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The Inbound Sales and Marketing Blog

How To Make Your Message Appetizing in a Bland Market

Having grown up in Canada, I love maple syrup. I remember Saturday mornings at the sugar farm. Each spring right as the snow was beginning to melt we’d head out into a grove of maple trees. 

Each tree had a spigot with a small bucket attached. Sweet sap would drip into the bucket. We’d gather that buckets of sap and bring them the the sugar shack.

Straight out of the tree, maple sap tastes like water with a few granules of sugar. When it’s distilled, delicious maple syrup emerges. It takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. It’s no wonder that maple syrup is so valuable—and tastes so good.

What Would Happen If You Told Your Prospects What Types Of Clients You Want To Serve?

This week I’ve been creating the website content for the new suite of services our team here at Convergo will roll out this summer (can’t wait to launch this!) It's got me thinking about what our ideal prospect looks like.

We all have ideal prospects. These are the future clients that are a great fit for your business. They value what you do. They align with your values and culture. They recognize the value you deliver and are willing to pay for it.

We also all have prospects that are not a good fit: They don’t value what you do. They don’t align with your values and culture. Instead of recognizing value, they want to grind you for a lower price. While you may make a little bit of profit on the deal, you’ll lose all and more of it as your employees get frustrated serving a client that is misaligned with your company. Usually, these non-ideal clients end up leaving and are often your most vocal critics.

Idea: What if you told your prospects what types of clients you want to serve?

I think if we were more explicit about who we wanted to serve, good things would naturally happen. Ideal prospects would resonate with your values, vision, and culture. They would say, “Yes! Finally! I've been looking for a partner like this!” The non-ideal prospects would be repelled. How helpful would that be?

As I’m writing the content for our new website, I thought it made sense to tell our prospective clients what type of companies we like to work with. The hope is that it will create resonance with our ideal prospects while repelling our poor-fit prospects.

This is a work in process, but I’d love to hear what you think. Here’s my message:

Why You Probably Need a Marketing Automation System

With today’s decision makers and influencers scouring the web for information during the buying process, digital marketing has become an undeniably important partner in revenue generation. While I will always be the first to affirm that salespeople create, build, and sustain the relationships that drive business, marketing plays a huge role in supporting them.

Now that the bulk of marketing has shifted to digital channels like search engines and social media, you need to consider what’s tying it all together and linking it to your sales process. This is where marketing automation comes in.

Sales Leaders and Company Owners: The Sad Costs of Not Investing In Marketing

Recently, I was talking with one of my business partners here at Convergo. He’d talked with a business owner about moving from a tactical to a strategic approach with their marketing. In principal it sounded good. However, when presented with a relatively modest budget compared to current annual sales revenue, all of a sudden strategic marketing didn’t seem so important.

I get it. I’m a recovering sales rep. In 1993, I took a job with Lanier Worldwide, a hard-charging sales organization that at the time only believed a cold call happened when you walked in the door of a business. At the time, we didn’t even use the phone. We carried demo machines in the back of our vans. It was all about cold call, demo, close. Don’t come back to the office until you have demoed at least two machines.

Having come from a rich heritage of intense sales activity combined with drilled in sales skills, I understand the importance of prospecting.

Sales Prospecting With a Positive Attitude

Consistent prospecting is essential for sales success. Without a steady stream of prospects, the funnel dries up. Then you end up taking desperation deals and flipping your base.

Effective prospecting requires a positive attitude. The challenge is that if there is one thing that can chip away at your attitude, it’s the rejection you get while prospecting. As a sales professional, you need a proactive plan to keep a positive attitude.

In today’s negative world, a positive attitude stands out. A positive attitude is contagious.

Don Hutson offers inspiration on the importance of a positive attitude in the first chapter of Selling Value:

“High performers are motivated and ready to make great things happen! If they get some motivation from their boss or significant other, or another source, that’s fine, but they understand that their PRIMARY source of motivation comes from within.”

Our responsibility as sales professionals, sales leaders, and business owners (all of us are in sales) is to maintain a positive attitude.

How can you cultivate a positive attitude to fuel your prospecting? Here are a few ideas!

How To Get Net-New Business From Your Client Base

This week I enjoyed talking with a group of sales leaders as we prepared for a Value Alignment Workshop. When we asked the group of sales managers about the challenges they faced, the overwhelming response was, “We struggle with getting our reps to generate net-new business.”

Net-new business is the lifeblood of a business and the energizing force behind a sales team. Without net-new, the sales team becomes order takers. Over time, the team becomes rusty and complacent.

What Is Net-New Business?

I define net-new business as "any new sources of revenue". New revenue can come from two areas:

  1. New logos
  2. New categories of products, services, or solutions sold to current clients

There are only three sources of net-new business:

  1. Strategic Prospecting to build a relationship funnel with buyers that are not currently looking
  2. Digital Marketing to engage buyers who are actively looking online
  3. Cross-Selling current customers who could benefit from additional products and services

Today, let’s focus on #3: earning more business from your current clients. How do you do this? You must earn the right.

What Would You Do If 100 Prospects and Customers Were Lined Up Outside Your Business Right Now?

Imagine if you had 100 people lined up outside your business right now. What would you do? Certainly, you’d send someone out to greet them. You’d ask how you could help. You’d get the prospects involved in sales situations. You’d do your best to answer customer questions and send them to support if necessary.

100 people lining up outside your business sound like a dream? What if it happened every day?

The Importance of Looking Trustworthy

“People will accept the advice of insight sellers only to the extent that they trust them.” - Mike Schultz & John Doerr, Insight Selling

Trust is a critical component to sales success. In their buyer research, the authors of Insight Selling learned what we know instinctively: trust is one of the top 10 factors separating first place from first loser in the sales process. Lack of trust pretty much guarantees you’ll lose a deal. Low trust hurts client loyalty.

Companies and sales reps need trust. This means you need to be trustworthy. It also means you need to look trustworthy. Today, I want to assume you are a trustworthy salesperson working for a trustworthy company. Let's turn our focus on the importance of looking trustworthy.

How Much Money Will Ineffective Sales Prospecting Cost You This Year?

Stephen Covey says that highly effective people put the “big rocks in first” because if you don’t do the important things first, they get crowded out by the smaller things.

The biggest rock for any sales professional is prospecting. It’s the #1 driver of success and the #1 thing that gets pushed to the bottom of the priority pile. Jeb Blount, the author of Fanatical Prospecting, famously said, "The #1 reason for an empty pipe is the failure to prospect!"

What’s The Annual Financial Impact?

What’s the annual impact of inconsistent prospecting? I think this is a worthy question for every sales professional, sales team leader, and company owner to consider.

To calculate the impact, let’s begin with some assumptions.

How 30 Years of the World Wide Web Has Improved the Sales Profession

Today is the 30th anniversary of the world wide web! Nothing has changed the sales profession more than this technology. As I reflect back over my 26 years in sales, allow me to offer some observations on how the internet has changed sales for good.