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In marketing, the importance of strategy cannot be understated. An excellent tool B2B companies can use to turn leads into sales is the marketing funnel. A funnel is a useful tool that can help you and your business guide your prospects through a sales process that converts them from leads to clients.
At Ajax Union, we like to visualize our funnel in three parts:
- TOFU or Top Of Funnel: The top of the funnel process includes building awareness and educating your leads. After sparking interest with landing pages and lead magnets, you prime and educate your prospects using a variety of assets like buyer guides, how-tos, answers to frequently asked questions, industry tips, and so forth.
- MOFU or Middle of Funnel: Once your leads have generated enough interest, it is key to convert that interest into consideration and trust. Businesses can build trust with their leads by providing case studies, testimonials, infographics, and statistics. Showcasing this credibility is what will take them to the next step.
- BOFU or Bottom of Funnel: Here your prospects have garnered enough interest and trust to become clients, and it’s where you continue to keep your current clients engaged with brand personification. B2B marketers build brands with experiential elements, core values, culture, and customer success stories
How To Get Started Building Your Marketing Funnel
Before creating a successful funnel, you first have to identify your target audience. Once you understand your audience’s needs, you can begin to craft the appropriate language needed to engage them.
Once you know who your business’s target audience is, you can begin strategizing. When strategizing, it is important to consider what your business goals and priorities are.
At Ajax Union, we perform workshops to help businesses design their strategy and marketing funnel. Here are some useful points Ajax Union can clarify for your business:
- Buyer Personas: who your target audience is, what they do, and what they need
- Brand Messaging: the messages your target audience needs at each stage of the funnel
- Brand Experience: the specific attributes your company wants the audience experience
- Unique Value Proposition: what makes you stand out from your competitors
- Goals: what your business would like to achieve
- SWOT Analysis: what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are.
To learn more about how Ajax Union can help you generate leads and referrals for your business using marketing funnels, click here.
HOW TO RETAIN YOUR AMAZING SALES TALENT:
Here’s the most important thing you’ll read all day: HIRE WELL. Follow our steps above to qualify your candidates thoroughly before onboarding them. After you’ve found The Next Larry, here’s how to get him to stay:
- According to Entrepeneur.com: A great way to keep your office “sticky” is to offer training. Ajax Union offers training across all areas of digital marketing. Why? If salespeople feel like they’re growing and gaining, they’ll stay far longer.
- Pay employees well. Don’t be cheap. Pay grade should be based on skills, experience, industry demand for their position, and your geographical location (if you’re NYC based, you’re gonna have to help them make rent). Seniority should count as well.
- Provide great benefits and incentives: insurance and bonuses are a must in today’s workplace.
- Promote your open culture. A salesman should never be afraid to admit that they screwed up. It’s better to tackle problems before they become disasters…and employees feel safer.
- Offer flexibility in working arrangements. Telecommuting options are almost ubiquitous.
- Want to know how to kickstart your new retention strategy? Call in each member of your team and simply ask, honestly, how you could be a better employer. Let the fascinating conversation ensue.
OK, THIS NEW LARRY ISN’T DOING GREAT. DO I FIRE HIM, OR GIVE HIM MORE TIME?
According to the Rainmaker Group, here are some warning signs that may indicate it’s time to kiss “New Larry” goodbye.
- You think about their inadequate performance for more than 15 minutes a day.
- You ‘ve mentioned this person’s issues to people in your personal life. Like, your wife knows about this guy’s signature whine.
- You tried coaching this person and you’re getting nowhere.
- You get the vibe that they don’t like you. = awkward.
- They bash the company, you, or fellow employees behind their back. No no NO.
- If you ask yourself: would I hire “____” again, and the answer is no.
- But what if I really like New Larry as a person? I don’t want to hurt him! Look around the office… maybe there’s another seat they can fill? If not, you’re doing them a favor by setting them free from a position they can’t succeed in.
WHAT COMMON MISTAKES DO BUSINESSES MAKE WHEN RECRUITING?
- Simply put, your looking for the wrong things. Listen, charisma is important, but it has to be backed by skill.
- Another common mistake: businesses neglect their presence on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Social Media comments, etc. People really do their research these days – can YOU afford to have a scathing review from an employee you burned on your Facebook page?
- Another mistake: the company interview process is weak. Are you looking out for the right things (see above!)?
- A good rule of thumb: would you want to grab a drink with this person? If not, then neither will your potential customers.
WHY IS SO HARD TO FIND TALENTED SALESPEOPLE?
Firstly, talented salespeople are not RARE, but definitely not easy to unearth on your first shot. Yes, a lot of superstars are swept up by major corporations who can afford to pay them the big bucks, but you have to look for the right sales qualities, not just the right sales resume. Someone who’s new to the game can have the fire to sell what others wouldn’t: as long as they’re a constantly growing, passionate, empowered team player.
CAN YOU RECOMMEND A SOME GREAT WEEKEND READING ON THIS TOPIC? SURE.
There’s an adage that we here at Ajax have coined after working with hundreds – if not thousands – of B2B enterprises whose sales teams keep them afloat: Always be recruiting. “But why?” You ask. I’ve got Brian, Chelsea, (insert your favorite sales guy’s name who hasn’t vacationed in 8 years, closes deals daily, and went prematurely grey…let’s call him Larry.) Larrys are great. We love Larrys. We’re going to tell you how to recruit, and more importantly, RETAIN more people like Larry. But wait, why should I be on the lookout for more Larrys (and more salaries to pay)?
Because three things are going to happen.
- Someone is going to be promoted. What if your CEO decides Larry should leave sales behind and become the CFO? It happens!
- Someone will resign/get fired. It may not even be Larry: if Larry’s best friend Cole leaves for your competitor, Larry might not be far behind.
- Someone may surprise you. If you meet some firecracker Millennial at a conference that fits the exact mold as Larry – and may even surpass him energy-wise – are you really going to turn him away because you’re “Not hiring?”
So you’re “sold”: you’re going to jump back on this recruitment train! Now, where do you begin? It’s time to take a deep look within your company’s soul. If you’re recruiting because Larry left, ask yourself: Why did he go? If you just fired your 5th salesman this year: what about your hiring process could be improved to ensure you don’t waste training dollar? Until you understand and concede to what you can be doing better, you’ll never get a great salesman to join your team – nevermind stay there.
WHERE TO FIND YOUR NEXT GREAT HIRE:
The same facts reign true across all areas of marketing, sales, HR, technology, etc.: nothing beats word of mouth. A good referral is worth hundreds of Craigslist applicants, so spread the word: you’re on the prowl for an awesome new Larry. Where else can you look? Recruiting agencies can be super-helpful…and super costly. Be sure you’re ready to make the investment. Online directories like Craigslist, LinkedIn, and Upwork are great places to start, but the candidates will need way more investigating. And don’t underestimate job fairs: give those newbies a chance! They may surprise you.
HOW TO ATTRACT AMAZING SALESPEOPLE TO YOUR B2B BUSINESS:
Ajax Union is always talking about the importance of establishing a UVP: Your organization’s Unique Value Proposition that sets your apart from the competition. But here’s what you might have forgotten: What is your Employment Value Proposition? Establishing a strong “Employer Brand”, is a concept created by Richard Mosley. In a nutshell: what is your organization’s reputation as an employer, aside from your general brand reputation? Here’s how to make it great again:
- Treat people right. This topic is an article in and of itself, but common sense will take you far. Treat people as you would want to be treated – simple as that.
- Make the benefits of working for your company known. This can mean a fun, exciting, culture-fueled Instagram, or a detailed “Why Work For Us” page on your site. Spread the word, and encourage your employees to do the same: this company is the place to be!
- Show them sales are an important part of your culture. Everyone wants to feel that they’re going to be appreciated!
QUALITIES TO LOOK FOR IN A SALESPERSON:
According to Inc.com. There are a few qualities that indicate a successful salesman, though not all of them are conventionally positive.
- A Hunter’s Mentality: Do they possess that hungry passion? Do they notice small details and only reveal their “key move” at the end?
- Predisposition to ADD: That frenetic energy is an AMAZING benefit for salespeople. Just ask them. Most people with ADD/ADHD are proud to reveal they possess that unique quality.
- The Discipline to Follow Up: Simply – did he email you after your first interview?
- Charisma: Ah, that intangible “special something”. If they got it, they got it.
- Resilience: Rejection is par for the course in this role. Can he/she handle it?
- Empathy: Salespeople sell to humans. Can they relate to people on a personal level?
- A Touch of Arrogance: It takes confidence to the point of arrogance to walk into meetings and sell your heart out. How’s their swagger game?
How do you put this investigation into practice? Read the quote that completely speaks for itself:
“I test a salesperson in every way possible before I hire them: I miss our scheduled phone call to see what he does; I ask him to give a presentation and sell our product during our interview; I email him and use an incorrect name to see how he responds; I reject him to see how he responds to rejection. My goal is to find out if the salesperson is truly tenacious and willing to close the deal.” –Jun Loayza, www.JunLoayza.com
RED FLAGS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN A POTENTIAL HIRE:
Forbes.com said it best (as they usually do): If they talk more than they listen, you can bet they’re not going to be “hearing out” your customer’s needs. Some more little notes to add to your “concerns” section of his review:
- Did he/she look sloppy? No one’s going to be sold on a slob. Their confidence level is probably not that great either.
- Did he/she dance around the hard questions? I.e. why do you want to be a salesman? Where did you learn your sales skills? Did you get along with everyone on your old team? Which brings us to…
- Do they play well with others? This may not be easy to spot. Stay safe and call some references. Or better yet, call those who worked with them that aren’t on their resume, and ask for honest feedback.
- Does he/she have the “Sales Passion”? If they’re just kind of ‘blah’, chances are they won’t perk up when they hit that boardroom.
Need help building your dream sales team? Ready to take the next step? Contact us at email@example.com so we can create a strategy that will work for YOU and your business.
The Secret technology solution to lower your B2B lead costs and close 12x more clients that only savvy marketers and sales pros know about.
Working with other businesses means that every single lead that you get has a high value. Businesses are able to spend much more than consumers when they are buying leads and the competition to generate leads is high.
B2B marketers and sales professionals need to use every tool at their disposal to increase the amount of leads they can squeeze out of their efforts in order to get a ROI that is sustainable.
Imagine you go to a conference or networking event and you meet dozens of people, have some really great conversations and you realize that many people are interested in learning more. You give out dozens of business cards and are sure that people are going to visit your website to get more information.
You look at your Google Analytics and see that there are dozens of people that came to your website. You just don’t know who they are because Google doesn’t give you that information. If you knew which companies were coming to your website you would be able to follow up with the people who actually took your card at the event and looked up your site.
With Ajax Union’s B2Bx Technology stack, you are able to see which companies are on your site and get the contact information for the people that work in those companies complete with email addresses. Now you know who you can prioritize following up with after a networking event or conference because you get a full report with the people who are engaged with your website.
Most B2B companies have a Quote page or Contact Us page that has a long form collecting and qualifying people before they bother your sales team. You look at your website statistics and notice that you have over 100 visitors to that page but only receive a handful of lead forms via email.
What are all those people doing? Imagine if you can see a video of what the prospect was doing on the form page? Imagine if you saw they started filling out the form but they didn’t know how to answer one of the questions so they just left. You might be able to reach out to them and provide them with the valuable information that they needed about how to use your services.
Ajax Union is able to show you a video of what people are doing on your website and you can then see if they stopped filling out forms, what pages each company is going to and what they are doing in general.
You just got off the phone with a client and you had a great call. The problem is that the client controlled the conversation and you were not able to get all the information about what they needed or what they were interested in. As a matter of fact, you got their first name and their personal Gmail address but you didn’t collect all their information about their company. You don’t even know how they found you because you were not able to ask.
Imagine if you can listen to a recorded version of the call, see what word they typed into Google to find you.
Imagine if before you follow up with this prospect you can watch a video of what they did on your site, before they spoke to you or while they were talking to you.
Imagine you can see what articles they read, what pages they visited, where they hover their mouse!
Imagine if you can see all that and a snapshot of everyone that works in their company complete with email addresses.
With B2Bx, Ajax Union makes all the information available to you so you can 12x the leads that you are getting and close more of the leads that are coming to your site.
We also get on the phone with you each month and give you B2B marketing insights that you can use to help grow your business with the traffic and referrals that you’re already getting to your website.
Are you ready to grow your business? Get a free trial of our solution today! http://b2bx.ajaxunion.com/request
No product or service is ubiquitous; consumers are unique and not all are going to coincide with what your company is offering. With that in mind, it’s important to stress your company’s individuality and seek out the “right” type of client or customer.You know they’re out there, but how do you find them? And more importantly, how do they find you?
Now that you’ve established who that perfect customer is, find out where they spend their time. Social Media has an outlet for just about everyone, so find out which channel your target market prefers. Facebook ranks as the world’s most popular social media channel (no surprises there) accounting for 71% of all internet users. It’s a great starting point — and one which allows you to target users by what their other interests are, or even to target friends of existing fans. Pinterest is preferred by women ages 18 to 49, and Instagram is popular with younger internet users, ages 18 to 29, and minorities. On all networks, interacting with brands, personalities, and groups your ideal customer is also likely to be interested in is a great way to improve reach.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
The first step in effective SEM is picking a set of keywords your customers will actually use. This means using language customers may type in looking for specific products — their jargon, not yours. SEM can also can target geographically, which is especially helpful for businesses targeting locally, such as restaurants, cleaning services, medical practices, and city or region specific non-profits.
Use your email to reinforce brand image and clarify product offers. To make sure your email list is focussed and targeted, provide a clear unsubscribe option — not just out of legal obligation, but to make sure anyone who accidently submitted a form or joined a list can get off you list of potential customers. Better yet, provide an option for less frequent emails to keep anyone who is interested, but doesn’t want too many updates.
Targeted content designed to attract your ideal customers is key. For example, for apparel or accessories retailers, a well-edited blog focussing on styles and trends on brand can be a great asset. If you’re Hot Topic, don’t write about pastels for spring–stick to content that truly reflects your brand. Create articles, infographics, videos and slide shares your ideal customer would want to see, even if they aren’t completely about your product. For example, a company that sells pet food can help find customers by creating pieces about pet grooming, training, and animal rescue to attract animal lovers and likely pet owners.
Online Press Releases are a great way to address consumer questions or concerns directly, and help attract consumers looking for specific information. For instance, if your brand has launched a line of sweatshop-free clothing, highlight your efforts in a press release to garner the attention of consumers looking for fair labor items.
As with SEM, productive, effective Search Engine Optimization begins with a set of keywords carefully chosen to fit the searches of your targeted audience. Try using Google Trends to key in on what words or phrases people are actually looking for. Additionally, make sure to audit and update your SEO frequently with new product offerings.
If you are a service provider, a brief form fill can help visitors self identify in ways which clarify whether they are a good fit. For example, if you service clients primarily on the east coast, a form fill asking what region the person is writing from can help you understand immediately who may be eligible for referral to another service.
When a potential customer for a service calls in, it’s also imperative to appropriately qualify them and make sure you are a good fit for each other. Questions about needs, budget, and timeframe will help you both determine when it’s a good fit.
As your business grows, make sure to check in with customers to see how they are feeling about your service or products. If you are are a service provider and a customer’s needs are no longer a perfect fit for your model, offer referrals or other options. Evaluate your business model to make sure it still is a fit for the kind of customers you want to service. A good fit means a win-win.
Need help targeting your ideal customer online? Contact an Ajax Union representative today!