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Who is responsible for sales in your business?


Is a Founder really a Marketer?

Earlier this month I co-hosted the #UppercaseConference run by @Missinglettr.  


The idea was ambitious, brilliant, insane, fraught with opportunities to fail as well as the potential to really become something special.  The founder of Missinglettr, Benjamin Dell, is a developer, a coder, a serial entrepreneur with a number of successes under his belt and plenty more in the tank.   


Together we hosted over 100 speakers from around the World; The USA, New Zealand, The UK, India, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Africa… and many more.  Each of the speakers gave a valuable lesson in the area of their expertise and contributed a value-add gift or membership for the viewers. I’m not going to dazzle you by naming every name, but suffice it to say this conference attracted some big names such as AppSumo, Thinkific, Baremetrics, Traffic is Currency, HelpDocs, Lemlist, LeanStack, Quuu, PingGo,  and so many more.  Nearly every speaker was the Founder of their business.  


The conference ran in webinar slots of 1hr each with just a few minutes between them for 2 weeks.  The logistics were precision-engineered with zero margin for error! It was an intense and exciting fortnight.  Beholden to the timer, trying to be patient with the occasional technophobic-speaker who couldn’t get their internet/camera/microphone/speaker to work (and sometimes just not even there when they were due to start!).  I was praying daily to the gods of Zoom for a decent connection with no interruptions (thankfully they mostly played along)!


I hosted and watched around 50 webinars in 2 weeks.  My brain just about melted and my eyeballs dried out, but it was more than worth it.   I had the good fortune to host some of the nicest, most inspiring and engaging people.  Several stood out for their ability to adapt to their audience and the sheer infectious enthusiasm of their delivery.


What is the difference a Founder-marketer makes?

As the conference went on some sub-themes began to emerge;  It is no longer good enough to be a talented [Insert your own profession here] with a vision for a platform, app or business.  You now have to be the CEO, CFO, and Chief Marketing Officer, all-in-one. Being the ‘front-(wo)man’ for your own business is a very different skill-set to actually delivering.   You need to have not only the affable nature, charisma and a quick wit, but also the ability to translate your ‘industry-speak’ to ‘human’ in order to have your potential customer understand you, let alone engage with you.  Some of the people I met did this brilliantly. Often in a language that wasn’t even their mother-tongue. Others had superb ideas but their delivery was flat and uninspiring, despite the global appeal of the product. Would these ever become our ‘go to’ resources? I doubt it.  The winners were the ones who were able to bridge the gap between their expertise and what their customer understands to be the problem.


Should you be the Chief Marketer in your business?

Becoming the Chief Marketer for your business is probably not what you envisaged when you set out.  Your business idea, plan or goal likely didn’t involve you spending hours researching your customer avatar, building SEO keyword plans, developing content to engage and delight your potential customer, building sales funnels and lead-magnets.  I’ll hedge my bets that this vocabulary was alien to you before you got going in business!


The reality is that we are all in sales & marketing and none more so than as we launch and grow our own businesses. You may get to the stage where you hire someone to run this for you, or indeed outsource it on a day to day basis. As the founder, you will always be the ‘face’ of the business and so always in a sales & marketing role.  Think Richard Branson, James Dyson, Michelle Mone of Ultimo - none set out to say ‘I’m a marketer’ yet all are the face of their business. Until we reach the heady-heights of Virgin’s success we need to buckle-up and own the marketing role!


There are many different ways of achieving the volume of leads we need to generate the business we want.  Finding a style that sits well with you AND gets results is the key to marketing your business successfully.   There are so many ‘6 figure’ plans and programmes out there promising you endless revenue without a single sales call.  Sadly the only sales these generate is for the person taking your money to enroll in their programme.


Real sales happen because a customer gets to know your product or service and take delight in the experience they have with you.  It isn’t a quick-fix. It takes research and consistent dedication. The point at which your potential customer first finds you is unlikely to coincide perfectly with the moment they want to buy your service or product.   In today’s busy, noisy, distracting world you need to do more than just have a great shop-front, on or offline. You need to become their ‘go to’ trusted source.


But I’m not a sales person, I’m the [insert job title here] !’

Your ‘job’ is to find the potential customers for your business and engage them.  In developing an ongoing relationship you stay front-of-mind for when they are ready to buy.  Our goal in teaching you marketing strategies is to minimise the time you spend doing this while generating the growth and results you want.  It is possible!


What the most engaging speakers at the #UppercaseConference achieved was to build rapport with their audience.  They brought them in and made us all feel valued and involved. We had a say, we could relate what they were teaching to our own businesses and we had strategies we could implement, right away.  They showcased a level we weren’t yet achieving and made it a clear path to achieve it. They were generous with their time and focussed on the outcome. I have already had 1-to-1 conversations with several of the speakers about my own business.  Each has delivered value and a strategy I can work with right away. Those strategies that work best for me now already have me planning to do paid work with those companies in the future. There are a few I’m just not ready for yet but whose services I have recommended on to others, without hesitation.


Those Founders / Marketers have achieved their goal.  I am now a ‘qualified prospect’;

I’m interested, have a future-use for their services, I am connected to people who are also going to become their customers and am actively advocating their services to others even though they’re not right for where my business is right now.  


When the time comes, if they keep me in their marketing loop with clever nurturing emails, I will buy from them rather than another, unknown, competitor.


How do I get started?

As the Founder, marketing your business is the most crucial element.  It is unlikely that this is your core skill-set and highly likely that you’re learning as you go.   While I’m a huge advocate of ‘just in time learning’,( i.e. learning something when you need it rather than ‘just in case’), the danger with this style of self-teaching is that you end up with a disjointed plan reliant on cobbled together strategies that almost-but-not-quite do what you want them to.   What you actually need is a simple yet effective marketing strategy that will grow in volume and complexity as your business requires. Like with all meaningful things you need to start with a manageable plan.  


When I start working with someone the first step is always the same.  Regardless of how established their business is we go through a marketing strategy building session.  It's often the case that a business starts out with a strategy but that document gets filed away or isn't updated as they develop.   A good strategy is a living document that needs to be present!  Our sessions are far more in-depth but cover the same principles as the downloadable Strategy Builder that you can get here or from the blue bar at the top of the website page.

There is little point having something beautiful that is too complicated for you to implement!


The Who, What, Where, When of your customer’s journey.

The first step to building your strategy is to know who you are talking to.  Next, you need to know what they need so you can develop your content and curate the information that adds value to their experience. Understanding where they go to seek advice that you can then give is crucial to building the trust factor that will stand you in such great stead for when they are ready to buy.


The most simple to the most complex of strategies is based on testing.  Once you’ve established who you want to speak to and where they are online, you deploy a lead-magnet that solves their immediate problem and starts their journey with you.  From here you use a sophisticated email sequence coupled with accurate retargeting campaigns to ensure that you are gently reminding them of who you are and why they want to engage with you.   As their engagement continues they develop a stronger bond with you, your product or service. Every email, click, download and response is a micro-conversion that makes buying from you an easier decision.  The value you add builds their trust and loyalty. This is what converts to a sale.


How do you know what’s working?

Testing what your audience responds best to is the easiest way to refine what you’re doing. You save time in the content you produce by knowing it is what they want to read and engage with.  Social media presents a unique opportunity to analyse this at a granular level. When we work with clients we spend the first 2-4 weeks with our noses in the numbers. We look at every figure for every post, advert, and article, ensuring we know what is driving web traffic and who is actually buying.   This process is a lighter-touch after the first month or so but always ongoing so we can refine and hone in on who you are engaging, with what material, on which platforms and when they respond best. No other marketing medium can give you this level of detail on your customer, nor allow you to target them so efficiently.


If you’d like to unblock what’s holding your marketing back or just discuss what you should be doing next, you can contact me for a 20-minute sense check by zoom, skype or a good old-fashioned call.  I see this not as a ‘free marketing review’ but as an exchange of implementable ideas. After all, every business I look at and every entrepreneur I work with has something new to teach me, too!


Click the Sense Check button below to book your slot now and get your prospects knocking on the door.

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