Tag Archives: marketing

3 Steps to Sales and Marketing Alignment

6 February 2017 smashdeck Comments Off on 3 Steps to Sales and Marketing Alignment Sales Growth

I have a unique perspective about sales and marketing alignment having worked on both sides of the table. Sales perspective is that marketing isn’t working hard enough to fill their pipeline and marketing thinks sales is lazy. It’s true. Just ask about any salesperson or marketer and they will tell you the same.

Instead of living in mutual dissatisfaction, try these 3 steps for sales and marketing alignment:

1. Set Expectations

Initially sales and marketing should define their buyer personas, together, not separately. A clear understanding of personas and ideal sales targets will lead to less frustration later on. There will be no squawking about unqualified leads from either team if personas and sales targets are mutually identified and agreed to.

Identify what a Lead, Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) are. There is often disconnect between sales and marketing teams about when a Lead should be converted to a MQL or what exactly happens when a Lead becomes a SQL. Define the process, draw out a workflow, and agree to it just as you have done with buyer personas.

2. Align Goals

Miscommunication is unfortunately the downfall of many relationships – sales and marketing included. Save yourself the grief and nip it in the bud. Marketing automation tools like HubSpot simplifies this process and communicates the advantages of marketing, specifically when it comes to desired outcomes.

sales-marketing-alignmentNext, marketing and sales should create a Service Level Agreement (SLA). A SLA is an agreement between the two teams on what leads marketing needs to produce to reach a sales goal. A SLA isn’t a contract. It’s a working document. It should be looked at, updated, and refined continuously.

The process of working together on results is sometimes more important than the results themselves. This especially is true in start-ups. I mean neither sales nor marketing understands how the pipeline will develop. As long as both teams are striving for the same goal – more sales, then the middle and top of the funnel will come into focus. Here is a link to a great article that discusses a framework for startup marketing effectiveness.

3. Close The Loop

Email Communication is a simple yet effective method to communicate with the sales team about pipeline development. HubSpot has a great feature for this. Marketing can trigger an email to sales once a prospect reaches a certain stage in the email nurture sequence. Regardless of the action sales takes next, email will keep the sales team in the loop about what marketing is doing to generate a pipeline.

Closed loop reporting is such an important step in defining marketing effectiveness that if a marketer is not closing the loop in today’s marketing automation world he is walking himself out of a job.

If you work in sales or marketing and your teams are not aligned, step up and take action!

Smashdeck is looking for sales and marketers who would like to be interviewed for its SmashUp Marketing Podcast. If you have a marketing campaign that you are dying to tell the world about we want to know. Learn more here.

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3 Simple Steps to Transform Your Website into a Lead Generation Machine

18 June 2016 Christina Hall 2 Comments Websites

Let’s face it not many companies have a big budget for website design projects that don’t lead to new revenue. Yet so many companies spend boat loads of money on website redesign projects every 2 – 5 years that net them nothing. Certainly stranger things have happened I know, but I am here to tell you there is a better way!

Traditional website design does not:

  • Convert buyers at all stages of the sales cycle.
  • Highlight your content.
  • Have an easy navigation menu.

Now think of the many ways a prospect can interact with your company: they can inquire about a product or service, they can call you, they can send you a general inquiry, or they can subscribe to your newsletter or download a content offer.

Is your current website converting your unknown website visitors to leads in all the ways a user can interact with your brand? It’s likely your website is not working this hard because many website design projects don’t focus on lead generation.

Keep in mind that most first-time website visitors are not ready to buy. Actually 96% aren’t ready to buy. Therefore, its important to focus your online lead generation efforts for buyers at all stages of the sales cycle.

Follow these 3 simple steps to turn your traditional website design into a lead generating machine.

Step #1 Map Out Your Buyers Personas

Dr. Jane

A deep understanding of who your buyers are is not only important for the foundation of the business but also for effective marketing. Selling a product or service to an unknown buyer is challenging. It’s even more challenging in online marketing if you do not know who your ideal customer is.

Luckily mapping out buyer personas is as easy as determining your most likely to buy customers, use historical data if you have it, and then understand their motivations, goals and challenges. If you are not sure exactly what drives your buyers you can select a handful of past clients to interview to uncover their specific persona.

Step #2 Build Your Marketing Assets

Owned media is the most important marketing asset a company can have. In addition to owning it, meaning it’s not leased or rented, you have something that never loses value over time. Hence the reason why it’s a valuable asset!

Just like building an art collection, building marketing assets takes time. It’s unlikely you will create your entire brand collateral and then stop. Every campaign you run online and offline will need its own set of assets.

You can lessen the content burden by focusing on content assets that are reusable such as evergreen case studies, newsletters and presentations.

Step #3 Always Be Iterating

I had thought about making #3 about improving the user experience. But that’s so played out don’t you think? Every website designer will talk up and down about the user experience of your site. However, I rarely (if never actually) heard a website design pitch that involved a reiterative process to improve the actual user experience. I mean after all the user experience is about the user, and designing for the user is not a project but a process.

Unfortunately many companies don’t have in-house resources to iterate, which is almost always why they can’t make adjustments until the next redesign. If this is you, instead of employing a website design company that thinks about your website as a project, on-board a company or a marketer with the ability to iterate until your website has achieved your growth goals.

To learn more about what your website needs to drive traffic, leads and sales, download our 25 Website ‘Must Haves”.

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Thinking of Creating a Separate Website for Content? Don’t.

6 June 2015 Christina Hall 1 Comment Content Marketing

Some brands like Thermo Fisher Scientific (www.acceleratingscience.com) and Medtronic (www.loop-blog.com) have developed independent content websites apart from their corporate website.

Why? Because community platforms that are branded as a separate content website are a sure fire way to drive user engagement in an unbiased manner.

For big-budget brands with tons of content, this makes sense. It’s a great place for them to publish their resources – skillfully marketing their brand without looking like they’re marketing.

However, most companies without a marketing budget the size of Texas already struggle to keep up with content demands. Adding another site or platform just adds a lot of unnecessary work to the mix. It’s a bad idea for this reason alone.

Yet there are even more reasons why you shouldn’t create a separate website just for content:

Reason #1 – Lack of Resources

Driving traffic, creating content and content distribution already add up to a full-time job. Deflect from your company website at all and suddenly you’ve created two very big jobs for yourself. And who really needs more work?

Reason #2 – Diversion of Traffic

Driving traffic to a whole new domain won’t do anything for your corporate website, except split your traffic. Spend online marketing dollars building your company website up, not diverting from it.

Plus, whenever you launch a new domain, you have to be aware of Google sandbox. Your new site will not be included in search results for several months. Keep SEO juices on your corporate website.

Reason #3 – Near-Zero ROI

Unless your brand is widely known, then branding a new website for just for community building will have – like zero – impact on your ROI. So, what’s the point? I’m sure you can find more effective ways to spend your marketing dollars.

There are some benefits to an additional content website. However, in most cases if your company lacks a strong, resource-heavy marketing mother ship, a content website is rarely a good idea.

If, for some reason, you can’t build on top of your existing corporate website, then look into creating a subdomain off of your root domain like this: blog.mydomain.com. At least this way your brand will stay intact.

For more information on how to optimize your existing website, schedule a free consultation with Smashdeck Marketing.

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Bye-Bye Traditional Sales Organizations

7 May 2015 Christina Hall Leave a comment Sales Growth

This post had to be written. The role of sales will never perish. However, the role of traditional selling will. Companies need sales people as much as they need a product or service. Sales is embedded into a company’s framework from day 1. Sometimes – a lot of times, it’s the founders doing sales and marketing to build a runway sufficient to hire a sales team. Selling is important but not in the way you think.

Traditional sales roles have been replaced. Traditional sales as seen in movies like Glengarry Glen Ross, Boiler Room, show sales as a numbers game. There has never been a time in history when buyers are more in control of the buying decision than right now. Many complex sales transactions require problem solvers and not Wheeler Dealers. A sales person could get away with being a Wheeler Dealer 20-years ago, but not today.

So what can traditional sales organizations do?

1. They can adopt new sales techniques.

One of the more important of these is to stop the sales pitch and start a conversation. Remember the buyer is in control now. And they are going to make decisions on their timeline and with a well-rounded education of what’s available to them. The sales landscape is flat and there is no hiding it.

2. They can work with marketing on generating new leads.

Marketing and sales have long been at odds. Since the buyer makes his or her own decisions now, why not have marketing help you qualify your prospects? This seems logical considering that marketing can get a buyer further down that sales funnel without ever picking up a phone. We do this at Smashdeck Marketing and it works.

3. Respect your time, respect the buyer’s time.

There is a term in sales called “next”, which just means on to the next prospect. Don’t waste time seeding prospects that have no intention of converting. As in point #2, rely on marketing to do this heavy lifting for you. Traditional sales would start and end the conversation, and everywhere in between. What if I told you that you don’t have to cold call anymore like its 1960’s. Life becomes better. Sales increase. Management is happy. Simple.

Adapt or die. I know it sounds harsh. But if you haven’t adapted to new marketing and sales techniques, you have probably already seen your revenue slipping, your market share eroding and your sales team becoming less enthusiastic about their role in the organization.


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Will it scale? Enter Smashdeck.

25 March 2015 smashdeck 5,186 Comments Business

About a year ago I started to wonder, what the heck am I doing in this freelance space? I love the idea of being a freelancer – work when I want, on the projects that I want. But then as my mind often does, it started to question my motives and the reason why I am still spending so much of my time building other people’s companies, instead of my own.

The rat race of the freelance world is the same as it is in the corporate world, just with less consistency in a paycheck, no health benefits, and instead of having one boss you have many. This rat race (at least for me) was one that seemingly had some upsides but lots of downsides. Worth noting: I deeply respect freelancing as a profession. An individual that can become a rockstar in their chosen field and charge lots of money for his/her service is hands down a very good place to be.

For me, I decided long ago that I just wanted to be a kick-ass marketer and screw specializing in email marketing, PPC or SEO. I know these fields well enough, mind you, but I don’t claim to be an expert. What I do know very well is lead generation. This is what I thrive in. If I am doing client work, I can’t spend my time on lead generation and vice versa. There was no “real” win and honestly I got burned-out.

Although my freelance consulting work has always been centered on lead generation marketing using inbound tactics, I decided to re-brand and create a compelling value proposition and also work in a team. Yes in a team! I need the collaboration that comes with working in teams. I work with teams as a consultant, but there is something to be said about working in a team. No company has ever scaled without building a team. I repeat, no company has ever scaled without building a team!

Smashdeck was hatched. Theresa Mills has been an integral part of this transition. She is Smashdeck’s Content Marketing Manager, and will head up content marketing efforts for the company and for clients. I will still focus on client work, but I will also be able to spend more time on business development and marketing for the company, with the addition of Jessica (our new marketing assistant) and Theresa.

[Tweet “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together. – James Cash Penney “]

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3 Ways to Create A Dynamic Website for Marketing

23 March 2015 smashdeck 5,100 Comments Websites

There is so much effort that goes into a digital marketing campaign that when it comes time to ‘pull the trigger,’ if your website or landing page is not optimized, all of the effort could be wasted. This is why you need a website for marketing.

I have run paid advertising campaigns that cost anywhere from $2 a click to $15 a click.  PPC can be an effective marketing tool – but not in its own right. This is just the first step in directing customers to your website. If your landing page and website aren’t designed properly, you’re going to lose those hard-earned leads.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Create a conversion funnel
A conversion funnel is just as the name implies: it’s the path a user takes to a “conversion” ie: a checkout, a completed inquiry form or a referral. Put yourself in the users’ virtual shoes and walk through the path you want him/her to take. If you want them to buy a product, start from the home page or on the landing page and continue (with clicks) to see what looks and seems logical. Sometimes an outside perspective is required. If you created the copy or design, you might not be objective when seeing through the eyes of the customer.

2. Use Landing Pages
Landing pages operate independently from a company’s website. They inadvertently drive traffic to your website and have an exit point that clicks through. The importance of landing pages is often understated. They are a channel for directing a customer down a strategic path and fulfilling a single goal. This keeps your customer from getting lost in the maze of your website and leaving out of frustration.

Landing pages can be created on a very low budget with software applications like Lander App orUnbounce and studies show they more than pay for themselves, increasing conversions up to 30%.

3. Anticipate traffic

Sometimes the expected outcome is overestimated but more often it’s underestimated. It’s best to prepare for the worst, which in our case would be an abundance of traffic (yes this sounds good, bad is actually bad if you’re not prepared for it). Say a company spends $300 to get 6000 unique visits to their site, each with the goal of buying a product. If your website’s not ready for this volume of traffic, you’ll create an incredible bad first impression and potentially lose scores of new customers.

No marketing campaign, website or landing page is perfect. The key is to learn from what you’ve done wrong, take the right steps in the future, and sit back and enjoy the new leads that come pouring in as a result of your efforts.

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