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Over the next 10 days, it is going to get a bit messy from time to time here at Fill the Funnel. Things might get shifted around a bit from where you have gotten used to them. There will be some new additions and I am sure that things will get a bit messy for the short term.

Fill the Funnel Construction

I am going to begin the switch-over  to an entirely new site layout and theme. The world I play in slows down for no one, and the tech that was available back when I wrote my first post back on October 8th, 2008 has changed and improved many times. I hope you will hang in there with me during the change over. I could wait until every last nook and cranny is tested and ready and then flip the switch. I use that exact strategy with some of my clients sites, but for this site, I will turn on the new look over the weekend, and then tweak things, change and re-check things over several days.

As I prepared for this change-over, I had the need to go back through all of the posts I have written. Similar to running into old friends and once in a while cringing at the site of an old girlfriend, my original intent and goals for Fill the Funnel were brought to the surface. Several of the tools no longer exist. Others have been merged, acquired or morphed into something else. What has not changed is my motivation to begin writing posts here in the first place. My 2nd post ever is titled “Do You Really Need a Profile on LinkedIn?” Writing and training on LinkedIn before LinkedIn was cool, before social selling was ever muttered.

If  you are interested in learning what I was thinking about when I began writing Fill the Funnel back in 2008, here is the original post titled:

Customer Acquisition – October 8, 2008

I’ll be here behind the scenes, pushing buttons and twisting levers and making sure that things are working as I intend them to. Playing with all the cool toys and experimenting, testing and learning what you like and what you don’t. I hope you will speak up, tell me what works and doesn’t – what you want to see more of – you get the point. See you after the dust settles!

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Insist on a Video Meeting.

Insisting that sales calls be done via video meeting brings many benefits to the busy executive including shorter meetings, more control of the meeting, and the ability to size up the sales person’s value to your organization without having to deal with meeting logistics.

Video meetings can be extremely effective for all participants in this type of meeting:

  • It is easier to view a demo on your own screen vs. that from the laptop or tablet of the salesperson.
  • Finding a place to have the meeting is never a problem, whether in your office or on the road from your hotel.
  • No travel time for either side to get to the meeting.
  • Video meetings can accommodate multiple people more easily, and adding additional members of your team is easily accomplished no matter what location they are in.
  • You will eliminate many of those unproductive first calls because sales people are simply not prepared to conduct a video call.

Not sure what I am suggesting is valid? Try this for one week and judge for yourself. I am confident you will be surprised by your results.

Before you do, you need to make sure that you are able to participate in a video call yourself. Here is a checklist to prepare:

  1. Webcam is available and ready to go. Most current laptops and tablets have a webcam built-in. If you do not have a webcam, I recommend purchasing a Logitech C920 HD Webcam ($68 on Amazon).
  2. Microphone is available and ready to go. Same as above, if you have a built-in webcam you will have a microphone built-in as well. If not, I recommend a USB microphone for most people using a desktop or laptop. If not available, I recommend the Blue Snowflake USB microphone (Amazon $41) for most applications. There are more expensive options to consider if you will be using a microphone for other purposes like podcasts and internet calling applications in addition to video.
  3. Use headphones or earbuds. This will provide clear sound and prevent the interference from the speaker sounds being picked up by your microphone.
  4. Check the bandwidth of your internet connection. It is important to check not only download speed for the information coming in to you, but also the upload speed for the info you are sending back. I recommend a connection speed of at least 1.5 MB download and upload if possible and more if available. Use this link to check your connection speed.
  5. Check with your IT team to learn if any specific video calling/conference services are being blocked by your company. That will eliminate any surprises at the time of the meeting.

There are numerous video calling/meeting services that are available. Some are free and some require payment from the person initiating the call. In order to test out your video meeting capabilities once you have reviewed the checklist try one or more of these services:

  • Google Hangout
  • Skype
  • GoToMeeting
  • Fuse

Try one or more of these out by calling a colleague, or having them call you. This will allow you to become comfortable with the environment, the camera angle and how the microphone sounds.

TIP:  Here is a little tip I discovered that helps me have a more enjoyable experience as well as that of my guest. Draw a circle on a blank piece of paper (about 3-4 inches Webcam Smileyacross).Draw some eyelashes, eyes, nose in the circle. Then cut out an area larger than your webcam lens so that the lens will be unobstructed. Cut out the circle and tape to your monitor or webcam with the lens showing through. Here is what mine looks like.

This helps me to talk to the “head” if you will. Otherwise I found that I was looking all over the screen, rather than at the person that I was meeting with. Another tip that I have found useful is to shrink the window size during the conversation fairly small and then move the screen to the top and directly under the webcam if possible. This also helped keep my focused on the face. I have been known to actually turn off my screen if I am having trouble staying focused on the person I am meeting with online.

Give video meetings a try, even for just a week and then come back and share your experience. If you are already using video meetings I hope you will share your recommendations and experiences in the comments area as well.

If you want to try this out, send me an invitation for a video call on Google Hangouts.

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Are you spending your sales and marketing efforts in the wrong area? Are your prospects clicking away without action? How are you delivering your messages and information to those most important to your business success? The majority of sales and marketing efforts are based on outdated thinking and assumptions that these same executives are viewing your emails and online information from a desktop or laptop computer. The truth is that these people who hold the key to your sales success are not at their desks while viewing your emails or even doing research about you or your company. They are on their smartphones. Results from a survey of 23,500 executives conducted by IDG Global Solutions verified what we should already know -

“Most senior executives are using a smartphone to research business products and services”

Senoir Execs Smartphone Use Chart Look at those results.

Based on this research, the majority of sales efforts online are going to waste. Why? You can find the answer to this question yourself by going to your own company website from your phone. How does it look? Try this exercise the next time you have your sales team gathered together. For maximum impact, invite your marketing and web teams to this meeting.

  • Ask everyone to bring up your company website.
  • Navigate to the area where your products/services are presented.
  • Take action to get more information.
  • Ask a question online.
  • Navigate to your “Contact Us” or “Request More Information” area and submit a request. Just try to fill out one of your forms on your phone.
  • Discuss your experiences and results. Share what you feel going through these activities.
  • Open a recent email you have sent to a prospect or customer. How does it look? Is it clean and readable?

I used these steps and visited over 100 websites and over 50 email messages that I have received. Almost two-thirds of those visited had significant problems that either frustrated my navigation to a point I left the site or I couldn’t take action in a meaningful way at all. Over 60 sites that simply failed to create the desired result. Take a look at your emails you send out. Focus in on any formatting and graphics you are including. Also take a look at the signature area of your email (you are taking advantage of a signature in your email right?). Open one of your messages on your smartphone. How does it look on your phone screen? What is a spectacular creation on a desktop or laptop many times turns into an unreadable number of lines and text without formatting, and if that logo you added even comes across, it will frequently look oversized and out-of-place.

Key points to understand and act on:

  1.  77% of Executives are using their smartphones to research your product or service.
  2. 50% have purchased IT products for business using a smartphone!
  3. Mobile-optimize your online sales presence and activity to work flawlessly on a smartphone screen.
  4. Create your email messages to be viewed easily on a smartphone screen.

I understand that this will take some work to get cleaned up. I cannot think of many projects that are more important than getting your message effectively displayed and actionable for 77% of your future and current customers. Are you mobile ready?

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Have You Become The Kim Kardashian Of Your Profession?

06.19.2014

Just hearing or reading the name Kim Kardashian is guaranteed to create a reaction in everyone. Some positive and some negative but everyone has a reaction. Are you concerned about becoming the Kim Kardashian in your industry? Constantly promoting you, you and you. Self-promotion is not a bad thing. I know people that don’t do […]

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Time To Upgrade Your Webinar Tools?

05.26.2014

Is it time to upgrade your online meeting tools and capabilities? The most popular tool has been GoToMeeting, developed in July 2004 by the Online Services division of Citrix in Santa Barbara, California, using the remote access and screen sharing technology from GoToMyPC and GoToAssist to allow web conferencing. The later release of GoToWebinar (GTW) in 2006 and GoToTraining in 2010 expanded GoToMeeting capabilities to […]

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2 Slideshare Tips For Best Results

05.12.2014

After two months of testing different approaches to get improved results with Slideshare, I have found that using these two tips in creating and uploading slide presentations can make the difference between pro and rookie. We both know which one you want. Tip #1 – Create your presentation using the 4:3 format (square) that has […]

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7 Tips and Tools To Get Out Of Your Sales Slump

05.08.2014

It happens to everyone throughout his or her career. Opportunities that have been identified turn out to be dead ends. Or the number of leads to pursue simply is not enough to hit the sales quota for the year. Sales slumps are inevitable. How you act is up to you. Here are 7 tools and […]

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