I'm at the AA-ISP conference in Boston today (American Association of Inside Sales Professionals). There are ideas and tips flowing faster than the coffee and ice water.
Everytime I visit a conference I like to check out the speakers' blogs. I figured you may find value in a compilation of the speaker blogs from today (or the blog of their company):
Trish Bertuzzi, The Bridge Group, Inside Sales Experts
Tom Scontras, Glance Networks, The Upside: Killer Sales Tips
Steve Richard, Vorsight, Inside Sales Tips
Gary Ambrosino, TimeTrade, The TimeTrade Blog
Koka Sexton, InsideView, B2B Sales Productivity
Cliff Pollan, VisibleGains, Visible Gains Blog
Dan Hughes, Broadlook Technology, The Official Broadlook Blog
Antarctic Mike, Selling at 90 Below Zero, Antarctic Mike's Blog
Lori Richardson, Score More Sales, Score More Sales
Patrick O'Mally, 617-PATRICK, Social Media Super Blog
Mark Ruthfield, Zoominfo, Zoominfo Blog
Ken Krogue, InsideSales.com, Ken Krogue
John Baker, The Asking Formula, The Asking Formula
Sam Richter, SBR Worldwide, Know More Blog
Todd McCormick, PGI, PGI Blog
Ken Jisser, ConnectAndSell, Sales Singularity Blog
Mark Roberge, HubSpot, Inbound Internet Marketing Blog
and then shameless self promotion (I am one of the speakers)...
Mike Damphousse, Green Leads, Smashmouth B2B Blog: Sales & Marketing Demand Gen
Turkey and B2B Lead Generation? What is the gravy that makes your demand gen programs sing?
Even companies such as Green Leads do our own lead gen. Here's a quick list of what I'm thankful for this year as it pertains to b2b lead generation in hopes that you might find an idea or two that you could implement:
- Alumni - Our largest source of leads. After 5 years of 2x plus growth year after year, the tribe is huge. Nurture your alumni, don't just let them move on. Deliver quality service and stay in touch with your clients. They will come back if you did a good job. LinkedIn is your tool.
- Expand - In one day we acquired a company that overlapped 90% with Green Leads' offerings, delivered the market a one stop shop for Americas/EMEA b2b marketing, and doubled our size again. We were able to expand many of their European clients to the US and many of our US clients to Europe. Look at your existing client base and ask "how can we expand?"
- Inbound - Yet again, our inbound leads consistently came in and our SEO was kept fresh by using HubSpot. Our blog subscriber list doubled, and our rankings improved. The two key elements we find to a successful inbound program is content and social activity. Keep the visitors interacting and coming back and SEO will follow.
- SiriusDecisions Summit - By far the best place to be if you are into b2b sales and marketing. We sponsored both Scottsdale and London and in both cases walked away with tons of valuable information and new network contacts. Always be learning.
- Technology - No inside sales/outbound lead gen team should be without VoIP, Click to Dial, and some sort of power dialing system (we use 8x8, Skype, Salesforce CTI adapter and ConnectAndSell). Selling doesn't start until a conversation starts with the prospect. Do what you can to have more conversations.
What are you thankful for? What filled your pipeline this year?
There are a lot of great sources for telemarketing and teleprospecting calling tips out there, and just several weeks ago we brought you some great outbound calling tips from the best BDR's our management team has ever worked with. That being said, there are some bad tips out there that need to be put to rest. They just don't work any longer and they're not helping anybody succeed at generating quality b2b leads. Top of the list:
Stick to the script - There was a time when it was imperative that you stick to your prospecting script. It had everything you needed to pass a lead or book an appointment with your targeted prospecting base. If you're dialing consumers selling widgets, maybe, but if you are dialing high level b2b audience, no way. They can read through a script all day long. Create three guidelines for conversations. Then don't use them verbatim, use them in your own words.
- Talking points - 4 or 5 high level statements you can work into your conversations.
- Open ended questions - Questions that bring value to the prospect by getting them to talk and participate in the conversation.
- Objection handling - As it states. How to handle the most common "no thank you" statements.
Then keep it natural. Have conversations.
What other outbound calling tips have you encountered that just need to go?
Photo Credit: sindesign
Appointment Setting is a part of demand generation that is done through vendors that specialize in the task, or by inside sales teams that add it to their roster of tasks. Building a performing team of appointment setters, as a business or a function of inside sales, requires best practices, tips and tricks -- and most of all -- discipline.
I get asked the following question a lot when I’m on the road, be it from clients or prospects or from folks I’m chatting with during industry networking events:
“How do you get the most out of your appointment setting team?”
That's the $64,000 question. Getting the most from appointment setters is always something that’s at the forefront of our minds -- especially when maintaining both quality and quantity in the results. The minute you stop thinking about driving performance is the minute production and quality drops, and a minute lost is a minute you'll never get back.
There are several ways that you can keep your B2B appointment setting team cranking and happy, too. If your team is happy, they’re going to be executing at a higher level.
Incent Them Strategically - If you want to get the most out of your appointment setting team, you’ve got to incent them to achieve the right goals. If the most important measure is to have meetings with a positive outcome (read: logical next step in the sales process), then doesn’t it make sense that your appointment setting team is compensated on the quality of meetings rather than dials, pitches and meeting count? Old school call center tactics work, but need adjustments. We're not selling new paper subscriptions here.
SPIFF Them Periodically - Everybody loves competition, fun and reward, and a SPIFF is a great way to way bring it. If your team is chugging along but you’re looking for something to push performance or direct it in a certain direction, a SPIFF is a great tool. Do you know what your reps hold dear. Is it cash? Is it time off? Is it gift cards? Is it ego? Whatever it is, surprising them with a contest is a great way to up the team’s production and incent teamwork.
Provide Them With Sales 2.0 Tools - Don't just help your team, implement Sales 2.0 tools and techniques and make your whole organization more agile. Run a training class on LinkedIn tips and tricks. If your average appointment setter is taking 100-120 dials to get an appointment, why not demonstrate techniques that can shorten those cycles and provide better quality in the process? Add click-to-dial software for your CRM, Jigsaw and NetProspex subscriptions, or social media tools for prospecting purposes, and you’re all set.
Give Them Freedom to Work - I've seen this job done a hundred different ways. Provide freedom of technique. If someone is better starting the task with research and others are better as hard core dialers, accommodate them. Maintain best practices, but give your team the freedom to work in their comfort zone. Find ways to measure them that takes into account "their personal best practices".
Provide Them With Support - Don't just give them a pitch and a phone. Back up your appointment setters with resources and staff. Help them with things like list-building, email creations, scripting, etc. If your reps can spend less time on support tasks, that leaves more time for production. Simple as that.
Ultimately, what you want to do is get the most from your B2B appointment setters, and these are some of the ways we do that for our clients and ourselves. How do you push your team to greater achievements?
Photo Credit: ianturton via Flickr
American Association of Inside Sales Professionals has their national Leadership Summit May 11-12 in Minneapolis. The speakers include fantastic cast of sales/marketing leaders, with me doing my part. Topics range from inside sales strategies, increasing performance, compensation models, hiring and managing to Sales 2.0. If it's Inside Sales related, it's a topic.
For those of you that can't be there live, you can follow the action on twitter with hashtag #ls10.
If you do attend, and are a follower of @damphoux, track me down and say "Hello".
Dialing the phone all day is a task. I have one guy who calls it panning for gold. He'll say he just swished the phone 20 times, found 4 shiny objects and none were gold. Then an hour later he'll yell "Eureka!" when he does successfully set an appointment.
I presented these 5 Outbound Calling Best Practices last week at Papa Razzi in Burlington at the AA-ISP meeting (American Association of Inside Sales Professionals).
These 5 points may get more Eureka's out of your outbound marketing efforts:
- List Hygiene - Keep lists clean and ready at all times for prime calling. Track things like Time Zone, Direct Dials, Admin Names, Dialing Tips (press 0 for the operator), etc. Validate lists prior to dialing. Remove bad contacts, or research and replace them. Don't dial until the list can be worked top-to-bottom in one sweep without a struggle.
- Functional Tools - Fill the toolbox with tools, and know how to use them: Jigsaw, NetProspex, InsideView, LinkedIn, Google Alerts and Google Search, LeadLander, others... Use them to work smarter. If you find they get in the way when you are in power-dial mode, clean the desktop (next tip).
- Clean Desktop - When it's prime time to dial, cluttered desktops and browsers can bring things to a grinding halt: Instant Messenger, Email, Browser Windows, etc. (that means Facebook and ESPN too). Close everything that is not pertinent to dialing.
- Don't Dial - Still dialing with fingers on a number pad? Don't. Get a click-to-dial, auto-dialer or predictive dialer. Or get on steriods with ConnectAndSell. The productivity increases are phenomenal.
- Prime Time - Don't be power dialing at 10:20 am. This is the most common time of day for prospects to be in a meeting. They are more likely to be at their desks and willing to talk in the early morning, at the top of the hour (from 10 minutes to the hour until 5 minutes after, they are between meetings), at lunch, in the late afternoon, in the early evening, on Monday holidays. Check out the article I wrote, Take 3 Hour Lunches, which discusses the day in detail and backs it up with data.
Just the tip of the iceberg here. What outbound calling tips can you offer? If they are tip-worthy, I'll add them to the growing list of lead gen tips.
Recently 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 target audience was Sales & Marketing job functions, from the industries of Computer Hardware & Software, Internet, IT and Tech Services, Marketing & Advertising. We used the LinkedIn Poll Application to conduct the study, as well as the free distribution of the poll to our network. It is not the results of either poll separately that are interesting, we expected the Outbound mix to lead, but the comparison of both the public (random marketing and sales execs) poll to our private network (heavily demand gen focused professionals) shows a clear trend that those of us that focus on demand gen have more of a balanced mix with “Both Equally” leading the pack at 43% in our network.
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 Smashmouth Marketing 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.