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Growing a sales team: a guide for startups

Things have been going well. You and your founder have been hustling hard spreading the word about your business. You’ve got your solid sales team – there’s only two of them, but they are your rocks. They know your service inside out. You engage in high level discussions and they give you great input. You’ve developed a tight team, and the cash has started to flow, and your accountant is happy. Your market is out there for the taking, and you’ve found the golden nugget. You were even able to purchase a bean bag chair – it’s lime green.

Then you receive the call.

One day, you open the paper and see your competitor has just expanded their sales team. In the world of technology, the winner usually takes all, and you can’t let that happen. Try being the little guy against Salesforce – it’s not happening. At 1:30 am, one of your investors calls you and tells you to make moves, fast, or you’ll get pushed out.

“You’ve got revenue coming in, but without an aggressive growth plan, a plateau is on the horizon,” he tells you. “Just go out there and hire ten more sales people. You’re welcome.” Do you take his advice?

Don’t make the same mistake I did.

At a smaller scale I’ve been there. I opened my first company two years ago – a telecom company called TelClarity. When I put it together, I outsourced lead generation to another firm. We had a nice setup – all day they were slamming phones, sending out millions of cold emails and harassing every CFO and CIO this side of the Mississippi. The result? A ton of activity, a lot of exciting opportunities, and some revenue. But did a huge spike in activity mean a huge spike in revenue? In fact, after a bit of initial traction I started to see diminishing returns and then it nearly came to a stop. The problem was that I was trying to scale, but I didn’t have the fundamentals of messaging down and couldn’t tell you what my value proposition was other than “I save money on telecom.” In retrospect, it seems crazy, but at the time this was true.

After a bit of a struggle things changed, but it wasn’t until I had refined my messaging, understood who my buyers were, and most importantly, what my value proposition was. When I scaled the next time around I did it without hiring a single salesperson and used automation to talk to a considerably smaller group of potential customers in a much smarter way.

The thing about business is it’s never black or white. Hiring a big team too fast is usually more of a burden to your business than a help. Think of the training times, the onboarding, gauging input from so many more people, and now you’ve got mouths to feed and salaries to pay. It’s kind of like jumping from a Volvo to a Ferrari just because you got a raise. The insurance alone is going to make you sell that thing in six months… and maybe giving the engine a tune-up and putting in a new sound system is all you need to make the ride a bit more exciting. Plus, you’ll sleep better at night not having to worry about the financing. Watching a workforce jump from two to fifteen in three months, only to have them laid off 6 months later makes me shake my head. All of those people’s careers have been affected by poor planning and leadership from the company’s management. For a CEO, that’s heavy collateral to have weighed on your shoulders.

The same can be said for designing a sales team. Today, factory work in North America is mostly no more – the era of the creative class is here. But the principles for running a business don’t change. By focusing on your internal talent, giving them an arsenal of tools, tricks, training, and encouraging innovation, you let them train up to get the black belt in sales. Maybe you add a sales person or two, but fast expansion of headcount is risky business. Investors want to see return, but they may not know the intricacies of running your business, so take advice with a grain of salt.

People, Technology and process are crucial.

There’s a fine blend that is evolving between technology, science and sales. If people from the technology side can inform the behaviour of sales departments, this is where efficient, intelligent workflows can evolve. I moved from telecom to automation precisely for that reason – I enjoy equipping companies with arsenals for the creative challenge, and the opportunity to create solutions for a number of industries. It’s an exciting niche to be in. By being at the cutting edge of the automation, an outsider like myself come in exactly where needed and hand off the reins once the system is set. Ask yourself: would you rather invest in saving employees five hours a week, or hiring more employees? If you said yes to the latter, we’ve got a difference of opinion.

Are you trying to hire a purple squirrel?

Wanted: VP of Marketing

Job qualifications: Must know SEO, PPC, and must be comfortable making up to 50 cold calls per day.

This job is quota carrying with potential upside in compensation for high performers. Position requires a technically proficient individual who will also be heading up product development and will need to lead all development efforts. Salary: $40k per year.

Do your job postings look something like this?

If you’re running a startup and expanding your team, you probably have a dream wish list of who you’re looking for. Handsome, funny, agile with the latest stacks, creative, natural leaders – they do backflips too. Like many, you’re seeking the purple squirrel. Heard the term?

The purple squirrel is a term coined in 2012 by Michael Junge, a Google recruiter. It’s what recruiters call the mystical job candidate that handles all tasks listed in a job description with no training. You’re trying to hire someone doing almost the exact same thing, with qualifications and experience under their belt. The problem is that if a person has all that, they probably already have a job doing it elsewhere.

Most likely, you’ll find a junior candidate with great potential whose resume has been shredded upon receipt. Your sights are set on the purple squirrel; junior talent, be damned.

Purple squirrels exist, but they are next to impossible to find and for a startup, impossible to attract. Especially in a city like Vancouver, which looks longingly at the lush pockets of Silicon Valley and Seattle, while our brightest and best get headhunted and stolen away. We can’t pay to attract these squirrels – we simply don’t have the play money. But every roadblock has its silver lining.

Vancouver has great infrastructure to design and nurture startups. The right strategy for recruitment is a huge pain point – people want the best, but can’t afford the salaries other cities can offer.

Solution? Design your own purple squirrel. Hire young, ambitious talent and balance them with a seasoned captain or two to steer the boat. Look for trainability, an aptitude to learn quickly, and contract high-level work to set foundations. Use hacks to fill in the gaps. Here’s how to do it.

Find your captain

A ship can’t set sail without a captain, and neither can your startup. The captain will be a senior leader – they know how the pieces work together and are an expert delegator. Before leaving port, they make sure to hire enough deck hands, that the ship is seaworthy and has enough lifeboats for all of the passengers. While they know that the engines drive the ship forward, they don’t put on overalls and do engine work – that’s what his engineers are for.

In a startup, having a captain in charge of marketing who knows the tactics but doesn’t necessarily know how to execute the minutia isn’t necessarily bad. For example, I understand the mechanics of running paid advertising, but I couldn’t run a Facebook ads campaign to save my life.

The key here is having someone who knows how to set direction but empowers a team to actually execute his vision.

One caveat: If you hire the wrong captain they’ll ignore the warning about icebergs and bad things will happen.

You’ll probably need to pay them a bit more than you expect, but a talented executive can take your company to the next level.

Use contractors for specialized work

You and your team probably can’t afford to do every small, specialized task yourselves. There are a lot of specialized technical and even creative tasks that can and should be done by outside vendors.

You marketing manager may be creatively gifted, but struggles on the technical implementation side. Bringing in outside marketing tech smarts would allow your team to leverage what they have, and outsource what they don’t without the hassle of trying to find a purple squirrel.

That job ad will collect dust for months, or you’ll hire someone who’s half the squirrel you want, and instead of supporting them by hiring a senior contractor you get frustrated with their knowledge gaps. Not good.

Automate as much as possible

The next question to ask: Can this be done by a robot?

Outsourcing is great, but automation is even better. One of the easiest things to automate is user onboarding; why do this by hand when you can have a series of emails do the same work? Isn’t your time better spent figuring out what content to put into those emails instead of manually reaching out to each contact?

And what about other things that can be semi-automated? What if your sales team can create proposals in 15 minutes instead of hammering it out in 12 hours? Automation can work wonders for a cash-strapped startup.

Take another look at those who have failed fast. Maybe they can succeed with you

Imagine you are staring at two resumes. One is a senior marketer, who’s worked for a Fortune 500, with a Linkedin profile that boasts they increased their division’s sales by $10 million and are the best thing since sliced bread.

The other resume is from a college graduate who went to community college, worked in retail for a while and had a junior role at a startup – and it failed.

What are you going to do? Oh, that’s a no-brainer – candidate one is the obvious winner. They’ve worked at a great company and appear to match the skillset, the references check out and they seem like a good hire.

You’re about to sign on the dotted line. Stop!

There is something to be said for experience, but it has to be the right kind of experience. Sometimes the biggest risk you can take, is not taking a risk on someone who could be an all-star.

The other candidate, while not having a perfect record, may actually have been through hell and lived to tell the tale. They may have grown up in a poor family and not been able to afford to go to an Ivy League school. They didn’t have an unpaid internship at that major brand because they couldn’t afford the loss of income. That startup they worked for was started by someone that left a big company and had their own play money. This CEO ran his business into the ground, doing minimal market research and being too proud to ask for guidance. The candidate joined a sinking ship and could, at best, reshuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic.

In the world of startups, this is the experience you will face. Despite how much the media loves to celebrate the overnight success, it’s often a hellish experience. Can your smooth talking, all-star first candidate handle the struggle and grind of startup life? You’ve heard the stat – 95 percent of startups fail. Where will that leave all the candidates that poured sweat and blood into them? This world is not glamorous, and with little experience in other businesses, startups can be toxic for fresh graduates.

Hiring the second candidate isn’t without its problems, but hiring someone with the guts to handle the risks and high pressure is essential.

Foster junior talent, one of your greatest assets

Junior talent may not tick all the boxes. They may do something better: bring ideas and tactics in that were not even considered.

Note that If you train them well, they’ll become the purple squirrel your competitors will covet, so treat them like gold.

If you invest in someone early, they’ll return that to you tenfold. Loyalty is a two-way street – you bring them on, they’ll stick it out with you in the hard times. But be realistic: hiring a fresh graduate and handing them too much responsibility is unfair. Getting them in a tactical role with reasonably clear parameters and letting the job role expand is the name of the game.  They may be great at digital marketing, for example, but they may not be ready to create a strategic marketing plan – until they’ve had some training.

Delegate, don’t abdicate

Micromanagement isn’t usually a big problem for most startups – most people are too busy to look over each others’ shoulders. The biggest sin is abdicating tasks on employees – asking them to “figure it out” or giving no direction at all. The assumption that many founders make is that employees have as clear a vision of the business as they do, and each employee’s responsibilities are self-apparent.

Hiring a junior employee has its challenges, but being able to mold them and take advantage of the unique skillsets they bring can take your startup to the next level.

Stop clinging to the sales funnel. It never worked!

Time and time again I keep on hearing that the sales funnel is obsolete. Here’s the thing. It never worked from the start.

In every old school sales playbook, in nearly every CRM, and on every sales floor across Corporate America, the traditional sales funnel reigns supreme. When most sales managers log in to their dashboard they typically see something like this:


And not surprising, the number 2 problem I often hear from sales managers (after not enough leads) is inaccurate forecasting.

It’s really quite simple why this is a problem.

It assumes people live in a vacuum.

Think about the last time you bought anything, whether it’s something complex like a car, or a blender from Amazon. Did you really view the product on Amazon and just go and buy it? Hell no, you went out and did research on your own. You read reviews, asked around if anyone had used a vendor and then you came back and made a decision.

Do you really think their journey starts with your marketing or sales teams? Of course not, and when it does, the traditional funnel makes a big assumption…

It assumes that people enter from the top

People have often done a lot of research before contacting you, or even agreeing to respond to a voicemail, email or social media message. By the time they respond they may be at the closing stage. Or at least, they appear to be, but that can be deceiving without a proper qualification criteria.

It assumes there are no other decision makers

I can’t believe that more thought isn’t put into the fact that in complex B2B products there is never a single decision maker involved in the process. Sure the CEO may be the one signing the checks, but he’s going to have his advisors (technical, HR, admin etc) who all have the power to kill the deal. The traditional funnel doesn’t capture this crucial but extremely crucial dynamic in every deal.

For example, a common stage in a deal cycle is “Needs Assessment” but whose needs is this assessing? Is it the technical teams? The finance team? Or the end user? The simple funnel model doesn’t capture this.

Is it any wonder that sales forecasting usually misses the mark?

Content is rocket fuel

Whether you like it or not, prospects are going to do their own research. And unlike in the past where the best sales team won based on questioning and tactics, it really comes down to the organization that provides the most relevant content to close the sale.

In the age of information, really understanding your buyer personas allows sales and marketing to really push the right buttons and give buyers the confidence to go with the right vendor.

The good news is that when done right, content can shorten sales cycles dramatically by empowering customers to choose you as a vendor. The bad news is that most companies get this terribly wrong, and find their sales cycle is dramatically longer.

As I’ve talked about in the past, outbound marketing is still important and when armed with content, things can get really interesting.

What do you feel is the best sales funnel for 2016?

Why sales training is a waste of money.

Do you think that sales training is going to work? You’re probably wrong

Your sales team is missing its target, morale is low, and you’re stressing out. Clearly if they were trained they would excel and they’ll be hitting their targets by Friday.

If only it worked that way.

Unfortunately, this is a common thought amongst business and sales leaders, but sales problems usually stem from something much deeper.

Take a look in the mirror.

The inconvenient truth is that poor sales performance is more of a reflection on management rather than the sales rep. It often starts right from the beginning by making a bad hire. No matter how effective your management is, if you’ve got the wrong person in the job, it won’t matter, they won’t hit their target and you’ll have made an expensive mistake.

No process

This is the biggest problem in most sales organizations and why one quarter they will be crushing it, and the next they’ll completely miss the mark. Sales should be treated as a scientific process. This means uniform hiring practices, a planned and built out sales rep onboarding process, a coaching strategy, and most importantly, an ever-evolving sales playbook. More on why you need one in a bit.

It doesn’t address the biggest problem of all.

Top of the funnel (ie lead generation and prospecting) is the biggest problem that most sales organizations face. Unfortunately, most sales training is focused around sales meetings, but if your sales reps don’t have enough leads that training isn’t going to help. You must make sure that your sales process has a solid lead generation strategy in place and if you’re going to focus your training on anything, this is what you need to focus on.

In fact, if you can solve the top of the funnel conundrum sales training becomes less important because your sales team will be having a lot of live and active conversations with clients, addressing real problems and learning as they go. This doesn’t mean that reps don’t need ongoing training and coaching; like trained athletes they need help to stay at the top of their game. However, just like an athlete, if they’re constantly competing in the Olympics they will stay in tip-top shape.

It’s a one night stand

Sales training is, unfortunately, often a one night stand. You have someone come in and dazzle you with their tactics, closing techniques, but, unfortunately, this is not how things work in the real world of sales.

But it has its place

Sales training, when done right, is absolutely a force multiplier when it comes to performance, but building a winning sales team is like building a house. You need a blueprint (a sales playbook), you need to set the foundation (creating an effective prospecting strategy), and you need to bring in skilled labor (sales leadership or consultants like myself) who will use the right tools to build you house.
Once you’ve built your house and you want to start adding the final touches you call in the interior decorator (sales trainer) to put the final touches on the house

But it will need ongoing work.

A sales playbook is essential to building a winning sales program. It is a tome of work that consists of your company’s (as opposed to everyone else’s) best sales practices. Creating a working playbook that evolves with your sales process creates accountability, accelerates new rep onboarding, and will take your sales organization to the next level.

Your marketing isn’t working. Here’s why.

Is your marketing process full of dogma?

You’ve got a great product, great team, and you’ve read and implemented a lot of sound marketing practices, but for some reason you’re not getting traction and you’re seeing a negative ROI from your marketing spend. What’s going on? In my experience, I see 3 common elements with many companies marketing programs. Are you committing any of these sins?


    1. You’re expecting a silver bullet.
    2. There is no silver bullet in marketing or sales. Cold calling, cold emails, PPC, SEO, CRO and many of the other buzzwords and acronyms are tools and tactics. Each tool might solve a specific part of your marketing puzzle, but if you’re not using them in a cohesive strategy you’re throwing #@#! at a wall and hoping it sticks.

    3. You’re relying on outbound marketing
    4. If your business relies on exclusively outbound marketing to generate sales, you’re going to struggle. Not only is outbound quite costly (especially if salespeople are involved), but it is truly pay for play. The moment you stop paying for outbound, whether that means sales salaries, or paid advertising, it stops. Plus outbound ignores the fact that prospects are going to be looking for information before your sales team even calls them.

    5. You’re relying on inbound marketing
    6. Inbound marketing is also not going to work in isolation. The biggest problem with inbound is 3 fold

      1. It assumes that prospects know they have a problem.
      2. It catches them late in the buying cycle and you’re likely in a price bake off.
      3. It is often inconsistent in supplying leads. Google’s algorithms can change and you’re dead in the water.

      Inbound marketing is a great concept, and is something that every business should put a lot of thought into, but if you believe that inbound marketing will deliver all of the leads you need, you’re sadly mistaken. Inbound marketing does work, but it doesn’t work the way that most marketers are lead to believe. In my opinion, the best results come from using inbound marketing to convert leads that have been created by outbound marketing.
      The solution: use both. So how would you do it? Here’s a good workflow that I implement with my clients and inside my own businesses.

      1. Lead generation: Outbound marketing to get attention (cold emails, cold calls, paid ads etc).
      2. Lead conversion: Add to marketing automation nurture list and send emails to relevant content that will interest the leads that were generated from outbound. Also, CRM retargeting works wonders.
      3. Lead reactivation: (if a lead goes stale): CRM retargeting to direct them to white papers, case studies.
      4. Closing: salesperson.

      As you can see, this approach is multi-channel and multi-touch, but it pulls in both aspects of inbound and outbound marketing. The end result is that it adds a systematic element to sales and it hits clients in multiple mediums.
      The challenge: Sales-Marketing Alignment.
      This process works well, but only if you’ve got sales and marketing alignment and most companies struggle with this. The most common problem is sales teams that operate in isolation and disregard the fact that customers will do online research on their own.
      The great thing about the approach above is that it creates a crucial symbiotic relationship with marketing and sales. I’m a firm believer that salespeople need to be trained in marketing, and marketers should spend some time on the sales floor because it creates a strong appreciation of each other’s roles. What marketing strategies have you found most effective? Please comment below.

6 tough financial realities every entrepreneur must face.

Starting a business is not easy. Keeping your finances in order is harder.

Around a year ago I quit my 9-5 to start first a telecom consulting company only for the business to evolve into something else entirely. And through that year I’ve had some pretty exciting and scary moments. But when it comes down to starting a business, one of the most crucial areas is finance, and boy are there are a lot of surprises.

  1. The hidden paycheque of your last employer.

    Living in BC I have the burden of paying MSP payments of $69.25 a month. I also have to pay for any prescription drugs, dentistry, and any other health costs not covered by MSP. It’s not as bad as it is in the US, but it still adds up fast.

  2. Sales takes twice as long, and pay half as much as expected.

    I had no sales for the first 3 months of my business, and by the time I did the deals were only a fraction of the size that I expected. It realistically takes about a year for any business to start getting any traction. Oh, and if you change your business model in the middle, hit the reset button and start over; your sales cycle is going to be just as long. With proper guidance, with a good coach, this can be cut in half. But then you discover…

  3. Running a business is expensive!

    Consulting is 100% profit right? Wrong. Insurance, accounting, let alone marketing costs will absorb a huge part of your cashflow. Whether it is membership into a chamber of commerce ($400+ year), endless “coffee meetings” ($5, 3x per week), networking events (quality ones cost $60-100 each) or all of the costs of driving out to clients. Also, outside advice like coaching, is necessary but expensive.

  4. Customers sometimes don’t pay.

    Fortunately this hasn’t happened to me, but it has happened to many of my colleagues. Luckily you can take out a loan to cover out the ups and downs, but unfortunately…

  5. No one wants to lend you money

    Before you start a business, get approved for as much line of credit as you you’ll think you’ll need. Then double it. Hopefully you won’t need it, but it beats using a credit card right?

  6. Money isn’t your only scarce commodity.

    Surprised? Money isn’t your scarcest commodity in running a business. Time is. You neither can, nor should do everything yourself. Don’t go out and hire a virtual assistant just yet, but outsourcing your book keeping and website work is an absolute no brainer and should be done from the start. Your time is valuable and scarce. The big thing that changed the course of my business was automating my processes with software. I got so good at it that I even built a course around it and it became my main consulting area.

As a consultant, I am very lucky that my margins very high on a cash basis; having no inventory costs and working from home keeps cost down. But time is still a scarce commodity. But would I go back to being a full time employee? Maybe, but if I did I would go back on a flexible basis. I didn’t go into business for the money; I went into it because I knew that I would be happier choosing my own destiny. Ultimately, running a business that you love will lead to financial success so long as you keep your nose to the grindstone, keep hammering out…and never, ever, give up. With that in mind, if you ever feel like you are about to quit, watch this great video.

What financial lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?

Sales versus marketing: Can’t we all just get along?

The battle between sales and marketing is as old as business itself. With the right tactics and technology, the problem can easily be solved.

35% of leads provided to sales by marketing have no follow up at all. Those are just some of the brutal stats from a Harvard Business Review examining lead response inside a large number of companies.

And the number is not surprising based on how silo’d off most organizations are. It comes down to poorly designed workflows and a lack of accountability most of the time. In many companies, when a prospect fills out a form and creates any sort of inbound query it usually goes through this process:

  1. Marketing receives an email.
  2. Marketing sits on the email for a day or two.
  3. Marketing assigns the lead to the sales manager.
  4. The sales manager then assigns the lead to the rep he likes the most.
  5. The sales rep sits on the lead for a day and does some research on the company.

At this point, everyone is screaming CALL!

But the reality is that 2 things will happen:

  1. The research the rep does on the lead will discourage him to call,
  2. He will call but the customer will have already gone with another vendor who responded first.

The sales person will grumble and go back to the argument that marketing isn’t providing qualified leads. Marketing will grumble that sales squandered the lead.

Sound familiar? It’s common in most companies, big and small, to not have any sort of procedures to handle leads in a timely and measurable manner.

Speaking of timely, the chances of reaching a lead decrease by 100X after only 5 minutes; that’s 300 seconds! Ouch.

So how can this problem be solved. Firstly, the process between lead submissions needs to have every human element removed from the chain. If the way your business operates requires a callback, initiating a lead response system (like the SellResponse suite) to immediately connect inbound leads to the sales team in less than 5 minutes will pay off almost immediately.

But more importantly there needs to be a measurable way of keeping sales and marketing accountable to each other.

Service level agreements…not just for technology.

Imagine if marketing had a target for sales ready leads generated per quarter? It’s not such a crazy idea when you think about it since that’s exactly what marketing should be doing. So why not measure it and target it? Not only will marketing work harder, but there will be a much closer control of which marketing dollars are producing the most bang for buck.

But what about sales; don’t they already have targets? They do, but only in hard measures like…well, sales. But what can be done is to add a service level agreement for taking action on leads. The 3 biggies (and easiest to measure) are: how long it takes to respond to a lead, how many attempts were made to contact the lead, and what were the close rate.

Self correcting measurement.

So marketing has a target, and sales has a target. If marketing notices that sales isn’t taking action on the leads, it puts pressure on the sales manager to shape up the team, or look for improvements. Likewise, if marketing is passing leads that are not even close to sales ready, in effect junk leads, the sales department can hold marketing accountable for the quality of the leads they provide.

As an executive, you’re going to have to be a referee from time to time, but this is the kind of productive conflict that you want to create in your business.

Will this solve all of the problems? Hell no.

But anything that leads to more accountability is a good thing, and with the role of sales and marketing becoming more blurred over time, it’s critical that both parties work in sync.

Want to learn more?

Please apply for your spot in my automation consulting program. In this consultation I’ll go over the blind spots in your sales process and find the areas that can be improved.

The single biggest thing that is annoying your customers is…

Not being consistent.

It’s the small things that are not so insignificant that result in small businesses failing, and the biggest contributor to this is the lack of systemized processes to sell, serve, and manage customers. Having good systems in place is the reason why Amazon, Walmart, and Costco can be so massive and have a (mostly) stellar reputation. In fact, if you were to look at and read reviews, you’ll often see that the businesses that attract the most complaints are the small businesses, and the ones that don’t are large stores.

So much for the myth that small business provides better service.

The big thing that all of them have are clear policies (such as return policies) and a certain level of consistency. McDonalds produces a pretty mediocre product, but whether you’re in NYC or Bangkok a Big Mac is going to taste exactly the same.

You need to have a system.

If you haven’t read Michael Gerber’s E-Myth I’d recommend that you check it out. Michael makes a very persuasive argument about how business that operate like franchises have a much higher success rate. Most importantly, he talks about the technician’s curse where business owners, who are very technically inclined at working in the business, need to work on the business. For a book written in the 1980s the main gist of the book is just as relevant today at then.

It’s easier than ever to build it.

Yes, I’m in the automation game, and yes it’s my business, but I truly believe that the work of automation can let businesses systemize the most effectively. In fact, Michael Gerber is a spokesperson for Infusionsoft, one of the most prolific (albeit, very expensive) marketing automation systems for small businesses.

Yes, it has another name, Confusionsoft, but it’s best to think of any sort of automation system and compare it to the difficulties of training a new staff member. In this context, the complexity of marketing automation systems begins to look a lot simpler. Having said that, I often recommend other platforms for small businesses because the feature set of most systems exceeds what most businesses need.

But it’s not easy.

The problem is that when you’re rolling out an automation system, you’ll be working in the business not on the business. You’ll be faced with not only learning both the new software and the best practices. But there is a solution:

Book your free, no obligation, consultation. We’ll build out a powerful system and you can use it with any provider of your choosing. It doesn’t have to be me, but I want to help you succeed.

5 awful, mundane, and tedious tasks I’ve completely automated.

Systemizing and automating the tedious has changed the course of my business while letting me focus on the important stuff.

There are so many mundane, but really important, tasks that I have to do with my business…and even life. The problem is that although I know they’re important, I hate doing them. And often, I don’t them as a result.

Thank god for software automation.

So without further ado, here are some things that I have automated:

  1. Adding inspirational quotes to Linkedin.

    I’ve linked together 2 wicked services. has a quote of the day, and best of all, they have an RSS feed. I then use a service called to tie the RSS feed to Buffer which then eventually feeds it to Linkedin. Sounds complicated, but it’s not.

  2. Managing my intake on appointments.

    On my appointment page, the process is extremely automated. It’s a 3 part form: 1st it asks for an email, secondly it asks some more in-depth questions, and thirdly it directs to a calendar that is linked to my Google calendar. But if at any stage someone doesn’t complete it, then it will automatically send an email asking if there is a reason why they didn’t complete the form.

  3. Billing, billing, billing

    On projects that allow it, my clients are billed automatically. Best of all, my clients enter their payment information directly to my payment processor so I don’t have to worry about onerous things like PCI compliance. I personally use Freshbooks for this task, but there are many options

  4. Educating people in my network

    I do a lot of networking, but I only have so much time to tell people what I do. The solution is that I invite people to join my mailing list right on the spot using a web form that is loaded on my phone. Because it is tailored for that exact purpose it is an extremely effective way of building a relationship with someone and it is a very effective way to keep “top of mind.”

  5. Long term follow ups.

    For my telecom side of the business, my sales cycle is 6-9 months. As a small business, managing that cycle is simply not possible to do without some help. The solution is to automate this cycle and slowly educate the customer on the benefits of hiring me. A lot of people end up unsubscribing over the months, but that mostly says that they were likely never going to become a client anyway and saves me some a lot of work.

None of this stuff was easy to do, and it took a lot of trial and error, but the benefits are huge. I spend a lot more time on the meaningful customer interactions and less time on the mundane (but still important) stuff.

If you want help mapping out what can be automated in your business. Please Apply here for your sales automation plan; space fills up quickly, so act now to reserve your spot.

Why I don’t publish on Linkedin. And neither should you.

Planning on publishing your blog posts on Linkedin? Don’t.

With Linkedin opening up its publishing platform almost everyone is quickly rushing to publish their posts on Linkedin. But overall it’s a terrible strategy to follow. Every day I see people putting their heart and souls into publishing heartfelt posts hoping that they’ll be the next Tim Ferris with thousands of followers, but it’s a bad idea for these 5 reasons.

  1. You’re handing over your content to a 3rd party.

    If you’re going through all of the trouble of creating your content, why would you put it on someone else’s site? This isn’t guest blogging, this is a private, for-profit, company with no links back to your website.

  2. You’re losing points from an SEO point of view.

    Creating good content is the key to good Google rankings. As a rule, if you build good content you’re going to get links to it, which will lead to more contacts and more links to your site. With Linkedin you don’t get this benefit.

  3. You want your tribe to be on your site.

    You want your readers to come to your site, read your content and get your message. If you’re lucky they’ll even subscribe to your email list which will create your own captive audience. With Linkedin…

  4. It’s already crowded, and it’s only going to get worse.

    Anyone can publish on Linkedin, and you’re competing for the attention of a lot less eyeballs (Linkedin users) vs. publishing it on your own site(the entire world)

  5. Remember Facebook

    A lot of publishers were caught flat footed when Facebook changed their algorithms to display content based on followers and reach…or if you paid them a pile of money for likes. When people start abusing the Linkedin platform, and they will, Linkedin will do the same thing. All of the sudden this entire body of work you’ve produced is going to be useless.

I use Linkedin every day and while I love the platform from a professional networking point of view, it’s a dud as a publishing platform. In short, it’s not the place you should publish. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t publicize your body of work on Linkedin; however, using a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to publish links to your content is a much better smarter way of marketing your posts.

What are your thoughts on Linkedin as a publishing platform?


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