081: Business Systems and a Virtual Summit with Marissa Stone

As I announced here on the podcast a few episodes back, I’m currently putting together a Virtual Summit specifically focused on the aspects of online business that you’ve been craving… Stay tuned to the Podcast and the Facebook Page for all the details — we’ll be live in March 2020.

There is a lot that goes into virtual summits and online business as a whole. There are systems that need to be examined in order to make sure we are doing what’s right for our business. We also need to make sure we have the best, right tools in place to make everything go smoothly. This episode with Marissa Stone covers The Business Systems and a Virtual Summit, her favorite non-tech business system, and all the fun, behind-the-scenes stuff that makes online business possible and less stressed.

I conveniently am releasing today’s episode now so that you can easily head over and sign up… click here to register!

As you’ll see, this summit consists of episodes with amazing speakers, including myself, and it is also giving back in a way that is in complete alignment with Marissa. So if you’re listening in real time be sure to enroll in her virtual summit today.

About the Summit

So… about The 2019 Premier International Women’s Business Systems Virtual Summit… During this summit, you will get to learn all about the systems that the speakers are using to systematize and scale their businesses. This summit has over 60 speakers! It also has five tracks, so you can literally go into this summit and handpick exactly what you need to know in order to get to the next level inside your business.

This summit is for female entrepreneurs who are in different places in their businesses. They may just be starting out. They may be trying to hit that next income level or trying to close that next big client. There may be women who are trying to really scale up in their businesses. This summit has speakers from across the globe. It provides the opportunity to hop in and get “just in time” education for what you’re trying to accomplish right now.

My session on the summit is about the tech stack and the tech stack framework. It is a great compliment to episode 34 on the tech stack framework. And be sure to jump in and listen to our conversation because it looks at the tech stack from a different angle.

It’s different than me just talking into the mic. And you know, Marissa definitely pulled out some nuggets from me. I know she’s done it with a lot of the other speakers as well. Things that we present one-on-one straight to the mic or straight to the camera come across differently when it’s in a conversation at a virtual summit. Which is why I love virtual summits! And I think that bringing that conversation to the screen makes so much sense.

One of the most interesting things Marissa finds as a summit host is about the people. She has speakers this year who have been following and attending the summit for years. Now their businesses are at a place where they feel confident coming forward and being one of the speakers. How amazing is that?

This summit is changing the way that these women are running their businesses. It’s changing how they’re systematizing their businesses. This summit is changing how they’re scaling. Which is awesome because this summit is all about empowering women.

One great thing about this year’s summit is it now has a mission. Marissa and her team are working behind the scenes to support women coming out of domestic violence.

There is going to be a brand new Academy opening up. It’s called AWIHS Academy. AWIHS stands for “a walk in her shoes”. It is designed to support those women who are trying to get away from an abusive situation. This academy is designed to teach them the skills that they’re going to need. It’s going to teach them how to develop the mindset that they’re going to need to start a business. This academy will also teach them some of those soft skills, as well as the hard skills, that they’re going to need in order to get back on their feet. This year 50% of our proceeds of everything we sell are going to be funneled into the AWIHS Academy.

When I read that Marissa was doing this summit with this was kind of the mission, I knew I had to promote this summit! It’s a reason to share the summit and know that whatever you do as an attendee is going to have a downstream effect on someone who doesn’t necessarily need to know anything about business systems. They just need someone to help them show them the way.

I think that that’s really a cool tie in because that’s what systems do. That’s what technology does!

We are showing a way, with the summit, with this podcast, with kind of everything that we do…we’re showing people a way to do more in their business. And Marissa has translated that mission from business into something that is a personal passion and personal drive.

She’s helping everybody who is attending feel like they’re doing more than just self serving, helping their business, helping their clients, and growing. This makes the summit different. It sets this summit apart from every other summit you know. Every woman that comes in contact with the summit is empowered in some way. It’s empowering for someone to see someone like themselves doing something and succeeding.

I think that that’s one of those big things with technology and actually with just business in general is that, you know, when you see someone and you can see yourself in their shoes or in their place doing the same motions, it’s empowering, inspiring, and motivating. Let me tell you, I’ve had my tech shoes on for longer than I’d like to admit. I mean I chose to get a degree in computer science in the 1990s. I was one of 6 women in the class. I think there is still some kind of stigma attached to women in tech or business in general. So I think it’s great that there is such an empowering message behind Marissa’s summit.

Take A Fresh Look

Marissa recommends that everyone take a fresh look and really work to identify their real clients. You guys have heard this 10 bazillion times. Until you really slow down and identify your real clients, you are not going to know how to market to them. You aren’t going to know how to reach out to them and how to provide them your product or services.

One of the courses Marissa teaches inside her own business is called “Master Your Marketing”. In this course she teaches people to really dive into who their real clients are. She’s had women do complete “about faces” in that course because they realize that what they thought was their real client…actually wasn’t. She has also had women realize that there was a group that they didn’t want to work with.

The other side of really identifying who your client is includes really going through the customer journey.

The customer journey is the journey that you take your client through from prospect to raving fan. For example, when you think about Starbucks, you walk in the door and you get in line to order. You pay and then you move over to pick up your drink. When they call your name, you go over to the little station and perhaps add a few things to it. You may sit down and jump on the wifi and meet with somebody or you may simply leave. But that is Starbucks customer journey.

So what you need to do with your own company is think through all the steps that your client or prospect is going to go through in order to make that journey start to finish inside your company. And one of the things that you need to think about is the customer journey map. What does that look like? This isn’t even high tech. You sit down and draw it out.

One of the things that Marissa always does with her clients is she always makes sure no matter where they’re at in my customer journey, I am using things that I call support and resource pieces. Those are supplemental materials that are going to scaffold them through the process.

I just want to go back to that Starbucks analogy for a moment because I want people to think about what happens when you get in that line before you place your order. You walk past the chips. Then you walk past the bottled beverages and the bakery case. There are the cute, little cups and trinkets. Those are things that may entice you. You might end up buying everything right then. Or you may just go to the counter and buy your drink and leave and think, “But next time… “ And so Starbucks is also planting the seed for next time.

So when it comes to your journey, you can plant seeds for that client that may not bear fruit for two, three, four months or even years for that matter. You have to understand the customer journey. And even though it doesn’t have anything to do with the technology, knowing what you want to accomplish helps you pave the way for finding the right tech tools to use at each step of that client journey.

It’s Okay to Break the Rules

I will say that knowing the traditional funnel is helpful only so that you can understand why it doesn’t necessarily work for your business. Go ahead and learn about the funnel process and why people like it and why it was effective far more so than it is nowadays. And then you’ll be able to see where it breaks down for your client, prospect, customer, or your offer.

Let’s just put my business on the table here. I provide tech solutions across the board. I am tool agnostic. That’s why we don’t talk about all the different tech tools all the time. So I mean it is really more about how you can solve your customer’s problem and help them get the results that they want. I can’t take you down the path of joining my email sequence, learning these five steps, then buying this course because I offer a one-on-one customized service. So the funnel concept, while it’s a great concept and a lot of people have made a lot of money creating things using that funnel concept… it’s okay to break the rules.

The Original Funnel

What a lot of people don’t realize is that the original sales funnel was invented in 1898 by a door to door insurance salesman. The four steps are build awareness, create interest, create desire, and then the customer takes action.

But what a lot of people don’t realize is that first moment of building awareness can come from anywhere these days. It can come from a social media post, this podcast, a networking event, etc. Marissa says that’s why you need to make sure that you understand your real client! More importantly, you know where they’re hanging out. So the touchpoints are on those platforms for when they are looking for whatever it is you provide. Which totally makes sense!

The customer also needs to feel comfortable with that touchpoint. They also need to feel comfortable with the NEXT WAY you are going to interact with them. That could happen a number of different ways. Because of this, you have to put the right tech tools in place and spend your time and energy using the ones that communicate and make the most sense for that person.

Bottom line, mapping out your customer’s journey and knowing what their next step is crucial to having a successful business.

You need to know what their next step is and help them take it once they have already completed certain steps of their journey. Having the right tech in place to do that is extremely important. It all starts with mapping out the customer journey.

Going Back to the Summit

Marissa’s summit is a great microcosm of this “customer journey” aspect. The people who are going to be interested and signing up for her summit have a specific need right now. If Marissa fulfills that need, whatever that “just in time” learning that they need, from three of her speakers then they’re going to trust that she’s going to be able to fulfill their next need. I don’t know what that next need is for them, but that’s the thought process that you have to go through. The tech is almost irrelevant.

The ability to take that person on the journey and have the tech be able to support that is what truly matters. That’s why I always support someone using a certain system, but they have to actually use it. It also has to support what their trying to accomplish.

Four Crucial Components For a Customer Journey Map

So the first thing you’re going to need is an inventory of your resources and how they will plug into the different areas where someone will come into a touch point. The reason you want that inventory of resources is because most people already have an arsenal of of supplemental resources. They just don’t realize it. By listing those resources out and knowing exactly what’s in your toolbox, it helps you to make sure that you’ve got something at each touch point where you know your real clients are hanging out.

Then you want to sit down and actually design the model, right?

Once you know how people enter into and leave your business, then you want to actually add your touch points to your model. Where are those spots that your prospect or client is going to struggle? There is no rule that everybody needs to be 100% happy the entire time they’re working with you. But if they’re not 100% happy, what can you do to help? The goal is their success route. Adding those touchpoints in those places where you are going to be able to scaffold people and what resources you have to plug in is crucial to really getting an idea of what your customer journey map can look like.

Then you need to implement it and sit back and listen.

And you don’t just listen for the sake of listening! You need to listen to gather feedback! You’re going to learn so much by simply implementing your first model and then listening to what people are saying. You’ll identify so many things by listening to this feedback! You don’t just need to provide the supplemental material if they’re struggling, you also want to enjoy the moment when it finally clicks and the light bulb goes off. You want to enjoy when you know they’ve accomplished the goal and they’re empowered.

As Marissa was walking through this particular journey it made me think of an online course.

One of the things that I share with a lot of my clients as we’re putting together their courses is those touch points. For example, if I haven’t received progress from this customer after X number of days, I shoot them off an email. It can be all automated. And that’s where the tools, systems, and processes all come in.

But that’s a touch point that can be dynamic. Yet it’s so fundamental. It’s not like you want to send out and email every Sunday that just tells people their progress on the course. If you send something like “Hey, I noticed that you haven’t progressed in the course in the past five days, you look like you’re stuck on module three right?” Don’t you think that they are going to be like, “Whoa”?

Or conversely, as you’re listening and paying attention, you’ve noticed that 40% of people take three days on module three and take only one day on module four. So during the time that they’re struggling through module three, you have more touch points. You can send them personalized,encouraging messages or even offer help if they are stuck. So if your course is sitting on a course platform, send these types of messages through email or send it with your chat widget. It allows you to interact with them during their journey.

The Maturity Model

This is something that Marissa has her clients do. The maturity model actually allows the client to measure their own level of involvement and success at the task at hand. So before they jump on the coaching call with Marissa or they interact in the Facebook group, she encourages them to fill out their maturity models. Why? Because what they realize is the maturity model is set up to rate their success. This is something they never show to Marissa! It’s literally between them and their own progress inside the course.

It’s a great tool to allow them to check in with themselves. Then Marissa schedules posts and emails as she should. She sends out messages to help hold her people accountable. But when she implemented that maturity model, it really helped because they could truly see it for themselves. They could see the success they were or weren’t having in the course. She designed these models for each section inside her course so that each step of the way they are being supported. Because let’s face it…Systems sometimes aren’t easy.

As you can tell this was such a phenomenal conversation with Marissa. There is so much packed into this podcast episode. I did not expect us to go this deep into so many different topics. All I knew was that I wanted to make sure I shared Marissa and her brilliance with the Tech of Business audience so that they would be interested in maybe learning one new thing from the summit coming up. But she shared so, so, so much more.

If you want to enroll for Marissa’s summit you can do so by clicking here. It’s going to be an amazing summit and I hope to “see” you there!

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