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Theresa Quintanilla
Houston, TX
Founder at SteadyCRM.com
Interests: CRM, customer relationship management, marketing, loyalty, innovation, business books, houston's image, blogging, new york, marketing trends
Recent Activity
We've been using a very unfortunate metaphor for years: the sales funnel. Supposedly, leads are dropped into the top and slide out the bottom as customers. Yuck. Actually, we are guiding contacts on a journey, and we need to think about the next step they have to take because we can't take it for them. CMS Wire: Customer Journeys Trump the Traditional Sales Cycle, 2014-Sep-15 by Julie Hunt To connect authentically to what customers need and want, customer journeys trump the traditional sales cycle. The sales cycle has been an inside-out process, tied primarily to sales goals and operations. Learn... Continue reading
Reblogged yesterday at QViews
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Most businesses plung into a loyalty program with their most frequent or biggest customers. Although it's not a mistake, there are pitfalls in this approach. We may discover that our biggest customer is only accidentally our customer--a big cause for concern on many levels. Before we invest in in a loyalty program, we check our most important customers to find out WHY they are using our services. In the first place, we'll discover whether or not it's sustainable. Then we enter a loyalty program with our eyes open as to the real long-term opportunities. Hub Magazine: Sweet Spot (Excerpt from... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at QViews
I was in Zabar's again a couple of weeks ago. There's really no good reason for me ever to go back. Their food makes me fat. I actually dislike their bagels and coffee! I usually have to go out of my way to be there when it's open. There's nothing important nearby. And yet every year I trek back. They continuously update it, but Zabar's always feels the same. Like the first year of my happy marriage when my husband and I were starting out in New York. My loyalty to Zabar's is irrational. It's not based on any shared... Continue reading
Reblogged 7 days ago at QViews
At a recent workshop, Doug Bain of Growtheorem, a consultancy in sales management, stated that as far as he could see, getting in front of a prospect at a big company requires either (1) a personal introduction from someone the prospect already trusts, or (2) a major initiative in industry-leading content: articles in major publications, popular books or blogs which cause the prospect to contact us. Cold calling, trade shows, direct mail: all kaput. The contemporary business scene has so many contact spigots wide open that we are all overwhelmed with people trying to do business with us. Hardly anyone... Continue reading
Reblogged Oct 23, 2014 at QViews
One of the most important reasons to gather information about our customers is to plan the future of our company. Our competitive edge is the ability to use that information to better satisfy and anticipate customer needs. Searchblog: Living Systems and the Information First Company, 2014-Oct-11 by John Battelle Put another way, NewCos are "information first" companies. They map the flows of information in a market, and organize themselves so as to exploit or leverage those information flows, even if the flows are "potential information" - information used in a new way, a manner which may be more efficient, productive,... Continue reading
Reblogged Oct 22, 2014 at QViews
We can either educate our customers to succeed in their business or to succeed in our business. Why would we educate them to succeed in our business?? Well, that's what we do when we try to get them to excel at using our products and services. Instead, our products and services are only a means to the end goal of their success in their business. Our best customers may be inept and infrequent users of our products and services but that may be just fine. If there's one small but important thing they can only do with our help, and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2014 at QViews
David Meerman Scott has a good slideshare explaining why we have to shift to using content to generate leads in the era of permission marketing. Since we can no longer interrupt people, we have to either develop or own content or constantly be on the lookout for good content to share with our prospects and customers. We usually need to do both. As David points out, that means that sales managers have to shift their measurements from volume of activity to how well a sales person uses content. For many companies, even if they have a few salespeople, this shift... Continue reading
Reblogged Oct 20, 2014 at QViews
To become a leader in our industry, we have to become known for providing valuable introductions. Unfortunately, it also means establishing new habits and skills. Michael Simmons has some very helpful tips. Inc.com: Stop Doing This One Thing in Email Introductions to Busy People, 2014-Oct-8 by Michael Simmons [Not] giving your contacts enough context on why an introduction is being made is the most common mistake that smart people make over and over.... Michaels's tips for making the introduction click: Point to the common problem or passion you see that will make these two people happy to connect. Explain them... Continue reading
Reblogged Oct 13, 2014 at QViews
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Although I've been blogging for over 10 years (exactly 10 years on the Typepad platform), I've never figured out how to get much traffic. Traffic for the things I care about, that is. Yet my commitment hasn't wavered. Blogging works for me. I like seeing my thoughts recorded here. Now I'm trying to get in the habit of blogging every day. And one point that Anil Dash makes, really resonates. "Always write for the moment you're in." I'm at a big transition point these days, trying to form new habits. Instead of planning the topics my customers care about, I... Continue reading
Reblogged Oct 3, 2014 at QViews
Analyzing our marketing data takes a very different skill than helpling customers or managing our sales force. When I want a break from difficult decisions and demanding co-workers, I drop down a relaxing data hole. Does sorting, editing and analyzing customer records NOT sound relaxing to you? Then you need to work with someone like me. MindEcology: You Don't Have to Be a Data Rock Star to Be In Our Show, 2014-Sep-25 Marketing research types like us are all kinds of crazy about data. But even though we’re unabashed data nerds, we know that not everyone’s idea of a good... Continue reading
Reblogged Oct 2, 2014 at QViews
Building a long-lasting relationship with our customers requires us to identify our values and acknowledge which of the customer's values are being served. Traditionally, advertising agencies buried those values in metaphors and stories. Now, more and more companies are just stating them outright, assuming the customers can make a quicker, more long-lasting connection. Internet Retailer: Don't call me 'daily': The Grommet drops the chronological element in its rebranding, 2014-May-13 by Thad Rueter TheGrommet.com now features what the retailer calls larger and “more attractive” product displays, customer reviews and “personal value icons for customers to align their beliefs with their purchases.”... Continue reading
Reblogged Oct 1, 2014 at QViews
Habits resist change. We should plan to deal with that. Whether you're resisting a bad habit or nurturing a good one, expect the resistance and use it like a cue to push on through. Daily Good: Turn Inspiration into Action, 2014-Sep-28 by Leo Babauta At the moment when you want to avoid it, pause. There will be a moment (or a bunch of moments) when you think, “Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow.” That’s the moment you have to not let pass idly by. Stop yourself, and just sit there for a moment, not going on your computer, just turning inward.... Continue reading
Reblogged Oct 1, 2014 at QViews
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If we're building up a physical place, we have to remember that people often come to an offline place from an online place. Does our web site completely and correctly convery the physical experience? How can we generate a desire among our viewers to meet each other at our place? Hub Magazine: Bricks & Cliques, 2014-Aug-15 by Christine Hall of Landor Associates People go online to find new things to do locally and to be a part of what’s going on in their community. They can watch videos and read reviews to determine if they’ve found a brand and brand... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 26, 2014 at QViews
When it comes to analyzing customer data, we are often surprised to find it difficult and time consuming. Unless we've been doing it for awhile, we'll be bummed to discover inaccurate data, gaps and conflicts. No matter how small our business, it's never to late to start creating a customer database that speaks to us. Cleaning the data is not that much different from housekeeping services. We can put it off, but the problems will just pile up. NY Times: For Big-Data Scientists, 'Janitor Work' Is Key Hurdle to Insights", 2014-Aug-17 by Steve Lohr Data scientists, according to interviews and... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 25, 2014 at QViews
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I was talking to someone about launching a new retail business and asked him about having a loyalty program. He said, "oh, yes, it's part of the point-of-sale system we'll be using." Unfortunately, the built-in discount for frequent purchase represents a PRICING strategy, not a loyalty system. It may well be a sound way to operate, to show that we appreciate return business, but it doesn't help us learn about our customers. Sustainability is built of a learning cycle where we're always gathering information about our customers and they're learning about us, and we're adapting our business based on what... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 23, 2014 at QViews
Travis Bradberry has a very good article on LinkedIn about handling stress. He gives 10 tips, which I'm going to re-order and rephrase for my benefit. If you think this looks promising, go to his article and use his information to design your own list. Then place reminders around your environment and practice, practice, practice. My personal reminder list to de-stress... (using 'we' helps me feel in my community). We focus on deep breathing whenever anxiety crops up. We reframe the situation, keeping it mind "it's not about me." We stop negative self-talk. We count our blessings. We anticipate upcoming... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 17, 2014 at QViews
As we all become better educated, including our customers, practical knowledge of psychology is required. Being truthful and reliable is insufficient for success. If we don't anticipate our customers' reactions, our competition will. The Discipline of Innovation: If the Internet is a Psychology Experiment, Are You a Psychologist?, 2014-Jul-1 by Tim Kastelle I’ve argued for a more Bayesian approach to strategy in which we’re not trying to “get it right” as much as we are trying to become less wrong over time. That requires a more adaptive approach, but also substantive differences in how we operate—less hierarchical, more agile, and... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 16, 2014 at QViews
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Listening to one's customers is not a simple thing. The questions, the context, the objectives we have color the entire process. The article below by Steve Blank does a great job differentiating the Lean Startup approach from Design Thinking. Both approaches can lead to strong and productive customer ties, if we are aware of our objectives. However, every listening initiative has to recognize its own agenda, which could be hidden by corporate double-talk or biases on the part of the people running the show. If we approach our customers with an open heart and view them as collaborators, we have... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 12, 2014 at QViews
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In managing sales people, we have to examine their behavior separately from the limits and resources we've provided. Sales people can only be accountable within their span of agency. Agency is an interesting term which is cropping up more and more in two arenas, employee management and storytelling. In these contexts, it means 'possessing the means of acting,' or more losely, power. Power, of course, is a loaded term, but think of the simple physical definition of 'being able to perform.' Agency is an important concept in storytelling because it's a required of both heroes and villains. Few people can... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 10, 2014 at QViews
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I'm embarrassed to be such a quitter. I quit my last job, as I have many before. I have quit many entrepreneurial projects as well. I do know what my mission is. I connect people through data. The people are important, and the data help us find and connect with them. If I am true to my mission I will find better ways to realize it. Owner Magazine: How to Navigate the Tough Times, 2014-Aug-1 by Renee Fishman When I’m going through a rough time, and all logic and reason tells me to quit and find a new venture, my... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 9, 2014 at QViews
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Sometimes I feel run ragged from keeping up with all the different groups I belong to. But instinctively, I know that have a wide range of connections is vital to growth. Focus is important but limiting. We have to position ourselves to grow in new directions. Edge Perpsectives: Where Do You Stand? The Shifting Ground of Strategy, 2014-Jul-29 by John Hagel Where you’re positioned in expanding business ecosystems matters a lot. If you’re on the periphery, with few connections to players in the fragmented part of the economy, good luck. If you’re at the center of a growing cluster of... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 8, 2014 at QViews
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I highly recommend this entire article by Ted Leonhardt on how creatives can stop caving in when they feel vulnerable and use the feeling to establish human connections. Twenty years ago, the accusation that I was "taking business too personally" nearly wrecked my life, until I realized it's an advantage to everyone that I take my work personally. My work is much better for it. We can stand up for the work, as well as for ourselves. Dexigner: Worth It, Using Creative Vulnerability to Enhance Expertise, 2014-Jun-1 by Ted Leonhardt Creatives are more open to their personal vulnerabilities. Our work... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 2, 2014 at QViews
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I confess I haven't had time to read the most recent book from Chip and Dan Heath, Decisive, but I've looked at the workbook, and it's clear they've done a good job of compiling the latest wisdom around decision making from Daniel Kahneman and others. I'm going to read it soon, and let me know if you'd like to work through it together. USA Today: A witty guide to good decisions, 2013-Apr-18 by Kerry Hannon Here's a sampling of the Heath's insightful advice. • It's easier to spot a narrow frame from the outside–watch for it as a decision adviser.... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 1, 2014 at QViews
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My millenial-age daughter can really let the email pile up. But she's not substantially different than the rest of us who fall behind from time to time. Corporations who 'ban email' are actually attacking a lazy employee habit of using email to avoid teamwork. We've all done it. "I'll just send out an email and then I can say I tried." Email is NOT a single thing, it's a much-abused platform. Alexis Madrigal makes an important point that it's very much the successor to the letter (or within a corporation, the memo). He also makes the point that email clients... Continue reading
Reblogged Aug 14, 2014 at QViews
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Collecting information about customers has gotten easier than ever, but much of what's collected is just easy-to-get and not easy-to-use. Keeping data clean and useable is expensive and you better know why you're maintaining it. O'Reilly Radar: A Good Nudge Trumps a Good Prediction, 2014-Jul-18 by Simon Chan In this case, I was going to buy cereal and milk anyway, regardless of the accuracy of the prediction. Although my customer experience is probably improved, I do not necessarily buy more stuff. If the aim is to increase sales, the metric should, for example, focus on how well the model can... Continue reading
Reblogged Aug 14, 2014 at QViews