Archive | January 2013

Give Rewards and Gain More Sales

Hello Peeps,

I want to share you something about sales reward programs. Oftentimes, we are motivating our team to get more sales through incentives and other rewards but we can also get more sales through motivating our customers with the same thing. It doesn’t have to be something big but even little things will be greatly appreciated as long as it is called “reward”, and when you make your customers happy, they will promote your product unintentionally. They will talk about your company and refer it to their friends. Here is the entire blog from Richard of Nimble.com (@Nimble). Enjoy and share it!

Reward Your Customers to Get Referrals

By Richard of Nimble.com

You’ve probably benefited from the assistance of countless people and businesses in promoting your brand online. Your staff contributes to company blogs and monitors your Twitter feeds. You watch your competitors online to see what’s working, and you get advice from expert commentary. The individuals who comment positively on your social media content can entice lurkers into becoming prospects.

reward your customersAre you returning the favour? Rewarding your customers for their interaction with you online is not just a good practice. Even small tokens of your appreciation can trigger referrals to other likely buyers. People like to talk about good products and services publicly; their social network contacts may get something out of it, too.

• Lay in a supply of inexpensive promotional products. If you don’t have any, get some. You’d be surprised how inexpensive small gifts with your name and logo on them can be if you buy in bulk. You can get useful items like little pocket notebooks with sticky flags, fans and business card cases for less than a cup of coffee. Offer them for the best comment of the week or the correct answer to a question. Promotional products both reward the winners and promote your brand.

• Solicit ideas for product and service improvements. You might be surprised at the good, useable feedback you’ll get. People rarely take the time to send snail mail with suggestions, but tapping on the keyboard for a couple of minutes doesn’t take much effort. Offer a discount or promotional item for the best suggestions.

• Shine the spotlight on your customers. It’s not all about you. Social media gives you unprecedented opportunities to see how your products and services are being received and used. Ask your community to create videos (or a series of still photos) that illustrate how your offerings have made their lives better or easier. The top prize doesn’t have to be a trip to Paris, but don’t skimp, either. You can get nice imprinted journals or portfolios and still be cost conscious.

increase sales through referrals• Reward visitors with online-only sales. Make your customers feel like that they’re being offered a little something extra as thanks for their online participation. You might even let them build up points for their on-site purchases and give high-dollar purchasers a bonus of some kind.

• Feature a customer occasionally. Most people like seeing their faces online. C ommunity members who are especially active might be featured in a little spotlight post answering a question about their use of your wares. You could simply ask a totally unrelated question, something that would be fun.

These suggestions would be most appropriately applied to your Facebook or Google+ pages; your blog might be better used for providing educational and support content. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn on social network sites. In fact, a new Facebook study reports that speaking about subjects related to your brand is the best way to generate engagement.

People come to your social network sites because they have – or want to have – some kind of connection to you. Reward them for their active participation and you may find that they spread the word.

Rewarding your customers is not something new but if you haven’t try it, you better try it now. I am positive that it will bring great results in your sales. It is a great marketing strategy. Hit me with a comment if you think otherwise.

Goodluck!

Jack

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How To Be Productive Using Gmail Tools

Hi Readers!

In sales, the question that we always have is “how to increase sales?”.  There are many ways that we can do to increase sales. We can learn through sales books, seminars and meetings but there are things that you can use to increase productivity. I have heard that Gmail is a great tool for this. Ousmane of Contactually(@Contactually) talks about how to use Gmail tools in a productive way. Many of us might be familiar already with Gmail but only the basics like receiving and sending mails. Maybe through this article, we can maximize its use to our advantage. Here you go!

Gmail tools for productivity

By 

To most (including me), Gmail is borderline magical. But it’s not for the colorful labels and ever-increasing storage, no. It’s for its plugin-friendly and modular nature. The number of Gmail tools to increase productivity that exist go on for miles. There are Google’s own Labs features for the “experimental stuff” (although, they seem to work rather nicely) as well the litany of tools and plugins other companies (including ours) have created to make Gmail better.

Labs

gmail labs

Back in March, I wrote a little bit on which Gmail Lab features I was making the most use of. They were Undo Send*, Create Google Document, Send and Archive, and Sender Time Zone. Those are still some of my most used Labs features. Here are some I didn’t mention back then:

  • Right-side chat – I’ve used this for as long as I can remember. And you’re a person with a laundry list of labels and a lot of Gchat contacts, this makes a ton of sense.
  • Google Calendar widget – Like most, I want to see as much as possible, in as few steps as possible. And if I can somehow marry my calendar and email, that would be the perfect app. Luckily for me, having the calendar widget in Gmail is as close as it gets. You can see And this works wonderfully paired with Right-side chat. Labels and calendar on the left, chat on the right, and email smack in the middle.

Other tools and plugins

As previously mentioned, there are many tools you can utilize to spruce up your Gmail inbox. Most happen to be Chrome plugins, for those using other browsers.

  • Rapportive – If you’re in a position to email a large number of people, the chances are that you may not know who all of them are. With this installed, if the person has a social media profile online, you’ll be able to see it.
  • Boomerang – Within Contactually and with a ton of users, Rapportive and Boomerang appear to be the most popular of the pack. With Boomerang, you’ll be able to send emails at a scheduled time, set reminders for emails that you want to revisit later, and get an alert when you haven’t heard back from someone.

From the Contactually Community

*When we asked what Labs features our users loved using, Undo Send was far and away the winner.

Do you have a favorite Gmail tool? Let us know!

How far do you use Gmail? Are you familiar with what the author presented to us? Do you think that it will really increase our productivity? In my opinion, it may help us because these tools help us to be organize and when we are organize, we know what to do.

Be productive!

Jack

Generating FB Fans

Hello Pals,

In our world socializing is spent through social media, people interact, communicate and play games through social media. It is the trend that is happening for a long time now. That is why we can’t help but to take advantage of this medium, especially Facebook where you can find everyone. Fan Page is a page for any kind of businesses and it is free. Many people before gain so much through FB Fan Page but not anymore because it changes every now and then and new rules are being observed. There are penalties that you can get if you don’t follow the rules. Sprout Social (@Sprout_Insights) knows it best on how to optimize Facebook Page’s sales roles. Here’s a blog written by Anna Washenko (@AnnaGetsPithy).

How to Encourage Fans to Visit Your Facebook Page Directly

By Anna Washenko

It’s Facebook Friday — each week we’ll offer one tip for leveraging Facebook to increase customer awareness of and engagement with your brand or business.

Facebook has proven itself a great tool for community engagement and interaction, but many companies are still concerned about making sure that their audiences see as much key information as possible. The huge population of individuals and brands on the network, especially when coupled with the uncertainty involved in Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, mean that not every update will be seen by every fan of a business. The best way to make sure that followers see all of your information is to get them to click directly through to your Page.

How can you persuade people to visit and spend that quality time on your profile? Facebook encourages more casual hopping between Pages, so you’ll need to take some steps to stand out from the field and hold readers’ attention for a longer time. Here are some ideas to help you attract fans directly to your company’s Page and keep them there.

Learn From the Newspapers

People who want to be up to date on current events know how to get their headlines. They keep their favorite feed reader open at all times, or frequently refresh the home pages of major newswires throughout the day.

You can learn from this approach. Even if your updates aren’t on the same urgency level as breaking news, you can cultivate the same sort of interest in your updates. One business that has excelled at this is Skittles. The candy brand’s Facebook presence focuses on fan photos and ridiculously silly status updates. Both of those generate a strong, positive response from followers, who regularly check the brand’s Page to see its latest fun post.

Another element of getting fans to visit your Page is to keep up a regular volume of posts. If you update your brand’s Page three times a day, your audience will be accustomed to seeing that many posts from you. When they go a longer time without seeing your content, especially if your business is at the forefront of their minds, they will actively seek out your Page to be sure they haven’t missed anything important.

Offer Entertainment

Games or contests are a great way to get fans more involved with your material. They can serve a double purpose of entertaining your audience while getting them more excited about your brand. If you launch a game or contest that is designed to educate fans about your company in a fun way, they’ll have a better opinion of your brand.

Depending on your business, entertaining your audience doesn’t have to take the form of a game. Offer a proprietary app on Facebook that will appeal to your top demographic, then promote it regularly in your status posts. People will need to visit your Page in order to access the app; they might be more likely to stick around and browse if you have lots of other fun material easily visible for them.Red Bull is a great example of how to get fans involved with this approach. The brand’s Page has an arcade section on its profile that has several games to engage fans.

Be a Tease

Another way to lead your audience toward your Page is to post teasers to other material. For example, when you upload multiple photos to an album, that appears in the news feed as one large thumbnail image and three smaller thumbnails. If those lead images are striking enough for a person browsing through Facebook to want to click on the whole album, that brings them one step closer to your Page.

You aren’t limited to photos, either. Post links to other Facebook items of interest. If you’ve got a big event coming up, be sure to post about it in a status so that your audience will investigate. Think about your status updates as giving readers the first step down the rabbit hole. People are likely to navigate from page to page, and from an event to an album, and so on. The most obvious next place they’ll likely go is to your brand Page itself.

Demonstrate that your Page is a source of valuable content and your audience will take notice. Whether that value takes the form of great status updates, games, or eye-catching photos, don’t be afraid to jockey against other profiles to prove your worth to your fans.

Do you have a strategy for getting fans to interact on your Page? Let us know in the comments!

Tell us your success stories using Facebook Page or if the other way happened, you can tell us what you’ve learned from your failure. We can always learn from one another and we can still make one more try 🙂

To your success!

Jack

Sales Forecast

Hello Guys and Girls!

I hope you are having a great day or a great night! I am in a joyous spirit today because I learn something new about dealing with sales rep. I am always happy when I learned something new. If you are a sales manager, you will understand what I mean. You will benefit on this article written by Karen Meyer of Qvidian (@Qvidian). It was entitled “The Most Accurate Forecasts are Grounded in Data, Not Emotions”. This talks about teaching your sales rep how to make a deal and how to commit for a number of sales through test. To help you understand it better. Here’s the full article.

The Most Accurate Forecasts are Grounded in Data, Not Emotions

Secrets of the Most Accurate Sales Forecasts

I love data. I also happened to be the odd child who loved taking school exams. I genuinely enjoyed studying, but absolutely hated pop-quizzes—they were soul destroying. How could my teacher have the nerve to put me on the spot? Panic. I didn’t figure it out until college (or after) that the tests I did the worst with were the ones I couldn’t just memorize and go through the motions for—they were open ended. I had to think.

I was thinking about all this related to Sales and what it’s like for a Sales Rep—good ones and bad ones—to prepare (or not) for pipeline and quarterly business reviews. And, even more so, about what it’s like for Sales Managers and Execs to endure the painful “grading” process. If Reps have been doing their learning and work all along, this exercise shouldn’t be that difficult—but it is.

I caught up with two leading Sales leaders about how they’ve changed the deal inspection and business review games in their organizations. Check out these insights below…

Step Aside Managers and VPs

Bill Binch, Global VP of Sales for Marketo, one of the fastest growing SaaS software companies in the US, has completely flipped the grading process on its head—he isn’t even involved! Nor are the line managers. It’s completely on the Reps individually, and as a team, to determine what’s real and what’s not in the pipeline. Reps meet as teams each quarter, without their managers, and are given 12 minutes each to justify their deals to the rest of the team. They have to ‘pitch’ their commit number for the quarter and defend the deals that make up the forecast. The other Reps can ask anything they want to challenge the deals. Each Rep must be succinct and clear about why their forecast is legitimate. Essentially, they defend their commit.

At the end of the challenge, each of the Reps has to submit how many deals they think the team will close (volume) and how much revenue they project will close in the quarter. Reps can reduce or increase the forecasted amount if they want to. The team leader for the exercise aggregates it and posts it for everybody to see — showing the high estimate, the low estimate, and the average. The individual “bids” are saved and, at the end of the quarter, final bookings are compared to the bids. Whoever is the closest to the dollar bid wins a prize.

This approach is brilliant because every rep wants to win the prize, and consequently they turn in a forecast prediction that’s as accurate as possible. When a Rep meets with a manager, they’re typically talking about what is GOING to happen. When they meet in quarterly business reviews with their team, the Reps are looking for what is NOT GOING to happen. It’s a great balance between the data in the CRM system and what the Reps are saying to their Managers. In fact, Bill says the sales forecast generated from the team meetings is often more accurate than the forecast in the CRM system!

Praise in Public & Coach in Private

Like me with pop quizzes, Reps despise being put on the spot. While there is nothing worse for a Rep than losing an opportunity, being chastised in front of a group about why they are losing or why they lost is almost as bad. It’s not productive and is like pouring salt in open wounds. Bart Fanelli, Sr. Director of Global Field Operations forSplunk, a fast-growing technology company, along with his peers, has developed an approach that focuses business reviews on a few major areas:

  1. Past quarter achievement review [attainment and forecast accuracy]
  2. Current quarter opportunity metrics [stage in the playbook vs. time in the quarter]
  3. Forecast for the quarter vs. coverage
  4. Playbook stage execution review

There is no public “dress down” in this culture—which should not be confused with low accountability or the culture being “soft”. Bart says, “We all know what’s expected of us and when treated with respect in public, then coached in private, the team feels accountable and obligated to perform highly. We all want forecasting to be an unemotional event—and data is at the center of this. Having a good, reliable process, timely data and sales analytics is the scientific part—and only the beginning. The field team has the hard part in applying their “art” to achieve the rest…”

And while doing so, the overarching tone here is “bad news does not get better with age.” The Sales team is encouraged to test their way out of opportunities as soon as possible and, if that can’t be done, the opportunity is (qualified) and worth pursuing. Doing it this way creates a unique phenomenon – pipeline and metrics are highly accurate, along with our forecasts.

According to this Sales Enablement pro, “there’s no shame in losing. But there is shame in taking a long time to lose.”

Common Thread

While these approaches are vastly different, there are a couple common elements – 1)using data as a grounding point and 2) challenging real deal status through conversation. The pressure on a single Rep to perform is great, but with some collaborative coaching from their peers and managers, they should be in a better position to know when to fish or cut bait and to feel good (or not) about forecasts and commits. For both of these organizations, the role of Sales Playbooks is quite significant and I plan to share more of that with you in future posts.

Oftentimes goals are not hit. It is because it is unrealistic and base on emotion. If the sales rep knows how to commit the right sales forecast, goals will definitely achieve plus teaching them through test will create great results!

As a sales manager, tell me what do you think about this whole thing through comments.

Thanks,

Jack

Focus on your Sales Meetings

Hi Folks,

I have interesting blog here about sales meeting. In any offices, sales meetings done frequently, this is where the sales vice president or other executives bring their agenda for the company and for their sales reps. It is hard to get the attentions of the people in the sales meeting, especially if you are always doing the same thing in your meeting. Your sales rep will get sleepy, annoyed or bored even before the meeting started. So how do you bring sharp focus on your meeting? Read this blog of Ken Thoreson of Your Sales Management Guru. Hit it!

Sales Leadership:  Bringing a Sharp Focus to Your Sales Meetings

By Ken Thoreson

During the past few months I have been consulting with several clients on a variety of issues and coaching others via our new “Acumen Project”. (more on that later), in both environments I have begun to revert to a similar sales management technique to achieve the desired results.   For this week, I thought I should share this fundamental concept with you.  If you are attempting to bring an increase focus on weekly sales and activity and exceeding your monthly sales goals, this idea will help you.

First, you should be using Acumen’s Sales Meeting Template, (if not check out our previous blog), when you get to the sales forecast section and opportunity discussion, you can either go to the “white board” or via Excel and a PC projector; you note your monthly sales objective. For example $250,000.

Second, you then ask each salesperson to forecast each account and dollar value on all sales opportunities greater than 75% probability of closure. Write each entry underneath your sales goal.

Third, total the overall sales to see if they exceed your sales goal.  If they don’t, list all additional opportunities greater than 50%.  If you still don’t have enough opportunities and potential sales to exceed your quota—you are in trouble-, see past blogs.

Fourth, discuss each opportunity as a team to ensure the salesperson has the next TWO sales steps planned to close the opportunity for this month-see Acumen’s 10 Magic Questions.

Fifth, perform this exercise each week of the month (save the list) and as certain opportunities close or are postponed, work to move other sales opportunities to the close list.  The 50% list becomes your “upside” list.

Six, track what your individual salespeople forecasted at the first of each month and what they actually ended up the month selling. This is called the Forecast Accuracy ratio, a great ratio to better understand your team’s ability to forecast and understand their prospects buying reality. You will be in a great position not only to forecast pipeline values to your management team with this historical view, but be a better coach for your sales team.

Seven, each week, each salesperson should be prepared to report on specific weekly activities. While this will vary by type of sales organization, by having a weekly reporting function, salespeople will have to be accountable.   As a rule we ask each salesperson to rate their previous week on a scale of 1-5 at the beginning of each sales meeting. In other teams, each salesperson must earn 25 points a week by performing certain level of variety of activity levels. If you would like to see a sample of the 25 point, send me an email:  Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

What’s the bottom line?  Its fundamentals-back to basics;  salespeople pay attention to what sales management pays attention too. Discipline of focus always is the payoff to success,what is your commitment to success?   Let me know your idea’s to drive performance.

The Acumen Project?  I was watching the golf channel several months ago,  a show called theHaney Project where a golf coach would take a well-known celebrity for 6 weeks and provide customized coaching to improve their game. While it was somewhat a reality show, positive results occurred.   I thought about that program and have now created the Acumen Project.  Where using our online Interactive Sales Management Tool Kit, my books, DVD’s and 12 hours a month of consulting services over 5 months, we will turn executives or sales managers into leaders of sales teams.  We cover the strategies and tactics of successful sales management; recruiting, compensation, reporting and coaching and much, much more. For more details, ask. Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. His latest book is titled: “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”.

The author also teaches us of Acumen Project. Are you willing to use it on your next meeting? Do you think it will bring a sharp focus to your meeting. It is important that you capture the attention of your people so that the message will be relayed accurately.

 

Best,

 

Jack

Give Feedback to Motivate Inside Sales Rep

Hi Guys!

I stumble upon this article about giving feedback today and I bring it here for you to read. Most of the times, feedback is negative, you will hear feedback when there is something wrong but with this blog, you will learn how to use feedback as a motivation to your inside sales rep. The author Lori Richardson of Score More Sales (@scoremoresales) says that you should always give feedback whether bad or good so your people will get used to it. Lori shares the importance of feedback and how to break a negative feedback to your inside sales rep. Here’s her full blog.

The Importance of Giving Feedback in Inside Sales

By Lori Richardson

At a recent round-table with inside sales leaders, our topic was about effectively leading Gen Y / Millennials. We all agreed that generally speaking this group of employees match up to the tasks of what solid, successful  inside sales professionals do – with one caveat. There is a larger need for feedback.

The feedback requests are not just “how am I doing” but also in wanting a lot of guidance and in career planning at the company. Some leaders tell me it is constant.

It’s not unusual for a 22 or 23 year old to tell their sales leader, “OK, I did this job for a year. I want to understand where this position will take me – right away.”

The Bridge Group, Inc, and Vorsight did a survey of almost 1000 sales people and created an e-book called Mythbusting Millennials – Separating Fact from Fiction for Managing Gen Y Sales Reps.  You can see a taste of it – about the Millennial generation craving feedback myth confirmed via slideshare here.

It is apparent that learning how to give feedback is critical as a sales leader. Unfortunately we live in a world where something as important as this is not taught in school. Many times it is not taught at work – but clearly a leader needs to learn somehow.

Three things to know about giving feedback:

1.It is important to give regular feedback, not just when it is about a negative situation. This way, having a conversation with a sales leader does not put a sick feeling in any of your team members’ stomachs. Catch your team doing good things. Use your metrics to mention successes. Give this feedback sooner rather than later.

My son played Division I college hockey and his coach rarely talked to the players during games. I always thought it was odd, although he often under-communicated, and years later heard from the players who shared how frustrating it was not to get more feedback when it mattered.

2. Give feedback about negative behaviors via the “sandwich” model of feedback.  You start with a positive, offer feedback on the negative behavior, and close with something positive. Even though most of us will focus on the middle, it helps in so many ways to cushion feedback with positives.

Some of you may not agree, and opt to be “brutally honest” with a focus on negative behaviors. In working for 22 sales leaders in my tenure as a technology sales rep, I’d say that the very best of my managers or leaders gave me constructive and supportive feedback. They did not embarrass me, and they were (mostly) respectful. That is what I recommend, and I understand that not all sales leaders do that.

3. That brings us to the last point, which is to give feedback about negative behaviors in private, not in front of the team. Focus on the behavior, not the person. Again, I can reflect on many times when one of my co-workers was yelled at in front of the team – we all laughed, but the rep was humiliated. It did not help his production level or do anything other than give some laughs on his behalf.  Take a rep to your office and share what you saw or heard and how it affects the team or the numbers or the company in the big picture.

Have you heard of the Losada Ratio? Happier Human has good insight on how to balance positive with negative for the best results.

One thing is for sure, sales leaders need to be on their toes and ready to offer feedback about someone’s career path – if you don’t know what that is, perhaps you need more input from company leadership. It is a reasonable request to know how my hard work might pay off down the road – whether I want to be a manager or CEO.

Advice to younger sales reps – focus on what is most important for you to get feedback on. Don’t overwhelm your sales leader.

What are your experiences with giving or receiving  feedback in sales?

Where did you learn to give good, constructive feedback that helps others?

Do you think people need to be shouted at in front of others to “get” that they goofed up?

Your thoughts and ideas are wanted on this topic. Share what you’ve seen in the corporate workplace – especially in sales teams of yours, past and present.

As Lori says, you can express your thoughts here. Are you the type of person who doesn’t want to hear feedback? Or are you the sales manager who don’t know the proper way of giving feedback? If so, I hope you get something here that you can apply in your work place.

Happy Selling!

Jack

Facebook Page Competition

Hello friends!

Do you ever win a Facebook Fan Page competition or do you ever run one? Competition is a healthy marketing strategy where the consumer and the company always left satisfied and happy. It is not easy to start a competition, though. This is especially if you are going to start from a scratch. You don’t know if people will participate and you don’t know what to do first. I know how does it feels. There’s always a first time for everyone. So if you are planning on running a Facebook Page competition, this blog by Molly from Yammer(@Yammer) will be a huge help to you.

And The Winner Is…

By Molly

 As you may be aware, we recently hosted a contest on our Facebook page. We challenged users to share how they’ve used Yammer to start a conversation that mattered. After all, our users are the heart of what we do at Yammer, and this contest was to celebrate your Yammer successes.

As our first Facebook contest, we were unsure of the results – but wow, we were completely blown away! We received so many great submissions, it was very difficult to chose a winner. To ensure a fair process, we asked the public to vote on answers during a five day period. After the public vote, we took the top answers to a panel of judges consisting of both Yammer employees and customers.

Even with the submissions narrowed down, our decision was not an easy one. We rated answers based on creativity, memorability and how well the submission incorporated Yammer. After tallying up the totals, the top three were so close! The top three answers were so great, we just had to share them with you. Take a look for yourself!

First Place: The Sweet Smell of Success by Sam P.

Hello there, my name is Sam. I work in the marketing department of an International fragrance house, having recently graduating from University. As a business, we pride ourselves on being able to create the best contemporary fragrances that help drive our success and our customers’ success.

Working within the ever-changing fragrance industry we have an obligation to continually identify product and fragrance trends globally within the markets of fine fragrance, home fragrance, household care and personal care. In order to achieve this I realised that as a global team, must internally communicate new and interesting product launches worldwide.

I pitched the idea of using Yammer’s services at one of our Marketing and Development Seminars in early December 2011. Since then, we have had 118 employees successfully connected to and become engaged within our internal network on Yammer.

When an employee comes across a new and/or interesting product, be it on a shelf at the local supermarket or browsing on the Internet, this information can instantly be shared with every colleague in our network for reference and discussion via Yammer.com or via the desktop or smartphone application. This is where Yammer excels in facilitating our needs to track key product launches, both globally and instantly.

Yammer has enhanced our market awareness. For example, a niche trend in US air care fragrances may transcend borders and become the next biggest trend within the European or Asian markets so we are able to stay on trend with the fragrances we develop for our customers and keep them up-to-date on the key fragrance trends their consumers will desire in the months and years ahead.

Yammer has enriched the communication of our employees globally and acts as the first source to go to get the latest industry news, share ideas, give suggestions, ask questions and just generally work together. This has generated a content-rich and valued lasting conversation among our employees worldwide, connecting team members who may have never met or spoke to each other before.

We have found that the ability to ask questions to the network and create polls has proved both interesting and rewarding for team cohesion. I strongly believe that crowd-sourcing ideas from a work force is a great way to boost team morale, self-worth and allow for increased employee recognition.

We believe Yammer is a fantastic tool and we are looking forward to increasing the number of employees within our network over the next few months and plan to use its services to further increase our corporate community in the future.

Second Place: Engaging With Travel Agents to Drive Sales by David J

We’ve started using Yammer to engage our 3,000 travel agent partners who sell our holidays. Since December we now have >200 people in this External Network.

We’ve started and participated in many conversations, spreading the love from our in-house Trade Support team to agents all over the country. This small team of 5 people only get to see a few per week, so Yammer increases their reach.

In my example below, Yammer has helped us close the loop between our product teams and the point of distribution to customers in travel agents’ shops.

In one case, a travel agent asked us whether a specific type of “interconnecting” room could be found for a family booking. Typically, when booking long-haul, this kind of availability is very difficult to find on travel reservation systems. The agent’s post on Yammer found it’s way to our Managing Director, who found it interesting and @mentioned particular members of the product team. They reacted within 30 minutes and phoned the agent in question with some solutions.

All of this speedy interaction – that would have never happened without Yammer – led to a booking worth £1000s and margin we can directly attribute to the tool!

That’s just one small case study out of loads in our network. We heart Yammer :)

Third Place: Amazing Degree of Honesty about Benefits Planning by Isaac P

I had questions about how changing coverage on one of our health plans would impact care, and whether it would be worth it. 66 replies later, and I had the most engaging and candid conversation about insurance I had ever seen. This was far better than just asking a couple of people around the water cooler. Most of the participants in the thread were people I had never met, and many were people who had children around my age.

Being able to hear from all of them, with specific examples of exactly what was (and was not) covered was essential to the decision we made. It was also helpful for many of them, and no telling how many others who were merely eavesdropping on the conversation.

This is exactly the sort of thing Yammer does well — leverage expertise within your organization from people you would never have known to ask. Yes, Yammer just saved me money. That’s the bottom line.

We want to congratulate our winners and thank all of our participants for taking the time to share a unique Yammer story. If these stories have inspired you, tell us how you’ve used Yammer to start a conversation that mattered in the comments below!

Update: Our first place winner Sam Pringle received his iPad and tweeted this lovely Thank You note drawn on his iPad — featuring the Yammer logo!

Source: twitter.com via Yammer on Pinterest

Enjoy your iPad, Sam!

Do you find this helpful? Are you confident now that you can start your own contest and have you thought about the contest prize? Plan it carefully and when the time is right do not hesitate to start it! There might be struggles but you can do it!

All the best,

Jack