additional products to your customers, you are tuning up your sales and are being financially rewarded for helping them make a more informed buying decision.

The first exposure I had to cross-selling was as a teenager in high school working part-time at McDonalds during my summer vacation. Looking back on my brief tenure at the restaurant, I can still hear my manager’s daily refrain; be polite, keep the counter clean, and always ask the customers if they would like some fries with their meal.

Developing a systematic approach to cross-selling enhances the customer’s buying experience and brings in additional revenue with relatively low expense and effort. As you prepare for your next sales appointment, look for cross-selling opportunities that you can incorporate into your presentation. Sales reps who fail to effectively cross-sell products actually do a disservice to their customers and leave the back door open to their competitors!

John Boe is a nationally recognized sales trainer and business motivational speaker. For more information, visit or call 937-299-9001. Free Newsletter available on website.



Focus on Marketing to Millennials

By Trung Pham, CEO of AXIS

With 83 million Millennials possessing $1.3 trillion in annual buying power, and setting to inherit $30 trillion more from their Generation X and baby boomer parents, companies need to invest heavily in “Marketing to Millennials.”

They are the first generation not following the script of education, marriage, house, and then family, leaving advertisers perplexed. They also have a world of information at their fingertips allowing them to form their own opinions about brands, are the most educated generation in history, are highly diverse, and like being “green.” The following are six reasons entrepreneurs should not simply “Market to Millennials,” but should make it the primary focus of tuning up their marketing programs.

  • Society follows their lead.The entire world is following the lead of the current trendsetting youth generation (See Facebook). Those who can resonate with this group will then have the rest of the population following suit.
  • Appeal to the tech-savvy but not handy.The younger generation is between a rock and hard place when it comes to being handy. Our parents were able to build and fix things, where increasingly the current generation is not. While young people prefer to do a lot of things virtually, there will always be a need to develop physical products that function as seamlessly as their Apps do.
  • Benefit from speaking the same language.While entrepreneurs can be any age, the majority of entrepreneurs are young and hungry. In fact, many of them are Millennials. The ability to speak the same language as their target market offers a huge competitive advantage and will yield impressive results.
  • Enjoy two types of “green.”Targeting Millennials offers the opportunity to enjoy two types of green — the type that has a positive impact on society and the type that lines pockets. Whether their concern is creating green jobs, global warming, or getting away from foreign oil addiction, Millennials will feel better about supporting you if there is a social responsibility.
  • Consider their lifetime value.Baby boomers are certainly still a big market. However, they can be seen as getting a little long in the tooth. If the Millennials develop brand affinity, they will stay with you for life. It provides an opportunity to grow and evolve as they do and makes for a sound business model for the next 50 years or so.
  • Be global, mobile, and social.The key to doing good business is reaching consumers wherever, and whenever they are. Current and future generations will be increasingly global, mobile, and social. This ability to overcome geographic barriers should excite entrepreneurs and give them license to think really big.

Trung Pham is the CEO of AXIS, a company that designs do-it-yourself (DIY) home products for a generation of Millennials that are tech-savvy but not handy.  The company is in the process of launching the AXIS Gear, a smart motor designed to be easily installed on to existing window shades, and the AXIS Duo, a portable window shade designed for renters. Visit


7 Reasons to Market with Bloggers/Online Influencers

By Christine Viera

Most brands don’t recognize how valuable blogger (or “online influencer”) initiatives can be, or that the best part about online influencers is the whole “audience with an audience” concept. After all, bloggers have more power than ever to truly activate an audience, and that can manifest in an increase in sales, a spike in brand preference, even just increased conversation about a brand. One thing is increasingly clear — no matter what the end goal, there is no doubt that the rise of online influencers impacts how consumers choose products. The following are the benefits of tuning up your marketing with influencer campaigns:

  1. The personal touch. There are no big-name marketing companies behind the products these influencers post about. Their words are authentic, typed and posted by them, usually from their homes after actually using the products or services.
  1. People trust them. Online influencers are normal people. They aren’t millionaire celebrities, or part of the royal family. People follow them for honest and real reviews of products, and genuinely trust the influencer’s opinion. They’re part of a community together, and that network is built on trust.
  1. No hidden agenda. They don’t deal with an editor or “red tape.” They write what they want, when they want – that is both powerful and empowering.
  1. Truly powerful paid content ? much more than just an ad. No flashy $3-million commercial spots or blink-and-you’ll-miss-it banner ads. Even when paying for content, influencers post only products they use, making the ad more impactful than nearly anything else you can buy. And the residual SEO value can’t be beat.
  1. No politics. No bosses mean that no one else is controlling content. Nobody with a secret agenda is telling them what they need to write about; these truly transparent conversations are happening already – why aren’t your favorite brands participating?
  1. Target marketing made easier. Looking for a peanut-butter-loving stay-at-home dad of three? There’s a blog for that. Seriously. Engaging with bloggers allows brands to market to uber-specific audiences that will be more apt to connecting with their product/service. It’s just smart.
  1. Cost-effective. Compare it to a running ad in a magazine or a commercial slot on television and you’ve got yourself a good deal. No production costs!

Many brands are turning to automated influencer marketing platforms, like Find Your Influence. For more information, visit



Ignore Five Web Marketing Metrics

By Marc Gordon

If your company’s online presence is a part of your marketing program, then you’ve likely used a number of indicators to gauge the success of your efforts. Facebook likes, Twitter followers, and email open rates — while numbers don’t lie, they can certainly be deceiving. So before you post your next tweet, tune up your marketing and check out these five metrics that you should likely ignore.

  • Facebook likes. Liking a Facebook post involves just a single mouse click. The motivating factor behind that click can be virtually anything. That means there’s no way to know how relevant your Facebook community really is. Add to that the fact that organic reach is now less than 1%, and you might find yourself reaching out to no one.
  • Twitter followers. The number of followers you have says very little about your reach or influence. In fact, many of them may not even be real people. Like Facebook, it’s impossible to know what motivates someone to follow you. And unless you’re an avid tweeter, you’ll likely get lost in the feed. And even then, they may place you in a list that rarely gets seen.
  • Email open rates. In theory, the more people that open your emails, the more people that read them. However depending on their email settings, they may read your email without technically opening it or open it without actually reading it. And even if they read it, you won’t know if they have any interest in what you have to say. Unless they choose to opt out.
  • Share stats. It looks impressive to have big numbers on those little social share icons you may have on your blog posts. But there are two things to keep in mind. First, the number on a share icon only increases if someone clicks on it. That means that if they use a social media browser plug-in to share – or just copy the link, the numbers won’t increase regardless. Second, you won’t know who shared, or how strong their networks are. So that blog post that got shared 36 times on Facebook might have been seen by 2 people.
  • YouTube views. Everyone wants a video that goes viral. However, if you’re using video as a targeted marketing tool, then it’s not how many that matters, it’s who. Do you really care to be seen by the same person that religiously shares video’s of singing dogs and trick jugglers? Focus on getting your video in front of those whose attention you most want.

Marc Gordon is a recognized marketing expert, speaker and strategist. His articles appear in over 200 publications worldwide. Visit or for more information or watch his online show at for more business tips.



There is no better time than the present to tune up your business’s sales and marketing strategies in preparation for the upcoming year. As elaborated by the sales and marketing experts in this article, your tactics should include personal branding, utilizing the right mix of sales techniques and philosophies, sales team building, cross-selling, millennial marketing, blogger/online influencer marketing, and smart web marketing. With these tactics, you will build consumer trust, have a new and improved sales and marketing program in place, and your business will be positioned for success in 2016.

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