Tag Archive: Linkedin

B2B Sales Lessons from GetGlue

fraserdemocampLast week’s Sales Peer to Peer at the Innovation Factory in Hamilton featured Fraser Kelton, COO of New York-based GetGlue.

Fraser was in town to speak on the B2B sales lessons he’s learned at GetGlue, one of the pioneers in providing second screen experiences.

As a side note, TV guide app company i.TV recently announced the acquisition of GetGlue and their 4.5 million registered users for its second-screen and TV check-in service.

Here are some key takeaways from the presentation:

1) When It Comes to Startups, There Are 2 Types of People – Building and Sales

When you work for a startup you’re either doing one or the other – there’s no room for anyone else on the team. As we like to say at VA Partners, everyone is in sales for a new business.

2) Sell What You Have

At the beginning of the sales effort, because you don’t have results yet, you have to sell what you have. For GetGlue’s first close that meant the opportunity for a really great PR story for their client.

3) Make Your Customers Look Good By Helping Them Be Successful

This aligns very well with the lesson above. Following GetGlue’s first sale, their first customer’s decision maker was promoted in part because of her decision to go with GetGlue.

4) Leverage an Existing User Community Where Possible

For GetGlue they were able to leverage fans/users to help close new clients by having them relay their feelings on the solution

5) Mining Linkedin is a Top Meeting Generation Strategy

GetGlue used direct connections to find 2nd connections through Linkedin. The response rate and success rate was significantly better than with cold calling or cold emailing.

6) Keep Tweaking Your Sales Pitch Until You Find One That Repeatedly Works Well

When GetGlue started, the team wasn’t sure whether their story would resonate with prospects. They tried different slide decks in meetings and continuously evaluated the results until they settled on the best story, one that worked time and time again.

7) Always Deepen Your Relationships

GetGlue would start with new clients through one specific area of their business, usually around a particular show. They would then methodically go through the account, referencing past work, until they had all the business within an account.

8) Integrate Into Your Customers Regular Processes

By providing analytics and interfacing with many parts of their customers’ businesses, the GetGlue solution became fundamental to measuring the success of many broadcasts.

9) Momentum is the Oxygen for Startups

It’s important to remember to always continue moving forward, even in small steps when you need to, to make your business successful.

10) Make Sure That Onboarding is Very Easy for End Users

It can be expensive and time consuming to sign new users or customers. If they abandon soon after you get them signed up, all of your sales and marketing effort is wasted in the blink of an eye.

If you live or work in the Hamilton area, please join us for the next Sales Peer to Peer at the Innovation Factory on February 5th, 2014.  If you’re looking for other B2B sales strategies to help your startup grow, check out our white paper on building a startup sales team.

6 Top B2B Lead Generation and Prospecting Tools

Conversations are important. Before you can win a sale, you must always first start a conversation with your prospects. But how should you reach out to them, and what prospecting tools can help you along the way? At VA Partners, we work with a variety of clients who sell to a number of industries. Whether we are helping to sell email receipt solutions to ecommerce and retail organizations, or fleet management solutions to industrial and construction organizations, choosing the right B2B prospecting tool can be the key to getting your message heard.

Here are the mediums of contact we use and the tools we recommended to maximize value:

  • A CRM for All Mediums I want to begin this list by recommending the use of a CRM. Your CRM can be your best friend in making sure that you stay in touch with your prospects, allowing you to organize information, record interactions, and schedule future activities. My coworkers and I use Salesforce, and I personally recommend it. For tips on using a CRM be sure to check out our thoughts on the 5 best practices for utilizing a CRM for Sales.
  • Skype for Long Distance Calls If you’re a startup or small business, you’ll understand the value in finding ways to do more for less. At VA Partners, there are times when some of our clients choose to target international prospects or when an international inbound lead comes in. With Skype we can make more long distance calls to reach a wider area of prospects without running the risk of incurring significant long distance phone charges.
  • ContactMonkey for Emails ContactMonkey is the most recent tool I have tried and I strongly recommend it. ContactMonkey is an inexpensive plugin that can be associated with your Outlook or Gmail account and can show you when your e-mails are opened, what time and where they were opened, and how many times they were opened. Take advantage of ContactMonkey to become more responsive to your prospects’ interest.
  • Excel and Word for Mail To mention the use of traditional mail in today’s digital era might earn a few chuckles, but it is important to remember that your medium needs to match the industry and prospects that you want to target. Recently, on behalf of a client, a mail-out was sent to a number of industrial and construction prospects. Microsoft’s Excel and Word mail merge helped me create a professional looking document, complete with a personalized touch, in a fraction of the time it would have taken to do every letter manually. If you are interested in learning how to perform a mail merge Microsoft has instructions that can help you out.
  • HootSuite for Tweets If you use Twitter as part of your social selling toolkit, I recommend going one step further and trying HootSuite or other free social media management tools as a B2B prospecting tool. HootSuite allows you to maintain a strong digital presence throughout the day through the use of scheduled tweets, and can help you monitor activity through the use of custom searches. If your organization manages multiple twitter accounts, be sure to read up on how to be successful.
  • Mobile App for LinkedIn In sales, timing and responsiveness are critical. With LinkedIn’s mobile app you can have the power of LinkedIn wherever you go. Your mobile app can allow you to view accounts,  message contacts, look for information updates, and conduct research even while out of the office and away from your computer. Stay up to date on new developments with your prospects to help win new business.

Be sure to try these B2B prospecting tools to maximize the value of their respective mediums and boost your B2B selling power. If you enjoyed this post and are fired up to learn more about prospecting and social media tools, Venture Accelerator Partners has a number of free white papers you’re sure to love.

Why you should be using a social media content calendar

In a world of content marketing, the one with a plan is king.

Now that the production and curation of quality marketing content is widely viewed as the best way to engage customers and drive meaningful leads, it’s crucial to have a plan that lets you take advantage. And in a world where social media has become a primary means of communication, insightful timing and dogged consistency are the keys to success.

A social media content calendar, a detailed management schedule of how you plan to leverage social media to support your sales and marketing activities, will help keep you focused, save you time, and enhance your social media ROI.

Here are 3 reasons to create a social media content calendar:

  • Integrated Sales & Marketing Support Social media is a tool to support your sales and marketing strategy – not a sales and marketing strategy unto itself. Aimlessly tweeting or posting links to Facebook without an overarching strategy doesn’t add a whole lot of value. To be successful, social media can’t exist in a silo. It must be closely integrated with all other marketing and sales elements to be worthwhile, and a content calendar can help align your social media efforts with your greater strategy. For example, if you’re planning to launch a new product in February, use your content calendar to plan your social media efforts now. Plan to write a series of blogs that help define the problem and demonstrate the need for a solution; schedule a series of escalating tweets and Facebook posts that shift the conversation towards awareness and desire as the launch date nears; plan a Facebook contest that will spur continued engagement post-launch.
  • Better Efficiency & Organization As the number of social media tools used in B2B marketing continues to grow, it’s certainly a challenge to keep track of everything. At VA Partners, our social media content calendar lives in an Excel spreadsheet that gets updated and assessed on a week-to-week basis. Though seemingly simple, our content calendar saves us a huge amount of time and effort with regards to researching and scheduling social media activity. It’s a wonder for 3rd party content curation too, providing us with a guideline/template from which to source great material from top industry sources. Other key benefits are that it keeps us focused and on message, prevents overloading on a single topic, and keeps everyone on the team on the same page.
  • Take Advantage of Timing Different social media tools work best at different times. For example, research has shown that content posted to Facebook garners the most shares around 6:00pm, the most likes around 8:00pm, and Facebook also seems to be more effective at driving engagement on weekends. For its part, Twitter seems to be most effective at driving engagement between 3:00pm-6:00pm (in terms of RTs). Of course, the best time of day will vary for every company, but using a content calendar can help ensure you’re using the right tool at the right time to reach the right audience.

Given that it’s the holiday season, it also seems worthwhile to mention that looking ahead is never a bad idea. Identifying key dates throughout the year (whether they’re holidays, birthdays, customer milestones, etc.) will help ensure you don’t miss out on an opportunity to leverage a special day to engage with customers, employees, or partners.

Does your company use a social media content calendar?

If you’re looking for help streamlining your social media efforts, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Setting actionable goals for your web analytics

I was doing some research recently on marketing strategy and tactics and came across an article by inc.com called “Time to Fix Your Marketing Strategy.” The last paragraph in the article really hit home – signs of good writer! – which said: “the next time you go to spend some bucks on your next great digital marketing tactic, make sure you can articulate why you’re doing it and what your goals are.” If you’ve recently started using Google Analytics, make sure you’re setting up real life goals and ones that will lead to success. Checking Google Analytics once a day, in order to see how many people are coming to your site, is not an actionable goal. In saying this, I’ve put together some tips and tricks to help you properly formulate your web analytics goals in order for you to start seeing an increase in your inbound leads.

  • Ensure you are measuring and comparing the same time frame. In the upper right hand corner of your analytics page, you will see two dates – select the time frame for which you wish to measure, and stick with it. You can measure on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on the time frame for which you’ve set your goals.
  • Look at your page views and the average amount of time spent on your website. Set goals based on the increase you’d like your website to see. i.e. 20% increase every quarter. Then ask yourself, what are you doing during that time to your website to make people want to view more pages and stay on your site. Nothing? Well, you have some work to do.
  • Traffic Sources. Take a look at how people are coming to your website. Are they finding you through organic searches? Are they going directly to your website because they know your company? Take a look at where you’re falling short and find ways to turn this around. Ask yourself, if I’m using Linkedin for my company, why aren’t I seeing any traffic come from Linkedin?
  • Are you having a problem converting website visits into inbound leads? An inbound lead can be anything from someone downloading a whitepaper, to someone emailing you directly for help. Take a look at your Landing Page (Content – Site Content – Landing Pages). Where are people going when they visit your website? If it’s your blogs, take a look at the call to actions on your blog page. Add in a call to action if one doesn’t already exist, or consider editing/re-formatting the ones you do have so they are more apparent.

Remember to start with what you know and then build off that. I’ve found it extremely helpful to learn what I don’t know through others, reading blogs and attending events build around the subject matter. If you’re looking for some more guidance, we’d be happy to help. Reach out to Mark Elliott to find out how VA Partners can help you get started.


The medium may be the message, but the message still applies

Last September, I wrote a blog titled “The Medium is the Message” and how it applies to our social media efforts. As mentioned in my previous blog, McLuhan’s theory was not made for the internet and social media, however, his theory applies none-the-less. When stating “The medium is the message”, McLuhan believed that it was not what we said, but the way we said it that mattered most. Although McLuhan was right in saying that the way we send our message is important, we cannot neglect the message itself; this is where the importance of copywriting comes in.

Copywriting is essentially the value of your company, its services and products in writing. In order to ensure you accurately portray your brand to your customers, prospects and even competitors, here are a few tips to get you on your way:

  1. Assign someone to do the task. Startups and growing organizations suffer from inadequate resources to get things completed. Find the person in your company that handles the majority (or all) of your Marketing efforts. This person will have some prior insight into how your company should be communicating with your audience.
  2. Prep yourself before writing. We won’t all be superstar copywriters at first, but a bit of help can lead to success. Attend webinars, read whitepapers and even take a copywriter in your neighbourhood out for a coffee to pick their brain for an hour.
  3. Make a copywriting plan for each medium. Put a copywriting plan in place for your Social Media outlets, Whitepapers, Email Newsletters and Website. Having copywrite for each medium put into a plan and templated will make it easier to pass it on throughout your company. It will also serve as a back-up source of information in case any of your employees need a refresher.
  4. Keep a content calendar. A content calendar can be done on something as simple as Microsoft Excel, or it can be done on Google Docs. Either way you choose to track this information, make sure your entire team is on the same page. This way, the timeline and expectations for each source will be known by all your employees. Mark Evans speaks also speaks on the importance of content marketing and how it applies to our Marketing efforts; check out his website for more information.

If you’re looking for help on your copywriting efforts, or simply looking for resources on Copywriting techniques, reach out to myself or sign up for our monthly newsletter filled with great information, suggested readings and events on Sales and Marketing.


Tips for Starting a Linkedin in Group

Recently VA Partners launched a group on Linkedin called “Sales and Marketing for Canadian Startups”. Linkedin groups have a number of benefits for member such as sharing content and making connections, as outlined in a previous blog post. However, from the perspective of a group owner there are different things to consider when it comes to Linkedin groups.

When I was doing research on how to start a Linkedin group I came across a number of resources with great guidelines. These include articles from Hubspot and Social Media Examiner.The recently published article “How to Run a Successful Linkedin Group” featuring Sourov De and Chris Hebert has some great tips as well.

Below are some tips I have gathered:


  • Develop a digital marketing strategy to gain momentum in attracting members. Use social media platforms such as twitter to spread the word. Other outlets can include the use of your newsletter. You can use these platforms to not only present the launch of the group, but to also provide continual updates on the group’s progress.
  • Use connections that individuals have on Linkedin to send out personal emails encouraging them to join the group to by outlining what benefits it could offer them. It’s important to only invite people who will actually consider joining.


  • Since the group is encompassing both sales and marketing it’s important to vary the topics of the content that is being posted as well as the sources that they are being drawn from but still maintain the overall topics of sales and marketing.
  • Formulate questions and post them as discussions to allow members to engage in conversations.
  • Comment and like discussions that are posted by other members in order to show that you are involved in the group’s discussion board.


  • Decide whether an open group or a closed group is more appropriate for the goals of your group. Some factors that play a part in making your decision include:approving members, approving discussions or allowing updates without any approval. The decision to have an open or closed group will alter the amount of time you will regularly spend on the group.
  • Set up group rules for members to refer to. This also shows that this group is meant to facilitate only relevant discussions. It indicates to members that the group managers are involved in the group’s progress and are committed to making it one that will be beneficial to its members.
  • Develop a way of addressing spam and other promotional material. First, it’s important to create guidelines on what is considered spam and what isn’t.Utilize the personal message feature in Linkedin to connect with anyone who is posting things that aren’t relevant to the group

It’s important to realize that once the group has been launched many of your pre-planned ideas may need to be adjusted. For example there can be lot of activity on the group’s discussion board so you may reduce the amount of content you post.Continue to develop your plans to cater to your groups demographic.

Take a look at the group “Sales and Marketing for Canadian Startups” to see the results of the efforts that are put into creating a Linkedin group. For more information about how you can make the shift in Marketing for your team, or for help getting your Marketing efforts off the ground, take a look at how we can help.