What We All Can Learn From Wal-Mart’s “Fat Girl” Costumes

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I’m sure you’ve all seen at least some of the reporting on Wal-Mart’s online advertising of Halloween costumes for plus-size women as “Fat Girl Costumes.” This mega-retailer’s insensitive choice of wording and obvious lack of oversight has ignited an outcry on social media – rightly so. And, the corporate brand is taking a beating as a result.

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“This never should have been on our site,” Wal-Mart spokesman Ravi Jariwala told Business Insider. “It is unacceptable, and we apologize. We are working to remove it as soon as possible and ensure this never happens again.”

No organization ever wants to be in a position requiring the release an apology of this nature. So, as unfortunate as this incident is, I say let’s use it as a reminder of how important brand image is and the steps we can take to build and protect it.

  1. Your brand image should be treated like a living, breathing thing that has to be attended to regularly. Everyone in your organization should know your brand message and how to communicate it through the job they do – from the top to the bottom. If you have a tagline, then it should be a short but memorable encapsulation of your brand.
  2. Recognize that your brand touches every aspect of your business, right down to how your phones are answered, your employees’ e-mail signatures, corporate attire, etc.
  3. Just like your organization has one logo, it too should have just one voice that is in line with your brand. This voice will speak in all of your materials, whether printed or online. Every communication you have has to be true to your brand and deliver on your promise, do that and you will have created a brand that truly speaks to your customers in a way they can trust.
  4. Create and implement design templates and brand standards for all of your materials. It’s important that every document that represents your organization is a reflection of your brand. So, you’ll want to make sure there is adherence to your corporate colors, logo placement, and the overall feel and message. Consistency is king.
  5. Monitor the communications that are being created for your organization, building in the necessary oversight to ensure proper approvals are being obtained prior to release.

You tell me…what are you doing to build and protect your brand to make sure something like this recent Wal-Mart incident doesn’t happen at your organization?

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FV1782How To Get Inside Your Buyer’s Head If You Want To Accelerate Your Close Rate

With the abundance of technology at our disposal, it’s pretty easy to reach out and make contact with potential buyers. I liken this to waving hello. Nice, but not enough. We need to give them a reason to want to come over and talk to us. This is where lead nurturing makes all of the difference in your close rates.

When you are engineering your lead nurturing program, each step of the journey must be carefully thought out, answering the question as to why the information is important to the buyer, the logical next step, and what you expect the buyer will do in response to each step. Really get inside your buyer’s head and design a campaign that speaks directly to them. Keep it simple initially and build in complexity as you go along.

Think about the content you already have and how you can use it or what pieces you’ll need to create. But, keep in top of mind that each piece needs to be presented at the right time and for the right reason and have a powerful call to action. Your campaign needs to walk your buyers through the buying process, providing them with the information they need at each stage. Forget this and your close rates will reflect it. Do it right, and your form fills will come. The best part is that you’ll be gathering data along the way, so you can adjust your workflow as necessary.

In addition to designing your program around your buyer’s needs also recognize that the sales cycle plays a key role. Make sure you provide enough touch-points along the way to address each stage of your sales cycle.

What initiative have you implemented that accelerated your close rate the best? Share your ideas with us!

Tap Into The Power Of LinkedIn To Generate Leads

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LinkedIn LogoI am a huge believer in using LinkedIn to generate leads. I feel this way because I am a regular blogger on LinkedIn, and I’ve experienced first-hand the direct results this platform delivers. It’s one of the best ways I know to build relationships that lead to sales. But, it does take some skill and dedication.

Learn all of my tried-and-true methods for using LinkedIn as a powerful lead generation tool by requesting a FREE copy of my latest e-book on this topic. Just click on the banner above to sign up, and we’ll send you an electronic copy that walks you through all the steps to get started and all the beneficial tips you’ll need to know along the way. Click today and get information you can put to good use right away to tap into this excellent business tool.

 

 

How To Build Trust Between Sales And Marketing

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If you read my last post on lead generation quantity versus quality, then you were probably expecting this post. But, it’s true, if your lead generation program is going to be successful, then your sales and marketing teams have to trust each other to do their jobs and to work together to achieve corporate objectives. Study after study shows that when sales and marketing are working synergistically, sales respond with staggering improvements.

So, how do you build trust between sales and marketing? Here’s how:

  1. Do what you say and say what you do
  2. Everyone should know the goals
  3. Share results and learn from mistakes
  4. Everyone is part of the solution

If both sales and marketing keep these four points in mind and (even better) put them into practice, then cohesion should naturally evolve and trust across departments build. I’ve also found it’s a good idea to assign employees from both departments to a project rather than making projects strictly the jurisdiction of one department over another.

With sales and marketing working in tandem, your marketing automation system and CRM should be the two final pieces to the puzzle that keep everyone informed and moving toward the same common goal. Sales and marketing must keep the lines of communication open and meet frequently to keep fostering the best working relationship that drives the most results.

What techniques have you used that have been successful to build trust between sales and marketing? Or, what obstacles are you continuing to battle in trying to achieve harmony between these two departments? Share your ideas in Comments.