{% set baseFontFamily = "Open Sans" %} /* Add the font family you wish to use. You may need to import it above. */

{% set headerFontFamily = "Open Sans" %} /* This affects only headers on the site. Add the font family you wish to use. You may need to import it above. */

{% set textColor = "#565656" %} /* This sets the universal color of dark text on the site */

{% set pageCenter = "1200px" %} /* This sets the width of the website */

{% set headerType = "fixed" %} /* To make this a fixed header, change the value to "fixed" - otherwise, set it to "static" */

{% set lightGreyColor = "#f7f7f7" %} /* This affects all grey background sections */

{% set baseFontWeight = "normal" %} /* More than likely, you will use one of these values (higher = bolder): 300, 400, 700, 900 */

{% set headerFontWeight = "lighter" %} /* For Headers; More than likely, you will use one of these values (higher = bolder): 300, 400, 700, 900 */

{% set buttonRadius = '0' %} /* "0" for square edges, "10px" for rounded edges, "40px" for pill shape; This will change all buttons */

After you have updated your stylesheet, make sure you turn this module off

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:

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.

Position Your Dealership as a Team of Experts

Your prospects have a long list of business problems.  They also have many questions related to how technology could be used to solve these business problems.

Most business leaders are open to getting help in solving their business problems.  However, most people have been burned at one point because they have made a bad buying decision.  This is especially true in the area of technology where many promises are made but the actual results end up not delivering.  As a result, today’s buyer is very skeptical.

How do you earn trust in this skeptical environment?  

9 Common Mistakes Copier Dealers (and Others!) Make When Writing Blog Posts

Blogging continues to be the backbone of content and inbound marketing.

While video is an ever-increasing tool to use to connect to your audience, the humble blog will continue on as a way to bring in traffic. I mean, after all, one of the ways to share videos you create is – you may have guessed – a blog post.

Blogs have been around for roughly 20 years now. Blogs and “posts” are often used interchangeably. For this post, “blog” refers to the portion of your website devoted to sharing information while “post” refers to the individual, er, posts within the blog.

3 Common – and Simple to Avoid – Writing Mistakes Businesses Continue to Make

The most common mistake businesses make is writing like they're a business.

While I've noticed a shift to a friendlier writing style in the past decade, partially thanks to social media and I'm sure influenced as well by Millennials entry into the working world in large numbers, there's still waaaaay too much bad business writing out there.

It's boring. It's formulaic. It's about your business (not about your clients' challenges). It's full of jargon and insider lingo. Most likely, if you have an “assessment” of some sort you don't even describe exactly what that even is.

Quick test: have someone in your office copy a few pages from each of your competitor's websites as well as your own.

Do you know which one is yours?

The New Way to Win More Deals: Sales and Marketing as Co-Creators of Value

Why do sales people win? Until recently, the primary points of differentiation for companies have been based on two factors:

  • We provide great products
  • We back them up with great service

While that may be true, the challenge is that these provide little differentiation in a marketplace where the great product you sell can be sourced from dozens of vendors online. And while great service is rare, the reality is that there are many companies that provide great service.

In order to win sales, we need to differentiate ourselves. How do we do that? We have to bring value beyond the product and service. 

Marketing Isn't a Brochure or Leave-Behind

True confession – I used to think marketing was a load of BS.

Yep, before I got into content and inbound marketing, I was an editor. Marketing to me was an endless barrage of crappy email pitches and product press releases.

My job as an editor was to separate the wheat from the chaff to educate my readers. Oddly enough, that's almost exactly what I do now when creating content for clients – with the additional goal of also driving the audience to take an action.

I saw more than my share of bad marketing, brochure-ware websites and other marketing “strategies” focused on the glory of the vendor.

We still see too much of that for copier dealers and managed IT provider sites. No one cares about you. They care about how you can help them solve their business problems.

It’s Time To Face The Dial Tone - Cold Calling Doesn’t Work Anymore

Ok, that might not be entirely true. But it’s so true it might as well be.

Don’t believe me?

InsideView previously held a survey in an attempt to end the debate - is this the death of cold calling? The answers aren’t surprising to me as a millennial - according to the study, more than 90% of decision makers claimed they “never” responded to a cold call.

If you’ve read my previous posts, this isn’t a surprise -- I hate the phone. It’s true - I’ve written about cold calling before (and ignored four calls from numbers I don’t recognize today alone). My last post about phone calls - Call Me Maybe? Actually Please Don’t - detailed an undeniable personal fact : I literally will not answer my phone if I don’t know your number.

It’s easy to shrug that off, though, isn’t it? I’m one mid to late twenty something, surely I don’t speak for everyone, right?

Are You Ready for Your Closeup? Create Great Marketing Videos for Your Business With These Timeless Tips

If you've got a smart phone, you've got all the recording equipment you need.

I'm a late convert to video.

I like words. I like to read. When I watch a screen, I want to be entertained with a Saints win, a TV show, or a movie.

One of the critical rules in writing is to “kill your babies.” That means that the witty bit of prose you love that doesn't help advance your point – delete.

The same rule applies to marketing – you have to remove yourself from your personal likes and dislikes and figure out what works for the audience you want to reach.

A quick look at your social media feed – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – will show more video this year than last year.

Video creates engagement. It's personal.