What’s Your Sales Cycle, Baby?

What’s Your Sales Cycle, Baby?

“It’s not about having the right opportunities. It’s about handling the opportunities right.” -Mark Hunter

It’s important to remember that every sales cycle differs, depending on your sales person and the people they are selling to. At its base, a sales cycle is nothing more than a repeatable, series of steps that can be mapped out to track interaction with your prospects. These steps allow you to pinpoint the first interaction with your business all the way through to the close.

There are 5 basic steps to account for in EVERY single sales cycle, regardless of the amount of time a prospect spends in each of them. Drilling into them will help you make sure you don’t lose anyone on their journey to becoming a client.

  1. Lead Generation. This is one of the easiest steps for your sales person, putting together a list of leads, or as some call it, a prospecting list. They may do this using outbound methods, their own network or inbound marketing. Once you’ve made the list you then have to go through it and decide who meets the criteria you’ve put together. This is where having solid buyer personas come in.
  2. Qualifying. This is crucial. You don’t want to waste money and time on pursuing an individual who is not ideal for your company. Ask yourself if the company in question has a need for your services. Do they have the budget? If not, move on. If you are unsure, it doesn’t hurt to have a discovery call, but use the call to quickly drill down on whether or not you’d be a good fit.
  3. Value Sell. Now that you’ve qualified the lead and reached out and they seem interested, it’s time to show off. Show this prospect what your solutions are and how they can assist the prospect in reaching their goals. If you fall down here, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll lose the sale.
  4. Trusted Advisor to Prospects. You’ve dazzled the prospect with the value your services can add to their company and now you’ve have to dazzle them as they voice their objections and questions. This is where you set the stage for the delivery of the product and the relationship with the client moving forward. You must be able to handle the prospect’s objections and help them to understand why they need you. If you can do this, you will leave with the sale.
  5. Deliver and Support. You may have made the sale, but the relationship doesn’t end there. You’ve got to make sure you deliver what was promised and make sure that you keep an open line of communication with your new client. Set up a quarterly business review, to check on the progress and open the path to upsell other services.

This is a very basic breakdown of the sales cycle. You can add more steps or break these steps down into even more detail, either way it all depends on you and knowing your sales cycle. As always if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below or, reach out to us at 518-694-4044.

Let’s Get Social… Proof

Let’s Get Social… Proof

What is Social Proof?

Ever asked your friends their opinion on a product, store or restaurant before you went out and bought, visited or ate there? You’ve used social proof to determine your behavior. Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where individuals use the feedback of others to determine the correct course of action in a given situation. Social proof can be helpful in a variety of different mediums, but can be especially powerful when used in your marketing strategy.

What’s the point of Social Proof?

Don’t think that it isn’t important to have social proof, especially in today’s sales climate.

  • Nearly 70% of people look at a product review before making a purchase.
  • 83% of people look to recommendations from friends and family before purchasing.

Social proof can help or hinder your ability to market your business. Negative social proof can hurt your reputation and make it so people don’t want to do business with you. It can also be very hard to correct. The point of social proof is simply that having confirmation that your service is exemplary will make it easier for prospective clients to become paying clients. People generally follow the herd, so make it easy for them.

How do I get Social Proof?

Ask! Ask for testimonials from your current clients, all they can say is no, and anything positive they do say will only help you in the long run. Offer them an incentive to fill out a review on your Facebook page or to give you a recommendation on LinkedIn. Create case studies showcasing how you helped Chiken Coop Inc solve their marketing problems. You build your social proof, have collateral to help you educate prospects and you make Chiken Coop Inc. feel special. Get out there and start asking now!

How do I use it?

Depending on what particular form of social proof you have depends on how you use it. Testimonials, either written or recorded can be used on your website and in marketing campaigns. Videos can be used on all social media platforms and help engagement. Building collateral like case studies can again be used in marketing campaigns, as deliverables on your site and in person. The sky really is the limit for how you use the social proof you’ve collected.

How do you go about collecting social proof for your company? Leave us a comment and let us know!

5 Business Development Books to Read Now

5 Business Development Books to Read Now

Professional development is always a great idea; mainly because without it, your business and/or your professional growth can become stagnant. Many people become entrenched in ideas or beliefs and they stop striving to be the best version of themselves.

One fantastic way to remain in control of your career and at the top of your game is to read books. Not what you were expecting right? Don’t worry about the stress of walking into the library (yes, they still exist) and trying to find a book to read.

We’ve compiled 5 of the best business development books for you. Order them directly from Amazon, never leave your house and start flexing your development muscles!

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, Stephen Covey: First published in 1989, the book has been translated into 40 languages and sold over 25 million copies worldwide. The audiobook version has sold over 1.5 million copies and the book regardless of format continues to be one of the best selling business books of all time. If that doesn’t make you interested in getting your hands on a copy of the book, we’re not sure what will. Covey believes that by aligning yourself with the 7 habits he covers in the book, you will learn how to effectively attain your goals.
  2. How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie: Another oldie but goodie, this book is considered one of the most influential books of all time (Time even included it on their most influential list!). First written in 1936 and updated over the years, the book aims to teach you a number of things. First the books lays out what exactly you’ll learn from reading it, and then offers up a number of fundamental techniques in handling people. You’ll learn how to make people like you, how to change others minds to your way of thinking, and finally how to be a good leader. The book’s most recent update was in 2011 when it was revised for the “digital age”. Pick up a copy and let us know if it works!
  3. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg: Charles Duhigg, a New York Times Reporter, published this book in 2012 and watched it explode on the best seller lists. The book explores the science behind habits and offers up a guide on how to correct or “reform” your existing habits to be better. You can learn how to exercise regularly, eat better, and attain your goals if you understand how you build habits – bad or not and then you can reform them. Once you’ve reformed the habit, you’ll be able to move forward on the right path to success. It’s an interesting premise and one we hope you’ll try out.
  4. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Senek: Simon Senek is a popular motivational speaker (check out his TED talk), author and marketing consultant and Start with Why is his first of 4 books. In the book Senek looks to leaders such as Martin Luther King JR. and Steve Jobs releasing that while they have little in common, they both sought to inspire others. This sets the groundwork for him to to elaborate on how leaders inspire people, and that this do this by asking why? Once Senek lands on what makes leaders different (inspiration vs manipulation), Senek then offers readers up how to inspire in their everyday lives.
  5. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, Mark Manson: With a bit of a different spin than the rest of the books on the list, Mark Manson, a blogger took the world by storm in 2016. Rather than offer up platitudes of optimism and the attitude that you can be anything if you just work hard, Manson believes that you have to be realistic; life sucks. Sometimes it sucks more, sometimes it doesn’t but the greatest strength you can have is to accept the struggle instead of sugar coating it. He argues that you’ll be most successful when you accept that life has ups and downs and you must power through them, because then, you have nothing left to fear. Millions agree with him because his book is #4 best selling book on Amazon and is found on many best seller lists.

Hopefully one of these books piqued your interest and you’ve already marched down to your local bookstore and ordered a copy. If not, get on it! What’s your favorite business development book? Tell us the title and what you learned from it in the comments!

Dude, What’s an Invoice?

Dude, What’s an Invoice?

You’ve made your first sale and it’s time to get paid. That means it’s time to invoice the client. What exactly does that mean? You know you need to send your client something, but you’re a little unsure of what you need to include on your invoice. We’ve covered invoicing software in the past, and today we’re going to spell out exactly what you need to include on your invoice.

Invoice Basics

What exactly is an invoice though? An invoice is physical or electronic document identifying the price for services. This lets your client know how much they need to pay you and what they are paying you for. It’s important to remember that an invoice can be seen from two perspectives, you as the seller, and them as the purchaser. You see the invoice as your sales invoice, and to the purchaser this is the product invoice. You also set terms on the invoices for the payment, it can be due on a certain day in the future, it can be due on receipt (meaning right now).

Clarity Is Key

It’s important to be clear on the differences between an invoice and a receipt. An invoice is not a receipt, nor a receipt of payment. As defined above, the invoice is just the seller-prepared document informing the buyer of the service they are requesting and the price. A receipt is what the seller prepares after the invoice has been paid. In the case of the invoice being for a tangible good (rather than a service) the receipt typically shows proof of ownership, and of course that the item is paid in full.

The Characteristics of an Effective Invoice

Now that you know what an invoice is, it’s time to lock down what you cannot forget to include on your invoice. Make sure your invoice has:

  • Your company name and information (If you’ve included your logo even better!)
  • The buyer’s name and contact info
  • Invoice number (make sure you can keep track!)
  • Invoice Date (What day you sent the invoice to the seller)
  • Description of the product(s) or service(s)
  • Cost of product(s) or service(s)
  • Terms of payment (how long, when, what payment forms taken)
  • An order total
  • Tax (if applicable)
  • Due Date for Payment
  • Notes (throw in a comment thanking them for their business, that’s a nice touch!)

Seems like a lot to include, right? Many invoicing software programs allow you to create a template once that you can then populate with new information each time you use it, saving you time and energy each time.

Have any tips for putting together invoices? Maybe you have a favorite software you use for building out your invoices? Share them in the comments!

Small Business Beginner Basics

Small Business Beginner Basics

It can seem baffling when you’ve decided to start your own digital marketing agency. At first you may have no idea what steps you need to take, and you can feel very overwhelmed, very quickly. We’ve compiled a list of the basics, to get you started and moving in the right direction.

  • You need to open a bank account for the business. If you intend to stick it out as a sole proprietor you don’t legally need a separate bank account but it is recommended. In the United States LLCs, partnerships and corporations are required to have separate bank accounts.
    • Play hard to get! Don’t just go down to your local bank and open an account though. Look around at many different banks and see what benefits a business account, at that location offers up.
    • You’ll also need to be aware that in order to open a business bank account you’ll need to have your business registered with the state (unless you are doing business as yourself). Head over to the Small Business Association to see the steps you need to take.
  • Tracking your expenses is a cumbersome but critical step in recording keeping for the small business. You should lead right off the bat with putting together a process for keeping track. This can be digital or manual (place receipts in a folder and pull them out to track at the end of each month) but there are a few types of receipts to pay close attention to:
    • Entertainment/Meals: If you conduct a meeting and eat out at the same time this is something you can claim! Be sure to keep the receipt and note what the meeting was and who attended.
    • Vehicle related (if applicable): This requires you to track where you where, when you were there, and why you used the vehicle for business.
    • Gifts: If you purchase a gift for a client you can also claim it as a business expense but you have to be careful. A great example is if you purchase tickets to a broadway show, if you attend as well this is no longer a gift expense, but instead and entertainment expenses.
    • Home Office: Having your office at home can really cut down on your initial expenses. You will need to keep track of usage of the business side of things however.
      You can deduct your internet, business phone, and more when you work remotely. If you share something so the use is half business, half personal you’ll just need to keep track of that as well.
  • Keeping the books in order! This is a system you need to also put in place from day one. You’ll need to decide if you’ll use a third party software (there are many), or if you’ll use a local bookkeeper. The decision is up to you, it’s just a decision you’ll need to make.
  • Sales Tax is something you pay everytime you go to the store on certain items. You’ll need to look into your state and see if you’ll need to charge and collect sales tax. You can learn more at the SBA regarding sales tax.
  • Taxes! Depending on how you structured your business, depends on how you’ll pay your taxes. If you chose to structure as an LLC., partnership or sole proprietor you’ll be considered self employed and you’ll pay the business taxes on your personal claim. If you structured as a corporation you’ll need to do a separate filing.
  • Revaluate and Reinvest. Starting out it’s totally ok to use a spreadsheet to track your expenses, but as time goes on and the business grows you may need to change up your methods. Don’t be afraid to realize you need to change your methods or get outside help. Your business will be stronger because of it.

Starting any new business can be hard, but following the basics laid out here will help you to build a strong foundation for your business. DMTG is always here to lend a hand as well. What do you wish you had known as a new business? Drop us a comment with your tips!