Archive for infusionsoft

How Often Should I Follow Up with Leads?

lost-leads-funnel

As marketing and sales folks, we are always on the look out for the latest and greatest ways to attract more leads. Lead generation is important, but the money to be made from generating leads is in the follow up. Most small business owners and sales people would be better off fixing their follow up before spending more money on lead generation.

Do You Stop Following Up Too Soon?

Most sales people, particularly those without a systematic follow up process, give up on prospects too soon.

According to a couple of studies (one by Sales & Marketing Executives Club of Los Angeles and another by SalesForce.com) over 90% of sales are made after the fourth call – here’s the breakdown:

  • 2% of sales close on the 1st call
  • 3% of sales close on the 2nd call
  • 4% of sales close on the 3rd call
  • 10% of sales close on the 4th call
  • 81% of sales close after the 5th call

However, most (>70%) salespeople stopped following up after the second call:

  • 48% quit after the 1st call
  • 24% quit after the 2nd call
  • 12% quit after the 3rd call
  • 6% quit after the 4th call
  • 10% quit after the 5th call

According to these studies, most of us don’t need to focus on generating tons of new leads, we need to focus on improving our follow up with the leads we have.

Stop Leads From Slipping Through Your Fingers

You may find it helpful to think of “nurturing your relationship” rather than just following up with your leads. Repeatedly sending “just checking in” emails or voice mails isn’t very effective. In order to differentiate yourself from your competition and stay top of mind with your prospects you will want to stay in touch by providing educational, helpful information that focuses on their needs. This approach of maintaining contact by providing long term value will lead to more meaningful sales discussions and closing more deals.

Mix Up Your Channels

Email is easy, but don’t be afraid to add other communication channels to the mix. Mix in the occasional phone call, direct mail piece, text message, or share something via social media – whichever makes sense for your target audience.

Automate As Much As Possible

Once you have mapped out your follow up process, automate it as much as possible. Automation can take many forms, from simply adding a reminder to you to-do list or calendar, to sending automated email, voice, or text broadcasts. Some systems will even help you respond with messages based upon actions taken by your prospect.

Our favorite sales and marketing automation tool is Infusionsoft, but there are many systems covering a wide range of features and budgets. If you would like to see an example of how automation software can help you, check out this demo.

New Mobile App for Infusionsoft

infusionsoft mobile app

Infusionsoft recently announced their new mobile app for the iPhone and Android. I was a little surprised as I thought they would wait for their annual conference to release it, but I’m glad they didn’t wait.

If you are not familiar with them, Infusionsoft is the all in one sales and marketing software for small businesses (watch a demo).

I’ve been playing with the app for a few days (on Android) and so far I like it. Below is an overview of the apps features along with a list of some of the things experienced Infusionsoft users might want but are not available in this initial version.

Overview

The initial screen displays your recent contacts, allows you to search your contacts, add a new contact, and view the tutorial and FAQs (by clicking on the gear icon).

The recent contacts appear to be specific to the device rather than the user account. I don’t think this is a big deal, but having it synch (or having the option) would make switching from device to device a little more seamless.

View Contact Screen

Once you select a contact (via search or the recent contacts list) you can view their general contact information. You can also take action on each piece of information. For example, the phone numbers all have icons next to them to allow you to text or dial that number. The email addresses all have an icon to launch your email program, and the physical addresses have an icon that allow you to see the address on a map (and get directions).

The “other information” section on the first screen displays the “Person Notes” from the contact record.

You can also see the tags that have been attached to the contact. You can also apply existing tags and create new ones. When you first go into the Add Tags screen, it is blank with a search box – you don’t see a list of tags. I first I thought this was inconvenient (I never remember all my tag names), but if you hit the spacebar once while in the search box, it will display all of your tags.

Adding Contacts

Clicking on the plus sign in the green toolbar brings up the Add Contact screen. This screen allows you to key in the information for a contact. On my Android phone, I can also fill in each field by clicking on the microphone and using the speech recognition, which I love. The app does not currently support scanning of business cards, but Infusionsoft has another app called Snap that will do that for you.

What’s not there yet

I think this first version of Infusionsoft’s app is a good start. They obviously thought about the functions that small business owners need “on the go” and want to access on their phone. Primarily, you can quickly access your Infusionsoft contacts and add new ones to your database.

Infusionsoft does so many things that some users may feel disappointed that they can’t do everything in Infusionsoft via the mobile app. For example, the sales stage management features that salespeople use are not available in this first version. I few of the other things you can’t do yet include:

  1. Using your own internal forms – you can only access the standard “Add a Contact” form.
  2. You can’t add or manage opportunities yet.
  3. Task notification does not appear to be included yet.
  4. You can’t access your Infusionsoft calendar

Infusionsoft has always seemed to be the type of company that encourages and values feedback from their users, so I’m sure we’ll see more features added to the mobile app soon – maybe at Infusioncon?

You can find the Infusionsoft mobile app for the Android here and for the iPhone here.

ICON14

ICON 14 conference

Infusioncon, Infusiosoft’s annual conference, is not just for infusion soft users anymore.

#ICON14 is being billed as the ultimate sales and marketing event for small business success. The conference consists of three days of education with over 30 speakers, six tracks of breakout sessions, and plenty of networking opportunities. There is also a pre-conference campaign builder boot camp.

The folks at Infusionsoft have put together an impressive lineup of speakers including some of the most influential small business leaders. Speakers include best selling author Seth Godin (@ThisIsSethsBlog)  MSNBC’s host of Your Business, JJ Ramberg  (@jjramberg), Simon Sinek (@simonsinek) and Peter Shankman (@petershankman).

The conference sessions include two categories, each with three tracks inside of that category. The Infusionsoft Breakout Tracks include the Infusionsoft Basic Track, the Infusionsoft Advanced Track, and Infusionsoft Stories Track. The Small Business Education tracks include the Big Ideas track, Lifecycle Marketing track, and the Developer track.

The pre-conference campaign builder boot camp is a three hour session were Infusionsoft users, with help from experts, will import a campaign from the marketplace, customize it to fit their business, and launch. The bootcamp takes place on Tuesday, April 22, the day before the conference starts. The cost of the boot camp is $395.

The conference will be held at the Phoenix convention Center located in downtown urban Phoenix. Discounted hotel rates are available for both the Sheraton downtown Phoenix and the Hyatt Regency. The cost of the conference is $499 if you register before February 7, 2014 the price goes up to $599 after that until March 31, 2014 and after that you have to pay the full conference rate of $625. Those rates included daily continental breakfast as well as a catered lunch.

For more information about the conference visit the conference website. I’ve been given a coupon code that’ll save you 10% off the price of your tickets, just enter brelsford10 as your promo code during checkout.

 

How Marketing Automation Saves You Time and Money

money in hourglass

Most small businesses have a limited marketing staff. In fact, many small businesses don’t have a marketing person, they have a marketing role, which is filled by someone (often the owner) who also wears several different hats in the business. Because of this, time is a precious resource.

This means the marketing role needs to quality leads in the least amount of time possible. It also means that systems must be in place to make sure those leads do not fall through the cracks as we switch between roles.

Marketing automation allows you to remove the manual work out of crafting each individual message (i.e. email or letter); rather, you can create a multi-stage campaign that will nurture new leads that come into your system over a period of weeks or months.

Marketing automation can also help you save time in your sales role. Two challenges that all small business sales people face are 1) chasing down leads who aren’t ready to buy yet, and 2) consistently following up so those leads remember us when they are ready. Marketing automation can help your on both counts – by automating follow up activities as well as providing clues, based on their actions, about when a lead is ready for a sales conversation.

Chasing leads is often a function of being in the wrong role at the wrong time. By wrong time, I mean relative to where the buyer is in their buying process. Attempting to have a sales conversation before a prospect is ready is frustrating for both the salesperson and the prospect. Jumping into our sales role too early causes prospects to resist, while not engaging in a sales conversation when prospects are ready leads to missed opportunities.

Marketing automation also helps you save time in your sales role by using these behavioral indicators to let you know what you should be talking about when you do have a sales conversation. Most businesses offer a variety of products and services to prospective customers. Marketing automation tools can provide insight into the problem(s) a prospect is trying to solve, and the products and services that can help them solve that problem, based on how they interacted with your marketing messages.

For example, if you sell business software and you see know that a prospect spent most of their time interacting with your marketing related to inventory management but ignored your content related to payroll processing, you would be prepared to speak about what is important to them and figure out what additional information they need to make a decision more quickly than if you went into the conversation “cold”.

Marketing automation is not a silver bullet. As I’ve mentioned here before, you need to have a marketing system before you can automate it. When properly implemented, marketing automation can save you time and help you close more deals and close them faster.

P.S. – There are many marketing automation solutions available. My favorite for small businesses is Infusionsoft. You can view a demo of Infusionsoft here, or feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss how it might help your business.

The PB&J of Small Business Marketing

peanut butter and jelly

You can’t automate a marketing process that doesn’t exist.

I’ve spent most of my career automating business systems and one thing I learned early on is you have to a system before you try to automate it.

If you start with the tool (rather than a system), the tendency is to focus on the bells and whistles of the tool. You might end up building a lot of cool stuff, but the project falls short of the expectations you had when you began.

Put more bluntly – automating chaos still leaves you with chaos.

Subscribing to LinkedIn won’t automatically bring you a flood of new business. You need a system for generating new referrals and converting them into customers.

Buying a CRM system, on it’s own, won’t make a more productive salesperson. A CRM system that has been designed to support your sales [business] system could double or triple your sales.

Once you have a marketing system in place, marketing software can help you scale that system, allowing you do more with the same amount of people.

This reality of needing to have a business system before you try to automate it is why the two main tools we use to help our customers grow their business is Duct Tape Marketing and Infusionsoft.

Duct Tape Marketing is a turn-key system for small business marketing. It provides a step-by-step approach for building a simple, effective, and affordable small business marketing system.

Infusionsoft provides an all-in-one sales and marketing software solution specifically designed for small businesses.

Duct Tape Marketing helps you define your marketing system. Infusionsoft helps you automate processes in your system.

Duct Tape Marketing gives you a systematic approach for moving people through the stages of the marketing hourglass – Know –> Like –> Trust –> Try –> Buy –> Repeat –> Refer. Infusionsoft helps you scale your hourglass, so you can market to more people without having any of them fall through the cracks.

Duct Tape Marketers know that marketing doesn’t stop at the sale. Infusionsoft helps them automate their on-boarding and follow up so the can consistently WOW! their customers.

Duct Tape Marketers build systems to ensure they deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Infusionsoft helps them scale that personal attention.

Those are just a few reasons I like to refer to Duct Tape Marketing and Infusionsoft as the Peanut Butter & Jelly of small business marketing.

How to Fix Your Marketing Follow Up

follow up reminder note

Marketing automation is a popular topic in 2013. While the industry experts like to focus on the “sexy” features like lead scoring, prospect tracking, and the ability to retrieve company data from third party sources, I believe the most important feature for small business marketers is the ability to automate your follow up.

Following up is the blocking and tackling of marketing and growing your business. We may dream of creating that perfect blog post or advertisement that will bring a flood of prospects to our door, credit cards in hand, asking to where they get in line for the register. But, like most things, building your business takes more effort than that.

The key to creating a predictable and profitable stream of customers is consistent follow up. Small businesses that follow-up on the leads they capture enjoy higher conversion rates and a more referrals than those that don’t.

Consistent follow up is the key to predictable revenue and the key to consistent follow up is creating a systematic approach. Every business owner I’ve ever met understands, on an intellectual basis, the importance of following up with prospects, customers, referrals, etc. The problem usually lies in the ability to execute on following up when all of the other day to day pressures are bearing down on us. If you don’t have a system in place that makes is as easy as possible perform your follow up tasks, chances are those tasks will get squeezed out of your day when other fires arise.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. In the professional services world, and many other B2B companies, it is common for the same person to responsible both selling the and delivering the service. Many accountants, lawyers, architects, etc., are responsible for going out and finding new business. Once they make a sale, they must also “do the work” and deliver the service. I hear from folks like this all the time who describe their pipeline as “feast or famine” or “like a roller coaster”. When they don’t have a lot of work, they are busy hunting for new business. Then they make some sales and become very busy working and meeting their deadlines. Following up with prospects and referrals takes a lower priority – without a system in place, opportunities may fall through the cracks. When the current work is done, the cycle starts over.

The first step in breaking this cycle and taking your business to the next level is to map out your follow up sequences. Think of following up (and all of your other marketing activities) as a business system. It is important to map out your goals along with the people, processes, messages, and other tools you will use to achieve those goals before you jump into using marketing automation software. Marketing automation can be a big help, but you have to have a system before you can automate it.

Once you start mapping out your follow up sequences, you will discover that there are many areas of your business that require follow up. Don’t try to automate them all at once. Pick one area, create a follow up system, automate it if appropriate, take what you have learned and then move to the next.

Marketing automation is often associated with online marketing, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to only online activities. There are still many offline or person-to-person interactions that need strong follow up as well. If you are having trouble thinking of a place to start, here are a few example scenarios requiring follow up:

  • Meeting a potential referral partner at a networking event
  • On-boarding a new customer
  • A request for a free consultation
  • Receiving a referral from your BNI group
  • Registration for your event or webinar
  • Attendance of your event or webinar
  • Download of an eBook from your website
  • Conversation at your trade show booth
  • Giving a referral to someone in your network

Another way to review opportunities for systematizing your follow up is to examine your Marketing Hourglass or sales funnel, and ask yourself what type of follow up is necessary to help a prospect move to the next stage in the process. Illustrations of sales funnels often make it look like gravity does the work; in reality, it takes effort to help a prospect get to the point where they feel comfortable making a purchasing decision.

Lead generation is an important part of marketing and is often the most expensive and/or time consuming. Make sure you’re not throwing that money away by putting strong follow up systems into place.

P.S. – If you would like to see an example of marketing automation software, check out this demo of Infusionsoft, my favorite solution for small business owners.

Kansas City’s Ultimate Marketers

ultimate marketer finalists

Last week I had the chance to attend InfusionCon, the annual small business marketing and sales event sponsored by Infusionsoft. The event, which began in 2006 with 30 attendees, drew over 2,100 attendees and truly felt like a celebration of small business.

Part of that celebration includes the Ultimate Marketer Contest. During the conference, the three Ultimate Marketer finalists share their story of how they are doing “extraordinary things with Infusionsoft”. Kansas City was well represented, with 2 of the 3 Ultimate Marketer finalists being from our area.

Dustin Burleson, of Burleson Orthontics was awarded the first runner up in the contest. This Kansas City practice started with one employee and zero patients in 2006 and has grown to over 7,500 active patients and 35 employees. Burleson Orthodontics is the largest provider of free orthodontic care to children who desperately need, but are unable to afford orthodontic care, through the Smiles Change Lives and Cleft Palate Foundation.

The second runner up in the Ultimate Marketer Contest went to Andy Michaels and Gonz Medina of Blue Chip Athletic. The company was started in 2001 by Gonz Medina and Jason Heslop in Jason’s basement. Blue Chip provides coaches with quality custom apparel for their teams at a reasonable price. After 10 years in business, Blue Chip Athletic has more than 22,000 customers and $4.2 million in annual revenue.

Congratulation to our Kansas City Ultimate Marketers and I hope to see more KC area businesses at InfusionCon in 2014.

Infusionsoft Improves Lead Scoring

lead scoring

Infusionsoft is the all in one sales and marketing software for small business. It is a great tool for automating your marketing as well as your internal processes.

Over the last few releases, Infusionsoft has added and improved on it’s lead scoring capabilities. The latest version (Winter 2013) continues to improve upon lead scoring capabilities by adding search features, new behavior-based lead scoring options and campaign triggers that allow you to automatically follow up when a contact achieves a specific score.

If you  are a current Infusionsoft user, the first think you may notice is the simplified lead scoring set up page. The user interface on the Configure and Edit Score pages have been simplified. The basic configuration options have been reorganized in a single column. Some users found the points slider in the Rules Criteria area to be confusing; it has been replaced with a drop-down box. The number of points that can be added or removed when criteria is met has been increased from 10 to 100, which should provide additional flexibility when devising your scoring scheme.

When you assign point to a lead’s score, what you are saying is this person has taken and action that indicates they may have an interest in X. We all know that a person may act interested today, but that interest will dwindle if they don’t take action soon. Infusionsoft helps you model this behavior by allowing you to specify an expiration for points that are assigned when a rule criteria is met. So, not only can you add points when actions are taken, you can subtract points after a period of inactivity.

score-expires

You can now search for contacts and opportunities based on lead score – making it easier to follow up with your highest scored opportunities first. You can search based on a specific score or a range of scores. You can also combine lead score with other search filters to create more targeted lists.

Scores can now be adjusted base on a contacts interactions with your email messages by allowing you to add points to their score when they open and email or subtract points if they unsubscribe. The system is smart enough to only add points for opening an email once, so you don’t have to worry about falsely inflated scores from one email being opened several times.

The campaign builder now includes a goal called “Reaches a Certain Score”. This allows you to automatically trigger a message or series of events once a specified threshold has been reached.

lead-score-goal

Taking advantage of these changes to lead scoring should not only help you stay on top of your most qualified leads, but can help improve your overall marketing by allowing you to send more relevant messages to the right people at the right time.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about how lead scoring can help your marketing efforts, or if you’d like to see a demo of Infusionsoft.

The Winter 2013 update to Infusionsoft includes many additional updates to the product – you can read about them here.