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SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Top Sales Training Best Practices Successful Managers Follow

Sales training is one of the most important investments most companies make, because it allows them to close the gap between current performance and potential performance. Nevertheless, around 80 percent of respondents to a recent study by the Rain Group Center rated their own training as being between average and poor.

Here, we take a look at some of the best sales training practices the most successful managers follow.

Use of Simulation or Role-Playing

Many organizations still utilize classroom-based, instructor-led training, which can be incredibly effective. However,Sales Training it is important to balance it with practical learning as well.

Without applying learned information quickly, most expenditure on corporate training is wasted, because unfortunately people forget new information extremely quickly. Precisely how much knowledge is lost - and how quickly - is difficult to say, as studies vary significantly, but most agree that the majority of information is lost within a week.

"Role-playing [also] provides a safe environment to encounter [new] scenarios for the first time, which builds confidence in team members that can help them in their day-to-day roles," explains John Buelow, executive vice president of the Shapiro Negotiations Institute.

Sales Coaching and Reinforcement

Successful sales training requires newly acquired sales skills to be reinforced regularly, or else staff revert to old habits, and coaching is one of the best solutions. For this reason, coaching is often one of the most important things for a sales manager to learn and is a key component of most sales management training programs.

Yet, many sales managers continue to neglect their coaching responsibilities. Indeed, the CSO Insights 2016 Sales Best Practices Study revealed that just 32 percent of sales managers are currently spending sufficient time on coaching. In companies performing to a world-class standard, however, this figure rises to 88 percent.

A structured coaching program will allow leaders to work closely with staff to highlight issues, set targets and ensure new skills are put into practice. Meanwhile, reinforcement literature should also be made available. According to Aberdeen Group, 20 percent more reps achieve quota when post-training reinforcement is implemented.

Technology and Mobile-Friendliness

Finally, the most successful managers know that technology can be utilized to significantly improve both the quality of training and its results. In truth, technology can be deployed in an almost limitless number of ways, ranging from the use of virtual instructors in classroom settings, to bite-size video content.

One growing technology trend in corporate training has been the gamification of the learning process and eLearning Industry report that gamification features, such as the ability to progress to different levels, choose a difficulty setting, etc. can lead to a nine percent increase in retention rates. Meanwhile, adult learners who participated in gamified e-learning experiences scored 14 percent higher in skills-based knowledge assessments.

Furthermore, technology can be used to make learning a mobile experience. By ensuring that learning materials are available to access and use on mobile devices, sales skills can be improved even while outside the workplace, learning can become part of staff members' daily routines, and information can be reinforced on the go.

Conclusion

When it comes to delivering high-quality sales training, or sales management training, it is not just the quality of the information that matters, but the quality of delivery and follow-up. In particular, it is important to give staff the opportunity to put new information into practice quickly, to reinforce and personalize learning through coaching, and to make use of technology to improve all aspects of your training program.

Author Bio:

Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company. It specializes in providing exceptional sales coaching and helps organisations develop business strategies to achieve sales success. Monika enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to provide better sales and service training.

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Building Brand Recognition for Your Startup: Website Fundamentals

By: Rebecca Shipley 

When launching your startup, it is likely that the thought of how to best get exposure and a loyal following. And even better if you can do so while also building up your brand identity and its ability to be recognized and remembered by consumers, right? With the right elements, your website can make this happen for your startup. Use your website as a powerful tool to develop your brand and its ability to connect with and engage consumers.

Domain name
Your domain name is a link to your website (both literally and figuratively) that people will interact with before even reaching the homepage of your site. Therefore, you must help set your site up for success by choosing and brand conceptsregistering a domain name that ties in with your brand and promotes recognition and remembrance of it.

Make the domain name for your site something that is short and sweet, no longer than about four words. It should also be simple to spell out and to share, whether through word-of-mouth or digital mediums. Avoid using hyphens or numbers, as they tend to be accidentally put in the wrong place or left out entirely. These things will help your site’s domain name be remembered and shared, and as a result, promote brand recognition with more people, both on- and offline.

Your site’s domain name should also be brandable in the sense that it should itself be relevant to your brand. When a person sees it, they should know that it is connected to your brand if they are familiar with you. If a person has never before heard of your startup, once they visit your site they should see how its domain name ties in with the brand that is presented there.

Logo
Your brand’s logo will take up some valuable real estate on your website, placed prominently at the top of its homepage and various other internal pages. Ensure that it speaks to the message your brand wants to communicate and gives people the right idea of what your brand stands for and represents.

Both in design and in color scheme, your logo should not be too similar to that of your competitors. Avoid having it be overly fussy in a way that detracts from all your hard work on the rest of the site or that makes your brand look like it was indecisive on what it most wants to convey with its logo. The right logo makes a website and its design, as well as further promoting the site’s brand. The wrong logo can confuse consumers as to what your startup values and/or has to offer them.

Links to social media
Include links to each of your brand’s social media accounts on its website in a way and in a location that they are easily seen. Place them prominently on the site’s homepage or on a clearly identifiable tab. By directing traffic to your social media accounts through your website, you are allowing web users to see more of your brand’s content through its social media posts and your brand to build up the engagement of its social community online.

Content catered to your target market
Everything your brand does with its website needs to be done with its target market in mind. Give them content they find interesting and useful within your site. If you are not quite sure of who makes up your target market and what it is your target market wants to see from your brand, you will need to conduct market research in order to find out. This can be done either through primary research methods (like surveys and focus groups) or secondary research, in which your startup takes data already collected by an outside organization and uses it to form its own conclusions.

Know who you are using your site to market to, what it is they like and want to see, and craft your site around this knowledge. It is much easier to promote brand recognition with a specific segment of the market that you are working to get the attention of with your site than it is to attempt to do so by making general content that you hope pleases everyone.

Of course, your startup’s website needs to express what it is as a business and what it has to sell to the consumer. On top of that however, it needs to be a part of your startup’s online presence that serves as a strong representation of its brand and allows visitors to it to see that brand. Having your brand represented well on your site will allow people to recognize it, remember it, and be encouraged to follow along with all it is doing.

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Buying managed security services is a growing trend with companies

Buying managed security services is a growing trend with companies, as they seek to implement market-leading security solutions while dealing with a shortage of trained security personnel and a limited CAPEX budget. IDC predicts double-digit growth for this market and is expecting the MSSP market to hit $27 billion by 2020 (WW). While telcos and system integrators (SIs) play a large role in this space, trusted channel partners are finding customers seeking help with their security needs.

Providing managed services can be an attractive and highly profitable revenue stream for channel partners alreadyBrand Aware Digital IoT and Cloud 220x150 providing configuration and setup services. Utilizing cloud-based capabilities and automated reporting, partners are able to deliver peace of mind to their customer base without significant effort or expense.

With our latest release, Fortinet’s FortiCloud now has the ability to manage the world’s most popular UTM from the cloud (Fortinet’s FortiGate UTM appliances were recently named a leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for the eighth consecutive time). Channel partners can access customers’ FortiGate Firewalls from any browser, from anywhere, and at any time, simplifying the effort to service customer networks. Automated reports remind the customer of the value of the service, showing what protection the partner has provided each month via Fortinet’s UTM, switches, and wireless access points.

Compared to other vendors with cloud-managed offerings, Fortinet provides best-in-class protection throughout the product range and multiple third-party certifications have validated that the protection provided by Fortinet consistently leads the market. Learn more about our FortiCloud solutions or become a partner today!

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SMALL BUSINESS INDICATOR: WEB DEVELOPER MARKET BOOMING, WITH RETAIL AND TRAVEL LEADING THE WAY, ACCORDING TO NEW GLOBAL RESEARCH STUDY

80 Percent of Web Professionals Report Client Growth of 25 Percent or More a Year, According to Study of United States, Germany, United Kingdom, India, Brazil and Mexico

Web Designers Leading Indicators of Small Business Growth: Retail, Travel, Health and Fitness Industries Growing Fastest Globally

Growth Creates Pain Points: Web Developers Report They Have to Play Too Many Roles and Struggle Managing New Clients

Constant Need for Learning/New Skills: Web Developers Report Strong Support for Certification Program to Create Standards

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., August 10, 2017 – A survey of web developers and designers – a leading indicator of small business growth - finds that the web professional industry continues to boom two decades after the emergence of the Internet. Rapid growth in clients is fueled by the retail and travel industries, according to a new global research study commissioned by GoDaddy.

The industry study, conducted in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, India, Brazil and Mexico by the research firm Evans Data, found that web developers and designers – many of which are relative newcomers to the industry - at times struggle to keep up with demand for services from industries such as retail, travel, health and fitness.

Seventy-nine percent of web developers and designers reported client growth of 25 percent or more a year – with more than 1 in 3 saying growth was 50 percent or more. Nearly half reported they have been in business less than 5 years, but revenue was still high: a majority had revenue of $250,000 or more and 1 in 3 reported revenues of over $500,000.

“Two decades after general internet adoption, this research indicates that the ‘Golden Era’ of web development and design shows no sign of slowing down,” said Raghu Murthi, SVP of Hosting and Pro at GoDaddy. “But the research also provides lessons to new web professionals on the importance of continued learning and the need to manage growth and focus on looking where your next clients will come from.”

Regionally, the industries that were driving growth varied:

 US  DE/UK  INDIA  BRAZIL  MEXICO
 Retail  Retail  Creative  Retail  Travel
 Travel  Food  Education  Travel  Retail
 Health/Fitness  Creative  Health/Fitness  Real Estate  Food


The primary drivers of business globally are:

  • Selling new services to existing clients: 40%
  • Providing support to existing clients: 31%
  •  Finding new clients: 21%
  • Reselling 3rd party products/services: 7%

The research also shows key differences between more mature markets, such as the United States, German and the United Kingdom, and other regions. For example, in more developed markets, developers and designers are more likely to work for a small firm and concentrate their work on fewer clients who provide larger retainers. That has enabled them to focus more time on securing new clients and growing their business.

As the industry continues to mature, the study finds a strong desire for continued learning and support for certification programs. Overall, 83 percent of developers and designers support a certification program that focuses on improving the skills and expertise of web professionals.

The research found that developers and designers grapple with how to keep up with technical and business skills to serve clients – but how they do that often differs based on where they are from. While online training courses are universally used, industry publications are much more popular in the United States (60 percent) than Mexico (32 percent) or Brazil (31 percent). Conferences and meetups are popular in India, but not as popular in Mexico, Germany, or the United Kingdom.

“Web pros are clearly looking for help in managing their client base, so they can maintain quality while expanding their business,” said Raghu Murthi, SVP of Hosting and Pro at GoDaddy. “That is why integrated services that help them manage multiple clients and sites from one place, are in such demand.”

Overall, the study provides insight into an industry that is integral to small business growth[DCR4] and the overall health of a digital economy. For example, two in five respondents said they now tailor web pages specifically for mobile devices, with the majority reporting they spend most of their time on mobile. It also shows key differences between how web professionals operate globally:

· Length of time in business varied among the regions, varying between more and less mature markets. The newest web professionals are in Mexico, India and Brazil.

 Time in Business  US   DE/UK  INDIA  BRAZIL  MEXICO
 0-12 Months  1%  5%   5%   4%   6% 
 1-2 Years    5%    9%    12%    11%    11% 
 2-5 Years  26%  30%  32% 40%  36%
 5-10 Years  54%  43%  35%  33%  40%
 10-plus Years  14%  13%  15%  13%  13%



Revenue per client can vary widely based on where the web professional works. In India, for example, only 1 in 3 clients provides revenue of at least $10,000, while in Mexico and the United States the majority of clients provide that amount.

The skills needed to be a successful web developer or designer varied by region, with technical and creative skills viewed as most important in India and Brazil.

 Most Important Skills  US  DE/UK  INDIA  BRAZIL  MEXICO
 Technical   Creative  Technical   Creative  Creative
 Project Management  Technical   Creative  Technical  Managing Clients
 Business  Managing Clients  Project Management   Managing Clients  Technical



Where web professional work can vary. Those in India, Germany and the United Kingdom are most apt to work in an outside office. While 72 percent of U.S. developers and designers report that they work out of their home (either in a home office, at a table, or on a couch). That is also reflected in how they view their work environments: over half of German, UK and Indian web professionals called it “conventional,” while the majority of U.S. workers said it was “loose.”

New tools such as video apps and services such as Slack are popular in the United States, with 56 percent reporting they primarily use them to stay in touch with clients. But email remains the primary source in other countries, with India and Mexico reporting only 1 in 3 use those new tools to communicate with clients.

The research project surveyed 1,500 web professionals in May 2017. The margin of error of the research is +/- 2.6 percent. A summary of the data is available upon request.

To learn more about GoDaddy Solutions for Web Professionals visit www.GoDaddy.com/pro.

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The future of transportation is already here

Apr 13, 2017 / Alex Moura

Let’s shake ourselves out of our four-wheeled stupor, look at the vehicles and devices being developed, and reimagine how we’ll move around our cities, says TED technology curator Alex Moura.

Humanity has come a long way from traveling by horse, but when we consider the future of transportation in cities, too many of us are still stuck in the 18th century. We still envision our streets full of four-wheel chariots (minus the horses), and our future as relying on cars or car-like vehicles, because that’s all we know. Why this myopia? For most automakers and transportation companies, adhering to the status quo is more profitable than experimenting; their business models, even for forward thinkers like Tesla, depend on their keeping drivers tethered with maintenance and service. And builders and urban planners have learned to limit their thinking because existing regulations and clunky political processes have made it nearly impossible to innovate without years of negotiations. As a result, we’re laying the foundations for a transportation future that carries forward the problems of the past.

But there can be another way forward, a new vision of transportation that upsets the four-wheel chariot model. And signs of it are already rolling across the landscape. By looking at some of the most advanced vehicles and devices out there — not just concept cars and prototypes but vehicles that are already in use or being road-tested in the real world — we can start to see a more interesting, less car-based future. Based on this new crop of transportation-related devices, I’m making the following four predictions:

Car

Courtesy of i-Road.

1. Cars will become much, much smaller.

While SUV and truck sales have been on the rise worldwide, that trend has been boosted by low gasoline prices, which can’t last given the finite supplies of fossil fuels. As we move forward, personal urban transportation will be dominated by individual vehicles. In 2015, Toyota launched a trial run of its three-wheeled i-Road electric vehicles — which resemble an enclosed motorcycle and fit only a driver and perhaps a small passenger — through a network of sharing stations in Tokyo. (We road-tested them at TED, too.) The project is now expanding throughout Japan, a nation with more electric car-charging stations than gas stations. In a bid to become the first country to embrace smart transportation systems, government officials have gone as far as trying to create international car-charging standards.

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