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
This past week I attended SiriusDecisions' Boston Executive Roundtable with a focus on Sales & Marketing Planning for 2012. The discussions that were triggered by the fantastic content were the highlight of the event. Throughout the morning the attendees were sharing ideas openly, to the point where the last agenda item had to be cut short.
- Social Sign On is bringing high submission rates to websites, but how do we manage missing information and is a Social Sign On considered an opt in?
- Establishing solid SLAs between Sales and Marketing is critical to any successful demand generation strategy
- Pipeline efficiencies are greatly improved with Quality leads vs. Quantity of leads
"The discussion of best practice demand generation will be an active discussion at European Summit. You will hear some from industry peers, our thought leaders at SiriusDecsions, and most of all from those you interact with." John Neeson, Co-Founder, Managing Director of SiriusDecisions.
During the course of the day, the agenda
is packed with great topics and also provides for networking time of over 3 hours.
The topic of Quality vs. Quantity in demand gen has been a constant debate. Whether it's inbound marketing or outbound marketing there are costs associated with a lead, there are costs associated with the time and effort needed to convert that lead to an opportunity, and there are costs tied to the quality of those leads and how that impacts conversion rates.
As David Greenberg, Sr. Director of Marketing at Jive Software shares with us, "With the focus we all have right now on building pipeline that will convert to revenue, quality leads are called for. We just don't have the time to waste managing anything but."
In this example, with b2b appointment setting and pay-for-performance vendors, it is a very straight forward study as the costs per appointment are fairly standard and as SiriusDecisions and IDC have discussed, the rates of production and conversion are uniform over time.
Executive Summary: Lead gen programs that manage to Quality metrics provide sales ready leads that result in an overall higher ROI. Whether an internal team or a third party vendor, if the reps are incentivized to produce Quality appointments, the cost per pipeline opportunity can be as high as 14% more effective. In an appointment setting program, this is due primarily to cancel rates, rejection rates, and the overall quality of the meeting. Other costs to consider are the costs to manage the vendor relationship, and the cost to the sales team for attending low quality meetings.
The Numbers: In order to remain somewhat statistic-neutral, we have asked our clients to provide stats based on their experience with other appointment setting vendors and ourselves (ok, so a bit self-promoting, but stick with it). The percentages used were calculated by evaluating 5 clients' stats comprised of 1100 meetings set by Green Leads and over 2000 set by 3 other appointment setting firms. The numbers showed a significant difference in cancel/reject rates as well as pipeline conversion. The percentages used for calculation were:
|Conversion to Pipeline Rate
Typical Appointment Setting Program Stats:
|Convert to Pipeline
|Cost ($750 per Completed Meeting)
|Cost per Opportunity
The Quality Vendor resulted in a 13% better investment per opportunity.
Your Checklist: Your vendor choice is obviously the most important factor in determining how your program is going to play out, so below are some things you can do to screen your vendors and aid in making a good decision. It's not a litmus test, so look for trends and patterns:
- If they keep talking about LOTS of meetings and production - beware
- If they won't let you interview their reps - beware
- If they pay their reps to SET meetings as opposed to COMPLETE meetings - beware
- If they are squeamish about discussing detailed stats, or if they don't track detailed stats - beware
- If during a reference check you ask the client about stats and they don't match what the vendor told you, or the client doesn't know - beware
- If they over-promote their call counts, talk time, or other non-results oriented stats - beware
- If when you ask them what their confirmation and scheduling procedures are they don't have convincing answers - beware
- If their rejection policy is too loose or has gray area you don't like, ask for and document specific examples. If they won't do that and you're still not understanding the policy - beware
- If they have a short period of time by which you have to notify them of a rejection, cancel or reschedule (or the meeting is automatically billed) - beware
Also look at reputation. When asked formerly for a reference, they will probably send you to their friends. So listen when they mention client names off the cuff during conversations. Then you check them out with your network. It's a small world--find out who you or your colleagues know at those companies (use LinkedIn). Then make some of your own inquiries.
Trish Bertuzzi of The Bridge Group shared, "Mike, what a great checklist for vendor selection. There are literally dozens of vendors in this space both domestically as well as off shore. People need to understand that picking a vendor is picking a PARTNER. We wrote a blog post Third Party Vendors for Lead Qualification on this very topic. Here are some questions your readers may want to add to their list:
- How many years have you been in business?
- What is your attrition rate?
- Who are your 4 largest clients? What is their size? and How many employees do you have dedicated to their project?
- Do you provide web based reporting?
This is just a sample but you get where I am going...you have to ask the vendor as many questions about their business as they should ask you about yours."
Ever wonder if your enterprise sales team should be on the road heading to an introductory first meeting with a prospect? I was recently in the UK for business and saw sales reps investing a half day or more traveling for 30-60 minute meetings. Do the results differ if they were to have taken those introductory meetings by phone? Many would say yes, but the data begs to differ.
Green Leads measures the sales outcome of our client's b2b appointment setting programs. We do this to gain an immediate measure of the program as opposed to waiting out long sales cycles to show true ROI. By measuring this immediate outcome, it brings short term metrics to the program.
We measure sales outcome of the meetings in three ways:
A) Immediate Sales Activity: the meeting results in immediate sales activity (proposal, trial, second meeting, addition of other decision makers to the process, etc.)
B) Nurturable Activity: the meeting was with a prospect that had the right decision maker profile, and it has potential, but needs nurturing over time. A portion of these will convert to sales activity over time.
C) Not a Fit: the meeting was with a prospect that had the right decision maker profile, but one or both parties decided there was not a fit, the lead is closed out.
With 5 years of data, the overall distribution of meetings is roughly a third, a third and a third:
It's marginal, but the resulting outcome between phone meetings and face to face shows that phone actually has a higher percentage of immediate sales activity.
Don't get me wrong, the value of face time is huge, but isn't the value of having an active sales process more important? Things to consider:
- Sales reps can conduct more meetings if using phone, and more meetings converting at an similar rate to face to face means more efficiency.
- Reduced travel costs impacts the budget with phone meetings.
- With the advent of technology, web meeting capabilities, and trends in time management, more prospects are inclined to take introductory meetings by phone (poll results). This may result in sales reps being able to have more conversations with prospects they might otherwise not have been able to.
One drawback to phone meetings, they are more likely to blow you off. It's easy to miss a phone call, it's harder to say no to someone sitting in your lobby. Our data shows that phone meetings reschedule/cancel 20% more than face to face.
Me? I would much rather have a sales rep prove to me in a 20 minute phone call why he should come visit and use my face time. You?
Green Leads is pleased to announce that we will be a Gold Sponsor at the SiriusDecisions 2011 Summit--B2B Sales and Marketing: Forging a New Alliance. The event is scheduled May 4-6 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Resort. This event is considered the premiere B2B Sales and Marketing event of the year and if you are into Sales, Marketing, Demand Gen, and any discipline that surrounds it, this is the event to attend.
The Summit is a unique three-day conference where SiriusDecisions analysts and top sales and marketing leaders from companies of all sizes share how b2b organizations are solving critical issues that hinder predictable growth. Each year, the theme focuses on aspects of how sales and marketing can, and should, intersect. Green Leads' interest in the event is the continued focus SiriusDecisions has placed on the topic of demand generation as it pertains to building and converting quality pipeline.
"There will be a great deal of discussion around quality vs. quantity as it pertains to pipeline," explained analyst Jim Ninivaggi of SiriusDecisions’ Sales Optimization Strategies advisory service. "Our recent study shows that marketing/sales organizations that focused on the quality of leads — and not just quantity — out produce their peers with reduced lead waste.”
Demand gen specialists have long debated the topic of Sales Ready Leads--Quality vs. Quantity. I'm looking forward to hearing SiriusDecisions' findings and discuss them with my clients and peers how quality can impact the pipeline. If you had a choice of Quality vs. Quantity as it pertains to high value sales ready leads, which way would you lean? Come to the Summit and find out what the experts think about the topic. I hope to see you there.
I can’t be at the Sales & Marketing Leadership Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, on April 11, but I encourage you to check it out. The event features keynotes from John Grosshans of SAP Americas and Justin Shriber of Oracle (the latter will be reprising his presentation from the recent Sales 2.0 Conference, which sparked a debate a pretty good debate about the future of predictive analytics and CRM.)
There will be a big emphasis on how the many ways sales & marketing can (and should) work together to shorten sales cycles and optimize lead gen. Conference host Gerhard Gschwandtner explains:
"A recent Aberdeen survey showed that 47 percent of the sales forecasts at successful companies were generated by marketing, as compared to an average 5 percent among other companies. Yet few opportunities exist for today's sales and marketing leaders to come up with a joint definition of success. The Sales & Marketing Leadership Conference will allow both groups to collaborate under one roof and walk away with tons of ideas that will give everyone a chance to advance to best-in-class status."
I also highly recommend you check out the session with Steve Richard of Vorsight. He is an inside sales/appointment setting genius and shares his expertise on stage--sometimes doing live calls to demonstrate his tips.
Register for the event using discount code SPONL2 and save $75 off the current rate.
B2B Marketing Experts have an ideal opportunity during the Holiday Season to do some old fashioned "feel good" marketing and help some folks along the way. Green Leads ran two internal contests that resulted in charitable giving.
Toy drive. We ran a contest last week during a one hour ConnectAndSell session. For each appointment booked during the session, Green Leads bought a toy for our local toy drive run by some friends at the Lawrence Police Department.
Kiva Microloans. A second contest we ran allowed our top performer to pick a recipient of a Kiva Microloan to join the Green Leads portfolio. We've been lending on Kiva for quite some time and allow our team to select the recipients on an ongoing basis. This now makes 15 loans.
Fun. And don't forget to have a little fun. The Green Leads management team pulled together this cute B2B Mashup Holiday Greeting video on our youtube channel.
It's all about:
- Branding (internally and externally
- Doing what's right
- Having some fun
As regular as Halloween and football, this time of year Green Leads usually hears the following questions from both new and existing clients. "Why should we do appointment setting during the holiday months? Plus it's Q4, who has time for introductory appointments anyway?" Here are some points to ponder and they are relevant to all marketing programs, not just to appointment setting. The general message is to maintain momentum and take advantage of the time of year, not to shy away from it. Play offense when everyone else is in the huddle.
- We'll get to it in Q1: Why wait? Q4 is a great time to lay the groundwork for next year's sales activity, never mind the possibility that you may find a deal in the rough that wants to close before the end of the year. Should sales momentum ever be paused?
- Prospects aren't available during the holidays: Prospects aren't traveling. They are working and planning for next year. They are thinking about new ideas. It's a great time to introduce your company. The holiday months are GREAT for cold calling. Many senior level executives are actually at their desks instead of on airplanes and at meetings.
- My sales team is too busy in December: No sales team is ever too busy to take on more new prospects. Show me a sales guy that says no to an introduction in December and I'll show you his resume next year. Introductory appointments are a change of pace during the hectic end of year for most sales executives. Take a couple of hours for a webex or even a day out of the office to meet that elusive target executive you have been wanting to see.
- This time of year it's all about the bottom line: The only response to that comment is that if it weren't for the Top Line, there wouldn't be a Bottom Line. Don't let the bean counters get in the way of a good marketing program. Prepare ROI studies, sell your programs internally, and get full year commitments to your budgets. Unless it is about pure survival, don't let panicky Q4 finance teams freeze your programs.
Don't let up on your demand generation activities just because it is the end of the year. Use it to your advantage. Go into offensive mode. Market with Courage!
I've recently been on the conference circuit, speaking and tweeting whatever sales and marketing goodness I can find. One topic that came up at each conference was the quality of the content presented by the various speakers. Some sessions were brilliant; some were nothing more than veiled commercials.
- The key as an attendee is to be able to pull the brilliant content out of the commercials.
- The key as a presenter is to avoid the commercials and present brilliant content.
Let's face it. It doesn't matter if you're at an analyst-sponsored event or an industrywide event with multiple sponsors, the companies buying the hors d'oeuvres and beer want to deliver their messages. And as attendees, we kind of owe it to them to listen. That said, we want to hear value.
Vendors can deliver their message themselves, or they can put customers or industry experts on stage to do it for them. Either way, as we b2b demand gen folks know, it's all about the content, so let's provide it. I challenge all the vendors -- bring value to the audience.
Tips for earning respect as a vendor:
- Consider using industry experts and/or customers to present your message.
- If you're going to use one of your own executives, make them tell a compelling story.
- Keep the commercials to a minimum. Talk about real issues and real solutions.
- Invite conversation, questions and provocative thought. Engage the audience.
- Entertain a tiny bit. Conferences are hard to sit through. So while delivering valuable content, make the crowd smile.
- Carry the conversation to other mediums. Tweet and blog, record videos, post your slides on slideshare.
Just remember -- when someone is done listening to your 45 minutes of fame, do they walk away thinking, "I got some great nuggets from this appointment setting tips session. And hmmm ... he uses Green Leads, I might check them out" ?