BELLWETHER Volume 5 | Issue 1 | First Quarter 2014
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 20142
See Budget Maestro In Action NOW!
Budget Maestro® makes spreadsheet errors a thi...
3bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
4 Clever Pay-Per-Click Opportunities
Ecommerce Marketers Won’t...
5bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
A Blytheco Magazine
Volume 5
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 20146
7bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Blood, sweat and tears; late nights and weekends spent working...
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201410
Sage Payroll Tax Forms & eFilin...
11bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201412
Concur helps organizations simplify t...
13bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Meridian Network Services
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201414
Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP
15bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Sage ERP Document Management
Unlockyour potential for improve...
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201416
by Oli Gardner
Step 1. Define your target market & campaign goa...
17bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Webinar tips: Have a webinar calendar to allow people to sign...
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201418
That’s why I wanted to examine some of the quickest, easiest
PPC levers that ec...
19bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
For example, if you were bidding on the term ...
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201420
We Make
EDI Painless
We Make
EDI Painless
Contact us at 888.205.1531 or
21bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Cloud Based Customer Service Automation
A more comprehensive ...
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201422
1. What is an Amazon law?
The term “Amazon Law” does not have a clear or establ...
23bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
to avoid the complications of nexus, but they also may
apply ...
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201424
Erik Lefkofsky, founder and CEO of Groupon said in a blog early this year that ...
25bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201426
The modern consumer is spoiled rotten. They can walk around Best
Buy, scanning ...
27bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
For more information: |
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201428
If you are a manufacturer or distributor, this statement may ring true
for you....
29bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Angie: No problem John, I will be glad to help you. What is
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201430
by Shaun Boros
Traditional brick and mortar businesses are becoming a nostalgic...
31bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
800.462.4016 shipsage@vtechno...
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201432
WorkPlace users select their PunchOut vendor
with a single click f...
33bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Our clients tell us that stability and reliability are
the tw...
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201434
35bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
That is the question of the hour.
Does improving...
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201436
How much value is your organization getting out of
37bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Alan Hart, MBA, is Principal Consultant at Pacific Shine Grou...
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201438
Beyond the Shopping Cart –
Sales Tax Considerations
39bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
and tracking exemption certificates correctly within the
Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201440
Sitting down with the intention of stilling one’s mind and body ...
Join us for the
Control Spending
from One Place.
Mobile app for expense ...
Four Scores.
Universal search
Sage 100 ERP is easier for
everyone when it’s as fast and
easy to navigate as Google™.
Bellwether Magazine from Blytheco - The Ecommerce Issue - Q1 2014
Bellwether Magazine from Blytheco - The Ecommerce Issue - Q1 2014
Bellwether Magazine from Blytheco - The Ecommerce Issue - Q1 2014
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Bellwether Magazine from Blytheco - The Ecommerce Issue - Q1 2014


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Hi everyone! This quarter of Bellwether we are focused on eCommerce. We have actually found that eCommerce means a lot of things to different people. In fact, the misconception is that it is all about a shopping cart. If that was the case, we wouldn’t have dedicated an entire issue to breaking through some of those misconceptions. We hope to shed some light on why this may be an important area for you to take a look at for your business. As our cover highlights by the myriad of words, eCommerce has a lot more to it than meets the eye.

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Bellwether Magazine from Blytheco - The Ecommerce Issue - Q1 2014

  1. 1. BELLWETHER Volume 5 | Issue 1 | First Quarter 2014
  2. 2. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 20142 See Budget Maestro In Action NOW! Budget Maestro® makes spreadsheet errors a thing of the past with automated budgeting, forecasting, and reporting software. View our 3 minute quick tour: View our 30 minute product demo: #REF!#DIV /0! #VA L UE!...CIR CULARREFERENCE W ARNING © 2013 Centage Corporation. Centage, the Centage logo, Budget Maestro, Link Maestro and Analytics Maestro are trademarks or registered trademarks of Centage Corporation. All rights reserved. Contact us at 508-948-0082 or • Build a budget in days, not weeks or months • 100% accurate results-every time • Direct integration with your SAGE General Ledger • Gain competitive advantage by easily forecasting • Modify your model or assumptions easily without custom coding or consulting fees • One click P&L, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Reporting See Budget Maestro In Action NOW! © 2013 Centage Corporation. Centage, the Centage logo, Budget Maestro, Link Maestro and Analytics Maestro are trademarks or registered trademarks of Centage Corporation. All rights reserved. Contact us at 508-948-0082 or View our 3 minute quick tour: Budget Maestro makes spreadsheet errors a thing of the past with automated budgeting, forecasting and reporting software made for Sage Users • Built-in business and financial logic allows you to easily and accurately project your accounting system into the future • Automatically create accurate forecasted balance sheet, cash flow, and income statements based on forecast data or assumptions at any time and for any budget period • Modify your model or assumptions with just a few mouse clicks, that require no calculations or programming for 100% accuracy • Direct integration with your Sage General Ledger
  3. 3. 3bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 4 Clever Pay-Per-Click Opportunities Ecommerce Marketers Won’t Want to Miss 10 sections Letter from the Editor 5 Leadership 7 Technology 10 Sales & Marketing 16 Cover Story 22 Industry News 24 Corporate Finance 38 Human Resources 40 18 “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is - it is what consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook, co-founder Intuit 22 38 28
  4. 4. 5bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership LETTERFROMTHEEDITOR BELLWETHER A Blytheco Magazine Volume 5 First Quarter, 2014 STAFF EDITOR Apryl Hanson CREATIVE DIRECTOR Greg Went CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Urs Bockli Shaun Boros Rachael Brownell Chris Darbi Oli Gardner Joni Girardi Alan Hart Jane Johnson Dr. Stephen Josephs Brian Nunes Shane Ratigan Kathleen Richardson-Mauro Paul Ziliak ADVERTISING SALES Ginger Kittinger SUBSCRIPTIONS Or contact Dori Fitch - (800) 425-9843, Extension 1168 Bellwether Magazine is published by Blytheco with principal offices at: 23161 Mill Creek Road Suite 200 Laguna Hills, CA 92653 If you wish to be removed from the mailing list or to add names to the mailing list, send your request, including name, business name, and mailing address to the above address or to This is a copyrighted publication and all articles herein are covered by this copyright. Any use of the content for commercial reasons or other form or reproduction of material herein is strictly prohibited without prior, written approval of Bellwether Magazine.
  5. 5. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 20146
  6. 6. 7bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership Blood, sweat and tears; late nights and weekends spent working; sacrificed vacations and family time – indeed, a CEO’s feelings toward his or her business often mirror those of a parent has for a child. Transition: The Blind Spot for Many Business Owners Handing Off Your Baby Isn’t Easy – Or Simple, Experts Say by Kathleen Richardson-Mauro and Jane Johnson LEADERSHIP Unfortunately, when it comes time to take the next step in life, the gravity of letting their baby go can prove overwhelming, say Kathleen Richardson-Mauro and Jane M. Johnson, two business owners who specialize in helping CEOs plan and execute their business ownership transitions. “Successful business owners tend to pore over every detail in order to improve the venture; but what they often overlook is the fact that, like parents to a child, they will someday have to allow that baby to move on,” says Johnson, co-author with Richardson- Mauro of a practical new guide, “Cashing Out of Your Business,” and complementary website of self-help resources, Business Transition Academy ( “As business owners, we’ve both experienced difficult transitions professionally and personally,” Richardson-Mauro says. “So many CEOs, rather than dealing with the reality of their business’ future without them, carry on as if nothing will change.” Richardson-Mauro and Johnson, both Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisors and Business Exit Consultants, say there are a number of measures owners can take to ensure the transition is smooth and they have what they need to be happy on the other side of it. • Change is natural; learn to accept it with regard to your business. If you’re like most owners, you have invested some or most of the best years of your life, and most of your f i n a n c i a l resources, in your business. By now, your identity and that of the business may now actually be one and the same. Take heart: Now is the time to focus on your other passions, which may be family, traveling, catching up on reading, fitness and so much more. Consider your next act as a rebirth of you. • Learn to count beans – outside of your business. Now is the time to take stock of the assets you’ve saved outside of the business and determine how much income you’ll need post- transition. Then, calculate how much money you’ll need to receive from the ownership transition. Most owners are not independently wealthy without their business; most need to extract money from their companies to fund the rest of their lives. The more a business profits, the more owners tend to spread the wealth to family members, or ratchet up spending in other ways. Be realistic about how you want your money to be spent in the next phase. • Is your business transitioning “in-house”? Small businesses – those with less than 500 employees – are responsible for nearly half of the GDP and employment in the United States. Many of these are family-run enterprises; naturally, owners often want to keep it in the family, which doesn’t always work out. Often, parents want to distribute evenly to their sons and daughters, even though only one was actually active in the business. Attempts to be “fair” can cause businesses to crumble, with an absentee owner trying to call the same shots as someone who’s always there. Be honest about what will actually be good for the business and its employees. About Kathleen Richardson-Mauro Kathleen Richardson-Mauro, CFP, CBEC, CM&AA, CBI, has owned and operated five small companies and has successfully assisted more than 150 business owners in achieving their transition goals. About Jane Johnson Jane Johnson, CPA, CBEC, CM&AA, owned her own business, which she exited successfully in 2007. She has been providing advisory services to business owners on how to plan and execute successful ownership transitions since that time. In 2010, Jane received the Excellence in Exit Planning Achievement Award from Pinnacle Equity Solutions.
  7. 7. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201410 Financial/Tax/Corporate/ Avatax Concur Meridian Sage Payroll Tax Forms & eFiling Reporting/Analytics/Budgeting BizNet Budget Maestro DataSelf Supply Chain/Procurement Avercast eRequester Paramount TaskCentre Alerts/Workflow Management Alerts & Workflow/Knowledgesync Paramount TaskCentre Barcode/Warehouse Management bly:Warehouse JOScan/WOScan OzLINK Scanco Scanforce Document Management ACOM Altec EDI – Electronic Data Interchange HighJump/TrueCommerce MAPADOC eCommerce InSynch OzLINK SeeVolution Websitepipeline xkzero Shipping bly:Carrier OzLINK Smartlinc Starship xkzero Mobile bly:Mobile OzLINK Scanco xkzero Sales Intelligence InsideView SeeVolution Human Resources CompuPay Talent Management by Cornerstone Cyber Recruiter HR Actions Insperity Timestar PerformancePAM Sage Payroll Tax Forms & eFiling Marketing Automation HubSpot SalesFusion Swiftpage Call Center NewBridge CRM to ERP Integration bly:Connector Guided Selling/Quote to Order Smart Catalog
  8. 8. 11bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership ACOM Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP EZContentManager is a powerful document management solution that enables you to build a secure digital document library—an efficient electronic filing system for the myriad of documents your business relies on. Starts at $25,000 Alerts & Workflow Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP, SageCRM Sage HRMS Monitor your business data, automate the production and delivery of documents and automatically trigger workflow to update applications, schedule tasks and move information between systems. Starts at $4,000 Altec Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP doc-link™ software is an integrated document management system (IDMS) that is interfaced with your business system to effectively eliminate paper from your office. Starts at $25,000 Avatax Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP A hosted, web-service-based solution that automatically performs address validation, sales tax jurisdiction research and rate calculation – all on the fly within your accounting application, with no change to your existing workflow. Starts at $10,000 Avercast Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP, NetSuite Avercast has become the supply chain planning tool of choice for many companies in both the small/midsized as well as the large business marketplace. Starts at $10,000 BizNet Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP Business reporting and analytics platform that provides real-time access to your business data from Microsoft Office Excel. Starts at $5,000 bly:Carrier Sage 500 ERP bly:Carrier brings tightly integrated shipping into your Sage 500 ERP system. All shipping tasks are done from right within ERP. You can rate shop and get real-time carrier pricing between major carriers. Shipping detail flows automatically to operations, finance, and executives. Custom Pricing bly:Connector Sage 100 ERP, SugarCRM It allows the two software packages to “talk with each other” by synchronizing customers, inventory items, non-inventory items, and service items, invoice and sales receipt history, and sales orders/estimates between SugarCRM and Sage 100. The synchronization between the packages is set to run on a scheduler, typically every 10 minutes. Starts at $1,499/year bly:Mobile Sage 100 ERP bly:Mobile brings Sage 100 ERP to smartphone, tablet and internet browsers. Starts at $3,800 bly:Warehouse Sage 500 ERP bly:Warehouse is a Windows CE (Embedded Compact) application for a wireless interface with Sage 500. This solution, coupled with the use of handheld RF Wireless devices, provides mobile workstations with the capability of updating Sage 500. Custom Pricing Budget Maestro Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP Budget Maestro works with your accounting or ERP system to enhance your business budgeting and forecasting capabilities and improve budget and forecasting accuracy. Starts at $6,000 CompuPay Sage ERP, Sage HRMS Sage Partner CompuPay is one of the country’s leading experts in payroll, tax filing and HR-related services. The company has become a major force in the industry by tailoring innovative, cost-effective payroll solutions for small and mid-sized businesses in all 50 states. Starts at $4,000 TECHNOLOGY
  9. 9. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201412 TECHNOLOGY Concur Concur helps organizations simplify travel & expense management with a customizable, intuitive, end-to-end tool that streamlines the entire process. And now, Blytheco has teamed up with Concur to offer our clients a discount on this powerful solution. Custom Pricing Cyber Recruiter Sage HRMS Effectively manage and communicate during the entire recruiting process with Sage HRMS Cyber Recruiter by Visibility Software, a Sage Endorsed Solution to help fill open positions more quickly and efficiently. Starts at $6,700/20-150 ee DataSelf Sage ERP, Sage CRM, SalesLogix DataSelf Business Intelligence is easy to use, quick to deploy and costs a fraction of comparable up-market offerings. The easy-to-customize solution comes pre-configured with a data warehouse, OLAP cubes, dashboards and over 2,000 reports and KPIs. Starts at $300/month eRequester Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP eRequester is a Web-based procurement management, purchase requisition, authorization routing, and purchase order system. It allows companies to define and implement standardized purchasing practices, which streamlines and manages supply chains. Starts at $25,000 HighJump Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP, NetSuite TrueCommerce EDI Solutions – everything you need to fully implement an EDI system from one source. Implementing EDI with TrueCommerce is simple. Starts at $13,000 HR Actions Sage HRMS Streamline the collection and approval of employee data using the web. Sage HRMS HR Actions lets you easily create paperless forms using any fields from Sage HRMS. Starts at $4,070/150 ee HubSpot SalesLogix, SugarCRM Attract scores of high-quality leads with blogs, social media and search. Nurture sales prospects with the right content at the right time. Measure it all. HubSpot makes it possible. Starts at $12,000/year InsideView SalesLogix, SugarCRM InsideView maximizes sales team productivity by delivering a one-stop shop for your prospecting needs and accelerates the sales cycle by enabling sales people to call the right prospects at the right time. Starts at $29-99/user/month Insperity Timestar Sage HRMS Payroll is often the largest expense for most companies, especially service-oriented businesses. Insperity TimeStar™ time-tracking software can help you get the most value from your workforce by ensuring that your employees are working the right hours, in the right place — and are accurately compensated for their time. Custom Pricing In-Synch Sage 100 ERP IN-SYNCH allows you to pull sales orders from a website; the product is customizable and can be expanded to accomplish many more Sage 100 ERP integration and synchronization needs. Starts at $11,000 JOScan/WOScan Sage 100 ERP, JobOps JOScan is the handheld and/or desktop barcode scanning and data collection solution designed to allow manufacturers and field service organizations to minimize costs, maximize productivity and maintain a competitive edge in today’s marketplace. Starts at $4,000 Mapadoc Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP, X3 ERP MAPADOC is a fully integrated, easy to use electronic data interchange (EDI) software solution for Sage 100, Sage 500 and Sage X3 that will: dramatically cut data entry time and costs, improve communications with trading partners and reduce mapping time by over 75%. Starts at $5,500
  10. 10. 13bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership BUYERSGUIDE Meridian Network Services Meridian provides consulting, sales and implementation support to SMB and large enterprises world-wide for their phone, data and internet needs. As an independent carrier agent, they offer a single point of contact to over 100 industry-leading vendors. Custom Pricing NewBridge SageCRM Newbridge offers our clients a comprehensive hosted and managed Cloud Call Center Solution. Newbridge melds managed customer experience solutions with the benefits of state of the art, customized technology. $99/user/month OzLINK for NetSuite NetSuite OzLINK provides you seamless NetSuite integration, streamlining your order fulfillment processes, while increasing your productivity and cutting costs in the warehouse. Multiple Price Options Paramount WorkPlace Sage ERP Paramount Workplace automates requisition, procurement, inventory management, project accounting, and time and expense transactions to make internal workflow processes more efficient, improve employee productivity, reduce time and errors and save money. Starts at $20,000 PerformancePAM Sage HRMS PerformancePAM is the premier talent management solution designed specifically to work with Sage HRMS. Performance PAM is developed with direction from HR professionals resulting in a system that encourages employee development and increases workplace performance and satisfaction. Starts at $14,000/300 ee Sage Payroll Tax Forms and eFiling Sage ERP, Sage HRMS With Sage Payroll Tax Forms and eFiling by Aatrix, you can meet all state and federal reporting and payment requirements right from your Sage HRMS Payroll software. It is easy to use and saves you time by eliminating the need to create reports manually. $500/year/unlimited filings SalesFusion Sage CRM, SalesLogix, SugarCRM SalesFUSION is an enterprise b2b marketing automation software platform designed to support the business, technology and process needs of B2B marketers. Starts at $550/month Scanco Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP, NetSuite Scanco specializes in an extensive line of products designed to increase warehouse productivity. From basic barcode label printing to wireless inventory management, there is a solution to fit every budget and need. Starts at $25,000 ScanForce Sage 100 ERP ScanForce combines the affordability of a batch upload solution with the cutting edge technology of wireless communication. Warehouse Automation, Sales Automation, Remote Sales Automation and Labeling. Starts at $20,000 SeeVolution SeeVolution’s Real-Time Tools display analytics and heatmaps directly on YOUR website. No complicated dashboards - everything is simplified and easy to understand. Starts at $79/month Smart Catalog SalesLogix SmartCatalog™ is a best-in-class guided selling and configuration platform. To achieve the optimal quality level, the internal complexities and nuances of your business cannot be the burden of those who do business with you. Starts at $2,000 SmartLinc Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP, X3 ERP Count on Shipping by SmartLinc. Reduce costs while processing shipments accurately and on time, every time. Starts at $13,000
  11. 11. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201414 BUYERSGUIDETECHNOLOGY Starship Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP StarShip integrates tightly with your Sage ERP system and makes the entire shipping process more fluid. Plus, when combined with the pick, pack, and ship feature built into the Sales Order module, StarShip helps your company become a more competitive business. Starts at $6,000 Swiftpage SalesLogix Sage SalesLogix E-Marketing enables you to reach out to your contacts, grow your customer base, nurture and qualify leads, and automate sales and marketing practices. $250/month Talent Management by Cornerstone Sage HRMS Increase employee engagement, productivity, retention and alignment with organizational goals with Sage HRMS Talent Management by Cornerstone OnDemand. Custom Pricing TaskCentre Sage ERP, SalesLogix What do you want to Automate? TaskCentre is a business process management suite that offers workflow, advanced business alerts, document automation and integration. TaskCentre takes an everyday manual repetitive process and automates it according to your business rules. Starts at $3,750 Websitepipeline Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP With websitepipeline, you can get an eCommerce website with SEO tools, fully integrated with Sage 100 ERP, including a web-based, non-technical content management system, and running on a MS SQL Server database. All in less than 30 days. Starts at $35,000 Xkzero Sage 100 ERP, 500 ERP, X3 ERP xkzero creates technologies to further the success of companies with supply chain management and distribution needs. Multiple Price Options
  12. 12. 15bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership Sage ERP Document Management Unlockyour potential for improved efficiencies and significant cost savings. Sage ERP Document Management is tightly integrated with your Sage ERP solution to increase control, document visibility, productivity and customer service. With the versatility of Sage ERP Document Management, you can make any process or department into a paperless one. Sage ERP Document Management by Altec is the key to automating and accelerating your business processes. Altec │ 800.997.9921 │ 23422 Mill Creek Drive, Suite 225, Laguna Hills, CA 92653 │ The Key to Going Paperless LEAD MEInboundMarketing The software, support, and methodology you need to transform your marketing. Blogging Email Landing Pages Sites SEO Social Don't hide under the covers and hope the problems go away - wake up and see what your business is missing! ALARMING It’s How much time and money are wasted due to old and inefficient processes. 800.425.9843
  13. 13. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201416 by Oli Gardner SALES&MARKETING Step 1. Define your target market & campaign goal Before you start building anything you need to know who you are marketing to. The chances are you’re creating a campaign for one of the following targets: 1. Existing customers: You might think that having a customer means you don’t need to continue marketing to them. Sometimes a customer is inactive so your goal is reengagement, through exposure to new content or product demos that may turn them from a fence sitter back into a real customer. 2. Leads in your email or CRM lists: Once you’ve established a list of leads, your goal should be to nurture them with more content and events to turn them into customers. Perhaps you get them to register for an e-course using autoresponders to drip content into their inboxes, slowly building a rapport that eventually moves from a soft sell content marketing strategy, to a request to sign up (potentially with a special offer). 3. Prospects: This is the purest form of lead capture, where you are chasing entirely new prospects through the use of content marketing. Lead form tip: If you are marketing to customers or leads, pre-populate as many of your lead capture landing page form fields as you can, to reduce the friction involved in filling out the form, and to create a sense of personalization. Step 2. Define & create a relevant reward Having established your target audience, you need to figure out what to offer them in order to get their important personal or business data. Everyone likes to be rewarded, getting free stuff is awesome. But with lead gen there’s a little work to do first, and it gets pretty personal. Typically the very minimum a prospect, lead or customer will have to part with is an email address (covered in step #3). Before thinking about what you’re asking for in exchange for your content, you need to define the content, and make it relevant to your target’s needs. Here are some of the things you can create: Digital content to give away There is a ton of digital content you can give away, first we’ll list them, then explain how they should be used differently for prospects, leads and customers. • An ecourse delivered over a period of time • Report/whitepaper with important industry stats • Ebooks – comprehensive guides to different aspects of your business • A newsletter with tips related to your area of subject matter expertise • A podcast – useful for people who like to listen during a commute or workout • Checklists/scorecards – good for people that need to see how well they are doing and produce a to-do list of things to improve • Webinars – live sessions, often with Q&A with experts and special guest presenters • Presentations – slides you can incorporate into your own presentations • Consultation – this is when someone requests your time to explore if they want to use your product or service Prospects Prospects are people you haven’t come into contact with yet, so they need extra reasons to believe in what you’re giving away. They need a softer sell, usually educational material that doesn’t push your product, like an ebook. Leads Leads are prospects who have converted by already consuming some of your content. These are the people you really want to convert into customers. As such they should be receiving content with signup CTAs and links to register for product demos. Customers Customers come in two forms: active and inactive. Your goals here are to keep active customers happy with instructional material that makes their life easier, and then re-engage your inactive customers with special offers, and updates on new features that could reactivate them. Customers are prime candidates for newsletters and ecourses. If you’re looking to build a lead capture landing page, it’s not just a matter of slapping a form on a page and driving traffic to it. Well, you could, but it wouldn’t perform well. Instead, follow these 15 steps and create a high performance landing page designed specifically for gathering leads. 15 Steps to the Ultimate Lead Capture Landing Page
  14. 14. 17bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership Webinar tips: Have a webinar calendar to allow people to sign up in advance. List each session as beginner, intermediate or advance – much like you would with a yoga calendar. And remember to inform people on your landing pages that they will receive a recording of the webinar the next day if they are unable to attend – this will increase registration significantly. Crucial to your success with lead gen is to balance the reward (the size of the prize) with the friction involved in getting it. This is where your choice of form fields come into play… Step 3. Define the required form fields What’s an appropriate number of form fields to ask for in exchange for your content? Ideally, you would test this to find out what number of fields converts the best, while still getting the data you need to successfully segment and re-market to them in the future. Here’s a breakdown of the content listed in the last section with an appropriate level of information you should ask for (note these are simple guidelines – every situation will be slightly different). Email only • Presentation slides • Checklist/scorecard • Podcast Name and email For a more personalized experience over a period of time. • Ebook • Newsletter • Ecourse • Report/whitepaper Name, email and company information Company information might include: size of company and phone number. Often used for longer sales cycle items. • Webinar • Consultation • Product demo Note, you could ask for a lot more if you want to, but realistically, an email is all you really need for most things. Form tip: Scale how much information you ask from prospect, lead, customer (prospect being the least, and customer the most). To see tips 4-15, go to: steps-to-the-ultimate-lead-capture-landing-page/ Oli is Co-Founder & Creative Director at Unbounce. A recognized authority on the topic of landing page optimization, he has looked at over 27,000 landing pages. He is the author of several ebooks including “The Ultimate Guide to Conversion Centered Design”, “The Ultimate Guide to Landing Page Optimization”, and his writing on marketing theory has appeared on popular blogs such as MOZ, HubSpot and of course the Unbounce blog. You should follow Oli on Twitter About the Author Finally, ONE Source for ALL of Your Telecom Needs Forget the time and hassle of dealing with telecom carriers Maximize your savings with effective telecom audits Get a “perfect fit” telecom solution designed specifically for you Meridian Network Services represents more than 30 carriers of Voice, Data, Internet and Cloud Hosting services. Meridian plans, implements and cost manages clients’ networks. Our extensive industry knowledge and experience allows us to match the most suitable carriers for your particular needs. 949.388.0555
  15. 15. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201418 That’s why I wanted to examine some of the quickest, easiest PPC levers that ecommerce marketers can pull that allow you to be smart with your digital ad spend, and keep that online edge over competition. All of these tips still allow you to be inbound- minded with your PPC spend -- finding fantastic opportunities to keep your business top of mind for consumers right when they’re looking for you. Here are some of your biggest, low-hanging fruit ecommerce PPC opportunities, and how to take advantage of them. Model Number Campaigns Imagine you sell tires and rims for a living. You just opened a location on the same street as a number of different auto dealerships (I know, you’re an ecommerce marketer, but stay with me here). You see customers walking in every day that are still in research mode and have no idea what brand they want or which size tire they even need. You find that many of those walking into your store tend to talk with your employees for advice and end up leaving with you in mind, but clearly go look elsewhere for a better price now that they are more informed in the decision making process. Now let’s imagine you came across a number of customers who knew exactly which tires they needed, down to the specific model number. These customers who are much further down the sales cycle are much more likely to purchase from you if they walk in your store first. There is a very similar scenario being played out in the ecommerce space for those bidding on competitive terms, for example “Cheap Tires” or “Tire Deals Online”. Users may click on 4-5 different ads, use your site to do some research, and then purchase from whoever has the lowest price. While you may never escape the vicious cycle of paying for expensive clicks on the more general and competitive keywords, you can begin to balance it out by targeting the other end of the spectrum -- the ultra-specific keywords like model numbers, part names, UPC codes, that sort of thing. You will probably (nay, almost certainly) not see the same volume of users typing in queries with this level of granularity. But there are plenty of potential customers out there who know exactly what they want and just need to figure out the easiest way to get it. Not only are the clicks significantly cheaper due to the low competition on model number keywords, but the conversion rates are incredibly higher, which will help bring your overall CPA down. Additionally, when someone clicks on your model number ad, you can send them directly to your product page which gives them everything they were looking for in one step. Long-Tail Keyword Expansion Let’s continue on the same thought process but work our way backward from model number keywords, to those customers who know may know a lot of the specific details they’re looking for, but aren’t quite typing in a UPC code just yet. These are your long-tail keywords, things like “red capri pants in petite,” or “Red Sox bleacher seats.” In the AdWords interface, take a peek in your Search Query Report (if you’re having trouble finding it, look within a campaign under “Keyword Details”), which shows the exact keywords being searched that triggered your ads from either phrase or broad keyword match types. Sort by the keywords that have converted and try to identify those long-tail keywords, which will tend to contain a few specific product details. by Chris Darabi If you’re a PPC veteran, it’s tempting to devote all your time to the bigger picture and finding creative new ways to drive cheap, conversion-friendly clicks. This is especially true for ecommerce businesses, which are playing in an incredibly complex space, particularly when using PPC. As a result, it’s quite common to overlook some of the low- hanging fruit -- the kind of stuff that’s easy to implement and delivers fast results. 4 Clever Pay-Per-Click Opportunities Ecommerce Marketers Won’t Want to Miss
  16. 16. 19bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership SALES&MARKETING For example, if you were bidding on the term ‘New Rims’ in broad but someone searched the brand + size + color rims they were looking for and ended up purchasing from your site, you should definitely add that long-tail keyword to the appropriate ad group and bid on it aggressively, since you already know it converts well. Think of your broad keywords as casting a wide net -- they will catch a great deal of volume, but ultimately, in order to find those gems you’ll need to dig through the data to see which keywords actually converted, and how many of those were long-tail keywords that you were missing. Competitive Campaign Now that you’ve covered those users searching for specific products, why leave out those searching to buy specifically from your competition? Plenty of searches come from those who have heard about a specific brand to buy from ... but they’re not entirely convinced yet, and are open to other options should you make yourself available with a better offer. Could you imagine someone about to walk into a Michelin while you’re holding a sign right in front of their door saying you can beat their price, and have a much larger selection? It sounds extreme, but this is essentially what you’re doing when you create campaigns targeting competitor keywords with a simple ad making customers aware that you are an alternative option should they decide to explore their options. Now, I want to clarify one thing. This is not a recommendation that you target a competitor’s branded keywords. A few things might happen if you target your competitor’s branded keywords: You’ll be paying for less qualified traffic When your competitor notices, they may drive up your costs dramatically by bidding just a little bit more themselves (because they have a higher quality score) Your competitors could complain to Google and you’ll get a slap on the wrist (or worse) You’ll look like a poor sport, some might even say a bit of a jerk None of those are too appealing. Instead if directly targeting competitors’brandedkeywords,takecuesfromyourcompetitors’ PPC ads to help inform your own strategy. For example, if a competitor is bidding on keywords that are important for your business, you might consider getting a paid presence for those terms, too (unless you’re already winning organically). Or maybe it’s the flip side of the coin -- a couple competitors are winning organically for keywords that are important to you, but it’s going to take you a couple months to edge them out organically. In the interim, using PPC to win some traffic for those terms is a great stopgap. Pricing in Ads With the limited amount of characters we can use in text ads and the rising cost per click, it has become increasingly important to qualify your traffic the best you can before they actually click on your ad. What I mean by this is that you may want to target certain keywords, but there is only so much you can infer from a person who types in general terms. You can’t ask them how serious of a buyer they are, whether they are still in research mode, or what their level of intent is. However, what you can do is make sure to screen out less qualified people by setting an expectation of your pricing ... by simply putting prices in your ads. Seems simple, right? It is; that’s why it’s low hanging fruit. If you let someone who is only willing to spend, say, $40 on a product know beforehand that all your products are on the higher end from $75 and above, chances are they will not click your ad. This saves your ad spend for those qualified individuals who saw your prices, knew what to expect already, and are much more likely to convert into a sale (or at least less likely to suffer sticker shock). There you go, four great tips on increasing your sales while lowering your cost per conversion without any fluff or jargon- filled explanations. Go ahead and test them out in your own campaigns and see how it affects performance. Of course, these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to an ecommerce PPC strategy. For a more comprehensive understanding of how to take your business to the next level, reserve your spot on our webinar co-hosted by National Positions & Google. Chris Darabi is an SEM Analyst for National Positions, an industry leading internet marketing company with over 1,000 clients around the globe including Wal-Mart, Land Rover, Club Med and Samsung. About the Author
  17. 17. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201420 We Make EDI Painless We Make EDI Painless Contact us at 888.205.1531 or HUBSPOT COMP AD | 1-877-727-9528
  18. 18. 21bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership Cloud Based Customer Service Automation A more comprehensive approach to B2B eCommerce Quick Order Place orders using sku entry or product search. Shipments View shipments and track packages. My Account View and edit billing, contact, and address info. Orders Track open, backordered, and shipped orders. Payments View previous payments and make new payments. Favorites Lists View, edit and order from your favorites lists. Invoices Track open and paid invoices. Price & Stock Check product prices and availability. Shop Search and browse for products. Sage 100 Sage 300 Sage 500 Sage X3 ERP DO YOU HAVE 2 MINUTES? Check this out
  19. 19. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201422 1. What is an Amazon law? The term “Amazon Law” does not have a clear or established definition. The term is really journalistic and political shorthand for a law intended to compel sales tax collection upon vendors who make sales in states where they lack physical presence—a legal requirement for ecommerce vendors to collect sales tax in states besides their own tests the concept of nexus. Nexus is a legal concept that describes the minimum connections a vendor must have with a state before that state can compel collection of sales taxes on sales within its borders. In plain talk, an “Amazon Law” is a law to compel or pressure collection of sales tax by a vendor who lacks ‘traditional’ contacts with a state, such as an office or headquarters, employees on the ground or other physical or tangible connections. These laws are associated with Amazon, Inc. in part due to the Internet vendor’s massive profile in the ecommerce space. When many folks think about ecommerce, Amazon is the first company they consider. The connection is a compliment to Amazon’s tremendous growth and high profile in the ecommerce space. The laws are also associated with Amazon, Inc.’s determined early challenges against demands to collect sales tax in many states. The fervor of Amazon, Inc.’s resistance to sales tax collection has faded some in the past few years, but the company’s aggressive early stance and continuing focus on sales tax collection have forced a policy conversation about sales tax and ecommerce among ecommerce providers, government and business leaders, economists and consumers. 2. What kinds of Amazon laws are there? • Click-Through Laws Under this model, when a customer clicks on a website ad, they are directed to the vendor’s ecommerce portal to complete a sale. The placement of an ad on a website based in New York triggers the obligation to collect sales taxes on New York sales made by the company who placed the ad. New York began the push in 2009 for these types of rules. The state legislature passed a presumption into law that Internet advertisers who solicit customers via ‘click-through’ advertisements establish nexus through those solicitations. The law aims squarely at vendors who place ads on third- party websites. In New York, the presumption that “click through” advertisements trigger nexus is rebuttable, but there are additional compliance burdens necessary to successfully defend a rebuttal, but in December 2013, the US Supreme Court refused to hear arguments against the click-through law. This effectively supported New York’s ability to compel sales tax collection on remote sellers with click-through relationships in state. In the subsequent 3 years, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Arkansas, California, Connecticut and Georgia have passed similar laws. In Pennsylvania, the DOR issued administrative guidance indicating the same approach. California repealed its law three months after it was passed. On the other hand, a similar law in IL was rendered un- enforceable by a state appeals court and will not be enforced for the time being. The broad take away is the states are testing the limits of nexus to expand the class of vendors who are obligated to collect sales tax on sales made in their states. • Related Entity Laws Another legislative strategy is to broadly define the types of subsidiaries or other related entities that trigger nexus for out of state companies. Laws of this nature challenge entity isolation techniques employed by vendors wishing So-called “Amazon Laws” focus on the ability of states to compel sales tax collection by vendors outside of their state borders. Amazon Laws do not impose any new taxes, but rather compel or pressure remote sellers to collect sales tax already due. As the volume of Internet-based and virtual commerce grows rapidly, states are searching for an acceptable legal path to compel collection. The states must work within the framework established by the Courts. The paths taken by various states are divergent, adding an additional layer of murkiness to an already cloudy area of law. by Shane Ratigan how amazon laws affect eCommerce sales tax COVERSTORY
  20. 20. 23bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership to avoid the complications of nexus, but they also may apply to affiliations derived from any possible genesis. The laws primarily look at shared ownership as a gateway to collection obligation, even for entities that have separate functions or management. New York, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, California, Illinois, South Dakota and Texas have expanded the types and categories of related entities that trigger nexus in their states with these types of laws. • Consumer Notification Laws A third legislative strategy requires ecommerce vendors to provide retail customers an accurate use tax obligation calculation for each sale. The notification laws and proposals often also include a state reporting component where vendors may be required to report in-state sales to revenue authorities annually as well. Oklahoma, Colorado and South Dakota have put these types of notification laws on their books. The Colorado law was successfully challenged in US District Court, but later that decision was overruled. In a publication from 2013, Colorado indicated that they won’t enforce the rules in the near term. 3. What is happening now? The types of laws designed to compel or encourage sales tax collection may or may not pass legal challenges in every state, nor may these rules ever be adopted a majority of states. However, the one unquestioned accomplishment of these rules has been to push the discussion surrounding sales tax obligations and remote sellers to the fore. Advocates for and against collection of sales taxes on remote sales declare the existence of “Amazon Laws” indicates the desire for greater uniformity and a more reliable legal standard for collection, or not, of sales taxes on remote sales. In the meantime, Amazon has agreed to begin collecting sales taxes in many states. Amazon’s evolving strategy in this space likely means a reduction in their litigation costs and an increase in collected sales taxes for some states; but for other remote sellers, the challenge to become aware and comply with these type laws remains an active one. There is one constant that remains at the heart of the remote seller/sales tax collection issue: the US Supreme Court consistently advises that the US Congress has the Constitutional power to regulate remote seller sales. So far, the US Congress has chosen not to do so. The first modern sales taxes in the US were established in the 1930’s, so Congress has had a long time to consider its role concerning sales taxes. The new phenomenon driving the current policy interest is the explosion of ecommerce. The rapidly expanding ecommerce marketplace has dragged the issue of sales tax collection by remote sellers from the pages of dusty industry and economic journals to the front page of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. One result of the exposure is a new focus on the US Congress and its Constitutional ability to bring some measure of uniformity and reliability to this area of law. Currently, there are a few proposed pieces of legislation in the US Congress that seek to do just that. The proposed Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 was actually voted on and passed in the US Senate. The proposed law did not get a vote in the US House of Representatives in 2013. The proposed legislation consists of mandatory collection of sales taxes by remote sellers, a sales volume floor, whereby smaller companies would be exempted and a requirement that states improve administrative burdens for out of state filers by making filing and complying easier. 4. What’s next?? The inevitability of Congressional action is debatable of course. If the US Congress dips its toe in the sales tax waters, all bets are off as to the future of state efforts to compel collection like we talked about above. If Congressional action satisfies the state’s interests, the current group of “Amazon Laws” could be rendered moot almost overnight and may be scrubbed from the books entirely. On the other hand, if Congressional action does not meet the requirements of the states, the patchwork of “Amazon Laws” could remain active and possibly expand to other states. Ecommerce providers and even traditional vendors who make sales across state lines must remain aware of states’ and federal efforts to alter the way remote sellers transact sales, whether those efforts are called “Amazon Laws” or not. Shane Ratigan began his career as a self-employed business owner. After 10 years in the motorcycle business, he earned a B.S. in Accounting and a B.S. in Business Administration at the State University of New York. He earned his Juris Doctorate at Syracuse University College of Law and his LLM (Masters of Taxation) at the University of Washington Law School in Seattle. Shane spent several years counseling small business owners on tax and succession planning. Shane currently works in sales tax law and sales tax compliance with Avalara, a Software-as-a-Service end-to-end sales tax solution for businesses of all sizes. About the Author
  21. 21. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201424 Erik Lefkofsky, founder and CEO of Groupon said in a blog early this year that his primary investment interests are businesses that meet in the intersection of ecommerce and mobile. Because my company, xkzero, works with Sage business in the intersection of those two sectors, and because Mr. Lefkofsky founded a business that went from $0 to $1 billion in revenue faster than any company in history, I pay attention to what he has to say. by Paul Ziliak 2013 came to a close with $1 trillion transacted via ecommerce. That is a staggering amount and it only stands to grow. But in the face of that staggering statistic, I feel obliged to tell you that you may want to consider taking down your ecommerce site now – it may be costing you hard-earned customers. What could be so bad that it should convince you take down your ecommerce site? If your site does not provide a meaningful, informative and intuitive experience for your customers, then they might not place their online orders with you. And if they want to do their ordering online, they’re likely taking their business elsewhere – potentially on a permanent basis. Ten years ago you may have been able to offer a horrid website experience and your client would forgive you. But those days are over; it’s not 2004 anymore. Your customers are getting younger; they are increasingly making business and personal purchases online and using sites that have everything your site does not have. I hope you are not taking offense to this. My intent is to help you take a hard look at your site from the perspective of your customers, to see what they see (but might not be telling you about), and help you pinpoint ways to improve it. So, in that spirit, I’d like to provide a few measures to help you assess your site with customer experience in mind: A Short List to Improve Your B2B Ecommerce Site 1. Branding – make sure that your shopping site is clean, easy to look at, and consistent with the branding found on your public website. Details matter, so be sure to consider small details like choice and consistent application of fonts. 2. Product Images – be sure you have current images taken by professional photographers. The user should see a thumbnail image, but also be able to zoom in for a closer look. High resolution images only – if your images are grainy, what is the shopper to think of the actual product? 3. Information – whether your product is simple or complex, be sure to give a clear and accurate description of the product being purchased. Try to avoid abbreviations or loose usage of alias descriptions – tell them what it is – succinctly. If the product is complex, provide a link to a PDF white paper, drawing or other detailed information, but don’t fill up a shopping page with endless text, it will send people elsewhere. 4. Pricing, Quantities, etc. – be sure pricing and quantities are current. I don’t think it is necessary to show the exact warehouse quantity, but an indication of ‘In Stock / Out of Stock’ is better than no indication at all. I recently made a purchase on a consumer site that was silent about product availability. 5 DAYS LATER I received an email indicating that the product was out of stock. Shame on me for placing an order without having that info. 5. Cross Sell and Up Sell – a good salesperson on the phone or in person is always going to encourage you to consider how else to complete your purchase. Don’t you think your ecommerce site should do the same thing? 6. Check Out – make it easy for the customer to check out. Some B2B sites require the user to get training just to find the darned Check Out button. Don’t be that site. Like the rest of your design – make checkout simple, clean, clear and easy. You’ve built a great business and you’ve invested a great deal of money to run your business on a world class ERP through Sage. Take a good look at your B2B site and ask yourself if it reflects everything you want your customers to know about your company and your products. Or, if you don’t feel you have a good eye for that sort of thing – survey a cross section of your customers and ask them what they think. The bottom line is make sure they are as happy doing business with you online as they are on the phone or in person. Happy selling! Your B2B Ecommerce Site May Be Losing You Customers INDUSTRYNEWS
  22. 22. 25bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  23. 23. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201426 The modern consumer is spoiled rotten. They can walk around Best Buy, scanning pictures of the latest flat-screen TVs, while comparing prices on Wal-Mart’s smart phone app and eventually purchasing from Amazon. Today’s consumers are connected. They have the most up-to-date, detailed information available to them via the “usual” media of television, radio, and direct mail - but also through email, blogs, social networks, web sites, and mobile ads. Popular e-commerce sites equip consumers with high definition pictures and videos of an endless assortment of products – and often include free two- day shipping, generous return policies, discounts at checkout, etc., etc., etc. Once the decision to buy is made, consumers can make their purchase at the brick-and-mortar store on the corner - or via computer, tablet or smart phone. How does anyone outside of the Wal-Marts and Amazons of the world succeed, when every retailer and ‘big box’ supplier is competing to meet the consumers’ growing needs? Here are a few ideas: 1. Create an aggressive E-Commerce strategy – The benefits of E-Commerce are plentiful. Those who do it right are given a great opportunity to land more sales in a boundless market, while affording customers superior visibility into the product line. The best companies are those that give accurate and copious information, with several pictures and, when appropriate, videos. Take a look at Amazon for inspiration. To be successful does require the right infrastructure in support, including the ability to fulfill orders with the right inventory from the right distribution center. This is key to meeting customer expectations and optimizing profitability. 2. Strengthen shipping and warehousing capabilities – Consumer expectations will keep pressure on both retailers and suppliers to get the product on shelves or front steps as fast as possible. It is integral to ensure maximization and flexibility of shipping and warehouse processes to meet each customer’s needs. With the rise of direct to consumer orders, free returns and free shipping, companies will have to bolster their warehouse management with software or enhanced process. Integrated warehouse management systems (WMS) can help. 3. Automate as much as possible – EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is required by an ever-growing number of retailers. The optimization of this mode has changed the speed with which retailers can monitor and react to shipping information, inventory levels, and other data. While there are some benefits of EDI for suppliers as well, the manual entry and precision required for these documents can prove extremely costly for those who do not automate with their system. The same goes for warehouse and shipping information, E-Commerce, and many other internal processes. Without automation, companies waste time and risk mistakes which can lead to costly chargebacks from retailers. 4. Take advantage of analytics – Top supply chain performers leverage sales, product performance, manufacturing, shipping, or other data in order to make quick and profitable decisions. There are many tools on the market targeted for every piece of the supply chain. Even the largest retailers can aggregate their sales and product performance data for suppliers via EDI. This data can be organized by some suppliers’ EDI tools or leveraged within an analytical tool. Point of sale data is often sent out very regularly, allowing more informed inventory and sales decisions. So don’t lose hope! With determined internet marketing, robust supply chain control, effective back- office automation and timely business intelligence, you can stay in front of the modern consumer and effectively compete and grow in today’s fluid retail environment. How The Power Of The Consumer Is Transforming The Retail Industry by David Freschi INDUSTRYNEWS
  24. 24. 27bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership For more information: | MAPADOC EDI is a fully integrated, easy-to-use electronic data interchange (EDI) solution that integrates seamlessly with Sage 100 ERP, Sage 500 ERP and Sage ERP X3. MAPADOC is a complete and truly integrated solution When trading partners institute new rules, you will be ready. MAPADOC provides a user-friendly way to map to and from Sage ERP fields, preset variables and user-defined fields (UDFs). With MAPADOC, you will be able to: Receive inbound documents Process orders Send out the necessary outbound documents Internet Retail has changed everything. Do you have the right EDI system to manage your growth? COMPLIMENTARY WEBINAR! MAPADOC EDI is a powerful and flexible EDI solution that enables you to: Integrate seamlessly with Sage 100 ERP, Sage 500 ERP and Sage ERP X3 Access integrated documents which include: 850 Purchase Order, 810 Invoice , 856 Advance Ship Notice, and many, many more Create UCC-128 labels Use Visual Process Flows to receive in- bound documents, process orders and send out the necessary outbound documents Dramatically cut data entry time and costs by eliminating duplicate entry Improve communication with vendors and customers Save time and money • • • • • • • • • • Watch here! View the recorded webinar to learn the new requirements for EDI with retail websites and to see a truly integrated EDI solution for Sage ERP customers. In addition to a brief introduction to EDI and an overview of EDI transactions, you will see an in depth demonstration of transaction flow and many other must see items!
  25. 25. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201428 If you are a manufacturer or distributor, this statement may ring true for you. However, the problem with this statement isn’t the fact that you may not need a shopping cart. The problem is that you may have too narrow a view of eCommerce. The “e” in eCommerce stands for “electronic”. The word “electronic” in relation to eCommerce means: Involving or concerned with the representation, storage, or transmission of information by electronic systems. One of the earliest uses of an electronic commerce had its birth in 1948 during the Berlin Blockade and Airlift by a logistics officer in the army. Officer Edward A. Guilbert set up a system of ordering through telex, radio-teletype, and telephone to help eliminate the bottleneck caused by slow moving paper orders. Unfortunately there are many manufacturers and distributors that are using that very same 1948 technology to interact with their customers today. There seems to be an unnecessary disconnect in the B2B world between companies and their customers. Even in 2014, most of the transactions and requests related to orders, pricing, inventory, shipments, invoices, and payments happen primarily through phone, fax, and email. These requests and transactions can only be handled during normal business hours. So how can these manufacturers and distributors utilize the power of B2B eCommerce in a meaningful way? Answer: Automating customer service. As a company, you maintain all of this information in a system of record, or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software. When your customer calls in to place an order, check available inventory, inquire about their outstanding balance, track shipments, track returns, and other inquires; you have customer service representatives that help them. The reps access their ERP software that holds all this information in order to provide answers to questions and place transactions on the customer’s behalf. Customer Service Automation (CSA) technology is available today, and can allow your customers to quickly access information that they could only get previously by calling, emailing, or faxing. CSA has been used in the banking industry for over 50 years. The introduction of ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) revolutionized the banking industry by allowing customers to self-serve on many of the tasks they could only do by physically going into the bank and interacting with a teller. Would you even consider doing business with a bank today that did not have ATM’s? The reality is, it would be nearly impossible to find a bank that doesn’t offer access to an ATM. Will it be the same for manufacturers and distributors? Is there a future where the customers will decide to do business with you based on whether or not you offer automated services? Let’s take a look at a (fictional) real-world example without the benefit of Customer Service Automation. The customer: John Smith – Manager of RadioHut store #101 in South Carolina. The wholesale distributor: Celtek – Wholesaler of wireless accessories in Southern California. The business case: RadioHut currently offers a line of 10 wireless accessory SKUs from Celtek . RadioHut has negotiated pricing because of the large volume it does nationwide. John has a coupon mailer that will hit homes on Friday and expects a busy weekend, so he pulls a report from his POS system and realizes that he needs more product before Saturday morning. John is stressing out a little because it is Thursday night and he needs these products on the shelf by Saturday. Scenario 1: No Customer Service Automation John closes down the store for the day, makes a call to Celtek customer service at 7:30pm EST, and Angie from customer service answers his call. Angie: Thank you for calling Celtek, your best source for wholesale wireless accessories. How may I help you? John: Hi Angie, this is John Smith from RadioHut store #101 in South Carolina and I need to place a rush order for overnight delivery. by Brian Nunes INDUSTRYNEWS Shopping cart?? We don’t need no stinkin’ shopping cart!
  26. 26. 29bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership Angie: No problem John, I will be glad to help you. What is your customer number? If you don’t know it, you can look at the top right of your current invoice. John: Hold on a sec, let me go grab that from my office. [2 minutes later] It is 73B (as in boy) 56S (as in Sam) F (as in Frank) 3522. Angie: Ok, just pulling up your account here. Are you still at 111 East Main St.? John: Yes Angie: How can I help you? John: I need to order 40 units of SKU# RH5124, 25 units of RH2323, and 75 units of RH1123 Angie: I notice that we only have 53 units available for SKU# RH1123. John: That will have to do for now. What is my price on the RH5124? Angie: Your price is $8.75 and the retail on that is $15.99. Your total cost for the whole order $967.23. You mentioned that you need it overnight so it should probably get there sometime tomorrow afternoon. John: Ok, that is fine. If you think it won’t make it, then please have someone contact me in the morning because I will need to check with another supplier since I have to have this in on the shelves. Angie: Mr. Smith, I notice there is an outstanding past due balance on your account in the amount of $542.67. This will need to be taken care of before I place this order. How would you like to handle this? John: Hold on a minute, I need to get my credit card and you can put it on that. (1 minute later) Ok.. this is an Amex, card number 3734 xxx x xxxxx. Angie: Expiration date? John: 08/2016 Angie: Thank you for your payment Mr. Smith. I will submit this order for you and it should arrive sometime tomorrow afternoon. John: Thank you The next morning John gets to the store at 8am EST and at 9am EST he calls Celtek to get an update because he did not receive an email confirmation with any shipment tracking information. Unknown to John, the email server at Celtek went down before the shipments left the warehouse. When he calls, he gets the automated message stating that business hours are from 8am PST to 5pm PST. He will not be able to talk to a customer service representative until 11am EST. Now he is sweating a little. If the shipment did not go out, then he is going to have to scramble to get an order placed with a higher priced local supplier. He calls back at 11:15am EST and is notified that the shipment did go out last night and they give him his shipment tracking # and that it will arrive in 5 boxes. As the saying goes, “all’s well, that ends well”. However, there may come a time when John finds a distributor that will make things a little easier for him by offering tools that allow him to order, track, and view his account information 24/7. Let’s take a look at the same scenario where Celtek offers Customer Service Automation technology. Scenario 1: Customer Service Automation Because the website is tightly integrated with his Sage ERP software, John has access to much of the same information a live customer service rep would have for his specific account. Here is John’s experience via Customer Service Automation. • John doesn’t call anyone. • He logs into the Celtek website. • He can see all his invoices and pay past due balances • He can browse or search for products and view live inventory levels. • If he knows exactly what he wants, he can opt to use the quick order tool to enter his SKUs and quantities with lightning speed. • He can create a favorites list of items he orders often so he can get to them quickly. • He can see his own pricing on all items, as well as his own SKU aliases. • He adds his items to the cart and all his payment options are available. • He submits the order and is sent to a confirmation page. • He receives an email with the order details • Once his order is shipped, he will receive shipment tracking information by email. He can also log into the website at any time and see order details, invoices, payments and shipments. So, as you can see, you can utilize the power of B2B eCommerce in meaningful ways through Customer Service Automation. If you would like to investigate the options available to you in regards to Customer Service Automation, please contact your Blytheco representative.
  27. 27. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201430 by Shaun Boros Traditional brick and mortar businesses are becoming a nostalgic thing of the past. E-commerce (that is, the online purchasing of goods and services) is booming, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. According to recent estimates, e-commerce has grown 21.1 percent each year and – just last year – online sales exceeded $1 trillion. As e-commerce continues to grow worldwide, manufacturers and distributors are having to rethink their strategies when it comes to warehouse management. E-commerce is having a huge impact on warehouses all around the world. While it presents a huge opportunity for growth and profitability, many warehouses are struggling to make the transition to e-commerce work. As customer demand continues to rise, warehouses will only fall more and more behind if they do nothing. At this stage in the game, nothing is not an option. In order to succeed with this new business model, you will need to embrace the changes e-commerce brings to the order fulfillment table. While it may take some time and adjustment, transitioning your warehouse to meet the needs of e-commerce order fulfillment does not have to be difficult. We’ve helped many manufacturers and distributors make the transition and have created a list of what to expect as you make the transition. Keep the following in mind as you move your warehouse to that of an e-commerce model: • You will experience a higher volume of orders, and you will need to fulfill these orders quickly. Rethink the layout of your warehouse and make sure that your products are placed in optimum locations. Consider implementing warehouse automation software, such as barcoding solutions. These will help you speed up the order fulfillment cycle so you can get your products to your customers’ on-time, every time. • Expect to experience sales fluctuations. The traditional business model offered predictability – you could generally expect sales to be stable throughout the year. E-commerce, however, is unpredictable and driven by consumer demand and trends. Your warehouse will need to be able to support both the highs and lows associated with e-commerce sales. This may require adopting new technologies, new strategies, and new skills in the warehouse environment. Make sure your employees are aware of potential fluctuations and arm them with the right technology to get the job done right and on-time. • Your customers will have higher expectations of your company. While e-commerce may be new to your company, it is not a new idea in the business world. Retailers such as Amazon and have mastered the e-commerce model and with that comes high customer expectations. These companies have set the standard for fast order fulfillment, considerate return policies, and low shipping costs. If your company cannot successfully meet these same standards, your customers will go elsewhere. How E-Commerce is Changing the Warehouse as We Know It INDUSTRYNEWS
  28. 28. 31bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 800.462.4016 StarShip is the GOLD standard when it comes to Sage ERP integrated shipping. Twenty-five years and thousands of Sage customers later, StarShip has been trusted to get over a billion packages out the door! WORK LESS. SHIP MORE. • Expect to see an influx in product returns. Products bought online have a greater probability of being returned to the warehouse than products bought through traditional methods. Recent research has shown that 22 percent of e-commerce products are returned, whereas only 10 percent of offline product purchases are returned. In some cases (such as clothing purchases), the return rates can reach 50 percent! Your warehouse will need to have a strategic method for dealing with product returns and replacement in the warehouse. Meet E-Commerce Demands with Scanco If you want your company to grow and succeed, you will need to embrace e-commerce and what it means for your warehouse. Meeting e-commerce demands requires complete warehouse automation. Recent advances in technology have already made this possible and can help you make the transition to e-commerce a seamless one. Warehouse automation software and barcoding solutions are certainly helpful when it comes to preparing your warehouse for e-commerce, but why don’t you use devices you already own to automate and manage your warehouse? With Scanco Warehouse for Sage 100 ERP, you can! Scanco Warehouse is the first fully mobile warehouse management app designed to work with any iOS, Windows, or Android device, giving you the flexibility to perform each and every warehouse management task without wasting any time. Designed with the 21st century warehouse in mind, Scanco Warehouse makes it easy to transition from a traditional business model to an e-commerce model. Users can mix and match hardware as they please (as long as it’s compatible with the app). Your warehouse receiving operators can use iPads to perform receiving tasks. Mobile phones can be used for performing the physical count (or cycle counting), and handheld devices (or mobile phones with barcode scanning attachments) can be used during the shipping process. With Scanco Warehouse, your options are endless! Meeting the demands e-commerce has placed on the warehouse does not have to mean investing in costly warehouse automation solutions. By adopting practical strategies and tools designed to lower costs and increase the speed of order fulfillment, you can create a 21st century warehouse. To learn more about how our solutions support e-commerce, visit
  29. 29. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201432 INDUSTRYNEWS WorkPlace users select their PunchOut vendor with a single click from the WorkPlace Requisition page to be taken directly to the customer specific site. Many of the major vendors of office supplies, technology, medical supplies, scientific tools and supplies, and industrial products offer PunchOut catalogs and electronic ordering. Examples are Office Max, Staples, Office Depot, Dell, CDW, Henry Schein, McKesson, and HD Supply. PunchOut catalogs are set up to display products and prices negotiated between the client and supplier. The requester selects the items needed and adds them to the shopping cart. The catalogs checkout adds the selected items, quantities, descriptions, and prices to the requisition. Requisitions flow through all the required approval workflows followed by a review by the purchasing agent. Instead of issuing a Purchase Order, a cXML transaction places the order with the supplier. ThebenefitsofPunchOutcXMLintegrated with a procurement solution are: • No Catalog Maintenance. Catalogs are maintained by the suppliers. PunchOut catalogs eliminate the risk of ordering items that are no longer available, or where prices changed. • Better Product Information. Buyers have access to up-to-date details about product availability, discounts, and shipping information, all maintained by the supplier, in real time. • Spend Management. By accessing approved catalogs from within WorkPlace, procurement managers reap the benefits of negotiated prices with preferred vendors. PunchOut catalogs promote purchasing consolidation with easy access to the favored suppliers. • Improved Shopping Experience. PunchOut catalogs simplify the buying process by letting users conduct product searches, read descriptions and user reviews, and compare items. • Higher Productivity. PunchOut eliminates the duplicate entry of products selected into Requisitions and Purchase Orders and the printing and mailing of paper PO documents. Paramount WorkPlace Requisition, Purchasing, and AP Invoice Automation offer best in class features including PunchOut and out-of-the box seamless integration with Sage 100, 300 and 500. What is PunchOut? It is an industry standard based on cXML (commerce eXtensible Markup Language) to connect Requisition and Procurement applications directly to major e-commerce vendors. PunchOut enables a requisitioner to select approved items at negotiated prices within their purchasing system, for purchase directly from a vendor’s website. All browsing, shopping, real- time inventory availability and pricing are done from the vendor’s website and their catalog. PunchOut – Electronic Purchasing from Catalogsby Urs Bockli
  30. 30. 33bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership Our clients tell us that stability and reliability are the two factors they value most in our relationship. With 30 plus years of experience and hundreds of thousands of hours of consulting, we continuously look for ways to improve our relationships with our clients. If you are in the market for a new partner, we would love the opportunity to show you how we work with our clients to help them get the most from their business software. What does your business need? A Partner With a National Presence? A Partner With Size, Stability and a Proven Track Record? A Partner That is Reliable? A Partner That is Able To Support Your Business? A Partner That Offers Additional Products & Services? ATLANTA, GA COLUMBUS, OH DENVER, CO GREENVILLE, SC MINNEAPOLIS, MN ORANGE COUNTY, CA TAMPA, FL PROFESSIONAL SERVICES ○ CRM ○ ERP ○ HRMS PRODUCT SELECTION ○ IMPLEMENTATION ○ INTEGRATION PROCESS OPTIMIZATION 800.425.9843 Download “Why Work With Blytheco” at
  31. 31. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201434
  32. 32. 35bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership INDUSTRYNEWS That is the question of the hour. Does improving your eCommerce system feel like that? Tracking visitor numbers and tweaking website traffic flow; determining pricing and just the right words to optimize SEO... all the while wondering just where you are and where you are going to end up? Analytics replaces much of this “by guess and by golly” decision- making with specific measurements. It is like handing a GPS system to that old-time captain. Analytics report the progress toward specific, fixed “stars” - called KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). How would your eCommerce decision-making improve with instant feedback as to your website’s ever-changing position relative to: • Profitability by specific products, product groupings and customer demographics? • Inventory turnover versus your website promotions? • Check-out abandonment percentages over time or against changes to website design? • Shipping and overhead costs by warehouse for different geographical regions (and product groupings...) (do you need to open another warehouse, or relocate an existing one?) • Percentage of orders unshipped, or shipped incomplete, by next business day? What do the late shipments have in common from a supplier, product or warehouse management standpoint? • Finding out regular customers who stopped buying? When business managers implement analytics for eCommerce, they start with tracking and monitoring KPI’s such as those listed above. This defines an appropriate starting point for measuring the business. From here, they can set goals, monitor progress and decide what’s optimum. Some KPIs may come strictly from an eCommerce or Google analytics database; others, from various combinations of integration of the web data with the ERP and CRM systems. Fortunately, the market offers several proven analytics solutions that can elevate an eCommerce business to the next level by providing a comprehensive performance measurement platform. Joni Girardi, CEO of DataSelf, an acknowledged thought leader in the analytics market, provides eCommerce companies some keen insight: “eCommerce is about finding an edge on the competition across your entire business; it’s absolutely critical to continually improve KPIs. Often, this means analyzing combined data from eCommerce and back office systems to uncover better ways of doing business. We’ve been helping mid-sized eCommerce companies for many years, by providing them with an intuitive analytics solution that comes with over 2,000 reports, KPIs, and dashboards right out of the box! We support several back office solutions such as the Sage family of CRM & ERP solutions and Swiftpage SalesLogix. In a nutshell, DataSelf, by integrating technology from our strategic partners Tableau and Microsoft BI, simplifies and amplifies analytics for anyone, regardless of their technical ability.” About DataSelf DataSelf provides best-of-breed and easy-to-use analytics and business intelligence solutions for medium-sized businesses (SMB). DataSelf’s solutions have grown out of more than 13 years of experience providing best-practice analytics, reporting and ultralight data warehousing solutions. DataSelf simplifies and amplifies BI with Tableau and Microsoft BI technologies. DataSelf simplifies them by adding its own technology that eliminates programming. DataSelf amplifies them by providing BI expertise and comprehensive out-of-the-box solutions with thousands of KPIs & dashboards plus ultralight data warehouses to popular mid-market business applications such as Everest Software, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Sage CRM, Sage 100 (MAS 90 / MAS 200), Sage 300 (Accpac), Sage 500 (MAS 500), Sage Pro, Sage PFW, Sage X3, and Swiftpage SalesLogix. Visit to learn more. What would it have been like to set sail with just a sextant, a compass, and a general knowledge of the currents and trade winds? Steering by the sun and stars, using intuition and experience to guess at your progress across the ocean? Analytics: A GPS for Effectively Sailing the eCommerce Seas
  33. 33. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201436 HUMANRESOURCESINDUSTRYNEWS How much value is your organization getting out of the budget process, once the budget is created? Is management able to quickly and intelligently make decisions driven by actual operations results compared with budgeted expectations? How often do you have an opportunity to decide whether changes are required, and to evaluate alternatives? How complete and accurate is your forecast? Do you employ the best-in-class tools to provide you with the information you need? Management, and their supporting functions, one of which is the finance department, usually tasked with the budget preparation, should consider these questions very seriously. I recently interviewed a manufacturing business owner who said he tries to analyze actual results against his forecast on a weekly basis, as it gives his organization 52 chances a year to make corrections versus only 12 times a year if done on a monthly basis. You may not be able to do this weekly, but how about monthly? Fortunately, present day accounting systems are fully computerized and automated, which gives us very good access to the information we need and on a regular basis. It is fairly common, with the right setup, to be able to seamlessly interface our general ledger with our budgeting and forecasting software, in a manner that will allow us to transfer, on a monthly basis, account balances and other chosen data into our budgeting software. Another hindrance to a successful analysis of actuals vs. budget is the inability of most organizations to accurately forecast their balance sheet. Not knowing what your forecasted balance sheet is going to look like throughout the budget process can severely impair your ability to anticipate changes to your organization’s financial health. Find a budgeting tool that allows you to forecast your entire chart of accounts and gain insight into much more useful data than just the revenue and expense forecast. Without an accurate, forecasted balance sheet, your budget process is incomplete. If you do that, right after month-end close, you can quickly and effectively analyze your actual results against the budget data. The advantages to doing this are considerable: When you do this frequently and as soon as actual data is available, you are able to make decisions that will impact the organization’s future performance much quicker. You may decide to adjust your forecast, or perhaps, re-align your operation in order to drive it more on course toward your budgeted and expected results. Simply put, you are more equipped to deal with deviations from your original plan and goals. The Budget & Forecast Process – What Really Matters by Alan Hart
  34. 34. 37bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership Alan Hart, MBA, is Principal Consultant at Pacific Shine Group in Portland, Oregon, with responsibility for client business development and hands-on client project implementations. Read more at About the Author I have worked with numerous systems over the years from Tier 1 solutions to homegrown, spreadsheet- based systems. Through experience, I’ve grown to like the software solutions from Centage Corporation (, particularly Budget Maestro and Analytics Maestro. This is the only solution capable of fully addressing the issues outlined above. As a great bonus, using the Link Maestro utility, you can seamlessly link their budgeting and forecasting main application Budget Maestro with the Sage ERP 100, 300 or 500 accounting software GL. This means that as soon as you close an accounting period, your trial balance can be automatically transferred into the Budget Maestro internal chart of accounts (which mirrors your Sage GL chart of accounts). Then, you can immediately start analyzing your actual performance against your budget data and through the reporting system, especially when using the Analytics Maestro module, management decisions can be made with confidence. These software tools, when consistently used can really make a big difference in how you run your business and how you are able to make course changes as needed and almost in real time. To me, going through a tedious and stressful budget preparation process, without properly analyzing the actual results against it, doing it infrequently, or performing the analysis at a much later time after actual data is available, seems like a waste of time and resources. There is absolutely no value going through this exercise unless you are going to use the results in a meaningful way. Smart managements realize this and employ the right budgeting tools and resources toward achieving their goals. Fortunately, with the use of your Sage product linked to Budget Maestro you can accomplish all that. Your company’s forecasted financial health will be visible and offer a lot more insight into the present and future business.
  35. 35. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201438 CORPORATEFINANCE Beyond the Shopping Cart – Sales Tax Considerations Obviously, the answers to that are complex, yet one thing is clear. Without the right shopping cart (the interface between the customer and the online venture), efforts to sell online are dramatically less successful. Avalara has had in-depth conversations with industry insiders, who helped identify four key questions for companies to consider when selecting a shopping cart: 1. What does your company need a shopping cart to address? 2. How important is a product catalog to your larger ecommerce goals? 3. How can shopping cart software address abandoned shopping carts and increase customer satisfaction? 4. Does the shopping cart support core business functions and help ecommerce merchants comply with applicable local, state, and federal regulations? We are going to dive deeper into number four. Does the shopping cart support core business functions and help ecommerce merchants comply with applicable local, state, and federal regulations? Most ecommerce merchants are aware that their cart needs to be PCI compliant (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), by maintaining a secure environment. Other crucial tasks, like applying the correct sales tax rate or managing exemption certificates, are often overlooked. Someone looking for an affordable easy-to-use shopping carttosellgoodsandservicesonlineisnotlikelytoprioritize compliance capabilities unless they’ve been on the wrong end of an audit. However, the shopping cart software must incorporate compliance functions, either through a native service or an add-on like Avalara, or companies face an increased risk of audit. To address compliance, the ecommerce shopping cart software needs to integrate with core business functions. Something many companies don’t consider until it’s too late, especially since questions of design and customer engagement, usability and brand presence often dominate shopping cart strategy. Companies will be exposed to audit risk and customer complaints unless the shopping cart incorporates compliance capabilities. Calculating sales tax, shipping, Ecommerce,buyingandsellingonline,isone of the fastest growing sectors of the retail economy. Ecommerce is more than a gateway to new markets, however. It’s also a way for merchants to go to market faster, with fewer fixed costs and lower administrative overhead. But if selling online is so great, why do so many online retailers fail? by Rachael Brownell, Avalara
  36. 36. 39bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership and tracking exemption certificates correctly within the cart means finding a solution that integrates tax calculation and address verification, handles tax exempt transactions, manages exemption certificates, and so forth. As more and more states collect online sales tax, more and more ecommerce businesses will be required to remit it. Automating the sales tax processes within the shopping cart software itself solves one of the key challenges facing ecommerce—how to accurately collect, file, and remit sales tax to the right jurisdiction at the right time. In the U.S. alone there are over 10,000 taxing jurisdictions, many of which (e.g., Florida, Texas, California) are requiring out of state ecommerce companies to collect sales tax for the first time. If the national effort to effectively end sales tax-free online shopping succeeds, the already difficult risk-prone sales tax problem will worsen. The solution? Automating the process with a cloud-based sales tax solution that resides within the shopping cart itself, or is easily added on. Once ecommerce merchants expand to global markets, VAT (value added tax) adds another component to the tax rules puzzle. Sales, use, VAT rules and rates require a comprehensive transactional tax solution, one that integrates seamlessly with your shopping cart. Finding and setting up a world class ecommerce shopping cart to take your business to new markets in the U.S. and abroad doesn’t have to be overly complicated, but strategic planning and research can set the stage for easier implementation. Over 10,000 businesses have outsourced and automated their sales tax management with Avalara. Avalara has over 200+ integrations with ERP/financial software, ecommerce, and retail applications. If you are interested in reading the full brief on online shopping carts from Avalara “Beyond the Shopping Cart: Sales Tax & the Internet Retailer,” please fill out the contact us form to request your copy at:
  37. 37. Bellwether Magazine | First Quarter 201440 HUMANRESOURCES Sitting down with the intention of stilling one’s mind and body is no longer the sole province of hippies and Eastern medicine aficionados, says leadership expert Dr. Stephen Josephs. Nike, 50 Cent and the Marine Corps all embrace the benefits of mindfulness meditation, he says. “The benefits of mindfulness meditation do not exist in a vacuum; mindfulness meditation not only lowers your blood pressure, it also offers a host of other positives, including increasing business acumen,” says Josephs, who has coached executives for more than 30 years and recently authored the new book, “Dragons at Work,” ( “It sharpens your intuitive business sense. By relaxing your body, breathing evenly, and paying attention to the present moment, you notice things you might otherwise miss. Paying exquisite attention is the key to staying real, and daily meditation builds that capacity.” The benefits of a calm and focused mind are ubiquitous; Josephs offers tips for business leaders. • If you’re faced with what looks like an enticing opportunity, don’t just do something. Sit there. Breathe quietly and let the fear and greed subside. The easiest way to fool yourself in a deal, negotiation or transaction is to let your thinking stray from what’s happening and get seduced by a dream. It could be the dream your counterpart is spinning for you or simply the dream of results, good or bad. Like most people, you have probably experienced moments when you knew something – a business relationship, an investment – was going south, but you hesitated to act because you didn’t have facts to support your intuition. Sometimes, your intuition knows something that your logical mind does not. • Pay attention to what your body is telling you; you may be expressing signals that your logical mind is slow to notice. In a psychological study titled “The Iowa Gambling Task,” researchers gave subjects the task of making the most money possible by choosing cards from four decks. Unbeknownst to the subjects, the decks were stacked. Some were “good decks” (producing winners more of the time) and some were “bad decks,” (producing losers). After about 40 to 50 picks, most subjects caught on to which decks produced winners and losers. Their bodies knew something that their rational minds had missed. After about 10 picks they began to produce physiological symptoms of stress when their hands reached for the bad decks. If you’re not paying attention to those subtle signals, your innate wisdom is inaccessible. • Meditation develops emotional balance and a better business mind. If you’ve never meditated, try it! Start small by simply sitting still and keeping your eyes closed for five minutes. Feel the weight of your body in its sitting position. Try to simplify your thoughts to basic things, down to the subtle sounds of the room, your breathing. Mindfulness meditation does not require extensive study in ancient traditions. Notice the difference after only five minutes; you will feel more relaxed. Later, try it for 10 minutes, and then longer. Do your due diligence in that state of mind. The equanimity that will sharpen your acumen is also the source of your happiness in life. Don’t trade it for anything. by Dr. Stephen Josephs Meditative Focus Improves Both Health and Business Intuition, Says Veteran Consultant With more than 30 years experience as an executive coach and consultant, Stephen Josephs, Ed. D, helps leaders build vitality and focus to make their companies profitable – and great places to work. His doctorate at the University of Massachusetts focused on Aesthetics in Education: how to teach anything through art, music, drama and movement. Josephs is particularly interested in the intersection of business performance, psychology and mind/body disciplines. His new novel, “Dragons at Work,” tells the story of a tightly wound executive – a fictionalized case study of coaching that produces fundamental changes in a leader. Josephs has also co-authored “Leadership Agility: Five Levels of Mastery in Anticipating and Initiating Change” (Jossey-Bass, 2006) with Bill Joiner, which shows how certain stages of psychological development affect leadership. About the Author
  38. 38. Join us for the Blytheco Webinar 10/29/2013 2 PM EST 800.725.4408 Control Spending from One Place. Mobile app for expense entry Easily manage capital projects Enforce corporate travel policies Requistion Invoice Approval Expense Purchasing 800.725.4408 Join us for the Blytheco webinar 2/18/14 @ 2 EST Control Spending From One Place Mobile app for expense entry Easily manage capital projects Enforce corporate travel policies Requistion AP Invoice Approval Expense Purchasing
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