Sales and Marketing Go Hand-In-Hand

Be it either a one dollar product or a million dollar product, a healthy sales pipeline is key to the success of any sales person. Since 1999 I have worked in the fields of personal protection equipment, book publishing and distribution, food safety analytical test kits, data deduplication appliances, medical laboratory software, domain name services solutions, and consulting services. Over the years I have learned that focused and targeted marketing efforts can result in actionable leads for the sales team to convert to new business, thus growing revenue. This short blog post is going to focus on several marketing campaigns I was involved in that resulted in an increase in sales for my teams.

Back in my Bacou-Dalloz days I was tasked with increasing revenue for their emergency eyewash line. Emergency Eyewash is a product that is mandated by the Code of Federal Regulations – 29 CFR 1910.151(c) and acceptable equipment defined in ANSI Z358.1. The regulations state that works in areas where eyewash is required must be able to activate such devices within ten seconds of the hazard and the device must provide a minimum of fifteen minutes of washing capability per incident. 

While not all eyewash is made the same, all must meet the performance guidelines of ANSI Z358.1. This means that the products either need to be price sensitive or truly innovative in order to grow sales in a well-defined market where OSHA often dictates placement and companies are forced to install the products. 

Our solution was to target owners and corporate level team members of prospective clients with a laser focused campaign reminding them of the regulation and outlining the features of our truly innovative portable eyewash stations. We did this through the use of a rather expensive at the time promotion. We targeted 10,000 business owners and safety officers with a talking greeting card that, upon opening, said “If your workers can’t reach an eyewash station by the end of this ten second message you are in violation of emergency eyewash regulations.” Along with the card was an offer for a free plant evaluation and details about our eyewash stations.

This campaign was incredibly successful. To send over 10,000 cards at roughly seven dollars each (printing, postage, and handling) was a huge line item on the budget and one of the most expensive non-trade show campaigns we had done in emergency eyewash at the time, but it paid for itself in increased revenue and new business.

This campaign put actionable leads into the queue of the entire eyewash salesforce.

When I moved from protecting people to protecting the global food supply we again used laser focused marketing to target the right customers with truly innovative products. Very similar to emergency eyewash, mycotoxin testing is a regulated industry with the USDA and FDA mandating the testing of foodstuffs and establishing action levels for the various mycotoxins. The AlfaTest® Mycotoxin Testing System has been on the market for decades and is the industry leader when it comes to screening for this carcinogenic fungal byproduct. 

The goal of marketing is to provide sales with actionable leads in relevant industries. We accomplished this by attending industry events where food growers and food processors attend to make decisions. We also joined industry organizations relevant to the food and feed industry.

By leveraging trade shows and organizational memberships marketing was able to supply sales with a constant stream of actionable leads. 

Food safety, at the time, was a very print centric market. This meant that a well thought out advertising campaign could also educate possible users and generate additional sales leads. Working with the team we came up with an all-inclusive media plan that targeted the global food production and distribution supply where mycotoxin testing is critical.

In the end the efforts of marketing kept a steady stream of leads in the sales pipeline and allowed for growth of the product line even in an economic downturn. 

While consulting for a data deduplication company, before the word deduplication was common, we needed a way to reach possible customers to convert them to users. At the time everything was migrating to virtual tape libraries as cost for spinning disk was dropping to the point where it was competitive with magnetic tape. Virtual tape libraries with data deduplication, in theory, could put petabytes of data in a single storage array. 

The goal of marketing was to penetrate new market segments including healthcare and education. This was the mid-2000s and email marketing was all the rage. So to email marketing we turned to generate leads.

It worked and eventually the company was acquired by a large disk manufacturer.

This caused me to move to medical laboratory software – an area where tradeshows, events, and print advertising have maintained healthy sales pipelines for over 40 years. The marketing team sought out shows that focused on each major product line: anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, blood banking, molecular pathology, dermatopathology, cytology, etc. Events in these industries brought qualified leads to the table. One event in particular, AMP, brought leads that became sales for me personally. 

To summarize, every marketing department needs to find a strategy that works for the products for which they speak. Be it emergency eyewash and food safety where regulations guide purchase decisions to data deduplication where cost per byte stored is a factor or medical laboratory software were lab specific features and workflows rule the day; marketing must work with sales to establish and maintain a healthy sales pipeline. 

The Case for Business Insurance

If you own a home and carry a mortgage, chances are you have homeowners insurance. If you own a car and are licensed in any of the United States, except New Hampshire and Virginia, you must have automotive insurance. If you are a renter it’s a good idea to have renters insurance. Many people have either personal or employer-provided life insurance. In most cases, when issues happen, be it an automotive collision or a tree through the roof of a house, insurance is there to help recover costs and repair the damage. 

I own a home, own vehicles, get sick, and will eventually die. I also own a small business. I have homeowners insurance, car insurance, health insurance, a life insurance policy, and business insurance.

Every business owner should consider insuring their business, especially if it is a sole proprietorship or small company with few employees. A sole proprietor is the business and bears all the financial responsibility of the business – profit and loss. There are several types of policies that small businesses should consider.  

  • Professional Liability Insurance: Protects the business in the case of a lawsuit while performing services, even if no mistakes were made. Generally, these policies cover alleged negligence, defense costs, libel or slander, copyright infringement, independent contractors, claims and damages.
  • Commercial General Liability Insurance: Protects your business from another person or business’s claims of bodily injury, associated medical costs, and damage to property. These policies typically cover bodily injury, damage to third party property, advertising injury, electronic data liability, medical expenses, defense costs, and actions of full time and temporary staff.
  • Property Insurance: Protects your business assets including furniture and equipment as well as inventory and revenue.
  • Workmen’s Compensation Insurance: Protects the business by providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured on the job usually in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee’s right to sue.

We have a combo policy for our small business called a Business Owners Policy which includes General Liability, Property Liability, and Indemnity insurance. Specifically our policy covers:

  • Business Income: If something happens beyond our control that impacts our cash flow we can file a claim for that lost revenue.
  • Employee Dishonesty: If a member of our team causes financial harm, we can recover that through our insurance.
  • Medical expenses for injuries sustained while conducting business (1,000,000 per incident).
  • Personal and Advertising Injury (Slander and Libel).
  • Inventory and Operational Property (at our location and in transit, such as when we travel to conventions and events).
  • Damages to spaces other than our primary location where we conduct business, such as a hotel or exhibit hall where we are attending a trade show or event.
  • Employment / Fiduciary Liability back to 2012.
  • Building: While we have homeowners insurance, and operate out of our home, that policy will not cover our business – most will not. This policy protects our home against any claims resulting from our business operations.
  • Business Personal Property: Computers, Shelves, Displays, etc…
  • Electronic Data Processing: Our website. If our site goes down and causes us to lose revenue we can file a claim to recover not only the site but the sales lost during the outage.
  • Sudden Equipment Breakdown
  • Fine Arts: all the artwork we have commissioned over the years is insured at replacement cost.
  • Business Record.
  • Damage caused by sewer or drain backups.
  • Acts of Terrorism.

It’s a pretty extensive policy and only costs less than $100.00 per month. In my opinion, it is a good use of business capital. Any of the above would be far more damaging to the business than the deductible.

I would not drive my car without insurance. I will not operate my business without insurance. I hope never to have to make another claim against our policy, but I know that it’s there if I do.

If you are looking for a small business policy, contact me and I’ll put you in touch with our insurance agent.

Why Your Financial Institution Should Use a .BANK

Repost from

Previously, we talked about why financial institutions partner with DNSimple to meet their .BANK domain hosting compliance needs in Why Financial Institutions Migrate their .BANK Domains to DNSimple.

In our second installment, we’ll go over why financial service providers – banks, investment firms, payment providers, and other verified financial institutions – should use a .BANK TLD. You’ll love the mix of branding, exclusivity, and security offered by a .BANK domain.

Exclusive branding

Internet users associate specific TLDs with expertise – .IO for technology companies, .INSURANCE for insurance providers, .EDU for schools, and .BANK for financial institutions. Using .BANK with your branch name provides a higher level of user confidence without needing to educate your audience, and the opportunity to brand yourself like never before.

It’s an exclusive name without exclusive costs. There’s also the added bonus of a premium domain name, and the security of multiple levels of verification. Using .BANK domains assures customers that their financial institutions are technically savvy, and serious about security, branding, and consumer trust.


In our previous post, we talked in detail about the security requirements. Let’s talk a little more about why those matter.

A .BANK domain has certain requirements to ensure security. Of course, you could have a similar security level with a .COM, but that doesn’t mean you can always trust them. A .BANK has to undergo verification, and providers can’t have a .BANK without this rigorous process. These technical requirements are mandatory to protect financial institutions and their customers, and by using .BANK, the registry guarantees the provider adopts these techniques. A .BANK domain is a win/win for financial institutions and their clients.

Get started

.BANK DNS management through DNSimple provides financial institutions with the tools for secure online communication and dissemination of information. You’ll have increased cyber security protection, a global AnyCast network with real time DDoS defense, multi-factor authentication, and SSL security certificates.

DNSimple makes it easy, and less intimidating to set up and manage .BANK domains. We take care of everything for you, so you can take care of your clients.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with our Sales Director, Andrew, and we’ll get you up and running.

Have more questions? Visit our .BANK hosting page, or take a look at our previous post.

Creative Data Mining with

Your DNS records reveal more about your company than you think, especially if you’re using cloud services.  To verify your identity, Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Atlassian, Docusign, Dropbox, SalesForce, and more use a TXT record to make sure you’re an administrator on a company domain.

As a sales engineer, you can use this information for those meetings where you’re headed in blind.  It happens!  Sometimes you don’t have enough discovery to really have a quality conversation with a customer.  Here’s some tricks to use (from the folks at DNSimple) to see what DNS is announcing to the world. Continue reading “Creative Data Mining with”

Products over the years…

Back in 1999 I accepted a position with Uvex Safety Eyewear as a marketing assistant. During my time we launched the Uvex Genesis line of polycarbonate safety spectacles. This product revolutionized the industry as it had all the adjustment features of other styles, replaceable lenses, and multi-material technology for comfort.
Why do I bring this up now? The products I’ve marketed in the past crop up everywhere in my day to day life. Every time I go to the oral hygienist for my cleanings they wear Uvex Genesis. Every time I go to Home Depot I see fend-all emergency eyewash – who could forget the Pure Flow 1000. I helped grow the fend-all product line over 10% in my first year as product marketing manager.
After leaving the world of personal protective equipment I moved into food safety. I also relocated my home to a place sixty miles from Uvex, or I would still be there today. Though VICAM I helped farmers, packers, regulators, shippers, and universities screen foodstuff for mycotoxins; the byproduct of fungal molds known to cause harm to humans and animals.
Every time I go to the grocery store I see the various brands that I know use the VICAM mycotoxin testing system to ensure that harmful levels of toxins don’t end up in the food supply. All tree nuts, ground nuts, corn, cereal grains, milk, wine, beer…all tested using VICAM to ensure the global food supply is free of dangerous levels of mycotoxins.
Ten years ago I relocated and again changed career paths to be closer to my new home. I accepted a position in the marketing group at Psyche Systems, where I worked with an awesome team to improve patient outcomes by providing physicians accurate and complete laboratory reports. Psyche develops software for medical laboratories hand in hand with doctors…doctors who I see on a regular basis use Psyche software.
Currently, I’m working with the team at DNSimple, who provides enterprise-class DNS management through automation. DNSimple allows you to buy, connect, and operate your domains at a professional level using powerful domain automation or their intuitive web-based application. Every time I visit a host of websites I take pride knowing they resolve with DNSimple, and that I’m contributing to the inner workings of the internet.
From safety eyewear, emergency eyewash, mycotoxin testing, and laboratory information systems to domain management tools I see the products I’ve marketed since leaving university almost on a daily basis. I am proud of the products I’ve worked with over the years. From protecting people through the best personal protective equipment, protecting the global food supply through mycotoxin testing, individual and community health through LIS software I’ve done much to improve people lives.
Now I am working to make people’s domain name management simple. I’m looking forward to 2019 with a renewed spirit and am setting myself up for a successful career path.

Social media and future employment…

I’ve been on social media since the early days of LiveJournal – the days where you needed to be invited by another community member. I joined FaceBook in the fall of 2007. I’ve been on Twitter since March of 2008. Over the years I’ve said many things that I would not say today.

Times have changed.

According to CareerBuilder more and more employers are reviewing potential employees social media to help the company’s selection process.

Number of Employers Using Social Media to Screen Candidates at All-Time High, Finds Latest CareerBuilder Study
– 57 percent are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online
– 54 percent have decided not to hire a candidate based on their social media profiles
– Half of employers check current employees’ social media profiles, over a third have reprimanded or fired an employee for inappropriate content
– 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates, up from 11 percent in 2006

I know the above is true as I’ve been on teams where social media of applicants has been reviewed.

Like a resume, CV, phone screenings, interview, or skills assessment social media is another way for an employer to determine if an applicant will fit the culture of the organization looking to fill a given position. Personally, I’ve been publishing and distributing books, comics, and novels for many years. My company is well known and respected in our narrow market niche. When I apply for jobs I am sure to include works from my hobby business. This has helped my land at least two positions, one that lasted almost ten years, and the other I still do work for today. I was hired not only for my ability to sell and market the products I published for my contributors, but because I show an entrepreneurial spirit that my employer saw value in bringing to their team.

Do I curb my tongue on FaceBook, Twitter, Mastodon, Telegram? No. You get the whole me on my social networks.

There is more to say on this topic…just not today.

Some important tools for writing, collaboration, and team building…

I’ve been a remote employee for over nine years and would like to share with you some of the tools that help me be more effective at communicating with my team members and feel more like part of the group.

  • Writing Tools:
    • Grammarly
    • Word
    • Pages
  • Communication Tools:
    • Email
    • Telephone
    • Messages
  • Involvement Tools:
    • Slack
    • Skype
    • FaceTime
    • Confluence
    • GitHub

Over the coming weeks, I’ll flesh out what each of the above tools means to me and how I work with them.

In memoriam: Sean Kipp Rabbitt (1942-2018)

Sean Kipp Rabbitt, my father, passed away last night.  The general cause of death was being old and sick; he had a quad bypass, a lung removed, a stint in his heart, and the cancer that came back was being treated.  He got up from his chair at home and fell dead on the floor in front of my mother and didn’t get up again. He was 75 years old.

To borrow an analogy from Mr. Douglas Adams, our family is religious much in the same way a brick hovers in the air.  There will be no service, no burial, no pomp and circumstance, so this is my way of eulogizing the man, a self-serving bit of pride for my father and a self-reflection on who I have become because of him.  I loved him, and he was one of the good guys.

I think one of the best ways to describe him would be a story of his days as an engineer.  The accuracy of this story is questionable, but the co-conspirators, if also still around and kicking, would agree to the tone if not the exact substance of this story.

Dad worked for a company named Amperex Electronic Corporation, a company lost now to the progress of technology.  Amperex made vacuum and imaging tubes used in studio video cameras, giant hulking pieces of electronics on enormous casters, pulled around the television studio by giant, hulking men wearing giant, hulking headsets, taking instructions from a team of engineers in a control room surrounded by cathode ray tube television sets and giant, hulking electric control boards to create the entertainment you got in your living room.  Dad was a sales engineer for their successful Plumbicon imaging tubes — red, green, blue — three each for the giant, hulking cameras.  He sold to all the studios and all of the three (and at the time, only three) networks: ABC, NBC, and CBS.

If you pull out your iPhone and look at the back of it, you’re going to see where this story of video cameras is eventually going.

In the 80s, the move was well on the way for giant, hulking studio cameras to be replaced by smaller, portable CCD imaging cameras, and the big player in that market was Ikegami.  The quality was definitely not what you have for imaging today.  Cameras were still in low definition compared to your 80-inch 4K HD TV hanging on the wall of your living room, and when you used a CCD camera to record a fast-moving object like a football, the image streaked across the screen with a blur, the imaging chips unable to keep up with the speed of the motion.

Near the end of the reign of the Plumbicon cameras, one of the last holdouts from switching over was the sports division of ABC.  They had Monday Night Football, and the quality of the tube cameras was superior to the Ikegami competition.  But the writing was on the wall: CCDs were getting better, and it was cheaper, so the ABC team of engineers, and my father with whom he was friends with for over 20 years prior, knew what was inevitable.  This did not stop them from screwing with the newcomers, however…

My father, his boss, the sales team from Ikegami, and the ABC engineers and pencil pushers were pulled into a meeting in NYC.  Put up or shut up.  ABC was deciding what they were going to do.  Ikegami did its presentation showing of the latest equipment: lighter, cheaper to maintain, superior quality for imaging, saving ABC Sports zillions of dollars, etc.  The usual pitch.

Then came my father’s turn.  Unbeknownst to his boss, he reached down and opened his briefcase, pulling out a tube.  “We have a new product that can save you from having to replace all of your cameras yet give you the reliability of the CCD imaging.  We call it the Chippacon.”  Quickly he produced a standard Plubmicon tube, a hand-built vacuum tube about five inches long with a carefully crafted analog imaging sensor at the end lovingly adorned with a memory chip he pulled from one of our old IBM PC computers and hot glued to the business end of the tube.  He turned to the lead engineer of ABC and showed it to him, hiding it from the now suddenly pale faced and shocked team of Ikegami sales people.

The ABC engineer took it and cupped it in his hands like a precious object, hiding the top of the tube and its analog to digital hot glue converter and appraised it approvingly.  “Oh, this will be perfect!  And we don’t need to do any modifications to our fleet of existing equipment?”  Straight faced, he started passing it down the table to the other ABC engineers as the Ikegami team scrambled to attempt to see this miracle of technology.  “Correct,” said my father, “it is a perfect plug and play replacement.  We’re seeing replacement life in the 10,000 hour range in our tests in house.”

The ABC pencil pusher had absolutely no idea what was going on when the lead engineer said, “Gentlemen, this changes everything.  Let’s adjourn and we’ll let you know.”  The engineers passed the tube back down their side of the table, and my father put it back in the suitcase and locked it.  The Amperex and ABC team stood and walked out of the room, chatting up my father about this “new technology” leaving the Ikegami team stunned and unable to respond.

Did ABC end up buying Ikegami cameras?  Of course.  But that wasn’t going to stop a group of engineers from screwing with a bunch of upstarts who didn’t know any better when presented with obvious BS.

Is there a moral to this story or a great takeaway as a son having experienced him telling this story?  Nope.  But I think it summed up my father’s life philosophy: none of us are getting out of this alive, so have fun while you’re doing it.

I’ve grown up well into being middle aged, and I’m a sales engineer myself now.  For my new coworkers, be forewarned that the apple doesn’t fall far from the comedy tree, but at least we’ll all have a great show.  I’ve got Kipp to blame for that.

Thanks, Dad. I’m going to miss you.

– Sean Rabbitt, June 15, 2018.