Closers

Forecasting, it is said, is the art of saying what will happen, and then explaining why it didn’t. It may be a fool’s errand to predict what B2B marketing strategies will emerge in 2019, but trendwatching is an important skill for business leaders across all industries.

You don’t stop daily to notice the calendar you received from your Realtor or the refrigerator magnets from the neighborhood pizza place. But when you need to reach that business, you know instantly where to turn. Marketing strategies have changed drastically over the centuries, but as Paul Bellantone, president and CEO of the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) explains, promotional products have always produced stellar results.

To date, technological advancements have always created better jobs and improved the well-being of humanity.

In November 2013, Donald Guardian became the first Republican to be elected mayor of Atlantic City in 23 years. Within months after taking office, Gardner, a reluctant candidate to begin with, was hit with the closing of four of the city’s casinos, including the Revel Casino Hotel, which cost $2.4 billion to build and was open only two years before it closed.

Ben Parr, venture capitalist , startup coach, former coeditor of Mashable, author and public speaker, lives at the intersection of technology and entrepreneurship. In his new book, “Captivology,” Parr identifies seven “captivation triggers” that he says are the essential tools for capturing attention for your ideas and products.

Ken Schmidt participated in one of the most celebrated turnarounds in corporate history. The longtime motorcycle enthusiast’s association with Harley-Davidson Motor Company began in 1985, when he was asked to work with the then-struggling manufacturer to help restore the company’s image and create demand for its motorcycles. By the time he left in 1997 to be a partner in a Chicago-based marketing firm, Harley-Davidson was one of the most visible and frequently reported-on companies in the world.

Salespeople need to establish competency, but social psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson says in their rush to do so, they may unwittingly be shooting themselves in the foot. The author of “No One Understands You and What to Do About It” lays out a better path to successful conversations.

At first blush, Laurie Ruettimann is a former corporate human resources director who uses her brassy blog (LaurieRuettimann.com) to upbraid the women (yes, they are still predominantly women) who continue to fight the HR fight in cubicles around the world. First impressions aren’t all wrong. But Ruettimann has some lessons to impart on managers as well, starting with the fact that HR isn’t here to clean up their messes.

In his new book “Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion,” journalist David Zweig explores the work of some top-performing professionals in behind-the-scenes positions. These intrinsically motivated workers are critically important to the high-profile projects they are involved with, but the general public is none the wiser – and the Invisibles are just fine with that.

High-tech workers love their incentive stock options, but Microsoft’s Michele Samoulides says that incentive travel programs are some of the software giant’s most effective motivators. She runs the company’s annual Gold Club program, which recognizes more than 2,000 sales professionals, human resources professionals, administrative assistants and other employees worldwide through three regional incentive programs.

In her book, “Game Time: Learn to Talk Sports In 5 Minutes a Day for Business,” Seattle sports broadcaster Jen Mueller states that a lack of sports knowledge can cost you money. You don’t need to be able to break down Phil Jackson’s triangle offense, but knowing enough to realize that a fast break isn’t referencing a quick trip to the locker room is a good start.

In her new book, “Agile Selling: Get Up to Speed Quickly in Today’s Ever-Changing Sales World,” sales strategist Jill Konrath emphasizes the importance of strong starts with new prospects. Konrath knows a thing or two about starting strong. Her first book, “Selling to Big Companies,” was named one of Fortune magazine’s “Must Reads” for salespeople, and is on a number of all-time top 10 lists for sales books.

When he was 12, Mark Cuban sold garbage bags to pay for an expensive pair of basketball shoes. An entrepreneur was born and the business world hasn't been the same. Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association, Landmark Theatres and Magnolia Pictures, and the chairman of AXS TV. He is also one of four “shark” investors on the TV series “Shark Tank.” He recently answered some questions via an email exchange with Sales & Marketing Management.

Former New York Times foreign correspondent Elizabeth Becker circled the world to report on the global impact of travel as a product. Her book, “Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism,” was published earlier this year. It is a comprehensive and often discouraging report on the impact of tourism in a world where no corner is left untraipsed. We focused our discussion on incentive travel and experiencing new places as a group.

A recent New Yorker feature on Apollo Robbins described the Las Vegas-based entertainer as a “theatrical pickpocket” who, in pursuit of his craft, has incorporated principles from aikido, sales and Latin ballroom dancing. The sales part left us curious (OK, the aikido and ballroom dancing did, too), so we gave him a call.

Daniel Pink's new book, “To Sell Is Human,” offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling and states that everyone is in sales in one fashion or another.

Pages