It's summer, and just because your lead is out of the office, does not mean they should be crossed off your list. When receiving an out of office or away on vacation email response, you get a lot more than just an email you want to delete. You can get lead gen nuggets. For example, you just emailed your contact to set an appointment and you get a response similar to this:
Thank you for your email. I am currently away from the office on vacation with limited access to email. I will return on Monday, June 24.
For immediate needs, please contact the following:
--With career opportunity questions, please email email@example.com
--With questions regarding Sales Operations, please email Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org
--With other urgent administrative issues, please email my assistant Jessica at email@example.com
VP Infrastructure and Operations
You have just received two other contacts that are relevant to your pursuit of the prospect. You know a responsible person, albeit no title--but LinkedIn can help with that, with Linda. You have his assistant, great for trying to reach him when he's not responding. And you have his cell number, which you didn't have before. Contact Linda and Jessica, see if you can't work some magic and drum up a conversation. Never know what they may share. "Hi Linda, I've been tryhing to reach Tom and I know he's out this week. Maybe you can help me..."
Take advantage. Save this information. Use it.
And don't forget, when you reach Tom next week, reference your email and ask if he was away on vacation or business. Get a conversation going because we all know...selling doesn't start until a conversation starts with the prospect.
Budget, Authority, Need, Timeframe (BANT) qualification is scrambled and outdated. Having budget was important in the days of "Our contract is up for renewal next year, we need budget". But with so many new products and technologies flooding us, from evangelical to emerging to faster and better, Budget not only doesn't exist, many times those with Authority don't even know they have a Need or that they need it now.
Granted, as the sales process advances, you would hope Budget is being allocated so that the decision maker with Authority can solve their Need in a Timely manner. But read the beginning of that sentence..."as the sales process advances". There is no place for BANT in a lead gen scenario, it is for later in the sales cycle. BANT is dead as it pertains to Lead Gen. I'm singing the praise of Ken Krogue and company at Insidesales.com with ANUM -- it all starts with Authority!
I've been known to say "The sales process doesn't start until a conversation with a prospect does". And in Lead Gen, especially b2b appointment setting, the goal is to get the conversation started. Finding the decision makers and influencers are half the battle, then getting the conversation started is the other half. Just make sure to identify the proper prospect, one with Authority, and then have a valuable conversation that brings value to that prospect and helps them see the Need you want to fill. If they have the Need, a real Need, they will feel the Urgency to then justify the decision and get the Money for the project.
<-- Lead Gen & Research
<-- Appointments & Conversations
Thank you Ken!
ps. Check out the Inside Sales Virtual Summit on June 20. Never before have I seen so much Inside Sales knowledge flowing for one day.
I'm just coming off 19,000 miles, 3 countries, and both coasts of the US (back and forth twice) in a 5 week period. I met lots of new people, and noticed a trend that interestingly reflected a concept Craig Rosenberg, The Funnelholic, and I presented at our case study session at SiriusDecisions Summit -- Social Surround.
It's not new, and wasn't coined by us, but Social Surround is the technique of using every social platform available to connect to your colleagues and prospects. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, you name it. The more you connect, and the more you share with them or about them, the more you build that relationship. Let's face it, a retweet by any means is flattering.
Here's a surround scenario for you:
- I met the director of Demand Gen for a software company a few months back, brief handshake, intro and card exchange. There wasn't an immediate need for Green Leads work at the time...nurturable
- That night I sent an email with the contact info of a mutual colleageue we both knew from years ago that he had fallen out of touch with
- I then linked to him on LinkedIn
- From LinkedIn, I found his twitter handle, and followed him. Hopefully he monitors his new followers.
- I also followed his company account, learned a bit there
- Found him on Facebook, and instead of offering to connect, I simply shared Green Leads' facebook page with him. He liked it
- I notice his company tweets something retweetable, and give it a retweet. Maybe he'll notice
- He's an avid LinkedIn Update poster. So I liked a post
- Saw he was on the attendee list of #SDsummit, so sent a "Look forward to seeing you at the event" email
Fast forward to the SiriusDecisions Summit. Craig and I are in the case study presenting the Social Surround concept, and who's sitting in the middle row smiling? Yep. He comes up to me afterwards and told me how he personally experienced Social Surround by me and had come to the conference with the intent of talking with me about a b2b appointment setting project. Now that he knew the concept had a term and it worked, he was sold--surrounded and sold.
Benefits of Social Surround:
- Passive branding
- Ongoing networking
- Rapport building the social way
- Non-intrusive to the prospect
- Multiple touch points
- Warms up outbound activies
- Can trigger inbound responses
ps. What I like the most with Social Surround is that I'm seeing the prospects surrounding me. That is the ultimate Inbound Lead!
Photo: Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Surrounded Islands
There is a whole set of new, fun, exciting demand generation tactics happening right now. Some of the recent trends like content marketing and social are reaching new levels of sophistication. Video is the next wave and we know enough know to provide useful advice. B2B demand generation is fun again and there is a lot to learn and go test. Green Leads is sponsoring an online summit with the Funnelholic, Act-on Software, and Radius Intelligence to explore the latest and greatest things happening in b2b demand generation. We carefully chose speakers who would bring the latest techniques, talk about real results, provide tangible tips, and present at least one surprising idea, fact, or result. We want attendees to understand "how" along with the "why". Scott Albro, Matt Heinz, Koka Sexton, and Matt Childs headline the event.
Join in on the fun. Click attend on the landing page below and we will see you there!
37% of prospects that were nurtured move on to further sales activity from an introductory meeting, 12% higher than those not nurtured
As you all know, Green Leads is in the b2b appointment setting business. Similar to b2b inside sales teams, we book meetings with C/VP level executives on our clients' behalf and only get paid when the meetings take place. The ROI is easy to calculate as clients only pay when the sales rep completes the meeting. So X meetings for $Y. We can deliver this service predictably because it's all about the numbers. Those of us in the business can recite stats at the drop of a hat -- what list penetration numbers are, the mix of titles based on the client or industry, the number of C/VP level referrals, the reschedule and cancel rates -- you name it.
Last year some stats started changing. During regular review meetings, two clients asked within weeks of each other why their list penetration numbers were dropping (the number of meetings booked per list). They were still getting the same amount of meetings that "Natural", but they were right, we were all working harder, and we were consuming bigger and bigger lists to achieve the same numbers. Then, a third client asked what we were doing different because their penetration numbers were increasing. It happened to be the same period.
After some discussion internally, we realized that the third client had been feeding us lists that were actively being nurtured. The lists were smaller in size than the other two clients, but each contact was receiving valuable contact through white papers, webinar invites, analyst studies, blog links, etc. Inbound leads as a result of the nurturing campaign were routed to their inside sales team. The remaining leads, after reaching a certain lead score based on the numbers of email opens, forwards, website visits, and other criteria, they were transferred to our lists for outbound appointment setting. We were converting them to meetings at astonishing rates.
Since then, five of our clients have started feeding us nurtured leads to augment traditional raw names. In two cases, they outsource the management of the nurturing process to us.
The results -- Prospects that are nurtured are 17% more likely to be accept a meeting when pitched, and of those, the appointments completed moved on to further sales discussions 37% of the time (12% higher than non-nurtured).
We are now recommending to all our clients that they implement nurturing programs in conjunction with our appointment setting. If tightly integrated, the results of the two are significant:
- Prospects are further into the buying cycle when the sales team engages
- Resources used to build larger lists for outbound work can be redirected to nurturing efforts
- Quality of introductory meetings are increased, resulting in a more mature pipeline
- Ongoing branding to prospects nurtured is significantly higher than those not nurtured
- Outsourced vendors or inside sales teams can operate more efficiently, providing higher quality as well as additional services
- Increased ROI of the program can contribute to increased demand gen programs
Every sales organization I talk to these days is ramping their Sales 2.0 technologies. It's a fun topic for a guy like me who loves sales and loves technology. The Sales 2.0 conference is coming up and they have done some studies on buyer behavior in the market, so I took the opportunity to interview Lisa Gschwandtner, the Editorial Director of Selling Power. Selling Power is a media cosponsor of the Sales 2.0 Conference.
Mike: What made you decide to create the Sales 2.0 Impact Survey?
Lisa: From the very first Sales 2.0 Conference in 2007, it was clear that Sales 2.0 could yield explosive gains in all kinds of areas. A simple e-signature or automated outbound dialing tool, for example, could collapse certain stages of your sales cycle from weeks to hours. At that point we were seeing a real revolutionary excitement about the potential of Sales 2.0 technology. And as early as 2009, we started to see companies like Brainshark implement an entire Sales 2.0 architecture to create growth in productivity and effectiveness in a variety of areas.
At this point in the evolution of Sales 2.0, we can now point to year-over-year patterns that tie Sales 2.0 usage to revenue results. We felt it was time to poll a generation of Sales 2.0 users and let the statistics tell the story of how Sales 2.0 influences success.
Mike: What are the biggest Sales 2.0 trends for 2013?
Lisa: Content marketing is a trend to watch. B2B companies have pushed themselves to establish online selling channels, implement inbound marketing automation solutions, and integrate social selling as part of their sales process. You need high-quality content to see real gains in these areas. Businesses are realizing they need to start acting like publishers if they want to use content to attract customers.
Another trend with staying power is the growth of inside sales teams. Moving from a field sales model to an inside model (or some blend) isn’t a new thing -- what’s startling is the rate at which this is happening. Online is where buyers live now, and expensive field reps just aren’t necessary for as many business models anymore, especially with so many Sales 2.0 tools (including video conferencing and screen-sharing tools) available to help us connect and collaborate online.
Any Sales 2.0 trend you see will stem from one root cause: buyers are controlling the sales cycle. Buyers and sellers have a different relationship these days. And you can choose to respond to that shift in many ways. The leadership challenge is where to put your focus. What technology do you need to adopt today, and what do you need by year-end? What’s the plan for implementing technology and adjusting your processes? This is why high-level executives come to the Sales 2.0 Conference. They get educated on what other sales leaders are doing, and they identify which trends and technologies would be the best to bring back home and implement.
Mike: What's the biggest change in the Sales 2.0 world from the time you started the conference to now?
Lisa: I would say more than change I see expansion. Since we started in San Francisco, we saw Boston emerge as the Silicon Valley of the east. And last year we took the Sales 2.0 Conference as far as London. The demand for Sales 2.0 solutions just keeps getting broader.
The technology solutions themselves are also expanding. More specifically, lots of smaller companies that were around when we first started out, like Jigsaw, have been absorbed into larger ecosystems. That means the market now has different expectations about how technology will or should work. They expect integration of highly tactical automated tools and solutions as part of their investment in a broad-base technology solution, like a CRM system.
Mike: I saw this number: "50% of sales organizations surveyed plan to increase spending on Sales 2.0 solutions in 2013" on a couple blog posts, it sounds as though sales people are getting ready to spend on technology.
Lisa: Yes, that stat is one of the initial numbers we were excited to release from the Sales 2.0 Impact Survey. B2B companies are absolutely primed to invest in Sales 2.0 technology this year. The survey also gave us intriguing information about who’s owning implementation and purchasing decisions internally. We’ll be sharing all of that with attendees at the Sales 2.0 Conference on April 8-9 in San Francisco
Mike:. What do you prefer red, yellow or green curry?
Lisa: I like my curry the way I like my Sales 2.0 logo. Red!
Have you seen the latest viral craze on YouTube -- the Harlem Shake? It's been around a while, but there is a new resurgence of interest in it. Our Green Leads London office decided to fire up the video yesterday and make a contribution to the Harlem Shake movement.
Have you created a video that contributes to your demand gen, social media and branding programs? Do one today!
ps. Can you say "Elaine from Seinfeld"?
Ladies and gentlemen, the sales automation revolution is upon us. SFA/CRM? Old School, table stakes. The highly optimized sales organizations of today has a collection of sales automation application that work on top of their CRM. As I declared in a previous blog post: The Seller has Changed Forever. It's exciting times for sales people -- marketing is becoming more sophisticated in their lead generation efforts (more leads is always great) and sales organizations are making the lives of their sales people better with automation.
On December 13 at 11AM Pacific, I will be joined by Matt Heinz, Brian Vellmure, Nancy Nardin, Koka Sexton, and Miles Austin in a free webinar: 31 Must-have sales tools for 2013. I have had a lot of fun learning about the tools everyone is going to discuss. In today's post, I present three tools to you. Join us for the 28 others.... I had a lot to choose from so I decided to keep it simple and highlight the three sponsors. Keep in mind, that we chose sponsors based on technology we wanted represented. We didn't find sponsors and then decide whether they should make the list.
1. DocuSign -- I just started using DocuSign last year. DocuSign is one of the vendors in the fast-growing e-signature space. In layman's terms: Get contracts, paperwork, etc signed electronically instead of printing paper and faxing. It's a god-send. There is nothing sales and everybody else for that matter hates worse than paperwork. It holds up the sales process and is the most painful part of one of the best parts of the sales process: the last mile. Let me give you an example: Last year, I decided for some reason to do a face-to-face sales call at the end of the quarter. (Don't ask). My rep calls me: "I can get this deal if you can sign off on the SOW". My reply:"Can't I'm in my car and won't be back in the office for an hour". Rep: "Dude, pull over to a Starbucks and 'Docusign' it on your Ipad". Boom. Signed, deal closed. E-signatures are a "why wouldn't you?" product.
2. InsideView (client) -- Sales intelligence, use it to sell better. How's that slogan? If I told a sales person 20 years ago that in 2012 prospects would use the internet and especially social media to update you on what they care about, what they do, and what they are doing, they would say "I want some of that". The best sales people are always researching, preparing, and seeking opportunities. The internet has changed the research game forever. Information about your prospects has never been more available yet finding and tracking that data can be cumbersome. Sales people want it easy and in front of their face. InsideView gives sales people a single interface to view your the accounts and their latest news. You can also set up triggers to be kept abreast on the latest happenings at your target accounts.
3. Kred for CRM -- One feature I love with Kred for CRM is the one that allows you to figure out "who" in your organization is connected to and interacting with your key influencers or prospects on a particular deal. Here is an example: You are selling to an account and you go in and find out that one of the key influencers is connected to someone in your organization. Not only that, they have tweeted to each other in the last 60 days. You are able to leverage that internal relationship to further solidify your relationship with the prospect. I just talked to a buddy who did this with Linkedin a few weeks ago. He was going into a scary client meeting and realized that a product marketing guy was a business connection of his contact. His friend reached out before the meeting and they walked in knowing each other. Meeting went great. Now imagine doing that with Twitter. Also, you can measure the social influence of your customers and prospects. You can use this data to decide how to handle them in the selling process. All great data to have in this brave new world.
Talking about sales automation is fun. I think its because selling has been so hard and so lonely all these years. Now people are making technology just for us and our lives are better for it. Join us to learn about all 31 must-have sales tools.
My latest post: Content Reflections: A personal and intimate journey into the mind of Craig Rosenberg
Donations going to : NEADS, an organization that trains dogs for deaf and disabled Americans.
Green Leads today is partnering with HubSpot to host Inside Sales for Charity - NEADS. Inside Sales for Charity harnesses the power of inside sales teams to raise money for great causes. We are hoping to raise over $10k today.
If you can help, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your pledge for support and contact info for one of our reps to followup with you.
Thank you for your support!
Green Leads, LLC
On March 6, 2012, Green Leads is teaming up with HubSpot to host a fund raising event powered by New England's inside sales talent pool. Volunteers from the inside sales community are invited to raise money for NEADS. National Education for Assistance Dog Services (NEADS), also known as Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans. Volunteer for Inside Sales for Charity now.
NEADS is a non-profit organization that was established in 1976 to provide canine assistance for people who are deaf or have a disability. Since their founding, NEADS has trained over 1,300 assistance dog teams. NEADS does not receive any government funding for the spectacular work they do. They rely on the support of individuals, foundations, corporations and service organizations to keep their incredible work going.
Inside sales is an industry in New England, and we are hoping to tap that industry and harness talent to raise funds for NEADS, harnessing our skills and community raise donations for this wonderful cause.
This charity event will be held on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at our co-sponsor HubSpot’s offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They are located at 25 First Street and are easily accessible by public transportation or by car. There is plenty of available parking nearby. The event will begin at 3:30 pm and run until 6:00 pm and will be followed by a casual reception with dinner and prizes. Volunteer for Inside Sales for Charity now.