Top 10 Blogs/News Sites for Sales And Marketing

Jen Cohen Crompton

Looking for great blogs and sites featuring sales and marketing information? Below is a list of some of the most useful and educational Sales and Marketing blog/news sites, providing industry trends, insights, and professional expertise from some highly influential thought-leaders. If you have a suggestion for other sites you feel are useful, please provide the site and link in the comments.

1.) Marketing Power

Overview: Marketing Power is dedicated to serving the educational and professional needs of marketing executives. Owned by The American Marketing Association (AMA), the website provides registrants and AMA members with updated information, products, and services to succeed in the marketing industry, which includes best practices articles, webcasts, newsletters and more. Traffic Ranking in U.S.: 12,001

2.) TopRank Blog

Overview: TopRank is a marketing blog covering the the business of running a search marketing company. It focuses on search engine optimization, blogs and social media, online public relations. TopRank was ranked number one content marketing blog by Junta 42, and number one small business blog by Technorati. From the Site – Founded by Lee Odden and Susan Misukanis, TopRank helps companies increase sales, brand visibility online and develop better customer engagement. Global Traffic Ranking: 9,244 (2,126 in IN)

3.) AdAge

Overview: Ad Age provides the latest media and advertising agency news and trends. It is provided by publishers in the advertising field, supporting marketing to consumers, B2B, marketing across borders, and creativity. It is highly ranked particularly in New York City, Boston, and San Francisco. Global Traffic Ranking: 5,249 (1,771 in U.S.)

4.) Direct Marketing News

Overview: Originating in print form, Direct Marketing News serves a BPA-audited circulation of 45,000 qualified recipients, along with the site, and four e-mail newsletters and four lead generation opportunities. These online editions collectively reach hundreds of thousands of readers per month. Direct Marketing News is owned by Haymarket Media Inc. and Provides news, feature articles, columns and special reports on direct marketing. Traffic Ranking in U.S.: 13,846

5.) Just Sell

Overview: This website is “is all about sales” and is a resource for sales leaders, offering free tips, motivation, training and development. From the site – We’ve been helping sales leaders since 1998 by providing no-fluff ideas and tools to be more effective in selling. Traffic Ranking in U.S.: 85,867

6.) Inc. – Sales and Marketing

Overview: This page provides tips and tricks for those in the sales and marketing industry. It is a section of Inc., a website dedicated to providing business resources for entrepreneurs. From the Site –,(is) the place where entrepreneurs and business owners can find useful information, advice, insights, resources and inspiration for running and growing their businesses. Traffic Ranking in U.S.: 615

7.) Entrepreneur – Marketing

Overview: The online site Entrepreneur is targeted just to that: entrepreneurs. The marketing section offers industry tips on finding customers, online marketing, social media, branding, and sales. Under the tab, Answers, there are tips regarding specific questions about gaining company exposure, breaking into a competitive industry, acquiring new sales leads and more. Traffic Ranking in U.S.: 1,173

8.) Marketing Profs

Overview: Marketing Profs is a multi-million dollar company that serves a community of more than 463,000 entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and professional marketers at the world’s largest corporations. From the Site – Our editorial team cuts through all of this marketing noise to find the experts and in-the-trenches marketers who know what they are talking about. Then we take their know-how and mix it with our marketing smarts to turn it into practical advice that you can actually use through our newsletters, conferences, seminars, podcast, articles, and webcasts. Traffic Ranking in U.S.: 3,292

9.) Jim’s Marketing Blog

Overview: Jim Connolly, marketer of over 25 years, brings marketing and business ideas the site’s visitors. Visitors to the site view 6.2 unique pages each day on average. The blog’s information is targeted to a wide audience range, from entrepreneurs ans start-up owners to established businesses. From the site – Almost 50,000 people receive updates from this blog when each post is published. Jim’s Marketing Blog was listed as the UK’s most influential marketing blog and scored as the 2nd most influential blog across social media, SEO, design, start-ups and technology – as reported in The Guardian Newspaper Traffic ranking in GB: 5,399

10.) Score More Sales

Overview: Score More Sales is a sales strategy organization that helps mid-market technology and distribution companies grow front-line sales revenues through simple ideas and strategic plans throughout North America. The CEO of Score More Sales, Lori Richardson has been recognized as one of the Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012 by OpenView Partners and as one of the 20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management by the Sales Lead Management Association. Traffic ranking in U.S.: 217,148 Other influential Sales & Marketing sites: CSO Insights, Convince and Convert, Inflection Point


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Top 5 Apps for October

Heather McIlvaine

Carry out an effective brainstorming session, check product inventory, record minutes from a meeting: Our top apps for October make your workday easier and more effective.

1. “StreamWork Brainstorming” from SAP

Screenshot: App “SAP StreamWork Brainstorming”

There are two ways to go about brainstorming in the business world. There is the traditional, unstructured approach, using office whiteboards and scraps of paper. And then there’s SAP StreamWork Brainstorming. The iPad app from SAP is intended for users who want to share their ideas with the team and see some tangible results.

The app links back to SAP’s own collaboration software, SAP StreamWork. Those who are signed up for the software can use the app, which is currently available only in English, to carry out all of the most important functions on the platform. New brainstorming sessions are quick to start, and it’s easy to invite other users to join.

One example: Say a user is looking to develop a name for a new product or activity. They can suggest their idea in a session, and other colleagues can add their ideas, too. Every single action that occurs in the session is displayed with a time stamp for others to see.

Later, participants are able to rank the different suggestions, make comments, or simply vote “yes” or “no” on the idea. An analysis tool shows the current rankings for each idea.

It is also possible to track and save the actions in each session, and import and export content.

Platform: iPad

Link to the app

2. “Business ByDesign Active Sales” from SAP


Screenshot: App “SAP BusinessByDesign Active Sales”

SAP recently released an update with several new functions for its still new iPhone/iPad app “Business ByDesign Active Sales”. The app, a mobile extension of the SAP Business ByDesign platform and intended for sales employees, allows users to browse product catalogues, present products, and initiate new orders directly from the catalogue. As long as the user is online, all information about product availability will be delivered in real time.

The offline function is also practical. This makes it possible to carry out previously prepared presentations and create customer orders offline. The next time the user goes online, the data is synchronized automatically. Users can also use copies of previously created orders or customized templates in order to initiate new orders in seconds.

SAP has also improved a few of those everyday tasks. For example, there is now the possibility to add private customers to the system. Here, users have more freedom in the address entry process.

Platform: iPad/iPhone (iOS 5 or higher)

Link to the app

3. “Minute Taker” from Florian Mielke

Screenshot: App “Minute Taker”

The iPad is seen ever more frequently in business meetings. Why not use the device more effectively right there in the meeting? With the “Minute Taker” app from programmer Florian Milke, that is now possible. The app helps users quickly create meeting reports and makes it possible to share content and results with other users. “Minute Taker” works like this: once the program is opened, users have the possibility to start a new session or open an existing report. For each session, users can set the date, time, location, and meeting participants, who can also be imported directly from the contacts list on the iPad. Then, simply add the meeting minutes.

Here, users can define the person responsible for each action point and define the status later  on, whether it’s open, in work, or done. The minutes are easy to reorganize and format later on. It is also possible to import documents from Microsoft Office or Dropbox and add photos with the iPad’s camera. After the report is finished, users can send it to their fellow meeting participants in an email as a PDF attachment. Calendar entries can also be created.

The app “Minute Taker” costs 5.99 euros and can be used in German and English.

Platform: iPad

Link to the app

4. “IDC Tracker Charts App” from IDC


Screenshot: App “IDC Charts-Tracker”

It is impossible to work in the IT industry without coming across the big market researcher, IDC. Hardly any sales discussion, investment, or industry opinion occurs which is not based on their current trends and insights. As one the biggest market researchers in IT, IDC regularly publishes statistics that deal with the most important questions in the industry. Individual manufacturers are as much a focus as complete product and service groups.

The free app for the iPhone and iPad (an Android version is planned) summarizes all of the current IDC reports, providing an excellent overview of the IT industry. From printers, to software, to smartphones, every aspect of the industry is covered in this app. Which manufacturer came out ahead last quarter? How is this or that device selling at the moment? Especially practical are the filters that IDC has built in: all charts can be sorted according to region and product area.

The date range of available charts spans the past year, and IDC promises to keep the app up-to-date with the latest news and graphics. The only drawback? A text search capability is not yet available, and an export function is also sorely missed.

Platform: iPhone /iPad

Link to the app

5. “Visual Budget” from Kiwi Objects

Screenshot: App “Visual Budget”

Whether for personal transactions or a business budget, the german-language app “Visual Budget” for the iPhone and iPad is suited for the job: it sorts and records finances. The program provides numerous functions that go above and beyond the standard range of small-scale bookkeeping. Integration with CSV data (table calculations) or OFX data (online banking) even bring external accounts into the realm of possibilities with this app. Users can manage and group several accounts at the same time. They can customize the cost/income categories according to their individual needs, or use a predefined budget outline if desired. All transactions are easy to carry out, and the most important bullet points are always displayed.

“Visual Budget” also makes it possible to assign transactions to certain accounts. Practical functions, like the ability to set up repeat transactions and edit/correct records after the fact, make this app suitable for professional use. Finally, the app supports a comprehensive reporting and analysis tool that gives users insights into their budgets and new developments. The full version of the app costs 3.99 euros.

Platform: iPhone/iPad

Link to the app (German only)


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Europe Takes Control Of High-Speed Trading

Derek Klobucher

The European Parliament’s financial committee decided last week to rein in the velocity of high-frequency trading. The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee’s unanimous vote paves the way for a half-second speed limit on those using computers to execute lightning-fast stock deals.

Europe Reins In HFT 10-02-2012“All market players and trading venue operators would be required to lay down clear rules and procedures for fair and orderly trading, objective criteria for executing orders efficiently and transparent criteria for determining which financial instruments may be traded via their systems,” the committee stated.

The speed limit would be part of Europe’s new financial driver’s manual, the Market in Financial Instruments Directive. True, MiFID still requires ratification by national governments, but that’s not so far-fetched.

All The Time In The World

“Canada, Australia and Germany have adopted or proposed limits on high-speed trading and other technological developments that have come to define United States markets,” Nathaniel Popper wrote in The New York Times. “Countries around the globe are now using America as a model for what they don’t want to look like.”

Harsh? Maybe.

Too harsh? Probably not.

More than two years after the Flash Crash, and almost two months after the Knight Capital debacle, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission began evaluating the control systems of major brokerage firms – if only by questionnaire. The forms could help the agency better understand how brokerages use technology.

The new initiative could also help the SEC decide about kill switches, which turn off trading outside specified parameters in order to help curtail a disaster. Kill switches are among MiFID proposals, and NYSE Euronext, NASDAQ and other exchanges informed the SEC Friday that they are ready for kill switches.

The exchanges’ letter comes before an SEC meeting Tuesday whose topics will include deterring another Knight Capital-style disaster. This is neither a coincidence, nor a surprise.

On Top Of The World

Exchanges aren’t offering to install guardrails along the highway because it will keep them safe. They’re offering to do so in order to do so on their own terms — and to keep the government out of it.


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Need Help Selling Your Information Governance Initiative?

Ina Felsheim

If you’re one of the many who isn’t yet tracking metrics and constantly reporting business value achieved through your efforts, you can use the Gartner whitepaper statistic below to help you quantify results.

  • How many business initiatives did you undertake last year?
  • How many delivered on time, on target, and have increasing adoption?
  • How many do you plan to undertake next year?

Ask your CIO or program management office for these numbers—then have a discussion. If you’re normal, 40 percent of those projects will fail. Investing in the quality of the information feeding those initiatives is an imperative.

Overall Investment

I love this first prediction from Gartner. I’m always asked how large an information governance organization should be (it depends). Or how to shift the organization’s current thinking on the value of information (it depends). This prediction lets you instead use a baseline of where you are now.

  • How much are you spending now?
  • What’s your strategic plan to keep pace?
  • What kind of program do you need to maintain a high-functioning business by 2016?

Answer these questions, and then use this Gartner prediction to provide some credibility to your requests.

Benefits and Readiness

I’ll close with this highlight. To avoid the risks, to achieve results around operational efficiency, to make better business decisions, you need to first assess how ready your organization is to take these issues seriously.

  • Compel your organization with some of the statistics below from Birmingham City Council and Debur India Limited
  • Define current sales quotes
  • Project what success you could achieve with an 11% increase in quota attainment (why would you NOT want that?!?)

In this way, you shift the conversation from being about the overhead and bureaucracy of information governance to the value.

Take a look at the infographic, and let us know what you think.


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India Opens Its Retail Sector, Why The IT Guys Should Rejoice

Manju Bansal

A few days ago, New Delhi announced a policy opening India’s notoriously fragmented and inefficient retail sector for a 51% foreign ownership in multi-brand retail (think Wal-Mart) and 100% ownership in single-brand retail (think Niketown).

This was political football at its finest – retail giants like Tesco (UK), Carrefour (France) and Wal-Mart (US) versus the flag-waving, khadi-wearing politicians of all stripes dueling it out against a backdrop of slowing GDP growth and India’s diminished rating as a destination for global investment.

Retail is the 2nd largest employment sector in India, after agriculture, and employs 44 million people; hence it is a formidable voting bloc that no elected official can afford to ignore.

David vs. Goliath

The central argument in this battle has been framed in fairly classic terms. According to the backers of the policy, foreign corporations like Wal-Mart will bring in much needed expertise to build and upgrade India’s non-existent food supply chain and bring down prices by spurring competition. In the minds of naysayers, this is yet another instance of powerful corporate entities stomping on the livelihood of the small guy running the neighborhood kirana store.

Out of the 28 States and 7 Union Territories in India, only 10 have agreed to cautiously proceed with this proposal. Unlike in the US, States’ Rights in India are typically not the fodder for political pundits or the evening news, except in this case where the state governments have uncharacteristically dug in and are openly resisting the Central Government.

Opportunity for IT

What is interesting is that whether the retail revolution happens or not and whether the hype that accompanies it becomes reality or not, the fact is that two sectors of the Indian economy will benefit hugely from this initiative, namely real estate and IT.

My take is that what the Y2K problem did for the Indian IT outsourcing industry at the turn of the millennium, the expansion of the retail sector will do for the domestic software and services business, including global vendors like SAP and Oracle that already have a significant local presence in the Indian market.

The reason is very simple – you can’t build modern and durable supply chains without a healthy dose of good old fashioned ERP, inventory planning and warehouse management systems percolating across the business network.

Various studies have estimated that India loses a whopping 40% of its fresh fruits and veggie supplies simply because of infrastructure-related issues like no refrigerated trucks or temperature controlled warehouses, not to mention inter-state border transit delays.

If retailers want to build stores that sell nicely packaged produce and consumer packaged goods, it is critical they have an automated worldview of the entire supply chain, so they can predict demand, manage supply and iron out any wrinkles before they get disruptive.

That is a tall order under any circumstances, it is a Herculean task in a country where the power grid is notoriously unreliable and the mercury routinely hits 115 degrees Fahrenheit, enough to melt those handpicked tomatoes long before they get to the consumer.

Specifics of the Retail Policy

The devil, as always, is in the details. There are some very interesting requirements that have been woven into the policy governing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail, namely:

  • States can choose whether to participate in this or not. As of now, only about a 1/3rd have chosen to go along with it.
  • Retail outlets can only be opened in cities that have a population of 1 Million or more. According to the Indian census data of 2011, only 53 cities meet this criteria, accounting for only 12% of India’s total population and about 43% of India’s urban population
  • Foreign investors should invest a minimum of US$100 Million into the venture and 50% of which shall have to be invested in back-end infrastructure
  • 30% of the goods must be procured from what are called “small scale industries” and which have invested not more than a US$1 Million in plant and infrastructure

Take the case of Wal-Mart. It entered China in 1996 and now runs over 350 stores in 130 cities or so, with a network estimated at 20,000 suppliers. Even if any of the major retailers coming to India want to have a vendor network a quarter of the size of Wal-Mart in China, that alone will involve significant automation.

Calculating and complying with government mandates like 50% investment in back-end infrastructure means that someone has to monitor, analyze, comply and adjust things on an ongoing basis. And the requirement that 30% of goods be procured from small-scale industries, what happens when the small-scale industry grows and is no longer deemed small? Does the retailer now have to look for a brand new vendor/partner and start the process all over again or simply omits to comply with that requirement?

Small and mid-size enterprises in India are adept at playing in the shadow economy and making even big ticket investments in cash. Suddenly, this policy will force vendors to change their existing behavior, something that is not likely to happen overnight. Of course, all this automation is needed before the first consumer even sets foot in the store. From then on, whether it is processing point-of-sale transactions, or optimizing the merchandizing & assortment, or managing consumer loyalty, all that demands sophisticated software like SAP Retail and other similar systems to be put in place.

Any way you look at it, the opportunity in the Indian retail sector if huge, both for retailers and IT vendors. However, reforms of this magnitude rarely happen without a fight, and in a raucous democracy like India’s even more so. Not surprisingly, the official notification is being challenged in the Supreme Court, and politicians have started jockeying appropriately.

In the meantime, Wal-Mart has announced that it will open its first consumer store in the next 12-18 months and the Future Group, a local retailer in India has declared plans to create a franchise network that will allow hundreds of the small kirana shop owners compete with the big guys. Now, if only someone could fix that dodgy power grid, a true consumer revolution could indeed be in the making.

Image credit: (Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)


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