We’re not the disruptors…It’s already happened!

How the 3 Deadly C’s Have Changed Sales Forever

After explaining what we do to an interested connector last week, one of our partners got the old “Wow, you guys are real disruptors!” Without really thinking, Paul quickly snapped back, “We are NOT disruptors! The disruption has already happened, we’re really just helping people get through it.” This is spot on and positioning is important. If you’re creating disruption, that’s one thing but when it’s already happened, doing nothing is the riskiest thing you could ever do.

Today’s age of acceleration has unleashed what we call the 3 Deadly C’s – Commoditization, Consensus Decision Making, and Compressed Selling Time. The real impact is beginning to rear its ugly head and sales will forever and always be different. What follows serves as more than your warning signal. I think it’s helpful to understand the 3 Deadly C’s a bit more in-depth and more importantly, what you must start doing to stay relevant and vital.

What’s happening?

While the world has been focused on the impact of the internet in the B2C space, particularly in retail where it makes headlines daily, the internet’s impact on B2B has been equally aggressive.

When combined with today’s age of acceleration, where not just the rate of change is accelerating but the speed of the rate is accelerating at the same time, the disruption is here.

You’re already feeling the disruption in the following ways:

  • You’re not closing the deals you feel you deserve
  • It’s taking longer than ever to get a decision
  • You keep getting squeezed on pricing

Today’s buyer buys differently and selling organizations are not adjusting to these changes fast enough. Sales teams are confronted with the 3 Deadly Cs – Commoditization, Consensus Decision Making and Compressed Selling Time; everyone looks and sounds the same, decision-making teams keep getting bigger (now averaging 6.8 people) and they’re ignoring your salespeople until the very end of the buying journey. What does this mean to you?

The 3 Deadly C’s

Commoditization – to your buyer everyone looks the same, sounds the same and acts the same. Once that happens it’s just a race to the bottom.

Consensus decision making – Buying teams keep getting bigger (now averaging 6.8 people) and when everyone shows up with their own agenda, you lose priority. The easiest thing for them to do is nothing…

Compressed selling time – 70% of your buyer’s journey is complete before you’re invited in; leaving you with less time than ever to influence a decision. You swing and miss at your moment of truth.

Today, decisions are made in large teams. Your competition has the exact same level of access that you do and just because you have good habits (showing up on time, always being responsive, etc) doesn’t matter because your buyer isn’t letting you in until they’re nearly done with their decision process. On top of it all, everyone they do invite in all seems the same! This is why deals are coming down to price, or making no decision at all.

So, what can be done?

We know that freezing up and doing nothing is not the answer. And while this is a daunting journey, one that will end up driving change within and around your team, let’s start with the most important thing you and your team must do.

The first step to overcoming the 3 Deadly C’s is to clearly and consistency communicate “Why You, Why Now?” What are the compelling reasons why someone should choose you? I mean REAL reasons, not the “Our people make the difference” or “We’ve been in business for 100 years” reasons. Not only does everyone say those same things, further driving commoditization, but the part of your buyer’s brain that makes decisions doesn’t know what to do with that information. So, it ignores it.

The “Why now?” is a new requirement. With bigger decision-making teams, everyone is bringing their own priorities to the table. So now, you not only have to defeat your direct competitors with your “Why you”, to win the priority game and you have to clearly address why they should do something now. If you can’t win that one, you’ll get the “good news/bad news response… “We liked your proposal the best, buuuuuuut…we’re not going to do anything at all right now.”

Not a win.

You can’t rely on sales training tactics that were developed before the internet, they were created for a world that no longer exists. And convention sales presentations that focus on facts, figures, features and benefits do not trigger your buyer to act.

You need to reframe your approach to sell the way today’s buyer buys:

  • Align consensus decision-making team around a single, mutual pain point to create priority that pushes your deal forward.
  • Implement prescriptive messaging at the right time along each step of your buyer’s journey that answers Why You, Why Now, and puts you back in control of the sale.
  • Leverage decision-making science to win the prospect’s brain in the first 30-seconds of your pitch.

The forces of the Deadly C’s are constantly working against your vitality. If market share, revenue, or margin are flat or decreasing, its an indicator that your organization is becoming irrelevant. Irrelevancy results in commoditization, where price becomes the only differentiator between you and your competition.

By leveraging Decision Science to create brain-friendly messaging that answers “Why You, Why Now?” you will see immediate impact on revenue, margin, and market share.

Ready to win more now? Unlock the tools that will help your sales team close more deals faster in today’s buying climate.

Capitalize in the VOID – Why Salespeople Fail

Why are so many salespeople struggling? I have answered this several times, each time, a little different. Here is a consolidated response based on those answers…

“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”

Jack Welch

Selling has not changed at the same rate buying has changed… Does that sound familiar?

That point, when the buyer first engages with the seller is what we call The Void. This is where deals are won or lost. It only takes a fraction of a second for the buyer to make a decision, but Salespeople aren’t equipped with the right messaging or tools to capitalize in The Void. Salespeople use antiquated techniques because that is what they’ve been trained to do by sales trainers. These sales training systems were developed 40+ years ago for a world that no longer exists. The buyer has evolved, but sales hasn’t and it is saddling your sales team with three distinct disadvantages.

Disadvantage #1 – To your prospect, you’re all the same

The first thing to consider is that the buying process has radically changed over the last 20 years. Before today’s age of accelerations, buyers relied on sellers as their source of information. Today buyers ignore salespeople for as long as possible, completing nearly 70% of their buying process before engaging a salesperson. Similar to what we have seen in the retail space where consumers are less reliant on the in-store experience, B2B buyers are using the Internet and other methods of research to form their interpretation and opinions on a narrowed-down list of potential vendors based on their needs before they ever talk to the seller. The bad news: at the point of engagement, they now believe you and your competitors are all the same.

Disadvantage #2 – You get one shot

Once engaged, the seller is now introduced to their 2nd disadvantage, being relegated to a single conversation or meeting in order to get a pass to the next. That means one presentation to make an impact and distinguish themselves from their competitors or risk being eliminated from consideration. RPG refers to this moment of truth, this one or done, as The Void. It is that transition point in the buyer’s journey moving from research to solution consideration. The pressure is on and if sales teams don’t deliver, they’re done.  

Disadvantage #3 – The easiest decision is to do nothing

Can you win the battle and still lose the war?? Absolutely!

It’s one thing to win the “Why you” battle, where you show superior capability and performance against your direct competitors. How is your team at establishing priority? With B2B decision teams now averaging 6.8 people, your salespeople have to contend with each meeting participant bringing their own priorities to the table. Most aren’t capable of winning the “Why now” war.

(CSO Insights)

These 3 disadvantages are the direct result of what we, at RPG, call the Three Deadly Cs: Commoditization, Consensus Decision Making and Compressed Selling Time; everybody looks, sounds and acts the same, decision-making teams keep getting bigger and your salespeople are ignored until the very end of the buying journey.

Your sales team is being sent to the battlefield carrying a plastic knife.

Here’s an epiphany… sales isn’t to fault, not entirely anyway. This is a problem that must be solved by the company. Since the buyer is ignoring or blocking access, for the first 70% of their journey, then marketing holds as much, or more, of the burden of failure as the sales team does. Once sales is allowed in, they’re positioned for failure. They’re stuck with the following:

  • Antiquated training — 7 of 8 sales training programs developed before the Internet or cell phone was invented
  • Wrong messaging to spark curiosity, create differentiation, and drive priority — these are not keywords or website copy!
  • Wrong selling tools to pitch and engage the brain — this should not be created by the marketing team

In order to stay relevant and keep pace with buying committees, your sales team must contend with The Void. The place to start is aligning the entire team so they can quickly and easily articulate “Why you, Why Now?”

Want to learn more about the toolset that targets the way today’s buyer buys? Let’s schedule a 15-minute chat to see if the Revenue Acceleration Program is right for your team.

Top 50 Sales Champion of 2019 Awarded to RPG’s CRO Daren Tomey

Indianapolis, IN – Revenue Path Group’s Chief Revenue Officer Daren Tomey is named one of the Top 50 Sales Champions of 2019 by Sales Hacker. Daren was selected as one of the Top 10 Sales Leaders from over 5,000 nominations.

Daren joined RPG in 2019 to bring the same level of performance, professionalism, and teamwork-oriented strategy that has made him a stand-out success in his over 20-year career.  Daren played key roles in the success of companies like ExactTarget, Compendium, SlingshotSEO, ProofHQ, and most recently, DemandJump. In his career, Daren has mastered the art and science of focusing on and delivering value throughout every customer engagement. Daren’s combination of hands-on application along with his desire to educate and share best practices and lessons learned is a key reason he is excited to be a part of the RPG team.

“RPG’s mission is to help B2B organizations answer for their prospects Why You, Why Now, and beat the commoditization, compressed selling time, and consensus decision making that is threatening their vitality. Having a person with Daren’s credentials and personality in the role of Chief Revenue Officer is a critical step towards achieving our mission,” comments Bryan Gray, RPG CEO.

Sales Hacker is the leading online community for sales professionals, proving world class thought-leadership, webinars, conferences, online courses, sales training & digital partnerships.

“Most other sales awards end up going to the most popular influencer. The Sales Hacker Top 50 is different. These awards go to practitioners: people who not only did a fantastic job, but also elevated the sales profession through their actions last year.”

The Often Overlooked But Critical Difference Between B2C And B2B Branding

There are a lot of branding agencies out there doing brilliant work when it comes to building websites, creating fonts, designing logos, and organizing brand platforms for Business to Consumer (B2C) environments. Many agencies are applying the same expertise and proven approach in Business to Business (B2B) environments.

The problem is, in the B2B world, there’s a missing link: The Intermediary. 

The Intermediary
The sales person, the business development team, and the seller doer… they’re the ones actually responsible for winning the business. They’re the ones carrying the brand banner and telling the brand story. They’re the ones focused on the last mile.

This is a CRITICAL distinction that has to drive a very different approach to B2B branding. A B2B brand cannot stand alone.

Enhancing your digital presence is a great idea, but are your intermediaries delivering the same message? Can they even clearly articulate what that message is?

Building a great reputation is important, but what specifically does that reputation do to eliminate the threats your prospect faces in their day-to-day business life?

Visibility is critical, but what does your brand mean to your prospect? Is your brand about you or is it about them?

If you’re reading this article you’ve probably spent, or are thinking of spending a lot of money on branding. It’s not uncommon to venture well into six figures for that type of effort. Dedicating such a large portion of your budget should come with a single, pre-requisite question:

“What is my brand accomplishing for me?”

True Story
At a conference recently, a Director of Marketing told me about their firm’s recent re-branding initiative:

“We spent about $150,000 to develop a new logo and website, new colors, business cards, signage… the works. Everything turned out beautifully, but where it really went off the rails was that as the guy was out in the parking lot applying the new logos to our company trucks, there were people walking out the door carrying their boxes because we had to lay them off.”

This is a real, albeit extreme, example to remind you that your resources are finite so it’s critical that everything be working towards building your business.

Alignment
There’s a lot of talk in the business world today about alignment and aligning around your brand; about creating a brand from the inside-out. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be firing on all cylinders and have everyone in alignment?!

Intuitively, it makes sense to create a brand from the inside-out… one that our entire organization can align with, one that truly expresses our cultural values, but…

what if you create a ‘powerful’ inside-out brand and none of your clients or prospects cares?

The problem with inside-out is that the focus is all wrong. None of this is about you. You aren’t in business to serve yourself.

If you have an inside-out brand, what do your intermediaries do? Do they walk around talking about themselves (your inside-out brand) like Cousin Eddie at the family reunion?

What if instead we built a brand focused on the pains, threats, and fears we can eliminate for our clients? I believe this sort of transformative thinking about B2B branding does 3 things:

Transforming B2B Branding
Building a brand around the pains, threats, and fears we eliminate for our clients proves our value in the marketplace. There’s nothing left to interpretation. We’re clearly articulating the valuable solutions we provide to the most pressing problems.

Building a brand around the pains, threats, and fears we eliminate provides a platform for both internal and external alignment. Imagine if we’re known as the firm that eliminates ‘these’ pains, threats, and fears. Potential clients that experience those pains, threats, and fears will seek us out. Talent that we want to recruit can look at those things and say “I’m passionate about those things too. I want to work there.” They come in already aligned.

Building a brand around the pains, threats, and fears we eliminate for our clients provides a brand story for our intermediaries to tell. Nothing will build our businesses faster than a team that’s clearly articulating the same story, especially when that story is focusing outward on providing the emotional lift that comes from eliminating the things that are really standing in the way of our client’s success.

Would You Hire Your Favorite Brand?
Think about your favorite brand. Maybe you’re thinking of Coca-Cola or Ford or Patagonia or Apple. Next ask yourself, if you were on the local school board would you seek out Patagonia to design your new school? If you were the City Engineer, would you hire Coca-Cola to engineer the next phase of infrastructure expansion for your city?

Of course you wouldn’t. That’s not what those companies do, but let’s just say you were curious…

What if Apple did __________ (fill in the blank) for us?

At the very least you’d have some questions. Enter the Intermediary. At the very least you’d want to know more about their approach, their capacity, their qualifications, their experience. You’d want to know if they really could solve your problem and fit it into a sleek, little white box. Enter the Intermediary. In this environment, the Apple brand can’t close the deal without the Intermediary.

In the Business to Business world, our brands cannot stand alone.

You expect your business development team to get into the right conversations, win the room, and close the deal. What is your brand doing to support those expectations? What is your brand doing to help you win the last mile?

If your brand isn’t helping you avoid commoditization and keeping you from becoming irrelevant in your marketplace, connect with me here on LinkedIn. Let’s build a prospect-focused brand that helps you attract the right clients, the right talent, and the right fees.

Three Problems With Relationship-Based Business Development

If you talk to enough architects, you’ll quickly realize there’s a belief in the A/E/C world that relationships are the name of the game. Not that long ago, one respected marketing and business development consultant told me that 80% of new commissions come through relationships.

I don’t want to discount relationships. They’re important to us on a number of levels and, yes, if you run an architecture, engineering, or construction firm, a good portion of your work probably does come to you through some sort of relationship.

As a business development strategy though, you need to understand that things are changing.

First problem with relationships: They go away
It used to be that if you had a good relationship with the right person, all that client’s work flowed your way. In fact, when I was still working in architecture firms, I had a client who made all the facilities decisions for an extremely active and well-funded local organization. For almost 20 years he funneled all that organization’s work to us. Then he retired.

Your relationships are with human beings. They retire, change jobs, get promoted to different positions, basically experience some sort of change that makes that business development relationship less valuable to you. The relationships effectively go away.

Second problem with relationships: They’re just one person
It used to be that if you had a relationship with the right person, you could count on them to award the client’s or the prospect’s work to you. Today, decision making teams are getting bigger. There’s rarely one decision-maker. In fact, the average selection committee today is at least 6 people.

It’s not enough to have a relationship with one person. Now that your oldest, best client has a selection committee, your relationship with the Vice President isn’t enough. Your track record working with that client isn’t enough. There are 5 other people on the selection committee and that means that everyone you’re competing against may have a relationship with someone on the committee. In a simple vote, your relationship with one person on an ever-expanding selection committee loses.

Third problem with relationships: They make us lazy
Back when you had that relationship with the ultimate decision-maker, you could rely on them to advocate for you. They knew you, they’d worked with you, they trusted you and that was probably enough. Today, they’re not the ultimate decision-maker anymore and you haven’t equipped them with the tools they need to persuade the rest of the committee on your behalf.

Relationships are based on trust. In a one-to-one context that trust is usually built on experience over time. You don’t have that time anymore. Today, your clients and prospects learn about 70% of what they want to know about you before you even know they’re interested. What’s worse, you’re trying to gain the trust of a committee instead of the one person you’ve known for years. You can’t sit back and rely on that relationship to go in and carry the room. In a multiple-decision-maker world, where your prospects think you and all your competition looks the same, sounds the same and acts the same, you have to make yourself the clear choice and gain fast trust.

It’s up to you.
Keep building relationships. That still has to be part of your business development strategy. But go in with your eyes wide open. There are three keys to making the most of your business development relationships:

Have a clear message.
You need to clearly state what your convincing advantages are … the reasons why your prospects should choose you. Those advantages have to be clear enough (and stated enough) that those advocating relationships can repeat them just as easily as you can.

It’s not about you.
As experienced and qualified as you are, the decision-makers and selection committees are only interested in the firm that addresses their pains, threats, and fears. In order to gain fast trust, you have to demonstrate that you understand what’s keeping your prospects up at night and make your messaging all about them.

Have a conversation.
What it takes to get in the room is not the same as what it takes to win the room. That old-school relationship may have gotten you to the short-list interview, but now you’re in a room with 5 other people sitting, arms-crossed wondering why they should pick you.

You don’t know them; they don’t know you. Remember when you first met that person that’s now “your relationship”? It started with a conversation. Don’t talk about yourself like everyone else does. Win the room, and the project, by starting a conversation with them, about them. They’ll feel like you understand them, you’ll build fast-trust, and you’ll differentiate yourself from your competition.

Are you relying on old-school relationships or building fast-trust that differentiates your firm and makes you the clear choice for the right projects and the right fees?

If you don’t know how to answer that question, connect with me here on LinkedIn and let’s start winning the room.

A Year in Review: Great year. Did we set ourselves up for failure?

What a year! Congratulations to everyone in a professional services firm that just finished their best year ever. I count myself as blessed because so many of you, so many leaders of firms (whether accountants, or architects, or attorneys, or contractors, or engineers) shared feedback about your firm’s successes and struggles and what you see trending in the industry. Thank you for that.

As I look back at the year, there were certainly a few common threads that wove through most of the stories I heard.

Obviously, one of the common threads was that most everyone is very busy. Another was that many are also struggling to attract and/or retain the talent they need to get the work done. In a way, those two sentences could summarize the state of professional services industries today.

There’s another thread I’ve focused on quite a bit lately because it worries me… a lot.

Even though most of the firms I talked to are busy, maybe busier than they’ve ever been, there’s an underlying current that, if they’re willing to admit it, worries almost every one of them.

Here are a few notes I jotted down during conversations this year:

  • We’re busier than we’ve ever been, but we’re less profitable than we’ve ever been.
  • We’ve won more projects than ever before, but we submitted for a record number too. Our win percentage is actually down.
  • We’re so busy and we’re hurting on the talent side so much that we’ve put a hold on developing new business. I’m afraid not being able to perform will hurt us more than passing on a few projects.

I don’t want to dwell on the negative… it has been a great year, but these kinds of comments leave me wondering: How will you leverage this year’s success for even more in the coming year? I hope this year wasn’t the setup for a disaster to come.

Here are the two things I’d like you to weigh in on:

  1. If you were very busy, ever busier than ever this year, were you more profitable than you’ve ever been or have you been working harder for less margin?
  2. If you had more work than ever this year, were your win rates actually up?

My fear is that many professional services firms, while having a successful year, have simply been propped up on a very strong economy. I hope you’ll prove me wrong, but if I’m right…

If professional services firms aren’t getting better at winning, what will happen when the economy inevitably slows down and competition gets tighter?

We’re already seeing signs that things are slowing down.

A couple more notes I jotted down:

  • We just had a project post-mortem with a client we’ve worked with for 15 years. Everyone was thrilled. The next week we found out they were looking at different delivery methods and fee-shopping for their next project… The. Very. Next. Week!
  • We’re a $1.2 Billion company and 90 percent of our work comes from repeat clients and referrals. We have a team of 6 responsible for our business development, but they’ll all be gone in the next 8 years.

If you’re responsible for developing business in the professional services world, I’ll guarantee you’ll tell me it’s a relationship-driven industry… and you’ll be right.

Relationships are important. They need to be developed, maintained, and cherished. There’s a good chance you wear “90% of our work comes from repeat clients and referrals” on your best blazer like a gold star. You’ll insert your own number between 75 and 90, but everyone says it.

It’s great when there’s plenty of work going on and those relationships are paying off, but what happens when projects start to dry up? What happens when those relationships start to fee-shop or the people that maintain the relationships aren’t in your firm anymore?

I know you’re busy and I hope that continues for a long time. Congratulations on a successful year, but please, please make sure you work hard in the coming year to get better at winning more of the right work at the right fees. It’s the only way to avoid disaster when the economy slows, commoditization is magnified and irrelevance is the lens your clients and prospects see your services through.

Finding the Role of SEM in Your Business

The question is often asked by any size of business: “Where should I put my marketing dollars?” At least one of the answers should be SEM. SEM (Search Engine Marketing) in 2019 is almost a default effort that every business needs to employ to be successful in the digital space.

That is not to say that your business should go willy nilly into the world of SEM without a plan, a direction, a set of goals, and other KPIs to ensure that you are spending your money wisely. After all, to any business owner, every dollar is important. Ensuring that the money you are putting out into the ether is bringing money back in is of the utmost importance. Fortunately, through a good SEM campaign, you can more often than not rest assured that you will generate some ROI.

There are a slew of reasons why these efforts are important for any business, but not all will be relevant to your business. However, if you can find the solution and the reason that fits your needs, that is always a good start.

Immediacy: You can start a campaign right now and start getting results the next day! This isn’t always the best route, as there should be planning and discovery that goes into any marketing effort, but if you are looking to generate more traffic, gain more brand awareness, increase the number of leads in your funnel, and more, you can quickly generate a successful campaign (with proper planning) and get moving!

Brand AwarenessIn the realm of search, you can never be certain what your competitors are going to do. Outside of regularly checking your own brand name in searches, you can ensure you stay at the top of the results by bidding on your brand. Usually, the cost is low, because your name will have fewer searches and competition than most. Searchers will also see your name at the top of the list if you include it in the ad copy, increasing awareness and association with your product or service. It is always good to be front of mind to your users.

Search Intent: When using any SEM platforms, you are gaining data on what your users are searching for. You can look in detail at the search terms that are generating clicks and conversions for your ads, which in turn shows you the search terms that people are associating with your business. This can drive more marketing efforts through your site, from new static web pages to blogs and videos that you can create on your site. It really opens up a new world of opportunity.

Mobile: By now, nearly everyone knows the large market share that mobile search has, which is propelled even more by the rise in voice search. As these numbers continue to go up, it is important that you find your users where they are. With the smaller size of the mobile search engine results page, it is important that you stay near the top. This can be accomplished with a good mobile SEM campaign, keeping you relevant to both desktop and mobile users.

Localization: Nearly all search, especially when it comes to Google, is targeted to the area surrounding the user. More and more, people are searching for terms like “near me” or “in INSERT CITY” to generate searches that are more relevant to them. This isn’t surprising, as searchers get smarter about finding the things they need and the search engines get smarter about delivering those local results. With an appropriately targeted SEM campaign, you can target the specific areas that your users are in, target relevant local search terms that your users are looking for, create ad copy surrounding those specifics, and generate more quality leads!

Small Budgets: As a business owner, especially if you’re just starting to delve into an SEM campaign, you don’t have to blow everyone out of the water with a $10,000 budget. Budgets of all shapes and sizes can be catered to and manicured for success within any campaign and as that campaign generates success and growth, it can grow with you. Don’t get scared by budget numbers.

As for which platform you should use to start your SEM efforts, Google is the general default. This makes complete sense since it dominates the search market, but there are other platforms out there you can test to find your audience and meet them where they are. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you take the time to do your research up front, determine your goals of any marketing effort, and make the commitment that you are going to spend the time to try to make it work. If you half-ass your marketing efforts, especially when it comes to SEM, you can expect results accordingly.

Take Advantage of the Holidays With Shopping Campaigns

The golden era of Black Friday shopping and sales has passed. Over the past few years, the Black Friday mega sales that have been a staple of brick and mortar businesses for years have dropped precipitously, being replaced by online sales, Cyber Monday, and more and more businesses trying to get a competitive edge in their industry. Anymore, Black Friday starts weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday, especially online. So what can you do to take advantage of this trend?

With more platforms finding new ways of advertising and selling products online, providing your customers with opportunities to buy your products around the holiday season has become easier. New ways to sell are constantly popping up, providing early adopters more opportunities to find new market space for their products and connect with more users than their competition. Amazon, Instagram, Google, and more have all continued to push the envelope for online sales and advertising.

  1. Amazon: Clearly, Amazon is the elephant in the room, but the difference is, EVERYONE can see it. Recently announcing its second headquarters, connecting with more payment platforms and rewards programs, and taking more market share for online advertising than ever before, Amazon is continuing its not so slow march toward world domination. You can advertise and sell your product directly through Amazon, figuring out shipping logistics and distribution along the way, or you can advertise on the platform and send people to your ecommerce solution to purchase form there. Either way, there are going to be plenty of eyeballs to attract over the holiday season, and you don’t want to miss out on these opportunities.
  2. Instagram: Instagram just recently unveiled new shopping features for its advertising platform that will enable companies to capture more hearts and minds of their users. The new features include an option for users to view the products that are shown in a video they are watching, allowing them to purchase some of their favorite products from the media that is right in front of them. With the increase in video consumption almost daily, this a great opportunity for companies that are able to produce video of their products regularly.
  3. Google: The behemoth that is Google continuously provides advertisers the ability to advertise their products through the Google shopping network, enabling companies to target users using the already robust Google Ads platform. Especially for those that are already using Google AdWords as a way to reach their customers, this is an easy space to include a new shopping feed and take some more market share while selling more product.
  4. Facebook: Even with some of the issues that Facebook has had in recent months, ad revenues for companies continue to run and be a viable opportunity to sell products and services to its users. When considering that that Facebook user demographic is getting older, those are the users that have some disposable income, have children, grandchildren, and are potentially using Facebook even as a way to search for and research products amongst their friends and family. Have a Black Friday deal you want to send to those that have visited your website but didn’t purchase? Consider using Facebook remarketing campaigns to bring them back around and complete that sale.

There are certainly more things to consider during the holiday season to ensure that you are able to maximize sales for your user base. More users than ever are searching for products and services through voice search, whether through a device like an Amazon Echo, Google Home, or just their smartphones. If you are not focusing on the appropriate search terms for your advertising purposes and creating mobile-centric ads, you could very well be missing a load of opportunities.

Need help with your business plans? RPG can help. >>

The Top Three Reasons Your Sales Team Struggles to Close Deals

It’s no secret it’s harder than ever to stand out and differentiate from your competition. Today’s sales teams are facing three major obstacles in their path to closing more deals, and ultimately revenue growth.

#1 Compressed Selling Time

Your prospect is 70% of the way through their buyer’s journey before they even talk to you. This leaves you no room for error when working to make an impact and gain access. And, if you aren’t losing sales to competitors, chances are you are losing them to indecision. As many as 60% of all leads are lost to nothing at all, the prospect deciding not to buy anything. With compressed selling time, the pressure is on to quickly make a lasting impact.

#2 Commoditization

Your prospect has total access to all of your direct competitors right at their fingertips. To you prospect you all look the same, sound the same, and act the same.

This is bad for your prospects because they deserve to know the real differences so they can make better buying choices. When you can’t clearly differentiate, you’re either forced to play games with your pricing or you’re more likely to become part of the 60% of sales that are lost to no decision at all.

#3 Consensus Decision Making

It used to be a single decision maker could close the deal. Today, decision making teams are as large as five or more people. According to a 2016 Fortune Magazine article, sales cycle times have grown 22% in the last five years.

The process is slowing down, with more buyers in the mix–all freshly armed with information they skimmed from the Internet–using this purchase to play out their competing interests. If you aren’t engaging enough to make them reach a decision, you’re quickly being forgotten and reprioritized. Time kills all deals.

Win More Sales with A Better Pitch

You can’t deny the sales process has changed fundamentally in the last decade. We’ve reached a pace of change that is turning relationships, tradition, and previous routes to sales upside down. You can’t rely on outdated techniques and tools to grow your revenue in today’s accelerated business environment.

And better tools start with neuro-science based messaging techniques that speak to your prospect’s brain to help you stand out and differentiate fast.

  • Understanding how your prospect’s brain really makes decisions allows you to overcome compressed sales times
  • Your pitch needs to quickly lock down the answer to “Why you?” with brain-friendly visuals and proofs to drive emotional lift
  • Successful, brain-friendly pitches unlock really good conversations that lead to closed deals

You can start winning more deals with sales presentations that actually engage your prospects and position you as the only solution.

Let’s talk about winning more deals for your sales team with a NeuroPitch presentation >>

Craft Breweries Are Owning Their Why

It’s Octoberfest in Michigan, which happens to have more craft breweries than 46 of the 50 States. You can’t throw a stone here without hitting a brewery. And it’s rare to see anyone picking up a Bud these days.

While overall beer consumption has been reported as down, the craft beer industry is booming. It has exceeded all growth expectations and proves it can hold its own against the beer giants like Anheuser-Busch and Miller-Coors – who, by the way, are trying to buy up as many small, craft breweries as they can to help keep themselves in the race.  With nearly 70,000 craft brewery employees across the U.S. the numbers have tripled over the last decade. Consumers might be drinking less, but they’re willing to pay 50 percent more for a beverage that stands out and has quality worth every extra cent. 

So why are most craft breweries finding unprecedented success? Because craft breweries have been able to create a unique experience for their consumers. An experience that is rooted in each craft breweries “why”, and one that their most loyal consumers can identify with and rally behind.

Each brewery tells their own story that stands out against others. Whether it be a better taste, unique or new flavors, or how they got their start it’s the reason people travel from store to store looking for their favorite craft brew or make weekend plans to road trip to their favorite breweries to explore a new atmosphere or flavor of the season. It’s why you see people wearing a t-shirt or hat from their brewery of choice – because they feel beer they drink says something about who they are as a person.

In this accelerated age, to stay relevant to your consumers, you must differentiate by showing your real value, which should be rooted in why it is you do what you do. I personally live for the Christmas season when a Michigan brewery, Rochester Mills releases their 12 Days of Christmas pack. The whole family gets involved in trying new flavors and choosing their favorites. And, isn’t that what a brand would hope for? Making consumers feel something and know the producer cares about the product they’re sending out.

Another favorite, not just with Michiganders, but across the U.S. is Founder’s Brewery. Founded in the mid-1990s, in the early 2000s, their business almost failed when their strategy was to follow the crowd and brew the same type of beer as everyone else. It wasn’t until they focused on why they were brewing to begin with that things took a turn. The owners decided to make beer they wanted to drink and created masterpieces that were like nothing else on the market. . In 2014, Founders announced a $35 million expansion to double the production capacity at its Grand Rapids, Michigan headquarters, giving them the capacity to produce 900,000 barrels per year and solidify Founders as one of the premier craft brewing companies in the country. You can see more of their inspiring story here

The craft beer industry sets a great example of how organizations that follow their why can stand out and differentiate, even in the most crowded of markets.

Ready to drive your revenue growth by Owning Your Why? We can help let’s talk.