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16 Leadership Resources for Any Stage of Your Career [+ 9 Extra Tools]

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When you think of leadership resources, terms like ROI, budget, and management might come to mind. But the data is in.

There’s a new way to think about leadership. It’s time to focus on the relationships that are essential to business success.

According to a 2021 Gallup report, only 20% of employees feel engaged at work. Low employee engagement is a quality of life issue, and it’s also expensive. Low engagement costs companies $8.1 trillion per year.

Whether you’re starting your first job or managing a tough team, these resources for leadership development can help. These are the tools that can help you thrive both personally and professionally.

While there are many qualities that make someone a great leader, this list focuses on three areas that anyone can use:

Leadership Resources for Empathy

Leadership Resources for Communication

Leadership Resources for Support and Development

Let’s get started.

16 leadership resources graphic

Leadership Resources for Empathy

Empathy makes it onto every top ten list for leadership qualities. Empathy can improve:

  • Innovation
  • Engagement
  • Retention
  • Inclusivity

But a 2021 EY study says that 54% of employees left their jobs because of a lack of empathy from their boss.

These resources can help you be a more empathetic and authentic leader. And they can help you whether you’re working to support your teammates or leading your own team.

1. The Radical Candor Framework

Book, Podcast, and Workshops

Price: $18 for the book, cost varies for other services

Leadership resources: Radical Candor Framework

Commitment: Varies depending on the services you choose

What it offers:

After an important presentation, Kim Scott’s boss, Sheryl Sandberg– yes, the one who wrote Lean In– had some feedback. Harsh feedback. The kind of feedback that stings. But because Scott knew that Sandberg was coming from a compassionate place when giving her feedback, Scott accepted it, moved on, and became better.

Scott took this pivotal interaction and used it to develop a framework for giving better feedback at work. It’s a framework for feedback that embraces both brutal honesty and profound empathy.

Why we like this leadership resource:

The Radical Candor Framework offers worthy advice on how to add empathy to your interactions at work. It’s a useful tool for leaders at any point in their careers.

2. No Straight Path

Podcast

Price: Free

Leadership resources: No Straight Path

Commitment: 30-50 minutes per week

What it offers:

This new HubSpot podcast hosted by Ashley Menzies Babatunde examines the human stories behind the glossy façade of business leadership.

Instead of drawing a clear line from start to success, Menzies unpacks the ups and downs of life. This podcast talks about how setbacks and unexpected gifts can form a path toward leadership and achievement.

Why we like this free leadership resource:

Tactical business podcasts can often skip the challenges or put a positive spin on hard moments. This show offers a fresh alternative. It emphasizes the quality of empathy not just for others, but also for yourself.

3. LinkedIn Learning

Online courses

Price: $19.99 a month for an annual subscription

Leadership resources: LinkedIn Learning

Commitment: Course times vary from 20 minutes to 5+ hours

What it offers:

If there’s a professional skill you want to advance, chances are, LinkedIn Learning has a course for it. It offers classes in everything from Excel, to audio production, to coding.

Why we like these resources for leadership development:

Their programming doesn’t just teach traditional ideas about leadership. Top-rated courses in 2021 included:

4. TED Radio Hour

Podcast

Price: Free

Leadership resources: TED Radio Hour

Commitment: About an hour, once a week

What it offers:

Around here, we love a good TED talk. But trying to pick just one out of volumes of valuable presentations is as tricky as trying to pick one thing to watch on Netflix. That’s what makes the TED Radio Hour podcast so valuable.

Why we like this free leadership resource:

It takes some of the most intriguing TED talk topics — like making amends, balancing work, play, and rest, or even gratitude— and builds episodes based on them.

5. Blinkist

Mobile App

Price: $8.34 a month for an annual subscription

Leadership resources: Blinkist

Commitment: 15 minutes a day

What it offers:

Blinkist offers bite-sized overviews of the latest non-fiction books that you can read or listen to on your phone. This helps you keep up with the latest research on the topics that are important to the people on your team.

Why we like this leadership resource:

This is a great learning tool for time-strapped professionals. Empathy begins with understanding, and this app makes it easy to recognize challenges and passions that may not be top of mind in your world.

6. Side Hustle Pro

Podcast

Price: Free

Leadership resources: Side Hustle Pro

Commitment: Each episode is under an hour.

What it offers:

Side Hustle Pro highlights black female entrepreneurs who made their side job a profitable business. Host Nicaila Matthews Okome talks about finance, online business, and marketing. She also covers business trends in fashion, health, and wellness.

Why we like these free leadership resources:

This podcast has more than extensive interviews with business experts, there’s a Bootcamp series too. This is great for new listeners who aren’t sure where to start. The Bootcamp boosts newbies with an ebook, uplifting emails, and an engaged Facebook community. Many of her podcast guests share the challenges that led them to create their products and services.

More resources:

If you’re working on empathy skills on your own, you may enjoy these resources for active listening. Another great choice comes from CompassPoint. They offer online and in-person training for nonprofits and BIPOC leaders.

Leadership Resources for Communication

Communication is another leadership skill that anyone can develop.

But being a great communicator is much more than being funny or well-spoken. Most people think they’re good communicators, but the data disagrees. A 2022 Grammarly and Harris Poll says that businesses lose up to $1.2 trillion a year from ineffective communication.

And only 19% of U.S. employees think that leadership communicates effectively in their organization.

Get ready to improve your communication skills.

7. Toastmasters

Online learning and club membership

Price: Club membership costs $7.50 per month, and includes Pathways learning in the membership fee.

Leadership resources: Toastmasters

Commitment: Varies, may include attending meetings for one to two hours every one to two weeks.

What it offers:

Public speaking isn’t exactly a requirement for being a strong leader, but as you progress in your career, it might become part of your job (think: presenting at large team meetings or to a board), and it’s a skill that can help set you apart from the pack.

You can join a Toastmasters club and take part in their online learning program. Their resources can step up your skills with advice on topics like:

  • Presentation skills
  • Goal setting
  • Dealing with nervousness and building confidence

Why we like these resources for leadership development:

Toastmasters has been a leader in public speaking since the organization started in the early 1920s. With over 300,000 members and 15,000+ clubs, they offer a large community. They also have a broad range of tools to develop your communication and leadership skills.

8. Rapport Leadership Training

Online and in-person workshops

Price: Courses run from $199-2,595 per course

Leadership resources: Rapport Leadership Training

Commitment: Varies depending on the training you choose

What it offers:

Their focus is intensive 2.5-day courses. Rapport also offers self-guided online learning to work on leadership skills.

Options include:

  • Cultivating Culture
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Feedback and Coaching

Why we like this leadership resource:

Rapport has 30+ years of experience in principles-focused training. Their intensive courses focus on applying new skills to real-life situations. Rapport online classes also include a range of different media to support unique learning styles.

9. Bunch

Mobile app

Price: Free

Leadership resources: Bunch

Commitment: Two minutes a day.

What it offers:

This coaching app is a simple way to add leadership learning to your busy schedule. It offers quick daily leadership tips. They also have leadership style quizzes and targeted suggestions for deeper learning.

Why we like this leadership resource:

This app personalizes the experience of learning. Instead of giving general tips, they work to align their content with your main interests. Bunch also offers a podcast, a blog, and an active Slack community for extra support when you want it.

10. Simon Sinek’s InspireU

Online courses

Price: Course fees range from $40-250, and there is also a free podcast.

Leadership resources: Simon Sinek’s InspireU

Commitment: Course times run from under 25 minutes to 90+ minutes.

What it offers:

Live and on-demand online courses that cover Sinek’s teachings from his books. They also have resources for self-care and leadership from a range of experts. His popular “Start with Why” course includes both solo and partner exercises.

Why we like these leadership resources:

Sinek’s philosophies have influenced leadership thinking since his Ted Talk in 2009. This course focuses on the value of inspiration in leadership. If you are struggling with motivating yourself or your team, this could be a great resource to recharge.

11. MindTools

Club with access to exclusive resources

Price: Limited free access, and $27 per month for membership.

Leadership resources: MindTools

Commitment: Varies depending on the training you choose

What it offers:

Mindtools offers hundreds of resources for communication including:

  • Short trainings
  • Expert interviews
  • Book synopsis

Why we like these resources for leadership development:

Mindtools includes both personal and organizational learning modules. This can help you no matter what your leadership challenges are. Their free tools for communication alone contain a wealth of tools for growth.

Whether you want to dig into value propositions and body language or get the basics of giving feedback, Mindtools is a great resource for leadership development.

More resources:

The GLSNext mobile app offers insights from business leaders in videos, blogs, and podcasts.

Leadership Resources for Support and Development

Leaders are only as great as their team. It takes time and experience to support today’s workplace.

Do you want to build skills and business acumen? Are you curious about leadership philosophy? Do you want to grow your own business? Are you hoping to influence people where you work?

These leadership tools can help you understand and prepare for the challenges that might lay ahead. They can help you whether you’re leading from the top down or the bottom up.

12. Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead Hub

Book, Videos, Podcast, Workbook, and Training

Price: The book costs $20. Training costs vary by the facilitator.

Leadership resources: Brené Brown's Dare to Lead Hub

Commitment: Varies depending on the resource you choose

What it offers:

Brown writes powerful books that can help you better understand how to lead. Her site also has hubs that enable a more intensive exploration of the themes in her books.

This includes the “Dare to Lead” hub, which offers a video, workbook, assessment, and other tools for aspiring leaders.

Why we like these resources for leadership development:

Sometimes, it feels like we have to know everything to be a leader. We have to learn how to manage projects, delegate tasks, and analyze outcomes. But then, there are the leadership lessons that don’t always get the biggest headlines, like learning to be accountable and embrace vulnerability.

Taking risks requires some degree of becoming vulnerable, and strong leaders know when to take calculated risks. But that doesn’t just apply to work leadership — Brown’s resources also explore how vulnerability and courage can help in other areas of life.

13. HubSpot Academy

Online courses

Price: Free

Leadership resources: HubSpot Academy

Commitment: Varies depending on the resource you choose

What it offers:

HubSpot Academy is best known for its excellent certification programs in Inbound Marketing, Sales, Social Media Marketing, and Content Marketing. But it doesn’t stop there. This leadership resource also offers 100+ lessons, courses, and learning paths to support leaders in every facet of business operations.

Why we like these free leadership resources:

The HubSpot team is constantly creating new content and updating courses to meet the needs of a rapidly changing work world.

14. Dale Carnegie Training

Online and in-person courses for groups and individuals

Price: Course prices range from $150-2500 per course.

Leadership resources: Dale Carnegie Training

Commitment: Varies by training. Most on-demand courses offer a full year of online access.

What it offers:

Carnegie has unique courses for both organizations and individuals. Online courses are available live online, on-demand, and with an online subscription.

Before 2020, 98% of Carnegie courses were available in person only. They scaled fast to create leadership resources that are available in 32 languages and in 86 countries.

Why we like this leadership resource:

We all need feedback from a real human being, and on occasion, it can be the most enlightening to get it from someone outside your company or industry.

Carnegie started teaching about leadership in 1912. The principles of his best-selling book focus on ideas about wellbeing that are only now taking hold in workplaces.

Whether you’re looking for broad instruction on leadership or more targeted learning for your specific challenges, Dale Carnegie courses can help.

They offer over 80 course options. Their website also has white papers, case studies, and webinars if you’re not sure where to start.

15. How I Built This

Podcast

Price: Free

Leadership resources: How I Built This

Commitment: About an hour a week.

What it offers:

This podcast has over 400 episodes of business leadership know-how. Each episode features the founders of a business and how they got their start.

Why we like this free leadership resource:

Listening to founder stories is an easy way to take in topics like accountability and resilience. It’s also a chance to understand how founders manage complexity in their startups. These anecdotes can help you figure out which skills and tools can help you prepare to meet your goals.

16. HubSpot Podcast Network

Podcast

Price: Free

Leadership resources: HubSpot Podcast Network

Commitment: Varies by podcast, usually about an hour

What it offers:

If you’re not ready to pick a favorite, the HubSpot Podcast Network offers 26 podcasts and counting. Each has a unique take on business development, growth, and priorities.

From stories of epic failure to the recovery that followed it, HubSpot hosts interview guests who share their most intriguing organizational, cultural, conceptual, and team insights.

Why we like this leadership resource:

If your schedule is tight, there is nothing like getting the basics done while listening to a strategic podcast. These podcasts cover targeted topics like change management, negotiation, and tech news. This resource can shed light on the big and small challenges you face as a leader every day.

So, spend some time with professionals from HubSpot and The Hustle. They offer insights you can use on your path to leadership enlightenment.

More resources:

Books are also great resources for leadership development. These two long-time bestsellers continue to be relevant and popular if you want to know how to lead effectively.

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

If you want more resources for support and development, these are some other great tools to look into:

Put These Leadership Resources Into Action

It’s not unusual to seek out a list like this after a difficult conversation or challenge at work. And it’s just as common to add a bookmark to your browser and forget about it until the next issue pops up.

So, get started now, even if you can only spare a few minutes. One great resource could be all that you need to change the way you lead.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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