Blogs are everywhere these days, including the sales, telemarketing, DM, and lead generation industries.

In a nutshell, a blog is an online journal. Blogs allow anyone to easily publish their thoughts about whatever interests them to a website. The form is open-ended and favors an informal style of "thinking out loud", generally taking the structure of a journal: a series of diary entries, articles, ideas, links, haiku, or any other type of writing that comes to mind. These blog entries pile up chronologically and are eventually archived by week or month. Readers can often post comments in reply to the blogger’s original post, triggering conversations on topics of shared interest. The software that makes a blog work is usually very cheap, even free: the costs are almost all in terms of the blogger’s time.

So how are blogs useful to businesses? Here are a few key ways:

  • Builds relations with key customer audiences
  • Gradually draws more traffic to both blog and company website
  • Can set a business apart from its competition
  • Stimulates ideas, analysis, and discussion
  • Fosters internal dialogue, aka “dark blogs” on company intranet

Marketing Group
publishes a family of blogs covering
different topics that ought to be near and dear to the hearts
of small business owners and their sales and marketing teams.
Nine bloggers with a range of interests and backgrounds tackle
subjects as diverse as branding, PR tactics, customer relations,
and internet marketing strategies. These folks generate lots
of useful and creative ideas that could energize your sales
prospecting efforts, and they also report on the latest trends
popping up in web-driven marketing and sales.

: Eugenio La Mesa’s Blog on Email Marketing
is not
pitching product, it’s pitching Mr. La Mesa’s good ideas and
sound advice on how to use email to sell, to generate new
customers and maintain relationships with existing customers
= win * win * win! What stands out here is a refreshing lack
of jargon and La Mesa’s common sense & practical approach.
Salesware is not offering packaged "solutions" so
much as he’s trying to get us to think about the wholistic
picture of email in sales, marketing, and CRM roles, and to
problem solve ourselves to better understand our business’s
own “best practices”.

B2Blog is a great “business-to-business (b2b) and industrial marketing blog” written by a
Wired-looking guy who identifies himself simply as Dave. Just ask for him by name. Actually, despite the generic moniker of both blog & blogger,
Dave writes in a highly readable, colorful, no-BS style about the everyday issues he copes with while managing sales and marketing dept.’s for a technology company. Recent posts
included advice on using Google to gather information about prospects during live sales calls and
a dissection of bad email marketing practices.

Lead Generation Blog
is another excellent resource
for sales pros and marketers who want to keep current with
best practices for competing in today’s web-enabled, complex,
multiple”channel” lead generation reality. Brian Carroll writes
about many fundamental marketing and sales-related issues,
and he loves to talk about aspects of the lead generation
game that are commonly taken for granted or misunderstood:
email marketing, complex sales cycles, measuring ROI and acquisition
and conversion costs. Old standbys done right, and very up
to date. B2B Lead Generation Blog also explores some
of the newer, web-based technologies for lead generation and
marketing campaigns like blogs and ROI dashboards. Mr. Carroll
is very reliable guide to a shifty landscape of leads, sales,
& marketing, and his blog is at the forefrunt of an industry
thinking about itself outloud, online.

Selling to Big Companies is a blog with a mission, as author Jill Konrath herself describes it, to
share “selling tips & strategies to help you win big contracts”. The focus is again on B2B sales, and Konrath is uniquely qualified as a guide into
this terrain by dint of her 20 years worth of experience as a sales executive and manager, as well as her extensive speaking and publishing credits. As with all blogs that reward repeat visits,
it’s the bloggers experience and personality which animates the discussion of topics that could otherwise become academic or generic. Ms. Konrath has plenty of
personal insight gained from the trenches, and she isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade, either, both of which make Selling to Big Companies worthy
of inclusion in your regular B2B sales strategy reading list

Young’s B2B Lead Generation & Management Blog

is a hefty resource for any business that is putting significant
time and money into developing a lead management system, and
tracking ROI on sales campaigns that utilize multiple lead
sources. There are step-by-step guides to implemeneting a
“prospect marketing database”, instructions on how to define
“best customer profiles”, and tons of other highly useful,
hands-on ideas that on-the-ball sales, marketing, and lead
generation managers will want to consider putting into practice.