Our LinkedIn Local Meet-Ups have been a huge success and we are stoked to keep ’em coming!

What the heck are they and why MUST you come to one, you may ask? Great questions. You are smart.

Let us put it simply. Here’s 3 reasons why our FREE LinkedIn Local Meet-Ups are a-m-a-z-i-n-g and you should come join us:

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1. You meet new, engaged B2B professionals who are also interested in always growing, developing, and learning.

2. You learn new things about LinkedIn, the fastest growing social media platform for professionals (here’s the stats!) Learn tips and tricks on how to use Linkedin and connect on a deeper level from the ultimate LinkedIn pro, Ajax Union’s CEO, Joe Apfelbaum.

3. Um, and free food. And unlimited beer at our Dumbo WeWork location. Also that.

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Simple, right?

It's just that simple gif

LinkedIn hosts more than 500 MILLION professional profiles, which means nearly an unlimited supply of potential network connections and job opportunities.

People do business with people that they like which is why it’s SO important to get your face out there and network in real life then keep that relationship going on LinkedIn!

We truly believe LinkedIn Local will change the face of networking events by combining top-level networking with the BEST practical and implementable LinkedIn practices.

Join us in our mission to maximize the platform!

See when the next LinkedIn Local Meet-Up is happening: www.ajaxunion.com/meetup

Check out the stats: www.ajaxunion.com/LinkedInStats
Join our LinkedIn Authority Blueprint webinarwww.ajaxunion.com/blueprintwebinar

Check out our very own Joe Apfelbaum, CEO of Ajax Union, on the Hard Corps Marketing Show Podcast – Episode 23!

 

“You have to be tactful in order to be impactful” – Joe

 

In this episode, Joe talks about his marketing tips for success and his wisdom toward what he does! As an author of two successful books, “Average Joe to CEO” and “High Energy Secrets”, Joe knows what he’s talking about. He emphasizes a winning strategy in this episode and highlights his serious “mojovation” tactics. Here are some things Joe goes over in his discussion:

 

  • The real difference between a winner and a “loser.”
  • The biggest component to marketing is TESTING! Always TEST to PROGRESS.
  • Patience is key when it comes to nurturing your leads. If you keep trying and keep marketing, eventually your break will come.
  • Don’t be self absorbed! Focus on adding value to other people’s lives.
  • Be smart and well educated about what you want to teach your consumer. How well your ability to educate is what will generate success.
  • Be a ROCKSTAR! Rockstars are authentic and true to themselves, that’s why people love them.

 

Be sure to check out the video here, and thanks for reading!

If you’re wondering why GDPR has been spamming your email, it’s simple: it’s necessary to know what it is. In fact, negligence to the new regulation may risk millions, even hundreds of millions of dollars!

GDPR, short for General Data Protection Regulation, is a new regulation in European Union (EU) law that gives people unprecedented control over the data they share with companies & businesses. Old data protection laws ran obsolete, as they were made in a time before massive amounts of sensitive information were stored by companies like Facebook & Google. The GDPR now makes it necessary for better clarity and justification of need for sensitive information and personal data. Simply put, businesses must tell you why they need things like your company name, or even your phone number, without the confusing check boxes and terms of service.

 

So, what exactly counts as personal data under GDPR? Personal data is any data that identifies you, such as:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Username
  • Location Data
  • IP Address
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Health Data
  • Political Standpoint

 

So why should this matter to you? Many companies outside of the EU that hold data from European consumers now fall under GDPR rules. Transparency is emphasized in this new regulation; hiding important digital information such as a change in policy or a breach is prohibited.  In some cases, to even continue to be emailed, companies must ask their clients for permission again. Stricter laws now make it so that, for example, in the case of a massive security breach, companies are to send you a notice of the breach within 3 days. Another impact of this new regulation is that people now have the option to see your own personal data in case of curiosity or worry, and in most cases even demand to be “erased from the system.” Companies that don’t comply with the GDPR may be fined up to 20 million euros ($24 million dollars), or 4% of their global annual turnover whichever is larger.

 

Here’s some steps for GDPR compliance:

1) Understanding the GDPR as a necessary regulation is key. Take time to understand the regulation and any actions needed. This will vary on a case-to-case level.

2) Separate the data you already have from GDPR risk to no-risk. Be sure to take into account any other risks, whether they be GDPR related or not. KNOW YOUR DATA!

3) The data with GDPR compliance risk must be attended to immediately. Classify data which falls under the category and plan what to do with it.

4) Be careful. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Consider sending subscription confirmation emails to your entire email marketing list, regardless of how that list was obtained.

 

The question still lies however how important is this? Well, no one really knows how the GDPR impact will turn out in 5, 10, or 15 years. However, after data breach scandals, the world has taken notice that times are changing and is now set to adjust. For example, when the Cambridge Analytica scandal saw millions of Facebook users’ personal data stored and used without their consent, the notion that old data protection laws were outdated was bolstered. Ultimately, the GDPR can be seen as a spark for a safer digital world, and the start of much more.

 

Thanks for reading!

If you’re constantly wondering why you have so many prospects that just aren’t closing or why you have a whole sales team but such a low lead conversion ratio, you might want to reconsider your current sales enablement process. Using sales enablement, you can improve your sales team’s productivity and start driving more revenue. You might be thinking:

What IS sales enablement?”  

Companies are increasingly spending more and more money on sales enablement as sales technology and processes grow more complex. Annual spending has risen past $66 billion. Research by Aberdeen has shown that sales reps at companies with best-in-class sales enablement strategies achieve 84% of their quotas, compared to 55% at companies with average strategies, and only 15% for laggard companies. Sales enablement can provide your salespeople with the tools they need to successfully engage buyers throughout the buying process. So what exactly is sales enablement?

It’s everything you need to help your salespeople sell more efficiently via the strategic use of people, processes, content, and technology. It might sound complicated but it’s actually pretty simple – it’s marketing and sales aligned to strategically work alongside one another.

You can have a whole dedicated sales team but without content, you’re not maximizing your efforts. Message consistency is vital to your organization and brand and sales enablement can power your sales team with high-quality, always on-brand content.

Examples of sales content include:

  • Customer case studies
  • Landing pages
  • Product demo decks
  • Lead magnets
  • Competitive intelligence briefs

Though technology can be a great asset to sales, driving sales growth can’t be accomplished with a single technology or process. Data, knowledge and understanding are the backbone of sales growth. Which message influences which purchase? How much influence does each message have?  A great deal of sales enablement has to do with tracking, measuring and reporting. If you don’t understand the links between your input and your results, your marketing will go to waste. Though sales teams often understand the significance of reporting the data they have, they don’t always possess the technical ability to create the reports they need.

Reporting needs vary from company to company but some common reporting needs are:

  • Activities logged by salespeople
  • Messaging delivered / generated leads
  • Reporting forecasting
  • Google Analytics + Adwords
  • Qualifying prospects

Another composing factor of sales enablement is lead identifying and closing. Are your leads a fit for your company? No matter how amazing your product and messaging are,  leads just aren’t going to close if they’re not a good fit. Oftentimes, companies have a host of leads but not nearly enough closes because they spend too much time trying to close leads that just aren’t a fit for their business. With sales enablement, leads are assessed and targeted based on how good of a fit they are.

A big offering of sales enablement is automation of your sales pipeline. This technology can include email automation, prospect automation via links to salespeople’s calendars in emails, and social content automation.

Lastly, sales enablement requires and encourages training. Sales people must know how to use the resources provided to them. Training is not a once and done kind of thing. It’s a process and strategy that will have to continuously occur in order for your business to scale. Sales enablement encourages your sales team to stay on top as products are bound to grow, messaging is bound to evolve and competitors are bound to enter your market.

It’s a lot to take in but once you begin tackling sales enablement from all angles, you can start accelerating sales productivity in ways you never have before and 10x your leads.

 

If you’re a business or website owner, you’ve probably heard one of the many acronyms and terms used to describe online advertising. “PPC”, “SEM”, “paid search”, “display advertising” or simply “paid media” are among the most common terms to describe sponsored content delivered via search engines and website pages across the web. You’ve seen banner ads while reading the news. You’ve probably clicked on ads in search results at one point or another without even realizing what it was. Online advertising is such a big part of our day-to-day lives that we barely notice it.

So what does this mean for you as a business owner, looking to leverage your website as a lead generation tool? It means that you have to have a presence on these advertising networks equal to or better than your competitors. Now, I’ll often hear something along the lines of: “I don’t have the budget to match my large competitors, but I want my business to grow. What can I do?”

The answer is actually quite simple: You don’t have to waste money targeting everyone –  like many of your competitors likely are. The key to success is to target only the right prospects. This strategy is called Account-Based Marketing. Many channels are involved in account-based marketing online, and PPC is one of them. There are many ways to leverage PPC in an account-based marketing strategy. Here are some tricks of the trade!

  1. Remarketing to your email list

 

Google Adwords allows advertisers to import email lists of existing subscribers to create what advertisers call “remarketing” campaigns. These campaigns are powerful because they allow you to choose at a granular level who will see your ads. Once a user is in a remarketing list, you can craft unique messaging, specific to that segment, highlighting a deal or promotion to drive them further down the funnel.

 

2. Understanding your current customers

Ok, so this one isn’t “ABM” per say, but understanding your current customers’ day-to-day pains and the solutions, or “gains” your business provides them is a crucial part of crafting messaging to new prospects. Understanding your current customers in order to choose keywords that will be relevant to your list of prospects is the key to success. Ask your current customers if you can interview them.

Want to bring more prospects into your funnel but don’t know exactly who they are? Try some of these techniques to build your prospect list while maintaining the core characteristics of your best converting customers:
3. Lookalike audiences on Facebook

 

Lookalike audiences are exactly what they sound like; audiences that “look-alike” or are similar to other audiences you currently have in your account. Say you have an audience that consistently performs well for your Facebook ads. Using this list, we can create a lookalike audience and Facebook will automatically find users that mirror the list’s demographic, psychographic, and purchasing characteristics. No more guessing which additional segments to target, Facebook rounds up a list of prospects for you!

 

4. Similar audience lists on Adwords

 

Similar audience lists are another powerful ad hack that many search engine marketers have in their toolkit. Similar to Lookalike audiences, the lists are built by Google based on the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your original list.  These lists can be applied to campaigns across the Google Display Network, Search Network, and even Google Shopping (the side bar featuring products that shows up when you search a purchasable product).

 

5. You’ve heard it a million times… Content is King

 

Many times marketers use this phrase to describe the importance of incorporating well-written blogs and social media posts into your marketing mix, but this idiom also applies to front-end products and sales collateral. What type of valuable content can your business leverage as a lead magnet? You likely already have content that you could easily re-purpose as a gated resource to get users in your funnel. Gated content means an email address needs to be entered to access the information.

 

Once you have this resource, use CTAs (strong Call-To-Action words, like Shop Now or Download The Guide)  and ad copy to promote it via paid channels. This increases CTR (the Click-Through-Rate, or how many people click your ad), traffic, and you guessed it – LEADS. Try crafting this collateral in such a way that you’ll weed out unqualified leads and only speak directly to your ideal prospect list.

Paid digital channels can produce quicker results than most online marketing channels. For this reason, many focus solely on PPC and forget that it is just one part of the marketing machine (albeit, a very crucial part). It’s important to keep in mind how your PPC initiatives play into the BIG picture and affect/support your other marketing tactics. Using paid channels to target hyper-niche segments of pre-qualified prospects is the best way to get the most out of your media budget.

 

Good luck!

 

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.

Great Salespeople Aren’t Born, They’re Hired: The Secrets To Hiring Top Sales Professionals by Joseph Miller

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.

  1. Someone is going to be promoted. What if your CEO decides Larry should leave sales behind and become the CFO? It happens!
  2. 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.
  3. 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 amazing@ajaxunion.com so we can create a strategy that will work for YOU and your business.

The Ajax Union company is thrilled to announce that we’re now an official member of the Forbes Agency Council!

The council is comprised of a select group of organizations that meet the defining criteria of quality, as determined by Forbes executives. We’re honored to be counted among the contributors to the esteemed publications produced by Forbes, and we look forward to publishing more top quality content on their platforms in the future!

Interested in joining us in this exclusive group? Visit the Forbes Council page to see if you qualify.

Want to work with our amazing agency so we can help you grow your B2B company? Contact us today!

 

There’s nothing like hearing a professional’s opinion, so we interviewed our Senior Graphic Designer, Kristille Junio, on her thoughts and tips on quality site-mapping. Kriztille has been site-mapping, designing, wire-framing, and optimizing websites at our office in Industry City since 2014.

 

What is information architecture? What’s an example of bad information architecture?

  • Information Architecture (IA) refers to a system where whatever content you’d like to feature is readable and logical. An example of bad IA in regards to web design and development is a site that lacks structure and organization. One instance of this might manifest in a site’s navigation. The inconsistency in navigation will hinder your users from understanding how to make connections within your site. A well-structured navigation ensures the users know exactly where to go for the information they need.

What are the top most important aspects of website architecture?

  • There is no one important aspect of IA; the goal of a good IA is to balance how you want your users to interact with your site and what you need them to do.

What do you hate seeing in a website?

  • Cluttered navigation – poor structure/language. If a site changes the location of the “contact us” page, to perhaps underneath the “about” top level navigation, that location may not be as obvious to the average user who has been trained to look for this specific item at the top-level tier.

What do you love seeing in a website?

  • I love seeing clean / polished site with a clear objective. Airbnb’s site for instance makes it very easy to book a place and creating a level of trust / credibility between the parties involved (The customer and the merchant) This is in part to a great UI.

What’s your favorite site-mapping tool?

  • Pen/Paper for initial iteration
  • Post-its work very well!
  • In terms of software: SketchApp, Adobe XD

Why is site-mapping important in 10 words or less?

  • Site-mapping is important because it clarifies and reinforces the goal of your website.

Thanks, Kriztille! Have any more questions about site-mapping for our design department? Leave a comment below. Looking to create a sitemap for YOUR next project? Reach out to us at amazing@ajaxunion.com, and let’s get to work!

You’ve just purchased land to build a mini-mall. What crucial step must take place, before you even pick up a shovel?

YOU NEED A BLUEPRINT.

Without a properly laid-out plan, your building is doomed to fail before you even begin. And what does this have to do with your website? We tend to eagerly jump into projects without proper thought as to what our goals are. By crafting a well-executed sitemap, you can ensure that your website’s design is practical, beautiful, functional, and goal-oriented.

WHAT’S A SITEMAP?

A sitemap is an outline of the basic layout and functionality of your website. There’s no right or wrong format to use when site-mapping, but there are a few crucial rules and regulations your design team should be cognizant of when site-mapping.

Most web designers will subdivide the site-mapping process into 8 stages:

1:  Decide on key priorities for your

Do you have the time, resources and availability to create a multi-dimensional site? Examine this honestly with your website team. Prioritize the degrees of functionality, beauty and interactivity of your website.

2:  Brainstorm your basic content

Have you ever written a pamphlet? A company guidebook or mantra? Aggregate all of your business’ content and come up with an overall picture of what you’d like you site to portray about your vision, values, and team. This step is where you ensure your Information Architecture (IA) is organized: meaning whatever content you’d like to feature is readable and logical.

3: Determine your primary navigation

The “Primary Navigation” of your site is the key to the map: most websites divide content into categories like “Home”, “About Us”, “What We Do”, “Projects” and “Contact Us”. These overall categories keep your website organized and readable. The lucky number of primary navigations is between 5-9 headers.

4: Outline your second and third levels of content  

Take each of your primary navigation categories and break it down further. For example, in your “About Us” section, you could have links to a “When we started” page, “Our vision and values” page, “Meet the Team” page, etc. Those pages can contain additional pages as well. In essence, this is where the “mapping” takes place.

5: Determine which utility pages are necessary

A legal disclaimer is almost always necessary, and additional utility pages are determined by industry. Work on these pages early on so they don’t hold you up close to your websites launch date.

6: Write notes/define expectations for each page, both functionally and aesthetically

Now that you have the content, decide on the User Experience and User Interface (UX & UI) you’d like visitors to have on your site. Write notes of what you’d like each page to feel like and what message it should contain.

7: Choose your design

This is the fun part: make it LOOK GOOD! Decide on a color scheme, logo, effects, and the overall feeling. Should the buttons be large or small? Should the images slide or shuffle? Do you want to add video? At this point, your website designer can already begin prototyping and wire-framing the site.

8: Rehash (ongoing)

Nothing is ever a finished product, especially continuously updated websites. A/B testing your site is a great way to determine the greatest UX for your visitors! Invite as many professionals and laymen as you know to review your site and give you constructive feedback. Keep perfecting it!