the ceo magazine, marketing,
Gerri Knilans, President, Trade Press Services

Cold calling is an outbound marketing effort many consider outdated. In fact, there are countless blogs and articles proclaiming in large type, “cold calling is dead!” However, 90% of Fortune 500 companies consider telemarketing an effective marketing campaign and are still investing in outbound calling programs. So, the question is why?

One reason is that amidst rapidly evolving technology, human interaction and out reach are more important than ever. In fact, 70 percent of B2B sales come from human interaction, and 56 percent of those sales start with telemarketing. But cold calling takes skill. Here are some keys to turning cold calls into conversations.

the ceo magazine, innovation,
Dr. Sean Wise, Professor of Entrepreneurship & Seed Stage VC

You may be wondering what an author of a book subtitled "Know When to Quit Your Day Job" would have to tell CEOs. But in truth, it is the book's main title that you need to focus on, Startup Opportunities. My co-author, Brad Feld, the investor behind Techstars, Fitbit and Makerbot and I have collectively seen more than 20,000 startup opportunities pitched for investment. That's more than 10 times the number of deals that have appeared on America’s hit show Shark Tank. Just like the founders that pitch us, Brad and I are constantly in the process of opportunity evaluation. 

the ceo magazine, soft skills,
Andy Lothian, CEO, Insights Learning and Development

According to today’s business experts, the less tangible qualities of ‘soft skills’ do not make them less important. In a recent article Seth Godin argues the term ‘soft’ makes it easy for “us to move onto something seemingly more urgent.” He suggests we call them ‘real skills’, not ‘soft’.

In fact, ‘soft skills’ have been proven to be tied directly to hard business results. In 2013, a study by Korn Ferry confirmed the “direct relationship between leader self-awareness and organizational financial performance” through an intensive multi-year study. Similarly, a 2010 study found that bullying, “results-at-all-costs’ executives actually diminish the bottom-line.

the ceo magazine, innovation,
Randy Salzman, Co-author, Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector

In researching design thinking for a decade, one interesting outcome is the counter-intuitive observation that upper management may offer less hindrance to innovation than mid-level management and peer groups.  The “easy” reason large organizations often lose their edge, after all, is that the C-suite is too centered on command and control to allow innovators to try, and potentially fail.

Being a 14-year-old girl attending her first day of high school is one of the highest-pressure situations anyone can face.  How do I know this?  Because I am the brother of two sisters who went through it and the father of a 14-year-old girl who started high school today.

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