Tag Archives: tips

How to write the best LinkedIn messages for social selling.


Remember what it was like to be the newbie on the first day of a new job and you didn’t know anyone in your office?

You have two choices: try to make friends with your colleagues, or sit by yourself at lunchtime every day.

Sales is a lot like that. You don’t know hardly anyone you try to sell to, and you can either make the effort to get to know them, or you can completely miss your sales targets. So, what’s it going to be?

When you’re starting in sales, most people know hardly anything about communicating with inbound leads. Let alone prospecting for outbound ones. But it doesn’t take long before they overcome their fears and realise that being a successful salesperson depends on initiating conversations. Just like making friends in a new office. If you want to generate interest from outbound leads, you need to put yourself out there.

Fortunately, you don’t just have to rely on cold calling anymore. One of the many tools used in social selling is LinkedIn. It’s particularly powerful because it allows you to connect one-on-one with potential customers in a way that you couldn’t before.

In the new data-driven age and the wake of GDPR, not everyone lists their information publicly on their company websites anymore. It can be hard to find contact information for everyone you want to reach out to.

This makes LinkedIn a great option when you’re running into a wall, trying to find a prospects email address or phone number. LinkedIn also features messaging and shows when your connections are online. Allowing you to have more personalised real-time conversations with your leads. It also allows for voice messaging and video messaging for those you’re connected to. Further increasing your ability to personalise your messages.

Before we start…

It’s always good to keep in mind that if you want to directly message people on LinkedIn that you’re not already connected with, you will need to be a LinkedIn premium user or purchase in Mail credits. Any LinkedIn member can message with a connexion request for free. Still, those messages are limited to 300 characters, and the recipient can decline your connection request without even seeing it. (Some people don’t like to be messaged by strangers; who knew!?)

So going on the basis you’re set up with LinkedIn premium and ready to go. Here are our top tips on nailing that first outreach:

Find that common ground.

The most significant advantage of using a LinkedIn message for outreach is the amount of information available relevant to your prospects job role, work history and interests. When you find a prospect on LinkedIn and want to connect with them, the first thing you should do is dig into their profile a little and find some common ground with the person you’re messaging.

If your prospect is active on LinkedIn, read what they are sharing and what they are interested in. Take note of their current position, how long have they been with their company and their past professional experience. You can also check which LinkedIn groups they belong to and find common areas between themselves and them. Are you working in the same area? Did you attend the same University, maybe? Do you know anything unique about their industry? Or it could be as simple as what do you find interesting in their profile?

The worst thing you can do is use the same message for every single prospect. Instead, use what you learned from LinkedIn to tailor your message to each individual. So that they know you paid attention to their profile and to who they are. By finding commonality between yourself and your prospect, you can ensure that when you’re crafting your first message that it’s targeted, personal and relevant.

Got any mutuals?

Another thing you can do is see if you have any connections in common with your prospect. It’s a lot easier to strike up a conversation with a stranger if there’s somebody else who can vouch for you. You can check if you have mutual friends or former coworkers in common and try asking one of your mutual connections to introduce you.

Another more traditional approach is to mention your mutual connection in your first message. You can start by writing something like ‘Hi [Prospect Name], I notice you and I are both connected to [Name of Mutual Connection], and thought I would reach out to connect to you as well.’ However, this approach has downfalls in that you don’t know the relationship that these people have and whether it is actually of value.

Keep it short & sweet.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking of LinkedIn messages as emails, not instant messaging. This means not sending paragraphs of text when a few concise sentences will do the job just fine.

Your goal in a cold LinkedIn message is to get the recipient to respond; that’s it. So keep your message short and to the point so that your recipient actually reads it.

It can be challenging to keep your LinkedIn messages brief while still conveying warmth. Don’t be blunt; instead, focus on how you discovered their profile, what you have in common or what about their experience interests you.

Don’t go for the sell.

The biggest deadly sin in cold outreach is asking for a sale in your first message. If you feel the need to beg a stranger to buy your product, it sends a message that you aren’t successfully attracting customers and that your product probably isn’t worthwhile.

So when you introduce yourself to your prospects on LinkedIn, keep reminding yourself that your goal isn’t to push your service. It’s to make a connection and start a conversation.

Give them a reason to reply.

If you think about it receiving a message from a stranger, you’re not going to be inclined to respond unless they give you a good reason, right? While your first message should focus on establishing a relationship instead of selling, you want to include an ask to keep the conversation flowing.

Include a question in your message that will give them a reason to respond. This could be about their experience, their interests, a mutual connection or even their current role. People love to be helpful. So asking a prospect for insight or expertise on a specific topic will make them more inclined to respond.

Follow up.

You’re probably not going to be reaching out one lead at a time on LinkedIn. So you need to keep track of those you reach out to and follow up on them if they don’t reply straight away.

We’ve created another excellent guide for tips on following up, which you can find the link for here.

Or if email marketing is what you’re after, we wrote about that last week too!

Now that we’ve covered the basics for connecting with your prospects using LinkedIn, it’s now up to you to put them into practise and begin forming meaningful value-adding relationships.

Published: 1st March 2021

Mass emailing is dead. How to get back in the game and win business through email.


Mass email is dead. So, what’s next?

Put your hands up if you’ve ever spammed your prospects with email marketing.

We’d be amazed if you didn’t, most sales and marketing professionals have at some point in their career with varying levels of success.

Unfortunately, many companies haven’t stopped mass email marketing, and it’s muddied the practice. Making success from email marketing that much more challenging.

Today, we’re going to demonstrate the evolution of email prospecting and how to change your emails from old-school generic spam filter bait to a modern, focused and value-adding strategy.

What is mass email marketing?

You may not even be aware you’re doing it!

Mass email marketing is when you send the same email to an extensive list of prospects. This could be across any sector – marketing, sales, recruitment, even supermarkets do it!

It’s a marketing strategy that gained a bad reputation over the last few years after poor execution yielded a very low conversion rate.

Mass email is not customised, targeted or personalised, often being sent to an unfiltered audience who may or may not be interested in what you have to offer.

Buyers today expect targeted and customised emails that provide relevant information and offers to their immediate needs.

The Old-old School

Mass emailing used to generate enough leads to keep sales teams happy with a consistently full pipeline.

These typically included:

A piece of content to add value.

Using articles and blogs in mass emails is an old tactic to draw away from the fact the email is clearly not personalised.

You knew the content would grab your buyer’s attention and hoped it would be enough to action the second part of your email.

The connection request.

To be closing sales, you must always be asking. Or so they say! Asking for a call or offering a consultation of some kind shows interest in your prospects’ business and piques their interest in how you could help.

So, these old school emails weren’t inherently bad. However, they don’t work anymore and here’s why:

Openings were too generic.

Terms like ‘Hi there’ or ‘Good morning/afternoon’ are an automatic switch-off for most. It automatically rings automated email alarm bells in your prospect’s brain.

Follow that with a generic question like ‘Are you looking to increase sales right now?’ or ‘What does your marketing strategy look like this quarter?’ and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Your prospects don’t know why you’re asking them, and you’re not giving them a reason to care. They are busy and are probably zoned out and moving to other emails before they even finish yours.

Making assumptions.

Nobody wants a random salesperson to insult them – especially through a mass email.

When you include comments such as ‘You really need to work on X or Y’, ‘Our service can fix X problem for you’ or ‘You’re leaving money on the table not using us’ you instantly switch your prospects to the defensive.

A better approach would be to research your prospects before sending an email. Then include something you really like about their process or service then suggest an idea or two on what can be improved or share your experience of helping a similar company.

This is a much less direct and jarring approach to offering your help. It allows you to provide immediate value, without being too pushy or offensive.

Putting all the work on them.

Using vague or non-committal calls to action puts all the work on them. ‘Let me know what works for you’ or ‘When would you be free for a call?’ leaves it up to them to not only reply but then wait for a response and still be interested further down the line.

A much more proactive way to close would be to include a calendar link or booking tool. ‘I’d love to learn more about your unique business challenges. Click here to book in a no-strings consultation: [Link to calendar]’

Personalised… but not.

Whatever the cause, a combination of the ones we detailed above or another email faux pas, prospects stopped opening and responding to emails.

The industry started to adopt ‘personalising’ emails, just not to the extent they should’ve.

Without changing much of the email content, they started greeting each prospect by name and suggesting specific call or meeting times.

‘Would you be free to discuss at 3 pm on Tuesday?’

Looking back, it’s not too hard to see why adding someone’s name and demanding their time still didn’t work. Your prospects will still see through this type of copy and pasted template.

The Answer

It’s been a confusing transition. After all, not so long ago, these same prospects would have been responding to these types of emails.

All of a sudden it seems like adding their name isn’t enough, adding their company name isn’t enough.

So, what’s the answer?

Your prospects don’t want ‘personalised’, they want tailored, focused, and value-adding content so give them what they want.

Don’t be afraid to send emails one by one, quality over quantity.

Focus on them.

Detail an event in their professional life; perhaps they run a podcast you could listen to and comment on. Or they’ve just posted a great article on Linked In. Whatever it is, use it to build that initial relationship.

‘You did a brilliant job on your recent podcast on [Subject]. How do you think this will change as XYZ develops further?’

Connect the dots.

Connect their role and expertise to your own or the company you represent.

‘I had a few ideas on X related to your project with Y, which I recently read about on your company LinkedIn profile. I help SME’s like yourselves bring their business to the national market through a unique multichannel approach.’

Galvanise your CTA.

Provide a specific time and method to continue the conversation without being demanding.

‘What’s the easiest way for us to get 10 minutes together on Thursday to share how our expertise could be mutually beneficial? For me, it’s through my Calend.ly here.’

Using the tips above, you should start to see your email prospecting begin to pick up again.

So, start sending and tracking truly value-adding emails to your prospects and see what combination works best for you.

While you’re at it, why not try using personas to tailor your messages further. And how to increase your credibility through social proof.

Oh, you want to make email prospecting even easier? Click here to learn more about Intelligent Talk and how our unique methodology can open the doors to new business opportunities for you.

Published: 22nd February 2021

“Recruiters are now marketers – they just need to think like them!” Guest blog by Brogan Lovatt


If you’d have spoken to me five years ago and said, ‘You’ll be working in marketing before long!’ I’d have laughed in your face.

I was climbing the career ladder in corporate recruitment, managing three teams and determined to become the youngest director in the companies’ history.

I was a recruiter! That was nothing like marketing.

Right?

At first glance, recruitment and marketing seem worlds away with barely anything in common. It doesn’t take a lot of digging though, to see that today’s potential candidates employ similar tactics as buyers do when considering new products or services.

If you’re a recruiter, you should already know that your clients and candidates have been driving change for the last few years. The days are gone where you could just reach out on LinkedIn or post a job ad, sit back and wait for the applications to roll in.

Huh, recruitment is like marketing?

As a recruiter, you need to stand out and use innovative channels to find your audience. Use these to start real and meaningful conversations with them. Just like a marketer!

In our ever-changing, digital world, recruiters are now marketers, and if you don’t think so – you’re wrong.

Recruitment is all about using marketing tactics and techniques to attract, hire and retain candidates and clients.

So, without realising: using social media, content marketing, email nurturing, video, referrals, employer branding, events and data analytics – I was already grooming myself into a marketer.

A recruiter’s role is to turn an applicant into a hire. Just the same as a marketer converting leads into a sale.

The Changing Recruitment Environment

The way that people search for and apply for jobs is entirely different now from how it was. Which means you need to know where they are spending time. Plus, how and when to communicate with them to stay successful as a recruiter.

Like a marketer, you need to understand your audience and how to reach them using personal and relevant conversations.

The biggest mistakes I saw recruiters make in my eight-years of experience were people just doing what their competitors are doing. Without giving thought to the industry’s changing nature and their roles as recruiters.

Start to think like a marketer, and you’ll always be ahead of your ‘that’s the way we’ve always done things’ competitors.

You are fighting for your candidates’ attention, they have options now! Candidates today want purpose, cultural fit and inspired leadership. 

Having a strong employer brand, showcasing your existing staff and why they genuinely love working for you. This make it easy for your potential hires to interact with your brand through social media and content marketing.

It is your job to have an online presence to build your digital visibility. You need to become part of the communities where your potential clients and candidates spend their time!

In essence, you need to adopt a marketing mentality.

Digital technology has changed the game forever, if you don’t, you won’t be in the recruitment game for much longer.

Why Does It Matter?

Hiring the right staff is critical for the health and continued success of a business.

Proactive, rather than reactive recruiting, should become the new norm allowing recruiters to attract new talent through employee branding, social media and sharing videos focused on company culture.

Adopting a marketing mindset allows you to create a brand presence, attract candidates through multiple channels and nurture your applicants through a talent acquisition funnel.

No More Word of Mouth Marketing

Marketing channels are increasingly digital-focused, companies are working remotely, everything happens online now.

Sharing, engaging, commenting and interacting with your brand is all done at the click of a button.

Social media is just another marketing channel to make real human connections, start conversations and expose your brand to more potential candidates and clients.

 To break away from the pack, you need to act differently and think differently.

Changing Your Mindset

Today buyers complete 70% of the buying process before they even make contact with a real live person.

Great companies are built with great people, so make the most of yours by preparing them to be more like marketers and less like recruiters.  

The internet changed the way candidates search for jobs almost precisely the same way it changed the buyer’s journey. In a digital-first world, your employer branding is more important than ever before.

You can apply the same tactics as today’s marketers to reach candidates (and particularly passive candidates) at the candidate journey’s various stages.

Alternatively, you can continue to do the same thing you always have and find yourself becoming redundant in the process.

You don’t have to go the whole hog as I did and move entirely into marketing, but don’t get left behind.

Published: 15th February 2021

How salespeople can gain credibility in 2021 – Social proof and how to use it.


Since the recent popularity of our Social Proof post on LinkedIn we thought we’d dig a little deeper on the subject.

In business there is little that matters more than your credibility, your reputation.

Do your customers value your services?

Do your prospects trust in your ability to deliver?

These are the types of questions answered by your reputation, before your salespeople ever interact with a prospect – your credibility and social proof speak first. 

What’s the difference?

Your credibility is caused by the actions that you take directly that influence what others think of you, Social Proof is the reputation you hold through what others are saying about you. The two are closely linked and sometimes overlap but for this purpose, we’re separating the two.

Building credibility:

Fancy strategies, marketing campaigns and business development all have their place. But if you really want your business to succeed, you need to be trusted in your industry.

That’s where credibility comes in.

Building credibility is complex; it takes a long time to build your clients trust. Even more work is needed to maintain it.

However, complex and difficult, it is absolutely vital for small businesses and huge corporations alike. Without it, your business will find it difficult to attract and retain clients.

If you want to build credibility, you need to put in the effort. Show your clients that you are trustworthy:

Never sell a solution that isn’t in your customers best interest.

You won’t always be perfect for everyone. Sometimes, you don’t have the right solution at the right price. When this happens, it’s always best to be honest with your client, instead of proposing something you know won’t deliver what the client is looking for.

Never misrepresent the features, advantages or benefits of a product or service.

Your clients don’t want a product or service that only comes close to meeting their requirements. Give them a full, unvarnished truth of your capabilities, then let them decide if your solution will work for them.

Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver.

Some salespeople find it very difficult to say no to their clients about anything. However, telling your clients a certain solution with specific features and benefits will be delivered by a certain deadline, when you know you can’t deliver, will always be a recipe for disaster.

Keep pricing consistent to all clients.

You will poison relationships with your clients if they discover the discrepancies.

If problems develop after a sale, don’t make excuses and place blame; fix the problem.

Your salespeople are the face of your company, make sure that they are delivering on the promises they made and aren’t passing the buck down the line.

Don’t withhold bad news.

If you think your clients will be upset when you deliver bad news, imagine how much worse it would be when they found out you knew bad news three weeks ago and didn’t tell them.

If you must speak of your competitors, be respectful.

Some salespeople think that if they trash-talk the competition, it will make their services look better. Usually, it just makes them look petty and immature.

Give your word and keep it.

Above all, you must do what you said you would when you said you would do it. This is one skill that will put you head and shoulders above your competition and see your credibility soar.

Now you’re doing all of the right things to build your credibility across your existing customers, here’s how you mobilise it into an essential tool to attract new clients.

Social Proof is the trust, brand, and reputation you build through your service testimonials, reviews, likes, and online mentions.

It has a hugely powerful psychological effect of your potential clients. This is because the feedback comes directly from your current and previous clients – positive messaging about your service from those who use it and not your marketing team.

Your future clients will see this social proof as their peers giving your team and services an endorsement.

A recent Trustpilot study showed:

–      66% said that the presence of social proof increased the likelihood of choosing a particular service.

–      Positive star ratings and reviews are the most important trust symbol with 82% saying it would make them likely to purchase.

–      Positive star ratings and reviews on your website will drive 86% of prospects to choose your service.

So, what are the different types of Social Proof?

–      Star ratings

–      Reviews

–      Client testimonials

–      Industry recognised certifications

–      Case studies

–      Public figure/Influencer endorsements

–      Company social media presence

There are many forms of social proof, but some make bigger trust signals than others. Some prospects may hold more respect for your positive reviews, whilst your client testimonials will influence others. That’s why it’s important to build all different types of trust signals and socially prove yourself in this digital age.

Tailoring your signals to your target audience:

Most important of all is to understand who your audience is. Once you identify them, you can share the social proof that matters most to them.

Baby boomers are more likely to be influenced by case studies and reviews, whereas Gen Z put more faith in social media presence.

If you know your audience, you know where to focus your attention.

How social proof works:

Despite being well and truly in the digital age, surrounded by ads and social media noise; it’s now harder than ever to inform, build trust with and engage your prospective clients.

The days of clients relying on advertisements and word of mouth when choosing services are long gone. They now look for social proof.

Social proof helps in the four main areas your prospective clients look for:

Uncertainty – Looking for guidance in an unfamiliar situation, e.g. a company looking to branch out into a new market.

Similarity – Gathering and using feedback from sources they relate to, e.g. successes and feedback from a competitor or company working in a similar field.

Expertise – Valued opinions and verification from people who are more knowledgeable and experienced than themselves.

Numbers – The number of satisfied customers in your client base or transparency of the ROI they received is greatly influential for those of your prospective clients who are financially focused.

Your prospects require guidance and help to trust you; social proof offers this in the authentic formats they want.

Where to use it:

All marketing efforts across all industries work better when they use social proof. However, you must be aware that they can work differently in different formats and places.

For example, guest blogs or endorsements from influencers and thought leaders are great to raise your brand awareness. If you’ve got a prospective client trying to choose between two suppliers, case studies and testimonials should be your main focus.

For your social proof to work for you most effectively, it must be delivered the right way at the right time, to the right audience.

Like everything important, using social proof takes a lot of work and effort.

Partnering with business development experts like Intelligent Talk can help get your social proof in front of your ideal clients, building meaningful and honest relationships.

Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help take your business development efforts to the next level.

Published: 8th February 2021

So you want more high-value customers? This one tip will make all the difference.


If you take a good look at any business that has been successful in the last couple of years. There is a very strong possibility that you will see a clear Unique Selling Point or USP.

Your Unique Selling Point is essential to building your business and continuing growth. That’s why we’ve put together some ways you can work on your USP and help draw even more customers to your business.

So much more than just a way of selling your business, your USP needs to be part of your company’s culture, the foundation even. 

What on earth is a USP?

It’s the thing that sets you apart from your competitors. It gives your business it’s edge in the mind of your clients and potential clients and makes you stand out.

If you break it down; unique means that no one else does it yet. Selling point means the reason your clients spend their money on you or your service. These aren’t just gimmicks, they’re the reason to buy from you.

If you’re a marketing automation company that offers a full brand review with every sign-up, that’s a USP. 

What isn’t a USP is price. Don’t get sucked into the belief that being the cheapest is a USP, neither being the cheapest or the best is unique. Most businesses think they offer the best service for the most competitive price. Equally, for most of them, it isn’t true. 

With a strong enough USP, your pricing will be worth it- no need to try and offer bargains if your service is worth so much more!

Developing a strong USP ensures your customers focus less on price.

If you can develop a strong and genuine USP, the prices you charge become secondary to the service you provide. Clients will pick your business because of the USP and will be willing to pay the extra for it. These are the types of clients you want to attract, those that choose you for price will always be looking for a cheaper deal elsewhere.

Many companies develop or build their company around a USP. If you’ve been trading for a while and still aren’t sure what yours is – speak to your clients, their reasons for using you may not be what you expect.

Reach out to your clients and ask them why they chose you and keep track of the answers. You’ll probably start to see a trend appear in their answers, that’s your USP.

It’s absolutely vital to identify your true USP, the one that exists in the minds of your clients. You may set out to have the best quality service within your industry, but if your clients actually choose you because you have friendly, knowledgeable staff then that’s your USP.

Helping focus your marketing efforts.

Knowing your USP and having it tried and tested with your clients suddenly makes marketing your business a lot easier. Sticking to your USP and avoiding anything that deviates from it builds consistency and integrity for your brand.

Take Krispy Kreme for example, their USP is that their donuts are baked fresh in store throughout the day, guaranteeing the best customer experience. They even went so far as integrating a unique sign that illuminated when the ovens were on, notifying customers that hot, fresh donuts were imminent. 

When Krispy Kreme then started allowing cold, off-site baked donuts to be sold in supermarkets to gain an extra revenue stream, they damaged the brand integrity and lost touch with their client base which nearly cost them their business.

Keep it simple.

The best USPs are simple and easy to maintain. This also helps to keep your business easy to market, because the reason to work with you and your company message is clear.

Without a USP, you may find marketing your company and services a struggle. When such a simple concept can make it far easier to generate new business and boost your success, you’d be crazy not to!

Published: 1st February 2021

“Marketing is a science, not an art!” Guest blog by Monet McGee


A quick Google and you’ll find most Marketing degrees defined as a Bachelor of Arts (BA). Not a Bachelor of Science (BSc) as you would, say maths. However, I believe that Marketing IS a science and I’ll tell you why…

Far removed from any colouring-in department, I started my career in a sales department. As one of a team of two marketing assistants, who made up the finance sales and retention team’s whole marketing arm. I had a baptism of fire for 2 and a half years, learning the numbers behind the success. Our job was simple, get data that needed to be pulled out of the CRM and ensuring the targeting was correct and in line with the goal. Making sure that the team had enough people to call that meant they hit their sales figures.

In my first ever marketing role, 18 and straight out of school. I learned the fundamental rules of what a funnel could look like and how to work backwards to ensure success. I learned the importance of these figures and how they gave you a good starting point to ensure that you could change the broken and capitalise on the success.

For anyone that has met me since and thinks I’m obsessed with data, I’m sorry!

I continued on from that job with my marketing fire ignited. The curtain lifted on what business could be like and how pivotal a marketing function is to business success. Its ever-evolving purpose and ties to all sorts of other departments in the business.

I was hooked!

I went on to work for retail in print marketing, hospitality marketing in brand, business to business marketing. Then, I moved on to working in client engagement and finally a 360 back to working directly in sales. But, this time, sales are the product and not just the team.

A trend appeared through all these roles. No matter how clever the caption, pretty the picture or engaging the video the key to every piece of success was tracing, testing, changing and learning. You needed big picture thinking, logic and process. You needed to understand what you were being told. How this aligned with success or failure – It started to remind me of science experiments at school.

Science is a subject I took all the way to A-level and loved, art I dropped in Year 9 due to misunderstandings with the teacher, although I am sure this doesn’t affect my summation of the two here! Science was always something that made sense; it had structure, could be broken down into sections and had no definitive outcome apart from the one you could prove via test and learn.

It was simple, change one thing and see what happens.

Always the same starting point, what is your aim, what are your variables, and which are you changing for testing. Look at many marketing briefs today and there is a very similar structure in place.

I have worked with some brilliant designers who are artists in their work, copywriters who could be acclaimed authors and production teams who are incredible at what they do, and we would not have marketing success without them! But, if you don’t know what you want, how it’s going or what you need to change to make it better you could have the greatest picture in the world, it makes no difference.

Creative, sound and visual media are often what we become in awe of when we see it as consumers. The clever Netflix campaigns on billboards or client engagement pieces by Spotify. Still, the unglamorous numbers drive marketing. That’s why I think marketing is arguably a science and should be looked at as one.

We are not the colouring-in department, but some of us can draw VERY pretty pictures!

Monet McGee – Head of Marketing & Operations at Intelligent Talk

If you enjoyed this blog, you may enjoy another of our recent pieces on aligning Sales & Marketing.

Published: 18th January 2021

Get started in the right way with these productivity hacks for 2021


When people think of New Year’s resolutions, productivity at work is usually pretty high up on the list. Alongside cutting out junk food, quitting certain vices and learning a new skill. 

At Intelligent Talk, we like to think that any day is a good day to make positive changes and we don’t need a New Year to make it happen!

We understand the appeal, especially after the year we’ve all had (Even TIME magazine declared 2020 the “worst year ever”). We’re all looking to the new year as a way to make a positive change in our lives.

However, with 80% of resolutions being broken by February it seems like we could all use a helping hand to make meaningful change that last the year and beyond.

Although we may still be facing COVID-19, lockdowns and a lot of economic uncertainty, it’s still possible to create positive change.

So, if you’re looking to boost your productivity, here are our favourite ways to go about it.

1. Remove the need to be motivated in order to be productive. 

Usually, when considering productivity, the first thing that comes to mind is motivation. We all tend to think that productivity needs to start with a rush of inspiration and energy in order to do things.

This isn’t necessarily the case. All productivity actually requires, is action.

Waiting to be motivated can cause a lot of frustration and friction as we wait for the ‘perfect’ time to work on something, we end up giving way to procrastination and guilt.

If instead you tell yourself, this will only take a few minutes, once you sit down and start the rest will flow easier.

2. Newton’s First Law of Motion.

It is more difficult to start than it is to continue. If you’ve ever started going to the gym, you’ll know how true this is. Once you have incorporated your new habits into your routine, you become more productive and they are much easier to maintain.

3. Incentivise completing your to-do lists.

Human beings work with impulses. And much like Skinner’s rats, you can become more productive by adding more pleasure to the action you want to do, or painful consequences if you don’t do it. For example, you can listen to your favourite music whilst completing a task or reward yourself once certain objectives are complete.

This can also work on the flip side, set yourself forfeits like doing 10 push-ups if you don’t hit certain deadlines or targets you’ve set yourself.

4. Follow the 80/20 rule.

The 80/20 rule essentially means that 20% of your actions produce 80% of your results.

For example, if you have 10 things to do, identify the 2 goals that will bring you closer to your overall goal and which can wait a little longer. It’s essentially prioritising in it’s most basic form.

5. Substitute old habits with new habits.

When dealing with habits it is much easier to substitute an old habit than to create a new one or break an old one completely. For instance, if you are trying to cut down on caffeine – instead of stopping from drinking coffee completely, replace each cup you would normally have with a cup of tea or water instead. 

6. Use the Pomodoro technique.

This time management technique uses a timer to break up your work into intervals with a short break in between. 

Traditionally using blocks of 25 minutes, this can be adapted to suit your needs with the idea being that you focus solely on one task during that block and nothing else, once the timer rings you take a short break to refresh yourself before starting another timer and block of activity. Once you have completed four blocks, you take a longer break. You can find more about this technique here.

7. The 2-minute rule.

If something takes less than two minutes, do it now. A simple, yet effective way to clear those smaller tasks that often get put to the side.

8. Stop multitasking. 

As our lives continue to get busier and busier, most of us have looked for ways to get more done by multitasking.

Technology has made it easier than ever to multitask, but constantly multitasking can lead to a reduction in overall brainpower and memory problems.

9. Track your time online.

If you work online, or from home, it can be incredibly easy to get distracted and off-track.

Social media and other distractions are only a click away. Making it all too easy to check Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or other apps and websites that time can be wasted on for hours.

Apps such as Rescuetime can help you audit your day to tell you where you’re really spending your time.

It may feel like you’re putting in 8 hours of work but after a closer look, you may notice that’s not the case at all.

Keeping on top of your distractions can be a great way to ensure your time is spent more productively. 

10. Procrastination happens – make the most of it.

Procrastination is natural, sometimes the harder we try to be productive, the harder it becomes. 

Sometimes the best thing we can do is embrace it. Embracing it doesn’t necessarily mean giving in to it completely though. Instead of being sucked into a Netflix show, watch a TED Talk. Instead of reading inane Facebook updates for 20 minutes, read a blog post (we’ve got plenty here). 

Being gentle with yourself reduces the pressure that can cause burnout and a decline in mental health. Allow yourself a few minutes of distraction then refocus and get back to the task at hand.

Applying even one of these tips will help you become more productive, save you time and allow you to focus on the things that really matter to you in 2021. 

We’d love to hear if any of these tips help you, or if there are any you would add!

Published: 11th January 2021

The perfect match – How aligning sales and marketing transforms businesses.


Marketing works. Sales works.

Independently these teams function, but when they work together, it can be incredibly powerful.

Think Shaggy and Scooby, Batman and Robin, Mario and Luigi, Buzz and Woody.

These all have one thing in common – they’re all fantastic duos where you can’t imagine one without the other. I mean you probably could, but they’d be nowhere near as good!

The same should go for your sales and marketing functions.

It’s not all smooth sailing:

Bringing these two teams together can be a tricky process for several reasons. It isn’t easy to measure and takes a lot of people management but, if you want success for your business – it has to be done.

The more sales and marketing work in unison, the more successes the business will see. Most companies will have separate sales and marketing teams, but to reach your customers from all angles, they must work together.

Marketing campaigns are put in place to build brand awareness and inform customers of your services – this then generates leads. 

The sales team are there to convert those leads into new business opportunities by following up with the customers and giving more information.

Marketing works well on its own but where’s the sense in generating leads with no sales team to follow them up?

Sales can also generate their own leads, but this tends to be a much slower process, and why should they do it all themselves when they could be utilising the marketing leads too?

Time to make improvements:

The first thing to do is identify where you are right now:

  • What are the goals of your sales and marketing teams?
  • Do they have any common goals they could work on together?
  • Do the teams hold regular meetings together to understand each other’s activity?
  • Is there anything that needs to be addressed to streamline processes?

Once you’ve pulled all of this together, you can start to get a plan in place.

  1. Set common goals. If team objectives don’t align with one another, both will have issues converting leads. 
  2. Involve both teams. 68% of marketers think their sales team don’t utilise their content correctly to generate leads. If sales were more involved with marketing processes such as creating customer personas, there would be more interest and buy-in from the sales teams. Keeping sales involved also gives your marketing team much better insight into who the customers actually are. It’s sales that interact with them the most after all!
  3. Keep in contact. A crucial part to aligning any business areas is communication, sales and marketing are no different. Dependant on workload and company goals these should be held weekly, monthly or at the very least quarterly. Create a setting where both teams can share what they’ve been working on, collaboration opportunities moving forward as well as key areas of success and needing improvement. Meetings are also an excellent opportunity to cover new content ideas; not everything has to come from marketing!

The really important bit:

You must be able to measure the successes of your teams. Knowing what you should be measuring is even more vital. Metrics such as marketing qualified leads or ‘MQL’s help the marketing team keep track of different steps in their process, but not a huge amount else; so they’re not giving much back in the way of reporting. 

If your sales and marketing teams don’t know what they learn each month from analysing their reporting data, chances are they’re reporting on the wrong metrics. 

Key areas to track improvement are:

  • Lifetime customer value
  • ROI
  • Lead generation through your website and socials
  • Sales qualified leads

Keeping your marketing and sales teams informed not only of what their goals are but also how their success is being measured will ensure the alignment between to two teams will continue and bring further successes to the business.

Food for thought:

Not everything needs to be internal. There is any number of reasons why you would want to engage an external agency to support your business growth plans:

  • You need your sales function to have support through team alignment changes.
  • You’ve never had much success with internal sales, so you’re outsourcing completely.
  • You’re launching new products and need a separate team to market it, but don’t have the resources to hire a whole new team.

Whatever the reason, Intelligent Talk has the solution. 

If you think your team could do with an optimised sales stack – check out our advice here.

If you’re looking for a bit more heavy-duty support, get in touch and let’s see how we can help!

Published: 14th December 2020.

How do you demonstrate ROI in the service industry?


ROI, business, man with breifcase, service industry

Here in the UK, we are a service-based economy. According to the Office of National Statistics, it’s where over 70% of our GDP comes from, with over 80% of our workers being employed within the various service sectors.

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