The Click to Purchase Myth.

When small brands roll out big dreams.

There are billions of marketing books, articles and gurus all claiming they have a silver bullet to generate leads while you sleep and get you that beach house in a matter of months. Like most things, what you read will rarely transform your life. Why is that? One word: execution. So, after a couple of attempts on your own, you hire a marketing agency, armed with the knowledge by experts and prepared to make an investment that will generate high returns.

This may seem like an exaggeration, but in reality, it isn’t too far from the truth. Businesses see the opportunity and desire a “click to purchase” product or service. This is where you build your digital marketing machine with paid ads to generate leads and a website to purchase. Sounds simple and the books will give you formula after formula to make it happen. And then they hit the wall- where are sales?

Assuming that marketing will be your sole driver for revenue is one of the biggest mistakes we see business owners make.

If you are ready to launch a product or a click to purchase service, here are a couple of things you should keep in mind and be prepared for. Consider this your reality check:

  1. If you want to build a digital empire be prepared to have deep pockets. It takes a lot of money to get enough traction and analytics to make a dent and even that first sale will take time and refinement. Know that you will learn lessons along the way, and they will be expensive.
  2. It will take time. Nothing worth having comes easily or instantaneously. It takes a lot of testing, refining and optimizing to get your targeting and message right. It takes at least 3 months to create baselines, understand the market and get a good feel for where you want to go. Even those digital marketing gurus had thousands of things that didn’t work out until they found their golden goose; even if that’s all they talk about. Know that it will take you time too.

If that sounds unappealing, know that there is another way to get your click to purchase solution launched. Take the uncertainty out of the equation and build a business that lasts, not just until the next Google algorithm change.

You are going to need to sell the first several solutions or products. Yes, it’s true. You will need to talk to people, understand what motivates them and how your digital solution solves their challenges. By skipping these early sales conversations you will need to invest much more time and money in marketing proving out different hypothesis. By having the conversations and connecting with these customers, you gain valuable insights and feedback that will help your business exponentially.

Let’s face it, a consultative sales process where you get to understand your customer, build a relationship and find solutions is at odds with a digital play. On the internet, you have to guess at what their challenges are,and feed them information, facts, proof that you are awesome. When you have a consultation you build connection and learn about your clients. This just can’t be done authentically digitally until you understand it in the real world.

What this boils down to is sales process. The more complex the offering, the more complex the sale. Make sure you aren’t just building a marketing machine, but a sales process that aligns with your values, your business, and your customers needs.

Depending on marketing to solely drive your revenue from the get-go is a risky business. We believe in creating sustainable programs that support elevate and grow businesses, not that ARE the business. If you would like to learn more about what a sales and marketing strategy looks like for you- it's time for us to talk! info@atrevenue.com


The difference between a marketing plan and a sales plan

Business plans often glaze over sales and marketing very quickly. They want to know what the overall revenue goals are sure but the HOW is grossly underrepresented. That’s the problem of setting targets, goals, and dreams without understanding what it will take to get there.

We often find that sales and marketing are still the wild west of strategic planning. They get some top-level attention to help define key principles such as your target audience or your core values, but rarely include any of the actionable items. So how do we blend the strategy and plan to achieve that ultimate goal: more revenue?

Before you make the goals, check to make sure that you are incorporating all of the below:

Your marketing plan should include:

- Your key messaging concepts: What are you going to say that will capture your audience’s attention? What problem do you solve, what are the motivating factors, why does your customer care Your marketing plan should clearly and concisely be able to articulate your core message.

- The channels you plan to use: Once you know what you are saying, where you will say it is the next step. Each platform, channel, and community might need a different message and a different way of expressing it.

- Your investments (financial, time and frequency): Marketing is going to cost you one way or another, even free channels on social media are becoming more of a pay to play platform. Your marketing plan needs to map out your commitment.

- Your goals and KPIs. For each channel: It is critical that your plan includes clear expectations so you can measure your ROI, make adjustments and improve.

Your sales plan should include:

- Prospecting: where are you going to find new prospects and leads? Where and how are you networking? How does your personal brand show up on social media?

- Strategic Partners: Who are your business friends who send you more business?  Building and developing great strategic partnerships is not only good business sense, but great for your pipeline.

- Your process. Creating a sales strategy takes careful process mapping. How do leads go through your pipeline? What are the critical steps that need to be taken? How can this process be repeatable across your entire team? If sales are the first ambassador of your brand, it is critical that you have a brand congruous process.

- Your KPIs and goals. You need to track your activity just as much as your results. As a sales professional, you need to put in the calls, work, and effort into finding your leads and building the business. Once you are able to hone in on those key metrics you will be able to calculate how much you make every time you pick up the phone.

Building both your sales and marketing muscles is critical to developing more revenue for your business. To help achieve maximum impact, many businesses are hiring a CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) to ensure both of these departments are achieving their shared goal, reducing processes and investments that aren’t paying off and holding the team accountable to growth. If it’s time to see more revenue come in your business we are here to get you there! Contact @revenue today and let’s create a plan for your next milestone.


Manufacturing the Future: A New Sales Landscape

Globally the manufacturing industry has undergone a massive transformation in the past decade. Recessions choked demand, employment continues to fall and the floors and lines don’t have the same consistent flow of work to be done. With all of the nuances between each manufactured product and the manufacturers themselves, what is to be done to start to right the ship and save one of the most critical industries to America’s economy?

While I won’t wax poetic about inventory management or the technological advances on the floor, there is one aspect of manufacturing that lies at the root of its stability and growth. Sales. From small plants to those that sprawl for miles, this one critical function of the organization has been left unattended to. When it comes to advancements that the rest of the business world has already adopted, implemented and reaps the ROI on that manufacturers have done little to change. So what’s the problem?

For decades manufacturing companies have been in constant bidding wars, filling out painful RFPs and letting their prices be driven so low. In doing so, they have trained the market how to treat them, and how not to treat them as sales professionals. With painfully slim margins and a lack of true human connection in the sales process, the manufacturing sales rep is often no more than a bid fetcher, hoping that they are cents less than the other guys, and quickly moving on to the next bid.

It’s time to shift...and fast. In my studies and client cases, when we empower the sales staff to embrace a more proactive, soft and nurturing, relationship-based sales process certain things begin to shift.

Accountability: When you give your team members the processes and tools to get results they get a surge of ownership. They don’t feel as if they’re a victim to the bids and can own their numbers and results...and exceed them.

Bigger Orders: In the process of building relationships reps will typically increase their client's orders by 15-30% over the course of 2 years. It takes knowing the right questions to ask to uncover hidden needs and pain points of client's to really make this kind of impact.

Authentic Relationships: Ever had an order go out late or wrong? We all have, and it hurts every time. But if your team has the experience to and education to build a real relationship of honesty and trust with your customers, you are way less likely to lose the client when a mistake happens.

Client Retention: If your sales team is spending time putting together 100 bids a day and only getting a 3% return, how effective is your process? What if you were able to cut out that 93% of time wasters and create powerful relationships with clients that are GOOD for your business, that are invested in the relationship they have with you and are even willing to refer you business? By cutting out that 93% of the bidding that sucks time, energy, and let’s face it, the will to live out of your team, you get to build a client book of evangelists. Do that.

Talent Acquisition: Sales talent can be hard to find, and in the manufacturing world you are up against a wall when it comes to matching the technical acumen with the sales skills, and these rarely show up on the first day polished and ready to go. Having a consultative sales process that empowers your staff is going to result in the things good salespeople want: personal development, more commission, a more enjoyable work experience and the thrill of winning that BIG client.

All of these things sound great right? Well, they don’t show up magically. The shift has to come from the top - and that means that you, the business owner, must learn how to sell. They will not follow if you don’t lead. And I will tell you, it’s not a workshop kind of lesson. As you embrace a new way of processing sales, understanding the why behind decision making and showing that you are walking the walk it will allow you to hold your team accountable because you will become a credible messenger.

The big question is...are you ready for change? Are you ready for more revenue? And will you be the catalyst or a bystander in the future of your company?

Now is the time to solidify the profit of your company. Let’s find 15 minutes to chat - it might just make you millions.

Click here to schedule https://atrevenuecalendar.as.me/Disco


Sales + Marketing: Finger pointing or handshaking

Most businesses divide their sales team and marketing team into two different groups. At one organization I worked with, they were physically in different buildings... in different parts of the city. But what really is the difference between these two departments? They share the same goals, but their tactics for achieving these goals are very, very different.

It’s easy to get caught up with definitions like, “marketing is from the brand and sales is from a salesperson”. If that’s how you want to differentiate, I’ve got news for you. That sales person IS your brand! To more clearly separate these two facets of your business, I look at it from the messaging perspective. Here is my simplified explanation of these two departments and where the lines start to blur.

Marketing is a message sent to the masses. Like yelling into a megaphone, you say it once and it’s received by many people. For example, think of a TV commercial or a Pay Per Click ad that’s impersonal and doesn’t have a person on the other end sending you that message.

Sales on the other hand, is a very direct message sent from just one person. The message is tailored and personalized for each specific audience. It’s also not as scalable (one salesperson can only talk to so many people).

Now, here’s where it starts to get a little fuzzy. If done right, your marketing can feel like it’s coming from a real person AND your sales team can reach a wider audience.

This is why big data and targeted marketing is so exciting; it crafts a message that is targeted to the individual… but sent to many individuals. When this happens, your efforts have exponential impact.

Don’t just take it from me, here are the facts:

  • Personalization reduces acquisition costs as much as 50%, lifts revenues by 5-15%, and increases the efficiency of marketing spend by 10-30%. (McKinsey & Company)
  • By 2020, 51% of consumers expect that companies will anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they make contact. (Salesforce)
  • Increasing personalization in more channels can increase overall consumer spending by up to 500%. (The E-Tailing Group)

Here’s a couple of great examples where your marketing and sales team needs to work in perfect harmony:

Email: An average office worker receives 121 emails a day and sends around 40 business emails daily (Source). So it’s fair to say that this would be a sales channel,. Right? But wait, what about MASS emails? Those newsletters, automations, promotions and drip campaigns need to incorporate best practices from both departments in order to be effective.

Social Media: With over 2.19 billion monthly active users on Facebook, this must be a mass audience channel, right? Think again. Sure, you can have your marketing team create a bunch of posts, but without a sales perspective and communication style, your engagement and conversation ends there. To be successful, you need to build a relationship with your following, and who is better at building relationships than your sales team? By bringing together your marketing and sales minds, you’re able to attract, engage and even convert a dedicated community.

Sales and marketing are very clearly differentiated in our minds. But aren't they really doing the same thing? Connecting, convincing, and communicating. Any good salesperson or marketer knows that is the key to success.

If you are having challenges connecting with your clients, leads and audience, contact Marie at marie@atrevenue.com


How We Inspire Clients To Tackle Sales In The Office And In The Field!

Sales cannot stop once the contract gets signed!

Your sales process is part of your brand, part of your culture and the lasting impression that people take from your business. At @revenue, we know that creating a powerful process that both your sales team and your internal team can follow will allow not only for more sales but greater customer service and increased value per client!

 

If your business is ready for powerful growth, it's time we talked. 312.720.1399 x1

 


The 8 Characters that Kill a Sales Team

As a business owner, chances are you are used to being the one that gets it done. You drive the sales, you travel the miles, you push harder than anyone in your company - and when payroll comes around, you are one that makes sure that the money is there. No one will be surprised to hear that you bring a bigger passion to the table than anyone else in your firm, but if you are the only true driver you are headed directly into years of frustration and even failure.

It’s a huge step when you a hire sales staff, after all, you are trusting someone to go out there with your baby and trust that they will do the right thing. Now, you are managing everything you were before, while onboarding new sales staff who need deep engagement with and education about your product and brand and managing their numbers, creating a sales culture, ensuring effective collaboration with marketing, and….now you are hiding under your desk. It’s ok….come out....you don’t have to carry this alone.

We see business owners go through a range of emotions when the pipeline needs to grow. See if you recognize any of these characters:

  • The Imposter: You have been making this business happen through sheer force of will and sell well because you know every inch of your business, but that doesn’t mean that you see yourself as a salesperson or leader.
  • The Overwhelmed: If there are 17 hats in your business, you are wearing at least 14 of them. Adding the large time commitment of hiring, onboarding, and managing a salesperson or team could only make the stack topple.
  • The Aggressor: With consistently underperforming sales, you are losing your ability to maintain patience with your sales staff and you are constantly doing mental gymnastics going back and forth between firing the underperforming or just pushing them harder to get the results that you need. The sales staff becomes the pack of kids that are always in trouble, but there isn’t enough time to train or coach them out of it, and hostility is more and more a part of your interactions (or at least inner monologue)
  • The Incredulous: I don’t need accountability, I don’t need hand-holding, training or coaching, why do they?
  • The Blind: With no central tracking system I couldn’t see the sales pipeline if I wanted to, but I have no idea how to pick the right CRM or how to program it to get the information needed to make the proper assessments and plans. And IF I do get it going, how do I not only train the team but keep them engaged with it?!
  • The Rivet Catcher: You know that there are opportunities everywhere, but with BIG sales, current clients, past clients, new markets and new trends you are constantly staring up and hoping to reach out and catch what is falling instead of being able to distribute a plan.
  • The Transformer: You see your industry moving from transactional sales to relationship-based sales but with a team that has been pushing papers for years, do you wipe the sales staff out and start over or teach the old dogs new tricks?
  • The Bootstrapper: If you had a few hundred grand to toss into a new sales program, you might not need to lean so hard on the sales staff anyway. You need to find a financially viable way to get the right people in the right roles to move the sales team forward and start producing results.

Find yourself nodding (or shaking your head in commiseration) with some of the points above? Don’t beat yourself up, every business experiences this growing pain. But, don’t wait for the answer to come find you, reach out and learn about how our Fractional VP of Sales services can support you to create, empower and maintain a successful sales force and give you the keys to keep the sales machine running when you are ready for it.

Call us today at 312.720.1399


Your Best Business Partner - Silence

People should never underestimate the power of silence.  Ask any teacher in front of a room of children and they will agree that one of the best ways to get a room full of children to settle down is to simply stand still and be silent.  Silence signals expectation.  It provides space for thought, creativity and listening.  The proverb is true, silence IS golden.  In business, silence can often be your best partner on the road to success.

When we are silent we are leaving space for active listening to others.  Now I’m not saying that you should say nothing and just stare at the person across the table.  That might be a little creepy.  But, what is effective is asking an open-ended question and then giving the person time and space in which to answer.  By quieting ourselves we make room for other thoughts and opinions.  We are able to be open because we aren’t worried about what we are going to say next.  We are simply intaking, receiving information.  If you are interviewing a new employee, you will get better answers to your questions if you give them that space.  If you are talking to your team, you will get better feedback if you don’t jump in and give them the answers.  If you are meeting with a client, you will get better insight into their wants and needs if you let them take their time and think it through before you fire away with another question.

Good sales professionals also understand the value of silence.  In general, they operate under the 80/20 rule.  You should listen 80% of the time and talk only 20% of the time.  By doing this you can uncover needs, understand possible objects and connect with their/your customers in a meaningful way.  Sales professionals also know that silence can prevent the classic blunder of “talking themselves out of the sale”.

Silence is difficult for us to master.  It makes us uncomfortable and often we rush to fill that space with words.  Let’s say you are at a business presentation.  You have just presented a deal to your customer.  It’s a fair deal and you are anxious to close it.  Your customer looks at the presented document and doesn’t say a word.

...10 seconds go by...

...20 seconds go by...

You start to worry.  Sure, they could just be thinking it through, they could also be thinking about what they want for lunch... but maybe, just maybe, they are thinking this deal doesn’t cut it.  So, you start filling the silence with concessions, apologies and even objections they hadn’t even thought of.  Before you know it the deal is either much less profitable or, even worse, nonexistent.  All of this could have been avoided by simply staying quiet and giving the customer the chance to process the information they have been given.

Silence is a powerful business tool.  By learning how to strategically harness the power of silence business leaders can become more effective at communication, connection, and even sales.  Are you looking to be a better business leader?  Take the first step with our free leadership assessment tool and personal assessment.  https://www.atrevenue.com/leadership-development


80/20 Folks! The Sales Golden Rule

80% and 20%. We all know this ratio as the key to maximizing efficiency, but how does that apply to sales? When I bring this up at my weekly sales class, the jaws drop... this is the amount of time the salesperson is supposed to listen vs. talk. 80% listening, 20% speaking that is! Don't say anything- just let that sink in.  That's right, if you are spending time presenting and talking, you're not able to understand the needs of your client. And listening, my salesperson friend is what your actual job is.

"But Marie, aren't I supposed to convince them to buy my stuff/services/etc?"

Nope.

Your job as a salesperson is to find out what are their compelling reasons for doing business with you, and IF they're a good fit. If you're not actively listening and instead of talking the whole time, you aren't doing your job.

To increase your ninja-like listening skills try these three things:

1. Ask open-ended questions. Make it a goal to take such awesome notes that you can quote your prospect's words back to them later in the conversation

2. TURN OFF THE DARN PHONE. Ask your prospect to do the same.

3. Care. You have to care about others to be a good sales person!  Try it! It might just make you a better human in the process.


Stop relying on “Random Acts of Sales & Marketing”!

Three weeks ago, Marie and I each had two prospect meetings. As we debriefed, it was as if we had the same meeting but on two different topics. Marie’s was marketing and mine was sales. In both cases what we heard was a lot of wishful thinking, and lots of money spent with virtually no real strategy, process, or plan to ensure 2017 is better than 2016. Guess what the 3 musts to success in sales and marketing are?

1. Strategy

My business partner, Marie uses the phrase ‘random acts of marketing’. I sure know what those look like and you might be doing some of them yourself. It’s that knee-jerk reaction to the so-called social selling craze. The MUST to be on Twitter, Periscope, Snapchat, etc. It’s the belief of “if I only had a better website, then they would call me.” Producing videos that don’t speak to the audience and futilely grasping at the latest and greatest. Or worst of all, handing over a fist full of cash to the nice guy in your networking group that convinced you he had the magic wand, but now you want to punch him every time you see him!

These investments rarely work and can almost always guarantee to be a waste of money, time, resources, emotions, and opportunity costs. Unfortunately, businesses run like this all the time and the ownership wonders why they struggle with market awareness, consistent messaging, and real Marketing Qualified Leads.

How do I fix it? Take the time to get QUALIFIED consultation and recommendations for strategy. Then, be sure to understand the strategy and make a commitment to follow through on the complete strategy. Marie has a hard and fast rule: it’s a no-go if it has to be done in under 6 weeks. That goes for a conference, an email campaign, or anything else that you want ROI from.  We offer our clients strategy, implementation, ongoing execution, automation, and ultimately TRACKABLE and QUANTIFIABLE REVENUE. Isn’t that what marketing should be doing?

2. Process

I take tremendous pride in doing my job to the best of my ability, both selling and teaching sales. It makes me sad when I hear my profession be diminished and criticized. Then I quickly realize that we have no one to blame but ourselves because most salespeople are ill-equipped to succeed. They are often poorly trained (if at all), poorly led, poorly coached, poorly managed, and incentivized in horribly outdated ways.

Simply ask yourself, would you go to a dentist that wasn’t trained or had no plan? Send your kids to a teacher with no certificate? Trust a doctor, mechanic, jeweler, dry cleaner, or a pilot who is ‘winging it’?

Of course not! So what makes anyone think that you want to buy from an untrained and unprofessional sales person who lacked a process? What makes us think we should be selling when we’re not properly equipped with a process? Look, sales is a profession - one that should be respected and appreciated by those of us who sell (EVERYONE READING THIS) and those of us who buy (EVERYONE READING THIS). If you’re a lawyer, accountant, chiropractor, plumber, or any other professional service, stop your ‘random acts of sales’ and get trained to be the best you can at client acquisition.

3. Plan

Are you set for 2017? Do you expect 2017 to look like 2016 or does your plan insist that it will be better? Listen, don’t get caught looking back at the end of Q1 and see that you’ve done nothing new to ensure your success. Here are a few points to consider:

A. Is my networking really working or do I waste my time ‘net-eating’, ‘net-drinking’, and ‘net-chatting’? Networking needs to bring you ROI! If it doesn’t then stop, re-evaluate, and realign to a new group. If you need help, let me know.

B. Set very specific goals and then set the course to achieve them. There is nothing worse than being on the hamster wheel of business only to run and run but fail to advance.

What I want you to do now is simply decide: are you going to try something new and talk to with a successful sales and marketing team or do you want to forge ahead on your own? @Revenue offers a variety of training, education, and full consulting services. So the real question is: are you failing to plan, or planning to fail?

 


Have They Told You Lately That They Love You?

About a decade ago a client of mine used the phrase “professional love” to describe how they felt about the work we did together, the results and our working relationship. As a result, I’ve spent the last 10 years always holding that as the bar for my client interactions. After working with many dozen sales professionals, mid-level manager, Directors, VP’s and CEO’s there are so many reasons why professional love exists in some relationships and is lacking in many others.

For some leaders, they couldn’t care less how their staff feels about them. These are of course not leaders but simply people in authority, often by default. These folks typically don’t understand the need to be emotionally intelligent in order to maximize the potential of their people and therefore their business. I’ll give you an example: I worked with the CEO of a 12-year-old $500,000.00 business. It became abundantly clear in only a few weeks that the reason why this business could not get past a moderate dollar amount in a high ticket service industry was that the leader was only concerned with one thing, his ego. Despite suggestion and the specific direction he simply did not value his people or the internal relationships. Had he recognized their talents as equal to his and shown them some love, they would have helped him double or triple sales in no time.  Who wants to go to work and KNOW that you’re not appreciated nor respected? This so called "leader" was not in professional love with anyone but himself and his staff could feel it.

One of my daily mantras is simple, you must love them first.

And, as in any relationship, we show love in a variety of ways.

  1. Be the best you can be for each other.

    In business, this means to focus on strengths and bolster weaknesses. If you’re a leader, study how to be better. If you’re a janitor, equip yourself with the tools needed to be most efficient. Talk to any Doctor and they will tell you that they are taxed with being their best or people may suffer or even die. Why should we take our profession as any less impactful? Be sure to put one another first and to serve one another. Keep in mind that this also means that we should expect the best from our teams and our clients. Don’t settle for second best, don’t settle for weak attempts, if you’re giving it your all, it’s a lot easier to demand your team’s all.

  2. Love only works with trust.

    As in the example above, without trust, there is an imminent failure in any relationship and business. How we translate trust to our teams and clients is critical. What I find best is to identify the strengths I talked about in #1 and create the environment for each to maximizes their strengths. Don’t give up on an amazing sales person just because they are weak at doing CRM entries (which is every superstar sales person). FIND SUPPORT STAFF THAT CAN HELP THEM. Your profits will be higher if that superstar stays out on the streets closing deals. Then, TRUST THEM. Don’t micromanage, don’t monitor their e-mails, don’t stop giving them projects…” trust, but verify”-Ronald Reagan.  Verification comes through accountability. I wrote an article, conducting an effective 1:1 meeting which outlines how to hold your team and clients accountable to their commitments. However, if we start with management and not trust, we set our people up for mediocrity.

  3.  Love cares.

    It’s okay to like and care about one another's personal lives and to take part in important causes of your staff. I was out to dinner with a friend the other day and she mentioned that their staff was all taking work-time to donate to an animal shelter. Why? Because each employee (about 10) have important causes and each month an employee arranges to do something for their cause and then the ENTIRE team buys into that cause and works together. I’m sure you can imagine the camaraderie, respect and “love” that comes with this. Of course, the leader has to be bought in and understand that work time does not translate to clock punching. The time invested in these activities pays off in spades when your team is united, caring, committed, involved and loyal to each other and their united success. The lives of your people and the revenue of your business will prosper. The ENTIRE team buys into that cause and works together. I’m sure you can imagine the camaraderie, respect and “love” that comes with this. Of course, the leader has to be bought in and understand that work time does not translate to clock punching. The time invested in these activities pays off in spades when your team is united, caring, committed, involved and loyal to each other and their united success. The lives of your people and the revenue of your business will prosper.

  4. Love is recognized and rewarded.

    Think about your spouse, children or any loved one, we show love with hugs, kisses, gifts, servitude, etc. In the work environment, these manifest themselves in ‘at-a-boy’s’, bonuses, smiles, rewards, dinners, happy work environments, etc. In his book Drive, Daniel Pink teaches at great length that the days of the stick and carrot are no longer. He also talks about if-then rewards vs now-that rewards. Love is not conditional so work reward shouldn’t be conditional. Almost every sales manager tries to get results with if-then rewards. You know, “If you hit the goal then you get more money”. This is far less effective than when you show your love/reward with no expectation. This can be tricky and is a real mental shift for many.  If you have any questions or would like to connect about this, let me know. I show my love by working with SMB leaders to drive great success. I do this in a variety of ways and not always for money, sometimes just for love.