Everyday Inspiration from Sales & Marketing Heroes

“Do you want to be the Wikipedia in your space? If someone has a question in your space, you want them to come to you.” Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion.

Sheridan left college to work in his family’s pool sales business – but has made a career for himself as social media marketing guru and HubSpot expert.

Learning on the job, promoting the pool company using social media, and answering his customers’ questions online and in full enabled Sheridan to turn around the fortunes of the ailing business. Now, he promotes his strategy of answering all customer questions (and, importantly, as honestly as possible – even if it means you don’t get the sale) to other businesses looking to develop their social and online strategies.

Check out his article in New York times about Increasing Sales by Answering Customers Questions

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“Your job as a Guerrilla: make every single moment of the experience satisfying, simple and worthwhile for the customer.” Jay Conrad Levinson, Guerrilla Marketing.

Guerrilla Marketing was published in 1984 when the marketing world was very different, but its basic premise of focusing on imaginative ways to interact with the customer in order to be successful without a big marketing budget still holds true. Books by Jay Conrad Levinson.

In many ways, Guerrilla Marketing was the “viral marketing” or “buzz marketing” of its day. Developments since the book was originally published, of course, provide many more novel opportunities for Guerrilla Marketing – and its lessons are still very relevant. Its basic premise is that sales are not the primary metric to measure business success, instead it is profit – and this can be achieved through time, energy, and imagination rather than big ad budgets.

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“I don’t want to get email. I want to get me-mail.” Seth Godin

Seth Godin has written 17 fabulous and insightful marketing books, including the 1999 bestseller Permission Marketing. His books and daily blogs are packed with great lessons for salespeople and marketers, but this quote was taken from a 2003 TED talk.

According to Godin, in a world when we have too many choices and too little time, the easiest thing to do is just ignore stuff. If you don’t want to be ignored, you need to be relevant: so Godin advocates finding your niche and talking to the people in it about the stuff that matters to them.

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"The fact that you're 18 to 35 years old with a college degree does not cause you to buy a product." Clay Christensen

Clay Christensen is the Harvard Business School professor credited with creating “the milkshake test”. According to Christensen, rather than segmenting the market with demographics, we need to understand purchasing decisions based on behaviour – or “the jobs to be done”. Milkshake Marketing.

His theory is so called after he demonstrated the limitations of traditional demographic marketing and the importance of behaviour when trying to improve the sales of milkshakes at a fast food restaurant. Or, as he wrote in The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

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“It’s in the tension between how people want to see themselves, and the observable reality of their lives, where there is truth worth taking seriously, and acting on." ReD Associates

Mikkel B. Rasmussen and Christian Madsbjerg, directors of Danish business consultancy ReD and authors of Sensemaking and The Moment of Clarity, advocate using the human sciences to solve business problems. The agency has been credited with helping brands such as Adidas improve their sales and marketing through behavioural and anthropological techniques. The Adidas Method.

Their anthropological approach takes Christensen’s approach one step further into deep behavioural research, new product development, and business strategy.

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“The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.” Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

While there is no doubt that understanding your customer, what they want, and why they buy from you is essential for honing your product and messaging, when it comes to picking up that phone and making that sales call or facing down that blank sheet of paper in front of you, Susan Jeffers’ words are some of the most powerful positive affirmations a sales and marketing professional can hear. Jeffers herself died of cancer in 2012, but her bestselling self-help book, first published in 1986, continues to resonate.

For Jeffers, “patience means knowing it will happen… and giving it time to happen.”

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