"Making small tweaks to your website can often result in big conversion gains," write Thomas Smale, and he offers five strategies to optimize a company's web presence. The best use of available software and the display of reviews and testimonials are among Smale's recommendations.
Fifty-nine percent of small businesses offered health coverage in 2012, but that proportion is now down to 50%, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey has found. Some businesses say price hikes have made it difficult to keep offering the benefit.
The subscription dog-food service YaDoggie relies on shipping algorithms and data about its customers' dogs to deliver new bags of food just before pet owners run out. The company is also introducing a Bluetooth-enabled "smart scoop" device that uses color-coded signals to help owners keep track of meal times and avoid overfeeding.
Quality trumps quantity in sales, so having quality conversations with leads is more important than making more phone calls or working more leads, writes Stephanie Chung. Also, even experienced sales reps should be willing to use scripted verbiage at appropriate times to guide presentations or discuss the value of products.
An effective sales strategy always involves a thorough understanding of what your customers do, writes John Staples. This understanding allows you to see the value of your product through the customer's eyes and take steps to separate your offerings from those of the competition.
Sales managers have long found freeware such as Google Calendar and Skype as valuable tools to help keep staff members on track, writes Vicky Law. Managers can also use other, lesser-known freeware to boost sales performance, including Trello, a virtual whiteboard where tasks can be assigned, updated and tracked.
The connection may not appear obvious, but Varidesk CEO Jason McCann is quick to credit his company's success and engaged consumers to the care it devotes to its employees. In Varidesk's case, care comes naturally, as its product, which allows desk-bound employees to stand, is directly related to worker health, which pays off with gains in productivity from a healthier workforce.
Concrete Camouflage offers only a few products and caters to "people who are designing or remodeling their concrete floors and exterior concrete," CEO Earl Choate said. Creating a series of how-to videos on YouTube saved the company from having to answer repetitive questions and also helped boost sales, he said.
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