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31 Mar 19:57

Best Email Tracking Software: Top 10 For 2022

by Krishi Chowdary

Email marketing is an excellent way to build long-term relationships with your customers but what good is a campaign that cannot be evaluated? As a marketer, your job doesn’t end with sending out emails to your customers; the real struggle is to keep a tab on who opened your emails, who didn’t, and the average engagement ratio.

To help you know your customers inside out and peek into their interaction with your emails, we have enlisted the top 10 best email tracking software for Gmail and Outlook based on usability, competence and features. Let’s get started!

Our Pick for Best Email Tracking Software for Outlook and Gmail: Right Inbox

  • It can be hard to trust software with crucial business operations of your business, but Right Inbox is already helping renowned brands like Netflix and Uber reach their goals.
  • It helps you create automated sequences for your emails to improve your follow-up efficiency.
  • Instant alerts give you enough time to plan the next set of interactions with your customer.
  • Timely reminders ensure you never forget to reply to a lead and lose a potential client.
  • Detailed insights and super easy email schedulers make your life easy!

Best Email Tracking Software: Best Tools for 2022

Amongst the plethora of options available for email tracking software, we have only picked the ones that excel in efficient email tracking, engagement measurements, guaranteed deliverability, and detailed insights. Here’s the complete list:

  1. Right Inbox: Best Email Tracking Software
  2. Saleshandy: Best Software For Email Link Tracking
  3. Mailtrack: Best Email Tracking Identifying Software
  4. Streak: Best Reviewed Email Tracking Software
  5. Mailtag: Best Email Tracking Software For Big Companies
  6. HubSpot: Best Software For Comprehensive Marketing Solutions
  7. Yesware: Best Email Tracking Software For Personalization
  8. Leadboxer: Best Email Tracker For Beginners And Startups
  9. Mailbutler: Easiest Email Tracking Software To Use
  10. GetNotify: Best Free Email Tracking Software

Best Email Tracking Software – Compared

Want to know more about these tools before you make a choice? We got you covered! Here’s everything you need to know about our top email tracking software picks.

1. Right Inbox: Best Email Tracking Software

Right Inbox is one of the most reliable email tracking software out there. With over 250,000 customers, it serves some of the biggest market leaders including brands like Netflix, Uber, and Salesforce.

What companies adore the most about Right Inbox is the freedom and convenience it brings to their daily business operations. You do not have to rely on the Right Inbox Dashboard. Instead, you can simply download its chrome extension and connect it with your Gmail to easily track emails.

With its email tracking extension, you can see all the people who opened your emails, the number of times they read and the time it took them to see your email.

Its perfectly timed email tracking service also helps you follow up sooner with your customers for a higher conversion rate.

rightinbox

Best Features

Here is what we love about Right Inbox:

  • Email Scheduler: Schedule your email in advance to reach out to customers from different time zones
  • Insights: Get detailed information on who sees your email and who doesn’t so that you can narrow down on your target audience.
  • Sequence: Create follow-up emails in advance to help with automated email sequences for repetitive emails.
  • Reminders: Set reminders on important conversations for faster and better follow-up

Pricing

Right Inbox comes with a free plan which is limited to 10 email schedules, reminders, and private notes each month along with 5 email tracking, signatures, and templates.

On the other hand, you can enjoy all these benefits unlimitedly on the paid plan priced at $5.95 a month billed annually and $7.95 a month billed monthly.

Pros

  • Serves some of the biggest brands
  • Excellent email tracking efficiency
  • Automated sequence for faster follow-up
  • Powerful insight to boost your email marketing results

Cons

  • Lack of customer service

2. SalesHandy: Best Software For Email Link Tracking

Analyzing the response your emails get is one of the easiest ways to understand the interest level of your potential customers and that’s what SalesHandy specializes in. With its email tracking feature, you can calculate the open rate of each email and dive deep into its history to see if your customers are at all interested in your chosen subject.

If you want to supercharge your follow-up efficiency, you can also turn on its desktop notification to get real-time updates any time someone opens your email.

If the purpose of your email was to direct your customers to a certain page, SalesHandy’s individual link tracking feature can help you with that. It will show how many people click on the links attached to your email and visit the given page.

Another impressive feature of this tool is its email reply tracking feature that helps you identify the important customer emails from your flooded inbox.

saleshandy

Best Features

Here is what we love about SalesHandy:

  • Real-time Updates: Get real-time notification anytime someone opens your email to supercharge your follow-up efficiency.
  • Organize Email Replies: Organised email lists to help you prioritize big-ticket clients so that you never miss out on quality clients.
  • Link Tracking: Get insights on how your customer interacts with the links attached to your email.
  • Team Report: Get automated reports on the performance of your entire team of email marketing.

Pricing

The free plan comes with remarkable features like unlimited email tracking and schedules along with easy integration with Gmail.

The paid plans include:

  • Regular: $9/month/user for unlimited email tracking, team activity tracking, basic Mail Merge, email templates, etc.
  • Plus: $22/month/user for advanced Mail Merge, team reports. Zapier Webhook integration etc.

Pros

  • Link tracking for better insights
  • Team reports that help with evaluation
  • Trusted by 20k+ users worldwide
  • Super cheap plans

Cons

  • Canceling credit card is difficult

3. Mailtrack: Best Email Tracking Identifying Software

Unlike most other tools here, Mailtrack specializes in email tracking alone. With a more focused service approach, it caters better to commercial email tracking needs. Trusted by renowned media houses like The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and Forbes, you can trust Mailtrack with your email tracking needs.

This tool gives you intricate details on your email activity from the first time it was opened to the last time your customer read it; you get updates on every move. Also, its strict privacy policy and security measures ensure that your data isn’t accessible to anyone but your team.

Mailtrack is already serving 1,900,000 happy users with its free forever plan, easy integration, super-fast onboarding, reliable data, and real-time updates.

mailtrack

Best Features

Here is what we love about it:

  • Data Security: Your email marketing software contains sensitive information about your customer base as well as your own strategies. Mailtrack ensures that all information is safely locked away from potential intruders.
  • Intricate Details: Mailtrack isn’t limited to one-time updates on your email status; it will keep informing you every time your customer interacts with your email
  • Easy Installation: You don’t have to rely on Mailtrack’s Personal network for your email marketing strategies. Simply download it, install the extension with a click and get all the updates you need on Gmail.
  • Real-time Alerts: Don’t wait till the end of the day to get updates on your email performance. Mailtrack offers instant notification on every customer interaction with your email.

Pricing

The biggest unique selling point of Mailtrack is its extremely affordable plans. The free plan is enough for startups and small businesses with features like unlimited tracking, real-time alerts, daily reports, etc.

The paid plans include:

  • Pro: $1/user/month to remove the Mailtrack logo, get email support, link tracking, etc
  • Advanced: $2.49/user/month for individually tracking group emails, campaigns, and reports plus all pro features and much more!

You might find plenty of affordable email tracking software but nothing will come close to the budget-friendly plans of Mailtrack.

Pros

  • Affordable plans
  • Full email tracking history
  • Easy download and Gmail integration
  • Long term updates on every email

Cons

  • Free version emails are signed by Mailtrack

4. Streak: Best Reviewed Email Tracking Software

Although there are quite a few competent email tracking softwares on the market, the biggest issue with most of them is a lack of organization and categorization.

Streak outperforms them by creating an organized list of all your recently tracked emails so that you can get a glimpse into your daily email marketing campaign and its performance on a single dashboard.

Next, Streak allows you to turn this feature on and off instantly by simply toggling over to the tracking icon (an eye-shaped icon right next to the send button). This is to help you manage your email tracking activities

To help you save time on individually responding to people who opened your last email, Streak allows you to send a group email to interested recipients. With Streak, you can get started in under 30 seconds and bid adieu to all email marketing hurdles once and for all.

streak

Best Features

Here is what we love about Streak:

  • Well-organized: Save time on looking for tracked emails from your flooded inbox with its well-organized list of recently tracked emails.
  • Group Email: Simplify responding to all interested leads by sending a group email to everyone who opened or responded to your last email.
  • Easy-to-manage: Turn it on or off anytime you want by simply toggling over to the tracking icon on the Gmail compose window
  • Fast Installation: Getting started only takes 30 seconds. Simply download and activate its chrome extension to begin.

Pricing

The free plan comes with a basic CRM limited to 500 actions, unlimited email tracking, and Mail Merge limited to 50.

The paid plans include:

  • Solo: $15/user/month with link tracking and Mail Merge and CRM limit extended to 500 and 5000 respectively
  • Pro: $49/user/month with shared pipelines, limitless advanced CRM, and Mail Merge extended to 1500.
  • Enterprise: $129/user/month with custom permission, data validation, and priority support.

Pros

  • Easy to manage
  • Easy and fast installation
  • More than 700,000 users from the chrome store
  • Organized lists to help you find emails quicker

Cons

  • Expensive upgrades

5. Mailtag: Best Email Tracking Software For Big Companies

If you don’t want to be in the dark about the performance of your emails and what exactly happens with them once you hit send, try MailTag.

Apart from the basic features like giving you timely updates on your email open rate, engagement ratio, and link click-throughs, the biggest benefit of MailTag lies in its efficient email scheduling feature. Each email scheduled under MailTag gets delivered right on time and is well managed by the scheduled email tracking feature.

Also, using AI to understand your customers better, MailTag can help you find the right window to schedule your emails that will give you the maximum open rate.

It also provides advanced insights in your dashboard to share more information about how many times your email gets opened, who and where your email links are clicked on and the overall journey of your email.

mailtag

Best Features

Here is what we love about MailTag:

  • Scheduled Email Tracker: MailTag not only helps to schedule emails but also offers a separate tracking feature for them after ensuring 100% successful deliverability.
  • Advanced Analytics: MailTag does not stop at basic features like open rate. It dives deeper and tells you how many times an email has been opened and the customer interaction with the email links.
  • Better Scheduling: By using AI to understand your customer’s behavior, it helps you find the best time to send an email to get maximum response.
  • Team Collaboration: With features like team activity reports, easy invites, and team statistics, MailTag is perfect for big teams working together.

Pricing

MailTag has a pretty straightforward pricing plan. First, you can try it for free without entering your credit card information. After that, you can go ahead with its paid plan which is priced at $12.99/month/user billed monthly and $9.99/month/user when billed annually.

Pros

  • Excellent scheduling feature
  • 100% deliverability for each email
  • Best for big teams
  • Extra information with Advanced Analytics

Cons

  • Minor glitches

6. HubSpot: Best Software For Comprehensive Marketing Solutions

HubSpot is one of the oldest and most reliable email tracking software. Unlike other tools, HubSpot offers a comprehensive digital marketing solution and caters to various needs of building an online brand presence. Starting from social media marketing to email marketing and CMS, it helps you with almost every aspect of marketing.

By informing you every time a prospect becomes a lead, it gives you enough time to personalize your outreach for them while you continue to automate your outreach for the rest.

What’s more, HubSpot also comes with a built-in activity stream that automatically logs in all information about your leads from day one so that you can review all the links they clicked on, the documents they downloaded, and how exactly they interacted with your email at a glance.

hubspot

Best Features

Here is what we love about HubSpot:

  • Access Entire Customer History: Stop turning your mails over to find customer information. Get everything you want to know about individual leads at a glance with HubSpot.
  • Better Follow-up: To stay on top of your customer’s minds, HubSpot gives you reminders to reply to a lead seconds after they open your email or click on a link.
  • Instant Alerts: Instant alerts on your emails being opened give you enough time to prepare a personalized outreach.
  • All-round Service: Since HubSpot offers comprehensive marketing solutions, you can integrate your email tracking feature with any other service you might need without switching tools.

Pricing

After the free trial ends, you can choose any of these free HubSpot plans:

  • Starter: $45/month for up to 1000 contacts
  • Professional: $800/month for up to 2000 contacts
  • Enterprise: $3200/month for up to 10000 contacts

Pros

  • Reliable email tracking software
  • All-round marketing solutions
  • Easy-to-manage customer profiles
  • Excellent customer service

Cons

  • Quite expensive

7. Yesware: Best Email Tracking Software For Personalization

Yesware has a loyal customer base of over 6,000 brands including renowned industry leaders like Yelp, Groupon, and Monday.com.

In email marketing, every moment and every interaction is crucial, and that’s why Yesware remembers to update you about every significant development. Get separate timings for when a lead opens an email, clicks on the link and views attached files all at one glance from individual lead profiles.

For a better insight into your customer interaction, you can use Yesware’s activity feed which tells you the average time it takes for leads to open a new email, the total number of emails sent, the number of people who viewed and are yet to view and the portion of the email read.

Your dashboard also prepares weekly performance reports for you to check on the activity of the entire week at one glance. With personalization to better subject lines and perfect timing, Yesware evidently helps you win more business.

yesware

Best Features

Here is what we love about Yesware:

  • Better Personalization: Understand your customer’s needs and personalize each email to the best of its capability and schedule them right on time.
  • Informative Dashboard: Know your customers Inside out with comprehensive analytical detail on their interaction with your emails through an informative dashboard.
  • Weekly Reports: Look at your weekly performance all at once from your dashboard to plan for the coming week.
  • Timely Alerts: Get notifications on every stage of customer interaction starting from the time your emails are opened to the time when the attachments are read; Yesware will keep you informed at all times.

Pricing

Yesware has comprehensive pricing plans. The free plan covers basic email and mail attachment tracking.

Its paid plans include:

  • Pro: $15/user/month best for solopreneurs and small businesses
  • Premium: $35/user/month best for growing teams
  • Enterprise: $65/user/month best for large corporates
  • Custom: For enterprises that have larger needs

Pros

  • Intricately detailed insights
  • Super informative dashboards
  • Weekly reports for better performance assessment
  • Timely alerts at every step

Cons

  • Can’t track emails for individuals who blocked tracking

8. Leadboxer: Best Email Tracker For Beginners And Startups

From email campaigns to newsletters and even individual emails, Leadboxer has made tracking your email interactions easier than ever.

Track who opens your emails and clicks on your email links with the intuitive Leadboxer insight feed. The best part is, Leadboxer’s email tracker allows you to separately identify website customers so that you can use the customer information from your email campaigns to optimize the experience for your website users.

By combining email and website information, viewing customer profiles becomes simple and clutter-free. Also, Leadboxer makes identifying your leads and extracting information about their needs becomes far easier by registering and monitoring the IP addresses and email domains of each recipient.

leadboxer

Best Features

Here is what we love about Leadboxer:

  • Focused on Email Tracking: If you want a tool to just track your emails, Leadboxer is a great choice. It won’t waste your time having you navigate through multiple features like other email marketing tools.
  • Best for Startups: It’s difficult for startups to understand and manage multiple complex KPIs. Leadboxer keeps it simple with only the metrics that matter.
  • Identity Old Leads: Since customers on Leadboxer are thoroughly tracked, identifying the past behavior of your leads becomes simpler.
  • Website Integration: Identity which leads are from your website and evaluate your website performance with Leadboxer.

Pricing

Leadboxer doesn’t have a free plan. After the free trial, you can choose any one of these paid plans:

  • Basic: $216/month with unlimited leads and email tracking, technical support, standard integrations, etc
  • Premium: $548.31/month with cross-domain tracking, custom dashboards, premium integrations, etc.

Pros

  • Simple and user-friendly features
  • Seamless website lead recognition
  • Heavy user behavior tracking
  • Focused only on important KPIs

Cons

  • Limited features

9. Mailbutler: Easiest Email Tracking Software To Use

If you need a comprehensive email tracking software but do not wish to go through the learning curve of getting accustomed to using it, Mailbutler is a good choice. This tool integrates seamlessly into the email client, right with your inbox. So, it will be more like an added extension to your mailbox, and you need not learn to use a new software.

Besides its seamless integration with every major email client, Mailbutler also offers various helpful insights through notifications and detailed dashboards. These include the number of times a recipient opened a certain mail, the gap between each of those openings, reply timing, etc.

mailbutler

Best Features

Here is what we love about Mailbutler:

  • Scheduling Emails: In case you wish to send an email at a specific time of the day, Mailbutler will help you schedule it in advance.
  • Real-time Updates: Mailbutler will give you real-time notifications as and when your recipients open your emails.
  • Custom Signatures: Using Mailbutler, you can add custom signatures to your emails to give them a more authentic look.
  • Tracking of Files and Email Links: You can easily identify prospective customers, thanks to Mailbutler’s advanced file and email link tracking feature. This feature will provide you with details on how many times the recipient clicked on the link, and when.

Pricing

Maibutler offers the following three plans:

Essential:
  • Free
  • Unlimited emails accounts
  • Undo send option
  • Attachment reminders
Professional:
  • $8.81 per month
  • Message templates
  • Follow-up reminders
  • Scheduling mails
Business:
  • $33.18 per month
  • Analytics
  • Tracking details
  • Custom signatures

Pros

  • Branding capabilities via signature and company logo
  • Scheduling and snooze features
  • Easy to use
  • Helpful notes
  • Regular updates by the developers

Cons

  • Might slow down Apple Mail

10. GetNotify: Best Free Email Tracking Software

Say you’re a small business owner and can’t afford a paid software. In that case, GetNotify, the best anonymous email tracking software besides Yesware will be a good option for you. The fact that GetNotify is absolutely free doesn’t translate to it having sub-par features.

You will receive a detailed receipt containing various information, such as the recipient’s location, device, time of opening the mail, etc. While this software may not be as comprehensive as some of the paid premium email tracking tools out there, it’s definitely the best one that you can get for free.

getnotify

Best Features

Here is what we love about GetNotify:

  • Easy to Use: All you have to do is add “.getnotify.com” after the recipients’ email addresses.
  • Recipient Details: GetNotify will provide you with various information on the recipients, such as their IP address, location, browser, device, and OS.
  • Email Tracking: The email tracking features available in this software include email read duration tracking and link tracking. However, you’ll have to shell out a small amount to be able to enjoy the email read duration tracking feature.
  • Instant Notifications: You will receive instant notifications every time a prospective customer opens your email.

Pricing

Although the software is available for free, you can make a small donation to unlock a couple of extra features for six months.

Free:
  • Email delivery confirmation
  • You can use your own image to track
  • Email content backup
  • Email read tracking
Small Donation:
  • SMS email read notifications sent to your cell phone
  • Email read duration tracking
  • Track more emails

Pros

  • Cost-effective
  • Real-time notifications
  • Availability of recipient data
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • The user interface is a little outdated and may look jarring

What is Email Tracking?

The age of digital marketing has seen email evolve as a powerful tool for businesses to reach out to potential clients. Companies that implement comprehensive and well-planned email marketing campaigns enjoy significant growth in sales.

However, it takes more than just sending out emails for the campaign to be successful. A good email marketing strategy involves keeping an eye on the campaign’s performance and making adjustments accordingly. This is where email tracking comes into play.

Email tracking browser extensions add various trackers to the emails you send, capable of providing you with valuable information. For instance, you can track how many recipients opened a certain mail and clicked on the call to action (CTA).

How Can Email Tracking Help My Marketing Campaigns?

Email tracking has become a crucial element of email marketing strategies. Digital marketing experts highly recommend using a reliable email tracking tool to track how well your emails are faring.

For instance, you can send out three different emails to three different audience groups. You can then use an email tracking tool to check which group showed the highest conversion rate. This will help you identify the best approach, according to which you may shape your strategy.

Here are some of the things that you can track with email tracking tools:

1. Open Rates

One of the most basic uses of email tracking is to keep tabs on how frequently the recipients open the emails you send. In case someone opens your emails multiple times, they are likely an interested customer. It will be smart to reach out to them with a new email while you are still on their mind. Additionally, open rates also provide insights into which part of your audience is more likely to open the emails you send, and thereby run your campaign more efficiently.

2. Click Rates

An email marketing tool can also provide you with information on whether a recipient has clicked on any links or attachments in the email you sent. This way, you can note when someone opens your email but does not follow through to open a link that you have included in it.

You can then target these customers and follow up with them using new emails. In case someone simply forgot to respond or visit your website using the given link, a reminder can be of great help. This is a very effective way to convert potential buyers into your customers.

3. Unsubscribes And Spam

As a business owner, you’ll always want to grow the number of your email marketing campaign subscribers. In case people start unsubscribing, you should address the issue immediately.

With an email tracker, you can receive notifications when recipients unsubscribe to your emails, or worse, mark them as spam. This will help you identify emails that the readers find irritating, and replace them with better emails instead.

4. Email Bounces

You can track bounced emails using an email tracker too. Your emails may bounce due to various reasons. It could be because the recipient’s address is invalid, their mailbox is full, or they have blocked you.

In such cases, you can remove them from your mailing list and work more efficiently. If your newsletter bounces simply because it is too long, you can instead shorten and resend it.

5. Device Tracking

With an email tracker, you can track the recipients’ devices too. This not only helps to get an idea of the precise demographics of your customers but also flags down devices used for suspicious purposes. In case anyone is trying something illegal to harm your business, you can track their location accurately and take action.

6. Headline Tracking

Your email headlines have a direct impact on the readers. With a headline tracking tool, you can track the performance of emails with different headlines. Accordingly, you may make necessary adjustments in case a particular headline seems to be performing poorly.

In any business, it is crucial to function as efficiently as possible, utilizing time to the fullest. With an email tracking tool, you can quickly identify individuals who are more likely to buy your products and services. Accordingly, you may focus your marketing efforts on them rather than working blindly to promote your business.

Are you finding it tough to manage customer interactions and queries because there are too many of them? Try an email helpdesk software, also referred to as an email ticketing software.

How To Choose An Email Tracking Software? 7 Factors To Consider

Choosing the right email tracking software for your business is extremely important. After all, every software has its pros and cons, and you’d want to weigh your options thoughtfully before making a choice. Here are a few factors to consider while shopping around for the right software:

1. Look For A Software That Offers Tracking Statistics

Do not just get an email tracking software that provides you with information about the recipients who opened your email or visited your website. Find one that also offers various tracking statistics based on data collected over time.

For instance, statistics on how a certain part of your target audience responds to different emails will help you personalize the emails for them. You can even find out whether emails sent at a certain time of the day are more effective than the rest.

2. Use A Software With Multiple Tracking Types

Email tracking tools can track your emails in a number of ways. Try to pick a software that offers multiple tracking types for maximum efficiency. The more comprehensively you track your emails, the better you can tailor your strategy. While not all the email tracking tools offer every type of tracking, open tracking and click-tracking are two must-have features.

As for the other tracking types, make sure that you are getting everything that you need as a part of your marketing strategy. When choosing an email tracking software, also consider the tracking tools that you do not require now, but may potentially need in the future.

3. Pricing

One hardly needs to highlight the importance of considering the price of a software before purchasing it or subscribing to a premium version. Look for email tracking software with plans that you find affordable. You may even find tools that are available free of cost.

However, such free software usually offers only limited features and has a premium plan available that you enjoy by paying up. Weigh your options based on how much they cost, whether they are worth the price, and how much you are willing to spend.

4. Compatibility

Before you pick an email tracking software, make sure that it is compatible with the email client you use. For instance, if you use Outlook to send emails, you must pick a tracking software that can integrate with Outlook and track your emails.

This isn’t a major problem nowadays as most of the popular email tracking tools are compatible with all the major email service providers. Still, check out the compatibility details before you pay for an email tracking software.

5. Contact Profiles

Some of the most advanced email tracking tools also collect valuable information from the profiles of the contacts to build various statistical data. This will give you helpful insights into your customers, allowing you to personalize the emails greatly to make them more impactful.

Depending on the privacy settings on their devices and what they choose to share, you can even gather information on their social media handles, workplace, etc.

6. Privacy And Security

An email tracking software will have access to the inbox of your email account. This can pose a significant security threat if you aren’t careful enough. Before buying the software, go through their privacy policy to see if you notice something shady and check if they promise to not collect or use any sensitive information.

Also, make sure to check out the user reviews of the software and look for any complaints regarding privacy and security issues.

7. Your Current Email Marketing Software

You might already be using an email marketing software to manage and run your campaign smoothly. You might not even need to buy an email tracking software if your current marketing solution already includes tracking capabilities.

However, do note that the email tracking features on most email marketing platforms aren’t as comprehensive as software built specifically for the purpose of tracking. So, you might be better off buying a good email tracking software, unless, of course, your marketing software already covers all your needs perfectly.

Conclusion: What Is The Best Email Tracking Software?

Each of the email tracking tool mentioned in our list has the ability to transform your business for the better, but surely, you’re here for just one! And amidst so many options, it’s only fair for you to be confused, which is why we’re here to recommend you our #1 pick — Right Inbox. Features like instant alerts, timely reminders, cost-effective plans, detailed insights, and a proven track record make Right Inbox stand out head and shoulders above its peers.

What is the best email tracker?

Right Inbox is definitely up there at the top of the list of the best email tracking softwares. It offers an email scheduler to pursue clients of different time zones, a Sequence feature to develop a stellar follow-up email plan, and reminders to never lose sight of an important conversation. Moreover, it has an impressive customer base of over 250,000 users, including the likes of Netflix, Uber, and Salesforce.

What is an email tracking software?

An email tracking software is what you’ll use when you want to know the exact time along with the date of when a recipient clicks or opens your email. Doing so will allow you to send a follow-up at the most opportune time and convert more leads.

Can emails be tracked?

Not only can emails be tracked but email tracking has emerged as a potent tool for businesses to improve their lead conversion. An email tracking software is used to embed a seemingly invisible image pixel in your emails which then provides all the data regarding the time and date of the recipient opening that email and several other parameters including conversion rate, bounce rate, click-through rate, forwarding rate, etc.

Is there a mail tracker for Outlook?

For starters, Outlook has its own email tracker that’ll tell you when a recipient has read your email. That said, Outlook banks on outdated technology and is relatively inept as compared to other leading Outlook mail trackers such as Mailtrack and Right Inbox. All you have to see your Outlook emails on your Gmail is to link your Outlook mail address with any of these tools.

Why should I track my email marketing campaigns?

Tracking your email marketing campaigns, namely its open, conversion, bounce, forwarding rate, etc. will tell you about the viability of a particular marketing strategy. Moreover, it’ll also give you valuable insight into customer behavior, which you can then tweak to elicit more and better responses from your customers.

What is the best email marketing tool?

Mailchimp is easily the oldest and the most reliable email marketing software out there. It provides a content optimizer for the less creative, action-triggered emails that are automatically sent to clients following response from them, and a responsive mobile application to create and track email marketing campaigns on the go.

12 Mar 18:14

Zelensky's show matters more than ever. Let's see it all.

A man on a bike flanked by police vehicles

If Americans have learned anything about Ukrainian president Vlodomyr Zelensky in the weeks since Russia invaded his country, it's that he's a masterful media strategist. In trolling Russian president Vladimir Putin ("I don't bite," Zelensky said when suggesting negotiations, referencing Putin's habit of sitting at the other end of long tables), as in mobilizing world opinion behind Ukraine, his prior experience as an actor and comedian has served him well.

Which is why this is a perfect time for western audiences to familiarize themselves with Zelensky's Servant of the People — one of the most intriguing and historically important shows you could possibly watch right now. And you should watch, as much and as fast as you can — despite a bizarre number of obstacles in accessing the whole thing.

This is the TV show that ran in Ukraine for three seasons (plus a movie) from 2015 to 2018. Zelensky's character is a history teacher who is unexpectedly elected president in a landslide after his students post a viral video of him complaining about corruption and crowdfund his campaign online. Life imitated art when Zelensky started a Servant of the People Party, ran for president in a campaign run almost entirely on social media, and won in a landslide.

It may not explain why Russia started this war as well as, say, The Death of Stalin (in which we see a megalomaniacal Russian leader and his cowed underlings who can't even trust each other, let alone deliver bad news). Still, for outsiders, Servant of the People is something of a lesson in Ukrainian politics and culture, and yet the 24-minute episodes are easy to binge. The humor, a handful of references aside, is universal.

This is satire of the fast-moving, widely-accessible kind. The show consistently tells the terrible truth about real-life villains — the billionaire oligarchs who stop any government working for the people — in a way only the court jester of a hopeful democracy can.

Zelensky emerges from the show less a buffoon, more a heartfelt true believer in democracy. The nearest American analogue might be Jimmy Stewart in the classic Frank Capra movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, another great advertisement for democratic principles in dark times. In both stories a somewhat naive history-lover is elevated to high office, refuses to bow to corruption, suffers outrageous smears from the corrupt, and holds the line of morality with from-the-hip speeches.

Via Giphy

Servant of the People gives Mr. Smith a humor upgrade by way of Veep, with a little Walter Mitty-style daydreaming (Zelensky's character, Vasily Petrovich Goloborodko, often finds himself talking to historical figures in his head). I also saw scenes and setups that reminded me of The Office, Parks and Rec, The Great, The Thick of It, Yes Prime Minister, Arrested Development, and if you're chomping at the bit to watch it all after that name-checking, you're my kind of people.

How to watch: with difficulty

But therein lies the trouble: Watching it all. After tracking down the world's most wondered-about show, the best I can suggest is that you time-travel back a couple of years and convince yourself to watch it on Netflix in its entirety before it vanishes from the streaming service for still-unexplained reasons. Search for it on Netflix now and you'll get redirected to Winter on Fire, the documentary on the 2014 protests that forced Ukraine's pro-Putin, police-state-loving president Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country (which is well worth your time, but not exactly the same thing.)

If you're in the UK, Servant of the People is now screening on Channel 4 — but at a painfully slow rate. Currently, just three episodes out of the 24 in season 1 are available on the UK-only All 4 streaming app. (Which is also pretty much what's available on torrenting services; not that you'd ever check such things, of course.) The company that owns TV rights has been doing brisk sales, according to multiple reports, but will not reveal if there's a U.S. taker yet. Given the amount of disinformation about Zelensky rife in certain dark corners of American politics — Rep. Madison Cawthorn was just caught on video calling Ukraine's leader a "thug" — the show that proves the Putin apologists wrong can't come to U.S. screens soon enough.

For now, would-be Servant of the People viewers are left with YouTube, where there is good and bad news. Good news: Zelensky's own production company has uploaded every episode, so we're talking high-quality transfers, not bad user rips. Bad news for English speakers: Most of the episodes offer only Russian subtitles. (Conversely, this is good news for anti-Putin forces in Russia, where the show was already popular, YouTube still isn't banned, and Zelensky's heroism needs to be kept top of mind.) Some of the episodes with English subtitles are more comprehensible than others. If YouTube wanted to do some good in the world, and thank Zelensky for the millions of ad impressions he's brought to the online video giant, it could sink some money into a full-on worldwide Servant of the People translation project.

In the meantime, here's a quick guide to the best Servant of the People viewing experience currently possible.

Episodes 1 and 2

The double-length premiere is a great place to start. Servant of the People wisely skips over the whole election part, dropping us into the story the morning that history teacher Vasily Petrovich Goloborodko (who lives with his family) learns his campaign for the president was successful. He's then ushered through a dizzying round of interviews and makeovers by the prime minister, Yuri Ivanovich Chuiko, whose silky smoothness you would be right to distrust. The story of the viral video and the crowdfunding that kickstarted his campaign is told in flashback. And the shadowy oligarchs we'll come to know later in the show are anonymous, their faces always covered by items of furniture as they plot nefarious schemes.

And here, in all its glory, is the joke that was cut when the show aired in Russia. Vasily is offered a range of expensive watches, and is told which one Putin favors. "Putin Hublot?" he says innocently — a phrase that sounds a lot like "Putin khuilo," a Ukrainian football chant that translates roughly to "Putin is a dickhead."

Episode 3

Episode 3 focuses on Vasily's family; in an early sign of the corruption that will surround him everywhere he goes, his mother, father, niece and sister are seen promising government positions to their friends and receiving "100 percent discounts" at their favorite stores. (A shopping trip is in order after the family fears it won't be able to dress as elegantly as Michelle Obama, who is said to be attending the inauguration.) The fourth wall shatters when a couple of policemen ask the family if they can "do something about" comedians who criticize the government.

Episode 4

Episode 4 opens with what is hands-down my favorite scene of the show: Vasily being shown around his swanky new presidential residence. He finds a chandelier so expensive that it caused the country to default on its debt during the 2008 financial crisis, and a parrot that squawks "no, you're the idiot!" when it hears the name of ousted pro-Putin president Viktor Yanukovych; the show was actually filmed on the massive estate Yanukovych had vacated in a hurry less than two years earlier. Unfortunately the episode is the first to lose its English subtitles before the end, so if you want to see Zelensky's character chatting about his inauguration address with Abraham Lincoln, you'll need to watch this version.

Episode 5

Episode 5 may be my favorite episode overall — and certainly the show's best example of physical comedy. In the first half, Vasily spends much of his time running away from his ridiculously large security detail. In the second, we're introduced to his presidential predecessor, who has barricaded himself into his office with a shotgun and a bar full of booze. Much of the show hits differently now Russia has invaded Ukraine, but this is the first scene that hits differently in the wake of Donald Trump's disastrous bid to cling on to power.

The quality of the English translation starts to go downhill with episode 6, in which Vasily falls out with his family, yells "Putin has been overthrown" to get the attention of squabbling deputies, and has a chat with Che Guevara. Subtitles then disappear early in episode 7. In episode 8, the show takes a turn towards screwball office comedy, as Vasily brings in a cabinet of outsiders like himself — only they all happen to be his old school pals. The show presents them as a cadre of trusted allies who are less likely to take bribes, but it's hard for a viewer not to notice that such nepotism is a form of corruption in itself. In episodes 9 and 10, the oligarchs take a number of steps to bribe or bring down the new cabinet, including dosing one member with psychedelics.

As promising a plotline as that may be, we're lost without English subtitles for the next 13 episodes. (You can try auto-translating the Russian captions, but good luck with that.) Which brings us to the last and most epic English language experience in the current canon:

Servant of the People 2: The Movie

After Season 1 was a huge hit, Zelensky and company repackaged a planned plotline from Season 2 as a (mercifully well-subtitled) 90-minute movie, Servant of the People 2. Here you'll encounter mild spoilers; Yuri Ivanovich, the prime minister, is in jail, having been unmasked as a stooge of the oligarchs, and Vasily is dating an assistant who is also revealed to be one of their people.

To break up an alliance of the three most powerful oligarchs, Vasily and Yuri take a train to the east of the country (including, chillingly, several cities that are currently under heavy Russian bombardment). Classic road movie farce ensues. Meanwhile Ukraine has applied for a loan from the International Monetary Fund, which keeps piling on the onerous conditions even as Vasily's hapless foreign minister tries to keep the IMF leadership drunk.

Vasily's speech at the end of the movie responding to the IMF loan offer is a thing of beauty, and in retrospect can be applied to any situation where Ukraine has been pushed too far. "We're not a border region between orcs and elves," Vasily says. "We are a nation of open, clever and talented people. When we understand this, when we understand that stealing is bad, that we need to roll up our sleeves and work hard ... Then the whole world will say 'glory to Ukraine!'" Slava Ukraini indeed.

21 Jan 19:11

Bob Chronicles Part 6 - When Salespeople Suddenly Make Things Your Problem

by Dave Kurlan

Both AT&T and Verizon have delayed activating their 5G networks near airports because it might cause interference with airplane guidance systems on certain planes, like Boeing 777s.

Forgive my cynicism, but how long have the airlines known about that?

They have probably had years to prepare for this deployment and update their own technology but didn't and now, at the eleventh hour, they sounded the alarm and tried to make it the carriers' problem.  

Can you think of any selling scenarios for which this would be a good analogy?  I can!

24 Sep 17:20

Is Your Team Begging for Coaching? How to Build Thriving Coaching Relationships

by Keith Rosen

“Do we have to call it “coaching?” Once I hear those words uttered from a manager’s mouth, I know the sanctity of coaching and its impact has been tarnished and compromised. Sure, a bad coaching experience can certainly make someone leery of coaching. However, what if the manager is a great coach, but still experiences resistance from his team around coaching? It all comes down to the language of coaching, enrollment, and how you set positive intent. Here’s how to talk to your coachees about coaching to create immediate buy-in and a rewarding experience.

I was in Prague finishing up a leadership coaching course for a fortune 500 company. As we were debriefing around the room, one of the managers shared a prior coaching experience.

She said, “After finishing this course, I was thinking about my prior manager. She was a good manager and was always asking me good questions. However, she never enrolled me around coaching and why she always started every conversation with questions rather than telling me what to do.”

If only I knew what my manager was doing and why she was doing it, I would have been so much more receptive to her coaching which would have made it a much more valuable experience.”

To avoid this situation from happening to you, here’s a coaching talk track you can use for your one-on-one conversations to introduce coaching to each direct report and how it will be valuable for them. Notice how it honors the 5 steps of enrollment.

After setting your positive intention around the conversation you’re initiating, here’s what it would sound like when enrolling someone in coaching.

What I want for you is to experience the level of fulfillment and success that you want in your career. 

Notice the first part of enrollment is taking a stand for what you want FOR the other person, which is their goals, motivations, and priorities, not what you want FROM them.

Now it’s time to let them know why you’re doing this or your intention and agenda is in this conversation. Analogies that people can relate to around coaching go a long way. 

Think about sports. The coach is there to make sure the greatest athletes are always at the top of their game. I learned how I can be a better manager and coach for you so that I can support you in a way that would make you even more successful.

 Keep in mind, this learning curve is something that we’re both going through together, so I may not get it perfect the first time. That’s why I’ll be looking for some feedback and coaching from you, as well in terms of what I can do to continually improve. What’s most important is that you understand my intentions.

Notice in the last comment, how the manager humanized themselves by letting the coachee know you’re also going through this learning journey. Finally, it’s time to align your agenda with their personal goals and priorities. That is, what’s the benefit for them? 

That’s why I wanted to talk about your perception of coaching, and your experience being coached, if at all. Then, we can create alignment around what great coaching is, set some expectations around our coaching, and what I can do to ensure I’m coaching you in a way that helps you achieve your most important goals and makes this the most valuable experience for you.”

While most coaching conversations consist of open-ended questions, in order to confirm alignment and willingness to have the conversation, you need confirmation that they are open to moving ahead with the conversation, rather than forcing your agenda on them by simply asking:

How do you feel about discussing this?”

Once you’ve enrolled them, it’s time to coach them around being coached! Here are some examples of questions to use.

  1. How would you define coaching?
  2. Have you ever been coached before? What was your experience like?
  3. If you need to re-define the parameters and definition of coaching so that it’s a valuable experience for you, what would it be?
  4. As your coach, what are your expectations of me?
  5. What concerns, if any, do you have about our coaching and what we discuss?
  6. How are you feeling at this point about our conversation and what we’ve discussed so far?
  7. Let’s go ahead and schedule our first coaching session.

 Now that you have this enrollment model, it’s time to start scheduling this conversation with each of your employees. If you’d like to do a quick team enrollment letting them know about the positive changes that are coming, you can do a brief enrollment during your next team meeting.

We discussed the A.B.C.’s of Leadership, Always Be Coaching Now, remember the A.B.E.’s of coaching. That is, Always Be Enrolling.

 

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟NEW LINKEDIN LEARNING COURSE!🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The post Is Your Team Begging for Coaching? How to Build Thriving Coaching Relationships first appeared on Keith Rosen and Profit Builders Blog.
23 Jan 18:41

Ageism: The New Sexism for Women in Sales

by Cynthia Barnes
 
Ageism: The New Sexism for Women in Sales
 

Workplace discrimination and inequality take many forms. Women in sales know the statistics all too well. 

  • Women make 80 cents to every dollar men make (at best). 

  • 42% of women report experiencing gender discrimination at work. 

  • 15% of women say they've received less support from senior management than men in the same roles. 

The fact is, women have long been used to gender equality and the necessary fight that accompanies it. However, as the 'graying' of America ensues, women have the additional burden of age discrimination to contend with, and this particular workplace inequality may be their toughest battle yet.

The problem with statistics like these is that they don't actually reveal the daily 'lived experiences' that women in sales are living with. Making less as a woman and then showing up daily — only to feel like there's a target on your back because of your age — is adding insult to injury. 

Here's another statistic: Given the income disparities in the workplace and the fact that women do 2.6 times more unpaid work than men (i.e., caring for homes, children, aging parents) means that it will take them more than 200 years to achieve economic equality at the rate we're going.

Women in sales today, and women in all professions for that matter, can't afford to wait for the slow boat to real and lasting progress. 

Women can, and must, take on that fight because progress is not a promise. Without taking steps now to achieve real workplace and social equality, there's no guarantee that we will ever arrive at that long-desired goal.

Sexism: Same Old, Same Old

Ageism: The New Sexism for Women in Sales

Sexism is prejudice or discrimination of someone based on their sex. In the workplace, it may take an aggressive form, such as singling out Joan (who has the same job as Ray, Mike, and Phil) to take notes at the meeting. 

Or, it can be disguised as benevolence, as in: "Territory A is a rough one; you better put that on, Joe. Jill, you can take Territory B." 

Whether sexism is overt or subtle, it can be hurtful, of course, but not just to feelings. There's a real economic impact on women when they're undermined at work because of their sex. As statistics consistently show, they are likely to be passed over for executive leadership positions, middle management positions, and boardroom appointments. 

Challenging sexism in the workplace remains difficult for women, especially in companies where they are greatly outnumbered by men, and they have little support.

Ageism in the Workplace

We can define ageism as stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against workers or job applicants based on their age. Ageism affects both women and men in the workplace, but it affects women earlier than men. 

Reports show that women begin documenting ageism complaints around age 40, while men's reports don't begin to show up until they're 45. 

Ageism for men and women is a diversity problem and an inclusivity problem. Too often, managers begin to view workers who arrive at a certain age as 'getting tired' or 'lacking in ambition.' 

But the truth is, people are working longer because they have to and because they want to. When companies lay off older workers, those workers will find it more difficult than younger workers to find employment, and many will wind up making less than before.

Gendered Ageism in the Workplace

Ageism: The New Sexism for Women in Sales

Women encounter gendered ageism at various points during their careers. They experience ageism prior to age 25 when they apply for open positions or managerial roles. They experience it during their childbearing years when employers may make assumptions about their private family lives. Then, of course, they experience it in their forties when their appearance changes with age. 

All this begs the question: Do women ever have the opportunity to work without some concern related to their age?

Gendered ageism refers to the intersectionality of age and gender bias. It encompasses the differences that women face, which men do not. 

Typically, men in sales don't expect to employ age-defying techniques to enhance their physical appearance. They're less likely than women to feel the need to use hair dye to cover their grays or get Botox treatments to diminish their wrinkles. Men don't face the same reproductive assumptions that women do, in spite of the recent push for paternity leave.

Age Discrimination: Liability and Diversity Concern

Discriminating against an employee because of their age is illegal in most states, but proving age discrimination isn't always easy. 

Ageism: The New Sexism for Women in Sales

Even so, most states have extensive fact-finding procedures designed to help employees determine if they have, in fact, been a victim of age discrimination or gendered ageism. For companies, these forms of discrimination are a liability. They have a legal obligation to adhere to employment laws and regulations.

Age discrimination also reduces workplace diversity and inclusion. While businesses today generally have policies stating that they support workplace diversity, their existing workforce may look surprisingly different from those in that policy book. 

Knowing that diverse forces drive productivity, companies stand to lose out when they fail to maintain their diverse employee base.

Taking Action to Eliminate Ageism and Gendered Ageism in the Workplace

We've outlined the problem, but many women in sales know about these problems all too well. What's needed are solutions that allow us to deal with these issues when confronted by them and help us create a more fair and equitable workplace culture for everyone, including the women that will follow in our footsteps. 

There are solutions. They won't all help in every instance. After all, we know that some workplace cultures are immune to change. 

But, even in situations where a company refuses to evolve, there are solutions for women who are willing to fight for their workplace rights. As you confront ageism and gendered ageism in the workplace, consider these strategies and solutions:

6 Strategies & Solutions for Ageism and Gendered Ageism

Include Age in Diversity and Inclusion Policies

Just because you may not be a policy writer for your company doesn't mean you can't request a policy change. In most companies, sales associates and other employees are asked to review policies and procedures. These may be annual reviews or possibly even associated with their performance review. 

This is an excellent time to make a formal request that your company revisits its diversity and inclusion policies to focus on age. 

If you're not comfortable talking about this, submit an anonymous request to the company's board of trustees or top management. A company with a healthy workplace culture and professional HR department is unlikely to ignore this type of request. To do so would be a liability for them.

Be a Mentor

Be a Mentor

Women in sales have to challenge stereotypes all the time. So, challenge the notion that because you're getting older, you're getting tired. As an experienced professional, you have a lot to contribute to your company. 

Discuss starting a mentoring program so that you can be formally recognized for your experience and put it to work for your entire sales team's good. Launching a mentorship program takes the initiative and drive; there's nothing tired about those two traits. By letting your managers know that you are serious about remaining an integral part of the sales team, you'll be better positioned to prevent them from viewing you with unfair stereotypes.

Get Support

Company Strategies: Revisit Your Policies

If you're facing gendered ageism or ageism in the workplace, you should document all instances of discriminatory actions. You can request a meeting with your HR department to discuss the matter. 

Avoid one-on-one meetings with the offending manager so that you always have witnesses to the discussion. If you're let go for reasons related to ageism, you may have legal resources. In these cases, you should contact your state labor department to find out what steps you can take to protect your legal employment rights.

Company Strategies: Revisit Your Policies

If you're a company that wants to ensure that it's not engaging in ageism and gendered ageism, you can start by making sure your HR policies are in keeping with the times. If you don't have a diversity and inclusion policy — you should. 

Be sure that your policies include a reference to age so that it's there in black and white: we do not discriminate based on age.

While you're examining your outdated policy book, be sure to revamp all policies and job descriptions that contain sexist language or language that is in opposition to your diversity and inclusion policy.

Create Development Opportunities with All Employees in Mind

Create Development Opportunities with All Employees in Mind

Don't make the mistake of thinking that only your younger employees need training and continuing education. You need to ensure that you are targeting all employees and their development, regardless of their age or sex. 

A common justification for putting resources behind a younger employee is that they are likely to be with the company longer than an older employee. In this job market, where people are less likely to remain with a company or two for their entire careers, that justification is outdated. In fact, a younger employee is more likely to jump ship for a better opportunity and take their company-paid training and development with them.

Instead, companies need to evaluate candidates for special training and development opportunities by criteria that do NOT include their age or sex. 

Managers should base their decisions on the employee's experience and ability to communicate, assuming that the knowledge they gain at a week-long conference could be shared with their group once they return.

Talk to Employees

Talk to Employees

Finally, it's essential to ask your veteran employees about how they feel at your company. Do they feel included? Do they feel valued? Do they feel like your workplace is all about the 20- or 30-somethings? 

Not everyone may feel inclined to discuss this topic. That's ok. By communicating that your company cares about ageism and gendered ageism, you can let your workforce know that it's something you care about — and something you don't want to happen on your watch.

Remember, it's not just the older employees who can feel left out. Younger employees can be discounted and made to feel like they're dispensable too. When you have any group of employees feeling as if they don't matter to the company, you have an unhealthy workplace culture. 

By talking to employees, you can gauge their concerns and address them in meaningful and positive ways.

What's Worse: Ageism or Sexism?

For women, gendered ageism is something they have to contend with at every age. As companies have embraced women's issues and committed to hiring and promoting women, the age piece continues to get in the way. 

Regardless of their age, women have to contend with their age in the workplace — and engage with stereotypical assumptions that plague them but not men.

Forward-thinking companies must address the problem of gendered ageism if they want to live up to the high ideals expressed by their diversity and inclusion policies. Too often, these policies say the right thing, but companies fail to do the right things to enforce those policies. Use these strategies to combat gendered ageism. 

Healthy companies see value in all their employees and take pains to show it. A business that remains uninclined to address issues that affect its employees is not an excellent business to work for — and it's also a business that's leaving itself open to liabilities. 

And that's ok too. Because, if a company wants to operate and thrive in this country, they can either choose to happily obey our labor laws — or be forced to in a court of law.

07 Nov 14:43

Don’t Do That: Email Marketing Lessons From My 26 Year Spam Archive

by Lane Ellis

Smiling woman holding laptop image.

Smiling woman holding laptop image. What makes for strong long-term email marketing, and what can email marketers learn from a 26 year archive of spam? In 1994 I started archiving the funniest and most outlandish spam emails I received, and throughout the rest of the ‘90s I sent out an annual holiday compendium of the year’s top unsolicited messages. Over the years friends and associates began sending me their own wild spam finds, and although I ceased my annual updates long ago, I’ve kept up my spam archive — a trove of email marketing horrors, hi-jinks, and oftentimes hilarity that I still hope to turn into a book someday. For now, I’ll crack open the archive and share five email marketing lessons taken from analyzing 26 years of spam, to help illustrate how we can adapt, grow, and innovate — and how not to follow in the footsteps of atrocious spammers. Spam usually serves as a spot-on case study for email marketers on what not to do when it comes to building genuine and meaningful email communications. Oftentimes spam is chock full of truly bizarre content, whack-a-doodle predicaments, and convoluted stories, yet from this we can still gain surprising email take-away gems for today’s marketers.

1 — Empathize With Your Email Audience

Empathizing with your audience is an important part of successful email marketing, as understanding the concerns and hopes of the people you’re connecting with is vital for providing the information your email audience is seeking. Some things to ask yourself as you seek to empathize with your email audience include:
  • Why have they signed up for our email messaging?
  • What are the traits common to our readers?
  • If I were the recipient and not the sender, what would I change?
Empathizing with and learning more about your email marketing audience go hand-in-hand, and both open up a wide realm of possibilities to make your campaigns better. “Get to know your customers,” Val Geisler, CEO of Fix My Churn recently observed. “Do interviews, learn more about them. What keeps them up at night? What matters most to them? Ask them questions with long-form answers and record those answers. Then use that voice-of-customer copy in your emails. Put it in subject lines and body copy and CTA buttons. Fill your emails with a blend of their voice and your brand voice and your customers will instantly feel connected to your brand,” Geisler suggested. An example from my spam archive on how not to empathize includes this 2004 doozy from one Gaza F. Fussbudgets:
Subject: Hello! Date: Thu, 06 May 2004 23:31:24 -0700 From: Gaza F. Fussbudgets To: Thinking of driving in that condition, sir? New jobs: Stay-at-home manager Honest people for hire! Do you have only a part-time job? Do you have much free time? Are you a student? Does your class schedule impair working hours? Your luck has just happened! Are you outgoing and honest? We need someone just like you! This is a business that requires a only limited amounts of your time. All job applicants from Australia welcome. Vacancies are ending, don't waste time and use this super offer. YOUR ONLY CHANCE! CONSIDER THIS GREAT OFFER! Remaining questions? Check out our website. Questions? We've got answers.
Despite its reassurance that "Your luck has just happened!" and a feeble attempt to empathize by asking a few questions, this spam email fails on all accounts. Don't be like Mr. or Ms. Fussbudgets, and instead always take the extra time to learn more about your email marketing audience. [bctt tweet="“Empathizing with your audience is an important part of successful email marketing. Understanding the concerns and hopes of the people you’re connecting with are vital for providing the information they are seeking.” @lanerellis" username="toprank"]

2 — Fill Each Email With Unique Value

Savvy email marketing brings your audience something they can’t find anywhere else, whether it’s a first glimpse at a new product or service, a behind-the-scenes look at one of your team members, or even a unique report made exclusively for your email audience. One of the many reasons spam email universally misses the mark — along with tone-deaf legitimate campaigns — is that it doesn’t offer anything unique, instead relying on cookie-cutter copy or only minimally customized content, and the long-shot promise of one response from millions of emails sent out. Consider the following spam message sent to me in 2014:
Subject: Claims Prize Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2014 03:19:40 -0430 (VET) From: Fedex Delivery Company Reply-To: *We have a Fedex package containing $850,000.00 USD to be delivered to your home address as a Christmas Presentation. Send Fullname, Home address, telephone. Note: Delivery fee is $75 only.*
A scam with a promise to send a box of riches to you "as a Christmas presentation" in exchange for a small fee is the antithesis of how email marketers should go about providing value to their audiences — an effort that today is delivered in the form of digital content providing relevant information. B2B content marketing and its penchant for creating a variety of relevant re-purposed content lends itself well to email marketing efforts, and we’ve got you covered with the following looks at the types of information that can add unique value to your email marketing:

3 — Respect Your Email Recipients

Treat your email audience with respect and they’ll be more open to your messaging, and more likely to continue as long-term recipients of your email campaigns. Respect in email marketing is shown — and earned — in several ways, including:
  • Practicing genuine interest by providing only the most relevant information
  • Applying mindfulness when it comes to the frequency of contacting your audience
  • Honoring all inquiries with a thorough and thoughtful response from your appropriate team
Don't go overboard with insincere respect, however, as the sender of the following 2005 message unfortunately did:
Subject: Palmer Berryhill I hope you like this wrist clock Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 18:09:07 +0400 From: Madiha To: My Dear Palmer Berryhill, Honestly, you have earned it. Take the moment and get it. Make sure while you are at the web-site, that you also get the little box to keep it in. You get a little reward today. Last night I saw you looking at these replica watches and I could tell you wanted one. Go ahead and get it. There are just so many things to handle each day, we just don't often get a little surprise. This is a good internet-site for you to find it from because they have gift trailing. I am totally aware of how many times you have looked at these quality replica watches at this internet-site. Please go and get one. I know they are duplicates and we can afford it. My love to you, Madiha
Although I never did treat myself to Madiha's replica "wrist clock" surprise or the little box to keep it in, this classic spam message does serve as a fine example of forced and ingenuine caring, despite all the love this writer claims to have sent my way 15 years ago. It's also important to respect the fact that whether you have a smallish mailing list or one numbering in the millions, maintaining your email audience’s trust is key for long-term success, as our senior content strategist Nick Nelson explored in “Return to Sender: Email Marketing Is NOT Dead, But It Needs Rejuvenation.” [bctt tweet="It’s better to write for 10 people who truly want to receive your messages than 100 who are ambivalent or worse. @NickNelsonMN #EmailMarketing" username="toprank"]

4 — Use A Healthy Dose of Character & Passion

Knowing your audience is only one important part of your email marketing efforts, however it allows you to understand the voice and tone that will best suit your brand, and will play a big part of imbibing character and passion into your email marketing campaigns. Your email marketing communications should incorporate the universal truths of your brand messaging, however that doesn’t mean it can’t use its own email-campaign-specific voice with its own energy and unique flavor. Not too unique or too full of seasoning, however, or you could end up with something like the following spam message I got in 2002, which ranks up there as one of the nuttiest emails I've received since I went online in 1984:
Subject: Chichi Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2002 13:50:01 -0500 (EST) From: Ray To: Hello, If you are a Time Traveler I am going to need the following: 1. A modified mind warping Dimensional Warp Generator # 52 4350a series wrist watch with memory adapter. 2. Reliable carbon based, or silicon based time transducing capacitor. I need a reliable source!! Please only reply if you are reliable. Send a (SEPARATE) email to me at: [redacted]
I never did send in that dimensional warp generator — with or without the wrist-watch memory adapter — however this message did certainly deliver on the unique content front, and was presented with its own wacky sort of memorable messaging. Some of the top email and newsletter marketers look at the channel as a special way to make a person-to-person rather than simply a B2B connection, such as MarketingProfs chief content officer Ann Handley, who over the years has shared a great deal of valuable email marketing insight. “Write to one person. Not a segment or customer base or persona. One. Person. At. One. Time,” Handley recently offered up in “2020 Small Business Email Marketing Statistics from AWeber.” [bctt tweet="“Write to one person. Not a segment or customer base or persona. One. Person. At. One. Time.” — Ann Handley @MarketingProfs" username="toprank"]

5 — Seek Further Connection Opportunities, Test & Refine

Email still offers a powerful way to keep in touch with the people who care most about your brand, however another part of good email communications is letting your audience know the other ways they can get your latest updates and other information. Sharing links to your various social media properties, blog, website, and any virtual events where customers can learn more from your brand is a helpful way to add value to your marketing emails. Don't, however, follow in the footsteps of the author of the following spam message I received in 2014, with a hook of "Outsource your pain to us!"
Subject: Partnership proposal : Outsource your pain to us! Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2014 02:16:43 -0400 (EDT) From: Christina Zalpa To: Hi There, I got your reference from google search. Through this mail, I would like to seek your opinion of doing some business together. We are company West Midland, UK based company.We are in business of Web Development, SEO, PPC and Chat support. We have experience of web design and SEO too. What we can do: We can reduce your expenses and increase your revenue. To discuss further, I will be available at your suitable time. Looking forward to do some mutually rewarding business together. Warm Regards Christina Zalpa Skype:
Spam such as this — although purely an unadorned scam — does serve to show us that even the lowest form of email marketing sometimes has a call-to-action (CTA), an aspect also featured in the best email campaigns. Don’t miss email marketing’s many excellent opportunities for testing, either, as send frequency, subject lines and all aspects of content can be part of A/B testing as your brand looks to find an optimal balance. [bctt tweet="“Rather than sending more, test what you already do. Then test frequency. There’s no sense sending more of that doesn’t work, nor less of what does work. Test, test, test!” — Mark Asquith @MrAsquith" username="toprank"]

Don’t Do That — Turn Your Spam Lessons Upside Down

via GIPHY By empathizing, providing unique value, respecting your email audience, using character and passion, and seeking out new connection and test opportunities, your email marketing efforts will have a leg up on much of today’s competition. Whether you're looking for professional help with your email marketing or B2B influencer marketing efforts, contact us to learn why brands from Adobe and LinkedIn to Dell and 3M have chosen TopRank Marketing.

The post Don’t Do That: Email Marketing Lessons From My 26 Year Spam Archive appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

07 Sep 16:40

20 Gmail Hacks for Organizing Your Inbox and Boosting Efficiency

by Jeff Previte

Gmail is among the biggest email services in the world. Launched in April 2004, Gmail reached an impressive 1.5 billion monthly active users in 2018.

But as with most professionals, email can be a big time sink and can cause major headaches during the workday. Here are some stats to show the state of email usage in the workplace:

  • The average person spends 28 percent of their week reading and responding to email.
  • Only 38 percent of the average inbox is considered important and relevant.
  • An email interruption requires 64 seconds on average for a person to recover from and return the work.
  • Limiting email access can greatly reduce levels of stress.

As you can see, email can hinder productivity and even hurt your health. This is why organizing Gmail for yourself is so important.

The Basics of Gmail: Getting Started

Like most Google products, Gmail is easy to use, but it takes a little time and effort to master. And, like many things in life, your Gmail inbox can get pretty messy if you don’t keep it organized.

via GIPHY

There are several components you need to familiarize yourself with to properly organize and sort your Gmail inbox in a way that makes the most sense to you and fits your needs.

Whether you’re in marketing, sales, or customer service, you’re going to need to fully understand how to sort emails in your Gmail account.

Let’s run through some of the basics:

The Gmail Difference

If you’re currently using Microsoft Outlook, IBM Notes, or other email service providers, switching over to Gmail is easy and comes with many benefits.

There are a few notable differences between other email services and Gmail.

Editing and Deleting Messages

When it comes to editing, Gmail has spell check after you compose your message. You can also use cool tools, like the Grammarly Chrome extension, to check spelling in real time as you write your message. The add-on options are endless for Google, thanks to their impressive selection of Chrome extensions built for Gmail.

Another main difference you will notice with Gmail – you have the option to archive messages to declutter your inbox. This is helpful if you don’t want to completely delete a conversation (which you can do by adding it to the trash in your inbox).

Sorting and Organizing Gmail Folders (Using Labels)

This is a game changer, especially if you’re tired of trying to sort messages into single-themed folders of other email services. For example, if you’re a marketer and you’re pitching guest blog post ideas, you would add guest post idea conversations in your “Guest Blogging” email folder.

But what if that conversation also leads to a co-marketing opportunity and you need to put that thread into your “Co-Marketing” folder?

Other services would have you pulling your hair out. But with Gmail, you don’t use folders.

via GIPHY

You use labels. And the best part about labels is that you can add multiple labels to conversation threads. So in this example, you could label it as both “Co-Marketing” and “Guest Blogging.”

You can even nest these labels under top level labels to create a hierarchy of topics on the left side of your inbox. So if your guest blogging and co-marketing efforts fall under a bigger theme, such as link building, you can nest those labels under the top level label, “Link Building.”

Additionally, you can color code labels, which makes it easy to see them in your inbox view because they are added next to the subject line.

When you archive a message that is labeled, the message does not show up in your inbox, but it still resides in your label view. This helps declutter your inbox view while staying organized in your individual labels.

Getting to Know the Toolbar Buttons

The toolbar at the top of your Gmail includes a lot of different button icons, as you can see here.

gmail-toolbar-icons

These are just a few icons you see when you’re reading a message. Depending on where you are within your Gmail account, you will encounter many other icons.

Here’s a list of what each icon looks like and what they mean, as provided in Google’s Help Center:

gmail-button-library

When you know what these icons do, you can manage your inbox in no time. Speaking of your inbox…

Gmail: Types of Inbox Layouts

The best part about Gmail is how flexible it is for every user. You don’t need to settle for the default experience. You can tailor mostly every part of your Gmail experience.

One of the most important parts of your experience is your inbox layout. There are five different ways you can lay out your inbox view in Gmail.

1. Default

This is how your Gmail inbox is displayed if you don’t make any adjustments. Your incoming messages are automatically sorted into several different tabs, which you see at the top of your inbox.

gmail-default-layout

This is a great option if you want Gmail to automatically sort your messages as they come in. You can pop into each individual tab as needed and move messages to other tabs if you want.

2. Important First

This option is super simple. At the top of your inbox, you will see messages filed under “Important.” Below that section, you will see another section for “Everything Else.”

For example, this is what it looks like when you collapse each of those labels.

gmail-important-first

You can customize how many messages display for each label. For example, if you only want 10 important messages to populate, select that option in the Settings > Inbox section.

gmail-important-settings

This helps you quickly prioritize messages as they come in, which is a cool productivity hack.

3. Unread First

This is a similar layout to the Important First option. It simply separates your inbox into two sections: “Unread” is at the top, followed by “Everything Else” below that.

4. Starred First

Again, this is the same concept. But this is best if you’re manually starring messages and conversations as important within your inbox. With this layout, those starred conversations are in the top section of the inbox, followed by the “Everything Else” section.

5. Priority Inbox

This is how you can break your layout up into multiple sections.

gmail-priority-inbox-settings

As you can see, you can fully customize each inbox section and dictate how many messages you want to show up. Additionally, you can choose display options for specific labels you created.

Once you have your inbox layout set in a way that best suits your needs, you’re ready to dive into some kick ass Gmail hacks and tips.

Gmail Hacks You Need to Try

Use these hacks to best fit your needs. While the application of these will look different for everyone, it’s important to know how to put these hacks into action.

1. Make Your Labels Pop.

Gmail comes with a few default labels, but people often don’t make their own since they don’t appear to work like ordinary file folders.

As mentioned above, in other email systems, a folder makes messages disappear into their own organizational hierarchy. Labels are a bit different by default, but can also work like folders.

Setting up labels is easy! Click “Create new label” on the left sidebar. After you’ve named your label, you can color-code it by mousing over the label name on the left sidebar and clicking the down arrow that appears. This lets you see color-coded messages at a glance.

For example, I label marketing blog newsletters as “Marketing Wisdom” so I can easily sort them every week. This is how Seth Godin’s blog shows up in my Gmail.

gmail-label-example-2

You can see the colored label in the message line.

Unlike Gmail’s tabs, labels don’t make messages “go” anywhere by default. However, you can make them act more like folders if you wish. To do this, access an individual message, and then click on the Folder icon at the top of the screen. In the “Move to” menu, choose a label.

2. Optimize Your Inbox Density Display.

Your interface has a number of display settings to help you organize Gmail according to your needs. The gear icon on the top right of your screen hides the Display Settings feature, which comes with three options: Comfortable, Default, and Compact.

optimize display density

Compact view lets you maximize screen area usage so you can scan over as many messages as possible at one time. The comfortable view shows less messages at once, but it can feel more “comfortable” if you’re the type to feel overwhelmed by seeing a ton of messages within the compact view.

Default shows more information about each message in your inbox. For example, you can see attachments in each message in your inbox before opening it.

3. Star Important Emails.

Gmail does its best to detect which messages and conversations (threads) may be more important to you than others.

It highlights top conversations with the yellow arrow beside the star icon. In theory, this helps you spot the most valuable content in your inbox.

Sadly, Gmail recently changed all the little pointers clarifying why a message was marked important to the unenlightening “important according to our magic sauce.” In reality, the most common triggers for Gmail to auto-mark a message important are these:

  • It was sent to you, rather than part of a mass mailing.
  • It was sent by someone you correspond with regularly.
  • “Important” words are in the header or message text.
  • You’ve clicked on and read a particular message a lot.

However, Gmail can still get things wrong. On very rare occasions, it may even mark a phishing email as important. To make it a little bit smarter for you, be sure to tag genuinely important messages yourself – the algorithm will quickly catch on.

Another way to help messages stand out is by starring them.

Stars ⭐ are used for individual messages in a thread, while the “Important” feature applies to the entire thread. Starring a message that has useful facts, figures, and details can help you find it later. This is great for things like receipts and usernames you might not need again for a long time.

Stars and importance also help you organize Gmail searches more quickly, so they’re worth it.

4. Archive! Don’t Delete.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 4.47.54 PM

Each G Suite user can store up to 30 GB of content for free (compared to 15 GB with G Suite free edition or individual consumer accounts). This storage is shared between Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos. With so much space, archiving emails usually beats deleting, but what’s the difference?

Deleting gets rid of a conversation forever. Archiving, on the other hand, gets conversations out of your way but leaves them searchable for later, no matter how much time passes.

Plus, as mentioned above, archiving puts labeled messages “away,” out of your inbox but properly sorted into relevant labels.

5. Set Up Desktop Notifications for New Emails.

Marketers, salespeople, and service team members get a lot of emails each and every day. If you prefer real-time engagement with your email correspondence, set up notifications on your desktop. This way, you see them pop up in the top right of your screen.

With that being said, turning on desktop notifications could become annoying and distracting very quickly. However, by following our tip above to mark emails as “Important,” you can turn on desktop notifications for emails only marked as “Important.”

6. Activate “Undo Send.”

Have you ever accidentally sent an email too soon? Sent an email to the wrong recipient? Misspelled the recipient’s name?

The list goes on and on. Fortunately, in Gmail’s settings, you can toggle on an option to “unsend” emails for up to 30 seconds after it’s been sent.

gmail-undo-send

This can be a lifesaver. Instead of going into a panic over a typo or misspelling you catch after hitting “send,” you have between five and 30 seconds (whichever timeframe you prefer) to make some changes and resend it good as new!

7. Create an Email Signature.

This Gmail feature is no secret, but if you’re not using it, you should be!

No matter who you are speaking with your profession, your email signature is the perfect place to include your social media profiles, your company website, and more information that people need to know.

To create or edit your signature, go to Settings, click the “General” tab, and scroll down to “Signature.” Simple as that.

8. Turn On “Nudges.”

Nudges are a great way to be reminded of emails you may have opened and forgot to respond to, or emails you’ve sent that still need a reply. The two options are as follows:

  • Suggest emails to reply to: Emails you might have forgotten to respond to will appear at the top of your inbox.
  • Suggest emails to follow up on: Sent emails you might need to follow up on will appear at the top of your inbox.

You can turn Nudges on under the “General” tab in your settings.

9. Utilize “Smart Reply.”

Smart Reply in Gmail

The smart reply feature shows suggested replies and phrases based on the content of the email you received.

By using this feature, you click on the phrase you want to use and either send it as-is or edit the reply before clicking send. You can turn Smart Reply on under the “General” tab in your settings.

This is a big time saver, especially if you just need to fire off a quick message before lunch. Start typing, and Google does the rest!

10. Send or Reply to Emails with Canned Responses.

Do you find yourself sending the same type of email to multiple clients or coworkers? This could be something like scheduling a client or internal meeting or sending a recurring email for blog calendar approval and much more.

You can set up canned responses that allow you to draft and reply to emails with predetermined emails. To enable this feature, go to Settings, click the “Advanced” tab, and enable “Canned Responses (Templates).”

11. Use Automatic Filters.

filtering-emails-in-gmail

If you are in a client-facing role, you probably receive many emails from multiple clients each and every day. Also, you probably subscribe to various newsletters and receive task notifications from your project management platform.

In other words, you’re getting bombarded by a ton of different messages consistently, all of which need your attention.

Together, all of these emails can easily consume your inbox, causing you to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Setting up filters can automatically sort your emails into specific labels.

To set up filters, go to settings and click on the “Filters and Blocked Addresses” tab. From there, follow the prompts to create custom filters of your choice by selecting emails based on the sender, subject line, included or excluded words, or other factors.

Once you choose your filter type, you can also choose an action for Gmail to take each time a message comes into your inbox that matches your filter. Here, you can add your filtered emails to labels, star them, send them directly to spam, or even automatically forward them.

12. Prioritize Your Inbox Using Layout Options.

When you get to the office in the morning and open your email, you probably have a mix of important unread emails, starred emails from previous days, promotional low-priority emails, and more.

This can be overwhelming at first look, but as we covered above, you can structure your layout to ease this burden. Use the following options to best fit your needs:

  • Default
  • Important first
  • Unread first
  • Starred first
  • Priority first

To prioritize your inbox, go to the “Inbox” tab in your settings and change the Inbox Type.

13. Mute Conversations.

Tired of getting stuck in an email thread between two coworkers that doesn’t really involve you, or between a client and your web developer?

You can open the emails to mark them as read, but the constant new email notification or unread emails in your inbox can drive you crazy. To stop receiving notifications, mute the email thread by clicking the checkbox next to the conversation, click the More menu (•••), and select “Mute.”

Don’t fall victim to the snowball effect of feeling constantly bombarded and overwhelmed by an unsorted inbox. That unread number can explode into the hundreds (and even the thousands) if you don’t prepare.

14. Integrate Google Calendar.

Gmail and Google Calendar are already pre-packaged together. If you want both tools to provide you with even more organization, you can enable the Google Calendar integration that allows you to receive notifications in the upper right hand corner when an email includes an event.

google-calendar

This way, you can add it to your Google Calendar for future notifications. You can also make sure your events from Gmail are automatically added into your Google Calendar.

15. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts.

Keyboard shortcuts make it easier for you to label and categorize emails with just a few clicks on your keyboard. When you go to your general settings in Gmail, you can turn on shortcuts.

shortcuts-gmail

Some helpful shortcuts you can use include:

  • Delete a message: #
  • Send emails: CTRL + Enter
  • Add an email to a task list: Shift + t

16. Change Your Snippet Display Headings.

Snippets in Gmail are the small pieces of information you can see in an email before you open it. This may make your inbox seem cluttered.

You can toggle your snippets so you can only see the subject line of your emails to help make your inbox clean and organized.

snippets-settings-gmail

You can find this toggle in the general settings next to snippets.

17. Categorize Your Tabs.

Gmail has three set tabs in every Gmail account. These tabs or categories are Primary. Social, and Promotions. This helps to keep your inbox clutter-free.

You can add new tabs and customize which emails go into them for further organization. You may add Forums, Updates, and Starred.

18. Enable Hover Actions.

Hover actions help make it easy to mark, archive, delete, and snooze your emails with a single click. You must enable this feature by going to the settings under the General tab. Once you are, there click “Enable hover actions.”

hover-actions-settings-gmail

When it is turned on, you can place your cursor over any email and the icons will appear that allow you to mark and categorize the email appropriately.

19. Import Contacts From Other Addresses.

Do you have multiple email addresses? If you do, there is an easy way to get all your contacts from those email addresses into one place. All you have to do is go under Accounts and hit the Imports tab.

accounts-import-gmail

This gives you the option to import contacts and emails from accounts you have through Yahoo!, AOL, and Hotmail.

This is a great Gmail organization hack for anyone who has two emails they use for different purposes. You no longer need to switch from one account to another to get contacts or important messages.

20. Customize Your Left Navigation Bar.

You don’t have to keep the navigation options in the order that Gmail uses as a default. You can customize them by choosing which labels to show and hide on the navigation bar.

labels-navigation-menu

If you don’t use some of the options, it may be a good idea to hide them to help de-clutter your menu bar. Go to your settings and hit the Labels tab.

A list of labels pop up with options for show and hide. The label is highlighted in blue if you are currently using that specific menu label.

Reclaim Your Gmail Inbox Right Now

The power of Gmail is impressive, and by learning these basics and putting these hacks into action, you’re well equipped to sort your Gmail inbox to streamline your email usage and keep you productive every day.

27 Aug 16:54

4 Ways to Measure the Lifetime Value of Your Customers

by Alison Lillie

Are you confused about how to measure the lifetime value (LTV) of your customers? You’re not alone. There are several different formulas you can use to calculate the amount of money a customer will bring in over their life span. The inputs for each calculation vary based on:

  1. How precise you want your number to be
  2. Your revenue model
  3. Whether or not you want to factor in variables such as the cost of customer acquisition, the time value of money, and negative churn

With so many options, it can be difficult to know which calculation is the best fit for your business needs. That’s why, in this blog post, I’ll break down four options for how to measure LTV and talk about appropriate use cases for each.

What Is Lifetime Value?

Before you can measure LTV, it’s important to understand how lifetime value is defined. In general, lifetime value is the total worth of a customer over the entire period of time they purchase your product or service. LTV can be measured as:

  • The total revenue a customer brings in for the duration that they are a customer
  • The total profit a customer generates for the duration that they are a customer

It’s important to note that if you plan to use LTV to determine the ROI of a customer, you should define lifetime value as the profit a user will bring in. This allows you to factor in the cost of acquiring your customers when measuring value.

In both definitions, the lifetime of the customer is the number of consecutive years a user spends money on the company’s product or service. Once a customer is deemed to have spent zero money with your company for a full calendar year, they are deemed “churned,” and their lifetime expires at the end of the final year they made a purchase.

How to Calculate Lifetime Value

To calculate the lifetime value of a customer, you must segment your database and then select the appropriate calculation method based on the variables you want to take into account.

Step 1: Segment Your Database

First, divide your customers into segments based on total purchases over a period of time. Separating your customers into high-, mid-, and low-frequency purchasers will help you determine the lifetime value of a good customer versus an average or below-average one. It will also help you measure the ROI of your customer segments so you can make more informed decisions about how to improve returns—whether that means increasing the average purchase frequency or average transaction value of your users.

Pro tip: You should avoid using your entire customer database to calculate lifetime value because customers on both purchasing frequency extremes could skew the result.

Step 2: Select Your LTV Calculation Method

There are four formulas you can use to measure LTV:

LTV Calculation Method 1

LTV Calculation Method 2

LTV Calculation Method 3

LTV Calculation Method 4

If you already know which of these formulas you’re looking for, select a method that matches your needs and start calculating! Not sure which you should choose? Keep reading below to learn about each of these four ways to measure LTV.

4 Ways to Measure the Lifetime Value of Your Customers

Let’s break down the factors that each of these methods takes into account and when you should use each of them.

1. Gross LTV

Gross LTV is the simplest way to measure LTV. It is best used by e-commerce companies just getting started with measuring and tracking customer insights. If you do not yet know what your e-commerce store’s profit margin or customer acquisition cost (CAC) is, this is the best formula to use to determine LTV.

Because gross LTV does not take into account the cost of customer acquisition, it reports LTV as a function of revenue, not profit. It also does not take inflation or deflation into account. Gross LTV cannot be used for subscription-based businesses that deliver monthly recurring revenue or businesses with a negative churn rate.

The variables in the gross LTV formula are defined as follows:

  • Average order value: the average amount spent each time a customer places an order
  • Purchase frequency: the number of purchases an average customer makes in a year
  • Average customer life span: the number of years an average customer consecutively purchases products or services

Here is the gross LTV formula:

Let’s take a look at an example of how LTV would be calculated for an online T-shirt retailer.

Gross LTV Calculation Example

An online T-shirt retailer is just starting to report on customer insights. It knows that for its biggest customer segment, the average order value is $25.99, users typically purchase two shirts per year, and the average customer life span is three years.

Here is how these inputs would be applied to the gross LTV formula:

2. Net LTV

Net LTV reports on the total profit you can expect to make on a customer over their life span after all costs have been paid. In addition to the average order value, purchase frequency, and customer life span, net LTV takes profit margin into account. Profit margin is a percentage that indicates how many cents of profit the business can generate for each dollar of a sale. So, if it costs an e-commerce shoe store $30.00 to make one pair of shoes, and it sells that pair of shoes for $59.99, then it would make $29.99 for every pair of shoes sold. This figure amounts to a 50 percent profit margin, meaning that for each dollar of shoe sales, the company makes 50 cents.

Net LTV is best used by e-commerce websites that want more insight into the return on investment that they’re generating from each customer segment.

Here is the net LTV formula:

net LTV formula

Net LTV Calculation Example

Using the same shoe store example and variables above, let’s calculate the net LTV of a customer segment that buys, on average, two pairs of shoes per purchase, makes that purchase once per year, and remains a customer for one year.

Net LTV Calculation Example

3. Traditional LTV

The traditional LTV formula is a bit more complex than the ones used for gross and net LTV. Just like net LTV, traditional LTV uses average customer order value, purchase frequency, customer life span, and profit margin to determine the worth of a customer segment. However, it also takes into account:

  • Customer retention rate: the percentage of customers who repurchase within a given time period when compared to the preceding time period
  • Rate of discount: the interest rate used to determine the present value of future cash flows

Here is the traditional LTV formula:

If your business frequently upsells customers or you know that a single customer’s revenue can easily fluctuate from one year to the next, you should use traditional lifetime value to determine the worth of your customer segments.

An example of a business that would be a good fit for the traditional LTV calculation would be an inbound marketing and sales software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that charges its customers monthly based on the number of contacts in their database. A customer who buys the most basic level of the software as the owner of a startup that is growing rapidly will pay less in their first year than in their second. And chances are that the same customer will pay more every year as they outgrow the basic service and purchase a service level that offers more advanced features.

Traditional LTV Calculation Example

Let’s take a look at how to calculate traditional LTV for an inbound marketing and sales SaaS company that offers three service levels: a starter service for $50 per month, a mid-level service for $1,500 per month, and an enterprise service for $4,200 per month.

The average customer purchases its enterprise service for $1,500 in the initial transaction. On average, the customer will make two purchases within a one-year period. The average customer life span is five years. The company’s profit margin is 35 percent. The customer retention rate is 60 percent. The present value of future cash flows (discount rate) is 8 percent.

Traditional LTV Calculation Example

4. Traditional LTV Adjusted for Negative Churn Rate

If your business expands revenue from retained customers at a greater rate than it loses revenue from churn and your revenue-per-customer figure fluctuates easily from one year to the next, then you’ll want to use the traditional LTV formula adjusted for a negative churn rate.

This LTV formula takes into account the same variables as traditional LTV, plus the:

  • Growth rate for retained customers: the rate at which customer revenue is expanded within a period of time (example: 16 percent of all customers expand their revenue within one year)

Here is the traditional LTV formula adjusted for negative churn:

traditional LTV formula adjusted for negative churn

High-growth SaaS companies that are essential to their customers are typically best suited to use traditional LTV adjusted for negative churn. Let’s take a look at an example of how this type of LTV can be calculated.

Adjusted Traditional LTV Calculation Example

A software startup that sells a personal finance budgeting app has four levels of service. Its lowest level is a free trial, followed by a $25.99-per-month service, a $125.00-per-month service, and a $525.00-per-month service. Most customers start with the free trial, so the average starting contract value is $10.00.

The profit margin on this initial contract value is 15 percent. The average customer upgrades their service three times per year. The average life span of a customer is 10 years. The discount rate is 8 percent. The growth rate for remaining customers is 16 percent (or a churn rate of minus 16 percent).

Here is how to apply this example to the formula:

Adjusted Traditional LTV Calculation Example

Using LTV and Other Customer Insights to Drive Sales

Each of the four ways to measure customer lifetime value can be valuable to your marketing and sales departments. You’ll want to be sure to evaluate your revenue model and know which data points you have access to before selecting an LTV calculation method.

Once you determine the average lifetime value of your customer segments, you can determine the highest amount of money you can spend on acquiring and retaining customers to make a profit. You can also determine the overall ROI of your customer segments by dividing LTV by the cost of customer acquisition.

Want to learn more about how to leverage customer insights like LTV to drive sales? Download our free guide: The Power of Psychology in Sales Enablement.

30 Jul 17:30

How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile

by Josh Baez

By Josh Baez, Client Engagement Manager at Heinz Marketing

What is an ideal customer profile?

Terminus says it best.  “An ideal customer profile (ICP) is a description of the company—not the individual buyer or end user—that is a perfect fit for your solution.” You can think of your ICP as a framework that highlights the specific, relevant characteristics of your ideal buyers. In application, an ICP enables sales, marketing, and customer success to have a far more accurate, consistent approach in what they say and do. And this consistency in both who they engage and how they engage facilitates a far more frictionless experience for your customers.

Before you can get to work on any of your content, messaging, or campaign initiatives, you should first have a well-defined, agreed upon ideal customer profile.

What is an ideal customer profile not?

An ideal customer profile is not an exhaustive list of characteristics from every single company you’ve ever done business with. And just because you work with a wide array of companies, it doesn’t mean every single one of them is part of your ideal customer base. Some will have more favorable attributes, while others possess less-than-favorable ones.

Your ICP should be a thoughtful, non-exhaustive list containing the best of who you want to do business with.

An ideal customer profile is not a buyer persona. Where an ICP is more focused on the fit of an account, your buyer personas will go into much more detail on the individuals that make up those accounts. That being said, we’ve found it particularly useful to identify a few employee demographics in the ICP as well.

Details such as key titles, buying decision roles, and job functions—while at the individual level—help us gain a better picture of an account’s maturity, sophistication, and readiness. Plus, having this information up front will give you a head start when it comes time to build out your buyer personas!

How to create an ideal customer profile

Now comes the fun part: creating an ideal customer profile! Luckily, getting started is easy. And once you have agreement on your ideal customer profile from sales, marketing, and customer success, it becomes much easier to not only go to market, but also to make refinements as you learn more about your customers, their needs, and their goals.

We like to think about the ideal customer profile in 4 distinct blocks:

  1. Company Firmographics 
  2. Employee Demographics
  3. Account Technographics
  4. Company Psychographics

But before we get into the specific attributes of an ideal customer, it’s helpful to first think about 4 preliminary questions. These questions are designed to help you associate your ideal customer with an actual entity, rather than simply listing attributes in a table.

  1. Who is my ideal customer? First, write a few sentences about your ideal customer summarizing who they are. Think about this description as something you could easily provide to anyone in your organization, new or not, to give them an immediate, clear picture of who you’re selling to.
  2. What does my ideal customer do? Second, think and write a few sentences about the work your ideal customer does. What do they make? What do they sell? This helps further develop a profile of who your ideal customer is.
  3. What does my ideal customer value? Third, write a few sentences describing what your ideal customer believes are the most important values, skills, and/or traits of a new solution or purchase. This part is important because it helps ensure your content, message, and processes align with the values of your ideal customer.
  4. What does my ideal customer aspire to? Lastly, write a few sentences describing what your ideal customer aspires to. What is their grand company vision? Where do they want to be in the next 1, 2, 5, 10 years? This will help ensure you’re working with companies who share similar visions to yours, facilitating long-term relationships and alignment.

Now that you’ve answered those preliminary questions, let’s break down each block below.

Company Firmographics

We described the importance of firmographics up top, but for those who skimmed: firmographics allow you to gauge whether an account is a good fit for your solution. When thinking about the company firmographics of your ideal customer, think about characteristics like geography, industries and verticals, employee headcount, budget, and annual revenue.

Here are a few questions to help you determine what criteria should be included:

  • How much does our solution cost?
  • How many people does our solution require to implement and manage?
  • Where does a majority of our business take place?
  • What industries do we serve best?

Employee Demographics

We like to identify employee demographics in an ideal customer profile because buildings don’t make decisions—people do. Not only that, but having certain roles and job positions filled could indicate some level of maturity, sophistication, or commitment relevant to your solution.

So when it comes to employee demographics, think about the individuals involved in the decision making process at an ideal account. Consider things like key titles, roles, functions, departments, and buying committee responsibilities of the employees that work there. Here are a few questions to get you thinking:

  • Who has final decision authority for a purchase of our type of solution?
  • Who has technical authority for a purchase of our type of solution?
  • Who has financial authority for a purchase of our type of solution?
  • Who helps influence the purchase decision?
  • Who uses our solution day to day?

Account Technographics

Account technographics help you identify the profile of an ideal customer’s technology stack. This is useful to know for a few reasons. First, if your solution relies on another technology to function (like CRM or marketing automation), it’s probably important you know about that up front. Second, if a specific kind of technology enhances what your solution does, you can (and should) leverage that in your campaigns as well. Lastly—and similar to the point made about employee demographics—certain technologies may indicate some level of maturity and sophistication at the account you’d want to act on.

As you think about the technographics of an ideal customer, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does our solution rely on another technology?
  • Is our solution enhanced by other technologies?
  • Is our solution redundant to existing technologies our ideal customer already has?

Company Psychographics

The last block of an ideal customer profile consists of company psychographics. These are details like a company’s grand vision for the future, and their goals and aspirations, and their attitudes, maturity, and values.

These traits help to round out the ICP and are useful in ensuring the values and vision of your brand aligns with those of your ideal customers. Defining an ideal customer’s maturity in the market is also key here. Because while they may be a good fit in every other area, they may not even be ready to run—let alone walk—with a solution like yours.

Using company psychographics, you can craft messages and content that align more closely to the customer. Your materials become more relevant, and your solution may become a much more valuable investment if it can deliver on its promises.

Here are a few questions to get you started on company psychographics:

  • What do our customers value most?
  • What do our customers aspire to?
  • In terms of maturity, what kind of companies do we serve best?
  • How committed are our customers to solving the problems we address?
  • What phase of growth are our customers in?
  • What internal challenges are our customers facing in relation to our solution?

Next Steps

Creating an ideal customer profile is a fundamental piece to build a predictable, profitable pipeline. It informs the way you go to market—who you reach, what you say, and what you offer.

It sounds simple, and that’s because it is. Yet all too often even the most mature companies lack this central resource. And as a result, you see sales barreling down one direction, marketing moving in another, and customer success going in yet another—all towards completely desynchronous goals.

But at the end of the day, these three business units must be united as a single revenue team. And with a clear, documented, and agreed upon ideal customer profile, you become that much closer to creating that unity.

Once your ideal customer profile is created, the next step is to begin recognizing and defining the buying committee. But more on that in a future blog post… For now, work cross-functionally with sales, marketing, and customer success to create an ideal customer profile that everyone agrees on and is proud of. And start the work of building predictability into your pipeline.

The post How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile appeared first on Heinz Marketing.

22 Jul 16:59

7 Types of Sales Trigger Events & How to Use Them

by Rob Steffens

Trigger events are a great way to fuel your lead generation efforts. If your sales team doesn’t practice using them while prospecting, then you’re missing out on opportunities.

Once you know what to look for, identifying trigger events becomes second nature, leading to more revenue for your own business and greater value to your customers.

What Is a Trigger Event?

Trigger events are changes that happen at a prospect’s business and make your product or service more relevant than before.

When a trigger event happens, it’s the ideal time to reach out to your prospect and determine if now is the right time to move forward on a buy.

Although nobody will tap you on the shoulder and tell you about a trigger event, there are ways to find out about them. Since they tend to be good news, they are usually announced in ways that are in keeping with the company’s brand strategy.

Bad news can herald a trigger event as well, but decision makers will tend to be a lot more cautious about making major purchases if things aren’t going well.

Just as importantly, it can be difficult to frame your offer in a way that’s compelling when strategic goals are already at risk.

7 Types of Sales Trigger Events

Sales Triggers: The Most Common Categories

  1. Growth
  2. Branding Changes
  3. Location Changes
  4. Industry Recognition
  5. Ownership Changes
  6. Financial Changes
  7. Legislative Changes

Since there are so many different specific, little events that can happen that can be considered a trigger, it’s easier to learn how to identify the different types of sales trigger events.

Here are the seven most common categories they’ll fall under:

1. Growth

Any signs of growth can act as pretty good indicators that there’s an opportunity for you. Growth means more revenue available for your product or services. Here are a few key trigger events indicating growth:

  • Growth awards
  • Expansion to a new location
  • The launch of a new product or service

2. Branding Changes

A name changeAny changes in branding strategy can be for both positive or negative reasons, and it’s up to you as a salesperson to learn which it is. Look for any branding updates like:

  • Changes in leadership
  • New hires
  • Restructuring

3. Location Change

Relocation is never done casually. If you hear news of any of the following, then you can likely mark it as a trigger event:

  • Expansion
  • Consolidation
  • Relocation

4. Industry Recognition

You should always be on the lookout for the mention of your prospects’ names in industry news.

  • Awards
  • Growth recognition
  • Business anniversaries

5. Change in Ownership

A changing of hands is definitely a huge trigger event. Depending on the nature of the business, a change in ownership can signify good news or bad news. Look for:

  • Mergers
  • Acquisition
  • Industry changes

6. Financial Changes

You won’t hear about any financial issues from a prospect before it goes far beyond your scope. And not every financial change is inherently a bad sign either.

Financial changes can take the form of:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Stock increases or decreases
  • New funding
  • Missing revenue

7. Legislative Changes

Look for compliance updates or changes early on in areas like consumer privacy or anti-spam laws.Not every trigger event comes directly from your prospects’ enterprises. Legislative and regulatory updates can impact both your business and theirs, including opening new opportunities for you to offer value.

How to Track Trigger Events

If you know where to look for trigger events, you can be a lot more proactive in qualifying your leads and reaching out to those who may not even realize the kind of value you can offer them.

Luckily, it’s easy to integrate this into your usual prospect research if you know where to start.

Use these methods to zoom in on a trigger event:

Skim Trade Magazines.

If a company ends up in Fortune, Forbes, or another major publication, odds are good that they are on the right track with their business.

Tailor your reading to your prospects’ size, category, and industry so you can get the latest news quickly.

Monitor Social Media.

via GIPHY

Established brands often have hashtags associated with them that you can monitor easily with a social media management app. You can also segment your social stream into lists so you can focus on comments from leading decision makers.

Set Up Google Alerts.

Google Alerts was one of Google’s first services to leverage its search engine prowess and is still one of the best. When you set up an alert, you can get a regular digest of the latest online news and results related to a particular company or other topic.

Check Out LinkedIn.

With LinkedIn shifting toward a more private and insular structure for many of its Groups, this deserves a separate entry.

Those with advanced LinkedIn accounts can easily determine which Groups a company’s employees hang out in, making it easier to keep tabs and interact.

Read the Business Section.

Although newspaper circulation is in decline, some major newspapers are still going strong.

If you are based in a major metro area, like New York or Dallas, it can be worthwhile to read the business pages a few times a week. Companies moving in or expanding get column inches.

Run a Search.

Google Alerts are very useful, but they won’t capture everything that happens in an area or at a company. No matter how many established sources you have for your trigger event research, you should never forget a generic search.

Check Out Industry Events.

In the digital marketing era, many companies are drawing down their presence at annual industry events. A smaller number of events are now getting the lion’s share of attendance, so you may be able to do all your research with just a few quick weekend trips every year.

Make Time for Networking.

When you meet someone outside a business context – when no sales or quotas are at issue – you can often get a fuller story out of them than when money is on the line.

Even expert sales and marketing pros should make time to mix it up and make their names known to others.

Follow Up With Existing Customers.

via GIPHY

Your current customers can be an endless source of insight if you allow them to be. As a sales pro, you should continue taking interest in them even after you hand them off to a different team.

Drop a note a month after the sale and every quarter or so thereafter to check in.

Spend Time With Colleagues.

Competition is a part of sales, and not all teams share every bit of information they come across. By taking time to talk to others and ask them what they’ve heard lately, you may give them the chance to offer you a terrific lead they simply can’t follow up on at the moment.

Check the Website.

A company’s “About” page is usually the most boring part of its website. Why? Because it’s all about them, not about the needs of their customers.

That makes it perfect for your needs, however. Also check out recent blog posts, where awards and other kudos are sure to be shared.

Look for Press Releases.

In theory, press releases are intended to attract media coverage. These days, they rarely make a big impact, but many companies still release them occasionally just in case. This is a great way to hone your online searches, since it reflects exactly what a company wants known.

Read Quarterly and Annual Reports.

Fortune 500 companies and other major enterprises strive to release investor-facing reports with a big splash. While most of the information is highly technical, there’s usually an executive summary at the beginning that lays out near-term and strategic goals.

Listen In On Investor Calls.

Investor calls are usually led by the CEO with input from other members of the C-suite.

via GIPHY

Though they often spin recent events in the most positive light, each call tends to include several big wins and emerging opportunities you can help prospects act on.

Look for Funding Changes.

Sites like AngelList can help you keep your eye on the funding landscape for your prospects.

In general, companies that are seeking funding want to make moves to improve their operations and valuation, while those who just received funding are flush with cash for new strategic purchases.

A Process For Handing Sales Trigger Events

Once you’ve mastered identifying and finding sales trigger events, you’ll be able to leverage them to your advantage. One of the key benefits of them is that they can perfect your timing.

Here’s an easy to follow process on how to use sales trigger events for lead generation:

1. Review Your Most Recent Sales.

You’ll want to review your most recent sales and look for patterns and common events that occur in your successful customers.

It’s alright if you can’t find any commonalities. There are other means of learning about your recent customers, like a survey where you can ask what prompted (or triggered) them to purchase from you.

2. Identify Trigger Events.

The information you’ll collect from your review will help you learn about which trigger events help you convert prospects. List all of the relevant events that you can find and bring your sales team up to speed.

3. Create a Pursuit Plan.

via GIPHY

Once you’ve created a prioritized list of trigger events, you’ll need a plan of action for when one of them comes to pass.

Define how you’ll want to pursue prospects by coming up with a plan of identifying a point of contact, how often you’ll follow up, and which prospecting techniques you’ll want to follow.

Having a plan in place will help make your prospecting more efficient and run a bit smoother. You’ll be able to update your CRM and workflows to work in tandem with trigger events.

4. Engage.

When the time comes, you’ll want to act quickly.

For example, let’s say you receive notice from a prospect or existing client that your point of contact is leaving the company. Their change usually comes with a demand for you to pivot your strategy.

You’ll want to learn who the new point of contact will be, add them to your CRM, and make sure that their company is still interested in doing business with you.

While you continue pursuing the original prospect, you’ve also just had a new opportunity opened to you.

Reach out to the former POC and maintain your relationship with them. If they’ve started a new position, congratulate them! Let them know that you’re still excited about providing value to them and their new company. They can easily act as the bridge to you earning a new customer.

With these tips, it’ll be easier than ever to find the trigger event that could start a lucrative, long-lasting partnership. Keep your eyes open, be consistent, and always follow up!

16 Jul 18:10

LinkedIn exec Blake Barnes says hiring a strong team virtually while in a pandemic is challenging — he shares his 4 best tips on how to get it right

by Blake Barnes

blake_barnes

  • Blake Barnes is the head of product for LinkedIn talent solutions and careers.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has led to record high unemployment rates across the country. Currently, more than 40 million people are jobless in the US. This economic slump will have a lasting impact on the future of hiring in corporate America.
  • Hiring a strong workforce remotely has its own challenges. Barnes suggests amping up virtual hiring practices, find creative ways to showcase your company's culture, keep diversity top of mind, and look to promote internally.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The rise in unemployment has been staggering in recent months. Business Insider reported that more than 40 million people in the US have filed for unemployment.

This economic fallout will also extend to hiring. Hiring across all industries in the US is still down significantly year-over-year, with June 2020 measuring 39.6% lower than in June 2019.

We may soon see signs of recovery, but the US economy won't feel "normal" for a long time — the pandemic is having a lasting effect.

That said, our data shows certain sectors significantly increased their hiring in June, such as recreation & travel (157.2% higher), legal (99.3% higher), and construction (77.2% higher).

Companies that are hiring should be looking to build strong, nimble teams that can help address the challenges ahead. Central to hiring such a team is an exceptional candidate experience, but in today's more virtual world, providing that experience will look a little different than before the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are four things recruiters should keep in mind as they look for talent today: 

1. Create a best in class experience for virtual interviews

With the rise of remote work in our new normal, we may see companies embrace remote work as a long-term operating priority rather than a short-term contingency plan. This means that it's going to be more important than ever that companies have best in class virtual practices to recruit top talent. 

Along with providing hiring managers and talent acquisition teams with the optimal video conferencing technologies, it's important to find ways to communicate about your company that will engage candidates immediately.

Brendan Browne, our head of Talent Acquisition, advises recruiters to differentiate themselves with a compelling story that connects the company's mission and vision with the candidate's values. Along with storytelling, consider if there are any visual materials you can share with candidates during or after the interview that could bring your company culture to life even more.

2. Find new ways to showcase your company's culture

The number one way candidates learn about your company culture is through an office visit. Now that an increasingly remote hiring environment has made these visits difficult (if not impossible), your company's social media channels have become critical resources for job seekers.

What you say and show on social media helps candidates get closer to your culture and what it's like to work with you, even when they're not able to walk the halls. Job candidates who visit Target's social media channels, for example, will find regular content that brings the team's culture and values to life. 

You also can find ways to bring the office to candidates who can't visit in person. Constellation Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, sends candidates an office tour video that shares who the team members are and what they do while New York based cloud monitoring company Datadog use photos and videos taken by employees to create "tours" of various offices. 

3. Keep diversity top of mind, if it isn't already

Companies need to train managers to source, hire and lead more diverse teams. This includes seeking out candidates with diverse skill sets and perspectives.

One of the biggest upsides of a remote working world is that companies can now reimagine their sourcing strategies and recruit talent from more diverse talent pools wherever they are in the world — not just based on a single location.  

For years, talent acquisition teams have tried to convince executive teams to open offices in cities with vastly more diverse populations, but it could be challenging due to high costs, long timelines and competition. With the world of work changing, how we think about sourcing and recruiting talent will transform along with it. 

4. Look internally and promote existing employees

Even before the pandemic, our research found that internal mobility will be a top trend for 2020.

And now, in the wake of Coronavirus, internal mobility is drawing even more attention as a way for companies to redeploy their workforces, quickly and efficiently, to where they're needed most.

The trend echoes an earlier era when companies filled open roles by promoting their own people, and employees could follow a lifelong career path within a single firm.

That approach — with updated thinking and tools — is making a gradual comeback. Role changes within organizations (via promotion, transfer, or lateral move) have increased by 10% over the last five years, our 2020 Global Talent Trends survey found.

One company that's on the cutting edge of this trend is Schneider Electric. It launched its internal mobility platform, Open Talent Market, an AI-driven platform that gives employees access to job postings, mentors, training, and part-time projects, creating what the company calls "an internal gig economy".

And now given the shifting realities posed by COVID-19, it allows the company to optimize its workforce by matching managers who didn't have enough manpower with employees who had the capacity and bandwidth to help.

The world of work is changing and when we go back into the office, there's no doubt, it's going to look different. Putting in place these strategies now will be critical for continuing to attract and retain the best candidates in our new normal.

Blake Barnes is the head of product for LinkedIn talent solutions and careers. He is responsible for building the world's largest talent marketplace, helping job seekers find the right opportunity and companies hire the right candidates faster. Prior to LinkedIn, he held roles as Director of Product for Instagram, Facebook and Intercontinental Exchange.

SEE ALSO: I launched Okta during the 2008 recession, and it's now a $25 billion company. Here are my 4 recommended steps for starting a business during an economic downturn.

SEE ALSO: CEOs from 24 major companies like Pfizer, CarMax, HP, Prudential Financial, and more reveal action plans for racial equality

Join the conversation about this story »

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30 Jun 16:11

6 Tips for Hosting Can’t-Miss Virtual Events

by Brad Smith

Even before COVID-19 drastically changed how we connected, virtual events were on the rise. Companies and brands may have different reasons to host a virtual event, but there are two overarching benefits:

  1. Virtual events take less of a budget to host.
  2. Virtual events are more accessible.

Involving more people and spending less money sounds great, right? But it doesn’t make hosting engaging virtual events easier than hosting live events. Just like hosting an in-person event, you need to consider how the right platform and message work together. Plus, you need to strategically plan ways to increase engagement and accomplish the event’s primary and secondary goals.

image of a video call on a laptop screen

In this post, we’re going to cover six tips on hosting engaging virtual events:

  1. Understand the goal of your virtual events
  2. Promote your virtual events
  3. Incentivize event attendance
  4. Be prepared for tech issues
  5. Promote the event during the event
  6. Get feedback from attendees

But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page.

What counts as a virtual event?

A virtual event is an online event that uses a platform where participants (or hosts) can interact with attendees or an audience.

virtual events graphic

Image Source

That means a virtual event can be a webinar, a behind-the-scenes tour of your brand, a conference, or anything else that connects participants over a virtual medium. It can be as simple as live-tweeting a product reveal, or as complex as hosting a multi-person webinar panel with a Q&A.

When it comes to hosting virtual events, some events work better than others.

  • Conferences. A virtual conference is an interactive virtual event that should usually have unique, downloadable content for its attendees. These are generally paid events, and virtual conferences are becoming more and more popular due to the size and the cost of traveling.
  • Training, workshops, and courses. These are virtual “hands-on” events. You may be making downloadable content, like a marketing course for your business or agency. So it may be live or recorded and re-sold. Either way, it’s generally a paid event, and it’s expected that the attendee will be doing work in tandem with the course.
  • Webinars. Webinars are generally more intimate than conferences, where it’s expected that a virtual attendee can interact with the speakers or presenters.
  • Tours. Tours can be either informal or formal virtual events where you’re giving your audience a view behind-the-scenes of production. Ahrefs did a virtual tour of their Singapore office and posted it on YouTube. These are generally free events.
  • Virtual meetups. The most informal virtual event on our list, these are great for remote businesses (or businesses working from home) who want to engage and interact with their team. These are free, laid back events.
  • Fireside chats. Popular within the startup community, a fireside chat, as the name implies, is a more relaxed virtual event between a few peers. These are generally free events.

There are more types of virtual events than this, but these are the more common types of virtual events that we see people holding.

6 tips for hosting engaging virtual events

Like I said earlier, hosting a virtual event may cost less and be open to more people, but it still takes planning in order to be effective, just like a live event. Here are six tips to make sure your next virtual event is your best yet.

1. Understand the goal of your virtual events

When planning your virtual event, you want to match the medium to your goal. Don’t just pick a free virtual event platform because it saves you money or is popular.

For example, if your goal is to get your remote team to have some face-to-face time, you’re looking at a virtual meetup, which can happen over a common tool like Zoom. Or maybe your goal is to demo your new product or service to your ideal customer base. That goal involves more steps to pull off correctly, including having an event page, targeted PPC campaigns, and email marketing efforts.

To understand the goal of your event, brainstorm your ideal virtual audience:

  • Are you looking for an audience of your peers?
  • Are you looking for an audience of your existing customers or new customers?
  • Are you looking for an audience of people who want to participate in the event, or simply observe?

Once you’re able to define the goal, you’re ready for step two, which handles the promotion of your virtual event.

2. Promote your virtual events

Using your existing marketing network is going to help you increase the number of virtual attendees who show up and participate in your event.

A virtual event is like any other product or service your business has offered in the past—it needs to be marketed towards your target audience.

Step #1: Look within your existing network

Share the event with employees, partners, and social media influencers who can help you co-run or promote the event.

example tweet promoting a virtual event

Step #2: Use content marketing to increase virtual event sign-ups

If your blog has subscribers, then publishing a blog post about the event is a great way to increase attendance. Plus, if you’re able to play your event in advance, you can adjust your content schedule to post articles that are about topics that will be relevant during the actual event.

Step #3: Talk about the event on your podcast

Podcasts are a great way to reach your audience without competing for attention. With email blasts and PPC ads, you’re always one of many. But with a podcast mention, you have your customer’s attention.

Step #4: Run ads

Using demographic targeting in Google Ads and lookalike audiences in Facebook ads make it easy for your business to run targeted ads towards bottom-of-the-funnel prospects. But remember, you need to try this ad like any other ad. It needs compelling copy, excellent visuals, and a clear CTA (such as register for this virtual event!).

Step #5: Create a virtual event landing page

Your podcast, content marketing, and PPC strategies are all about getting your customer to your virtual event landing page. This is where they can make the decision to register for your event.

Note: You want to promote any event to get attendees, but the more informal the event, the less work you need to do to promote it.

For example, if you’re only running an Instagram story, you don’t need a virtual event landing page or (most likely) a PPC strategy. Instead, you’ll leverage your Instagram network to attract attendees. Below is an example of an organic social media post that promotes an upcoming event.

example of a tweet with video promoting a virtual event

What makes this post great:

  1. It gives us a hashtag. Hashtags let your attendees post about the event and connect with other attendees. And Instagram hashtags also help create a virtual event within a virtual event. People who were interested in your event but couldn’t make it can now learn about the event by reading what attendees have posted.
  2. There’s a link to the event landing page. We give this link a B+. We would have preferred if it were positioned as a more clear CTA, with copy directing the user to take action.
  3. Video marketing. Video ads are a great way to slow down fast-scrollers who are steamrolling through their feed. Plus, if you have video marketing that shows users footage from your last event, that makes great material for a virtual event ad.

3. Incentivize event attendance

Ask yourself why someone should attend your event, and don’t let the answer be “because we’re awesome.”

There are several ways to incentivize event attendance, from offering free swag (see below) to teasing the kind of value-driven information that the event will cover.

virtual event swag

Image Source

How much you need to incentivize will depend on whether your event is free or if there’s an admission fee.

If it’s a free event, leverage the event itself as the incentive.

For example, if you’re hosting a workshop for small businesses on how to set up their Google Analytics account, then the incentive is the information you’re going to cover within the event.

The ad copy or blog copy for that event would be something like this: “Calling all small business owners. Join us this Friday on Instagram Live, where we show you how to set up a Google Analytics and Google Search Console account for your ecommerce site.”

If attendance costs anything, we recommend you create some materials that are unique to the event.

This could be as simple as a PDF guide or ebook that the attendees download after registering. If you’re using the event to sell a product or service, you can also offer a coupon code or extended free trial for all virtual event attendees.

4. Be prepared for tech issues

One of the more popular virtual event fails was the Mayweather and McGregor Live Stream fail. The boxing event was billed as one of the major sporting events of the decade, but the event didn’t go as planned. Attendees had registered for the event, paid for the event, prepared for the event, but when the night of the event came, the live stream failed due to tech issues.

When you’re planning your event, have some contingency plans in place.

What will you do if …

  • Your live stream fails? Depending on the severity of the issue, you can have backup dates to reschedule or a backup platform ready-to-go.
  • Your guest speaker doesn’t show? Whether this is a big issue or a minor one, depends on the type of event. If it’s a fireside chat and one of the chatters doesn’t show up, that’s a problem. If your guest speaker wasn’t the main attraction, it’s possible to recoup by having the event host cover the material the guest speaker was going to cover.
  • You get more (or less) participants than expected? With adequate preparation, this issue can quickly become a non-issue. We recommend having multiple plans for the event. If more participants than expected arrive, just adjust your plans to be less detailed, so as to allow for more of a Q/A. If fewer participants than expected show up, re-adjust your strategy to create a more intimate virtual event.

5. Promote the event during the event

Social media is your friend before the event, as well as during the event.

You can use hashtags on Twitter to encourage your attendees to live-tweet the event. Live-tweeting is a great way to increase engagement. Plus, it’s free publicity, as the message of your event goes out to new audiences.

Francines tweet during WordStream Live

It’s worth mentioning that live-tweeting should be encouraged during paid events. An attendee isn’t going to be able to cover your entire event, which means that they will be promoting just enough information to get their followers interested in your brand/service.

6. Get feedback from attendees

Always be thinking ahead.

To help you plan your next event and to help you determine if this virtual event or the event platform you chose worked for your audience, you need to follow up with each participant.

This can be as simple as an email follow up a day or two after the event is over, but don’t wait too long, as you want their feedback when it’s fresh and clear in their mind.

In fact, you don’t even have to wait at all. For example, SheetsCon—a virtual conference about Google Sheets—polled its attendees throughout the event. This was the first-ever SheetsCon event, and they knew feedback was critical.

By polling throughout the event, they were able to gauge their attendees’ experience of the event and mine important data for their next event.

attendee poll example

Image Source

However you get feedback from your attendees, make sure to review it and make your next virtual event even better.

Host engaging virtual events

Virtual events have benefits for the event organizers (less upfront cost, a higher rate of attendance), and for the participants (easy to work around your schedule, lighter on your wallet, higher engagement between you and the presenters).

Whether it’s as recurring as a weekly virtual meeting or if it’s a larger virtual conference, the first step is understanding the goal of the event and the target audience. From there, follow our tips on how to host a virtual event that’s great for your business and offers clear value to attendees.

18 Jun 16:40

Stop Asking About Past Quota Attainment in Sales Interviews

by Ryan Walsh

 

If a salesperson hit quota at their last job, they’re much more likely to hit quota at your organization, right?

Not so fast.

According to statistics from our sales professional user base here at RepVue, only 46.7% of sales professionals globally are achieving quota. And it’s even fewer in software sales organizations.

It turns out that quota attainment has become the exception, not the rule.

So that tried and true approach of, “Walk me through your attainment over the past few years,” is not only uncomfortable, it can turn the interview into a dance of half-truths and excuses.

And that’s not where hiring managers should be spending their time during the candidate evaluation process.

Where Hiring Managers Get Off-Base

As someone who has hired sales professionals for over 15 years — both as a sales leader/hiring manager, as well as a consultant helping start-ups with their early-stage sales hires — I made the decision a while back to stop asking candidates about their quota attainment in prior roles.

I didn’t make this decision because quota information was difficult to get. And it wasn’t because I believed they didn’t achieve quota if it wasn’t on their resume. I stopped asking because of a more important reason: I don’t care if the candidate hit quota in their last job.

That’s right. I don’t care. And if you’re a hiring manager, you shouldn’t care either.

RELATED: Hiring the Perfect Enterprise SDR for You and Your Company

The Question of Quota

In today’s market, if a candidate missed quota in their most recent sales role, it likely doesn’t have much, if any, bearing on whether they can hit quota in the role they’re applying for.

What hiring managers should care about is if they can hit quota in THIS job.

So, hiring managers, let’s stop wasting time trying to determine if the candidate hit quota in the past. Put all of your effort and energy into something much more important — asking questions to determine if the candidate has the potential hit quota in this, their potential future role.

This task isn’t easy, but if you truly believe the candidate’s selling skills are a fit for your organization, you’re already doing better than most hiring organizations. And if you can find that perfect fit, they’ll likely be set up to crush their quota in your organization regardless of whether they hit quota in the past.

6 Key Fit Factors When Hiring for Sales

So, how do you uncover if that perfect fit between the candidate and your organization exists? Let’s start with 6 critical fit factors that you can dig into during the interview process.

Is the role primarily an outbound or cold-calling role?

If you ask your new hire to make 60 cold calls a day when they’ve never made more than five in the past, they’re going to have a hard time succeeding.

How does the candidate’s sales methodology align with the vision of sales leadership? Does the candidate subscribe to, or have they been trained in, any specific sales methodologies? Their sales style should fit with the culture and vision your sales leadership is trying to instill.

How transactional is your sales process? A highly successful sales professional, closing 3 deals for $250k per year, may struggle transitioning to hitting that same size quota via 40 deals with a much smaller AOV. The deal cadence, or pipeline velocity, needs to fit what the candidate is comfortable with.

How does the candidate learn? Do you have a training program that will support them in the way they prefer to learn?

Is there an issue between big company vs. start-up dynamics? Many candidates who thrive in the chaotic world of a start-up would run screaming for the exit after a week at a company with 5,000 reps. And the same goes for a candidate who’s used to the formal structure of that 5,000-rep sales organization. They will struggle as the first sales hire for your start-up.

What about inside vs. outside sales? Has the candidate only thrived in roles where they’re in front of the customer or prospect? If your process is primarily phone-based, that’s potentially an issue. They should have experience in the type of selling you focus on.

RELATED: Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales: Which Is Best for You?

It’s important to remember that if there isn’t a fit for some or all of these factors, it doesn’t make this sales professional a bad hire. However, they may certainly be a bad hire for YOUR organization.

There will always be areas that you’ll need to compromise on, but don’t rush to fit a square peg in a round hole. Know what those areas of concern are upfront, be open about them, and manage against them.

On the flip side, it’s as important for the candidate to deeply understand your organization as it is for you to understand the candidate. This can only happen when the hiring organization and manager practice extreme transparency during the interview process.

How to Discover “Fit”

The first place to start is to allow more time for questions in all phases of the interview. Try setting aside a separate call for key candidates for THEM to ask questions.

Provide important resources up front, after the candidate gets to a certain stage of the process, like:

  • A sample comp plan structure
  • An org chart
  • Details on territories
  • Quota capacity vs. TAM

All of this information is designed to allow the hiring manager AND the sales professional to determine if they’ll be successful in that role, hit their targets, and advance their career. Both parties need to be equally confident that this partnership will work out, as both parties have a lot at stake.

ALSO IMPORTANT: How to Increase Diversity and Inclusion in Your Sales Hiring Process

Look Forward, Not Backwards

Don’t focus on the past when hiring. Look to the future, and the potential each candidate has with your organization and your system.

Per the RepVue data referenced above, most sales professionals simply aren’t hitting quota. And in many cases, it’s not because of the skill or effort of the candidate. It’s because of a flawed hiring process.

Those who are hitting quota are typically harder to proactively recruit than those who aren’t. So, realistically when you’re interviewing a pool of candidates, maybe only 20–30% actually hit quota at a recent job.

But the biggest reason to stop asking candidates is that you simply shouldn’t care. Take that time and effort and spend it on determining if they’ll hit quota in your organization.

Asking what percent of quota a candidate hit last year is pretty easy, which is likely why people do it. But is it actually telling you anything?

Let’s make it the norm to avoid asking about previous quota attainment, not the exception.

Remember, it doesn’t help.

It’s hard to figure out what percent of quota the candidate can hit next year, but that’s what the elite hiring managers and organizations are doing.

Good luck out there.

The post Stop Asking About Past Quota Attainment in Sales Interviews appeared first on Sales Hacker.

17 Jun 23:03

Here are the most explosive claims former national security adviser John Bolton made about Trump in his upcoming book

by Grace Panetta and Sonam Sheth

FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2020, file photo, former national security adviser John Bolton takes part in a discussion on global leadership at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. An attorney for Bolton said Wednesday, June 10, that President Donald Trump is trying to put on ice publication of the former top administration official's forthcoming memoir after White House lawyers again this week raised concerns that the book contains classified material that presents a national security threat. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

  • Former national security adviser John Bolton makes a number of explosive, shocking claims about President Donald Trump in his upcoming tell-all memoir. 
  • Bolton skewers Trump's command of national security and foreign policy with a string a damning anecdotes. 
  • Bolton writes that Trump pleaded with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him with the 2020 election and said it would be "cool" if the US invaded Venezuela.
  • He also writes that Trump said all journalists are "scumbags" who should be "executed," and that the US president praised China for building concentration camps.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Former national security adviser John Bolton made a number of explosive claims about President Donald Trump in his forthcoming memoir.

The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal published details from it on Wednesday based on pre-publication copies they obtained of the book, "The Room Where It Happened. A White House Memoir."

Bolton accuses the House of Representatives of committing "impeachment malpractice" in the book because he alleges that the president had engaged in significantly more impeachable conduct than just what he was ultimately accused of.

The former national security adviser has attracted significant criticism from Democrats for including these details in his book after refusing to testify in the House's impeachment hearings against Trump last year.

He later agreed to testify before the Republican-controlled Senate if subpoenaed, but the upper chamber voted against calling any new witnesses in the president's January 2020 trial.

Here are the most shocking claims from the book: 

  • Trump, on several occasions, wanted to "give personal favors to dictators he liked" by offering to kill federal criminal investigations in the US into foreign companies based out of China and Turkey.
    • Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he would "take care" of a criminal investigation into a Turkish company being pursued by federal prosecutors in New York and said "that the Southern District prosecutors were not his people, but were Obama people, a problem that would be fixed when they were replaced by his people." 
  • Trump had a poor command over national security and foreign policy issues, including not knowing that the United Kingdom was a nuclear power and asking if Finland was a part of Russia
  • At the 2019 G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Trump pleaded with Chinese President Xi Jinping to purchase large quantities of American soybeans and wheat to help Trump's 2020 reelection chances. 
  • Trump told Xi that Americans wanted him to be able to serve more than two terms as president.
  • Trump supported China holding Uighur Muslims in concentration camps: "According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do," Bolton writes.
  • In intelligence briefings, "much of the time was spent listening to Trump, rather than Trump listening to the briefers," and Trump lacked the respect of many of his high-level staff members. 
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listened in on a call between Trump and South Korea's president before Trump's 2018 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. After the call, Pompeo said he was "having a cardiac arrest" while Bolton said the conversation was like a "near-death experience."
  • At the summit itself, Bolton said Pompeo passed him a note calling Trump "full of s---." 
  • Trump, who has frequently referred to Kim as "little rocket man," was fixated on having Pompeo give an autographed copy of Elton John's "Rocket Man" to Kim on a diplomatic trip to North Korea. 
  • Trump said it would be "cool" for the United States to invade Venezuela, describing the South American nation as "really part of the United States."
  • In a 2019 meeting in New Jersey, Bolton said that Trump suggested that journalists should be more jailed more easily and forced to give up their sources, calling reporters "scumbags" and saying they should be "executed." 
  • Trump's decision to release a statement defending Saudia Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in November 2018 after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi was meant to distract from an unflattering story about his daughter Ivanka, a White House advisor, using a private email account. 
  • Shortly after Bolton joined the White House, former Chief of Staff John Kelly told him, "You can't imagine how desperate I am to get out of here." He added: "This is a bad place to work, as you will find out."

Bolton's book is set to be released on June 23, and he has already taped an interview with ABC News to promote it. On Tuesday, the Trump administration sued the former national security adviser to prevent him from releasing the book.

The lawsuit against Bolton accuses him of breaking his contract by backing out of the National Security Council's ongoing vetting process to determine whether Bolton's book contains classified information that needs to be redacted or edited down.

The NSC "quickly identified significant quantities of classified information that it asked Defendant to remove," the complaint said. "An iterative process between NSC Staff and Defendant then began, as required by the binding agreements he signed, with changes to the book and other information being securely passed between Defendant and NSC staff. Soon, though, Defendant apparently became dissatisfied at the pace of NSC's review."

The suit alleges that instead of waiting for the process to conclude, Bolton "decided to take matters into his own hands."

On June 7, "without Defendant giving any prior notice to the NSC, press reports revealed that Defendant and his publisher had resolved to release the book on June 23, without completing the pre-publication review process," the lawsuit said.

Legal experts say that despite the president's threats, the administration's legal efforts against Bolton will likely be unsuccessful.

"This attempt by the Trump administration to block the publication of John Bolton's memoir is doomed to fail," the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement after the lawsuit was filed.

The Supreme Court rejected the Nixon administration's attempt to block the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, "and since then it has been firmly established that prior restraints on publication are unconstitutional and un-American," the statement continued.

In this case, the ACLU said, the Trump administration's threats "have nothing to do with safeguarding national security, and everything to do with avoiding scandal and embarrassment."

Bolton was widely viewed as a potential star witness in Trump's impeachment hearings and subsequent Senate trial last year and early this year, thanks to his perch atop the White House's national security apparatus and his place within Trump's inner circle.

His lawyer, Chuck Cooper, indicated in a letter to Congress that the former national security adviser knew more than what had already been revealed during Trump's impeachment.

Bolton "was personally involved in many of the events, meetings, and conversations about which you have already received testimony, as well as many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed in the testimonies thus far," Cooper wrote.

Join the conversation about this story »

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17 Jun 23:03

5 Amazing Sales Follow-up Emails that Boost Customer Loyalty

by Syed Balkhi

Do you want to learn how to turn your customers into lifelong supporters? Do you want to learn how to build solid customer relationships with them outside of the sales cycle, so they keep coming back to you whenever they want to buy?

Enter the sales follow-up email.

A well-crafted and timely post-sale email keeps the communication channels open. It converts a single-sale relationship into one that lasts for a long time. Here are five post-sales emails you can send to strengthen your relationship with your customers and maximize conversions going forward.

Why Send Sales Follow-Up Emails?

Post-sale emails strengthen the connection between you and your customers. They’re a way to talk about more than the transaction you just had and find out more about each other.

You might think email marketing is dead, but it’s not. Just look at the stats:

Not only that, but ProfitWell, a subscription business analytics company, the cost of acquiring new customers has gone up over 50% in the last five years. Retaining the ones you have makes even more sense in the long run.

Here are five follow-up emails you can use to retain your customers between sales and explode your business.

Essential Sales Follow-Up Emails

Some say there are only three post-sales emails you should send, but we’ll cover five that’ll help grow your business and develop your customer relationships.

1. The ‘Thank You’ Email

Everyone knows about this one. You send it to acknowledge customers and let them know you appreciate their business. It’s also an excellent time to explain how they can get in touch with you if they have any questions or require further assistance.

To turn up the power of this email, add some related product recommendations or ask for a review once they’ve used it. That’ll encourage them to stay in touch with you and earn you more business or social proof, which you can use to get more sales.

2. The Product Review Email

Product review emails are a great way to assess your brand’s performance since you can ask customers to send you feedback. And you can use the opportunity to gather even more feedback than just about the specific product. Your customer is already engaged after getting the product and reading the email. Ask them their opinion on your shopping experience, the breadth of products offered, your website layout, and anything else you want to know about. Use this email to gain deeper insight into what you’re doing well and what you need to improve.

3. The Welcome Email

Typically only sent for a subscription-based service, the ‘welcome’ email on-boards customers into your community. They often provide extra information like links to support channels and thank them for their purchase. They work well for subscription services because they are typically one-off transactions, so you lose out on future opportunities to engage with customers via email.

There are fewer repeat transactions for subscriptions, so not as many chances to send out a follow-up email. The welcome email helps you build a solid foundation for a relationship with your customers, which is critical if you want them to continue renewing.

4. The Shipping Notification Email

This is the classic email most people expect when they order something online. Make sure your shipping notification email (or purchase confirmation email if you sell digital products) arrives promptly and sets the expectations for the next steps. For example, you can include tracking numbers or download steps for digital products.

But don’t forget to include the basic purchase information in the email so customers can review it to make sure everything is correct. Make your support channels very prominent in this email, so people know who to reach out to for a correction or question.

5. The Information Email

Customers expect more from the brands they buy from. They want to be engaged in non-transactional ways too. Think of all the times companies have reached out to you when your software subscription is about to expire, and how that made you feel (probably pretty cheap.) That won’t fly today.

An information email is one of the best sales follow-up emails you can send customers. They build on the relationship you have with them while providing them valuable information. So, send out regular emails that offer helpful information to customers about your industry, topics related to your brand or products, a lead magnet you just created for industry insiders, etc.

Bonus Tip

Make the information email exclusive to customers, and not just a repackaging of existing content people can find elsewhere. This creates a notion of exclusivity for them that deepens the relationship even more. Do this well, and you’ll be their first choice for purchases going forward.

Use these five post-sale emails to improve your customer experience and create a non-transactional relationship with your customers. Customers will remember your email marketing whenever they see or hear your brand name, and they’ll always look forward to your emails, no matter what they’re about.

17 Jun 23:00

What is the Most Effective B2B Sales Prospecting Method?

by Anthony Iannarino

The question as to which prospecting method is the most effective can be answered in two ways. The first answer is that cold calling is the fastest and most direct method to acquire a meeting in B2B sales, even though many salespeople wrongly believe that email alone is a better choice. The second, and more important answer, is that the most effective approach now takes a longer view of the problem of gaining appointments with your targeted clients.

Inbound or Outbound?

The argument over the most effective way to prospect has been framed as a contest between Inbound and Outbound, also called cold outreach, as your dream client isn’t expecting your communication. Inbound sources, like your website, are permission-based marketing approaches where the client agrees to accept your communication–even though they do not agree to a meeting.

For a short time, the inbound side of the argument believed that there would be no more cold outreach in the future, that sales organizations would generate all the leads they needed by passively waiting for their dream clients to stumble across them on the social platforms and fill out a form for a piece of content. This argument died of the natural causes of not being true.

The inbound argument morphed into the idea that prospecting effectiveness is a contest between the cold call and email, or cold calls and the social channels, like LinkedIn. As marketing automation was applied to prospecting, there was a proliferation of automated prospecting sequences and a brute force approach on LinkedIn, one that amounts to a spray and pray approach with little or no targeting–a cardinal sin in prospecting.

Allbound

There is nothing wrong with inbound. If you can gain attention and enter into a conversation with your prospect by sharing some insight, you start the conversation in a different, and sometimes better, place. There is also nothing wrong with cold outreach, whether you choose to use the telephone or email or both. The social platforms are also valuable, as are networking events, trade shows, warm referrals, and every other communication and medium and strategy.

The approach that is likely to serve you best is allbound, using all of the tools available, and making smart decisions about where and when you ask for a meeting and even smarter decisions about how you communicate the value of that meeting.

Trading Value

Just yesterday, a young buck who is being taught and trained to sell software with a self-oriented approach asked me if he could pick my brain. Recognizing that he wanted to pitch me, I rejected his request. First, he started with a lie (not the very best start of a potential relationship). Second, he offered me no value for the time he wanted me to give him.

The very best approach to prospecting to gain a meeting is to start with the idea that you need to be able to create value for your client in that meeting–whether or not they buy from you. It’s also one that uses all of the prospecting methods available to communicate that you are someone worth meeting with because doing so will help your dream clients improve their results.

Using all of the tools and methods is better than relying on a single tool or a single medium, all of which have strengths and weaknesses. This leads us to a prospecting sequence or cadence, but not a fully-automated one, nor one that results in little more than a spam campaign.

The Prospecting Sequence

When you think of prospecting and gaining meetings as something that is going to take time, you recognize the value of a plan and a process to communicate value over time, exercising a patient, professional, persistent pursuit plan. Stringing together a series of attempts to gain a meeting strategically using different mediums is an effective approach.

You can use cold calls, cold emails, voicemail, personalized videos, InMails on LinkedIn, networking events, trade shows, warm referrals, traditional mail, blog posts with a powerful insight, case studies that share your point of view, white papers that describe some subject your prospective client is likely to find useful, or simply walking into your dream client’s building and asking to speak to the person you are trying to meet.

Some approaches should dominate your prospecting, the first of which should always be a phone call, cold or otherwise. Of all of the tools available to you, other than walking in the door and asking to meet with the contact you are pursuing, the phone is the only one that provides for synchronous communication, one where you can ask for a meeting, and your client can say yes or no.

Using the phone as the first step in your sequence allows you to schedule a meeting without executing your prospecting sequence. When your calls don’t result in a meeting, following an approach built on sharing your insights and pursuing time is the most effective prospecting method.

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The post What is the Most Effective B2B Sales Prospecting Method? appeared first on The Sales Blog.

17 Jun 22:49

61 Ways To Differentiate Your Brand

by Derrick Daye

61 Ways To Differentiate Your Brand

Everybody wants a brand that’s different. The irony of that statement is intentional. It belies the conservative manner in which most brands approach competitive difference.

They say they want to be distinctive to consumers but often, in their heart of hearts, they actually want to align (read conform) with the rest of the industry. One of the key issues for that is an uncertainty on the part of brand makers and decision makers to find a starting point.

In some ways that’s actually less difficult and daunting than it first appears. Begin with a premise that is truly one degree away from your rivals. By logically progressing that premise over time, and with strong discipline, you will build a brand that is consistently and markedly different.

Here’s 61 ways you can create a meaningful difference for your brand:

1. Go Slow In A World Of Speed. Each Rolex takes a year to manufacture. The perception that a longer process is needed to build the world’s best timepiece reinforces the perceived value.

2. Use Country Of Origin To Your Advantage. Brands from Switzerland are highly associated with precision and fine craftsmanship. Seek to build brand associations with countries that support your reputation for service, manufacturing, innovation etc.

3. Behave Differently. Online shoe retailer Zappos has built its advantage on an iron clad return policy and customer service that goes above and beyond, breaking down the perceived barriers of selling and buying shoes online.

4. Look Different. Apple always looks like Apple. Diesel always looks like Diesel. Absolut Vodka always looks like Absolut. They’re in a category but they are distinctive in that category.

5. Be The Underdog In A Category Where Everyone Else Wants To Be Top Dog. Everyone loves an underdog. J.K. Rowling created an appealing underdog character in Harry Potter. And then there is Rocky, one of the greatest underdogs of all time. Brands can differentiate with an underdog strategy. What underdog brands share is a biography with two important narrative components: a disadvantaged position (one that typically highlights a company’s humble beginnings and portrays it as being “outgunned” by bigger, better resourced competitors) and a passion and determination to triumph against the odds. Nantucket Nectars started “with only a blender and a dream,” and Clif Bar proclaims that its founder once lived in a garage. Underdogs win the compassionate consumer. Look for the underdog story you can tell.

6. Be Truly And Unapologetically Shocking. Benetton’s “Unhate” campaign ruffled feathers on almost every front. But – and this is critical – the outrage you generate must link to a solution and that solution should be your front. Otherwise, you simply risk shouting into the wind.

7. Expand Your Appeal. “Discover” an untapped audience in your category and, by drawing them in, intensify the sense of community around your brand and the interaction that people have with the brand. Enterprise Rent-A-Car did just that by offering leasing at a time when competitors did not. By serving this unmet need with attention to customer experience, Enterprise became the world’s number 1 car rental company. Apple too saw what others did not. No one was asking for an iPhone, but an untapped audience emerged when new value in the form of a cell phone was introduced.

8. (Re)Invent A Category – And Own It. UFC became the fastest growing sports organization in the world by redefining the reach and the audience for mixed martial arts. Today, UFC produces more than 30 live events annually and is the largest pay-per-view event provider in the world. Swatch differentiated from other watch brands by focusing on self-expression when the rest of the watch industry was focused on precision.

9. Create A New Category. Airbnb, The Toyota Prius, the Nintendo Wii, and Red Bull are all brands that created new categories, outside the established norms of their product category. By stepping outside the bounds of their categories, these brands created a space that they can call their own.

10. Tell A Story That Defines You And Is Unique To You. The story may be about your founder as in the case with Virgin and Richard Branson, your heritage like Hickory Farms or the value you bring to the world like Coca-Cola’s Open Happiness. It may also be based in imagination – like the thought that Keebler elves make Keebler cookies. Or perhaps it’s a story based on your highly guarded secret – only two people in the world know Coca-Cola’s formula. Your story may also be about the source of your product, service or inspiration.

11. Forge New Ground In The Spirit Of Your Founder. Chanel continues to personify the philosophies, ideals and legend of Coco Chanel long after her death. Refounder strategies bring consumers and employees back to the successful origins of the brand, proving founder and brand are forever linked.

12. Leverage Your History To Define Tomorrow. National Geographic have redefined what it means to experience the world we never see by expanding their channels and offerings while still holding their history close. Pepperidge Farms leveraged their company history with a long lasting and widely popular ‘remembers’ campaign that differentiated them as champions of yesterday’s baking traditions.

13. Own An Eternal Idea. Red Bull expresses in every action its belief in, and addiction to, excitement. Ingredients, spirit, sponsorships and the human desire to do things that make the heart race are inextricably linked. Dove owns and serves the idea of real beauty. While lululemon finds its eternal idea in the mind state of yoga and has built a powerful athleisure brand on that concept.

14. Change The Possibilities. This is about more than just product innovation. It’s about the introduction of technologies that completely change how people can live. Boeing redefined travel forever with the 747. LinkedIn brought business people together so that they could network and share ideas. Dyson changed the possibilities by reinventing old technologies like the vacuum, hand dryer and fan.

15. Make Active Plans To Be Where Others Aren’t (Yet). This article looks at the fact that while Chinese consumers are now overwhelmed by Western brands and doing business in Greater China has become very expensive, other countries in Asia with booming economies like Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines remain largely overlooked.

16. Solve A Global Problem. “Big bang” solutions in areas like pharmaceuticals or biotechnology require huge investment and scary timeframes, but when they work, they deliver huge distinction, kudos and profits. A “Big Bang” solution can come from any brand — TOM’s seeks to solve the problem of children without shoes. TOM’s matches every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes for a child in need. One for One.

17. Build Groundswell. Do something startling to generate attention. Use attention to build a crowd. Use a crowd to gain credibility. Use credibility as the jumping off point for your next distinctive act. Red Bull, Virgin and Apple should come to mind.

18. Redefine How People Buy. With millions of products, 24/7 access, superior search and browse technology, user reviews and many other sources of in-depth product information, Amazon offers a superior purchase experience.

19. Bring Unprecedented Optimism To A Category. Nike redefined what people believed they should be capable of.

20. Connect The Previously Unconnected. LinkedIn brought business people together so that they could network and share ideas in a way that was effortless, credible and global. In doing that, they resolved a problem that no-one realized they had until they saw the potential for what they would now be able to do.

21. Rewrite The Experience. Southwest Airlines put the fun, the quirkiness and the savings back into the serious and process-packed world of travel. Starbucks differentiated not on coffee, but a ‘third place’ – a respite between home and work.

22. Make What You Sell Feel Even More Personal. This infographic hints at how much further retailers could take personalization.

23. Link Your Brand To Specific Occasions. Habits are powerful, but occasions may be even more so. They engage us so effectively because they combine time and focus. And because of that, they provide permission – it’s OK to behave this way or that. It’s OK to do something you wouldn’t do on any ordinary day. De Beers, Hallmark, Mercedes, Hershey, Cadbury, MACY’s and others have tapped into occasions or created occasions and have made themselves synonymous with the celebration of those occasions.

24. License To Brand. Brand licensing can bring valuable new meaning to a brand, further differentiating it from its competitors. Pillsbury licenses the Cinnabon brand to do just that for its cinnamon rolls. Colgate licenses Disney characters to increase its brand appeal.

25. Break Away From Conventional Wisdom. Breakaway brands bring new meanings to the party and make the most of the stretch, holding on to enough of the old to avoid category defection. Breakaway brands stretch the boundaries and live as outliers. These brands are the opposite of the well-behaved brands in the category and consequently provide radical differentiation from the status quo. Cirque du Soleil is one such brand. It falls into the “circus” category, but this brand has skillfully crafted a highly valued and differentiated positioning as everything a circus is not. There are no tents, tigers and elephants. No ringmasters. Instead it borrows attributes from other entertainment categories like, dance, music, opera and theater. It becomes something all together different–far outside the bounds of a conventional circus.

26. Change The Name. Sometimes your original brand name works against its appeal. Take the Chinese gooseberry. When the name was changed to kiwi fruit, the world suddenly had a new favorite fruit. New names are opportunities to create new brand associations.

27. Personify. The Green Giant character became the difference in a family of vegetables in many forms. Frank Perdue became the tough man behind the tender chicken. The Gecko became the much-loved spokesperson for GEICO.

28. Create A New Item. The cantaloupe people wanted to differentiate a special, big cantaloupe. But rather than call them just plain “big,” they introduced Crenshaw melons. Tyson wanted to sell miniature chickens, which doesn’t sound very appetizing. So it introduced Cornish game hens.

29. Reposition The Category. Pork was just pig for many years. Then the industry jumped on the chicken bandwagon and became “the other white meat.” That was a very good move when red meat became a perceptual problem.

30. Identify, Identify, Identify. Ordinary bananas became differentiated and higher valued bananas when a small Chiquita label was added to the fruit. Dole did the same for pineapple with the Dole label, as did the lettuce people by putting each head into a clear Foxy lettuce package. Of course, you then have to communicate why people should look for these labels.

31. Be The Expert Or Specialist. The specialist can focus on one product, one benefit, and one message. This focus enables the marketer to put a sharp point on the message that quickly drives it into the mind. Domino’s can focus on home delivery. Pizza Hut has to talk about its different pizzas, home delivery, and sit-down service. The power of brands lies in focus, focus is the power of the expert and specialist.

32. Price With Pride. Starbucks prices its coffee higher to raise perceptions of the quality of its coffee. Singapore Airlines, the most profitable airline in the world, does the same thing and always sells at a premium. In each case, the price is a signal of supremacy – differentiation via perceived quality.

33. Use Ingredient Brands. An ingredient brand is a well-known brand with well-known qualities that is included as a component or feature of another brand or product to enhance perceptions and the marketability of that brand or product. The ingredient brand calls out unique features or performance and is often used to increase the acceptance of a product or brand that is using a new technology identified by the ingredient brand. The North Face uses Gore-Tex technology to differentiate. In the PC space the Intel brand adds to the product’s perceived performance. Each brings noticeable differences in their own right. Other examples include Bluetooth, Cinnabon, Dolby, Hemi, Splenda and Stainmaster.

34. Highly Target A Market. Who you focus on can create a unique point of difference. Consider FOX News, an American news outlet designed to serve the Republican Party and its supporters. This laser focus has made it synonymous with conservative views and policies, creating by far the strongest commercial brand associated with those views. Wegmans Supermarkets believes that happy customers are generated by happy employees. They have built their powerful brand on the mantra that their employee’s are number one.

35. Change The Reach. How your product or service reaches a customer can set you apart. Redbox specializes in the rental of DVD’s and video games. Through an easy to use kiosk it differentiates from its competitor Netflix and helped seal the fate of Blockbuster. Amazon has a futuristic plan to deliver some orders via drone.

36. Give Unprecedented Access. The reason people flew Concorde was the opportunities that could come from who you would sit next to. You weren’t paying for a faster flight, you were paying for the company. Country clubs in Asia are the same. It’s not about the game of golf; it’s about the networking. For Citibank’s Citi Private Pass card holders the unique value is in the preferred access at entertainment events.

37. Share Values. When a brand is built on shared values it can differentiate on those values and enjoy perhaps the strongest bond in the marketing world. Think of any brand that really matters and you’ll discover the type of people buying the stuff are the same type of people who design, make and sell the stuff. This is the power of brand values and brand identity alignment. Apparel brands like Patagonia, L.L. Bean, and The North Face understand the importance of shared values. The bond that binds is a deep inter-personal connection between the users and the makers.

38. Stand For Something Your Customers Want To Stand For. In the same manner as the enthusiast apparel brands mentioned in #37, Kashi cereal customers see themselves, their values, and their identities in complete harmony with the Kashi brand. They’re one and the same. Likewise, the Kashi people care about the same stuff as their consumer– greater health and well-being for themselves and the planet. For Kashi, making food that enhances life is sacred business. For Kashi customers, living well is sacred business. More people are waking up to caring more about others and our planet, and buying Kashi products too. Your brand can differentiate as being the do-good brand in your space.

39. Give Them Something To Unwrap. Package design offers one of the biggest opportunities for brand differentiation. Color, shape, size, functionality, texture and materials can influence purchase decisions. There’s no mistaking a Tiffany & Co. box and its distinctive blue. Innovative packaging proves another signature differentiator for Apple as well as Tropicana which learned the value of this difference when it attempted to redesign its packaging.

40. Engage The Senses. Every marketer should explore the senses when ideating brand differentiation strategies. Each of the five senses offer a channel to connect with your target customer and flex a point of difference. The more each of these are engaged at any one time during customer contact the more your brand and what it stands for will be remembered. Scent branding in the hotel world is one example. Sofitel, Le Meridién, The Ritz-Carlton, Westin, Sheraton and Marriott are some of the hotel brands employing a signature scent strategy to further move away from their competitors.

41. Put A Famous Face To Your Brand. The age-old strategy of pairing products and services with a well known celebrity continues to be a viable option for brand differentiation. However, the rules have changed. There must be an authentic alignment between the brand and the celebrity. Case in point: Tiger Woods and Nike Golf: Yes. Tiger Woods and Buick: No. The association between brand and celebrity must be clear and obvious.

42. Redefine Usage. How your product is used can serve as a key differentiator. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda became much more when customers discovered it also made for a powerful air freshener. This helped Arm & Hammer not only extend into new categories but also create a multi-use brand that is more meaningful to its target customers.

43. Introduce Simplicity And Purity Into People’s Cluttered Lives. Stand for good things. Market highly valued values. With deep customer insight you will know what your target customers value most. That insight can help create highly valued brands. Honest Tea was born from the insight that simple and pure refreshment was missing from the market. The Method brand came to life through a quest to create household cleaning products that were not harmful. The Honest company challenged unhealthy compromises made in the manufacture of products.

44. Tap Into The Power Of Emotions. Linking your brand with customer emotions can prove an effective differentiator. It was humor that helped GEICO pull away in the me-too world of insurance brands. While their competition focused on fear, GEICO used witty and funny campaigns to differentiate itself and gain an advantage. Brands like Hallmark found brand differentiation based on human emotions could lead to a 92% mind share.

45. Control The Accessibility. Brands can differentiate on when they make their products and services available and who they make that accessibility for. Elite luxury brands will limit how many of its signature products are manufactured. The most influential customers will have access to those products first. This all builds into the frenzy that drives desire and purchase of the brand. It also helps command a premium price. Brands like Coca-Cola use accessibility on the other end of the spectrum. They desire to be the most accessible brand and have distribution channels into the deepest regions of the world.

46. Focus On Design And Aesthetics. Consider Hermès scarves, Vilebrequin men’s swimwear, Robert Graham shirts and Alexander McQueen fashion wear. Or how about the Michael Graves Design’s collection at Target? This helps college and university brands too. Beautiful campuses tend to attract students. For municipality brands, “attractive neighborhoods” rates as one of the top things people consider when deciding where to live. Camden, ME, Niagara-on-the-Lake (ON, Canada), Quebec City (QC, Canada) and Bruges, Belgium are very popular as tourist destinations, in large part due to their superior aesthetics. Never underestimate the power of superior aesthetics to differentiate.

47. Convey A Higher Status. If you knew I went to Philips Academy, Andover, Harvard and Stanford, lived in Atherton, CA, summered in Nantucket, drove a Mercedes-Benz model S-class, and sailed a Nautor’s Swan53, would these brands effectively communicate my social status?

48. Create A Unique Product Purchase Experience. How different is purchasing a teddy bear with a child in a Build-A-Bear Workshop versus buying one off the shelf in a typical toy or department store? Very different. And very differentiating.

49. Create An Unusual Theme Or Context. Consider the following unusual restaurant brands – Opaque (dining in the dark), Ice Restaurant (in Dubai), Underwater restaurant in Maldives, Magic Restroom (toilet-themed) Café in CA or Dinner in the Sky (suspended 50 meters above the ground). For more creative restaurant themes, see here.

50. Treat People Differently Than Your Competitors Do. We love Ritz-Carlton’s “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” mantra. This alludes to a level of gentility, civility and respect not often experienced in product purchase or usage experiences. If an opportunity to serve your customer better does not exist — create one.

51. Create A Brand Ritual. Associating a brand with a set behavior can have a powerful effect on loyalty and enjoyment. Consider some classic examples of rituals that we all recognize: Separating your Oreo and dunking it in milk; Breaking a KitKat into halves and eating it on a break; Popping the cap of the Pringles tube; and The Stella Artois’ 9-step pouring ritual. Rituals provide a way of interacting with the brand that is fun, known and widely practiced. That in turn gives them greater value.

52. Use Nostalgia. Nostalgia can be a powerful ally in building brands. As Dr. Bob Deutsch observed here on Branding Strategy Insider, “As we age our nostalgic yearnings grow, making us more receptive to advertisers and marketers use of what researchers call ‘a longing for positive memories from the past.’ In addition to time’s arrow, this desire for nostalgia is further intensified by society’s present circumstance of receding predictability and opportunity.”

53. Harness Consumer Creativity. Invite your customers to create the way forward. First Lego League is a robotics competition that isn’t run by the brand. Up to 70,000 kids around the world compete against each other to build Lego robots that solve problems. Lego Ideas is essentially a branded version of Kickstarter, in which aspiring Lego designers must get 10,000 supporters for their project to be considered. And support isn’t a simple “like” it’s a survey!

54. Differentiate With Attitude. Don’t build a product, then try to market it. Instead, build a customer attitude, then build a product to match that attitude.

55. Customize. NIKEiD enables customers to customize their sneakers extensively. Shoppers can add logos on the midsole and the lateral tip of the shoe, customize the “swoosh” from twelve different colors along with the base, heel, and even laces of the sneakers.

56. Be The Intermediary. Be the bridge to consumer wants and needs. Shopstyle, Expedia and Facebook have built their businesses as access points to value and have emerged as gatekeepers to that value.

57. Be The Minimalist. Dollar Shave Club is the brand for ‘shave tech you don’t need.’ Giving consumers a breakthrough alternative that delivers only what matters most at a fraction of the price.

58. Be The Instigator. Pick fights with everything in your category that is standing in the way of customer satisfaction. Loudly challenge yourselves and your rivals to defeat category enemies that force customer compromises.

59. Be The Leader In Surprise And Delight. Unpredictable and surprising events are more likely to be remembered than expected moments. And each time you remind your customers of your brand, product or service, new memories are created. With your brand, always consider how you can remind your customers of the benefits you provide and reinforce your positive attributes. The ending of a brand experience dominates a person’s memory of events, be sure to surprise and delight.

60. Be The Most Transparent. Educating the consumer on your strength and transparency is critical today and admitting weakness can also be a strength. It works because admitting weakness is a tangible demonstration of honesty and, therefore, makes other claims more believable.

61. Be Hostile. Hostile brands are “brands that play hard to get.” The antithesis of “feel good brands,” hostile brands defiantly demand a decision – love me or leave me. It sounds risky, yet the number of successful brands that practice at least elements of hostile marketing is astonishing. Consider Harley Davidson and its not for everyone noisome bikes and in-your-face attitudes. Red Bull is unapologetic about its bad boy ingredients and underground marketing emphasizing extreme sports. Domino’s Pizza announced via an ad campaign it will say “No!” to customers who want to add or remove toppings from items in it artisan pizza line. Hostile brands erect barriers to consumption, barriers that could in many ways be considered tests of a customer’s affiliation.

To be different is to be not the same. To be unique is to be one of a kind.

Be different and be unique with a meaningful difference for those most important to your future.

By Derrick Daye with Mark Di Somma

The Blake Project Can Help You Differentiate Your Brand: The Brand Positioning Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

17 Jun 22:46

4 Things Your Competitors are Doing to Emerge from the Downturn Stronger Than Before

by Amy Volas

COVID-19 is reshaping the market like we’ve never seen before. As the pandemic wears on, leaders must determine which way the wind is blowing and set a course for solid ground. Everyone needs to find their own way.

Your customers, more than anything else, are your compass as you navigate these choppy waters.

The best companies are tweaking sales systems, adjusting their go-to-market strategy and rediscovering customers’ needs as they evolve.

Even if your business is thriving, you can’t do nothing—that’s like saying nothing’s changed. And your customers’ buyers might not be so lucky with a potential painful boomerang back to your business. Oh, the layers of complexity and talk about important defining moments…

Related: The Recession Planning Framework for SaaS Startups

When things get tough, how we respond keeps the door open or closed. Thriving during a downturn requires a willingness to listen and experiment—and to hold no assumption as darling.

Here are four actions the fiercest of companies—and perhaps some of your competitors—are doing right now to emerge from the shutdown stronger than ever:

  • Putting the customer first
  • Experimenting with product/market fit
  • Pivoting sales to meet buyers
  • Doubling down on the candidate hiring experience

1. Putting the customer first

Priorities are shifting and will continue to shift. It’s what you do with the “shifts” that matters the most.

Regardless of how busy you are or slumping sales, now is the time to have a laser focus on your customers.

During times of growth, companies can still succeed despite overlooking the needs of their customers. These days, though, people are experiencing entirely new pain points. They’re isolated, insecure and trying to make heads or tails out of their businesses.

Addressing their needs with compassion, understanding and sensitivity while you seek to help is vital to retaining people.

In other words: Go slow to go fast.

Companies that offer reassurances through mapping back to the above are being welcomed and rewarded for their efforts. By contrast, companies using the same old messaging come off as tone-deaf.

Even before the pandemic, 59% of consumers felt that companies had lost touch with the human side of customer experience.

Ask yourself: Do your communications demonstrate empathy and care for your customers? If not, why?

When the defining market trait is uncertainty, a comforting and low-pressure sales experience is key to winning customers, as seen below.


Every communication should help people feel heard and valued—even if they’re spending less.

Also consider how to differentiate yourself, as there are so many choices today. Otherwise, you’ll just be “another ____.”

Here are some ways to stand out:

  • Value: Your product’s benefits outweigh its cost to help your buyer
  • Importance: Your product is critical to success
  • Uniqueness: Your product is completely unique or offered uniquely
  • Superiority: Your product is faster, more effective, etc.
  • Exclusivity: Your product cannot easily be copied
  • Profitability: Your product creates more cash flow than it costs
  • Improvement: The product substantially improves your buyer’s processes or performance:
    • Get better / be better
    • Solve a problem
    • Achieve a goal

Seek to understand and use that important insight to think about creative ways to tackle negotiations with customers you can’t afford to lose. If you’re going to provide flexible pricing or waive fees, make sure communication is open and clear expectations have been set (early and often).

What you do now in sales, marketing, product, etc.—and how you do it—will shape the road for what happens next. Choose wisely.

Mark Cuban said it best: “How you treat your employees today will have more impact on your brand in future years than any amount of advertising, any amount of anything you literally could do.”

2. Experiment with product/market fit

As the marketplace shifts, new constraints are giving rise to new opportunities.

The best companies are refining their product to meet customers where they are today. You shouldn’t be pretending nothing’s changed, assuming your buyer’s business is the same, or try to force customers to stay the same.

You can’t survive a downturn by shutting your eyes and grasping onto your product/market fit for dear life… be at the wheel and keep your eyes on the road,” said Rob Moore, CEO of Crossbeam.

It’s time to stress-test even the most basic assumptions. Begin by writing down all your assumptions, think about why you have them, what your buyer is responding to, then test, record and repeat.

Executing a large batch of small and measured experiments over time gives you the best chance to gain insight into the evolving needs of your customer.

For example, you could:

  • Tweak your value proposition to emphasize security and immediate gains instead of your brand’s reliability
  • Shift from a partner-driven sales model only to embrace a demand generation strategy
  • Adjust your pricing model to accept deferred payments for highly-impacted industries
  • Reevaluate your T&Cs. Are there creative ways you can create winning outcomes that reduce the risk for both parties to get through this. For example, a client of mine who deals in the enterprise had a 30-day out-clause for six-figure+ deals that take months to onboard. Who do you think was cut first as a variable cost?

Tools like BurnRate.io allow you to forecast and tweak financial models for best, worst and expected-case scenarios in an accurate and responsive way.

Out of anything I could ever say, please know that your marketplace will always speak the loudest.

Related: Founders, Extend Your Cash Runway by Taking These Steps Right Now

“The bottom-line is you have to build a lens to allow users to see a new world rather than features to help them see an old world better.” –Bret Taylor, CEO of Quip (acquired by Salesforce).

Stay true to your company vision and what makes you a stand out given what your buyer demands. As you adjust, be prepared to pivot based on your findings for your business versus what everyone else is telling you to do or getting caught up in trying to replicate what everyone else is doing.

3. Pivot with real customer input

In good times or bad, your go-to-market strategy must change with the demands of your market.

This means it’s time to think about your Customer Value Proposition (CVP) and Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). A great way to do this is to galvanize the people that matter in one place.

One of the best things I did during a hard time was convene executive leaders from top accounts and prospects (who weren’t competitive with each other) for an intimate roundtable discussion.

As one of my key customers moderated the discussion, we dug into the top themes and trends collected from their feedback ahead of time. This was a special opportunity to facilitate a conversation that packed a punch for them while helping me remain top of mind without the icky sales tactics.

If you’re going to do this, the topic needs to map back to what’s important to them to command attention. Especially when there are so many virtual meetings available.

Outside of special moments like this, the discovery process to pivot hinges upon speaking with every single customer.

A great way to hone in on your optimal CVP and ICP is via a “film review.”

By listening first-hand to customers, you can more easily test, iterate and tweak your messaging to meet the market where it is versus where you think it should be or want it to be..

A “film review” consists of one person who conducts a call, a second who reports on positive feedback and a third who tracks what needs improvement.

Image source

This team-led approach is a quick and reliable way to redefine your buyer journey and approach. It helps to keep the team cohesive at the same time which is key during times like this.

To be thorough, try different messaging channels to see what resonates.

Tools like Chorus.ai and Gong.io can help you record and review these “film reviews.”

When it comes to really honing what your customers want so you can take meaningful action, now is not the time to assume.

Crowdsourcing can be your best friend when approached properly. ThoughtExchange takes this to the next level through distilling data your target audience is sharing to equip you with actionable insight to break away from the risk of making the wrong assumptions.

As you gather the data, segment your audience into three groups:

  • Segment A is aligned with your existing ICP
  • Segment B is contextually aligned
  • Segment C is no longer aligned

This is a powerful framework to pinpoint where you should be spending your time.

Listening while seeking to understand is a key step in crafting a go-to-market strategy that’s effective.

Remember, the customer holds the keys. Always.

4. Double down on the candidate experience

Smile, you’re on display.

Candidate experience was and always will be important, but the way you treat people now (or don’t), will determine your ability to hire remarkable people in the future.

According to LinkedIn, nearly 46% of hiring professionals said the outbreak has negatively affected the candidate experience at their company.

As companies scramble, hiring is becoming more vital—and challenging—than before.

With so many great people flooding the market, your chances of hiring the right sales leader or salesperson decrease.

Why?

Knowing how to hire right was already a problem before the pandemic.

A sales leader’s tenure for tech companies is 19 months.

Sales turnover is nearly 3X more than any other function.

So, having more candidates to choose from just makes it harder if you’re flying blind with a system that doesn’t work.

The marketplace is flooded with people. You want the best of the best and you struggled to pinpoint the best before. How do you think that will change now?

It certainly shouldn’t be at the expense of a person’s interview experience with you.

The best salespeople want to see that you’ve got your act together. They want to see how you’re leading through this difficult time. They want you to have a strong offering that’s resilient to the market, solves problems and gets sold in a way that won’t alienate people.

Related: Hiring a Remote Employee? Use This Onboarding Checklist

Walk your talk. Show candidates:

  • What the path ahead looks like
  • How they can find success within your organization
  • How your offering has changed and what that means in the short and long-term
  • How buyers are making purchasing decisions now and after the market recovers

Speak in detail about how you’ve adjusted expectations for the downturn and what your team’s performance looks like at the moment. If you’ve had to make tough decisions, that’s okay—talk about it. Candidates will find out one way or the other and it’s less painful to have a real conversation to confirm or deny if the opportunity makes sense to make a well-informed decision together.

Austin Belcak summed it up well during a recent LinkedIn discussion on the topic:

Here’s the big secret, though: The cream of the sales crop sticks with those who treat them well.

I’ve developed a hiring checklist over my 20+ years of enterprise sales, sales leadership, startups and recruiting that reduces the margin for error significantly:

  • Use a scorecard
  • Ensure you know who you need to hire before you begin—don’t approach the interview process as an experiment
  • Don’t ghost if the interview isn’t a fit
  • Share and receive feedback openly and transparently
  • Keep the door open if it doesn’t work out
  • Communicate what’s expected from candidates before, during and after the interview process

Only hire if you know your runway can support it beyond the short term. Frivolous hiring is expensive but can also earn you a bad reputation.

Embracing a long-game mindset to carefully contemplate the big picture is key.

Consider the consequences of a horrible candidate experience:

  • Dissatisfied customers typically tell 9-15 other people about their experience; some tell 20 or more.
  • The business world is a small sandbox, so play nice. You might want to hire these people in the future. They could be a source of referrals. They could be a potential customer, or be in a position to hire you one day.
  • We’re living out loud in this digital age. Customers are making purchasing decisions based on the way you run your business beyond just your product or service. How you treat people is telling.
  • Your employees will treat your customers the way they’re treated.

How you treat people impacts your ability to recruit both now and after the pandemic. Good begets good.

The power of resilience

As the saying goes: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Resilience starts at the top. Taking meaningful action is what earns you a seat at the table, strengthens partnerships, and brings your customers closer to you.

Stay flexible in how you address your customers’ needs. When the market corrects, you’ll get left behind if you haven’t made the proper adjustments along the way.

What was happening with your customers weeks ago versus now will influence what you do and how you do it.

It’s tough out there! Don’t forget to take care of yourself.

“Personal maintenance is the safety net that catches you as you’re weathering failure. It’s not just how you protect yourself when things go poorly, it’s how you focus your superpowers when things are going right.” –Bob Moore, Co-Founder & CEO, Crossbeam

The post 4 Things Your Competitors are Doing to Emerge from the Downturn Stronger Than Before appeared first on OpenView.

17 Jun 22:46

How to Get More Referrals

by Mark Hunter

Let’s talk about how you can use referrals as part of your prospecting process. Referrals are a great way to build your business. I am going to share 10 strategies to get more referrals. All 10 of these ideas are from my books, High-Profit Prospecting and A Mind for Sales. Before I get into the 10 things, let me share one thing with you: do not look at referrals as the only way or the only thing you need to grow your business. If you do, you will let go of a tremendous amount of potential opportunities. Referrals are just one leg of your prospecting process.

Video – Using Referrals As Part of Your Prospecting Process:   

Here are 10 ways to work referrals into your prospecting process: 

1. Ask for a referral any time you give value

Often, people are hesitant to ask for a referral, but anytime you give a customer value, you have the right to say, “Hey, who else might benefit from this? Who else might you know?” When the customers receive value, they think highly of you. They like you. They like what you are doing for them. Use it.

2. If you want to get referrals, you need to give referrals

This is not a quid pro quo type of arrangement, but it is amazing how your mindset becomes such very easily. When you are willing to give people referrals, you’ll see how you end up getting them in return. Don’t ever sit there and think for a moment that it’s not your obligation to give referrals, because if you do, I bet you won’t get the referrals that you’re thinking. Give to get.

 3. Keep everyone involved

It’s key that you keep the person who gave you the referral. This is probably one of the biggest, most important ones on this list.

Here’s why- when somebody gives you a referral and you go, “Great. That’s great,” you reach out to them. Whether or not something comes of it, you need to keep that person up to date. Thank them for giving you that person’s name. Express thanks for making that introduction and share how it went. Keep the person who gave you the referral informed.

Here’s why- If somebody gives you a referral and they never hear back from you, they’ll probably go, “Well then.” But if you contact them again and again and say, “Hey, here’s that nothing happened,” they will probably feel really bad and feel like they should give you another referral. On the flip side, if the referral went well, they’ll say, “That’s great. Let me give you another one”.

It is amazing how what you’re doing is priming the pump. Prime the pump, because the majority of your referrals (80% typically) will come from 20% of your customers.

4. Recognition

Yes. Recognition. I love using recognition to get more referrals. If you see a customer do something, that is achieve something, then pick up the phone and call them. Compliment them on their achievement. Guess what? After that, you can ask them who else they might know. It’s that easy! When you call them, they are going to be in a great mood, and they will want to thank you.

 5. Follow up calls

You may have somebody in your organization who needs to follow up after an installation has been done. Something’s been happening and they’re following up just to see how it’s going. Right then, don’t hesitate to ask, “Hey, by the way, who else might be a good person for us to talk to?”

 6. Anniversary

It’s always a great time to ask for a referral on the anniversary of whenever your customer began doing business with you. You can say something like, “Hey, I wanted to call you up. You know, it’s been five years since we began working together. I want to say thank you. And by the way, five years – that’s a long time. I bet you probably know some other…” This is a great seg-way into asking for a referral, because you’re complimenting them. You’re thanking them.

 7. End of the year

I love end of the year, because you’re in the groove of calling up customers. Really, you’re just saying, “Hey, thanks for a great year. It has been a great year.” Then you ask them, “Hey, what are your plans for next year?” You know what’s interesting? Especially in B2B, it is amazing how they wind up talking about their plans for next year. You’ll wind up having more meetings with them. And then you can say, “Hey, well, you know what? What else is going on out there? Who else are you hearing from?” Again, you’ll start hearing from people and creating connections.

 8. Measure success

What do we mean by measure success? If a customer is buying from you and they’re achieving a certain level of success, you want to reach out and compliment them. You want to tell them, “Hey, it’s great the success that you’re having. Terrific! Hey, by the way, who else might you know?” You see, I always tag who else might you know. In another video, I’ll walk through how you actually word that, so stay tuned! Take a second to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss it.

 9. Old customers and prospects

Don’t forget about those customers or prospects who have never bought from you. In my list thus far, I’ve been talking about the whole process as if they’re customers. But you know what? You may have customers who chose not to buy from you. You may even have customers who left you. You can still contact them and ask them for a referral.

You’re contacting them to see how they’re doing. Yes, you’re trying to bring them back in. You want to get them to buy from you again. You want them as your customer again. However, if you can’t, you can just say, “Hey, you know what we offer, and I understand that it may not line up perfect for you, but who else might you know?” It’s amazing the magic that happens!

 10. Repeat, Repeat

This means you have to keep doing the process. Every week. Every day. Ask yourself who you asked for a referral. In some industries, like in the insurance industry, real estate, and so forth, it’s very normal. But most other industries, it’s not the norm. You really have to condition yourself.

So I end with number 10 being repeat, repeat. You have to continuously challenge yourself making sure that you ask for referrals every single day. Referrals are a great way to fill your pipeline. Don’t think they’re the only way, but don’t hesitate to ask. When you ask for one, make sure you ask from a thankful heart. Thank them and always refer back to number three by keeping everyone involved.

You’ll find these 10 ways to work referrals into your prospecting process in two of my books, A Mind For Sales and High-Profit Prospecting. Each book contains a lot regarding how to use referrals to grow your prospecting and ultimately grow your sales.

Ready to gain more referrals? Join me at The Sales Hunter University.

The Sales Hunter University is relevant sales training available in real-time or on-demand. That means you can learn on any screen at any time!

Click here to JOIN TSHU community – let’s start seeing your prospecting and sales grow!

Copyright 2020, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog.  Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.

16 Jun 16:09

21 Ways to Improve Individual and Team Sales Performance

by dtyre@hubspot.com (Dan Tyre)

What is sales performance? It’s the measurement of sales activity and corresponding results compared to the sales expectations and quota. Good sales performance is highly valued — but it can also be tough to achieve for many salespeople and organizations.

The key to good sales performance is consistency. Anyone can have a good sales month — but a high-performing salesperson and sales team can meet or exceed expectations for an extended period through different sets of economic circumstances and competitive situations.

10 Tips for Improving Your Personal Sales Performance

11 Tips for Improving a Team's Sales Performance

Tracking Sales Performance

How to Improve Your Sales Performance

1. Start with the right mindset.

The mindset you bring to a deal has a lot of bearing on its outcome. Success in sales is often a self-fulfilling prophecy — if you approach your job with an "I don't think I'll make it" mindset, you're dooming yourself to fail.

And while becoming a high-performing sales rep takes more than insisting that you're destined for greatness, you still need to work within the right frame of mind.

It can take several years to sincerely be a high achiever in the field, and getting there can seem like a pretty tall order — but there are some tactics you can employ to find the right headspace to help guide your journey.

For one, you can try creating an annual vision board — a space where you assemble pictures and phrases that relate to your ambitions and why you want to achieve your goals.

While it might seem a little hokey or gimmicky, it helps you remember why you got into the field when you hit hitches in your career — and it's a powerful exercise for visualizing success.

It can keep you going when you need a little extra oomph to power through the rougher patches of your professional development and improve your sales performance.

2. Improve your business acumen with an emphasis on your vertical market.

Business acumen — the level of understanding you have in regards to how a business runs — ;gives you immediate credibility when you are positioning your product or services.

Sales, as a practice, is rooted in developing trust on a dime. You have to show prospects that you're the real deal — with a product or service that's worth their time and capital — in an extremely limited timeframe.

Being able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of how businesses like theirs function is one of the better ways to get there — so taking the time to learn the ins and outs of how the typical company in your vertical operates is always a good call.

Approach every prospect with some picture of how their industry peers function — along with knowledge related to the challenges and tactics companies of similar size face and leverage.

HubSpot Sales Manager Mintis Hankerson says:

"You need to understand your customer's business before you even reach out to them or draft the first email. As a sales rep, the key to success is to understand how your prospect is approaching their buying process, what their intentions are, and how you can accommodate and fit into that."

You can take small steps to improve your business acumen each day. Try reading credible business publications or digging into relevant financial reports for a deeper understanding.

3. Get organized.

One of the biggest factors in improving sales performance is ensuring you are focused on the right task at the right time. If you're not taking the proper strides to allocate time to complete work — like putting time on your calendar — you might be letting some key responsibilities fall by the wayside. That kind of inefficiency can take a toll on your sales performance long-term.

If organization isn’t your strong suit, get help quickly. Ask an organized team member to walk you through their workflow to give you some ideas. If you're exhausting too much of your mental capacity trying to juggle too many priorities, it's hard to focus on your prospects — and that's more or less bound to stunt your overall performance.

4. Review all pertinent data for your role and position.

Most salespeople are assigned a sales quota and activity metrics that will help them reach it. Some organizations publish these numbers, so salespeople can compare their results with high performers.

Reading the data and incorporating it into your daily activity is key. HubSpot Sales Manager Tiki Biswal offers this advice:

"Understand what your ‘sales macros’ are. Most people are familiar with macros, or macronutrients, in the context of healthy eating. In that instance, you track how many carbs, proteins, and fats you eat to better understand what you’re consuming and help you reach your goals. This same thought process applies to sales.

Think of your metrics and KPIs as your macros. If you don’t understand what metrics or KPIs you need to overachieve, then you’ll have a hard time gauging your performance. The metrics you need to hit could be vastly different than the other reps on your team.

sales performance management

I once had a rep on my team that was ‘doing everything right’ but still missing her quota. We pulled some data and noticed that her discount percentage was 15% higher than everyone else on the team. After some coaching on negotiation and closing, she was able to steadily increase her Average Sales Price."

Always be mindful of the fact that your definition of personal success might be different from those of your peers — but it's hard to argue with hard numbers. That's why knowing where you stand, according to the relevant KPIs your sales org tracks, is central to improving your individual sales performance.

5. Set concrete goals above and beyond basic job expectations.

Sales tends to attract high-energy, ambitious professionals — many of whom strive to shatter their quotas and keep their feet moving after they do. And that kind of high-minded goal-setting can be a big help to improving sales performance.

It keeps you working hard and offers some wiggle room if you fall short. Setting goals that are equal parts achievable and ambitious is central to improving sales performance — but it's important to distinguish between goal-setting and dreaming.

Goals are specific, written down, and trackable — dreams are vague, unmeasurable, and ultimately ineffective when it comes to impacting sales performance.

You need to clearly define what you want to achieve, set plans for how you want to achieve it, and share your ambitions with managers and peers to help keep you on track and accountable. That kind of personally established guidance will give you definitive direction and improve your sales performance as a result.

6. Build a personal development plan.

A sales career offers you several opportunities to learn and mature at every stage of your professional trajectory. It's a field that lends itself to rapid development — but only if you're willing to plan and work for it.

One of the better ways you can streamline that kind of growth is through something called a "personal development plan" — a living document that defines what skills you want to improve within a specific timeframe.

If you decide to put one together, start by picking one or two specific skills to focus on each month, and document the steps you take to develop those skills as you take them — that way you can see how you've improved over time.

If you weren't given one during onboarding, you can also work with your manager to request a sales training plan to help get you to the next level — particularly if you're new to a company. Asking your manager to fill out this sales training template for you is a concrete way to show you want to grow in your role.

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7. Find a sales coach or mentor.

It's not particularly shocking or controversial to point out that sales isn't always intuitive. It often takes some guidance or expert insight to really get your feet set in the field — and your manager might not have the necessary time, bandwidth, or perspective to get you all the way there.

That's why having a sales coach, confidant, or mentor outside of your organization can help you round out your sales skill repertoire and put you on the right track when your manager might not be able to. Having an outside perspective on your professional development can also let you see your efforts more objectively.

It's easy to catch a rhythm with your day-to-day that might be curbing your potential. If you have someone to act as a guide, sounding board, and critic when it comes to how you sell, you can more easily identify gaps in how you approach prospects and conduct yourself professionally.

8. Track your progress in quantitative and qualitative ways.

You need to have a pulse on what you're doing well and where you're falling short if you want to improve your sales performance, so always keep careful tabs on your progress — both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Try to do this on a weekly and monthly basis, so you can have visible, definitive evidence of your progress and where you might be tripping up. Beyond helping motivate you personally, it can also give you a high-level understanding of how your performance relates to your broader sales org's success.

And always be sure to document your success. Positive personal morale will keep you afloat and boost your individual sales performance over time — having a record of your wins can be a big help with that.

9. Take a creative approach to problem-solving.

There is no singular path to success in sales, and your ability to think creatively can serve you well in the long run.

HubSpot Principal Sales Manager Tiki Biswal says:

"Your ability to think outside the box could be the difference between winning a massive account or having them ignore your call or email. I've found clients appreciate creativity no matter what stage of the sales process you are in.

One of my favorite examples of creativity is during demo prep. If we are preparing to show a customer how HubSpot is going to revolutionize their blog and newsletter, why not take the time to sign up for their newsletter and receive one of their emails. This takes one minute, and provides relevant information about how we can tangibly improve their process."

As a sales professional, it’s your job to solve your customer’s problems and help them look good. The more creative you can be in your approach, the better.

10. Celebrate your wins.

A career in sales is filled with its share of ups and downs — and understanding both sides of the coin is key to long-term success in the field. But many salespeople get too fixated on the "down" side of their performance.

Improving your weaknesses is obviously important. If you spend too much time ignoring them, they're bound to trip you up, down the line. But improving sales performance also rests on celebrating your wins — no matter how big or small they might be.

When you achieve a goal or improve a skill, don't be reluctant to share your success with your manager or team. Every win counts, and celebrating each one can give you the momentum you need to keep going.

Now that you have a solid understanding of how to improve performance at the individual level, let’s discuss some ways sales organizations can foster better results for the whole team.

How to Improve Sales Team Performance

Improving a sales team's performance includes some elements of the activities listed above — but the fact that multiple salespeople are involved in the process adds another layer of complexity.

More people involved in the process means more variables to account for. Improving a team's performance is imposing — but far from impossible. Here are some key tactics sales managers can employ to improve sales team performance.

1. Take a people-first approach.

Every sales org — like any organization composed of people — should be people-centric. And that's important to bear in mind when you're looking to improve your team's performance. As a manager, you need to win the hearts, minds, and trust of the reps you lead.

That starts with knowing them and letting them know you. Meet with everyone on your team multiple times to get a solid grasp of their individual skills, strengths, weaknesses, demeanors, and work preferences.

Try looking into past performance reviews and previous quarters' results. Dig into any sort of self-assessments they've conducted to evaluate their own performances, and give them the time and space to share their experiences with you.

One way or another, get to know your reps on a more personal (but still professional) level — and let them do the same for you. That kind of attention will make them more inclined to follow your direction, give them more of a stake in the team's success, and ultimately improve sales performance.

2. Create a safe space for your team.

As a sales manager, constantly focusing on engaging diverse perspectives and encouraging open conversations in a team setting is often crucial to your team's success. You need to ask yourself, "Am I fostering an environment that's safe and accessible for people of all backgrounds and abilities?"

We know diverse teams perform better, but they don't come together arbitrarily — the same goes for inclusive environments. That's why intentional leadership is so important. It's on managers to create a safe space where their reps feel comfortable sharing concerns and ideas.

Sales leaders have a responsibility to make sure everyone within their org has the room to express their thoughts as they want to without fear of reproach or judgment.

3. Ensure that your team has a set of core values that are agreed upon by everyone.

Here at HubSpot, core values are integral to how our teams operate. Here’s what Sales Manager Tiki Biswal has to say about team norms:

"As sales leaders, we all have 'non-negotiables' that we expect from our team — but there needs to be give and take. An exercise that has been helpful over the years is to actually meet as a team and decide on these core values together.

Once this list of core values and norms is built, it creates a system of accountability that starts with the sales leader — but gets enforced at the team level. Seeing reps hold one another accountable is especially impactful and helps the group grow together."

If you’re looking for some example core values for your team, Tiki recommends checking out this list as a starting point.

4. Analyze relevant team data.

Emma Hogan, Principal Sales Manager for Hubspot in Sydney Australia, was a successful sales rep before her promotion to manager. Her advice for reps looking to advance is to look at the information available in each deal stage that can reveal hard-to-find performance issues. She says:

"Get a consistent deal stage definition. At HubSpot Australia, our salespeople mark their deals in the CRM as Best Case, Most Likely, or Commit, and have clear criteria to help them identify the appropriate Forecast Stages.

This then enables our Sales Operations teams to provide forecasting dashboards that predict where a salesperson or sales team will finish each month based on their pipeline coverage and the forecast stage assigned to every deal.

sales performance measurement

What's helpful about this for a sales rep is that it gives them a clear picture in real time where they stand based on the deals they have in play so they can prioritize accordingly. They can decide if they need to focus on building more pipelines or gaining more commitment on their Best Case deals."

For Emma and her team, Deals Created is the most important deal stage. "It is important to know how many net new deals that a rep needs to create on a weekly, monthly, and/or quarterly, depending on your business' operating rhythm, to be successful in their role," she says.

If you don't have a Sales Operations team that already set the benchmarks for you, then prioritize the following information:

  • Stay focused on prospecting — If your team knows how many deals they need to be created and a deadline to do so, the rest falls into place. This helps them stay focused on the prospecting efforts required to be successful. To gauge how effective reps are at prospecting, you may want to watch lead work rates and the average time to follow up inbound leads. Other relevant information can include the number of leads worked per day, average lead depth (average number of prospecting touchpoints per lead), and even the time of day salespeople are reaching out to prospects.
  • Look at the close rate by rep data — If a sales rep is not closing at least 30% of the deals that are in the decision-making stage, it could be an indication of a bigger problem.

By closely tracking rep performance early on in the sales process, you can catch and help correct issues that can have a negative impact on business later on.

5. Have regular one-on-one meetings with each team member.

As a manager, it's in your best interest to consistently have an accurate picture of how your reps are feeling, performing, and thinking about the future — conducting one-on-one meetings with your teams is one of the better ways to cover those bases.

These kinds of check-ins can also give you an opportunity to remind your team of how important they are to your company's mission and broader vision.

You need to understand the "why" behind your reps' performance — from their perspective — if you want to diagnose and address the issues that might be stunting their progress. HubSpot Sales Manager Emma Hogan says:

"In one-on-one meetings, when I am trying to understand what is holding someone back from reaching their goals, the right questions need to be asked to determine what the underlying blocker is to building a pipeline.

Is it a motivational issue? Is it a time management issue? Or is it a skill issue? This should determine the guidance, support, and coaching you provide to help the salesperson remove the blocker."

Having one-on-one meetings can provide a safe space to work through these scenarios with team members who need varying levels of support.

6. Review business results as a team.

Mintis Hankerson is a HubSpot Sales Manager in the North American Small Business Division. Here’s her advice for reviewing sales data with your team:

"Ensure the metrics that you want the salespeople to track are communicated frequently and publicly. This might be regular emails showing sales activity leaderboards or talking through it in a team meeting.

"To make this work, you need to build a culture of transparency, trust, and psychological safety — as well as high-performance. In this type of environment, salespeople will become used to seeing their sales activity and numbers presented in publicly available channels, and with the right people on board, it should provide a sense of healthy competition to motivate them."

7. Create a culture of peer-to-peer coaching.

As a sales manager, it's on you to be your reps' primary resource for guidance and professional insight — but you're only human. When it comes down to it, you're one person with limited time and energy at your disposal.

And while you should always work to the best of your ability, you need to bear in mind that the challenges of fostering your reps' development and improving their sales performance don't have to fall squarely on your shoulders.

If you have the team structure to support it, consider pairing reps of varying experience levels together to increase team-wide accountability and create a culture of peer-to-peer coaching and productive mentorship.

The value of this strategy is twofold. For one, you can provide your less seasoned reps with valuable perspectives that will help shape their skill sets and enhance their efforts as a whole.

Beyond that, the reps assuming the "coach" role in this dynamic receive people development experience that can help them better approach any management opportunities that might come up later in their careers.

8. Don't become complacent.

Inertia isn't conducive to long-term success as a sales manager nor consistent improvements to your org's collective sales performance. You always need to stay a step ahead. That means staying active.

Always keep a careful pulse on how your business is functioning and stay on top of your team's KPIs to avoid any surprises that might throw your team's progress off track or undermine your sales performance.

You also need to avoid getting fixated on how your lowest performers are functioning. Your overachievers and tenured reps need to be consistently challenged as well.

Keep them on their toes. Celebrate their success. Commend them. Shine a light on what they're doing right — but make sure they know they always have room to grow and refine their skills.

Raise the bar and set bigger goals — at both the team and individual levels. Your team needs to know you believe in them and their success, so don't be reluctant to convey your appreciation.

9. Set sensible, attainable operational objectives.

Your sales org's broader goals can be imposing on their own — and pursuing them all at once can be tricky and counterproductive. Achieving big-picture sales objectives should be an incremental process.

If you want to sustain high morale across your sales org and improve sales performance as a result, you need to break your high-minded, organization-wide ambitions into more digestible bits and pieces.

Those attainable, compartmentalized milestones are most commonly referred to as operational objectives — and they can be central to ensuring that your sales team has the necessary structure and reassurance to perform as best it can.

For instance, if you're gauging a portion of your sales performance by measuring onboarding time, you can't just say, "Alright team, let's reduce the time it takes to onboard a new rep by X%," and expect to see the results you're looking for.

Instead, you would want to set operational objectives like finding effective conversational intelligence software to streamline how managers can shadow calls, putting a systematic agenda for training that can be easily replicated on a weekly basis in place, and picking an effective training methodology to guide the onboarding process.

By breaking up your larger, strategic objectives into more straightforward, actionable, easily reachable checkpoints, you can keep your reps on track and help improve their professional wellbeing — two elements that tend to translate to improved sales performance.

10. Be actively involved with your reps without micromanaging.

Effective sales leaders can strike a delicate balance between trust and guidance when facilitating their reps' day-to-day efforts and broader professional development.

That's why you, as a manager, need to remain actively involved with your direct reports without encroaching on their room to grow as salespeople. As I touched on earlier, you stand to gain a lot from taking strides like conducting regular one-on-ones with your reps.

Beyond that, you should consider holding standups where they can air out their concerns, affirm their accomplishments, and try to create a team culture where your reps feel like they can come to you with issues they might be struggling with.

Also, keep tabs on how your team is faring and work with any reps that might be lagging to diagnose and address the root causes of their underperformance.

Again, you want to provide direction for your reps without micromanaging. It's easier said than done, but if you pull it off, you're bound to see a solid boost to your team's sales performance.

11. Thoroughly vet candidates, and hire effectively.

As a manager, you can only do so much for your sales team's performance if the reps that compose it aren't particularly skilled or willing to contribute. You need to hire effectively if you want to start and sustain a high-performing sales org.

Thoroughly understand the nature of the product or service you sell, and try to find candidates that have the relevant experience, skills, and demeanor to sell to your target personas. But ideal candidates have more than impressive technical qualifications. You want to find sales reps that fit your company culture and will fold seamlessly into your team dynamic.

Morale is central to sales performance — and a sales rep who lacks the intangibles to thrive in the environment you set might be insubordinate, undermine your leadership, or have no interest in supporting their teammates. That lack of chemistry can take a major toll on your org's overall performance.

Tracking Sales Performance

Sales performance is typically tracked via a range of key performance indicators (KPIs) that can reveal how your reps are faring both individually and as a team. Some of the most relevant and effective metrics you should be keeping tabs on include:

  • Win Rate — The percentage of final stage prospects that close and become customers divided by the total number of deals in the pipeline
  • Quota Attainment — The percentage of reps that reach their quotas in a given quarter
  • Sales Cycle Length — The average time it takes a rep to complete your sales cycle
  • Pipeline Coverage — The sum of your sales opportunities weighed against your revenue target

Constantly improving sales performance — on both the individual and team-wide levels — is the best action you can take to create and sustain healthy, productive sales org. And that requires accountability from everyone involved.

Reps need to be open to embracing opportunities, conducive to their professional development — but for the most part, a sales team's performance is a reflection of a manager's effort and leadership.

They're expected to push, assist, and challenge their team members enough to actively refine their skills and ultimately make the most of their abilities. That starts with effective training and onboarding and continues with consistent attention, thoughtful guidance, and an appropriate degree of trust.

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05 Jun 17:33

Here We Are. American Dreams, American Nightmares. AArti Namdev ShaShahani

by Reg Nordman

Here We Are. American Dreams, American Nightmares. AArti Namdev ShaShahani. 2019. ISBN 9781250204752.  An Indian family finds it way eventually to America.  They start to build a better life following the American dream getting green cards and working to citizenship. Through a serious of misadventure and  poor legal advice the father gets on the wrong side of immigration and lives in a perpetual state of fear of deportation. His daughter  (a NYTimes journalist) details the trials and tribulations of the many years  and what they went through. Its also a story being played out throughout  America still.  Very human story that will bring the people involved to the fore.

05 Jun 17:33

The Secrets We Kept. Lara Prescott

by Reg Nordman

The Secrets We Kept. Lara Prescott. 2019. ISBN9780525656166.  So what did happen to the brave women of the OSS ( predator of the CIA) who worked for Wild Bill Donovan in Europe? After years in WW II going behind enemy lines, running Resistance forces and all sorts of daring operations, they return to the US and the CIA offices. There they were relegated to the typing pool while their male colleagues became their bosses.  This book chronicles the life and times of several of these ladies as well as what happened to Boris Pastenak ( Dr Zhivago) after the CIA published his book and displeased the Soviet higher ups.  An excellent follower to Spymistress as some of the same people are in both.  Good gripping read.

05 Jun 17:33

New Dark Age. Technology and the End of the Future. James Bridle.

by Reg Nordman

New Dark Age. Technology and the End of the Future. James Bridle. 2019. ISBN 139781786635488. The author is a British technology artist and commentator. His thesis is that the more information, data, networks and visibility we have , the less the society acts on it.  Whether it is declining scientific rigor, populist journalism, conspiracy theories, Creepy YouTube videos directed at children, NSA type spying worldwide, fake news, disinformation he feels that technology is not a panacea to ills that plague us.  Each chapter is an unique topic and could stand alone.  Its dystopian , dark  and filled with foreboding.  Yet I felt that his point of view was worthwhile and illustrative of valid points. I recommend this book to educators, parents and educated people as a counterpoint to populism.

05 Jun 17:33

The Good Neighbor. The life and work of Fred Rogers. Maxwell King.

by Reg Nordman

The Good Neighbor. The life and work of Fred Rogers. Maxwell King. 2018. ISBN 9780419727726.   The author became quite a friend of Rogers and helped many of his initiatives carry on after Mr Rogers died.  This is a very kind and detailed view of quite a complex and driven man. You find out about the wealth in the Rogers family and how it did not shape how Fred Rogers viewed life yet the family connections and resources certainly contributed to how Fred became so good at what he did. Its an insightful , albeit long book and you will enjoy the many anecdotes around Fred Rogers. He was certainly well ahead of his time in his approach to early childhood education. When we were raising our boys, we  restricted day time TV so did not allow them to watch programs like Mr Rogers etc. Perhaps that was an error, but we did not trust TV to be good for children. We did not know the story behind Mr Rogers.  I enjoyed the read and it is worth it.

05 Jun 17:33

Agency. William Gibson

by Reg Nordman

Agency. William Gibson. 2020. ISBN 9780451490988.  A vision of a future where players can go back in time and create a “stub” a new future that plays out differently from what was reality. A cast of very original characters who can look back in time and interact with people who are living a different future from the original. Gibson weaves a surreal and personality rich tale that draws you into something that just might happen.  I could not put it down and finished it wanting more from this author, Just what will he do with the pandemic?

05 Jun 17:32

The Ultimate Differentiator. The sales manager’s guide to talent development. Matthew McDarby

by Reg Nordman

The Ultimate Differentiator. The sales manager’s guide to talent development. Matthew McDarby.  2020. ISBN 9781947486157.  A short book  for new and experienced sales managers.  Quite a few case study examples of where you can go wrong and how to set it right.  I found his hiring suggestions and ongoing training ideas very useful.  This books sits alone in the sales book category and does a very good job of presenting concise and simple arguments on improvement. Very apt for today’s world.  Good for sales manager and early CEOs.

05 Jun 17:32

Salesman on Fire. Carson V.Heady

by Reg Nordman

Salesman on Fire. Carson V.Heady. 2020.  The fable of Vincent Scott.  It follows his fictional career in selling up to present day. Through a biographical approach the content is laid out in a day long visit with Scott.  Scott’s life as a sales phenomena is laid out in three previous books and this one continues the saga.   This contains some very useful sales assistance content as well as how “the Man’ can get you in larger organizations.  Very easy read and well worth it for the young and experienced salesperson.  There be dangers afoot youngster!

05 Jun 17:32

run_frictionless. Free a founder from a sales role. Antony Coundouris

by Reg Nordman

run_frictionless. Free a founder from a sales role. Antony Coundouris. 2018.  A concise road map and workbook on how to build a sales system that allows a founder to step away from daily driving sales. Using four quadrants to lay out the building blocks with many examples and a  full case study the author takes you through all the work and stages needed to be followed.   The quadrants are

  • Who we serve
  • What we serve
  • Who we are
  • How we serve

Under each are many statements of work to be done, how to do it and why you do it.

This is a useful book for any startup founder or those who are still driving all the sales after many years.

There is a better  way.

03 Jun 18:59

Why Companies Fail Coming to Europe with Matthew Gowen

by Sam Jacobs

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we speak with Matthew Gowen, the SVP of Sales at Pangea.

Matthew is a 20-year veteran of the technology industry, first at Thomson Reuters, where he ended up running their enterprise sales team, then at Veeva, where he ran the EU sales organization and helped that company grow to over 700 million in revenue. Today, he is running the sales organization at a company called Pangea, which scales up tech companies to expand into the EMEA market.

If you missed episode 111, check it out here: Prospecting and Researching in Today’s Brave New World with Peter Wooster

What You’ll Learn

  • Finding a talent network in EMEA
  • How Germans buy
  • Being aware of cultural differences
  • How to enable salespeople when they’re 1,000 miles from HQ

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

Show Introduction [00:10]

Sam Jacobs: Hey, everybody, it’s Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the Sales Hacker podcast. Today on the show we’ve got Matthew Gowen, the SVP of Sales at Pangea. He is a long time tech industry veteran who started his career in the pharmaceutical sales industry, but he grew up in financial services, software sales. He helped Veeva grow from a few hundred people to a few thousand, from over 150 million in revenue to 700 million in revenue and has really been a long time expert in EMEA software sales.

Now, before we get there, we want to thank our sponsors. Our first sponsor is Chorus.ai. Chorus is the conversation intelligence platform that provides key insights into the sales conversations your team is having every day. Record, share, review, and coach your team based on the voice of your customer. With chorus.ai, get your reps to hit quota consistently, ramp your new hires faster and replicate your unicorns through coaching initiatives, all while together or fully remote. Go to Chorus.ai/saleshacker to try it for yourself.

Our second sponsor is Outreach, the number one sales engagement platform. Outreach revolutionizes customer engagement by moving away from solid conversations to a streamlined and customer centric journey. Leveraging the next generation of artificial intelligence, the platform allows sales reps to deliver consistent, relevant, and responsible communication for each prospect every time, enabling personalization at scale previously unthinkable. Check out Outreach.io for more information.

And finally, we just turned Saleshacker.com into a community. Rather than just reading or listening, you can now ask questions and get amazing thoughtful answers from the world’s B2B sales professionals who’ve been there before, plus you can share your experience with others. Go to Saleshacker.com and create your profile today.

Now without further ado, let’s listen to my interview with Matthew Gowen.

About Matthew Gowen & Pangea [1:55]

Sam Jacobs: Hey, everybody, it’s Sam Jacobs, welcome to the Sales Hacker podcast. Today I’ve got on the show Matthew Gowen. Matthew is a 20-year veteran of the technology industry. He actually started his career in pharmaceutical research in the US many years ago, but over the last decade or so, he’s had a number of really important opportunities to develop his career. One was at Thomson Reuters, where he ended up running their enterprise sales team. He also ran the EU sales organization at Veeva for over five years and helped that company grow to over 700 million in revenue. Today, he is running the sales organization at a company called Pangea, where they help scale up tech companies and expand their business into new markets primarily in Europe. And so Matthew and his team help companies enter Europe. We’d like to start with your baseball card, as we say.

Matthew Gowen: We help tech companies scaling to new markets. The majority of our clients are US tech companies coming to Europe for the first time. We help them put in place the right talent, the right sales infrastructure, and also the back office, boring stuff that you need to get done, payroll and legal contracts, all of that good stuff, which can be a bit of a hurdle for a lot of companies coming to Europe. We take away that hassle and risk and just help tech companies focus on top line revenue growth.

Sam Jacobs: How long has the company been around?

Matthew Gowen: We’ve been around for about two and a half years now. I’ve been at the company for 18 months. It was founded by a guy called Marc Baumgartner. He’s an American guy actually, but lives in Geneva. And yeah, he convinced me to move away from Veeva to start this new and exciting opportunity. So we’re having a lot of fun doing it.

Common mistakes in entering a new market [07:59]

Sam Jacobs: Let’s start with common mistakes. What are the big mistakes that most companies make as they try to enter a new market, but particularly the EU?

Matthew Gowen: First of all, you’ve got to tap into a talent network. So the first thing you want to do when you come over to Europe is you want to hire the right people. But if you don’t know who those people are, you end up working with some recruiters and that costs money and maybe it works out, maybe it doesn’t.

The second part is how do you support and enable salespeople when they’re potentially thousands of miles away from headquarters? You need the right sales enablement and culture wrapped around them. And then the other piece which is a hurdle is just getting into the local market. So of course you want proximity to customers. You want to be in France, Germany, Switzerland, UK, you name it, wherever your customers are, but you don’t necessarily want to have to put people on the ground in all of those different regions. Pangea tries to put that the right way round. So we’ll help tech companies come to Europe. We’ll give them access to a trusted talent network through our team at Pangea.

The final piece, as I mentioned, is taking all that hassle off, the back office hassle, because we’re already set up to go across most major markets in Europe and North America. So just focused on sales really and getting that piece right.

Sam Jacobs: How has Brexit changed or will change your business, do you think?

Matthew Gowen: For our business, complexity is good, and so I think it will help Pangea and please there’s got to be some winners out of the Brexit situation. We work with software mostly as well and I think it’s one of the most stable industries to be in with the whole Brexit situation.

Lessons learned from international customers [12:06]

Sam Jacobs: The nice thing about working at a company like Pangea is that you get to see a lot of different companies and a lot of different products and a lot of different go-to-market motions. When you think about some of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned from working with these customers?

Matthew Gowen: I’m in a really privileged position because I get to condense a career that most people would have over a few decades of maybe five, six, seven different companies. A lot of organizations don’t necessarily focus on the fundamentals, which I think are absolutely critical in setting up that sales organization. Having the right go to market is really important, but unless you’ve got the right foundations in place, it can be a struggle. So for me, it’s not just about hiring the right sales talent and giving them the product training and the introductions to the team that any sales person would need to be successful.

In my view, having a successful sales process and an outcome is really a holistic company approach and takes a tremendous amount of teamwork. So I’ve seen that when an organization hires that team, they really should spend a lot of time just asking themselves a lot of questions. What is the sales process that the organization is using? What does it mean? What’s that language that sales people speak? What is sales and operations and enablement and who is it and what do they do? What does marketing do in detail and for what purpose? Does everybody know their roles, responsibilities and who’s accountable for what? And I think quite often it makes a lot of sense to really go through that together as a team and to document it. I see so many companies just not having the right sales foundation set up for success.

Sam Jacobs: One of the pushbacks you might hear from a CEO or a founder or an executive team that is not sales or marketing focused would be hiring a chief revenue officer or an SVP of sales to help us build a sales process. Do you think that that’s looking at it from the wrong perspective, given that so many companies hire too senior too early?

Matthew Gowen: To some extent, that VP hire, that COO hire is absolutely critical, but for me, it’s not an abdication of responsibility from the CEO. It has to be a partnership and they have to, because sales isn’t just about the sales team. It’s about all of the other supporting infrastructure around that as well. So just making sure everyone sings from the same hymn sheet and ensuring that everybody’s doing the right things. I’m a believer in doing the right things every day and eventually you’ll get the right results. It’s critical though, that the COO and CEO have a very tight relationship and work together.

The impact of COVID-19 [17:20]

Sam Jacobs: We’re recording this on April 28th. How has COVID-19 affected your business positively, negatively, flat?

Matthew Gowen: There’s a negative impact for almost everybody. Some organizations seem to be having a successful period of time, but for us, there aren’t too many better industries to be in. We typically work with tech companies, quite a lot of life sciences tech organizations as well. And then you layer on top of that sales, which is about as critical as it can be now certainly coming out of the COVID process. For the most part, I see this as an opportunity to plan, prepare, and move forward for success, but don’t want to be too disconnected with a pretty difficult situation globally. You’ve got to really lead with empathy, more than anything.

Sam Jacobs: How are you advising your clients on scenario planning and forecasting? What advice are you giving to your customers as they try to navigate this crisis?

Matthew Gowen: The term, if you like, is the same. Your approach to it might be slightly different, and ultimately everybody’s an inside sales team right now. It’s about refocusing the team, making sure that they go through the right processes to have that outreach to customers.

Ultimately when it comes to forecasting and planning for the future, there’s a few different approaches that you would look at. And I think this concept of the top down forecasting is kind of out the window. I think it’s really a bottoms up approach now. What are your prospective, current customers doing on the ground? How can you translate that into your business and what the growth opportunity is? And for that, you really need information on the ground from the sales team.

Cultural differences for European sales strategy [21:48]

Sam Jacobs: Are there cultural differences that maybe American companies or Asian companies that are trying to enter EMEA don’t appreciate when they think about building it? Is a successful sales culture in Europe different from a successful sales culture in the US?

RELATED: Sales Around the World: Business Development Across Cultures

Matthew Gowen: It’s subtly different. Treating Europe like it’s the US when you come over here for the first time is, I would argue, not the right approach. And you’ve got to break it into different regions and then have local speakers or local language speakers in certain regions, which can really help with those relationships. Sales is very similar in Europe to North America, but there’s just some extra layers of complexity that you have to deal with. Language is one of them, but culture is another.

Buying culture is different. The way that Germans will buy is very different from how French and the UK will buy.

Sam Jacobs: Tell us, how do Germans buy?

Matthew Gowen: Just super skeptical. Building that relationship in Germany is very challenging. It’s really interesting though because when you get to that closed stage of the deal and actually they’ll work with you completely differently. Suddenly you’ll go perhaps onto first name terms and you might not have been before then. So very different to how you might work in the US to my experience.

Southern Europe is really different. It’s very cost orientated. So lots of negotiation rounds, which is a challenge, but some of the countries that adopt technologies faster would be places in Nordics, like Denmark, actually places like Belgium and the Netherlands adopt technologies pretty fast. And then the UK I think is the closest as you would expect to the way that the US buys.

Sam Jacobs: Are there regulations or prohibitions against cold calling in Europe?

Matthew Gowen: GDPR is a thing and you have to be very much aware of that in Europe, but ultimately you’ve got to do sales. There’s a multichannel outreach. Cold calling is part of that. Emails are part of that. LinkedIn connections are part of that. It’s a rhythm of different sorts of activities that relate to one another. So yes, you can do cold calling, but you have to be cognizant around GDPR.

Get in touch with Matthew on LinkedIn.

Sam’s Corner [30:17]

Sam Jacobs: Hi, everybody. Sam’s corner. Thanks so much for listening. That was a great conversation with Matthew Gowen. One of the things that we talked about is just this reality that cultural differences are real. Regulatory issues are real. And so when you’re entering EMEA, it’s important that people understand that entering Europe is more than just entering Europe. It’s also entering all of the different dialects, all of the different cultures, all of the different traditions, and really thinking about what’s the smartest, best, most effective way to do that. Of course, Brexit is also going to create additional regulatory complexity. And that’s why I think, particularly when it’s about starting offices overseas, onboarding and support, and support to those different regional time zones is so important.

What We Learned

  • Finding a talent network in EMEA
  • How Germans buy
  • Being aware of cultural differences
  • How to enable salespeople when they’re 1,000 miles from HQ

Don’t miss episode 113!

I hope you enjoyed the show. Before we go, let’s thank our sponsors. The first is Chorus. Chorus is the conversation intelligence platform that provides key insights into the sales conversations your team is having every day. Go to Chorus.ai/saleshacker to try it for yourself. Our second sponsor is Outreach, the leading sales engagement platform.

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As always, thanks so much for listening, I’ll talk to you next time.

The post Why Companies Fail Coming to Europe with Matthew Gowen appeared first on Sales Hacker.

01 Jun 18:13

INFLUENCER MARKETING 2020: Why brands can't get enough of an $8 billion ecosystem driven by Kardashians, moms, and tweens

by Audrey Schomer
Summary List Placement

As influencers become more plentiful and proven, brand dollars have flooded into the space. Brands are set to spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022, per Business Insider Intelligence estimates, based on Mediakix data.  Influencer Marketing 4x3

Partnering with influencers is already familiar to many brands, but the market is undergoing constant change: Brands must continually evolve their strategies accordingly. The market is rapidly expanding as influencer types have proliferated, with influencers filling every conceivable niche and sub-niche interest. Each of these types offer distinct benefits and trade-offs for brands. In addition to celebrities with massive followings like Kim Kardashian West and Kylie Jenner, brands are increasingly tapping other key influencer types, including micro- and nanoinfluencers, kidfluencers, gaming influencers, and virtual (computer-generated) influencers. 

As social media becomes more entrenched in people's lives and takes on more functional uses beyond communication, like shopping, the role of influencers is set to only grow. And as e-commerce and social media converge, influencers will become increasingly vital intermediaries, helping to connect brands with consumers on social media in highly resonant, authentic ways that can deliver immediate returns.

In Influencer Marketing 2019, Business Insider Intelligence gives actionable recommendations for how brands can effectively navigate this changing and expanding market to meet campaign goals, and how they can evolve their relationships with influencers. Brands looking to partner with influencers need to to constantly renew their perspective to ensure that they mutually maximize the value of these partnerships. 

The companies mentioned in this report are: Ader, Balmain, Brud, Calvin Klein, Coca-Cola, Discord, Dr. Pepper, Fable Studio, Facebook, Hershey's, Instagram, KFC, LinkedIn, NFL, Nike, Old Spice, Pinterest, Red Bull, Reddit, Sephora, Shadow, Snapchat, Socialyte, Spotify, Superplastic, The Diigitals, TikTok, Toonstar, Twitch, Twitter, Unilever, UTA, and YouTube.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • The influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, up from as much as $8 billion in 2019, according to Business Insider Intelligence estimates, based on Mediakix data.
  • Every social platform attracts influencers to some degree, but Instagram is the gold standard for the group. Nearly four in five (79%) brands predominantly tap Instagram for influencer campaigns, compared with Facebook (46%), YouTube (36%), Twitter (24%), and LinkedIn (12%), per Influencer Marketing Hub. 
  • There are two primary ways of categorizing influencers: reach and niche. 
    • Reach. As a general rule, targeted reach, cost-effectiveness, engagement, authenticity, and accessibility all go up as follower count goes down. 
    • Niche. Brands can leverage relevant niche influencers to more intentionally target audiences. 
  • Before pursuing a partnership, brands and influencers alike should ensure brand fit, meaning that an influencer is aligned with the brand and product. 
  • Brands should develop a streamlined but robust network of high-quality influencers to diversify their bets.
  • Brands are likely to increasingly prioritize longer-term partnerships with fewer, more authentic influencers.

In full, the report:

  • Forecasts the growth of brand spend on influencer marketing as influencers have become more plentiful and effective.
  • Discusses how social platform shifts impact the influencer market, and how platforms are embracing (or estranging) influencers and creators.
  • Outlines how the industry categorizes and values influencers according to follower count (reach) and area of expertise (niche), and the benefits and pitfalls of each type for brands.
  • Investigates how brands should approach three key emergent types of influencer, including kidfluencers, gaming influencers, and virtual influencers.
  • Explains how brands can confront and overcome key challenges of influencer marketing.
  • Envisions how brand relationships with influencers could grow or change in the future. 
  • Provides actionable steps for brands to best determine the best strategic approach.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are three ways to access it:

  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now
  2. Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  3. Current subscribers can read the report here.

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you've given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of influencer marketing.

Join the conversation about this story »