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" ?
In a perfect world, all of our marketing efforts work exactly to plan, don't they?
Unfortunately, our world isn't perfect, and as great as our plans may seem at the beginning, sometimes they're going to fail. Sometimes, they're going to fail miserably. But, much like a rising star in the boxing circuit, the victory comes not from how many times you get knocked down, but rather, how many times you can get back up. So in that regard, what do you do when your outbound marketing efforts fall flat?
First of all, evaluate the current plan. A pretty simple step, but sometimes one that gets overlooked because of the severity of a failed marketing plan. In a race to fix the problem (especially if it's a big one) we can neglect the evaluation process:
- Did you target the wrong audience with the "right" message?
- Did you target the right audience, period?
- Did you take the time to put your buyer personas together?
- Did the list you marketed to contain data that, at the outset, should have been cleansed?
- Was the content or offer valuable to the prospects?"
- Were the calls to action clear? Were there calls to action at all?
- Was the implementation team spread too thin?
- Was it the right team for the job?
Measure and Review KPIs
There really isn't time to overlook details. Hopefully, you'd determined the metrics that you'd hope to hit and have measured and evaluated them. No stone is to be left unturned. When you think you've asked all the questions, it's time to go back and ask some more.
Regroup, Replan and Share, Share Alike
The plan may not be worthy of a total re-write, but make adjustments. Realize that you cannot do everything yourself. Mike Volpe, VP of Inbound Marketing at HubSpot, shares that, "...all of [HubSpot's] implementation and support consultants also sit among sales and marketing, so we have sales, marketing and post-sales all together, helping to build even more cross-functional communication." HubSpot shares ideas and accepts input from others so that they can build a better all-around offering.
Augment with Experts
Don't be afraid to look outside of your own organization. If you have a new product launch or new sales reps being added to your team, you may need assistance. Use these opportunities to work with good outsourced vendors. They aren't specialists at lead gen and appointment setting just because they stumbled upon it -- they have a playbook that works and they are experts at what they do. Take advantage of it.
Lastly, it's time to execute the modified plan. Having spent time evaluating what went wrong with your original campaign, regrouping and replanning, now you're ready to try again. Be confident in your new plan. If you're not, how can you expect anyone else to be!?
What do you do to ensure success in your marketing efforts?
Photo Credit: Chris Devers via Flickr
During the opening of the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference this week, Gerhard "G-Ice" Gschwandtner promised that he would perform a RAP to close the event Tuesday night. He did just that with comic Jeff Applebaum during the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Awards Ceremony, of which Green Leads was a finalist in two categories--Sales & Marketing Alignment and Social Media.
The ultimate reward for those diehards that lasted till the end of the day was watching G-Ice bringing down the house!
The Sales Lead Management Association has opened up voting for the 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management. I'm on the list, so if I've earned your respect in the world of demand gen and lead generation, I'd love your vote.
The list is vast and full of some fantastic peers of mine, and you can only choose 3. So choose wisely. Members of SLMA and non-members are allowed to vote.
Here is the list. If you find someone you want to vote for, click through and place your vote.
Trish Bertuzzi - The Bridge Group
Karla Blalock - PointClear
Bob Bly - Bly.com
April Brown - Rubicon Marketing Group
Michael Brown - Purple Pig Consulting
Michael A. Brown - Business to Business by Phone Troy Burk - Right On Interactive
Brian Carroll - InTouch
Jep Castelein - LeadSloth
Elisa Ciarametaro - Exceed Sales
John Coe - The Sales and Marketing Institute
Greg Coleman - LeadQual
Lisa Cramer - LeadLife Solutions
Richard Cunningham - Right On Interactive
Mike Damphousse - Green Leads
Debra DeCosta - Direct Marketing Partners
Mary Dedrick - Performark Inc
John Doerr - Wellesley Hills Group
Mike Falkson - eti Sales Support
Bob Felsenthal - BtoB Magazine
Phil Fernandez - Marketo
Susan Friedmann - The Trade Show Coach
Andrew Gaffney - DemandGen Report
Sanjay Gala - SMARTe Inc.
Bill Goldsmith - BP Productions
Pete Gracey - AG Salesworks
Bernice Grossman - DMRS Group Inc.
Gerhard Gschwandtner - Selling Power
Ann Handley - Marketingprofs
John Hasbrouck - NewLeads C
arlos Hidalgo - The Annuitas Group
Jay Hidalgo - Annuitas Group
Christopher Hosford - BtoB
Tom Judge - Direct Marketing Partners
Russell Kern - The Kern Organization
Russ King - LeadMaster
Victor Kippes - Validar
Jill Konrath - Selling to Big Companies
Hilarie Koplow-McAdams - salesforce.com
Jim LaBelle - LeadTrack
Cliff Langston - Leads To Sales
Joe Lethert - Performark
Dan McDade - PointClear
JT McDonald - MarketNet Services Inc
Laura McGuire - Saligent dba SmartTracks
Mac McIntosh - Mac McIntosh Inc.
Mark McIntosh - Interlink1
Robert B Miller- Miller Heiman Inc.
Dan Morefield - Leads360
Ken Murray - VanillaSoft Inc
Bill Nussey - Silverpop
Kirtan Patel - LeadOrganizer
Joe Payne - Eloqua
Jeff Pedowitz - The Pedowitz Group
James Pennington - Anderson Direct Marketing
Maria Pergolino - Marketo Barbara Pfeiffer - Nurture Institute Debbie Pierce - NitroMojo
Eric Rabinowitz - Nurture Institute
Sam Reese - Miller Heiman Inc.
Bill Rice - Kaleidico
Jose Raul Rodriguez - Aon
Dan Rogers - SmartLead by The AdTrack Corporation
Anneke Seley - Phone Works LLC
Tibor Shanto - Renbor Sales Solutions Inc.
Karen Sheehey - interlinkONE
Gary Skidmore - Harte Hanks
Jeff Solomon - Leads360
Paul Staelin - Birst
Jim Steele - salesforce.com
Drew Stevens – Drew Stevens
Ruth P. Stevens - eMarketing Strategy
Chris Tremblay - Event Technologies
Tann Tueller - Harte Hanks
Frank van Veenendaal - salesforce.com
Jenny Vance - LeadGen
Mari Anne Vanella - The Vanella Group
Chris Williams - Compusystems
Keith Wolf - Virtual Appoint
Steve Woods - Eloqua
Fred Yee - ActiveConversion
Scott Zimmerman - The Cyrano Group
If you don't see the name of your favorite Lead Gen Experts, drop us a comment...
Craig Rosenberg, the demand gen expert from Focus.com recently asked me to participate in putting together the eBook, The Focus Experts Guide: Sales and Marketing Pipeline and Funnel.
Despite my whimsical title for this blog article (little link-baiting), the eBook is full of industry expert's takes on today's sales and marketing's demand gen and selling flow -- the path from universe to prospect to client. I took a different approach to the discussion, and came up with the concept of a Demand Gen Cloud:
With the advent of Social, Sales and Marketing 2.0 techniques and tools, optimized Inbound Marketing strategies, and a much more sophisticated buyer, the days of a funnel are gone.
Buyers put themselves in the funnel where they want to be. They jump around. The influence of content and word of mouth jumps them from side to side to back and down again.
The demand gen funnel is now in the cloud. As marketers, we must constantly measure the status of the cloud and make adjustments. Combine strategies and tactics in order to maximize our results.
Harness the chaos to our advantage. Control the Demand Gen Cloud.
Get the eBook and read what these other experts had to say about Pipelines and Funnels:
Ardath Albee, CEO and B2B Marketing Strategist at Marketing Interactions
Michael Brenner, Director of Online/Social Media at SAP North America
Michael Damphousse, CEO/CMO of Green Leads LLC
Christopher Doran, VP of Marketing at Manticore Technology
Barbra Gago, Social Media Manager of Cloud9 Analytics
Steve Gershik, CEO of 28Marketing
Sue Hay, CEO of BeWhys Marketing Inc.
Matt Heinz, Principal at Heinz Marketing LLC
Carlos Hidalgo, President of The Annuitas Group
Jon Miller, Vice President of Marketing at Marketo
Adam Needles, VP of Demand Generation Strategy at Left Brain Marketing
Tom Scearce, Principal at Scearce Market Development
Matt West, Director of Marketing at Genius.com
Steve Woods, Chief Technology Officer of Eloqua
Written by Craig Rosenberg - The Funnelholic
Get the eBook here: The Focus Experts Guide: Sales and Marketing Pipeline and Funnel.