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Three reasons why CRM and Marketing Automation should be the highest priority for every B2B business

June 7, 2017

Marketing-Automation-Faces_600w

Ask someone who is in a B2B environment what drives new customer acquisition, and many will respond with something along the lines of “it’s all about personal relationships”.  These are absolutely the most valuable connections … the customer relationships that last decades and survive the longest.  However, these are certainly the most difficult to find, nurture, and close.  We are constantly faced with the question of how to find more of these golden goose eggs.  Enter Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Automation (MA).

That brings me to reason #1:

Marketing automation can reveal the bottom half of the iceberg – the prospects you don’t even know are there.Iceberg_200w

Personal relationships in business are a scarce resource.  I liken personal relationships to only the opportunities that we can see right in front of us – or viewed another way, the tip of the iceberg.  This leaves us with the question of how to either achieve more success in closing the available opportunities, or alternatively, increasing the population of opportunities.  I propose that discovering the unseen part of the iceberg lies in the potential of the combination of both CRM/MA.  The combination of these tools, coupled with the right strategy, can pull the curtain back on an entirely new world we didn’t know existed.

You might be thinking, “sure, but how on earth does that relate to personal relationships”?  The answer is that when a proper CRM/MA strategy is done correctly, it doesn’t replace the personal connection – it creates a personal introduction with prospects who are equally interested in a mutually beneficial relationship.

Again, let me stress that point.  CRM/MA does not replace personal connections and relationships with low-value and unseen customers.  It helps to deliver higher value, more qualified, and more willing opportunities.

Fine you say – but that sounds like a great deal of work, requiring additional resources that you may not have.  In a tight economy with cloudy skies on the horizon, one of the last things a company wants to do is increase head count in softer areas such as marketing.

That brings me to reason #2:

It doesn’t take an army of sales and marketing professionals to bring to life a tailored and value-adding CRM/MA strategy.

Army_550w

I believe that the time has finally arrived where outstanding and affordable CRM and Marketing Automation solutions are available to more than just the big guys.  There are solutions that fit a wide variety of needs and price points.  These solutions can get a company moving in a matter of days if not hours.  For me, that means you’re closer to creating a positive impact on your bottom line.

Tools today are not only very intuitive, but also provide a wealth of tutorial and training materials and assistance.  And in most cases, they simply help you to automate the already successful processes that you do by second nature – thus just helping you build a better mousetrap.  However, this process does need than just added efficiency and productivity.  Let’s talk about information, because knowledge is power.

And lastly, reason #3:

Valuable and actionable information has never been more available.

Information_150wBig Brother fears set aside for the moment, we are awash in data.  Everything you ever wanted to know about an untapped world of potential customers is out there waiting for you.  Valuable information about companies, key members, pain points, priorities and initiatives, and their needs – all very readily available via that “repository of all human knowledge” named the Internet.  A well-designed CRM/MA solution helps to capture that information and make it available to you at your fingertips –without requiring you to hire a data scientist to master big data.

Take the first step:

In conclusion, if you haven’t done it lately I strongly suggest you dive into the world of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Automation (MA) solutions as a high priority.  Learn firsthand and form your own opinions.  You will encounter both brilliant and lackluster solutions – however, along the way you will see how much potential these tools have to open an entirely new world for your B2B business development efforts.  Then it’s up to you to make those potential relationships personal.

Scott Capistrano

www.statusnotquo.com

10 things to know about marketing automation

May 30, 2017

Marketing Automation isn’t exactly a new topic.  However, thanks to a variety of excellent Marketing Automation platforms now available as a Software as a Service (SaaS), it has been gaining much more traction.  One might say that Marketing Automation has finally become available to the masses.

What is Marketing Automation?  I appreciate Hubspot’s definition:

“Marketing automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier. “

So, the question many businesses and executives are asking themselves is “do I need to be doing marketing automation, and where do I even begin?”  The following ten “things to know” will help you make that decision, and give you a launch pad for taking the plunge.

  1. Define why you are doing marketing automation.

One of the greatest areas of impact that marketing automation can have on any business is to increase the number of quality sales leads.  There are two key parts to that statement – increasing leads, as well as increasing quality.  Marketing automation can certainly increase your sales touch points; however, more importantly it can help you to properly score the temperature of those leads.  When set up properly, marketing automation can build a process that follows the journey of a sales lead as it changes (and hopefully) increases in “temperature” – thus allowing you to reach out to a potential customer at the right time.

  1. Do your research.

Even at this relatively early stage, there is a wealth of incredible marketing automation SaaS platforms.  While many are very similar, you will be surprised at not only how different some of the offerings are, but also the range in pricing.  Find what fits your objective, resources, content creation ability, and your budget.  If you’re not sure, see point #3!

  1. If you need it, get help!

Marketing automation can be a very daunting subject.  For most people, it’s like drinking from a fire hose from day one.  For many people, this is one of those areas that make sense to get help.  Even if you are able to and planning to handle all of your marketing automation efforts internally, getting help from a professional to help define your strategy and jump start the process makes a ton of sense.  It can be the difference between starting to generate and improve the quality of your leads in a matter of days or weeks, instead of months.

  1. It all begins with the first step.

The workflow processes and content creation requirements for marketing automation can be overwhelming.  It can become a very complex ecosystem.  However, it starts with one small step.  Moving forward and being consistent is just as important as filling up your white board with a marketing automation flowchart!

  1. It’s not just about email.

Sending automated emails is what people frequently think of when discussing marketing automation.  Remember that in today’s connected world, email is only ONE method through which individuals communicate.  Don’t miss out on the myriad of other places people connect (yes, even Snapchat for us older generations).

  1. Always focus on providing value.

How do you avoid becoming an impersonal marketing engine that alienates prospects and customers?  By always remaining focused on adding value.  If you evaluate every piece of content you create with a critical eye focused on always providing something of value, you will always be relevant.

  1. Remember that not all of your customers are the same.

Don’t blast the same content for everyone in a sequence/schedule.  Have the prospect or customer journey determine the content.  And always remember #6 above!

  1. Don’t forget your existing customers!

It’s frequently said that one of the easiest and fastest ways to grow your business is through your existing customer base.  So, don’t forget to leverage the data you already have about your customers (renewals, birthdays, anniversaries, product sales history, cross sells, etc.).  Leverage this data as touch points!

  1. Continuously re-evaluate.

One of the strengths of today’s platforms is flexibility.  Use that flexibility to constantly monitor and evaluate what is working, and what is not.  Be agile.

  1. Stay focused on the original reason you’re doing marketing automation.

Always remember to go back and read #1 above.  Why did you begin marketing automation in the first place?  Keep your strategy focused and on track, and most of all, be consistent.

In conclusion, marketing automation can deliver tremendous benefits, connecting you with more, and better suited leads.  It can be daunting, but it all begins with the first step.  And last, remember to always add value!

Scott Capistrano, CPA, MBA

President, Status Not Quo

How to adapt your business strategy to leverage Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality

March 16, 2017

Businesses who aren’t working on their virtual reality and augmented reality strategies now will be left behind. This article simplifies Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Realty (AR), and shows how to profit from leveraging these innovative new technologies.

Virtual reality and augmented reality are poised to change the way we look at and interact with the world, literally. Last year was called “Year Zero” in the launch and consumption of these technologies. This year stands to be the year in which we see the chicken and egg situation resolved, as more content is produced, the hardware technology becomes faster, and it all becomes more accessible to the consumer.

Describing VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) to friends, family and colleagues can be difficult as these can be complex concepts, but using a couple of examples we can easily paint a clear picture.

Pokémon Go is a great example of AR technology that people quickly understand. It’s AR technology that overlays imagery (a created reality) on-top of the actual reality (what’s around you) to create an experience that the user interacts with.

VR, on the other hand, is a totally immersive experience. Imagine being a scuba diver, swimming around a beautiful Caribbean ocean floor. In this example, you’re viewing the ocean through a mask, and are able to move through this reality at your own pleasure, looking in whatever direction you wish while enjoying a totally immersive experience. That’s VR. Currently, content is actively being created for VR.  It is primarily for the gaming and entertainment market.

So, what does the future hold for business-to-business applications in VR and AR, and specifically for businesses who employ salespeople in the field? In short order these two technologies will be as ubiquitous in the business environment as email or texting. Presenting your product or service will be done with VR and AR as a means to drive customer value through a better, and more realistic experience.  In addition, digital marketing and customer engagement as we know it will change.

As a VR example, imagine you’re a farmer who’s about to purchase a quarter million-dollar tractor – a major capital purchase. Your friendly neighborhood tractor dealer comes out to your farm and puts a VR headset on you and situates you in a virtual tractor. Not only can you experience what it’s like to drive the tractor from the comfort of your couch, but you’re also able to view and experiment with all available options on the fly – both inside and out.  Your choices have expanded from one or two sets of versions, to unlimited choice.  Just like that, you’re sold!

For AR, imagine you’re with your real estate broker looking at a raw unbuilt office space to lease for your business expansion. He hands you a mobile phone and you point it around the space at look at the display.  Instantly you see a fully designed suite including furniture, carpet, lighting fixtures and paint colors – all overlaid on the real empty space.  You now can be inspired by the final vision. Again, you’re sold!

As you start to think about it, the possibilities are endless. That premise alone leads to a massive market potential. In a recent Forbes article, “Tim Merel, Managing Director at Digi Capital, forecasts that the AR and VR market will hit $150 billion in revenue by 2020, bringing in about $120 billion and $30 billion, respectively.”*

Businesses who aren’t working on employing a VR and AR strategy for business will be hit by a wave of innovation that their competitors will be riding. Think about how your sales and marketing teams currently engage with your customers and then re-think it based upon employing these new technologies. That paradigm shift alone will change your business.

I challenge you to think about how you present your product/service to your customers – could VR or AR bring value to your customer’s experience?  Think outside of the box.  The businesses who leverage these new technologies beyond gaming and entertainment will set the pace.

Kieran Wong is the Director of Sales for Status Not Quo: brilliant digital design; flawless web and mobile software; innovative strategy.  Not the usual status quo.

 

Deborah Weinswig, contributing writer at Forbes, October 26, 2016

“Virtual and Augmented Reality Become Realistic Revenue Generators”

Santa Clarita – Not Your Ordinary Town

February 3, 2017

Yesterday was the 24-year anniversary of my first date with my husband.  When dating, one of the first questions you ask is “Where are you from?”.  Scott’s answer was “Santa Clarita” and my response was “Yeah, no idea where that is.  Sorry.”  Little did I know that a few years later we would call Santa Clarita home, let alone still be living here and running a wonderful web design and digital marketing agency over 20 years later.  My life up to that point was somewhat transient to say the least.  My dad was a commercial fisherman and a car salesman – not exactly the most stable of jobs.  When my parents divorced, my mom, then a single parent of 5 kids under the age of 12, moved to where the work was.  By the time I was 16, I had lived in 14 different houses in 3 different states.

So, why am I writing this blog?  Well, tomorrow Netflix will launch its latest Original Series:  Santa Clarita Diet.  The series, based in Santa Clarita, is getting great reviews and has the potential of bringing attention to the city I now call home.

USA Today calls it one of “the most joyous, hilariously dark comedies to come our way in many a season.”

Netflix Chief Content Officer said, “The scripts were so great. Everyone who read them wanted in.”

However, an LA Times article quotes a production designer, calling Santa Clarita “…50 shades of beige.” You can imagine the outrage by Santa Claritans!  Our initial reaction was to shake our fists and cry out “NOT TRUE!!”  How could this erroneous perception of our great city be put out there for all to read?!  Sure, it may not be as glamorous or world-renowned as Hollywood or Beverly Hills, but it is full of great companies, master planned communities, and amazing people.

So I did what most people today would naturally do, I turned to Google.  My first search was “what does the color beige represent?”  The Color Meaning of Beige is “dependable, conservative, and flexible.”  Ok, that actually fits pretty well.  Next, our Chief Creative Officer sent us the search results of the word “Beige” on Pinterest.  The results are quite beautiful, much like our awesome city.  There’s even a web design blog post titled: “The awesomeness of beige.”  This article says that beige can be used to add warmth, to evoke a historic period or luxury, or to give a space an organic feel.”  Ok, that’s not so bad either.

So, Santa Clarita, let’s continue to go against the Status Quo and embrace what may seem to be a slight!  We’re not an ordinary town:  While some houses may look the same and whatnot, they are affordable and the neighborhoods safe.  Traffic in Santa Clarita is not ordinary – it’s actually not jammed packed like most other prosperous cities in California.  There is actually parking available at your office, and you don’t have to pay $25/day like many places Downtown.   There is a great workforce to choose from in the SCV, as we like to call it.  81% of our workforce at Status Not Quo lives in the Santa Clarita valley, and we have the best staff ever – just ask our clients!  Great companies like Disney, Logix Credit Union, Boston Scientific, Princess Cruises and many, many more have chosen Santa Clarita to conduct their business as well.

Famous people such as Tim Burton, John Lasseter and Don Cheadle chose Santa Clarita for its excellent Art Institute (California Institute of the Arts). Many Southern Californians will remember the famous duo Mark and Brian from the radio station KLOS – Mark Thompson was a Santa Clarita resident for decades.  Taylor Lautner of the Twilight series fame even lives in Santa Clarita and has said he “has never thought of moving out of this town.”

Santa Clarita is a place where dreams can come true.  Businesses can find great locations, great tax credits, and great employees in Santa Clarita.

So take it from a girl who never thought she’d live in a place for more than 5 years, let alone almost a quarter of a century who is now CEO of one of the Top Information Technology Companies   – Santa Clarita is not your ordinary town.  It is truly quite extraordinary.

Maybe Beige will be the next Black!

To find out more about how to move your business to Santa Clarita, visit Status Not Quo’s awesome client, the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation.  And to learn more about how you can bring your business to the next level with Not Your Ordinary Consulting Firm, contact Status Not Quo today!

#SantaClaritaDiet #scvedc #santaclarita #netflix #NotOrdinary

First Impressions

January 25, 2017

In today’s world, your website, whether it’s being viewed on a mobile device or a computer, functions as the brochure, flyer, business card, billboard and face of your company – all wrapped up together.  And you, via your website, have only seven (7) seconds1 to make that critical first impression a great one.  And you must reinforce that positive experience throughout the user’s exploration of your website – or you’ll lose that potential customer.  So what makes up a great website design?  Let alone the actual web development?

Let’s start with the web design.  There are five key components to a great web design:

  • Design
  • Responsive and mobile strategy
  • Call to action
  • Social and digital marketing
  • SEO

Each one must work with the others, supporting an integrated experience for the user.

Design

The best website design will speak your customer’s language, while conveying your brand and message and connecting with each customer individually.  It should answer your customer’s questions, and communicate why your company is the authority.  It will always include clear calls to action that guide the customer to closing a transaction with your company.  And it will incorporate SEO (Search Engine Optimization) from the ground up, organically.  As Status Not Quo worked with Landscape Development Inc. (LDI) on their website design, these points were always at the forefront of the process:

When designing the LDI website it was clear that the most important design insights should come from its users. The client had a good idea what their current and future audiences would want, but laying out the minutiae was a whole different ballgame.

It was important for us to have a clear picture of what needs would bring people to the LDI website, and exactly how those needs would go about providing a design that would draw them in further.

Once our insights were clear we decided on a clean, simple, and elegant visual design.

The hallmark of a great interface is simplicity. By this I don’t mean simply sticking a button or two here and there with some animations thrown in – I mean easy to understand and interact with.   This is the lost art of User Experience Design.  A key part of the LDI site design is to subtly guide users from where they are to where they need to go – each page tells a story about the company’s services and acumen with clear calls to action at each conclusion.

By working closely with the client throughout the ideation, design and implementation stages of development we were able to achieve all these goals and produce an elegant website with clear and easy to use navigation that showcased LDI’s beautiful craftsmanship and dedication to quality.
Christian Rossi, Chief Creative Officer, Status Not Quo

 

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And in the words of Gary Horton, CEO of Landscape Development, Inc.:

“We recognize that most customers have become highly visual and don’t have time for lots of menu-manipulation and ‘drilling down.’  Their time is valuable, and they appreciate stories that quickly explain capabilities, and clients like images with emotional impact. The new site feels compelling and visitors quickly understand how committed we are to their interests and care. They learn this visually, intellectually, intuitively and emotionally. And they learn it quickly.”
– Gary Horton, CEO Landscape Development, Inc.

Responsive and mobile strategy

In 2014, mobile device sales outpaced PC sales.  The Pew Research Center survey found 77 percent of American adults now use a smart phone, versus only 35 percent only five years ago in 2011. ”Today just over one -in-ten American adults are ‘smartphone-only’ internet users – meaning they own a smartphone, but do not have traditional home broadband service.”2  Having a mobile strategy is now a requirement – it’s no longer an option.

A responsive web design not only ensures that the resolution and entire user experience dynamically change to suit the screen size of the device; it also provides an experience that is tailored to the needs of a mobile user.  A key point to keep in mind during web design is that customers use mobile websites for different purposes and in different ways than they use a website on a computer.  The design flow and calls to action are different as well.  Your design has to support both users seamlessly.  And to add just a bit more weight to the responsive side of the scale, Google prioritizes search results on a mobile device to those websites that are designed for mobile.

The call to action

A website should have a clear course of action, targeted behavior, or desired emotion from your customer.  To achieve these goals, you have to identify the purpose of your website:  is it brand awareness?  Product engagement?  Information transfer?  Your customer’s behavior channels should be identified and mapped.  Know and identify the end point of your customer’s journey – and then track the metrics to evaluate the outcome, and continually refine your process to improve that outcome.

Social and digital marketing

Social search is increasingly prevalent, carrying great influence with brand and product recommendations.  68% trust online opinions from other consumers, which is up 7% from 2007 and places online opinions as the third most trusted source of product information. [Nielsen]  If you’re optimizing your social and digital marketing, you’re losing out.

But what is digital marketing anyway?  Digital marketing involves making connections, influencing designs and enhancing search engine results.  Consistency and clarity of message are critical to the process, and the web design must be built from the ground up on a social foundation, rather than adding it as an afterthought.  Most digital marketing roads should lead back to the website.

On the Landscape Development, Inc. website, within the “in the “News” section, all content is automatically delivered straight from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and is displayed in an organized, easy to access area of the site. Also, the entire site is in both English and in Spanish. Everything is equally accessible to all employees and customers, alike. This also bodes well for business in nearby Spanish-speaking areas.”3

landscape-dev

Search engine optimization

The days of link building, keyword stuffing, black hat techniques and offshore promotion are gone.  Search rankings are now based on the value you provide to your customers – what question have you answered for them, and how well?  Organic search is based on “authority” – why is your website a trusted source?  If you answer the questions your customers have and do it will, your authority increases, which improves your organic search results – and organic search trumps paid advertising every day.  Since search is how most customers will find you, ranking well is critical – and SEO can deliver.

A great website design will garner a reaction such as this:

“Working with Status Not Quo was a pleasure in developing our new website – they made it easy and made it look groundbreaking.  From the start we insisted on a production that was not “template factory” material in any sense.  It had to be free-flowing and adaptable, both during design and for later end-user updates and modifications. 

Using Kentico, I was able to express my vision with simple story boarding to the staff at SNQ and they ran with it from there.  Without too much time passed they handed me by my project and it was mine for fine-tuning of images and text content.  The whole thing quickly came to life and today we have perhaps our industry’s very most imaginative and unique site.  SNQ with Kentico truly made this unique site possible.”  – Gary Horton, CEO of Landscape Development, Inc.

Does your website deliver on these five critical components?  Does your design convey what makes your company special, while capturing the customer’s interest and leading them to the right call to action for their needs?  And does it incorporate SEO and social and digital marketing to enhance your search rankings so that your customers can find you in the first place?  If you can’t answer yes with confidence to all of these, it’s time to reevaluate your website – contact Status Not Quo – we’d love to help you achieve your business goals by helping you craft a website that delivers on all five key components!

Status Not Quo (SNQ) is a Creative Services and Technical Production firm.  We provide turnkey services beginning with digital marketing strategy, brand alignment, and creative design, with that vision executed and implemented utilizing the highest caliber of programming expertise and technologies.  Let us show you how we work jointly with our clients to continually evaluate and refine the strategic objectives to help ensure their success – long-term.

 

 

A Giant Win for Status Not Quo’s Wonderful Client BicycleBlueBook.com

December 7, 2016

bbb_trade-in-partner_logo_black_transparentToday, one of our clients, BicycleBlueBook.com, was featured in an article sent via email blast to all Giant Bicycle dealers.  Giant Bicycles is recognized as the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer and is urging their dealers to use BicycleBlueBook.com’s Trade-In partner program to increase sales.  Status Not Quo has partnered with BicycleBlueBook over the past several years helping to design and develop this program and create a tool that is both user friendly and an accurate source for used bicycle valuation.

BicycleBlueBook.com was founded in 2011 by a group of bicycle enthusiasts who knew there had to be a better way of determining the value of your old bike and providing tools to help you better afford the new bike of your dreams!  What an awesome way to make your living – doing something you love in an industry you are truly passionate about.

It has been a privilege helping this small business grow into one recognized by the industry giants!  Congratulations to all the people at BicycleBlueBook.com – we are so excited to see your hard work getting the kudos it deserves!

Be unsatisfied with the Status Quo.

October 11, 2016

t-mobile-ceoI was reading through the T-Mobile manifesto (which is very interesting and worth checking out – see below), and came across the following statement:

Un-satisfied with the status quo. Un-afraid to innovate.

Now, if you know the name of my company, then you know why this caught my eye.

Not creating software the same old way is the foundation upon which Status Not Quo was built, and is how to challenge our clients to use software technology to catapult their business to a new level – driving them to raise the bar and expect far more.

While it sounds basic and obvious, not being satisfied with the status quo is a challenge every manager, leader, and owner should place upon themselves every day. Drive more mentoring, more learning, more expertise, and more performance. Then go the extra mile to move the needle yourself and make it happen. Be bold.

Here’s the manifesto, and yes of course it’s pink:

manifesto