Social media is all the rage right now, and it should be. It is shaping how people communicate, how companies and people brand themselves, how we educate ourselves and how we grow our network. Lead generation in the world of b2b can be enhanced by social media, especially with early adopters, techies, and the net-gen crowd. However, many of us are trying to sell to the highest level decision makers, C and VP level executives. Some are using twitter and LinkedIn, and some have great staff members who are passing the value up the chain. The question is to reach that senior executive, especially in non-technology fields (where you get less of the geeks and trend setters), how do you reach a C/VP level target?
Call it Lead Gen 2.0, but in my opinion it is just traditional lead generation, demand creation and marketing with some new twists. Add social media to the mix, but don't get over-hyped about it and forget some of the proven lead gen techniques that work. What would be some priorities for the end result of putting your sales rep in front of a C/VP level target?
- Good Lists - There are lots of sources for lists out there, and the best solution is to pay for the better product. The best lists we've seen for the money are from Jigsaw hands down. Frankly, I wouldn't waste a nickel on those other companies that have been around for a decade or longer (D&B, Hoovers, even OneSource). The data is outdated, inaccurate and incomplete. You can go the next step too, even with a good Jigsaw list, by doing list validation and cleaning. These services are available or your own inside team can do it.
- Bring Value - More executives have stated that they tend to buy from vendors that bring value to them in the marketing and sales process. Don't just throw your logo out and send a promotion, use Whitepapers, use Webinars, publish an informative blog, bring value. Great place to use twitter to share valuable information or LinkedIn Answers. Have someone dedicated to providing value to the market. Call it nurturing, call it education, the point is if they don't see that you are bringing value, they may not be interested in bringing value to you.
- Collect Them - Yes, definitely, use SEM and SEO to gather the hand raisers, make it part of the mix, but be cautious not to rely too heavily on it. I have a client that is in the inbound marketing industry, and they still rely heavily on appointment setting to build their pipeline. Look for more focused lead broker solutions, whitepaper sites, vertical market education sites. Most are backed up by some form of lead collection/screening process and the leads are for sale.
- Target Them - We can't just wait for the inbound leads to show up. If you find a great opportunity in a certain industry or build a valid use-case for a certain type of buyer, then target them. Research those markets and aggregate the information so you can target them. Plan targeted campaigns.
- Encircle Them - Find their communities. See if you can find out where they hang out. Some will list these organizations in their LinkedIn profile. The communities may be live, may be online. But when you find them, get your executives involved, add value to the organization. Most have social media presence, get piped in there as well.
- Reach Them - Don't wait for them to learn about twitter or find you with a google search, find them. You've invested in a good list, get your inside team, your reps, or an outsourced vendor to work it. Don't just call and sell though. Do what you can to get face to face with them. Engage in a conversation. I've managed hundreds of sales reps in my day, and from my experience they do their best work sitting across from a prospect.
- Use Experts - Don't assume that you, your marketing team, your inside sales team, and your sales reps can implement everything. Give me a marketing or sales technique or discipline and I can give you a third party expert that offers the service. Ask your colleagues for recommendations. Use LinkedIn and twitter to get recommendations. But don't be afraid to hire specialists.
- Don't Settle - Working the influencers at the lower levels is still worth doing, but don't settle for an influencer. If you are going to invest in a lead, a truly valuable lead worth dedicating real budget to acquiring, then go for the C or VP level prospect. You will work your way down and around all the directors and managers anyway, if you can start at the highest levels, then the staff come willingly.
- Get Results - Whether it is an internal service provider such as inside sales, or an external provider such as a consultant or other marketing services firm, try to pay for results or at least incent them for results. The day of the monthly retainer fee is gone. This is marketing budget 2.0. (ok, last over-use of 2.0 in this article).
Did I totally trash Social Media, Search Engine Marketing and other new methods of lead gen? No, I've added them to the mix. Just be cautious not to over-estimate your C and VP level targets. They don't have the time it takes to work the web the way some of us do, so augment your traditional, proven methods with the newer ones, use technology to your advantage, and use service providers that have honed their expertise.
Several readers and fans have asked before, what is with the "Green" in Green Leads? What does b2b lead generation have to do with being green? Other than the obvious connection between green and money, the real inspiration for the name Green Leads was to build a marketing services company that was conscious about our community, the environment, our clients and people, and unlike other marketing services companies, operated in a sustainable model. Employee turnover and client retention is a huge issue in our industry and Linda and I wanted to combat those issues head on. Responsibility and quality was key to this decision, and it all stemmed from our practices of green living.
On the surface, an appointment setting company has little it can do to be green, but if you look under the hood, there are lots of things our company does that are positive decisions, practices, and beliefs that do not negatively impact the environment in ways that traditional companies do. There is a partial list on our website.
This post isn't about Green Leads though, it is about Green Marketing and how markets react to it. We've all seen it, the use of "environmentally conscious" messages to sell, brand, and market numerous products and services. It is obvious with products that have primary impact (cars, computers, energy, food), but there is also the not-so-obvious such as what we do (virtual office, recycled computers, carbon offsets, tap water). The question I raise, and I believe I've seen answered over the past few years, is "does the market react to green marketing in a social way, as a movement, in a way outside their traditional behaviors?"
A couple points from recent experience, which in the most part is b2b:
- One of our largest projects last year came to us because the client had a massive investment in their own green initiative and wanted to make choices along the same lines. The directive came directly from their CEO.
- A survey we conducted in IT departments asking about green computing initiatives in IT show that 70% of IT executives consider environmental issues important, and 48% have active programs or budget allocations promoting green initiatives.
- My green blog posts have higher traffic patterns than my marketing posts.
- Most people we talk to that find out about our philosophies want to engage in a conversation about green issues. Is the topic alone enough to cause positive impact on society?
- The Green Gap seems to exist between those that have completed higher education and those that have not. Those with higher educations seem to have the interest in green and the economic ability to make green spending decisions. Also, most b2b buyers do have higher education backgrounds.
- Green is a topic of conversation. It is trendy to be green. The topic comes up in business during normal conversation, it comes up in social settings. Green is in.
- Obama and McCain both brought green issues to the forefront of their campaigns, right behind the economy. And talk about a social movement - Obama followers were acting as a social organism, not just a population sampling.
- Beware of Greenwashing. Have a solid plan with proof of your strategies and practices. Create materials that document your green work. Copies of certificates, offset purchases, internal plans and procedures, vendor choices, etc.
- Recruiting and employee retention has been impacted by green practices. In our case, we have only lost 1 employee of their own choosing in three years. For the b2b lead gen industry, that is unheard of.
My verdict lies in the fact that we have gained clients due to our green practices and messaging. We have made some impact through the socialization of our messages. Our community of employees, contractors, clients, and vendors have recognized the practices as important to them. The market seems to react in a way not traditional with typical b2b marketing tactics. There is an upswell, a desire, and an interest in green. Clients want to work with companies that are doing the right thing. It is a deeper desire and behavior than a product evaluation or price decision. It breeds loyalty and market growth, and ultimately contributes to the branding, growth, demand creation, and generation of new and repeat business.
A few articles worth reading:
The Environmental Leader, a green briefing for executives, states that more than 70 percent of directors at U.S. publicly-traded companies said they believe sustainability is important to profitability.
The Ecoprenuerist's Megan Prusynski wrote an article that introduces Sustainability in Business Planning.
Business of Design Online's Jess Sand wrote about How to Find Green Vendors.
The following short twitter discussion between myself, @damphoux, and @siriusdecisions brought up a topic worth blogging an opinion on. First the tweets, and I reordered them so no need to read bottom up, which tweeps tend to do by default. And, for those of you that aren't on twitter yet, where have you been? Join twitter. I was one of you too, and not long ago, so for the newbies the following is an example of 140 character twitterese:
damphoux : why does @siriusdecisions have invites on blog for linkedin group when they don't accept a paying member? an anti-social marketing tactic?
siriusdecisions: @damphoux Please explain? The group is open to any SiriusDecision advisory service seatholder.
damphoux : @siriusdecisions not a seat holder, love your work, was glad to see public LinkedIn group invite but was bummed when found out is restricted
siriusdecisions: @damphoux Unfortunately we were having trouble with spam when it was more public but we still plan on starting a more public group soon.
damphoux : @siriusdecisions "spam"begs to question what is spam to one might be a gem to another. how should social media filter spam?should it at all?
siriusdecisions: @damphoux Good point. We'll explore this. And thanks for caring enough about it!
So what is spamming in the world of social media? Off the top of my head I can think of 6 forms of what some would call Social Spamming:
Volume Tweets: I see thousands of tweets per day, and although I don't have time to read them all, by using Tweetdeck, Google Reader, Twitter Search and even #hashtags, I am able to filter the good stuff to the top. Some of the tweeps I follow can post as many as 40 or 50 tweets a day just by themselves (or autoposters such as twitterfeed). So @scobleizer has 16,000+ updates and growing, is that spam? I find a great deal of his posts to be worth the read. Do I ever look over to the group he's in (aptly named "lots of posts") and see 20 new updates apiece from those in that group (we all know who they are) and think, "rrrg, just can't spend the time on this right now". Of course I do, but we either get to it or we don't and if we do, we may find something worth a retweet or a clickthrough or a reply. The law of large numbers means that there will be something of value in the volume. I don't consider Volume Tweets to be Spam.
Spam Tweets: We all see these too. I usually see them in my keyword filtered RSS feeds, I have one that searches for the words "appointment setting" OR "lead gen" OR "demand gen" and relentlessly there are a handful of job postings from @wahm_job_leads and "internet geniuses" willing to share their lead gen expertise for just $49.95. LOL. Granted, the gems in these posts are few and far between, but they surface. If we can mine the gems, is it considered spam? Not really, it's the nature of social media. Throw stuff out there and see what sticks. In my case I look for the stuff that's sticking. I designate Spam Tweets as "not Spam", but close.
Spam Followers I (on Twitter, Facebook, etc.): These are funny in my opinion. How many times have you seen your follower count increase only to check out the new followers and see that their account has been disabled? Relentless as they are, I'm sure there may be some value in the network effect of just anyone following you. Maybe they have some groupie followings that click your follow button, within minutes, before the initial follower is disabled. Or maybe they aggregate addresses before they are disabled, not sure. We don't have to reciprocate with a follow. I find that practice of auto-following a bit cumbersome. I always take a peak at a bio and the most recent top 5 or 10 posts to see if I'll find the person interesting, and only then do I follow. Twitter could do a better job cleaning these disabled accounts off the system though, we probably all have a percentage of our followers that just don't exist anymore. Misleading, but it could be factored out. So, Spam Followers I, not much of a pain, just ignore them, might be some value. In the world of network/social media, no damage done.
Spam Followers II (on Twitter, Facebook, etc.): These are the followers that have absolutely nothing in common with you. They are selling something. They are just collecting following/follower numbers. Personally, I see no value in what they are doing (to them), but there is that network effect that someone might find me through them. So do I consider Spam Followers II to be spam? No, just pointless. Can't imagine the insomniacs clicking profiles and "follow" all night long.
LinkedIn LION Linkers: This is different (Linked In Open Networkers). I frankly put this in the same category as Spam Followers II, with a twist. It's more of an open kimono on LinkedIn. It is not just just following, it is a collection of resumes, expertise, and contact information once you link. I don't see LinkedIn as having the same social networking value to the masses of twitter. I consider it exclusive social networking. Other than reading the daily updates of who's connecting with who, and what your buddies are working on (similar to a twitter update), LinkedIn, is in my opinion, a selective way to stay in touch with your real network, and a selective way to gain value from your trusted network. The key words are "real" and "trusted". Am I going to introduce someone that wants an introduction to my trusted colleague because I'm connected with them through some LION user that has 30,000 connections? No freakin way. Same answer I would give a used car salesman asking me for all my friend's names and numbers. So do I consider LinedIn LION Linkers spammers? Sort of, yes. It might excite them to show how big their (ahem) network is, but gimme a break. Whats the value on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn Group/Answer Spam: This is the topic that got @siriusdecisions and I tweeting in the first place. I see tremendous value in bringing value to others, and receiving value from others. I'm a member of two great groups on LinkedIn, Demand Gen Specialists and Craig Rosenberg's Friends of the Funnel, and I use LinkedIn Answers on a regular basis and am actually listed as the top expert in Lead Generation. I work hard to post valuable answers and bring some value to the users. But with every group discussion, and every answer comes a handful of "contact me I can help you" posts that in this environment are unwarranted. I've had people email me and say they are afraid to post a real question in fear that they will get bombarded with unsolicited garbage. Then there is the group members list and the ability to harvest everyone from the list and even join the group and broadcast something (various ways to do this). Again, in a community where you hope to gain value from trusted sources, not the general public, and where you don't take the responsibility of filtering the messages (LinkedIn has little to do this), I do consider LinkedIn Group/Answers to be susceptible to Spam. That said, LinkedIn does provide some level of moderation in this area. Group owners can remove members. They can prevent members from Joining. You can report an Answer as abuse (advertising, self promotion, etc.), although I've never seen LinkedIn take action on these reports. There can be some level of control, but it is control, and in the world of network/social media, control is supposed to be up to the user. There must be a gray area where members/contributors/lurkers are allowed to participate, but once they abuse it, they are removed from the community. It's a big question though. Is it LinkedIn's responsibility or the hosts of the groups, or those that post questions? I find this category to be the most debatable. It goes against social networking, but without the proper tools and controls it is a social mess. I do consider LinkedIn Group/Answer Spam to be Spam.
So, my original question "what is spam to one might be a gem to another" is still open. In twitter or facebook, bring it on. In trusted member sites, such as LinkedIn, it could use some tools to help it work. That said, I still find the gems on LinkedIn, I still find the connections worth making among the unsolicited. So maybe I'm completely off base by thinking LinkedIn should remain a bit restrictive. I've been wrong before. Should @siriusdecisions restrict me because I'm not a seat holder (paying analyst client)? Their decision, a serious one, no pun intended (well ok, it was an intended pun), is their choice. I will say though, I try to add value to those communities in which I participate, so in some respect their community is not gaining my contributions. I still love their research and love their contributions to the marketing/sales world, and know that some day I will be a seat holder.
Next topic: Twitter Groups
I just made Alton Brown's Fruit Cake recipe again. All organic, btw. I've done this for several years and not only is it incredibly good, the apricot brandy I spray on it brings extra holiday cheers. Ok, so the brandy wasn't organic and was shipped from somewhere far away, but you can't green everything. Seriously, this is NOT the fruit cake you know with the artificial colored fruit bits in it. This is Good Eats!
's recent blog post, Your Lead Generation Methods Have to Change
hits on a topic that we all need to be reminded of:
The new lead generation shifts your methods as a marketer from “talk about your dumb product” into “empower the users.”
(That, by the way is the nugget of this whole piece.)
The lead process used to be “beat people with information until your sales person closes them.” Now, it’s a little bit more about relationships with products and companies. Look at Dell’s Digital Nomads. They are all about helping out a certain niche of prospect. They’re not selling. They’re equipping. It’s perfect. It’s exactly what I’m talking about.
I'll add to this with one comment. Sales people talk about bringing value to their prospects, becoming "consultative sales people". Marketers need to make a similar shift. Prospects would rather google up a solution and issue a PO than be called on by sales people. The latter will never go away, but the former can be enabled in a much better way. Great post Chris.
This is shameful self promotion, but there is value in it to the readers, so I figured it passed the litmus test enough for me to write about it.
Ok, it's meetings 2.0™. Green Leads is introducing a new product/service next year and are trying to test it with a small group of sales and/or marketing folks. The service is a Sales 2.0 creation (sales enablement using technology and out of the box thinking) and is based around appointment setting, but is geared towards two targets that previously were not served well by the traditional appointment setting industry:
- Individual b2b sales reps/autonomous sales teams, or
- Marketing teams from small-midsized b2b companies
In order to provide true value to the beta test, we would prefer finding people that have worked with an appointment setting program in the past. It doesn't matter if it was internal or an external, but we are hoping to compare the service results and feedback to past experiences.
We will be offering the beta test in two phases - alpha/beta. The alpha will be at no charge to the testers. The beta will be at a reduced charge from the initial price prior to launch.
We need the feedback, and in trade, it's a great way for some of you to get some leads into your pipeline. We will require NDA before discussing the specifics in detail.
Please contact us if you are interested at 877.575.3237 x101 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for the assistance
Pam O'neal and I have had the pleasure of talking recently as I was advising the micro lending sotry/non-profit One Hen on the virtues of SEO and Social Media. I had seen Pam's story on Marketing Sherpa and thought she would be a great person for them to meet and having been following Pam on twitter, I tweeted her up and made the connect. The conversation was extrememly informative, not just for One Hen, but for myself as well. She touched on many topics that companies of all sizes should be considering. I asked her if she would conduct a small interview and here are the results:
Mike: If a company is on a shoestring marketing budget and doesn't have lots of free headcount, how can they start a Social Media marketing program?
Pam: I’ve spent most of my career marketing companies on a shoestring budget so this is a topic I know well. As our recent Marketing Sherpa social media case study shows, social media is phenomenal for lead generation. It levels the playing field and provides a low cost way to connect with customers and help them “find” your company and its products. But it does take a fare amount of care and feeding. I advocate leveraging the thought leaders or subject matter experts that you have on staff to create compelling content for your blog. Then set up a Twitter,Facebook and/or LinkedIn page—whatever makes sense for your audience. Then utilize a number of free monitoring and content distribution tools such as Twitter , Tweetscan, Google Reader and FriendFeed to help you monitor and spread the word about your blog, community or social network group. When you spot an opportunity, someone needs to be responsible for engaging in the conversation. While rallying the troops to help is the best way to develop the content make such a program successful, I advocate a full time hire whose main responsibility is success of your social media efforts. Otherwise, it will be the lowest priority. You simply cannot treat it as a nice to have or something that you fit in at the end of the day. It takes a 12 to 15 hour a day commitment and the support of others in your company. Also – don’t forget to integrate your blog, Twitter page and social networks in every element of the Marketing mix.
Mike: One thing we've done is brought on a marketing MBA from one of the local universities. They scan interesting topical information, present it to us for one of us to respond and even take responses by cell phone (voice that is). It seems to all be about content. The more you produce, the more content emerges in your name, your brand.
You and I were on a con call the other day and the topic of Facebook came up. When I think of Facebook, all I can see are my teens posting pictures of them and their friends at parties. Is there really b2b value on Facebook? Should I post a picture of me at a party? ;-)
Pam: Depends upon your Facebook network and the nature of your business. I haven’t found it to be valuable at all for our market at BreakingPoint. And, I’ve seen other companies invest heavily in Facebook pages and applications with disappointing results. It seems to provide wonderful opportunities for non-profits and B2C Marketers as this Sprint campaign suggests. At BreakingPoint, We are finding more success on LinkedIn and Twitter. But, if you are selling products that appeal to other Marketers, Educators, or other groups that congregate on Facebook, it is a target rich environment. And, I find it to be a nice way to keep track of my friends and business colleagues who, as it turns out, aren’t posting a bunch of photos of themselves at parties. ?
Mike: I'm of the opinion that the gray line between business identity and personal identity in Social Media is a good thing. What are your thoughts on that?
Pam: Absolutely. It keeps things real. People can connect over shared interests whether they are professional or personal. For some reason, people seem to think that the social media space is vastly different than real life, but it is not so different. Success in both worlds is about relationships—both business and personal. Most of the friends I’ve made over the years are people I’ve worked with, so I have no need to put up an all-business façade. We all must remember, however, that everything you do or say in the social media space is available for anyone to see. It becomes your resume, to a certain extent . There is a need to edit ourselves.
Mike: Personal Branding, as they say. Which leads me to my next question about quality posting or quantity posting. For those of us that follow Guy Kawasaki on twitter, we know what I'm talking about regarding message volume. He's posting 40-50 tweets a day. In fact, before I found TweetDeck (thanks to a Guy post), I unfollolowed him because of his message volume. Now it is tucked in a group called "lotsamessages" along with @scobleizer and a few others. Lots of stuff, but lots of gems when I scan.
So, three valuable tweets a day or twenty tweets a day with three gems mixed in?
Pam: Really depends upon my schedule. Most days it’s three gems, but some days I have more time for conversation. For the most part, however, I’m there to collaborate with a group of very smart people and learn from them. Not just about Marketing, but about any topic that catches my interest. So, I prefer the tweeps who post about interesting finds, helpful blog posts, or other resources that I can put to use. (Spare me the details of your lunch or latest food born illness.) So, that’s the model I’ve set for myself. I typically only share helpful information or provide links to my blog posts at BuzzStream . With that said, most business conversations whether at a conference, in a meeting or even the hallway, have some personal discourse. We aren’t all business all of the time. So, I will engage in a short conversation with other Tweeps, but if the conversation goes long, I’ll take it to email or Direct Message someone.
Mike: Last question. SEM or SEO?
Pam: For most businesses, I’d say both. Especially in the early stages when a company doesn’t have the rich website content, Google page rank and inbound links to rank at the top of Google. You need to use both for visibility and for early testing. You see, SEM (or Google AdWords PPC advertising) is particularly good for keyword testing. You’ll need to test out the performance of the more competitive high volume terms prior to pouring your time and resources into SEO. Paul May explained this beautifully on the BuzzStream blog. Once you start to have success on the SEO front, you can scale back on SEM, but I always use SEM to a certain extent because different content appeals to different people. It really depends upon their goal . It used to be the case that shoppers in buying mode clicked on SEM links while those in research mode were more inclined to click on an organic link. I believe that still holds true today. B2B Marketers really want both types of traffic, so I’ve always used both.
Mike: Good point. Especially the keyword point. I'd add a comment to the readers... when you find those perfect keywords that get traffic, use them. Not just in your web pages for meta-tags, use them in your blog posts, use them in your blog comments, use them in your tweets and on LinkedIn or Facebook. Get the robots finding you everywhere. I even go with Mike Damphousse or Michael Damphousse and appointment setting or meetings, just to alternate which firstname or service keyword some people might search for (see, just snuck in some keywords).
Pam, thanks so much, and let's keep tweeting.
Pam: Thanks for the interview Mike. I hope you and your readers will follow me on @poneal on twitter or read my blog.
Mike:Oh, and one more...green, red or yellow curry?
About: Pam O'Neal oversees global marketing for BreakingPoint including brand strategy, integrated marketing programs, press and analyst relations, and regional field marketing. An award-winning marketing professional, O’Neal has more than 18 years of experience using advanced techniques and proven marketing frameworks to develop programs that make an immediate impact on revenue.
There is the business me, and there is the personal me and always the two have mixed. It's obvious by the two feeds you see on the right. I post both topics here on my blog and I believe that the coexistence of business and personal identities given today's social media is the way to go. We are all connected one way or another. We tell personal stories when we meet someone at a networking event and we tell business stories to our friends. Over the years, my most successful business relationships were the ones where the personal and business interests overlapped. Personal branding does impact business branding.
A buddy of mine, Christopher Lochhead, who was CMO at Mercury when they got acquired by HP, had some thoughts. Chris is a fellow in-your-face marketer who for years has been successfully packaging his own personal style and professional being:
"business is social. business is personal. the most successful business people in the world have always known this. in the new social business world, there is no wall between your personal and professional lives. that's the point. welcome to the transparent life. today people share key accepts of all of their life experiences on line. this makes their relationships stronger. the technology has made it simple to stay connected. Which is fantastic - personally and professionally. The downside is you have to be smart about what you share. remember that love is temporary, Facebook entries last forever."
A list of 10 opinions:
The “professional blogging” oxymoron by Ana Ulin
Personal vs. Professional Blogging by Henri Bergius
Should We Keep Professional and Personal Separate in Social Networking by David Mullen
Personal vs. Corporate: Who Owns What You Create Online? by Rosie Reilman
Social Media Identity: Personal vs. Professional by Hutch Carpenter
On CNN's Personal Blogging Policy by Chez Pazienza
Personal Branding while Hiding Facebook Identity by Brittany Creamer
Contrasting Personal vs. Professional Uses of Social Media: The Case of Healthcare Blogging
by Dmitriy Kruglyak
Personal Networking vs. Professional Networking by Spike Jones (love this blog, btw)
The Socialization of Your Personal Brand - Part III by Brian Solis
Actually, it's 12 opinions if you count Chris and me. Ten just sounds so much cleaner.
If new clients for your business is a pure numbers game, then you have to look at ConnectAndSell. This is one Sales 2.0 offering that I have to rave about! A friend of ours recommended CAS a year ago and at first were reluctant. It seemed like a predictive dialer/call center offshore mashup and didn't resonate and for the price seemed like it would be questionably worth it. But then over the summer a good client of ours told us they were achieving results with it (thanks Char!). So we finally gave it a shot.
ConnectAndSell is what we thought, an autodialer on steroids, topped off with humans guiding it. It's actually like an outbound sales control room with prospects popping up every couple of minutes for a pitch. It's INTENSE and I don't recommend more than a 2 hour session at a time.
What kind of results are we achieving? It's all about "connects", so let me define it. A connect is when the CAS system delivers a prospect you have targeted for a live phone call where you can start with "Hi Joe Prospect, this is Steve the Sales Guy, how are you?" Think about how many true connects/pitches one of your outbound sessions might yield today. Two or three an hour with a full hour of dialing? Well, the CAS community brags about hourly connect rates of 8-10 connects per hour (CAS humbly promises less than that, but they know you get more). This results in 10 pitches an hour with prospects you want to be pitching. How long do you think it takes one of your sales executives do 10 pitches? Ask them, you might be suprised at the answer.
Basic ROI study: from one of our clients outbound telesales projects selling $1200 maintenance and support licenses for an open source IT analysis tool that is downloaded freely. They typically connect with an average of 23 targets per day, send 6 quotes out (25% interest rate) Close 1 of the 6 over time (16% close rate). So an average week's production is 92 connects, 23 quotes, 3-4 deals per week for $4800 in revenue. By adding just two CAS sessions a week to this rep, the production is increased to 167 pitches per week, 42 quotes, and 7 deals per week's effort for revenue of $8400. Less the additional management cost and service fees to CAS, it has resulted in a net increase of $2400 per week.
Knowing a good thing when we saw it, Green Leads decided to tune the CAS system and do one better. We fed the machine with validated lists from our research group, which are all direct dials and nearly 100% accurate. We have actually achieved hourly connect rates as high as 22 connects. Need I say more? We've been doing it to augment our production and have even been hired to just take over CAS sessions for clients. ConnectAndSell has been a great addition to our arsenal and I'm sure you can use it to your benefit as well. If you have an inside sales team or outside reps that do outbound calling and the law of large numbers is factored into your ROI model, then reviewing ConnectAndSell has to be on your to-do list.
Read more about how it works in great detail at this blog post by Arron Ross, ConnectAndSell: 100x ROI in generating pipeline!? (p.s. I really like Arron's posts, seems to be on a little hiatus, wish he would come back).
Walking around a networking event the other night I noticed everyone's nametag was just a name (no company). Once around the room I realized this was a great application of the new iPhone LinkedIn app (iTunes App Store: LinkedIn). It is a networking secret weapon. Here's how I used it:
- Research: As I was mingling, I'd plug in the person's name in the LinkedIn search and find out a little about them. Perfect if you are connected to them somehow, "Hi, I'm Mike from Green Leads, I think you know my friend Jonathan."
- Save a Tree: If I hit it off with someone and we were about to swap business cards, I'd say "hold on, you're on LinkedIn, right?" (and of course I already knew that). "I'll send you an invite right now." Forget about the business cards and save some trees.
- Topics: Instant backgrounders popped up. Their work history. Even links to their blogs and favorite books. Incredible for conversation topics.
- Faces (my favorite): I had a partial pre-registration list and there were five people I labled as "must meet them." I plugged in their name, looked up their profile, and four of them had photos. I scanned the crowd and went over and thrusted my hand out.
- History: When the event was over and I got home, I reviewed the search page on the iPhone and there were all the people I had plugged in. Like a history of my networking.
So if you see me coming and my iPhone is in my hand, watch out, I'm going to introduce myself.
World Aids Day.
Thinking of my Uncle Eddie today. Always laughing, always having fun...passed away on June 3, 1998. He was 51.
I was with Craig Rosenberg in SFO a couple weeks ago and were having a hot discussion on the economy, marketing, and Thai food. Craig is the author of the blog The Funnelholic and is an expert on b2b lead generation so I decided it would be great to do an impromptu rapid-fire interview with him on his thoughts regarding b2b lead gen and publish it here:
Mike: How should marketers adjust to the downturn?
Craig: I wrote a post that I continue to stand by: 3 Changes You Must Make: re-message to reflect the changing buyer, retarget to find prospects who are likely to buy, and redefine their lead definition. Not adapting will mean failure.
Mike: It’s easy to talk about the doom and gloom with the economic downturn, but where is their opportunity for 2009?
In my post When the Blood Flows, I wrote that marketers should view the downturn as opportunity and try to aggressively gain market share. For instance, NetSuite deciding to get MORE aggressive now and try to take on Salesforce.com. When everyone else cuts back, play offense! Marketing must have a compelling offer. Then you need to go out, generate leads, and SELL.
Mike: Being that you are ab online marketer, what is your opinion of outbound appointment setting?
Craig: Truthfully, you should do both: Push and Pull. You should have a presence online to generate “hand-raisers,” but you should leverage a target market and get your sales team face to face regardless of whether they raise their hand or not. The lure of outbound appointment setting is you can move quickly -- no hiring, pay for performance. You can point them at the target and fire.
Mike: Thanks, Craig...green, red or yellow curry?
Craig: Green, of course.