If you're having trouble achieving some of your sales and marketing goals, it may be because you have too few steps in your process. "Too few steps? I'm already drowning in complexity!" you say. Allow me to explain. Think of sales and marketing like a staircase. If the leap between existing steps is too high, the stairway is unhelpful. Add a step or two here or there and suddenly the stairway becomes useful again.

Round & Round at the Vatican--On flickr Explore

Take a look at your sales and marketing processes. Examine your funnel for severe gaps between one stage and the next, and if there's a major gap, consider adding a step or two. Those steps need to provide value (in order to keep you climbing the staircase) but need to be added in order for you to get to the top of the stairs (a sale).

Here's an example. Suppose I leap out onto Twitter and start shouting to everyone, "Buy my book!". There might some initial interest, but if that's all I had, you'd get bored really quickly, and so would I. I have too few steps between presence and pitch. To mitigate that, I put steps of value in between showing up on Twitter and making a pitch. I put out a good morning message, followed by #the5, followed by a weekly wrapup of #the5, and finally in that newsletter, there's a recurring pitch for the book, which sells from that particular ad. I put steps containing value between presence and pitch both to create social currency and reduce the bluntness of a pitch. As long as the steps provide value, you'll get to the top.

Obviously, there's a corollary warning: a staircase that rises 6 feet and contains 72 miniature steps is equally unhelpful. People will get tired out climbing every inch-high step and simply jump off. Let your marketing and sales analytics tell you how smooth the journey is from bottom to top and adjust accordingly so that people get to the top with just the right number of steps.

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