22
Jun

Your Company’s Secret Sauce

Many companies have one. Too many don’t know what it is—do you? Most successful companies have a “secret sauce” that gives them an edge—a true differentiator that creates unique value for their customers or clients. Companies might also have a “plain sauce,” which also differentiates them, but is not secret or as powerful. This month we hope to help you

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20
May

New Practice Area to Benefit Nonprofits

We’ve long worked with nonprofits, not-for-profits, and other organizations focused on producing positive social impact or serving members rather than customers. Now, we’ve created a new practice area to increase our involvement with those types of organizations and their funders. Over the past 25 years, Productive Strategies has been privileged to work with nonprofit, not-for-profit, and for-profit organizations that support

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22
Apr

25 Years and Counting: Part 2

Last month, we introduced you to the many and varied companies we’ve been fortunate enough to serve. This month, as promised, here are some insights in how we work with them successfully, how they work with us, and how you can do the same. Why do we celebrate our clients? How do we help each other to be the best

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24
Aug

How to Invest Your Sales and Marketing Dollars

A prospect once came to us saying he needed more leads–80, in fact. Naturally, we wondered about the reason for such a specific number. After we learned more about his business, especially his goals and challenges, he told us: Since he hadn’t closed any of his last 80 leads, he wanted to get started on another 80. This example, though perhaps

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25
Jul

Sales and Marketing: Shake Hands!

At a meeting of the American Marketing Association’s Chicago chapter earlier this month, I began my talk with a critical question: “Has there ever been a time for sales and marketing to be more closely aligned than now?” I was speaking at a program on “Managing at the Speed of Change,” which we co-sponsored with Morningstar, the research and investment company.

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5
Jun

How Important Is Differentiation?

Is differentiation a nice-to-have business attribute or a must-have? In other words, is it a luxury or a necessity? Companies in mature markets have always felt the need to impact revenues by developing differentiation that creates unique value for customers and prospects. Today, however, fierce competition, unending channels of communication, and disrupters on all sides from non-traditional competitors affect companies at all stages. So, if developing value-added differentiation used to

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3
Oct

Trade Show Success: What’s the Secret?

Why do companies attend trade shows? Answers vary, including the completely unacceptable, “Not sure, but we’ve always done it.” Trade shows aren’t for everyone but if you’re going to go, don’t just attend-participate. After all, you can see as many or more people in two or three days at a show as you might otherwise see in six months. Most business

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21
Jan

5 Myths about Marketing Research

Two questions that management teams ought to ask themselves periodically: What information would help create additional value for my customers? What would we love to know that we don’t know today? The answers to those questions often lead to marketing research projects, and the information marketing research unearths can be invaluable. But to enable that research to do what it

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26
Apr

“New” Sales Trends for 2013

A new year often brings “new” trends. Some might in fact be new. Others have been developing for some time, and we just didn’t notice them. Our business helps companies grow revenues through consultative sales training, lead generation, and marketing communications. Naturally, revenue growth is a topic that takes us inside all sorts of companies and professional service firms. We

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26
Apr

Putting My Mouth Where My Money Is

“Would you like to skip the painkillers today, Phil?” My dentist was about to drill away some decay in one of my teeth to ready it for a filling. Typical stuff, really, made bearable today by local anesthesia, or “painkillers.” But a new kind of dental “bur” is available that we’re helping a client bring to market. Essentially, a bur

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