Top 10 Reasons You Need a Comprehensive Lead Generation Program in Place for 2017

1) In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions. (Source: Gartner Group)

Buyers are more and more afraid to make a significant business decision on their own. Some of these fears are justifiable and some are not. The reality for your growth is learning how to market to and sell to a team of buyers. You must be perceived as a credible business partner and be able to get engaged with and understand the frustrations and challenges of different personality types involved. Every buyer needs a certain type of information, as well as a certain amount of information, in order to make a decision.

2) Today’s sales process takes 22% longer than 5 years ago. (Biznology)

Not only are the sales more complex due to the “team of buyers” discussed above, but budgets have also tightened over the last decade and companies have been operating leaner than ever. In addition, B2B sales environments have become much more competitive due to globalization and the internet. These factors and more have caused the sales process to drag out longer than in the past.

3) 93% of B2B purchases start with an internet search.

It’s simple. If you want to grow your business, you must be found when people are searching the internet. People will search using the products and services you provide and they will search based on a challenge or need they have. Either way, we work with our clients to ensure there are ‘motivation matching’ landing pages and content to match the searches being conducted. We collaborate with our clients to develop content that answers questions their potential customers are asking.

4) B2B buyers are typically 57% of the way to a buying decision before actively engaging with sales. (Source: CEB)

You must be visible in multiple channels so that your buyers become aware of you and visit your website. It is a necessity today to have a world class website that conveys credibility and communicates a strong, clear value proposition. The most important job a website has is to convert visitors into sales leads which then turn into revenue.

5) 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions. (Source: CMO Council)

When was the last time you added fresh, engaging content to your website that provided value to your potential customer? Do you put time on the calendar to meet with your sales and marketing team? Your buyers are spending more time doing their research prior to engaging your sales team, so you must help them learn who you are and how you can solve their problems. Plus, an educated buyer can help shorten the sales process.

6) 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information from a series of articles versus an advertisement. (B2B PR Sense Blog)

The primary objective of any advertising or awareness campaign should be to drive buyers to rich, relevant content on a landing page or on your website. In doing so, you can test which content resonates most with your buyers. This is not to say advertising can’t drive a return on investment. In fact, all campaigns should have built in, isolated tracking mechanisms to determine the overall effectiveness of the ad-spend.

7) 63% of consumers need to hear company claims 3-5x before they actually believe it. (Source: Edelman Trust Barometer)

We have all heard about the importance of “Top of Mind Awareness”. As previously mentioned, you must be able to communicate a strong value proposition. You must also have a compelling company story, a mission, and credible experience that help your buyers decide you are the company that is right for them. Once all that is developed, you then must be consistent with your distribution of your messaging in as many places and platforms as possible. Part of the work here is gaining an understanding of where your target buyers are doing their research.

8) Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)

There are some great tools available to allow you to share your expertise with your target buyers. There is tremendous revenue value in educating your buyers about all the facets of your company and your capabilities. Putting this strategy in place is one of the most challenging initiatives a company can take on. In recent years, the market has become saturated with email marketing software – many of which are very good. However, all too often we hear stories from business owners and/or marketing directors who have invested for months in these software platforms expecting huge results, but in turn, were sadly disappointed when they didn’t fully utilize their investment. Why didn’t they? They did not have their lists segmented – or didn’t even have lists. They did not have supporting content created. They weren’t able to get the sales team involved to really think through a nurturing process that would fit into their sales process; this is almost always due to a lack of time. So, you must plan ahead first, and then invest in the software. Plan the work, then work the plan.

9) Top sellers use LinkedIn 6 hours per week. (Source: Jill Konrath)

Your target buyers are almost guaranteed to have a profile on LinkedIn. One of the most under rated aspects of LinkedIn is the messaging capabilities. Messages that get sent from LinkedIn –not inMails that are paid messages – get opened. This allows you to break through the “noise of email”. LinkedIn also provides quality information about your potential buyers. Herein lies the challenge for most marketing and sales professionals. Doing the research, the content development, the posting, and the outreach on a consistent basis takes time. Lots of time. However, this go-to-market strategy should absolutely be part of your B2B sales growth.

10) 84% of CEOs and VPs use social media to make purchasing decisions. (Source IDC)

Leslie Gaines-Ross, Weber Shandwick’s chief reputation strategist said, “Chief Executives are decidedly testing the social waters.” By increasing their online presence, CEOs are demonstrating that they “care about attracting the best talent, understand the need to better humanize themselves and are more in-tune with where their stakeholders are,” among other things. When you look at your LinkedIn connections, you should see your influence growing continuously among your peers and more importantly, your target buyers. Top executives in charge of revenue growth have always seen the value of networking and building relationships. Now more than ever, LinkedIn is readily available to help them do this globally at a much more rapid pace.

If you are already planning ahead for 2017, contact us and we can help you innovate your marketing and sales strategy with some brand new initiatives.

The 12 Days of Interchanges Marketing Tips

Everyone has heard of the 12 Days of Christmas, but have you heard the 12 Days of Interchanges? With seasonal traffic set to rise and an increase in online sales opportunities, this is the perfect time to invest in your digital sales strategy. What is your business doing to cash in on the holiday buying season? Here are a handful of tips (12 to be exact) to make sure that your sales and marketing strategy is ready to take on the holidays.

Create seasonal offerings to drive sales: END THE YEAR STRONG

Nothing can help drive business during this time of year like a perfectly timed holiday promotion. Americans spend over $465 Billion during the month of December and there is no reason why your business shouldn’t get at least a little slice of that pie.

Change all your social posts, brochures, ads etc. to a holiday theme

A great way to show your holiday spirit is to prepare holiday logos for your business. Placing a bow on your logo or having your logo serve as ornaments on a Christmas tree are just a couple of ideas.

Implement a holiday marketing plan

Remember timing is EVERYTHING. Spend time planning your social media, content marketing and email campaigns in advance. You’ll thank yourself later during the busy holiday season.

Create a New Year’s Resolution marketing strategy

Christmas, Hanukkah etc. aren’t the only holidays happening. New Year’s is a time when people reflect on how they can improve themselves or better their business. So take some time and review your results from the past year. Take note of what is and isn’t working and adjust your campaigns appropriately.

Use Email Marketing to put your holiday offers in front of prospective customers

Some people need to be reminded it’s the best time of year to spend money. Email continues to be one of the best ways for directly reaching individuals and driving sales. You will be dealing with a lot of competition during the holiday season, so it is important to send helpful content, as well as holiday promotions and product suggestions.

Don’t Overlook Direct Mail

With the rise of digital marketing you may feel your time and budget are better spent on email or social media marketing. Although these forms of marketing can be effective, sometimes nothing beats the personalization of a direct mail campaign. Many businesses feel direct mail is outdated, which means less competition, and a way for your business to stand out from the crowd.

Host A Special Event

Have a holiday networking event or throw a specials party for people to come to and get exclusive deals (Your own Black Friday event).

Connect with Potential Clients

People buy from people. Let potential clients see who you are behind the scenes. Increase your presence on social media platforms during the holidays to build loyalty and trust.

Create a Holiday Themed Competition or Jingle

Having something that clients can laugh about or sing along with is EXCELLENT for brand awareness. It is also a great way to show off your personality and demonstrate the human side of your business.

Put Together a Quick Survey

With the new year approaching, there is no better time to start thinking of ways to improve yourself and your business. A quick and easy way to get suggestions on where your business can improve is from your current and potential clients. Send them a short survey and take the results and implement a few of there ideas in the upcoming year.

Stay Top of Mind

The holidays can be a crazy and stressful time. With employees taking off for the holidays, it can be difficult to maintain consistent communication with your clients. Make sure to stay top of mind by scheduling any meetings and marketing campaigns well in advance. Let your clients and target audience know how your company is preparing for the holidays and all the exciting things you have in store for the new year.

Plan for the Year Ahead

Before taking off on that family vacation, make sure you have sales and marketing strategy planned for the new year.

What sales and marketing strategies have you implemented in your own business for the holidays? Have you tried using any of the tips we’ve listed above? If so, to what success? Let us know in the comments below.  

5 Marketing Tactics To Be Thankful For

If there is anything guaranteed in marketing, it’s change. The technology changes so fast nowadays, we often forget to appreciate the basic tools and strategies we have at our disposal. With Thanksgiving just a couple of days away, what better time to reflect on what we, as marketers, are thankful for. Here are five marketing tactics we are thankful for this holiday season and you should be too:

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Interchanges Adds Marshall Butler as Vice President

Industry expert brings wealth of experience to Jacksonville-based agency

Interchanges, a leading business growth agency, announced the addition of Marshall Butler as Vice President, further filling out its team of marketing industry experts.

“We are thrilled to have Marshall join Team Interchanges,” said CEO Chris Patterson. “He brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise and loads of integrity to the table. It takes a leader like him to help us continue to deliver dramatic results for our valued clients.”

Butler has 23 years of marketing industry experience. Prior to his time at Interchanges, Butler served as the President of Critical Path Training, one of the premier SharePoint training organizations in the world. Before joining Critical Path Training, Butler was Director of Sales and Marketing for Sinelli and Associates, helping insurance executives optimize profitability through the innovative use of processes and technology.

Butler led a highly creative and tech-savvy team at RAMWorks, a group that was responsible for many first generation websites such as the Jacksonville Jaguars, CSX and Tropicana, among other well-known brands. He began his career managing direct marketing campaigns for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida.

As Vice President of Interchanges, Butler will assume responsibility for maintaining Interchanges’ unique culture and commitment to its clients while ensuring the organization’s continued growth.

“Interchanges has an incredible reputation for helping clients dramatically increase revenues,” said Butler. “I am thrilled to be able to use my marketing, sales and technology experience to be a part of that success.”

Butler holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising from University of Florida. He is the former President of the Rotary Club of West Jacksonville and currently serves as a District Governor for Rotary International.

About Interchanges

Interchanges is a full service business growth agency focused on delivering significant return on investment for our clients. Utilizing sixteen years of experience with hundreds of clients in many industries, we focus three critical performance areas in a business: sales, marketing and culture. By employing a dual track strategy of discovering hidden opportunities and identifying underperforming actions, our passionate team plans and executes initiatives that deliver the value. In other words, when working with Interchanges you can Expect Results.

If you are interested in exploring possibilities to dramatically grow your company, please contact Marshall directly at:

cell: 904-382-7028

email- mbutler@interchanges.com

The Winner’s Shortcut

“How do I get there faster?”

“Why do some people succeed more rapidly than others?”

“Isn’t there an easier way to success?”

These are questions I have asked myself over and over through the years. Do you want some great news?! There IS a shortcut to achievement.

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What’s Next for LinkedIn After Microsoft Deal

In case you missed it, Microsoft recently agreed to acquire LinkedIn for 26.2 billion dollars. If you are one of LinkedIn’s 433 million users, it is fair to be a little nervous for what potentially lies ahead for the popular professional social network. After all, this is not Microsoft’s first foray into the social media acquisition game (Ever heard of Yammer? Didn’t think so). Anytime an acquisition like this takes place there is certainly reason to worry.

But, the big question remains: What does this mean for those who use LinkedIn as a source for lead generation and developing new business relationships? Read more

The Emotional Maturity Success Hack

This post was originally published by Interchanges CEO Chris Patterson on LinkedIn Pulse.

Are you mature enough to succeed?

I’ve been in business for more than 25 years now. In that time I have been able to observe and analyze what it takes for individuals to get promoted, advance and stretch their potential. I’ve found that one of the most important aspects for success is emotional maturity aka attitude. Here are a couple of signs that you are dealing with an emotionally mature person. Read more

Why WordPress is the Best Content Management System

Choosing the right content management system is critical to virtually every aspect of your website, especially its marketing potential. Whether you are a web developer or a business owner, wouldn’t you want to use the best content management system to make sure your marketing initiatives are being met?

WordPress can sometimes get a bad rap among the various content management systems that are out there. Since WordPress began as a blogging platform, businesses tend to think it is too simple to support the more complex features they desire in a website. However, over time WordPress has evolved as a content management system and is the most popular of its kind. In fact, today WordPress powers more than 24 percent of the web. Why choose WordPress for your website? Here are a few benefits to keep in mind.

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The Key to Effective Marketing Automation

In an era where most of the buying process is complete by the time a prospect is ready to engage with sales, effective marketing automation is the key to engaging potential customers early and often in the sales process.

While there has been an increase in the adoption of marketing automation in recent years, it is not as easy to implement as you may think.

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A Simple Guide to Organic Search Engine Optimization

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), it can often appear intimidating or overwhelming due to its highly technical, always-changing nature. The truth is, unless you have an experienced in-house SEO team or hire an outsourced digital marketing agency to help you out, organic SEO can be quite difficult to master on your own.

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