A lot of business owners I speak to have a huge passion for the business they are building, their product or service, and usually the industry they are in. Where they often fall short is how to generate demand for it and get engagement across potential customers. They sit and wait and hope.
I always say “Hope is not a plan.” And the sooner you get started on demand generation programs the sooner you’ll see the results.
You may have heard you need to produce some blog and get those live on your site. You may have never really considered the finer details of what to write about about where to place that on your site for maximum results.
Wow, we’re six weeks into 2019 and we still haven’t posted our annual “goals post”. We started this tradition in 2017, and we doubled down in 2018. We think it’s important to set goals, and to reflect on those goals.
The problem with goals is that they’re not rooted in the reality of the moment, they’re rooted in the perfect future that lies ahead. We’ve done a lot to mitigate this by setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound goals, and we check in on them four times a year (every quarter).
These are the goals that will define the next six months (through the end of June 2019) for NorthIQ.
Find more clients
We have figured out three niches that we can help significantly. Home builders, solar companies and technology companies. Through Manage Comics we can also significantly help Comic Stores. We should focus on those companies that we can best help.
Home Builders are being addressed with our Home Builder Demo website, our Solar Companies clients need a Demo Website, as do the Technology companies that we are targeting. We also have demo websites created for Comic Stores, and we need to link these to the current Manage Comics pages.
- Link Comics Microsites to Manage Comics by February 22, 2019 – COMPLETE
- Create Solar Company micro-site by March 8, 2019
- Create Technology Company micro-site by March 15, 2019
Use our own tools
We’ve been selling Sharpspring for about 6 months now, and we’ve done some great things with it, but we haven’t fully set up our own automation pages. We need to solve that problem quickly. Our goal right now is to get an Onboarding system in place for Manage Comics stores when they sign up, and put all existing stores through it over the next month.
- Build demo campaign for Homes contacts by February 22, 2019 – COMPLETE
- Build onboarding for Manage Comics stores by February 28, 2019
- Build demo campaign for Solar contacts by March 15, 2019
- Build demo campaign for Technology contacts by March 22, 2019
Continue content marketing
Content Marketing was the best thing we did in 2017, and we continued with it in 2018. Being seen as “thought leaders” is really important in our space, and showing the smart things that we do helps to explain to others what it is we do, and more importantly HOW we do what we do.
- 26 blog posts in 2019 (2 posts a month) for NorthIQ
- 26 blog posts in 2019 (2 posts a month) for Manage Comics
Invest in the business
We need to put some money into Manage Comics and help it to really pull ahead of the competition. We’re planning some POS incorporation with Square – which will put us in league with other players, but that will take a significant investment.
- Have POS specs completed by March 29 2019
- Have funding in place for POS work by April 19, 2019
- Begin working on POS project by May 1, 2019
Refine our Tools
We started out with just Basecamp for project management, but we’ve added some Jira tools to the arsenal. We need to refine, and revise what tools we use and how we use them. Basecamp is incredibly simple, but we may need some extra tools in order to hit our next milestones.
- Get Help desk running by March 30.
- Determine triage and routing rules for new requests by March 30.
- Service Level Agreements for all new work that is incoming. New work should not take priority over already prioritized and planned work by March 30.
At the beginning of 2018 we set out The NorthIQ Goals for 2018. Our business has a June year end, which means we technically were in 2019 by July…but for the purposes of the blog we consider January 1 – December 31 2018 to be the calendar year.
We set a number of goals to hit, and for the most part we did quite well, but we didn’t achieve all of our goals…and part of that might have been that we were being too aggressive, while some of it can be due to the fact that as a fairly new business we are still figuring out how to optimally do things. Our philosophy so far has been to build things, refine them, and then figure out how to do them repeatedly. We’re doing a great job at building and refining, we’re now in the phase where we need to repeat them.
Craig and I have both worked for companies that dogmatically stuck to unrealistic, aggressive goals. Sticking to goals despite logic dictating that they no longer make sense demotivated us, and didn’t encourage us to do our best work. In a number of cases we actually did the wrong thing in order to hit an unrealistic target to please “the powers that be”. One of the things we’ve decided with NorthIQ is that we would do the right thing even if it goes against our business goals.
A good example came in the summer when we realized that in order to hit our goal of 52 blog posts in a year, we would have to post things that we weren’t convinced were good. We chose instead to put the blog on hiatus for a month to build up a good backlog of posts, and we finished the year out strong with some of our best posts. (more…)
We’re reflecting on what we did in 2018, and later this week we’ll be planning out 2019. As part of our reflections, we’re looking at what we did well in 2018.
One of the things we are most proud of is our blog posts, this year we’ve been publishing things that we believe in, and we’ve been building out stories that mean a lot to us.
How losing a promotion was the best thing that happened to me
In the fall of 2015, Craig was looking to get a promotion at work. He had worked hard, he had been in the company for nearly a decade, and he had fundamentally changed the way that marketing was done in the organization. When he was denied a promotion, he realized that he needed to take matters into his own hands. He sat down with Brian for a week and created a product called “The Kickstart Guide to Marketing”. This post outlined that process, and launched a brand new product called How to Create a Free Marketing Automation System.
Measuring Your Website: What You Should be Looking For
In 2018 we launched “Hot Buzz”, and in our first episode we talked about effective ways of measuring your website. For the follow up blog post, we went in depth on what you should be measuring, and how you know that your website is effective.
The NorthIQ 3i Formula
In 2018 we changed the focus of our business. We realized the thing that we do better than anyone else is find new leads and nurture them to sales ready status. To do this, we use a formula that we call the 3i formula, and in this blog post we broke it down in depth.
Five Signs You Need Marketing Automation
As we got more comfortable with our value proposition, we started noticing patterns with our clients. Not everybody needs a marketing automation system, but there are very clear markers when you do. This blog post outlined five signs that will give you some pretty big indicators that you need to invest in some marketing automation.
4 Simple Behaviours That Will Make Your Digital Marketing Better
Want to know a secret? Most marketing doesn’t work, in this post we looked at 4 simple behaviours that will make your digital marketing instantly better.
The 5 Basics of a Successful Digital Content Strategy
Our marketing automation systems work like magic, but they need content. We looked at what we were doing with our real life clients and how the journey maps out. Our biggest insight is that our automation systems are an engine, and content is the fuel to that engine. Making sure that the content fits the buyer’s journey, and continually answers questions makes the entire system better.
Hot Buzz Episode 4 – Adrian Biljan of Sensus Crypto
In 2018 we launched “Hot Buzz”, which is our show about marketing and chicken wings. Through the four episodes of our first year we talked with a number of different people about a variety of things. Every episode got a little bit better, but we think our fourth one was the best one so far.
Manage Comics Featured in London Inc
My personal favourite post of 2018 was the announcement that we are featured in London Inc. Earlier in the year Craig told me to go “Make a Ruckus”, so I reached out to a number of local news outlets. Now that we have this one piece under our belt, I’m going to continue reaching out to other news outlets to get even more coverage for the cool things that we are doing.
The definition of LOW KEY is “Not elaborate, showy, or intensive; modest or restrained.”
The definition of SALES is “The exchange of a commodity for money; the action of selling something.”
What happens if you combine the two?
People think selling requires them to be pushy and aggressive. Or that if they give clients enough information about the product or service they are offering, they will break down and make a purchase.
In order to take your sales career to the next level you need to involve some low key selling. It will involve developing the ability to lead people with questions rather than push them with facts.
A successful sales person knows the best way to sell something is not to sell it.
Ask Questions and Listen
They have a problem – you have the solution. Think of it as being a doctor. You listen to your prospect about what they need or want -their pain points and concerns – and then you introduce your product or service as the answer. If you’ve done your job in listening, and the fit is right, you will be able to show how your solution solves their pain points.
Educate and Differentiate
Did you know 75% of business people say they resent a brand if they send too many “marketing” emails? So how can you stay in regular contact, and get your message across, without it coming over as a constant sales pitch?
Offer free information. Offering free information that can add value to a business and is relevant and current is getting your foot in the door.
Educating your audience is a non-threatening way to get your messages across and create a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.
Educate customers about how your product or service can help, and it will differentiate you from your competitors.
You can also provide valuable information for their industry. If you’ve done several interviews of other people over time and have some insights into things that were successful for them, create an email around that topic and send it out.
It’s also essential that you offer differentiated, customized, value-added solutions that meet your clients’ specific needs. The ability to customize solutions differentiates your company from competition and allows you to charge premium prices for your products and services.
We don’t know if Bob at the home store has actually ever slept on that ‘One of a kind, sleeping on a cloud’ mattress. But you better believe he’s going to make us think he owns 5 for each member of his family back home.
Selling is about transferring the passion you have for your product or service into the heart of a prospective customer. Passion changes perspective. Facts inform, but passion moves.
- Take pride in your product
- Let your passion show
- Believe in yourself
Selling is about solving customers problems. Your prospective customer may be aware of these problems, or you can bring these problems to their attention. No client wants to engage with you unless you can help in some way. Listen to your clients and understand their pain points.
This will allow you to customize a solution that involves your product. Rather than selling, your job is now problem solving.
Talk about benefits, how this will solve a pain point that you discovered by listening. Do not focus on features, what my product will do.
Low key selling is all about making the sale about the person on the other end of the conversation.
Features are all about you, they are you saying “look how smart we were, we already built that cool thing that you might not even need.”
Benefits are all about them, you can address their pain points and say “yes, we can improve your ordering by eliminating errors and showing you exactly how many items you need to order”.
Once you have provided all the information, still steer clear of the sales pitch. Instead, direct them to your website to a free download, and offer a phone consultation with no obligation.
Establish yourself as a trusted partner. By offering free information and advice to your potential customer, they will think of you when they need help or when something changes in their current situation.
Do what you love.
Ryan McFadden of Revival Renovations told me about the “Tea and Cookies Meeting” a while ago. Most business these days can be done by email and phone. In the renovation business you need to see the space, get measurements and make some choices. Then nothing happens for 4-8 weeks as things are built, cut, and prepared.
During this quiet time, he makes a point of having a brief face-to-face meeting with the client where he updates them on the status of the project, and there’s usually tea and cookies. (more…)