“How I Work”: Craig Elias – Creator of Trigger Event Selling™, and the Chief Catalyst of SHiFT Selling, Inc.

Craig Elias“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 Craig Elias, best-selling author and creator of Trigger Event Selling.  Look no further than Craig’s LinkedIn profile to see just how many things he’s involved in on a regular basis.  Sales consulting with the world’s leading brands.   Author of books, blogs and more.  Entrepreneurship Instructor at the University of Calgary.  Boy scout leader.  Maintainer of the neighborhood outdoor ice hockey rink.  Craig, suffice it to say, gets stuff done.  Here, in his own words, is how he works.

Location: Calgary, AB

Current computers:  A top of the line MacBook Air is my primary computer and I have a 4-year-old Dell XPS 14 laptop as my backup Windows machine.

Current mobile devices:  iPhone5 but my 6 Plus is on the way. The best thing I love about my mobile devices is that SENA makes ultra-cool wallets that allow me to have everything I need in one place when I leave the house.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? My all-time favourite sales app is ToutApp – think marketing automation but for sales people. I love how it lets me follow up on LinkedIn connection requests without having to use my email program.

I also love Evernote’s business card scanning app that lets me send LinkedIn connection requests right after I scan a card.

I’m also a heavy user of LinkedIn.  I’m user 3,956 of over 325 Million users and I’m into my 12th year of using it so I’ve found a ton of unique ways to use it for lead generation.

What’s your workspace like?  It gets a little messy during the week because I focus on getting things done.  It typically gets cleaned up again early Saturday morning.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack? I get up between 4:30 and 5:30 every day of the week and get a few hours or work done before I have any interruptions. To make that happen I’m usually in bed by 9:30 and I watch no more than 90 minutes of TV a week.

What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else?  Focus. I have incredible clarity about my Big Hairy Audacious Goal and everything I do moves me closer to it every single day.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? Clear – it’s on my iPhone. It’s simple, clean and highly effective.

What do you listen to while at work? Silence – It allows me to not get distracted. After work is a different story.

What are you currently reading?  I just finished reading Never Be Closing and it’s the most I’ve marked up or dog-eared a book in the last 20 years. There was so much good stuff in it that on my way to this year’s Dreamforce I did something I have never done – I read it a second time!

What’s your sleep routine like? In bed by 9:30 and up by 4:30

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?  Never assume that just because someone does not reply to an email, or a voice mail, that they have not listened to or read it. If you get a chance to watch Gravity watch for the scene where George Clooney explains to Sandra Bullock the concept of “Houston in the blind.” It’s a simple yet powerful concept that every sales person should pay attention to.

Anything else you want to add? Never underestimate the power of persistence or propinquity – the power of nearness. Feel free to call or text me (+1.403.874.2998) when you want to chat about how to make both happen.

The Fourth Step to Marketing Greatness in 2015 – Process

processBy Robert Pease, CMO Practice Lead for Heinz Marketing

This is part four in an eight-part series on the keys to marketing greatness in 2015.  Part one focused on demand generation, part two focused on content marketing, part three focused on database health.

We’re featuring these keys leading up to our webinar on November 6 where we will cover them in greater detail. Today we highlight the topic and importance of Process.

Process is definitely key to marketing greatness because it provides a structural and cross-functional view of what you are doing and how you are doing it.

You must map out the entire funnel from creation to nurture to sales coordination and conversion.  Have established criteria that define a prospect, an MQL, and an SQL.  Understand what the sales team needs and when.  Know what metrics are the best indications of performance to manage your team and report your success to your executive management.

Process is so important to all of these things so that everyone knows how it works, how it is measured, and how it can be improved over time.  Markets change and businesses evolve so having a process-centric view of your marketing activities is critical.

Sit down and map out:

  1. Interaction with prospects and customers - advertising, email campaigns, marketing automation, social media, etc.  Every touch point you control should be defined with clear ownership and metrics.
  2. Content production and distribution - the schedule and activities used to create original content or leverage 3rd party content as well as the systems used to manage them.  Content is the core of your process so be sure to include it!
  3. Analytics and reporting - make sure you have the answer to the question “is it working?” readily accessible.  Measure the ROI on your spend and apply scoring to leads but focus on what is most important to understand and report success.  The future will include more data not less so proper filters are essential.
  4. Oversight and management - be sure to include how you communicate as a team and where those information flows cross functional groups.  Give your team the ability to be creative and try new things but be sure to have the proper check points and reviews.

A best in class process will enable and measure outcomes, not just activities.  Sending an email campaign is an activity.  Launching a white paper promotion is an activity.  Knowing how many qualified leads you created across the sales funnel and which of those converted to customers along with how much it cost to do that is about the outcome.  Focus on outcomes in your process.

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

The Third Step to Marketing Greatness in 2015 – Database Health

healthcheckBy Robert Pease, CMO Practice Lead for Heinz Marketing

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

We’re featuring these keys leading up to our webinar on November 6 where we will cover them in greater detail. Today we highlight the topic of Database Health.

For the non-technically inclined marketer, the mere presence of this phrase can generate anxiety and frustration.  Take a deep breath and get in there.  It is core to your marketing efforts.

The accuracy and effectiveness of the information available to you that is used to engage prospects through the buying journey is extremely important and requires constant attention to keep up to date.

No one likes to receive a personalized email that fails on personalization.  Those techniques can work in certain situations but if you database doesn’t include extensive information about a prospect then best to avoid them.

Also, more is not definitely better.  Blindly buying lists or doing bulk downloads from one of several services offering contact details may bring a moment of elation only to be followed by frustration at the outdated records and lack of engagement from trying to start a conversation with someone who has never heard of you and not really given you their contact information directly.

Focus on populating your prospect database with only those who fit your ideal customer profile.  Mapping these two together gives you a measure of success around collecting, maintaining, and using your database to drive your sales funnel.

Constantly exercise and build your prospect database.  Exercise it through use – meaningful offers, value-added information, and interesting content.  Do not simply fill a prospect’s inbox until they unsubscribe.   Twenty five to thirty percent of the contact records in your prospect database will “age out” annually as people switch jobs, change roles, or otherwise stop using the contact information they first provided you.  Give them an incentive to keep you up to date on their contact details through insights and content relevant to them and their success.

Build your prospect database with opt-in strategies where your target prospects want to hear more, learn more, or know more.  Don’t let your database fields drive the landing page and form design.  You can get all the information you need over time or through 3rd party data enhancement services.  Focus on the least amount of friction to drive a prospect to the next stage of engagement.

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

Are you listening for “lean in” moments?

activelisteningYou’re in a conversation with a prospect.  A long time, loyal customer.  Your boss.  Just about anybody.

Let’s assume you’re actively listening, taking notes as needed.  But there are points in the conversation that mean more than almost anything else said.

It’s not necessarily at the end, when you’re trying to summarize the conversation and next steps.  The most important part of the conversation isn’t always structured, and it often comes without warning.

And it’s that exact moment when you learn what’s most important, right now, to your customer or prospect.  I bet you hear them on a regular basis already.

I call them “lean in” moments because the prospect or customer is sharing something important, something they need you to pay attention to.  It’s the most important part of the conversation for you to write down, and your body language reinforces that you’re paying attention and taking them seriously.

You’ll start to recognize these “lean in” moments by the words that immediately precede them or begin them.  Things like:

  • “What I’m really worried about is…”
  • “Our CEO is particularly focused on…”
  • “Our board has challenged us to…”
  • “I really need to figure out…”

There are countless statements like these, and you can probably tell that what follows them could be the key to winning a new deal, discovering a new project, or simply delighting your customer or boss or colleague with insights, solutions and results on something they care about.

I bet you hear at least one or two before the end of the day.  The most important thing, of course, is how you respond and provide value.  But simply recognizing those gems to begin with gives you the opportunity.


Matt’s App of the Week: AboutLocal

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.

It’s pretty tough as a small business to keep track of what people might be saying about you online.  You can check Yelp and Twitter and Facebook and……

But I don’t know a lot of small business owners that really have time for that, especially those running retail and consumer-focused businesses.  A new service from VenueLabs called AboutLocal takes all of that online chatter and pulls it into one platform.  Now, on one dashboard, you can see, engage with and respond to anybody that’s talking about you on social channels, review sites and more.

Getting access to your Instagram mentions is free currently.  To see everything else requires a monthly fee.

Give it a shot.  I bet you see something on Instagram alone you didn’t know existed – a new fan, a customer complaint, a marketing opportunity.

B2B Reads: must haves, mind-boggling & life lessons for all

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:

8 must-have tips for writing landing page copy that converts
Wouldn’t it be great to have the writing skills that can always pull readers in and generate conversions? Don’t we all. Great tips from Neil Patel!

Social PPC: 17 tips for successful ads on Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook
While Google still dominates search advertising, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are on the rise. Social PPC can add more to your business than you think. Thanks Howard J Sewell.

One mind-boggling sales statistic
Most of us have room for improvement when it comes to social selling. How are you doing? Where do you see room for improvement? Good point from Jill Konrath.

Why BANT stopped working
For a long time, BANT has worked as a pretty good framework for qualifying opportunities. Now that BANT is becoming old news, what is the new framework we should use? Interesting point Anthony Iannarino.

Google’s Eric Schmidt has these 9 rules for emailing
In this world of technology, most communication these days happens via email. Check out Eric Schmidt’s great rules to follow when emailing.

3 secrets Groupon and Marketo use to drive sales (webinar)
How are great sales teams using cutting-edge technologies to drive their sales? Check it out in this awesome webinar featuring Dave Boyce.

The introvert’s guide to successful negotiating
Just because you aren’t as outgoing or loud as the guy next to you, doesn’t mean that you can’t negotiate a mean deal. Great guide from Ginny Soskey.

A quick and easy content marketing ROI tip sheet
One of the biggest challenges with content marketing today is measuring the effectiveness of the content marketing that is done. Great tip sheet from Hana Abaza.

6 life lessons we all know but always forget
Relax today and remember the important things. We all lead busy lives, but it never hurts to slow down and focus on the positive. Great reminder from Andrew Walton!

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 Iannarino, Dave 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?

  • Pipeliner CRM – I use my CRM daily on both PC and mobile devices.  Seriously, a good CRM can’t be overlooked for helping you keep track of everyone and everything.
  • 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 Flipboard 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.
  • BufferApp – great for scheduling social messages.  I use this to ensure that I send consistent messages and can interact, as well.

What’s your workspace like?  Most of the time I work from home, so it’s my dining 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 specialized 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


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 who 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.