Know and Understand the Media

by Bryant Hilton

Great Communicate

Bryant Hilton is the founder and president of Great Communicate which helps clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies, to bootstrap startups, to leading non-profit organizations, leverage communications to help meet their organizational objectives and tell their unique story in a crowded marketplace. Great Communicate manages client campaigns ranging from environmental advocacy, to brand development and management, to media relations and marketing consulting. The firm’s core philosophy is that with the right tools anything can be communicated well and anyone can be a strong communicator. Bryant has nearly 20 years of communications experience from agency and corporate backgrounds, public and private companies, corporations and non-profit organizations, and U.S. and international work. Before founding Great Communicate, Bryant was the global corporate responsibility communications manager for Dell, creating and executing communications strategies for the company’s sustainability, diversity and philanthropic efforts. Bryant built and launched the environment communications function at Dell and prior to that managed consumer market communications for the company at positions in the U.S. and Europe. While at Dell, Bryant represented the company on the Green Grid’s communications committee and at the Technology and HIV Working Group. Bryant joined Dell from Dittus Communications, in Washington, D.C., where he was a director of media relations, representing clients including the Business Software Alliance, Americans for Computer Privacy and Surfwatch. His previous experience includes communications manager roles at MCI, Ketchum Public Relations and the Personal Communications Industry Association. Bryant holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Georgetown University and currently resides in Austin, Texas. He is a member of the board of directors of Keep Austin Beautiful.

I had the opportunity this week to work with a client experiencing a serious crisis issue. In the midst of helping, I faced one of those moments that can make even the most experienced PR pro wince, namely being surrounded by a large group of reporters with cameras shouting questions from all sides while I was trying to diffuse a potentially contentious situation.

Topics: Sales, Featured, Marketing

7 Steps to build a successful e-mail marketing program

by Kelly Jackson

Jaxzen Marketing Strategies

Kelly is the CEO of Jaxzen Marketing Strategies. Career Marketing Communications professional and innovative small business owner. At Jaxzen Marketing our strategy is to work with teams to align marketing activities with sales goals, and then to measure their effectiveness in terms of leads converted. By developing integrated marketing communications plans around this objective, we’re able to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

This is a subject that is studied often because of its’ importance in the marketing communications mix. If you are responsible for the sales and marketing of a company, you can’t ignore e-mail marketing. The 7 steps that I share are gained from recent studies, years of gathering best practices and new technologies.

Topics: Sales, Featured, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Articles

The founder closes sales with the company, the sales person closes with relationship, value, or price

by Mike Romanie

FUEL Marketing and Sales

Michael is a hands-on Executive with more than 25 years experience profitably driving marketing, branding, sales, and operations for public and private companies ranging from start-ups and turn-arounds to divisions of multi-billion dollar multi-national entities. Michael’s career milestones include executive teams; raising more than $75 million from public and private sources, producing 2 IPOS (NASDAQ), being an officer of two Publicly traded companies and a divisional executive of three multi-national and two multi-billion dollar companies. Michael has managed operations with full P&L responsibility and has recruited and managed teams from start-up to more than 350 employees with national and international staff, highlights include; • At a technology products and services company reversed an operating loss and posted profits at 300% above plan within one year of accepting P&L. • Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for an imbedded microprocessor company securing 180 design-in’s with major companies including Nortel, IBM, Lucent and others. Lead the Recruitment of U.S. and Canadian Independent Sales representatives (70+), and 15 Design Support Development Partners, to rapidly gain market presence and design support. • Virtual Marketing and Sales Officer for a consumer software company: Increased revenue from $1.3MM to over $6.1M in less than 18 months. Closed key retailers including; QVC, BigLots!, Penney’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, TJX, Walgreens.com, The Shopping Channel (Canada) and others. Co-Managed multi-national Independent Rep. Firm covering accounts including; Costco, SAM’s Club, BJ’s, Target, Office Max, Office Depot, Best Buy and others. Developed Australian distributing accounting for 15% of annual revenue.

 

Topics: Sales, Featured, Blog Posts

5 critical steps in high trust sales openings

by Steve Rosebaugh

Steve Rosebaugh Consulting

Successful, high performing teams are guided by well-tuned and motivating managers. Now a best-selling author on Amazon.com, Steve Rosebaugh has managed and led high performance teams for more than 20 years, guiding his organizations through transition and challenge while bringing results during the most difficult of times. His experience is changing the lives and results of his clients today. An engineering graduate of the University of Illinois, Steve Rosebaugh has experience managing change in both technology and business. With a strong diversity of business experience within the complex semiconductor industry, Steve’s background includes design, product engineering, manufacturing, quality, product management, and marketing. Steve also has international experience having spent three years in a large manufacturing center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Working in both small and large companies, Steve has been successful in many functions, including: key account management, project management, conflict resolution, and operations management. He has been recognized by leading customers and has also been published both domestically and internationally in well-known industry publications. Steve lives in Austin, has been married for over 30 years, and has three grown children.

What is unique about your products or services? What can you provide better than any of your competition? These are sometimes called Unique Selling Propositions, or USPs. These are what differentiate you from the competition. There may be one, two, or even a half dozen USPs you can provide, but it’s absolutely critical you know what these are.

Topics: Sales, Featured, Blog Posts

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7 golden rules to more sales conversions

by Jan Triplett

Business Success Center

Jan Triplett, Ph.D. is the CEO of the Business Success Center (BSC), a City of Austin certified green business, that provides sales and financial growth strategies, planning, and implementation. She is also a professor in Business and Professional Skills for the online MBA program at Mary Baldwin University. Triplett is a national and international speaker, author of A Networker’s Guide to Success and co-author of Thinking Big, Staying Small and Easy to be Green. She published The Networker ” magazine for over ten years and moderated KUT radio’s nationally syndicated program, “The Next 200 Years”. She was co-creator of the award-winning “City Management Academy” and the “Owners MBA” and co-founded the Entrepreneurs’ Association Hatchery incubator and accelerator. She is a small business activist. She served as a White House Conference on Small Business and Congressional Summit delegate, served on the Mayor’s Task Force on International Infrastructure, initiated the Northcross IBIZ District and recommended portions of Austin’s Big Box Ordinance. She was a founder of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Texas and the Greater Austin International Coalition. The SBA honored her as Texas’ Small Business Advocate. She has also earned her CBTAC and Director credentials. Her company received a Small Business Administration (SBA) five-star national award and the Austin Business Journal named it a top 20 management consulting firm.

Getting more sales conversions star with agreeing with the first "golden rule".

Topics: Sales, Featured, Blog Posts, Strategic Planning, Customer Service

Ghost competition

by Jan Triplett

Business Success Center

Jan Triplett, Ph.D. is the CEO of the Business Success Center (BSC), a City of Austin certified green business, that provides sales and financial growth strategies, planning, and implementation. She is also a professor in Business and Professional Skills for the online MBA program at Mary Baldwin University. Triplett is a national and international speaker, author of A Networker’s Guide to Success and co-author of Thinking Big, Staying Small and Easy to be Green. She published The Networker ” magazine for over ten years and moderated KUT radio’s nationally syndicated program, “The Next 200 Years”. She was co-creator of the award-winning “City Management Academy” and the “Owners MBA” and co-founded the Entrepreneurs’ Association Hatchery incubator and accelerator. She is a small business activist. She served as a White House Conference on Small Business and Congressional Summit delegate, served on the Mayor’s Task Force on International Infrastructure, initiated the Northcross IBIZ District and recommended portions of Austin’s Big Box Ordinance. She was a founder of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Texas and the Greater Austin International Coalition. The SBA honored her as Texas’ Small Business Advocate. She has also earned her CBTAC and Director credentials. Her company received a Small Business Administration (SBA) five-star national award and the Austin Business Journal named it a top 20 management consulting firm.

They come out at night. They come out during the day. They come when you are awake. They come when you are asleep. They come when you are at work or at play. They are always there. Lurking.

Topics: Sales, Featured, Articles

Is having an 800 lb gorilla as a customer worth it?

by Sam Thacker

Business Finance Solutions

Sam Thacker is a partner in Austin Texas-based Business Finance Solutions. He has spent the last 16 years in the banking and finance industry as a commercial lending officer, banking consultant and advocate for small business financing. He has originated over $400 million in loans to hundreds of businesses in many industries. Sam has been on the financing end of numerous businesses over his banking career. Sam is a nationally respected working capital finance professional and writer. In addition to helping small companies obtain working capital financing using a variety of assets, Sam writes a widely read finance column which appears three times a week in many traditional and online news outlets throughout the United States. He writes about the challenges of small business finance, accounting, and best business practices. He has been praised by readers for his ability to explain a complicated financial concept in easy to understand terms. Sam also writes a once a month business column for the Austin Business Journal . Sam regularly teaches classes at Texas State University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on financing small businesses, financing government contracts, and other topics of interest to small businesses.

All business owners want to grow and be successful. It is part of the entrepreneurial spirit that made them want to be in business to start with. To many, supplying products or services to extremely large businesses on a large scale is the holy grail of sales.

Topics: Operations, Sales, Featured, Blog Posts, Customer Service

Base Your Pricing on Your Customer's Preferred Outcome

by Jan Triplett

Business Success Center

Jan Triplett, Ph.D. is the CEO of the Business Success Center (BSC), a City of Austin certified green business, that provides sales and financial growth strategies, planning, and implementation. She is also a professor in Business and Professional Skills for the online MBA program at Mary Baldwin University. Triplett is a national and international speaker, author of A Networker’s Guide to Success and co-author of Thinking Big, Staying Small and Easy to be Green. She published The Networker ” magazine for over ten years and moderated KUT radio’s nationally syndicated program, “The Next 200 Years”. She was co-creator of the award-winning “City Management Academy” and the “Owners MBA” and co-founded the Entrepreneurs’ Association Hatchery incubator and accelerator. She is a small business activist. She served as a White House Conference on Small Business and Congressional Summit delegate, served on the Mayor’s Task Force on International Infrastructure, initiated the Northcross IBIZ District and recommended portions of Austin’s Big Box Ordinance. She was a founder of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Texas and the Greater Austin International Coalition. The SBA honored her as Texas’ Small Business Advocate. She has also earned her CBTAC and Director credentials. Her company received a Small Business Administration (SBA) five-star national award and the Austin Business Journal named it a top 20 management consulting firm.

It's common wisdom that what people want is a solution. There is even a school of sales training and many books around the concept of "solution selling".

Topics: Sales, Blog Posts, Strategic Planning

Tech company partnerships with non-profit organizations

by James Blake

The Blake Law Firm, PLLC.

James Blake is a growth-oriented business attorney who strives to be a creative business partner, to identify value-add opportunities, and to crystallize the relationships, structures, and processes that will drive your commercial success. James Blake practices law in Texas and Hawaii, and has protected the interests of businesses across a broad range of industries, including technology, construction, service and retail, food and beverage, franchisors and franchisees, product manufacturers, and investors. His work experience encompasses commercial transactions, litigation, and advising business operations in the U.S., Africa, and Asia. James was an editor of Law Review at the University of Hawaii and conducted international commercial law research for the Institute of Asian Pacific Business Law. He served as the Official Reporter for the 2008 IAPBL China Enterprise Bankruptcy Law Symposium held in Hong Kong, and in the same year worked at a large firm in Singapore. James currently advises clients in international business and investment issues in addition serving his client’s legal and business needs in Hawaii and Texas. Currently based in Austin, Texas, James is an avid writer and enjoys speaking at business-law seminars in addition to his legal practice. In his spare time, James enjoys sculling and kayaking on Ladybird Lake, outdoor photography, and supporting visual and performing arts.

Now more than ever, technology companies are utilizing tax-exempt non-profit organizations to grow market share and platform adoption, to increase sales of complimentary services and products, and to control market standards. This trend has broad implications for both large and small technology companies, and any company seeking to form strategic alliances with technology-oriented non-profit organizations should carefully consider the partnership agreements, intellectual property licensing, and other business law planning necessary to ensure a positive outcome.

Topics: Sales, Technology, Legal, Strategic Planning, Taxes

Disclaimed warranties and representations: promissory fraud and the right to lie

by James Blake

The Blake Law Firm, PLLC.

James Blake is a growth-oriented business attorney who strives to be a creative business partner, to identify value-add opportunities, and to crystallize the relationships, structures, and processes that will drive your commercial success. James Blake practices law in Texas and Hawaii, and has protected the interests of businesses across a broad range of industries, including technology, construction, service and retail, food and beverage, franchisors and franchisees, product manufacturers, and investors. His work experience encompasses commercial transactions, litigation, and advising business operations in the U.S., Africa, and Asia. James was an editor of Law Review at the University of Hawaii and conducted international commercial law research for the Institute of Asian Pacific Business Law. He served as the Official Reporter for the 2008 IAPBL China Enterprise Bankruptcy Law Symposium held in Hong Kong, and in the same year worked at a large firm in Singapore. James currently advises clients in international business and investment issues in addition serving his client’s legal and business needs in Hawaii and Texas. Currently based in Austin, Texas, James is an avid writer and enjoys speaking at business-law seminars in addition to his legal practice. In his spare time, James enjoys sculling and kayaking on Ladybird Lake, outdoor photography, and supporting visual and performing arts.

What your mom taught you about telling the truth is still good advice. While it may seem to go without saying, at least one judge has reaffirmed your mother’s rule: “it’s not okay to lie,” even if your contract says you don’t have to tell the truth. In Abry Partners V, L.P. v. F&W Acquisition, LLC, the court had to decide whether a very explicit disclaimer of all warranties and representations would be enforced to limit the liability of a company that had knowingly made false representations to induce the sale of the business to another company.

On its face, the disclaimer was very clear – the company that made the false representations had no contractual duty to tell the truth to the acquiring company, and any liability for false statements was limited to a predetermined amount. While the exact wording of the disclaimer may be too long to repeat here, it might as well have said: “Company A may make any false statement or misrepresentation to Company B to induce the sale, and Company B’s only legal remedy shall be capped at XYZ dollars.” This kind of disclaimer was written in two different sections of the sales contract.

Yet writing something in a contract doesn’t necessarily make it so. Judges have broad discretion regarding the enforcement of contract terms. Even though both Company A and Company B were sophisticated businesses with teams of legal professionals to advise this multi-million dollar transaction, the judge in this case held that it would be against public policy to enforce the disclaimer and to protect the company that made false representations.

What’s the moral of this story? Honesty isn’t just the best policy – it’s the law of the land, and no wording in a contract will change that. Further, as a general rule, you can’t rely solely upon the wording of a contract to forecast the outcome of potential legal disputes. Ultimately, courts strive to preserve justice, and a judge may easily override overbearing or unfair contracts.

Topics: Sales, Featured, Business Best Practices, Management, Legal, Articles

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