Best 5 Blog Posts: Traditional Sales Funnel vs. the Customer Decision Journey

sales funnel customer decision journey CDJ“Is the traditional sales funnel dead? Is it obselete? Is there even a structure to follow anymore?”

The old sales funnel may not be recognizable, but there’s still a framework for marketers and salespeople to use as a guide. It is important to understand that the thought process a potential customer goes through is no longer one directional and linear, but rather a web of potentiality.

To start off, here is a useful tool we’ve found:

The Customer Journey to Online Purchase

And here are our pick for top 5 posts on the subject:

You Can’t Own Your Customers’ Decision Journey, But You Can Try

The Dim Light at the End of the Funnel

The Sales Funnel is Dead

The Buyers’ Journey Demystified by Forrester

Social is Responsible for 57% of Your Sales Funnel

And finally, here is our take on it:

How Social Media Affects the Customer Decision Journey

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LinkedIn Profile: First Person or Third Person?

LinkedIn profile summary first person third personBrowse your connections’ LinkedIn profiles and you’ll most likely see that some tell their professional story in the first person and some in the third person. Which is ideal? There’s no right or wrong answer. In fact, many experts’ recommendations don’t lean one way or the other. They’re split.

Support for Third Person

Those supporting third person say that a resume is written in third person. Since LinkedIn represents a person’s resume, the profile should also be in third person. It also helps prevent sounding egotistical as it’s challenging to limit the use of “I” in a first person narrative about you.

Support for First Person

Experts who recommend taking the first person approach believe it sounds more personal while third person comes across as distant, fake and like someone else wrote it. It’s harder to relate to someone who doesn’t directly speak to you. When you’re in Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms, you speak in the first person. And LinkedIn is a social network. When you meet people at a networking event, you talk in the first person.

Besides, most of us write our own profile, and it feels unnatural to write about ourselves in third person. As a result, the narrative may not read smoothly. Even if you have help writing your profile, it’s still yours. To minimize the use of “I,” focus on showing how the reader will benefit from working with you or contacting you.

Pick One

If you’re struggling to pick one, try first person. Whichever you choose, use that for your entire summary. One profile I looked at had a summary that started in third person and ended in first person … not a good impression.

Here are some examples of first and third person (identifying information changed):

“Jim Smith consults on customer acquisition and retention for B2B and B2C clients. He has held senior positions at Google, Microsoft and an Internet startup company. Jim teaches graduate students and is chairperson at AMA. He serves as a mentor at SBA.”

“SVP responsible for overall satisfaction for high profile client relationships within the healthcare, publishing and nonprofit sectors. Managing a team of more than seven. Volume has increased to more than 33% in annual margin in one year. Experience within each market sector has enabled ability to find success within secondary and tertiary market categories, increasing the bottom line of client portfolios.”

“IT Executive who is innovative, results-driven, and an accomplished professional skilled at directing high performance teams, cutting organizational costs and driving business growth through the management of technology.”

“Gained his expertise in technology architecture and integration, relationship and staff management, budget development, vendor/contract negotiations and formulating financial/strategic plans during in several leadership roles. Her aggressive, bottom-line approach consistently produced quick yet long-term results in every position she has held. She is a tenacious and flexible professional that leads by example, has excellent communication skills, and is decisive and results-oriented.”

“I have spent more than 15 years helping small businesses with marketing and public relations. I’ve worked with dozens of startups and small companies — I love the energy entrepreneurs have and I get a thrill from helping businesses grow. I have developed a process for doing prospecting and lead nurturing that is ideal for technology entrepreneurs, especially those who are entering new markets or launching new products.”

“Unique blend of financial and information technology experience. Began career with KPMG in the Los Angeles office, earned my CPA and then transitioned into Information Technology over the next several career moves. I possess strong communication skills, a solid financial background and deep IT experience.”

“With more than 20 years of developing deliverable products, building effective engineering teams and managing operations, I have changed IT operational cost-centers to developing IT value centers. IT value centers focus on creating extended service or product lines for better customer satisfaction and increased offerings to add to the bottom-line. By developing and implementing results-oriented disciplines, I have helped many technology executives make faster and more accurate decisions.”

A Couple More Things to Consider

Many people write the summary in the first person and the experience section in the third person because it’s like a resume. That’s what we usually do. The most important thing is to describe the work you’ve done, your accomplishments and using one voice for the summary in your LinkedIn Profile.

You can always write two versions of your summary and see which one appears more powerful, natural and personal.

Is your LinkedIn Summary in the first or third person? How did you arrive at that decision? Should people use the same point of view in the summary and the experience sections? Does it matter?

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LinkedIn Premium Adds New Features to Enhance Your Profile

LinkedIn Premium has just added some new features to visually boost paying members’ profiles and help them show up in more searches. Here is a round-up of the new features so you can supercharge your profile.

Linkedin premium features profile headerCreate a Catchier Profile with Visuals

Stealing a page from Facebook’s book, the new visual features make members’ profiles more prominent. Members get an expanded profile header and a larger photo.

Another feature coming soon is the ability to use a custom background. If you want to be one of the first to try out the new background feature, submit a request to LinkedIn. Premium users also have access to an exclusive gallery of images to use for the background.

Get Found More with Keyword Suggestions

You’ve probably heard advice about optimizing your profile with keywords and phrases. It can be challenging to figure out what works for your experience. LinkedIn now provides personalized suggestions to help you find the best words to use so you show up in more searches. If you’re already using the most effective words, it’ll let you know.

Stand out in Search Results

When someone searches for your keywords, your profile will appear twice as big as others and display more information to help people notice you.

Expand Your Reach with Open Profile

LinkedIn Premium members who choose to make their profile “open” will be seen by everyone, including those outside of their network. Anyone will be able to contact the member for free regardless of the connection, or lack thereof.

Linkedin premium rank against peersSee How You Rank Against Peers

Premium users can already see “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” for the past 90 days. LinkedIn enhanced this feature by sharing the top 100 results for How You Rank against your first-degree connections and company. This tool benchmarks your LinkedIn presence so you can see how you stack up against others.

Strengthen your profile and “findability” by taking advantage of these new features as soon as they’re available to you.

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Time to Nix the 40-Hour Work Week?

40 hour work week job sizingHow many hours do you work in a week? Most likely at least 40 considering many businesses have the standard 8-hour working time with a half hour to an hour extra for lunch. This could be 7 am to 4 pm, 8 am to 5 pm, 9 am to 6 pm, or somewhere in between. Who takes a full hour for lunch? 10 minutes? Are you even away from your desk? And do you really only work 8 hours in a day?

With computers and devices connected 24/7, most of us don’t work 40 hours. Working more than 40 hours a week has even become a badge of honor. Or has it? One of my colleagues admitted that in the first years of her career, she’d stay in the office later in hopes it would win points with the boss. It never did. Raises and promotions didn’t come faster either.

The start of the 40-hour work week

So where did the 40-hour work week come from? According to “Bring back the 40-hour work week,” Henry Ford set up eight-hour shifts at his plants in 1914. He did it because research showed productivity peaked after eight hours. Simply put, the longer you work past eight hours, the slower and less effective you become.

In “Why Working More Than 40 Hours a Week is Useless,” Jessica Stillman writes, “On average, you get no more widgets out of a 10-hour day than you do out of an eight-hour day.” By the time Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal came out in the 1930s, decades of studies and data led to the 40-hour work week becoming standard.

A look at research

Let’s put this in perspective. How would you react if you see a surgeon or a pilot drunkenly stumble on their way to the operating room or airplane? You’d want him or her to go home and recover, right? Nelson B. Powell, DDS, MD, co-director of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Center, has found that the performance level of the sleep-deprived matched those who have blood alcohol in their systems.

Powell’s study compared people who have sleep apnea with those who slept well for three nights. Researchers took a baseline of those in the latter group. Then, they had well-rested group drink alcohol, stopping at three different set blood alcohol levels.

The researchers compared the two groups on seven measures. The sleep apnea group performed as bad as or worse than the legally drunk group on three measures. This is just one study. Search for others and you’ll find more with similar findings.

Doesn’t it make more sense to check out of the office on time, enjoy your time after work, get a good night’s rest, and return the next day fully charged ready to put in a solid day’s work? This as opposed to stretching your days to more than eight hours, constantly tired because you rush home to do your personal tasks that eat into your critical sleep time.

Why do we need a 40-hour work week?

Research shows that working more than 40 hours doesn’t make sense. But what about the “standard” 40-hour work week? Do most jobs really take 40 hours per week to do? Maybe not.

What if we were to size jobs differently?

Suppose we said a “job” was 20 hours a week …

As an employer or project manager, when you change your approach to size jobs based on your current needs you gain access to a large, talented workforce whose needs are not met by 40-hour work week jobs. You save money when you build a pool of high quality, loyal talent and tap into their services when you need it.

A full-time, 40-work week experienced marketer could earn $60,000 per year (rates differ by location, etc.). Some projects may not take 40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year (taking a standard two weeks for vacation). A small business may not need a full-time employee to do marketing. A $60K annual salary equals $1,154 per week or $28 per hour. That doesn’t include benefits, such as insurance, 401K, paid vacation and sick days.

But what if you only need marketing services for an average of 10 hours a week? Instead, you could hire a highly qualified marketer who charges $50 an hour.  It costs you $25K per year and zero for benefits. This is less than half the cost of a full-time employee with benefits. Even someone with a $100 per hour rate can be cheaper than a full-time employee.

People who work the hours that best fit their needs are happier. Happier workers mean better quality deliverables. They’re hired to deliver exactly what you need without wasting a single second.

Maybe we should reconsider the 40-hour work week, and start thinking about what exactly needs doing and how long it takes to get it done.

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Best 5 Blog Posts: Best LinkedIn Groups for B2B Marketing and Sales

Best 5 Blog Posts best LinkedIn Groups for B2B marketing and salesAre you getting the most out of groups on LinkedIn? If not, you’re missing out on a huge amount of information, updates, tips, and networking opportunities. LinkedIn groups provide a great platform where you can share ideas and engage in discussion with potentially hundreds of thousands of like-minded people. This can deliver an enormous boost to your B2B sales and marketing capability – you should take advantage of it.

Here are our top 5 blog posts on which groups to join and how to use them for B2B marketing and sales:

10 LinkedIn Groups for B2B Marketers

6 LinkedIn Groups B2B Tech Marketers Should Join

Leveraging LinkedIn Groups for Sales and Marketing Pros by Greg Hyer

11 Tips to Find the Best LinkedIn Groups by Jeff Haden

B2B Selling via LinkedIn Company Pages and Groups by Jasmine Sandler

Finally, a word of caution: Mark Gibson of Admarco shares what NOT to do in a LinkedIn group.

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  • Why this Blog?

    I have been running a marketing and PR firm since 1994. I love marketing and I love helping people grow their businesses. This blog lets me share what I've learned about marketing to help you generate more leads and sales for your company.
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