Testing: The one essential task that every successful entrepreneur performs (and every struggling entrepreneur ignores)

I’ve changed my blog theme for the 3rd time in 6 months (and possibly the 3,000,000th theme since joining WordPress).

I don’t lose a wink of sleep over the changes I make. I’m less concerned about whether my blog theme looks consistent every day of the week. Rather, I’m more concerned with a far more important question:

Can I acquire and retain more customers who are more profitable?

It’s true that consistency is critical. But what’s more important to me is testing and optimizing to improve my ability to acquire and retain more customers who are more profitable.

WHY THIS MATTERS TO YOU

Okay, the number of themes I’ve used on my blog isn’t really the point of this post. It’s just a way to introduce what I want to talk about today: Every business owner needs to break apart everything in their business and test it and then they need to optimize what they’ve found based on the findings from their test.

It’s a really simple formula:

  1. Test everything in your business.
  2. Optimize everything in your business.
  3. Repeat forever.

That’s one of the top “secrets” to business success. I’ve never met a successful business owner who didn’t test. And I’ve never met a struggling business owner who tested religiously. I can say almost unequivocally that testing leads to success.

When you test, you identify what works and what doesn’t. Then you optimize that particular element of your business and you implement it and test it again.

Actually, we already do this in other aspects of our life without realizing it: When you meet someone who could be a potential romantic partner, but things don’t work out, you might realize that you introduced them to your weird quirks a little too early in the relationship. That was a type of test and you learned your lesson from it. Next time, you won’t reveal until much later in the relationship that your hobby is to carve Star Trek characters out of butter.

WHAT YOU SHOULD TEST

When I say “test everything”, I’m not exaggerating. Break apart your business and test it all: Test the big stuff like your brand, your target market, your marketing content, your deliverables, and your methodologies; and test the little stuff like your email footer, the days and times that you post on your blog; and whether you follow-up with a prospect 1 day or 2 days after your first contact with them.

I used my blog theme as an example, but I test everything. In fact, the element of my business that I test the most is my sales proposal. Since the very first day I hung out my “freelance writer” shingle, I have diligently recorded massive amounts of data about my sales proposal. As a result, it’s a finely tuned sales-generating machine that has earned me hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Here’s how to identify some of the most important things to test: Start with your sales funnel. Break your sales funnel into stages and then into steps (which I’ve covered in blog posts like Sales Funnel 101: How does a sales funnel work and Identifying the steps in your sales funnel).

Then test each step.

Here’s an example of a really simple sales funnel with a few steps in each stage. In black are the current sales funnel stages and steps. And I’ve used a green font-color to identify some ideas about how you can test that step:

Audience

  1. Article marketing leads to Twitter follow. (Test other methods to lead to a Twitter follow, such as press releases or promoted tweets. Or, point your article marketing to something else, like directly to your website.)

Leads

  1. Twitter follow leads to initial Twitter-based interaction. (Test the types of interaction you get and what kinds of interaction gets people advancing in your sales funnel. For example, will a frequent retweeter advance in your sales funnel faster than someone who replies to you?)
  2. Twitter-based interaction leads to website visit. (Test where they are clicking. For example, are they clicking on a specific tweet or are they clicking on the URL in your profile? And, if they click on the URL in your profile, try sending them to a different page on your website and see what happens.)
  3. Website visit leads to email newsletter sign-up. (Test how you ask for an email newsletter sign-up: Test different placements of the form, test different colors, test calls to action, and test a 1-step and 2-step call to action.)

Prospects

  1. Email newsletter sign-up leads to regular click-through interaction. (Test your email’s subject lines, length of body content, number of links in the content, placement of links, and PS content.)
  2. Regularly click through interaction leads to a purchase. (Test links to different kinds of information and different levels of financial commitment from free to high-end).

Customers

  1. A purchase leads to another purchase. (Test which products or services lead to additional products or services.)

Evangelists

  1. Frequent purchases lead to word of mouth referral. (Test other ways of getting people to evangelize. For example, ask for a backlink, ask for a testimonial, ask for a Linkedin Recommendation, etc.)

Okay, so that is a good example of a really simple sales funnel and some ideas about testing. You’ll note that within each step of the sales funnel, there are many things to test.

And although you should start by testing the elements in your sales funnel, don’t stop there. Test other non-sales-funnel-related aspects of your business, too. For example, test other methods of performing administrative tasks or conducting meetings.

Ultimately, what you decide to test should be informed by the goals of your business. If you sell a service to a customer (like most of my financial and real estate clients do) then everything you test should be geared toward getting more profitable customers to buy from you over and over again.

HOW TO TEST

By now, I hope you’re convinced and inspired to test. So the next question is: How do you test successfully?

I am going to blog a bit more about this in the near future (I’ve been doing some high-level planning about that topic just this weekend) but here is a quick-and-dirty way to test:

  1. Once you’ve figured out what you want to test (see above), identify the metric and/or method of testing. How will you know that your test was successful or unsuccessful? To borrow from the sales funnel example above, if you are going to test a different way of building a Twitter audience besides article marketing, you’ll want to start by identifying a metric that is useful to you. Number of Twitter followers seems to make sense but you’ll need to narrow it down further. For example, number of Twitter followers within a specific period of time. Better yet, identify the number of Twitter followers in your target market who follow you within a specific period of time.
  2. Get a benchmark. Figure out what your current success rate is today. So if you are going to measure the number of Twitter followers in your target market who follow you within a specific period of time because of your articles, you’ll need to dig into a bit of research to find that information out. But once you do, you have a place to start. For example, you might write an article and post it and then watch your Twitter following grow for that particular week. Then check the profiles of your Twitter followers to do a quick check to see if they are in your target market or not. (See my disclaimer following this list).
  3. Perform your test. Now do whatever it is that you were going to do differently as your test. In the example I’ve been using here, maybe you’ll write a press release and publish it and see how many Twitter followers you get in a week (and don’t forget to check their profiles to see if they are in your target market or not).
  4. Decide what to do next based on that information. You’ll generally have the following results based on what you’ve found: (1) The test proved that the new method was better and you decide to replace the old method with the new method. (2) The test was not clear and you need to test again. (3) The test proved that your old method remains superior.
  5. Perform a similar test at a different time to see if the season was a factor, OR perform a different test on this step in your sales funnel, OR perform a completely different test on a different element in your business.

(Disclaimer: Metrics-savvy people will easily shoot holes in my example of these metrics because they do not account for other factors, such as Twitter followers who follow you for some other reason or because of older content online. It’s true that these factors could impact your metrics but I’m just trying to give readers a quick and easy first step into testing. As you become more proficient in testing, you will find tools and techniques to help you eliminate these other factors… but the most important thing I can suggest is: Just get started by testing something in your business!).

GET STARTED!

I cannot stress enough the importance of testing in your business. In the coming weeks, I’ll be talking about some ways that you can test successfully. But my advice is: Just get started. Add a test into your weekly schedule. It doesn’t have to be a perfect test using a perfect metric. By simply starting, you’ll have already advanced your business further than other business owners who squander their time in testless oblivion.

‘Business Meta-Map’ at MindMeister.com

I was browsing through MindMeister.com’s mindmaps recently and noticed that there were a lot of great maps (especially for small business owners) but there was little order to them. You sometimes really have to search for them!

So I created a meta-map — a mindmap that links out to many maps and provides a sort of taxonomy so business owners can find the information they’re looking for.

Here’s the map:

Or click here to view the Business Meta-Map: The Best Business Mindmaps at MindMeister.com.

99 ways to optimize your sales funnel and grow your business

Grow a profitable business by focusing on the right things… and one of the most important things you can focus on is a well-defined, smooth-flowing sales funnel that takes in audience members and converts more and more of them into customers.

Select one of these 99 ideas, work at it, reap the results, and come back to this list to select another idea. Spend a day, a week, or a month on a single idea. Need to be reminded about the various stages in a sales funnel? Download the Sales Funnel Quick Reference Guide.

(The links in this list are not affiliate links.)

  1. Look at businesses who you’ve bought from who share a similar business model. Map out their business plan and see how it compares to yours. Read more in this blog post: Discover and implement effective sales funnel tactics used by other businesses.
  2. When a prospect says no, we often leave their office with just a handshake and a half-hearted “we’ll call later”. Instead, leave behind something of value.
  3. Enable your Evangelists to explicitly share your business with their peers. Give them specific ideas to help them: Give them extra business cards or a PDF entitled “6 ways to spread the word” that invites them to tweet something about you, Like your Facebook page, or comment on your blog, etc.
  4. Increase the number of steps in each stage. This might sound counter-intuitive but it can help to reduce the amount of resistance people feel by helping them take baby steps instead of giant leaps. Read more in this blog post: A counter-intuitive sales funnel tip to increasing sales in your business
  5. Collect testimonials from Customers and Evangelists… and even from Prospects! (Find out what your prospects like about your offering and what they expect if they were to buy. Construct some sales messages around these and use them in your sales presentation).
  6. Ask for feedback at every stage of your funnel from contacts at every stage in your sales funnel. Refine your message appropriately.
  7. Use split testing to experiment with every message and channel in your sales funnel.
  8. Each stage of your sales funnel has steps that a contact takes. Look at the steps in your Audience stage and see where there is a backlog of people. Chances are, there is an emotional or logical deterrent keeping them from advancing. Solve it.
  9. Do the same thing (as above) with contacts in your Leads stage.
  10. Do the same thing (as above) with contacts in your Prospects stage.
  11. Divide up your Customers into “most profitable” and “least profitable”. Figure out what traits are common among the most profitable ones. Then increase your marketing to audiences with those traits. Read more in this blog post: A step-by-step way to find your most profitable customers (and transform your business).
  12. Read Jeffrey Gitomer’s “The Sales Bible“. Then read it again.
  13. Select a non-profit organization related to your industry and become an active supporter and vocal proponent. Support them financially and with volunteer hours and with your talent.
  14. Set up your own forum or social network. (Ning is my favorite.)
  15. Create a YouTube channel for your brand and start posting videos.
  16. List all of your Prospects in order of most promising to least promising. Figure out how you defined “most promising” and “least promising” because that is an important measurement but it’s different for every business.
  17. Using the above list, identify how you can change your Audience-generation to get more of the most promising Prospects. (In other words, you’re identifying what makes a good Prospect, then shaping your sales funnel in an earlier stage to get contacts who will turn into the most promising Prospects).
  18. Using the above list, identify how you can change your Audience-generation to get fewer of the least promising Prospects.
  19. Using the above list, identify how you can turn your least promising Prospects into more promising ones.
  20. Write a book.
  21. Collect Leads by holding a draw for an exciting prize.
  22. If you have a lot of Leads or Prospects that aren’t doing anything, create an exclusive opt-in report and inner circle ezine and invite only them to subscribe to it. In that ezine, amp up the value. Discard the Leads and Prospects who don’t subscribe to it.
  23. Speed up the points of contact you have with each person. So if you normally talk to a Lead once every 2 weeks, try talking to them every week.
  24. Find the Audience channel that engages your contacts the least and focus exclusively on it for a week. Make it the channel that engages them the most and see what happens.
  25. List all of your Leads in order of most promising to least promising. Figure out how you decided that.
  26. Using the above list, identify how you can change your Audience generation to get more of the most promising Leads.
  27. Using the above list, identify how you can change your Audience generation to get fewer of the least promising Leads.
  28. Using the above list, identify how you can turn your least promising Leads into more promising ones.
  29. Ask to roll up your sleeves and work in your Leads’ or Prospects’ businesses for a day. (Yes, this can take up a lot of your time, so spend one day or even just a half a day in your most promising Lead’s or Prospect’s office.) You will notice such a difference in how your sales presentation goes!
  30. List something interesting about every Lead. If you can’t list anything, engage them in a conversation until you have something interesting. Then use that interesting thing in conversation with them to build rapport.
  31. Give your Evangelists an incentive to talk about you. This is not only a great way to encourage talking about you, it’s also a measurable way to know who is talking.
  32. Increase your number of buyers by adjusting payment plans to make your offering more accessible to those who might not be able to pay the way you’ve conventionally been charging.
  33. Make it easier for your Audience members to become Leads by reducing the information they need to give to become a Lead.
  34. List the parameters you are using to qualify your Prospects and evaluate whether you need all of them. Can you present to more potential buyers simply by broadening what you define as a good Prospect?
  35. Schedule time to periodically touch base with Customers to share additional ideas and recommend ways to improve their lives or businesses.
  36. Build some ancillary products or services that your Customers can buy once they have bought from you already.
  37. Make your Customer to Evangelist trigger easier than it already is.
  38. Make your Prospect to Customer trigger easier than it already is.
  39. Make your Lead to Prospect trigger easier than it already is.
  40. Make your Audience to Lead trigger easier than it already is.
  41. Turn a single product into 3 products — make your current product the silver level, add value for a gold level product and take away some value for a bronze level product.
  42. If you sell services, offer a free initial consultation.
  43. Extend your guarantee to the ridiculous.
  44. Do a sales blitz one weekend: Overwhelm the web with press releases, pay-per-click marketing, and incentives.
  45. Get a cool logo and have them printed on shirts and hats, with your website included on them. Turn people into Evangelists by giving away branded merchandise.
  46. Create a “center of excellence” for your industry and pull together information and resources from the great thinkers in your industry. Include yourself in that list.
  47. Find a few big names in your industry who offer non-competing products or services to your target market and ask them to review your product or service.
  48. Create a course and offer it at various virtual university sites, or offer it at a site like prfessor.com.
  49. If you don’t yet have an ebook, write one (or have one written).
  50. Hire a freelance sales person on a contingency basis to sell for you.
  51. Get in touch with trade organizations in your area that serve your target market. Find out when the next trade show is and set up a booth. Collect names, give out information and an incentive to buy from you.
  52. Get an affiliate account with a few carefully selected vendors that serve a similar market to yours. Offer these to your Customers.
  53. Write an ezine and offer it to people in exchange for their email address. Build a list of Prospects.
  54. Read Tom Hopkins’ book “How to Master the Art of Selling“. Then read it again.
  55. Publish a series of blogs and press releases with a “public service” flavor to the — offer helpful, timely advice on a problem that your market faces.
  56. Look at your buyers and figure out where they initially engaged you as an Audience member. Then temporarily increase your effort in that one channel while you temporarily reduce your efforts in other Audience channels.
  57. Segment your market into smaller, more granular segmentations (i.e. By demographic differences) and fine-tune your marketing to engage more effectively with your newly defined markets.
  58. Answer questions on Quora, LinkedIn, Answers.com, or wherever your market is asking questions.
  59. Start a daily digest on paper.li.
  60. If you have a physical location, get a presence on Foursquare and offer the mayor a promotional incentive.
  61. Extend your Foursquare reach by connecting with another Foursquare-savvy business (who serve a related market) and offer their mayor a promotional incentive of some kind.
  62. Offer seminars to local organizations.
  63. Package up some of your material (product excerpts or blog posts) into themed infopacks and give them to Customers with a commitment that they send it to their peers.
  64. Make sure your blog is mobile-friendly, allowing people on the go to read what you have to say.
  65. Get a toll-free number. Include some basic pre-recorded information for callers to hear, plus a regularly changing value-added recording. (Reuse podcast snippets but make them available for people who don’t listen to podcasts.
  66. Put a chatbox on your site so contacts can interact with you immediately. Hire a virtual assistant to cover it during the times that you cannot.
  67. Do a competitive analysis to see what your competitors are offering that you aren’t. Explore how you might offer similar benefits in a superior way.
  68. Find a keyword that matches a search your target market does. Buy a domain with that keyword and set up an optimized page with a single call to action — to become a Lead.
  69. Devote a series of articles and blog posts to specific problems your target market experiences — one problem per article and post. Attract people with the article and send them to your blog post where they will learn more.
  70. Offer a discount to those who buy early in the sales funnel.
  71. Find a forum where your target market likes to spend their time. Go there daily and just listen for the first couple of months.
  72. Write down their frustrations and challenges then figure out if and how your offering solves it. (You probably shouldn’t present your solution to the people in the forum, though).
  73. Write a magazine article targeted to your market and publish it in a magazine that your market reads.
  74. Seek out Audience members who have followed/friended you but have never interacted with you. Engage individually with them.
  75. Reconnect with old Leads by sending a series of follow-up emails, either enticing them with a special offer or asking them to confirm whether or not they want to be removed from your mailing list.
  76. Get in touch with Prospects who have said “no” to you in the past. Find out if anything has changed that would allow them to buy from you now.
  77. Contact past Customers who haven’t bought from you in a while. Offer them a product or service with some incentive to buy again.
  78. Offer something free earlier in your sales funnel that is made more valuable by a product or service that your contact can purchase. (I.e., the first chapter of your book).
  79. Hold an event (in person or via webinar) where your Customers or Evangelists can attend with a friend.
  80. Ask your Customer to suggest the name of someone they think would benefit from your service. Ask every time you talk to them.
  81. Double your Audience-generation efforts. (Your ratios should remain the same so the rest of your sales funnel should approximately double).
  82. Write a blog post about a Customer. Make it a glowing recommendation as well as a useful post for THEIR Customers.
  83. Connect with other businesses who serve the same target market as you (but who aren’t direct competitors). Set up an affiliate agreement with them and generously direct your Customers to those other businesses.
  84. List the top 5 objections that you hear from Propsects and create a brochure, blog post, or page on your site that addresses each one.
  85. Add structure to your sales funnel by implementing a CRM system. Sounds too complicated? Start with a simple spreadsheet.
  86. Add value to existing products by recording a series of videos and packaging those videos with your products.
  87. Try a new channel to reach your Evangelist stage contacts.
  88. Try a new channel to reach you Customer stage contacts.
  89. Try a new channel to reach your Prospects stage contacts.
  90. Try a new channel to reach your Leads stage contacts.
  91. Try a new channel to reach your Audience stage contacts.
  92. Look at the benefits offered by your product and consider who else (besides your target market) requires those same benefits.
  93. Identify the people in your sales funnel who have not purchased anything and create a different version of your product that might appeal to them. (Try something smaller for a lower price, or something more targeted).
  94. Interview someone famous in your market — either in print or in an audio or video format. Give them a copy of the interview and welcome them to post links to it wherever they want.
  95. Buy a related URL and post a long, keyword rich report on it. At the bottom, include “Subscribe to my ezine” as your call to action.
  96. Guest blog. In fact, hold a “guest blog challenge” with yourself to write 5 guest blogs next week.
  97. Identify a small, long-tail keyword or keyphrase. Write 2-3 blogs and 3-5 articles (pointing to those blogs).
  98. Write a free report, make it available to your contacts if they leave an email address, and promote it with keyword rich press releases.
  99. Once you have gone through the list, start over.

How to get your Customers to talk about your business

Word-of-mouth referrals from happy Customers are the best and most profitable kind of marketing your business can have. When one of your Customers tells one of their peers about the positive experience they’ve had with your business, your Customer becomes an Evangelist by promoting your business on your behalf. Although you’ll always need to grow an Audience and generate Leads yourself, your sales funnel will run faster and more profitably when your happy Customers become Evangelists and tell their peers about your business.

Recently, a friend of mine asked me a great question about this and I thought was worth summarizing his question and answering it here. He wondered: What counts as a triggering action that a Customer performs to become an Evangelist? Specifically, he wondered whether wearing a t-shirt with a logo counted as a type of evangelizing.

I gave him a response but have had time to respond a little on it for you: Certainly, not all evangelism is created equally. I do believe that wearing a t-shirt with a logo counts as evangelism. But so does an excited face-to-face referral like: “you just HAVE to check out the sushi restaurant I ate at yesterday!”

Rather than thinking of all promotion/referrals from Evangelists are the same, think of their evangelism as being on a spectrum.

  • On the one side of the spectrum are implicit referrals – marketing from Evangelists that is quiet, implied, suggested, and general in nature. An implicit referral is simply wearing a t-shirt with a logo. Anyone can see the logo and there isn’t really any context around the value offered by the business depicted in the logo. People still wear the shirt and people still buy because of what they see others promoting.
  • On the other side of the spectrum are explicit referrals – marketing from Evangelists that is exuberant, specific to a listener, and clearly stated. An explicit referral is saying, “you just HAVE to check out the sushi restaurant I ate at yesterday!” There is a lot of context around this referral. Chances are, the Evangelist is likely sharing this with someone also likes sushi.

In between these two extremes are other forms of referrals from Evangelists. For example, the following referrals fall at different points on the spectrum:

  • When they give a friend your business card
  • When they tweet/post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc.
  • When they write a blog about you

There are many other examples, of course.

So what kind of referral do you want? Every business wants every Customer to turn into an explicit Evangelist. That’s the goal. Of course, that is unlikely to happen because each of your Customers will experience your business (its service and deliverables) differently, and not everyone is an enthusiastic and verbal supporter of businesses they patronize.

Instead, a more realistic approach is to give your Customers tools to become the kind of Evangelist they are most comfortable being.

  • Create branded products (hats, shirts, mugs, pens, etc.) to sell or give away.
  • Use sound bites throughout your relationship so your Customers become trained to say the same things.
  • Give your Customers a place to send their friends – for example, give them a special page like www.yoursite.com/warmwelcome, where “/warmwelcome” is a specific page directed exclusively to referred customers.
  • When you wrap up the transaction with the Customer, remind them that the best way they can thank you is to tell their friends.
  • Train your Customers to recognize opportunities. Don’t just say: “if you think of someone who could use my service, please give them my name.” Instead say something like this (accountant example): “if any of your friends are also starting businesses and need help maximizing tight budgets, please give them my name and number and make sure to let me know that you sent them.” Notice the difference between the two? Guess which one is WAY more effective.
  • Create a PDF with ideas: A few tweets they can copy and paste; a link to your LinkedIn page with a request to provide a recommendation; a link to Yelp with a request to provide feedback; whatever works for your business.

Social media metrics in your sales funnel

I was in a conversation with another business owner recently about blogs. We were discussing traffic and the large volume of people he gets to his blog, then he asked me how many visitors I get. I don’t like playing this game of “how big is yours?”. By comparison, I get considerably less traffic than him but my readers are highly targeted and well into my sales funnel by the time they get to me.

Metrics have always been a problem for small business owners. Too often, entrepreneurs mistakenly measure quantity over quality when it comes to metrics. They go for the easy-to-identify and easy-to-understand numbers and skip the real numbers that lie below the surface. Blog traffic is just one example. Twitter followers or Facebook fans are another. People spend a lot of money to get lots of Twitter followers or Facebook fans but then they don’t do anything with them. It’s not the number of followers or fans that count… it’s the level of engagement of your fans. That’s why replies and retweets are a far better metric for Twitter engagement than the number of followers you have.

In a recent article on Mashable.com entitled Making Data Relevant: The New Metrics for Social Marketing, social media engagement manager Prashant Suryakumar talks about the relevance of social media metrics and how business owners can learn more when they find the right metrics to use.

He lists valuable opportunities for businesses to use social media to discover and exploit opportunities, and what I want you to pay attention to specifically is the role of social media metrics in your sales funnel. Below, I’ve listed some of the areas of social media opportunity that Suryakumar explains (in bold), and then I describe how these tie into your sales funnel.

  • Invest in data (to bring structure and understanding to the unstructured abundance of social media data): Data can so much about your contacts — from what stage they are at in the sales funnel to how likely they are to become a customer. With insight like that, why wouldn’t an entrepreneur WANT to move from a number-of-followers metric to something more meaningful?!?
  • Real time monitoring (to keep your finger on the pulse of your sales funnel at any given moment): Watching the ups and downs of your business is so valuable in creating a predictable, sustainable business. But until social media became ubiquitous, it was difficult to have useful, real-time data. Now, you can see what people are saying and when, and you can respond accordingly… far earlier than you were ever able to before.
  • Sentiment analysis (to see if people are generally positive or negative about your brand): Happy Customers tell their peers about you. But how can you make sure that your Customers are happy? Social media helps you watch all stages of your sales funnel to see how people are responding to your brand.
  • New metrics (to move beyond followership to understand how group dynamics can improve your sales funnel): Selling to each contact takes a lot of work, and the people who are truly successful in business know that they can’t sell to everyone individually. What is needed is an endorsement from a key influencer. Trace the success of many entrepreneurs (especially online entrepreneurs) and you’ll see that a lot of it was tied to a key influencer who gave a hearty endorsement.
  • Testing (to modify your activities and offerings based on immediate feedback): Ford’s Edsel is a great example of a product that could have undergone more testing. It was pushed out to the public and completely flopped. Today, social media gives an immediate avenue for businesses to try out new ideas before investing a lot of money in them. For example, social media allows you to quickly and easily identify what messages work well in a particular stage of your sales funnel.
  • Behavior segmentation (to anticipate buyer profiles with information that goes far deeper than simple demographics): Your sales funnel contacts aren’t just made up of age and income statistics. They are living, breathing people who live very transparent lives online. Social media allows businesses to tap into that information to discover new connections (and thus, new opportunities) of understanding their target markets.

If you’re using social media as a tool for your sales funnel, it’s time to move beyond the simple number-of-followers or number-of-fans you have and go deeper into the data.