Despite my whimsical title for this blog article (little link-baiting), the eBook is full of industry expert's takes on today's sales and marketing's demand gen and selling flow -- the path from universe to prospect to client. I took a different approach to the discussion, and came up with the concept of a Demand Gen Cloud:
With the advent of Social, Sales and Marketing 2.0 techniques and tools, optimized Inbound Marketing strategies, and a much more sophisticated buyer, the days of a funnel are gone.
Buyers put themselves in the funnel where they want to be. They jump around. The influence of content and word of mouth jumps them from side to side to back and down again.
The demand gen funnel is now in the cloud. As marketers, we must constantly measure the status of the cloud and make adjustments. Combine strategies and tactics in order to maximize our results.
Harness the chaos to our advantage. Control the Demand Gen Cloud.
Get the eBook and read what these other experts had to say about Pipelines and Funnels:
As many of you would expect, Green Leads consumes prospect lists at a rate that far exceeds most outbound marketing efforts. With over 30 clients running their appointment setting programs through us, having volumes of accurate contact names is essential to our business. As a result, we've got licenses with Jigsaw, OneSource and NetProspex, and we use LinkedIn and other contact discovery services. We love them all and use them all in parallel.
NetProspex recently shined when we heard about the new addition to their service. Users can search on meta-data of specific attributes at companies such as what software system their organization is using, for instance Salesforce.com, NetSuite or Oracle.
This is such a HUGE addition to the world of data services. I asked NetProspex what the future is for additional attribute data like this.
"We've always been a big proponent of metadata. NetProspex has the most job title meta-data in the industry so that instead of only being able to target broad categories like 'Marketing,' you can get really granular and target specific job categories like 'Advertising' or 'Product Management.' We are also investing heavily in social media and our future plans have it front and center. We launched SocialStep -- the first social media prospecting and appending service earlier this year. The interest level -- from customers, the media and even the general public -- has been greater than for any product we've ever launched," shared Mark Feldman, COO of NetProspex.
General NetProspex highlights:
In-house data verification ensures high accuracy
Customizable list-building tools where users can manage multiple projects and list variations
Job title search that is based on more than department and keywords -- there are 100+ functions to help you zero in on the specific function you are looking for. See the breakdown to the right just for Marketing contacts. This is much more granular than the competition.
Pricing is similar to the other services. You can trade contacts for credit, or purchase credits, and there are corporate licenses available.
Smashmouth Rating: Thumbs Up!
What features, tips and best practices can you share?
Last month was the Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston (my comments here). I connected with friends and colleagues with similar desires to increase sales and marketing production with no holds barred.
I had the opportunity in Boston to present on the topic of Increasing Productivity Without Increasing Headcount and then participating on a panel discussion on the topic. (video below)
Since my attendance at the first Sales 2.0 Conference, I had discussed with Gerhard that the topics of sales and marketing in a 2.0 world just can't be discussed separately. So the highlight of my day was when he closed the session by announcing that the next "Sales 2.0 Conference" will be known as the "Sales and Marketing 2.0 Conference".
Thanks to ConnectAndSell for inviting me to speak. Video of my presentation:
I started penning this piece about summer last week when AG Salesworks published a great article touching on some of the tactical issues of lead gen in the summer. It got me thinking that there must be some research to support a fact Green Leads is confident about: rather than slowing during the summer, lead generation activities actually heat up.
For the most part, it's popular opinion that it’s harder to sell during the summer. It makes some sense, right? We tend to think of this as a lazy season, one filled with family barbecues, homemade iced tea and hours spent lounging in a hammock.
Sounds good? Fewer people working, right?
That’s not necessarily the case. According to Gretchen Weber, a freelance writer for workforce.com, people are taking less time off. Regardless of the amount of time off we’re given, or earn, Americans are using less of it. We may think that because summer is so low-key it’s a good time for us to regroup from the rush of Q1 and to gear up for a big year-end. Not so, my friends. The implication for those of us in the B2B lead generation business is crystal clear: DO NOT SLOW DOWN.
Here are three reasons why you should not slow down your demand generation efforts this (or any) summer:
People are more likely in the office - Just as the article from Weber pointed out, people are using less and less of their time off. Use that knowledge to engage in your demand gen efforts with great enthusiasm. Because we’re utilizing less of our vacation time, there is a greater likelihood that we’re going to catch people at their desks, whether we’re emailing them or calling them. Don’t assume that they’re not there; you know what your middle school teacher taught you about “assuming,” right? If our prospects are in the office more, so we should be.
Schedules are less hectic - Though the summer typically offers no relief from the heat, it does tend to free up people’s schedules. For us, this means that people are more likely to be responsive to appointment setting. That brief break from a busy schedule affords us the opportunity to schedule a time to talk with decision makers and influencers. If we’re really using fewer vacation days, it stands to reason that we’re not all too comfortable with an “open” calendar. Use that to your advantage and get yourself time in front of your top prospects.
Five years of data proving otherwise - When all else fails to convert the non-believers, pull out data. At Green Leads, we’ve got five years' worth of data that proves to us that the summer months, specifically July and August, are better than September for setting appointments for our clients. Yet every year, clients want to slow down for the summer and turn back on in September. It's counterintuitive, but the summer is prime time. Lead gen is about pipeline too, and working hard during the summer sets up the fall for success as well.
What do you think? Is summer a time for relaxing or maximizing your Demand Gen efforts?
Most sales people today have found that using LinkedIn as a research tool to identify specific prospects has been a fantastic way to find the needle in a haystack of potential leads. However, LinkedIn doesn't always show you all the names of the individuals your search produces:
So how do you find this specific person's name? Just three more clicks according to Green Leads' BDR Mira.
Click on the Title, which brings up the full profile.
Remember the Title, and look to the right where it says Viewers of this profile also viewed... Once there, find a contact with a similar title/company -- In this case, Gerardo (hard to see).
Now while remembering the title/company of the prospect you want "Research Engineer Intern at VW Electronics Research Lab", click on the name of the person with the most similar title/company that we found above, Gerardo.
Up pops Gerardo's profile, now look to the right again, and find a contact with a similar title/company to Gerardo in the "also viewed" section -- this is most likely your prospect. So Tanya, expect my call.
If you have any LinkedIn tips, or Lead Gen Tips in general, please share them.
Just a quick note to everyone who might be spending the next few weeks planning for the new year. Don't take your eye off the ball. January, along with June and October, are the biggest Demand Gen months for Green Leads, and it may be for you as well.
What was the most suprising month? December - we set an all time record for weekly production in the first two weeks of December. So much for those clients that ask us to put programs on hold between Thanksgiving and New Years...lots of missed opportunity for them. The last two weeks do taper off, but December still came in 6th for the year.
How many business cards do you have laying around in one of the current states?
1. On your desktop in a pile 2. Wrapped in a rubber band 3. In a ziplock bag 4. Distributed in the inside pockets of four blazers 5. In the bottom of your computer bag
If you answer is more than 10 cards, then you have leads laying around that are going untapped.
Green Leads has just introduced a new complementary service where the sales reps we support from our appointment setting clients can have up to 100 business cards a month entered into a spreadsheet for free. All they have to do is send them to us. A week later, they get a spreadsheet with all the data -- perfect for importing into Outlook, Salesforce.com or other CRM systems.
Send business cards to Green Leads, wait a week
Leads are returned in spreadsheet format
Leads can be imported into Outlook, LinkedIn, Salesforce or other CRM or Marketing Automation systems
Business cards are returned or recycled
To celebrate all the networking, business card exchanges and great relationship building that will happen at Dreamforce this week, Green Leads is offering a limited version of the service to non-clients for FREE. Send us up to 100 of your Dreamforce business cards and we'll send them back to you in a spreadsheet. The only catch ... you subscribe to our B2B Blog: Smashmouth Sales & Marketing.
There were days in my lead gen life where I could have easily left for lunch and not come back for four hours. MIT data shows that that might have been a good idea!
Gerhard Gschwandtner of Selling Power just highlighted last year's MIT / InsideSales.com study of outbound prospecting lead conversion. The report details such information as the right time of day to call, the best day of the week, how the response time to a lead impacts conversion, etc.
It got me thinking. For many reps, unless territory comes into play, lead gen exists in a three-time-zone map. For years we've been able to sort our lists by time zone, but what if we could tune it even further and optimize the effectiveness our day using the MIT stats?
Layer the times together and stagger them for time zone. Due to the East coast and West coast being predominant in our targeting, we tend to call 40% ET, 40% PT, and 20% CT/MT, so to simplify the discussion, I've just shown ET and PT. The timeline at the bottom is on Eastern time.
The chart shows that to maximize their production, East Coach-based reps targeting both coasts during the prime times for each time zone and assuming an 8-hour day, should be working from:
Target East Coast 8 am - 10 am
Target West Coast 11 am - 1 pm
Target East Coast 4 pm - 6 pm
Target West Coast 6 pm - 8 pm
For strategic planning purposes, this justifies bi-coastal teams. It also suggests a shift in activity during the day. Make the prime times the power-dial sessions, and make the lulls the time where research and other non-dialing activity is completed.
So the next time you run late returning from lunch, show this report to your boss and keep dialing.
When we're selling our outbound marketing demand gen solutions, we get asked all the time, where can I find inexpensive b2b sales leads? We obviously try to sell up to our high level appointment setting service, but not all companies are ready for that. So below is a collection of data sources we've used in our lead generation work.
It's not a complete list, by any means, so if you have found other sources or want to submit some, please COMMENT below. We are always looking for quality lists...it is the fuel that keeps our business going.
Online Data Suppliers: Typically an annual subscription basis. Although, see Jigsaw, below. Italics are their own company description, following that is my comment.
Jigsaw - is a leading provider of business information and data services that uniquely leverages user-generated content contributed by its global business-to-business community of 900,000 members. Jigsaw gives individuals and companies access to contact information for 15 million business people and profiles of 2.6 million companies.
By far the best value on the market for the quality you receive. Contacts are fairly recent, most have direct dials and emails. Check out their great list building tools. Jigsaw is the exception in that they do offer annual unlimited subscriptions (highly recommended by Smashmouth), they also allow you to swap contacts and to purchase them individually.
OneSource - OneSource, an infoUSA company, delivers prospect and business intelligence information on millions of companies and executives worldwide -- optimizing clients' sales and marketing efforts and assisting with business-to-business research activities.
Very broad coverage. If you are after Owners, C/VP level contacts, it is heavy with this data. A bit shy on the practitioner level (Dir and below). Search and sort criteria are very comprehensive. Lots of data on the research side.
iProfile - The pioneer in IT profiling since 1993 and now the global leader, iProfile provides high-tech company sales and marketing organizations the business intelligence they need to create demand, qualify accounts, penetrate new accounts, and accelerate sales.
If it's Fortune 2000 type companies you want and you target technology buyers, there is no other source. Org charts, direct dials and emails. Extensive research. Fabulous service, but on the pricey side.
Input - INPUT is the authority on government business. Established in 1974, INPUT helps companies develop federal, state, and local government business and helps public sector organizations achieve their objectives.
If you target federal, state and local government, there is no other source of research and data.
Hoovers, infoUSA and others - Just not into them. We've never found the value.
ps. Don't forget to leave a COMMENT (especially if you know European sources)