2017-03-13T15:13:05.963-06:00CAMBRIDGE, MA — Internet connection speeds continued to show positive long-term trends around the world, with particularly strong year-over-year increases across all broadband adoption metrics, according to the 4Q, 2016 State of the Internet Report, released by Akamai Technologies, a global provider of content delivery network (CDN) services. Based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform, the report provides insight into key global statistics such as connection speeds, broadband adoption metrics, notable Internet disruptions, IPv4 exhaustion and IPv6 implementation. “When Akamai first published the report in 2008, we defined ‘high broadband’ as 5 Mbps and above, which nine years ago had an adoption rate of 16 percent globally. We’re now seeing a 15 Mbps adoption rate of 25 percent worldwide,” said David Belson, editor of the State of the Internet Report. “The upward trends are encouraging as businesses create and deliver even richer experiences for bigger audiences across the Internet, but accentuate the need for organizations to optimize those experiences for the myriad connected devices their customers are using.” Highlights from Akamai’s Fourth Quarter, 2016 State of the Internet Report: Global Average Connection Speeds and Global Broadband Adoption•Global average connection speed increased 12 percent to 7.0 Mbps in the fourth quarter, a 26 percent increase year over year. •South Korea again had the highest average connection speed globally at 26.1 Mbps in the fourth quarter. •At 26.7 Mbps, the District of Columbia led the United States in average connection speed. •Global 4, 10, 15 and 25 Mbps broadband adoption rates increased 15 percent, 31 percent, 37 percent and 45 percent year over year, respectively. IPv4 and IPv6•In the fourth quarter of 2016, nearly 807 million unique IPv4 addresses connected to the Akamai Intelligent Platform, which is a 0.4 percent decrease as compared to the fourth quarter of 2015. •There was significantly less IPv4 allocation/assignment activity in the fourth quarter, with 6.4 million addresses allocated/assigned versus 16 million in the third quarter. •With 47 percent of its content requests to Akamai coming over IPv6, Belgium maintained its significant global lead in IPv6 adoption with a 20% quarter-over-quarter increase. Mobile•Average mobile connection speeds ranged from a high of 26.8 Mbps in the United Kingdom to a low of 2.9 Mbps in Venezuela. •Among the qualifying surveyed countries/regions, 30 had an average mobile connection speed at or exceeding the 10 Mbps broadband threshold (up from 24 in the previous quarter), while 58 achieved average speeds at or above the 4 Mbps broadband level (up from 52). Disruptions and Events•During Hurricane Matthew in October, Internet traffic to the Bahamas dropped to approximately one-tenth of normal levels for the country. •Internet traffic levels to The Gambia abruptly dropped to zero on November 30th, shortly ahead of the country’s December 1st elections, and returned to normal on December 2nd. •On several dates, the Iraqi government continued its policy of blocking Internet access across the country to prevent cheating during middle and high school national exams. •Technical issues at the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) were blamed for a sudden drop in traffic to the country in December. About the Akamai State of the Internet ReportEach quarter, Akamai publishes a “State of the Internet – Connectivity” report. This report includes data gathered from across the Akamai Intelligent Platform about attack traffic, broadband adoption, mobile connectivity and other relevant topics concerning the Internet and its usage, as well as trends seen in this data over time. For additional information on the metrics in the report and how they are analyzed, please consult this blog post. To learn more and to access the archive of past reports, please visit the Quarterly Reports site. The figures from the Third Quarter, 2016 State of the Internet[...]
2017-01-30T22:23:09.849-07:00Ever look at a sales rep and think, “Man, that is one monster quota-maker!" I have been there, and I’ve learned that top-notch sellers are fundamentally different, at the DNA level. I have been fortunate to work with a number of these unicorns – people who blow their numbers out of the water quarter after quarter, year after year – at my company, SwarmSales, and have noticed five things they have in common. In no particular order, here they are: They constantly network: Not to sell, but to continually expand their connections. I asked quite a few of them why networking was so important, aside from the obvious reasons. The one answer that I found very interesting was, “Because it allows us to see trends. See if similar companies or people in roles are seeing the same problem. If they are, then we have a market opportunity developing." They know the internal/customer process in depth: One of the most important things, I think even more than knowing your company’s products, is knowing the process. That goes for both your company and your clients. I identify with this trait the most, as I had to know the process on both sides before I could successfully deliver the results my clients were hoping for. For example, at Oracle, selling involves a long, arduous approval process that goes all the way up to Larry Ellison’s office. When I was there I used to joke that selling the end client was only 25 percent of the effort; selling to Oracle was 75 percent. Luckily, I was able to master the internal process and use it to drive deals through with appropriate justifications. Similarly, knowing who signs or approves at an end client’s side is very important. They constantly ask if priorities have shifted: Continuous validation and ensuring the company focus hasn’t drifted is also a great trait. Top sales reps look at initiatives they are currently focused on and continually make sure that the same metrics, economic buyers, decision-making process, decision criteria and identified pain are still valid. They ensure the champion remains absolutely supportive of the solution and feels like she owns the product. If you don’t constantly check in, you will find projects may not make it over the finishing line. You’ve burned precious resources and time. They can multi-task: Ever do an enterprise deal at Oracle or IBM? It will put hair on your chest. These transactions are so complex and have so many moving pieces you would be absolutely amazed. A $100 million sale doesn’t just happen. It takes a vast array of coordination from one master organizer who brings together the accumulation of product specialists, technical leads, client resources, procurement, finance and legal to align toward a single goal and close the deal within the defined date. Average sales reps manage anywhere from five to 10 transactions a quarter. Top tier sellers manage on average 15 to 20 deals. They are always looking for new products to sell: Typically a sales rep is limited to a set portfolio of product and services; however, top sellers are constantly looking at ways to be part of every initiative. There are two reasons for that. First, if a company enters their defined ecosystems yet doesn’t integrate with the existing foundation, they might end up displaced. Essentially, it may introduce a crack in the foundation. The second reason is, they don’t like to lose. Every time I sold, I looked at how much of the annual spend I could pick up, and if I didn’t have a product in my bag, I made sure I found someone within other product groups or the partner network that had an offering and brought them in. This is a great guiding light for how to spot which sales reps can be wildly successful for your business. We are excited to have them on our marketplace and look forward to sharing more of our learnings. Agree? Disagree? Think there’s a trait that I missed? Let me know in commen[...]
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2016-12-27T21:54:20.530-07:00The Internet has fast become a powerful platform for commerce and communication, with a vast majority of Americans connecting routinely and clamoring for next generation innovations. The growth accompanying this technological supply and demand chain has been profound, and so too have its impacts on the U.S. economy and innovation.
2016-12-27T22:14:47.756-07:001. Bringing Social Into Sales Though B2C marketing puts more emphasis on social media campaigns, it’s becoming important for bringing in B2B sales as well. Skeptical? 73% of salespeople who used social selling outperformed their colleagues, according to SalesforLife. The best part? Social selling isn’t expensive or difficult to implement. Salespeople can use platforms like LinkedIn (LNKD), Twitter (TWTR), and Instagram to find, qualify, and connect with leads. Warming up those leads by engaging with them is easy on these platforms—and can make the sale that much easier. 2. Analytics and Big Data Today, we have an amazing opportunity to learn about what customers really want, instead of what we think they want, thanks to big data and analytics. Using data effectively is a great way to boost sales, get better leads, and operate more efficiently. Despite the fact that everyone is talking about the benefits of using data in sales, very few companies are actually implementing these strategies to inform their sales decisions. Why? Because it takes some patience and resources to make sense of the data available. Businesses who do invest in data see great results, however, and most companies find it’s worth the trouble. You can gain a huge competitive advantage by leveraging even just a portion of the available data to improve your B2B selling strategies. You don’t need a sophisticated big data team or system to benefit. Start using analytics to track the sources and progress of your current sales process, then use the data from successful sales to help your team strategize and focus on the aspects of the sale that matter most, whether that turns out to be lead source, demographic, or sales tactics. Only the data can give you this information! 3. Interactive Content Whitepapers and other informative content used to be enough to make sales, but the market has been flooded with these materials. B2B customers are more interested in immersive, custom content, like interactive whitepapers, videos, and podcasts. These are powerful tools for salespeople, and creating interactive content is just another way your sales and marketing team can work together to produce conversions. Start by thinking about what types of interactive content are relevant to your business. Brainstorm with the marketing and sales team about what your clients want to know—and what will convince them to decide on your product. Investing in the right interactive content will help your sales team become more effective. Don’t have an in-house marketing team yet? Consider hiring a freelancer on retainer to supply sales with the content they need to succeed. 4. Better Targeting, Better Leads Inbound marketing and sophisticated digital marketing campaigns are giving sales professionals an influx of leads so they can focus on doing what they do best: selling. However, in 2017, B2B marketers are working toward better targeting, generating higher-quality leads for sales teams to work with. This is great news for sales—the better the leads, the better the conversion rate, and quality leads allow sales teams to work more efficiently. You can harness this trend by encouraging quality over quantity in your marketing department. Encourage your team to prioritize targeted campaigns to produce higher-quality leads, and examine the results of different campaigns to see which approaches produce the best leads overall. 5. Mobile and Digital Solutions Everything is moving online—and onto our phones and tablets. Sales needs to move onto these platforms as well, adapting to the needs of a digital world. Webinars, an optimized mobile site, and options for on-the-go leads will help companies find success in 2017. Think outside the box when it comes t[...]
2016-11-07T21:29:00.173-07:00Data-Built Sales TeamsWhile every organization has a different set of metrics to define success, there are things you can do to use data analytics to build a more successful sales team. The following can help you get started:1. Leverage assessment tools. Personality tests such as Myers-Briggs have been around for decades. But there’s been an explosion over the past few years of new assessment tools that can help identify a person’s natural tendencies. They provide insights into whether a recruit is up to the task at hand. Will the candidate like the job? Will he or she be successful in the role? Using these kinds of assessment tools is critical to your recruiting efforts.2. Refine candidate profiles. After hiring your first wave of recruits, make small changes to your assessments based on your top performers. Keep in mind, though, that you don’t necessarily want a homogeneous group of people. Differences in skills and personalities can boost productivity and improve the bottom line.But staff performance can provide further insights into where to direct your recruitment efforts. You have a better idea of the types of people who won’t be successful in the role or at the company. Adjust the evaluation process to reflect this.3. Build custom coaching plans. Assessment tools are critical in not only hiring, but also managing employees. On day one, you have many of the necessary insights to build a more effective coaching plan. You know what will resonate with the candidate and how he or she would best be coached.Take our coaching plans, for example. They’re based on behaviors we’ve identified as essential to succeed in each sales role. Let’s say a new hire isn’t comfortable in a certain area. We can monitor his or her behavior closely and work on building comfort in that area. It’s all about supporting the person throughout the training process.4. Involve sales managers. HR is crucial for identifying prospects and conducting initial screenings, but that’s where its role should end. Sales managers tasked with managing these people need to make the final call.Don’t, however, assume they know how to conduct interviews. Make sure sales managers recognize the importance of asking questions related to job performance. Provide a list of desired skills and attributes. Develop a series of interview questions. Even go so far as building evaluation sheets, making it easier to compare candidates.Over time, you might find that certain sales managers excel at the interview process. You can rely on them to conduct the final interviews for those sales managers who aren’t great at picking new hires. Just make sure everyone is aligned in finding people who will fit the role and the organization.5. Make trainers part of the ecosystem. You don’t want to think of training as a separate department — one that comes in, trains, and disappears. These people will spend the first critical months with your new hires, so they should be a part of the sales management infrastructure.Utilize trainers all the way through the life cycle of a salesperson to make sure you’re focusing on what works and doesn’t work for that individual employee. Look at it from a coaching perspective, always working toward improving the skills of your sales force.In our experience, a high-performing sales team should have at least two-thirds of its members meeting or exceeding sales quotas. By using assessment tools and predictive analytics to identify the right candidates and develop a training program around them, you’re well on your way to improving your bottom line.Contact me at tduggan(@)Cogentco.com at Cogent for more Info or to Network. Cogent deli[...]
2016-11-03T21:14:24.517-06:00Coming up Tuesday, November 8, 26 separate Colorado communities will vote on whether their local governments should build high speed fiber internet networks to compete with or replace big telecom internet service providers. So-called municipal fiber ballot initiatives have become an annual tradition in Colorado, as roughly 100 communities have voted on measures that provide legal cover to governments who want to build new networks.
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2016-09-30T23:34:06.067-06:001. Vary your approach and method. Know your scripts, but go easy. A script is just a testing tool, not a final approach to relationship building. Be a friendly person first because people may find talking to a realtor boring. A warm introduction, maybe a comment on weather and economy to gauge their mood, then tell them your call is short and to the point – do they know anyone in their neighborhood, and about their family and friends that might be moving, BECAUSE, buyers are very eager to buy and you’d like to help them get a better price. Those are legitimate reasons. 2. Segment all your prospects into relevant groups (hot, cold, buyers, sellers, advocates,mortgage agents, home services, etc) so you can develop unique approaches to each and have unique value for each. Think about how you’ll describe and present your unique value proposition for each type of prospect or advocate. 3. Coach your advocates and give them support – the people who may refer business to you sometimes need a little guidance if they have a hot lead. Tell them how to present you to them. Find out why they’re buying or selling — what’s the payoff for the person? With that knowledge, you can explain to your advocate how you’re relevant. With a little purpose, your advocate will make you look good, as opposed to you being part of an offhand comment. 4. Relax — if you can afford it, you might want to consider getting a massage before you do your prospecting on the phone — you’ll appear friendlier, less threatening, more trustworthy, and more fun to talk to. Call them with a smile on your face and with your goal being networking, enjoying the moment, and finding good prospects. Sales comes later. Right now, you’ve gotta be thinking people and fun. 5. Set aside 3 hours every day for phone calls to generate interest, gather information and make appointments. Build a positive attitude toward prospecting, that it’s the most important part of your day. 6. Forgive prospects who waste your time and forgive yourself for wasting their time — this helps you to avoid guilt and other feelings that’ll weigh you down 7. Remind yourself often that what you’re doing is important. You’re helping people achieve their dreams and that’s more important that anything they’re doing right now. Their friends and contacts should be glad you’re in this to help them. 8. Spend more time with your hot or top prospects — when you’re getting close, keep in touch and always be ready to offer help, information, and support for their decisions 9. Have more value to offer — the more value you have to offer, the less likely prospects and advocates will consider you irrelevant. They’re not rejecting you really, you’ve failed to provide value in insight, help, and support. How about mentioning the mortgage calculator on your website, the great mortgage agent you know who could save them money, or renovator/designer who could help them with a quick remodel to lift the selling price? 10. Use consultative selling techniques to find every person’s most important needs and hurdles — be the person who creates a path for everyone to their dreams 11. Spend your face to face time wisely by discussing the buyer/seller’s dreams – find out what their success symbols are and their favorite places to visit. Whether country or city, new home or old, the faster you find out what they want, the more likely they’ll choose you. 12. Calculate how much prospecting/phone time and marketing effort it took to generate a successful lead. 13. Keep in mind what buyers and [...]
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