Measures of Success

At Good Leads, our Prospect Builder B2B lead generation premium brand, has been our mainstay offering for the last 11 years. Why is that? We think we know the answer to that but we specifically ask our customers and build the feedback process into our programs. In our outsourced business development methodology, our consultative approach with dedicated staff and program management, we develop rapport with our clients such that a simple phone call to us provides guidance to us for both the good and not too often areas for improvement. We’re not perfect. Moreover, we insist on weekly meetings with our clients where we purposely review how the technology centric appointments we have set for our clients have transpired. If they are spot on, we follow that success formula. If not, we are very much into a theme of ‘continuous improvement’ and make adjustments. Our programs are never ‘set it and forget it’ much like lower level telemarketing programs that proliferate the marketplace and tease and confuse the innocent marketing manager with ‘low price and high output’ offers.

Rapport creates that working relationship which is good for both parties but the key Measure of Success  is the MQL, marketing qualified lead and SQL, sales qualified lead that our programs produce. As the CEO, I often ask the client directly for feedback. These are some quotes recently from an ERP consultation provider who has been a client for 2 full years in describing the business introductions provided:

“My conversation with XXX(large mfg. firm) this morning was very good.  This is an opportunity.  They are going to evaluate ERP software systems.  They envision a Q42012 selection decision and a Q12013 implementation start. Bravo.”

 

“A very good call.  (Medium size medical device manufacturer) They are running a home grown system, or systems, with a couple of commercially developed 3rd party tools and the CFO seems genuinely interested in finding a better way.  IT Manager  sat in on the meeting and he seems to have an understandable attraction to the status quo, but he was engaged throughout the call.” “A real possibility.  A pretty good week of prospect development I’d say.”

 

Fortune 2000 manufacturing firm-“Original appointment was a no show at the tele-meeting because she is in the hospital with what is currently an undiagnosed malady.  As luck would have it the receptionist transferred me to President  XXX who was aware that XXX had scheduled a tele-meeting with me.  I learned everything I needed to learn from Mr. XXX. Neither system is suited to managing a manufacturing operation.  That’s why they are evaluating ERP systems.  The President says that they want to make a selection decision in 60-90 days. So far?  Another bull’s eye.”

 

Examples of Measures of Success.

Measures of Success-Demand Generation-August 2014

At Good Leads®, our Prospect Builder® B2B lead generation premium brand, has been our mainstay offering for the last 11 years. Why is that? We think we know the answer to that but we specifically ask our customers and build the feedback process into our programs.

Rapport creates that working relationship which is good for both parties but the key Measure of Success  is the MQL, marketing qualified lead and SQL, sales qualified lead that our programs produce. As the CEO, I often ask the client directly for feedback. The following is feedback recently from the executive vice president of sales for an executive level focused B2B travel management provider who is a client starting their 2nd contract period with Good Leads. He reminded us that he thought his assignment to GL would be hard because internally they had struggled with performing the discovery, qualification and securing a next step function themselves which is why they outsourced. The level of difficulty in doing so was enhanced due to the lead success criteria being set high requiring the MQL’s, marketing qualified leads, had to be with entities that had at least $1M in airfare spend annually. More specifically the target market to be pursued was healthcare. Thus the discovery and deep qualification required set the bar fairly high not withstanding determining if the entity had pain points sufficient to entertain the notion of looking at a new provider solution. Nonetheless, our client confirms that after holding face to face meetings that GL secured, 7 sales qualified leads are in their sales pipeline.  A good “Measure of Success” in my eyes and the GL client as well.

PRE – GO TO MARKET STRATEGY DECISIONS

Question: Market Landscape Briefing and Vertical Validation services Good Leads offers are designed to help clients offer new markets with better intelligence and confidence of their positioning. What kind of discoveries do you typically uncover for your clients in the process of researching a vertical or new category?
Answer: For the Market Landscape Briefing and Vertical Validation services, we typically deal with three type of clients looking to maximize their ROI:

1. Potential business investors who want to know they are making the right investment (backing the right horse).

2. Executive teams including the senior technologist, marketer, and salesperson who want to drive top line growth while minimizing risk.

3. Start-up teams who have had success on a client-by-client basis, and now believe they may have a product or service to take a broader market.

Typical discoveries include:

1.  Sometimes a market opportunity that seems like it should be a really great investment is actually not.

For one client, we had completed a program risk profile and competitive and partner snapshot as part of the MLB.  Based on our research, we recommended to the client that they walk away from an investment that looked as if it should have massive returns. The company agreed and ultimately saved $5 million by not entering what is now a flat market that is over-saturated with players.

2.  The investment in the MLB and VV delivers returns that extend into other aspects of the business.

Demand generation and building of the sales funnel, outbound marketing including telemarketing, sales collateral, white papers, and websites, and the “elevator pitch” and the longer term product strategy all flow seamlessly from the groundwork completed.  The MLB and VV make work with internal teams and outside resources such as ad and branding agencies more cost effective and quicker to execution.

3. The MLB and VV frameworks drive strategic and crucial discussions – and decisions – not just marketing choices.

The framework and facilitation allows executive teams and staff to have discussions that challenge individual assumptions or instinct in a constructive, action-oriented way.  As an example, we frequently have client team members pull us aside and say that what was discussed is something that needed to be discussed, but there just had not been a way to get the topic the attention it needed.  Having these crucial discussions out in the open almost always lead to more team commitment and a better decision for the business.

Lead Generation – What’s in a Lead Definition

Everyone knows what a closed sale is! It is real and measurable. But can anyone say with certainty that there is a universal understanding on what a “Lead” is?

Consider the following progression from simple leads to more complex qualified leads:

1)      Individual name/title, company, phone number/email.

2)      Individual name filtered by self-identifying action via a website download, social media, participation in a trade show, etc.

3)      Individual who has committed to an appointment with a sales rep to hear “the pitch”.

4)      Individual who listens to “the pitch” and wants to learn more.

5)      Individual who in speaking with a lead generator/business development/sales rep reveals details about their interest, needs, initiatives, and timeframes.

6)      Individual who has revealed they are buying a solution and are considering purchasing yours.

For Business Development, Marketing, and Sales professionals, what is apparent is that there is a “pipeline” for leads, just as there is a pipeline for sales opportunities.  Both pipelines are important to engage, follow-up, nurture, and track.  It is crucial to establish a working definition so that you can avoid duplication of effort and prevent losing touch with prospects.

Lead Generation Basics – What goes into figuring an acceptable cost per lead?

Most Sales and Marketing organizations take a quick and dirty approach to calculating a cost per lead figure. First, they look at the average value of a sale, and then they select an arbitrary percentage of that number to come to a cost per lead figure.  Often, this figure becomes a never changing amount in the collective minds of the organization, even though market dynamics and product offerings are ever changing.

 

For deeper insight into cost per lead, consider the following:

 

  • Is the product/service/solution you are selling a commodity or a unique/customizable offering?
    • If a commodity = less complexity, less cost per lead
    • If customizable solution = more complexity, more cost per lead

 

  • What is the solution cost relative to the size of the target organization?
    • A $100k price tag for a multi-million dollar a year firm is not a difficult spend and may indicate a smaller cost per lead
    • But for a smaller company the same price could be a significant expense resulting in a longer sales cycle and higher cost per lead

 

  • Is the solution one that will affect a few or many in the organization?
    • Few = not so many opinions, lower cost per lead
    • Many = more opinions, more evaluations, more time to sale, higher cost per lead

 

  • What is the personality type of the decision-makers?
    • Analytical thinking people like CFOs, controllers, and engineers tend to stretch out the sales process, more cost per lead
    • Less analytical people tend to make quicker decisions, less cost per lead

 

  • Strategic solution vs. Tactical solution
    • This could go either way.  For instance, a strategic solution could have a long term and wide ranging effect indicating more evaluation of risk than a tactical solution.  But, a strategic solution might also be easier to exit or adapt to change than a tactical or point solution.

 

It is no surprise that complicated solutions or market trends or the solution price tag will stretch out the sales cycle, but it also has an impact on how much you should budget for lead generation.

 

Lead Generation Basics – Set proper expectations

Naturally, people who work to sell their product or service believe that what they offer is the best solution around. Why wouldn’t someone buy what they have? However, no matter what you are selling, it will still take time.  All prospects have a built in mistrust for the hoards of sales people coming after them every day. Why? Put yourselves in the position of today’s decision makers and the risks they face when they look to change their company’s processes, productivities and bottom-line:

  • The more complex (and higher cost) a solution is, the more people in the prospect company it will affect.  With more stakeholders, the buy cycle lengthens as they try to gain consensus.
  • If decision-makers choose the wrong solution, they are blamed for failure.
  • If they choose to delay a decision, their company could suffer long term consequences because they are not adequately addressing problems.  Unfortunately, many times this is the “safest” decision for companies.
  • Even if they choose the correct solution as evidenced by an improvement in their overall business, they still are likely to encounter internal resistance to change.  Change for most is a risky proposition.

Be patient and persistent in the execution of a thoughtful, well-designed and implemented lead generation process and it will yield positive results.

Telemarketing – Under Used and Under Appreciated

The following chart reprinted from Marketing Profs (www.marketingprofs.com) suggests social media is among the least effective strategies when it comes to lead generation. Whereas, inside sales and telemarketing are among the most effective.

Growing your business is tough work.  Generating leads and qualifying them to a higher level are among the greatest challenges business marketers face today.

The message is simple.  If you know where you want to end up, make sure to use all of the best tools at your disposal to travel that path.  Don’t get side tracked with all the hype.  Targeted outbound  telemarketing and business development are still among the best and most reliable methods for filling your sales funnel and growing your top line.

 

 

Want to reach your targets? Try off hours.

Dr. James Oldroyd, a Professor at Sung Kyun Kwan Graduate School of Business conducted a study in 2007 with the Kellogg School of Management to study cold calling success and came up with some surprising information.

The study took place over 4 months with companies of various sizes from more than 40 industries taking part with 495 responses.

They discovered that with the best cold calling times that we currently think of are in fact completely wrong. Most people would probably suggest that the best times to cold call would be from late morning, over lunch and then the early afternoon, when people are about, right?

Wrong. The statistical information gleaned from the study is quite the reverse.

The absolute best times to cold call are between the hours of 8-9am and 4-5pm, with the lunchtime period of 1-2pm being the absolute worst.

Whilst the study didn’t go into why these times were the best and worst, it’s probably not too hard to put your own theory around the “Why”. For instance, the 8-9am slot probably works because it’s before “normal work hours” (if they still exist) and so your decision maker’s gate keeper may not be at their desk yet, or simply that your decision maker’s day may officially start at 9am with rounds of meetings, hence why they are at their desk a little earlier to get ahead of the day.

With the 4-5pm slot, there are not usually as many meetings scheduled for this time of the day compared to the rest of the day and so your decision maker again may be at their desk. Many meetings are scheduled over the lunch period, and lunch itself takes place eliminating the lunch period as a good time at all.

The research also says that the very best day to cold call is Thursday, and the very worst day is Friday, go figure why on that. Having spoken to others about their own best days, it boils down to wherever you get the most success yourself, stick with that.

Bridging Multi Channel Marketing and Sales Lead Generation

Bridging Multi Channel Marketing and Sales Lead Generation

In the 21st century, companies that are start-up, early stage or well established are faced with myriad ways in which to apply their marketing efforts and hard earned dollars.  Below is just a short list of channels:

  • Direct mail/email campaigns.
  • Search Engine Marketing and SEO.
  • Industry events and conferences.
  • Interactive/social media.
  • Press releases
  • …and the list goes on.

The message in all this is that you invest your time, effort and dollars in campaigns that are designed to fill your sales pipeline.  But in order for that to happen, applying the above strategies requires your prospects to do something first.  The measure of how good your marketing campaigns are is how often people will click on a link or call or connect when they see or hear an advertisement.   Hopefully your messages are inspirational enough to make the prospect take that next step.  But hope and wait are passive strategies.

The responses that do come in need a response mechanism which is likely your inside sales team who can then follow up and further qualify.  These passive marketing campaigns create further awareness and that does soften up the battlefield for B2B telemarketing.  More times than not, prospects need to hear from you or be touched multiple times before they make contact.

B2B telemarketing or telequalifcation is a proactive strategy that complements your marketing strategies.   Both must be done in concert for true sales lead generation with the best qualified leads moving through the pipeline and developing into closed sales that deliver you revenue.

Bottom-line, it’s not just marketing nor just sales.  It’s a concerted and effective handoff between the two groups for optimal results.  We’ll take the active approach for you and turn passive interest into qualified interest.  We’ll bridge the marketing to sales gap.

 

Social Marketing Leads have a Short Shelf Life

Leads that are generated from your website have a very, very short life span and need to be dealt with within the first 5 minutes of their arrival.

That’s not a very big window of opportunity, but you are 4 times more likely to successfully qualify your lead than if you called back between 5 and 10 minutes. If you call within those first 5 minutes rather than waiting 30 minutes to get in contact, you are 21 times more likely to qualify your lead than if you waited. Astounding!

Do you contact your new enquiries back within 5 minutes or are you of the idea that you don’t want to look desperate so you’ll wait a couple of hours and call them back later, possibly making yourself look busier than maybe you are?

I have taken this information from a good book by Geoffrey James. Called “How to Say It: Business to Business Selling: Power Words and Strategies from the World’s Top Sales Experts.”