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Clarke Bishop

More Leads ♦ More Sales ♦ More Visibility ♦ More Fun ♦ Marketing & Sales Results
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What Makes a Number Crucial?

Posted by Clarke Bishop

May 6, 2016

Lately, we've been looking at the importance of your Crucial Number and Inbound Sales.

The Crucial Number is your company's cost to acquire a new customer. But what makes it crucial?

cru·cial
kro͞oSHəl
adjective
  1. decisive or critical, especially in the success or failure of something.
  2. life-and-death

Crucial means decisive or life and death. It's crucial because this one number determines the level of success for most companies. 

Read on to learn why. 

What-Makes-a-Number-Crucial.png

Predictable Sales Process

Is your sales process predictable or more hit or miss?

Smaller companies often depend on referrals for new business. Referrals are great—we love them and you should have them. But, they aren't predictable. Predictable sales are essential to scale and grow.

Or, your company may depend on a superstar salesperson. That can be good, too. It's just not very safe or predictable. What do you do when a competitor bribes your superstar to leave, or your superstar decides to work on their golf game for a few months?

Without a predictable sales process, you can't even calculate your Crucial Number, much less make improvements.

Knowing your Crucial Number means having a predictable process.

Lifetime Customer Value

There's a balance between the cost of acquiring a customer and the lifetime value of that customer. 

Think of it like a vending machine that dispenses new customers. You deposit the cost to acquire a customer and a new customer pops out of the chute. 

But is that new customer good for your business? Will they help your company thrive? When the Crucial Number is low enough and the Lifetime Value is high enough, you're in great shape.

If not, you've got two huge levers to improve your prospects:

  • Reduce the cost to acquire a customer

    Examine everything from marketing through sales to the final close to find bottlenecks and places you can improve efficiency.

  • Increase lifetime customer value

    Increase prices or add more products and services to maximize customer value.

Map Your Sales Process

You can get a ballpark estimate of your Crucial Number by adding up all the cost of marketing, advertising, and sales. Everything. The total cost. Then, divide by the number of new customers.

Most people who do this for themselves leave out costs and come up with a number that's only a fraction of the real cost. Don't make this mistake.

Now, you've got a number. But, you don't know where to start optimizing, where to look for efficiencies and improvements.

To make real changes, you'll want to map out your sales process step-by-step. All the way from advertising or initial contact through to receiving payment from your new customer.

  • What happens in each step?
  • What is the conversion rate for each step?
  • What does each step cost?
  • Should the step be broken down into several sub-steps?

Look for places where the conversion rate drops off. That's where there's the best opportunity to make changes. If there's a step where 80% of prospects move forward, there may not be much room for improvement. If only 5% move forward, that step is a bottleneck and you can make a real impact.

The best way to compute your Crucial Number is to calculate the cost for each step, then add up the total cost. Now you really know how your business works, and can confidently initiate change.

I'll warn you that for B2B sales, it's not uncommon to have 30 steps or more. And larger companies may have multiple funnels that should be analyzed. 

Takeaways

I realize that really understanding your Crucial Number and mapping your sales process takes some work. If you can come up with a better use of your time ... I dare you ... Leave a comment and tell us how!

If you want to review the specifics for your company, schedule a Crucial Number review. We’ll focus exclusively on your crucial number, sales process and opportunities to unblock your growth.

Schedule a Crucial Number Review

more

Topics: Sales & CRM


Is Your Company Ready for Inbound Sales?

Posted by Clarke Bishop

April 29, 2016

Inbound Sales requires companies to know their Crucial Number—what it cost to acquire a new customer. Otherwise you’re trying to optimize something that isn’t measurable. That’s a waste of time. More on this in a minute.

Recently, I wrote about how important it is to know your Crucial Number. Some of you may be wondering if it’s worth the effort.

“My Crucial Number is $834.” So what? Is that good or bad?

Will Inbound Sales Improve My Crucial Number?

What's a new customer worth to you? Suppose an average customer has a lifetime value of $80,000. If it only cost you $834 to get this customer, do it again as early and often as you can!

If an average customer lifetime value is $8,000, then $834 may still be good as long as you have decent margins and a predictable sales process.

If a new customer only brings you $600, you’ve clearly got a big problem and need to make some major changes.

What does this have to do with Inbound Sales?

After we help clients determine their Crucial Number, the next step is usually to document their sales process and analyze each step.

You can think of the overall marketing and sales process like an oil refinery. In the beginning you start with crude prospects that barely seem like potential customers. Then, you warm them up and filter them to see which ones are qualified and are good fits.

After a while, sales starts working the leads. There’s more filtering as the relationship builds. At the end, refined customers are the result—the jet fuel that propels your company.

Here’s what you may not have considered. Each step in the process adds value. The further you go into the process the more expensive it is to lose a customer.

When we analyze a process, we look for the steps that have a big drop off. That’s where you’re leaking money. Look at the example below. Between Step 15 and Step 16, there’s a big drop. That’s expensive. (Yes, a typical business-to-business sales process will have 16 or more steps.)

Inbound Sales Process Analysis

We frequently see that there’s a gap in the handoff from marketing to sales. Marketing worked hard and spent $200 or more to get the lead. Then it goes nowhere.

I can hear some of our sales readers screaming, “That’s because the leads are lousy.” Maybe so. Or, it could be that key steps are missing and marketing is passing off the leads too soon.

Or … The handoff creates a disconnect for the buyer. This is a big problem—especially for companies that have been investing in Inbound Marketing.

Inbound marketing is very friendly, educational, and buyer-focused. What happens too often is that information learned during the marketing phase does not get passed through or used by sales.

The buyer exits the marketing phase feeling like they know the company and the company knows them. Then, the salesperson starts asking repetitive, basic questions all over again and doesn’t seem as helpful. It breaks the relationship and feels wrong for the buyer.

To know if your company is ready for Inbound Sales, consider:

  • Do you know your Crucial Number—the cost to acquire a new customer?
  • Have you laid out your sales process?
  • Do you need to add steps or content to have a smooth transition from marketing to sales?
  • Are your salespeople trained and expected to maintain the helpful vibe you created through Inbound Marketing?

It’s all about creating new customers who love your company and can’t wait to buy again. Do this efficiently and smoothly, and you’ll have a low Crucial Number and a thriving company.

If you want to review how all this applies to your company, schedule a Crucial Number review. We’ll focus exclusively on your crucial number, sales process and opportunities to unblock your growth.

Schedule a Crucial Number Review

more

Topics: Sales & CRM


What's Your Crucial Number?

Posted by Clarke Bishop

April 22, 2016

Most companies and CEOs can easily tell you about their revenues and bottom-line profits. Some even know what a lead costs or other specific business metrics.

In my experience, though, few know their most crucial number—the cost to acquire a new customer. 

I learned about the crucial number from John Paul Mendocha. He's a turnaround expert, and he always focuses on the cost of customer acquisition. Why? Because it's a key leverage point. 

Crucial-Number.png

Lets use a specialized medical clinic as an example. When asked about their customer acquisition cost, they confidently stated it costs $104 to get a new customer. Average customer revenue was $500, so a new customer was expected to deliver almost $400 in margin (500 - 104).

Unfortunately, a more accurate analysis revealed that the actual cost to get a new customer was $416. The cost to serve that new customer was more than $100, so the company actually lost money every time they got a new customer. Now you see why they needed a turnaround.

Even worse is the situation where customer acquisition cost vary from one customer to the next. There's no way a company can be sustainable if customer acquisition is not predictable. Too many small businesses bump along hopeing they'll some how trip over a new customer. The costs are all over the place.

How to Learn Your Crucial Number

So, what is your crucial number?

It's not on any of the reports your CFO or CPA deliver each quarter. That's one reason the crucial number is often unknown.

And, it's not in the marketing reports you may see. I recently saw a presentation where a marketing guy was talking about his 500% "ROI" from Facebook. He was dividing revenue by the cost for a click. That's not ROI. He completely ignored the cost to deliver the product, the costs of managing Facebook, and many other costs.

Your real Crucial Number is the total cost it takes to acquire a new customer. All the marketing costs. All the sales costs. All the advertising costs. Any other costs that go into acquiring a customer. Everything must be considered.

The best way to do the analysis is to map out the entire sales process—all the way from marketing to sales to close. Then, calculate the cost for each step. Not only will you learn your crucial number, but you'll also see which steps are adding the most cost. That's where you get leverage. Improve the expensive steps and you lower your crucial number while improving overall profitability.

 Too many companies get this wrong, and I don't want you to be one of those. Calculate your Crucial Number, then schedule a crucial number review to make sure you've nailed it.

Schedule a Crucial Number Review

more

Topics: Sales & CRM


Be Remarkable in 2016

Posted by Clarke Bishop

March 29, 2016

Do you stand out? If you don’t stand out, you blend in. And you do NOT want to blend in.

To succeed in business you need to do something different. You need to be remarkable.

re·mark·a·ble
rəˈmärkəb(ə)l
adjective: remarkable
  1. worthy of attention; striking.
  2. worth making a remark about.

Yes, remarkable means something that’s striking or worth noticing. But, it also means something that’s worth making a remark about—worth talking about.

Very good is bad—it’s still average. Anyone who’s been around for a while is very good. To channel Donald Trump, “Average is for losers.”

Average is for Losers

A few of you are thinking, “Great, I am already remarkable, now what?” Most of you are wondering, “How in the world can I make my company remarkable?” Keep reading, and I’ll answer both questions.

How to be remarkable

Step 1. Who Actually Cares?

No matter what, you can’t be remarkable for everyone. People have different preferences and will respond to different remarkables.

Instead, you have to choose who you want to serve and learn who actually cares. Pull out your Precise Prospect Profile. If you don’t have a prospect profile, make a second resolution to: Create My Precise Prospect Profile in the first quarter of 2016. Need Help? Download the Precise Prospect Profile kit.

Focus on your ideal prospect. They should care passionately about your business. If not, you’ve got a “nice to have” product or service. Work on becoming indispensable.

Before going too far, I’ll go ahead and tell you the bad news. If you want to be remarkable, you’re going to annoy some people. It’s weird, but to have some people love you, you have to accept that some will hate you. Sorry.

It’s not safe or comfortable to be remarkable. It is, however, highly profitable.

Step 2. Deliver a Micro-Remarkable

Here’s a good practice. Do something small that makes a difference. Take an existing customer and create something remarkable.

Choose the customer because they are important to you, have been with you for a long time, or because they represent your ideal customer.

Even better, involve them in the process. Develop some potential remarkables internally. Then, go to the customer, present the remarkables, and ask them to select the best one.

Go further. Ask them to help you expand the potential remarkables list. Deliver on one or all of them if you can. They will eagerly tell their friends.

Delivering micro-remarkables is an excellent practice. Do it on an ongoing basis. You’ll delight your customers and become adept at seeing new remarkables.

Step 3. What Do Customers Hate About Your Company or Industry?

Every industry has accepted practices and ways of doing things. And some customers absolutely hate the way the products or services are delivered.

How many of you feel good about getting an itemized bill from an attorney showing tenths of an hour billed at $400 per hour?

Some of you are thinking, “Yea, I know they hate _____, but it has to be that way because …”  Does it really? Could you do things differently, erase the annoyance, and increase your profits? It takes creativity, but there’s often a way.

Step 4. Edgecrafting

Seth Godin wrote about being remarkable in The Purple Cow. Later on, he coined the phrase, “edgecrafting.”

Remarkability lies in the edges. The biggest, fastest, slowest, richest, easiest, most difficult. It doesn't always matter which edge, more that you're at (or beyond) the edge.Seth Godin

You can get an overview of Seth’s ideas by watching his TED video:

Here’s how edgecrafting works. Find the edges of a product, a service, or a problem. Then, explore ways to shift the edge. As Seth points out, push the edge way out to create a competitive advantage.

This work is very specific to each company and market, so it’s hard to provide a great example. To know more, schedule a Remarkability Audit for your company. It’s free, and you’ll get at least one potential remarkable to evaluate.

Edgecrafting Strategy Canvas

Another way to do edgecrafting is to create a strategy canvas positioning diagram. Map the relevant dimensions of a market on a graph like the example below. What happens if you completely eliminate a dimension, or max out a dimension? What if you add something totally new to the mix?

In this example our company (Shown with an Orange Line) is similar to the industry (Blue Line) in dimension 1 and dimension 3. But, our company has reduced dimension 2 and significantly raised dimension 4.

Each dimension is a property of the product or service. Things like price, speed, or quality. Any dimension that matters is fair game.

  • Speed
  • Price
  • Experience
  • Stories
  • Quality or Features
  • Vision
  • Culture
  • Anything different that makes a difference (that matters).

Positioning - Strategy Canvas

 

Step 5. Why Are You in Business?

Look at “why.” Why are you in business? Why do your customers buy your product or service? Why did you start the business? Focus on the emotional reasons that go beyond profits.

At Inbound Team, we’re in business because we can’t stand to see companies struggle due to lack of leads. That's our "why."

Keep it simple. Look at this from a child’s perspective. Imagine that you are explaining what you do to a young child.

What change are you trying to make in your customers? Who do you want your customers to become? What change do you want to make for your customers and for the world?

Be human. Be connected. Be generous. Take a chance. Do something that might not work.

Find an idea where you’re afraid someone will say, “How dare you!” That’s how you’ll know you’re on the right track.

Step 6. Play the Remarkable Game

The remarkable game is great fun and it keeps you in practice. Pay attention as you encounter the world. Notice what works. How could each organization be more remarkable.

Go to a restaurant. What would make your experience more remarkable? What if they knew your name, read your mind, and knew exactly want you wanted to eat? What else could they do that would make your visit remarkable?

What would make your next internal meeting remarkable? How might your company culture be more remarkable?

Step 7. Tell Your Remarkable Story

Once you’re different, make sure to tell the story–get your messages clear and aligned. Does the home page on your website tell the story?

Companies that sell to other businesses often struggle to communicate effectively. A lot of context is required, so the explanation becomes too long and too complex.  

Having a good story is one way to cut through the complexity. Tell a story about one small part of your product or service. It will make prospects curious to hear more.

All stories are invented, and it’s okay to be creative and embellish the details. Human beings love stories and your company is full of stories just waiting to be told. Create your remarkables and find the stories that will help your prospects hear and understand.

You Are Remarkable, But You Aren’t Done Yet

Now you’ve found or invented some great remarkables. Cool, but you aren’t done yet.

Being remarkable is an ongoing practice. Your competitors will steal remarkables where they can (this is also called “progress”). You have to constantly invent new remarkables. Welcome to the 21st century.

Review your remarkables and update your positioning chart regularly—once or twice a year. Keep looking for ways you can change the world.

And keep finding new stories that showcase your remarkables.

Takeaways

  • Be remarkable or invisible—your choice.
  • Being remarkable takes work. It’s some of the hardest work you’ll do in business. Do it anyway!
  • You may have remarkables you are taking for granted. It’s easy to be so close to your company that you can’t see. Get a remarkability audit for help seeing who you really are.
  • Take the challenge and promise to make your company remarkable in 2016.

Remarkability Audit

This is hard. Don’t get stuck. Get a Remarkability Audit, and I’ll help you discover your remarkables.

Get My Remarkability Audit

more

Topics: Small Business Marketing, Inbound Marketing


New Year's Resolution: Be Remarkable in 2016

Posted by Clarke Bishop

December 31, 2015

Will you join me in making a new year's resolution?

I promise to make my company remarkable in 2016.

If not, go cut out your marketing budget. You’ll just be wasting money. Marketing, especially inbound marketing, won’t work well unless you’re remarkable.

re·mark·a·ble
rəˈmärkəb(ə)l
adjective: remarkable
  1. worthy of attention; striking.
  2. worth making a remark about.

Yes, remarkable means something that’s striking or worth noticing. But, it also means something that’s worth making a remark about—worth talking about.

Very good is bad—it’s still average. Anyone who’s been around for a while is very good. To channel Donald Trump, “Average is for losers.”

Average is for Losers

A few of you are thinking, “Great, I am already remarkable, now what?” Most of you are wondering, “How in the world can I make my company remarkable?” Keep reading, and I’ll answer both questions.

How to be remarkable

Step 1. Who Actually Cares?

No matter what, you can’t be remarkable for everyone. People have different preferences and will respond to different remarkables.

Instead, you have to choose who you want to serve and learn who actually cares. Pull out your Precise Prospect Profile. If you don’t have a prospect profile, make a second resolution to: Create My Precise Prospect Profile in the first quarter of 2016. Need Help? Download the Precise Prospect Profile kit.

Focus on your ideal prospect. They should care passionately about your business. If not, you’ve got a “nice to have” product or service. Work on becoming indispensable.

Before going too far, I’ll go ahead and tell you the bad news. If you want to be remarkable, you’re going to annoy some people. It’s weird, but to have some people love you, you have to accept that some will hate you. Sorry.

It’s not safe or comfortable to be remarkable. It is, however, highly profitable.

Step 2. Deliver a Micro-Remarkable

Here’s a good practice. Do something small that makes a difference. Take an existing customer and create something remarkable.

Choose the customer because they are important to you, have been with you for a long time, or because they represent your ideal customer.

Even better, involve them in the process. Develop some potential remarkables internally. Then, go to the customer, present the remarkables, and ask them to select the best one.

Go further. Ask them to help you expand the potential remarkables list. Deliver on one or all of them if you can. They will eagerly tell their friends.

Delivering micro-remarkables is an excellent practice. Do it on an ongoing basis. You’ll delight your customers and become adept at seeing new remarkables.

Step 3. What Do Customers Hate About Your Company or Industry?

Every industry has accepted practices and ways of doing things. And some customers absolutely hate the way the products or services are delivered.

How many of you feel good about getting an itemized bill from an attorney showing tenths of an hour billed at $400 per hour?

Some of you are thinking, “Yea, I know they hate _____, but it has to be that way because …”  Does it really? Could you do things differently, erase the annoyance, and increase your profits? It takes creativity, but there’s often a way.

Step 4. Edgecrafting

Seth Godin wrote about being remarkable in The Purple Cow. Later on, he coined the phrase, “edgecrafting.”

Remarkability lies in the edges. The biggest, fastest, slowest, richest, easiest, most difficult. It doesn't always matter which edge, more that you're at (or beyond) the edge.Seth Godin

You can get an overview of Seth’s ideas by watching his TED video:

Here’s how edgecrafting works. Find the edges of a product, a service, or a problem. Then, explore ways to shift the edge. As Seth points out, push the edge way out to create a competitive advantage.

This work is very specific to each company and market, so it’s hard to provide a great example. To know more, schedule a Remarkability Audit for your company. It’s free, and you’ll get at least one potential remarkable to evaluate.

Edgecrafting Strategy Canvas

Another way to do edgecrafting is to create a strategy canvas positioning diagram. Map the relevant dimensions of a market on a graph like the example below. What happens if you completely eliminate a dimension, or max out a dimension? What if you add something totally new to the mix?

In this example our company (Shown with an Orange Line) is similar to the industry (Blue Line) in dimension 1 and dimension 3. But, our company has reduced dimension 2 and significantly raised dimension 4.

Each dimension is a property of the product or service. Things like price, speed, or quality. Any dimension that matters is fair game.

  • Speed
  • Price
  • Experience
  • Stories
  • Quality or Features
  • Vision
  • Culture
  • Anything different that makes a difference (that matters).

Positioning - Strategy Canvas

 

Step 5. Why Are You in Business?

Look at “why.” Why are you in business? Why do your customers buy your product or service? Why did you start the business? Focus on the emotional reasons that go beyond profits.

At Inbound Team, we’re in business because we can’t stand to see companies struggle due to lack of leads. That's our "why."

Keep it simple. Look at this from a child’s perspective. Imagine that you are explaining what you do to a young child.

What change are you trying to make in your customers? Who do you want your customers to become? What change do you want to make for your customers and for the world?

Be human. Be connected. Be generous. Take a chance. Do something that might not work.

Find an idea where you’re afraid someone will say, “How dare you!” That’s how you’ll know you’re on the right track.

Step 6. Play the Remarkable Game

The remarkable game is great fun and it keeps you in practice. Pay attention as you encounter the world. Notice what works. How could each organization be more remarkable.

Go to a restaurant. What would make your experience more remarkable? What if they knew your name, read your mind, and knew exactly want you wanted to eat? What else could they do that would make your visit remarkable?

What would make your next internal meeting remarkable? How might your company culture be more remarkable?

Step 7. Tell Your Remarkable Story

Once you’re different, make sure to tell the story–get your messages clear and aligned. Does the home page on your website tell the story?

Companies that sell to other businesses often struggle to communicate effectively. A lot of context is required, so the explanation becomes too long and too complex.  

Having a good story is one way to cut through the complexity. Tell a story about one small part of your product or service. It will make prospects curious to hear more.

All stories are invented, and it’s okay to be creative and embellish the details. Human beings love stories and your company is full of stories just waiting to be told. Create your remarkables and find the stories that will help your prospects hear and understand.

You Are Remarkable, But You Aren’t Done Yet

Now you’ve found or invented some great remarkables. Cool, but you aren’t done yet.

Being remarkable is an ongoing practice. Your competitors will steal remarkables where they can (this is also called “progress”). You have to constantly invent new remarkables. Welcome to the 21st century.

Review your remarkables and update your positioning chart regularly—once or twice a year. Keep looking for ways you can change the world.

And keep finding new stories that showcase your remarkables.

Takeaways

  • Be remarkable or invisible—your choice.
  • Being remarkable takes work. It’s some of the hardest work you’ll do in business. Do it anyway!
  • You may have remarkables you are taking for granted. It’s easy to be so close to your company that you can’t see. Get a remarkability audit for help seeing who you really are.
  • Take the challenge and promise to make your company remarkable in 2016.

Remarkability Audit

This is hard. Don’t get stuck. Get a Remarkability Audit, and I’ll help you discover your remarkables.

Get My Remarkability Audit

more

Topics: Small Business Marketing, Inbound Marketing


How to Quickly Boost B2B Sales

Posted by Clarke Bishop

November 24, 2015

All business owners want more leads, and I’m going to teach you how to Quickly Boost B2B sales. Watch the video or scroll down and read  ...


Download Your Precise Prospect Profile Kit.

I'm going to give you all the specifics, but first there's something you need to understand:

Buyers Have Changed

Buyers have changed and they don’t behave like they used to.
That’s why it seems like marketing and sales keep getting harder.

For the specifics, read the CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing.

Everybody, today, has unlimited infomation at their fingertips. Through their browser, their smartphone, their social networks. We’re all surrounded by data.

Buyers have changed

Because of this, Buyers have gotten control over the sales process. Many refuse to engage with salespeople except on their terms.

What does this mean for you? You can’t keep doing the same old sales and marketing techniques and expect good results.

Instead, give buyers what they want! Provide useful and educational information to help buyers do their job, answer their questions, and help them feel good about your company.

All these technology changes mean we have to come at sales and marketing differently.

Still, there’s some really good news. Prospects are more reachable than ever. Over 90% of working age Americans are on the Internet. They’re only one click away from becoming a lead.

Quickly Boost B2B Sales—the Secret

The key is to have very precise targeting and really know your prospects.

Why? Knowing your prospects makes finding them and building rapport much, much easier and faster.

I work with many small businesses. Most of them know their prospects at a surface level. But, they don't know their prospects well enough to accellerate their sales and marketing.

Let's fix that for you. Here are the steps. Start by thinking about the best customers you already have. What are they like?

Consider things like:

  • What characteristics do they share?
    • Are they around the same age
    • Do they have life situations in common like young kids
  • How do they talk about their pains and problems?
  • What questions do they ask?
  • What words do they use? The words matter.
  • What triggers them to buy?
  • Where do they hang out?
  • What else do they care about?

Now you know exactly who you’re looking for. We call it a Precise Prospect Profile.

Precise Prospect Profile Kit

More great customers—the ones that are more profitable and
just more fun. The fastest way to boost your B2B sales results.

Download Your Precise Prospect Profile Kit.

Whatever you do, don’t get caught up in chasing marketing tactics. Know your ideal prospect, and use that knowledge to pick the most effective tactics.

Because you know your precise target, you know their problems and questions. So, you know exactly what content to create. There’s simply no such thing as writer's block when you really know your ideal prospect.

Even better. You’ll also know the best ways to connect with your top prospects because you know where they hang out.

Do they search on Google? Then optimize your pages to attract search visitors.

Are they on Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn? OK, connect with prospects via Social sites.

Do you get your best prospects through referrals or targeted outreach? Great! They’ll want to check out your website anyway.

All the ways you create content and get visitors. These are all tactics.

Just know that everything gets faster and easier when you have a Precise Prospect Profile.

So, I’m going to help you profile your top prospects. Click Free Download, and I’ll send you our Precise Prospect Profile Kit. It’s everything needed to boost your sales and start creating great leads.

Precise Prospect Profile Kit

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Topics: Lead Generation, Sales & CRM


Website Redesign Real World Case Study

Posted by Clarke Bishop

October 15, 2015

We’ve just redesigned our website. Go ahead and take a look at inboundteam.com.

At the risk of losing my membership in the secret inbound marketing society, I’m going to expose the entire beautiful and sometimes ugly process.

Website Redesign Real World Case Study

When is it time for a redesign?

Clients frequently ask, “How do you know it’s time to redesign your website?”

Here’s the quick answer. If it’s over a year old, it’s time for a review.

Web trends and requirements change very quickly.

  • Who knew a few years ago that over half your Internet traffic would now come from smartphones and you’d have to have a mobile-friendly responsive site?
  • Who knew that longer scrolling pages would become the trend and that ideas like, “above the fold” would become obsolete?
  • Who knew that websites would need to have much less text and much more compelling images?

Buyers that use smartphones have caused much of the required changes. If one thing's certain, it’s that technology will keep disrupting business!

Website Updates—How Often?

Another common question is, “How often should you change your site?”

The answer? Continuously.

Sorry if that sounds like too much work. It’s still the truth even if it is a lot of work.

If you want to get results from inbound marketing, you have to consistently improve your inbound marketing engine. Website content and design. Lead-generating landing pages. Keywords. Blog articles. Calls to Action. All of these age and have to be updated.

Website Improvement Process

Each page of your website should be a mini-salesperson. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting any high-traffic pages.

For each and every page, know why the page is there and what next step you want the visitor to take.

  • Which persona are you writing for?
  • How do you want to position your company?
  • What’s the message/story?
  • What do you want the visitor to do?

Step-by-Step Redesign Example

For the Inbound Team home page, here were our objectives:

  • Which persona: CEO Charlie. Charlie is our ideal client. He’s the CEO of a growing company with at least $5M in revenue. Having predictable sales growth is a critical priority.

  • Positioning: Too many inbound agencies look and feel the same. We are actually a little odd in that we have a lot of business creativity. Even though all inbound marketing agencies use similar tactics, it’s the way you combine all the tactics that matters—that’s where we shine.

  • Message/Story: Many CEOs don’t fully see the magnitude of the threat (and opportunity) caused by digital disruption and a changed buying process. You can either get ahead of the competition now, at a critical moment, or fall behind.

    Our key messages are:
    • Jump the Competition with an Inbound Marketing Engine
    • Buyers Have Changed. Either adapt or lose out to your competitors.

  • Desired Action: We want visitors to first be curious and intrigued with our company. If they are interested and want to learn more, they can:

Why the Retro Images?

Our idea was that the retro images would accentuate how much the world has changed. And, they would be interesting and different.

I do think the images are interesting and different. Still, we’ve gotten some feedback that we may have gone too far and that the images are from too long ago. This could erode our position as thought leaders. What do you think?

We're thinking of changing out the images already. See what I mean about continuously updating your website?

What’s Next?

We had a bunch of great ideas we had to drop for now. Especially with inbound marketing, it’s better to get something done fast and make it better over time.

We have plans for some better images, for a blog preview on the home page, changing the navigation, and for further improving the design.

Even though we were primarily focused on the home page, we uncovered several weaknesses in other pages. Yet more items we need to work on and continuously improve.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of our new site. Really! Do it now.

Takeaways

  • If your home page is more than one year old, it may need a makeover. At least be sure to give it a full review and identify any weaknesses.
  • Have clear objectives for each and every page on your website.
  • Always be looking for potential improvements and keep a list of improvement actions for each page.

If you’re thinking about what’s missing on your website, schedule a free Lead Boost Review. We’ll include a review of your home page.

Schedule Lead Boost Review

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Topics: Inbound Marketing


Why Can't I Predict My Sales?

Posted by Clarke Bishop

October 8, 2015

Marketing and sales don't work like they used to. Gone are the days when a little advertising and cold calling could lead to steady stream of appointments. Everyone has caller ID and ad blockers, so interruption marketing tactics rarely work. 

Smart phones and the Internet have given all the power to buyers—the buying process has changed. Your selling process must adapt to meet the needs of your prospects and close the sale.

The key to building a predictable, scalable marketing engine is to start with strategy. Marketing strategy involves identifying and understanding your best prospects and then sending the right messages.

As you build your strategy, think about the following questions:

1. Who are your best prospects? The more precise you can be the better. What messages do they need to hear to get interested and ultimately become a customer.

2. What makes your company remarkable? Remarkables are things about your business that make prospects say "Wow!" and cause them to tell their friends. 

3. Do you have a strategy, including an execution plan? You need an editorial publishing calendar that lays out the plan for your marketing team. It should describe the content and schedule, and also cover how the content will be promoted and distributed to prospects. 

Why Can't I Predict My Sales?

Dark and difficult times lie ahead for those that don't adjust to the new reality. Read the CEO’s 2016 Guide to Marketing and learn what has changed and will bring you results in this new climate.

CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing


Oops! You've Lost Control Of Your Sales Process

Posted by Clarke Bishop

October 1, 2015

The buying process has changed. Buyers now go much longer before being available to talk with your sales team. Studies have estimated that 60% or even more of the buying process is over before the buyer is ready to get a salesperson involved.

Buyers are almost fully in control. Your best strategy is to give them what they want! Provide useful and educational information that answers their questions and helps them feel good about your company. Do this, and you’ll be positioned to make the sale once they’re actually ready.

You've Lost Control Of Your Sales Process - Oops!

If your prospects are searching, you'll start to show up. And over time you'll get more and more visitors. That's the best thing about this kind of marketing, your results keep improving!

If your prospects are not searching, something else is needed. Targeted outreach. The right prospects are open to helpful information, they just don't want to wait for, or deal with an annoying salesperson.

Today's Internet offers a variety of ways to identify your best prospects and get their attention with valuable content. Prospects get what they want on their terms, and they like it this way. Give them what they want and they'll love you.

Dark times are on the horizon for companies that don't adjust to the new reality. The buying process has changed but also created new opportunities. Read the CEO’s 2016 Guide to Marketing and learn what no longer works and what will bring you results in this new climate.

CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing


How Marketing Will Change In 2016

Posted by Clarke Bishop

September 26, 2015

Marketing and sales don’t work like they used to. Buyers have changed and don’t behave in the same old ways.

Many businesses are finding it hard to grow because traditional marketing doesn’t work well any more. A little advertising or cold calling used to lead to a steady stream of appointments. Not today.

Storms Ahead CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing

What’s changed is that buyers now have control over the sales process. The Internet has made information available to anyone who wants to be connected.

Sellers used to control most of the information and buyers were forced to interact with salespeople. Now, buyers have all the needed information at their fingertips—through their browser and even their smart phone.

Buyers refuse to engage with salespeople until they are ready. Even then, it’s only on their terms.

Buyers Have Changed & You Must Adapt

Since the buying process has changed, you must adapt your selling process. The CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing will teach you the steps that buyers go through in any buying decision and how you can use marketing that matches this new modern buying process.  

Marketing has changed, but also created new opportunities. There are storms ahead for companies that don’t adjust to the new reality. Read the CEO’s 2016 Guide to Marketing and learn what will bring you results in this new climate.

CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing