It should come as little surprise that you need to handle inbound leads differently than traditional leads. When you connect with inbound leads, you have additional data in front of you: data that tells you what pages they've visited and what files they've downloaded on your website.

Plus, researching their social media accounts can help you fill in the blanks and give you a more complete picture of who your potential customers are and how they match your company's ideal prospect.

Inbound leads have done more than enough to indicate their interest to you, and now it's time for you to return the attention by connecting with them. But what exactly should that connection look like when it comes?

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Let me address an unfortunate truth: A lot of business owners under-utilize, or worse yet, don't even consult with their sales force when making revenue projections for the next year. Others make a point to include the sales team, but only with a grain of salt and a dose of ersatz enthusiasm.

To a certain extent, I get it: Salespeople want to seem as optimistic as possible and make as much money for the company as they can, so they throw out nice big numbers. But most managers are used to either disregarding or adjusting these figures to remove the estimate's built-in "fluff factor."

On the other hand, sales might suggest a lower, more realistic number based on market trends they encounter every day. Managers might have greater financial goals they expect sales to meet, and might not want to hear about complications they tend to believe either don’t exist or aren’t serious issues.

Ignoring the sales team's input can create even bigger problems for a business. Here's why executives and directors absolutely need to bring salespeople to the table when setting revenue goals for 2017.

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Welcome to our second minisode! This week, our graphic designer, Shelby Clarke, joins me as co-host in Jessie-Lee's absence. (Long-time listeners will remember her from our episode about brand style guides.)

But this time, our topic wasn't one of our choosing. Instead, it came from one our awesome Creator's Block listeners, Frances (Hi, Frances!), who writes:

"How about a minisode on how to pick stock photography? I listened to the episode about why you prefer not to use stock photos but there are times when there aren't other options. I have one of those projects coming up. We need to 'refresh' the HR section of our website but our employees scatter whenever they see a camera. It's like everyone is in the witness protection program!"

As someone who prefers being behind the camera, I empathize with her employees. But as a content manager and marketer who leverages stock photos every single day as part of my job, I also understand her challenge - and so does Shelby.

So tune in to hear us unpack this topic. We share our best practices, pro tips, favorite tools and absolute no-no's, when it comes to stock photography.

And if you have a question you'd like us to tackle on a future episode, let us know in the comments!

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The Guide to Creating Mind Blowing Content

Let's face it, there is a lot of content out there. How do you get yours to stand out? Simple, make it mind blowing.

42 pages full of ideas for creating awesome content that converts visitors into leads and leads into customers!

How do you think about your contact database? Do you view it as lines of text in a spreadsheet, zeros and ones sitting on a server somewhere? Maybe you see it as a big audience you can talk to?

However you view your contact database, you are probably thinking about it as one thing. One big black box of stuff. Well, I have news for you. Your contact database is really a collection of individuals, and it is time to start treating them as such.

It all starts with how we think about our database. So before I dive into anything else, I need you to start thinking of your database as people, not as just "a database." Are you with me? Great, then let's talk about how you can revolutionize the way you treat those individuals!

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“Design Is Not Art.”

That’s what the title read, displayed in big, bold letters on a screen at an INBOUND 2016 session run by Austin Knight, senior UX designer at HubSpot.

I think my favorite thing was how Knight acted like this was news, right from the moment he began his talk. Or, that his audience would be astounded and shocked. Did he expect to hear gasps of outrage across the room?

I can’t speak for the other attendees, but really, this wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before, and others didn’t seem taken aback either. This is because, despite sharing many similar traits, design and art are not one and the same. They don’t have two different names "just for funsies."

But where exactly does that leave design then, and what does it have to do with inbound marketing?

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When it comes to creating video content, many people assume the only purpose is to support their marketing strategy. However, great video content is no longer exclusive to only the marketer’s toolbox. The truth is, video can aid both your marketing and sales goals.

By generating video content that spurs engagement, promotes personalization and meets the needs of prospects, you can supercharge your sales process. Try keeping up with today’s ultra-informed buyer by utilizing these video tips to leverage your sales cycle.

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