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12 posts from August 2013

Houston 'swaggers' into 'torrential rains and steamy heat'

Let's keep those stereotypes flowing. Tq130827cwThis article, although annoying does contain a few nuggets of insight.

Reuters: In bustling Houston, it's a case of 'Build, baby, build!', 2013-Aug-26 by Anna Driver and Ilaina Jonas

Brian Stoffers, president of CBRE Capital Markets, said spec building in Houston in many ways makes it an outlier. 

"The dynamics of the Houston market are so robust right now that it's the exception to the economic rule around the rest of the country," he said.

Of the buildings under construction, 29 will be rentals that will not be owner-occupied. Of those, 13 broke ground without signed leases but six of those have since found tenants.

Vacancy rates in the most expensive, modern office buildings in Houston are tumbling. Second-quarter vacancy slid to 6.9 percent from 12 percent in the same period two years ago, according to CBRE. The broader office vacancy rate is 14.2 percent versus a national average of 17 percent.


While access to shale deposits has diminished worries about supplies, much of the new demand for crude oil in recent years has been led by developing nations such as China and India.

Big slowdowns in those developing economies could hit the price of crude and cool enthusiasm for building in Houston.

"If China and India have hit a plateau, then I think we have to ask where are the drivers for oil demand in the future," said the University of Houston's Robert Gilmer.

Changing Role of Salespeople using Internet Leads

Access to free, frequently updated information—whenever we want it—has changed the role of sales people. Now they have to step into a sales process where they have no control over the information flows. Relationships still matter and many sales people will be aTq130821wdble to avoid being rushed around, but many will discover that speed to response defines their success.

To hold onto their consultative selling role, assuming they want it, they will have to become information servers. The marketing manager curates an exhibition of information offerings, and the sales person helps the prospect find the bite that's right.

KISSmetrics blog: How NOT to Lose SaaS Sales, 2013-Aug-20, by Khuram Hussain

Let’s discuss a study reported in an article in the Harvard Business Review titled “The Short Shelf Life of Online Sales Leads.”

In a study conducted by David Elkington, CEO of, and James B Oldroyd, assistant professor at SKK Graduate School of Business at Sungkyunkwan University, it was found that most companies don’t respond fast enough to online sales leads and that responding faster leads to increased sales.

Out of 2,241 U.S. companies audited for the study, 37% responded to leads within an hour, 16% within 24 hours, 24% took longer than 24 hours, and 23% of companies never responded at all. For the companies that responded within 30 days, the average response time was 42 hours.

Here’s where it gets really interesting. In another study that evaluated 1.25 million sales leads, it was found that companies which contacted people within an hour were sixty times more likely to qualify leads than companies that took 24 hours or more. Yes, that’s right, sixty times more likely.

Start with a shared value

You can't keep a customer who doesn't value you for what you do best. When you have a transaction, you should be checking for that shared value. Tq130819hdBecause it isn't permanent. But it's the most reliable way to know if you can plan for future transactions.

Help Scout: The Art of Customer Loyalty

Shared values are by far the largest driver of brand loyalty. According to the CEB, who researched the topic of brand loyalty for more than a year, consumers everywhere stated that they were loyal “not to companies, but to beliefs.” Think about that. Most customers aren’t particularly loyal to any one business, but they are loyal to what the business stands for. “We saw that emotional attachments to brands certainly do exist, but that connection typically starts with a ‘shared value’ that consumers believe they hold in common with the brand.”

All Marketing is Experimentation

The reliance on "best practices" in marketing is a joke. The environment is constantly changing, and we can't predict the 'unknown unknowns.' Tq130817fdThe best we can do is prepare to deal with variance. Successful marketers will catch a trend because they are ready to experiment, to accept negative outcomes, and to deal with risk.

Marketing Experiments: Creating a Good Hypothesis, 2013-Jul-11, by Lauren Maki

By definition, a hypothesis is a proposed statement made on the basis of limited evidence that can be proved or disproved and is used as a starting point for further investigation.

Let’s break that down:

It is a proposed statement.

  • A hypothesis is not fact, and should not be argued as right or wrong until it is tested and proven one way or the other.

It is made on the basis of limited (but hopefully some) evidence.

  • Your hypothesis should be informed by as much knowledge as you have. This should include data that you have gathered, any research you have done, and the analysis of the current problems you have performed.

It can be proved or disproved.

  • A hypothesis pretty much says, “I think by making this change, it will cause this effect.” So, based on your results, you should be able to say “this is true” or “this is false.”

It is used as a starting point for further investigation. Get a template.

TFS: Entrepreneurial risk-taking in the context of bad options

Entrepreneurs are famous for taking crazy risks, but according to Kahneman, it's easy to understand their behavior in context. Tq130813pd When the plane is falling out of the sky, how should you respond?

The entrepreneurs who opted for the "Hail Mary" pass were piloting a crazy idea to avoid catastrophe. The more imminent failure becomes, the more likely they are to be running headlong into great risk.

Whether you've invested in a new-business venture or work for a crazy entrepreneur, placing this risky behavior into context will be very important. Because you may have information the entrepreneur lacks. You may see a safety net. You may know a way to land the plane safely. Be sure and speak up. Or hold on for dear life.