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This is the Introduction to the revenue + associates eBook, “Modern Sales and Marketing Best Practices: Conversations with 10 Leaders” which you can download. The Introduction is by revenue + associates president Louis Gudema

If you want to know how to increase the revenue of your company, you’ve come to the right eBook. These 10 people are experts in sales and marketing and have helped rapidly grow many companies.

All of these people are visionaries, and they all have their feet on the ground. They’re thinking five moves ahead and they’re involved in the day-to-day minutiae that turn vision into reality. And, in this case, revenue.

Several themes run through these conversations:

Modern sales and marketing professionals are customer-centric. They are not just thinking about how to sell their wares; they’re thinking about how to provide value by serving customers. They adhere to Seth Godin’s advice, “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” In these conversations people might be talking about “leads” or “content”, but they’re very aware that those leads are people and that content has to be interesting and valuable to those people.

Data, data, data. Modern sales and marketing leaders are routinely looking at data and using them to constantly improve results. They aren’t slaves to data, but when they lead from the gut it’s a very well informed gut.

Technology. These leaders don’t just use technology, they embrace technology. The idea that “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” does not cross their minds. They are constantly looking for how to use technology to continuously improve results and get an edge on the competition. And they also know that in a world of 1,000-plus vendors selling sales and marketing technology that not all technology is created equal: choosing the right technology is critical.

People. They and the people that they work with need new skills and lots of coaching and training. Gone are the days, if they ever existed, of joining a company and using the knowledge that you came in with for the next 35 years. Employees need to be responsible for constantly upgrading their skills, and companies need to be making opportunities and resources available to employees to help them do that.

Sales and marketing need to be not just aligned but fused. They need to constantly meet, define goals, metrics and responsibilities, and work to make sure that they’re being met. Customers especially value expertise and knowledge from a company and its representatives, so sales people need to be more like marketers, and marketers need to understand sales. Marketing is no longer just from Venus, and sales from Mars. They need to work together right here on planet Earth.

It’s a fascinating new world and they’re not running from it, they’re embracing it. And they bring to their work the energy and urgency of a start-up even when they’re not working in a start-up, because they’ve seen that even the most established companies – maybe especially the most established companies – can be knocked off by a start-up by a start-up.

The first conversation is with Zorian Rotenberg. I put his interview first because he’s a vice president of sales and marketing, similar to the new Chief Revenue Officer position that’s becoming more common in companies. In that role he sees the challenges and opportunities across the revenue generation process, and needs to make sure that sales and marketing work very closely together. A crucial element in that cooperation is a written service level agreement between the two. He also describes in some detail how his inside sales and inbound marketing teams are working day-to-day to generate leads, opportunities and revenue.

Jeanne Hopkins epitomizes the modern CMO, and there aren’t enough of them. She estimates maybe 10% of marketers today are with the program. She has some very good ideas on how the other 90% can up their game.

Scott Brinker not only co-founded a marketing technology company but has been writing for some time about the new role of Chief Marketing Technologist (the actual title may vary from company to company). The new demand generation tools and channels demand new skills, and Scott has some excellent ideas about the skills that are needed by individuals, and by the team.

Jill Rowley cut her sales teeth at two of the most successful sales and marketing SaaS companies of the past 15 years. Along the way she developed a successful customer-first, social selling approach. Now she says that people in business need to stop being company focused and need to be #CustomerObsessed #EmployeeObsessed #PartnerObsessed (Jill #LovesHashtags). She redefines ABC from Always Be Closing to Always Be Connecting. And at the same time she knows that sometimes the old ways are the best ways.

As good as all of these interviews are (because of the subjects, not the interviewer!), there’s a special place in my heart for my conversation with Jamie Scheu. He and the agency that he works at have truly foundational insights into the psychology of content marketing that go a long way toward explaining the power of inbound marketing and why inbound leads close at a much higher rate.

In 2011 Ann Handley, first Chief Content Officer in the universe, and C.C.Chapman published “Content Rules”, one of the first books to explain the need for, and practice of, content marketing. Since then this is how, according to Google Trends, interest in content marketing has grown:

Google Trends chart for term content marketing

So I think it’s fair to call Ann a pathbreaker. In our conversation she talks about what she’s learned about content marketing in the past three years, and some of today’s best practices.

Mike Volpe discusses the why of inbound marketing, and how his team at HubSpot – which invented the concept — uses it to generate tens of thousands of leads a month. Who should know better?

Bob Johnson has been focused on how companies can use content to generate superior business results for years – long before that surge in interest in content marketing. But he also sees a significant gap between the opportunity, best practices and actual practices, and that’s why he calls “content strategy” an oxymoron.

Nigel Edelshain is another first. While writing a blog post on social selling I discovered, much to my amazement, that one person is recognized as having come up with the phrase “Sales 2.0”. That person is Nigel. But what he means by it is, as you’ll read, somewhat more than just “social selling”. That conversation has a slightly different style because I wrote it in an article format for the IDG Connect Marketer blog.

As the number of marketing channels grows, the issue of attribution becomes more and more important. What actually contributed to that sale besides the last click? And what does that mean for how companies allocate their sales and marketing dollars? Some more traditional CTO’s might not have been interested in those questions, but Dave Krupinski and his team were on it from Day 1. And because of that they have been able to provide their company with great insight into not just their revenue generation process, but the company’s future growth path. It’s a great example of how a visionary technologist with marketing experience and knowledge can create value and insights.

That’s a lot of wisdom.

None of these people is sitting on yesterday’s success. They know that however well their programs worked last year, they may need to be substantially changed this year or next. What worked at the last company may not work at the next one. To paraphrase the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, you can never logon to the same Internet twice. Constant improvement means more than tweaking, although it does include that — sometimes it means radical rethinking. All of these people are comfortable doing that. In fact, I think they enjoy it.

A few of them may appear to have both feet firmly planted in the tech B2B world, but most of their insights and approaches are just as applicable for a B2C company. Some have even discarded the B2B versus B2C distinction altogether and say that all sales and marketing is H2H: human to human.

I thank them all for being so generous with their time and knowledge. And I hope that you enjoy their insights and find them valuable, too.

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