This past week at the Inbound Marketing Summit, all the sessions were broadcast live by The Pulse Network. Below is the clip of our session with Chris Brogan on Lead Generation.
For the time constrained fans...you can find my contributions at time spots: 4:50, 19:48 and 26:30 ;)
Guest post by Paul Simon, Sharper Content, @paulcontentman
We all form instant impressions when meeting someone new. Guess what? The same thing happens when we read something from someone we don't know - and the proliferation of social media puts an awful of "new" people in front of us.
As Michael Damphousse says, "Good content creates value. Value creates trust. And, yes, trust creates leads."
On the Internet, it's all about content, whether you have a product to sell, service to offer or leads to pursue. The best content is clear, concise and compelling, creating a bond and a relationship with the reader. Can poor writing, misspellings and grammatical errors interfere? You betcha.
A few days ago someone in a sales group on LinkedIn posed this question: "Love reading and participating in this group, but I could not help noticing all the blatant spelling errors in our posts. Do you think it reflects negatively on our attention to detail and professionalism not to re-read our posts before we hit the send button? "
Intriguing responses followed, some dismissing an occasional error in a group comment as inconsequential and others characterizing them as a general lack of professionalism. Here are a few of my favorite comments:
"Numerous mistakes indicate a lack of attention to detail. If I am thinking of hiring someone to take care of my business, I want someone who is brilliant in their field AND cares about the details..."
"If one person, someone who is important to you, forms a negative image of you because of something you've written, doesn't it make sense to be more mindful? I would hate to think that I was shut out of an opportunity because I failed to take a few extra minutes to ensure that my spelling and grammar were up to snuff."
As someone who makes a living writing and editing other people's copy, I've often wondered about the same thing when I see a lot of errors. I've made my share of typos in rushing out an email here and there, but it does seem that a business communication rife with errors really gets you off on the wrong foot.
Can you afford to take a chance? Are your content marketing efforts going to impact demand gen? You owe it to yourself to pay attention.
Next week I'll be speaking at Chris Brogan's New Marketing Experience in San Francisco. In a recent post, @chrisbrogan talks about the event:
"One thing that’s different with my events than with other events: Every sponsor and exhibitor and speaker is someone we think has something to offer you .... We appreciate their voice in our experiences. Thus, time spent with them is also time spent learning new marketing the way we see it ... it’s a 1-day event. There’s no fluff. It’s packed with info. We can hang out."
My highlight of the week is the Hang Out part. That's all the discussion, debate, learning and putting faces to all the "social" B2B marketing community faces I've met online -- as well as meeting new ones.
Some recommendations to those of you attending, and even to those that aren't, on how to get the most out of a live event:
- Announce that you are attending. Post it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and any other place your status resides.
- Live tweet or live blog from the event and include the Hashtag in all posts. Share your take-aways.
- Mingle, mix, get to know some new tweeps. Don't spend the breaks in the lobby on your cell phone.
- Collect business cards. If you get one without a Twitter address on it, ask for it and write it down. When you get home, or during quiet time at the event, send LinkedIn invites.
- Don't cluster. You already know the people you know. Unless you are using the connection to get an introduction to someone new, move on. Meet new people.
- Be there virtually. If you aren't at the event, follow it on Twitter and the live blogs (links will be on Twitter). Follow the hashtag. Or better yet, make a last minute decision and REGISTER HERE with a 50% Discount Code GREEN50.
@damphoux: So a shout out to all the attendees next week -- find my icon in the crowd and come say "hello".
Speakers List on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#/list/damphoux/ims-speakers
If someone has already written about this, forgive me. But twice in the past few weeks the discussion of real time search came up and how it might touch b2b demand gen. Today, unless someone is searching in multiple places -- Google, Twitter Search, Facebook Search and others -- they will never find the trending topics that people are talking about. When someone goes to Google and types "appointment setting," don't you want your organic results on the left and your real time social media posts on the right? I do.
Please blend Organic Search and Real Time Search on one page. Better, create algorithms that will show real time results from people "like me," not just from topics that sound or look like I'd like them. Personally, I'll love it. Professionally, I can see demand gen goodness for inbound marketing all over it. It will allow my prospects to find me in multiple different ways, and allow my real time content to be as valuable as my static content -- even if those searching aren't into Twitter or Facebook.
(credit: Google and Scoopler)
A while back, I read an article by Chris Brogan that discussed 19 chores we could each do daily to help us maintain an online presence. I was already doing a majority of the list, but then it got me thinking. What if I had my browser setup so when I wake up in the AM all my daily tasks for maintaining my social media prowess were just lined up waiting for me to get my coffee? Here's my Lead Generation Tip for today.
I've never been one to clutter up toolbars in a browser, but this seemed like a great reason to do it. So I bookmarked the following links and turned on the bookmarks toolbar. This allows me to wake up, sip my Greenest Bean coffee (organic, locally roasted), and make my presence known. I come back to it during the day when I need a break and hit them again.
- HootSuite - been using this since I uninstalled tweetdeck for locking up my system every day. I've got it all decked out with columns, tabs, subjects, friends, you name it
- Google Reader - still the easiest RSS reader going. Read up, schedule the best for tweets on HootSuite with Send Later. Comment on a few relevant articles
- Hubspot Dashboard - finds daily chores for me to do around blogging, keywords, search rankings, etc.
- LinkedIn Q&A - to maintain my top Lead Gen Expert status and to accept invites and other LinkedIn goodness
- Personal Facebook - post some drivel
- Company Facebook Fan Page - post some value
- Fast Company Blog - share an article
- Smashmouth Marketing Blog - write an article
- FriendFeed - check out friends thoughts
- SocialOomph - vet my new twitter followers
During the process, I usually digg or stumble a few articles as well.
ps. Look at the other top experts in the Lead Generation section of LinkedIn. I'm in good company!
What other daily tasks do you do to keep yourself in the frontlines? Leave a comment
Tony Soprano:"Every decision you make affects every facet of every other #?%!% thing."
ok, the Tony Soprano thing was just a late addition after I read some hilarious quotes from the show on IMDB last night, and realized they had some ...ahem... relevancy -- just a little fun ;)
For years the world of b2b marketing has used outbound marketing as a source of lead generation. Many companies also operate inside sales departments, and there has been an industry built around supporting these efforts and providing superior service to clients. Services such as appointment setting, lead generation and list development are pervasive and a very common tool in the demand gen arsenal.
Then there was the Google. Studies have shown recently that most buying decisions start with a Google search. Although I don't totally agree with the statement (especially as it pertains to emerging technologies), I will agree that it's Google that sits on most people's desktops all day long and is a tool we use constantly. Our goal as marketers -- get the buyers to find relevant content, then find links to vendors, then capture their name as a lead (eventually). Classic inbound marketing.
Tony Soprano: "Hey, You want that, it's a phone call away."
In order to capitalize on this, there's been a rush to successfully implement inbound marketing strategies so that we can capture the leads that are out there stumbling on our sites from various sources. Search engine marketing (SEM), search Engine Optimization (SEO), blogging and social media strategies all contribute to solid Google rankings.
Marketers have been considering their strategies in two budget line items. Inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Some have even gotten passionate about which strategy is the ultimate demand gen horse to ride, the majority seem to be implementing both inbound and outbound marketing equally. What many have overlooked is that most inbound leads don't just jump into the boat with a purchase order. Raising their hand for an ebook shows interest, and coming back to the site several times for more content raises their interest (and hopefully your lead score), but when are they going to jump in the boat?
Tony Soprano: "A wrong decision is better than indecision."
This is where the alignment of inbound marketing and outbound marketing come together. Over the past several months I've visited several companies that specialize in inbound marketing (if you follow my blog or twitter, you'll know who they are). I've been to lead nurturing companies, marketing automation companies, SEO companies, SaaS companies offering solutions for inbound marketing, etc. One thing they all had in common was a sizable outbound marketing component to their own marketing efforts -- large inside sales teams, outsourced lead gen companies, and appointment setting programs. There always has to be someone to give the pitch and ask the questions.
Tony Soprano: "Oh, poor baby. What do you want, a Whitman's Sampler?"
Any good outbound program starts with names. The names can be purchased from Jigsaw, Onesource or other data sources. They can be identified or researched. They can also be somewhat warm from inbound activity. In fact, those warm ones have the highest lead scores in most systems. But getting that human being that's raising their hands to talk with you is the ultimate challenge, and inbound marketing certainly makes outbound marketers more effective in this task.
I'm not slamming inbound marketing whatsoever, in fact Green Leads is investing heavily in it for our own benefit as well as combining inbound services with traditional outbound services in order to maximize our efforts (see: Hubspot, LinkedIn, twitter, Facebook). What I'm advocating is for Demand Gen Alignment. Maximize the investment in both inbound and outbound.
As Tony Soprano may have said if he were a marketer: "There might be an inbound mafia and an outbound mafia, but together, the family can be stronger and produce."
Last week we conducted a poll on LinkedIn where we asked: Inbound Marketing & Outbound Marketing - what is your mix for lead gen?
- Mostly Inbound
- Mostly Outbound
- Both Equally
- Inbound Only
- Outbound Only
The complete results were published today on the DemandGen Reports site. The short version excerpted from the article:
The experts balance Inbound Marketing with Outbound Marketing. So the random sales and marketing execs may want to pay attention to a few points:
• Most companies rely on a mix of Inbound and Outbound Marketing
• Outbound Marketing seems to have a larger portion of the marketing mix in general
• Demand Gen specialists balance their mix of Inbound and Outbound 30% more than generalists
• The mania of Inbound Marketing taking over the marketing mix is either just that, mania, or it is still in its infancy. Don't get caught up in the hype just yet.
• A balanced approach seems to be the mix of choice with a slight favor to Outbound activities
As a side note, a regular feature of my blog, which is focused on BtoB marketing and demand gen, are product reviews. So below is a mini product review of LinkedIn Polls:
The application is extremely easy to use, and the ability to promote it free to your network or paid through LinkedIn's systems provides incredible flexibility. We highly recommend using the paid LinkedIn poll feature for two reasons. First, it can be targeted to specific demographics. Second, it randomizes responses in a manner different than if you were to share the poll with your network. One feature missing though, is the ability to embed the poll on other pages (such as a blog, or corporate site). Having this widget capability would be huge.
There have been a number of studies published about what marketing departments are spending budget on. We are looking at more of a granular study. What do people spend on Inbound Marketing and what do they spend on Outbound Marketing.
We'll followup with a blog article discussing the results.
Please spread the word. URLs to share
Copy & Paste the poll URL:
Or Copy & Paste a Re-Tweet (or just click here to Re-Tweet):
RT @damphoux POLL What is your mix of Inbound and Outbound Marketing http://ow.ly/gAKK
This past week I was reading HubSpot's study on the state of inbound marketing, and understandably, with HubSpot being in the inbound marketing business, the study showed that the marketing spend on inbound marketing is rising. It also determines that the price of an inbound generated lead is 3x less than the price of an outbound generated lead, $84 versus $220. (Inbound: SEO, SEM, Blogs. Outbound: Telemarketing, Email, Events).
I accept that, and I truly believe there is a place for inbound marketing in all of our marketing budgets. I do, however, challenge the value of that inbound lead versus the value of the outbound lead, and that was not discussed. What is the equity value of those leads - the lead equity? In simple terms, how far along is each of those generated leads in the pipeline and what is the value of that lead against the amount you have invested in it so far? Even at 3x the cost, it's not apples and oranges.
The question we should ask ourselves is how many $84 leads does it take to get to pipeline, an active sales opportunity, and how many $220 leads does it take to get to pipeline. In my own business, where we do about equal billing on inbound/outbound spending, we have found that the increased quality of the outbound leads justifies the expense. For argument's sake, let's just say it takes 10 inbound leads to get one pipeline opportunity, and 3 outbound leads to do the same. That's $840 for inbound, $660 for outbound. We attribute it to the fact that the outbound work does much of the screening and vetting and sometimes even the first steps of selling, thereby increasing the quality of the lead.
We would never operate without the inbound activity though. The leads are at the highest point in the funnel, but we find opportunities that we would never have found with traditional outbound activity. To top it off, they raised their hand.
This may explain why the Goliath companies are spending more on outbound lead generation. HubSpot's survey, made up of companies of all sizes, shows that in 2008 the average marketing spend from b2b companies on outbound telemarketing efforts to be 12%. SiriusDecisions reports a different number though. Their study covers a much wider spectrum of b2b companies and sizes, and reports 21% invest in similar outbound efforts in 2008. In fact, they expect that in 2009 the spend on inbound efforts to drop while outbound efforts will rise. This being attributed to the focus on pipeline deals versus the top of the funnel.
Will the smaller, mid-sized companies follow this trend? Will David follow Goliath?
Social media is all the rage right now, and it should be. It is shaping how people communicate, how companies and people brand themselves, how we educate ourselves and how we grow our network. Lead generation in the world of b2b can be enhanced by social media, especially with early adopters, techies, and the net-gen crowd. However, many of us are trying to sell to the highest level decision makers, C and VP level executives. Some are using twitter and LinkedIn, and some have great staff members who are passing the value up the chain. The question is to reach that senior executive, especially in non-technology fields (where you get less of the geeks and trend setters), how do you reach a C/VP level target?
Call it Lead Gen 2.0, but in my opinion it is just traditional lead generation, demand creation and marketing with some new twists. Add social media to the mix, but don't get over-hyped about it and forget some of the proven lead gen techniques that work. What would be some priorities for the end result of putting your sales rep in front of a C/VP level target?
- Good Lists - There are lots of sources for lists out there, and the best solution is to pay for the better product. The best lists we've seen for the money are from Jigsaw hands down. Frankly, I wouldn't waste a nickel on those other companies that have been around for a decade or longer (D&B, Hoovers, even OneSource). The data is outdated, inaccurate and incomplete. You can go the next step too, even with a good Jigsaw list, by doing list validation and cleaning. These services are available or your own inside team can do it.
- Bring Value - More executives have stated that they tend to buy from vendors that bring value to them in the marketing and sales process. Don't just throw your logo out and send a promotion, use Whitepapers, use Webinars, publish an informative blog, bring value. Great place to use twitter to share valuable information or LinkedIn Answers. Have someone dedicated to providing value to the market. Call it nurturing, call it education, the point is if they don't see that you are bringing value, they may not be interested in bringing value to you.
- Collect Them - Yes, definitely, use SEM and SEO to gather the hand raisers, make it part of the mix, but be cautious not to rely too heavily on it. I have a client that is in the inbound marketing industry, and they still rely heavily on appointment setting to build their pipeline. Look for more focused lead broker solutions, whitepaper sites, vertical market education sites. Most are backed up by some form of lead collection/screening process and the leads are for sale.
- Target Them - We can't just wait for the inbound leads to show up. If you find a great opportunity in a certain industry or build a valid use-case for a certain type of buyer, then target them. Research those markets and aggregate the information so you can target them. Plan targeted campaigns.
- Encircle Them - Find their communities. See if you can find out where they hang out. Some will list these organizations in their LinkedIn profile. The communities may be live, may be online. But when you find them, get your executives involved, add value to the organization. Most have social media presence, get piped in there as well.
- Reach Them - Don't wait for them to learn about twitter or find you with a google search, find them. You've invested in a good list, get your inside team, your reps, or an outsourced vendor to work it. Don't just call and sell though. Do what you can to get face to face with them. Engage in a conversation. I've managed hundreds of sales reps in my day, and from my experience they do their best work sitting across from a prospect.
- Use Experts - Don't assume that you, your marketing team, your inside sales team, and your sales reps can implement everything. Give me a marketing or sales technique or discipline and I can give you a third party expert that offers the service. Ask your colleagues for recommendations. Use LinkedIn and twitter to get recommendations. But don't be afraid to hire specialists.
- Don't Settle - Working the influencers at the lower levels is still worth doing, but don't settle for an influencer. If you are going to invest in a lead, a truly valuable lead worth dedicating real budget to acquiring, then go for the C or VP level prospect. You will work your way down and around all the directors and managers anyway, if you can start at the highest levels, then the staff come willingly.
- Get Results - Whether it is an internal service provider such as inside sales, or an external provider such as a consultant or other marketing services firm, try to pay for results or at least incent them for results. The day of the monthly retainer fee is gone. This is marketing budget 2.0. (ok, last over-use of 2.0 in this article).
Did I totally trash Social Media, Search Engine Marketing and other new methods of lead gen? No, I've added them to the mix. Just be cautious not to over-estimate your C and VP level targets. They don't have the time it takes to work the web the way some of us do, so augment your traditional, proven methods with the newer ones, use technology to your advantage, and use service providers that have honed their expertise.