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The Tech Effect

Where technology
is taking sales
and marketing

page 40

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His new bookk examines the triggers that will help you get noticed.COM JUL/AUG 2015 3 . says techno journalist Ben Parr. 58 Incentive Gift Cards Directory Incentive Gift Card Directory A comprehensive list of Incentive Gift Card Council suppliers SALESANDMARKETING.cover story 40 The Tech Effect DEPARTMENTS Where technology is taking sales and marketing editor’s notebook It’s a tech tsunami 4 NEXT What’s ailing employee wellness programs? Plus other sales and marketing talkers 6 the sales conversation The allure of doing nothing Incentive product review Top performers An assortment of new incentive ideas from our advertisers Cameras and consumer electronics 12 marketing opinion Are you ready for machine learning? 14 marketing 24 52 Managing customers as assets halts the revolving door 16 meetings Top 10 meeting tech trends for 2015 20 July/August 2015 Special Supplement closers 27 Attention is currency.

Tumi. Mike Landry. PERMISSIONS AND REPRINTS Email: melissa@salesandmarketing.) A week later. or iff your marketingg team could double the number off leads it generates in that time frame. The Revenue Accelerator Sales & Marketing Managementt Volume 96.” “Everythingg else is gettingg done faster. can be found in the Additional Web Resources box. Tim Riesterer (CorporateVisions. Fax: 952-401-7899 SUBSCRIPTIONS AND ADDRESS CHANGES Sales & Marketing EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS Jeanne Bliss (CustomerBliss. a special double issue of Fortune arrived in the mailbox with its annual cover storyy on the Fortune 500. photograph or illustration without the written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Jeff Erhardt ( ONLINE Find these and otherr online exclusives at SalesandMarketing. which is featured in our cover story. Annual subscription rate $48 U. Michael Leimbach.. 952-401-1283 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Paul Steve Dunn (TravelTags. mike@salesandmarketing. MN 55331 Phone: 952-401-1283 Fax: 952-401-7899 Online: www. vicki@salesandmarketing. and that’s held for 50 Clockwork Active Media Reproduction in whole or in part of any Single copy price $ ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Gary Dworet. and $146 all other countries. PO Box 247.salesandmarketing. Dave Stein (DaveStein. check out our incentive product review w (page 24).com). BACK 4 (ISSN 0163-7517) is published six times a year in January. Excelsior MN. (See more off his comments on page PRESIDENT/CEO Mike Murrell VP FINANCE AND OPERATIONS Bryan Powell EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Tim Houlihan. . Eric Estrilla (SalesBenchMarkIndex. 27020 Noble Road. That’s because at the heart off that industryy is the belieff that you’re goingg to get twice as good everyy two years. 561-245-8328 Lori Gardner. Wilson Learning Worldwide. Eyal Winter. Copyright 2015 by Mach1 Business Media. tony@salesandmarketing. And don’t miss the thoughts from noted technology journalist Ben Parr on how w to capture people’s attention in a world that is rife with diversions. LLC. Editor All rights reserved. September and November by Mach1 Business Media. my Fastt Company arrived. Paul Nolan.S. Once you’ve finished readingg the cover package. Talk about a tech effect—these two product categories have longg been amongg the most popular for driving increased performance in the workplace. Collin (CollinGroup. Jeff Hoffman (HubSpot. with a cover photo off President Obamaa and a feature storyy on how w the president has raided the ranks off Google. Dave Stein. you start seeingg pregnant women everywhere you Facebook. 䡲 The extended Q&A interview with technologyy journalist and venture capitalist Ben Parr is at SalesandMarketing. gary@salesandmarketing. Jeff Bullas ( No. In the middle off this issue’s production cycle. In it. May. Jay Zemke. Moore’s Law w doesn’t applyy to sales and marketingg teams. lori@salesandmarketing. Barry C. Chuck Kapelke (b2bmarketing. McDonough marvels at the “hunger” for increasingg performance that techies have brought to 4 JUL/AUG 2015 SALESANDMARKETING. Editor Alan Murray relays in his editor’s note that technologyy sits atop CEOs’ list off top Tony Zambito (TonyZambito. com/Closers. Peter Ostrow (aberdeen. Somethingg similar happens everyy time we put together our annual summer issue. LLC PO Box 247. March. Ben is featured in our Closers Q&A A on page Whyy should this institution be different?” asks White House Chieff off Staff Denis McDonough rhetorically. BI Worldwide.COM PUBLISHER Mike Murrell. “Theyy are in an industryy that has constantlyy reinvented itselff and become more efficient. which features some off the neatest ideas in cameras and consumer electronics for incentive use. 763-350-3411 ART DIRECTOR Susan but there’s no question that technologyy continues to increase productivityy in both sales and marketingg across all 䡲 A link to the full report on technologyy and sales from the Aberdeen Group. 䡲 Save a seat for anyy off our free webinars on emerging trends and sales and marketingg management challenges. paul@salesandmarketing. 55331 Subscriber Customer Service: with its focus on technology’s impact on sales and marketing. Lee Salz. July.” Imagine iff you could shorten your sales cycle byy halff every two years. Amazon and other top tech companies to assemble a team off techies who are charged with “rebootingg how w government CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Vicki OFFICES Mach1 Business Media. Matt Heinz (HeinzMarketing. Excelsior. 952-451-6228 PRODUCTION MANAGER Tony Kolars.editor’s notebook It’s a tech tsunami When you’re pregnant (or when your partner is pregnant).com).net/magazine). $67 Canada plus 7% GST. Fax: 801-998-1732 smmconnect.

A positive attitude is the foundation for success. All rights reserved. and more. So kindle sparks of joy with Sony Rewards. Sony and the Sony logo are trademarks of Sony Corporation.4823 ©2015 Sony Electronics Inc.596. And that’s just what your company needs to spark the happiness that transforms ordinary employees into red-hot competitors. high-performance portable audio.866.Spark | 1. Your core team will be powerfully motivated by a broad range of Sony products. They’ll love choosing from award-winning digital cameras. . extraordinary 4K Ultra HD televisions. sony. Screen image simulated.

JUL AUG 2015 What’s ailing employee wellness programs? Among other things. A report released by Fidelity BJORN RUNE LIE/GETTY IMAGES . fitness trainers and sales of fitness gear—growth in the past decade has been astronomical as the general population increasingly embraces a more active and healthy lifestyle. By any measure—total health clubs. employers say they are striking a balance between encouraging participation and protecting the choice of their workers. a policy group representing large employers. right? Not so fast. engaged. In April. the EEOC’s proposed rule limits the financial incentive that an employer may offer employees to 30 percent of the total cost of 6 JUL/AUG 2015 SALESANDMARKETING. with a goal of reducing costs for themselves as well as their workers. “At the end of the day. claiming that requiring certain medical screenings and answering questionnaires is invasive and illegal. the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its long-anticipated proposed rule on the extent to which the Americans with Disabilities Act permits employers to offer incentives to employees to promote participation in wellness programs that are employee health programs.” Marcotte says. Brian Marcotte. complaints that they are invasive. and the most competitive workforce possible. employers want healthy. resilient employees. Some workers have pushed back against their employer’s wellness efforts. president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health. productive. “Investments in health and well-being are part of that equation. So it stands to reason that the increase of employer-sponsored wellness programs would be a welcomed trend. punitive and ineffective Americans continue to fuel a fitness craze. told National Public Radio that most health care costs are lifestyle related. In order to ensure that participation in wellness programs are voluntary. In response to the backlash about wellness programs being invasive.” Generating employee interest and participation in wellness programs has proved challenging.COM employee-only coverage under the plan. including both employee and employer contributions toward the cost of coverage (or 50 percent to the extent that the additional percentage is attributed to tobacco prevention or reduction).

Soeren Mattke. In a blog post at HealthAffairs. but their employees may look at it differently. is the surest route to reducing overall health care spending. and the average maximum incentive increased from $594 last year to $693 in 2015. managing director of RAND Health Advisory Services. as many wellness programs are. If firms wish to count that as a victory in the battle against health care costs. they may do so. He fears some employers will bail out of wellness programs due to lack of That is why I believe it is time to start rethinking workplace wellness. EDITED BY PAUL NOLAN Employers provide incentives through: It may be true that. but not by focusing on lifestyle changes. and only if.What you’ll be talking about. some programs can save money for both the employer and employees in the long run. and certainly not in the short term.” A 2014 New York Times story reported that researchers found that participation in a PepsiCo Healthy Living program that included lifestyle management and disease management components did produce lower health care costs. by itself. exposing the most vulnerable employees to that level of pressure would be sound policy if.” the Times story stated. if designed well. says “bending the curve” with wellness programs as currently designed is an elusive goal. and come up with models that are both fairer and more effective. workplace wellness programs were powerful enough to reverse years of deeply engrained behaviors. SOURCE: FIDELITY BENEFITS CONSULTING 17% of employers use disincentives for smoking cessation programs Prevalence of incentives vs. “When more broadly implemented and focused on lifestyle management. but only by shifting them to employees. “Employers may misunderstand the research if they think that just any wellness program. and all from the disease management components of the program.” Mattke states. Allowing employers to shift up to 50 percent more of the cost to employees with poor health choices will substantially increase a system that is already regressive in nature by increasing cost sharing or nudging people to drop coverage. “Yet our data show that they are not even attracting more than a quarter of employees and have a modest impact on those who participate. but only after the third year.” Contributions to a healthcare account: 27% Cash/gift card: 43% Premium differential: 57% Employers prefer incentives over disincentives Benefits Consulting states that 79 percent of employers will offer incentives in 2015 compared with 63 percent in 2010. Programs that merely do that may cut employer costs. disincentives by program Biometric screening 72% 5% Health risk assessment 70% 6% Physical activity program 54% Smoking cessation program 54% 17% Weight management programs 45% Disease/care management program participation 42% 7% Preventive care services/screenings 39% 3% Stress management program 35% 1% Decision support tools for medical decisions 12% Health care navigators Incentives 11% Health advocacy/second opinion 9% Disincentives 2% Decision support tools for health care enrollment 2% SALESANDMARKETING. That just isn’t the case.COM JUL/AUG 2015 7 . savings may not materialize. “In my mind. Yet only 47 percent of employees earn the full incentive amount and 26 percent earn a portion of the incentive.

Not negotiating with signing authority. com.” Winter states. Winter points to a real-life experience by Continental Airlines some 20 years ago. Continental was on the verge of bankruptcy.” 4 negotiation mistakes that can kill your deal Sales negotiations can go awry quickly. the more likely both parties want it to end favorably. In a blog post on HubSpot. It ended that year with a $224 million profit. 1. Last year. sales management consultant Jeff Hoffman shared the four worst 8 JUL/AUG 2015 mistakes reps make when they negotiate.” he adds.” Winter says.Should you lose the “I” in your incentives? Team-based goals apply more pressure to perform Formal teamwork is present in a majority of companies and. it was precisely because Continental’s employees were more concerned about not disappointing their peers than about making an extra $60 that this scheme was so amazingly successful. “If it’s only about competition. the organization has to maintain a high level of transparency. If it’s all about cooperation. Identify the ultimate decision maker early on or you may be subjected to several rounds of negotiations. followed by a profit of $319 million in 1996. two researchers from the University of Montevideo in Uruguay found that team incentives improved college students’ performance on course work and exam grades by 20 percent when compared against individual incentives. and to start thinking of them as social and moral figures who have more complex considerations at play. As Winter summarizes. But managers continue to focus their performance improvement efforts almost exclusively on competition rather than cooperation when designing rewards. In a recent essay for the Washington Post’s “On Leadership” section. the less likely it is to be successful. In 2001. it initiated a program that promised each employee a bonus of $60 for every month in which the airline was ranked among the top five carriers in on-time performance. Strive to guide the negotiation in such a way that there is no loser — just two winners. makes the case for team-based incentives. Washington University researchers found that the move from individual to team incentives at a garment manufacturing facility in Napa. avoiding a handful of common mistakes can decrease the likelihood of the negotiation getting derailed. The longer people are engaged in a healthy negotiation. No one wants to feel like they have lost a negotiation. Negotiating too quickly. But they are vital to organizational success. Not building in new concessions. each with its own concessions. informally.” This makes effective team incentives so hard to design. 4. Eyal Winter. and in any number of ways.” The more limitations you introduce into a negotiation. Saying “This is my bottom line. “Getting it right requires managers to stop thinking of workers as entities who simply calculate the tradeoff between effort and money. a professor of economics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. If workers are poorly informed about peers’ efforts and performance — that is. California improved productivity by 14 percent. 3. then a worker will invest part of her effort in making other workers’ outcomes less successful instead of exerting all her effort toward making her own outcome more successful. “For such tactics to be effective in the long term. Slow the discussion down and build in some intentional silences.COM 2. “Team incentives are successful because of our craving for social gratitude and our fear of social pressure. Following a loss of more than $600 million in 1994. “The fear of depriving your peers a bonus because of your laziness was a much more meaningful motivator than the fear of losing your own bonus. “It turns out. . Keep hard restrictions to yourself if at all possible. While there’s no surefire way to barter a positive outcome. “Managing teams successfully is always about finding the right balance between the individual and the group. if it’s impossible to tell the difference between the team’s savers and the team’s shirkers — then social acceptance and social pressure are meaningless. every organization is in fact a large team of employees. then some workers will just capitalize off others’ diligence. SALESANDMARKETING.” Winter says there is a host of business and economics research that supports the superiority of team incentives over individual ones. In February 1995.

Build your presentation in chunks rather than in a narrative so you can remain adaptable. The faster I follow-up. prioritize your material. don’t save it for the end. adapted and tuned to take advantage of new technologies. Know your main points or “big fish” and your supporting information or “little fish. Heinz says. this includes connecting on LinkedIn with a customized message. and following up with whatever deliverable I promised (sending a copy of an ebook. She offers these brevity tips: Serve dessert first. referral sources. Process them on the flight home. Shapira of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Communication Program when asked what he’s thinking when he hears a startup pitch. surprising fact or arresting story can get people to put their phones down. Another option if they don’t have a card is to take a quick smartphone photo of their name badge. At minimum you can use this to remember and find them on LinkedIn you need to get to the core innovation right out of the gate. Working through business cards is a high priority for me on the flight home. deliver it up front. It helps set context and expectations. try having them sell to venture capitalist David Wells of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.” Wells told Allison M. “When making any kind of presentation. Know your big fish and little fish. blogged recently. The exchange of business cards. Leading or inundating with lots of little fish is overwhelming to the presenter and the audience. it’s probably not there. “The lesson reinforced for me [from Heinz’s blog post] is that many—if not most—business practices never really become obsolete. then the CRM and newsletter integration last. but I still love to exchange business cards— especially in an event setting. such that I’m doing the LinkedIn and deliverable follow-up first. Have a specific “processing” checklist. making an introduction.” Matt If you have a takeaway or call to action. stay in touch and ultimately convert more of those new contacts into partners. customers and more.” a startup “Brevity requires you to prepare.” (This requires you to…yep. is “the start of a fast. That’s when I either stop listening or interrupt the speaker to ask. proven and scalable system that helps me more consistently follow up. MIT. prioritize and package your material. president of Heinz Marketing (HeinzMarketing. If it’s not in the first eight words. I’ve decided whether or not to keep listening. Chunks leave you prepared and nimble. “He replied (and I’m paraphrasing).com).Sell like you’re If your salespeople think their prospects are hard to impress. Go modular. a counter-intuitive statement.” Without a strategy. many trade show attendees return home with a stack of cards that stay wadded up in the bottom of a laptop bag indefinitely. adding them to my newsletter list.’” “When pitching a start-up idea.” says Leslie Brokaw in a blog post for MIT Sloan Management Review (SloanReview.) Big fish come first.” commented sales consultant Todd Youngblood (ypsgroup. “Within the first eight words. but time is of the essence on those new relationships and follow-ups. com). whatever). Newfangled tips for an old-school tactic “Call me old school if you want.” adds communications coach Beth Noymer Levine (SmartMouthCommunications. Set a reminder to review the business cards again in two weeks. Heinz offers these tips for converting those cards into an active network and pipeline: Take photos of name badges. This can be done in your office.COM JUL/AUG 2015 9 . ‘The core innovation. “Sure they need to be updated. and is a quick reminder to follow-up on any loose ends from your initial outbound connections on that flight home. I’m typically behind on other work as well. I typically batch these activities. the more likely I can continue the momentum of the conversation into something more meaningful sooner than later.” SALESANDMARKETING. but the fundamentals remain in place. which are important for holding onto audience attention. For me. Shapira asked Wells what he’s looking for in those first eight words. adding them to CRM.

Millennials in the buying process Millennials have a fundamentally different approach to the way they research. blog posts.The millennial B2B buyer can’t be ignored It’s clear that millennials continue to greatly impact consumer marketing. so you need sellers to change along with them. They were born with cell phones and 10 JUL/AUG 2015 SALESANDMARKETING. because they will have more specific information on what works and what doesn’t. it is estimated that millennials will make up more than half of the work force. . Millennials should adapt as well ClearSlide. By 2020. Savvy salespeople will be able to see what top performers are doing and incorporate that into their own selling practice. Encouraging peer learning and healthy competition requires transparency throughout the entire sales process. daily update emails. This higher level of visibility will also benefit sales leaders. testimonials and more to form their impressions. listen and demonstrate value that aligns to what the buyer already knows and what they need to know to move the sale forward. or the ability to listen to how top reps pitch via calls or videos are all great learning opportunities. By tracking engagement in a platform that enables every salesperson to see what others are doing. and they readily Millennials and onboarding If you hand your millennial sales team a training manual. recently shared his thoughts with SocialMediaB2B about the changing dynamics of buying. At the same time. which is good. Millennials can push their workplace in new directions by advocating for openness and transparency. you create learning opportunities and engender competition at the same time. they’ll likely hand it right back. Chief Operating Officer of computers in hand. Increase transparency You can spark millennial salespeoples’ desire to overachieve by making recognition visible. Linear sales pitches end up frustrating millennial buyers and risk lengthening the sales process. but there has been less chatter about how their arrival in the work force has affected B2B sales. modern tools. how-tos. recommend and buy. New blood in an organization forces everyone to learn new and modern ways of doing things. peer-to-peer learning. Social communities like LinkedIn and Twitter allow buyers to understand your value proposition while doing their own online research. That approach is dramatically changing in part because of millennial buyers. Social learning and collaboration is far more impactful than the traditional “coffee is for closers” sales environment. more experienced colleagues as well. from qualification to educating the buyer to creating interest to close. Many of them are being promoted to decision-making positions. sellers have to learn how to adapt to where buyers are in the selling process. A better strategy is to encourage your millennial reps to learn from their peers—and specifically from leading reps. Traditional sales processes have been linear in nature. Sellers today need to ask questions. Use technology to make this possible—a homepage of all sales activity (like a social network). mobility and by engaging customers through social media. Buyers are changing. a sales engagement platform that empowers sales teams to engage customers.COM consume valuable information like videos. Since most of the information gathering happens before any direct interaction with a company. selling and managing the generation that is out to save the world. Dustin Grosse. millennials should recognize that they have plenty to learn from other.

“What makes people nervous is the fear that they’re stepping out of their comfort zone. SALESANDMARKETING. the next step might be to send them product information. people will tune out. say what they need to say and move on — and do it in an engaging way. a publication of the Business Marketing Association. Like all digital media channels. but many companies have been slow to adopt it. like outdoor furniture. video is highly measurable.. Every video should end with a clear call to action.” MEASURE AND LEARN. * Not available on oversized merchandise. gift wrapped* or drop-shipped.” A link to the full article by Chuck Kapelke can be found in our Additional Web Resources box at Videos can also be produced in pieces to enable customers to take themselves on self-guided content journeys. “Less is more” is the mantra of all experienced video makers.pmcusa.Secrets to video marketing success Video has immense potential in B2B marketing. you’re constantly taking measurements and using analytics to understand your performance. or to receive a sales call and see if they want to participate in having a free safety audit. In addition to clicks and conversions. providing insight into where your message could be stronger. and you’re making adjustments on the fly.” says Ron Klingensmith. Chief Creative Officer for Slack and Company. BE WILLING TO FAIL.COM JUL/AUG 2015 11 . HAVE A CLEAR NEXT STEP. He provides these quick tips for better use of video: KEEP IT SHORT. “If someone clicks the video. 24-hour order turnaround on in-stock merchandise with no minimums.” says Laura Ramos of Forrester Research. such as a link to a landing page or a phone number to call. at distributor direct pricing. “Video is a medium that demands a systematic approach to management. FULFILLMENT SIMPLIFIED The hottest in-demand categories. a B2B marketing consultant. but also lets them self-identify their specific interests. states Chuck Kapelke in a story for B-to-B Marketer. video metrics let you see how much people watch before they tune out.” says Matt Palmer of DesignKitchen. “In an ideal situation. “Even longer format videos need to be concise in their message. This not only empowers the viewer. “If you can’t deliver a message in a minute and a half. A fullfilment partner that makes doing business easy.” Klingensmith says. (262) 203-5440 OVER 100 BRANDS INCLUDING. www.

and what you as a seller can do to make sure it doesn’t. which is required for decision processing and persuasion to take place. • Preference stability — Experienced buyers tend to stick with proven methods for making a selection. To overcome this. problems. To make change more palatable to your prospects. this opponent has nothing to do with the other competitors in your market and everything to do with your prospects’ status quo bias—their preference for making no buying decision at all and sticking with their current situation. • Selection difficulty – Researchers confirm a concept called “choice overload. This creates uncertainty in the buyer’s current preferences. The value of doing something different resides in the contrast between where your prospects are today and where they could be with you. Sellers routinely encounter a similar preference in their customer conversations. That means identifying and introducing their unconsidered needs—challenges. you have to show prospects how the pain of staying the same—the status quo. As a result. humans are two to three times more motivated to avoid loss than to achieve gain. Humans have a serious predisposition for doing nothing and maintain this preference even when the current situation is clearly to their detriment. safe alternative path.the sales conversation The allure of doing nothing The four reasons people are stuck in the status quo and how to defeat them In a joint study on decision making. and adhering to the status quo is frequently unjustified given advantageous alternatives. These factors provide a helpful way to think about why buyer indecision happens. In his study called “The Psychology of Doing Nothing. the old sergeant syndrome illustrates just how powerful the human preference for staying the course can be. research psychologists Irving Janis and Leon Mann describe a wartime phenomenon called the “old sergeant syndrome”—when infantry on the frontlines.COM • Anticipated regret/ blame – The possibility of regret can be a major source of inaction for buyers during the decision-making process. Still. you should be spending more time on messages. no-change options. which poses the biggest threat to their most vital business goals—is actually greater than the pain of change. are known to actually delay making decisions that might protect them from a similar fate. gaps or deficiencies in their status quo approach that will make it difficult or even impossible to achieve their desired outcomes. tools and skills that defeat these causes of the status quo bias. As Anderson’s research shows.” research psychologist Christopher Anderson sums it up well: “Delays transform into lost opportunities. The best way to do this is with visual storytelling tools depicting buyers’ current and future states so they can picture their status quo as unsafe and see your solution as a new. it will increase resistance. Deeply rooted in human psychology and common in everyday life. you have to identify and quantify the cost of inaction and add that to the gain of change to show significant contrast between their current and future states. Instead of worrying about a competitive matrix that shows how you stack up against a competitor. So. having witnessed the deaths of many comrades.   . individuals persist in seeking default no-action. if change is risky and appears to cost more than staying the same. Though anecdotal. 12 JUL/AUG 2015 SALESANDMARKETING. the status quo bias is a stubborn foe. you need to make the complex simple and the abstract more concrete. Anderson notes that anticipatory emotions during the decision process include a cocktail of negative states including dread. anxiety and fear largely due to the notion that humans tend to BY TIM RIESTERER associate change with loss and pain instead of gain. To counteract this.” which contributes to indecisiveness and the perception that change is too difficult and abstract to realize. and this preference is their most formidable adversary. how can you engineer a shift in your prospects’ preferences? One of the best ways to do this in your customer conversations is to tell them something they didn’t already know about a problem or missed opportunity they didn’t even know they had. • Cost of action/change – According to social psychologist Daniel Kahneman.” Beating buyer inertia Why is the status quo so compelling for so many buyers? Anderson’s research highlights several key “antecedents” that fuel our human penchant for inaction.

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extracting patterns from every individual customer and interaction in order to help you achieve the business results you want. Machine learning will play an increasing role in marketing and sales organizations looking to work smarter. support and retain customers.IO your data together in meaningful ways to drive better future outcomes for marketing and sales. an approach to predictive analytics that allows computers to automatically learn by example and continuously adapt to the shifting sales and marketing world. Don’t boil the ocean Too many Big Data analytics projects fail by trying to solve everything at once: the 360-degree view of every possible interaction with every customer on every channel. ugly—machine learning can tie CEO OF WISE. Choose the right business process Building on the mindset of not boiling the ocean. Machine learning can help determine which customers are most likely to cancel and recommend which save technique is likely to work best. data and outcomes. One approach to curing these data overload ills is machine learning. Start with a process that is relatively mature and stable. Once you understand your business process. or if you feel like you “don’t have enough. Don’t fall into that trap. most organizations are using a mere 12 percent of their data to make marketing decisions. we’re inundated with messages to use data to drive personalized and predictive experiences for customers. For example. In turn. so the crisper the outcome. Don’t fret if your data is scattered. to learn the patterns of human decision making and infer the complex rules by which decisions are being made by your customer-facing employees. . not harder. Think about which decisions to automate and which to augment by assessing the “cost of being wrong”—the cost of an incorrect action. you’ll be able to use machine learning to scale and enhance those inherently personalized customer interaction decisions. come from the philosophy that you don’t have to solve every analytics challenge right out of the gate. but the account manager ultimately controls how to handle the interaction. saving an at-risk customer may be better left to an augmented approach. initially. However. Instead. By offering one more way to alleviate the burden of data analysis. But how do you get started with machine learning? Are you even ready? Here are four recommendations to help you answer those questions and get your sales. Machine learning alleviates the burden of establishing fixed rules for how to react to data.COM Be very clear about the outcome you’re striving for Are you trying to convert more prospects? Or maybe figure out the best salesperson to close a certain deal or save an at-risk customer? The outcome is the nucleus around which machine learning operates. which delivers predictive applications across the full customer lifecycle to optimize how businesses acquire. the better the value. By understanding past outcomes—good. the prospect likely wouldn’t notice if he engaged with the “wrong” salesperson. take inventory to understand what data is available.” Consider an agile approach. where it lives and how it’s being used in that business process to make Are you ready for machine learning? In this era of Big Data. Since machine learning can work with your existing CRM. you’re ready to bring in machine learning to codify intuition— that is. choosing which salesperson should work a deal can be automated. bad. but a supplement to human segment your business processes to identify where it makes sense to layer on machine learning technology. it can be the foundation for more personalized interactions and better engagement at every stage of the customer’s lifecycle.   Jeff Erhardt is CEO of Wise. Maybe it’s a process around assigning leads to salespeople or selecting dynamic content for your next email campaign. marketing and support data ready for machine learning. Understand your data Next up. you can apply machine learning using the easily accessible data and then gradually add more over time. 14 JUL/AUG 2015 SALESANDMARKETING. according to Forrester Research. and where you see your employees performing repetitive tasks. including text—there’s no need to uproot existing systems. But for many. or JEFF ERHARDT. Predictive applications are not a black box for decision making. the gap between this data-driven vision and reality is large and growing. marketing automation and support systems— and any data types. monetize.