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Editorial Results (free)

1. Tips for Selling to First-Time Buyers -

Savvy salespeople adjust their approach when selling to first-time vs. seasoned buyers in their category – especially when selling complex products or business services. Approach them like two sides of the same coin and you could end up with an unhappy customer and a hit to your brand’s reputation.

2. A Calling Card That Speaks Volumes -

For those in marketing, there is never, ever enough time in the day to get it all done. That’s why savvy marketers seek passive marketing strategies to compliment their more active techniques. It’s like having a secret squad at work for you 24/7.

3. Cold Calling Gets Bad Rap -

Cold calling gets a bad rap. Sales reps dread it, due to the anxiety and rejection that too often accompany it. In reality, the make-or-break moment in most cold calls is just the initial conversation starter – that first 10-20 seconds from your first word to the point at which the prospect gives you permission to continue talking. If you can make it past that all-important hurdle, it’s all downhill from there.

4. Talk Like TED in Your Sales Pitch -

TED is a nonprofit committed to spreading ideas in the form of succinct yet powerful talks that are all 18 minutes or less – the ideal length of time to connect with and persuade viewers.

TED Talks have a distinct style – a formula that often results in spectacularly high levels of viewer engagement. This style is predicated on several guiding principles asked of TED Talk presenters, as outlined by Carmine Gallo in “Talk Like TED.”

5. Ambiverts Make Sales Rock Stars -

Inability to find good sales talent is a common source of frustration among business owners and hiring managers nationwide. I would contend it’s because many are simply focusing on the wrong candidate profile.

6. Measurement: Holy Grail of Marketing -

Second in a two-part series. Measurement is the Holy Grail of marketing. A savvy marketer would naturally prefer to invest his dollar in a strategy with a measurable return on investment versus one without.

7. RedRover Adds Corporate Veteran to Ranks -

It started with Ilenia Buggy scanning LinkedIn and stumbling across RedRover Sales & Marketing, the Memphis-based agency with the catchy canine-infused theme that caught her attention.

After learning more about the company, which was founded in 2006, and studying its website, Buggy’s recollection is matter-of-fact: “It became very clear to me I needed to be part of this team.”

8. Reports of Email’s Death Greatly Exaggerated -

The first in a two-part series. While email marketing may have lost a bit of luster given the instant gratification of social media, it’s alive and well and is one of several digital marketing channels businesses are spending significantly more on in 2014. Why? Because compared to social media marketing, email marketing is less time intensive and easier to measure, test and optimize.

9. Marketing Strategies On Vine -

Given the increasingly shorter attention span of today’s Web user, it’s no wonder Twitter’s looping video app – Vine – is crawling its way into brand marketing strategies across the globe. At more than 40 million users in just over a year, it’s making a run at Instagram, now over three years old with more than 150 million users.

10. Stop Asking for Referrals -

Referred prospects offer one of the strongest returns of any marketing or sales strategy you can deploy. After all, a good referral costs nothing to generate and a referred prospect is much more likely to become a customer than an average lead.

11. 2014 Search Engine Trends -

There is a complex day-to-day science to ranking consistently well with the search engines. Unless you’ve made it your life’s work to stay abreast of the ever-changing algorithms, your best bet is to stick to the basics.

12. Role of Personal Branding in Business -

Many of the top-performing CEOs in the world, as determined by Harvard Business Review, are names that aren’t exactly fodder for dinner conversation. They know how to create long-term value for their companies but many focus little on creating their own personal brands.

13. Super Bowl ‘Ad-stravaganza’ Preview -

With one of the most watched television broadcasts in history just days away, buzz is building to a frenzy over which big brands will take home Best in Show in this year’s Super Bowl advertising competition.

14. Persuading CEOs to Buy -

CEO-level sales calls are to salespeople like marathons are to runners. Neither is for the faint of heart, but with risk comes reward.

Starting at the top certainly has its benefits, as CEOs are the ultimate decision-makers. But you’ve got to be sure what you’re selling fulfills a need likely on a CEO’s radar versus a product someone down the line would normally handle. These are not prospects with which you can afford to burn a bridge, and wasting their time is a fast path to doing so.

15. Your Biggest Competitor is Indecision -

Ask about anyone in business about their biggest competition, and they’ll likely offer up the name of a rival company. I’d argue that for most companies, the fiercest of all competitors is prospect indecision and apathy – the predominant deal-killers faced by sales teams day in and day out.

16. The Psychology Behind Social Media -

Brands leveraging social media as an arrow in their quiver of marketing tools naturally want to know what drives people to engage with their brand. It’s perhaps the most important question of all, as mainstream social media sites like Facebook are placing increasing emphasis on how much your followers engage with your brand versus your total follower count.

17. 2014 Game-Changing Sales Trends -

With the rapid technological advancements that have accompanied the Information Age, the “selling process” has been shifting toward more of a “buying process” for years, as most buyers engage in significant online research prior to ever engaging a sales rep. Today’s buyers are further along in the sales process, with a much clearer understanding of what they need before your sales reps ever get their shot.

18. Christmas Miracle Goes Viral -

Canadian airline WestJet created a viral marketing sensation this holiday season. It was the second installment in what the brand has proclaimed an annual tradition.

Last Christmas, the brand converted one of its gates into the North Pole as a flash mob ensued, singing and dancing to “Deck the Halls.” The resulting video garnered more than a million views on YouTube.

19. RedRover Adds Trio of Employees -

RedRover Sales & Marketing has added three new employees to the roster.

They are creative director Carl Cottam, corporate trainer Lori Guy and marketing account executive Jennifer Seidman.

20. Social Media Predictions for 2014 -

If you’ve found yourself on the sidelines, hesitant to commit to social media until now, it’s time to get in the game. Social media is here for the long haul, and every day that you delay, you’re losing market share and handing your competitors a coveted competitive advantage.

21. RedRover Adds Trio of Employees -

RedRover Sales & Marketing has added three new employees to the roster.

They are creative director Carl Cottam, corporate trainer Lori Guy and marketing account executive Jennifer Seidman.

22. Social Media Fails of 2013 -

Social media is a terrific opportunity to engage with the marketplace and build brand loyalty. Unfortunately, along with the reward comes risk. When a social media campaign backfires, your failure can be quite public.

23. Ensure 2014 Plan Delivers -

Tired of chasing your proverbial tail in the quest for a sales and marketing plan that actually delivers? First acknowledge that a silver bullet rarely exists. The solution, while not particularly sexy, can and will deliver provided you trust the process and avoid the temptation to skip steps along the way.

24. Entrepreneurs Not Always Leaders, and Vice Versa -

Seventy percent of startup businesses fail within the first 10 years, according to a 2013 study conducted by Bradley University and the University of Tennessee. It’s a devastating reality given that the lion’s share of those are small businesses, from which more than half of domestic sales are generated.

25. Online Marketing Ideas for the Holidays -

December is crunch time for retailers and B2B companies reliant upon crucial holiday sales to hit annual sales targets. In fact, Google reports that 70 percent of consumers wait to make holiday purchases until after Thanksgiving, with the majority conducting at least some of that shopping online.

26. Five Ways to Tick Off Google -

Google holds the title of world’s most powerful search engine with comScore reporting an estimated 13 billion searches in July of this year compared to the next largest competitor, Bing, with 3.5 million. It’s no wonder why businesses of all sizes are allocating significant financial and labor resources toward improving their Google search rankings, a practice called search engine optimization, or SEO.

27. Social Media: Best of the Rest -

Part two of a two-part series. With more than 200 major, active social media networks cited by Wikipedia, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the choices available. Given the considerable amount of time that businesses are investing in social media marketing, it’s vital to focus those efforts on the right networks versus every network.

28. RedRover Completes Move to New Office -

RedRover Sales & Marketing has completed its move from South Main to its new home at 22 N. Front St.

29. RedRover Completes Move to New Office -

RedRover Sales & Marketing has completed its move from South Main to its new home at 22 N. Front St.

30. Investing in the Right Social Media -

Part one of a two-part series. For the majority of industries, social media is an essential arrow in a company’s quiver of marketing tools.In fact, more than half of businesses using social media marketing for more than three years report an increase in sales over that period, according to the 2012 Social Media Industry Report.

31. How to Discount Without Harming Brand Integrity -

Ask a sales rep for the No. 1 objection they face with prospects and more often than not, they’ll say that it’s price. Given the state of our economy over the last several years, price can certainly be a legitimate concern. Often, however, a price objection is merely habit – the tendency of the buyer to attempt to negotiate before making any purchase. Or it may actually be another objection, one that’s more personal or revealing, in disguise. For example, a prospect might cite financial concerns to mask the fact that they have to consult with the real decision maker, which they failed to share with you upfront.

32. Top Twitter Turnoffs -

Twitter users often make a split-second decision whether to follow you, which means you have to make a positive first impression to gain new followers.

While some prospective followers may click to see your full profile, the lion’s share make their determination based solely on your summary screen – your personal avatar, the background image you’ve selected, your bio, your location, the Web address you choose to promote and your stats. Featured stats include the number of tweets you’ve made since creating the profile, the number of Twitter users you’re following, and the number following you. Since this is all most users will ever see about you before deciding whether you’re “follow-worthy,” make each element count and be sure to avoid these top Twitter turnoffs.

33. Beware of Shiny Object Syndrome -

The very quality that defines some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs is the downfall of many. How’s that for irony?

The Harvard Business Review reports that most serial entrepreneurs display several common traits: persuasion, leadership, personal accountability, interpersonal skills and goal orientation. Likewise, there are several vital skills, necessary for long-term success, that many lack – one being the ability to organize, plan and stick with that plan.

34. Universal Sales Pitfalls -

Second in a two-part series. Sales is a tough profession – an art that can take years of practice to master. That’s perhaps why so many sales professionals struggle to find success, with the Harvard Business Review reporting that 63 percent of salespeople drive down performance versus producing a return on their employer’s investment in them.

35. Top Reasons Salespeople Find Failure -

The first in a two-part series Whether you’re in the for-profit or nonprofit world, you have a front-line sales team. It doesn’t matter if they are selling products, services or the benefits of donating to your organization – it’s all sales. There are fundamental skills that make or break all salespeople, regardless of the category they represent. Likewise, there are often universal failures among those who don’t find success in the field.

36. 6 Internet Marketing Myths Dispelled -

We live in a digitally dominated world, and consumers quite often make decisions about brands based solely on their digital presence before ever making direct contact with an actual brand representative. While business owners and marketing professionals alike are beginning to recognize just how important it is to get their digital houses in order, there are still many internet marketing myths to be dispelled.

37. Six Tips for Shortening the Sales Cycle -

A career in sales isn’t for the faint of heart. You must be thick-skinned in the face of adversity, have a dogged determination, and be prepared for some long days in the pursuit of the almighty sale. That’s why I have the utmost respect for sales professionals and have dedicated much of my career to helping them work smarter versus harder in an effort to close more sales more efficiently. Perhaps the fastest path for doing just that is by shortening the sales cycle.

38. Tenacity Lifts Low Rate of Sales Closings -

Often, we’re just too close to our businesses to clearly see glaring opportunities for growth. That’s likely why so many sales teams churn through perfectly good prospects, which are not in infinite supply, entirely too fast. More often than not, that churn is simply due to a lack of sales tenacity, resulting in the loss of significant business.

39. 10 Ways to Attract Pinterest Followers -

In its first three years, virtual scrapbooking site Pinterest has taken social media by storm – growing to an impressive 70 million users.

If you’re new to Pinterest, it’s a virtual scrapbooking site that allows users to “pin” images they like and share those pins with friends. It’s akin to online window-shopping, with the option to flag and organize photos of items you like for later viewing.

40. Selling in a Knowledge Economy -

The Internet has created an unprecedented power shift in the marketplace. Gone are the days where the salesperson alone carries the lion’s share of the knowledge about the products and services he’s selling and therefore holds the power in a sales exchange.

41. CEOs Say Inbound Marketing Pays Off -

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series. Forty-one percent of CMOs and CEOs report inbound marketing produced a measurable ROI in 2013, with half indicating an increased spend this year, according to HubSpot’s fifth annual State of Inbound Marketing Report.

42. Events -

Graceland will present “Salute to Memphis Music,” an Elvis Week concert featuring Memphis Jones and Brad Birkedahl, Monday, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m. on the Elvis Week main stage at Graceland, 3717 Elvis Presley Blvd. Tickets are $20. Visit elvis.com/elvisweek for more information.

43. Events -

Graceland will host the Elvis Week candlelight vigil Thursday, Aug. 15, at 8:30 p.m. at the gates of Graceland, 3717 Elvis Presley Blvd. Admission is free. Visit elvis.com/elvisweek for more information. More Elvis Week events are listed below.

44. Seek Holy Grail of Sales World: Inbound Leads -

Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series. Inbound leads are deemed by many as the Holy Grail of the sales world. These prospects likely have an immediate need for what you’re selling, which is why they typed the keywords into Google or read the blog post that ultimately led them to you.

45. Southwest Shows Right Model for Surviving Crises -

With all the attention paid to big brands making big blunders in the face of crisis, it’s refreshing to celebrate a brand getting it right.

Southwest Airlines deploys a combination of strategies to ensure it not only survives the inevitable PR crisis but emerges as a stronger brand afterward. The airline provides an opportunity for every brand – large or small – to examine its own readiness for a crisis and develop or strengthen its plan accordingly.

46. Memphis Economic Indicator Surveys Landscape -

The inaugural Memphis Economic Indicator, a new online survey launched by Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP and The Daily News to measure general business sentiment, shows little consensus about the local economy.

47. Moving the Pack -

RedRover Sales & Marketing is a few months away from starting a new chapter in the firm’s more-than-seven-year existence because of having arrived at what’s arguably a good problem to have.

48. Narrowcasting Kills Broadcast Marketing -

If you’re still operating under the marketing principles that worked 10 years ago, your brand equity and customer base may be slipping away before your very eyes. In many ways, the strategies that work today are polar opposites to those deemed effective a mere decade ago.

49. RedRover Relocating to Falls Building -

RedRover Sales & Marketing’s business has grown considerably in recent years, so the firm has now set its sights on a new “doghouse.”

The firm is relocating from South Main into new space in the Falls Building Downtown, which beat out two other possible Downtown locations. The relocation is expected to be finished this fall – in October – and RedRover’s new home meets the needs of its growth plans in several ways.

50. No-Nonsense Negotiating Strategies -

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series. If you’re fighting for who’s right in a negotiation, by definition, someone loses. That’s the philosophy behind negotiation strategies that build relationships versus tearing them down. Whether you “win” or not, a customer may not continue to buy from you if they felt beaten down through the negotiation process. The objective is to close a mutually beneficial deal versus winning the negotiation.

51. Stop Bargaining; Start Negotiating -

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series. Most business professionals have taken a class or read a book to sharpen their negotiating skills. Unfortunately, what’s often taught is how to bargain versus how to negotiate – and the two are vastly different. Bargaining is about determining who’s right, whereas negotiating is about determining what’s right.

52. Boost Sales by Talking Their Talk -

Linguistics is the study of human language. Since a sales pitch is essentially just a conversation between two people, those with a deep understanding of the nuances behind the spoken word – or linguistics – will find more success in the sales profession.

53. Research: Optimists Sell More -

Years ago psychologist Martin Seligman discovered a dramatic correlation between a salesperson's optimistic outlook and his ability to close sales. Optimists do indeed sell more than pessimists – 33 percent more. They handle rejection more easily; in fact, rejection increases persistence. Plus, they are more likely to stay motivated on their own and less likely to give up when a sales call doesn’t go well.

54. RedRover Expands Business, Headcount -

RedRover Sales & Marketing has added several new members to its “pack” in recent weeks.

In the last quarter alone, the firm – which hit its seventh anniversary in January – added four new professionals. They are marketing account executives Rachel Carpenter and Natalie Cunningham, graphic designer Kennon Adair and sales trainer and recruiter Gary Dean.

55. How to Murder A Brand -

Seventeen short months after former Apple retailer extraordinaire was tapped as CEO of J.C. Penney, Ron Johnson was fired in spectacular fashion for a 55 percent drop in stock and sales declines as high as 20 percent in a single quarter. This certainly wasn’t the legacy he intended to leave for this outdated brand struggling to connect with its “next generation” of customer.

56. Convert Web Traffic to Sales -

Every brand needs a Web presence to survive in the digital age, but how do you know that Web investment is actually performing?

The answer begins by shifting your focus from simply generating more traffic to generating more traffic that converts to actual business. Traffic that doesn’t convert has little value.

57. Helping Hands -

The Westin Memphis Beale Street Hotel is hosting a bash this week organizers are calling “Memphis to Moore,” an event that will raise money for the rebuilding effort in an Oklahoma community devastated last month by a mile-wide tornado.

58. Keller Finds Right Culture at RedRover -

Catherine “Kitty” Keller is one of the newest members of the team at RedRover Sales & Marketing, and her addition comes at a time of a steady swelling of the ranks, a recent batch of awards and consistent business growth for the firm.

59. Gender Matters in Advertising -

While the gender divide among men and women continues to narrow in regard to workforce equality, recent research from Nielsen NeuroFocus, reported by TechVibes, uncovers significant differences in the way men and women think and make purchase decisions. In fact, the mere manner in which the two genders process information is fundamentally different.

60. The Secret Of Instant Rapport -

People buy from those they like and trust, often regardless of the strength of the sales pitch or quality of the products and services. That’s reality. The challenge for sales professionals is to master the art of instant rapport with someone you may be meeting for the very first time versus leaving it to chance.

61. Boosting Email Newsletter Results -

These days most businesses invest in e-newsletter campaigns, but few realize a return on that significant time investment. Developing a results-driven email newsletter strategy is more of a science than an art, as technological advancements provide a wealth of information about what readers want.

62. Employ Both Push and Pull Marketing -

The future of push vs. pull marketing is a hot debate. With social media continually on the rise, there’s a trend to disregard push marketing in its entirety. That’s a mistake. Not only is there a place for both, limiting yourself to one over the other will inhibit your ability for profitable growth.

63. Events -

National Association of Women Business Owners Memphis chapter will meet Tuesday, May 14, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Chickasaw Country Club, 3935 Galloway Ave. Lori Turner-Wilson, co-founder of RedRover Sales & Marketing, will speak. Cost is $25 for NAWBO members, $30 for nonmembers and $35 at the door. Visit nawbomemphis.org.

64. Events -

The Memphis Chapter International Association of Administrative Professionals will meet Monday, May 13, at 6 p.m. at Memphis Marriott East, 5795 Poplar Ave. Melissa Webb, president of the IAAP Desoto chapter, will present “Constructing Your Career – Getting to the Heart.” Cost is $22. R.S.V.P. to sharon.gardner@asentinel..

65. Events -

National Hispanic Professional Organization-Memphis will meet Thursday, May 16, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hilton Memphis, 939 Ridge Lake Blvd. Speakers include Larry Jensen, president and CEO of Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors LLC, and representatives from Washington think tank Excelencia in Education. Cost is free for members and $20 for nonmembers. R.S.V.P. to info@nhpomemphis.us or 466-6476.

66. Assumptions That Cost You Sales -

Good sales professionals are subject matter experts on the products and services they sell. This expertise inevitably creates a few blind spots. When you feel like you’ve seen it all – every prospect response, motivation and objection – it’s easy to occasionally jump to the wrong conclusion. Ensure bad assumptions don’t deter your selling efforts by watching out for the following most common.

67. Time Management Secrets for Sales Pros -

I’ve never met a sales person worth his weight who feels as though he has free time during the workday. Time is definitely a luxury for motivated sales professionals. After all, there are typically infinitely more prospects to call on than we have hours in the day. That’s why the most successful in sales are masters of their schedule, rather than slaves to it.

68. Don’t Let Zeal Kill the Sale -

Passion is a vital skill for entrepreneurs, but did you know it can actually kill a sales call? While it may seem counterintuitive, an overzealous spirit can simply overwhelm a prospect.

While asking for the sale is an essential selling skill, you have to earn the right to ask by first building trust with your prospect. While you’ll never land a sale if you don’t ask, sales is a process versus a question. If your enthusiasm gets the better of you, and you ask too soon, you’ll certainly get an answer – just not the one you want.

69. You Have a Nice Personality, But Does Your Brand? -

We naturally navigate to those with interesting personalities in real life, and so it stands to reason that the same holds true in the digital world. Why, then, do so many brands come across as cold and completely void of personality when communicating through social media?

70. The Psychology of Pricing -

As much as we buyers hate to admit it, we’re emotional creatures, at least when it comes to decision making. We make a decision to buy based on emotional factors first, and afterward seek rational justification for the decision we’ve essentially already made. This same principle applies to how we assess your brand’s price points as well – whether you sell products or services.

71. Real-Time Marketing -

We live in a digital world where we’ve grown accustomed to real-time communication with one another, including with the brands we patronize. Now there is a growing expectation of real-time response from companies large and small. It’s time to become more nimble and proactive – communicating at the same pace as your customers.

72. Make Memorable Impressions at Networking Events -

Find yourself attending countless networking events with little result in new business generated? It’s possible you’re just not leaving a memorable impression. But don’t take it personally. Most attendees are more focused on what they’re going to say than what you or anyone else is saying. That’s why deploying attention-grabbing strategies are essential to generating a real return on your networking time investment.

73. Sales: PR’s Missing Ingredient -

If your company’s contributions are more newsworthy than the media coverage generated, you could have a sales problem. That’s right, I said a “sales” problem.

The minimum cost of entry into a successful career in public relations is the ability to write. About 50 percent of those in the field have strong writing skills, capable of inspiring readers. Given the sheer volume of press releases crossing the average reporter’s desk each week, however, it’s clear that writing skills alone don’t land stories.

74. McIver Celebrates 15 Years at MALS -

Harrison McIver has entered his 15th year as executive director of Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. with a daunting challenge that’s as constant as it is acute.

75. Spending Less on Marketing -

Countless studies have proven that it’s generally six to eight times more expensive to attract a new customer than to sell more product or service to an existing customer. Why, then, do so many view sales as a linear process, which ends when the sale is closed?

76. Shift From Monologue to Dialogue -

For more than a decade, companies have slowly shifted their focus to fit an era of deep consumer engagement. They have begun to embrace social media management, and they are better integrating print and TV campaigns with their online and social media presence. Unfortunately, it’s not enough.

77. Marketing Strategies to Avoid -

Marketing opportunities change so rapidly these days that it can be tough to keep up. If you’re unsure whether your brand is setting the pace or falling behind, take a look at the following marketing strategies to avoid in 2013.

78. Do’s and Don’ts of Online PR -

The digital age is a double-edged sword for those pitching content in hopes of landing the coveted story. On one hand, it’s never been easier to communicate with reporters, but on the other there’s so much clutter that breaking through all of the noise competing with your story has grown quite challenging.

79. Super Ads -

What will $126,000 buy you? Exactly one second of airtime during Super Bowl XLVII. This year 30-second spots sold for more than $3.8 million. That kind of investment puts momentous pressure on the big brands to break through the commercial clutter with a memorable ad that distinguishes the brand and drives targeted consumers to take action.

80. Super Bowl Ad Preview -

The victory of the Ravens or the 49ers won’t be all people are talking about after the Super Bowl. After all, there are the commercials, and considering 110 million viewers are anticipated for this year’s football matchup, it’s no wonder advertisers pony up big bucks. Thirty-second spots went for $3.8 million to $4 million this year – an all-time record, up from $3.5 million in 2012.

81. Epic Marketing Failures of 2012 -

Despite their considerable marketing budgets and extensive teams, some of the world’s most well-known brands made significant marketing missteps in 2012. Learn from these epic fails to protect your brand.

82. RedRover Uses Numbers, Strategy for Growing Client Roster -

When it comes to a traditional agency model, RedRover Sales & Marketing is anything but traditional.

Founded seven years ago this month, the firm has added four new hires and three new service lines since last summer, notched impressive year-over-year revenue increases and is almost at capacity with its client roster.

83. Online Reputation Could be Killing Business -

A whopping 70 percent of consumers globally report trusting online reviews from strangers when making purchase decisions, according to Nielsen’s most recent Global Trust in Advertising study. In fact, four out of five consumers say they reverse their purchase decisions based on negative online reviews, according to a Cone study of online trends.

84. Customers Pay More for Better Experience -

Despite what you may believe about how price-sensitive consumers are given the economic realities of late, Oracle’s “Customer Experience Impact Report” indicates 86 percent of customers would pay 25 percent more for a better customer experience.

85. Avoid These Seven Deadly Sales Sins -

Whether you call it sales, business development or fundraising, bringing in new customers or donors is essential to your organization’s growth. After all, “nothing happens until a sale is made,” as the late founder of IBM, Thomas Watson, so prolifically stated.

86. Top 10 Smart Marketing Trends for 2013 -

Make it your resolution to execute these Top 10 smart marketing trends in 2013.

1. Visual Storytelling – Thanks to image-centric sites like Pinterest and Instagram, 2012 became the year of brand visualization. Visual content is now in higher demand than ever before and brands must step up and tell their story through more than words.

87. Top 2012 Social Media Campaigns -

With the considerable growth in social media users, more brands are wading into the waters, allocating nearly 11 percent of their advertising budgets toward these channels this year – three times more than 2011.

88. Inherent Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Marketing -

When you own or operate a small or mid-sized company, you likely have an innate sense of self-reliance. It’s that desire to get things done on your own that probably got you to where you are today. That same drive to maintain unencumbered control, however, may be inhibiting your growth when it comes to the development and execution of your marketing strategy. While seemingly counterintuitive, here’s why this is often the case.

89. Quotes Celebrating Zig Ziglar -

Author, motivational speaker and consummate salesman Zig Ziglar died in late November at the age of 86. Heralding from Yazoo City, Miss., Ziglar impacted the lives of salespeople worldwide. His influence was undeniable and his legacy, long lasting. This compilation of “Zigisms” is in celebration of his life’s work. May they bring you inspiration.

90. The Evolution of Black Thursday -

If some of the big retailers had it their way, Thanksgiving would evolve from a day of thanks with one’s family to a full-day shopping extravaganza. And based on consumer response this year and last, that’s just where we’re headed.

91. Social Media Blunders of the Year -

With social media networks flying past some once unthinkable records, including surpassing 1 billion users across all major platforms, it’s not surprising that we’ve witnessed some significant brand blunders as users figure out how to properly utilize these tools.

92. Arm Your Sales Team for Sophisticated Selling with Buyer Personas -

To deliver a stellar performance, great actors engage in an extensive process to get inside the head of their characters – understanding their persona. Similarly, imagine if your sales force were armed with such a deep understanding of their buyers. Not only would it improve their ability to connect with prospects in a more meaningful way; it would also allow them to tailor their pitch to ensure it moves prospects to buy.

93. Sales, Marketing Lessons From Presidential Campaign -

Despite your political affiliations or how your candidate fared in this year’s presidential election, it’s tough not to appreciate the full-court press the candidates give in selling and marketing their own personal brands. In fact, there are sales and marketing takeaways that we can glean from one of the most expensive elections (AKA “ad campaigns”) in our nation’s history – lessons we can leverage in promoting our own local brands.

94. Facebook’s Dirty Little Secret and How to Combat It -

According to last week’s earnings report, Facebook is fueling growing ad revenue. The company landed slightly above analyst predictions, due in part to mobile ad growth.

The number of active mobile Facebook users grew rapidly from 543 to 604 million in the last three months alone – now comprising over half of the entire user base. To add, mobile users are 20 times more likely to return to Facebook the same day than desktop users, according to the brand’s COO.

95. Leveraging Pinterest For Holiday Sales -

Virtual scrapbooking site Pinterest is a force to be reckoned with. That’s why brands nationwide will integrate Pinterest campaigns into their promotional strategies this holiday season. This 2-year-old social media phenom has already attracted roughly 20 million users, making it the third-most popular social network in the U.S.

96. The More You Tell, The Less You Sell -

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This principle from author Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” has the power to solve an industry-wide sales challenge – under-developed listening skills.

97. With Advertising, Go Big or Go Home -

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” or so the slogan goes, but every time I visit Sin City I’m inspired to share how exceptionally well big brands in this congested market advertise in larger-than-life ways. Standing out from the tremendous volume of advertising clutter is the name of the game in Vegas, and marketers could learn a thing or two from this go-big-or-go-home approach.

98. Collaborative Zones -

The practice of designing office spaces is trending away from inhibiting cubicles and foreboding conference tables and more toward creating collaborative zones.

Tenants are demanding alternatives that cut costs, improve productivity and increase morale. That’s because flexibility is key for modern-day office users, said Heather Averwater, interior designer with brg3s architects.

99. How to Adapt to Today’s Visual Culture -

Great advertising engages our senses. While we may not be able to touch or taste a product through an ad, with the right visual, we get a sense for what it’s like through another’s eyes.

100. RedRover Names Thomson Account Manager -

Melissa Thomson has been promoted to account manager from account executive at RedRover Sales & Marketing. In her expanded role, Thomson serves as a fractional chief marketing officer for growing Mid-South companies by conducting critical market research then creating and executing marketing strategies.