4 Tips to Create Powerful Introductions in your Network


As professionals and business owners, you possess the remarkable power to connect individuals and unlock vast opportunities. Introducing two people is not just a simple act, but rather an art that has the potential to reap immense benefits for both parties involved. It is through a carefully crafted and valuable introduction that their interests align, creating a synergy that opens doors to new ventures and possibilities.

To ensure that you excel in this invaluable skill, we are excited to proudly present four simple rules that will guarantee high-quality strategic business introductions. These rules are the culmination of years of experience and expertise in building and nurturing professional relationships.

By following these rules, you will be able to unleash the full potential of your network and unlock new pathways for growth and success. Together, let's embark on this journey of harnessing the power of connections and shaping a future filled with endless opportunities and collaborations.

Align A Reason For The Introduction

To guarantee a high-quality introduction, it is crucial to establish a compelling reason for the two individuals to connect or collaborate. When introducing a current vendor, engage in a conversation with the contact to determine if they are interested in exploring specific services or offerings from your partner. Additionally, consider if they have a desire to expand their client base through the introduction or if there are any other motivating factors at play. By aligning the introduction in this manner, you are ensuring that there are mutual benefits for both parties involved. This approach goes beyond simply facilitating an introduction for the sake of it and aims to foster meaningful connections that bring value to all parties involved. Let's build connections that not only create opportunities but also deliver substantial value to everyone involved in the process!

Give A Background For Each Person

Introduce both parties by providing a brief background for each person, highlighting the outstanding chance to showcase the mutual benefits they can derive from one another. This introduction not only fosters understanding and familiarity between both parties but also establishes a solid foundation for their collaboration. It's important to keep the text concise, professional, and oozing with confidence while adding a touch more detail to emphasize the unique qualities and expertise each individual brings to the table.

Identify The Reason for the Connection

To increase the chances of a successful connection, it is important to identify the key reason behind the connection and elaborate on how both parties stand to benefit. By highlighting and emphasizing the value proposition for each party involved, a persuasive and positive approach can be taken to foster a stronger and more confident connection. This approach ensures that all parties fully understand the potential benefits and are motivated to actively engage in the connection. As a result, the relationship is strengthened, trust is built, and collaboration becomes more effective. With a clear understanding of the shared goals and mutual advantages, the connection has a solid foundation for success and growth.

Call Out Who Should Take the Next Action

Finally, when it comes to sealing the deal, it is crucial to make it absolutely crystal clear who should take the initiative. After aligning the reasons behind the connection, providing relevant backgrounds, and clearly identifying the purpose, it's time to transition from words to action. The ball is now firmly in someone's court, and with unwavering confidence, let them know that it's their turn to step up and make the crucial first move that will set the wheels in motion toward a successful outcome.

To wrap this up, crafting a high-quality strategic business introduction is absolutely crucial for creating meaningful connections and fostering success. It presents a remarkable opportunity, not only for the parties involved but also for you as the connector.

By meticulously aligning the introduction's purpose with the interests and goals of each individual, providing comprehensive background information, and highlighting the significant value that the connection can bring, you are setting the stage for a truly impactful introduction.

Furthermore, by clearly outlining the next actionable steps and emphasizing the importance of creating value rather than just facilitating a simple connection, you are demonstrating your professionalism and commitment to fostering fruitful relationships.

So, when initiating a strategic business introduction, remember to embrace these four straightforward principles and be prepared to witness the amazing success that follows.


Six Secrets to Close More Sales


Closing more sales is always at the top of the minds of business owners, entrepreneurs, and salespeople. But most are asking themselves, “Great…how do I do that?”  Here is a quick hit list of the top 6 things that can get you to closing more sales, faster:

  1. Set a good agenda
  2. Ask Deep Questions
  3. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Commitment
  4. It’s OK to talk about Money
  5. Get to the Decision Makers
  6. Present ONLY to what they care about

Set a good agenda

One of the most important things you can do when you're trying to be productive is to set a good agenda. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's amazing how many people try to go through a meeting without any sort of plan. A good agenda will give you even footing with your prospect and let them know where the conversation will go. 

  1. Permission - ask if it’s ok to set that agenda
  2. Time - confirm the time frame is still good for both parties
  3. Purpose - state the understood purpose of the meeting
  4. My expectations - what do you want to get and is it ok for you to ask tough questions about money or other things?
  5. Their expectations - let them tell you what they need
  6. Outcome - There can be only two outcomes for a meeting - yes or no. To accept anything less will give you a pipeline of ‘hope’ and that doesn’t do anyone any good. Here’s how the outcome statement could sound ‘I see 

Ask Deep Questions

In a world that is increasingly driven by superficiality and shallow interactions, it can be refreshing to ask deep questions. If you're not sure what I mean by "deep questions," they are basically questions that go beyond the surface level of conversation. They are personal and emotional, and they can often lead to compelling reasons for why someone believes or feels the way they do. Asking deep questions can help to create a more meaningful connection with someone, and it can also help you to better understand their worldview. So next time you're feeling stuck in small talk, try asking a deep question instead. You might be surprised at how much you learn about the other person - and about yourself.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Commitment

Sure, commitment can be scary. It's a big decision! But that doesn't mean you shouldn't ask for it. In fact, sometimes the best way to get what you want is to just ask for it. After all, what is the worst that could happen? They could say no. And then you would be in the same position you are now, but with slightly more information. So go ahead and ask. It might just be the best thing you do all day.

It’s OK to talk about Money

Money is often seen as a taboo topic, something that we shouldn't talk about in polite company. But why is that? Money is a huge part of our lives, and it affects everything from our daily budget to our long-term access to financial opportunities. If we can't talk about money, we can't learn how to budget, save, invest, or even just have a healthy relationship with money. So let's break the silence and start talking about money. It's OK to talk about money. In fact, it's essential.

Get to the Decision Makers

When it comes to getting your point across, it's important to remember that not all decision-makers are created equal. In a large company, there may be dozens of people who have a say in the final decision, and each one of them is going to have their own opinion on what the best course of action is. That's why it's so important to make sure that your presentation is tailored to address the needs of each individual decision-maker. By taking the time to understand the concerns of each decision-maker, you'll be in a much better position to get your point across and make the sale.

Present ONLY to what they care about

The next time you're preparing a presentation, think carefully about your audience and what they care about. You may be tempted to include everything that you know on the topic, but resist the urge! The key is to focus on the information that is most relevant to your audience's needs and interests. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing their attention. After all, there's nothing worse than delivering a presentation that feels like a waste of time. So take the time to tailor your presentation to your audience, and you'll be sure to engage them from start to finish.

If you are looking to increase your sales closings without (yuck) becoming a ‘salesy-person’ check out @revenue’s Pay What You Can Sales Coaching Program! It's live coaching, with a guaranteed result - and it’s time that you start to WIN! Click here to learn more...don't click if you already have too many sales.  In the meantime, here's a quick recap of the main points:

1. Set a good agenda

2. Ask Deep Questions

3. Don't be afraid to ask for a commitment

4. It's ok to talk about money

5. Get to the decision-makers

6. Present ONLY to what they care about

 We hope you found this post helpful and that you'll put these tips into practice the next time you're closing a deal. Good luck!



How Narrowing Your Target Audience Will Expand Your Market Share

How Narrowing Your Target Audience Will Expand Your Market Share

When you started your business, your first step was obviously to develop your product or service. Right behind that, you likely started to identify who your target customer is: their age, what they look like, where they live, what they do for a living, their income…. When you get to the bottom of this target buyer, they probably pretty closely resemble you and your friends, right?

This isn’t uncommon. Often, a buyer persona or a ground-level look at a desired target audience will be pretty flat and lack specificity. Certainly, recognizing basic demographics is helpful, but to enhance your processes and results, you have to get more specific. Your first shot at your target consumer is probably a superficial look at a generalized individual — a look at someone who’s everyone and no one at the same time — and you’ll have a really hard time getting anywhere with this person.

So once you’ve landed on “Male, 30-45, married, middle class, interests include DIY projects, lawn care, and pick-up hockey games,” where do you go from there? 

To properly understand your core demographic, you need to create a “Client Avatar”. In creating this avatar, you’ll define your audience as a series of single individual “characters,” who most closely resemble both your most active customers as well as those you wish to attract. The Client Avatar is made up of various pieces of demographic information, and you want to be sure you are as clear and precise as possible. Use these four identifiers to focus in on who you’re looking for.

1. Age

Thinking outside the box when it comes to your buyers’ age ranges can bring you more creative ideas. Consider the Pedialyte phenomenon: a drink that was made for dehydration in young children is often used by adults in the same way sports drinks are. In turn, Pedialyte updated their marketing to speak directly to hungover adults, and they developed new products (think: branded t-shirts and powder packets to mix in with water) to serve this new audience. Consider how you can skip the highly saturated 18-34 market and offer your product or service to a different demographic and the results it could yield. Research your competitors and look into the demographics of people who are seeking products and services similar to yours. This will help you narrow down the “why” of your target age range and the products they look for, and help you speak more intentionally to that audience.

2. Cultural Identifiers

Once you have a solid understanding of your age ranges and what their interests are, you need to take a step back and review additional cultural identifiers that narrow down the picture of an Avatar further. A product can appeal to a range of cultures for different reasons. Consider how your product or service meets the needs of a variety of communities — and how your communication speaks to people, too. Bringing cultural awareness and diversity into your messaging, product, and service will enhance both your efficacy as a brand and your customer experience.

3. Income and Willingness To Purchase

Income is a piece of your target audience puzzle, but you can leverage it even more strategically when you consider a buyer’s willingness to purchase.  While you certainly want to do some research on the income levels of the audience you have formed thus far, there are more factors associated with willingness to purchase than their level of income. Motivation is a big factor in making decisions for purchase. If your product truly answers a real need, there will be more reason for your audience to buy. A person with income outside your target may still look into your service if it’s a high-demand product for them. For example, a serious runner may purchase an expensive running shoe that may be outside their means if it affords them the comfort and support they need for their runs. This can be true in a variety of industries; willingness to purchase can outweigh disposable income.

4. What They Actually Like

What does your audience actually like? Are their consumer decisions a result of their actual interests, or are they just things they feel like they’re supposed to like or consume? Invest in actually identifying your target market’s interests and wants. These can make a huge difference in how you choose to communicate. Dive deeper into what other brands they purchase, what media outlets they use, and where they shop. Learning these behaviors will help you gain a more well-rounded picture of who your potential buyers are. 

When brands take risks and expand their perception of who their real audiences are, they can find new ways to engage with those consumers and make sure that none of their potential leads are falling through the cracks. This more detailed personal discovery can lead to more intentional messaging, wider outreach, and more successful results, because when you really look at who your audience is, you’ll probably find the missing piece your marketing needs.


An earlier version of this article was previously published on Forbes in August, 2018.

What the Dame of Influence Award Means to Me

What the Dame of Influence Award Means to Me

Sometimes I feel like the name of my game is ‘just keep walking’. Many of you know my story already, and like many entrepreneurial journeys, it was riddled with ups and downs. I happened to get handed an extra dose of death and loss and things most people don’t have to experience at this phase of life. Because the people that I loved and lost were also critical parts of my company I had to pick up the pieces while it felt like the world was watching. 

You don’t build the muscles of resiliency because you want to. You do it because you have to. You do it because there is something bigger than the pain or the fear that you have to get done. You change yourself so that you can change the world around you and let me be the first to say that changing how you see yourself or how you respond to life SUCKS. It’s hard because it has life-changing value and they don’t hand out awards for ‘trying super hard’.  and then I learned that I just don’t back down…period. 

I am proud of how far @revenue has come in the last five years, and of the amazing things in our future and I am continuously humbled by the people that show up for my vision. This little family business has survived and grown so that we can serve all of those other ‘little businesses’ grow. 


For all these reasons and so many more, I feel unbelievably honored to have been recognized as a 2022 Dame of Influence for Chicago.

The Dames stand for something so close to my heart: the ability to do great things and be a great person. They value community contribution and mentorship, and they’re here to break down the barriers that stop 98% of women-owned businesses from reaching the million-dollar mark.

@revenue has shared this mission of supporting diverse people and their businesses and goals, hoping to make a reality of the amazing empowerment from the late, great RBG: Women should be in all places where decisions are made. The Dames are committed to this, @revenue is committed to this, and I am committed to this, and I am so humbled to be recognized for this work we have tirelessly taken on over the past five years.

I am so thankful for this award and everyone who has made our achievement possible, and I can’t wait for all we can keep accomplishing together.

What will 2022 Look Like?

What will 2022 Look Like?

Business owners have spent the past two years navigating a pandemic, supply shortages, employee shortages and cash flow issues. Many have survived by pivoting their service offerings, or pivoting again to meet more current demands. When it comes to running a small business, this is just part of the game, but if we are being honest, 2020 and 2021 have caused some ulcers. 


As we round the corner of Q4, we start to look at what the new year will look like - and many are afraid of what it might bring. While we are all hoping for some sense of previously known normalcy, it may not be in the cards. 


Trends predicted to continue well into next year and beyond include:


  • Hybrid events and Zoom meetings are just part of the way we meet with each other and communicate now. 
  • Work From Home/Hybrid options- More companies are offering more WFH options and will need to find more ways to engage virtually with their workforce.
  • Advances in AI and virtual technology will help companies combat shortages in labor, and help us all find new ways to escape.
  • Distance learning is part of our Educational system now. Many parents are finding better solutions for their children than the typical school day, and this changes their work/life balance dramatically. 


Small businesses have felt these pivots and changes more than the big guys, and that’s not about to change. Studies show that small businesses need to adapt faster, and embrace more technology and have a solid plan to move forward into 2022. 


The number one thing all this change has impacted? Revenue. Since the pandemic began, revenues have been falling, and business owners are cutting budgets and salaries to make up the difference. As we enter 2022, there is a better way.  


Now, as things begin to stabilize, business owners can look at the coming year as an opportunity to make up what missed revenue. How?  By being intentional. 


Intentional about what?

  • Goal Setting - I know, it’s been hard to set goals for a while, but now is the time to sit down, dig in and look at where we are realistically. Chances are your revenues have dipped and your big goals feel far away- but that’s no reason to panic or give up. Now is the time to think about what you really want to accomplish in the next year and put together a plan for getting there. 
  • Budgets- Now that you have a plan, the reality is that you have to figure out how to budget for that plan. Take into account your overhead and capital expenses and start looking at what areas you can give more budget to- remember to keep this focused on the areas that increase your revenue and help you meet your goals. 
  • Fractional Teams-  After you’ve realized there just isn’t enough money in the budget to do all the things you want to do (it’s inevitable- sorry). Don’t panic. Do some research on how working with fractional teams can save you money while increasing your bottom line. Some of the best fractional teams are accounting, and marketing teams who cost 30- 50% less than an in-house team and get you the same, if not better results.  Our fractional CMO offering provides senior level strategy and implementation, so you get more direct impact and revenue for the budget. 
  • CRM and Automations - If you don’t have a functional CRM that houses all of your sales pipeline and contacts, now is the time to invest in one. Getting all this organized and having a place to clearly see your financial forecasting is going to be a lifesaver. Additionally, many CRM systems have built in automations for reminders, appointment setting and follow up emails- all of which saves you a ton of time. 


The coming year shouldn’t be scary, it should be an opportunity to take a look at the bigger picture, and congratulate ourselves on our adaptability and success during these past two tumultuous years. Now we are in a space where we can set some intentions, and carry them forward. Finding the right partners to meet your goals is paramount. If you have questions about how a fractional marketing team can work with you to create an intentional marketing strategy that actually impacts your revenue goals - give us a call. 

5 Ways to Revamp Your Marketing Strategy

5 Ways to Revamp Your Marketing Strategy

We’ve seen the effects of supply chain issues in restaurants, hardware stores, department stores, and more — and the promotional products industry is no exception.


The year of the pandemic saw nearly 20% decrease in distributor sales as events and trade shows were cancelled and swag bags went back on their shelves. Now, as these gatherings are reinstated, many of these same distributors are seeing order counts double and are struggling to meet the demand. 


Industry trends are showing strong projections for recovery, but it won’t happen overnight, and you’ve likely got some extra unused dollars that would usually be spent on these items that just can’t be supplied right now. 


So how do you solidify your marketing strategy when you can’t get your promotional products? Here are five ideas to get started.

Know your audience

Just as the corporate and bigger business sides of the professional world have pivoted and adapted during the pandemic, so have small businesses and individuals. Rediscover your audience and evaluate how your prospects and leads — and their needs — have changed. Understanding your buyer persona is crucial to your success, and you can earn their trust and loyalty by proving your business to be adaptable and sensitive to their experience.

Run a brand audit

Does your visual identity accurately reflect your business’s mission and goals? Once you’ve evaluated your buyer and how they’ve changed over the last eighteen months, perhaps your brand might need a little revamping in order to stay aligned with your mission while still attracting your evolved audience. 

Invest in A/B testing

Increase your ROI from existing traffic, reduce your bounce rate, and establish successful conversion rates through extra A/B testing. With one control and one variable group, modify your CTAs, content length, email subject lines, email frequency, or any details that may affect your content, social, or website performance. With each of these tests, you’ll learn more about your consumer and which strategies to more fully invest in for success.

Develop your SEO and social media strategy

Increase your Google ranking by investing in your Search Engine Optimization strategy with both organic and paid strategies. Remember, too, that YouTube processes billions of searches each month, and, as a result, optimizing your video content can help you rank higher on the biggest search engines. 


While you’re optimizing videos, translate that same energy into your social media strategy as a whole. With the rise in influencer marketing, social partnerships, and sponsored feed content, both paid and organic social media strategies will help get your content in front of relevant audiences.

Target your campaigns

Once you have a clear understanding of the new pains, fears, and gains of your prospective clients, you’ll be able to run more thoroughly targeted campaigns and meet your audience through very specific touchpoints. Use your newly optimized SEO and social media strategies to implement these audience traits and speak directly to your compatible prospects.


Promotional products are not the lifeblood of your marketing strategy! With the absence of these items — and the wiggle room that may leave in your budget — this is the perfect time to dive into the core structure of your marketing plan and make sure that when the frills and gimmicks are peeled away, the bones of your business’s messaging are solid and representative of your mission and goals.

How to Get Investors' Attention

How to Get Investors' Attention


For over a decade I worked in business financial services with a focus on helping companies find funding. In that time, I worked with various small businesses from big manufacturers to solo entrepreneurs with great new products. What I was actually doing was a form of marketing: developing a strategy for “selling” the company to the right investor partner. While I continued to work with hundreds of companies and business owners, I kept hearing the same things. Over time, as these issues kept coming up, I was able to pinpoint 3 key must-haves that investors need to see from new products and startups that signal they are ready for funding.

The first became a hard rule for my strategies and recommendations, and that rule stands to this day. If you want someone to invest in you and your business, you had better be ready to put some skin in the game yourself and invest in a solid marketing strategy and brand. Without it, you may be a great company or product—but perception is real, and you have to “look the part.”

Skin in the Game. 

You mean other than my hard work day in and day out? YES. 

One of the first questions every single potential investor asks is, “How much have you invested in this idea?” And no matter how you slice it, what you believe your time is worth and the calculation you came up with for how much time you have spent thus far—is NOT the answer they want. They want to hear a dollar amount you have personally put into this and what happened to it and why you need more. You need to have concise, real (verifiable) answers here. 


It turns out that a hand-drawn logo on a napkin that your next-door neighbor made isn’t enough to convince anyone that you have a real brand. The perception of you, your company and your products or services is predicated on what emotions your brand evokes in your audience and what they think about you as a result. Here are some often heard examples:

  • Hand Drawn logo: This person doesn’t know what they are doing and they don’t have a real business
  • Rudimentary logo by a “friend:” There’s no money behind this project and it’s just a hobby
  • Outdated logo: This logo looks like it has been recycled from something else and feels like they aren’t in touch with current trends
  • Complicated logo design or explanation: Trying to be clever or having a full 3-page story about your logo turns off investors. They want to see a clean, easy-to-understand brand. Not something that is overly complicated or has a detailed backstory that only means something to you. 

Secondly, you need to get out of your own way. There comes a point in every entrepreneur’s life where they must realize that even though they built this company or product to solve a problem they themselves were experiencing, they are not their own target audience. 

Target Audience.  

As the owner of the company, your target audience may be patterned after you. They are probably very much like you in many ways. They likely have similar problems to yours, have a similar occupation and experience many of the same issues you are trying to solve. However, they are not you. Your personal taste in design or content or color does not necessarily appeal to everyone you are targeting. That is why it is important to remember who your audience is and appeal to them, not yourself. 

Does this typically mean that you will end up with a brand that is broader than you originally thought? Yes. Does it work better? Also yes. Working to find something that appeals to the larger audience will not only work in the long run for your brand, but it will also help you get the positive attention of the investors that you want—because you are demonstrating your solid understanding that your company/service/product is not for YOU. 

Go Get Funded.

Once you have some skin in the game, a real, thoughtfully developed brand and some insight on your target audience, your investors will start to look at your offering more seriously. If they are going to bet on you, they want to know that their chances at success (meaning yours) are good. Making sure these elements are integral to your pitch shows potential investors that you’re committed to your idea, you know there’s an audience out there that wants to buy your product and that you know how you’re going to sell it to them.

Need some help putting the pieces together? Let’s get in touch.

How to Succeed in Retail in the Age of Amazon

How to Succeed in Retail in the Age of Amazon


So you had some extra time on your hands during quarantine and came up with the “next big thing” for retail. Maybe it’s a new premium direct-to-consumer item or a platform for social shopping. Whatever the case may be, in the current age of retail, every business team needs to ask themselves the trillion-dollar question: How do we compete with Amazon?

Amazon’s Corner on the Retail Market

Like Walmart did for brick-and-mortar big box stores, the retail giant has hoarded market share by offering lower prices on thousands of retail products in virtually every industry, and it’s paid off. Amazon reached the trillion-dollar mark in 2018, being only the second company to do so (Apple was first just a month before).


You may be wondering how Jeff Bezos grew his operation to the giant it is today from its humble beginnings in his garage in Bellevue, WA, but consider this: Amazon has been at the forefront of innovation when it comes to online shopping and shipping to your home. It revolutionized shipping speeds with Prime memberships, paved the way for the use of delivery drones and even built more warehouses to accommodate large metro areas.


And that's not all: Amazon is always looking at the big picture and making highly intelligent organizational moves and acquisitions. For example, healthy eating and finding organic food choices are trends that have been on the rise for some time now, and consumers have been willing to pay more for those choices. So what did Amazon do? It bought Whole Foods, the largest, fastest-growing organic food chain. No wonder it reached the trillion-dollar mark.


Paying attention to what consumers want outside of the online arena and giving it to them in a new format is brilliant, and something to think about if you are trying to compete in the e-commerce space.

The Customer-Centric Business Model

As a rule, once a company obtains a certain level of success, the customer satisfaction rating will slowly decline as the corporation has bigger things to deal with. Amazon has only gotten more “customer-obsessed” with their exponential growth. A list of their company leadership principles explicitly states that at Amazon, “Leaders start with the customer and work backwards.” Earlier this year, in a Harris Poll on corporate reputation, Amazon was ranked in the top 3 for the 8th year in a row and the top 10 for the 12th consecutive year. And Amazon topped the ACSI Retail Report for the eleventh year in a row. Clearly they are onto something when it comes to customer satisfaction.


Smaller businesses have an advantage because they have always been better at building relationships. However, they can hold onto customer satisfaction as a top priority by posting crystal clear return policies and by offering one-on-one assistance when needed. Live chat is a fast-growing trend in customer support. We all feel more appreciated when we feel a connection with someone, so allowing your customers to make a personal connection with you and your business can go a long way.

The Coronavirus Effect: Recovering from a Spending Freeze

As in all other sectors, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail. E-commerce sales are forecasted to jump 18% by the end of 2020, but brick and mortar sales will drop by 14%. This TechCrunch article points out that the bump in e-commerce will not make up for the expected 10.5% drop in overall retail sales to $4.894 trillion—a level not seen since 2016. E-commerce may be enjoying a boost, but when all is said and done, Americans are technically spending less and gravitating to the top two in the category, Amazon and Walmart, for only the most essential purchases.

The Bottom Line For Small Businesses

While most new small businesses won't be able to directly compete with Amazon, there are ways you can be successful without feeling like you need to overcome the impossible.


Here are two ways of staying relevant in the space:


  • Go where consumers already are: that is, Amazon. For some, this is a classic “if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em” scenario in which a business foregoes fulfillment hassles by distributing directly through Amazon. For many, this has proven to be a successful strategy, turning a profit by letting Amazon take all the credit.


  • Create highly specialized products and services. Another new rule of thumb emerging across multiple industries, narrowing your niche and focusing on a very small percentage of the market can help you gain loyal consumers who know you are the only place to get what they need. Now that Americans are spending less, and Amazon has proven to be resilient, the retail behemoth is sure to keep its market share for the time being.


What may have worked for small businesses two years ago likely won’t work today, and what works today may not work tomorrow. Being nimble and finding small (but bright) windows of opportunity may be just the thing you need in order to survive.

An earlier version of this article was published on Forbes.

The Click to Purchase Myth.

The Click to Purchase Myth

When small brands roll out big dreams.

There are billions of marketing books, articles and gurus all claiming they have a silver bullet to generate leads while you sleep and get you that beach house in a matter of months. Like most things, what you read will rarely transform your life. Why is that? One word: execution. So, after a couple of attempts on your own, you hire a marketing agency, armed with the knowledge by experts and prepared to make an investment that will generate high returns.

This may seem like an exaggeration, but in reality, it isn’t too far from the truth. Businesses see the opportunity and desire a “click to purchase” product or service. This is where you build your digital marketing machine with paid ads to generate leads and a website to purchase. Sounds simple and the books will give you formula after formula to make it happen. And then they hit the wall- where are sales?

Assuming that marketing will be your sole driver for revenue is one of the biggest mistakes we see business owners make.

If you are ready to launch a product or a click to purchase service, here are a couple of things you should keep in mind and be prepared for. Consider this your reality check:

  1. If you want to build a digital empire be prepared to have deep pockets. It takes a lot of money to get enough traction and analytics to make a dent and even that first sale will take time and refinement. Know that you will learn lessons along the way, and they will be expensive.
  2. It will take time. Nothing worth having comes easily or instantaneously. It takes a lot of testing, refining and optimizing to get your targeting and message right. It takes at least 3 months to create baselines, understand the market and get a good feel for where you want to go. Even those digital marketing gurus had thousands of things that didn’t work out until they found their golden goose; even if that’s all they talk about. Know that it will take you time too.

If that sounds unappealing, know that there is another way to get your click to purchase solution launched. Take the uncertainty out of the equation and build a business that lasts, not just until the next Google algorithm change.

You are going to need to sell the first several solutions or products. Yes, it’s true. You will need to talk to people, understand what motivates them and how your digital solution solves their challenges. By skipping these early sales conversations you will need to invest much more time and money in marketing proving out different hypothesis. By having the conversations and connecting with these customers, you gain valuable insights and feedback that will help your business exponentially.

Let’s face it, a consultative sales process where you get to understand your customer, build a relationship and find solutions is at odds with a digital play. On the internet, you have to guess at what their challenges are,and feed them information, facts, proof that you are awesome. When you have a consultation you build connection and learn about your clients. This just can’t be done authentically digitally until you understand it in the real world.

What this boils down to is sales process. The more complex the offering, the more complex the sale. Make sure you aren’t just building a marketing machine, but a sales process that aligns with your values, your business, and your customers needs.

Depending on marketing to solely drive your revenue from the get-go is a risky business. We believe in creating sustainable programs that support elevate and grow businesses, not that ARE the business. If you would like to learn more about what a sales and marketing strategy looks like for you- it's time for us to talk! info@atrevenue.com

The difference between a marketing plan and a sales plan

The Difference Between a Marketing Plan and a Sales Plan

Business plans often glaze over sales and marketing very quickly. They want to know what the overall revenue goals are sure but the HOW is grossly underrepresented. That’s the problem of setting targets, goals, and dreams without understanding what it will take to get there.

We often find that sales and marketing are still the wild west of strategic planning. They get some top-level attention to help define key principles such as your target audience or your core values, but rarely include any of the actionable items. So how do we blend the strategy and plan to achieve that ultimate goal: more revenue?

Before you make the goals, check to make sure that you are incorporating all of the below:

Your marketing plan should include:

- Your key messaging concepts: What are you going to say that will capture your audience’s attention? What problem do you solve, what are the motivating factors, why does your customer care Your marketing plan should clearly and concisely be able to articulate your core message.

- The channels you plan to use: Once you know what you are saying, where you will say it is the next step. Each platform, channel, and community might need a different message and a different way of expressing it.

- Your investments (financial, time and frequency): Marketing is going to cost you one way or another, even free channels on social media are becoming more of a pay to play platform. Your marketing plan needs to map out your commitment.

- Your goals and KPIs. For each channel: It is critical that your plan includes clear expectations so you can measure your ROI, make adjustments and improve.

Your sales plan should include:

- Prospecting: where are you going to find new prospects and leads? Where and how are you networking? How does your personal brand show up on social media?

- Strategic Partners: Who are your business friends who send you more business?  Building and developing great strategic partnerships is not only good business sense, but great for your pipeline.

- Your process. Creating a sales strategy takes careful process mapping. How do leads go through your pipeline? What are the critical steps that need to be taken? How can this process be repeatable across your entire team? If sales are the first ambassador of your brand, it is critical that you have a brand congruous process.

- Your KPIs and goals. You need to track your activity just as much as your results. As a sales professional, you need to put in the calls, work, and effort into finding your leads and building the business. Once you are able to hone in on those key metrics you will be able to calculate how much you make every time you pick up the phone.

Building both your sales and marketing muscles is critical to developing more revenue for your business. To help achieve maximum impact, many businesses are hiring a CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) to ensure both of these departments are achieving their shared goal, reducing processes and investments that aren’t paying off and holding the team accountable to growth. If it’s time to see more revenue come in your business we are here to get you there! Contact @revenue today and let’s create a plan for your next milestone.