Business Development Newsletter #239 – B2B ecommerce, Training people, Definitions

Sales and marketing Newsletter

Quick notes to help you grow your business in less time with less effort. . . sometime next week.

In this issue:

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • Does your online presence integrate well with your business development people? If your people ask prospects to visit the site and guide them to the appropriate content, it’s a good sign.
  • Designing a new car online should result in more cars being ordered from the factory, right? Nope. Still hovering at 10-15%. Involving customers in little decisions (what color seats?) leads to deeper interaction.
  • Just having a FAQ section on your site isn’t enough. The questions that have been asked, will be asked again. Consider collecting answers and making a Knowledge base like software companies have. Prospects have questions.
  • Beware the promise of automation and what it does to personalization. Best to say an automated response is automated versus trying to be clever. When it misses, it’s way off and does nothing to build trust.

Being Human – What about training new people?

“You’re off to great places, today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” – Dr.Seuss


In the midst of these challenging times, people are still hiring. The question a client and I have been working through is their onboarding process. Specifically, since they’re bringing on remote employees, we’re noting areas where culture is transmitted in person. Working on how (or whether) it can will translate online.

With work from home has advantages. There’s promise in being able to pick up talent from anywhere in the USA, maybe even the world. The challenge is integrating them with a team used to seeing one another in person. New business have some advantage here because culture/behaviors change all the time, but what if your team is set in their ways?

We’re focusing on three areas to prepare for new hires:

  • Identifying behaviors: We’re working on a list of in-person, non-verbal, “watch this” behaviors modeled during the on-boarding process. The list is big, from morning check-ins to inter-departmental communication.
  • Slowing information flow: We’re slowing down the amount of information communicated each day. In the classroom a lot of information is transmitted each hour. Online, we’ll split content into small chunks and check for understanding with examples and letting information simmer.
  • Establishing work style: Existing team members are showing different work from home styles, from free-flow “fit it in” to a compartmentalized focused “close the door” approach. The range works because managers and staff built trust in one another. New hires and managers are going to work on establishing similar trust levels.

The biggest challenge is answering the question, Is work-from-home permanent or will we be back in the office faster expected? No one knows for sure, but for right now, do your best with what you have, leaving enough wiggle room to change.

Interesting stuff.

Random stuff


Oh, that’s what that means. . .


Did you ever see the movie Being John Malkovich?  In it, the protagonist applies for a job on the 71/2 floor of an office building. Everything is normal sized except the ceiling/doorways, and everyone acts like nothing is out of the ordinary.

It’s on my mind because I have an odd sized door on an addition. No one notices it until I point it out, but the door is shorter than a normal door. I never noticed it myself until I hired a carpenter to replace the screen door. Like the characters in the movie, I shrugged, then went on with my day-to-day life.

As the month of March drags on toward its 100th day, I get inspired and look for a new door. A big double door. After weeks of online searching I end up admitting that to get a fancy new storm door, it needs to be custom-made. No problem. 5 to 6 weeks they say. I’m not going anywhere, I say. I put the deposit down and wait.

It shows up this week and when the workmen transfer the door from the truck to the garage, I think to myself, it’s too small. Too short. I’m 6’3″ or so and I can almost see the top of it as they walk by.

They leave and I break out the tape measure. I dig up the order form and receipt, knowing what’s happening.

As I suspect, it’s exactly what I ordered. I call the store, compliment them on the beautiful door, and we start on the questions. Listening for one they should have asked from the start to use against them. He takes out his notes, I have my notes, and we palaver.

Let’s start with the rough opening, he says. Yes, I say, let’s start there. Everyone keeps saying rough opening, I think I know what it means, but what do you think it means, I say.

That’s all it takes. You’d think after 20 years of pleading with business people to “double check key terms,” the hardest part of communicating, I’d be great at it.

I’m not.

Now I know what a door manufacturer means by rough opening. My definition was close. So very close. Inches close.


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