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17 Recruiter-Approved Skills for Your Resume That’ll Help You Get the Job

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17 Recruiter-Approved Skills for Your Resume That'll Help You Get the Job

When I graduated college, I didn’t have much prior work experience. However, I had something I believed made up for it — hard and soft skills for a resume. But what are hard or soft skills and how do they impact your professional future?

What are Hard Skills and Soft Skills?

A comparison of hard skills and soft skills for resume buildingDon’t let these antonyms fool you — both hard skills and soft skills play a vital role in crafting an optimal job skills section. But although best practice calls for a balance of hard and soft skills in the skills section of your resume, There are differences between soft and hard skills that you need to understand before you hit submit on that application.

Some additional examples of hard skills include:

  • Web design
  • Content creation
  • Computer programming
  • Accounting
  • Technical writing

A few examples of soft skills are:

  • Collaboration
  • Time-management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Self-motivation

For instance, examples of soft skills like “strong communicator”, “detail-oriented”, or “self-motivated” may not be within the job description, but they could be the attributes that nonetheless help you thrive and succeed in the role.

But what makes a combination of hard and soft skills so important? These skills are vital because employers are looking for the right union of both qualities to find the best candidate profile for the position.

The main takeaway to remember as you list your skills is that soft skills relate to your personality once you’re at the office, whereas hard skills show what you can accomplish once you get to work.

Stand out through your resume skills section.

Admittedly, as I was writing my resume some of these skills likely didn’t stand out to recruiters as particularly impressive — for instance, “Facebook” is probably a skill I didn’t need to include, seeing as I wasn’t even applying for a social media position.

However, skills, like “ability to work under pressure” and “proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite,” did help me — particularly when I tailored my skills to fit the job description. Because when you are writing your resume and deciding what to put in the skills section, it’s critical that you provide applicable and exceptional examples to show recruiters you’re an ideal candidate.

To help you create an impressive resume that will make recruiters take notice of and demonstrate your unique qualifications, I spoke with HubSpot recruiters to consolidate 17 recruiter-approved resume skills (and useful tips) that’ll help you get the job.

1. Ability to Work Under Pressure

Skill Type: Soft Skill

Able to keep a steady hand under stress? Your ability to handle difficult situations as pressure mounts while producing impactful work and meeting deadlines is a super skill. For example, if you are interviewing for a role as an Executive Assistant and you have a track record of successfully scheduling leadership appointments with the stress of tight turnarounds and ever-changing demands, you have the ability to work under pressure. When recruiters and companies see this skill, they see you as a person who can stay focused and get the job done.

Pro Tip: This soft skill is one that employers ask frequently, so it is a great one to continue to refine -– especially in customer service, leadership, and hospitality roles.

2. Leadership

Skill Type: Hard Skill

If you can take charge of a situation and inspire others to achieve a common goal, then you can likely lead a team professionally. For instance, say you directed a team of accountants during a large-scale company audit and led everyone to accomplish their respective tasks to complete the project. Then you would be demonstrating leadership skills that can influence a company to trust your guidance.

Pro Tip: By detailing your leadership experience as a core skill, you can quite literally distinguish yourself from the pack — consider this hard skill mandatory if you’re seeking managerial and executive roles.

3. Graphic Design

Skill Type: Hard Skill

Having Graphic Design skills means that you can use software like Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and more to create visually appealing designs that could propel a project forward. Even if you’re not applying for a position in graphic design, listing this skill on your resume shows recruiters you’re able to design — or learn how to design — graphically appealing proposals, flyers, billboards — and even decks.

Pro Tip: The best way to prove your design abilities is to create a portfolio of your work so that a hiring manager discerns the quality of work for themselves. Be sure to incorporate impactful, colorful, creative graphics, as well as, clean and concise designs to showcase your range.

4. SEO Marketing

Skill Type: Hard Skill

Knowing how to apply SEO Marketing best practices tells employers that you have the potential to increase search ranking visibility and website traffic for the business. These marketing skills can involve optimizing content tracking, search analytics, and reporting results, but don’t hesitate to get clever about how you’ve helped market a brand even if the route was untraditional.

Pro Tip: Instead of simply listing your SEO marketing skills on your resume and describing your experience, provide results like a deck of the metrics of an SEO project.

5. Copywriting

Skill Type: Hard Skill

Copywriting is one of those communication skills that’s always in demand, especially if your desired role is in the marketing and advertising industry. If you are applying for a job that requires writing skills, be sure to highlight your copywriting experience on your resume with examples in your portfolio.

Pro tip: Show both short-form and long-form copywriting for a range of brands, industries, and brand voices. You want to show your versatility in creative, technical, or marketing writing so the hiring manager sees you as a cross-channel asset.

6. Ability to implement Social Media Campaigns

Can you create, execute, or monitor social media campaigns? From start to finish? Then make sure you list your social media expertise and ability to implement campaigns under your resume skills. Brands love the social media experience because it shows an affinity for marketing business products and services. Whether it’s retargeting a customer base or reaching new consumers — you can do so for one of the most powerful audiences: social media.

Pro Tip: Be sure to list the top social media marketing and writing aspects like your ability to write a striking headline and engaging text post.

7. Data Analysis

Skill Type: Hard Skill

If you prove that you can organize data into a clear and concise structure, then employers will entrust you with handling company data to turn it into useful information. For example, data analysis can include the ability to:

  • Find, interpret, and transform data for decision making
  • Solve problems quickly and efficiently by the conclusions made from organized data sets
  • Communicate this information clearly and effectively to relevant stakeholders

Pro Tip: Data analysis is an intricate business. So highlight your methods of keeping detailed records for all your projects. This method will give recruiters insight into how successful you were at organizing information, as well as your cognition as an analyst.

8. Foreign Languages

Skill Type: Hard Skill

Knowing foreign languages is a valuable skill to have not only in business but in life. But listing a knowledge of languages as a job skill can really open doors because you are able to connect with consumers of different linguistic backgrounds on a deeper level — both verbally and through content. Whether you’re looking for a position in pediatrics or politics, being bilingual or multilingual can give you a serious advantage over the competition due to your ability to reach people.

Pro Tip: If you list a foreign language skill on a resume, be prepared to speak proficiently in that language during the interview process. If not it’s better to refine your understanding prior to listing it on the resume.

9. Editing

Skill Type: Hard Skill

Leveraging your editing skills for writing and video is crucial for most creative and technical arts. For instance, if you are applying for a role as a Content Writer, it’s imperative that you proofread and edit your work for grammar, punctuation, and clarity before you submit your blog posts. If you are publishing video content, then you need to be able to edit the footage into a cohesive (and compelling) story. Both abilities will work to your advantage when it comes to company messaging.

Pro Tip: Be sure to create an online portfolio and add your published work that employers can easily access. Within your portfolio, you should spotlight any work with recognizable brands that an interviewer could find noteworthy.

10. Java Programming

Skill Type: Hard Skill

Java is a versatile and powerful programming language that is widely used in a range of industries. If you are applying for a job that incorporates DevOps, Analytics, or Data Analysis — so essentially every business with a website — then Java and JavaScript proficiency are great skills to start with as they are some of the most vital programming languages, globally.

Pro Tip: Similar to professional foreign language tests, it’s not uncommon to have a live coding portion during the interview. So be sure to refine your code to clean and organized language scripts so there’s no doubt you’re a wiz at coding.

11. Quick Learner

Skill Type: Soft Skill

What does it mean to be a quick learner — professionally that is? Well, it means that you are able to learn new job tasks and apply them efficiently. This valuable skill can show that you are adaptable and willing to take on new challenges.

Pro Tip: If you want to showcase your quick learning ability on your resume, be sure to detail examples when you met and overcame a real-world challenge through quickly grasping a concept– avoid any fluff.

12. Detail-oriented

Skill Type: Soft Skill

Sure, calling yourself detail-oriented could be the most overstated resume skill you can list — however it is also one of the most important soft skills an employer wants to hear. What makes this job skill so impactful is that it means that you are able to pay attention to the small, seemingly overlookable details that can make a big difference on a project.

For instance, say you are hoping to land a job as a pharmacist. In this role, you will be responsible for reviewing and administering doses of medication that will impact a person’s health. Therefore, you will have to be cognizant of each medication’s safety details to be able to ensure there are no negative interactions across prescriptions, and advise customers on safety instructions they may overlook. In this case, attention to detail can make the difference between performing your role successfully or failing detrimentally.

Pro Tip: If you want to show hiring managers that you are detail-oriented, then elucidate examples of times you ensured quality assurance or found and corrected a mistake others didn’t catch.

13. Collaboration

Skill Type: Soft Skill

A good collaborator is someone who is able to communicate effectively to work together with a team and put the needs of the project above their own. So if you want to show that you are a collaborative person, then be sure to include examples of times you have worked together with colleagues to contribute to the success of a project.

Pro Tip: A great strategy for efficient collaboration is agreeing on what your team’s common goal is and defining how you will contribute to achieving this shared goal.

14. Adaptability

Skill Type: Soft Skill

If you are professionally flexible and able to flourish in new situations, then you should add Adaptability to your resume skills section. For example, if you are a PPC marketer asked to assist with a colleague’s Amazon Retail workload, their tasks may be a bit out of your purview. But if you adapt and learn how to approach Amazon Retail strategically, you will prove you can wear the various hats you’ll have to wear throughout your job’s tenure. This is an asset and a job skill you should include on her resume.

Pro Tip: When you explain your Adaptability on a paper, it doesn’t have to simply be professional; being adaptable is also an inherent trait, so you can describe transformations during your education or personal life if you feel like it’s an appropriate, more true representation of yourself.

15. Communication

When it comes down to collaborating, presenting, and guiding in the workplace, it’s no wonder why they say communication is key. If you excel in written and verbal Communications you should note this under the resume skills section because it shows you can understand, conceptualize, and explain information for yourself and your colleagues, which is invaluable every workday.

Pro Tip: Expand upon your Communication skills by detailing how this relates to your ability to learn new ideas and concepts from others, in addition to by yourself.

16. Creativity

Skill Type: Hard & Soft Skill

Why is creativity an important resume skill example to list? It’s because employers are looking for candidates who can think outside the box and generate new, engaging ideas for how they can engage consumers or reinvent processes. It’s innovation that propels industry, so having a new hire who can push the dial forward for your business is a big win long-term.

Pro Tip: If you’re able to make a case for including Creativity on your resume, be sure to relate this skill to how you are also capable of finding creative solutions to more practical pursuits, like problem-solving, as well.

17. Microsoft Office — especially Excel and Powerpoint

Skill Type: Hard Skill

At this rate, most candidates are sophisticated in Microsoft Suite products like Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and more. This skill is important to employers because it allows candidates to complete projects, create presentations, and organize data through ubiquitously used software. If you want your resume to meet standards, be sure to list any other proficiency in Microsoft products you may have like Publisher or OneNote, too.

Key Tips On What Recruiters Look For — According to Recruiters

I spoke with Johanna Fleming, a former Services Recruiter here at HubSpot, about hard and soft skills and which are more critical for a resume. She told me, “Mostly, hard skills stand out. Soft skills don’t add a ton of value to resumes because they can be very subjective.”

Tip #1: Always prioritize showcasing your hard skills when you can.

Add a picture of Flemming

For example, says Flemming, “many people add that they have things like ‘strong communication skills’ … but it’s a bit fluffy because who is evaluating their communication skills?”

Instead, Fleming continues to underscore the importance of hard skills over soft. “Hard skills definitely are more important to highlight — especially technical skills and experiences. If someone is familiar with certain platforms or applications, it’s also definitely important to highlight those!”

Tip #2: Incorporate measurement metrics to detail skill performance.

Additionally, to demonstrate the validity of the skill, it’s important you incorporate real metrics. Holly Peterson, an Executive Recruiter here at HubSpot, says it’s critical you include “a track record of metrics-driven performance, and/or the impact you’ve had in each role. This could be something like, ‘Increase sales leads by 25%,’ or ‘Drove new users in thousands.'”

Noah Gilman, a Professional Services Recruiter at HubSpot, agrees. He says, “If you claim to have done really well in your last role, but don’t put any numbers behind it, that really weakens your message.”

Tip #3: Prove your skill set through real-world examples.

Along with including metrics in your work experience section, Noah suggests sticking to skills that you provide examples for as much as possible — “Stick to … things that you can answer questions about from a recruiter. For instance, when they ask questions like ‘What have you built using java?’ or ‘Talk to me about a cool report you built-in Tableau’, make sure you have real-world instances to offer. Prioritize hard skill examples like these, instead of something a recruiter would never ask … like ‘Talk to me about when you had strong communication skills.'”

Tip #4 Only mention the most impactful hard & soft skills.

Additionally, Glory Montes, a Technical Recruiter, mentioned a few other hard and soft skills that stand out as particularly impressive. One of the most vital hard skills: Presentations.

“It’s a big green flag if a resume mentions a time the candidate had to present to senior managers or present on work they did,” exalts the Technical Recruiter “I also look for collaboration skills,” Montes says when it comes to soft skills, “like if a candidate mentions they worked with co-workers in other departments. Being able to communicate across disciplines shows adaptiveness and strong communication skills.” Finally, showing project work outside of your day-to-day responsibilities shows me that you are passionate about your discipline.”

Tip #5: Stay clear and concise as you detail your resume skills.

It’s also important to avoid vague or general statements, which could seem untrue, particularly if other applicants often use the same phrases. To avoid this, Roshan Shah, a former HubSpot recruiter, told me specificity is key — “I don’t think many recruiters like seeing general statements like, ‘improved X process’ or ‘built relationships with stakeholders’. I strongly prefer more explicit details, like how much you improved a process or how you built relationships, and with which stakeholders.”

Tip #6: Be Honest In Your Skill Assessment & Stick to the Skills You Know

Roshan Shah echoes this, telling me, “Candidates should use their actual skillset as the barometer for how many things to list on their resume, rather than just the job description. They should list things they’re actually proficient in.” Because an honest assessment of your skill level can save you a lot of anxiety when employers put you to the test. “If you say you’re comfortable using AdWords because it’s on the job description,” says Shah, “but then we test you and you end up being pretty novice with it, that’s going to look much worse than if you’d just left it off your resume in the first place.”

So after you’ve looked at the job description, do some research on job sites like Glassdoor or Monster to see the qualifications other companies include for similar positions. This enables you to include skills the hiring manager hasn’t listed, demonstrating your potential to bring something unique to the role.

Tip #7: Get technical with your hard skills.

Paulina Valdez, an Executive Recruiter at HubSpot, told me, “It’s important to highlight the technical skills that the role requires. For my Spanish Translator role, I look for CAT tools in a resume, like MemoQ and SDL Trados. Soft skills are more buzz words than anything, so I prioritize hard skills related to the role.”

Tip #8: Make Sure Your Soft Skills Are Relevant to What The Role Needs

Finally, consider a list of soft skills you believe truly reflect your personality and work ethic. Include these if you believe they’re relevant for the position to which you’re applying. For instance, in the ‘my skills’ section of my resume, I’ve included “passion for learning”. While this attribute might not be listed for a specific role, it’s an authentic description and highlights in which type of work environment I do well, so it felt necessary to include it.

Show recruiters why you’re a top prospect.

Whether you are looking to land your dream job or making a career pivot to a new industry, clearly showcasing the skills on your resume that make you who you are as a professional is essential. If you want employers to consider you a top candidate, then be sure to include specific examples of when you demonstrated your skill under your Work Experience and once you make it to the interview. Plus it’s the moment recruiters see that your career skills meet– and exceed — the requirements of the candidate profile, where you stand out as an asset within an ever-competitive job market.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness in May 2022.

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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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