The Whole Brain Group http://www.thewholebraingroup.com Smart Web Design & Inbound Marketing Strategies Thu, 29 Sep 2016 19:31:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.thewholebraingroup.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cropped-WBG_150x1501-32x32.png The Whole Brain Group http://www.thewholebraingroup.com 32 32 9 Tips for Developing Your 2017 Sales and Marketing Strategy http://www.thewholebraingroup.com/blog/9-tips-for-developing-your-2017-sales-and-marketing-strategy/ Thu, 29 Sep 2016 19:02:01 +0000 http://www.thewholebraingroup.com/blog/9-tips-for-developing-your-2017-sales-and-marketing-strategy/ You want a strong start to 2017. Awesome! But if you want to see greater marketing results next year, you’ll need to use the remaining time in 2016 to set the stage for January 1st. The best way to start the year off right is to gather your sales and marketing team together for a series of planning […]

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closeup of chess pieces on a chess board

You want a strong start to 2017. Awesome! But if you want to see greater marketing results next year, you’ll need to use the remaining time in 2016 to set the stage for January 1st.

The best way to start the year off right is to gather your sales and marketing team together for a series of planning sessions to get everyone aligned and headed in the same direction. Follow these steps to learn from the past, dream big, and put together a sensible plan for achieving your goals in 2017!

How to Develop Your 2017 Sales and Marketing Strategy

1) Budget for Success in 2017

Make sure you’ve allocated enough resources (people and money) to accomplish your company’s goals for the year. The size of your marketing budget will also depend on how much you have available to invest, and how quickly you want to see results. If you have caviar dreams and a tuna fish budget, you’ll be disappointed by your lack of results, and your team will be frustrated by their inability to meet your expectations.

We’ve just completed a detailed series on developing a successful marketing budget. Use those articles as a starting point for establishing your budget for 2017.

2) Review and Update Your Ideal Customer Profile and Personas

Look back at your best customers and identify the characteristics that make them profitable and enjoyable to work with. Make sure your ideal customer profile and buyer personas are accurate and update them as necessary to reflect the kinds of customers who will help you reach your growth goals.

Need a few templates? Download our Cooking With Inbound recipe book to get started.

3) Document Your Buyer’s Journey

Once your personas are updated, document the journey each persona will take toward becoming a customer. Your contacts take lots of tiny steps along the way to becoming a buyer. Plot out every interaction point your personas will have with your content or your company. This is your buyer’s journeyand each persona has their own.

Start at the end—what will they do immediately before signing a contract with you? What’s the step before that? The one before that? At each point along the way, identify the persona’s main questions, motivations, and potential objections. Then identify the kinds of content you’ll need to create to meet them at each point along the buyer’s journey. 

Don’t forget about the influencers in the process. Feed your main contact the content they need to help educate and sell you internally.

You should also determine what CTAs to include in order to lead them to the next step.

Download the Cooking with Inbound eBook

4) Confirm Your Differentiators

Make sure you’re clear on what makes you different from your competitors. Talk to some of your customers and find out why they chose to buy from youand what could make them switch teams and buy from your competitors instead.

5) Review and Organize Your Marketing Collateral

Make sure that your printed and digital marketing materials are written and designed to attract your ideal customers and communicate your company’s unique qualities to prospects and customers. Verify that copyright dates are updated, that your style guidelines are being followed, and that everyone on your sales team is using the right version!

6) Review Your Website and Online Marketing

Take a look at your website and social media channels to make sure they’re designed to attract and educate your personas. Is your branding and messaging consistent? Are you engaging with the right target audience? Is your content compelling and educational? TIP: HubSpot’s Marketing Grader can give you a quick snapshot of what you’re doing right, and where you could improve.

7) Review and Document Your Sales Process

Is your sales process set up to close the quality and quantity of customers you need to reach your company’s growth goals? Does everyone on your sales team follow the same process for qualifying and nurturing prospects? Is your process documented? Is your CRM (customer relationship management) system set up to support your process efficiently and effectively? Could you be using any automated tools to make your process more efficient?

Document any issues you uncover while you’re reviewing your collateral, processes, and templates. Look for “dark pools”areas of your process where prospects or customers get lost or ignored due to lack of time/energy/resources.

8) Document Your Sales and Marketing Strategy

Prioritize the issues you’ve identified and develop a phased approach to tackling them over the next four quarters. Depending on the issues you’ve identified, you may need to develop tactical plans for content/inbound marketing, social media, lead generation, lead nurturing, or account development. 

9) Track Your Progress and Evolve Your Tactics

Make sure you have defined metrics for measuring success, and have assigned individual team members to be accountable for solving each issue. Set up regular meetings to review progress, identify and solve issues, and align activities across teams. Learn from your mistakes and victories, and evolve your tactics as needed to maintain your traction!

Next Steps

There’s a lot of work to do here, and it can be tough to be objective about your own company when you’re so close to it. Still have questions about how to prioritize, how to get it all done, or how much it will cost? Let’s chat.

If you’d like to try it yourself, download our eBook, 
Get Sales & Marketing Traction with Inbound to learn more about how to complete these steps. 

Take Off With Inbound Marketing

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4 Must-Have Marketing Budget Line Items for 2017 (or Extras for 2016) http://www.thewholebraingroup.com/blog/4-must-have-marketing-budget-line-items-for-2017-or-extras-for-2016/ Tue, 27 Sep 2016 19:31:59 +0000 http://www.thewholebraingroup.com/blog/4-must-have-marketing-budget-line-items-for-2017-or-extras-for-2016/ Our series on preparing for and creating your 2017 marketing budget has some built-in “let’s do this!” action steps: Not pushing for a marketing budget you don’t need Understanding how much work it’s going to take to perform inbound marketing strategies effectively, even if you end up hiring a marketing person dedicated only to your inbound efforts The […]

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Girl reaching into box to grab cookies

Our series on preparing for and creating your 2017 marketing budget has some built-in “let’s do this!” action steps:

These posts provided terrific high-level information that’s a useful foundation to build upon. But today, we’re getting specific.

Specific Inbound Marketing Budget Items We Recommend

Here are specific items you should consider adding to your 2017 marketing budget (or for the remainder of 2016).

1) Digital Summit Detroit

DS Detroit is part of the Digital Marketing Summit Series put on by TechMedia.com. The summit comes to Detroit on October 12-13, at the Westin Detroit.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend your choice of more than 45 presentations and work sessions led by such leading digital strategists as Seth Godin, Mike Clarke of Google, Ann Handley of Marketing Profs, Matthew Sweezey of Salesforce, Brad Spychalski of Pinterest, and many more. Topics include marketing, UX and design, search, content, mobile, and more.

Bonus Offer! The Whole Brain Group is a sponsor of the summit, which means you can get a $50 discount on your registration by using the code BRAIN50.

If you can’t attend this year’s summit, keep the series in mind as a line-item budget item for next year.

2) Inbound 2016

The Inbound annual conference takes place in Boston on November 8-11. Even if you’re not (yet) using HubSpot’s inbound marketing platform and tools, this is one of the best inbound marketing conferences on the planet, and we urge you to attendor add it to your 2017 budget.

3) HubSpot Marketing Automation Software

Speaking of HubSpot, if you haven’t started using it yet, we urge you to do so because the benefits to your bottom line can be tremendous.

Why do we love HubSpot? 

  • It provides its partners with an incredible marketing education via self-paced video, podcasts, how-to steps, downloadable PDFs, videos, blogs, marketing e-books, etc. They’re also just a quick phone call away if I have any issues or questions that only a real human could answer.
  • Highly specific – exceptionally precise – data, analytics, and measurements. You can measure and build an entire inbound strategy by persona, buyer’s journey, tactic, or even create a multi-pronged game plan. You can see how well you’re progressing toward your goals and can tweak strategies and campaigns any time it’s warranted.

Want to save over $3600 on HubSpot add-ons? As a HubSpot Partner, we have some very nice deals we can offer. Contact us to find out more!

Bonus: Download our ready-to-go inbound recipes to use with HubSpot’s automation tools.

4) HubSpot for Startups

Are you a startup? HubSpot has a program just for you, one that was created specifically to help young companies amplify their growth by using the marketing and sales tools available in its platform. Best news, however, is the low price: you can purchase HubSpot’s inbound resources software for as little as $80 a month!

You do have to apply, but if you’re eligible, you’ll see at least an $11,000 savings on HubSpot’s sales and marketing software in the first year.

If you’d like to see how HubSpot works, we’re happy to show you how its inbound marketing platform could work for you.

These are four of the must-have line items every marketer should include. Don’t submit your budget without them!

Next Steps

sign up to receive a free demo of hubspot's CRM and sidekick for business

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Seamless Collaboration Results in Seamless Security: Access Control and Custom Bullet-Resistant Doors http://www.thewholebraingroup.com/blog/seamless-collaboration-results-in-seamless-security-access-control-and-custom-bullet-resistant-doors/ Wed, 09 Mar 2016 15:09:54 +0000 http://www.thewholebraingroup.com/blog/seamless-collaboration-results-in-seamless-security-access-control-and-custom-bullet-resistant-doors/ Building a good bullet resistant barrier systems with access control requires seamless collaboration between vendors.  This doesn’t just reduce stress and lower cost (although it always does the former and almost invariably the latter)—it also results in systems with a tighter fit, smoother look, and altogether better performance.  Seamless collaboration is the only way to […]

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Building a good bullet resistant barrier systems with access control requires seamless collaboration between vendors.  This doesn’t just reduce stress and lower cost (although it always does the former and almost invariably the latter)—it also results in systems with a tighter fit, smoother look, and altogether better performance.  Seamless collaboration is the only way to get a seamless system: One that operates smoothly, consistently, and doesn’t tip off possible attackers.

Access Control is a System

In contrast to traditional door locks—which are interchangeable stand-alone pieces that can be easily swapped out—a modern access control system is just that: A system, relying on dedicated software.  While the initial installation and configuration is more complicated than just having a locksmith come in, the resulting functionality is an order of magnitude simpler to deal with and more useful.

For example, key management is traditionally a nightmare—staff turnover, new hires, lost and stolen keys, special access needs, contract maintenance teams, security staff, etc. With an access control system, adding or removing access is just a matter of keystrokes. If someone looses an RFID fob or keycard, issuing a new one is significantly cheaper and easier than having a new key cut (or, in the worst-case scenario, having to re-key all the doors accessed with a given key). In a building-wide system, each individual user can have customized access to different spaces without having to carry an entire ring of keys, and can be granted access on a temporary or conditional basis (e.g., only on weekdays, only between 8am and 5pm, only after business hours, etc.).  A system can have 100,000 users or just 10, it can be accessed via keypad, card, card and PIN, RFID tag, biometrics, and so on.  Additionally, the system can log users as they come (and go), or pass between building sectors.

“These are really incredibly flexible systems,” Eric Malzahn, a Total Security Solutions project manager, explains.  “So, before an architect or facility owner starts talking to any vendors, what’s most important is to really take a look at the end-users’ daily operations, how they are functioning every single day, so that the system can be designed around that.”

Secure Access Demands Collaboration

Eric notes, “With such powerful systems, it’s really important to get all the details right, all the parts meshing.  What separates TSS is that we’re willing to work with other security vendors as equals.  Other companies in our industry really shy away from that. They don’t understand access control, so they don’t want to deal with it. We’re not scared of these types of challenges.  We’ll customize our systems to make it work however the end-user wants.  We always take the time to research it and work with others to make it happen.”

Such collaborations can be very straightforward.  It might take nothing more than a few quick phone calls, and then supplying doors prepped for specific hardware.  TSS can also design and fabricate bullet resistant barrier systems around the access control system, which can include integrating power supplies feeding the appropriate voltage, installing electric strikes and electrified hinges, and so on, so that the access control system can be easily wired up once the barrier is installed.  “We’ve done full-blown access control systems with everything: key cards, electric strikes, Aiphone, the works—much of it buried in the door or frame, so you don’t have external wires and ‘after-market add-ons’ showing.”

This isn’t limited to new construction or entirely new systems.  “For example, we were working with a client in Florida who had an Aiphone system in place.This brand of audio/video intercom system is especially popular with schools.  “We came in, took measurements, investigated what we need to do to keep their existing access control system while improving on their security by seamlessly integrate access control with a fully rated door.”

A Security System is Only as Good as its Doors

Instead of bulk-purchasing mass-produced pre-fab doors, TSS fabricates all of their doors entirely in-house.  In part, this is simply a matter of practicality:  A pre-fab door is never going to be a perfect fit. If you want a system that looks good and works smoothly, you need a custom-tailored door.  By building their own doors, TSS can be sure that any hardware the end-user wants will be perfectly fitted to the door, and that the door can be properly prepped for seamless integration with any access control scheme.

But for TSS CEO Jim Richards, custom bullet resistant doors are about more than just being practical. “We always want our work to be a cut above,” he explains.  As an example, he shares these 100% custom interior double doors, built for a sensitive corporate facility.  “This is the kind of custom work we can do on a one-off.  No one in our industry has ever done doors like these.”

DSC01411

At first glance, they seem like standard vestibule doors.

“But those door lites aren’t individual panes—each door has a single-piece of monolithic acrylic, visually divided by false muntins that we built from scratch, precisely blended to the surface of the door”—which is backed with bullet resistant fiberglass, and also conceals access control devices integrated with the building-wide system.”

In most cases a buyer will order a door either veneered, or simply primed to be painted on site.  For this particular job, they needed a quick, quiet, clean installation.  The client also wanted to assure durability, so TSS handled a custom paint job, as well as all of the brass hardware, perfectly matching every other piece in the building.

The result: security-rated doors and advanced access control systems, seamless integrated to fade into the background.

NEXT STEPS:

Make or Break Project

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Your First Bullet Proof System: Planning, Production, and Installation http://www.thewholebraingroup.com/blog/your-first-bullet-proof-system-planning-production-and-installation/ Wed, 02 Mar 2016 22:00:51 +0000 http://www.thewholebraingroup.com/blog/your-first-bullet-proof-system-planning-production-and-installation/ According to Jim Richards, CEO of Total Security Solutions, people worry too much about bulletproof barrier installation:“They get really focused on what it’ll take to get a system installed, and it’s hard to persuade them that this isn’t that big a deal. The real challenge is in the initial planning, which comes weeks and months […]

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bulletproof glass barrier in business setting

According to Jim Richards, CEO of Total Security Solutions, people worry too much about bulletproof barrier installation:
“They get really focused on what it’ll take to get a system installed, and it’s hard to persuade them that this isn’t that big a deal. The real challenge is in the initial planning, which comes weeks and months before anything ships. That’s the tricky part, the part we’re really eager to carefully guide them through. The installation? Heck, we get that done overnight. That’s a piece of cake.”

Planning for a Great Bullet Proof Barrier System

There are five questions you’ll need to think through before calling a bullet proofing consultant:

1) What sort of threat do you need to protect against? It takes different levels of ballistic material to stop a .9mm and an AK-47. Likewise, it takes different styles of systems to deter an ideologically driven sniper and a smash-and-grab bandit.
2) What area of your building do you need to secure? Different materials and designs work better in indoor and outdoor applications. The number of access points, the height of ceilings and lengths of counters, the materials of the walls, all have an impact on system design.
3) What sort of business do you need to get done through the barrier? A barrier with high traffic–many transactions, many deliveries, many visitors, a loud and bustling lobby–poses different challenges than a barrier mounted at the end of a quiet hall with only the occasional visitor turning in paperwork.
4) What are your aesthetic goals? Some businesses want unobtrusive bullet proof reception windows and bullet resistant doors that blend in with every other door in the building; others want the system to clearly announce itself and act as major a deterrent.
5) What limitations are there to the delivery and installation? Your system arrives in a semi-truck strapped to pallets that need to be moved with a forklift. Installing on a second floor with narrow halls in a building at the end of an alley is challenging–knowing about that early will give TSS time to find solutions.

Getting the Details of Your Project Right is the First Step

Once you have these details clear in your head, then you will have a very productive conversation with a TSS consultant. That consultant will walk you through the options that suit your space and application, arrange to get accurate measurements, have drawings prepared as you work through the approval process, and so on.
It surprises most new customers to learn that the trickiest aspect of any bullet proof system is the doors. Any member of Jim’s team can recall countless occasions when a customer has been absolutely confident that they need a door hinged on the right and swinging into the secured area, only to take one look at the drawings and realize that’s impossible because of the furniture layout, or the way two halls come together, or fire code, or one of a million other tiny details.
“Doors get people all the time,” Jim notes. “It’s why we made this bullet proof door checklist, to help people think through it before they commit.”
It may seem like a simple matter, but TSS bulletproof doors are entirely custom made–which is how they can get a seamless fit and smoothly integrate your your preferred hardware, from standard keyed locks and panic bars to multi-entry computer-controlled electric strike access systems. Changing the direction of swing or how the door is hung often necessitates redesigning the door from scratch.

Smooth Production and Installation Preparation

Once the plan is squared away and approved in writing, the process rolls very smoothly. All TSS bullet resistant barrier systems and components are fabricated on-site). In order to assure tight tolerances among all of a barrier’s components, TSS relies on a highly tech-driven engineering workflow. Because of the job batching process, many projects go into production immediately upon receiving your approval. This is great for delivery times, but bad for last minute changes; always double check all drawings carefully prior to approval.
While your system components are being fabricated, there are a few things you can take care of to be ready for installation. The most important of these are:
1) Establish a single point of contact within your organization to answer any questions about the system, delivery, or installation. Having a single point of contact assures faster turnarounds and fewer miscommunications.
2) Prepare for installation: Make arrangements within your organization to receive shipments, clear out spaces, grant after-hours access to installers, and so on.

Keeping Installation Easy

The installation itself is a breeze, rarely taking more than a single evening. Even complex systems can be installed over a weekend. While some buyers may elect to do their own installation–especially with a “single-site” or “single element” installation, like putting in a simple transaction window–Jim is quick to point out that it’s easy to bite off more than you can chew.
“These are unfamiliar materials to most people,” he explains. “What you’ve got to keep in mind is that these materials can’t be treated the same way as regular building materials. First off, they’re heavy. It’s very easy to damage your drywall or framing by leaning a large ballistic acrylic window against it. A bullet proof door, if leaned against a wall, can actually deform under its own weight. Also, some of the materials–especially the transparency–can be badly marred by things like paint thinner or lacquer thinner, which are no problem for regular window glass.”

NEXT STEPS:

Bulletproof Glass History

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Hero or Outlaw? How to Use Archetypes in Marketing Your Brand http://www.thewholebraingroup.com/blog/hero-or-outlaw-how-to-use-archetypes-in-marketing-your-brand/ Thu, 30 Apr 2015 20:03:59 +0000 http://new.thewholebraingroup.com/?p=396 If someone asks you what your archetype is, don’t worry—it’s not a cheesy pickup line. Archetypes are an ideal model of a type or group, like a personality type or a typecast character. Think of Darth Vader as the archetypal Bad Guy, or Dorothy Gale as the archetypal Innocent. Archetypal images represent fundamental human desires. […]

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If someone asks you what your archetype is, don’t worry—it’s not a cheesy pickup line.

Archetypes are an ideal model of a type or group, like a personality type or a typecast character. Think of Darth Vader as the archetypal Bad Guy, or Dorothy Gale as the archetypal Innocent. Archetypal images represent fundamental human desires. In literature and art, they connect with readers and viewers at deep emotional levels.

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7 Ways You’re Ruining Your Calls to Action http://www.thewholebraingroup.com/blog/7-ways-youre-ruining-your-calls-to-action/ Thu, 30 Apr 2015 20:02:51 +0000 http://new.thewholebraingroup.com/?p=394 Let’s face it. You spend more time combing through stock photos than you do crafting your calls to action. CTAs are easy, right? Just tell your lead to sign up or download. Simple!

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Let’s face it. You spend more time combing through stock photos than you do crafting your calls to action. CTAs are easy, right? Just tell your lead to sign up or download. Simple!

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