5 Examples of Creative Shoppable Content from Brands

Remember the good old days of catalog shopping? A simpler time when you could flip through pages of a glossy magazine, ogling at advertisements that captured your attention, drew you in, and immediately transformed you into an interested customer.

A lot has changed for brands since those nostalgic times. Thanks to social media and content inundation, brands are having difficulty bridging the gap between browsing and buying. How can you turn engagement into actual conversions?

Have you ever browsed a blog, social media feed, or other digital publication and instantly discovered a product you love? Did you spend the time scanning the website or search engines trying to find it? Probably not.

Retailers have often relied on visual content to capture the attention of consumers. However, the abundance of branded content has made it increasingly difficult to encourage actual purchasing — making the pathway to conversion more crucial than ever.  

What Is Shoppable Content?

Shoppable content is a form of visual commerce in which marketers use compelling imagery (often formulated in a storytelling format) with actionable purchase points or product recommendations, streamlining the conversion path from browsing to purchase.

Interactive and shoppable content are now necessary assets for digital retailers. Convenience and a subpar return policy are no longer enough to capture new audiences and encourage customer loyalty. In fact, according to a recent shoppable content report, 33 percent of retailers stated that the improvement of customer’s digital experience was a top three priority in 2017.

ECommerce brands championing this new form of social and content marketing are breaking down the traditional constructs of digital shopping. Their websites and marketing channels have transformed into experiences that are an inventive step beyond the dull and dated eCommerce environment.

If you’re one of the 33% looking to improve customer experiences this year, take a look at the brands doing it best.

5 Examples of Creative Shoppable Content 

1) Visual Storytelling with Scotch & Soda

Traditionally, lookbooks were an industry insider tool. They were used to attract coverage from press and to showcase new products to potential retail buyers.

Over the years, lookbooks have transformed into public-facing marketing assets used to convey the inspiration of a collection, and to breathe life into the products being sold.

Dutch clothing retailer Scotch & Soda fully captures the creative inspiration behind the Spring/Summer 2017 collection in their latest shoppable lookbook experience. The exotic scenery conveys the story behind the product. A story of creative discovery found in nature — specifically the rainforest.

Someone who browses a lookbook will spend around twice as much as the average app shopper, and also browse twice as long. The interactive design elements provide an engaging experience that drives sales and increases time on site — while the content communicates authenticity and the brand’s identity.

2) All Saints User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is arguably the content marketing trend of 2017. It infuses personality into products by transforming them from objects into relatable lifestyles. The use of UGC on a website or in a campaign increases conversion by 29%, making it an essential asset for sales and customer engagement.

Social media has inspired us to be fascinated with the lives of others, and UGC capitalizes on this trend. By incorporating visual content from actual customers, All Saints successfully alleviates the pressure of purchasing with an experience similar to that of scrolling through a social media feed.

The images act as a product endorsement from other satisfied customers, and the shoppable elements make it easier to discover the product information necessary to make a purchasing decision.

3) Net-a-Porter Shoppable Editorials

Fashion lovers and lifestyle brand enthusiasts have always had an immense love for magazines. Nobody knows this better than Net-a-Porter, which was established on the foundation of exceptional content.

The digital publication and luxury eCommerce retailer has continued to attract customers with insider interviews, seasonal trend reports, and style edits — similar to the content traditionally produced by lifestyle magazines.

The company’s success was built on the largest flaw of lifestyle publications: shoppability and product discovery. Print publications left readers on a wild goose chase when they discovered products in editorials. Net-a-Porter capitalized on this frustration by adding the ability to shop directly within online content.

4) Shoppable Videos from Kate Spade

Shoppable video has become a hot topic in recent years. With video marketing undeniably on the rise, allowing users to shop products directly from videos is an obvious progression to bridge the gap from viewer to customer.

However, the popularity of inserting shoppable product tags in videos highlighted a critical issue: viewers of shoppable videos weren’t completing as many purchases because checking out would interrupt the viewing experience.

Clothing and accessories label Kate Spade realized this early on. For their 2016 holiday video campaign — featuring Anna Kendrick — the label tried something new. They eliminated the friction of exiting a video when shoppable elements were clicked, trading it for a feature that compiled the list of products into a cart viewed at the end of the video.

Instead of ruining the viewing experience for interested consumers, the brand tailored their marketing efforts and technologies to their needs.

5) Shoppable Images on Crate & Barrel’s Blog

Crate & Barrel’s blog is a haven for DIY lovers and food enthusiasts. The brand regularly partners with social media influencers across many beats to amplify their reach. This strategy ensures that they consistently provide quality and authentic content their target audience will love.

Everyone knows that content is king. However, many retailers have struggled with converting blog readers into buyers. Crate & Barrel makes it easier for website visitors to purchase the items featured in posts by adding shoppable product tags into images that feature the brand’s products. Pairing shoppable content with how-to guides allows the brand to leverage moments when readers have the highest intent to purchase.

Closing the Gap Between Engagement and Purchase

Traditional content marketing efforts no longer suffice when attracting and engaging customers. Brands and retailers must lessen the friction between content and their products.

These brands have perfected the art of using shoppable content to engage new audiences, convert more customers, and increase discovery. Use these examples to guide you on your journey for the ultimate customer engagement strategy.

Would you ever consider using shoppable content on your website? Share your take in the comments.

60,000 free stock photos 


Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

5 Techniques for Hitting Your Number by the 15th of Every Month

meet-quota-middle-of-month-633889-edited.jpg

Salespeople evolve. In stage one, they’re learning the ropes. It’s usually an epic battle to make their quota every month or quarter — if they hit it at all.

In stage two, reps have developed the right systems and honed their sales skills. They’re meeting quota almost every month or quarter.

That’s where many salespeople stop. However, the elite reps keep evolving. They make it to stage three — hitting their targets by the 15th of every month.

If you’re still in stage one, I suggest bookmarking this post and coming back to it when you’re consistently meeting quota. The processes and techniques I’m going to share are highly sophisticated, so they won’t work unless you’re ready for them.

Let’s dive in.

1) Create a Long-Term Plan

Salespeople who want to hit 100% of their quota by the 15th of the month need to take a long-term perspective.

Bill Belichick, the coach of the New England Patriots, is a great example of this. He’s not managing game to game or week to week, He’s managing year to year.

Rather than thinking How can I make my number this month or quarter?, focus on meeting your yearly targets.

I recommend mapping out your entire year. Start with your annual objective, then work backward to create monthly objectives for expected revenue, number of new customers, and/or total sales volume.

Don’t forget to factor in any vacations you’re planning on taking, national holidays, and seasonal demand.

For example, if sales heat up in the spring and fall off in the summer, you’d want to set more aggressive goals for March, April, and May, and smaller ones for June, July, and August.

This process will help you stay consistent no matter what time of year it is or what’s happening in your buyer’s world.

2) Prospect, Prospect, Prospect

What are you doing on the last day of the month? According to HubSpot sales manager Sam Moorhead, you should be spending just as much time prospecting as you spend on the first day of the month — if not more time.

“If you want to set yourself up for success the next month, you need to set up new opportunities,” he says. “The best salespeople I know have already hit their quota by the last day and are using it as a huge prospecting blitz.”

While many reps devote the entire last day to work on existing deals, Moorhead believes they’re being inefficient.

“We waste a lot of time thinking through and agonizing over these deals, but we’re not actually moving the dial forward,” he explains.

The takeaway: Block out 50% of the last day of the month for emailing new buyers, asking for referrals, looking for potential contacts on LinkedIn, seeing if you have any old prospects ready to be reengaged, etc.

3) Create Authentic Urgency

Unfortunately, we’ve taught prospects they’ll get a better deal if they wait until the end of the month, says HubSpot senior sales manager Greg Brown.

That makes it difficult to close deals at the beginning or middle of the month.

Brown advises salespeople to create urgency around their prospects’ goals, so they’re incentivized to buy as soon as possible.

“Find out when they need to have a solution up and running,” he says. “Not when they buy the product — but when it’s actually in place. Then work backward.”

Here’s a soundbite:

“You need the platform for a conference on September 15, and you’re sending promo materials 45 days ahead of time — August 1. It takes 30 to 45 days to get set up, so we’d need to finalize the agreement by June 17.” 

Once you’ve set a deadline that has nothing to do with discounting, it’ll be much easier to bring deals earlier.

4) Re-Set Discount Expectations

What if you sense your prospect is still holding out for an eleventh-hour price cut? Reset their expectations around discounts.

Brown suggests these statements:

  • There’s a limited number of discounts I can give. If we get this done by [agreed-upon date], I’ll have more flexibility with pricing.
  • We’re working toward a deadline of [agreed-upon date]. Luckily, I have more discounting power earlier in the month, so I should be able to accommodate your budget.
  • To be fully transparent with you, I have less pricing flexibility later in the month. My manager has cracked down on end-of-month discounting.

Of course, you should never lie to your prospect. If they find out from another buyer that you’ve misrepresented your power to discount, they’ll be understandably pissed.

5) Prioritize Your Time

With this strategy, you don’t have any time for prospects who are still in the awareness stage of their buyer’s journey. You should be focusing on opportunities that are highly likely to close in the near future.

When you come across someone who’s still researching their problem and the solution, direct them to the right resources and say, “I’m the right person to talk to when you’re ready. Please call me when you’re closer to a decision.”

You can also offer to periodically drop them an email if you find something relevant to their situation or company. This will keep you top-of-mind and position you as a trusted advisor — so when they are further down the funnel, you’ll be the first rep they’ll call.

I use this technique to help buyers and keep my future pipeline full without taking my eyes off the ball.

One last word of advice: Don’t sandbag. If you’ve hit 100% of your quota by the middle of the month, you might be tempted to postpone any hot deals until the next month. But this isn’t the right mentality. Time kills deals — so if the customer is ready to buy, don’t delay no matter what day it is.

With these strategies, you can consistently make your quota with half the month left.

Free Sales Training from HubSpot Academy


Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

How to Design & Optimize Landing Pages [Free Ebook]

landing-page-optimization-2.jpg

Landing pages are an essential component of any well-crafted, effective inbound marketing strategy. Whether your goal is to generate leads, sell products, or collect data, your landing pages are where the action happens.

With the growing challenge of attracting and holding people’s attention online, it’s more important than ever to design your landing pages to trigger instant conversions. Otherwise, you won’t be able to gather information about the people visiting your website — which will in turn make it very difficult to understand them, market to them, nurture them, determine how fit they are for your product or service, and ultimately convert them into paying customers.

Want to start generating as many leads as you can for your business? Then it’s crucial that your landing pages are planned, designed, executed, and always working correctly. If you want to learn more about how to do just that, then you’ve come to the right place. We just released a brand new guide: How to Design & Optimize Landing Pages. 

This free ebook will teach you:

  • What landing pages are and why they’re important.
  • What an optimized landing page looks like (with examples).
  • How to A/B test your landing pages.
  • How to measure the success of your landing pages.

Ready to build high-converting landing pages for your website? Download our free introductory ebook on landing page design and optimization and you’ll have all the knowledge you need to start boosting your site conversions today.

landing-page-design-ebook


Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

Announcing The Real Deal of Sales: A New Video Show With Keenan, A Sales Guy

introducing-real-deal-of-sales-compressor-491548-edited.jpg

Let’s get real: Sales is freaking hard! It takes a lot to be a great salesperson, but most people don’t understand that. In fact, sales is probably one of the most misunderstood jobs.

But we get it. We understand the pain and the hustle and we want you to know something: You are not alone, my friend.

There are so many salespeople out there who deal with the same challenges and we want you to get to know their stories. That’s why we joined forces with Jim Keenan, the creator of A Sales Guy, to bring you The Real Deal of Sales, a brand-new video show featuring real sales stories from real salespeople.

Subscribe here to get a notification every time we release a new episode.

Meet the host

The Real Deal of Sales is all about keeping it real. So the host of the show had to be someone who loves to ask difficult questions and who’s not afraid to call out the elephant in the room. Some mad energy and a bold, but friendly style were also welcomed.

Given the requirements, the role fit Keenan like a glove (to say the least).  

Keenan Quote 1 The Real Deal of Sales.png

“#TheRealDealofSales was built to pay homage to the people who are doing the sales grind every day”- @keenan http://hubs.ly/H07gHTN0 Click to Tweet

If this is the first time you’ve heard about him, here’s a proper introduction. Keenan’s been “selling something to someone for his entire life” so he knows first-hand what’s it like “in the real world.” More importantly, he has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long, long time.

There aren’t many people in the world who are as passionate about sales and salespeople as Keenan.

You get it why we’re very pumped to have him as the host of our show.

Who is this show for?

The Real Deal of Sales is for everyone who hustles every day, trying to crush their numbers and hit their quota. Whether you’re new to the sales profession or you’ve been here for some time — there’s something for everybody. 

Keenan Quote 2 The Real Deal of Sales.png

“It takes a special badass to truly be a good salesperson”- @keenan #TheRealDealofSales http://hubs.ly/H07gHTN0 Click to Tweet

Keenan will be interviewing salespeople of all types, from BDRs to VPs of Sales, giving everyone a voice.

Which brings me to the best part.

What topics will they cover?

The purpose of the series is to show you what sales is really all about. That’s why we’re planning to talk to salespeople about some of the hottest topics in the business, like:

  • What they love about sales
  • What they hate about it
  • How they got into this profession in the first place
  • Their “secret sauce”
  • Their biggest mistake or most embarrassing moment
  • The most difficult part of their job

Check out the first episode: What is the Hardest Part of Sales?

Each episode will cover a different topic, but one thing will stay the same: Keenan will be keeping it real. His straightforward interviews will help you see what it really takes to be a great salesperson. His job is to dig out their stories and share them with you, every week.

Want to share your thoughts or ask Keenan a question? Tweet him at #TheRealDealofSales! 


Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

32 Free Online Marketing Classes to Master Your Marketing Skills

I don’t know about you, but I miss going to school. I miss taking notes, studying, and most of all, learning a ton of new skills.

That’s not to say I don’t learn a lot on the job here at HubSpot — because I absolutely do. But sometimes, there’s nothing quite like listening to a lecture, taking notes, and doing homework.

Given the frequency at which new technologies and software are developed, it can be overwhelming to try to keep up your knowledge by only reading blog posts and ebooks. That’s where self-paced online learning comes in.

I’ve taken a few awesome courses and certifications through HubSpot Academy, including an inbound marketing certification and a content marketing certification. These classes helped me be better at my job, so I started making a list of other classes I could take to learn more skills. When I finished the list, I realized that you, dear readers, might have similar skill gaps, so I wanted to share it in a blog post.

Below are 32 free online courses you can take to beef up your skill set. These offerings vary in time commitment, but many are self-paced so you can work on your own schedule. We’ll fill you in on the details below, or you can also skip ahead to check out classes in the following categories:

  1. Content Marketing
  2. Email Marketing
  3. Social Media
  4. SEO
  5. Coding, Design & Other Technical Skills

A brief explanation of each course creator accompanies their first mention on the list.

32 Free Marketing Courses to Take in 2017

Content Marketing

HubSpot Academy

HubSpot Academy offers certification and training courses to teach people how inbound marketing and HubSpot software work. Classes are often taught by marketers at HubSpot and are made up of video lessons, quizzes, and tests. Most HubSpot Academy classes are available free of charge, and if you pass the certifications, such as the two below, you get a nifty certificate and badge to share on your social media profiles. Check out mine on LinkedIn:

hubspot certifications.png

1) HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification

2) HubSpot Content Marketing Certification

Copyblogger

Copyblogger is a content marketing company that creates content about content (so meta). Its blog provides a ton of great resources about digital marketing, and this class, “Internet Marketing for Smart People,” is made up of ebooks and emailed lessons and other course materials. Copyblogger espouses four pillars of content marketing success, which it delves into over the course of this class.

3) Internet Marketing for Smart People

Coursera

Coursera offers MOOCs (massive online open courses) created and taught online by universities such as Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California system. These courses start at various times throughout the year, so browse the catalog to see when one lines up with your schedule. Below are a couple courses that are perfect for content marketers — here’s what a module for #4 looks like:

coursera course module.png

4) Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content

5) The Strategy of Content Marketing

Udemy

Udemy is another online learning platform that focuses specifically on courses related to skill building for working professionals. One thing to note about Udemy: The classes we’ve highlighted are free, but it offers a myriad of other paid options for as little as $10, in some cases. If you have a good experience with a free course, it could be worth a small investment to deepen your skills, too.

Here are a few all content marketers will find useful:

6) Copywriting Blunders: Do You Make these 10 Common Mistakes?

7) Blogging: Generate 100s of Blog Topics and Headlines

8) Content Marketing for B2B Enterprises

QuickSprout

QuickSprout is Neil Patel’s content and business marketing blog, and QuickSprout University features a ton of helpful videos breaking down and explaining a myriad of concepts and best practices. Each video also includes a transcript in case reading is more your learning style than watching a video. Here’s what one course video looks like:

quicksprout-1.png

9) Content Marketing

Email Marketing

HubSpot Academy

10) HubSpot Email Marketing Certification

QuickSprout

11) Email Marketing

Social Media

QuickSprout

12) Social Media

13) Paid Advertising

Wordstream

Wordstream is a search engine and social media marketing software company that helps marketers drive the greatest ROI from their paid search and social media campaigns. These free guides and ebooks distill learnings and best practices for users with varying levels of expertise running pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Here are some of its topics and offerings:

PPCuniversity.png

14) Wordstream PPC University

edX

edX is another MOOC provider that features courses offered by top-tier universities, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University. Like Coursera, classes are taught online and start at specific times throughout the year. Here’s a class we think you’ll find valuable:

15) Social Media Marketing

ALISON

ALISON offers free online classes in various professional skills users can take at their own pace. In the Diploma in Social Media Marketing course below, students can get into the nitty-gritty and big picture views of different skills of different topics — just check out one of the many modules:

alisontopiclist.png

16) Diploma in Social Media Marketing

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media management platform that offers free trainings (plus a paid certification course) to help marketers beef up their social media skill set. Hootsuite Academy offers courses at varying skill levels and features video lessons and step-by-step breakdowns of how to use different software.

hootsuite academy.png

17) Social Marketing Training

Facebook

At this point, you probably already know what Facebook is and what it does. What you might not know? It has a training and certification program. Facebook Blueprint offers self-paced and live e-learning courses for marketers seeking to grow their organizations using Facebook. Blueprint offers classes in different languages on how to use Facebook and Instagram — here’s a peek at the course catalog.

facebookblueprint.png

18) Facebook Blueprint

quintly

quintly is a social media analytics tool that offers courses through quintly Academy. The self-paced course provides an overview of social media analytics, benchmarking, and goaling using downloadable written materials and video lessons.

19) Social Media Analytics

Buffer

Buffer’s Social Media Week of Webinars isn’t exactly a course — it’s a series of live webinar recordings on YouTube — but the videos are chock-full of current and valuable information for social media marketers from the experts. Topics include Instagram and Facebook marketing and how to do public relations on social media.

20) Social Media Week of Webinars

SEO

Google

Google is another company you’ve probably heard of before, and its digital marketing course offers a ton of valuable information if you plan to advertise and rank on the search engine. You can even take a Google AdWords certification at the end of the process that helps you beef up your resume (and your Google+ profile).

21) Google Digital Marketing Course

Udemy

22) SEO Training Course by Moz

23) Advanced SEO: Tactics and Strategy

QuickSprout

24) SEO

Coding, Design & Other Technical Skills

HubSpot Academy

25) HubSpot Growth-Driven Design Certification

Codeacademy

Codeacademy offers free, interactive coding classes that take you from lesson one to building a fully-functioning website. The courses we’ve highlighted below are just a few of the courses; Codeacademy offers many more, depending on your organization’s needs. Codeacademy classes feature lectures and a workspace in the same browser window so you can see the effect of your work live, as it’s created.

Check it out:

codecademy-learning-environment-3.png

Source: The Next Web

26) Make a Website

27) Learn Javascript

28) Learn Ruby

29) Learn Python

30) Learn HTML & CSS

General Assembly

General Assembly offers live and online paid and free courses for a variety of technical skills and disciplines. General Assembly’s Dash offers a free online coding class that teaches the fundamentals of HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript — watch the course overview below:

 

 

31) Learn to Code Awesome Websites

Canva

Canva helps people easily make beautiful images for web design, and Canva Learn offers design courses that are valuable for any kind of storyteller. The Creativity course explores the challenges of constant creation and innovation and how to do it well — with visuals, of course.

32) Creativity

Have you taken an awesome online marketing class that we missed? Share with us in the comments below.

Pre-register for HubSpot Academy's all-new Content Marketing Certification Course


Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

50 Budget and Money Questions Salespeople Can Use With Any Prospect

sales-questions-money-compressor-913999-edited.jpg

Figuring out whether the buyer can afford your solution is nearly as important as figuring out whether they can use it. After all, need doesn’t matter without the ability or desire to buy.

But talking about money with your prospect can be tricky. Not only can these conversations feel awkward, but you may not know exactly what to say or how to say it.

That’s where this list can help. To identify whether a buyer can — and will — pay for your product, use these 50 questions.

50 Sales Questions About Budget

Questions to Ask Every Prospect

The following questions are relevant whether you’re talking to an entry-level employee doing initial research for his boss or the C-level executive signing off on the deal. Use some (like #1) to discover details of the buying process and others (like #3 and #5) to inspire urgency.

1) Has [company] bought [this exact product, a similar product] before? How was it funded? What was the approximate price?

2) Based on the info you’ve given me, this problem is costing [you, your team, your department] approximately [X amount] per [week, month, year]. How does your allocated budget compare to that amount?

3) Based on the info you’ve given me, [you, your team, your department] stands to gain approximately [X amount] per [week, month, year] by investing in this opportunity. How does your allocated budget compare to that amount?

4) How much money would it take to build this in-house?

5) How much have you already spent trying to solve this problem?

6) Our solution typically falls between [X and Y range]. If you believe [product] can help you [achieve A results, solve B problem, meet your objective by C time], would that be feasible?

7) Before you invest [significant amount] in this initiative, you can spend just [price of introductory package or product] to see if it works for you and will drive [desirable result]. Is that a number you’re comfortable with?

Questions to Use With Your Champion

Customer champions are rare. Use your ally to your advantage by asking tougher, more direct questions about cost.

1) Is the budget owner an “executive sponsor”?

2) Is the budget authority sensitive to price?

3) Are you willing to work with me to find budget for this initiative if push comes to shove?

4) We can play around with price depending on the other terms you request. Approximately how much do you think [decision maker] wants to pay?

5) Can you tell me about the other stakeholders? Who is motivated by price? Is anyone pushing for the lowest-cost solution? What motivates them and what are their objectives?

6) Does the budget authority subscribe to the “buy cheap, buy risk” philosophy?

7) What other vendors are you considering?

8) How much budget did you use last [month, quarter, year]?

9) Do you often have unused budget?

10) What happens if you don’t use your entire budget? Do those funds roll over or expire?

11) When does your current budget cycle end?

12) When does your organization typically make major purchases?

13) What is Procurement’s review process like?

14) When a product seems like a game-changer but you don’t have the available funds right away, what does your team do?

15) Would [a payment plan, lower price for a longer contract, reduced service fees, discount for a referral customer] make a difference to the [decision maker, stakeholders]?

16) Can you draw from your future budget if necessary?

17) How do you typically get approval for purchases out of your budget?

18) Would [typical results] sway [final decision maker] to invest in [product] for [X price]?

Questions to Use With a Junior Stakeholder

Lower-level employees are often asked to look into potential options before passing the final decision off to their manager or a buying committee. You want to tread carefully when you ask budget-related questions — it’s easy to sound patronizing. Once you’ve insulted them, you’ll probably lose their support.

To avoid this trap, call out their expertise or ask for their opinion.

1) Has the decision making team set aside budget for this project?

2) When you were given the responsibility of researching [vendors, solutions to X challenge], did you get a ballpark figure?

3) Whose budget is this coming out of?

4) Did you get any idea of how much [your manager, the signing authority] thought [company] should pay for this product?

5) Does this project already have approved funding, or do you need to request it?

6) What do you know about the budget for [product or service category]?

7) Can you describe the people involved in making the decision?

8) How heavily will price factor into your recommendation?

9) Does [decision maker] typically reject tools based on price?

10) Does [company] have a Procurement department? What are their financial considerations?

Questions to Use With the Budget Authority

This person has the most knowledge and influence over the purchasing decision. With these questions, you can identify potential roadblocks and move them closer to a “yes.”

1) Is price one of your main evaluation criteria?

2) Have you decided on a budget range for this purchase?

3) What’s the approximate ROI you’re hoping to get?

4) How does your department’s budget figure into the organization’s budget?

5) Are you working within a budget?

6) How much budget do you have set aside [this month, quarter, year] for [general product category]?

7) How much are you currently spending per [month, quarter, year] to address [problem, opportunity]?

8) How major a priority is [relevant business area] for your [team, department, business] this [month, quarter, year]? Does that align with your budget?

9) What is [result] worth to you?

10) [Customer stakeholder] said you were working within a budget of [$X and $Y] — is that correct?

11) Would this be easier for you to push through if we [unbundled the package, billed you separately for X and Y, started on a lower rate]?

12) Is price the only thing stopping you from moving forward?

13) How much would you be willing to pay for [X component of product] by itself?

14) If we removed [X feature or add-on], the price would go down by approximately [Y percent]. Is that an option you’re interested in?

15) Would you be interested in hearing some of the creative ways my customers have found the budget for this purchase?

Once you’ve qualified your prospect for budget, identified any major roadblocks, and delved into their top priorities, you’ll be well on your way to making the sale. Get ready to spend that commission.

HubSpot CRM


Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

How to Use Infographics to Get Leads From Your Website

infographics-and-lead-gen-compressor.jpg

I’m a sucker for a good infographic. Sometimes, it seems like it’s hard to come across a truly remarkable one — one that’s achieved the perfect trifecta of good design, readability, and reliable data. But when they’re well-executed, infographics work wonders, transforming complex topics and dry statistics into visually enticing content. They’re liked and shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content. And, as a result, they can be an excellent tool for driving more traffic to your website.

But here’s a fun fact: Infographics can also be a helpful device to generate more leads.

Generally, the same rules apply here as for creating any effective visual content — it serves as a conversion path as a result of shareability and informative nature. Save countless hours using these free, pre-made templates to design your  infographics.

But what are the specifics there? What are the different ways to create the infographics that are going to generate leads? We identified five of our favorite ways to go about doing that, and outlined them below.

5 Ways to Use Infographics to Get Leads From Your Website

1) Represent an offer with an infographic.

How are you generating leads today? You might be creating downloadable content that’s gated by forms, or offering a free trial. Whatever those offers might be, pick one and break down the different ways it can be promoted.

To start, make a list of the 10 most interesting things about your offer, like the problems it will solve and the most important information it contains. Think: helpful bits of trivia, the most outstanding statistics it contains, and the best solutions it offers.

For example, let’s have a look at this infographic that was created by HubSpot Marketing Blog Editor Carly Stec:



Infographic example

This particular infographic could be an excellent lead generation tool for, say, a comprehensive guide to blogging. While writer’s block is just one pain point in blogging, it’s one that many people experience. Isolating that particular challenge and fleshing it out in a well-designed, shareable image is an excellent way to tease and promote the larger piece of content.

2) Know the design resources available to you.

If you don’t have a designer at your disposal, fear not — there are plenty of design resources available, many of them free.

One of them is this package of five free infographic templates. They’re in PowerPoint, and are very easy to customize. Just input the 10 pieces of information you selected in the previous step, and tweak the graphics to fit the data. At risk of sounding like a complete nerd — this part is really fun.

Otherwise, sites like Canva and Venngage are both free and easy to use a variety of visual content, including infographics — both also offer paid upgrades if you’re looking for something a little more advanced. Here’s a silly one that HubSpot Marketing Blog Senior Staff Writer Amanda Zantal-Wiener created — about her dog, not to be used for lead generation — for free using the former:



Lead gen infographic

3) Write a blog post to showcase the infographic.

Now that you’ve created your beautiful infographic, you’ll need a place to host it — ideally, somewhere on your site where people will find it.

Your blog is one such venue, and a post is a good way to exhibit your infographic. Even better, you don’t have to write a ton of copy. The visual content should “speak for itself,” if you will, so a small paragraph above the image with introductory text should suffice.

That said, the title of this blog post should still be interesting and optimized, primarily for two reasons:

  1. You want people to find your content organically with the right search criteria.
  2. Remember, one of the best things about infographics is how much they’re shared on social media. Having a strong title to go with a shared social post can encourage people to click on it.

4) Add a call-to-action to your blog post linked to your offer.

Next, you’ll want to create a landing page for your offer — you can click here to do that in your HubSpot marketing software. That way, visitors can fill out a form in exchange for the content you’ve created, and each completed form is a new lead.

Next, create a call-to-action (CTA) to insert into the blog post that’s hosting your infographic. That should be hyperlinked to your landing page — here’s an example of what that might look like:

ct-blog-cta-essential-guide-to-internet-marketing_ns

Not sure how to start creating a CTA? Check out this article with steps for doing so in your HubSpot software.

5) Make it easy to share your infographic via social media.

With certain blogging platforms, like HubSpot’s Content Optimization System, social sharing buttons will be added to each of your blog posts by default. But if your blogging platform doesn’t include that feature, AddThis is a great alternative. Simply sign up for an account, configure your social sharing bar, and add a bit of code to your blog.

AddThis

You can also add “Pin It” buttons like we did above, using Pinterest’s widget builder.

Also, consider turning sections of your infographic into ready-made tweetable images, like BookBub did for their infographic, “Using Back Matter to Sell More Books“:

bookbub-backmatter-infographic-social-images.png

But remember — shareability isn’t just about including the buttons that make it easy to post content with one click. And while that convenience is important, the content itself has to be worth sharing.

So, just to reemphasize, make sure your infographic also meets a high standard of design and helpful information. After all, 42% of B2B marketing professionals state that a lack of quality data is their biggest barrier to lead generation, so make sure the information you include is both reliable and beneficial.

Let’s Get Visual

Lead generation accounts for a big portion of many marketing budgets — in fact, 58% of marketers plan to increase theirs in the coming year.

Using infographics for this purpose is one of the most frugal ways to boost your lead generation efforts. And while creating quality visual content can take time, it can also pay off — so make sure what you’re producing is worth the investment.

How have you used infographics to generate leads? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

New Call-to-action

 
15 free infographic templates in powerpoint


Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

The Secrets of Using DISC to Close More Deals

use-disc-in-selling-compressor-680515-edited.jpg

There’s a subtle, debilitating disease that affects almost everyone in sales. It can go unnoticed for weeks, months, or even years.

“Autopilot sales mode”: Doing the same tasks day after day leads to autopilot, or the tendency to act without conscious thought.

For example, many salespeople have outgoing, talkative, emotional, enthusiastic personalities. And they sell in a way that feels most “natural” to them. Every time they get on a call, they sell in a way that they would like to be sold to without thinking twice about it. Most salespeople don’t think about why they’re saying what they’re saying.

An outgoing, emotional personality is great when you’re selling to a decision maker who also has that personality. But what if your customers are more reserved or analytical? What if they’re less willing to take risk or are less optimistic?

In situations like this, going on “autopilot sales mode” can cripple your close rate.

The best salespeople modify their script to their audience members based on their personality. They understand the same tone and delivery style won’t always work for two different customers. They know different types of customers need different buying experiences.

One framework you can use to adapt yourself to your audience is the taking a sales-based DISC personality assessment. (No time to delve into this today, but chat with us here if you’ve questions.)

By understanding which DISC archetype most closely matches you and your prospect, you’ll know which strategy and presentation style to use.

In this post, I’ll show you how you can grow your sales by using the DISC framework.

Identify DISC Type

The first step in figuring out how to adapt sales presentation to your customers is first understanding your own personality type.

DISC is broken down into four archetypes: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance.

  • “Dominant” (D) people prioritize results over everything else. They care most about their bottom line and are very direct in their communication.
  • “Influential” (I) people care most about influencing or persuading others. They put a lot of weight on their relationships.
  • “Steady” (S) people emphasize security. They look for sincerity and dependability over anything else.
  • “Compliant” (C) people want as much information as possible about your product or service. They value quality and accuracy and are afraid of making the wrong move.

Aside from taking a DISC assessment test, you can figure out your own profile by thinking about your behavior in different situations. For example:

  • Dominant people are highly driven and ambitious, with anger being their driving emotion. They’re also extroverted, task-oriented, and occasionally impatient.
  • Influential people aren’t afraid of being the center of attention. If you’re the Influential type, you’re probably enthusiastic about what you do, talkative, and extroverted.
  • Steady people are frequently reserved or non-emotional. These people crave security, are resistant to change, and prefer working on one or two tasks instead of several.
  • Compliant people are very accurate, precise, and detail-oriented. They’re naturally cautious and rely on calculated data-backed decisions rather than gut feelings.

Once you figure out your own DISC profile, you’ll have a good sense of your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to selling to other personality types.

Most salespeople naturally sell to their own personality type instead of thinking about the personality of their customers.

For example, if you have a high “D” personality, you might become impatient with someone who’s an “S” who prefers to take an interaction more slowly. If you’re an “S” selling to a “D”, you might get turned off by their direct and confrontational approach.

If you’re an “I” and you’re selling to a potential customer who’s a “C,” you might try to sell to their emotions or feelings when they want facts and data.

Here are some behavioral and body language clues you can use to quickly figure out the personality of your customers:

  • HIgh “D” people typically move fast and always on the go. They’ll talk with their hands, using big gestures. They’re not enthusiastic about small talk. Sometimes, they can give the impression that they’re rude or hard to deal with.
  • High “I” people are typically trusting and optimistic. They use lots of facial expressions and hand gestures while they talk.
  • High “S” people tend to keep “poker” faces and don’t display much emotion. They’ll talk and walk with a steady, easy pace.
  • High “C” people will ask direct, detailed questions. Their classic body language is having their arms folded, with a hand on their chin.

Here’s an infographic that shows the communication styles of different personalities:

fourLetter Selling DISC.png

You can figure out the main personality type of your potential customers within the first few minutes of an interaction based on how they respond to small talk, the first questions they ask you, and their body language.

Adapt Your Selling Style to Your Buyer’s DISC Type

Once you’re aware of your personality type and know how to identify the personality types of your customers, you can adapt your sales techniques to resonate with them.

Here are some tactical ideas on how to do that for each personality type:

Dominant

If you’re selling to a high “D” customer, show you respect their views and requirements without making them feel like you’re simply agreeing to whatever they say. They’ll view that as a sign of weakness.

You should also avoid focusing on them personally, and stick to the facts at hand.

Dominant people are strongly influenced by other people who they perceive as having high status or power. When possible, use testimonials from well-known people in your industry.

Influential

“I” personalities like to talk about their ideas and emotions, so ask them what they’re thinking and feeling. Let them vocalize what’s working and what’s not.

They can also be disorganized and avoid details, so providing summaries or takeaways of what you discussed can help them focus on what you want them to focus on. But only include details that are absolutely necessary.

Steadiness

People with high “S” personalities are even-tempered, composed, and good at listening. Show them you’re interested in who they are as a person, and don’t let your sales pitch feel too “transactional.” Make it clear you value the relationship.

If you focus too much on facts and numbers, you’ll risk coming off as impersonal.

Compliant

People with high “C” personalities like having as much information as possible. Give them the information from your verbal pitch again in writing. Knowing they can review all the documents later and make an informed decision puts “C” people at ease.

Having a detailed pros and cons list in your proposal can also help them make a decision.

Compliant people are very afraid of making the wrong decision, so offering some type of guarantee or refund can help ease their worry.

Many salespeople sell in a way that feels most “natural” to them, which usually means selling to their own personality type. That’s why most pitches tend to have inconsistent results.

If you’re able to adapt your pitch on the fly to the personality of your customer, you’ll consistently exceed your quota.

May the sales be with you.

Want a visual guide to using DISC to sell? Download this handy resource.

HubSpot CRM


Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales