Smashmouth B2B Blog: Sales & Marketing Demand Gen

Fantasy Football Builds Stronger Inside Sales Teams

Posted by Michael Damphousse

Fantasy Football and Inside SalesMy good buddy and best man, Dave, has been commissioner of the same Fantasy Football league for over 12 years and a few years ago asked if I was interested in taking one of the empty slots.  My obsessive-compulsive, statistically driven, multi-scenario-challenged gaming mind was intrigued.  Could I possibly put together a team that could beat other experienced teams week in and week out?  Even if the matchup is one-sided on paper?

Sounds simple, but here's the deal.  I'm more of an owner and less of a coach, so I did what I do best. I hired Lenny, a co-worker at the time and a kick-ass coach, and learned from someone who knows more about Fantasy Football than I do and still enjoy the results.  Now three seasons later, Lenny is gone and I won last year's season.  This year opened with a tight match against Dave, and it came down to the last two players--he crushed me.  But I'm a coach.

Tips to learn from Fantasy Football when building awesome inside sales teams:

  • Be a coach. Understand your team and their challenges, week in and week out.
  • Understand the rules. If you know what scores you points you'll make better decisions.  Ask the commissioner (your boss) if it's unclear.
  • Learn from the pros.  We read Fantasy blogs; we also read B2B sales and marketing blogs.
  • Look for raw talent that requires the least maintenance.
  • Find the studs that, head to head, will overperform every week.
  • Think about your deficiencies and hire accordingly.
  • If your team needs adjusting, make the shifts.  It might mean cutting a player, or drafting a new one, or moving someone up from the bench. Think big picture.
  • Don't fall in love with a lineup.  If you need to let a player go, cut your losses.
  • Track the stats.  Every stat -- even the ones you aren't sure are valuable. They will be someday.
  • Think Superbowl.  Don't forget the long-term play is to win.
  • Lastly, have fun.  Every day.  Have fun.  If you and your team are enjoying your jobs, you'll always make the playoffs and be in a position to win!

ps.  I do have Tom Brady in both my leagues this year.  Maybe I should take some lessons from Belichick?

Tags: sales, b2b, inside sales, b2b marketing, appointments, appointment setting, tips, tv

Appointment Setters Beware! Google Hangout Just Hijacked Your Meeting

Posted by Michael Damphousse

Google has figured out a neat way to take over the conference call industry.  They just added their Google Hangout invite link to EVERY Google Calendar invite that you schedule.  It's listed above the meeting notes, so if your not paying attention and you've got GoToMeeting or WebEx or Join.me bridge numbers and links in the body of your invite, expect a few people to click the Hangout link and ignore the rest.  I've done it twice in a week!  

Your cancel and reschedule rate will soar through the roof!

Appointment Setters Beware Google Hangout

There is a manual work around and an admin level work around.  The manual work around is simple, just remember to click Remove as you are creating the meeting.  The admin level fix is that they can disable this feature through the calendar settings page in the Admin console. 

Note: Hangout video calls are only added if the event creator has an active Google+ profile.

Don't get a No Show or Cancel or Reschedule if you're using Google Calendar.  Pay attention and click Remove, or switch your meetings over to Google Hangout.  Either way works for me.

Tags: b2b sales, demand gen, inside sales, appointments, appointment setting, tips, meetings, b2b appointment setting, google hangout

@HubSpot Eliminates 2 Billion Cold Calls (from #Inbound13)

Posted by Michael Damphousse

inbound marketing summary 2013 resized 600

Just prior to Seth Godin stepping on stage, for what was an entertaining and thought provoking keynote, HubSpot CMO, Mike Volpe, announced that "We saved the world from 2 Billion cold calls!"  And they did.  I personally may have benefitted by 1 or 2 a day.  

HubSpot Orange Kool Aid

Inbound marketing techniques continue to evolve, and HubSpot is the pioneer for Inbound.  The tribe they've created in the past few years is amazing.  Almost 6,000 attendees to this year's Inbound conference were gathered for lots of marketing goodness, not just the orange kool aid.

In the world of sales, selling doesn't start until a conversation starts with the prospect.  Getting that conversation going has been revolutionized with Inbound Marketing.  The prospect is typically educated more than an outbound generated lead, they are thinking about the topic that your product or service addresses, and the time is fresh to start the conversation.  In short, they may be further along in the funnel (waterfall if you're a SiriusDecisions follower).

The top outbound marketers have embraced inbound marketing, not shied away from it. Compared to a purchased list or even a list of prospects warmed up with other marketing assets, an inbound list is the cream of the crop.  However, unless your inbound lead comes in the form of a calendar invite, date, time and phone number booking one of your sales reps for a appointment, there is still work to do.  The outbound function assigned to these leads is typically referred to as Inbound Response.  

Things to remember:

  • Scrub the data. Have a data team do list hygiene to correct and/or append needed data fields.  Or use tools such as DemandBase to dynamically append data.
  • Know your history.  Use tools such as HubSpot, your CRM, or other tracking systems to know how your company has interracted with the prospect in the past.
  • Intel.  Research the prospect on LinkedIn, Google, Social Sites.  The more you know, the warmer that lead.
  • Score your inbound leads. Don't assume they are all orders ready to be had. Don't waste your time on [email protected]
  • Pounce!  Once you have your ducks in a row, call them.  If they don't answer, email them.  The effective value of leads deteriorates every hour after they submit a form.

I just tested the above with a lead that came in through our HubSpot system within the hour.  It took me 2 minutes to correct their missing title, see that her colleague talked to us at the SiriusDecisions conference in May, add her LinkedIn url to her profile, note that we're connected by 8 people, and she visited 5 blog articles today.  Reviewed and scored -- 2 minutes.

Create great content.  Socially surround your market.  Optimize all conversion techniques.  Gather these inbound leads, then follow the process above, and your ROI will go through the roof.

Let's get back to the 2 Billion cold calls saved.  Inbound marketing certainly does reduce the number of cold calls an outbound marketer has to make to get the conversation started.  It streamlines the process.  The blended approach of Inbound and Outbound will increase the top line faster than any other methods available.

Is that lead an Innie or an Outie?

(took restraint not to post a pic of a belly button)

Tags: marketing, sales, b2b, b2b sales, demand gen, outbound marketing, inbound marketing, cold calling, b2b marketing, social media marketing, hubspot, appointment setting, tips, inbound, linkedin, outbound, lead lists, outbound calling, b2b appointment setting, demandbase

BANT is Dead -- Find the Authority

Posted by Michael Damphousse

BANT Budget Authority Need Timeframe ANUMBudget, Authority, Need, Timeframe (BANT) qualification is scrambled and outdated.  Having budget was important in the days of "Our contract is up for renewal next year, we need budget".  But with so many new products and technologies flooding us, from evangelical to emerging to faster and better, Budget not only doesn't exist, many times those with Authority don't even know they have a Need or that they need it now.

Granted, as the sales process advances, you would hope Budget is being allocated so that the decision maker with Authority can solve their Need in a Timely manner.  But read the beginning of that sentence..."as the sales process advances".  There is no place for BANT in a lead gen scenario, it is for later in the sales cycle.  BANT is dead as it pertains to Lead Gen.  I'm singing the praise of Ken Krogue and company at Insidesales.com with ANUM -- it all starts with Authority!

I've been known to say "The sales process doesn't start until a conversation with a prospect does". And in Lead Gen, especially b2b appointment setting, the goal is to get the conversation started.  Finding the decision makers and influencers are half the battle, then getting the conversation started is the other half. Just make sure to identify the proper prospect, one with Authority, and then have a valuable conversation that brings value to that prospect and helps them see the Need you want to fill.  If they have the Need, a real Need, they will feel the Urgency to then justify the decision and get the Money for the project.  

ANUM:

<-- Lead Gen & Research
Authority
<-- Appointments & Conversations
Need

Urgency

Money

Thank you Ken!

ps. Check out the Inside Sales Virtual Summit on June 20.  Never before have I seen so much Inside Sales knowledge flowing for one day.

Tags: marketing, sales, demand gen, lead gen, appointment setting, sales2.0, b2b appointment setting

Demand Gen - Nature, Nurture, or Both?

Posted by Mike Damphousse



37% of prospects that were nurtured move on to further sales activity from an introductory meeting,  12% higher than those not nurtured

As you all know, Green Leads is in the b2b appointment setting business. Similar to b2b inside sales teams, we book meetings with C/VP level executives on our clients' behalf and only get paid when the meetings take place. The ROI is easy to calculate as clients only pay when the sales rep completes the meeting. So X meetings for $Y. We can deliver this service predictably because it's all about the numbers. Those of us in the business can recite stats at the drop of a hat -- what list penetration numbers are, the mix of titles based on the client or industry, the number of C/VP level referrals, the reschedule and cancel rates -- you name it.

Last year some stats started changing. During regular review meetings, two clients asked within weeks of each other why their list penetration numbers were dropping (the number of meetings booked per list). They were still getting the same amount of meetings that "Natural", but they were right, we were all working harder, and we were consuming bigger and bigger lists to achieve the same numbers. Then, a third client asked what we were doing different because their penetration numbers were increasing. It happened to be the same period.

After some discussion internally, we realized that the third client had been feeding us lists that were actively being nurtured. The lists were smaller in size than the other two clients, but each contact was receiving valuable contact through white papers, webinar invites, analyst studies, blog links, etc. Inbound leads as a result of the nurturing campaign were routed to their inside sales team. The remaining leads, after reaching a certain lead score based on the numbers of email opens, forwards, website visits, and other criteria, they were transferred to our lists for outbound appointment setting. We were converting them to meetings at astonishing rates.

Since then, five of our clients have started feeding us nurtured leads to augment traditional raw names. In two cases, they outsource the management of the nurturing process to us.

The results -- Prospects that are nurtured are 17% more likely to be accept a meeting when pitched, and of those, the appointments completed moved on to further sales discussions 37% of the time (12% higher than non-nurtured).

We are now recommending to all our clients that they implement nurturing programs in conjunction with our appointment setting. If tightly integrated, the results of the two are significant:

  • Prospects are further into the buying cycle when the sales team engages
  • Resources used to build larger lists for outbound work can be redirected to nurturing efforts
  • Quality of introductory meetings are increased, resulting in a more mature pipeline
  • Ongoing branding to prospects nurtured is significantly higher than those not nurtured
  • Outsourced vendors or inside sales teams can operate more efficiently, providing higher quality as well as additional services
  • Increased ROI of the program can contribute to increased demand gen programs

 

Tags: b2b sales, demand gen, lead nurturing, appointment setting, marketing automation

Setting Appointments For Santa's Kids At Green Leads

Posted by Michael Damphousse

Appointment Setting TipsAppointment Setting for Santa

A few weeks ago, one of my BDRs, Peter, came to us and explained that he and his wife were organizing a drive to raise money to provide gifts and a holiday party for homeless/displaced families that live in a local Extended Stay Hotel.  There are 36 kids there that were going to have to spend Christmas in a hotel.

Green Leads offered to match any money that the employees donated and we also ran a contest where we added another $5 for every appointment set by our BDRs over two days.

Peter was able to provide gifts, pizza and read The Polar Express to them last week.

Thanks to all that contributed...

Great Job Santa...ahem, "Peter"!


 

Tags: drivel, appointment setting

Sales Ready Leads: Quality vs. Quantity

Posted by Mike Damphousse

apples oranges

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:

  Quantity
Vendor
Quality
Vendor
Cancel/Reject Rate 20% 12%
Conversion to Pipeline Rate 31% 36%

Typical Appointment Setting Program Stats:

  Quantity
Vendor
Quality
Vendor
Meetings Set 100 80
Canceled/Rejected 20 10
Completed/Billable 80 70
Convert to Pipeline

25 25
Cost ($750 per Completed Meeting) $60,000 $52,500
Cost per Opportunity $2,400 $2,100

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."

Tags: marketing, sales, b2b, b2b sales, demand gen, outbound marketing, siriusdecisions, inside sales, social media marketing, lead gen, appointment setting, Quality vs Quantity, SMM, b2b math, idc

Is Your Inside Sales Team Struggling? Appointment Setting Tips From London

Posted by Michael Damphousse

If you've got an inside sales team that is not cutting the mustard with appointment setting, if your internal results aren't there, it's time to think about your department the way a professional appointment setting company does.  I surveyed a couple of our best appointment setting BDRs in London and here are their tips:
  • Work from good lists.  Don't download 5000 names and expect to stay focused.  Pick 500 good names--perfect titles. Then set out for focused activity.
     
  • Sharpen the pitch.  You've probably only got 10 seconds to say hello, then 30 seconds to get permission to keep talking.  Use the next 3 minutes wisely.  Don't over-pitch.  
     
  • Dials = Meetings. It's been said that the average inside sales rep makes 70 dials a day. Well the average Green Leads appointment setting black belt makes 200.  Dials = Meetings. 
     
  • Sell the appointment.  Never forget the purpose of the call--to set appointments.  Don't go for a PO on that first call.  Pitch, qualify, then sell an appointment.
Internal Results Appointment SettingThere you have it, or as said in a phrase I learned the other night at our pub across the street, The Windmill (pictured here), "and Bob's your uncle!"

Tags: b2b, appointments, appointment setting, tips, meetings

Sales and Marketing Tips from Barack Obama in Ireland

Posted by Michael Damphousse

sales tips from irelandAs part of Green Lead's recent acquisition of Target 250, a portion of our European team is based in Ireland.  Linda and I are here this week working with the team on transition issues, and while heading out for dinner last night we walked by the Bank of Ireland in the center of Dublin, where President Barack Obama's gave a speech just a few weeks ago.  

When it comes to sales and marketing tips, the President is loaded with examples.  Here are but a few:

  • Brand - Obama has a solid understanding of Branding.  Every word, action and event is organized with a consistent brand of quality and authority.  Stay on target with all your brand messaging.
  • Opportunity - I'm not sure who planned their trip first, but the combination of the Monarchy and the US Presidency visiting within weeks of each other was a one-two punch for both.  The buzz from our colleagues in Ireland is one of progress, respect and excitement from the two visits.  Take advantage of opportunistic moments as it pertains to marketing.  
  • Disruption - Be it the President shutting down the Dublin airport and delaying my Irish team from flying to Andover, or you making a disruptive sales or marketing statement, consider your messaging and consider the impact of authority and disruption to the norm.  The market reacts to this and it allows you to stand apart from the crowd.
  • Dress to Sell - If you are not sure of the casual nature of a sales or marketing event, you'll never go wrong in an Obama class suit and tie.  I was recently at the SiriusDecisions Summit in Scottsdale and although the crowd was predominantly in business casual attire, suits and ties for men and suits for women were not uncommon--especially for the sales types.  If you opt for a blazer, just make sure you have the best looking shirt/blazer combination in the room. Keep the golf shirts on the golf course. Even the ones with logos on them.
...and a snapshot for the photo album.  Linda and I in front of the Bank of Ireland in downtown Dublin, right where Obama spoke.


sales tips from ireland

Tags: branding, appointment setting, b2b appointment setting, target 250

The ROI of Conference Calls vs. Face to Face Meetings

Posted by Michael Damphousse

b2b appointment settingEver 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:  

Phone Meetings vs Face to Face ABC

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?

Tags: marketing, sales, demand gen, b2b marketing, appointment setting, sales2.0, b2b polls, introductory meetings, b2b math