My good buddy and best man, Dave, has been commissioner of the same Fantasy Football league for over 12 years and a few years ago asked if I was interested in taking one of the empty slots. My obsessive-compulsive, statistically driven, multi-scenario-challenged gaming mind was intrigued. Could I possibly put together a team that could beat other experienced teams week in and week out? Even if the matchup is one-sided on paper?
Sounds simple, but here's the deal. I'm more of an owner and less of a coach, so I did what I do best. I hired Lenny, a co-worker at the time and a kick-ass coach, and learned from someone who knows more about Fantasy Football than I do and still enjoy the results. Now three seasons later, Lenny is gone and I won last year's season. This year opened with a tight match against Dave, and it came down to the last two players--he crushed me. But I'm a coach.
Tips to learn from Fantasy Football when building awesome inside sales teams:
- Be a coach. Understand your team and their challenges, week in and week out.
- Understand the rules. If you know what scores you points you'll make better decisions. Ask the commissioner (your boss) if it's unclear.
- Learn from the pros. We read Fantasy blogs; we also read B2B sales and marketing blogs.
- Look for raw talent that requires the least maintenance.
- Find the studs that, head to head, will overperform every week.
- Think about your deficiencies and hire accordingly.
- If your team needs adjusting, make the shifts. It might mean cutting a player, or drafting a new one, or moving someone up from the bench. Think big picture.
- Don't fall in love with a lineup. If you need to let a player go, cut your losses.
- Track the stats. Every stat -- even the ones you aren't sure are valuable. They will be someday.
- Think Superbowl. Don't forget the long-term play is to win.
- Lastly, have fun. Every day. Have fun. If you and your team are enjoying your jobs, you'll always make the playoffs and be in a position to win!
ps. I do have Tom Brady in both my leagues this year. Maybe I should take some lessons from Belichick?
I just listened to Mungo Jerry's "In The Summertime," and it made me smile, tap my feet, rock my head, especially with the banjo player huffing and puffing into the jug. Love it!
...then BOOM! The song is over and I remembered all the times I heard inside sales reps complain that "It's summer, nobody's working."
Folks, that's one of the biggest myths in lead gen. In fact, it's so twisted that some hidden benefits of summer are shrowded. Let's take a look.
Yes, most people take vacation time in the summer. I do to. That said, how many vacations can one take? They can't be gone all summer. In fact, some very important things happen because of vacations:
- Desk time - Most people planning vacations plan some time in the office (ie: not travelling) prior to and immediately after so that they can get their ducks in a row and return hitting the ground running. That is more time for them to be at their desks picking up calls, or paying attention to an email inbox that is organized. Take advantage of it.
- Responders - "I'll be out of the office until Monday, July 21. In an emergency you can call my cell ###-###-####, otherwise, you can contact June, my assistant at ###-###-####, or John, my senior team member at email@example.com". Nuggets: The prospect's cell number, the assistant's name and number, and his trusted underling's email address. Use them.
- Scheduling - It can get dicy trying to pick a date, sure, but use it as an opportunity to book a meeting in close -- to set some urgency.
- Lighten the mood - It's always a challenge to find the common thread in a call to make the prospect feel comfortable listening to the business end of a conversation, what better common thread than "Oh, vacation, I just got back from the Cape, what are you planning?". People buy from people.
- Attitudes - Let's face it, we're all a bit happier. Happier = Approachable.
"We love everybody, but we do as we please
When the weather's fine
We go fishing or go swimming in the sea
We're always happy"
Enjoy the video, and take Mungo Jerry's tip to heart: "Go out and see what you can find"!
If you are a Chief Marketing Officer, or report to one, or aspire to be one, you MUST attend dreamforce. Period. I would not normally make such a blanket statement, but I don't want anyone to miss the point of this article.
This week, I was able to speak at dreamforce for data.com, and shared in the frenzy with 130,000 other attendees. The benefits of being here are endless:
- Technology - Aisles and aisles of vendors selling everything from big data (impressed by Tableau), to sales productivity tools such as InsideSales.com, which Green Leads just implemented.
- Learn - Study new marketing techniques. Face it, event marketing is one of the largest challenges of a marketer. Come see what's working.
- Team - Nothing more rewarding than a CMO seeing their team enjoying the conference and learning new ideas and techniques.
- Network - Meeting new people, prospects and network contacts. Walking around I had a bunch of followers introduce themselves. Networking goodness!
- POV - Explore all the branding and point of view. My POV guru buddy, Dave Peterson of PlayBigger told me yesterday, was to just experience the show and absorb. Learned a ton.
- Listen - Some incredible marketers on stage. The list is too long to name, but Marissa Mayer of Yahoo was killer.
- Customers - Setting up client/partner visits. I could have filled my week with nothing but client visits. Great lunch with Steve Lilly of Ziff Davis! B2B Goodness.
- Reunions - I walked into Moscone West and five minutes after I got my badge I met someone I worked with 13 years ago.
- Demand Gen - Find new business. In my particular case, there is nothing better than meeting the VP of Marketing at a booth and them saying "The show is good, lots of tire kickers though." and then when she asks what I do, go into how "Green Leads weeds through all the tire kickers to find you active decision makers."
- Party - Green Day, Blondie, Huey Lewis and the News. Every bar and restaurant is overflowing with sales, marketers and geeks.
- Exercise - Yes, exercise, if you consider walking a few miles a day exercise. Being on your feet all day works the core. It's exercise!
- Press - They are all here. Take advantage of it.
- Vendors - Odds are that if your marketing vendors are here. Check in with them.
- Exhibit - If you target sales, marketing or developers, you have to be here!
- Inspiration - Deepak Chopra! Always some lifestyle speakers here.
Having experienced the largest cloud computing conference on earth, I have one regret. I didn't bring an umbrella. Nobody said anything about the "cloud" being a rain cloud!
Lead Gen Tip of the Day: Not sure how to find new prospects to meet with at dreamforce, Green Leads has been hired to do appointment setting for dreamforce attendees to keep their calendars full.
photo credit: @damphoux
Having just kicked off, the SiriusDecisions Summit in London will be spanning two days with tons of marketing and sales goodness. I'll be adding notable thoughts, quotes, and tweets to this article during the two days, so come back!
@RichardEldh: The relationship with our clients and our prospects is as much digital as it is face to face, if not more.
@maxsangiovanni: The rule of 1: 1 user 1 campaign, 1 campaign many languages, 1 touch once a month, 1 guardian of the send, 1 message all platforms
@jblock: One consistent message across all delivery channels. Do this first then pick the tech to do it. @maxsangiovanni
@izjay: Data buys time and time buys understanding via @maxsangiovanni
@maxsangiovanni: click to chat is very successful channel to capture inbound activity
@Marisa_Kopec: My content is on content, so I have a lot of content to share today ;) 60-70% of content goes unused
@Marisa_Kopec The evolved marketing factory must be engineered to produce content to fuel inbound & outbound marketing
@damphoux: Cocktail party is at 4:30, so see you there. via @Marisa_Kopec #MeaningfulQuotes
@Floriane_Ma_FR: Min 10/12 attempts to get a decision maker on the line in complex sales, builds case for teleprospecting to do the job instead of sales reps
@damphoux: Again @tjaros hits it w/ Demand Types. Read up. It will change the way u present your message md.gl/1b95FpW
@akslipper: Germany leads in budget spent on tradeshows. UK leads in email campaigns
@izjay: Most #SDSummit delegates say their next technology purchase will be in the category of business intelligence/analytics. Nice!
@jblock: When it comes to live events, you're judged by the quality of the coffee. via @akslipper
@siriusdecisions: @Marisa_Kopec "Understanding buyer personas is where b-to-b meets b-to-c" http://t.co/9LyNGOZx0W
@GBalarin: "There is no rest for the technology-weary in marketing. IT is changing dramatically" and alignment is key. @jneeson
@JarmilaHYu: John Neeson at #SDSummit "the sales rep is changing: by leveraging marketing data, tools & tech cold sales calls should no longer exist".
RT @BabcockJenkins: Portrait of the modern marketer and sales person. via @jneeson #SDSummit http://t.co/gSC5ztKDJo
More to come...
photo credit: me
As a business owner, I manage my tasks, take care of clients, look at my numbers, work hard, attend to quality, work with my team...you name it. Does that sound much different than a sales or marketing professional? Tasks, Clients, Quotas, Energy, Perfection, Peers.
You all own your own businesses! Congrats.
So now that you own your own business, where can you go for some advice and inspiration?
This week is the innagural issue of Owner Magazine. Owner is the brainchild of Chris Brogan, a leading speaker, author and blogger focused on digital business.
Chris and I were sitting down last week talking about the first issue of Owner. His passion for ALL things makes you walk away from any interaction with a "can do" feeling and a smile on your face. His passion for his new online magazine launch is one I share and hope you will too.
"The concept of an Owner is simple," says Chris. "It is for someone who seeks to improve worth by growing capabilities and connections. You can be the CEO of your cubicle as long as you’re accepting responsibility for your intentions to grow your abilities and your network. But more so, you’re likely an entrepreneurial spirit, either helming your own organization, or just about to leap out into the fray and make your own path. That’s who we’ve created Owner magazine to serve."
I'm honored to be asked to contribute to Owner. It's great to be surrounded by some fantastic-smart people (Chris, S. Anthony Iannarino, Marsha Collier, John Morgan and others).
Subscribe to Owner Mag here and be the best owner you can be.
Last week at Inbound, HubSpot announced a new product, Signals. In simple terms, Signals is a Chrome extension that tracks and notifies you when someone has activity on emails, LinkedIn, Salesforce and HubSpot. You get an on-screen notification, as well as a summary list of activity that you can review. In short, Signals is an app that lets you know when and how to engage your leads--timing, intelligence, and relevance.
Sales people now have actionable intelligence from the prospect. Knowing that they have seen your email or they clicked through a link or they are reading your website is gold. It also tells you one other fact...the prospect may be sitting at their desk, or at least not occupied with other activites. It's time to call them. If no response by phone, maybe email them again with a secondary email that you would logically have sent (ie: don't just respond saying "I know you are sitting there doing emails".
If you get them and have some intel such as a new LinkedIn update, or the knowledge that they read certain pages on your website, you can now open the discussion in a relevant way that the prospect will respect and resonate with. "Hi Brian, it's Mike from Green Leads. I was hoping to speak with you about Appointment Setting." (knowing he just read three pages on my site relating to b2b appointment setting).
Brilliant work HubSpot! Enhancing the Inbound experience for sales people.
Screenshot from HubSpot site:
Notification summary (as of the date of this post):
- A contact opens your email
- A contact clicks a link you’ve enabled tracking for
LinkedIn (after you mark a contact as a VIP)
- When a VIP changes their position
- When a VIP posts an update
- When a VIP adds a new connection
- When a contact becomes a new lead
- When a contact opens an email sent through Salesforce
- When a contact visits a page on your website
Note: The email open notification only works if the prospect has "display images" enabled. If they do not show images in their emails, email open notification will not work. Solve this issue, and the Gold Medal gets a Gold Ribbon with it.
Just prior to Seth Godin stepping on stage, for what was an entertaining and thought provoking keynote, HubSpot CMO, Mike Volpe, announced that "We saved the world from 2 Billion cold calls!" And they did. I personally may have benefitted by 1 or 2 a day.
Inbound marketing techniques continue to evolve, and HubSpot is the pioneer for Inbound. The tribe they've created in the past few years is amazing. Almost 6,000 attendees to this year's Inbound conference were gathered for lots of marketing goodness, not just the orange kool aid.
In the world of sales, selling doesn't start until a conversation starts with the prospect. Getting that conversation going has been revolutionized with Inbound Marketing. The prospect is typically educated more than an outbound generated lead, they are thinking about the topic that your product or service addresses, and the time is fresh to start the conversation. In short, they may be further along in the funnel (waterfall if you're a SiriusDecisions follower).
The top outbound marketers have embraced inbound marketing, not shied away from it. Compared to a purchased list or even a list of prospects warmed up with other marketing assets, an inbound list is the cream of the crop. However, unless your inbound lead comes in the form of a calendar invite, date, time and phone number booking one of your sales reps for a appointment, there is still work to do. The outbound function assigned to these leads is typically referred to as Inbound Response.
Things to remember:
- Scrub the data. Have a data team do list hygiene to correct and/or append needed data fields. Or use tools such as DemandBase to dynamically append data.
- Know your history. Use tools such as HubSpot, your CRM, or other tracking systems to know how your company has interracted with the prospect in the past.
- Intel. Research the prospect on LinkedIn, Google, Social Sites. The more you know, the warmer that lead.
- Score your inbound leads. Don't assume they are all orders ready to be had. Don't waste your time on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pounce! Once you have your ducks in a row, call them. If they don't answer, email them. The effective value of leads deteriorates every hour after they submit a form.
I just tested the above with a lead that came in through our HubSpot system within the hour. It took me 2 minutes to correct their missing title, see that her colleague talked to us at the SiriusDecisions conference in May, add her LinkedIn url to her profile, note that we're connected by 8 people, and she visited 5 blog articles today. Reviewed and scored -- 2 minutes.
Create great content. Socially surround your market. Optimize all conversion techniques. Gather these inbound leads, then follow the process above, and your ROI will go through the roof.
Let's get back to the 2 Billion cold calls saved. Inbound marketing certainly does reduce the number of cold calls an outbound marketer has to make to get the conversation started. It streamlines the process. The blended approach of Inbound and Outbound will increase the top line faster than any other methods available.
Is that lead an Innie or an Outie?
(took restraint not to post a pic of a belly button)
Everyone is jumping into content marketing. The challenge is not only how to do it, but how to do it well. One of the best things a marketer can do is learn from the mistakes of others. For this post, we asked some of the participants in the upcoming Keys to Content Marketing Virtual Summit on August 14th to share the mistakes they see on the market today.
Content creation is too narrowly focused on a single buyer.
Narrowly focused content tends to be out of step and misaligned with the reality of buying in most companies today. The biggest drawback is that content then becomes non-shareable since it lacks relevancy to others. The solution: When considering the buyer personas for whom you want to develop content, content producers must consider more than just the single buyer or buyer persona. This is true when conducting buyer insight research - it is a mistake to interview only those whom you assume are direct buyers. Buying in organizations today is fluid, dynamic, flatter, and involves more participants. (Tony Zambito)
Companies create content for themselves not their buyer.
You are not your buyer – get over it bro! Before you create anything – dig in deep with your current client base and your sales staff, they will give you the insight you need to create really compelling content. This is probably the biggest mistake in content, albeit the most forewarned. So listen up! (Justin Gray)
Their content voice sounds like a corporate twit.
From our early school days we were taught that formal writing = good writing. Somewhere along the way marketers found out that this is absolute crap, however the old days of getting slapped on the hand with a ruler for "writing as you talk" are hard lessons to break. Honestly, it’s the only reason I enjoy content creation in modern sales/marketing, all of the sudden its cool to speak to people like people again. And they're buying it! I just wanted to start a sentence with "and" there to see if a huge cosmic ruler would hit me. (Justin Gray)
Content is created without any personality.
Content that is written as an instruction manual will come across as just that, instructions. There’s so much crap content out there and there'is a need for good writers with personality and opinions based on their own experience. That’s what I want to read. (Jason Miller)
Companies are jumping in the raging river of social media and content marketing without a plan or measurable goals.
Social and content marketing are not just hobbies or activities. They are business processes that should be approached with a strategic plan and metrics to measure success. (Don Perkins)
Want to learn more about content marketing? Join us for the Keys to Content Marketing Success Virtual Summit on August 14th by registering below!
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!