The Challenges and Success of Mobility

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Mobility has enhanced businesses in every industry. However, these benefits don’t come without some challenges as well.

Anyone who hasn’t utilized mobility in their organization needs to understand both sides.

While you don’t want to avoid the advantages that come with it, you must be prepared for the issues that will come your way.

Success That Come with Mobility

Companies that implement mobility in its fullest form will see increased interaction with customers through apps and other programs. They will see an improvement in customer loyalty and satisfaction if they take advantage of this benefit.

Furthermore, mobility can enhance productivity, especially when it automates processes and procedures. Employees can resolve customer problems and take care of tasks from anywhere.

Imagine a salesperson paying a visit to a customer and being able to upload an order from the location instead of waiting to get back to the office?

There are numerous instances where mobility improves a business’ bottom line.

Mobility improves employee productivity by allowing them to work when and where they need to.

At the same time, it can cut costs when you don’t have to keep all employees under one roof.

Challenges of Mobility

The benefits of mobility don’t come without their set of challenges.

Probably the best-known and most complex issue is the need for enhanced security. Devices, programs and applications must be accessible but secured to prevent unauthorized access.

While this issue consumes much of IT’s time, it’s not the only problem that must be dealt with.

As the article, “Mobility – IT’s Challenge and Opportunity“, says, you also have to figure out how to add in new equipment and which ones to utilize to ensure you get the improvements you are expecting.

You can’t always incorporate every trend that comes your way. Not every new piece of hardware or software will benefit your company.

Training staff on new mobile trends and equipment can also be a challenge. You must create procedures and rules for how everything works. Many times, you don’t develop these rules and policies until a problem is discovered.

Mobility impacts everyone from entry-level employees to the CEO of the company. And yet, the goal is that no customer should ever be aware of any changes or problems.

To work seamlessly through mobile resources is the goal and yet the complicated task set before the IT department.

What is often forgotten is that every mobile device and wireless technology must begin with a foundation. The IT department is responsible for maintaining these resources and ensuring they continue to work without any hiccups.

Mobility has transformed the world, but it isn’t without its challenges.

A business that wants to be successful cannot avoid mobile technology and resources, but it must be prepared to handle the problems that come with it.

The end results are worth the extra effort, and will help ensure a business that continues to be relevant in the modern business world.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including marketing and technology.

Turn to Text Message Polls for Better Results

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Are you looking for feedback that will boost your business success? Then text message polls are the way to go.

Text message polls are a quick and easy way to find out what your customers think, meaning you can make your business even better.

Here are five text message polls that can be a boon for your business….

Get Instant Feedback

Text polls give you instant feedback on your customers’ thoughts.

Text messages have a high open rate (98%) and are delivered instantly, giving you a quick way to get in touch with your customers.

What do most people do when they receive a text? They respond.

Sending out a text encourages your customers to reply, in this case by voting in your poll.

The instant nature of texting means you don’t have to wait to find out what your customers are thinking.

Find Out What Works

Text polls are a great tool for finding out what is working in your business.

For instance why not ask your customers:
- Which of two products they like best;
- How they rate your customer service;
- Their favorite product specs, be that the color they like best, the packet size or the type of subscription they prefer;
- Their favorite thing about your business;
- Their least favorite thing about your business.

Ask the right questions and you’ll learn what works in your business and what doesn’t.

As the article, “Got Feedback? 5 Creative Ways to Use Text Message Polls” says, you can use the feedback you collect to better tailor your products or services for your customers.

Ask What Customers Want

Don’t stop at what is working now – use text polls to find out where to take your business in the future.

Reach out to your customers and ask them about what they’d like to see next from you.

Are you trying to decide which product or service to launch next? Why not ask your customers what they would prefer. Ask them if there’s something specific they’d like your business to do.

Finding out what customers wants helps you determine demand, so you know where to put your time, energy and money.

Get to Know Your Customers

Text polls can be used in a broader way to get to know your customers better.

The more information you have about your customer demographics, the more you can tailor everything from your products to your content to your brand voice to appeal to them.

What would you like to know about your customers?

Whether that’s how they use social media, whether they telecommute, or their favorite vacation spot, text polls are a convenient way to find out.

Increase Customer Engagement

Text polls increase customer engagement by encouraging interaction. When you send out a text poll, you’re letting your customers know their opinions matter to you.

Say for example you’re choosing between a silver or gold color schemes for a new product.

By using a text poll, you can find out which your customers like best.

Once the new product is launched, drop them a text to let them know, or even offer a discount on the product. Your customers will feel like they had a hand in the product creation, building a stronger bond between them and your business.

Are you ready for usable information that will give you a competitive edge?

Then it’s time to get started with text polls.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a variety of topics including social media, how to build customer relationships, content marketing and how to use texting to give your business a competitive edge.

A New Approach: Marketing Made for Wearables

John Foley, Jr.
Posted on in Inspiration

Mobile advertising is an exploding industry and should surpass non-mobile ads (like on desktop websites) by 2020, according to Business Insider. Our phones go with us everywhere, and there isn’t a place outside the most remote corners of the Earth that doesn’t get a signal. Even airlines have made Wi-Fi standard in the last few years.

But the term “mobile” is being redefined with the emergence of the smartwatch, and it’s a different beast than the smartphone. Marketers and developers are scrambling to understand how we use this relatively new device and the opportunities to reach new audiences the smartphone never could.

What Gives Smartwatches Potential?

Of all the technology we use, smartwatches have the smallest amount of real estate for any sort of advertising. So what makes these tiny screens prime for new marketing opportunities? If you look closely at these devices, the advantages to going wearable start to become more obvious:

- Devices like the Gear S are always connected to the network, even when the wearer is away from his or her phone (the Apple Watch does not do this, for example).
- Even when the phone is put away, a watch is always present and visible.
- Passive notifications, like a message or reminder, are more prevalent on smartwatches.
- In time, smartwatches could be more affordable than smartphones.
- According to a study by Gartner, 50 percent of people polled said they would buy a smartwatch over a fitness tracking band like FitBit.

What Are the Biggest Opportunities?

What would advertising on the smartwatch look like? This concept didn’t really take off until the Apple Watch launched earlier this year, so marketers are still discovering areas where they can penetrate a new audience. Consider some of the following opportunities:
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- Hands-free Google Now and Siri give SEO marketers a new chance to leap ahead of competitors based on the way users speak versus the way they type.
- Sleep tracking uses the accelerometer to track how much wearers move in their sleep. Companies who specialize in sleep hardware (anything from beds to accessories) and software could find this data useful.
- The smartwatch could become a common home control device. So, for example, a company that makes garage doors could make a useful app to open them via a smartwatch.
- Smartphones already hold mobile tickets, like an airline boarding pass, but the convenience of a screen on the wrist will only move this trend forward. Anything from airlines to concerts could use the smartwatch to get passengers and guests through the gate.
- Chromecast/Apple TV integration will be huge now that both TV set devices are open to third-party apps. This gives developers the opportunity to connect the smartwatch and TV in any way they can imagine.
- Navigation on a smartphone can be dangerous on the road because it’s distracting when behind the wheel, but the smartwatch is a much more passive way to navigate the roads.

What Are the Next Steps?

While app developers are hard at work to crank out new programs for both the smartwatch and smartphone OS, the full potential isn’t even close to being unlocked. There is some serious innovation happening in smartwatches, but developers aren’t seeing much return in ad revenue just yet. One thing is for sure: the more this market grows, the more marketers will know where their bread and butter lives.

Does Your Marketing Blog Pass the Consumer Test?

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Blogging has become an important part of many companies’ marketing strategy.

However, some businesses haven’t utilized this tool for bringing in new customers.

Others have a blog but fail to add to it regularly or develop it to become the marketing essential it can be.

Develop Your Brand Reputation

A blog can enhance your reputation in your respective industry.

Whether you are a new business hoping to attract attention or an established company bringing in new customers, a blog is an important component.

It allows you to provide valuable information to your customers with a non-sales approach. People will read and follow your blog because they don’t feel pressured to buy.

Companies ranging from beauty products to medical devices can benefit from blogs.

The readers will be different, which means providing different information and with a unique tone.

However, a blog can show that you are knowledgeable about your industry, regardless of how specialized it may be.

Reach More Customers

Make your blog compelling and your readers will share it with others.

You can extend your reach far beyond what you would do if you tried a direct marketing approach alone.

If you have 1,000 followers and 10 people with 500 followers share your post, you have reached 5,000 people in addition to your 1,000.

As the following article looks at, it doesn’t take much analyzing to see how you can use blogging to bring in new customers.

Not only can you reach more potential customers, you can do it in less time.

Once you write and share your blog post, your work is done. However, the post can keep expanding as more people share it with others.

Look at social networks, and you’ll see people sharing blog posts and other content a year or more after it was created.

Increase Interaction

Encourage comments from your readers, and you can develop relationships through your blog.

You’ll find over time that the same people comment on blogs as well as new voices.

Some of the most popular blogs even have people interacting with each other, forming groups and friendships that will enhance loyalty to the blog.

Take the time to read people’s comments and respond.

If you have a popular blog, you may not be able to reply to every comment, but you can choose a few for personal contact.

You can also like comments, so that others know you read what is written in response to your blog.

Interaction in a blog serves two purposes.

First, it lets your readers know you are paying attention. You read what they have to say, which makes them feel important.

Second, it allows you to learn from your readers, which can impact the direction of your business. If you find one product is losing popularity, you can use your blog to find out why.

A blog can serve several purposes, but all of them focus on enhancing your business as the ultimate focus.

With all of the new methods of marketing that come available; don’t forget one of the standards on the Internet.

Establish and maintain a blog for your business and you won’t regret it.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including marketing and running a small business.

How to Protect Your Customers’ Digital Wallets

John Foley, Jr.
Posted on in Inspiration

Thirteen percent of American adults now use a digital wallet on their smartphones, according to a Gallup poll taken in December 2014 and January 2015. Among those who are not using a digital wallet, 55 percent cite security concerns as their primary cause of hesitation. Cybersecurity experts share these concerns; nearly half of those polled about mobile payments by ISACA said they were concerned about vulnerabilities such as public Wi-Fi, lost or stolen devices, phishing and weak passwords. Identity thieves have also been able to make fraudulent digital wallet payments using data stolen from retailers, as was the case in March when compromised customer information from Home Depot and Target was used to make Apple Pay purchases.

As more consumers begin using mobile payments and digital wallets and more high-profile breaches receive publicity, it is increasingly essential for businesses to take security measures to maintain customer confidence and avoid becoming the next cybersecurity news story.

Lock Down Your Network

Visa has provided a guide to digital wallet security that approaches the task of securing devices in three steps, summarized by the acronym “LOK.” The first step is to lock down networks and devices in order to create a secure environment.

For businesses, implementing this requires taking a series of security measures. To secure your customers’ data, you must first secure your own internal network by following security best practices. These include using a firewall, using SSL encryption and certificates, securing any Wi-Fi networks, backing up vital data, only using reliable software and apps, keeping firmware and software updated, staying updated on the latest security patches, only using authorized devices, and enabling passwords on devices. Following these steps can help prevent breaches and minimize damage. For instance, Google has emphasized the importance of businesses installing SSL certificates to protect Google Wallet customers against password hackers.

Only Authorized Users Access Information

A second security measure is only allowing authorized users access to vital customer information. For instance, a widely-publicized 2014 breach of eBay resulted from hackers compromising the log-in credentials of a small number of eBay employees in order to access the company’s corporate network, as Forbes reported.

Taking steps to restrict data access to authorized users can help prevent such problems. Avoid handling and storing customer data you don’t truly need to store, ControlScan recommends in a roundup of best security practices for small businesses. For instance, you can have payments processed by your provider outside of your company network instead of handling it yourself.

When you do need to store data, segment it so that it is stored in a different area than the rest of your business network, and restrict access to authorized users. Require authentication data for your employees and customers that is not itself stored on your network. Use tokens to enable repeat customers to access their account information securely.

Know How to Respond to Security Threats

A third prong of a solid security strategy is knowing how to respond when threats and breaches do occur. The best time to stop a threat is taking counter-measures before it escalates. For instance, a service such as Lifelock Business Solutions can help you automatically detect suspicious activity and take preventive measures before a threat becomes a breach.

It’s important to educate both your employees and your customers how to respond to suspicious activity and threats. For instance, your employees should be trained in what to do if they lose a mobile device that has company data stored on it or if they fear their device has been hacked. You should also provide your customers with guidelines on measures such as protecting their passwords. As a further safeguard, develop notification procedures for alerting your customers when they need to take steps such as changing their passwords or downloading security patches.

Are You Marketing Your Brand to Educated Customers?

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Finding the perfect audience for your business’s marketing campaigns is challenging, especially if you’re targeting first-time customers.

That’s why it is so important to properly market your business to educated audiences.

Here are just a few tips for marketing to customers who already know your brand:

Target Niche Audiences

Regardless of the types of products or services you offer, there’s a good chance your business has a niche following. Niche audiences have a unique understanding of your business unlike traditional audiences such as first-time customers.

As a result, it’s important to alter your campaigns with niche audiences.

Whether you’re selling a specialty product or service, you don’t really need to go in-depth with your brand information – niche customers already have prior knowledge.

Adding a bunch of educational filler to your marketing will only turn your niche customers off.

When targeting your niche customers, skip the general knowledge and get right to the offer, promotion, or deal. This will engage your educated customers right away.

Segment Your Consumer Base

If you only target your business’s niche audiences, then you’re overlooking the general population. This is never a wise business move.

By segmenting your consumer base, you can make sure your marketing campaigns appeal to niche and general audiences alike.

Part of the segmenting process is determining which customers are more educated on your brand than others. Customers who have a history of doing business with you generally fall into the educated consumer base whereas new shoppers don’t have as much prior knowledge.

Just remember as the following article looks at, marketing yourself to an educated customer base will help get the outreach ball rolling much faster.

Educate, Don’t Assume

Knowing the difference between an educated customer and a customer with no prior experience in your brand can be tricky. That’s why you should never automatically assume your customers are knowledgeable in the products and services your business offers.

Make sure you take the time to research your consumer base before delivering any marketing campaigns.

If you can’t easily segment your customers into one of the two groups mentioned above, play it safe by including plenty of educational information in your marketing attempts.

Don’t Over Explain

Whether the customer is educated or not, it’s never a good idea to over explain the products and services your business offers. Over explaining not only disengages readers, it also makes your business come off as condescending.

When marketing to customers with no prior knowledge, provide enough information for your brand to make sense.

Likewise, with educated customers, describe your brand in a way that adds to the knowledge they already have and avoid repeating informational bullet points.

All Customers Can Become Educated

The main point of marketing to your customers is to educate them about your brand.

Even if you are reaching out to an entirely new audience, it’s important to remember that all of your customers will eventually learn about your brand. Keeping a close eye on this learning process and pulling back when necessary is the key to marketing success.

Before you deliver your next marketing campaign, consider some of the pointers mentioned above.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including marketing research and customer outreach.

Always Respect the Role of Text Marketing

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Text marketing is more personal than any other form of marketing and therefore deserves the utmost respect.

Being too aggressive with your business’s text campaign can not only annoy, but also offend subscribers.

Before you send your next text campaign, consider the following texting etiquette tips:

Only Message Opt-Ins

One of the most disrespectful mistakes you can make with your text marketing endeavors is sending messages to recipients who never opted in.

That’s right, sending unsolicited texts to uninterested parties not only looks bad for your business, it’s also a violation of federal guidelines.

Sending texts to non-subscribers isn’t very common, that is unless they have recently opted out of your marketing campaigns.

To avoid this, make sure your business uses mass messaging software that automatically moves opt-out parties in to the unsubscribe category.

Don’t Overdo It

Whether you’re new to SMS marketing or your business was an early adopter, it’s important to know that a little goes a long way.

Texting thoughtful, engaging messages in moderation will have a greater impact than sending multiple filler messages – and it won’t annoy any subscribers in the process.

The article, “Respect and Text Marketing: What’s the Connection?” recommends coming up with a frequency plan for your texts.

For active customers, one marketing text a week is more than enough. As for less active users, you might want to send a few texts a week to gauge interest without being too forward.

Proofread, Then Proofread Again

Engaging content and unique offers are all part of SMS marketing.

However, it doesn’t matter how interesting or intriguing your texts are if they’re full of errors and typos. Do you know what frequent typos come off as in the marketing world? Spam, spam, spam!

Not taking the time to make sure each message you send is error-free and readable is disrespectful to each and every one of your subscribers.

So, make sure your writing is grammatically correct and avoid using too many popular abbreviations.

You may only have 160 characters to work with, but spelling “you” as opposed to “u” really isn’t a big difference in terms of characters.

Test Links

Although your texts are functional on your end, SMS marketing is all about the end user experience.

With this is mind, giving your text campaigns and the links within a functionality test run is of the upmost importance.

Links that lead to the wrong destination or links that won’t open on certain devices will only irritate subscribers.

By testing your text links on different mobile operating systems, you can rest assured subscribers are getting the most out your campaigns.

Offer an Opt-Out

Sometimes customers don’t feel the same way about your SMS marketing as they did when they opted-in. That’s why it’s a good idea to include an opt-out or unsubscribe link in each message.

In addition, make sure the opt-out process is as easy as the opt-in process.

The only thing more annoying than unwanted texts is having to jump through hoops to opt-out of them.

When it comes to sending SMS text campaigns, be sure to show a little respect to your subscribers.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including marketing and mobile technology.

Constructing the Right Online Brand

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You think online branding and so many fields of business come into mind. You think social media and the same thing happens.

An online brand is direly important to a business these days, as so much business is done online.

Even if you aren’t primarily an online business, somewhere along the way, you’ll need an online brand. And this even applies to construction workers.

As the article, “Do construction workers need an online personal brand?” asks, just like any business these days – an online brand is all part of the marketing process.

When a potential client is considering you or your business, they are going to take a quick browse online. They want to see your reputation, testimonials, showcases of your work and yes, a website.

How many times have you changed your mind (one way or the other) about a company after seeing, or not seeing, a website or social media posts?

What are some things to do?

Among the items to keep in mind:

- Social Media – Set up that Instagram and Facebook account. If nothing else, have these two accounts. Instagram is easy enough and you can have photos of your work on display. Facebook is easy, too, and often the first place people go to look. It’s also a place where satisfied customers can give you accolades and support you. You may be surprised what this simple step can do for you and how your business can grow. But you don’t have to stop with these two platforms, there’s much more to social media, and for a craftsperson, the visual ones like Pinterest are excellent platforms.

- Website – Whether you work independently or with a company, a website is an important aspect of online branding. It’s a first impression. If website development isn’t up your alley, find someone to create a site for you. Here you can put your background, certifications, experience, pieces of your work and specialties. You can also have testimonials.

- Show Yourself – People want to hire the good guys, and by creating an online brand, your potential customers can get to know you. They’ll see your philosophies on your website and your personality through your social media. People want to work with someone they know and trust; let that someone be you.

- Keep it Current – Don’t let the most current thing people see be a post from three years ago. This doesn’t mean you have to post or update every few hours, but check in once a week or so to add something new, post your latest project or just send out a greeting.

Again, you may not think of the construction field as being big into social media and creating an online presence, but there’s no reason not to.

Actually, lots of reasons exist to do it, so get online and create a great showcase of your brand.

About the Author: Heather Legg is an independent writer who covers topics relating to social media, small business and online marketing.

Put a Focus on Event Technology

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If your business is hosting an upcoming event, then it’s your goal to give attendees something to write home about.

With the right technology, you can take your event to an entirely new level.

With event excellence in mind, here are just a few ways your business can effectively use event technology at its next gathering:

Virtual Meetings

Pulling off a great event takes a lot of collaboration, which is exactly where virtual meetings come into play.

Your business can meet with collaborators over the Internet via video conferencing and web conferencing in just about any capacity.

Do you need to have a one-on-one meeting?

If so, then desktop video conferencing using a built-in or auxiliary camera is a great solution.

Even if you have a number of different collaborators meeting with your entire event staff, room-based tele-presence conferencing makes it possible to include multiple collaborators from multiple locations.

One-on-one and group mobile video conferencing via tablets and smart phones is even growing in popularity too.

If your business doesn’t want to invest in video equipment, there are a number of web-based conferencing services available. With the power of virtual meetings, you can plan your event with ease.

Getting Social and Going Live

Events are an opportunity for attendees to socialize and share their thoughts on the experience.

What better way to let people share their thoughts and network than with social comments that stream live on flat screens throughout your event?

The article “7 Steps to Finding the Right Event Technology” mentions the importance of enabling communication during events.

Allowing attendees to live tweet and then broadcasting those tweets at your event encourages communication and gets your crowd talking.

Wearable Event Technology

Whether you’re hosting an open house at your business or you’re throwing a massive industry conference, giving your attendees a hassle-free experience is a must. That’s where wearables come into play.

Wearable technology such as RFID wristbands and passes allow your attendees to access certain event venues with a single swipe of the wrist.

Wearable event technology not only replaces tickets and passes; it also allows attendees to instantly check into your event on social media.

Although wearable technology is just beginning to find its place at events, the potential for this technology is endless.

Wearable sensor technology is already being developed that will allow you to see what areas of your event attendees visit the most and who they meet along the way.

Live Streaming

When you take the time to plan an event, you want to make sure everyone can attend. However, scheduling conflicts are always inevitable.

Fortunately, advancements in HD live streaming technology allow your business to broadcast its event from anywhere.

With HD broadcasting equipment, you can turn live HD footage of your event into a live streaming feed.

You can broadcast this feed on your business’s own website or any number of live streaming host sites. Live streaming technology like this gives you the ability to share your business event with a massive online audience.

Before you start planning your next business event, remember to include some of the technology above.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including technology and event planning.

Are Your Leads Turning Into Customers?

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Lead conversion is the name of the game for growing your business.

Without the ability to turn prospects into profit, you might as well be trying to catch a rabbit with a horse and buggy.

Turning leads into paying customers requires skill, experience, tools and just a little bit of intuition.

Here are some ways that successful marketing agencies use to turn leads into customers….

Use the Tools Available to You

Social media outlets are useful for more than just socializing.

Savvy marketing agencies woo the leads they mine on rich sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Use your company’s social media accounts to reach out to leads and offer to help. You’ll find this way to be an effective tool for enticing new business into your company.

Do Your Homework

Building buyer personas are a trend that you should already be engaged in. But if not, spend the time now to do your homework.

The time you spend developing buyer personas will aid your sales team as they work the leads you send them. Buyer personas help sellers to visualize the state of mind of the lead, what their needs are, and how approachable they may be.

Remember, buyer personas are useful for your sales force, marketing agency, and any content providers you may hire.

The work you do now to get buyer personas fleshed out will give you a high return on investment again and again.

Get Help from Technology

Don’t let your leads list get too large before you finally decided to get help from technology.

You shouldn’t even be building up an email marketing list before you have a newsletter service in place. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending unnecessary time transitioning to a technology driven lead management service.

Stop resisting technology and start realizing that if you don’t embrace technology, you’ll surely fall behind your competitors.

Lead management services run the gamut from email list management all the way through to proposal templates, sales force support, client communication interfaces and more.

As the following article looks at, these services support your vision to accelerate growth by converting leads into customers, and then keeping those customers.

Look for subscription based services that can be accessed anywhere, and which have modular packages that you can add to your basic package as your company grows.

Inspire Your Sales Team

If your sales force just isn’t creating the higher conversion rates that you want to see, it’s time to take your weekly sales meetings to the next level.

A poorly performing salesperson is bound to be suffering from low morale. After all, they want to perform well just as much as you want them to. You’re both on the same team. Inspire your sales team with something out of the ordinary.

Hold a seminar at an offsite location. Spoil them a little with complimentary drinks and a meal at a luxury hotel. Hire a keynote speaker that they will recognize and get excited about hearing speak.

Once you give them a taste of what success is like, they will be salivating to apply what they learned.

There’s no reason you can’t enjoy the same high conversion rates that the best corporations report on a consistent basis.

Use these tips to make your next fiscal year the best so far.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.