This week, Dan Morris joined us on The Jeff Bullas Show. Dan is a bit of a growth expert when it comes to B2B companies, and we’re going to dive into some of the challenges, opportunities, and frameworks that he uses to help founders grow a remote business.
Dan got his start working with smaller fast-growing companies, and over the last 15 years, he’s helped found teams in the US, the UK, and Australia. Developing sales processes and accelerating growth are his areas of expertise. Some of these teams have ended up exiting for over a hundred million dollars.
Pulling from his unique experience, we’re diving into Dan’s best tips for growing a remote business.
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1. Develop a winning framework
Oftentimes, founding teams either don’t have the time or the experience to focus on developing a repeatable process that helps them grow. These mistakes can lead to wrong decisions, such as hiring salespeople too early and then having to let them go, or hiring too fast, not reaching productivity, and burning through cash.
Review, refine, rollout, and replace. That’s the framework Dan has used for all these years.
Service-based businesses can sell things in bundles or tiers. However, as a business owner, you need these bundle sales to make sense to your team so that they know what they are striving for. If they don’t understand the incentive plan, they will often underperform.
Let creativity inform what they’re able to put in front of a customer. The question has always been, how can we get people to the next level? If you’re selling content, how many units of content do they need for their primary project, and what can we potentially tap into looking at their final goals?
If you’re doing a series of blogs, would it be useful to have videos to go with them? Can you put some sort of incentive together for these packages? What is the social element to this? What will this individual customer need in the future?
2. Equip your team with the right tools for remote business
Remote business has been accelerated for a much longer time than just what COVID has caused.
Over the last couple of years, businesses have been looking at flexible office spaces and making it easier for companies to access multiple offices. There are software businesses that are making it easy for much larger businesses to buy units of working time in lots of different locations for the benefit of distributed teams. This comes from HR teams recognizing for some time that people prioritize quality of life, as well as being able to commit their time to work.
Most people want to have a dedicated workspace wherever they are. The large corporate monolith headquarters are less popular than they once were, and this last year, in particular, has put a real magnifying glass on this idea. This is part of why businesses that had already invested in solid CRM have reaped the benefits.
There are a few tools we’ve found to be helpful in maximizing a remote business and the work from home model. The first would be Zoom, obviously, but the others work alongside Zoom. The two most common ones are Chorus, which basically takes notes for you while you’re doing a zoom call by transcribing it, and Jiminy, which empowers coaching and meeting reviews.
3. Align marketing and sales
There is a very interesting tension between marketing and sales. Sales teams claim that marketing isn’t producing enough leads, while marketing says they’re sending over lots of leads without seeing results. The sales team responds that the leads don’t convert because they haven’t been qualified well enough, and on goes the communication cycle. This is a common problem.
Imagine a spreadsheet where the finance team has told you that your best customers are listed A to Z down the side, along with how much they spent last year. Marketing can then use this information to tell you the name of the person at a company that is in the database, and maybe their job title. As you can see, most of the time what you really want in order to be able to create an addressable market is more information.
What does the company use that you can provide? What’s their revenue, location, or any other pertinent details?
If you can then agree that people who match certain criteria are going to be the best targets for sales, then you can also agree that marketing can invest their budget towards people like them.
4. Implement a content marketing strategy
Content marketing is a big, big word. HubSpot was one of the original “inbound marketing” pioneers. Customers actually reached out to them, rather than them having to chase the customers.
Content on its own can do a lot. People have been researching the power of content since 2007-2008. Ever since, people started blogging, creating content, and in general investing in regular content on their website.
Some businesses rely on random acts of marketing, just creating content because it makes sense to them at the time. This makes them accumulate a huge amount of content, but it isn’t organized in a way that takes people through what they actually want.
To fill in the organization void, there are four steps in the marketing matrix or the sales funnel:
Let’s review the types of content that would fit into these four steps.
Awareness is at the top of the funnel. You want to attract as many subscribers as possible by covering larger topics. For example, the marketing team would be running targeted campaigns for people who visited the website and retargeting them to get them to download a piece of content or to engage in some more of the web content. The social media team would be working towards driving people back to those web pages.
Maybe you’re doing a press release about a customer that you won over, or a problem that you solved. These are all ways to engage with people who’ve never heard of you before, some of which might bump into your content when they’re looking to solve a problem. Practically anything that lets new people see your business, be it virtual events, trade shows, or being seen on stage.
Consideration is the next step. You need to build a long-term strategy with a platform, which means finding a way to streamline the switch or combination of services. If you’re buying new, innovative technology, those are the sorts of things that work really well in the consideration phase.
Getting to the decision step means you’ve got a hot lead for the sales team. You’ve got people who are contacting you, they’ve signed up, and they want to see a demo. They want to see a proof of concept. They want to see a proposal or a case study. Since these clients are mainly looking for the same thing, this step is where you’ll want a one-page summary or a project plan template. This will cover the starting point, where you’re hoping to go, and the information needed to outline the collaboration.
If you’re creating content for your funnel, then creating a framework or a template can work really well. You may include things like costs, revenue, modeling, exercises, or ROI calculators.
Finally, if you’re able to engage clients in this cycle, to “buy-in” to what your company is doing and where it’s going, they become advocates for your business.
Once you’ve got somebody up and running, you’ve done some consultation with them, and they started seeing the results, then you can start interviewing them.
You can break down the results into case studies. You can start getting them to speak with you at events. They can contribute to written or other content that you’re doing, as this can add to the credibility.
The focus is working with founders who are trying to get themselves out of the day-to-day sales and help them enable the growth team, which means adding salespeople who can hit these repeatable processes.
If you can support a sales and marketing team by creating these types of content, then they’ll always have something at hand and your business is much more likely to grow sustainably, mainly because they won’t have to make it up as they go along. Your teams can just go into your content library, pull something up and use it as a reference point when talking to potential clients. This means that they can save their energy for communication and listening rather than having to create on the fly.
Find out more about Dan Morris
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