United States of Emergency: Beyond Charlottesville

This past weekend offered a horrifying example of growing boldness empowering the hateful in America. The rally to “Unite the Right” under the alt-right banner culminated in the death of a counter protester run down by a white supremacist. Two local policeman helping to subdue the unrest were also killed in a helicopter incident.

The rally’s stated purpose was to protest the removal of a General Robert. E Lee Confederacy statue. The protest was organized by card-carrying bigot Richard Spencer, among others. Spencer played a key role in coining the term “alt-right” and has done much work to mainstream the divisive, radical ideology.

Ensuing discussions around who’s to blame for last weekend’s tragedy are moot and counter-productive. Ownership is clear. Richard Spencer, David Duke and their neo-Nazi thugs, including James Fields (the second-degree murder charge facing piece of garbage who mowed Heather Heyer) are directly responsible for the mayhem. Their words and actions incited hatred and violence that led to Saturday’s events. As political tensions blow up like powder kegs on issues such as Russia’s totalitarian actions, and the loose cannon of North Korea, it’s time for our country’s leaders to take strong, immutable positions against hate speech and violence.

To to white supremacists/nationalists/Neo-nazis trying to “take the country back,” a word of caution: nationalism is NOT patriotism. Members of “Unite to Right” are focused, not dissimilarly from their “spiritual” leader, President Trump, on entitled demanding and punishment, lacking any positive agenda to create a better, more productive America for anyone (including themselves).

There’s a severe disconnect between Spencer’s band of terrorists, who claim to feel disenfranchised, and the basic principles of inclusion. Gaining access and acceptance does not need to come at the expense of other groups. Equality and inclusion are not limited resources. The xenophobia I examined last week is boiling over, courtesy of a President that refuses to condemn the hate-filled intolerance of his core constituents. In fact, last weekend’s verbal response from The Donald adopted a “many sides” position that managed to affirm the white supremacists while casting vague blame on counter protesters. This is sickening.

You know Trump failed at bringing the country together beyond expectation when other conservatives trip over themselves to call out and condemn acts of domestic terrorism for what they are. The list includes Cory Gardner, Marco Rubio, Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, Jeff Flake, and Tim Scott. Only open, vocal condemnation of white supremacists and their supporters will tell the Neo-Nazis they are not welcome here. The rhetoric of Republican leaders outside the White House is promising.

We need more than words, however. We need action. While freedom of speech is a foundational right, the border stop at inciting violent hate. Our leaders must condemn hatred and adopt all measures to protect diversity. Useless statements that allow white nationalists to misinterpret their advantage and gain momentum are the enemy.

If it’s time to “Make America Great Again,” we can’t equivocate. The alt-right is just plain wrong – and dangerous. 

America is in a state of emergency. We cannot doubt it. It’s 2017 and Nazis are terrorizing our country. Our collective response will make history – because either we stood together to expel hate, or because we failed our Constitutional commitment to each other.

CRM & Quality Content: The Sales Process’ Dynamic Duo

CRM-ball

Customer relationship management (CRM) is critical to promoting progression through an organization’s sales cycle. More than just a warehouse of contacts, an optimized CRM solution contains critical data about your company’s clients, prospects, colleagues and/or suppliers.

CRM systems are responsible for some of the biggest gains in 21st Century commercial productivity, because data is king, and the ability to access it – easily, completely and accurately – can mean the difference between opportunities lost and won.

A top-performing CRM system tracks activity at every stage of the sales cycle. But it goes further, guiding producers on the sequential steps required to close a deal or cross-sell a particular client. To facilitate this, a full history of all communications and documents shared must be part of every CRM record.

And that leads us to a truth that cannot be overstated. Fresh, relevant and compelling content is absolutely critical to keeping your clients and prospects engaged, and the sales process moving. Here are some tips for developing web and social media content that supports your customer relationship management efforts.

Newer is better

You’ve heard the saying “what’s old is new again?” Forget that when it comes to the development and promotion of digital content. You don’t have to overhaul your company’s home page every week, but consistently adding new content gives visitors a reason to bookmark the site and return.

Know your audience

In a well-meaning effort to be all things to all people, companies can lose sight of their key messages – and their target audience. Remember the following acronym: WIFM. What’s in it for me? Your content should vary, but always relate to your demographic and its interests.

Leverage your expertise

Trust is big – and your reputation as a subject matter expert can open doors. If you can save a customer or prospect time, money or otherwise make life easier, don’t hold back. Best practice content delivered to your audience is a soft sell method that builds confidence in your business over time.

Keep it simple

Bulleted tip sheets, short articles with numbered titles (“7 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Garage) and brief blog posts (300-500 words) can hold a reader’s attention span. Dense documents do not.

Be consistent

Keeping the content on your website and social media platforms updated is a job, but it doesn’t have to be a time-consuming chore. If you own a startup business or work for a small team, hands can be scarce. Schedule a regular hour or two on your calendar every week to review, plan and assign content. The consistent flow of new opportunities into your CRM system will make the effort well worth it.

Originally published on the SAVO corporate blog

The Power of Swatting

My maternal grandfather Eugene Casimir Bosiacki was a quiet man who weighed over 400 pounds when he died in July of 1993. Though he was passionate about polka, golf and food, my sister and I could never get him to talk about his time missing in action as an Aerial Gunner in World War II.

Through the hushed whispers of other family members who attended his funeral, we learned of the squalid, deprived conditions in which he spent four weeks waiting for rescue in the Philippines. Conditions that left him with a lifelong distaste for insects.

When Poppa (as Jenny and I called him) retired from a long career in sales, he took up a second vocation that united his love of silence and keeping the environment bug-free. Poppa went down to the corner drugstore, bought himself a blue fly swatter, filled a giant plastic cup with water and commenced the soldier’s version of neighborhood watch. Sitting sentry, Poppa surveyed the kids on the block at play, scrutinized suspicious characters and most importantly, leveraged that omnipresent blue fly swatter to disabuse flying critters with notions of sharing his space.

Having grown up in immense poverty before joining the Air Force at age 15 after expulsion from an orphanage, I don’t think Poppa knew much of control or choice in his life. But he could decide how many of his thoughts were shared – and what earned the right to fly into his home.