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.
Perhaps one of the most important questions prospective clients ask Good Leads is “What return can we expect for our potential investment?” This question signals the obvious pressures to perform quickly and with meaningful, top line results.
We are happy to report that one customer asking that question of Good Leads received their answer. They sold a $12k project in a multi-billion dollar company that had long been a target. What is better is that this was the first lead appointment they received from us and they closed it inside of three months.
Together, we look to continue this success as a result of other lead appointments.
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.
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.”
Look at the stock market, gas prices, and even your family. All change over time, sometimes overnight. Your customers and potential customers change too, even if you are operating in a mature market. In general, the sales process in a company is divided into a few different activities, and in most cases these activities are performed by different people.
- When undertaking any targeted calling campaign you will need effective communication between all stakeholders and adapt as required to achieve success.
- Establish regular communication at lead/opportunity hand-off points to make sure lead appointments do not fall through the cracks. A poor hand-off at any stage of the pipeline could cost you the opportunity forever.
- Feedback from the sales rep to lead generation team is key to creating continuous improvement and adaptation to change. It helps prioritize qualification questions and prepares all to handle potential future objections from other prospects.
- Include your lead generation team in learning the results of lead opportunities. Knowing that a lead is moving through the pipeline and eventually becomes a customer is affirming to their hard work and inspiring to their continued success.
We have all heard the familiar refrain about life — “Timing is everything!” Well, it is the same when it comes to volume targeted calling. Every time you pick up the phone to call, you have to anticipate connecting with that opportunity that makes all the cold calling work worth the effort. Some call this luck.
But, success on a long term basis is a result of making your own luck. Regarding cold calling, this means pitching the Right Message to the Right Targets and catching them at the Right Time. How do you maximize the probability of connecting with people who will end up purchasing your product or service?
- Aggressively make calls 100-150 per 8 hour day if you are manually dialing, as many as 200 or more with an automated dialing system. Fewer than this, you are not maximizing your probabilities. More than this, you are likely not talking to anyone.
- Do not confuse number of dials with progress if the resulting number of conversations is in the single digits per week. If you are not talking to people, enough people, you will never uncover a need that will lead to an opportunity.
- Do not dismiss initial resistance with not being the “Right Time”. Just because you do not learn of the existence of an active budgeted initiative on a cold call, it does not mean the prospect will not buy. Most prospects have money and their company’s priorities are often changeable, so money can be moved to cover any purchase if compelling enough.
It is a familiar refrain of sales people and marketers everywhere. “I need to get in front of the right people!” The “right” people of course are those decision makers and the people who influence the decision makers who can lead you to the sale. Here are a few tips that can help you become more efficient in your prospecting efforts:
- Outline the profile of a customer and work backward to identify a list of target companies with the same attributes; annual sales revenue, number of employees, industry, and geography are common criteria.
- Define the stakeholders within the target companies, their titles, roles, and level of influence.
- Remember that no list is perfect and the best way to find the right person is to talk with people, even if they are outside the roles you are trying to engage. There is no magic list despite what you may hear.
- Be open to revising your original assumptions about the best targets; while there are trends in the ways companies are structured and behave, there are plenty of unique companies doing it their own way. Remaining flexible will prevent you from missing real opportunities.
No prospect just picking up a ringing telephone wants to listen to a cold caller carry on about their company, product, or service. The typical cold call is short (less than 5 minutes, more than 2 minutes if you are lucky), so the caller must capture attention quickly and establish why it is important for the prospect to listen.
- Your value proposition must be stated clearly and confidently, preferably referencing a success story with an existing client to establish credibility.
- Identify what topics or phrases excite the prospects you are trying to reach and engage with them in an unscripted conversation about these.
- Pre-prepared scripts are useful tools but should act more as guidelines for discussion so they do not sound like the typical 6th grader delivering lines in the school play.
Cracking the code on the Right Message on a consistent basis may take a while and is likely to vary depending on the role of the individual prospect. So keep calling and adapt your message to what resonates with your target prospects.
When a sales organization misses their sales goals is it because they didn’t close the deals they had in their pipe or is it because they didn’t have enough quality opportunities in the pipe to begin with? The best way to accelerate your sales process and achieve your sales goals is to place high quality leads in the hands of your sales team. Many organizations focus on the quantity of leads they generate versus the quality of the leads. Certainly focusing purely on the quantity reduces the overall cost per lead on the front-end of the process however this approach generates a significant burden on the sales team by increasing the amount of time/cost it takes to sort through the “leads” to find the real opportunities if any to take to the next step.
Many lead generation outsourced vendors fail to ask one very important question in the development stage of a lead generation project. That question is very basic and can only be answered by your sales team. And that question is “what is your definition of a lead”? Many outsourced vendors simply say we’ll get you X number of meetings for your sales team. On the surface the number of meetings may sound great however if the individual you are meeting with does not have a need or interest in your offering it is a waste of time for your sales team and it will not help you achieve your sales goals. So if you want to move more opportunities into your pipe quicker and achieve your sales goals focus on the quality of leads entering you pipeline and not the quantity.
This past May Sirius Decisions presented their new demand waterfall model. It was very well received at the annual conference. Where before it took a narrow approach to the sales funnel, the new approach showcases how inbound marketing, marketing automation and telemarketing intertwine with regard to demand generation. Of equal importance, it showcases how marketing and sales should be aligned, and how the funnel process integrates both fields.
At Good Leads we are glad to see that Sirius Decisions has in 2012 recognized the importance of outbound phone based business outreach. So that is the New News. The Old News is that we have been offering a premium level of outbound business development (aka:teleprospecting) for a decade as this is Good Leads 10th Anniversary year. We have much to add to this discussion and be glad to advise on your Sales and Marketing model and the respective alignment of the players. Here is the new Demand Waterfall:
Demand Water fall by Sirius Decisions