The Power of Thought-leader Podcasting

Matt Johnson is Founder and CEO of Pursuing Results, a podcast production agency that works with emerging thought leaders – business coaches and consultants. Using a detailed process, Pursuing Results helps clients launch their brands, executes and distributes its clients’ weekly video podcasts, and promotes thought-leader business growth. His “specialized assembly line” produces consistently high-quality, on time podcasts. Matt focuses on a narrow product/client niche, because, he believes that, of all the content marketing things he used to do, podcasting produces the most growth and the most leads for his clients. 

Matt believes that, in order to influence people to trust you and to take action, podcasts have to be structured in a particular way. In this interview, Matt outlines three things that turn a podcast from entertainment into a platform for leadership:

  1. Seeing is Believing: Podcasts should be conversations with other influential people. When people see that you are recognized as a leader in your “area,” they will believe you are a leader in your area.
  2. Share Client Successes: Feature conversations around your (past or current) client’s successes. Put at least some focus on how the work you are doing (or have done) for them contributes to their success. 
  3. Go solo: Matt says, for a thought leader, having a podcast is akin to leading a church. If you are a leader in that church, you should be capable of delivering a sermon in that church.

How to develop solo topics? Matt works with his clients to help them identify their beliefs, values, and opinions – breaking down their holistic viewpoint into small chunks, each of which can be used as a solo episode topic. The sweet spot is to “go solo” every third or fourth episode.

How to keep the podcast momentum going and score some “quick wins”:

  1. Be strategic about whom you interview – make sure you have a good message-to-market fit
  2. Genuinely enjoy the interview conversations and the relationships you are building with your guests 
  3. Work behind the scenes to turn those relationships into a strategic referral network.

Matt attributes a good part of his (and his client’s) podcast success to the system he built around the process – and provides tips on strategic process-building and building checklists. He recommends that people who are considering starting a podcast . . . get interviewed themselves to nail down their message and what they want to talk about. How to get featured? A good start would be Matt’s website at:

Matt can be reached on his company’s website at:, where listeners can learn about his production service; on Instagram at:, and on LinkedIn at Matt will be launching a book, Microfamous™ in the near future.


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How to Feed a Sales Force’s Behavioral Quotient, Crush Quotas, and Drive Up ROI

Mary Grothe is the CEO of Sales BQ, a a relatively “young” organization that works with companies to rebuild, scale, and empower their underperforming sales departments. A typical client might have 5 to 7 salespeople reporting directly to the CEO. Last year, Sales BQ rebuilt the sales departments for 42 companies. Mary, an experienced sales dynamo, known for exponentially exceeding quotas, says BQ, behavioral intelligence, or behavioral quotient, is about making the decision every single day to show up and give it everything that it takes to perform at one’s highest ability.

Under a 6-month contract, Sales BQ functions as a company’s “VP of Sales” and rebuilds the sales department in 3 phases. 

  1. Evaluate and transform the infrastructure. Analyze the established set up, systems, processes, the types of roles, compensation modeling, territories, and CRM. Build a playbook. 
  2. Assess the talent. Provide field sales coaching and training to enable the team to execute to their highest ability. Recruit new talent to grow the team or replace “pruned” personnel.
  3. Appraise and correct environmental problems. Mary does not believe that sales professionals need to be told what they need to do to do better so much as management  should treat its salespeople the way they need to be treated in order to excel.

Does the process work? 

Eighty-five percent of their clients renew the 6-month contract and continue working with Sales BQ for a full year. The ones that don’t.? Mary says they are “crushing it” and don’t need Sales BQ anymore.

Mary classifies sales reps into three personas, based on their motivational drivers:

  1. 87% of top performing sales reps are intrinsically motivated, people who are “fed” by recognition, feelings of self-worth, and self-competition.
  2. Extrinsically motivated sales reps are focused on money and love to strive for targeted goals.
  3. Altruistic sales reps care more about their clients than they do about recognition or making money. These individuals would be better placed in an account management or customer service role.

In this interview, Mary offers tips on effective sales techniques and the effective uses of LinkedIn. She can be found on LinkedIn and on her company’s website, where her company’s blog and Quota Crusher Podcast reside. The Quota Crusher Podcast is also on YouTube. 

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Behavioral Science, Ethical Marketing, and the Pull of the Magic Middle

Nancy Harhut is Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of HBT Marketing. In this interview, she talks about the how her company utilizes behavioral science and marketing best practices to change how people make purchasing decisions. 

Social scientists and behavioral economists have found that people often make decisions by defaulting to “hardwired” behaviors, rather than by thinking things through. Although there are hundreds of behavioral science/decision science principles, HBT Marketing focuses on the “Human Behavior Triggers” that will effectively increase the likelihood that people will do what marketing clients want them to do. But, it is not just about organizational profitability. Nancy emphasizes that it is equally important that these “human behavior triggers” get people to make the decisions that are good for them.

Nancy discusses a powerful pricing strategy, which she calls the “gravitational pull of the magic middle.” If marketers have a low-priced price widget, they need to have a high-priced all-the-bells-and-whistles widget at a price they would rarely expect to get, and then place their ideal target price widget in the middle. Many people will look at the “economy-priced” widget as being of marginal utility . . . and if the high-priced widget is out of their range, they will target the middle-priced widget. Another principle: Social scientists have found that we place greater value on things that we already own. In elucidating this principle, Nancy provides an example of how strategic phrasing can be used to increase sales.

Nancy spoke at HubSpot’s Inbound 2019 conference on “5 Decision Science Secrets That Make It Easy to Get the Online Behavior You Want,” outlining 5 Human Behavior Triggers that she felt would be most useful for marketers:

  1. Availability bias: People will judge the likelihood of an event happening based on how readily they can recall a relevant example.
  2. Social proof: When people don’t know what to do, they look to others, particularly others like them, and follow their lead.
  3. The scarcity principle: If something is readily available, people may or may not be interested. If “supplies are limited,” people are more likely to buy, because they don’t want to miss the opportunity.
  4. Commitment and consistency: Once someone makes a decision, they tend to remain consistent with it when future opportunities arise.
  5. Choice architecture: The way choices are presented influences the decisions people make about those choices.

Nancy provides detailed illustrations of each of these principles. She recommends making it easy for people to do what you want them to do, but to never force them into a box. Allow them to “opt out.”

Nancy can be found on Twitter, @nharhut, on Facebook and LinkedIn at: Nancy Harhut, and on her company’s website at:

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Build your Personal Brand / Change your World

Marc Ensign is the Big Cheese at LoudMouse, a personal branding agency for speakers, authors, coaches, entrepreneurs and artists. 

A musician by training, Marc dreamed of performing on Broadway. He created a strong personal “brand,” wrote articles for music industry magazines, interviewed and forged relationships with a lot of performers. As a skilled bass player, Marc eventually “got the Broadway gig,” not by touting his amazing bass playing, but by promoting his ability to imitate a wide variety of styles. Supporting, rather than competing against, other professional musicians, Marc substituted for regular Broadway show band members who, for whatever reason, needed “a night off.” His full time Broadway career ended up lasting 10 years.

In 2001/2002, while working as a musician in the evenings, Marc dabbled in web design during the day. A big and lucrative assignment from American Express’s Travel + Leisure Magazine turned Marc’s “pajamas as business casual” web design company into a marketing agency – overnight. A decade later, he felt lost.

Marc had no education in marketing, but he had a passion for it –and, in particular, for figuring out the one impossible dream a person had – and creating a marketing message and strategy to achieve it – building, for each of his clients, a “personal brand” to get them to their “Broadway.” A couple of years ago, he started LoudMouse with a mission: To change the world by empowering those who want to change the world.

Marc was a breakout speaker at Hubspot’s Inbound 2019 and talked about “Standing Out and Start Getting Paid: How to Build a Personal Brand They Can’t Ignore.”

In this interview, Marc outlines three elements for building a successful personal brand.

  1. Identity. Be clear on who you are. Communicate “who you are” in a way that really connects with people in an authentic way.
  2. Visibility. Be able to communicate the message of “who you are” with visual elements: Your font/color/ logo/ website/ social media platforms/ pictures/ headshots. These elements have to be congruent with each other – and consistent.
  3. Authority. Are you positioned as an industry expert/leader/podcaster interviewee? When people `think of your industry, regardless of size, do people think of you? Did you write the book on the most important thing or a new groundbreaking innovation?

Marc authored The Groove Book: A Study in Musical Styles for Bass (2011) and Slappin’: A Complete Study of Slap Technique for Bass: A Complete Study of Slap Technique for Bass (2015), both under the Mel Bay Publications imprint. He is still building his brand as a musician, while using his agency to help “small” people leverage their brands to have “big voices.”

Marc can be reached on his company’s website at:, on his personal website at:, and on LinkedIn at:

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Build a Winning Sales Playbook

Dani Buckley is the General Manager of LeadG2, an 100% remote inbound marketing and sales enablement agency, which focuses on sales results for B2B and B2C companies that have complex, multi-channel sales processes. 

LeadG2 started in 2011 as sales consulting firm that needed to generate leads for its business. Its first clients were media companies that owned television and radio stations . . . and needed to get advertisers.

In the past, B2B sales professionals have tended to have a lone wolf mentality . . . sales didn’t “count” unless the salesperson independently discovered and chased down a lead. Dani feels it is important to change that culture, to supplement cold calling and outbound prospecting with inbound and lead gen.

Dani defines sales enablement as “whatever you need to do to help your salespeople sell smarter and faster.” She spoke at Hubspot Inbound 2019 on “How to Build a Sales Play in 30 Minutes or Less.” In this Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast, she provides a brief overview of the process of developing a sales play:

  1. Develop a strategy by extracting the best knowledge and information from your leadership and your salespeople and from industry best practices and sales best practices 
  2. Create a simplified process that outlines the five things salespeople need to do to identify quality prospects
  3. Identify the technologies and tools salespeople need
  4. Determine the content and resources salespeople need
  5. Plan the rollout
  6. Provide training

LeadG2 builds robust customized “thick stack” sales playbooks for its clients, using PowerPoint so that sales managers can easily update the material. LeadG2 recommends that companies store their most up-to-date sales playbook versions where they are easily accessible by the sales team – where they would normally put stuff in the cloud.

Dani also references Donald Miller’s StoryBrand and the “hero’s journey. She emphasizes that, in messaging and in content development, you/your company is not the hero . . . your customer is the hero. 

LeadG2’s parent, the Center for Sales Strategy, is a 36-year-old sales consulting and sales leadership training company. A brand-new sister company, Up Your Culture, focuses on helping companies improve company culture and employee engagement.

LeadG2 is on Twitter and Facebook. The company website is: Dani is on Twitter @daniobuckley and LinkedIn.

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Not Your Mother’s SEO: Link-building in 2019

Dale Bertrand is President and Founder of Fire&Spark, a marketing agency focused on ecommerce, and especially ecommerce SEO: product page optimization, ecommerce site link-building, and delivering technical SEO and site speed solutions on a variety of ecommerce platforms. Deep technical skillset.

People today may avoid link-building because Google has a history of penalizing dubious link-building practices in. However, link-building is more valuable than ever is because Google depends on links to rank content. 

Dale recommends earning links through posting remarkable content, being/doing/saying something remarkable, or using targeted outreach or targeted syndication. He notes that email does not work as well as in the past because of the low open rate. 

What he has found to work the best is to build relationships and then leverage those relationships for links. Lead a movement, he says. Take a position on a current issue in your market, interview people, and use those interviews (and the relationship that comes from the interview process) to build links.

Dale presented “Link-building Isn’t Dead: The Most Important SEO Strategy in 2019 That You Can’t Ignore” at HubSpot’s Inbound 2019 in Boston, MA.

He can be reached on his company’s website, with the “and” spelled out, ” in the middle or by email at:

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Lead with Value and Don’t Use a Screwdriver to Pound a Nail

Oliver Lopez is founder and CEO of Struct Sales, a sales consultancy firm that works with large B2B sales and marketing teams selling complex products and services over long sale cycles. Typical clients of his company have tried and failed at inbound marketing. They may come to Struct Sales thinking they know what they need as a solution. Often, they’re trying to solve the wrong problem.

Inbound marketing fails when sales reps see little chance of converting what are, at best, lukewarm leads, send the leads back to marketing, deign the inbound effort a failure, and continue only to work with existing customers. Sales reps can be further discouraged when complicated incentive plans fail to communicate the actions needed to earn “rewards.”

Oliver discussed some of the causes of low lead quality: 1) a failure to define and effectively target the ideal customer; 2) poorly defined/unquantified: goals, hand-off processes, and interfaces among marketing, sales, and delivery; and 3) a “language barrier” between sales and marketing. 

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are not necessarily Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). Struct Sales offers a combination Sale Development Representative (SDR)/Business Development Representative (BDR) to generate qualified prospects through cold email, cold calling, social selling, and networking; qualify these prospects; and set up sales-qualified appointments. Oliver notes that statistics show that it takes between 8 to 13 “touches” to actually get a potential client on the phone. Yes, concentrate on the phone, but try a lot of different channels as well, and, as soon as possible, customize your messages. 

Oliver spoke at HubSpot’s Inbound 2019 in Boston, MA on Challenge/Change/Control: Turning Prospects into Revenue by Using Emotions. Good sales professionals need to have good marketing skills, lead with value, utilize storytelling, “touch” the potential client where they are, and make their clients “feel something.” Oliver feels that it is critical to always add value before you push your product, present an ROI calculation quantifying the value your company’s products or services can add to a client’s bottom line, and to present a “What if/dire consequences” scenario for failure to take action.

Oliver can be reached on Twitter @oliverlopez, on Linked in, on his company’s website at, and on his blog at (in English).

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Remove Fear from the Sales Conversation, Create Human Connection

Kim Orlesky is Founder and President of KO Advantage Group, one of the fastest-growing sales training organizations, and author of Sell More Faster. KO Advantage Group works with small companies selling high value, premium-priced B2B services and helps them expedite the sales process by focusing on building relationships, getting that first handshake with a potential client faster, connecting with the client in an authentic way, communicating value, and sometimes selling a product idea before the product has even been created. Clients of KO Advantage are passionate about helping their clients.

KO Advantage group has one product: a ten-week online sales training course, which has its own “continuous improvement process.” Alumni of the course can login to review course information at any time and read the updated material Kim has “curated.”

Kim spoke on “AI & Sales: What Will and Never Can Be Replaced by Bots” at HubSpot’s Inbound 2019,” where she discussed how sales professionals, business owners, and entrepreneurs can use AI to improve conversations with potential clients. Artificial Intelligence is already part of the sales process, but companies need to be aware of how critical “the personal touch” is to long term success. AI may help find potential clients faster, but she notes that, in the end, “Sales is about conversations and relationships.

Kim can be reached by email at: or on LinkedIn, which has named her one of the Top Sales Leaders to Follow

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Social Shake-Up Branding

Chris Strub’s goal is simple: to grow his personal brand, to try to use that brand for social good by promoting nonprofits, and to make the world a better place. His I Am Here organization is an “umbrella” over the wide variety of entrepreneurial marketing activities he pursues around the U.S. . . . and the world. He feels the power of personal branding can be assessed through an individual’s use of Twitter and Instagram.

For his “50 States, 100 Days” project (May 15th to August 21st, 2015), Chris, a native New Yorker, traveled clockwise around the United States, starting in Greenville, SC, his adopted hometown, and ending his 4,500 mile journey in Asheville, NC. He traveled alone. In each state, he worked with a different youth-related nonprofit organization, shared all of their stories on iPhone-generated livestreaming video and Snapchat, and earned bragging rights as the first person to live-stream in all fifty states. Chris has a hunch that 50 States, 100 Days will be his keystone project – it has opened thousands of doors for him.

Chris authored the book, 50 States, 100 Days. The Kindle version of this amazing journey through 50 States in 100 Days is available on Amazon at: The print version is at: Oh, and the movie? Chris admits that the quality was not the best, but you can order a screening of that . . . and get tips for nonprofits who need to “up their game” with improved technologies he has since discovered on his website at

In Fall of 2018, Chris launched In this capacity, he partners with “giving days” nationwide, promoting collaborative localized fundraising events, training nonprofit organizations on social media marketing strategies, and live-streaming their stories. These efforts produce a phenomenal financial “harvests” for the nonprofits, donor satisfaction, and strengthened community ties. A win all around.

Chris was interviewed at the 2019 Social Shake-Up in Atlanta, GA, where he spoke on Visual Storytelling. He can be followed @ChrisStrub on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Meerkat at @ChrisStrub, or on his Facebook page at 

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Personalization = Better Market Segmentation

Chris Spears founded Arke Systems in 2005 and, taking advantage of the opportunity to decide “who he was in the organization,” designated himself Chief Marketing Technology Officer. The company offered back-end systems support – web platform, CRM system, and email capability development and integration – for the clients of digital agencies. 

The problem? Arke had no control over design or strategy . . . or over getting dumped when the customer-facing digital agency got dumped for failure to deliver expected outcomes. 

The solution? Five years ago, Arke pivoted and launched a long-view, strategy/results-driven, technologically integrated experience design practice, developing marketing programs with strategies and design work predicated on producing consistent, measured, and predictable desired results. 

The company had to redefine its customer base from the digital agencies that needed back-end services to targeted end users – small to medium-sized companies interested in providing better customer experience. Arke’s new clients, initially, were small companies, which provided proof of concept for the larger companies that came on as clients over the years. These small companies provided proof of concept for the larger companies that came on as clients over time.

Arke had to change the way it thought about and presented its value proposition, where it went to find customers, and how it approached them. The growth process was organic: the company researched what customers wanted, hired the best person with the relevant technical skillset to provide those outcomes, sold results to customers, and grew a team around each technology specialist. 

The company differentiates itself on its technological depth, using only a narrow selection of best-in-class technologies. This focus allows it to provide a more nuanced solution for each client or stage in the “journey,” utilizing back office data “threaded through the website,” to guide the customer and to manage and optimize results. 

Chris was interviewed at Arke’s 4th Annual CX Summit, “Transforming Digital Experiences to Digital Business.” He can be reached on LinkedIn, at Arke Chris, by email at:, or on his company’s website at

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