Follow The Lead

How are we doing? Be brutal

As 2009 winds down – and 2010 riding in on a wave of uncertainty – it’s probably a good time to take stock of ZoomInfo’s blog, Follow the Lead, which was introduced last summer with the aim of helping sales and marketing executives do their job better and improving the relationship between sales and marketing reps.

Since ZoomInfo’s raison d’être is to help sales agents “find people and companies,” our coverage has placed a strong emphasis on lead generation and prospecting – the two areas that are fundamental to striving as a sales executive.

Cold calling, which continues to show its resilience against the digital onslaught, remains a red-hot topic for sales execs. One of our guest blogs on cold calling and an accompanying webinar resonated a great deal with readers. Data management – and how to keep it clean, as it were – has quickly become part of our DNA. One of our more popular pieces on CRM runs here.

Our coverage of social media has also struck a nerve. Readers want to know about the merits of Twitter as a business tool and whether myriad social channels (the blogosphere, Digg, Facebook) are legitimate sales vehicles to new customers.

The response to features on social media has been a bit surprising. In conversations with sales consultants and industry observers, we’ve been left with the impression that sales agents may be looking at social media with a jaundiced eye. Perhaps not. (Mike Schaffner, director of IT for the Valve and Measurement group of Cameron argues in on Wednesday that hackers and commercialization may be killing social media. WebProNews provides a different take on how business can take advantage of the social space.)

There is also a distinct impression here that sales agents are prone to inertia, particularly in the areas of sales training and retention and promotion (where sales managers still make too many hires based on a gut feeling rather than having a criterion in which job candidates can fit into).

Call it a lack of process, which plagues multiple areas of sales, including sales training and retention and promotion. With such dramatic change engulfing the sales industry – the proliferation of “buying by committee” and a growing number of buyers conditioned to communicating via the Web – it’s high time that salespeople start investing in process, which is investing in themselves.

Is the above assessment fair? We’d like to know because a surefire way of adding more value to our blog is to listen closely to readers. We get a good amount of anecdotal information from the field about sales trends, but we need to hear from sales folks who are in the trenches: What are your biggest pain points heading into 2010? What are the subjects related to sales and marketing that you would like to see more (or less) of running on the blog? Are there any subject matters that we have ignored?  How can we provide a better service?

Early next year we’re planning on adding some new (and newsier) editorial elements to Follow the Lead. Our hope is that more varied information will enhance the blog’s value and make it more of a regular destination among both b-to-b sales managers and b-to-b sales reps. But we’re eager for more collaboration between the blog and its readers.

With the last week of the year being pretty slow,  please take some time to critically assess our blog. Get the “red” pen out, as it were, and let us know, with apologies to Edward I. Koch, how are we doing?

Merry Christmas!

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December 23, 2009 - Posted by | Sales & Marketing | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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