The following is a repost from the blog of Praxis participant Nicholas Kleinhuizen.
A couple of months ago, my life drastically changed.
I went from being a college dropout who lived at home to working at a tech startup across the country. Over the past few months, here are 5 lessons I’ve learned.
Lesson #1: The Art of GTD (Getting Things Done)
When I was onboarding at my new job, I was given a syllabus. My CEO was a busy, smart, and talented person. When she wasn’t speaking at marketing seminars, running A/B tests, or coding, she was teaching kids calculus. When my COO and I spoke for the first time I remember him saying, “A lot of businesses would pay a lot of money to get their hands on this syllabus. Make sure you go through it thoroughly.”
At a surface level, the first lesson on the syllabus was focused around the art of “getting things done”. Broken down further, it explained the importance of creating a system of organization and prioritization. In business (and life in general) the importance of staying organized can’t be downplayed. Staying organized and on top of things now prevents frustration and fumbles later.
How I implemented the “GTD” mindset:
1. I created a Trello board and use it religiously
Trello is an online sticky note tool. By using Trello, I stay organized and keep tabs on what I need to get done and how important each activity is. This online tool helps me stay on track and accountable for what I need to do. Whether it’s creating an e-mail template or keeping up with my lead lists.
2. “Inbox ZERO”
Another lesson I learned from the getting things done mindset was to have a clean inbox. Not long ago, my personal inbox had over 1,500 e-mails. Some dating back two years. I meticulously went through all of my e-mails, archiving important conversations and deleting the dead weight. By having a squeaky clean inbox at the beginning of each day, I don’t miss anything that comes my way.
Lesson #2: User Journey’s, Funnels, and Pixels
When I first started LightningAI, I had very little grasp of the online marketing and sales world. Out of the list above, “funnel” was the only concept I was familiar with. If an online business doesn’t have a good user journey, a clear funnel, or any way to measure the success of their ad campaigns, they will miss out on a lot of business.
How I implemented what I learned about user journeys, funnels, and pixels
After researching the meanings of these foreign concepts, it was time to put them to action. I was given a list of companies and told to create an audit for each of their websites. To do this, I visited each website as if I was a customer. As I scrolled through the website, I kept a few important questions in mind:
“Does the landing page load quickly?”
“Is there a call to action?”
“Is the checkout/signup process quick and easy?”
“Are they running Facebook pixels on the right pages?”
“Are those Facebook pixels working properly?”
“Are there any promotions that they could run to increase sales?”
“Could they improve on some of their blog content or product copy?”
I meticulously went through each of our client’s websites and mapped out their user journeys and funnels. Finally, I audited their Facebook pixels to make sure each tracking pixel was doing its job correctly.
By going through their websites, I was able to give our clients a clear picture of their user journeys and provide them with actionable insights to improve their online presence.
Lesson #3 Google AdWords and SEO
While our company specialized in Facebook advertising, we also helped our clients find effective keywords for their Google AdWords campaigns. My first step was to take the “AdWords Fundamentals” and “AdWords Mobile” courses provided by Google. Once I was finished, I created a 15 page document that explains the basics of AdWords. (You can view that document by clicking here.
How I implemented my Google AdWords knowledge:
Now that I was familiar with AdWords, it was time to use what I knew to help out some clients. Similar to the user journey and pixel audit, I had to visit our client’s website pages and come up with 150 unique, relevant keywords for each. To do this, I went to Google’s keyword tool and began brainstorming ideas for effective keywords.
When I was browsing through the websites, I made sure to type in keywords that matched some of the website’s copy. I tried to get in the head of potential customers and type in queries that they would type in. Within a few days, I had close to 1,000 keywords ready for a handful of delighted customers.
Lesson #4 Qualifying, Disqualifying, and CRM Software:
After learning all about “getting things done”, funnels, user journeys, pixels, AdWords, and keywords, the company decided my skills would best be used for a sales role.
First, I needed to get familiar with our target audiences. Our primary customers were B2B companies, B2C companies, and advertising agencies. The B2B and B2C companies needed to have Facebook pixels (since most of our platform was designed to help companies advertise over Facebook). They also needed to be mid sized with at least $20,000/mo in ad spend.
Getting started, it was tricky seeing which companies would be a good fit for us. After a week or so of practice, I could do so in minutes.
How I implemented my prospecting and qualifying/disqualifying skills
1. I learned how to use Microsoft excel and Google Sheets
I remember taking courses for both of these applications in high school. I hated it, thinking that only aspiring accountants needed to pay attention. I was wrong. Luckily, I took an online course on excel and goofed around on google sheets until I was comfortable creating lead lists, sorting through the information, and creating appealing tables.
2. I learned how to use Pipedrive
Pipedrive is the first CRM software I’ve ever used. At first, it was intimidating but after two or three days, I was having a blast. I learned everything from filling out customer and company information to scheduling emails and meetings.
3. I qualified and disqualified over 1,000 leads in a few days
My first assignment as an SDR was to sort through a list of 1,200 leads on PipeDrive. My goal was to categorize each business, qualify or disqualify it, and assign an action if they were qualified (email, meeting, followup, or call). The first day, I got through 60 leads. The second day 100. The third day, 150. The last day I worked on the lead list, I was able to effectively qualify or disqualify 300 leads in 6 hours.
The next step was to categorize these leads and transfer them into Google sheets and Microsoft excel. This was a great experience because it allowed me to learn much more about Pipedrive and its capabilities. I filtered out each business by business type, then exported them into their own unique spreadsheets to make emailing more efficient.
Lesson #5 Think critically and stay hungry
The last lesson I learned was a mindset that helped all of the previous entries happen. The business world is a ecosystem of its own. I learned very quickly that if I don’t keep my composure, it’ll gobble me up.
Over the last few months, when a problem arose, I always made sure to keep a level head. Working in the restaurant and mental healthcare industries, I saw a lot of people lose their cool. In the business world, that kind of behavior is unacceptable and can cost a company clients or get people fired.
When new challenges came my way, like learning a new CRM, creating content for a website, or thinking of new keywords when it seemed like I’d thought of them all, I learned to step back and take a moment to think deeply. If there’s a problem- whether internally within a company or externally when dealing with customers, there’s always a solution. By looking at the big picture, breaking it down into pieces, and solving them one at a time, I was able to stay composed, logical, and professional.