Account-based selling

In the B2B market, it’s usually a group of people who decide on the purchase. On average, there are 5 to 7 decision-makers within a single organization. If you want to close the deal, you need to manage all these high-value accounts at once. 

This where account-based selling comes in handy.

What is account-based selling?

Account-based selling (ABS) is a sales approach of treating the client organization as a market of one. This strategy evolved from account-based marketing, which is pretty much the same for key account management, with the only difference of bringing marketing and sales strategic collaboration to the fore.

The account-based selling model implies a cross-department collaboration. In most cases, it refers solely to sales and marketing, but comprehensive ABS requires production, R&D, finances, and executives involvement as well.

How to set up an account-based sales model?

A well-designed ABS model takes time but always pays off. It covers 4 strategically important areas:

1. Ideal Customer Profile

The ideal customer profile refers to your company’s most valuable client (company, not a person!), either potential or already existing one. This term is a counterpart to buyer persona, although the latter is more relevant in the B2C market.

Ideal customer profile and buyer persona examples (Source: Hubspot)

In ABS, buyer personas may be developed to describe individual stakeholders that make up your ICP. 

Coming up with an ideal customer profile is tricky, as it consumes time and money to get corporate processes on track. And if you end up targeting the wrong profile, your business would miss a lot.

You can define your ICP with the 5 input-data flows:

Experts’ pieces of advice.

Sales reps who contact clients directly know them like no one else in your organization and have the most useful insights. When arranging a strategic session, make sure to invite all team members to prevent one-sided information.

Data from the internal CRM.

Corporate database management systems are a staunch ally of every business. If you want to come up with the ICP data, don’t request expensive market research. Simply start with inner CRM data instead. 

Pay attention to major metrics, such as average sales, revenue, and profits in terms of different accounts. Analyze data, enhance it with meaningful insights, and the ICP masterplan will be in your hands. 

After all, 74% of companies claim that CRM software is crucial for getting customers’ insights, so why don’t you try it out? 

Firmographics & technographics.

Use firmographics to monitor leaders and outsiders. Consider clients’ revenue, financial performance, market share, stock price dynamics, etc. Analyze technographics to see what technologies your ICPs use: hardware, apps, systems, or platforms. This will help you segment your clients, ensure better personalization, and define the customer journey.

By the way, you can use various technology checker software to find what tech your prospective clients use. Snov.io has such a tool, too!

Ideal customer profile and buyer persona examples (Source: Hubspot)

Trigger events.

Monitoring what happens on the client’s side is a good practice for those who strive for better customization. Noticed that your ideal customers are actively launching space shuttles? Well, perhaps it’s high time you consider manufacturing spaceship casing or spacesuits.

Calculated predictions.

What’s good about big data — it can be used to predict and forecast. Probability, game theory, mathematical modeling, econometrics — use these methods to process information and bring your ICP’s accuracy to the next level.

2. Customers’ stakeholders

Although ABS is all about selling to accounts, individual buyer personas or stakeholders within the client’s organization shouldn’t be neglected. Focus on them to timely prevent or reduce the number of unclosed deals.

3. Communication

Product development and selling require many people to be involved in the process at a time. Due to the information asymmetry, there is an out-of-sync threat within the ABS team. This, in turn, can go as far as misleading the client, in case the communication is carried out via several channels at a time. 

4. Average sales cycle

If your sales are sporadic or one-off, implementing ABS may be ineffective due to one-time costs to launch all processes and hire executives. 

Account-based selling metrics

ABS is powerful only if it works out and brings results — the revenue. When assessing its efficiency, keep in mind the following metrics:

1. Engagement rate

This can either be measured regarding advertising or selling activities. For example, if you conduct A/B testing for a website’s content, engagement can be calculated as the number of new users who have clicked on the CTA.

A/B test example (Source: Learn Hub)

2. CTR

The click-through rate metric is most relevant in digital marketing campaigns. It’s calculated as the ratio of the number of clicks to the overall number of impressions. The better you identify the company’s ICP, the finer targeting will be. The better you target, the higher the CTR. It’s simple.

3. ASP

The average selling price metric makes sense if comparing two or more accounts to each other. Calculate ASP for established deals and disclose what ICPs bring the most profit. Use this information to fill in gaps or prioritizing. Think as a waiter: focus on the most promising tables and spread the remaining time between “just tea, please” clients.

4. Conversions

How many physical purchases did you get from promotion expenses? The conversion rate is the ultimate proof that the ABS strategy has worked out. If you hired a Hollywood director to film the YouTube ad but got a tiny amount of purchases from target accounts who watched it, the strategy has failed.

5. Customer CLV

Converting the ideal customer requires both money and time. So, as soon as you do that, make sure you do everything to increase their average customer lifetime value through nurturing long-term customer relationships. Keep it under the radar: monitor competitors and trends, offer new services and be on-hand when it comes to meeting client’s needs.

6. Churn rate

Churn rate is the percentage of subscribers who discontinue their subscription to a service within a given time frame. For example, you know that 2 out of 10 clients cancel their subscription plan within 2 months after they buy it. A 2-month churn rate is hence 20%. 

Normally, the audience growth rate exceeds its outflow. Otherwise, it’ll take years to get the payback.

Email drip campaigns

Wrapping up

Account-based sales require extensive work with data. Plus, it might be troublesome when you try to establish cross-department cooperation for the first time. However, if you manage to get through the transition, you’ll get to the next level of the business approach. Besides, many competitors have already done it, so why not try it out?

Chatbots

Do you want to grow your audience reach and build an effective sales funnel at the lowest cost? If you haven’t worked with chatbots yet, then it’s time to do it. This tool will help you boost the number of leads by keeping in touch with existing and potential customers 24/7.

Chatbots respond instantly, provide hundreds of different communication scenarios, and give relevant responses. They allow you to reach a fundamentally new level of virtual communication with prospects.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a program that simulates a human-like conversation with a user. It lets you communicate using text or audio messages on websites, messengers (Facebook, Slack, Telegram, etc.), mobile applications, or by phone.

Chatbots can be as simple as rudimentary programs that give a one-line response to a simple request. Or they can be as complex as digital assistants that learn and evolve as they collect and process information, thereby increasing their level of personalization.

You’ll definitely find something that suits your needs!

What are chatbots used for?

  • Chatbots for customer service: Many companies use chatbots as the first point of contact when customers need help, e.g., to show how to navigate their websites easily, answer simple questions, and direct people to the right contacts.
  • E-commerce chatbots: Retailers and telecom providers use chatbots as an additional channel to interact with their customers. A bot is needed to guide clients through a linear process flow to execute requests or transactions.
  • Virtual chat assistants: Personal assistants such as Siri, Cortana, and Alice have become popular because their benefits are readily available for customers to use in their everyday lives. With their help, people can quickly get information, plan their schedule, and interact with smart home features.

Benefits of chatbots in sales

What is a business chatbot in simple terms? It’s a powerful CRO tool that will bring you new customers, help you retain old ones, and create a good sales environment.

High engagement takes place due to the fact that chatbots don’t spam. This is a confidential dialogue between the client and the company with the consent of the former. Moreover, many brands support an informal chatbot style, which makes it even more comfortable to use.

The main advantages of chatbots:

  1. Quality interaction. The program allows you to personalize content for each user. They receive only the information they’ve requested.
  2. Low budget. A chatbot is a one-time investment with no further staff costs.
  3. Measurability of data. It’s easy to track content delivery and user involvement in the program. The bot also allows you to segment the audience and collect customer feedback to improve services.
  4. Lead generation and warming up of leads. Chatbots can work with the audience at all stages of the sales funnel. Even at night when real managers are asleep. They also help cut ties with difficult, time-consuming clients.
  5. Additional features. By gradually expanding the functionality, the company can attract a new audience. For example, an additional interface language provides access to international markets.

How to improve the efficiency of a chatbot?

  • Come up with a name for the chatbot and put a logo to attract users to the program.
  • Pause between messages. This simulates human typing.
  • Suggest buttons with answer choices to make it easier for the user to conduct a dialogue.
  • Use polite opt-out options.
  • At the end of the conversation, use phrases that will encourage your clients to turn to chatbots in case they need help.

5 best chat widgets for website

Before proceeding to the list of the best chat widgets for a website or social networks, pay attention to these selection criteria:

  • Free trial period (to choose the tool that will be the right fit for you),
  • Connection to CRM to save and organize customer information,
  • Functionality,
  • Ability to set up a robot that will replace the consultant for some time,
  • Smartphone version,
  • Possibility to connect instant messengers and social networks,
  • Price and variety of interface languages.

#1. 13chats

13chats is an all-in-one online service you can use to create your own chat widget on your website and Facebook page.

13chats

With its live chat, you will not only make sure you stay connected with your leads 24/7 but also receive precious information about the source where your visitors came from. You can then analyze the audience’s on-site behavior, integrate your live chat with Facebook Messenger, and take your communication there if needed.

Besides, when it comes to social networks, 13chats allows you to set up a Facebook chatbot that will reply to visitors’ FAQs and broadcast information about new products.

Pricing: Free basic plan. Paid plans start at $/13 per month.

#2. Chatfuel

Chatfuel is one of the top platforms for creating chatbots on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. 

Chatfuel

The platform has a built-in speech recognition tool that can respond to queries in a situational way. The service also has pre-made templates for chatbots, for example, for FAQs, lead gen, Facebook ads, online stores, local businesses, etc.

Pricing: Forever free plan (up to a thousand users). Paid plans start at $15 per month.

#3. REVE Chat

REVE Chat is a free chat platform designed for online customer support. It offers efficient and customizable software for your website, allowing your customer service managers to manage complex chats while bots assist visitors with their common queries. 

REVE Chat

REVE Chat chatbot requires no coding experience, boasts an intuitive visual flow builder, and provides analysis of all the chat conversations handled.

Pricing: 14-day free trial available. Paid plans start at $15 per month.

#4. Hubspot Free Live Chat

There are two online chat options in HubSpot: live chat, where you can connect visitors to the right people on your team, and chatbots that will help you qualify leads by sending out template responses.

HubSpot

Also, you can create a chat widget for your Facebook Messenger account and easily customize it to suit your brand image and vibe. Besides, with this tool, you can create targeted welcome messages for different web pages or audience segments. This way, you’ll be able to communicate with site visitors when they are most interested in your solution.

By the way, every conversation is automatically saved, so you will have complete information about every interaction.

Pricing: Free plan available. Paid plans start at $40 per month.

#5. Zendesk

Zendesk Chat is a simple chat widget that is not only suitable for websites but also optimized for mobile devices. In addition to the fact that you can communicate with each person on your own, the use of triggers is available to automatically reach each visitor.

Zendesk

Zendesk also boasts advanced analytics that tracks visitor flow, usage patterns and intervenes when a customer might need help.

Pricing: Free trial available, Paid plans start at $89 per month.

Other popular chatbot builders include Botsify, Dexter, Aimologyc, Meya, Morph.ai.

If you want to add chatbots not only to your website and Facebook Messenger but also to Slack, Telegram, and even SMS, then we recommend trying Flow XO.

Wrapping up

Due to technological advances in communication, clients expect to find information or contact support quickly and easily.

A long response is usually frustrating to users, which can cost you some precious leads. Chatbots are the solution — they can provide real-time assistance exactly when customers need it.

Personally, we, Snov.io, understand the importance of having them for us and our clients, so we have a chat bot on our official website and on Facebook messenger. Come on in, evaluate as an example, and try to practice.

Customer loyalty

What’s so amazing about customer loyalty? Everything! In sales and marketing, it’s an essential concept for customer-oriented companies that pursue long-term relationships with end-users. In the best scenario, it means that a client that has purchased your product or service becomes a regular customer who also recommends you to others.  

Loyal clients won’t switch to your competitors, even when the market is crazy about their cheap products and high-quality services. That’s why it’s worth knowing how to build customer loyalty and use it for your company’s success.

What is customer loyalty?

Marketing experts define customer loyalty as preferring one company’s services or goods over its competitors when making purchases. 

Client loyalty is also viewed as a business model in marketing. It’s applied when the company strategically plans to invest funds in strategies, improvements, and customer loyalty programs, expecting that the sales plan will be met or exceeded. 

For example, marketers expect a high product quality or its new features to lead to client satisfaction, which results in client loyalty and better sales performance.

Customer loyalty and Net Promoter Score (NPS)

You can measure customer loyalty and satisfaction with Net Promoter Score (NPS). This indicator gives you an idea of how much a client is attached to your brand, and if they are ready to recommend your company. 

To calculate it, all you need to do is to ask your customers a simple question “How likely are you to recommend us to your colleagues and friends on a 0-10 scale?” Then subtract the percentage of Detractors (those who gave 0-6 as an answer) from the percentage of Promoters (those who put 9-10).

nps

But note! Customer satisfaction doesn’t always mean loyalty.

If a client is happy with the service or product, it doesn’t guarantee they remain loyal to you. Indeed, being satisfied boosts brand loyalty and trust. But it doesn’t prevent a client from deciding to purchase solutions from your competitors. There are lots of factors that influence the choice. 

An effective loyalty strategy seeks to meet the needs of the client, going above and beyond what is feasible and responding to their requirements in a personalized way. You need to know your customers’ preferences, understand their needs, and respond or, even better, exceed their expectations. 

Client exit barriers

Clients have a tolerance zone. A small upsetting incident has a low chance to ruin the relationship if they still feel that the overall quality is high. Customers also won’t leave you if there are not so many good alternatives, if the switching price is high, and if they value their relationship with your company. This connection works as an exit barrier. 

There are several types of barrier ties, they include: 

  • Legal ties (contracts), 
  • Geographical ties, 
  • Economic dependence, 
  • Technological ties (shared technology),
  • Time and planning ties, 
  • Knowledge ties, 
  • Ideological ties, 
  • Social, cultural, or ethnic ties,
  • Psychological ties.

Consequently, the relationship can break if:

  • The client relocates to another area, out of reach of the company’s service,
  • The client doesn’t need the business’s services or products anymore,
  • The market offers more affordable alternatives,
  • The relationship ties are in decline,
  • The company doesn’t solve a critical incident properly,
  • The company increases the price without explanation.

This was a brief insight into the technical side of loyalty. Now, let’s see customer loyalty from another point of view — feelings and beliefs, connected with the brand philosophy.

Emotions and customer loyalty: start with “Why?”

A scientist and blogger Simon Sinek claims that “loyalty is emotional and not rational.” Your service or product needs to be good, but it doesn’t always have to be the best. 

Instead, loyalty starts when you know the answer to this question: “Why you do what you do.” It doesn’t even concern money, it’s all about why your business was created and what vision it has. Why does your company exist? What beliefs and ideals do you stand for? If people have the same philosophy, they will leave your competitors and start working with you.  

According to Sinek, the task of every brand is to stick to your philosophy and always do the things your company believes in. Such an approach is named authenticity. Not everyone does business this way, and there are not so many genuinely authentic organizations today, as it requires a lot of prior research and professional branding work. 

Therefore, every customer loyalty strategy should start with “why” and not with “what” or “how.” In this case, your clients, team, and market, in general, will see your vision and strategy, and it will be easier for them to stay loyal. 

Some people are so loyal to their favorite brands that they even get tattoos with their logos. No one gets surprised when they see permanent logos of Coca-Cola, Nike, Apple, or Harley Davidson tattooed on someone else’s body. And we think these images speak for themselves — it’s not just loyalty, it’s having the same philosophy deep inside your heart and mind.

A lecturer and consultant Juan Serrano compares growing loyalty to planting trees. If not taken care of, they stop growing at some point. Their roots are in-grown, and their branches are small and don’t bear fruit. The same happens to company clients and team members. Having no opportunity to develop together with the business, they get stuck on the same level. 

If planted properly, trees grow well and give a generous yield — same with loyal customers who always know that you take care of them and return to you.

Bottom line

Customer loyalty is a complex thing. On the one hand, it can be treated as a marketing strategy that has its methods and metrics to measure its success. On the other hand, it’s a philosophical concept that needs to be elaborated beforehand, or at least at the beginning of the deployment of each business, so that your brand attracts the right target audience that stays loyal.

We wish you loyal clients, and we are ready to help you build trustful relationships with your audience — our reliable all-in-one CRM toolbox allows you to clearly share your brand vision and take good care of your leads. Use it for free or get a personalized plan. Give it a try and share your feedback with us!

email finder

Outreach marketing

Strange it may sound, but people tend to trust third-party recommendations more than someone talking about themselves. If you translate it into the marketing and B2B sales language, your customers will most likely get interested in your product or service if they hear about you from other brands rather than if you describe your advantages in the brightest light. 

This fact lets speaking about outreach marketing as the necessary process of business growth. Let’s consider outreach marketing definition to have a clear vision of what the term stands for.

What is outreach marketing?

Outreach marketing is a process of establishing relationships with companies interested in your product, such as business influencers, bloggers, and journalists, with the aim of promoting your brand, getting passive web traffic, and expanding your audience.

Benefits of outreach marketing

Outreach marketing is one of the most important aspects of a marketing and sales strategy due to the following advantages:

It improves your SEO efforts

If you link to a reputable website, Google sees that you are trusted by other website owners, which allows you to occupy a higher position in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). And since outreach marketing is about attracting links from high-influencer pages, it’s your chance to rank higher in Google and other search engines. 

Most important ranking factors
Source: WebFX

It promotes your content

About 72% of marketers agree that content marketing increases engagement. Yet, creating a brilliant piece of content and sharing it on social media isn’t enough for spreading your word out. With outreach marketing, you’ll increase your online presence via partners who will promote your content while you’ll be just concerned about how to improve its quality.

It helps you empower collaborations

The most obvious advantage of outreach marketing is building connections with influencers and like-minded brands. The latter is especially valuable for small businesses that should consider collaboration with other companies as the best way to raise brand awareness and expand their network. 

Outreach marketing

Challenges connected with outreach marketing

Now that you know why you should be interested in building your outreach marketing strategy, let’s consider difficulties you’ll most likely face:

It requires the right strategy from the start

You need a proper outreach marketing strategy to lead you to the set goals. If you do it wrong at any stage (e.g., you’ve chosen the wrong influencer), you risk wasting time and money and getting no results from your efforts.

Therefore, before picking the right outreach marketing strategy, you should have a clear vision of your goals and ideal partnership to promote your brand.

It’s time-consuming

Outreach marketing takes time: you need to find the right people, get their contact information, craft a proper message, let alone manage communication afterward. That’s why companies use reliable marketing tools to automate these activities

Snov.io is an outreach marketing tool that has been designed and constantly improved to help you find and verify the email addresses of your prospective partners and create your targeted outreach campaigns for building relationships with them.

email verifier

It may cost a lot

Outreach marketing may be rather expensive. You’ll have to pay for an email lookup tool, quality messaging platform, analytics, to say nothing of people who will do plenty of manual work daily. 

Luckily there are all-in-one marketing outreach solutions that may not only spare your budget owing to their mild pricing plans but also offer you the opportunity to use their features for free

Successful outreach marketing ideas

No doubt you would like a guru like Tony Robbins to share a good piece of your content on his LinkedIn or Twitter page. Although now it may sound eutopic, one day you’ll reach out to the top influencer who’ll put in a word about you. 

Here are some tactics that will give your outreach marketing a good start or bring it to the next level, provided you are already on the way. 

Define your goals

Before you take any actions, you should build an outreach marketing plan, which requires a clear understanding of your objectives on the horizon. Say, you want to get more backlinks to your content or a new audience via social media… Or you wish for something ambitious like becoming a speaker at a marketing or sales conference

The goal must be well articulated. If you have several of them in mind, create a priority list and focus on just one at first. Remember, outreach marketing is about your money. So, try it carefully. 

Choose the right influencer

That’s the stage where you should be extra picky. Some specialists define the following types of influencers you can contact within your outreach campaign:

  • Sharks — These are top influencers followed by millions of social media users and renowned for their expertise.
  • Big Fish — Not as big as the previous type, these people are also respected enough to have a big impact on your business.
  • Small Fish — These influencers may become good partners as they are easier to reach out to. Being ambitious about growing their audience, they’ll most likely be interested in cooperation.
  • Spawn — These are start-ups that don’t yet have an audience, so they’ll welcome your partnership with open hands. 
Choose the right influencer

To choose your right target audience, you should focus on your goals and objectives. If, say, you are a small business interested in promoting your blog, it won’t be quite reasonable to contact Sharks, as they won’t see any benefit from a partnership with your brand now. 

Try Small Fish influencers, whom you can find on LinkedIn right away. With Snov.io Email Finder Extension for Chrome, that’s extra easy.

Snov.io Email Finder extension

Personalize your communication

Personalization is a golden rule of marketing, proven by numbers. An incredible 88% of users are ready to respond to your email favorably if it looks like it’s been specifically created for them. And yet, not many marketers and sales reps clearly understand how it works. 

Personalization in outreach marketing isn’t about addressing people by name. It presupposes thorough research aimed at getting to know your potential influencer and offering them something of real value. Feel free to read more about how to personalize your messages in one of our posts.

Let’s look at the example of personalized email messages we in Snov.io used to build relationships with potential influencers.

Outreach example
Personalized email to a potential influencer from Snov.io

What catches the eye of a recipient at once is the subject of the email. It pertains to Bernard’s post, tempting him to open and read the message. In the email body, our SEO Valerie again touches upon his recently published article, stressing its importance and use. 

This way, she emphasizes her interest in Bernard’s content and demonstrates she’s done her homework ― she has read his blog, learned the subject, followed the link to find out it’s broken, and is ready to bring value by offering another link, the one that leads to Snov.io’s post of course.

Don’t spam

You may not receive the expected response from your targeted influencer at once. That’s not the reason to stop. Following up is a good idea unless you sound annoying. What you should always keep in mind is that you are building real relationships, not asking for backlinks, mentions, or promotions.

Not to become a spammer in the eyes of your prospect, work out your calendar of follow-ups and think how to make a chain of your reminders polite and up to the point. Snov.io Email Drip Campaigns will help you with follow-up emails building:

Email drip campaign
Follow-up email sequence created in Snov.io Email Drip Campaigns builder

As you see, this sequence consists of three emails. We recommend sending from 3 to 5 follow-ups depending on your goals, current resources, and outreach marketing experience.

Wrapping up

In outreach marketing, your main goal is to connect with potential influencers who will be interested in your business and promote your product by bringing you more traffic and users. 

Any effective outreach marketing strategy demands setting clear objectives, finding your right target audience, and coming up with highly personalized messages. This process will definitely take your time and financial resources.

But if you rely on Snov.io, you can get perfect influencers and create targeted messages within minutes. Try it today and enjoy the results already tomorrow!

Channel sales

How to get a new product in front of customers and scale revenue? Some of the options include hiring new salespeople and investing in tools that will boost their efficiency. Another potential strategy – channel selling.

Channel sales definition

Channel sales are a sales model that presupposes distributing your product or service to the market through third parties. In other words, these are sales-related partners who don’t work directly for your company. 

Who is a sales channel partner?

A channel partner is a person or entity that has a long-, mid-, or short-term relationship with your business to sell your product. Channel partners who work as an extension of your sales team can help increase your sales and customer loyalty. These are the examples of sales channel partners you may cooperate with:

  • Resellers
  • Distributors
  • Affiliate partners
  • Value-added providers
  • Dealers
  • Consultants
  • Wholesalers
  • Independent retailers
  • Agents

Channel sales example

Let’s suppose your company chooses to distribute your product or service through the affiliate partner ― one of the most popular tactics in B2B sales, according to 81% of businesses that already use this type of channel sales. 

So, this is how the affiliate partnership works:

  1. You contact another company that agrees to cooperate and become your affiliate. 
  2. The affiliate places links to your product on their webpage.
  3. When your product is sold through the affiliate’s link, the affiliate gets a commission.

This mode of cooperation is commonly a win-win for both parties. You have more chances to sell your product, while the affiliate can generate revenue from the link placed on their website.

How affiliate partnership works

Channel sales vs. direct sales

While channel sales require a third party to advertise a company’s product on their platforms, direct selling doesn’t need any middlemen. Deals can be closed online, e.g., via personal arrangements.

Companies undertake the channel selling outside their doors. Meanwhile, direct sales presuppose that the organization should build and manage a sales team. The latter is to operate as a single entity and be close to the target market. So, if a company wants to sell to several markets, it will need to have local teams to control the sales process.

Pros and cons of channel sales

Channel sales are one of the most top-selling models for small, big, and giant companies, and not without reason. They offer many advantages to businesses interested in constant growth. However, there are also some drawbacks your organization should consider before choosing this approach to selling. Let’s discover both.

Channel sales pros

  • Considerably low marketing and sales cost. A channel sales partner is commonly trusted by their audience and already advertises their product to clients. This is why you can reach new customers at less cost. Similarly, if you decide to enter new markets, you’ll be able to do it more cost-effectively. 
  • Higher efficiency. It’s usually easier to build a new channel sales partnership than to hire new salespeople. Besides, a channel sales manager coworking with several partners and adding new ones into the mix can bring a company the same revenue as five or six salespeople in a much cheaper way. 
  • Brand awareness. With channel sales, your company has opportunities to be noticed by a wider audience, who might want to know about your brand a little bit more. 
  • Customer success. Since your new customers need onboarding and training, you can delegate these services to your channel sales partners who already offer them. Thus, you’ll be able to simultaneously concentrate on your existing clients and close new ones through your sales channels. 

Channel sales cons

  • Loss of control over the sales process. In channel sales, neither you nor your salespeople can directly interfere with the sales process. So, you can’t predict your revenue and assess your KPI.
  • No flexibility. Working with an external group of intermediaries, you’ll find it difficult to message any updates concerning your product to them. Adding a new feature and asking them to change the selling strategy on the go will also be hardly possible. 
  • The risk for the company. You must be 100% sure you cooperate with a reputable partner. Otherwise, you risk tarnishing your image as well. 
  • Inaccurate customer feedback. Since you are not sure how your channel sales partner gathers feedback from clients, there is little chance you will get 100% adequate responses. What is more, it will take much more time for you to get them. 
Channel sales pros and cons

Does a channel sales partnership fit my business?

To determine whether a channel sales model is the right solution for your company, you should take into consideration the following factors:

Your company level

If you are a small tight-on-budget organization that is much concerned about growth, you may want to have a partner who will help you grow your business. As soon as you develop, you’ll be able to switch to direct selling. By the way, many high-growth companies tend to combine direct and channel sales, 8% of them using a channel model as a primary sales strategy.  

Your product maturity

If you have just started launching your product, it’s more reasonable to see how it will work for your target audience and how you can improve it. So, direct sales will be a better model at this stage.

Understanding of your sales process 

Before you delegate selling your product to channel sales partners, you should ensure you know how to sell your solution. This, first of all, pertains to defining your sales cycle. The lengthier and more complex it is, the more difficult it will be for your channel sales partners to resell your product.  

Your current revenue

You should first get enough revenue to be ready for ups and downs, which will be unpredictable. Some experts recommend not to launch a channel sales strategy before you get at least $20 million in annual revenue

How to manage a channel sales strategy

Although it’s not easy to manage and control a sales channel strategy, here are the steps you can follow to initiate an efficient partnership and manage it at the start.

Create sales enablement materials 

Your channel sales partner needs to have a clear understanding of what they will advertise and sell on their platform. Thus, you should prepare a brief but detailed sales enablement training course where you will explain how your partner should present your product. 

email finder

Plan the results sharing

Clarify what you expect from the partnership. Work out a plan on how to get performance metrics from the intermediary. Underline what results will be of the highest priority. 

Schedule interactions

If that’s possible, agree with your channel sales partner on how you’ll be able to discuss intermediate results regularly. Try to schedule online meetings that will be convenient for both of you.

Wrapping up

Objectively, channel sales partnership isn’t the only perfect way for your sales strategy. It has both advantages and disadvantages. So, before deciding whether to implement this model into your sales process, consider your company’s growth level, your product’s success in the market, and define your goals.

Channel sales partnership will allow you to expand your market through the trust your intermediaries have already built with their customers. And though it may bring you certain risks, it won’t — if you pick authoritative partners and cooperate on conditions that you will not directly, but still manage the sales process. Good luck!

Ramp-up

All startups hope their product or service will be a huge success. But when this happens, they can be faced with the challenge of having to rapidly scale up. This is where ramp-up comes into play.

Ramp-up meaning

Ramp-up is a massive boost in the production of products or services that a company sells, usually due to entering new markets or geographic regions. In business terms, it’s used to describe the process of an increase in the firm’s output when the demand for a product is expected to grow.

Ramp-up

Let’s imagine John and Jane open a coffee house. They offer coffee drinks, healthy snacks, and alternative drinks. Customers stand in huge lines every day to taste the delicious coffee. As a result, John and Jane open five more coffee houses in other areas and decide to reach the whole country. To ramp up, they choose to sell franchises in 15 cities. Although it takes a year to open all coffee houses, their business spreads to a hundred locations by year-end.

When is the ramp-up time?

Ramp-up usually happens before the product launch, a major shopping season (e.g., on holidays), a rebranding period, or a special promotional event. In each business plan, ramp-up is when the quality of execution is especially important because the efforts it takes to increase the company’s production require an expert deployment of capital and the ability to manage it. 

Ramp-up is also about taking advantage of the infrastructure and making more revenue. This is why this period requires a massive amount of preparation, from product manufacturing to marketing.

How to ramp up your marketing?

Marketing increases the chances of attracting more customers and improving your company’s image together with potential revenue. Ramp-up is a point when you can raise awareness and inspire enthusiasm about your product. 

There are several ways to ramp up marketing efforts and extend marketing outreach to customers. The main thing is to take the initiative and be original with your tactics. Your prospects need to know what your business can offer and why your company is worthy of attention. 

Here are the main marketing strategies you can use to ramp up and improve your business: 

Content marketing

Organize your publishing schedule and stick to it. Sharing regular content with your customers is essential during the ramp-up period. Your visitors will get used to the schedule, and if they come to your website anticipating new content and get disappointed, they may not return. Stay consistent, no matter how often you post – daily, weekly, or monthly.

Besides, you can also search for guest blogging opportunities that will lead to your target audience. Finding appropriate platforms facilitates the exposure of your brand and attracts new visitors to your website where they can interact with your brand.

Content marketing lifecycle
(Source)

Social media marketing

We live in an era of social media. We use and interact with social networks every hour, day, and week. And when it comes to marketing, social media can be a powerful branding tool for your company. An active presence on social media can prove your industry experience, increase knowledge about your product, and show your business’s unique “ingredients.”

Use social media to the fullest. Post about your latest products, introduce new features, give announcements, share your company culture with events and fun gatherings, create giveaways, etc. 

Email marketing

Email marketing is a perfect way to contact customers because people usually check their inbox 15 times per day. There are many email marketing services such as Snov.io, where you can easily create and send out letters to your company’s prospects lists. 

Email drip campaigns

Create a section on your website where people can opt-in for company emails. Think about attractive call-to-action to encourage prospects to subscribe to your updates. This will be your starting point in launching an email campaign. Your goal is to keep your prospects up-to-date with the latest news while you promote your brand.

Website marketing

A website is vital for your business as it’s the first place prospects come to. Before purchasing a product or service, people investigate all the info about the company. They want to know what benefits they can take and at what time. Give all the necessary information on your website and make sure it’s ready for ramp-up.

Monitor your website analytics to know what information you should pay attention to. Update it with the latest news and information to show the promotions you will offer and test the increased traffic generated by your marketing efforts to avoid failures. Besides, make sure your website is mobile-friendly and that its formatting works correctly on every smartphone and tablet because most Google searches happen on mobile devices

Promotional marketing 

Promotional marketing is a chance to boost interest in prospects. Offering promotions, discounts, and special pricing are marketing tactics that can influence buying behavior. Start advertising a new product or service a few weeks before its release. Attract customers with the best price offers and excellent service.

Wrapping it up

Successful results from these marketing strategies will be based on how much effort you choose to spend. The more effort you put into growing your marketing, the more likely you’ll increase brand awareness.

Field sales

Field sales, also known as outside sales, refer to the selling of products or services by sales reps outside the office or a formal team environment. Salespeople literally go out into the field to meet with prospective customers, hence the term. 

The specifics of a field sales force don’t presuppose special working hours or an office setting. Instead, field sales representatives are often on the go, meeting with potential clients and maintaining relationships with existing customers. 

A field sales representative should always adjust their schedule up to the client’s needs. They should also be ready to sell in places their customers find convenient, e.g., at their office, in the coffee house, or any other area. As an option, field selling also takes place at conferences or industry events.

Field sales representative responsibilities

As all sales representatives, a field sales rep should build trust with their prospects, provide help, and ensure their strategy results in future sales. Nevertheless, there are specific responsibilities assigned to these salespeople:

  • Conducting face-to-face meetings with customers in the field to offer their company’s product or service.
  • Nurturing relationships with current clients by initiating regular meetings with them, usually on their territory.
  • Educating potential and existing customers about their product by providing demos or tutorials.
  • Updating contract terms with current or previous clients.
  • Keeping records of all sales leads and customer accounts.
  • Attending conferences or trade shows as a chance to build connections and present the company’s product or service to potential clients.
  • Monitoring the company’s competitors, new products, and market trends to understand a customer’s specific needs.
  • Collaborating with the marketing department to help in brand development.

Field sales vs. inside sales

One should draw a line between field sales and inside sales. The difference between them lies within the following factors:

Workspace

While field selling presupposes working outside the office, inside sales representatives work in the office environment within a sales team under more direct supervision.

Number of professionals

For companies that combine both sales forms, the number of inside sales reps often surpasses that of field sales representatives. For every field sales professional hired, 10 inside salespeople are brought on board.

Selling

Sales reps working inside spend about 35.2% of their time on selling-related functions compared to field sales representatives who spend 38.3% of their time selling. 

Communication methods

Inside sales reps use plenty of communication methods, the primary being cold calling. Meanwhile, field sales representatives mostly rely on meetings, though they make calls and conduct video conferences at times.

Maintenance cost and earnings

Field sales reps should be compensated for their traveling, sometimes housing, and food expenses. This is why maintaining an outside sales workforce can cost 6 times more than an inside sales team. At the same time, field sales tend to outearn inside sales by 12% to 18%

Product

As a rule, field sales strategy is chosen by companies that deal with more complex and expensive goods or services and aim at reaching high-level decision-makers. In contrast, inside sales function better for selling products or services that presuppose the number of interactions over the depth of those interactions.

Field sales vs. inside sales

In today’s market, more and more companies are inclined to combine inside and field sales, resorting to outside selling when necessary rather than using it as the only way of doing business. Needless to say that such a hybrid model may have much sense when a company wants to reduce costs. 

Tips for building your field sales strategy

To perform a field sales role successfully, the company should concentrate on finding and growing a sales team, which would develop strong time management and customer service skills. Use these tips to ensure your field sales strategy has the right direction:

Set correct field sales team objectives

An effective sales team combines the group of professionals that meet the company’s goals. To get the right one, you should:

  • Understand how many sales representatives you’ll require to cover the areas within your targeted field.
  • Ensure you have enough managers to coach your salespeople.
  • Come up with the right balance of field sales reps and managers, which will depend on your organization’s objectives and needs.

Fine-tune your recruiting process

Identify your ideal candidate’s profile by determining what skills, knowledge, and career goals they should possess to ensure successful field sales campaigns. Be ready to repeat the recruiting process in case the need for future position reopenings occurs. 

Check your team management capacity

To make your field sales team work, ensure there is the right person at the wheel. Due to differences between field and inside sales, your inside sales manager may not be the right individual to control the sales process. It will be reasonable to find a person whose leadership skills and experience in outside sales will help your team achieve your sales objectives. 

Create a clear sales compensation plan

Your salespeople should feel motivated and rewarded for their work. Come up with the sales compensation plan that would reflect your company’s needs and your field sales representatives’ expectations. Welcome your team’s engagement into incentive plan design ― this will be a sure step towards clarity of your sales processes. 

Align your sales and marketing teams

About 75% of marketing leads never convert into a sale. One of the reasons is a failure to align the sales and marketing departments, which leads to wasted budget and resources. On the contrary, when sales and marketing teams cooperate well, your company optimizes its marketing and sales cycles as a whole and has all chances to increase its year-over-year revenue by up to 32%. Invest time in ensuring that both teams pursue the same goals. 

Invest in your field sales growth

Don’t skimp on field sales tools and resources. On the one hand, outside selling requires more money allocations. On the other hand, you will invest in your brand’s image, which your customers will interact with each time they meet your salespeople. Invest in modernizing your sales technologies, and your efforts will be more likely to pay off. 

Analyze field sales performance

If you are planning to constantly achieve your sales goals, you should be ready to analyze your field sales results on a regular basis. By looking at sales rep performance metrics, you will be able to make data-backed decisions and improve your sales effectiveness. 

Email drip campaigns

Wrapping up

Field sales, unlike inside sales, won’t allow you to reach many customers. Still, this model makes a go-to option for getting to the targeted people with your complex products or services that you’ll want to sell at a higher price. By building up a smart field sales team, supporting your sales reps with professional management, and equipping them with modern tools, you may bring your field sales strategy to the top level and enjoy close rate growth. 

Brag book

We all grew up with an opinion that bragging is not good. Every time we find ourselves bragging makes us feel uncomfortable about who we are. But all this has nothing to do with marketing and job interviews. On the contrary, bragging saves advertising and is an excellent strategy that ensures success.

It’s not bragging if you can back it up. 

Muhammad Ali

What is a brag book?

In terms of sales, there is a helpful tool for illustrating accomplishments called a brag book. It’s a great way to tell your story and prove your professionalism to reach the goal. 

A brag book is a collection of testimonials, case studies, or pictures from satisfied customers. A sales representative can present their brag book to prospects to demonstrate their prior success and how they’ve met their clients’ expectations. 

A brag book is also called a work portfolio that proves your interview answers and develops your credibility with the interviewer. Bragging may be the principal differentiator between getting the first place and losing the offer.

What is more, a brag book increases confidence. Just seeing all your accomplishments in print will boost your self-esteem.

What do you put in a brag book

Sales brag book

What you would add to your brag book depends on what you need to show, but it can be pictures, reports, marketing brochures, PowerPoint presentations, copies of articles you’ve written, etc.

For example, let’s imagine you have created a successful advertising campaign that exceeds targets. You may include a copy of the advertising guarantees you were responsible for and a letter of praise from your management. 

Or, if you were responsible for solving a serious problem with a customer that prevented them from leaving for the competition, you can provide a copy of the client’s testimonial.

Think of all the awesome contributions that were made during your career. Anything that makes you look good and will help express your unique value proposition is a good idea.

Brag book for interviews

Here are some recommendations about what to include in your brag book for job interviews:

  • Resume, taking into account the job you are applying for;
  • Certificates of completion of educational courses or workshops related to your career that will demonstrate that you know the best practices in your industry;
  • Awards that will serve as official recognition of doing a good job and show that you strive to achieve excellence in everything you do;
  • Letters of recommendation from former managers, colleagues, and mentors that will be influential because authoritative words about you can be more effective than your words about yourself;
  • Customers’ testimonials that will serve as examples of your success and summarize all the positive things about you;
  • Copies of articles you’ve written related to the industry;
  • List of professional affiliations, including leadership roles;
  • References or a list of key stakeholders who will vouch for you as an employee and person of character;
  • Work samples, such as projects, newsletters, photographs, case studies, and proposals you’ve helped develop.

Putting everything together

Now that you’ve collected your documents, it’s time to physically assemble your brag book.

The essential thing is to keep everything well-organized and professional. This isn’t something that can be done in the last second. Certainly, doing this properly will take some time to get it right, so don’t be hasty. 

You may have a physical brag book or organize a digital one in a form of presentation:

  • If you have a physical brag book, use a good quality binder, define the content, create categories, sort according to them, and place each document in a plastic sleeve. Make sure that your copies are of good quality and readable.
  • If you have a digital brag book, make a plan, categorize content, and set everything in a logical, clear, and professional way.

In both variants, concentrate on giving concrete proof of your accomplishments. It’s also advisable to include examples of some of your best work.

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What is the best time to show your brag book

Another important thing is to understand when it’s appropriate to show the brag book. The best time to do so is when an interviewer or a potential client asks the typical question: “Why should I choose you?” At that moment, give out your book to illustrate all your good sides. 

Wrapping it up

A brag book will show your initiative, professionalism, preparation, and understanding of sales and marketing, as well as set you apart from your opponents. And when it comes to job interviews, with it, your interviewer will see the proof to your answers, remember you among other competitors, and know you’re genuinely interested in the job.   

Puppy dog close

Puppy dog close is a sales technique allowing prospects to test the product or service for several days before making a decision. It offers a free trial or a test period before clients agree to close a deal. This technique relieves pressure and develops a trusting rapport with customers.

According to the prospects’ experience, allowing them to try out a product with no obligations is one of the most powerful sales techniques ever invented. It can be a very effective closing tool when used properly.​

Puppy dog close origin

Puppy dog close is based on a method that pet store sales representatives use to sell puppies. Picture this: a lovely family comes to a pet shop with a child who falls in love with a cute puppy. Doubting to buy it, they will most likely go away to think it over (which they rarely do). 

But what if a seller offers them to take the puppy home for a couple of days, assuring that the parents can return it without any questions and get a full refund unless they decide to keep it? How can you say no to that? Everyone will love a new purchase, and there will be no need to return it. 

This is how it works. You give customers a thing to live with for a while, they get used to it, then can’t live without it, and must buy it. 

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How to succeed using a puppy dog close technique

Remember, your prospects don’t know how great you are until they have worked with you. You can do your best telling that you’re reliable and your product is exactly what they need. But these are just words until your clients have actually felt themselves how you do what you do.

Use emotions

The puppy dog close technique is based on emotions. Such sales are considered a powerful tool in business since we tend to buy on emotion. Understanding how to arouse emotions in your prospects will help communicate value to them, reassure your product is the best option, and lead to a purchase.

Choose the format

Think about how you can implement the puppy dog close method in your business field to give your customers the opportunity to test your product. Let them take it home and live with it or create small samples or demos so that prospects want to return to buy the full version. 

For B2B SaaS solutions, the puppy dog close technique works best when you offer a trial period. Make sure your product can be provided as a “test drive” and has appropriate features and benefits. 

Set the trial time

Let users try your product or service for a small period – two weeks or a month. As soon as they test everything, like the way it works, get used to it, and don’t imagine their life without it, they will buy it.

Focus on benefits and value

Ensure you can provide benefits to your clients in a very short timeframe. Otherwise, they won’t feel the need to buy from you since they won’t see value in your solution. If your product requires a month-long onboarding process, this sales technique won’t work for you. 

Connect with your clients

It’s equally essential to build a rapport with your customers, not trying to trick them into buying something. Very often, the puppy dog close technique is perceived as manipulation. Your task is to provide a high-quality service to show your credibility not only through the trial period. 

Wrapping it up

Using the puppy dog close method, sales reps give the product or service to prospects on a trial basis to test everything before closing a sale. Just give it a try. Your prospects might take the “puppy” home.

Name dropping

It’s difficult for a startup to find an investor for initial capital. But once you have one well-known investor, it will be easier for you to attract money from others because they trust the opinion of the first investor. This is one of the situations when name dropping can come into play.

What is name dropping?

Name dropping is a useful sales tactic where you mention famous brands or personalities you know or had an opportunity to work with to make a good impression on people. It’s used to position oneself in society, and it often creates a sense of superiority by “elevating” one’s status. 

As a psychology professor, W. Keith Campbell, says, an individual can look good to others and increase their self-esteem by associating with powerful people. By mentioning a connection to those who belong to a high social class, name-droppers hope to enhance their status. 

Name dropping in sales

In terms of sales, name dropping gives immediate credibility that may help close deals faster. It’s like a reference that you can use to build your reliability before introducing your product. References are powerful in B2B; thus, the impact of name dropping can be a crucial key to success. 

Before making a purchase, it’s typical for prospects to learn about the customers you have worked with. They want to be convinced that your brand can help them. And of course, you want to let prospects know who those previous clients are and assure them that your product is what they need. 

This is why mentioning a couple of customers you have helped and sharing your prior clients’ progress when talking to prospects will show them how you can address their requests in the same way. 

Why marketers use name dropping

The name dropping tactic can considerably improve rates in email marketing. In fact, recipients are more likely to open an email with authoritative names, as it catches their interest. 

Naming one of your well-known customers can improve conversion rates by 208%. Naming a well-known investor in your company can increase conversion rates by 111%. And naming several shared LinkedIn connections can improve conversion rates by 468%.

Name dropping leads to an increase in conversions

How to benefit from name dropping

Although name dropping opens doors in business, very often, it may backfire. Here are some tips to avoid it: 

Know the right moment to drop names

One of the best times for name dropping is while telling your short pitch. Back up the information about yourself and what you do with several names of your past or current success. Another way to name drop is to put up a slide in your presentation that lists some of your customers.

Always ask for permission first

When you see that someone you know is connected to your target company and make up your mind to drop their name to get your email read, ask them first! Make sure your mutual contact doesn’t mind being mentioned. This will protect you from pitfalls. For example, they may not be so familiar with the targeted person or, worse, be in a bad relationship. 

Don’t be afraid to ask, your mutual contact can even offer to introduce you personally. 

Don’t exaggerate to look cool

Telling a lie that you know someone authoritative, saying that they have recommended you to contact your target company, or pretending to be their friend when you just met them once will make no good impression. The truth always comes out. 

For instance, your email can be forwarded to a person whose name you’ve used to either ask some information about you or just mention this among other things. And if they respond that they have no idea who you are, you will only cut a foolish figure.

Email drip campaigns

You may specify your relationship to the person you name drop, e.g., “I saw [Name] speak at [Event], and I remember him saying [What they said]”). In such a way, you still draw attention yet stay honest.

Keep balance 

Use name dropping in measure. Don’t overuse it so as not to seem not-confidential. Take care of the customers’ privacy. Name dropping excessiveness can lead to a loss of confidence in the eyes of prospects.

Not using any names at all also can have a negative impact on your sales, as you may sound vague and unreliable. Use names when you feel they will add value and show the right picture of your product. Your purpose is to help prospects be confident in your capacity to work with them and to help them reach their goals.

Play by ear 

Sometimes smaller companies may feel worthless if you’re doing business with all the big guys. Competition may use this fact against you. In this situation, you need to convince the “small guy” that they will be treated like a VIP.

Emotional sale

There’s no secret that the majority of people buy relying on their emotions, not logic. They listen to the heart over the head. To marketers, it means a world as it opens a lot of possibilities to improve business with an emotional sale. 

Find out what makes emotional sales so effective and how to incorporate them into your marketing to connect with your leads and inspire them to close a deal. 

Emotional sale meaning

Emotional sale refers to marketing and advertising that uses emotions to make prospects notice, remember, share, and buy your company’s product or service. It typically taps into emotions to trigger people’s reactions. Naming your brand, designing unforgettable business logos, and creating unique packaging design plays a crucial role in creating emotional responses in your customers.

By using emotions in marketing, companies can boost their sales and build long-term rapport with their clients. According to neuromarketing studies, campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) than those with only rational content.

Email drip campaigns

How to close an emotional sale

Evoking strong emotions in your audience can be achieved by creating excitement around a product or service. You can also cause negative emotions, such as fear or anger, by comparing your service to the problematic one, which your prospect has experienced before. Or you may combine these emotional sale tactics to trigger the whole emotional spectrum:

Know your customers

Knowing your target audience is first and foremost. It eases your expectations of how they will react to this or that kind of content. Think about what emotion your product will evoke in your customers. Will it give them pleasure, comfort, or power?

Create an emotional connection with your prospects to understand them better. Think of your company’s hashtags and use them to establish an online community. The effect of unity keeps people interested in what others are doing. Keep interacting with clients on social media via likes, comments, and reposts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

Use color

Color means a lot in marketing, as it has a psychological effect on a customer’s decision. In fact, 85% of customers say color is the main reason they buy a product.

This is why you should learn how colors influence people. Here are some psychological effects of colors with a brand example: 

Colors and emotions

Let’s get closer to emotions associated with colors now. There are many of them, but researchers define four basic ones: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted. Robert Plutchik’s “wheel of emotions” demonstrates the whole emotional spectrum:

Putchik's wheel of emotions

It provides an excellent basis for understanding emotions and their purposes. Here we can see the eight sectors with basic emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, and anticipation. Each of them has a polar opposite. For example, joy is the opposite of sadness while fear is the opposite of anger. All of these emotions can set different combinations, e.g., a combination of joy and trust will form love. 

Tell a story

Storytelling is one of the best ways to connect with your prospects as it turns on empathetic mechanisms. While telling an emotional story, your audience can relate it to their experience and share it with others. 

Use the emotion you’ve found out your customers are looking for in your storytelling about the product and describe how they’ll feel when purchasing it. Share your story on your website. Include photos and descriptions of your team to personalize your brand. Posting customer stories on your website will also make an impression on your target customers.

Add a sense of urgency

Emotional sale deals not with pleasant emotions only. Sometimes, a win-win scenario is to cause a bit of fear, worry, and urgency. As people like to procrastinate and postpone their decisions, the sense of urgency can be a perfect way to push them to buy. 

Give offers with limited time, emphasize on the last remaining items, etc. The fear of missing out on a beneficial deal will work out, and your customers will end up purchasing.

Sense of urgency example

Make a focus on facial expressions

Facial expressions are powerful in emotional sales as they help us experience empathy, which is an ability to feel what others feel. Therefore, using pictures of people expressing emotions is effective in marketing. 

Make your customers smile

People gladly share positive content. Adding little humorous posts to your social media will broaden their sense of humor. Make customers laugh with your content and watch the shares increase.

Inspire your prospects

The use of inspirational advertisements is powerful as it touches the desires or goals your prospects want to reach. Thus, you should find out how your product or service can help your customers achieve these dreams. Show that your product can make their wish come true. Inspired people can reach for the sky.

Encourage the audience with beautiful personalities advertising your brand. Seeing that your product eases life and brings joy, the prospects will believe in its power. 

Wrapping it up

Emotional sales are a secret weapon to draw prospects and improve sales. The most important thing is to understand which emotions can support what your product offers and what emotions will resonate with your customers. Then you can set goals for implementing the appropriate emotions in your marketing strategy. 

Sound bite

If you are in marketing and sales, you need to master the ability to create your sound bites to position your business and brand to the public. And to get the message across, there are a few tips for crafting descriptive and well-formed sound bites. 

What is a sound bite?

A sound bite is a short, catchy piece of video, audio, or speech chosen to give the essence of what you are saying and arouse interest in the full-length source. It’s widely used in the media, politics, and marketing to define headlines, which eventually helps people know about a product, event, or even a period in history. 

Where does a sound bite definition come from?

The term “sound bite” originated in the 1970s by the American media and has been highly used by politicians to sum up their positions ever since. Daniel Schorr, news analyst for National Public Radio and Washington correspondent, traced the root of the term to the 1960s. When a producer saw the excerpt he wanted, he told the film editor, “Take that bite.” 

In today’s media, sound bites substitute slogans politicians used before, which now are out-of-date. One of the most famous examples of sound bites is President John F. Kennedy’s words: “Ask not what your country can do for youask what you can do for your country.” This quote remains memorable even after more than 50 years. 

Compared to the 1960s, when a standard sound bite lasted 40 seconds, it is shorter now. These days, an average sound bite has been reduced to under 8 seconds. 

Sound bite in marketing  

In a rapidly changing market, a sound bite is aimed at illustrating a brand message, making an impression on customers, and resulting in higher revenue and sales. Some people treat sound bites as an elevator speech. Whatever the perks are, a sales rep should say it within the time it takes to ride the elevator. Other businesspeople light a match and finish their sound bites till it burns out. 

Creating a unique and catchy sound bite to distinguish it from others is not an easy task. For this, marketers have to search for repeatable phrases, keep the message clear in mass-media, and stick to a limited time. In the digital age, only the best sound bite wins. 

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How to make a successful sound bite

A good sound bite will linger in your prospects’ minds and help them transfer your business’s core idea to their colleagues, family, and friends. You can use the following suggestions to make your sound bite unforgettable:  

Practice makes perfect

Preparation and practice are critical components in creating a sound bite. Write your script on how you would naturally speak. Consider every bit of your sound bite and practice until you are comfortable with that and sound natural.

Know your target audience

Your target audience is potential customers who are not interested in you; they are interested in how your product or service can help them. Convince your clients why they should buy your solution, show them what they need based on their pain points, give them what they want. 

Make it short

Just give the main idea of your sales message. Make it in one or two sentences. The shorter and more concise your sound bite is, the easier it will be to remember. Mark Twain endorsed the idea of sound bite’s conciseness, defining it as “a minimum of sound to a maximum of sense.”

Sound bite length

Include stylistic devices to attract attention

Metaphors and alliteration play a prominent role in the emotive aspect and have a powerful effect on the customer’s thinking. Rhyme, repetition, and rhythm make sound bites easier to remember. Often they surprise customers and attract their attention. 

Make contrast 

Let’s recollect Neil Armstrong’s famous statement when he stepped on the moon: “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” There is a contrast between the two points, and it creates a situation that’s easy to memorize. 

As Dr. Atkinson, the author of “Speech-Making and Presentations Made Easy,” points out, using contrasts can help you become a real winner and make your point bigger. After all, 33% of the applause a good speech gets is when contrast is used.

Common elements of a sound bite

Use the rule of three 

The rule of three is all about giving ideas in threes. The first piece creates pressure, the second enhances it, and the third relieves it. This is a proven method of better memorizing. A famous Mars advertisement “A Mars a day helps you work, rest, and play” is a good representation of the rule of three.

Be charismatic 

We all know that it’s not just what you say that matters but also how you say it. You are a person worth listening to because you can help people get what they want and achieve their goals.

A sound bite is just a part of a conversation. Be flexible, have some small success stories (or anecdotes, statistics, and facts) up your sleeve just in case and tell the most appropriate to your customers. Be prepared for possible questions like “Do you offer a 30-day free trial?,” “Do you have a discount?,” “Can you show a demo?,” etc. Once you notice any buying signals, it’s time to close the deal. 

Wrapping it up

Remember, your sound bites should communicate the core of your idea in smooth language. Don’t include irrelevant details and exceptions. Make it simple, no longer than 1-2 sentences.

Sandbagging

“Sandbagging” term originates from the late 1880s and relates to somebody who sneaks up on another person from behind and beats them with a sandbag. It was a dishonest move back in the days. Today, the term also implies some kind of trickery but not that dangerous.

Basically, it’s the idea of “under-promise and over-deliver.” And unlike in the 1880s, sandbagging can be a beneficial thing today. You’re packing your sandbags with deals and may suddenly surprise your management or investors with better results than they are anticipating at the end of the month. 

What is sandbagging?

Sandbagging is a tactic of diminishing the expectations of a business’ or a person’s strengths and core expertise to generate comparatively greater-than-expected results.

In a business sense, sandbagging is most often observed when the company’s management deliberately lowers the expectations of its investors about predicted profits and other productivity indicators. As a result, when the organization delivers higher-than-anticipated results, shareholders are much more impressed and agreeable.

How sandbagging works

Sandbagging has become common in business when it comes to the presentation of foreseen revenues and incomes. As a consequence, the reaction of shareholders is frequently more careful than it once was because they are becoming aware of this practice.

In some instances, sandbagging can boomerang because stockholders know they are being deceived and expect the maximum efficiency and overperformance from sandbaggers. For this reason, stock prices occasionally drop because earnings did not surpass investors’ expectations.

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Let’s imagine, business gets a good reputation for being a fair player and not for being a sandbagger when delivering quarterly outcomes. Throughout the last quarter, it announced that it was likely to declare average growth in sales and profits. Analysts are convinced that forthcoming quarterly figures will be ordinary. But when returns are presented, they appear higher than the estimation, which enhances the market analytics and improves press coverage.

But when the situation is reversed, and business has gained a reputation for sandbagging, the stock price would possibly be unchanged by better-than-expected quarterly returns. This leads to the conclusion that sandbagging has a restricted impact when it’s overused because shareholders are quick to catch on to this method.

Why people sandbag

You may assume that the main purpose of sandbagging is to establish weaker expectations for yourself and, thus, undoubtedly surprise your supervisor. But be cautious about when and why you decide to use it.

Here are several reasons you may want to think of working on this technique:

Minimizing attention
Big deals draw the attention of top executives. If you have a lead that may bring a huge sale, but the burden of extra eyes on it makes you feel stressed and pressurized, then you may choose to understate the importance of the deal until you feel more confident about it.

Shielding next quarter
Sometimes, it’s best to save a lead or two in your pocket and work on them next quarter. But if your current reporting period takes a descending curve, then you can use those leads you can presumably close fast to surprise your supervisor or investors at the end.

Getting your feet wet
As you close sale after sale, there will be this feeling that you already know which deal is going to close and which is not. But when you are only a beginner, you may not get these intuitive signs so clearly and easily to predict your outcomes. You may not want to promise too much, so sandbagging may be a good protector while you get experience in sales.

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How to sandbag

When sandbagging, you will want to take into account the following features of your prospective contracts:

  • How likely the deals are to close
  • What the profit size of the contracts is
  • When the sales are planned to close

For instance, let’s say you have an agreement that could vary from $15,000 to $30,000 in revenue and that may be signed this month if things move forward quickly. You would predict the worst-case situation of making $15,000 and closing the deal the next month.

Sales managers are naturally optimistic, but in sandbagging, you want to be conventional and err on the side of underrating your deals.

Never skip entering prospective leads into your CRM. Just add them but reduce the probability of closing deals in the best-case scenario.

By sandbagging, you are open to the thought that we can’t control all the things. Emails can get to the spam folder, clients can get tied up with other businesses, and customers can choose to go with a cheaper alternative. Fortunately, things often do go to your advantage, but you’re in a more favorable position to expect the worst and be delightfully surprised.

Wrapping it up

  • The word “sandbag” implies a method of diminishing the anticipations of a team’s or a person’s abilities and core skills so that even moderately positive results take on a bigger weight.
  • In business, sandbagging is most often observed when top management presents to investors much lower estimated results than what they can actually achieve in reality.

Sales call

Because of the word “call,” many people might think a sales call is the same thing as a cold call, which is very much the opposite. 

What is a sales call?

A sales call is a pre-arranged face-to-face meeting between a salesperson and prospect with the goal of making a sale. These meetings are crucial, as they are the only chance of leaving a good impression on a prospect and sharing the information about the product or service being sold.

Sales call tips: how to make a sales call

How to prepare for a sales call

Given the fact that sales calls are pre-arranged, a salesperson must know as much as possible about the prospect and their company. Before you get to make the sales call, ask yourself:

  • Did I research enough about the lead and their business prior to the call?
  • Did I send an outline of the agenda to the client before the meeting?
  • Did I bring all materials, brochures, contracts, etc.?
  • What is the goal of the call?
  • What information do I need to learn during the call?
  • What is my next step after the call?

As you can see, going into a sales call prepared requires a lot of work if you want to succeed. Prospects expect you to be well-prepared, so be thorough when planning and writing your sales pitch.

How to make a positive impression

You have one chance at a good first impression, so set yourself up to make one. Remember to:

  • Find out about the lead’s interests, hobbies, awards, family
  • Make a smooth transition to the business topic
  • Listen more than you speak 
  • Ask the client about their business goals
  • Ask the prospect what challenges their company is facing
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How to qualify the prospect

By asking the right questions, you’ll be able to determine whether the business relationship should continue, and if so, what next steps are. Some things to find out from the prospect:

  • Who the decision-makers are 
  • What process they usually go through when meeting a new salesperson
  • How and why they decided to use their current product or service (in case they are replacing a product or service)
  • What their time frame is
  • How many funds have been allocated
  • What their specific needs are
  • What would they change about their product or service if they could

How to survey to know more about the company

You need to know what you’re getting into with the prospect and their business, just as much as they need to know about you and your company, so don’t be afraid to ask the client the questions (especially the open-ended ones that start with what, how, who, where, when, etc.):

  • Ask about the prospect’s role and the corporate structure of their business 
  • Ask what’s important to them personally
  • Ask how you can help solve their problems
  • Ask what they think about your company
  • Ask what support they want to see from a salesperson after the sale
  • Ask their short-term and long-term goals 
  • Ask what the next step is and establish a specific follow-up schedule

How to present your solution

How you present yourself, your product or service, and your company is extremely important in a sales call. You must be mindful of all three and ask yourself:

  • Did you prioritize the prospect’s needs?
  • Did you talk about benefits to the customer (make sure they are linked to the client’s needs)?
  • Did you use easy-to-understand terms?
  • Did you give a general overview of your solution?
  • Did you focus on the prospect’s needs during the presentation?
  • Did you involve the client in the presentation?
  • Did you sum up the prospect’s needs and how your product or service will meet those needs?

How to end the call

You have to nail your closing. Make sure all questions have been answered and the pros and cons of your product have been explained thoroughly, which can help lead to the deal closed:

  • Did the customer identify all possible problems that might be solved with the help of your solution?
  • Did the client identify the value of solving the identified problems?
  • Did the prospect agree that the proposed product or service is the solution to their problems?
  • Did you ask for the order (“Why don’t we go ahead with this?”)

Once your sales call is wrapped up (hopefully with a sale), you need to maintain communication with the customer. What can you do? You can write a thank-you letter, ask for referrals or reference letters, schedule follow-up calls or customer visits, etc.

Phone sales calls

Not all sales calls are face-to-face; for whatever reason, an in-person call can be not doable. Still, plan and prepare for each call. Mostly all the rules apply, especially sales call scripts; it’s important to bring the same level of enthusiasm and professional demeanor to phone meetings. Just because it’s a phone call doesn’t mean it’s less professional or that there are lower stakes. Often, salespeople also use video chats to conduct such meetings.

sales demo call
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Wrapping it up

Yes, sales calls – in person or over the phone – can be daunting! There’s a whole lot of information to take in for both the salesperson and the prospect. Writing a good script and remembering all of it at the moment is hard and requires a lot of focus, but the more you do it, the more it becomes second nature. Practice makes perfect!

Customer relationship management (CRM)

You are used to it when in your favorite cafe you are greeted with a friendly “Good evening! As usual?” It means they know you and are glad to see you. The same goes for a customer relationship management (CRM) system. It’s all about building and maintaining good relationships with customers. 

CRM as a means of marketing helps inspire clients to move down the sales funnel in a structured and sustainable way. Besides, new employees can find their way around more quickly if customer data is arranged in an accessible manner. In case of an employee’s illness, functions can be transferred to another team member within the service, and the lead will smoothly convert into a customer.

What is customer relationship management?

CRM is a technology for managing all business relationships and interactions with existing and potential clients within a company. Its purpose is simple: improving business relationships. This system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline work processes, and boost revenues.

Trust plays an important role online and offline when it comes to sensitive customer data. Security must be developed through the interplay of marketing, service, and transparency. If potential clients feel they are in good hands, they will let you perform actions and follow-up orders with their data.

CRM software use by industry
Source: Science Soft

Goals of CRM

A primary goal is to strengthen customer loyalty to the company, as this is significantly cheaper than acquiring new clients. Additional goals of CRM are: 

  • to achieve a higher contribution margin per customer
  • to improve the profitability by taking advantage of the customer potential, focusing on profitable clients and growing customer loyalty

CRM examples

CRM solutions come in a variety of types. Here are some of the CRM examples:

  • Hubspot (inbound CRM)
  • Salesforce (general CRM)
  • Freshsales (fully integrated CRM)
  • NetSuite (operational CRM)
  • Pipedrive (sales CRM )
  • Zoho (analytical CRM)
  • Insightly (operational CRM)
CRM example
CRM example (Source: Salesforce)

CRM usage

You are guaranteed to remember businesses you or your friends have had bad experiences with. There are two options here. Some companies don’t value customer loyalty and work according to standard criteria. But if your business model focuses on long-term success with regular clients, you should know all the details of customer relationships.

CRM as the core element of your business

CRM doesn’t work if you don’t have a meaningful infrastructure based on CRM software or a CRM module in a comprehensive ERP system. For your success, regularly check whether your strategy is up-to-date and adapted for the future.

When choosing a CRM system, ask yourself questions:

  • What are your goals? 
  • Is the CRM database customized for your internal processing so that addresses do not have to be re-entered every time? 
  • Can you send targeted offers? 

CRM makes sense for both sides. Customers can receive information about the order faster with the customer ID or order number, and you will have all the necessary information at hand. The interaction becomes faster, more efficient, and, at the same time, more appreciative.

In addition, CRM systems can help you with sensible solutions for process management and marketing. For example, as a provider, you can present your best customers with a special offer. 

Customer segmentation

Who are your clients? You can’t maintain customer relationships if you don’t know who you are dealing with. Divide your customers into groups and follow intentions, important topics, and solutions. As a provider of services or products, you want to be able to offer the best solution. 

Who are your new clients? What convinces them to buy from you? This is the basis for finding targeted measures for successful customer relationships. 

In a further step, you should find out who your top clients are with an ABC analysis and then use CRM to build up special offers. If you have previously aligned your business processes to your product range, you can now focus on your customers.

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Customer-oriented order management 

What do your buyers want? Generally speaking, they want an easy solution to their problems. Leads convert into regular customers if the offer, service, and price match, and a feel-good factor is fulfilled. 

You can’t and shouldn’t attach a psychological profile to every database entry. Listen, document orders, and process them after consultation. Communication and reliability are essential.

CRM increases customer loyalty

CRM helps you treat your clients individually. Does your customer prefer a specific delivery address or payment method? Offer them to include these requests as a default service. This small gesture may lead to a big impact! 

CRM systems help you fulfill your customers’ wishes and offer the best possible service. With CRM tools, this works even when the responsible sales representative is on vacation.

CRM leads to better results

Customer relationships are much more difficult without personal contact. You can order pizza online instead of calling or going out to eat, and the big chains align their CRM with it. The data is stored in the CRM system, coupons are sent as part of a marketing campaign, and interaction is rewarded online. Many CRM mechanisms generate customer loyalty without great costs.

With a customized CRM system, you have a tool for simple customer service that you can use as you wish. For example, if you are preparing a holiday event, send personalized letters to your most important customers with reminders. Timely information is worth its weight during, for example, Halloween sales.

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CRM improves your teamwork

Through CRM, duplicate work, wasted time, and inconvenient assignments can be minimized. Everything is stored in the CRM system, and a reminder is created for an employee who will be completing the order. 

Teamwork can be easy with shared documents and intelligent functions. As soon as all employees have been instructed that all important information ends up in a CRM system, CRM can be practiced sensibly.

If you work with a cloud-based CRM system, your sales and support staff can access the necessary information almost simultaneously. And if your company is on a bigger size, the use of CRM tools is unavoidable these days – unless you like to burn money.

Demo

If you are in B2B SaaS sales, you know that a great product demo is the most critical piece in the sales process that can make or break your chances of closing the deal. It’s a unique opportunity to demonstrate the value of your product or service to prospects.

What is a demo?

A demo is the shortened form of the word “demonstration.” It means a trial version or sample of a digital product (software, game, music, etc.). Demos are usually spread among users who might be interested in trying the product, for them to test it before buying, and also with the advertising purpose. 

Besides, a demo serves as the presentation and is an integral part of the product marketing process. As we know, digital marketing is focused on high-level conversion. Marketers create special product demos that can be presented in different formats. But the main idea of each demo is to get the purchase done or close the deal.

Let’s take a closer look at SaaS demos because SaaS products are in demand, and the number of SaaS offers is growing fast day by day.

Types of SaaS demos

Each marketing team can choose the best type of SaaS presentation based on the requirements of their target audience. As the SaaS market provides users with high-quality applications, the definition of a tech demo will be used here. 

SaaS tech demos may be presented in the following formats:

Sales demo call

The sales rep of the company communicates with each potential customer by phone. This kind of product demonstration is the most personalized one but is poorly efficient for SaaS marketing campaigns.

Call structure
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Teaching demo (academia)

This online presentation is similar to a guide. Some marketers offer a live stream to tell more about solutions prospects may find in the promoted product or app. Teaching demos are also not very popular among sales reps who specialize in SaaS markets.

Website demo

Web-users see a customized pop-up screen while visiting online resources. The format of website presentations can be different: text message that includes graphics, table with statistics, slide-show demo, video presentation, and many more.

Email demo

This is one of the efficient tools for email drip marketing campaigns. You can put text in the email body and add an attachment or a link to the presentation.

Video product demo

This is a special demo that focuses on prospects’ pain points and hot-topic requirements. Salespeople that run digital marketing campaigns for SaaS products prefer this format the best.

Combined approach

It should be noted that the combined approach is considered the most efficient for B2B SaaS companies. For example, marketers can prepare the demo video/academia/website presentation section and use the links to this material in emails. 

Email drip campaigns

How to create a powerful sales demo email

Most prospects prefer feeling special. This is why the best way to brief them on the product presentation in any format is by sending customized and personalized email letters. This message should contain a link to a sales demo. 

Additional recommendations for the achievement of results are the following:

  • Create a specific call to action (CTA)
  • Make polite conversation
  • Use bright info content and add some catchy details presented in your demo

When to use demos in the digital marketing campaign   

SaaS product presentation doesn’t take place in the first stage of a digital marketing strategy. In general, each campaign has four main steps:

  1. Lead generation & management
    These two processes often take place together. Lead generation and management allow collecting leads and help them move through the sales funnel.
  2. Ideal customer profile (ICP) creation
    This is the stage of research, analytical investigations, and other studies based on already-gathered statistics related to leads.
  3. Pitch stage
    During this stage, all promotional materials are created. Here the procedure of the product demo delivery takes place.
  4. Conversion stage
    This is the final step of the marketing process. The most expected result is high sales rates. A meaningful demo leads to better conversion because most prospects convert into willing buyers and users of SaaS products.

One more way to see when demo delivery takes place is to find it in the typical plan of the customer journey. There are many detailed graphs with different steps to take into account. According to the one below, the process of demo delivery should take place in the mid-course of the customer journey:

When to use demos

Key aspects of the efficient SaaS product demo

Some marketers prefer to mention or show all the strong sides of the promoted product or service in the demo. But a properly-done demo has to solve problems of the targeted audience and meet clients’ requirements instead of promoting services or products.

Any sales process requires a high-quality demo. Marketers need to pick an optimal demonstration variant that will become an effective tool for digital marketing progress. It’s better if you create a customized story, not a tour of the product’s functionality.

Tech demos contain information about the specifications of the product. But technical data should take up the minimum part of sales presentations. The most powerful demo should contain:

  • 80% of information about prospects’ requirements, needs, pains, and possible solutions;
  • 20% of detailed information about the SaaS product the company sells. 
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It means that the more marketers focus on potential buyers’ issues, the better the final result will be. A perfectly-done demo of any format is characterized by two other features:

  • Visualization of any statistics mentioned (if these numbers are necessary for prospects’ decision-making).
  • Decision contents (demo version can be combined with free-trial options; the main idea is to show prospects different options to choose from).

Wrapping it up

As it was mentioned before, SaaS products are in great demand nowadays, so the rivalry in this segment is very intense. SaaS companies prioritize product demos, which results in higher conversion rates. But they can also provide their prospects with free trials or even freemiums (absolutely free-of-charge versions of SaaS applications but with limited functionality).

Inside sales

Inside sales are the dominant sales model for sales representatives in B2B, SaaS, tech, and a variety of B2C industries that sell high-ticket products and services. 

What is inside sales?

It’s the process of identifying, nurturing, and converting leads remotely. Inside sales representatives work from an office or home and sell products or services by reaching out to clients through email or phone. They don’t go to the customer in person as outside sales reps do.

Inside sales representatives

Inside sales representatives are targeting specific businesses and decision-makers. They don’t use a script and are highly trained to know their product inside and out. 

Prior to technological advancements such as Skype, email, and other means of online communication, they did business solely over the phone. Even nowadays, inside sales representatives have to be ready to make over a dozen calls a day trying to close sales with qualified prospects to meet the company’s quotas. However, newer technology has allowed reps to connect with more leads and have more productive conversations based on real-time data.

Inside representatives play a significant role when it comes to realizing companies’ customer acquisition and revenue growth goals. Other responsibilities include the following:

  • Identifying new sales opportunities via outbound cold calls/emails and inbound lead follow-ups
  • Researching accounts, identifying key players, and generating interest
  • Maintaining a constantly expanding database of prospects
  • Partnering with other channels to build a sales pipeline and close deals
  • Performing online demos to prospects
  • Routing qualified opportunities to sales executives for further development and closure
Inside sales process
(Source)

Inside sales vs outside sales

Out of the 5.7 million salespeople in the United States, inside sales professionals account for 47.2%, while 52.8% are outside sales reps. But these numbers are likely to be changed in the near future. 

Outside sales can cost six times more than inside sales, which has resulted in an increase in the number of inside sales representatives. The inside sales segment is now the quickest growing section of lead generation, becoming even more prevalent than traditional face-to-face outside sales. 

The main difference between the two is that outside sales reps often meet with prospects at trade shows, conferences, or industry events. They must be ready to travel a lot to broker face-to-face sales, set their schedule, have the ability to stay focused on their job and look the part. 

Still, inside and outside sales are not mutually exclusive. Often inside sales professionals work with outside sales reps for greater efficiency. For example, an inside salesperson in the same department can do the legwork of creating and organizing face-to-face sales appointments for an outside sales rep.

Also, both inside and outside sales representatives need to:

  • Know their product well
  • Keep learning by attending industry conferences
  • Be ethical salespeople and keep their clients loyal
  • Work on their listening skills
  • Develop solutions to common customer questions and concerns
  • Learn from their peers and take advantage of networking opportunities
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Inside sales benefits

Buying goods and services online or by phone is preferred among customers who are looking for ways to simplify their lives. Here are some of the main benefits of using the inside sales model:

  • Increased cost efficiency – Thanks to inside sales software, you can contact the right prospects more quickly, shorten the sales cycle, and reduce the cost per acquisition.
  • Better revenue forecasting – Using CRM, businesses can predict how much revenue a salesperson will produce and the ROI this represents. 
  • Increased sense of teamwork – Inside sales representatives report higher work satisfaction and better team cohesion than outside sales professionals thanks to the physical proximity of sales reps to their managers.
  • Increased sales productivity without constant traveling – Inside sales reps get to stay in one place and are better placed to take on their administrative and prospecting tasks.  
Inside sales benefits
(Source)

Inside sales software

As mentioned in the inside sales definition, it involves a great deal of cold calling and emailing attempts to target prospects. Boosting inside sales with the right technology helps not only in strategizing the complete sales process but also in closing more deals.

For it, various inside sales software can be used:

  • Email management systems help send out automated email campaigns, create well-crafted email templates, and track email open rates. 
  • Lead scoring tools allow prioritizing sales leads based on their interaction with websites or products, as well as their characteristics – job title, country, company, etc.
  • Event tracking software enables its users to track visitors’ activity and engagement and identify where they are in the buying journey. 
  • Reporting tools help track different metrics, identify top performers in the team, and create reports easily and quickly.
  • CRM software provides an overview of all sales activities and automates manual and administrative work.

What are the advantages of using inside sales software?

Improving connect rates

Using smart technology, inside sales professionals can increase connect rates by tracking the connected calls and analyzing what led to success. As a result, it will help measure the efforts of each sales representative and track buyer personas.

Optimizing sales process

To understand the target customer’s buying process, inside sales reps need to manage the sales funnel efficiently. With necessary software, they can predict sales month after month, strategize their sales approach, breakdown sales value into distinct activities, and eliminate unneeded activities. 

Building rapport

Inside sales software helps nurture relationships with prospects, which is a time-consuming process because products and services are mostly sold through phone and email. Building credibility aids in digging out clients’ information, getting tough questions answered, and coming up with effective solutions. 

Measuring critical KPIs

Inside sales representatives must make smart calls and send productive emails. With the help of inside sales software, they can track the team’s KPIs by having valuable insights into lead connect rates, lead response time, lead conversion score, email open rates, email click-through rates, and others.

Sales intelligence

Inside sales teams need to intelligently identify new leads or update information for existing contacts. Sales intelligence tools provide proactive insights into the customer’s background and information of a prospect, company, or industry.

email drip campaigns

Wrapping it up

To grow their revenue, many companies invest in quality inside sales reps as highly cost-effective alternatives to face-to-face encounters. Inside sales can bring real value to the consumer and the business if done with careful customization and proper research.

Direct selling

Direct selling can be an effective way to build a flexible, low-cost business. It allows you to reduce advertising costs, avoid overhead expenses, and build long-lasting customer relationships.

What is direct selling?

Direct selling is the selling of products in a non-retail setting, for example, at home, online, or other venues that are not a store. It eliminates middlemen who are involved in distribution, such as wholesalers and regional distribution centers. Instead, products are sent directly from the manufacturer to the sales company, then to the rep or distributor, and finally to the consumer. 

Products sold via direct sales are not typically found in traditional retail locations. This means that finding a distributor or rep is the only way to buy them.  

Direct selling is usually associated with party-plan and network marketing businesses. But they aren’t the only ones using direct sales. Many B2B companies use direct selling to target and sell to their end customers. For instance, many businesses that sell office supplies will send their reps directly into the stores that can use their services.

It’s important to note that direct selling doesn’t equal direct marketing. In the first case, individual distributors or reps reach out to customers directly. Meanwhile, in the second case, a company markets directly to clients.

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Types of direct selling

Sometimes, these methods of direct selling are used in combination. They are not mutually exclusive.  

Single-level direct sales

This type of direct selling is usually done face-to-face, e.g., through door-to-door or one-on-one presentations. Still, it can also take place online. As a result, salespeople earn their income from commission sales and occasional bonuses from the company they get their products from. They do not recruit other sales reps to receive more income. 

Host or party-plan sales

This type of sales takes place in a group setting. The primary method of generating sales leads is by hosting a social event and offering products for sale. Salespeople then use the party-plan sales model as a source for future business by asking customers if they would like to host such selling parties, too. Think of Mary Kay for a classic example, as they often host social events to sell goods and find recruits when they aren’t making one-on-one sales.

Multi-level marketing (MLM)

If you’re a multi-level business salesperson, your primary focus is on recruiting members, not the actual product itself. What makes MLM different from other types of direct selling is that income earned through it is based on sales commissions and the sales made by other business partners recruited into the company. 

MLMs are popular with people who want to work from home, but they can be risky to participate in due to hefty upfront fees, difficult-to-meet quotas, and pay dependent on one’s recruits. Most MLMs are generally not looked upon as a good thing. The examples of such direct sales companies are Scentsy, Mary Kay, LuLaRoe, Arbonne, and many others. They also use the party-plan model, but to recruit new salespeople while selling products.

How network marketing works
(Source)

Tips and pieces of advice

If you want to get into direct sales, here are some recommendations to follow:

  • Focus on building relationships first, not making sales. Your first priority should be getting your clients to give you their attention and time. Establish a rapport and determine their pain points and needs so that you can offer a solution. Always follow-up on new prospects quickly to build new relationships.
  • Keep consistent and detailed customer records. A thorough customer database allows building and tracking your networks, communicating periodically with clients, and distributing different marketing materials, such as product updates or email newsletters. 
  • Be passionate and knowledgeable about your products. Salespeople who have confidence in their products and their ability to meet clients’ needs sell more.
  • Build and maintain your networks. Your network marketing strategies should be the core of your direct selling business. It’s important to have mutually beneficial relationships with your colleagues, communicate with them, and learn their selling tips. 
  • Organize your sales environment. Every detail matters, so plan your presentation space and product display thoroughly, as well as make sure you arrive early. Maintain eye contact with your customers and consider ways to remove all possible distractions in the room. 
  • Improve your sales skills. Your conversation and listening skills can help you build long-lasting customer relationships and grow a successful business.
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Advantages and disadvantages of direct sales

Pros

  • You don’t need to have an extensive team supporting you to begin direct selling. All you need is one person to create marketing materials to reach out to potential customers.
  • Without middlemen, you control your image and message.
  • You are in business for yourself, which means you can work from home.
  • There are no prerequisites, so anyone can go into direct sales, regardless of education or job history.
  • There are no set hours, leading you to be able to work when it’s convenient for you, which is a big reason so many stay-at-home mothers become direct sellers. 

Cons

  • If the seller has more incentive to recruit other sellers than to sell inventory, then it may be an illegal pyramid scheme.
  • Direct selling is built for outgoing individuals with several active networks who are willing to buy. The business is nonstop and requires significant output to expand the network and grow sales continually. This leaves the major downside as it limits networking for many people.
  • Direct selling is often uninvited. Many times the experience (whether over the phone, in person, or over social media) feels like you’re trying to talk the prospect into buying something that they don’t want.

Wrapping it up

There are a hundred more pros and cons to working in direct sales, but we would say those are some of the biggest ones. Either way, becoming a direct salesperson will require hard work, networking, and passion for what you are doing, plus research into whatever product you are trying to sell. Direct selling is business, and one has to run it like a business, or there will be little to no success.

Value proposition

A skillfully written value proposition is the core of every company’s competitive advantage. It’s the thing that determines whether customers will read more about your product or service or move on to the next option. A great value proposition could increase your conversion rate and improve your marketing strategies across many channels. 

What is a value proposition? 

A value proposition is a statement that identifies clear, measurable, and demonstrable benefits and summarizes why a customer should buy a company’s product or use its service. Simply put, it’s a promise of value to be delivered to the client. A value proposition also introduces a brand to customers by showing them what the business stands for, how it operates, and why it deserves their attention. 

There’s a lot of stuff being sold out there, so companies must present their products as unique and make them stand out. And a good value proposition is one of the most important aspects that can help achieve this goal.

What are the value proposition examples?

Value propositions are everywhere. You see them every day, yet you may not even be aware of what they are when you come across them. They aren’t slogans or catchphrases. A truly effective value proposition is a statement that paints a clear picture of what a company has to offer to prospects. 

Here are a few really great value proposition examples:

Apple

Apple’s iconic slogan “Think Different” is nowhere to be found. Instead, we have a great value proposition in the statement “Air. Light. Speed.” This short three-word statement is telling customers exactly what they want to know. MacBooks are light weight-wise, which is a common reason people choose them over a PC laptop. The wordplay of “Light. Speed.” tells people that, if they buy a MacBook, it will be far and beyond any other laptop they can buy elsewhere. 

Apple value proposition

Lyft

Lyft has two different value propositions for prospective drivers and riders. We’re going to take a look at one of their previous value propositions that targeted drivers. Unlike the MacBook page, Lyft is targeting people who want a job, not a product. This job can be summed up in 4 words: “Turn miles into money.” 

The value proposition is simple and effective. It tells you straight up that you can make money driving people, and there’s no question of what Lyft’s goal is. And we imagine people with cars can be pulled in by this page’s promise. 

Lyft value proposition

Spotify

Spotify often comes up in lists of great value propositions, and for a good reason. Their landing page says it all in 3 words. What do they do? Music. Who is it for? Everyone. Basically, they are saying if you like music, Spotify is there to provide it all. And the value proposition obviously works, as Spotify is one of the top music streaming services. It’s incredible how three words can have such an effect. 

Spotify value proposition

How to write a value proposition?

It takes more than just coming up with a phrase to write an excellent value proposition. There is a bit of science in art. First, you should ask yourself some questions:

  • What does your product/service do?
  • What are its most important features?
  • How does it work?
  • What are your customers’ pain points?
  • What are their wants and needs?
  • How do your product’s features address these pain points, wants, and needs?
  • What are some of the emotions that go into this purchase?
  • Why should customers use your product over any of your competitors?

If you can’t answer these questions, your value proposition will probably not quite hit the mark. If your value proposition makes people go “what?”, you’re not on the right path, and it’s time to rethink what you are doing. 

Compelling value propositions should meet these guidelines:

  • It should be clear and easy to understand
  • It should communicate results your clients will get from buying and using your products or services
  • It should show how it’s different or better than the competitor’s offer
  • It should avoid superlatives (“the best”), exaggerations (“mind-blowing product” or “never seen before!”), and business jargon (“value-added customer interactions”)

An effective value proposition shows what you have to offer that no other competitor has and how your service or product fulfills customer needs that no other business is able to fill. Even if what you sell isn’t quite unique, you can still come up with a compelling value proposition. Creativity is encouraged; something bland and lifeless will not yield any results.

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Wrapping it up

To lift conversion rates and sales, you need to clearly communicate your value proposition on all the main entry pages: landing pages, product pages, or category pages. It’s easy to find good and bad value propositions once you are analyzing them critically. When coming up with your own, keep in mind these tips:

  • Your value proposition should show your clients the reason your products or services are best suited for those particular customers.
  • A successful value proposition should be communicated to customers directly, either via your business’s website or other marketing means.
  • Value propositions can have different formats, as long as they are unique and specific to your company or product.

Value propositions can be more than just a phrase or a single sentence. But keep in mind that a long, drawn-out value proposition will probably fall through the cracks and make consumers move on to the next company or product. 

User interface (UI)

Over the last years, user interface design has turned into one of the most innovative and creative fields. And knowing the main principles of an effective and attractive user interface, you can use it as a powerful tool for user generation and retention.

What is a user interface?

User interface (UI) is the space where users interact with a website, program, app, etc. This can include display screens, a mouse, keyboards, and the appearance of a desktop.

User interface design should be as user-friendly and disability-friendly as possible. The goal is to design a smooth, intuitive, and visually pleasing interface. People may not even actively notice how easy-to-use a good UI is, but they will feel it, which will have them come back.

What are user interface elements?

UI elements help people navigate their way around. They usually fall into one of the four categories: 

  • Input Controls. These interactive UI elements allow users to enter the data into the system. You can use a wide variety of input controls, such as buttons, text fields, toggles, checkboxes, and more. 
  • Navigational Components. Such elements as slider, breadcrumbs, search field, pagination, tags, and icons help people move around a website or product. 
  • Informational Components. UI elements that help share information with users include but are not limited to notifications, progress bars, tooltips, message boxes, and pop-up windows.
  • Containers. They hold page elements together.

What are the tenants of a good user interface design?

UI is a part of user experience (UX), which also must be well thought out and well designed, or else no amount of effort towards excellent UI will fix it, and vice versa. Here are some guidelines for UI design:

Know your users

Everything stems from knowing their demographic data, pain points, what they want, and what stands in the way of them achieving their goals. Once you know that, you can come up with a solution and address your users’ needs. 

Keep interfaces simple and organized

Label all icons and list how to interact with all objects. For example, a small magnifying glass icon labeled “hover to zoom” will lead the user to know how to view the product at a larger size. 

Amazon is a good example of an effective UI design, especially given there is so much to show on each page. The homepage is labeled well, search pages have all pertinent information under the product picture, and product pages are visually organized so that your eye is led naturally to what you want to look at. Amazon could easily be a mess, but a good UI design makes it not.

User interface example
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Keep every action consistent

If hovering over a product picture magnifies it on one page, do that on all product pages. It takes all the guesswork out for users. You want them to glide through your website or program, not be confused by incongruent design.

Be purposeful in page layout

Structure your site or program based on importance. Consider spatial relationships between items on the page and draw attention to the most important pieces of information.

Ensure readability

Focus on text and color design, or else your site or program can become a jumbled mess. Font choice, font-weight, colors, alignment, hierarchy, and many other aspects of text design can send a strong message with just a few words if used correctly. Having a graphic designer for this aspect of UI is a good idea.

Have one chief function per page

A page can become way too cluttered if there are too many performing tasks. Pick one to focus on and guide users by showing them preferred actions. 

Focus on brand consistency

Does your brand have colors associated with it? Starbucks does, Target does, Snov.io does! Use those colors consistently on your site, app, or program. Use your logo consistently, too. 

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Disability and user interface

Visually, physically, cognitively, and hearing-impaired people might be using your site or program. That is why accommodating them is important to their UX, and your UI design should be easy-to-use for them. An inaccessible interface is a sure way to lose disabled customers. 

Visual impairment

Color blindness, legal blindness, myopia, cataracts – the list is endless for visual impairments. When it comes down to it, two things can make a huge difference: make it larger and use high contrast. 

Physical impairment

Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and age-related motor impairment are just some of the physical impairments that can make using a desktop, tablet, and smartphone difficult. Ways to help such users include making buttons big and easy to click on, implementing a keyboard control option for those who can’t use a mouse or trackpad, and allowing for voice and other forms of control technology.

Cognitive impairment 

Dyslexia is a common cognitive impairment, but unfortunately, it is not very catered to. There are dyslexia-friendly fonts that you can use on your site. For example, such popular fonts as Arial, Century Gothic, Comic Sans, Verdana, Tahoma, and Trebuchet are all commonly agreed to be dyslexia-friendly.

Hearing impairment 

There are many reasons a person can be deaf, as well as many levels of deafness, but it all comes down to one thing – if you have videos on your site, you need to use captions.

Wrapping it up

Effective UI equals an attractive, clear, and consistent design that makes people want to continue to experience it. User-oriented design leads to good UX, resulting in more conversions and higher revenue.

Call to action (CTA)

On the web, you most certainly have seen many shiny buttons and requests to take some action. For example, when registering on websites like LinkedIn or Facebook, you might have encountered a call to action that urged you to like, click, read, sign up, or log in

What is a call to action?

In marketing, a call to action (CTA) is any statement intended to stimulate an instant reaction. It usually uses imperative verbs such as “find out more,” “call us now,” or “visit the store today.” 

The most apparent call to action examples are the ones that urge the user to buy a product or to give contact information. But it can also be a non-pushy suggestion like “choose a color,” “watch this video,” or a more specific request. 

CTAs aren’t just used in digital marketing: brochures, catalogs, and flyers also take advantage of calls to action. Such commands are designed to show customers what next step they have to make and to create a sense of urgency around the offer.

To push the idea of urgency, a CTA can be related to a special promotion with a time restriction: “Purchase before 00.00 to get a personal gift with your order”, “Three for the price of two for the first 100 visitors”, etc. A call to action aimed to persuade users to instantly buy the product or service can be backed by an additional motivator “Your offer expires soon” or “Limited number available.”

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How does a call to action work?

We know the basic principle. However, few understand exactly how the psychology behind a compelling CTA works. What makes it successful? Why do users click on it at all? How important is the wording?

There is a simple reason hardly anyone can put this into words in short – the effectiveness of a CTA is not limited to a simple button, banner, or picture. The entire context of a website and the storytelling around a CTA help close the deal.

One thing is certain – the success of a CTA is not conjured up by the magical combination of a few words. Website visitors will only click on the CTA button if the following three elements are used correctly:

  • What your visitors already know about your brand (past)
  • What impression visitors have when browsing your website (present)
  • What your visitors expect by clicking the button (future)

How to write a call to action?

As explained in the beginning, a CTA is much more than just a simple button. It should be seen as part of a larger overall impression. This impression is made up of a strong start, a successful company presentation, a strong presentation of your product, and a final recommendation or appeal.

In fact, the success of your CTA is directly related to the strength of your sales funnel. So ask yourself: Where do my users come from? How can I interact with them? What steps are necessary so that they ultimately follow my CTA?

If you already know the answers to these questions, there are some smaller tips that can help you increase your CTA’s conversion rate:

Visual appeal 

An appealing picture is essential. Use images that correspond to the image of your brand or the mood of your company. Avoid images that are too sales-heavy. A video format is also an option. 

CTA visual appeal
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Wording

Keep it short, clean, and convincing – less than five words is ideal. Always adapt your wording to the target group. Digital natives, for example, want to be addressed differently than other age groups.

Emotional triggers

Use emotional trigger words to ignite curiosity and boost the click-through-rate

Verb choice

Use specific action verbs that create a sense of urgency. Point out a time limit and increase the pressure to act.

Placement 

Put your CTA where it makes the most sense in context. It is not always advisable to include it at the top of a page. The user must first have the opportunity to get to know or understand your product. Ask yourself: When would I personally be ready to take action for the first time?

Colors

To make your CTA stand out, use a different color than the rest of the page. In terms of design, it shouldn’t be in conflict. Here you have to find the golden mean – collect feedback on this from test users. Alternatively, there is a lot of inspiration on the Internet for color combinations and color palettes.

CTA colors
(Source)

Size

Your CTA should be easy to spot. But remember: more is not necessarily better. Your CTA shouldn’t make browsing on your site cumbersome or distract customers from important information.

Clarity

Your promise of performance should be clearly communicated. Clarify the advantages that a click on the CTA has for your users.

How to test the productivity of a call to action?

A good way to test the productivity of a CTA is by performing an A/B test. For example, several different banners or messages can be displayed to users, and the message with the highest success rate will be selected as the default one. Remember to always A/B test one thing at a time for accurate results.

Digital marketing can use analytical feedback to improve both the style and number of CTAs. Print media and other conventional means of marketing, on the other hand, suffer from a shortage of feedback instruments that can provide an immediate response.

But in all cases, regardless of whether you use digital or traditional media, it is hard to convert the public into clients if your ads lack a distinct and clever CTA.

User experience (UX)

It is said that every $1 invested in user experience yields up to $100 in return. So what is user experience (UX) exactly? UX is a concept related to either a positive or negative impression a user forms after interacting with a website, app, product, or software. It’s a non-numerical measurement of satisfaction with whatever it is that the customer interacts with.

Why is UX so valuable?

Good UX can lead to more sales and higher traffic. If users view your website or product favorably and are happy (positive user experience), they are more likely to make a purchase.

Sales is not the only metric UX directly affects: optimal user experience will lower your bounce rate, indicating longer visits and more interaction; as a result, you will rank higher on search engine results pages according to their algorithms. Creating the optimal UX literally pays off.

What are the elements of user experience?

To create a successful UX, you can build it block by block by following its five elements:

  1. Strategy. The goal of this step is to identify your business objectives and your users’ needs. It should answer the questions: What’s the idea of the product? Who is the customer? Why should we create this?
  2. Scope. This element defines the requirements, what features and functions your product will have.
  3. Structure. It defines how your users can interact with the product and how the system behaves when they interact.
  4. Skeleton. This element determines the visual form right beneath the surface, including the placement of buttons, tabs, photos, and blocks of text.
  5. Surface. This is what users see as a finished product.
Elements of user experience
Source: The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design

How to create an optimal UX?

Well-designed, intuitive UX is a make-or-break component of any company’s website, app interface, product, or whatever the customer interacts with. It can do wonders. For example, when Airbnb improved their UX design, it transformed them from an almost bankrupt to a multimillion-dollar company. UX has a lot of power, and you should know how to harness it. 

But what do you need to focus on?

Analysis

You need to analyze everything in your website’s and app’s analytics. Find out which pages have the lowest bounce rates. Look at heatmaps and identify what people click on the most. Study users’ behavior from when they first land on the site and until they leave it. 

This will help you determine what works and what doesn’t, which is invaluable information when building your website’s UX up to its fullest potential.

Heatmaps
Source: All You Need to Know About Using Heatmaps

Usability

Usability determines whether your site, app or software is easy to use or not. Everything matters: from a small detail (e.g., is the text readable?) to the larger organization (e.g., is the architecture logical and coherent?). 

The UX is highly affected by these components and how they all work together. One of the main elements is the menus. If the menus on your website are not well-clustered and organized, this will make it a little harder to use your site, and your UX can go down. With menus, one way to improve is the breadcrumbs route, named so for being able to trace back your journey easily. For example, a shoe website breadcrumb menu can look like this: Shoes / Women / Heels / Formal.

Infinite scroll is another usability plus. Most people don’t want to click on page after page of products, especially in apps, and an infinite scroll solves this problem. It can boost your UX and, as a result, increase sales and ROI

Our objective is making our clients buy without having to think or exert any type of effort.

– Steve Krug, UX expert and author of “Don’t Make Me Think

Good hosting 

Your sites, apps, and internet-based programs need to work all the time. They need to be hosted on a reliable server, have well-designed interfaces, hi-res images that load correctly and quickly, and work with little to no errors. Aim for perfection on this front – nothing turns potential customers off like a bad experience with loading.

Autocompletion 

At first glance, this one is rather self-explanatory, but there’s more to autocompletion than just searching for a specific product, page, or tool. 

There’s a drop-down autocomplete option that is familiar to any Google or Amazon user. For example, if you search “4×4”, such options as a frame, Rubik’s cube, and gauze pad will drop down. This way, it’s easier for customers to find what they are looking for. 

Amazon autocompletion

There are also precise searches, such as searching for a specific model of a mobile phone or computer. So when you search for “iPhone”, drop-down options will include iPhone 11, iPhone 10s, iPhone 6, etc.

You can also use synonym drop-downs. For example, if you search for “computer,” autocomplete options will include a laptop, desktop, tablet, and monitor, helping you to find what you are looking for more quickly.

An autocomplete search bar on your website and app can have all of these functions. 

Promotions

If you are running promotions, they should be mentioned as much as possible on your site or app. It can be a bar across the top of the page, a promo code under any product that has a promotion going on, or a promo on the page of the product itself. Regardless of what it is, it needs to be loud and clear. Customers love promos.

Checkout

The checkout should be easy! You can lose a sale in a heartbeat if your checkout is too complicated. 

Give the option to sign out as a guest. Have autofill set up for shipping, billing, and credit card information. No one likes to get up and dig out their credit card when they can autofill the information through their browser when shopping online. Make PayPal One Touch checkout a payment option. Don’t give customers a reason to abandon their cart. This is one of the most important aspects of a smooth UX.

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Apps and mobile sites

While we have mostly discussed websites, apps and mobile websites need all of the aforementioned things to create a good UX too. But given that they are viewed on smartphones and tablets, apps and mobile websites have some special hurdles you have to overcome:

  • You cannot just use your desktop site as your mobile site. A separate but comparable website must be designed specifically for the size and bandwidth constraints of a mobile phone. And no pop-ups, for sure. Trying to close them on a small screen is torture that most people will not bear.
  • Apps need to be easy to use. There should be no logging in every time you open it – unless there is sensitive information, like for banking. But even then, it should be easy to sign in using a PIN, facial recognition, or a thumbprint. Again, make sure everything is organized and well-designed, use a menu with breadcrumbs, and offer everything your desktop website does.

UX summed up

No matter what you want your users to experience, it needs to be well-designed, thought through, and analyzed to make sure everyone has a good user experience. Intuitive design leads to good UX, which equals happy users, who convert into happy customers, which results in higher revenue

White hat

The term “white hat” comes from old Westerns, where the good guys wore white cowboy hats, while the bad guys wore black ones. Accordingly, the following categories were created: “white hat,” “gray hat,” and “black hat.” They are defined by motivation and legality of their actions.

But what does “white hat” mean in terms of SEO and IT? 

What is white hat SEO?

In a search engine optimization (SEO) community, white hat SEO is people-focused optimization strategies, practices, and tactics. It refers to any technique that enhances the ranking on a search engine results page (SERP) and follows the rules and policies of major search engines, such as Google. For instance, white hat SEO techniques include using relevant keywords and keyword analysis, offering high-quality services and content for users, quick website loading, and easy navigation.

Let’s take a closer look at some white hat SEO techniques and what you can do to rank without breaking the rules.

Creating high-quality content

Write articles that fully cover and explain the subject so that there’s nothing left to ask about it (2,000-2,500 words is optimal). Prioritize your targeted users over anything else and make useful and powerful content that can help solve their problems.

Using content-relevant keywords 

Choose relevant keywords while creating meta descriptions for each page on your website, but be careful not to add too many. You can use tools like Ahrefs to find keywords or even use Google itself – just start typing your main keyword in a search field, and Google will automatically offer additional suggestions. 

Guest posting 

Contact people in your industry and offer to write relevant content for them or exchange guest articles. This will provide a link back to your website. Choose authoritative websites with high traffic. Such strategy will help build long-term relationships with people in your niche. It will also secure backlinks that will help your website appear higher in the search results. 

Manual social bookmarking

Manually submit your website to top social bookmarking sites to get traffic and improve your search engine rankings. 

Blog commenting and forum posting

Manually post and comment on blogs and forums, but do not leave spam comments like “Cool post!” Make sure your comments are appropriate and valuable enough to get likes. Regular commenting on high profile blogs in your area is also an excellent way to build a relationship with people and improve future rankings.

Comfortable website navigation

Make your website easy to navigate. The more comfortable you make it for users to navigate through a well-organized website, the higher the chance that they will stay on it for some time. What is more, it will lower the bounce rate. Sites with simple navigation are more likely to perform better in organic search results too. 

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Black hat SEO and gray hat SEO

Black hat SEO is quite the opposite. To get better rankings, generate more traffic to a website, and get a higher click-through rate, black hat SEO specialists trick search engines and often break the law. Unlike white hat SEO, it includes buying links and using misleading techniques. 

Black hat SEO is focused on boosting page rankings, but not with the real audience. For instance, one of black hat SEO techniques includes posting comments and links to the website on other third-party sites. And often, such links do not correspond to the content of the page. Other black hat SEO include but are not limited to:

  • keyword stuffing
  • content scraping
  • cloaking (showing one thing to search engines and another thing to visitors)
  • hidden text and links (by changing fonts, color, etc.)

Black hat SEO strategies are risky, and search engines like Google have already developed procedures to penalize this kind of activity. That is why some black hat SEO tactics aren’t as powerful as they were before and can lead to your website being blacklisted. 

Black hat vs. white hat

Gray hat SEO is a combination of white hat SEO (around 95%) and black hat SEO (5%) practices. It’s usually used by people trying to find shortcuts in promoting their otherwise legit business.

White hat vs. black hat in IT

In cyber security, a white hat hacker (also known as an ethical hacker) is a computer security expert who is skilled in system examination, penetration testing, and many other network analysis methods. These practices guarantee the safety and integrity of a company’s information system.

White hat hackers search for vulnerabilities voluntarily or for payment to help developers make their products more secure. Many companies hire white hat experts to protect their systems. 

On the other hand, black hat hackers are computer experts who violate computer security for a harmful purpose or personal benefit. They can spread malware to steal information, especially financial details, as well as personal data, such as login credentials. A black hat expert can also modify or destroy your data.

Black hat experts use the same methods: they test security systems, assess vulnerabilities, and perform penetration testing. However, they do it legally, without the permission from the system owner.

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Gray hat hackers use a combination of white hat and black hat tactics. Generally, they search for vulnerabilities in a system without permission from the system owner. When the issue is found, they may inform the owner and ask for a small fee to resolve the issue. If the owner does not respond or disagrees, gray hats may post the discovered vulnerability online and show it to the world.

Wrapping up

Implementing white hat SEO tactics takes time and effort, but provides a long-lasting growth in rankings and remains the best way to create an ethical and successful website and business. White hat SEO techniques can help you achieve your goal slowly but steadily.

Inbound sales

Inbound sales is the process of identifying, connecting, and exploring leads, personalizing and improving their experience, and finally, leading them to make a purchasing decision. Inbound sales go hand in hand with inbound marketing and outbound sales.

Inbound vs. outbound sales

Inbound and outbound sales are the flip sides of the same coin. They are interrelated, and without either one of them, it would be super-complicated to gain new leads and convert them into loyal paying customers.

The inbound sales methodology is just the opposite of outbound sales. In brief, the main difference between inbound and outbound sales is in who initiates communication.

In inbound sales, a lead or a prospect is the initiator. They come across your content on the web, visit your website, and want to get to know more about your product and how they will benefit from it.

When it comes to outbound marketing and sales, a sales rep initiates communication with leads. They generate leads from various resources and start an active dialogue. Roughly speaking, outbound sales look like an obtrusive pushing of leads to make a purchase while inbound sales are a rather natural process where all the cards are in the lead’s hands.

Here’s the exact difference between inbound and outbound sales:

Inbound vs. outbound

The most important conclusion about inbound vs. outbound sales is that you can’t choose just one of them and stick to it, they need to work together. This is the way to make sure your revenue is constantly growing.

Inbound sales vs. inbound marketing

Which comes first – inbound sales or inbound marketing? This is like the eternal chicken-and-egg question – you never know where the first one ends and the second one begins. 

Inbound marketing is all about creating high-value content that will attract leads. Once people are attracted to and excited about your content, they get interested, and a desire to purchase might spark in them. This is where inbound sales come into action.

But even when inbound sales start, inbound marketing doesn’t end. Inbound marketing is a never-ending, ongoing process: you need to constantly control and update information about the service you have on the web, create new valuable nurturing content, and analyze its performance to attract new leads and nurture the existing clients.

Inbound marketing tactics

The three main principles of inbound marketing are to attract, engage, and delight

Content

To attract clients, you need to create the best content and share it all over the web and via all possible channels (surely, focusing on the ones that drive the most traffic). You can write a blog post, create a lead magnet, take a video, or record a podcast, and then write social media posts where you share a link to your YouTube channel or blog. 

SEO

To make your content appear in the top search positions, you need to optimize your texts. To implement this inbound marketing tactic to the full, you will need the support of your SEO specialist, who will find the best-fit keywords for your content so that it is well-ranked in search engines. 

Communicating like a pro

Have a conversation and listen to how customer care and customer success managers communicate with the interested leads and prospects and learn from them. This will allow you to interact with people the way professionals do and engage them in a conversation and your product. 

Social media listening

To get the maximum out of this inbound marketing tactic, you can use chatbots and create social media accounts where you will read your clients’ feedback, communicate with your users, answer the questions leads may have about your service, and so on. The result is obvious: the more active and supportive you are, the more people are satisfied. This guarantees that you delight prospects and leads to high-quality reviews and positive feedback.

Reviews

Your brand is not only what you think it is. Your brand is what other people say about it. You need to make sure your stuff is great enough so that others see its helpfulness and share their good impressions. Inbound marketing is also about reviews and comments. There are dozens of great platforms where anyone can get insights about you. Make sure they are positive and correct something if there’s a necessity in it and people mention it. Also, do not forget about social media and specialized groups and channels where specialists all over your country or even the whole web communicate and can give a few good words about you.

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Benefits of inbound sales and marketing

As you can see, inbound marketing and sales go hand in hand. Here’s a shortlist of how you can benefit from investing in your inbound sales and marketing:

  • Simplified sales and marketing
    The sales team can provide insights into what customers need, while the marketing team can use this information to come up with highly-targeted content.
  • Improved long-term relationships
    As mentioned earlier, inbound marketing focuses on creating content that will attract leads. And to do so, you have to define the leads’ pain points, needs, frustrations, and expectations. For example, you can study the competitors’ websites, social media channels, or visited pages. Hard work of inbound marketing and sales will result in the content that customers are interested in and lead to improved long-lasting customer lifetime value.
  • Improved brand awareness
    As your inbound marketing priority is content, you need to provide plenty of information about your tools and services via all possible channels. This way, the brand awareness will grow, and your business will become more recognizable. 
  • Cost-efficiency
    Compared to outbound sales, which include pricey ads and lead sourcing, inbound marketing is cheaper. You only need a few people in your marketing team who will be working on the creation of high-quality content and a sales manager who will then lead newcomers through the sales funnel.
  • Better conversions
    If you identify the best ways to contact your leads and create content, they will become more loyal. Finally, this will influence their decision, and the conversion process will be easy.
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Inbound sales methodology

Inbound sales are just about personalizing the buyer’s experience. The main aim of the inbound sales process is to subconsciously persuade leads to make a purchasing decision. The whole inbound sales methodology includes four steps, though they might differ for each business:

  1. During the Identify phase, you are supposed to define your buyer personas, prioritize them, and find the ways you can attract them.
  2. At the Connect step, you are communicating with potential clients either virtually or live for the first time. The most important here is that these leads define the way and time of connection. Everything is on their terms.
  3. During the Explore stage of the inbound sales process, you have a conversation with potential clients to find out their pain points, problems, and goals and discover their timeline and budget.
  4. In the last phase, Advise, you need to provide your solutions to prospects and give the reasons your solution will help them. Also, describe the steps they are supposed to take next.

Once you know what inbound sales are, how to combine them with inbound marketing, how profitable they are, you can start implementing your inbound lead generation!

Minimum viable product (MVP)

A minimum viable product (MVP) is an early product version with limited features, which is targeted at collecting customer feedback for further product development. This feedback is essential. For product developers, the aim is to learn:

  • what needs customers have
  • how these needs can be satisfied with the product
  • which functions the audience wants
  • how the market reacts.

In most cases, an MVP is mentioned in connection with the lean startup concept and can also be used in this context.

Development of a minimum viable product

An MVP is a finished product and should be treated as such. This means that customers should get a functional, reliable, usable, and attractive solution. That said, every advanced function should be excluded from an MVP. Only the functions that are necessary to fulfill the actual purpose of the product are included. This saves a lot of time, work, and money.

MVP should cover all bases
MVP should cover all bases (Source)

An MVP is reduced to at least one core property. As can be seen from the minimum viable product definition, its goal is to check whether customers are interested in the product and whether they want to spend money on it. Potential customers are usually early adopters who are interested in products that are still in development and are excited to try them out very early.

Through early customer contact, product developers quickly learn which features are desired and which are not. This provides crucial information on how and in which direction the product should be further developed.

The product is continuously developed through feedback and development cycles. Customers receive the product and give feedback. Developers evaluate this feedback and further improve the product. Customers provide feedback again, and the cycle repeats itself.

The minimum product can be compared to a prototype, as both are in the development cycle. But in addition, an MVP is reduced to a few core functions, while a prototype is still an unreleased product. 

Why a minimum viable product is necessary

It has to be quick and easy. The basic idea when creating an MVP is to create a product as quickly as possible with only the most necessary functions – e.g., a landing page. It is then published immediately, and feedback from potential customers is obtained at once. This feedback is then used to expand and improve an MVP.

how to build a minimum viable product
Source: SugoiLabs

The main reason for developing an MVP is to minimize risk. If you choose to bypass MVP development and instead create and release the full product, you run the risk of miscalculating market demand, product attractiveness, desired functionality, as well as losing time and money. Developing an MVP first protects you from all of this, with no advanced development, marketing, and sales costs accrued.

For most MVPs, no extensive programming knowledge or the like is usually required. Most problems can be solved by skillfully using existing techniques. For example, there are enough website builders that can be used to create rudimentary websites without requiring web developers and analysts to test your concept.

The summarized advantages of the MVP are the following:

  • Low capital investment (costs are reduced, and resources are saved)
  • Low risk of loss
  • Customer feedback is obtained very early in the development cycle
  • Product developers receive ongoing feedback
  • Proof that a product is well or badly received
  • Evidence of demand

Minimum viable product types

There are several types of MVPs, depending on the purpose and form.

Type 1. Pre-order MVP: Use better financing options

This type is primarily about testing or financing the planned project. The project is presented on a website or a landing page and, in the form of crowdfunding, customers have the opportunity to signal interest or contribute financially.

Once a certain volume has been reached, the startup can begin with the detailed design or even manufacturing of the product described. Of course, this type of financing can also be made more specific by allowing customers to pre-order the product directly – even without a finished product.

MVP example

In this way, only as much is produced as can actually be sold. The great advantage of this approach is not only evident in the improvement of liquidity. As a founder, you can quickly see how or whether a product reaches the target group at all. Kickstarter is a great platform for this type of MVPs.

Type 2. Audience Building MVP: Actively build the target group and learn from them

This type is less about the financial aspect. The focus is instead on the interaction with potential customers. It has to be about approaching the potential target group through various channels (preferably face-to-face during customer interviews) and presenting the advantages of a not yet existing MVP.

In addition to customer interviews, this MVP type is also a tried and tested method in niche-relevant Facebook groups and on Reddit. Social media is ideal in general – an audience-building MVP can use any platform that comes into direct contact with the targeted group: just post your project and try to get feedback from your potential clients. 

The collected feedback will help you adapt your MVP directly to customer requirements in an early phase. If, after a while, it turns out that there is a growing fan base, the next step should follow: an MVP is released onto the market. It is in the nature of things that this approach works best for typical online products or services.

Type 3. Landing Page MVP: In the beginning, there was only a website

The easiest way of testing is via a landing page on which interested parties can buy a product. The only purpose of this website is to advertise the product. Here’s how it works: advertising campaigns on Facebook or Google Adwords direct visitors to the website. Afterward, operators can evaluate how many people have seen the product (site visitors) and how many have bought it.

From there on, collected feedback will show at a very early stage what the chances of success are for this product. In any case, this approach corresponds to the entrepreneurial spirit of quickly entering the market. 

If you want to use the lean startup method consistently, you have to incorporate interaction options so that as many customers as possible can leave their valuable feedback for product development. This can be done via a contact form, an email signup form, or a live chat. 

Type 4. MVP as an explanatory video

An MVP must be one thing above all: practical and easy to understand. And what is more obvious in terms of a quick market launch than to present a product/service through a professionally created explanatory video? Here are some MVP video examples:

Videos let you explain basic functional principles and customer benefits quickly and convincingly, as well as sum up the perceived added value of a business idea or a product in a compact and sometimes funny way. The better you perform with such a video, the sooner you will be able to engage potential customers.

Type 5. Flintstone / “Wizard of Oz” MVP: The illusion of a new business model

This kind of an MVP is about creating an illusion of a fully functional product. At first glance, the Flintstones’ car looks modern. But when the camera lowers, the drive is exposed as highly rudimentary. The same is happening with this MVP.

It looks like the process is fully automated. But in reality, all the manpower available is working behind the scenes to provide customers with a functional solution, manually. This approach has the advantage of being very inexpensive to develop while providing immediate customer feedback.

If you choose this approach, you can test the market reaction for your product with little financial means. If there is a positive response or a certain direction for the development, it can be tracked based on the market.

Type 6. MVP with only one function: Achieve a lot with little resources

This form of an MVP can be seen as an ultimate choice – it’s about bringing functionality to the customer as simply and convincingly as possible.

Such a product (or service) must reliably perform a central function and be actually useful. This creates the basis for scalability. Over time, there are more opportunities to learn from customers and gradually adopt a range of new functions.

email verifier

Minimum viable product examples

Many companies use multiple different MVPs before developing and launching the actual product. And in many cases, the businesses skyrocket with the help of an insanely simple MVP. Some of the best simple MVP examples are explained here:

Dropbox: With an explanatory video as an MVP to 75,000 beta users

The world-famous cloud storage giant Dropbox is a successful prime example of the explanatory video MVP (type 4). In the beginning, the (now extremely profitable) company consisted only of an explanatory video that conveyed the basic benefits of the product idea in an original way:

In terms of psychological perception, an explanatory video makes sense anyway: pictures say more than 1,000 words, and they stay in your head longer. The video about Dropbox must have been compelling because beta-user registrations rose from just under 5,000 to 75,000 overnight, even though the actual software solution did not exist yet!

The founders knew instantly – they’re onto something. Only after this success, they implemented a corresponding software solution, which is gaining more and more functionality to this day.

Ultimately, with an MVP, this is the key to the desired scalability: at some point, the functionality must be so good that customers willingly pay for it. Dropbox showed how this could work. 

Zappos: An online shop that doesn’t actually exist (yet)

Today’s e-commerce champion Zappos (with annual sales counted in billions) started very small, with a Wizard of Oz MVP (type 5). Zappos did not start as a finished online shop with functioning logistics, but only as a ‘dummy’ to test hypotheses and research customer behavior. In the beginning, they were looking to answer one simple question – whether shoes could be bought online. 

It was 1999, and the idea was new, risky, and brave, even though now we can clearly see its impact. So what they did was taking photos of shoes, uploading them to a website, and offering them for sale. For customers, the whole thing appeared to be a finished business model, even though in reality, in the very early phase, each shoe was bought from the local dealer after an order was placed and then simply sent by post.

It quickly became clear that the ‘sell shoes online’ business model was very promising. Today’s figures and revenue show how significant an outcome from an initially small product test can be.

Buffer: What can become out of a landing page

The supposedly easiest way to bring an MVP to the market is by means of a landing page (type 3). As a successful practical minimum viable product example, you should take a closer look at Buffer. It’s an app to plan and control activities on social networks.

In the beginning, Buffer consisted of a very simple landing page that explained the product’s advantages. Interested parties were also encouraged to register directly. Email addresses obtained this way were used to interact with potential customers and to further develop the product using feedback. The next step was to test how willing customers were to pay for the service (depending on the possible functions).

Buffer MVP landing page initial and second versions

Buffer MVP landing page initial and second versions

Buffer is a successful and, at the same time, very vivid practical example of an MVP. It shows step by step how customer feedback can be efficiently integrated into planned learning processes. Fundamentally, this way offers a very low-cost and low-risk opportunity to test a product idea on the market for its chances of success.

Other minimum viable product examples

Spotify

Before Spotify became an international music streaming service, its founder Daniel Ek tested his idea in Sweden. In an early version of Spotify, only Swedish artists were targeted as part of the service and only on the Swedish market. It functioned so well that the development and internationalization quickly followed.

Airbnb

Before the founders of Airbnb became known worldwide with their app, they tested the rental of rooms in their apartment. To do this, they set up a website, collected feedback, and learned what form Airbnb should take.

Additional practical applications and solutions

Video games as beta

Some video game developers allow interested players to play their game when it is not yet fully developed. This early contact allows them to give feedback early and influence the development of the game. The game developer receives support and feedback from beta-testers at an early stage and can test how and whether the game arrives.

Minimum viable team

A “minimum viable team” is the idea of a team consisting only of essential and important people who have clear roles and are experts in their field. They all work together on one goal, and their personalities and temperaments are coordinated or balanced.

Unique Selling Point / Proposition (USP)

What is a unique selling proposition?

A unique selling point (USP), also known as a unique selling proposition, is a unique property of a product, service or branded item, which is associated with an advantage over the competition. A unique selling point can be a product’s or service’s features, special technical characteristics, innovation, unique design etc. Unique selling points are typically used as the basis of marketing campaigns. 

The creation of a unique selling proposition is the main challenge in product development and marketing, because without such a feature the customer cannot associate a product with a unique identity, but will only aim to purchase it at the best price. For companies that strive for price leadership, the unique selling point is to become the cheapest provider. Such customer benefits must also be clearly communicated.

It’s not uncommon for a unique selling point to be patented (if possible) to protect it against competitors for the duration of the patent.

The unique selling point is of central importance for the establishment of a customer’s values. Companies that have no or weak unique selling point are under higher pressure and have to work with more customers per day, use stronger inductive reasoning, big discounts and bonuses in order to survive against the competition.

Origin of the term

The term unique selling proposition (USP), was introduced into marketing theory and practice in 1940 by Rosser Reeves as a unique “sales promise” in the context of product and service advertising. According to him, this unique selling promise should distinguish the benefit of the marketed product from the products of the competitors. This alleged or actual benefit usually refers to a specific property that other products do not have or do not claim to have. The target group addressed in this way should thereby form preferences for the advertised product and ultimately purchase it.

As part of his work for the advertising agency Ted Bates & Co, New York, Reeves repeatedly tried to find out and implement this unique selling point in the products he advertised in a target group-oriented manner. The dominant idea was to clearly work out and present the reason why a consumer should buy the advertised product.

During the US presidential election campaign in 1952, Rosser Reeves also implemented the unique selling point in campaign advertising. The Republican Party had hired him to promote Dwight D. Eisenhower. What followed was an upheaval in election campaigns, since he – successfully – marketed the candidate like soap.

Rosser Reeves / Eisenhower USP campaign

In 1961, Reeves provided the theory for the practice of the unique selling point that he practiced. He conclusively demanded that advertising should clearly convey why the consumer should buy the advertised product (and no other). It is essential that the company must also deliver what the advertising promises. Otherwise, success will not last.

Unique selling point/proposition examples

The following are examples of the most famous unique selling propositions presented through what is generally viewed as a slogan that is intensified with a differentiating benefit of the product or service. Typically, the uniqueness is achieved with a unique method, component, or system that provides the benefit specified.

Head & Shoulders: “Clinically proven to reduce dandruff.” (1961)

After 10 years of research, Pyrithione Zinc was found to be a component that eradicated dandruff where other products were not effective. Adding the word “Shoulders” to the product name also symbolized that the product reduced the white marks on dark clothes caused by dandruff flakes falling from the hair. 

head&shoulders unique selling point

M&M’s: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” (1954)

As a unique selling point, M&Ms used a patented solid sugar crust that holds chocolate from melting in one’s hands. Thus the sweets could be safely carried compared to other brands. This USP was extensively used in campaign slogans for decades. 

m&m's unique selling point

FedEx: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” (1978-1983)

FedEx was the first business to concentrate on overnight air freight and first to employ package tracking. This inspired the company’s campaign slogan of “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” creating a massive competitive advantage.

fedex unique selling point

Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less – or it’s free.” (1973-1993)

The company practices what it calls the “make line” and other methods to produce and deliver pizzas quickly. This USP made it an official pizza delivery leader all over the world.

domino's pizza unique selling point

Basic benefits, additional benefits, and USP – the subtle difference

You may have heard three marketing terms used when defining a product or service – basic benefit, additional benefit, and the USP. So what’s the difference between the three?

  • Basic benefit: a benefit that a customer derives from a product or service. This basic benefit is the same for all products of one type: e.g. detergent cleans clothes.

  • Additional benefit: another benefit that not every product offers, but which is not unique enough compared to competitive offers: e.g. this detergent prevents color fading.

  • Unique selling point: no one else on the market offers this benefit: e.g. patented-formula gel capsules are added to the powder to prevent black clothes from fading, and actually make the colors brighter than before.

The difference between additional benefit and USP in particular is very important – not every standout selling proposition is also a unique proposition in the actual sense of the word. 

Of course, selling propositions that are not strictly USPs can also be used in advertising messages. But this can only narrow the customer’s choice and not exactly direct it to your product. 

Characteristics of a good unique selling point

In order to be considered an effective USP in terms of marketing, a unique selling proposition should meet three conditions:

  1. uniqueness
  2. relevance for target groups
  3. proof

The aspect of uniqueness is largely self-explanatory: the more unique the product or service, the greater the resulting competitive advantage. This also means that the USP should not be generic: “Cleans particularly well” is a claim that – if not supported by visible “power capsules” or similar unique selling propositions – can be claimed by any detergent.

Target group relevance, in turn, ensures that the USP also has actual customer benefits: a shelf life of 25+ years, for example, is not an actual advantage for detergent users who do their laundry every week. On the other hand, a detergent that ensures that black clothing does not fade is a clear advantage for anyone who often wears black clothing – for example as a discreet work outfit.

The proof behind the USP is unfortunately often overlooked, especially by new companies that still want to quickly assert themselves on the market. If, for example, it turns out for the customer that the black laundry is still fading to gray despite the unique marketing claims, the supposed sales argument can backfire fast.

Strategic importance

In the introductory and growth phases of the product life cycle, the concept of unique selling points works excellently, provided the product hits an unsaturated market with this unique selling offer. Advertising for the product with a USP is also very effective as it can be limited to just a few simple points.

In the maturity and decline phases of the product life cycle, however, the fixation of the product policy on the chosen unique selling point becomes a problem. In this phase, your own product is established, but the competing companies bring comparable products to the market. This also reduces the value of the chosen unique selling point, since it is no longer clearly perceived by the customer as such.

Therefore, the marketing strategy must adapt to the conditions of the mature market. Even though the differences between the competing products are smaller, which limits the development of unique selling points, the price can now serve as such. There are two sub-strategies: either you are cheaper than the competition for the same performance, or you offer more performance for the same money. 

There’s one more strategy that differs from the rest: move away from material USPs and instead try to build an emotionally charged brand which inspires the customer to buy from you.

Why unique selling points are so important

Anyone who has ever looked at endless shelves with washing products in the supermarket knows that most products are interchangeable in almost all market segments. If two detergents differ only in the name and the packaging, the customer may randomly choose one of the two products. Unless one of the products has a unique selling point.

USPs can be identified not only at the product level, but also at the service level: e.g. the product has a 10-year guarantee, the company also delivers on public holidays, there’s a free gift with every online order.

If you want to promote yourself in a competitive environment – especially with a newly launched product – you have to make it clear to the customer why your product is the right choice. Unique selling points are defined and communicated to the customer for this exact purpose.

Unicorn

Unicorn is a word used in the venture funds industry to indicate a tech startup with a total market value of over $1 billion. 

The name was first used and popularized by Aileen Lee, a venture entrepreneur and founder of CowboyVC – a seed-stage investment fund based in Palo Alto, California.

The logic and math behind the crucial $1 billion threshold 

Why are stockholders crazy about “billion-dollar outcomes”? Because the largest investment funds have always driven revenues from their ownership in just several companies, only to invest them back into a pool of many new promising businesses. 

Besides, traditional investment funds have expanded in size, demanding more substantial “exits” to produce satisfactory returns. For instance, to return the primary venture investment of $400 million, they might require to own 20% of two different $1 billion businesses, or 20% of a $2 billion business when the company is bought or goes public.

According to Aileen Lee, there’s a strong psychological difference in perception of a company when it reaches the unicorn status: “One billion is better than $800 million because it’s the psychological threshold for potential customers, employees, and the press.”

Origins of the term

Aileen Lee wanted to understand how probable it is to find and fund one of those promising startups, so in 2013 she conducted research and discovered that only 0.07% of venture-backed businesses were evaluated at more than $1 billion. Lee decided to share her conclusions, but she first had to invent a term that could accurately depict this class of companies.

Here’s the backstory in her own words: “I was trying to come up with a word that would make it easier to use over and over again. I played with different words like ‘home run,’ ‘megahit,’ and they just all sounded kind of ‘blah.’ So I put in ‘unicorn’ because they are – these are very rare companies in the sense that there are thousands of startups in tech every year, and only a handful will wind up becoming a unicorn company. They’re really rare.” 

The fact that the term itself is inspired by fiction genres, popular among techies – sci-fi and fantasy – has solidified its place in Silicon Valley business discussions.

Here’s what Robin Lakoff, professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, had to say about the term: “In a way, the term romanticizes tech-companies: takes them from the remote and unintelligible to the magical and even lovable, while also being rare and powerful. I certainly would feel nicer toward megarich tech startups if I could think of them as unicornlike.”

Related terms: White Whale

Why “unicorns” are getting so widespread

Lee’s article wasn’t the only reason why the name became so widespread. Over the past decade, two significant changes in the IT industry have created a need for a term that could quickly describe private billion-dollar tech companies. 

Unicorn startups list
Source: TechCrunch

That said, right now there’s no actual math to estimate startups – the valuations are most often based on a company’s business potential, and are merely approximate estimates. This has made it easier for startups to earn billion-dollar estimates.

The other significant change is that venture-supported businesses stay private much longer than in the previous decades. In 2000, the medial term of an initial public offering was 3.1 years, according to the National Venture Capital Association. That number doubled in 15 years, partially because numerous promising businesses want to benefit from the friendly estimating environment before they go public. Besides, the development of private markets has made it simple for unicorn stockholders to withdraw their investments without pushing their startups to go public and appear under the lens of Wall Street’s relentless eyes. 

Merged, these two differences lead to the appearance of more unicorns than ever before. In 2018 alone, 16 new US businesses became unicorns and raised the total number of global private startups valued at $1 billion or more to 119.

List of current “unicorns” across the globe

Far from being just imaginary animals, unicorns are a natural topic in current business and investment discussions. Some well-known U.S.-based unicorns are SpaceX, Uber, Palantir Technologies, Airbnb, Pinterest, and WeWork. 

biggest unicorn startups by year
Source: Fortune

China appears to have a lot of unicorns as well, including Xiaomi, Didi Chuxing, Lu.com, and China Internet Plus Holding.

There are multiple lists of unicorn startup businesses available online, with notable lists compiled by Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, CNNMoney/CB Insights and PitchBook/Morningstar.

Other meanings

“Unicorn” can also refer to recruitment within the HR sector. HR executives may have high demands when trying to close a specific job position, leading them to look for specialists with skills that are more powerful than those usually required for the position. In other words, these recruiters are looking for a “unicorn”, which leads to a break between their perfect candidate versus the realistic pool of professionals available.

For instance, a medium-sized company may want to find and hire a person who has writing, sales, marketing, social media, and management expertise, as well as fluency in two foreign languages. Although it may pay off to hire one candidate with all those talents instead of several different employees to manage various tasks, it is also likely that all these duties and responsibilities will be difficult to cope with for a new employee, leading to frustration.

Outbound sales

As opposed to inbound sales, where sales agents expect leads to initiate interest and ask about a service or product, outbound sales are more proactive. It’s presumed that a prospect has no information about the product or has barely heard of it. The outbound sales reps’ job is to present the potential client with a solution they have not considered yet.

What are outbound sales?

Outbound sales are a sales process in which a sales assistant starts communication with a potential customer from their end. The primary contact is usually established by arranging cold calls or sending cold emails to potential clients (commonly referred to as prospects or leads in sales). Contact details are usually taken from a phone directory or prospect lists created with tools like an email finder.

inbound vs. outbound
Source: Waypost Marketing

Now that we’re done with the outbound sales definition let’s consider the steps it consists of. They are:

1. Outbound prospecting (lead generation)

Lead generation, also known as prospecting, is a method of accumulating contact data of potential new customers. Before diving into it, it’s essential to have a clear view of your target audience. Find answers to these questions: What types of businesses are you targeting? Who makes decisions about your service or product in these organizations? Do you have a buyer persona

Leads can be generated in several ways: 

Any additional data collected (especially in the case of outbound prospecting from LinkedIn) can be used to filter leads and personalize your emails and offers.

2. Cold outreach

Outbound sales calling is a classic example of cold outreach methods. But these days, cold emails are a more popular outbound sales strategy. When composing them, you should try to make your letters short, consistent, personalized, and relevant to your leads’ needs and pain points.

Outbound sales reps often follow up with their prospects half a dozen times when cold emailing (a sequence that can be automated without losing the human feel). It’s vital to introduce one clear call to action (CTA) in every letter. Power words are also a common method to improve open and reply rates for cold emails.

As we’ve mentioned, any additional data, most commonly collected on social media, can be used to boost the chances of converting a cold lead. Outbound sales representatives can even go as far as to use these details for creating tailored sales scripts and marketing offers. 

In some situations, business offers can be made in real-time without the need for a sales assistant. For instance, a user publishes a post on social media that they need a last-minute dress reservation for a night out. They can be targeted by a business on the next street simply by responding to the post in real-time with a bonus or a discount offer. If this cold lead turns into a buying customer, then the outbound sale turns into a closed deal.

3. Lead qualification, demos

You turn a cold lead into a prospect when, having received a message about your service or product, they take interest and agree to accept a sales call. This is a standard stage of many sales funnels in which outbound sales representatives perform a product presentation. 

sales funnel and lead's journey
A typical sales funnel

The first sales call is often the first live communication with the lead. So it’s essential to be equipped with relevant information about them and have a flawless demo for that prospect type. 

Discovering more about the lead and their business as they advance through the sales funnel can help salespeople offer a more tailor-made proposal and enhance the probability of closing the deal. Ask about their pains and difficulties and why they chose to communicate with you. Let them speak out and try to understand what it would take for them to become your client. It’s necessary to distinctly outline the next steps at the end of the outbound sales call.

4. Closing the deal

This step refers to any late-stage actions that follow as a deal comes to a close, and you are about to turn a lead into a new client. It varies from business to business and may involve preparing a quote, discussions of the offer, upgrading from Freemium to Premium, etc. Eliminate any choice difficulties in this stage. Give a special offer and make it easy for leads to sign a new agreement or upgrade their account. Be determined to acquire them as clients. 

5. Reaching customer success

At this point, you have succeeded in landing a new customer. Now it’s your turn to fulfill your promises, give your new clients the best imaginable experience, and support them. Once you have pleased your customers, ask them if they have colleagues or partners that may be interested in your services as well. Have your client refer new leads to you, as this helps find new business opportunities.

Wrapping it up

These are the essential stages of an outbound sales funnel. Observe, measure, and take advantage of any progress at every stage. Small advances in one part of the funnel can have a powerful impact on the number of new deals you close every month. 

Having a clearly outlined, dynamic, repeatable, and scalable outbound sales funnel is one of the main keys to success.

White whale

In sales terms, a white whale (or simply whale) is a lead that has the potential to bring enormous sales revenue to a company. Whales are large, elusive, and very rare – and sales teams go above and beyond to capture one.

In B2B sales, a whale lead is often a business client that’s incomparably larger than your own company. In B2C, it might be a customer who buys your most expensive product or service option and does so repeatedly.

The term is a reference to Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick, where the main character pursues a white whale named Moby Dick for a very long time, yet never manages to catch it. Everyone on the boat but the narrator dies in pursuit of the whale.

This story reflects the dangerous nature of relying on the whale as your only goal.

Finding a “whale” lead

How big are the whales exactly? For many companies, they represent a large piece of revenue. For example, take Zynga:

Whales vs ordinary clients
Source: Second Measure

For Zynga, the top 1% on average spends $4,260 – a whopping x49 more than the bottom 99%. This is an extreme example of the whales’ influence. An important point, however, lies in the number of such whales vs the number of usual customers.

Whale leads are out there in the ocean, but you’ll have to cover many a mile to find even one. In the meantime, you’ll be passing right over the shoals of smaller prospective leads and buyers. Don’t neglect them in pursuit of the white whale, especially when you’re just beginning your career in sales. Those small deals are your primary revenue source, so turn your primary attention to them. It’s good to keep an eye on the big leads on your horizon, but collect the easy targets along the way.

Once you’ve found one of those big whales, how you hunt them depends on their routines and habitat. In B2B sales, like in hunting, the idea remains the same: don’t swoop in blind. Being prepared is essential. Distinguish your prey and approach them with care and tact. Keep in mind – your lead is most likely being hunted by dozens of your competitors. You must be exceptionally impressive to bring the whale in as a client.

Closing the deal 

Making agreements with whales often demands far more energy and time than a standard business deal, but these contracts are much larger and more profitable – as we’ve seen from the example of Zynga, a single whale can be comparable to dozens of ordinary clients. This makes them extremely worthy of chase despite the extra difficulties. And if you manage to turn the white whale into a loyal customer, their value can only grow.

You can follow the same sales procedure that you practice for ordinary leads, but improved to fit the importance of the lead. If you usually study a lead by asking three personalized questions during the offer presentation, you’ll want to come up with 10 personalized questions for your whale. Be ready that this deal will be much tougher to close. Don’t save on personalized details like thank you letters or even tiny gifts that match the prospect’s interests.

If you successfully close the deal, give special care to your new white whale client. Get in touch regularly to be certain that they’re content and continue to purchase from you.

The dangers of pursuing whales

In the beginning, you don’t have many clients to boast about, but you want to chase the big fish anyway. You may want to follow the big lead for months, only to end up with a drained budget and strained relations with investors – and no sale.

If you’re comparatively new and unknown in your business niche, it’s near to impossible to land larger clients because you don’t have any track record. What’s worse, when you concentrate on a few long-shot leads, you miss the smaller opportunities to fill your sales funnel and build a revenue flow from minor, more reachable prospects.

You definitely want to have a few whales on your radar in the long run, but whale hunting entails the risk too serious to be a practical approach for most new companies. And if you fall short with these business titans, they presumably won’t consider you as a serious player in the future.

Mirroring

Mirroring is a method applied in sales and any other business negotiations. This method can work well in any business environment as well as in most personal social interactions.

When mirroring, one person scans and subtly replicates the physical and verbal behaviors of another in order to establish rapport and empathy during a conversation (e.g., in the process of promoting an offer). 

This may sound like an easily detectable method, however, when done accurately, it’s almost impossible to notice, and numerous studies support its efficiency. On top of that, mirroring helps bring both sides to a common understanding of key points and enables them to draw identical conclusions.

Origins of mirroring

Mirroring tends to take place automatically between the individuals who know one another very well. Real friends will frequently choose the same expressions and use the same body gestures, especially when they spend time together. Spouses do it, too – this sort of involuntary mirroring commonly occurs in families, and anyone who has a kid knows that babies are very good at mirroring the behaviors of adults around them.

Using mirroring in sales 

Mirroring is a strong sales technique as it can give your prospect a subconscious feeling that you’re just like them (whether because you’re their soulmate, companion, or someone who can become a very good friend because you’re so similar to them). Sales representatives can practice mirroring to establish instant rapport, understanding, and empathy with their leads, making sales easier.

When selecting clues to your prospect, it’s important to you prepare beforehand. Search for information about your prospect before actually meeting them in person. For example, if you see an eco-movement sticker on their Tesla car in the parking area, you might promptly change your screensaver to an eco-movement wallpaper placing your phone at a subtle angle that would make it possible for your prospect to notice it (but not showcasing it). Again, subtlety is key.

Aspects of mirroring

There are many sides to mirroring. They can be used together or separately.

Body language

For example, if the client is sitting in a chair, crossing their legs, try to copy them and do the same. This will carry a positive (and most importantly, a subliminal) message that you are attentive to all of the aspects of your communication (physical in this case), making them feel important, and indicating that you are on their side.

Politicians mirroring body language
Source: Zimbio

Make sure your body is turned straight to the interlocutor, gaining just enough eye contact and providing them all of your attention. Furthermore, studies show that when you nod your head three times consecutively while listening, prospects feel more significant and will talk three to four times longer.

Voice

One of the simplest mirroring methods suggests imitating the volume and speed of the client’s speech. If your customer talks at high volumes and fast, you should do the same. Be careful – you should be absolutely aware that you are not unintentionally mimicking their accent. The mirroring should be subtle.

Communication/processing style

People transmit and process messages in many ways. 

Some people are results-driven and action-oriented. This type of client wants to get straight to the point. Meanwhile, other customers may have an emotional approach to processing information and communication, so a huge amount of time for affinity building will be spent on small talk before getting to the main point. Some prospects are rational and concentrated on figures and data – these clients demand facts and don’t appreciate long speeches and small talk about the weather. Identifying your client’s communication style and adapting yourself to it is crucial for building rapport.

It is essential to once again remark that mirroring methods work on a subliminal level. Of course, a client will not make a deal with you just because you are mirroring their speech and body language throughout the meeting; however, this can make them more mentally relaxed with you and, as a result, more open to receiving information and accepting offers from you.

Mistakes to avoid when mirroring

Mirroring can be challenging, especially if you want to do it well. The biggest mirroring mistake is mirroring people’s unique traits, mistakes, or imperfections. Never mirror a person’s dialect, specific speech impediments, or any unique expressions. Besides, avoid mirroring body language with negative implications, such as turning away, crossed arms, or averting your eyes.

Mirroring

It’s especially important to be shrewd and subtle, as mirroring only has an effect if the lead doesn’t understand you are copying them and doing it intentionally. If a lead notices your behavior, they are likely to believe you are mocking them. 

This is especially likely if you mirror something very personal and unique to them, such as the aforementioned speech impediments or mispronunciation of certain words. Open mirroring can feel disrespectful to the prospect, and you risk becoming a parody of them, which is sure to provoke anger. 

Mirroring tip 

Mirroring commonly works best during personal, two-way discussions rather than in group meetings or marketing presentations that may include only one-way discourse in a group with other people. 

However, in these circumstances, you don’t have to abandon mirroring completely. If you see a person using a particular word or expression during the meeting, you might want to add it to your performance for soft assistance later.

A/B testing

A/B testing is a method used to compare two versions (of website landing pages, email copies, ads, product features, etc.) to find out which one is received better by consumers. It takes the guesswork out of deciding what will work best: instead of hoping what you choose is the best version, you have exact data to confirm which option performs better.

A versus B

So, what exactly does A/B testing entail? 

At its core, it is sending or sharing two versions of the same copy/website/advertisement with just one difference between versions A and B, and comparing the results depending on the goals of the experiment. Usually, open rate, click-through rate, and conversions are compared.

An A/B test can be as simple as making one call-to-action button orange and the other one blue. Everything else in these two versions is identical. If more people click on the orange button than the blue, you will know that an orange CTA button will bring you a higher click-through rate among this audience. 

email a/b test example
A classic example of email CTA A/B test

A/B testing takes assumption out of the equation and gives you an objective answer on how you can change your copy to get better results. A/B testing can also be applied to product features to determine possible improvements. Different audiences respond to different things, and guesswork is not a risk you should take. 

Why you should A/B test

First of all, A/B testing is an affordable way to figure out how to improve your copy or product to achieve the best possible results. Anyone can A/B test their email, ad, UI, etc., with little extra effort.

Secondly, while it may take a few trials, in the end, you will find the most effective variation of your copy or product and get valuable insight into what your audience prefers, giving you an advantage in the future. 

How to do A/B testing

To do A/B testing correctly, you should only ever test one variable (change) at a time. Testing more than one variable at a time won’t show you which change is responsible for the achieved result. 

The variables you can test are limitless. Colors, headlines, words, phrases, images, copywriting formulas, videos, icon placements, and a million other things can be changed and tested to see what leads to higher conversion rates and better CTR. 

Here’s how to start:

  • Figure out your goal
    Do you want a higher open rate? More conversions? Lower bounce rate? Defining your goal means knowing what needs testing, as well as the improvement you’re looking for.

  • Pick what element you want to test
    There’s little point in testing something that doesn’t affect your main goal. Make sure you’re testing elements and comparing metrics that actually lead to your final goal. For example, comparing your open rate when your main goal is growing conversions won’t necessarily lead to accurate results. In this case, comparing the click-through rate would be more accurate, especially if you’re using UTM tracking. Another example of incorrect test element choice would be testing website footer design to lower bounce rate. Instead, test your website content and overall design.

  • Remember to only A/B test one thing at a time
    As we’ve mentioned before, if you are changing multiple variables at once, you will not be able to determine which variable is making the difference, which defeats the purpose of an A/B test.

  • Analyze current performance
    If you do not know your baseline, you cannot see or compare the changes. Know where you stand so you can see where you are going. Better yet, leave a small control group out of your A/B testing.

  • Design the test
    Define how long it will run, what data it will gather, the sample size, etc. Set the metrics for your A/B test before releasing it out into the wild. Always split the two groups equally and randomly, and perform the tests simultaneously to get accurate results. Of course, you can perform A/B testing within a specific group or demographic too, but still make sure the split is equal and random.

  • Make the change
    If you see a clear positive difference between the A and the B (and, of course, the control group, if you’re using it), make the change and reap the benefits. You will find the smallest tweaks can make a big difference, so do not pass up the chance to improve your asset.

  • Rinse and repeat
    More A/B testing is normally the next step. You want your assets to be as lucrative as possible, so making sure everything is at its best for the consumer is a no-brainer. There is always room for improvement. 

It’s easy as ABC

As you have read, there are several steps to successfully running an A/B test, but none of them are particularly hard, or at least not hard enough to abandon the method – and it is certainly better than blindly making changes and just hoping they work. 

A/B testing a very effective tool in many aspects of consumer interaction and will help you understand better what works and what doesn’t, which is extremely important in making future decisions.

E-commerce

The concept of e-commerce is pretty simple: it is all the commercial transactions, buying and selling goods and services, done electronically over the internet and through mobile apps. Any time you’ve bought something online or made an in-app purchase, you have partaken in e-commerce. E-commerce takes place all over the internet and within apps all day, every day.

Online storefronts where you go shopping for items from a certain brand or store, are the most obvious example of e-commerce platforms. As are online marketplaces: many people visit sites like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay daily, as marketplaces like these provide a very wide range of products. Social media is often used for e-commerce via ads that click through directly to a product for purchase, like a half-advertisement and half-storefront. In-app purchases are familiar to anyone who likes to play games on their phone, but it also includes transactions like pre-ordering your Starbucks drink via the app or using a store’s app to order products.

E-commerce is a huge global force, with global sales expected to hit $27 trillion by 2020. E-commerce has had a very real impact on brick-and-mortar companies, with some industries struggling to keep up, and many small, independently-owned companies being put out of business. The face of commerce is changing quickly and many of those brick-and-mortar stores are hopping aboard the e-commerce train with websites of their own.

There are many examples of types of e-commerce, as well as its models. Here we’ll go over both.

Types of e-commerce models

The types of e-commerce models follow similarly to models of any business. Of course, there’s always a buyer and a seller, but who those buyers and sellers are can change depending on the type of transaction. 

  • B2B, or business-to-business, is exactly how it sounds. These transactions can be for goods, such as one business buying office supplies from another, and services, such as a business hiring a design firm to build their website.

  • B2C, or business-to-customer, is what most people think of when they hear e-commerce. They most likely then think of Amazon, the internet’s largest retailer, and they would not be wrong. In B2C, the product or service is sold directly to the consumer.

  • C2B, or customer-to-business, is not as huge of a market as B2B or B2C, but it is a market. An increasingly ubiquitous example is the blogosphere and social media promotions, where the blogger reviews a product, which they have linked to, and if someone buys it through that link, the blogger gets compensated by the company.

  • C2C, or customer-to-customer, is when a consumer makes a transaction with another consumer; think people reselling clothes on eBay or the Craigslist furniture section, where people buy others’ used goods.

  • C2A, or consumer-to-administration, means being able to pay taxes and fines online, request city permits, and do other formerly tedious clerical governmental paperwork over the internet instead of having to go into an office to do it.

Examples of types of e-commerce

The types of internet transactions are probably endless, but there are some very common ones worth knowing. 

  • Retail – these are stores that sell physical goods, such as clothes, shoes, books, housewares, toys, and the other billion things you can find on Amazon and Google Shopping.

  • Services – an ever-growing sector in e-commerce is services provided by professionals, freelancers, and educators; these services are often easily directly bought or require a consultation. Either way, it’s a popular way to work with designers, get minor tasks done, and find freelancers.

  • Digital products – along with the very popular ebooks, digital products include other digital media such as music, photographs and videos, online courses, virtual goods, and software/SaaS (software as a service), though the list definitely doesn’t end there.

  • Subscription – these days you can get automatically recurring subscriptions to anything, from traditional subscriptions like newspapers and magazines to beauty boxes like Birchbox, and even coffees, journaling supplies or Japanese candies – if you can think of it, there’s most likely an online subscription company just for that!

  • E-funds transfer – anytime you bank online, transfer money via PayPal, send an e-check, receive a direct deposit from work, or even use an ATM, you are participating in e-commerce.

AIDA

AIDA is a highly effective copywriting formula that focuses on the specific consumer, resulting in a more personal and individual approach to raise conversions. It’s used in commercials, email marketing, website ads, etc. AIDA model is considered as a guideline in copywriting to maximize interaction with the customer.

What does AIDA stand for?

Now let’s define the AIDA meaning. Its initials stand for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.

Attention

This is your first and only shot. Identify what will garner the most attention and be noticed for maximum user interaction.

If you can’t grab attention from the get-go, you certainly won’t achieve the end goal of turning your prospect into a consumer. Your email will be ignored, and there will be no next step, so you need to identify what can fix it. For example, in email marketing, you can attract attention with the help of the subject line

Test what strategy will best contribute to brand awareness and execute from there. Examples of attention grabbers:

  • Personalization variables, such as prospect’s name, company, or geographical location
  • Words of urgency like now, important, or brand new 
  • An offer of a free product or service
  • Quick questions that pique curiosity
  • Dynamic use of color and design

Interest

Once you have your prospects’ attention, you need to keep their interest. Make it about them, not you. Appeal to your potential clients personally, focusing on their needs, wants, and pain points. Using media, such as images and videos, can help capture and maintain interest.

Enticing interest is key to the next step’s success. How you capture it is broad, so be creative and don’t be afraid to be bold. Consider wording carefully; say what you need to say to make an impression, such as:

  • Less interesting: “Our tool raises conversions 4x” vs. more attractive: “Do you want to increase your conversions 4x without 4x more effort?”
  • Less interesting: “Our product can save you time” vs. more attractive: “Save time and do more with our easy-to-use product!”

Desire

You have to make the prospect want or even need your offer. Creating an emotional connection to your product is important in making this step work. Personalization will help grow this connection.

Ways to create desire:

  • “One time only” or “last chance” offers
  • Discounts or sales
  • Presenting your product as a solution to a specific problem
  • Creating scarcity with countdown timers 

Action

Lastly, the AIDA model calls to action. The final goal is to have the prospect become a consumer by immediately downloading material, joining a mailing list, buying your product, or any other active participation with your brand. 

If you have used the previous steps to prove your product can fulfill the prospect’s desires, this will lead them to engagement effectively. Some easy ways to encourage action:

  • Call-to-action button
  • Newsletter sign-up form
  • Offers of downloads
  • Link to your website

Why AIDA works

AIDA model has been found to be highly effective since its inception in the late 19th century, as it serves to the emotions of prospects. 

Though business decisions are often seen as purely logical, that’s far from the truth. Business is conducted by individuals, and people are swayed by emotional appeals. Understanding the cognitive steps AIDA model presents can optimize your marketing endeavors.

Doing your homework and perfecting the buyer personas you aim towards greatly increases your chance of catching attention, provoking interest and desire, and successfully pushing towards the action.

Who uses AIDA marketing

AIDA marketing has been used famously by companies such as Nike, Coca-Cola, and Apple. They have perfected the art of defining their consumer base and aiming directly at their intended audience. These companies have strong, attention-grabbing commercial advertisements in all forms of media (print, tv, social, etc.) that create a desire for their product. And their AIDA strategy has proven to work on a global scale. 

Even small businesses can learn valuable lessons from the study of these AIDA-using giants. Think about it, does anyone really need Coke? No, but Coca-Cola has made billions of dollars by making us believe we need and want Coke. In fact, people are so passionate about the brand that they get into arguments over Coke vs. Pepsi.

Wrapping it up

Presenting your product as something your prospects need, even if they don’t know they need it yet, is the last kick into the goal of them taking action, which leads to your success. Good, savvy use of AIDA marketing can get your brand there.

In the end, the AIDA model is all about convincing your prospects to become consumers of your products. It’s a tried and true copywriting formula. Take advantage of this method if you want meaningful results from your campaigns.

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