Archive for Marketing

Email Marketing is Still a Thing

Is Email Marketing Dead?

Have you heard that email is dead and social media is the place to be? Social media is a great way to connect with people and share your messages, however, before you ditch your email marketing efforts, here are a few things to consider:

  1. According to Marketo, 94% of people say the main reason they get online, is to check their email.
  2. Email marketing drives $44 for every $1 spent.
  3. The average order value from an email is 3 times higher than social media
  4. According to a survey by OptinMonster, Marketers say the ROI (actual sales) from email is far greater than social media

We send out a monthly newsletter for a number of our clients who report nearly instantaneous clicks, inquiries and sales. There appear to be good results from a bare minimum effort.

How to Start Email Marketing

email from laptop - Email Marketing is Still a ThingIf you don’t have an email marketing strategy in place and don’t know where to begin, here are some things to consider:

Target Audience

Do you already have a list? Do you need to build one? Some people have a stack of business cards that could be converted into contacts on an email list. This doesn’t need to be a tedious job. For instance, there are scanning apps available to scan the card and create a contact list to be imported into a mail service. Use the power of your website to collect opt-ins – visitors who agree to get emails from you. A good way to ethically bribe people onto your list is to provide something of value to them, such as useful information or discounts. This is one of the best ways to get started. Additionally, you can also pull contacts from your contact list on your computer or phone…people with whom you’ve communicated in the past.

Pick an Email Service

It is not recommended that you create a massive distribution list on your computer’s email software. This is one way to get your email address blacklisted. A better option, is to utilize a cloud-based email service, such as Constant Contact. We’ve tried many services, such as MailChimp, Mad Mimi, Aweber, Drip, GetResponse and more. Constant Contact has become a favorite for us, because it is very easy to use with beautiful templates, they have great deliverability stats, there are a lot of features, and their customer support is top notch! They even call you to help you get started!

Messaging Strategy

Not sure what to say? A good goal is to provide 90% value and only 10% promotion. Education adds value. Statistics and reports add value. Humor and fun add value. Decide what value you can add before you write a single word. Next, plot out the content for your emails. Some options might include: sending a monthly newsletter or an invitation to a webinar or event. Or, inform them about important changes/news in your industry. All of these content ideas are well-received. It is important to know your audience and what THEY want from you, because that makes an email campaign successful. This will likely require some well-spent time researching and/or surveying your audience.

Measure Results

Every platform has analytics to report the results of your email campaigns. Things that are typically measured are: the number of opens, clicks (on links), bounces, unsubscribes and spam complaints. Look at this data regularly to help fine-tune your messaging tactics. If a particular topic, event or article gets better results than another, you can pivot your content accordingly.

Be Consistent – Reaching the right people with the right message should be consistent. Automating emails is one way to do this. Create an autoresponder series which drips out email messages at an interval you choose. Or, pick a day of the week or one time per month to email consistently. This schedule must work for you or you won’t execute it. Another option is to hire a digital marketing team like ours to design, write, test and send your emails for you (shameless plug!).

Nearly every business can benefit from some sort of email marketing…so, you see – it’s not dead yet nor do we see it dying any time soon!

3411 206011 - Email Marketing is Still a Thing3411 - Email Marketing is Still a Thing
Additional Resources:

https://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/infographics/24-email-marketing-stats-need-know/

https://emailmonks.com/blog/email-marketing/why-email-is-the-king-of-the-marketing-world/

(Full Disclosure – some of the links in this email contain an affiliate link, which means if you sign up with them we may get a small referral fee. Thank you.)

Hiring the Right Sales and Marketing Team

Creating a Challenger Sales and Marketing effort in your business is not an easy task. In my last post, I suggested two key things a CEO should do to try to implement a Challenger Sales and Marketing team in their organization: 1) Employ the right people, and 2) Persistently support them.

In this post, I will expand my thoughts about employing the right people.

In the last parts of “The Challenger Sale” by Dixon and Anderson, they discuss the nature of the leaders who make successful Challenger Sales Managers.

They cite management skills such as integrity, reliability, and listening skills as necessary traits as these are important in any management position, not just sales management.

Candidate Selection is the First Step

If you are creating or expanding your Challenger sales team, I believe you need to be very concerned about the people you hire. I am a big fan of psychological testing in a hiring process. This is especially true for a bigstock Decision Making Or Emotional I 230989879 315x280 - Hiring the Right Sales and Marketing Teamcritical hire.

At the risk of showing my age, I will confess to you the first testing process I ever used was a test intended for the selection of officers in World War II. (Yes, it was really old)

WWII was a time when a team had to scale rapidly and the military relied on a testing process, however flawed it was, as part of the process to select leadership. The “other choice” was much worse.

In Strategyzer terms, testing had a strong value proposition.

In comparison to testing products available on the market today, it was simplistic. The company where I worked used the same test for all management positions. There was no variation in the test for engineers, salespeople, accountants, or managers in operations. All took the same test.

My role at the time was to manage engineers. After a few uses of the tool, I came to realize the best candidates for me had high intelligence (above 90th percentile), and decisiveness (which I associated with getting things done). What didn’t matter very much was introversion versus extroversion and social ability unless it was at either the end of the scale.

Not everyone in my company agreed with the test or the testing process, usually because they didn’t like their own scores. (This is a point to remember). But my personal opinion was supportive.

One form of criticism was that a reliance on the test might result in a manager discarding a candidate which might actually be a fit  – in other words, a false negative. I agree that was a possibility. On the other hand, my experience was the test never gave me a false positive. I had a high correlation between test results, and high performing employees.

Today’s Tests Are Based on Better Science

I have two test recommendations for you to consider as you develop your sales and marketing teams:  PXT Select from Wylie and SmoothHiring from ClearFit. I am familiar with both of these but there may be others.

Do your diligence on the tests you select. Some tests like DISC and Myers-Briggs may provide insight into behaviors but, in my opinion, they do not get down to the specifics about who you should, or should not, hire.

The science for PXT Select and SmoothHiring is solid. Both test for personality traits and interests. Both tests are administrated online. I do not recommend testing online for intelligence or cognitive ability. It’s too easy to look up the answers you need. If you want to test for this you should do it onsite where you can control the environment.

PXT Select is distributed through partners who assist you with the mechanics of the test as well as interpretation. It is a sophisticated product. Not only do you get an assessment, you also get interview questions based on the results to assist you to validate the results of the test. Uniquely, I believe, it also advises you about how to interpret the answers you might get to the questions.

Typically, users use the test to choose between 2-3 final candidates in a search process. You pay for each test taken.

SmoothHiring is a SaaS product. Rather than test final candidates, the test is placed at the beginning of the search process. The application assists you to develop job descriptions, and then places the search on all the job posting boards you wish. Everyone who applies takes the test. All of this is done for a flat fee per posting per month, no matter how many candidates take the test, or how many people you intend to hire.

The app then advises you which candidates are the closest fit to your desired candidate profile. Said another way, this tool assists you to screen, in an unbiased way, the surge of applications so typical in many searches.

Both products come with standard profiles for typical positions,

Customization

If you want to build a Challenger team, I recommend considering a custom assessment profile rather than the standard profile. With both the PXT Select and SmoothHiring products you can develop custom assessment profiles.

candidate testing - Hiring the Right Sales and Marketing Team

A custom assessment is a way to add likely successful people to a team you already know.

There are two ways to do this. You can manually create the profile. But if you know you already have a good sample of Challengers in your organization that represent top producers, you can test them and let their composite scores serve as your template.

If you haven’t used testing in hiring before, I recommend you get a bit of assistance to begin. Many small and medium size businesses are not familiar with testing.

One of the benefits of creating a custom assessment profile is it causes you to consider your desired profile and subsequently adjust it later if necessary.

Over-reliance on Testing

The experts in testing will tell you that there are limitations to testing. For example, many of the questions provided to you in the PXT Select assessments are there to help verify the results of the test.

Don’t use testing as a substitute for other things you do in an interview process. Let your own interviews and instincts play a role. Background checks, reference checks, and a review of social media might also be considered. An on-site cognitive ability test could be useful in your assessment.

I had a colleague in a sales management role who did credit checks on candidates. This might seem counter-intuitive, but he liked candidates with debt. He knew if they needed the money their situation might serve to motivate for success in the job.

In you conduct an interview process without testing, you may also want to remain cognizant of the fact that candidates who profile as “relationship builders” will work to build a relationship with you. You will find them to be likable and pleasant, but not necessarily qualified.

Team Member On-Boarding

What you do after you hire a candidate may be as important as the selection process.

If you are building a Challenger team, then knowledge about your products, terms and conditions, pricing, online content, and industry is essential. Challenger sales teams strive to be the most knowledgeable in their industry, something which cannot be faked.

Clearly, your top sales and marketing people must be good managers and mentors if they want to “teach the teachers”.

The best practices for on-boarding begin with a plan. What is accomplished on the first day? What is accomplished the first week or the first month? What is the measure of success for your on-boarding? How are people trained, tested, and evaluated in your on-boarding process?

How do you decide someone you hired is not a fit? Do you have a staged on-boarding process? Does a new hire need to master one stage before they go to the next?



pic 292x280 - Hiring the Right Sales and Marketing TeamAbout the Author: Bob Kroon is a coach for high-performing Founders, CEO’s, and Owners. He founded Expeerious, LLC (expeerious.com) in 2015 to exclusively focus on coaching the success of Top Executives. For over 25 years, Bob served variously as CEO, COO, Division President, and Group Vice President.

The majority of his career was in manufacturing durable goods. Bob is an enthusiast and practitioner of Lean Thinking since 1986. He also has broad skills in M&A including financial modeling, deal structure, diligence, and post-close integration.

Bob’s current clients are diverse and include businesses in healthcare, agricultural products, robotics, luxury goods, and education.

To learn more about how Bob coaches and thinks, you can find over 200 questions he’s answered on Quora. Visit his website at: www.expeerious.com for additional blog posts.

Challenging Your Customers

the challenger sale - Challenging Your CustomersOne book I find useful for understanding sales and marketing as a process is “The Challenger Sale” by Dixon and Adamson. I find myself intrigued and agreeing with much of what they present in their findings. The book was written in 2011 and reacts to the chaos from the great recession. While those events are fading, there remain many relevant takeaways which seem timeless.

From what I infer, the primary target audience for “The Challenger Sale” is Sales Executives and Managers in enterprise businesses. This differs from my intended audience; CEOs, Owners, and Founders. While the target readership is different, there is considerable similarity to our perspectives.

My Key Relevant Takeaways

 

Sales approaches can be classified.

Based on a study of 6,000 participants, Dixon and Adamson note their researchers were able to identify five distinct profiles for sales reps:

 

 

Worker types - Challenging Your Customers

Five distinct profiles defined in “The Challenger Sale”.

A Plurality of Top Performers Are Challengers

According to the statistics presented by Dixon and Adamson, 39% of the top-performing sales reps in the study came from the Challenger profile.

challenger worker - Challenging Your Customers

Challenger profiles are 23% of the total but 39% of the top performers. Relationship Builders are 26% of the profiles but only 7% of the top performers.

Note the least probable way for you to develop a top performing sales rep is to focus on relationship building.

It can be argued that there is merit to the “Lone Wolf” profile as this is the other profile where there is a disproportionately higher number of top performers. The issue with the Lone Wolf profile is that, by definition, this profile is not an approach which can be easily replicated and scaled.

In small companies, the Lone Wolf might be created simply by circumstances. The sales team might be small, might be acting without skilled leadership, and might have little or no direction about value propositions or business models. To succeed, salespeople figure it out by themselves.

Why Are Top Performers Valued?

While this varies by company, top performers produce 1.5 to 4.0 times as much as the average performers. As the complexity of the sale increases, the difference is greater. Dixon and Adamson cite the example of one company with 100 salespeople where 80% of the sales were the result of the efforts of just two people.

Clearly, there is a case to be made to put an effort into finding and developing top performers.

Creating a top-performing sales team might also be a critical element to the success, maybe survival of your company. If you wrestle with keeping the cost of customer acquisition low enough to have a scalable or sustainable business model, having top-performers on your team can reduce the cost of customer acquisition.

It should also have an effect on the revenue per customer. Arguably, top performers should have more customer retention and the ability to win bigger customers.

Bill’s Story

Challengers teach their customers about their own businesses. They bring value to the customer because they can advise on choices a customer can make and the implications of various choices.

Early in my career, I was in a B2B business and had the opportunity to travel with “Bill”. In retrospect, I see Bill as a Challenger. I witnessed Bill walking into a customer’s business at which point literally everything else that was happening was paused. “Bill was there” and he was the advisor and mentor to the business. At a glance, I could see Bill was a very trusted advisor.

Bill told me about a situation with another customer. He observed his customer for several months and was concerned because it was apparent the customer was not making money. After some reflection, Bill went into the business one day and told the owner his accountant was an embezzler.

Bill did not have access to the financial statements. He came to his conclusion based on his intuition about the situation.

The owner asked Bill to leave the business and never come back. The accountant was a close personal friend to the owner and godfather to the owner’s children.

Six months later Bill got a letter of apology. While they were angry about the accusations, the owner did some investigation.

They found money in 33 different banks.

Was Bill a top performer? Yes, salesperson of the year for my company.

The Implications for Your Marketing Efforts

While top performers can come from any of the profiles, what the authors are suggesting is an effort to support challenger selling increases your odds of creating top performers more than 5x an effort to support relationship building.

LinkedIn agrees but says it a different way. While encouraging their members to “engage with insight” LinkedIn says “nearly 64% of B2B buyers report they appreciate hearing from a salesperson who provides information or insight about their business.”

The content in your blogs, emails, and newsletters should primarily teach your customers about their businesses. If you are interacting with your customers you see patterns which lead to success and growth that might not be seen if all a customer knows is about their own business.

Or, you could see a creative business practice one customer is doing to solve an issue that another customer could also adopt.

Considering the previous discussion about the importance of “customer experience”, a content strategy which focuses on teaching can become part of your customer experience.

As I’ve mentioned before, your content speaks to many different audiences. Content which teaches will be valuable not just to your customers. Consider also the impact to new people in your organization.

The Golden Rule for Sales

Early in my career I served in a role as Product Engineering Manager for a manufacturing company. The responsibility of my organization was to provide the operations and manufacturing engineering organizations designs and specifications. In the world of engineering, this was done with “prints” and “bills of material”.

If a print was “silent” on an issue, that meant there was no limitation to what they factory could use. Maybe the print said “Cold Rolled Steel” but nothing else, for example.

At the next level of control, the print would list specific suppliers, whose products were qualified through our quality evaluation processes.

At the highest level of control, when we were convinced that specific features were important, we would specify a specific product from a specific supplier.

In any event, my organization was sometimes highly influential in the process for supplier selection, particularly when a specification was precise.

golden rule of selling 420x280 - Challenging Your CustomersAs I reflect on this today, the sales representatives who were the most valuable to me in the deliberations surrounding specifically-engineered products were the ones who could show me the best way to incorporate their products. Usually these were trained factory representatives; in other words, challengers.

In contrast, companies represented by independent sales representative organizations were the most frustrating. They could seldom advise or make a decision. They couldn’t answer my technical questions. They usually had to “call the factory”. But they were always good for buying you lunch.

Which sales approach was the most successful? It’s easy for me to understand the value of a challenger salesperson when I envision the concept from the perspective of a customer interested in creating a top performing product or service.

Many CEOs worry about people in their organizations who make purchasing decisions based on the perks they get from relationship-building salespeople. For most, it is common sense that buying decisions should be based on what is a good business decision, not personal benefit.

I worked for one company, however, that became very proactive and made it a written policy to limit “gifts” from suppliers to incidental amounts. Lunch or dinner might be ok, but not vacations, cars, or other large gifts.

In one of my other assignments, the company where I worked was spending about $50 million on a factory expansion. Soon after all the contracts for construction were awarded, the lead facilities engineer for the project showed up driving the Lincoln Continental previously owned by the General Contractor. Even if this was an innocent, arms-length transaction, the perceptions created should have been enough to nix the deal.

As the leader in your business, how do you want people in your company to make decisions? And how do you think your customer counterpart wants their employees to make decisions?

Challenger Content is Neutral

Maybe you don’t agree with a focus on building a challenger sales organization. If you have a personal background from another selling profile or your organization is ingrained with another selling profile, you might find it difficult to change your approach.

It shouldn’t matter to your marketing content. All profiles can benefit from a customer teaching approach to your social media content. No one is hurt by this approach.


pic 292x280 - Challenging Your Customers

About the Author: Bob Kroon is a coach for high-performing Founders, CEO’s, and Owners. He founded Expeerious, LLC (expeerious.com) in 2015 to exclusively focus on coaching the success of Top Executives. For over 25 years, Bob served variously as CEO, COO, Division President, and Group Vice President.

The majority of his career was in manufacturing durable goods. Bob is an enthusiast and practitioner of Lean Thinking since 1986. He also has broad skills in M&A including financial modeling, deal structure, diligence, and post-close integration.

Bob’s current clients are diverse and include businesses in healthcare, agricultural products, robotics, luxury goods, and education.

To learn more about how Bob coaches and thinks, you can find over 200 questions he’s answered on Quora. Visit his website at: www.expeerious.com for additional blog posts.

A Lead That is Just Not Interested – Yet

You’ve identified a lead which appears to be a strong fit for what you do, but when you reach out to them they just don’t seem interested. In my last post, when I was explaining my take on example leads, I noted a lead which was a strong strategic fit and potentially a high value customer, but demonstrated a low amount of interest. I suggested you work to build interest.

If yours is a new or small company, you may have most of your leads fall into this category. The market segment you wish to serve may not know you or your company.

What do you do next?

To understand to fix, understand the problem. Likely you are dealing with people who at first see you as a stranger. We are all different but some people may be slower than others to trust you, your product or service, and your company. It may take you time to build familiarity, knowledge, and finally enough trust to make a purchase.

Stranger to Customer Chart - A Lead That is Just Not Interested - Yet

Figure 1: TIME is the element most necessary to build trust with leads.

It would be a mistake if you immediately give up your pursuit of leads which seem uninterested but a strong fit. View them as not interested … yet.

Here are some ways to build familiarity, interest, and trust in what you do:

  1. First of all, establish your own mindset. Your job is to build trust, not to see yourself as a victim of a “lack of trust”. If your trust-building efforts seem to be insufficient, it is your job to pivot on your tactics. Keep in mind you are managing a process.
  2. Be sure you’re personal online profiles align with what you do. Assume that your lead is going to assess your company and assess you.
  3. Solicit endorsements from other customers and put them on your website and personal profiles. These days, the first part of anyone’s diligence involves online searches. Control what they find.
  4. Be persistent with your digital media efforts such as blogs, postings, newsletters, and all social media campaigns. Many business people foolishly abandon their online marketing efforts before they give them a chance to succeed. BNI, an organization devoted to personal referrals coaches their members that it typically takes 9-12 months for others to give you referrals. I believe this is about the same amount of time you should see necessary for online content to be valuable to you.
  5. Promote content which adds value. Helpful hints about your business for example. Establish your industry knowledge.
  6. If you are pursuing high-value customers, consider doing events such as a “Lunch and Learn”. These serve two purposes as they enable customers to see you as a person as well as an opportunity to demonstrate your industry knowledge.

Enjoying this content? Click here to read the previous article in this series. 


pic 292x280 - A Lead That is Just Not Interested - Yet

 

About the Author: Bob Kroon is a coach for high-performing Founders, CEO’s, and Owners. He founded Expeerious, LLC (expeerious.com) in 2015 to exclusively focus on coaching the success of Top Executives. For over 25 years, Bob served variously as CEO, COO, Division President, and Group Vice President.

The majority of his career was in manufacturing durable goods. Bob is an enthusiast and practitioner of Lean Thinking since 1986. He also has broad skills in M&A including financial modeling, deal structure, diligence, and post-close integration.

Bob’s current clients are diverse and include businesses in healthcare, agricultural products, robotics, luxury goods, and education.

To learn more about how Bob coaches and thinks, you can find over 200 questions he’s answered on Quora. Visit his website at: www.expeerious.com for additional blog posts.

LEADS, LEADS, LEADS – TOO MANY LEADS

What do you do when you have too many leads? While this is a nice problem to have, it is still a problem. You may have limited resources for follow up and you wish to deploy them effectively.

In my last post, I discussed the importance of “keeping score”, measuring the effectiveness of your lead-generation activities. In this post, I’d like to expand my thoughts about the administration of your sales efforts.

Not all leads are equal.

Some may come from customers who are too small, others who are too distant. And some which are obviously not a fit for what you do. When you created your social media campaigns, you may have targeted some customers on the fringe of your desired profile.

There may also be differences in the need or enthusiasm a customer shows for what you do. If your product or service is relieving a pain point for a customer, the emotional aspect can sometimes become the most important determinant in the buying decision.

What is needed is a preliminary way to sort and filter your leads so you focus on the important ones.

In the table below, I illustrate 10 leads for a sample business. I presume some industry knowledge for myself and feel comfortable about assessing leads.

For each lead, I’ve made an assessment of the “Buying Power”, which is my way of estimating the long-term value of the potential customer. I also added a 1-10 rating on my instincts about the “Strategic Fit” for the lead. In the last column, I added a 1-10 rating for “Level of Interest” shown by the potential customer.CUSTOMER - LEADS, LEADS, LEADS - TOO MANY LEADSUnless you are specially skilled and patient about reading rows and columns of numbers, this tabulation doesn’t tell you much.

However, in the next step, I put the same information into a bubble chart which is shown below.

FIT - LEADS, LEADS, LEADS - TOO MANY LEADS

The upper right-hand quadrant contains the leads where both strategic fit and level of interest are above average.

The size of the bubble represents the buying power of the potential customer. In my example case, there are two leads which appear to be sizable and one which is relatively small.

Note in the lower right-hand quadrant there is a sizable lead where strategic fit is high but interest low.

If I was managing the leads for this company, my first efforts would be with the two sizable leads in the upper right-hand quadrant. I would also see what I could do to increase the interest level of the sizable lead in the lower right-hand quadrant.

The cost to acquire a customer might be a consideration with the others. If the cost is high, I probably would look for more leads as my next step. If the cost to acquire a customer is low relative to their value, I might consider pursuing the small opportunity in the upper right-hand quadrant.

Obviously, the leads in the lower left-hand quadrant are ones to be ignored or archived if there are limited resources.

The leads in the upper left-hand quadrant have a risk. These are interested customers where the strategic fit is poor. While you might be able to make the sale to these, they could turn out to be unhappy customers in the future. If you don’t think your product or service is a fit now, it is unlikely to be a fit later.

For the record, I did not use a special application to create these tables and bubble charts. What I show in this post was generated using Microsoft Excel.

Enjoying this content? Click here to read the previous article in this series. 


pic - LEADS, LEADS, LEADS - TOO MANY LEADSAbout the Author: Bob Kroon is a coach for high-performing Founders, CEO’s, and Owners. He founded Expeerious, LLC (expeerious.com) in 2015 to exclusively focus on coaching the success of Top Executives. For over 25 years, Bob served variously as CEO, COO, Division President, and Group Vice President.

The majority of his career was in manufacturing durable goods. Bob is an enthusiast and practitioner of Lean Thinking since 1986. He also has broad skills in M&A including financial modeling, deal structure, diligence, and post-close integration.

Bob’s current clients are diverse and include businesses in healthcare, agricultural products, robotics, luxury goods, and education.

To learn more about how Bob coaches and thinks, you can find over 200 questions he’s answered on Quora. Visit his website at: www.expeerious.com for additional blog posts.

You Aren’t Playing the Business Game if You Aren’t Keeping Score

You have a new website. Your social media efforts have expanded. Your personal profile is updated. You’ve done everything you need to do to increase leads to your business.

Or have you?

Do you measure your lead generation success? Is there a process in your business to record and track leads? Is your process managed?

In my last post, I emphasized the importance seeing your sales and marketing efforts as a process and not a person.

If you agree with my viewpoint, then it follows you need to carefully monitor your process. Simply executing is not enough. You want to be sure your process is actually working the way you intended.

A - You Aren't Playing the Business Game if You Aren't Keeping ScoreHere are some suggestions for managing the lead-generation part of your sales and marketing process:

  1. Know Your Goal. Are you trying to grow faster than your industry? Reach parity with your industry? Maybe you want to double or triple your business. Executives should establish a goal, even if it seems arbitrary and high. Simply said, if you want to double your business, you need to double your leads.
    You can’t get what you don’t ask for.
  2. Count Them. I see many businesses in my work and with most, I don’t see a system for counting and recording leads. If you don’t count them, you can’t know whether you’re getting more or less than last year or last month. Leads can serve as a leading indicator in your business. Knowing the trends might be useful for sales forecasts, budgets, resource planning, hiring, and cash flow planning.
    Maybe most importantly, this is the metric which is the best measure of the success of your marketing efforts. Do you let the momentum of what you’re doing keep you on the same path or do you decide to pivot on your approach?
  3. Filter Them. Be sure that leads are, well, “leads”. Many practitioners declare victory in their efforts by merely counting bodies. Getting more LinkedIn connections, Facebook-likes, or website page-views do not necessarily equate to getting more leads. The quality of the lead is important. If they are not decision-makers for what you do, or from a geography you don’t serve, or any reason they don’t fit your search profile, then they are not “leads”.
    Consider a system for sorting and ranking your leads.

Lead generation should not be viewed as the entirety of your sales and marketing efforts. There are other steps which should follow. However, lead generation is the beginning of your process and success further downstream is not likely if you don’t begin with success in increasing leads.

Enjoying this content? Click here to read the previous article in this series.


pic - You Aren't Playing the Business Game if You Aren't Keeping ScoreAbout the Author: Bob Kroon is a coach for high-performing Founders, CEO’s, and Owners. He founded Expeerious, LLC (expeerious.com) in 2015 to exclusively focus on coaching the success of Top Executives. For over 25 years, Bob served variously as CEO, COO, Division President, and Group Vice President.

The majority of his career was in manufacturing durable goods. Bob is an enthusiast and practitioner of Lean Thinking since 1986. He also has broad skills in M&A including financial modeling, deal structure, diligence, and post-close integration.

Bob’s current clients are diverse and include businesses in healthcare, agricultural products, robotics, luxury goods, and education.

To learn more about how Bob coaches and thinks, you can find over 200 questions he’s answered on Quora. Visit his website at: www.expeerious.com for additional blog posts.

 

Are Your Sales and Marketing Efforts a Person or a Process?

Many CEO’s, Founders, and Owners seem to lean towards the former rather than the latter. I think this a mistake, especially in today’s world of social media marketing.

Hiring a person as the way to grow your sales has its risks. Here are a few:

  1. It may take them several weeks or months to fully understand the value proposition for your business and the intended target audience.
  2. You might disagree with each other, particularly if you hire someone from your industry.
  3. You hire them expecting them to “know what to do” because “you don’t know what to do”. You shouldn’t take this as a criticism. We can’t know everything about everything.
  4. You end up with turnover and churn in the position. I’m reminded of an old baseball story. Leo Durocher, frustrated in spring training infield practice, asked for the glove of a young second baseman to demonstrate a technique. Leo promptly let the ball go through his legs. “See,” he said, “you’ve got this position so screwed up nobody can play it”.

When I coach business leaders about sales and marketing, I encourage them to see it at first as a process rather than as a person.

B - Are Your Sales and Marketing Efforts a Person or a Process?When you look at it as a process and start to map the steps, you end up with a very different outcome. To map the process, you need to identify, and therefore communicate, the target customer segment(s) you wish to serve. Next, the best practice is to align your website and your personal online profiles so they all say the same thing. Consistency is important.

Once this preliminary work is done, you can design the way you intend to get leads. You might use social media campaigns, online advertising, blog posts, or email campaigns. You might encourage referrals or do cold calling.

Whatever you do, at first consider it to be an assumption and prove to yourself it will work. If not, pivot on your plans and go a different direction until you are satisfied with the results you are getting.

Once you have established the process for getting leads, what is your process for following up? Do you make sales calls? Generate quotes? Do presentations? Do you track metrics for these activities?

After you have established a complete process for developing leads and closing sales, then you can plug people into the process and give them direction. And have a much better plan for growth.


pic - Are Your Sales and Marketing Efforts a Person or a Process?About the Author: Bob Kroon is a coach for high-performing Founders, CEO’s, and Owners. He founded Expeerious, LLC (expeerious.com) in 2015 to exclusively focus on coaching the success of Top Executives. For over 25 years, Bob served variously as CEO, COO, Division President, and Group Vice President. The majority of his career was in manufacturing durable goods. Bob is an enthusiast and practitioner of Lean Thinking since 1986.

He also has broad skills in M&A including financial modeling, deal structure, diligence, and post-close integration.

Bob’s current clients are diverse and include businesses in healthcare, agricultural products, robotics, luxury goods, and education.

To learn more about how Bob coaches and thinks, you can find over 200 questions he’s answered on Quora (quora.com). Visit his website at: www.expeerious.com for additional blog posts.

How to Publish on LinkedIn Pulse

What is LinkedIn Pulse?

Do you see the email & SMS notifications that refer to activity on LinkedIn Pulse and wonder how YOU can be featured? It’s actually quite easy.

First of all, LinkedIn Pulse is simply LinkedIn’s blogging platform. You can create and publish original articles right on LinkedIn and receive the following benefits:

  • More direct views than the blog on your website
  • More interaction with your articles (likes, comments & shares)
  • Articles added to your profile to help you create authority and trust
  • A means to get traffic to your website for increased SEO
  • LinkedIn rewards you with higher ranking

Secondly, there are two ways to publish on LinkedIn:

  1. Share an Update – these are similar to posts on Facebook. They appear on the LinkedIn stream, but not on Pulse. They are important, but not as juicy as posting an article.
  2. Publish a Post – these are the articles that appear on Pulse. You can add images and text, as well as, link back to your website.
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How to Get Started on LinkedIn Pulse

Getting started is easy.

  • Decide on a Topic – this should be similar to what you might publish on your blog, or it may be a summarization of an article on your blog, with a link to it.
  • Pick an image that represents the topic and that you want to be visible to anyone who sees the Pulse announcement.
  • Write your article and double-check it for spelling and grammar (I prefer to write all articles on a Word doc first, then copy/paste it.)
  • Keep track of the activity by watching the statistics on your LinkedIn homepage (see below).
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Publishing an article on LinkedIn should be a part of every business marketing strategy. If you need help with this, contact us!

How to Choose the Right Social Media Platform

These days, there are many avenues for you to share your message with the world. So many, in fact, it can be overwhelming when you’re first starting out or when you are too busy to manage many platforms. If you have to pick only one social media platform, below is a general guideline for choosing the right one for your messages.

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Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Business?

  • LinkedIn – Our number one choice for nearly ALL businesses. This is a professional network where people come expecting to talk business. Whether you are in B2B or B2C, LinkedIn is a MUST. Here you will find professional groups for every interest, business topic and industry. You start with a professional business profile, then you can create a company page where you showcase your products/services. People can connect with you directly or they can follow your company. There is less fluff on LinkedIn and the members expect to make introductions and network.
  • Facebook – number one for business to consumer (B2C). If you have retail products, personal development, consumer services or information, this is a great platform for you! This platform is third choice for us for B2B because it is highly consumer based. Don’t get me wrong – you should still have a presence on Facebook if you are a business to business company, but more for a branding perspective than for client acquisition.
  • Twitter – Twitter is also good for both B2B and B2C, but there is a science to using it. If you think you can just tweet once in a while, you are not maximizing the beauty of Twitter. Everything moves very quickly on Twitter, particularly if you follow a lot of people that follow a lot of people. Your message needs to be sent many times per day to have the widest reach. However, if you do it right, you will be amazed at the engagement (and new customers!) that you get.
  • YouTube – Who doesn’t like a quick, entertaining and informational video? 52% of marketers worldwide say that video produces the highest ROI for both B2B and B2C (syndcast). You don’t have to have a big budget to produce videos these days. Really, all you need is a smartphone and some creativity. If this overwhelms you, we recommend producing one video per month and sharing it on your other social media platforms just to get started. Keep in mind that when you have a YouTube video embedded in your website, Google looks more favorably on your site when it comes to search results.
  • Google+ – If you’re trying to reach a male audience, Google+ could be a good platform for you. 74% of the users are male and age 18-29 (SproutSocial). It’s great for information sharing and like YouTube, Google loves it when you post actively to Google+ (because it’s THEIR platform).
  • Pinterest – if you have visual products, Pinterest should be your first choice for social media (then link your Facebook and Twitter accounts to it!). Pinterest is particularly good for B2C markets and the demographic is still mainly women.

If you’re new to using social media for your business, we suggest picking one to start with. If you have the budget to pay someone to professionally manage it for you, then you can have a much more robust social media presence, which will, naturally, increase your results.

Don’t miss out on the great opportunity that social media offers your business. The potential reach far outweighs that of traditional marketing if you nurture and grow it over time.