My @SuperBowl bet with Trish Bertuzzi from @bridgegroupinc

deflate-gate-patriots-colts-memes-12I’ve been following Trish Bertuzzi, founder of The Bridge Group in Boston, for a long time.  She’s one of the most authentic people I know, and I’ve learned a ton about sales from her over the past several years.

Unfortunately, when it comes to football, she’s flat out wrong.  And I’m betting my money and wardrobe on it.

Trish is a die-hard Patriots fan, and her team will have the distinct honor of getting beat this coming Sunday by our Seattle Seahawks.

It’s not that we Seahawks fans are overconfident.  It’s not a bunch of hot air (or even deflated air).  It’s just that we’re going to win.  It’s just business.

So, the bet.  If the Hawks win, Trish sends our team some fresh Maine lobster (which we will grill at the office for everyone to enjoy).  If the Pats win, I’ll send Trish and her team some coveted Copper River Salmon when they start running in late May.

AND…the loser this weekend must wear the other team’s jersey at this spring’s American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) Leadership Conference in Chicago.

Let the trash talking begin!

Update – Add Michael Bird, CEO at NetProspex, to the list of people who will be sending delicious bounty west after Sunday.  Rather than jerseys and seafood, we’re betting Scotch.  If the Pats get lucky and win, Bird gets Highland Park.  Assuming all goes as planned, we’ll toast to back-to-back champions with some lovely Macallan next week!

How to work with (and get the most out of) consultants

consultantsThis topic may be a bit meta, but it’s worth the discussion.  Sure, we are consultants to our clients.  But we hire, work with and manage consultants for ourselves and on behalf of our clients on a regular basis as well.

I have a few rules of thumb I use in those relationships now, rules which make the work, experience and results far more predictable and enjoyable on both sides.

1. Clarify expectations and success metrics up front
Get them in writing, and make sure both sides agree to them.  Don’t let them be implied, and don’t let a quick phone conversation (undocumented) serve as the foundation for your working relationship.  This isn’t meant to be draconian, but rather to ensure all parties are focused on the same things and outcomes.

2. Expect regular status reports
These can be in a variety of formats, but a documented update on project status, results to date and next steps should be table stakes.  We, for example, deliver regular & detailed Friday reports to our clients in addition to a transparent, Smartsheet-based production schedule.  The last thing you want is a disagreement about progress further down the road.  Better to ensure everyone remains on the page weekly or monthly (depending on which cadence makes the most sense for your project or consulting relationship).

3. Respect their boundaries
You may work weekends, but that doesn’t mean you should expect the same hours from your consultant (nor does that imply they’re any better or worse at their job).  It’s worth discussing any of these potential boundaries (of hours, response time, scope, etc.) in the up-front expectation-setting so there are no surprises moving forward.

4. Ask more questions (and don’t be afraid to sound dumb)
You’ve hired said consultant because they know more than you, because they can help you achieve something you might not have been able to achieve on your own.  Thus, it stands to reason they may know things you need to know moving forward as well to improve the working relationship and results.  And besides, you’re paying them in part to make you smarter!  Ask lots of questions, be curious, learn more.

5. Don’t assume anything
This is more than a catch-all of some of the recommendations above.  Who’s reviewing the latest proposal?  Who’s editing first, and by when?  Does the consultant understand the same sense of urgency you do relative to results, timeline, other compelling events driving speed, priorities or execution?

6. Thank them
Sure, you’re paying them for their time, services and smarts.  But that doesn’t mean they don’t also need recognition.  Oftentimes a simple thank you – even just in email – can be intensely gratifying and motivating, even for the highest-paid and most successful consultants.  It’s important to your employees, and your vendors too.

Curious what other rules of engagement you might add to this…

What I’ve learned about blogging & writing, 2,000 blog posts later

2000-postsI’ve been writing this blog for eight years now, but it was about four years ago in March that we committed to start publishing something every day.  We did this for several reasons, in part because content here had driven a significant portion of our sales pipeline and revenue growth, and we thought we could expand that impact with a more regular, daily commitment to content.

Four years later, we’ve just passed 2,000 unique blog posts.  I used the 1K blog milestone to reflect on what it had meant to myself and the business, and although it took less time to hit the next thousand posts, the impact – and the lessons – have expanded.  Here are a few things on my mind that are also impacting how we think about the next thousand posts.

It takes discipline
There are many days I don’t feel like writing, don’t have something queued up for tomorrow, or just got way too busy or behind.  But that’s a slippery slope.  The systems we have created for recording and triaging potential topics makes it very easy to find something strategic and targeted, even if written at the last minute.  Beyond that, blogging daily requires a daily discipline of writing.  As comfortable as I am generally with the written word, sitting down to craft something worth of publication still takes time and discipline.  But it’s worth it.

It’s a numbers game
Some posts go nuts.  Others give us a one-day spike and trickle off.  Rarely is one or the other predictable.  But if we maintain a standard of quality on everything that goes out our door, the numbers game on daily blog posts works in our favor.

It takes a village
I still write the majority of content that ends up here, but I write a far lower percentage of overall content than I did for the first thousand.  We’ve encouraged everyone on staff to contribute regularly to our blog, and have regular features (such as the Saturday B2B Reads) that gives me at least one day of from writing every week.  That diversity will continue to grow as we increase the internal and external voices contributing to our editorial calendar.

It takes time
I distinctly remember writing what I thought was pretty good content in the beginning, then looking at my pitiful traffic numbers for what felt like weeks and months at a time.  It took hundreds of blog posts to start to generate readers.  Today, we’re blessed with great regular followers across channels – email, social, RSS and more.  But it’s literally taken 2,000 blog posts to get there.  Blogging works, but it definitely takes time.  There really aren’t any shortcuts.

It’s worth the investment
I’ve never paid someone to write a blog post for us.  Never paid for traffic.  My investment in this blog has been purely sweat equity.  And yet, the percentage and dollar volume of business I can attribute back to our investment in content continues to grow.  I’ve written previously how I don’t believe in inbound marketing alone to sustain a predictable pipeline, and that’s still absolutely true for me.  But I shudder to think about how much money I’d have to have spent on sales & marketing to hit the growth numbers we’ve been thankful to achieve without the blog.

It’s my top sales rep by far
It opens doors.  Makes cold introductions easier.  It keeps my prospects warm.  Generates inbound inquiries.  It literally helps me close deals, including with prospects I haven’t even spoken to yet.

It’s the foundation for numerous repurposing opportunities
Our best practices guides, as well as many of my books, have started as blog posts.  The discipline of thinking and writing daily makes it far easier to stitch together valuable, relevant content into a variety of other formats – webinars, keynote presentations, white papers, templates and more.

It can be systematized
Three days a week now, we run regularly-scheduled content.  Thursdays it’s our highly-popular “How I Work” series.  Saturday it’s B2B Reads.  Sunday is our App of the Week.  These take time to do consistently well, but are far less labor intensive than coming up with something new, from scratch.  They make daily blogging easier.

 

Matt’s App of the Week: Speedshare

appoftheweek-300x284Simply but powerful.  Let’s say you’re on a phone call or conference call, and want everyone to look at the same Web site at the same time.  If you want to collaborate on anything, use the site together, you literally have to shift controls back and forth.

Not with Speedshare.  Anyone logged into the session can interact with the site in question.  They basically frame any site in their interface, making every participant an active user.

I’ve tested it a few times on calls.  Very effective, very efficient.

Worth a look.

B2B Reads: challenges to team players to going from “meh” to “wow”

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:

The two productivity traps holding you back
There are so many books and blog posts out there about productivity. Sounds like there are two common themes throughout them all though. Good stuff, Anthony Iannarino.

19 quick tips to improve your email marketing subject lines
They say don’t just a book by its cover… but how often does that really happen? Emails and subject lines are the same way. Great tips, Olivia Allen!

The No. 1 social media mistake you’re making (and four ways to fix it)
Marketers do a lot of measuring of a lot of different things – including page views, website traffic and so much more. However, are you measuring your social media efforts? Good stuff, Mike Volpe.

7 tips to take PowerPoint presos from “meh” to “wow”
Are you keeping your audience engaged and active in your PowerPoint presentations? Don’t let your audience fall asleep with these great, invigorating tips. Thanks, Monique Torres.

Sales management challenge: good corporate citizens & team players or top producers?
Great comparison of successful sales teams and Marshawn Lynch. Would you want a Marshawn Lynch on your team? Mike Weinberg would! And, go Hawks!

17 smart ways B2B marketers can use Pinterest
While most people think of Pinterest as a digital scrapbooking site, it is far more than that! Here are some simple ways for B2B marketers to take advantage of Pinterest. Good stuff, Pam Neely.

10 tools that amplify your content reach
Are not enough people seeing your content? Here are 10 great tools and tricks of the trade to get your content in front of more eyes. Great tips, Tom Pick.

Neutral is not a strategy
Take a look at the sides you pick during your sales calls. Are you pro? Against? Maybe neutral? Let’s hope you aren’t neutral because that means you aren’t challenging the customer! Great reminder, Dave Brock.

How to avoid falling short of your sales goal this year
Everyone wants to achieve their goals, so why do we sometimes fall short? Use these tips from Jill Konrath to start achieving more of your goals.

Five focus areas for agency, consultant & vendor reference checks

referencecheckI was asked this week how best to do reference checks for consultants, agencies or vendors.  All too often, buyers to into reference checks without a plan, asking random questions that rarely provide the inside you need to make (or validate) a decision.

Below are five areas I recommend you probe to improve the value and accuracy of reference checks:

  • Quality: Was the work well done?  Did it accomplish the objective?  Did they do what they said they would do?
  • Professionalism: Were they easy to work with?  Did they make your job/live easier?
  • Project Management:  Were they on time?  Did they have an effective system for communication, project management, highlighting obstacles or needs efficiently?
  • Availability:  Were they available when you needed them?  Did they respond to questions or requests in a timely manner?
  • Expertise: Did they bring significant additional insight and knowledge about the project & objectives vs. what you already have/had internally?  Did they make you smarter?

“How I Work”: Andy Paul, Sales Acceleration Expert | Sales Strategist | Sales Keynote Speaker

Andy Paul“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 thrilled to feature Andy Paul, one of the nation’s leading sales experts and author of the new book Amp Up Your SalesHis new book is fantastic, if you want a free chapter click here to get one.  Andy is a regular on the B2B sales conference circuit and is a high-demand speaker & sales coach.

Andy, suffice it to say, gets stuff done.  Here, in his own words, is how he does it.

Location:  When I’m not with clients, I split my time between offices in Manhattan & San Diego.

Current computers:  Mac Air

Current mobile devices:  I have an iPhone 6. I also have iPad Air (with Logitech keyboard.) The iPad is my travel computer. The Logitech keyboard has full-sized keys and it definitely helps keep me productive on a plane (especially where the rows are so tightly packed that I can’t open my laptop…)

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

  • Evernote: It’s my notepad for everything.
  • Trello: Assists me on my perpetual quest to get organized.
  • TripIt: Easiest way to organize and access travel information.
  • Dropbox: I sync everything in real-time and it’s been a lifesaver on more than one occasion.
  • Scrivener: This is great organizational and creative tool for writing books.
  • Kindle Reader: I read everything on my iPad.
  • Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones: Filters out the unhappy baby in the row behind me.

What’s your workspace like?  I have 3 small workspaces. One in each office for day-to-day business. They also double as video and audio production studios. And I belong to The Writer’s Room in NYC. It’s a quiet space in Manhattan where I sit in a carrel and shut out distractions and the clamor of the city and get some serious writing done.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack?  Registering for TSA Pre-Check. It’s an easy way to reduce some of the stress for the frequent traveler.

What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else?  I’m quite sure there are others who are as good, if not better, than I am in this. But, I am very skilled at diagnosing the root causes of ineffective sales processes and showing sales teams how to accelerate their sales.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?  Trello

What do you listen to while at work?  Instrumental music only. One of my favorite pieces I like to listen to when I write is Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert. I’ve listened to this piece so often that just hearing the first few notes of Part 1 triggers a certain Pavlovian response in me and my fingers involuntarily start typing and the thoughts start flowing. Charlie Haden and Hawaiian Slack Key guitar music are favorites as well.

What are you currently reading?  The Checklist Manifesto: Atul Gawande; Mindfulness for Beginners: Jon Kabat-Zinn

What’s your sleep routine like?  6-7 hours per night. (At least that is what my New Year’s resolution says…)

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?  Live and work with integrity. You’ll never have any regrets.

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

Predictive intelligence still requires sales engagement

By Brian Hansford, Marketing Technology Practice Lead for Heinz Marketing

Predictive intelligence and analytics hold tremendous opportunities for B2B organizations; giving Marketers more powerful tools to help focus their efforts around filling the revenue funnel. It’s critical that Marketing and Sales are fully aligned when deploying a predictive solution, especially when that solution incorporates time-sensitive data. Success starts with the advanced groundwork and agreement on definitions, process, testing, analytics, and optimization.

same page sales-marketing groundworkA predictive initiative requires Sales to do their part in order to succeed. Here are my recommendations for ensuring Sales is on board with your predictive program.

  1. Incorporate Predictive Programs into the Overall Demand Generation Strategy: Predictive solutions are a powerful tool to help organizations build their revenue pipeline. Incorporate predictive capabilities into the overall demand generation strategy including market identification, audience segmentation, strategy, messaging, tactics, sales enablement and analytics. Integrate all of the Marketing Automation, CRM, and  external predictive data to ensure a global view of all programs and performance.
  2. Include Sales in Process Design, Definitions, and Model Testing: Hopefully you already have agreed on definitions for inquiries, leads, and opportunities as they flow through the lead management process.  A predictive initiative will falter if Marketing runs programs without clear or agreed upon definitions for qualified leads. Predictive leads will likely require unique qualification criteria based on scoring and data attributes, and treatment will be different. Ensure that Sales understands the “why” behind scores and provide them with campaign briefs, messaging suggestions, and follow-up content for leads sourced from predictive models.
  3.  Executive Mandate: A VP executive is needed to support a predictive initiative. This executive should have authority, or at a minimum, influence with Sales. Sales support is difficult, if not impossible without an executive, especially with a new program.
  4. Service Level Agreement: One of the biggest stumbling blocks to predictive success is getting Sales to actually “trust” the leads. This is where the upfront groundwork from including Sales in defining the stages and data attributes pays off.  When predictive intelligence programs are rolled out, Sales should incorporate the leads into their follow up and engagement process and execute that process. Timing is key here as predictive intelligence can pinpoint the right time to deliver the right message. The benefits of a service level agreement ensures Marketing Qualified Leads and Predictive Qualified Leads are seamlessly taken from Marketing and engaged as agreed. Additionally, Sales must track the engagement results in order to help with tracking ROI performance and data model optimization.
  5. Data Capture, Reporting, & Visibility: Data turns into information and accurate information leads to better decisions. Without accurately captured data, there is no way a predictive program will be accurately measured. Marketing and Sales should report on the same data sets to show Opportunity Contribution, Sales Won, and Pipeline Velocity. Sales MUST record the disposition of all leads in the CRM system and that information must flow to and from the Marketing Automation Platform. Data capture and analysis eliminates emotional and subjective arguments about lead quality, follow up and results. Predictive leads should have a lead rating, similar to lead scores for all other marketing leads. All of the information that Sales captures can help identify what works and what doesn’t, and most importantly, reveal results.
  6. Continual Optimization: When data is properly captured, tested, and analyzed, the predictive models are easier to improve and modify based on the target customer audience. Customer behaviors change. Predictive intelligence can help determine when and where these behaviors change to reveal prospects in market to buy right now.
  7. Promote success early and often: Early results should emerge within 6 to 8 weeks with opportunity contribution. Promote every single successful predictive lead that turns into an opportunity.  Take special time to review the first closed sales to help with continual improvement and analysis. Tap into the natural competitive behavior among sales reps and develop a contest for closing the first leads from a predictive program.

Sales must do their part with a predictive program. But as with any marketing program, the degree of success depends on the quality of the preparation and execution with Sales. What are your thoughts on these suggestions?

 

Three Steps to Clean Data for B2B Marketers

data-cleanGuest post by Amanda Nelson, director of marketing at RingLead

Even if you’re the best marketer in the world using stellar practices, over time, your contact data will simply decay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American worker changes jobs about every 4.5 years. They get promoted, or terminated, or they simply get a better offer elsewhere. That translates to about 1.85% monthly change at each company.

The data in your CRM that’s likely to change over time for each prospect may include:

  • Change in title/promotion
  • Change in working location
  • Change of phone number
  • Add mobile phone number
  • Change of department
  • Change of area code
  • Change of email format
  • Change in email domain
  • Change in company name
  • Change in company website
  • Merger or acquisition

Overall, about 12% of your data, on average, will change each year. As just one example, 75 phone numbers change every 30 minutes.

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to maintain a purring database. Here are three helpful steps.

1. Continuously generate new Leads

Ensure that you’re always collecting a fresh cache of goods. Leads are the oxygen in your database. While generating leads is easier said than done, remember these three tips.a.

a. Identify your target: Identifying your target enables you to reach them with messaging relevant to their needs, which will more likely generate interest, resulting in a conversion. To identify your market, consider their key locations, industries, titles, company size, etc. Then, uncover the personas of the individuals you want as customers, such as their values, beliefs, hobbies, interests, dislikes, deal breakers, etc. Only then can you define your real target; and knowing your target enables you to understand their biggest challenges. It’s very hard to sell something just because you want to sell it. It’s much easier to solve a problem. Therefore, understand the urgent need you’re solving for your client.

b. Create helpful content: It’s important to build trust over time by continuously offering value. You cannot push too hard, but instead, offer helpful information and content to assist your prospect in making a decision. 90% of your target market isn’t ready to buy right now, and that’s OK. Don’t ask for marriage on the first date. Your audience is in an early research phase, so understanding this concept and providing valuable content will help them make a decision.

c. Implement a lead generation plan: Understand where your target market looks for your offering, such as Facebook versus trade shows. What do they read? Don’t worry about getting it 100% right. Instead, brainstorm and develop a list. Choose three core strategies to start. These can range from networking, to direct outreach, to marketing campaigns, or anything else. Do things that you’re psyched about doing and you’ll have better results.

2. Use an application to remove and prevent duplicate Leads

Once you’re collecting Leads, you want to make sure they’re not duplicates of Leads already living in your database. Duplicate Leads don’t just cause confusion and inefficiency; they also derail reporting by associating data with the wrong Leads, Contacts and Opportunities. Use an application for duplicate removal, which finds your existing duplicates and merges them together. Duplicate removal merges the duplicates and cleans up the database quickly. For every minute that goes by, there will be fewer duplicates until finally, no duplicates will remain.

To make sure the duplicate is merged with the right contact, you’ll need to set master rule settings in your CRM, such as Salesforce. This way, all new data matching the original record, or master record, will automatically match and merge. If you have five records in Salesforce, you likely only want to keep the lead source from the first/master record, but use all of the current title and phone number fields from the most recent entries.

Marketing Automation and Duplicate Leads

Dirty data enters your marketing automation platform even more often than your CRM. For instance, if you have a web form built in Marketo, leads will enter their information into that form. Let’s say a contact completes a Marketo form one month ago. Today, that same contact submits another web form with a different email address. This creates a duplicate in Marketo.

With these two email addresses for one person, Marketo is going to send two records into Salesforce. A duplicate prevention platform will not only check Marketo, but it will check Salesforce and find that month-old record. Instead of creating a duplicate, it will merge it with the record in Salesforce and the record in Marketo.

Using a Marketo Webhook,  you can connect your duplicate prevention tool to Marketo via a basic workflow step. With Marketo, you can create a custom field to be used in a flow that
will tell Marketo it’s OK for you to create a new lead in Salesforce. From there, you can simply create the new lead as part of your normal processes. This enables you to continue to use your lead validation, lead scoring, etc. with duplicate prevention. Once the lead is determined to not be a duplicate and it’s qualified, Marketo will send it over to Salesforce.

The process is similar for other marketing automation platforms as well. At the end of the day, it’s important to note that with this process in place, you’re preventing the duplicates in marketing automation as well as your CRM.

3. Update existing Leads

Duplicate prevention stops the bleeding, and ensures you’re not simply putting a cap on that leak. Dirty data lives within your existing database, and will continue to infiltrate your system as your contact
data changes. However, with knowledge, planning and technology, you can clean your existing data, and ensure the new data coming in is clean as well.

Data cleanup applications can be directed at segments of your database to bring Leads up to date with new job titles, phone numbers and other vital data. These tools make it possible for your team to reconnect with Leads that might otherwise be lost.

When you update existing leads, make sure you complete as many fields as possible in your CRM. That way, your data quality platforms can do a better job of removing duplicates or bad data.  In other words, the more fields and information, the better.

While there’s no silver bullet for clean data, the best approach is having strong knowledge of data quality, as well as a reputable data quality advocate, such as Heinz Marketing and RingLead, to properly data cleanse and get your prevention products in place. Get started with these three steps, and you’ll be on your way to clean data and high-performance marketing.

Amanda Nelson is Director of Marketing at RingLead where she leads the content marketing strategy and execution. She has spent the last three years in content marketing and community management at salesforce.com and Radian6, and has a background in account management for interactive and full service advertising agencies. Follow her on Twitter at @amandalnelson.

Startup Marketing: A Sense of Panic vs Sense of Urgency

beakerBy Brian Hansford, director of client services and marketing technology practice lead for Heinz Marketing

Startup marketing is brutal and invigorating. Quite often a startup has brilliant domain experts, inventors, and engineers who develop the big idea. Often the marketing function is last to ramp, either with full time employees or agencies to support the effort.

Early stage startup marketing typically focuses on business development and finding early adopter customers and investors. At this the point pain from not having a focused marketing resource tends to bubble up, and that’s when startup marketing can go down two paths that either have a sense of panic, or a sense of urgency.

One path leads to a greater chance of success. The other leads to sadness with painful levels of angst and consternation.

Unfortunately, too many startups choose a sense of panic as founders without marketing experience want an immediate and large sales pipeline. Marketing is often viewed as “easy” and once a good press release hits the wire and that first email is sent the perception is that leads will immediately flood in. Compared to writing code, marketing is simple! Right?

Fear, uncertainty and doubt creep in immediately when leads don’t flow from a single marketing tactic. Questions fly on whether the marketing resources know what they are doing. Comments are thrown out like “marketing never works” or “this is why I hate spending money of marketing” or “marketing is easy and I don’t understand why you can’t generate leads ” or “I have a board meeting next week and I need to show them some results on how we are growing by then.”

Sound familiar?

Panic puts the focus and scrutiny on the wrong small areas. For example, a single tactical email, or two emails and a webinar over two months are not accurate barometers for marketing success. Yet startup founders and execs view tactics as if they were strategically engaging.

The classic “since we built it, they have to know how cool it is and they will come” attitude only adds to the panic.

Startups that pursue marketing with a sense of urgency are headed down the right path. A sense of urgency brings strategic purpose, patience, customer focus, planning, execution, measuring, and adjustments.

When a single tactic fails or doesn’t perform as well as hoped, it’s a learning experience for the next tactical element. A well-developed strategy will help guide the marketing effort. When the strategy is known, the startup is mobilized behind the effort with a sense of urgency.

Are your startup marketing perceptions and efforts based in urgency, or panic? Here are some ideas to help focus the right way.

1. Build a plan and work the plan. The startup that succeeds with marketing objectives has a clear marketing strategy. However, plans and vision without execution are hallucination. If the plan is approved, the organization and people are bought-in, it’s time to execute.

2. Set the objectives. Panic forces people to operate without clear objectives. Perpetually reacting to criticism puts the focus internally instead of on customers. Doing something for the sake of doing something and expecting a miraculous outcome is folly. A clear objective creates purpose and everyone, including the CEO and founders, need to openly support the objectives.

3. Stop doing random acts of marketing. There’s a difference between being opportunistic and making weekly demands for random marketing tactics. Opportunistic behavior keeps the focus on the plan but allows for Navy SEAL-like flexibility to pounce on a unique situation. Random behavior is distracting and based in panic, and fails to make any connection with the target customers. An example of random panic is when you decide to have a webinar next week with unrealistic expectations that massive amounts of people will magically register and attend.

4. Why should customers care? A sense of urgency keeps the focus squarely on the intended audience in ways that should matter to them. With the right plan the customers are kept at the center. When panic ensues the efforts are inwardly focused acts of desperation that are doomed for failure.

5. Marketing tactics are not marketing campaigns. Look at the forest. Not the pinecone on the forest floor. A single email is not a campaign or a strategy. It’s a tactic. Stop viewing single tactics as campaigns. When startup leaders look at tactics as a strategy, the scrutiny is wrong.

6. Seek first to understand, and then be understood. A classic Covey principle. Startup leaders need to trust their marketing advisors and resources. If a marketing resource or agency advises startup leaders against a certain action, ask why, and seek to understand the advice. The same goes if marketing partners or agencies advise startup leaders to pursue an opportunity, find out why.

7. Base hits are good. Homeruns are rare. Successful baseball teams don’t win games by counting on a homerun from one at-bat during a 9 inning game. Games are won with base hits and strong fundamentals. Hyper-focus on a single tactic to turn into the homerun will lead to disappointment and failure. Focus on the entire game plan.

Startup marketing isn’t easy. Having the right focus and mindset improves the chances of success. Operations based on panic and random efforts won’t drive the desired results. Build a good plan and execute with a sense of purpose and urgency.