To some of you, 2023 was a cakewalk compared to 2021 and 2022. To others, this was the most challenging year ever. Either way, I agree with you!

Whether it was good or bad, you probably grew personally, fiscally, and/or physically. Every day, running a business is a challenge. Yet, throughout the year, situations, circumstances, and outcomes tend to blur.

Chances are you need a video recorder for your memories and emotions to replay what you learned or felt accurately. Time tends to blur or color our feelings and perceptions.

I have the added bonus of doing a weekly blog post and newsletter to capture and share what I learned and felt each week.

What follows are the most popular of those based on your feedback. I was able to determine those based on the most read and the most time spent reading them.

I hope you enjoy revisiting them as much as I did writing this year in review.

I Lost It All… And Why I’m Happy About It!

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This story was about when I bought my new computer. In the process, I was trying to copy data from the old to the new. I was moving too fast and inadvertently deleted ALL my passwords.

Remember, I've spent over 20 years collecting them for me, my clients, and past clients. It was a disaster and a blessing at the same time.

First, through some detective work, I found many saved in browsers. Secondly, I ensured that the simple passwords were replaced with unique and hard-to-crack ones.

If I could not find them, I could always use the “Forgot Password” feature and reset them (which I did hundreds of times.)

Another bonus was that I could reach out to current clients and help them do the same. That helped us build a stronger relationship, and no one was angry or disappointed.

Starting over is always challenging, but the effort could be worth the investment of time in the long run.

The lesson here is that passwords or contact information are only useful if they are part of personal connections with whom they are being collected and saved.

If you don't have a personal relationship with the data being collected and maintained, identify who does. It could be a salesperson, accountant, or service tech. Please give them the responsibility of monitoring and upkeep. That way, they can grow and maintain those relationships.

FOMO to ROI in 5 Easy Questions

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You can always tell who has honed in their business by the way they define their audience. Newbies try to fit their solution to the widest possible audience. Most successful entrepreneurs tend to narrow their audience to where their solution solves a specific unique problem.

The main FOMO is about letting customers slip through the cracks. That leads companies to spend too much time and resources trying to mold messages to meet the broadest possible audience. Instead, focus on engaging those who may want your specific solution to their problem.

I talked about reverse engineering the marketing process by asking yourself these five questions:

5 – Outcome

What does your perfect customer look like and what do they get using your service that they can't get from another solution or vendor?

4 – Steps

What steps have worked for them that have led to them becoming your loyal repeat customers? Do you know if those steps are repeatable for other customers or prospects?

3 – Solution

How can you present those steps as a coherent system that targets their specific problem and is not just some random concept that works for everyone?

2 – Real Problem

What are they not seeing (which you offer), that helps them solve their problem differently? Can this help them diagnose and treat a perceived problem in a way that creates clarity?

1 – Perceived Problem

This is often an “I believe” statement. “I believe that more leads will create more sales,” or “I believe more clicks and likes on your social media and emails will build trust.”

These answers often have a ring of truth but are based on assumptions that lack a foundation supported by reality or data.

What do Your Leads… LEAD to?

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With the advent of AI and its crashing onto the scene in 2023, automation was top of mind.

ChatGPT and other AI engines are just an enhanced search capability. If you can write great targeted prompts, you can get more accurate and targeted data as an output.

What's missing is the context of your or your targeted audience's experience, values, and perceptions.

AI can scrub databases and provide leads or prospects, but a lead is a cold call if they are unaware of you, your business, and your products and services.

By using content and some advertising to get people back to your website, you can start to gauge interests and build relationships with people who chose to search for you.

That is how a contact marketing system works. It funnels actual leads, interested in your products and services, and builds better sales relationships.

Falling for the Forest from the Trees

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As with “Leads”, this was a recurring theme.

The concept here was focusing on the ability to create content that focuses on a smaller, targeted audience (like you are to me). By doing that, you can get more granular with your messages. It's like seeing each person more like a tree in a forest of prospects.

I discussed how some clients made over $1,000,000 in additional sales by focusing on less than 70 quality prospects and turning them into consistent new sales.

This was done by focusing on more relational building activities and less on transaction lead generation concepts. It requires more time and energy at first, but in the long run, it's less work than working through cold dead-end leads.

And you have a happier and more productive sales team with less work and better results.

Closing Thought

After reading these articles, I can see how and why business evolved this year. I came away with a better sense of why we saw one of the most successful years in our history.

We worked hard to keep our clients focused, which paid off with more success for everyone. It was not without a bit of business dyslexia. The AI explosion had everyone learning and second-guessing tools, methodologies, and competitive advantages.

Ultimately, the companies that produce the most creative, compelling, and consistent content build new and more solid business relationships, still paying benefits as the year winds down.


“He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.”
– Confucius

Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about business-to-business sales and marketing today! Do you have a sales or marketing communications strategy that works for you? What tips or techniques can you share that work for you and your business?

To learn more about this and other topics on B2b Sales & Marketing, visit our podcast website at The Bacon Podcast.

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