Seattle Startup Week: Sales & Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

I love talking to entrepreneurs and founders.  It is immensely invigorating to see, hear and literally feel the palpable enthusiasm they have for their work.

It’s a real treat when I get a chance to talk to them about sales & marketing, with a particular focus on what early stage companies should be doing to develop a scalable, repeatable sales & marketing engine (ideally in the most efficient, cost-effective manner possible).

Below is a link to my presentation deck from my Seattle Startup Week presentation this past Wednesday.

“How I Work”: Richard Young, Managing Director at Pipeliner CRM

Richard Young“How I Work” is one of my favorite recurring features in Inc Magazine as well as via Lifehacker’s This Is How I Work Series, and recently several sales experts (including  Anthony IannarinoDave Brock and Trish Bertuzzi) participated as well.

Periodically moving forward we will feature a new B2B sales, marketing or business leader here answering what have become the standard “How I Work” questions.  You can catch up on everyone we’ve featured thus far in the “How I Work” series here.

This week I’m excited to feature Richard Young.  Richard is a CRM & Sales expert who has implemented 1000’s of systems, sold most of them and consulted around them. He also speaks at events on best practice and on where the market is going.  He currently heads up the UK & Ireland geographic of Pipeliner CRM serving as Managing Director. He’s responsible for revenue generation, influencer engagement, working with analysts, and building the UK & Ireland company.  He previously helped start the UK CRM marketplace with GoldMine,  founded several companies (one listed on the London FTSE, and the other acquired).

Suffice it to say, Richard gets stuff done.  Here, in his own words, is how he works.

Location:  Wraysbury, UK (That’s near London and has a tree that’s around 2500 years old).

Current computers:  Dell XPS Windows 8 – it’s a lightweight 14” screen with a big kick.  Works very well for my needs.

Current mobile devices:  Samsung Galaxy S5

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

  • Gmail – great email system and I love that the contacts sync to my phone and my CRM system.
  • Skype – essential business tool for global & local operators.
  • Social Platforms – Twitter, G+, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Flipboard – Great way of staying up-to-date and it’s very quick so great in a taxi, train or just waiting for that meeting.  There are so many magazines on this and many with information you simply wouldn’t find on regular news channels.
  • Dropbox – My stuff when I want it, where I want it.
  • Evernote – it’s my walking knowledgebase.  I have notes going back years on this.
  • Pipeliner CRM – ok it’s the CRM we do, but I use it daily on both PC and mobile devices.  Seriously a good CRM can’t be over looked for helping you keep on track of everyone and everything.
  • BufferApp – great for scheduling out social messages.  I use this to ensure consistent messages are sent and then interact on top.

What’s your workspace like?  Most of the time I work from home, so it’s my dinning room table.  I find that more comfortable than my desk. Although that’s mostly because my larger than life dog insists on being with me.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack?  First thing, list out everything you’re supposed to do that day.  Even if you already have it on an electronic calendar, it helps you to focus on what has to be done.

What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else?  CRM – it’s what I’ve specialisted in since, well, before it was CRM. I helped introduce it to the UK market and have seen it grow from a small market to an industry worth billions.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?  Pen and Paper – I find writing things down reinforces them in my head.  From there I put it into Google calendar as that syncs to all my devices.

What do you listen to while at work?  I often have the news running in the background and alternate between the different international broadcasters.

What are you currently reading?  I’m currently reading Rethinking Sales Management: A Strategic Guide for Practitioners by Beth Rogers of Portsmouth University.

 What’s your sleep routine like?  Bed at 11pm up at 6.30am.  

Anything else you want to add?  For those that need to know, the dog is a Black Russian Terrier called Ivan.

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received (Dozens of Answers)

bestadviceWe ask this question of everyone who participates in our “How I Work” series, and I especially benefitted from hearing the answers from this year’s Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 under 40 honorees last month.

Not yet satisfied or satiated, I asked for the same advice from several people in B2B sales & marketing I admire deeply.  Here are a few of their answers:

Trish Bertuzzi, founder, Bridge Group:  Early on in my business I was struggling with pipeline. I met with a friend for lunch and she said to me “You know what to do so just do what you know.” Duh…. I went back to the office, put on my headset and started making calls. Never stopped calling and never had that problem again. Simple right?

Joe Pulizzi, founder, Content Marketing Institute:  There are two critical behaviors that have made all the difference in my life, which come from a combination of books, including Think and Grow Rich and the 10x Rule: Write down your goals and review those goals EVERY day.  There is nothing that keeps you more on track than these two daily rituals.

Dan McDade, President, PointClear:   Watch corporate overhead expense, especially HR.  It is a cancer that can kill your company.  This advice forces me to pay special attention to G&A costs which as your company grows can easily get out of control.

Meagan Eisenberg, Vice President of Customer Marketing, DocuSign:  The best two pieces of marketing advice I received were from my first CMO – Dan Druker.  1. Always Partner with Sales and 2. It is all about solution selling.  You are not here to talk about your product, but how you are solving a business pain for your customer.  Or as we would say today – don’t do a “product selfie.”

Ardath Albee, founder, Marketing Interactions:  From my father – “Whatever you do, do it right, or don’t bother to do it at all.”  Nuff said J

John Cook, Co-founder, GeekWire:  “Follow your passion, don’t worry about the money.”   My parents always stressed the importance of finding something that you love to do. They never pushed me to be a lawyer, doctor, engineer or anything else. What was most important was finding something you love, and focusing on that. That led me to study history in college, and then to jump into journalism as my first career — two pursuits that aren’t necessarily high-reward on the monetary side of the equation. To this day, following that passion has helped me build GeekWire, and led to a fun entrepreneurial journey, which leads me to another entrepreneurial maxim that I picked up from Golazo and Cranium co-founder Richard Tait. “If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right!”

Sean Burke, CEO, Kitedesk:  Be yourself (I can give you more details next time we talk…but this piece of advice has been the most helpful that I have every received.)

Joe Chernov, Vice President of Content, Hubspot:  Quitting is contagious. Once you start it gets easier and easier. Don’t start. (My dad.)

Dave Brock, president, Partners in Excellence: 

  1. The very best, which is unprintable, “F**k ‘em if they can’t take a joke.”  This could be applied to all sorts of situations, basically has to do with us and others taking ourselves/themselves too seriously.  We have to realize most of what we and our customers are doing is not rocket science (Unless you are calling on NASA, Elon Musk, or Jeff Bezos ;-)  Probably requires a little more explanation.
  2. Another, “There’s a difference between ‘sell’ and ‘install.’”  I learned this as a young IBM sales person.  What I was selling was a new way of doing business, ultimately if I was successful, I would ship computers and software.  For example, a new Foreign Exchange Trading System, a new way of designing and building airplanes, etc.  What we shipped/installed were computers and software.  This really intensified focus on the customer and what they are trying to achieve, not on our product, which enabled them to achieve the things.  (By the way, those two examples were real.  The first was one of my first big sales, it was about $20M.  The second changed the way Boeing and a few others designed airplanes.  The first PO from Boeing was several hundred million, over time, it’s created billions in revenue and changed an industry.
  3. This is me—my advice people on this, “You win and lose deals in the discovery process.”  Too many people skip the discovery process, going straight to pitching products/solutions.  But the discovery process is where the customer lays out what they need, how they will buy and how they will make a decision.  If we do discovery well, the customer lays out everything that we need to do to win.  All we have to do is execute on this.
  4. Another from me—“The fastest way to improve your win/conversion rates is to viciously disqualify deals that aren’t yours.”  Most sales people don’t understand their sweet spot, so they end up chasing bad deals.  If we focus viciously on our sweet spot, we won’t be diverted by deals that aren’t ours.

The Second Step to Marketing Greatness in 2015 – Content Marketing

hör mir zuBy Robert Pease, CMO Practice Lead for Heinz Marketing

This is part two in an eight-part series on the keys to marketing greatness in 2015.  Part one focused on demand generation.

in 2015 and leading up to our webinar on November 6 where we will cover them in detail, today we are covering the topic of Content Marketing.

Content is the lifeblood of the modern sales cycle with prospects gathering and consuming information earlier in the process then ever before.  Your content needs to be able to stand alone without the assistance of a sales representative yet still achieve the desired end state when it is consumed be that the next piece of content or direct engagement in a buying process.

What you provide and how is definitely important but more important is mapping your content marketing efforts to the buyer’s journey and the personas that navigate it.  This is easier said than done with differences in the ways people buy and even who is involved in the purchase decision.

Focus on the persona and tailor your content to them are great rules of thumb.  Always write or create with this profile in mind and anticipate what the next question or concern might be.  Avoid being too salesy or writing rigid marketing copy.  Rather focus on the conversation and realize, especially in more complex B2B buying scenarios, that there will many points of engagement before a decision is made.  Make the most of each of those opportunities with great content that is tightly targeted at defined audiences and carries your message clearly.

Now that you understand these dimensions of the sales and marketing content equation focus on optimizing “how” content is consumed.

Short videos, shareable links, visual ebooks all map to consumer content consumption behaviors.  We watch our activity stream in Facebook with images, videos, and other quickly actionable inputs so where appropriate map your content development efforts to this model.

Track and measure how your content is used and even what pieces contribute to accelerating a prospect through the sales cycle to closed customer.  This closed loop view is rare but understand that the whole reason you are creating content is to drive interest at the top of the funnel and remove friction as a prospect journeys through buying decision in the sales pipeline.

Know what works where and design sales playbooks to give your sales team the best odds of having meaningful engagement and shortened sales cycles.

Join us November 6th for more on this and seven more keys to marketing domination in 2015.

Everything the light touches is content

everything the light touchesTwo weeks ago Ann Handley joined us in Seattle for two amazing events, in part to promote her new book Everybody Writes.  I still think it’s one of the most important content marketing books I’ve ever read, not only because it encourage everybody (no matter your background or skill set) to become better writers, but it also significantly expands what most people consider to be content.

To reinforce that last point, Ann’s presentation featured a still image from the original animated movie The Lion King, in which a young Simba sits atop a cliff with his father overlooking their kingdom.  The line Ann plays off of from the movie (“Everything light touches is your kingdom”) clearly applies to what content is as well.

Think about it, well beyond your next blog post or white paper or video.

That email you’ll write in a few minutes?  It’s content.

The copy you throw onto your product order form? Content.

The chochkie you choose for your next trade show?  How you choose to decorate your office or cubicle? What’s included in your email signature? How you answer the phone?

All content.  All opportunities to impress and motivate and mobilize your customers and prospects.

It’s often the content we don’t typically think of as content that becomes our weak point.  That diminishes the value and strength of our overall message and brand.

All of it matters. All of it is content.

Matt’s App of the Week: theSkimm

appoftheweek-300x284This is the latest in a series of weekend posts highlighting a wide variety of applications we think are pretty cool. Most have to do with sales, marketing and productivity. Check out past featured apps here.

I have my morning reading rituals.  I’m a big fan of the daily Quartz email, I scan the Wall Street Journal and New York Times email headlines, and have a handful of other morning news summaries (Digg, SmartBrief, etc.) I look at if I have time.

But very quickly, the first and most important of those has become theSkimm.

It’s a fast read.  Very well and entertainingly written.  It summarizes the key news, why it’s important, and what people think about it.

If you want to sound smart at the water cooler, or just get the gist of the overnight news in about two minutes, theSkimm is for you.

Worth a look.

B2B Reads: Productivity Powerhouse & Dreamforce Takeaways

best-blogsIn addition to our Sunday App of the Week feature, we also summarize some of our favorite B2B sales & marketing posts from around the Web each week. We’ll miss a ton of great stuff, so if you found something you think is worth sharing please add it to the comments below.

In the meantime, here’s some of what we’re reading:

Top 4 reasons a great salesperson can fail at your company
Have you ever hired a great salesperson who still failed? Most people have. Here are some reasons why. Great stuff Dave Kurlan.

5 presentation mistakes not to make
Presentations can be highly successful with a strong delivery and powerful design. Make sure all of your boxed are checked so you can ensure a successful deliver to your audience. Thanks Scott Schwertly.

3 steps to help you find the best time to send email messages
There are so many different things to worry about with email marketing. Have you been focusing enough time on making sure you send your email at the right time? Great advice Janelle Johnson!

44 apps that turn your smartphone into a productivity powerhouse (infographic)
No one goes anywhere anymore without their smartphone. Instead of only using it for social, why not try one of these apps to boost your productivity. Of course, there’s an app for that. Good stuff Geoff Weiss.

What is not a buying signal
There is a lot of confusion around what is a buying signal and what isn’t. What do you consider a buying signal? Does it matter where it came from? Thanks Anthony Iannarino.

7 popular content marketing myths you need to stop following
There are a lot of different notions about what you should be doing with content marketing. Some of them might not be the right tactic for you. Check it out. Thanks Neil Patel!

Let’s fix it: kill the weekly meeting
Are you wasting valuable time in meetings? If your productivity levels are declining, your weekly meeting might need to be re-evaluated. Good point Jeff Denneen.

The sales pro’s semi-colossal guide to social selling
Social selling has become a big deal in the seven or eight years. Here’s a whole guide dedicated to all things social enjoy. Thanks Alyson Stone.

Why listening communities belong in your marketing strategy
Have you ever been in a meeting with those people that just don’t stop talking? Don’t be like them. Take advantage of listening and you might find some hidden gems. Good stuff Vanessa Dimauro.

5 marketing takeaways from Dreamforce 2014
Downtown San Francisco was taken over this last week by Dreamforce attendees. Here are just five great marketing takeaways from the event. Thanks Cami Winding!

The First Step to Marketing Greatness in 2015 – Demand Generation

Nike_Find_Your_Greatness_Diver_largeBy Robert Pease, CMO Practice Lead for Heinz Marketing

As we roll into the 4th quarter of 2014, the days get shorter, the leaves are changing colors, and it is time to take inventory on how you can improve your marketing efforts in 2015.

We believe a continual assessment of marketing objectives and outcomes defines a high performance business and have developed a frame of reference for any company to use to analyze current performance, identify areas of improvement, and build out a roadmap to success.

We’ll be going into detail on the 8 Keys to Marketing Greatness in 2015 webinar on November 6 and will be discussing each of the 8 here on the blog as we approach the event.

The first topic we’ll examine is Demand Generation and the elements that make for best in class customer acquisition machine.

How you find, engage, and convert prospects is a core marketing activity in any organization.  Regardless of your business, you need to think through elements of both inbound marketing and outbound marketing tactics.  When deployed together and targeted at the right audience you will see results in your sales funnel.

The key is to understand what the buyer’s journey looks like and how you can best enable it.  Where do your target prospects get information, how do they like research products or services, do you have the right mix of content that anticipates the questions that come up in the sales process?

Knowing in detail who you are trying to reach and the dynamics of how they purchase is essential.  Is the “user buyer” the same as the “economic buyer?”  Does one person make a decision or many?  Answers to these questions guide the strategy and tactics around the campaigns used at the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel.

Once in place, do you have good measurements in place to understand conversion rates, sales-accepted leads, what contributes to forecast sales opportunities and what actually contributes to revenue?

Focus your demand generation activities on your target persona, use a blend of inbound and outbound tactics to reach them, and measure each step of the way and you’ll be on your way to marketing greatness in 2015.

Join us November 6th for more on this and seven more keys to marketing domination in 2015.

“How I Work”: Lisa Gschwandtner, Editorial Director – Selling Power

LisaG_2

“How I Work” is one of my favorite recurring features in Inc Magazine as well as via Lifehacker’s This Is How I Work Series, and recently several sales experts (including  Anthony IannarinoDave Brock and Trish Bertuzzi) participated as well.

Periodically moving forward we will feature a new B2B sales, marketing or business leader here answering what have become the standard “How I Work” questions.  You can catch up on everyone we’ve featured thus far in the “How I Work” series here.

This week I’m excited to feature Lisa Gschwandtner, Editorial Director for Selling Power Magazine.  Lisa is an incredible writer, managing a large team of writers and contributors for the magazine and Web site, and is helping the company drive participation in several Sales 2.0 Conferences each year.

She manages an editorial team, social activity, coordination with the business team and advertisers, as well as sales industry influencers on a daily basis. Lisa, suffice it to say, gets stuff done.  Here, in her own words, is how she works.

Location:  Oakland, California

Current computers:  MacBook Pro

Current mobile devices:  An iPhone 5 (2-3 software updates behind) and an iPad (version ????)

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

  • Google Drive
  • Twenty Cubed  — Chrome extension that reminds me to look away from my computer screen every 20 minutes (which I ALWAYS DO or at least that’s what I tell my eye doctor)
  • LastPass  — to generate “stronger” (?? supposedly but who are we kidding the hackers are coming for us no matter what) passwords and keep track of them because I have lost years of my life to resetting passwords
  • Postagram  — one of my favorite iPhone apps!
  • Hootsuite
  • aText

What’s your workspace like?  On my walls:

1) this framed photograph taken by my very talented photographer friend Neil Maclean

2) a framed line drawing by my very talented artist friend Lisa Marie Thalhammer

3) a painting of a teapot by Paula Rose (who is also very talented but I don’t know her)

4) various pictures and postcards and notes and things

My biggest organizational goal is to know where my headset is at all times so I’m not late dialing in to conference calls.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack?  5-20 minute breaks during the day for a walk or some yoga. I love Esther Ekhart’s yoga videos!  Also, aText is great. It helps me avoid typing the same words/phrases/emails by auto-completing words, sentences, and full paragraphs. I don’t know if it actually saves that much time but it FEELS like I’m saving a lot of time, which is just as important.

What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else?  Instagramming sunsets. Boarding a plane according to my assigned group like a decent human being.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?  I am so grateful to our operations manager, Courtney, for creating a spreadsheet to track all our editorial projects. She and I review this once a week and I also use it to prioritize my to-do list.

What do you listen to while at work?  Playlists on Songza (I like Classical for Studying)

What are you currently reading?  I just finished The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig. A beautiful novel with a VERY surprising ending

What’s your sleep routine like?  Shut off all electronics by 10. Read. Fall asleep. Wake up in the AM feeling energetic and confident.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?   “Do not waste your time on people who have shown you they mean no good for you.” — Oprah

Anything else you want to add?  Thank you for inviting me to participate!

Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see BLANK answer these questions.

Awesome Business Owner:  Anneke Seley
Person I’m Frequently Mistaken For, Especially Over Email:  Larissa Gschwandtner
One of My Top Three Favorite Salespeople:  Steve Hawes
Famous Person:  John Oliver
Reclusive Author:  Donna Tartt
Joke Person:  Abraham Lincoln

Social selling from the trenches: A quota-killer shares all

socialsellinghypeToday’s guest post is from Philip Bokan, regional sales director for RainKing.  He’s a no-nonsense but very successful enterprise sales professional, and I was fascinated with how he’s interpreted and leveraged the social selling opportunity in combination with “traditional” sales techniques to consistently hit his number.

Social Media can be an instrument of good in your career, but it can also backfire. This all depends on how you play it. I’ve been an astute user of social media since it came about and have seen much more sales damage through others’ behavior than good.

A few weeks ago, I met with some former coworkers for drinks. A lot of time has passed and at one point we were competing in the marketing sales tools space. Amongst all the laughs of how it “used to be” we got on the topic of social media. “Social selling”, specifically. We got on a topic that I couldn’t tell them when we were competitors; it was an eye opener for them.

Me: “Wow… you guys gave away everything. I knew every prospect that your firm was working with due to your tweets.”

Them: “Uhhh, yea, we didn’t even realize it at the time.”

I firmly believe there is not one ounce of selling product involved in effective Social Selling, but rather it’s more about selling yourself (brand) and minding your business/protecting your own interests.

When Twitter started to be prominent as a marketing device and potential lead channel, sales reps in the beginning all thought they were doing their prospects a favor by tweeting complementary messages or even retweeting interesting content. What the majority of people didn’t realize is that they were actually opening up their playbook. “Look at me” has never been more prevalent and annoying in the social forum. However, there are still some valuable lessons you can learn from social listening.

I’ve spoken with hundreds of reps at Fortune 500 companies and they all say the same thing. They “hope” they can get something from social selling, but haven’t seen an order as a result yet. Pretty sure they are all still waiting. You won’t win, but can easily lose a deal and an exponential amount more (ie. your job, family life, etc, which is a different topic altogether) if you aren’t mindful.

So while “social selling experts” are pandering to executives, trying to push this snake-oil, it brings me back to watching a close college friend. There was one particular night that said friend called this girl he met briefly at the bar, 27 times in one evening, thinking it will get him somewhere… ANYWHERE! Messaging today is out in the open for everyone to see, always remember that.

My personal do’s and don’ts:

Twitter.

Twitter is great forum to tap into potential synergies with the people you want to sell to. Finding that common bond can be powerful; perhaps your prospect loves the Pittsburgh Steelers, cheers for the Duke Blue Devils, maybe likes adventure sports or you can find other commonalities. These are always good ways to build personal bridges and add color to personalize your facetime with them.

Tweet approved topics from your place of business. If you work for a public company you can potentially (negatively) influence areas that you have no business talking about. Accidentally speak on a subject that can swing revenue in a bad direction, there can be a lot of collateral damage, from which you may end up in a legal issue.

Do not tweet directly to executives asking for their time. You may be able to engage them on a topic, but don’t overstep that engagement publicly.

Tweetjack.

Tweet smartly timed messaging countering a competitor’s message, without saying anything negative. We all have particularly aggressive competitors that don’t “play fair”. Don’t be afraid to leverage their messaging against them, in a respectful way.

Mind your tone.

This one is tough. Twitter is the snarkiest arena in social; it can be fun to spar. Since you can never tell the tone in an email, it’s fair to assume that someone will always misread what you posted or make an assumption of tone.

Listen with your eyes, not your fingers.

A complementary tool like TweetDeck allows you to follow multiple topics and companies, without actually following them. Smart competitors can see who you follow and may make assumptions on your client base. That’s the paranoid sales guy in me speaking, but it’s also an unfortunate reality.

Tweet at your own risk.

You can never take it back, ever. Say the wrong thing and you can be fired. This goes way beyond tone and is in a literal sense. Whatever you say is now out there, even if it’s been deleted, it’s not going anywhere… unless you work for the IRS. Kidding aside, future employers will also potentially see your messaging.

Some points on other useful social channel pitfalls:

Facebook.

I tend to steer clear on business topics if possible. Contributing to likes on company pushed info is legitimate. In my experience, people view this as a personal space and you are basically shilling if you do post business information on the facebooker outside of a company page… so tread lightly.

Google+.

Fire away on posting business topics. It’s a true public forum on the Googlemachine, you can privatize your personal messaging and compartmentalize your work life balance.

LinkedIn

The dreaded roundfile. Ever happen to look over a power Executive’s shoulder at their Linkedin header?

They probably have many more than the 90 unopened InMails. Always assume that a LinkedIn message will not reach your target. With the overwhelming majority of email through LinkedIn going directly to peoples’ personal email, high probability that it may be sitting in with the countless other pieces of spam they receive.

LinkedIn is a valuable tool, the connections and correlations you can gain are immense.  But also keep in mind that this site was designed as a job board for recruiters. Of note on this subject, the phone number that is listed on someone’s LinkedIn page is often their personal number. Do not ever dial that number without permission.

Finally, Pick.Up.the.Damn.Phone.

When you see something interesting about one of your prospects (a funding event for their company, a promotion, them being featured somewhere socially), it’s a reason to call. In that process, complement them genuinely.

In my follow up emails, I will usually reference the post that I saw of them and even take a small screengrab and include it in that email. Being attentive and caring about your prospects helps to win business.  Like the classic Roosevelt quote states, “People don’t care how much you know until they know that you care”…. Truer now, than ever before.

In closing, your presence on social media is what you make of it. Listen carefully for hints on how you can speak in an educated fashion and personalize your interactions.

Be mindful, it’s easier to slit your own throat than you think. Social media is a great tool to personalize your interactions and the best mechanism to listen… just don’t assume you are winning anything with it. Nothing trumps value and benefit when you are speaking with your potential buyers. Small talk about personal preferences assists, but how you can make/save money and/or time is what your prospect really wants to hear.