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The Demand Creator Blog

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3 Reasons Mid-Market Companies Are Leaving Salesforce For HubSpot

hubspot-vs-salesforceIt was just over five years ago that HubSpot introduced their CRM, designed to work seamlessly with their landmark Marketing Hub. The release of the HubSpot CRM was great news for small businesses. 

I’ve reviewed the CRM several times over the years, each time sharing how easy it is to use and, being built for the salesperson rather than the sales VP (and CFO), it enables salespeople to get things done with less effort. My reviews of the CRM have always been very positive, I also highlighted that it still had significant limitations that prevented it from being a viable option in the mid- or enterprise markets.

That limitation has become greatly reduced over the last 18 months. In that time, we’ve personally been involved in migrating 6 companies from Salesforce to HubSpot, and I’ve counseled a dozen more. Today, HubSpot is a legitimate option for any company (certainly for those companies with fewer than 5,000 employees) looking to capture the promise that modern sales and marketing approaches have been promising for more than a decade.

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How Being Wrong Frees You For Top Performance


“You are going to be wrong more often than you are going to be right.” As intimidating as that may sound, it’s the truth. Those words were spoken to me just over a year ago by my boss (yep, you guessed it, Doug) during my interview to join the Imagine team. As someone who is terrified of being wrong, this sentence changed my life, and I bet it can change yours, too. 

Everyone has at least one fear, if not many fears. Some fears might be natural, but most are developed throughout our lives as we grow up. We are taught to fear certain things on purpose to protect ourselves, but there are other fears that we are taught without even realizing that they are being ingrained into our minds. Being wrong is one of those fears.

I Was Raised to be Right

Growing up, I came from a family that emphasized the importance of doing well in school and being the best version of myself. I’m sure every parent wants their child or children to excel in everything they do, but there’s always going to be a different level of expectation. The expectation for me was that I was getting As in school and being a top performer in my class. It’s a good thing I really enjoyed learning and going to school because otherwise those expectations probably would never have been met. Those expectations were also very strict. If I didn’t perform well, it was like the end of the world having to explain why I didn’t do well to my parents. I feared the consequences of underperforming because it was seen as wrong. Granted, my parents are loving. They just wanted the best for me and for me to learn that school was important. Because of that, I’m where I am today, but that fear was developed from a young age. The thought process looks a little something like this -- bad grades are the result of being wrong and being wrong is bad. 

That fear continued to be developed throughout school. An answer was either right or wrong. There was no “It depends.” (Unless you’re in an economics course, then everything could have that answer.) On a test, your answer was right or wrong. Your essay was either totally right, kind of right, or wrong. Even having an opinion could be considered right or wrong depending on the topic at hand. There was no escaping the thought of being wrong, and with the expectations that my parents had for me lingering in the back of my mind, being wrong was something I just could never be. This is partly why in class I never spoke up unless asked to or 1000% felt like I had the right answer; the fear of being wrong and being embarrassed in front of others was overwhelming. 

Even in college, the fear of being wrong stuck. I didn’t ever want to be wrong in front of my classmates. I’d look dumb! I was considered smart amongst my friends. I couldn’t show them otherwise. I know that sounds very overdramatic, but those are the thoughts that would go through my head. Yet, I wish I hadn’t cared about being wrong because I would have learned WAY more and would have taken those learnings with me into the real world. But it’s okay because I’ve been breaking down that fear for the past year. It hasn’t been fun, or easy, but it’s proven to be worth it time and time again. 

Watch the On-Demand Webinar: 5 Actions For Sales & Marketing to Succeed Through  Crisis

How I Learned That Being Wrong Can Be Right

At the end of my college career, I was offered the position I’m currently in and from day one I was told the opening line to this post, “You are going to be wrong more often than you are going to be right.” Following that statement, I was told that it was a good thing to be wrong. For someone who has a fear of being wrong, this boggled my mind. How could you be wrong and it not be the end of the world? As much as that statement shocked me and scared me, there was something about it that calmed me. I knew I was heading in the right direction with this position.

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Product Review: Lucky Orange - Assessing Your Visitors' Website Experience

luckyorangeWhen we talk with clients and prospects, we regularly point out that one of the biggest changes in the last decade is that your website has gone from augmenting your sales team to one where your sales team is augmenting your website. Regardless of what you sell, your website is (at least) the lobby to your store/office and exerts significant influence on how prospects and customers view you. 

A strong web strategy includes a plan for how you’d like visitors to progress through their journeys - both their buying journey and the journey of their website visit. Understanding what people are doing and how they’re behaving on your website is an important datapoint for utilizing your website effectively.

This is where Lucky Orange fits in our tech stack. The ability to observe what your website visitors are doing on your website down to the mouse-stroke, scroll, or click provides you with the information you need to make your website actionable. These types of insights not only help you better understand and improve your user experience, they also can provide you with information about what your website users find important and how they digest information. 

With these insights, we are able to better optimize visitor conversion/journey paths. If you’re trying to do digital marketing effectively, you must have a website heatmapping tool. 

Lucky Orange: Conversion Rate Optimization App

While generating website heatmaps and recording are the core for Lucky Orange, they also provide an additional array of features including:

  • Site-Page Heatmaps with data on scrolling, mouse movement, and clicks: What parts of your pages do your users see and care about?
  • User Session recordings: Observe your site’s user experience in the real world.
  • Live Visitor Monitoring: Watch users explore your site in real time
  • Chat: Reach out to users on your website.
  • Surveys & Polls: Gather input from your customers on their experience on your website.
  • Form Analytics: Gather powerful information on your website’s form experience, find out where your users get stuck or put off when filling out a form.
  • Behavior Tagging: Immediately tag users with a custom tag and their session recordings based on page URLs they visit on your site.
  • Realtime Alerts: Get notified when a user receives a certain Behavior Tag.
  • Email Reports: Daily and/or weekly breakdowns of Lucky Orange analytics sent to your email inbox.
  • Integrations: Integrate Lucky Orange with HubSpot, Google Analytics, and/or Adobe DTM

What We Like About It

Imagine you’re looking over the shoulder of a visitor as they were visiting your website. Other than the possible creepiness of the situation, the information you’d be able to gather would be quite valuable. This is what Lucky Orange’s “Recordings” feature has to offer.

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The 5 Components of a Strong Sales & Marketing Growth Model

”If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

-the Owl (paraphrased) from Alice in Wonderland

poker-can-help-your-businessDo more. Do it faster. Do it better and do it with fewer resources. This is the battle cry of those who succeed through recessions. 

When times get tough, the winners are the ones who capitalize on the opportunities that exist and utilize the limited resources they have the best. While it’s never a good idea to waste resources or even to use them ineffectively, in good times (when there’s a wind at your back), there’s more margin for error and there can even be a solid rationale for less effective utilization. 

In difficult times, however, poor utilization can be devastating in three ways:

  • There’s less margin for error, so mistakes are magnified.
  • Resources and opportunities are more limited, so the opportunity costs for bad decisions is higher.
  • While rosy projections and false confidence can, initially, lead to a feel-good effect; morale is quickly tarnished as it doesn’t hold up to reality, and the likelihood of “end of quarter/month” miracles are virtually non-existent.

The psychology of loss has a profound impact on people. In normal times, people exhibit a natural risk aversion, where people naturally move towards protecting gains. However, when people enter the domain of losses, they actually become risk-seeking. Rather than definitely losing a small amount of money, they’d rather gamble (that’s gamble, not bet), taking a chance (even if that chance is very, very small) on losing a larger amount of money if that also gives them the chance of not losing anything at all. What makes this behavior so dangerous is that it happens in the realm of the subconscious; people are unlikely to even be aware of their change in mindset.

This is one of the primary reasons that downturns are so threatening. Without a strong base in reality, poor judgment leads you astray.

Making Bets

Every decision you make about any action you take is the equivalent of making a bet. When you decide to take action, you’re simultaneously making the decision not to take other actions, and that the action you are taking has a better chance of producing a better outcome. Pause for a moment and think about how you place your bets.

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3 Actions Marketers Should Spend Time on During a Crisis

make-an-impactI find it very interesting and a little humorous that it’s during difficult times that companies seem to come out and say things like “You shouldn’t be hard selling” or “Really focus on what your customer values right now and tailor your conversations towards their needs.” I find it interesting and humorous because that advice should be given all the time whether we are in difficult times or not. 

I found myself saying similar things just the other week in a conversation I was having with my boss (yeah that’s Doug). We all get into a rhythm that giving advice, whether it’s similar to everyone else’s or not, is what’s going to give us the motivation to get through difficult times. Don’t get me wrong, the motivation does help, but I realized something even more powerful last week. I realized after our webinar, 5 Actions for Sales & Marketing to Succeed Through Crisis, that it isn’t what you say, it’s the actions you take that are going to get you through those tough times. It’s in the title of the webinar, too -- ACTIONS. You can give advice all you want, but if you don’t lead by example or help people to follow your advice, where is that going to get anyone? 

Therefore, I started to think about how to take a few of the points from our webinar last week and put more of a marketing spin on them. I’ll be honest, I’ve never been through difficult times like these before, but I can give insight into what we’re doing to help those that also don’t know what to do right now. 

I’ve focused on three of the actions from our webinar that you as a marketer should spend time on now during the difficult times to make an impact. The best thing about these actions is that they’ll help you even in the good times. It’s like developing a good habit; you have to start it and keep at it until it becomes natural. The same thing applies here, if you start these now and continue them, it’ll make your life that much easier and better later on.

The 3 Actions Marketers Should Spend Time On

1. Engagement

I’m sure social media engagement is already a high priority when it comes to keeping track of your prospects, followers, and customers, but engagement goes further than that. Engagement translates to your website, too. (If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, view the engage stage of The DEALS Framework.) Seeing how visitors are viewing your website, what they’re clicking on, and what they’re spending time viewing is crucial to interacting with them to get them the content they’re looking for. Utilize heatmaps to trace their actions and see where they’re going for information. Taking this step will keep you active with your prospects and customers even if they aren’t vocal on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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5 Ways to Keep Your Remote Marketing Team Organized

organized-marketing-teamThe world has changed, pretty much overnight. For a large percentage of the population, we’ve been thrust into remote working situations with no real sense of how long it might last. For remote marketing teams, the challenge of coordinating multiple projects and campaign components can seem like a logistical nightmare. 

Now might seem like a good time to dial things back, soften up on promotion, and slow down a little, but that is a critical mistake. Now is the time to push forward. As our competitors soften their message, we are presented with an opportunity to solidify our position and message in the market. We’ve entered a period of “Scary Times,” but with a little planning and organized collaboration, we can meet, and exceed our goals and ultimately come out on top. Even after the chaos passes, these tips will help you maximize the potential of your team.

Here are 5 things that will help you organize your remote marketing team's efforts.

1. Establish Regular Communication Schedules

Communication is key for a remote workforce. Without it, deadlines get missed, everyone has their own interpretation of a project at hand, and motivation can dwindle. Set regular check-in calls with your team to establish and keep a pulse on what is happening. At Imagine, we hold a quick huddle on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday where we share our top 3 tasks for the next day, whether we completed our previous important tasks, and any problem areas that have come up. This helps create accountability and insight into what the team is working on. Don’t forget about project kick-offs and brainstorming sessions! These help create clarity, unlock the genius of your team, and maintain connection.

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5 Actions for Sales and Marketing to Succeed Through Scary Times

succeed-through-scary-timesThings change quickly. Just six weeks ago, the economic conversations focused on the record-high balances of Americans’ 401Ks. While there certainly has been speculation about the possible (inevitable) market downturn/recession, the dominant questions were about how mild such a recession would be and whether it would even meet the technical definition of a recession.

Then in the proverbial blink of an eye, everything we thought we knew changed…radically. In a 24-hour period, America began to get serious about the pandemic that dominates news coverage today. Oil prices plummeted. Gary Cohn, past Director of the National Economic Council, referred to it as, "Where we were last month has nothing to do with where we are now... We are now dealing with an economy where there has been massive demand destruction in the oil market." 

We all entered a new world on Friday, March 13th and it’s important that everyone accepts this. I do not believe for a moment we won’t get through this crisis. I am also confident (as I’ve always been) that better times lie ahead. 

stockdale-paradoxIn times like this, I’m reminded of The Stockdale Paradox. Admiral James Stockdale was a Vietnam War POW for seven years. During this horrific period, Stockdale was repeatedly tortured. He found a way to stay alive by embracing both the grim reality of his situation and healthy optimism.

Stockdale explained: "You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."

This paradox holds a great lesson on how to achieve success and overcome difficult obstacles. It also flies right in the face of the unbridled optimists and positivity peddlers whose advice pervades nearly every Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook stream today.

Stockdale discussed this paradox with author Jim Collins in the book Good to Great, where he spoke about how the optimists fared:

Collins: Who didn't make it out?

Stockdale: Oh, that's easy. The optimists.

C: The optimists? 

S: The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.

There is good news. Difficult times are your opportunity to stand out and be rewarded for taking strong action and making good decisions. It is in difficult times that good companies separate themselves from their peers and become great.

Difficult times, properly managed, are called defining moments in hindsight. Here are 5 actions to take on the go-to-market side of your business to make this a defining moment for you and your company. By the way, I’ll be sharing more details on this Wednesday in our upcoming webinar. (If you’re reading this after April 8th, you can watch the recording of the webinar.)

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3 Ways Having A Take Can Change You As A Marketer

have-a-takeComing into the workforce, I was fresh out of college with a lot of knowledge, ready to make an impact wherever I landed. Yet, I was super nervous about not making a good first impression and failing. You see, I was the student that would know the answers to questions in class, but never felt like speaking up. I always had my opinions, but hardly ever shared them. I never wanted to feel like the “know it all” in class and I dreaded being “wrong,” so I stayed silent. I even had a professor in shock once when I took a final exam because I did well, yet never spoke in class. In his words, I was the “silent but smart” student. My point in bringing this up is that to this day, I wish I had spoken up and given out my answers/opinions because it would’ve made a huge difference to my job now.

What It Means To Have A Take

Having a take means sharing your opinion, standing up and speaking from your experience, your knowledge, and your mind. Having a take isn’t about agreeing or disagreeing with what someone else says, but making sure you’re not saying something just because it’s what everyone else wants to hear.

Putting your take out into the world means having the potential to be wrong (depending on what it is you’re having a take on). Many people don’t like the thought of being wrong or being in the wrong, but in order to be right, you have to put your take out there. You can’t be like my college self and sit silent. Change isn’t going to happen if you don’t speak up. 

How Having a Take Can Change You as a Marketer

Ever since I’ve changed my mindset and have started having a take, I’ve seen a few things happen/change with the way I do my job as the Marketing Manager of Imagine. Use these as an opportunity to influence your job, too.

1. I started providing deeper value. I’m not saying I wasn’t providing value before, but I’m now providing a more impactful value than before. This value stretches to the company (in my case, Imagine), my coworkers, and the world. If you switch your mindset and put your opinion out there, you give a whole new perspective for others to think about. I’m not saying that you have to disagree and give your perspective differently all the time, you just have to make sure you’re saying what you really feel. If all you say is what others want to hear, how much value is that truly providing? Is it getting you where you want to go with your work or your job? Probably not.

As a marketer, your job is to make sure that your customers are getting the best experience and the most value/knowledge out of what you do. If you feel like something is off with the new web page design or the way someone has worded messaging, say something -- and give your take as to why. Your perspective now gives someone something to think about. That’s how you create change. By not having a take or by holding back your take, you give up on the opportunity to make an impact for your company and/or for your customers. Speaking up is how you create forward motion to put you and your company in a better position than before.

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The Art of Letting Go: What Every Salesperson Should Do

Editor's Note: The world of business focuses on the success, the learnings, and the growth they've achieved. Yet, no one talks about the failures, the hardship, or the process that led to the success. Today's blog is written by one of our Sales Development Reps (SDRs), Carolyn Nangle. She shares her personal story of being in sales and what it took for her to turn her failure into success. She shares her perspective on growth, working and making her mark.

letting-goI want to tell you about my best day working at Imagine. My best day at Imagine was the day I almost got fired. It was also the day I was ready to quit. I was so fed up. I was fed up with the work, with my own performance, with my boss, Doug Davidoff. (Some readers may have heard of him.) I was ready to be done at Imagine, and Imagine was ready to be done with me. Doug and I had a heated call that morning, and no one pulled punches. I was told I’d have the night to think things over and we’d meet again at the end of the next day. It was a tense exchange, and didn’t bode well for my future at Imagine. I guess, to give some context, I should back up a little bit.

Before I came to Imagine, I worked in the service industry as a server and a bartender for a decade, so I come from a background of providing exemplary customer service. In that context, the more information you have, the easier it is to provide that high-level service. My favorite bar regular, Roy, used to come in for lunch on weekdays. He had an iced tea, no lemon, and a salad with no tomato. The first time I served Roy, of course, I didn’t know all of this. I simply took the order and brought it out. After a few weekday lunches, however, I realized that Roy was a creature of habit. Soon enough, armed with more information, I was able to have Roy’s tea waiting at the bar when he walked in the door. I was able to give him the best service possible, because I had enough relevant information to do so. 

Suffice to say, I came to Imagine with a lot of experience helping people and a lot of experience being really, really nice--even to the jerks. But I had absolutely zero experience selling anything. I never even tried to upsell people on appetizers. This fact didn’t need to handicap my ability to learn and to sell, but it did. I wore my fear like a cloak made of lead. The fear that everyone would see through me, that they would know immediately that I didn’t know what I was talking about weighed on me constantly. I dragged it into every call I made.

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Overcoming Your Biggest Barrier to Generating New Business Opportunities: Prospect Problem Blindness

prospect-problem-blindnessWhen the invite from Toyota came in, Ford’s senior executive team was skeptical. 

We invite you to visit our newest manufacturing plant. Send your top engineers and bring all your questions. We’re anxious to share our methods.

When the engineers came back from their visit, they confirmed the skepticism. “It wasn’t a real auto manufacturing facility,” the plant engineers explained. “Sure they had chassis and tools, and people, but spare parts and components were virtually nonexistent. The warehouse was too small to support the level of schedule activity. It was staged, like a movie.”¹

With the benefit of history, we know that it was not staged. The “experts” from Ford saw the real thing before it displaced Detroit’s auto leadership position.

You’ve likely heard the story of Steve Jobs’ inspiration for what became the Mac. In exchange for a pre-IPO allocation for Apple stock, Xerox invited Job and some of his engineers to get an inside peek into their PARC facility. While there, the Xerox engineers shared some of the innovations they’d added to their Alto machine like the “what you see is what you get” graphic user interface, bitmapping and a mouse. 

One part of the story that is often told wrong is that Xerox didn’t know what they had and as a result they let Jobs “steal” it. This isn’t true. They knew the Alto was powerful. They introduced the Alto in a 1972 commercial as the first desktop computer with a graphic user interface, showed how it could revolutionize your office life by using things like email, word processing and reminders “all controlled by a cursor.” Why have most people never heard of the Alto, and today Apple is the most valuable company in history? Because Xerox thought that the Alto would simply be too expensive to put on sale commercially. The reality is that the failure of Xerox to capitalize on their invention was a technology or vision failure, it was really a product marketing failure.

Think about this for a moment. If the expert engineers from Ford couldn’t see the value of the just-in-time, LEAN manufacturing process and the product marketing experts at Xerox couldn’t see a path to viability with something as powerful as the Alto, what’s the likelihood that a great demo, or presentation will be enough for the companies in your target market to change their course/speed to embrace your solution? These are two powerful examples of a barrier that faces all humans and has a profound impact on your ability to position your products and services to generate new opportunities by highlighting the amazing outcomes you create and the problems you solve. The barrier is called “problem blindness.”

What Is Problem Blindness

In his most recent book Upstream: The Quest To Solve Problems Before They Happen, Dan Heath shares this description: the belief that negative outcomes are natural, inevitable, or simply out of our control. When we’re blind to a problem, we treat it like the weather. We may know it’s bad, but ultimately, we just shrug our shoulders. “What am I supposed to do about it? It’s the weather.” Problem blindness creates passivity, even in the face of enormous harm. Problem blindness explains why extraordinarily smart people do extraordinarily dumb things or make bad decisions.

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