Did you watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding on Saturday 19 May? Were you at one of the famous wedding parties, toasting the happy couple from the other side of their world?
A magnificent wedding calls for a spot on the Magnify blog. Here are 12 Sales and Marketing lessons we can learn from the royal wedding:
Mary from Magnify shares - This is the third blog in our Magnify series following the recent Wellington ‘Kiwi Landing Pad’ Sales and Marketing Jam, thanks to organisation by John Holt and Sian Simpson.
Today’s blog is inspired by Tanya Neary, Director of Sales at Culture Amp, providers of software that makes it makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. Their key goal is to improve the engagement, experience and effectiveness of every employee. It’s hardly surprising then to learn that Culture Amp rewards all employees who contributed to that new customer coming onboard – not just the salesperson at the very end of the process.
Tanya spoke about the synergy between Product, Marketing and Sales – and how Culture Amp aims to always think like a buyer. This is very important for all of us – if we’re not building something awesome that creates lots of value for our customers, then we’re missing the mark.
In return for building something that directly solves customer problems, delivers value and ticks all the customer’s boxes every step of the sales journey – we will be rewarded with loyal customers who bring their total lifetime customer value into our business. And we’ll have fun because we’re serving raving fans. Sounds great doesn’t it?
If we want to delight our customers at every step of their sales journey, we need to reward staff so that they are motivated to give the best value they can at every touchpoint.
Tanya called this ‘Team of Teams’, and reminded the audience that Sales, Marketing and Product need to talk. Each of these areas has a different view of the customer. We will only get a more complete picture of who our customer is, what their pain points are, how they experience their world and our products/services – by dialoguing with our own ‘Team of Teams’. Silos are most definitely out.
To that end, Culture Amp aims to hire for humility, especially in the sales area. Key questions they ask about prospective employees are:
At Culture Amp, they provide fixed compensation for everyone. This means no commission for sales people. In fact, Tanya shared that Culture Amp has always operated this way. This is an idea that's been gaining traction over the last few years from sales commentators in the USA and in other parts of the world.
Tanya reports that this approach has created alignment in the Culture Amp team. Ultimately, they want people who are intrinsically motivated, not just motivated to make that final bit of sales commission at the end of the month. As Tanya said – ‘Imagine that it is the last day of the month, and my goal is to sell $250K, but I’m on $240K. The efforts to get that extra $10K in one day will end up changing my behaviour. Is this the kind of behaviour that we want for our organisation?’
So, it was great to hear that Culture Amp has quarterly recognition of excellence across all the staff, rewarding excellence for sales, marketing, product, etc. Culture Amp recognises that their staff across all disciplines have contributed to bringing a customer onboard.
Such an approach also values the data which is generated, and measured, by each employee’s interaction with the customer. Data from Product is just as vital as data from Marketing or from Sales, or from other departments, in terms of a company growing in its understanding of their customers.
Tanya commented – ‘If I as a salesperson get paid 10% of a new sale, and I’m sitting next to a product specialist who helped win that deal, but they get nothing extra, what does that do for our team relationship?’ Again – we’re back to thinking about how your company works as a team.
Sales, Product and Marketing have a common goal. They are all working to bring on board new customers, and to keep them for the business. Especially with the Marketing function. Customers may have seen Culture Amp for a while before talking. Perhaps they’ve read an article, heard the CEO speak, watch a video, attended a free event where customers talk.
It makes sense for all three functions to be equally rewarded – especially when they each play such a vital part in the total customer journey. Tanya also spoke about how Culture Amp handles their remote team members – how they keep in touch and keep their team culture.
If everyone on the Product/Marketing/Sales spectrum is rewarded for their part in the sale, and they all play an important part, how early should we bring in salespeople? Tanya addressed this, sharing how Culture Amp has a focus on the total lifetime customer value that each new customer brings to the business. As Tanya said – ‘We don’t want to bring a customer onboard at all costs and then have them leave. With new customers, we don’t want to churn and burn - so we often bring a product person to client meetings.’
This makes a lot of sense, especially if the product team will be crafting solutions to meet customer problems. Sales is the initial Reach Out. A team member from Product will sit in the meeting with Sales, to hear the customer issues. So the whole sales process becomes more collaborative, more buyer-centric - which is what a great sale should be.
Post-purchase nurturing is the norm at Culture Amp. Tanya’s sales role is to have the early stage conversation, from legal aspects to sign off. She then sends a welcome email, which includes an introduction to a Culture Amp Success Coach, who will work with that customer to achieve the best results for them by providing technical advice and training. A six-month check gives the Culture Amp team an opportunity to review an account.
It's an interesting shift, isn’t it – no commission for salespeople. Tanya was excited by her work with Culture Amp. The team ethic is high for this business, who really are walking the talk when it comes to employee engagement and experience. Just like the football team who all celebrate their win, even though only one of them scored the final goal – perhaps it’s time we all shared in the benefits when each of us helps a new client on their customer journey.
Mary from Magnify shares - More inspiration from attending Wellington’s ‘Kiwi Landing Pad’ Sales and Marketing Jam, organised by the amazing John Holt and Sian Simpson!
Today’s blog is inspired by Lauren Vaccarello, VP Marketing at Box. A key building block to effective marketing - which leads to effective selling - is to define the Ideal Customer. Think carefully and ask yourself:
Lauren then made a very important point – ‘What constitutes an account you absolutely can’t sell to? I.e. – Who do you NOT want to sell to? Why?’
All businesses want to grow their sales and profits. Growing sales does not mean that we should go after every potential client. Some clients will exactly fit our ideal target customer persona, other will only meet some of the traits. In our haste to grow sales, we can sometimes forget that not everyone is our customer, and that some opportunities are better than others.
Start-ups especially need to focus their energies. How worthwhile is it to spend sales time with prospects who do not fit your ideal target customer? Each business owner and salesperson has to answer that question for themselves.
Consider this – each of us only has so much time, and often finite sales resources. Small and medium businesses need to think carefully about their sales and marketing expenses. To maximise ROI, we need to do some good hard thinking.
It’s worth going after the best opportunities – the low-hanging fruit.
Spending your sales and marketing budget, and energy, where your ideal target customers are, means that new clients will:
Spending your sales and marketing budget with clients who miss some of your key criteria, means that new clients may:
In short – if they’re not your ideal target customers, they’re probably going to be much harder work to win, to keep, to profit from and to enjoy partnering with.
Another great point Lauren highlighted is the importance of building ‘an integrated campaign that is everywhere your customer is’. Specifically – your ideal target customer. Think about these questions:
When you know the answers to these questions, you can work out how to effectively communicate your key marketing and sales messages.
Targeted sales efforts are always the most well-rewarded. Figure out who your ideal target is, where they are, what their ‘hair on fire’ customer problems are – then go after them! You’ll have much more fun working with them, and they’ll be so pleased that you found them!
Mary from Magnify shares - I was fortunate enough to attend the Wellington ‘Kiwi Landing Pad’ Sales and Marketing Jam, organised by the amazing John Holt and Sian Simpson.
There will be a few Magnify blogs coming out of this event, which was just full of innovative people and ideas. If you haven’t been, definitely get sorted for the next one!
Today’s blog is inspired by Samantha Wong, Partner at Blackbird VC, who among other things, posed the question – Are you solving ‘hair on fire’ customer problems?
Sam put it this way – If your customer’s hair was on fire, this would be the only thing they could think about. They wouldn’t be thinking about what to have for dinner, or a relationship break-up, or what colour to paint the kitchen. The problem of having their hair on fire would just eclipse everything else.
If you gave them a hose, they would use it to put the fire out. Phew – problem solved! If you gave them a brick, they would probably try to put the fire out by hitting their head with it. This is obviously not the best solution to the problem of putting out the fire in their hair – but in their desperation, they would even use an unrefined solution if the problem was urgent enough.
Putting that all into business language, Sam said ‘If they listed their top 3 KPI’s, what do they win or lose their bonus on?’
If your product or service is solving a problem which does not positively impact your customer’s top three KPI’s, then it’s not a ‘Hair on Fire’ problem. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem worth solving – just that your customer won’t have the same level of motivation and drive to purchase a solution to that problem. Which could affect the saleability of your product or service.
Sam also said that ‘Hair on Fire’ problems must be determined from the perspective of the person who is buying the solution – i.e. from your customer’s perspective, not from your own company’s perspective.
Sales has always been about solving customer problems, not just trotting out a list of features and benefits. Of course, there are many problems you could be solving. How do you choose which ones to solve for your customers?
Ask some key questions about your business:
Are you solving ‘Hair on Fire’ problems?
Are you solving problems which have less urgency for the customer?
Are you solving problems at all?
Are you looking for problems that your solution answers?
Go for the ‘Hair on Fire’ problems every time. Sales will be so much easier when you’re solving real problems that have a real urgency for your customers.
Whether you’ve created a fire hose or a brick (which you’ll keep developing until you get that fire hose!) – you’ll be a super hero to your customers!
Today in New Zealand it’s Waitangi Day. This public holiday marks the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Special commemorations are happening at Waitangi – our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has even received gifts for her baby! Many New Zealanders, aside from acknowledging the history of our nation, are thankful that we have an extra day off, and in the middle of the week too.
Where are you today while you’re reading this blog post? The weather is sunny and clear throughout the country. Many people will be at the beach, perhaps tramping in the bush, or catching up with friends. Some are on holiday, having taken Monday off to gain a four-day break.
What device are you reading this blog post with? It may not be a laptop, more likely it’s a mobile phone or even a tablet.
Our customers might be on holiday today, but they’re not on holiday from social media. Checking Facebook and LinkedIn is a hard habit to break for many of us!
Looking at the ratings from a post earlier today on LinkedIn – they're a little less than usual, but people are definitely checking their social media. If you’re not posting today on social media, well - you should be! Here are some thoughts about how you can leverage this for your business.
If you’ve missed posting today – start planning for Easter! With four days off work, your customers will most certainly check their newsfeeds. If you don’t want to or simply can’t write your own blog posts, social media posts or articles, outsource your writing. You have just over 7 weeks to go. Make sure you’re found on social media for that next holiday period!
What is your top challenge in Sales in 2018? According to this Gartner Report, 25% of respondents identified new customer acquisition as the top challenge for Sales Leaders in 2018.
Reading further through the Gartner report, 80% of respondents listed ‘improving sellers’ skills and enablement’ as their top initiative by importance and leadership confidence in execution.
We’re living in an age of inbound customers, delivered to us on an email platter, garnished with tasty data telling us exactly what it would take for them to buy. It is so easy to reach customers. Some would say it’s never been easier. So why then do sales leaders report that their top challenge in 2018 is new customer acquisition?
Another question - With the latest training so easily accessible from our desktops, why are salespeople in such urgent need of training?
Perhaps the time that we’re living is the source of these challenges. Many businesses are so distracted by generating inbound leads that they forget some vital statistics. Like the fact that only a very small percentage of visitors to your website are ready to buy right now. Read this blog by HubSpot, where they put the figure of website visitors who are ready to buy at just one per cent!
Make no mistake – the one per cent of total website visitors who are ready to buy are most definitely worth spending time on.
However – what about the remaining 99% who are not yet ready? How do you bring them in so that they become your customers? The automation software that is available to help you progress these website visitors on their journey to becoming customers is a huge help to your sales team.
Sticking with these prospects on their journey to becoming your customers will require a lot of love and a lot of patience. That’s right – you’ll need to nurture them.
Sales is all about building positive and profitable client relationships. Emphasis please on building. It takes time to build something worthwhile. Sometimes, the best customer relationships, those long-term customers who absolutely love what you do and will never move, take some solid time to build up. Along with your content marketing, social media and any automated sales processes, customer relationships can also benefit from some old-fashioned care in the form of telephone calls, visits and even snail mail.
There’s so much noise for your customers, so many emails to navigate through each day. If you’re serious about succeeding in new customer acquisition in 2018, when you’re looking to improve your ‘sellers’ skills and enablement’ in order to deliver on this goal – be sure to look for ways that you and your team can stand out to your prospective customers.
Getting paid. If you're in business, this is definitely something you think about. Yet no-one really talks about it. Good sales processes will help you to get paid, without detracting from your client relationships. There's no need to be desperate like Jerry Maguire (if you need reminding about this great movie from the 1990’s – watch Tom Cruise in the famous ‘Show Me the Money!’ scene here). You and your business really can have positive and profitable client relationships.
As salespeople and/or business owners, it’s our job to move the needle for the businesses we represent, to form good client relationships, close deals, hit targets and make quota. This activity results in money moving from one business bank account to another. This means getting paid.
One of the most topical articles on the internet last week was written by David Cormack of Draper Cormack Group, a Wellington-based PR and communications business. David wrote in The Spinoff about the challenges that SME’s, particularly the smaller businesses, can often face in getting their invoices paid. In our interconnected world, when one business is challenged, this can have a flow-on effect across our entire business community.
I vividly remember the first time I was personally impacted by a client not paying. It was my first full-time sales role, selling advertising space for the late, great Capital Times newspaper. Yes, we are talking last century! I was keen as mustard but also green as grass. As a commission-only rep, if the client didn’t pay for their advertising, I didn’t get paid. One client did not pay his invoice for two months or more.
‘Ring him up yourself and get him to pay!’ said my manager.
Ouch! None of us likes making those type of calls. Sales is all about creating a win-win with happy clients and everything going well. How stressful to have to call this man and talk about a late payment!
During the telephone call, I tried to diffuse the situation with a bit of humour.
‘Look, I could be facing a winter stuck in a Parisienne garret!’ I said.
‘Well it might not be so bad’, said the client. ‘It all depends who you’re stuck with!’
His response surprised me. Would he have said that to a man? Probably not, but then in the early 1990’s we didn’t really question as much as we do now. I quickly ended the call. Thankfully he paid soon after.
It’s 2018. We’ve come a long way. Email, automation, software like Xero and all its add-ons – here to take the pain out of managing your business and your accounting.
So, what do you do, especially as a SME, if you’re waiting for an invoice to be paid? We’re not talking about being a few days late – the timeframe that David Cormack wrote about is 60 days or more.
Short of doing a Jerry Maguire – it can be hard to know exactly what to do in this situation.
With any business challenge there are always three options:
If you’ve read this far, I assume you’re in the third category.
Sales Processes are an important place to start. As part of our service, Magnify helps clients to look at their sales processes, so essentially, we’re talking about money and how to grow it for a good part of the day.
Everyone in your sales team, whether your team is large or small, needs to get comfortable talking about money. This doesn’t have to be difficult – get further sales training if necessary.
Here are some steps that you can take to encourage payment for your business efforts:
Happy New Year! Are you ready to grow sales and grow your business in 2018? Check these ten tips to get started:
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me -
twelve proposals winning,
eleven reports convincing,
ten reps a-selling,
nine products launching,
eight sales a-closing,
seven phones a-ringing,
six leads a-growing,
five new clients,
four press releases, three sales strategies, two hot coffees
and a sales consult with Magnify.
Are you committed to breaking through with your sales and marketing material? I'm sure that's a 'Yes'! Do you take the time to brainstorm perfect headlines that will appeal to your ideal customers? It’s amazing how many business owners have never even considered the importance of perfecting their sales email subject headlines.
Your customers are incredibly busy. Many of them will already be receiving 80 to 100 or more emails each day. You need to give them a compelling to choose to open your email, out of all the others in their inbox which are screaming at them for attention.
A good email subject headline can make the difference between your sales and marketing campaigns flying or frying. That’s because the true of a successful email campaign is sales results – which often start with your customer clicking through into the email.
The ideal headline grabs attention and piques customer interest enough to get them to click into the email and start reading. You need to tell them what’s inside without telling them everything that’s inside. In other words – keep them curious enough to click through by not giving away everything.
Think carefully about your target market. What are the pain points that your product or service will solve for them? Your email subject headline should act like a hook to draw them into your sales process.
Keep your email subject headline short and sweet. As Albert Einstein said – ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough’. Opinion varies as to the optimal number of characters – it could be less than 50 characters, or as many as 65 characters. Here at Magnify, we like to aim for 4 to 6 words for our email subject headlines. We want to catch the reader’s attention and draw them into reading our email.
Here’s a great list from HubSpot, outlining several ways to perfect your email subject headlines. One point they raise is to personalise your emails subject headlines. This can work beautifully. Or it can backfire if you’re writing subject headlines for a more conservative audience who prefer a little more formality. Knowing your audience and writing the email subject headline in a voice that resonates with them will give your campaign the best chance of customer engagement.
To achieve true customer engagement, you also need a call to action in your sales email. Is there an offer with a deadline? If so – tell your customers. Creating a sense of urgency, while demonstrating the value of your offering is a sure way to bring in the sales. And yes, if your email is well-written and sent to the right people, they will write back to you!
It’s often a good idea to brainstorm with your sales team, and to have a selection of email subject headlines. Try them out, in different situations, to determine which headlines work (and to remove any that don’t!). If you send some emails with a headline that has little or no engagement, the good news is that at least you know what doesn’t work. The great news is that you can perfect your subject headline and send them another email next quarter, and probably achieve more customer click-throughs as a result.
Journalists have excellent headline writing skills. Check out this headline from SmartCompany, which really grabs the reader’s attention. It's just a fraction longer than recommended, but the hook is so good that it doesn't seem to matter.
Remember the reason you’re writing email subject headlines – to connect with your ideal customer, and draw them into the sales process with you.
How well are your email subject headlines breaking through into sales for your business?
Getting people and businesses excited about Sales.