Looking at the date of my last post, you might notice a HUGE gap of over two months since my last post. Why? Well, I’ve been working closely with a company to help them develop their support services and certified channel partner program. As a result, we’ve worked together to create a whole new culture of how a business manages its leads capture, sales, customers, and even product delivery. But, more about those specifics later.
Resist your urge to scan ahead, and start at the beginning with me here for a few minutes…
I remember in my college days being introduced to 4 P’s of “The Marketing Mix,” which at that time was defined by Product, Price, Promotion, Place. In those days, five years before the Internet became a public word, the 4 P’s were ALL that mattered for a business to be successful.
Sure, those things are still important. But I’ve definitely seen a morphing of what a business needs to focus on if it’s going to survive beyond being in business for a couple of years.
Those companies that do survive and prosper understand how the 4 P’s have now evolved to what’s really important in today’s marketing world. I call it the 5 C’s of the New and Improved Business Culture requiring connection, collaboration, conversion, cultivation, and consolidation.
Now, my use of the 5 C’s of anything is a bit cliche. There’s a 5 C’s of Credit, 5 C’s of Communication, and even 5 C’s of Marketing…the list goes on and on. I’m not claiming to coin a new phrase. I’m just saying there is a new way people prefer to be treated as they move through the process of being a customer. And, they’re willing to buy more…and faster…when you provide it what they are seeking. It just so happens that all five of those steps begin with the letter C. So, I’m goin’ with it!
Let’s cover all five of my version of the 5 C’s as they apply to doing business today and the cultural change a company needs to go through to make bring the 5C Culture into its doors.
In the olden days, it used to be called “cold calling.” Then, it became “networking. Today, we call it “lead gen” accomplished in large part through social networking and being visible. But, it’s all the same thing; proactively going out and finding the right people to connect with or putting content out there for the world to see so that you can be found.
Here’s where things get interesting. The sales process used to involve working a lead by scheduling appointments and making sure you studied-up to identify all possible objections to inevitably “get the sale.” Today, there are many industries where that strategy just doesn’t work anymore.
People with problems don’t just need solutions…they need people to collaborate with to help them fix the problems. It’s the real people that get the sale because they’re willing to take the extra time to collaborate with their leads toward a positive outcome.
Although “converting” website visitors to paying customers is not a new term in the web marketing world, the position it has in the 5C Culture process is definitely new and usually ignored. My point is that conversion possibilities cannot and should not be even attempted until you’ve established a promising “connection” with a person and certainly only after you have collaborated with that person!
If you’re looking at your website wondering why your conversion rates are down the toilet compared to this same time last year or the year before, it’s very possible the reason is NOT because of your copywriting that’s the problem. Your current website design being too pretty or not pretty enough isn’t the problem either. No, sorry, the ongoing debate whether should or shouldn’t use video or rotating image sliders on your home paage is not the issue either.
Your lack of conversions absolutely could be that you have not earned the right to attempt conversion of a prospect to a sale because you have not properly connected and collaborated with your sales prospect.
I find it interesting that most sales books I’ve read use the same terminology when it comes to the word “cultivation.” The authors always want you to “cultivate your leads.” I feel they have the usage of that word wrong. Connection, Collaboration, and Conversion should be the focus with leads and prospects. Cultivation should occur AFTER the sale.
Shift your mindset for a moment from thinking of a customer as being a one-time sale of a single product. Instead, realize that people of today prefer to do business with people they will want to do MORE business with for years to come.
For the benefit of your company, your staff, even your customers, PLEASE read that sentence again. Type it out and hang it on every wall in your office! Post it on every social network you are a part of! Use my name as the originator of the quote if it helps get the message to your helpers! Whatever it takes…you simply MUST adopt this phrase and embed it into your company’s culture!
Just in case you missed it, I’m going to type it again. “People of today prefer to do business with people they will want to do MORE business with for years to come.”
Developing your company culture around “cultivating” your customers after the sale for the long-term is what I believe is the true definition of cultivation.
Believe it or not, the first four steps of my 5 C’s are actually pretty easy once you truly have Consolidation in the mix. Consolidation means many things. My definition of the word is to do even more with less…even to the point of automation.
This is the step that involves tools to help you manage your business more efficiently by using the right technology to sell more…faster…and with less effort and far less reliance on technical people and helpers with certain technical skills.
If you can accomplish this definition of consolidation, you will watch your profit margin increase (along with your number of vacations), and your costs and labor payout decrease (along with your blood pressure)!
This I can prove to be the case through my own experience as owner of a web services company that once had a team of 14 people and worked with literally hundreds of clients over the past 20 years. This step of “consolidation” is the critical step that makes all the other C’s possible and profitable.
Your New Lease on Life and Your Business
I don’t know about you, but as I read the words I’m writing, just the thought of someone new to this methodology reading it for the first time and already making plans to shift to a 5C Culture simply sends positive chills of excitement up and down my spine! Could it be YOU that decides to adopt this new vision?
This type of focus brings a whole new excitement to being part of a growing business! It’s the kind of thinking that you can get up in the morning with and be excited to go to work every day!
But, there’s one remaining question…How?
How can you create a Connection, Collaboration, Conversion, Cultivation, and Consolidation environment in your business?
Well, you need to have the right tools. It’s just that simple. I used to recommend a custom designed WordPress website, Constant Contact or MailChimp for newsletters and auto-responders, WishList or aMember for a members site, any ‘ol shopping cart that was cheap or free that would work with WordPress, some sort of project manager like Basecamp (We attempted to develop our own in house a few years ago, gross!), Act! or some kind of customer manager…I mean, you can see where this turns into a big friggin mess of multiple software systems that need to be continuously maintained by skilled staff.
Have you added up how many hours you spend a month troubleshooting the many software systems you use to manage your business? I don’t think most people even think about it until they finally step out of the hole they’re in and try a whole new system that is more evolved.
That’s exactly what happened to me two years ago.
Sure, this Here Next Year website is still built in WordPress. And, I have about another few dozen WordPress websites out there. But, any website I create now going forward is, surprisingly, NOT in WordPress. Why? Because WordPress is a stand-alone software product that needs specialized skills to be managed. And, that is NOT part of a 5C company culture!
Same thing with auto-responders and the shopping cart system I use. I cancelled my subscription and my partnership as a reseller and service provider for Constant Contact. Why? Because 3rd party systems do not integrate “seemlessly” with the rest of my business management system. I cannot accomplish all five components of the 5 C’s of the New and Improved Business Culture by having pieces and parts of software that don’t talk to each other. It’s no longer efficient, it’s just too costly, and it takes too many hours out of my week to oversee.
Let’s Get Specific with Tools
Okay, so all the Infusionsoft lovers out there are saying, “Yeah you can bridge all of those pieces and parts together, Marty, because Infusionsoft integrates with EVERYTHING!”, right?
Well, the capability might be there. But, then we’re still back to having multiple software packages to support, paying ongoing support fees for Infusionsoft and going through three or four certified Infusionsoft service partners per year (Gag me with a golf club!!), and STILL having limited functionality compared to other more forward thinking solutions.
I just can’t give Infusionsoft the thumbs up for being part of my 5C culture process because it just simply costs too much in both money, time and focus.
LeadsPages is another hottie out there. Pretty landing pages that can be launched in minutes. Okay, that meets the speed criteria as part of my Consolidation step but does not meet the other components of the same step because you STILL have to have a website to house your LeadsPages on (Even Google tells how much it dislikes LeadsPages opt-ins and landing pages that are hosted on LeadsPages servers). Then, you still have to find your own auto-responder system because LeadsPages doesn’t do that. And, you’re right back to where you were before with a mishmash of software that doesn’t talk to each other. (Enter sound of a bit GONG here!)
Introducing: The ONLY Web-Based
Marketing Automation and
Business Management Solution
that Meets All of My
5C Culture Requirements
So, in 2009, I switched to a new shopping cart. At the time, I was using 1ShoppingCart, which I learned later was sooooo far away from my own 5C requirements that it wasn’t even on the radar! The primary features I was looking for were custom thank you pages and the ability to make my order pages look exactly like the rest of my website. Oh, and I simply wanted to be associated with a company that was willing to evolve their product instead of something stuck with their core development that was made ten years earlier.
I started using a product called Premium Web Cart for my order pages, auto-responders, and email sends to my lists. No more need for Constant Contact. That alone was enough for me to recommend it to clients so I joined their affiliate program.
Their affiliate program was fine for me because I had worked with so many affiliate programs before. I could find my way around easily enough. But, I wanted more! I wanted to recommend to my clients and other web services providers I knew that they should be recommending the system as affiliates also.
The Premium Web Cart affiliate management area needed some serious work before I would do that.
So, I called Premium Web Cart and talked to Gary, senior product manager. He took down my suggestions and we ended our call. I didn’t expect anything. I mean, this was a software company after all. If I would see my enhancement requests appear within two years (!!), it would be a miracle.
Four days later, I get this email from Gary asking me to login to my affiliate area to see what I think of the new additions.
There they were! Every request I had made was in the system! I could now go out to my most closest colleagues and in good confidence recommend that they sign-up as affiliates and simply recommend Premium Web Cart to their clients.
FOUR DAYS! Just think about the latest “why don’t they have that feature?” item in a web-based tool you’ve come across lately. How long do you think it would take to appear if you were to just call up and ask for the addition to be made “some day?”
I was very intrigued!
It was a few months later when I met Gary in person. He flies out from their Chicago office every Christmas for two weeks of skiing. So, we hooked up at Beaver Creek for a ski day. I’ve always said I can learn anything I want to know about a person by skiing with him or her for a day!
We hit it off immediately and started talking about what Premium Web Cart needed to do as a company to take over the world of e-commerce instead of being one of the world’s best kept secrets.
A year went by where we worked more and more with each other to add features and functionality needed by me for the management of my own business as well as what was needed by Here Next Year clients.
Stay with me here, because this is an important part of the message!
In May of 2014, Gary suggested I start using their newly revamped Membership area and he said I should also checkout their Scheduling system to book my appointments. In the process, I came across a component of the Scheduling system called the Coach’s Portal. I didn’t even know it was there!
He also suggested that I take a look at what they called their Store Builder. Originally, it was designed for featuring online store fronts similar to what you see with Yahoo! stores with multiple items on a page. Great for selling 100 different kinds of shoes, but not a big producer for people like me who sell a few services and ebooks. But, I DID like that the store builder used something other than WordPress and was completely integrated with the rest of the system.
That’s where the light bulbs started to go off in my head. If we could build out this “store builder” into a more current “website builder” with blog and remove the need for expensive custom design by using SEO friendly and “responsive” design templates (meaning, functional on cell phones, iPads and tablets), we could really be onto a whole new way to manage a business…Especially for today’s popular business that offers coaching, consulting, and online product sales.
It took all summer and half of fall, but the new templates and the new website builder with “responsive” templates were complete and launched in late 2014.
Now think about this. I was one of the many using all of those pieces and parts as mentioned earlier (and paying people to maintain them all) could now literally….
- Build a new “mobile responsive” website without any programmers in a format that Google loves to index
- Add unlimited auto-responders
- Use built-in surveys to qualify my leads
- Segment my lists before even sending my first email
- Offer products for sale with coupons and gift certificates and even start an automated Abandoned Cart Recovery program! (Geez, that one needs a whole blog post of its own!)
- Invite customers to join my membership site, which I also could build and maintain with helpers
- Reignite my coaching program because I could now easily organize my coaching sessions schedule and get payments for coaching time without ever making collection calls
- And even launch an affiliate program too! All within a single account!
Show Me Don’t Tell Me!
Well, I could just gush all day about this system. So, I’m going to share a video that Gary (the Senior Project Manager) produced just yesterday that I think is the best demo anyone could ever expect to see for how to use this system to sell.
There’s really nothing on the market that comes close to this and certainly not at this price level. And, for that reason, Premium Web Cart has recently (as of January 1, 2015) been on a mission to change their name branding. The product suite of all of these built-in and integrated parts is now called CloudNet360.com. Go there to see some nice graphics representations of how everything works together in a 360 degree all inclusive, automated, sequence.
But first, watch this CloudNet360 instructional video and you will start to see how this product and the 5C Culture could produce very exciting results for your business.
To sum it all up, join with me to create a new movement: The 5C Culture movement! Establish a culture in every part of your business and mindset that uses the process of connection, collaboration, conversion, cultivation, and consolidation to get more sales…faster…and with less reliance on programmers.
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Marty Dickinson is the Here Next Year Web Marketing Club manager and author of Lions Always Win: How to Spot What You Want in Business and Life…and Get it Too!. Without knowing what you truly want, and the tools to get you there, your business is guaranteed to fail.