How To Launch Anything

How To Launch Anything:

from Smashing Magazine Feed 

Launching a new product — especially your first — can be incredibly daunting. Even knowing where to turn for help can be hard. So many blog posts are full of free advice on how to successfully launch that I almost didn’t write another one. But many of the posts I read for my first product launch didn’t help me very much. The material was too fluffy, the marketing ideas were vague, or the advice didn’t apply to my tiny business.
Having launched five new products in fewer than nine months, I’ve turned product launches into a science. And while they never go perfectly, these ideas have helped me generate over $200,000 in revenue from online products, starting from scratch.
Let’s jump in.

Starting From Scratch

In July 2012, my blog had 100 subscribers. Two months later, I made $12,500 in sales in just one day. It turns out that you can start without an audience and still find success. I’ll assume you are starting from scratch, like I did.

A Product

The first thing you’ll need is a product or, rather, an idea of what your product will be. Waiting until your product is finished before marketing it is a terrible plan. For most products, the marketing should start as — or even before — the product is being developed.
Defining the product, with a tentative title, enables you to start identifying your target audience and putting together a marketing plan, which we’ll cover in a minute.


For a year, I wrote a meandering blog about nothing in particular. There were a few posts about design, some more on productivity, and the rest were random thoughts that didn’t fit any category. That year of posting was basically wasted because I came out of it with only 100 regular readers.
I was just a designer writing about random topics.
Then, in July 2012, I announced my first book, The App Design Handbook, and something changed. Just by announcing the book with a landing page, I suddenly had a purpose to my writing — to teach iOS app design. More importantly, everyone else’s perception of me changed as well. I wasn’t just another designer writing about anything that came to mind; I was an expert in designing iOS apps, writing a book to teach others to do the same.
My skill level hadn’t changed; I’d been a pretty good designer all along. But just announcing that I was writing a book completely changed the perception of my skill level and expertise.

Take Inventory: What Do You Have?

When my brother-in-law Daniel was 13 or 14, I would often find him walking out of a random room in the house. Confused as to why he was in there, I would ask him what he was doing. He would casually shrug and reply, “Just taking inventory.”
And he was. Later during a dinner conversation, someone would mention that they were looking for batteries, and Daniel would jump in and say, “Oh, you have some. They are on the top shelf of the closet.”
It was a strange habit, but also very helpful at times.
You need to take inventory of everyone and everything that could help you with this product launch: friends with popular blogs, an existing following in social media, and forums or communities you are a part of.
I may have felt like I was starting from nothing, but when I really took inventory, I saw that I had a few things going for me: 100 blog readers, 400 to 500 Twitter followers and a few influential acquaintances.

Start Teaching

When I learned about marketing in college, there was always one question I never got a good answer to: How do you get potential customers to pay attention to you? I knew about buying ads, building brand loyalty and running focus groups, but what if you didn’t have the time or budget for any of that?

Another Way

Back in 2006 I was spending all of my time getting better at Web design — particularly CSS. I was pretty good at coding cross-browser layouts, and I considered myself an intermediate Web designer.
At the same time, Chris Coyier started writing CSS-Tricks. I remember reading his first articles and thinking, “Oh, I know that already. What qualifies Chris to teach when he doesn’t know any more than I do?”
I was a bit arrogant.
But Chris kept putting out CSS tutorials, and I kept patting myself on the back for already knowing the skills he was teaching. But then, as my friends started asking me questions about CSS, I found myself linking to Chris’ articles, not just because they saved me the effort of having to explain myself, but also because they were really well written.
Fast forward another year or two, and I was consulting his articles myself, sometimes just for reference, but other times to learn new skills. While we started at the same level, Chris had improved much more quickly than I did. The difference was that he was teaching.
None of that shocked me. The real surprise didn’t come until July 2012, when Chris decided to redesign CSS-Tricks. In order to take some time off to work on the redesign, Chris launched a Kickstarter project, in which his fans could donate to the project and, in return, get exclusive access to a series of tutorials that he planned to record throughout the redesign process. His goal was to raise $3,500.
When the project closed, he had raised $89,697.

How Were Chris and I Different?

Chris and I started at the same skill level. Sure, he got a bit better at CSS over time, but what was it that gave him the ability to flip a switch and raise $89,697, when I couldn’t?
Clearly it had nothing to do with skill in CSS.
It had everything to do with the fact that he taught everything he knew, and I kept my knowledge to myself. Through teaching, Chris built an audience that benefited from his work and that was eager to pay him the moment he gave them an opportunity.

Teach Everything You Know

Teaching is how you get people to pay attention to you and your product without spending money on advertising. By giving away useful information, you will attract potential customers — and get them to trust you — because you’ve helped them so much.
Then, when it comes time to ask for a purchase, you will have become a trusted advisor, not a random company selling something on the Internet.

Announce Your Product

It’s now time to announce your product to the world. If you have a rough idea of the product and a working name, then you have everything you need. The second biggest mistake I see with product announcements is that the creator has waited too long to start generating interest.

A Landing Page

In order to announce your product, you’ll need a landing page. You can make this with LaunchRock, a WordPress plugin, some simple HTML code, or ConvertKit (my own product). Either purchase a new domain name (yourproductname.com) or use a subdirectory, like I do for my books (nathanbarry.com/authority). Either works. Just decide and move on.

Landing Page Elements

The page should lead off with a headline, preferably something that speaks to the pain you are trying to solve (CopyHackers has a guide on this). Beyond this, I like to include a paragraph or two that goes into detail, and then a screenshot or graphic that quickly gives the viewer an idea of the product. For books, I have a 3-D mockup of the book cover, a screenshot inside an iPhone (to represent an iOS app), and a screenshot inside a browser (for a Web application).

The Most Important Element

I mentioned earlier that launching late is the second biggest mistake I see on landing pages. What’s the first biggest mistake? Not using email.
It’s common to see landing pages that don’t offer a way to follow along with the progress. Sometimes the best option a visitor has is to follow the product on Twitter or Facebook.
Compared to email, Twitter and Facebook perform very poorly. Getting open rates over 50% on email is quite possible, whereas engagement on Facebook is often well below 15%. Most people deal with every message in their inbox, but they’ll miss your message on Twitter if they don’t sign in at the right time.
The most important element on your landing page is the email opt-in form. Your message could just say, “Enter your email address to follow the progress and be the first to hear when [product name] launches.”
Plenty of tools will help you capture email addresses. AWeber, MailChimp and Constant Contact all work just fine, but I created ConvertKit for exactly this process.

Start Sharing

Once your page is live, you can start promoting it. Start by sharing in social media and in any relevant communities you are a part of. Ask friends to share, introduce yourself to authors of relevant blogs, and ask for a link in relevant email newsletters.

The Blog Posts

A well-done landing page will get shared on its own if the product is engaging, but landing pages typically aren’t educational.
To get people in your industry to really advertise your upcoming product, you need to teach. Blog posts are a great way to do that. But don’t write posts like “Five Ways to Do X” or “13 Reasons You Should Care About Y.” Those fluffy list posts don’t convey expertise.
Instead, write a few definitive, in-depth posts on your topic. Each should stand by itself by including all necessary information. Could each article be a chapter in a book? If not, rewrite it until it is of that quality.
That’s the kind of content that will be shared and that will build an audience. This is the time for quality over quantity if you want your industry to really take notice.

Capture Email Addresses

In each post, make sure to link to and talk about your upcoming product. I like to do this briefly at both the beginning and end of the post, and in between wherever it makes sense. Just remember that you are teaching, not selling.
Then, at the bottom of every post, include an email opt-in form so that readers can hear more about your upcoming product. This will put the subscriber on the same email list as your landing page form.

Three Posts

I think three posts is the minimum to establish expertise and to maintain a good relationship with your subscribers. Many more and you probably aren’t putting enough effort into each one. Fewer than three and you won’t have enough content to build an email list.
Keep in mind that the goal is to get people who are interested in your product to sign up for the email list. Don’t worry about selling up front. Always start by teaching.

Stay In Touch

A visitor will come across your landing page soon after it is published, sign up and then move on with their life. When you email them in three months to say that your product is ready, do you think they’ll remember who you are?
Probably not.
Not only that, but they’ll wonder how you got their email address and will be tempted to hit the “Mark as spam” button. You don’t want to find yourself in that situation.

How Not to Kill Your Email List

Email lists don’t last forever. Any subscribers who haven’t been contacted in the last month start to go cold. After three to six months, your list is nearly dead.
Of all the assets in my business, my email list of 7,000+ engaged users is the most valuable. Letting anything bad happen to it would be foolish. Just never let the list go cold in the first place.
The easiest strategy is to provide valuable information on a regular basis. Luckily for you, those blog posts you’ve been writing are great content.
Let’s say you are able to get 50 subscribers just from your landing page being shared around the Web. (Don’t forget to ask your friends to share!) Send your first blog post to that list. Because they are interested in your product, they will be interested in your post as well. In that email, include a quick update on your progress with the product. Also, ask your subscribers to share this latest post.

Rinse and Repeat

That new post should get you more subscribers because you will have an opt-in form at the bottom. Now it’s time to write a second post. Let’s say you now have 100 subscribers, 50 from the landing page and another 50 from the new blog post. Send out the second blog post to all 100 subscribers, along with two things: a quick update on the product and a request to share the post with their friends and network.
Can you guess what’s next? Yep, repeat the process again. Write another detailed blog post, send it out to your now longer email list, update them on your progress, and ask them to share the post.

Other Sources

Sharing on social media isn’t the only way to draw attention to a product. Your landing page and each blog post can be shared on Hacker News, Reddit, Inbound.org, Designer News and StumbleUpon and in email newsletters (especially the ones that just aggregate links). These sources can all drive a lot of traffic.
Hitting the home page on Hacker News alone, which is not too hard with good, relevant content, can bring over 10,000 visits. These visits could turn into hundreds of email subscribers.
Make sure to share each post and your landing page individually with every relevant source.

Launch Sequence

Did you know you could do everything right up until this point and still have a failed launch?
I once launched a new workshop to a list of 5,000 designers and didn’t sell a single seat, all because I sprang it on them suddenly. There wasn’t any build-up or sequence to build desire or demand.
Remember how we sent blog posts to the email list as they were published, each with an update on the product? That’s part of the launch sequence, and it is insanely important. But that’s only part of it. You also need to communicate all of the dates and product details well in advance.

Communicate Every Detail

While talking a few months ago with a friend who was about to launch a product, I asked one important question, “Does everyone on your email list know that your product is launching tomorrow?”
He’d actually had a great launch sequence up until that point — a large email list and regular updates — but he had failed to mention the exact launch date. The next day his subscribers were going to get an email that they weren’t expecting, an email that asked them to hand over their hard-earned cash.
I always send a pitch email the day before a big launch. I want potential customers to have all the information they need to make a decision the day before they have an opportunity to buy. Then, on launch day, I send a simple announcement email. Most of those who received the launch email decided the day before whether to buy. Then, it is just a matter of getting out their credit cards to complete the purchase.
Whenever I receive an unexpected sales pitch, I try to decide right then whether I am interested. Even if I am interested, I may put off the purchase for a bit (maybe my credit card isn’t handy right then) or do some more research. Soon, I’ll have forgotten, moved on with work and never come back to buy.
That’s why sending all of the details, including the exact launch time, the day before is so important. Do that well and people will be actively refreshing your page to be the first to make a purchase!

Friendly Advice

So, that’s what my friend did to complete his launch sequence. Right after we finished speaking, he wrote an email to his list saying that the product would be available the following morning at a specific time. It would have been better had his readers been able to look forward to a launch date for a few weeks, but I’m sure announcing the day before had a big impact on sales.

Launch Day

We’ve been talking about product launches for about 3,000 words now, but we’re just now getting to the actual launch. Does that tell you anything?
I hope you’ve learned that the most important aspects of a launch happen long before launch day.

A Simple Email

Once the scheduled launch time rolls around, hit “Publish” on your sales page. Ideally, this will just replace the landing page that has been up for the last few months. Then, send the announcement email. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Aim for clarity above all else: “The product is live — get it here.” Include a short testimonial or two if you feel inclined.
The goal is to get your audience from the email to the sales page.
If the whole launch process has been done properly, you should get at least a few sales immediately. All three of my books had over $1,000 in sales within the first 10 minutes of the announcement email going out.

Contact Everyone

Now, spend some time looking beyond your email list. Contact every person who has helped you with the product. Thank them for their help, give them free access to the product, and ask them to share the sales page. Many will.
Then, submit your website to any news aggregators or blogs that write about you, and post in any communities that you’ve been a part of. Tweet, post to Facebook, and ask all of your friends to do the same.
Did anyone ask about your product in the last few months? (I hope so!) Email them to let them know it is now ready and waiting for their credit card number.
Then, take a break from the computer. You’ll need it.

One More Email

This last email is optional, but it tends to print money, so you may want to incorporate it.
I like to run a 20%-off launch day sale, first, to reward my early buyers for trusting me and being so eager, and secondly, to have a reason to send a reminder email at the end of the day saying that the sale is ending. A lot of people had intended to buy upon receiving the first email but, for whatever reason, didn’t. Looking at the sales hour by hour, can you tell when the second email was sent?

My second spike is pretty obvious. Sending that email made me at least an extra $4,000.

Let’s Review

Your sales will die down. Nothing will be as big as a proper launch, but just know that you went out with a bang and hopefully made some money in the process.
As a short review, here’s what you are going to do to launch your next product:
  1. Figure out what you can teach potential customers.
  2. Announce your product, with a landing page, as early as possible.
  3. Ask visitors to subscribe to an email list to stay up to date.
  4. Share the landing page everywhere possible online.
  5. Write an excellent blog post, and ask people to subscribe to hear about your product.
  6. Send this blog post to your email list, along with a product update.
  7. Share the post everywhere and with anyone who would find it relevant.
  8. Repeat steps 5 to 7 with two more blog posts, each time sending the latest post to the larger email list.
  9. Announce the launch date and other details as early as possible.
  10. Send an email the day before telling all subscribers to expect the launch the next day and telling them everything they need to know to make their decision.
  11. Send a simple announcement email.
  12. Work like crazy to promote your newly launched product.
  13. Send a follow-up email near the end of launch day telling your subscribers that the sale is ending and that they should purchase right away.
That’s it! You can do plenty more for an even more successful launch, such as write guest posts or form partnerships, but if you cover the basics outlined above, you are most of the way there.

A Free Course on Product Launches

I don’t want your launch education to end here, so I’ve put together a free three-week course called “Mastering Product Launches.” There will be some overlap between that content and this post, but the email course will walk you through each aspect of launching a product.

© Nathan Barry for Smashing Magazine, 2013.

10 interesting digital marketing stats we've seen this week

10 interesting digital marketing stats we've seen this week:

from Posts from the Econsultancy blog 
Here's some statistics we've seen this week, for your delectation.
For more digital marketing stats, check out our Internet Statistics Compendium.

Six second gold; the number of Vine tweets per second doubles in the last two months.

Unruly now helpfully compiles Vine metrics.
  • Vine currently has more than 13 million users.
  • Number of tweets containing a Vine link has risen from five every second during April to nine every second during the first three weeks of June.
  • Branded Vines are four times more likely to be shared than video ads.

Factors that affect search: ch..ch…changes.

Searchmetrics’ analysis of social signals looked for correlations between social activity and search ranking, with the obvious caveat here that search begets social, and vice versa.
  • Google plus ones correlate more strongly (a correlation coefficient of +0.4) with ranking than any other social media signals.
  • Facebook shares were the second most closely linked social signal with rankings - a correlation of +0.34.
  • Tweets on Twitter and Pins on Pinterest have lower correlations of +0.28 and 0.29 respectively.
The research goes on to look at keywords and their location. Search experts have long believed that sites that have a keyword in the domain name, such as carinsurance.com or paydayloan.com, tend to rank higher for relevant searches, but Searchmetrics’ study indicates this is now declining in importance.
  • The study found that having a keyword in the domain name has only a low positive correlation (+0.03) down from 0.11 in 2012.
  • Having a keyword in the URL or web page address has declined from a correlation of +0.04 in 2012 to an even lower 0.01 in 2013.
And backlinks are growing in importance. Although the correlation has decreased slightly between backlinks and search ranking, this is due to a marked increase in backlinks for some of the topmost search results.
  • Backlinks grow - all the pages ranking in the top 30 positions feature more backlinks on average than last year.

QR code penetration 

Only a quarter (25%) of smartphone owners have scanned a QR code in-store while 9% are still unaware of the technology.
The data comes from a Toluna survey of 1,000 UK consumers, the full results of which are included in our new Mobile Commerce Compendium.

In bitcoins we trust?

Research on the public awareness of Bitcoin was conducted by On Device Research in association with st-art, the organisers of the upcoming Bitcoin London conference.
  • A quarter of Americans questioned in a recent poll said they had heard of Bitcoin, 16% of these Americans have more trust in the digital currency than the US dollar.
  • In Argentina, 73% of respondents who have heard of Bitcoin trusted it, with 22% having more confidence in Bitcoin over the Peso.
  • 32.2% of Brits are aware of Bitcoins. 69% of Bitcoin-aware Brits trusted the digital currency, with 14% having more trust in it than the Pound. 

The website is firmly in the boardroom, but data only has a foot in the door.

Nearly 85% of board meetings cover performance of website, but less than a quarter make changes based on sophisticated data.
This survey by Decibel Insight, showed that:
  • 85%t of marketers are solely using a free analytics platform, while only 16 per cent have invested in paid-for platforms. 
  • Only 2% use a marketing automation platform.
  • 13% of marketers use visitor identification software. 

As we pray for an Indian summer, Greenlight analyses energy-related search terms.

Greenlight’s analysis of organic search and paid media listings established that:
  • In April, 235,050 queries were made by consumers searching for Energy-related terms on laptops/desktops and mobile devices (tablets & smartphones).
  • uswitch.com was the most visible advertiser for Energy-related searches on mobile devices, achieving a 90% share of voice. 
  • moneysupermarket.com was the most visible website for Energy-related searches on laptops/desktops, achieving a 72% share of voice.
 The chart below shows the most visible companies across paid media and search, for energy related queries.

Luxury retailers are more advanced than high street retailers, with a significant proportion investing into new technologies

Research by PlayNetwork sdfs
  • 90% of luxury retailers are offering in-store video, compared with less than half (44%) of high street retailers.
  • 30% of luxury retailers have trialled transparent screens in stores and no high street retailers have done so.
  • 20% of luxury retailers feature RFID microchips in items of clothing for shoppers to interact with, compared with no high street retailers.
  • 33% of high street retailers offer in-store Wi-Fi and 20% of luxury retailers provide this.
  • 40% of luxury retailers use tablets in stores, while 33% of high street retailers are doing so.
  • 44% of luxury retailers don’t have transactional mobile sites. Of those that do have transactional mobile sites, 56% offer product videos across their mobile stores.
  • All of the high street retailers allow shoppers to purchase via the mobile channel and just 22% of these offer video.

The best day to email depends on the market,and first movers into creative email programmes could enjoy success. 

A study by Experian looks at email opens, clicks and engagement. Findings show that markets vary in terms of best days to undertake email activity.
It's also the case that some countries, such as Spain are trailing with regards to implementing more creative programmes, such as cart abandonmnet emails.
 During the holidays, India and France experienced lower opens and clicks for weekends than weekdays. In the United States it was the reverse occurred, with higher engagement on weekends.
  • Australia, Singapore and New Zealand all have higher engagement during weekends than weekdays, yet Asia Pacific markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong and China are not deploying a large amount of holiday emails on weekends.
  • This might be a great test factor for email marketers sending to countries in Asia Pacific in order to optimize open and click rates of campaigns that currently are being deployed during the week.
  • Global brands can benefit from a “first mover advantage” in specific markets not yet email mature
  • Abandoned cart campaigns typically produce high response rates, especially in Spain where click rates during the holiday season were 13.2 percent.
  • However, many retailers in Spain are not using this form of remarketing, but should consider doing so especially during the holiday season.   
  • Birthday emails around the holiday season also can be used to catch buyers in a “gift-giving” or “gift-receiving” mood.  They are an easy win for email marketers, yet no Asian brands are employing this tactic.

Understanding the customer experience

Econsultancy's Reducing Customer Struggle report, in association with IBM Tealeaf, contains some great insights into what methods companies are using to test custoemr experience, and which they think are effective.
There's an interesting disconnect, with lots of people using methods they don't necessarily view as effective, and lots not yet undertaking work that could be very insightful. It's likely that a blend of approaches leads to these kind of results but online focus groups and digital replays are certainl underused. Here's the chart:

How do companies integrate online and offline worlds?

The same report contains some interesting findings about which offline/online tech is being employed by companies.

7 Nurture Programs You Need To Have

7 Nurture Programs You Need To Have:

from Business 2 Community 
7 Nurture Programs You Need To Have image nurture programs 300x294Despite the capabilities of modern marketing automation platforms, many B2B marketers still approach nurture with a short term mindset.
Your primary goal is to increase engagement, raise lead scores and pass a more active “lead” to sales as quickly as possible.
The result is often a series of short term “nurture” programs combined with campaign blasts sent sporadically to a huge list of inactive contacts.
Yes, it may be an improvement from when all you had were batch email blasts, but you can and should do so much more today.

The Right Way To Approach Nurture

Nurturing needs to be approached with a long-term view. After all, if someone was ready to talk to sales today, you wouldn’t need to nurture them!
Rather than just focusing on short-term programs that quickly drive engagement (likely from those that were already well into the purchase process), recognize many contacts will not be ready to engage anytime soon, but will become valuable opportunities in the future.
To handle these contacts and the ones you may already be nurturing successfully today, here are seven different types of prospect nurture programs you need to create.

Long-Term Nurture Programs

These programs reach potential prospects that are not in market today and may run for years. Rather than identifying every piece of content and communication that will be sent (which 24 months later may be completely out of date), you will need to define the structure and criteria for your content and communications and continue to update individual touches.
1. Background Nurture
People that have downloaded content, scanned a badge at your booth, or otherwise ended up in your marketing database but are not in the market today need to go into a background nurture program. For some businesses, this may mean six emails a quarter, for others it might only be two. Whatever it is, it will be the slowest cadence of all of your nurture programs and it will likely lean heavily on email.
2. Lost Opportunities
What happens when someone selects a competitor? You begin a fresh nurture program! Over a 6 to 12 month window for many companies, your content must be 100% educational and applicable to companies not using your solutions. If you are selling at this juncture, you will be tuned out and breaking back in will be difficult. When this nurture stream is complete, contacts should be rolled into your background nurture.
Long-term nurture programs allow you to establish awareness and educate tomorrow’s buyers (who may even be with another employer at that time!) outside of high cost advertising campaigns, events or other traditional marketing activities.
For many companies, simply maintaining visibility and increasing mindshare between buying cycles will be more valuable than actively pushing towards a change and the start of a new buying process.

Short-Term Nurture Programs

What happens once someone begins to actively engage with your long-term nurture programs? That’s when all of the short term nurture campaigns you have likely already created kicks in!
Here is a snapshot of the short-term nurture scenarios you will need to accommodate.
3. Welcome Track
Anyone that engages with you for the first time but that you have limited information about should be placed in a welcome track program. This should include a series of follow up communications to that first interaction with a range of content topics, stages and formats, allowing you to collect both implicit and explicit information about likely buying stage and content preferences.
This is a good place to include direct mail as part of nurture for contacts that fit your high value firmagraphic profile.
Contacts that do not engage in your welcome track should be added to your background nurture.
4. Event Followup
Tradeshows, local events, even webcasts often warrant a specific series of followups that build on the topic and content from the event.
Depending on the type of event and information you have on each person, contacts that don’t engage at all may be moved into the active prospect program or put into your background nurture.
5. Active Prospects
Until now, nurture content hasn’t actually been mapped to the buyers’ journey. That’s because you don’t actually know where someone is in the buyers journey from a form or a single interaction! Engagement in long-term, welcome track and event followup programs helps you to identify where a prospect is in their buying process.
However, once prospects are engaged (or you identify a clear pattern of behavior at the prospect company level), contacts should be moved into a nurture stream that specifically maps too and moves through the buyers journey.
Consider moving contacts that have disengaged to your lost opportunity program instead of your background nurture.
6. Sales Triggered
Marketing automation isn’t just for marketing programs. Your sales team can use a nurture program to augment their own contact with a prospect and provide additional educational material around a key topic they have identified.
Without excellent sales and marketing alignment and integration, your sales team likely will not use these programs. However, in the right environment it can significantly improve the prospect experience versus a single email with a series of links or attachments from a salesperson.
7. Warm Up
What happens when a lead passed from marketing isn’t accepted or qualified by sales? To often these contacts fall into a communication black hole!
You need to bring these contacts back into a nurture program that keeps you in front of them and provides the information they need until they are ready to connect with sales. Similar to the welcome track, this nurture program will need to offer an array of content in order to reassess where someone is in their buying process.

In Summary

Take a long-term view and add long-term nurture programs to your current mix in order to meet the needs of contacts that are not in a purchase process today.
Although you will be able to consolidate some of these programs, with multiple communication touches, branching logic and flavors for various audiences and initial touchpoints, this will still look like a lot more than seven different nurture streams in your marketing automation platform!
By covering the requirements for each of these programs, your communications will be appropriate for warm and cold contacts, short-term and long-term purchase horizons and new contacts that you simply don’t have enough information about yet.

Your Turn

When you consider all of the permutations, this list can become overwhelming. Are there components you feel are simply never needed and you would remove? Alternatively, What would you add to this list? Share your view in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).
Photo Credit: pontman via Flickr cc

5 Ways to Grow Your House Email List

5 Ways to Grow Your House Email List:

from B2B Marketing and Lead Generation | Optify 

email nurturing

Growing your house list is a great email marketing tactic to nurture prospects until they’re ready to buy. It’s also a great way to constantly and consistently provide your community with valuable, compelling content to keep your brand top of mind and to grow your authority as a thought leader in your space.
So how exactly should you go about growing your house email list so that you can use it to its fullest potential?

1. Offer free content for download

One of the most appropriate and effective ways to grow your contact list with leads at the top of the marketing funnel is to find need through education. Creating downloadable content like eBooks, infographics, podcasts, videos, whitepapers, revenue calculators, etc. can help connect you with prospects who are in the research phase.
A note on lead quality: If they weren’t looking for some sort of a solution, why would they download the content in the first place? While these may not be the most sales-ready leads, they’re great for email nurturing and many times warm up and convert to customers down the line.

2. Contact us / get a quote / free consultation forms

This is the simplest way to grow your contact list. Any company can do this by creating a simple form and placing it on your homepage, Contact Us page or making a call-to-action graphic linked to a landing page. This helps prospects who aren’t the type to pick up the phone and call the sales line. Typically they prefer to communicate via email have you call them. If you have a website and are offering a service or product, this is the most important form you can place on your site.
A note on lead quality:
Prospects who fill out this form can be on any side of the hot-cold lead spectrum. The majority will be sales-ready leads in buying mode or want a consultation before buying. Some will be spam or trying to sell you something themselves.

3. Product brochures and pricing breakdowns:

A great way to convert leads who are a bit beyond the research phase is to create calls-to-action on pricing and product pages where prospects can get more in-depth information about pricing and product specifications. Many companies already have the pricing and product brochures published, so creating this campaign is very easy. Just hide the pricing / product page and link to them from a landing page so you’re sure to capture that valuable lead information.
A note on lead quality: Prospects who are doing their due diligence and researching pricing or products tend to be sales-ready leads and are usually willing to take a call from a sales person. These leads should be scored higher in your lead intelligence or analytics system.

4. Host a free webinar

While a webinar is more of time and resource investment, it can help you cast your net further. Webinars will drive new leads who are sales-ready and some who can be put into an email nurture track. A webinar can be in the form of a free class about your product, problems or questions surrounding your product or industry. There are several services that specialize in hosting and advertising webinars, including BrightTALK, GoToWebinar or ON24.
A note on lead quality: Typically, webinar leads are quality sales-ready leads or leads deeper into the research phase. When a prospect attends a webinar, they’re investing their time, which means they have more need than someone who simply downloaded a free guide. All of these leads should be followed up with by a sales rep and put in an email nurture track.

5. Giveaways and contests

A great way to grow your list and learn more about your market is to offer a promotion, giveaway or contest, like a chance to win a free iPad for filling out a survey or subscribing to your blog. A giveaway can help bring more awareness to your brand, product or service. It also helps build your community.
A note on lead quality: These leads are typically not sales-ready, but great for warming up with email nurturing and eventual calls from sales reps to qualify them.
The post 5 Ways to Grow Your House Email List appeared first on Optify.

Sales Training Article: How to Engage Customers

Sales Training Article: How to Engage Customers:

Sales Training Article: How to Engage Customers

By Geoffrey James, INC - Sales Source

sales training companyTo get customers interested in what you're selling, make your sales message about your customers.
You're excited about your company, right? You're proud of your products, right? Therefore, your best strategy, when talking to a customer, is to tell the story of your company and its products with excitement and enthusiasm, right?
Customers don't care about your company. They don't care about its products. And they certainly don't care about your personal feelings towards your company and its products.
What customers care about is... themselves.
The failure to realize this simple fact about human nature is why most companies have sales and marketing messages that make customers shrug.
Over the past few years, I have reviewed hundreds of sales messages. In almost every case, these messages are all about the seller and the products being sold. They leave it up the customer's imagination to figure out "what does all of this mean to ME?"
Which leads us to the two sentences that are the most important to your customers and prospective customers:
  • "Our clients hire us to provide [benefit(s) to the client.]"
  • "They hire us, rather than somebody else, because [something unique that the competition doesn't have but the customer values.]"
Notice that both of these sentences position you, the seller, as a catalyst that helps the customer achieve the customer's goals, and then positions your firm as only catalyst that can do the job right. Here are some examples:
Example 1:
"Acme specializes in consumer-validated 360 degree product development via our patented sequential market research process, which has been successfully applied to the fast moving consumer goods industry. In the past 24 months we have created $2.9 billion in innovative business opportunities for our clients.
"Consumer goods companies hire Acme to create new products for them, and market both those new products and their existing products. Because we base our efforts on meticulous research into target markets, we've generated over $2.9 billion in new revenue for our clients over the past two years."
Example 2:
"Several years ago, Acme saw a problem in the transportation industry: that the process of valuing and transferring ownership of transportation businesses is a very unstable and unpredictable process. And as a result, many hardworking owners were unable to cash out of their businesses when they wanted to. Basically they shut the doors. Acme is built to specifically address this industry problem--we help buyers and sellers alike start a new chapter in life.
"Entrepreneurs hire Acme to sell or acquire transportation businesses like limousines, buses, and ambulances. We can help them negotiate the best and most reasonable price because we have 20 years of experience with this type of business."
Can you see the difference? The original messages force the customer to figure out what it all means to the customer. The rewritten messages express what's being provided from the customer's viewpoint.
In other words, to engage customers in a conversation about the possibility of hiring you or firm, make the message about the CUSTOMER rather than about YOU.

sales training companyNeed some help with your sales performance? Take a look at the sales training workshops available to you and improve sales performance.
Read more sales training articles from CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company.

What Does Inbound Marketing Include

What Does Inbound Marketing Include:

from Business 2 Community 
What Does Inbound Marketing Include image what inbound marketing agencies do 300x300Ever wondered what does inblund marketing include ? Well waht better perspective to tell it from an inbound marketing company that help companies get found and maximise their return from digital marketing.
Traditional outbound marketing agencies have relied on broadcasting message to individuals or companies that represent a certain target profile or market segment using mainstream media.
However, there is no guarantee with this approach that members of these audiences are actually in a position to buy or even consider your product or service in the first place.
On the other hand people that are actively seeking your product or service or wishing to learn about their situation or problem in order to understand what product or service they may need are potential customers that you should be engaging.
The Internet is the arena where Inbound Marketing comes to life as its where potential customers seek out knowledge and potential suppliers. The Internet however is a complex and fragmented marketing arena which is why specialist agencies and technologies have developed to assist companies looking to engage audiences online more effectively.
Whilst the right technology will certainly help to improve your results, by itself its not enough, so here is an overview of 8 steps that an Inbound Marketing agency would perform in order to make a significant difference on your online marketing results and help answer the question what does inbound marketing include.

Positioning You And Your Business In The Market

  • Clearly define and differentiated your business.
  • Understand where its going and how you’re going to get there.
  • Define who your business specifically appeals to and why.
  • Detail what triggers will be used to get your business found online.
  • Be clear about why people should buy from you.
  • Describe how its going to be explained.
  • Nail down your sustainable advantage and the value you bring to the market
  • Explain what you need to do to be seen as the leader in your market.

Developing Your Core Online Presence

  • Establish a website with the systems for lead generation and content publishing.
  • Produce key content that connects with visitors to your website.
  • Develop landing pages and offers that convert visitors into leads.
  • Build in on-site SEO to improve the chances of being found.

Defining Your Key Audiences & Personas

  • Who is your customer and what challenges do they face.
  • Determine who beyond your immediate customers your marketing should influence.
  • What stand or issue can you champion to polarise your positioning.

Setting Objectives & Goals

  • Establish how you will define success.
  • Which keywords, what levels of traffic and the splits between paid and organic traffic.
  • Number of conversions and resulting sales.
  • Positioning in search engines and referrals from social media.
  • Media enquiries, subscribers, downloads and inbound links.
  • Retention and on-going engagement from current and future customers.

Developing Campaigns

Search Marketing – How will you get found in local search, paid search and organic (SEO) search and for what keywords and how will you measure it, what landing pages will you need and how will link building be done to increase your sites authority.
Social Marketing – Listening, learning and engaging through blogging, crowdsourcing, forums, conversation monitoring, bookmarking, networking and surveys.
Content Marketing – What content will you produce to establish your competitive advantages such as articles, blog posts, case studies, eBooks, images and vidoes, webinars and ebooks.
Public Relations – Sharing your unique story, creating connections, gaining influence, building loyalty without being solely reliant on main stream media. Connect with market influencers at all levels from analysts to employees.

Helping You Allocate Budgets

  • Switching budgets from paying for exposure to paying for engagement.
  • What needs to be done to improve your current online marketing
  • The content that will need to be created to engage audiences.
  • Transitioning from paid to organic search marketing
  • How goals will be reached given current skill levels, competition and commitment.

Project Managing

  • Set realistic milestones and activity to reach goals.
  • Establish customer training for participation and involvement.
  • Set out key editorial calendars and alignment.
  • Launch company blog.
  • Distribute SEO press releases.
  • Engage paid marketing campaigns.
  • Broadcast videos.
  • Complete competitive analysis for benchmarking.
  • Set monthly campaign.
  • Monitor social media stream.
  • Publish case studies.

Setting Up Analytics & Performing Analysis

  • Define meaningful metrics that can be monitored and evaluated.
  • Tracking core metrics like leads, sales and loyalty.
  • Monitor key events and triggers to understand their impact on marketing outcomes.
  • Feeding back results into the plan so that it can be updated and improved.
A platform is key to performing this activity reliably and consistently which is why various inbound marketing software applications exist to help with this endeavour.

How a Marketing Leader Saved the Year for Sales

How a Marketing Leader Saved the Year for Sales:

from Sales Force Effectiveness Blog 
CMO Saved Year For Sales AwardEvery Marketing Leader wants to avoid getting labeled that they deliver poor leads.  CMO’s strive to run best-in-class programs. They love successful programs.  They love industry recognition and awards.  That’s why it stings when you feel like the sales team is your downfall. This reminds me of a story from a client this time last year.  She uncovered the root problem for sales and helped them make the company number.
Meet Kathy, a VP of Marketing whose team supports a 25+ sales rep company.  She had believed her sales & marketing organization was perfectly aligned until a problem occurred.  Q3 was approaching and the sales team was demanding more quality leads. Kathy’s team had rocked Q1 and didn’t suspect any future shortfall.  In fact, they had doubled down on what was working well in Q1.  They were also investing more in social media.  What could go wrong with that?  In Kathy’s eyes, she was setting the company up for a great year.

Q2 is now at its end

Sam, the VP of Sales is knocking at Kathy’s door.  He was getting beat up by the CEO.  The Q2 review did not go well.  He said, “My sales managers pointed to the lack of leads as their downfall.”  Sam, who is usually very friendly to Kathy, is upset with her.  He was banking on a quarterly bonus to take his family to Disney World.  Now he’s worried about his job and thinks Kathy’s team is to blame.  Marketing proves to be an effective scapegoat.
Kathy thinks to herself, it is Sam’s fault.  We are running a world-class marketing department. Her staff is full of ‘A’ players and trusted disciples of her direction.  This must be a problem with the Sam’s team.  Kathy’s now worried that Sam’s team’s inability to close leads will ruin her reputation.

The next day

After Kathy had time to reflect, she rolled up her sleeves. She was determined to find a solution to help Sam fix the problem.  Not knowing where to start, she started googling.  This led her to become overwhelmed with information and noise.  She forwarded a few articles to her team to research but nothing earth shaking.  Next, she decided to reach out to her peers on LinkedIn.  She asked her personal network of CMO friends for advice.
That week, she got a reply from what she now calls, “the best recommendation ever”.  This was a reply from Mark, a CMO of a software company with 125+ reps.  His message to her was to “Read SBI’s blog like it’s the Gospel”.  He said, “Some days the blog posts are written to marketing leaders.  Some days it’s written to others in the sales organization.  However, I read almost all of them.  It gives me a well-rounded sense of how sales & marketing work together. It gives me a glimpse into other world-class organizations.  It’s like knowing how a fine tuned engine should look and sound.  The best part is every post provides a tool or guide. I think I have more downloads from SBI content than I have from iTunes.”  Kathy was intrigued enough to subscribe.

A month later

Kathy’s turnaround started taking shape after she read a post on lead generation alignment.  The tool provided in the post only took her 7 minutes to discover the root problem.  Her team and the sales team were in fact not aligned.  The 10 Point Checklist for Lead Gen Alignment surprised her of the result.  The guidance included deep definitions of world-class attributes of sales and marketing alignment.  She realized the specific feedback her team was receiving was just mud.  There were no specific details on why the leads were no good.  In addition, this root problem uncovered they needed a Return to Nurture program.
With this discovery, things only got better. When Q4 arrived, Sam’s team had more sales ready leads than they could handle.  Enough momentum had built up that the year-end number was met with the close of a deal just before New Year’s Eve.

Key takeaway:

Even if you think your marketing team is delivering flawlessly.  Invest ongoing time in reading and benchmarking against other world-class organizations.  Kathy thought her team was perfect and it was all Sales fault.  The fault was that both Marketing and Sales were not aligned like she believed.  This resulted in poor practices that hurt the sales reps that Marketing was supporting.  Just like the routine maintenance on a car, check your alignment often.  Download the 10 Point Checklist for Lead Gen Alignment.

sbi on linkedin
Follow @SearchMaster
Follow @MakingTheNumber
If you enjoyed this post, never miss one again by subscribing your Email Here and/or subscribing to the RSS Here.

Gravity is NOT a Strategy – Reassessing the Lead Funnel Model

Gravity is NOT a Strategy – Reassessing the Lead Funnel Model:

from Business 2 Community 
I recently stumbled onto a hidden flaw in one of the most central concepts of demand generation. It has to do with the classic lead funnel model that we all know and love. You know, the one that actually looks like a funnel and has ever-shrinking sections to illustrate that you start with lots of leads at the top and end at the bottom with…less.
(Actually, now that I think about it there are two flaws. I just realized that everything that goes into a funnel in real life actually comes out the bottom. That’s not what the lead funnel illustrates at all – but I digress.)
The big “Aha!” moment came when someone mentioned that real funnels leverage gravity to draw the material through. But if you tried to use a real funnel in outer space, the material would just sit in it for the most part, and that’s assuming you could get it into the funnel to begin with, because it would not go in by its own volition. So it is with many lead funnels in the B2B marketing galaxy: the funnel just sits there, waiting for gravity to push leads into it and ultimately pull them through the other end.
The problem is that leads are people. The only thing gravity does to people is keep them on the planet – it won’t put them in the lead funnel and it certainly won’t pull them through.  To make any of that happen, you have to first identify what will drive them into the funnel, and then, what will push them through to the other end.
But don’t fear, because it’s not rocket science! You just have to employ a structured and strategic approach to filling and moving leads through your B2B marketing funnel:

  • Define the personas to whom you’re marketing
  • Create content that is interesting or relevant to them
  • Serve it up in a way that engages and inspires them
Combine that with the technology to provide reporting and analytics, the people who can make it happen, and the process to keep it consistent. You now have a winning strategy to drive revenue. As I said, it’s not rocket science at all. It’s actually revenue marketing™.
So from now on, I will boycott the traditional lead funnel model. Instead, I will use graphics in my presentations that illustrate a left-to-right lead funnel model rather than a top-down lead funnel model.
Because gravity is NOT a strategy.

The Fear In Cold Calling

The Fear In Cold Calling:

from Business 2 Community 
The Fear In Cold Calling image The Fear In Cold Calling1Based on several researches about fears, they say that the number one fear for the majority of us is public speaking, followed by death. Who would’t agree? One would rather lie down and let every single cell in his body die down than place himself in front of a very large crowd and utter a single sentence before them. Ridiculous, but true; and cold calling is not an exemption.
Considering this situation for instance: a man, who is confident, self-motivated, and a challenger who’s almost always ready to leap the highest mountains in just a single bound is suddenly stuck on his feet and eaten up by his anxieties over a single phone call with the possibility of closing a deal to a prospective buyer?
The famous four-letter word is the answer— FEARThat absurd and bizarre feeling when your in a middle of something wherein you seemed so fully geared up towards achieving something and on a spur of moment, all of these simultaneously collapsed because of the quivering butterflies in your stomach.
In the point of view of someone who’s not in the business of generating leads through the process of telemarketing, the mere fact of making a call to a prospect and explaining to him everything about your product is nothing but a petty thing. Anyone can make and take a call. After all, a telephone is just a harmless machine that could not, in any possible way, end your life after a series of phone calls.
However, this doesn’t work for telemarketers. For them, there would always be endless factors for experiencing cold call anxiety syndrome that could somehow poison the results of their endeavor. At some point, their hearts beat faster, their hands get too sweaty, and their teeth starts to clinch. Yes, it happens every time, all the time.
Nothing is easy and accessible in a blink of an eye, especially in the present time where everything gets complicated including the people; so basically, it is normal to feel agitated at times. No matter how skillful and confident you are in handling certain things, fear is certainly not a crime to be felt and to be experienced.

Ultimately, in the world of business process outsourcing, we are all social creatures alike; we all want to be accepted, to be part of the circle, and most importantly, to receive applauses and not boos.
“In the end, we have to bear in mind the beauty and the beast of cold calling, that is, it’s over in a matter of seconds.”
Content Resource: Leads Generation Marketing Blog

Sales Prospecting: The Art of Following Up

Sales Prospecting: The Art of Following Up:

from Sales Motivation and Sales Training 
prospecting and communication 300x240 Sales Prospecting: The Art of Following Up photoFinding new customers is the bane of most salespeople, yet too many times, the reason it is so difficult is salespeople give up too easily.
Really, I should say it’s not that salespeople give up too easily — it’s that they just don’t follow-up.
For some reason, too many salespeople believe if they make one phone call, send one email or mail one letter to a prospect, then that is all it takes.
There is this magical belief that the single communication will be enough to open doors.
People who believe that are the same people who believe the tooth fairy is real and there is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.
Go ahead and say you’re not that type of salesperson, but don’t look too closely into a mirror. You just might see yourself doing exactly what I’ve described: Relying on one outreach to a prospect to be enough.
Prospecting requires following up again and again.
It’s not a one-inning baseball game.  Is there a magic number?  No. It varies by industry, customer profile and a number of other criteria. But the number I tell people to start with is six.
I believe six contacts to a prospect is the minimum to determine if they might become a customer.
The six contacts should be staggered over a period of time, such as one to two months, and should consist of different delivery forms. Each delivery should focus on a different need.
Read what I wrote in the previous paragraph.
Do you measure up?  Most people don’t.  Let’s not forget, I said six should be the “minimum.” I’ve had prospecting campaigns run as long as 30 contacts for some industries.
The key is to have a plan and to follow-through.
The worst thing you can do is to spray your prospects once and then never let them hear from you again.  That is not sales prospecting. That is spraying and praying and sorry, but it’s not going to work.
Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.
button receive a free9 300x51 Sales Prospecting: The Art of Following Up photo

Another New Sales VP - Now What?

Another New Sales VP - Now What?:

from Sales Force Effectiveness Blog 
C  Users Patrick Seidell Pictures Dealing with Work from Home Stress[1]The average tenure of a B2B Sales VP is about 18 months.  That means roughly one-half of B2B sales VP’s last less than 18 monthsToday's post provides ways sales operations can deliver value quickly to a new sales VP.  A complete guide will be available for download at the end.

Here's part of the dialog from a recent call with a sales operations leader.
"Dave" calls to tell me his boss, the EVP of Sales has just been fired.  I ask him what he was planning given the news.  The silence on the phone stretches on.  After a few more seconds, Dave finally lets out a sigh.  “I haven’t really thought about it.  I’m still shell-shocked.  I thought he turned the corner with the CEO.  I guess I was wrong…”
“Well, do you want to stay with the company?” I ask.  “Right now, yeah, I want to stay.” replies Dave.  “OK, then, you need a plan when they bring the new guy in.  What's the plan?”  The question was greeted with the barely audible hum of static on the line.
Sales VP churn isn’t getting any better.  Impatient CEO’s, Boards and Market Analysts are seeing to that.
The fear of the unknown is worse than the known.  Who will they hire?  What are their plans when they come in?  How do they view sales operations?  Before the new leader starts is when you need to begin to take action.

Provide a Roadmap To Making The Number

In general terms, the first 90 days are most critical.  For both you and the new VP.  Opinions are formed.  Working style is assessed.  Value is measured.  You need to be prepared for these first 90 days with a new VP.  Before they walk into their new office, develop the following:
  • Scorecard - Distilled, objective data to begin a team assessment.  Your data must be rock-solid.  It must be reflective of performance / desired outcomes.  This is a starting point.  Competency and skills assessments must be used to augment performance data.
  • Quick Wins - Identify 2-3 “quick wins” that will have near-term impact for your new leader.  These quick wins must also fit into the bigger strategic picture.  Be prepared to discuss why these will work and why they are important.
  • Strategic Initiatives - Identify 2-3 bigger initiatives that you’re confident will support longer-term success.  Frame out these initiatives.  What they cost and what they will return.  What is the priority and timing.  Who will own them and who’s needed to execute them.
  • Sales Disablers - Identify 2-3 conditions that exist that have a direct negative effect on sales.  An example could be low selling time.  Redundant reporting platforms.  Misaligned or duplicated resources.  Ensure you’re looking at things you and/or your new boss can affect.  Have a solution set and the business case for each viable solution.
Download the complete guide here.  Think of this as your 90-day action plan and SWOT for the new VP.   Delivered with unimpeachable data and experience that’s objective.  Delivered within the first week they are on the job.  Make it easy to digest.
The more quickly you can help them make progress, the better off you both are.  This will provide them with a strategy toward making progress early in their tenure.

Deliver An Executive Summary

In addition to the above, there are other items you should package together.  Providing the below list to your new boss will further illustrate your value.  This list will give your new boss the “lay of the land” for Sales and Sales Ops.  Keep these all as brief as possible.  Your new boss will be drinking from a fire hose.
  • Bullet summary of your key accountabilities and KPI’s
  • Sales Process / CRM Overview – Provide a view of the pipeline, the sales process, forecasting and the CRM tool being used.
  • Compensation – Overview of compensation models and exception handling.  Include attainment distribution, payout averages, ranges by role, industry benchmarks and cost verses budget.
  • Quota Setting Process
  • Territory Design / Structure Process
  • On-Boarding – Summary of process for onboarding, training modules, technology set-up, etc.
  • Job Descriptions and Scorecards by role
  • Social Selling Guidelines
  • Competitive Landscape
  • Sales & Marketing Alignment – Lead Generation, Management, Nurturing and Handoff.  Shared KPI’s, etc.
Even if your Sales VP’s has not been fired, don’t ignore this advice.  Now is the time to put all of this together.  If you have strong opinions of what’s working and what’s not, share them.  Recognize that a new sales leader will likely make big changes.  Help them focus on the changes that will drive tangible results.
Before your new sales VP arrives, connect via LinkedIn.  See what you can learn about him.  Prepare your team.  After your VP arrives make them successful.  Become their strategic “Chief of Staff”.  Help them catch-up quickly and hit the ground running.

sbi on linkedin
Follow @pseidell
Follow @MakingTheNumber
If you enjoyed this post, never miss one again by subscribing your Email Here and/or subscribing to the RSS Here. Comments are welcome below.


[Video] 3 Doable Strategies to Increase Sales Productivity

[Video] 3 Doable Strategies to Increase Sales Productivity:

'via Blog this'

Economic Value Estimation®: The Case of Zipcar

8 Reasons Your Customers Don’t Care

8 Reasons Your Customers Don’t Care:

from Sales Motivation and Sales Training 
customer doesnt care 180x300 8 Reasons Your Customers Dont Care photoIf you want to close more sales, you better first do something about these 8 reasons your customers don’t care:
1. Why should they care about you when you don’t care about them?
Don’t even try faking it. If you do try to fake that you care, your customer will throw you out even faster.  Successful salespeople care about their customers.
2. There is no difference between what you’re selling and what your competitor is selling.
If you can’t come up with at least 5 reasons why you’re different than your competitor, then how will you ever expect the customer to buy from you?
3. Zero credibility.
There is nothing you’ve said or done that has even one ounce of credibility.   Customers will pay for trust and confidence. In fact, they will pay big money for trust and confidence.   Structure your sales process to allow them to see it.
4. The customer thinks you’re a loser based on how you present yourself.
You wouldn’t want to do business with a loser, so why should your customers?  If you can’t present yourself properly, then how will you ever build trust and confidence?
5. You, the salesperson, comes across as the person who knows it all and is not hesitant to tell everyone how smart you are.
Salespeople who are trying to build their self-esteem off their customers shouldn’t be in sales.  They should be back in middle school where they belong.
6. The customer doesn’t have to talk because you the salesperson is doing all the talking.
Nothing like ignoring what the customer has to say. Yet, too many salespeople do just that — ignore the customer!
7. The salesperson doesn’t know when to close.
In fact, they don’t have anything resembling a sales process.   I call it  showing up and throwing up.   The number one part left out of a sales process is the close, and the reason is simple — the salesperson doesn’t have a plan.
8. There is nothing you’ve shared with the customer they couldn’t find on the internet or, worse yet, already did find on the internet.
In case you missed the memo, sales has changed. Customers are far more intelligent than they used to be thanks to the internet.
There is no doubt that if you want to close more sales, you can’t skirt around the above issues.  Take a hard look at your sales process, your attitude and your belief in your product.  Determine if sales is the right field for you.
If it is, become even more diligent in understanding your customer’s needs and wants — and showing them how your product or service can help them achieve the outcomes they desire.
Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.
button receive a free9 300x51 8 Reasons Your Customers Dont Care photo