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
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."
Merger Provides Global Enterprise Software and Technology Companies with Deeply Integrated, Quality Pipeline Generation Services
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (Marketwire – May 4, 2011) – Today, at the SiriusDecisions Summit, Green Leads announced the acquisition of Target 250 to form the fastest-growing pay-for-performance demand generation company in the industry. The companies are combining to provide global enterprise software and technology companies with deeply integrated quality pipeline generation programs in both North America and Europe.
"We've focused laser-like on developing robust, repeatable processes which we think are best practices in the industry. We've doubled in size three years in a row and Green Leads has been able to break the mold on integrating with our customers’ go-to-market and pipeline generation initiatives to deliver material top line results,” said Green Leads CEO, Michael Damphousse. “Our clients are demanding that we expand our delivery to the EMEA theater, which triggered the acquisition of Target 250.
“Target 250 has both the core expertise and an exceptional client roster to create an immediate value for our joint customers as well as new prospects looking for an integrated extension to their sales and marketing channels,” Damphousse said.
Green Leads and London based Target 250 focus exclusively on software and technology companies that sell strategic b2b enterprise products and services in North America and Europe. Green Leads now will be able to provide its sales and marketing clients with a single source of investment for appointment setting, lead nurturing, market research and other demand gen best practices.
"Green Leads is an important extension to the Coverity marketing and sales channel and consistently delivers high-value meetings with the targets of our major pipeline and strategic campaigns,” said Dave Peterson, CMO of Coverity, a mutual client of both Green Leads and Target 250. "When we sourced our lead generation partner in Europe we selected Target 250 because they were very similar to Green Leads in the way they integrated with our sales and marketing campaigns. We are excited to see how this acquisition allows us to combine our best practices for sales targeting and marketing across the U.S and Europe.”
About Green Leads
Andover, MA based Green Leads delivers pay-for-performance demand generation services that drive greater revenue for enterprise-level b2b software and technology companies in North America and Europe. Clients receive the highest level of introductory or qualified b2b appointment setting, lead nurturing, market surveys and list builds. All programs are pay-for-performance and backed by guaranteed service-level agreements. www.greenleads.com +1 978 910 0261 Lisa Flagg email@example.com
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.
This past week Joe Galvin of SiriusDecisions released a study titled "The Rapid Rise of Inside Sales." It shows that Inside Sales teams are overcoming the stigma of a support team and becoming more of a front-line, quota-bearing piece of critical sales strategies.
Although buyers are used to traditional relationships with a field rep, the study says, "Some customers initially perceived the coverage change to an inside rep as being relegated to a lesser status. However, after exposure to inside sales reps for the variety of products/solutions they use, many of these customers have come to realize the benefits of having someone readily available with access to and knowledge of all pertinent internal resources and information systems."
Operating in the world of phone prospecting and sales activity, we've seen three things in the market that support this trend:
- The experience of the average inside rep is far more than it was even 5 years ago
- Companies are investing in the line item of inside sales/telemarketing as more of a strategy than a support activity
- Accountability for performance, be it quota or deliverables, is the measure of performance; not dials or talk time (old school)
Joe says to expect more about inside sales' increasingly critical involvement in demand gen and contributions to the sales pipeline.
As buyers become savvier and inbound marketing demands increase, he said, "We see our clients' outbound demand generation initiatives augmenting the process to provide sales with intelligent leads that fully meet the criteria for direct sales involvement."
This combination of the increased activity of inbound marketing incrementally impacting outbound efforts is a growing dynamic. As we observed in our recent article on inbound marketing becoming the uber list
to be used for outbound prospecting, these leads come with a higher value and are further along in the buying process.
What are your thoughts regarding increased investment in inside sales? The impact on demand gen?
RoyHP: Collaborate with Data Analysts: 4 Strategies to Improve Relationships with IT http://ow.ly/qM0Q MarketingSherpa
mvolpe: "design your website first for search engines" use the free tool http://www.websitegrader.com/ to check how you are doing #sherpab2b09
NetSuite_Mei: Focus on providing valuable content on your website to drive traffic #sherpab2b09
mvolpe: I agree!! "you can make your website as pretty as you want, but if search engines don't list you, no one finds it" #sherpab2b09
ajdun: Jaren Green: "Not everyone searches like you do" Amen. There is no such thing as the average web surfer #sherpab2b09
MarketingSherpa: Audience poll #sherpab2b09: Majority of marketers using lead scoring can't quantify the value they're getting from it.
kimalbee: Look at the big pic 4 success - metrics: # visits > #leads - initial > #leads - more info > #sales-ready leads > Sales closed #sherpab2b09
viewstream: #sherpab2b09 Julie Wisdom, Babcock: content is KING, but expensive. SO leverage content, and find inexpensive ways to produce.
jill_rowley: Remember - even if you're doing B2B marketing, you are marketing to humans - per Julie from Babcock & Jenkins #sherpab2b09
BabcockJenkins: RT @viewstream: #sherpab2b09 @juliewisdom Top 4 Content Mediums For B2B: 1: video, 2: white papers, 3: ondemand webcasts, 4: case studies
MarketingSherpa: 97% of SMBs say email newsletters ‘important' or ‘very important...only 27% say same about Twitter. #sherpab2b09
kimalbee: SMB Newsletter Response: Look beyond the opening click to conversions when examining response and best day to deliver #sherpab2b09
viewstream: @KenricVanWyk landing page driven site fueled only by organic search. #sherpab2b09
LaBergeLLC: Acoustics By Design -Great example of using blogging to add SEO content for your web site. http://www.acousticsbydesign.com/ #sherpab2b09
Quality vs. Quantity:
damphoux: Quality v Quantity RT @MarketingSherpa Jaren Green: Work lead quality into every discussion to improve relationship w sales #sherpab2b09
For a chuckle (congrats @andrewspoeth for both of them):
andrewspoeth: Can anyone read the font size on this slide? #sherpab2b09
andrewspoeth: Picture of today's crazy, complex sales funnel according to Forrester. #sherpab2b09 http://twitpic.com/iywkj
TJMcCue: RT @MarketingSherpa The 5 levers for improving lead-gen performance: http://bit.ly/10TUGy #sherpab2b09
amberjwallace: RT @juliepower: Best viral marketing campaigns by b2b and b2c from Sherpa http://snipurl.com/s2h9i
ajdun: Great stat from Sirius Decisions via #sherpab2b09 80% of leads DQ by sales go on to buy in 24 mos
MktgExperiments: @brianjcarroll: study shows 28% of early-stage leads take 100+ days to become sales-ready. #sherpab2b09
mvolpe: Brian Carroll just quoted me when I quote @dmscott the originator: "Think like a publisher, not a marketer" #sherpab2b09
andrewspoeth: RT @damphoux: answer these questions on landing pages: where are you at? what can I do here? why should I do it? #sherpab2b09
mvolpe: Quick Landing Page Tips from #sherpab2b09 http://hub.tm/?QYdmH
alanorourke: Clarity trumps persuasion! Landing page conversion #sherpab2b09
ardath421: sell the download (content) NOT the company on your landing page (Flint) #sherpab2b09
jepc: Genoo chose not to blog, but to create microsite http://www.b2bonlinemarketingpros.com/ & promote it in their own LinkedIn Group #sherpab2b09
MarketingSherpa: Albee: Creating a LinkedIn group gives you a great list: Genoo's enewsletters to LinkedIn Group members avg. 19%-44% CTR. #sherpab2b09
mvolpe: I disagree!!! www.facebook.com/hubspot has 6,000+ fans & FB is a top 10 source of leads for HubSpot #sherpab2b09
InboundMarketer: Almost everyone at MarketingSherpa has a corporate Twitter account, though less than half of those people read Twitter daily #sherpab2b09
InboundMarketer: Less than half of those at MarketingSherpa have company Facebook pages, & less than 10 update those pages daily #sherpab2b09
And for the lighthearted chuckle...
damphoux: @repcor most interesting part of the conference is listening to the ambient conversations next to the camera during breaks ;) #sherpab2b09
repcor: Going to turn off the lifestream for a few. Back on in 15. #sherpab2b09 http://bit.ly/sherpa09
I just reviewed Marketo's recently released Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing. Don't let the vendor logo fool you, this is a document that is a must read for all demand generation professionals. It's filled with useful information, starting with the basics and then working to the advanced.
Excerpt: "the process of building relationships with qualified prospects regardless of their timing to buy, with the goal of arming their business when they are ready. Building a relationship with a prospect is the same as with any long-term relationship — you can’t force someone to commit (to a purchase, in this case) — but you also cannot afford to lose individuals because their willingness to buy doesn’t match your readiness to sell."
The document is full of examples, includes several useful tools as a take away, and also is full of soundbites from industry leaders such as Tony Jaros of SiriusDecisions, Ian Michiels of Aberdeen, Marketing Sherpa, Scott Albro from Tippit, and more.
What I found most useful were the examples of calculating the ROI of Lead Nurturing. Specifically the section of the impact on opportunities won.
It's a must read. Go download it now: Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing
Last fall at a NETSEA event, Joe Galvin, Vice President and Research Director for SiriusDecisions, was the speaker. His insight and knowledge regarding sales and marketing was deep. His speaking skills, btw, if you are ever looking for a good speaker, are phenomenal. We were talking last week and I asked him if he would put some thought to a few questions regarding sales and marketing alignment.
Mike: Joe, you just came off a whirlwind tour with the SiriusDecisions Summit two weeks ago and the Sales 2.0 Conference this week. Personally, I attended the CMO Club Summit and Sales 2.0. It was interesting that in both cases, the attendees were buzzing with discussion about the need for alignment of sales and marketing so I blogged an article about it earlier this week. I assume it was also a topic at your event. What are you seeing as the top actions sales and marketing execs can do to make this alignment happen and to make it impact their companies?
Joe: We presented at our conference some eye opening data from our benchmark database showing radical differences in both profit and revenue between companies that have embraced sales and marketing integration versus those that haven’t. We identified the critical integration points between sales and marketing in demand generation, knowledge management, sales readiness and metrics. Among the 10 lessons learned from these leaders were the importance of a combined focus by sales and marketing on sales productivity which means applying marketing resources throughout the opportunity lifecycle. The requirement for shared metrics with an integrated opportunity pipeline measuring revenue and productivity. We learned the importance of integrating sales and marketing technology in terms of the marketing automation platform, core SFA and sales productivity applications like knowledge management, automated methodology or prospect development among many other valuable takeaways.
Mike: With all the buzz and budget around inbound marketing, outbound marketing and demand gen in general, what can a quota carrying sales rep do on their own to help get that all important discussion with a real prospect?
Joe: First, they should take advantage of and capitalize on every qualified lead sent to them by marketing. Our benchmark data shows that marketing contributes between 18 and 34% of the sales pipeline depending on segment. It’s not uncommon for sales people to ignore qualified leads simply because the first couple they called didn’t work out. Sales reps need to work closely with their teleprospecting resources to help them optimize lead generation capabilities. The other consideration is once you have a lead, how do you bring value to that initial interaction? Clients and prospects are overwhelmed by public domain information. As a sales professional in 2009, you must be able to tell them something they don’t know -- or can’t find on their own -- to gain their attention and respect. Finally, another lesson learned from our conference is the importance understanding the sources of opportunities and their conversion rates.
Mike: This is a topic relevant to Green Leads, so I was taking an informal survey at the two events and thought I would ask you as well. As you know, we're in the business of setting appointments with C/VP level prospects for our clients. Years ago, it was thought that the only way to start the sales process was to shake hands and get face-to-face. Lately though, we're seeing more and more of the prospects we target requesting that the first sales meeting be by phone or a web meeting. Do you think this is due to a shift in the buying process or the way people do business? Is it a trend sales reps have to start to accommodate and/or take advantage of?
Joe: I think this reinforces the fact that buyers are now in control of how they will accept and absorb information. It’s no longer how I want to present (sell) to you, rather, how do you absorb information. So, sales people have to be more than the traditional bright smile and shiny shoes; they have to constantly adapt to the buyer processes and be able to communicate with them in a multitude of ways. There are three b2b realities that can’t be ignored, one of which is that business-to-business buyers can’t be sold. They control their buying process and the flow of information. This reality is challenging traditional sales cycle thinking.
Mike: Once that relationship starts, the selling starts. Do you think buyers are changing the way they make buying decisions now, too? Could there be a 2.0 movement in the way companies purchase and if so, should sales reps start taking that into account?
Joe: There is no question that buyers' behaviors have changed. First, there are more people involved in the decision which means sales people have to adapt their message to the audience and where they are in their buying process. This presents a huge knowledge challenge for sales people if they are to be relevant to each of the buying entities. Navigating how prospects buy is now more important than how we want to sell. This will force sales people to be more knowledgeable about their products/solutions but also more knowledge about what their buyer knows. As an example, if marketing can share with sales what documents they downloaded or events they attended, the sales rep has a huge opportunity to bring value in that interaction.
Mike: So now for the alignment. How does marketing play in Sales 2.0?
Joe: Sales 2.0 initially was a technology first approach to selling as presented at the inaugural event in November 2007 – it sounded a lot like the old SFA promises from 1997. Since then it has morphed multiple times depending on who has published the latest perspective on what is or isn’t Sales 2.0. Now it is beginning to embrace some of the broader dynamics sweeping the buyer-selling world that we spoke about today. However, what I’ve observed in the Sales 2.0 discussion to date is the lack of a focused perspective of marketing’s impact on buyers and how marketing needs to more than just demand gen. As long as sales 2.0 is a sales initiative, we will continue to focus on what has worked in sales in the past – not what is require to succeed in the go forward economy. I think we should consider thinking about sales 2.10, with the one being the inclusion of marketing and the recognition of marketing’s increasingly important role in buying.
Mike:Mike: And last, the all important B2B Marketing Thought Leaders Curry Poll. Do you prefer Red or Green curry?
Joe: Not a big Curry fan – and that includes Eddie Curry of the New York Knicks!
Mike: As a lifelong Celtics fan, I can respect that.