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.
Inbound Marketing is all the rage these days, and why shouldn't it be? It works, right? At least, that's what HubSpot clients are saying (and we're clients, so I can vouch for it). Inbound Marketing's goal is to pull potential customers in by all different methods, whether it's compelling content, savvy SEO execution or community interaction via social media.
While inbound strategies are effective, augmenting them with outbound marketing strategies can add to that success. Where do you turn? Be it appointment setting, lead qualification, or email marketing, where's all the goodness at? Here are some sites that share top-notch practices:
The Bridge Group'sInside Sales Experts Blog - Trish Bertuzzi and the team over at The Bridge Group are the gold standard when it comes to advice on making your inside sales team greater than it already is. Add to that their annual Inside Sales Metrics and Compensation reports and Bridge's Inside Sales Experts LinkedIn group, and you've got yourself some really fine resources to improve your team.
NetProspex'sNetProspex Blog - The verified contact list-building behometh's blog is filled with far more than information on data. It advises on building pipeline, improving messaging and better ways to market to your prospects. There's a lot of information in this blog, so make sure you take the time to peruse the several years' worth of articles.
RainToday'sRainMakerBlog - The folks from RainToday have been offering some great information and ways to improve sales reps, much of which can translate to your outbound marketing teams. In particular, they've been sharing some interesting thoughts on how to improve the actual art of the "sales conversation." Definitely worth checking out.
Craig Rosenberg's Funnelholic Blog - Craig is one of the demand gen gurus from Focus.com who consistently publishes great content that ranges from marketing to sales, inbound to outbound. Great stuff.
Vorsight's Inside Sales Tips Blog - This one is special because Vorsight and Green Leads are technically competitors, but we both have mutual respect for each other's work and would call it more "co-opetition". Solid tips.
These last two are interesting additions because some people put email marketing in the category of "inbound" when in reality it is originally an "outbound" technique -- the action item is an inbound lead. That said, two great blogs:
Constant Contact'sConstant CommentaryBlog - Constant Contact's blog provides some great tips and tactics on how to better use email as an outbound marketing tool, but its also dabbles in social media and list-building advice as well.
There are a lot of other great blogs and resources out there, so this list is by no means complete, and of course, bookmark or subscribe to our blog as well. Where else do you go when you're looking for great advice on how to do inbound marketing and outbound marketing more effectively? Let us know!
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.
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" ?