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Back To Basics Marketing 101: How To Classify And Qualify Inbound Leads To Maximize Sales

Posted On January 20th, 2021

How To Classify And Qualify Inbound Leads To Maximize Sales

Did you know IT services firms lose THOUSANDS of dollars every year due to very poor or non-existent follow up on the leads they generate? Recently we’ve been getting a LOT of questions from members wanting clarification on how to properly classify and qualify inbound leads to maximize sales.  I would suggest you read through and then go back to listen to the 2019 December Marketing Deep Dive posted to the Dashboard, where I also covered this topic in more depth.

General Classifications For People On Your List

Where people are getting confused (often) is in the definitions used to describe various groups of individuals in your house list. To clarify, here’s a brief overview of the generic LIST CLASSIFICATIONS we suggest you use. Some of these are unique to my organization because I’m the ONLY marketing consultant I know who stresses the importance of cleaning and qualifying a list BEFORE you spend money and time marketing to it. Therefore, I’ve created my own specific definitions to help my clients in classifying prospects and qualifying inbound leads so they can manage their lists properly. Here they are:

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How To Attract HOT Leads To Your MSP Using Personal Ads

Posted On January 13th, 2021

How To Attract Desirable Clients Using Direct Response Marketing

Years ago, I was exposed to this marketing example, written by the late Gary Halbert, as an example of brilliant direct response marketing copy AND strategy. It’s a personals ad he wrote that led him to find his then-wife. He also used it as an example of how a good sales letter can solve just about any problem you have.

I’m not sure I buy that in total, but almost every problem can be HELPED by a good sales letter, whether it’s to sell someone on donating money to your cause or to convince a relative or friend to a particular course of action.

The biggest lesson Gary taught in this piece is that great direct response marketing is VERY similar to a personals ad, detailing who you WANT, as well as who you DON’T want. The technical name is a “flag” in your copy, which can be a direct “Dear Office Manager” or a description of the person you’re talking to – their pain, problems, desires and wants.

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The Single, Simple Trick That Will Get 3 To 4 Times More Response From Every Single Marketing Campaign, Guaranteed

Posted On October 22nd, 2020

Any ideas on what it is? Hint: It’s the thing that got you to read this article – the headline.

The headline is “the ad for the ad.” It’s the device that, if well-written, will stop the right reader-prospect in their tracks and get them involved in reading your campaign and taking action. In the example above, I could have written “How To Get Your Wife To Chase You Around The Bedroom Like A Horny Teenager” and gotten even more response than with the one I used. I could have even pivoted off that as an example of the importance of headlines; however, I would have attracted the WRONG person with the WRONG proposition – i.e., a desperate husband looking for a little more love in his life (to put it politely). Read full article and comment →

The Importance Of Demonstrating Your Expertise

Posted On September 23rd, 2020

Here’s a chapter for “how NOT to close a prospect.” Last month Ryan Markel brought to my attention someone who is teaching MSPs how to grow their sales departments, suggesting we engage in some manner.

Initially, I’m very interested, as I’m ever interested in bringing fresh new moneymaking ideas to my members. I instantly have ideas about how I can use someone with his purported skills to deliver more value to our members. We discuss perhaps hiring him to work with our Producers Club and Accelerators members to build out a detailed sales playbook, complete with a hiring process, compensation plans, management playbook, etc. Maybe even run a Sales Managers’ Accountability Group.

A BIG project that would not only mean a good payday, but also put him in front of 600 or more MSPs who are potential clients for him. Now, just in case you’re not picking up on it, this is a BIG opportunity. Sponsors pay us millions of dollars a year to get access to our members, and here I am, offering to PAY him for the privilege.

But here’s what happens…

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The Importance Of Holding Your Marketing Accountable To A Result

Posted On September 16th, 2020

The Importance Of Holding Your Marketing Accountable To A ResultIf I hear someone say their hope for marketing is “brand awareness” or to “get my name out there” one more time I’m gonna start a protest against slovenly, wasteful marketing. At least then I wouldn’t get my events shut down, but I digress…

To my point: Let’s suppose the “branding” folks managed an employee the same way they are suggesting you manage your marketing. The job description for “Bob” the employee would look something like this:

“Bob, your job is to get our name out there and make sure you are making people aware of our brand. Since we have no way of measuring just how effective you are, you won’t be subject to any regular meetings or reviews and you won’t have any strict hours. You can come and go as you please. Just as long as you come back once in a while and give us some assurance that you are, in some manner, shouting our name to the world, we’re all good and will continue to pay you. No one will monitor your performance. No one will attempt to measure your effectiveness or the impact you’re having on the organization. No one will look at your productivity, and we won’t tie you to specific leads, clients and sales coming in the door. We’ll just assume it’s working. Every couple of months we’ll look to see if sales have gone up. If they have, you’ll get all the credit. To assist you in this effort, we’ll give you a very hefty budget so you look your professional best. After all, we want to win the popularity contest and receive useless awards for our “creativity” or our cleverness. In fact, we’d like you to be vague, cute and clever. You’ll be dressed in the finest suits and given a Bentley to drive around in. You’ll eat at the finest restaurants, wining and dining whomever will listen to your message. Your expense account won’t be beholden to any particular type of client, but if we get enough people liking the experience, you’ll continue to be paid. If we don’t get enough sales, you can just blame the economy, the competition, who’s in the White House or any other outside factor.”

Laugh if you will, but that’s how a lot of companies manage their marketing efforts. My rule has been never to invest a marketing dollar that cannot be directly and accurately tracked back to generating a lead, a customer or a sale. Simple. That’s why my marketing is so shocking to many when they first see it; the word they use is “direct” if they’re kind, “aggressive” if they’re not.

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Grabbing Attention

Posted On September 9th, 2020

attentionTo the right is a favorite “article” from the Weekly World News (the only RELIABLE news outlet these days) that I keep in my files as inspiration for a marketing campaign somewhere in the future. I DO think an ad run like this around Halloween with an offer to “exorcise the demon” in your computer would do really well – but I suspect many would not use it for fear of criticism, particularly from “love thy neighbor” Christians who would heap fire and brimstone on your head because they find this deeply offensive (but hey – in THIS day and age, if you’re not pissing someone off by noon every day, you’re not trying at ALL).

But the MAIN point of sharing this with you: a stern reminder that you HAVE to figure out how to get your prospects’ attention with your marketing or your marketing will fail miserably. This is why I encourage “lumpy” or odd direct mail – it makes a much more significant impact than a plain vanilla postcard or “professional” letter. So, a few things to keep in mind:


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How To Motivate Salespeople

Posted On September 1st, 2020

Salespeople I have an important point to clarify. While I’m 100% bought into the idea of creating systems and processes in a business and advocate it constantly, there is one HUGE inherent flaw in that thinking: assuming that systems run themselves.

Any time you have a human being involved in or contributing to a system, you have a WILD variable that is essentially out of your control. Yes, you can (and should) train, monitor, coach and manage. But if someone isn’t self-regulated and self-motivated to follow the system and put into place your coaching and training, nothing will make it work.

Over the last few years I’ve dialed in the appointment-setting process of my company to a science: who to call, when to call, what to say. We clean, verify and highly target the list. We have automation and dialers that make everyone far more efficient. Also, we do weekly training and have a competent sales manager in place who keeps an eye out to make sure the trains run on time. Yet not all reps hit quota all the time, and some have had to be let
go for non-performance. How is that possible? Because there’s still a human element to the system that I have no control over.

That’s why it’s critical to hire the right type of people as PART OF THE SYSTEM.

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Nice Is A Path To NOWHERE

Posted On August 27th, 2020

In one of my favorite books, Harry Beckwith’s What Clients Love, is this story:

NICE IS NOWHERE. You do NOT want everyone to like what you do.

Ian Schrager created a revolutionary chain of elite hotels. His properties are to hotels what Salvador Dali paintings are to art – not for everyone. Schrager expressly designs his hotels for one traveler in 25. “Let 24 of 25 despise them, for all I care,” he has said. “Just so one in 25 loves them.” Can any marketer afford to write off 96% of the public? Schrager’s small hotels net more than $20 million a year (2003).

He’s since sold his hotel group, but has made a small fortune on his approach. His idea of being different and “not for everyone” is scary as hell to most businesspeople, though. In a world where “Likes” and followers are the new status quo for being successful in business (entirely a FALSE metric if viewed in isolation from other critical metrics like profit), and online trolls abound and pressure you to conform to their viewpoints, it CAN feel “dangerous” to stand out and take an unpopular view. Disapproving things and shaming and bullying others is a full-time job for many, a pastime for many. Believe me, I know.

It’s in conflict with everything you’ve been taught about service and the customer always being “right.” Choosing to be deliberately and blatantly against the majority is a stance that will challenge every fiber of your being and test your self-confidence. Read full article and comment →