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Is your software demo killing your sale?

demonstrationBy Francis Moran

There may be nothing quite so ubiquitous in the normal sales cycle for the enterprise software market as the software demo. And there may be nothing that kills as many promising deals as the software demo done poorly. And yet, the demo is such a critical part of the sales cycle. Delivered at the right stage in the sales process and sharply tuned to the prospect’s real needs, there are few tools in your sales kit more potent than a well-run demo.

The karmic gods must believe I deserve punishment for some dire past offence for they have obliged me to sit through well more than my share of wretched demos. The only solace I can take is that I don’t seem to be alone in this; a quick scan of colleagues plus my own experience made the following list of software demo failures all too easy to compile.

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Keeping constructively busy through these dog days

pitching_gripsBy Leo Valiquette

Summer, as I wrote in my last post, is no time to slack off from a marketing and PR perspective, but this raises the obvious question, what to do through July and August?

Most community business networking events are on hiatus. So too are conferences and trade shows. On any given week key spokespeople and thought leaders in your organization may be on vacation.

It may be a quiet time, a down time, but there are still things you can do.

The most obvious is focus on your social media channels and your blog. Throughout most of the year, busy marketing and communications teams struggle to keep these machines fed and use them as they are intended to engage in valuable dialogue with target audiences on a consistent basis. So use these summer workdays constructively to create and ingrain good social media habits into your organization. And if developing a sound and comprehensive social media strategy is one of those things that just keeps sliding off of the plate, now is the time to tackle the project in earnest so you are ready to pull the trigger when everything shifts into top gear again following Labour Day.

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Do researchers and storytellers hold the key to improved productivity and startup survival?

Busy business person juggles time clock

By Jay Innes

Marketing and communications pros – hell, even PR folks and business developers – can force a smile after reading a study examining Canada’s productivity and following that with a scan of a Branham report on the Canadian ICT industry.

Deloitte Canada recently released The Future of Productivity: A Wake Up Call for Canadian Companies, assessing the worrisome trend that sees startups flourish and then flounder because growth and productivity aren’t sustained. The slowdown and full-blown failure of many startups is, the report states, a partial result of business leaders “not investing in the activities required to sustain growth.” The authors advise firms to increase their focus on gathering competitive intelligence as part of an effort to avoid slipping behind their peers.

“Canada’s entrepreneurs may have mastered the art of creating fast-growing businesses with great potential, but they fall short when it comes to sustaining them,” states the Deloitte study.

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Great articles roundup: A content formula, customers on social media, building credibility, 1940s content marketing

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By Hailley Griffis

As per our usual Friday schedule, we have rounded up some of the best articles we’ve come across in the past week to share with our readers. Front and centre this time around are Social Media Today, SocialMediaB2B, Marketing Sherpa Blog and Econsultancy.

How much content do you need? Here’s a formula

Jay Baer looks into a formula for content marketing. Is there a certain amount of content required? According to Jay, if you want to make your content useful, there absolutely is. You need to look at personas, budget stages and the number of questions you need to answer, before moving to the next stage. The formula involves all of these numbers and helps you figure out how many of your customer’s questions your content should be answering.

Daily social media usage includes B2B customers and prospects

Though some companies seem to think their customers aren’t on social media, Jeffrey Cohen writes about recent statistics that reveal that 40 per cent of the world uses a social media site every day. The study goes into which social networks are used and when specifically their traffic peaks throughout the day, with information such as “2.1 billion search queries are conducted on Twitter every day. That’s almost half as many as performed on Google.” The importance in these numbers for marketing lies in understanding where your customers are on social networks.  With that information, you can create the presence, and the content, to find them.

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Social media marketing: Pitfalls and how to avoid them

By Megan Totka

Most people understand how to use social media to find friends, activities, games, etc. Businesses are also becoming more adept at finding both their current customers as well as new ones by using social media sites to their advantage. But social media can be a dangerous creature if you don’t know how to harness its power properly.

Social media marketing is quickly becoming a focus for many companies. Since some social media sites, Facebook in particular, are viewed millions of times per day, it’s critical to the success of small businesses to keep their page(s) up-to-date and use them as tools to interact with customers.

However, there are many pitfalls to social media marketing. Here are some common social media gaffes and how to avoid or remedy them:

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