Smashmouth B2B Blog: Sales & Marketing Demand Gen

HubSpot Signals Product Review "She just read the email" (from #Inbound13)

Posted by Michael Damphousse

Hubspot Signals Product Review FeaturesLast week at Inbound, HubSpot announced a new product, Signals.  In simple terms, Signals is a Chrome extension that tracks and notifies you when someone has activity on emails, LinkedIn, Salesforce and HubSpot.  You get an on-screen notification, as well as a summary list of activity that you can review.  In short, Signals is an app that lets you know when and how to engage your leads--timing, intelligence, and relevance.

Sales people now have actionable intelligence from the prospect.  Knowing that they have seen your email or they clicked through a link or they are reading your website is gold.  It also tells you one other fact...the prospect may be sitting at their desk, or at least not occupied with other activites.  It's time to call them.  If no response by phone, maybe email them again with a secondary email that you would logically have sent (ie: don't just respond saying "I know you are sitting there doing emails".

If you get them and have some intel such as a new LinkedIn update, or the knowledge that they read certain pages on your website, you can now open the discussion in a relevant way that the prospect will respect and resonate with. "Hi Brian, it's Mike from Green Leads.  I was hoping to speak with you about Appointment Setting." (knowing he just read three pages on my site relating to b2b appointment setting).

Brilliant work HubSpot!  Enhancing the Inbound experience for sales people.

Screenshot from HubSpot site:

hubspot signals product review

Notification summary (as of the date of this post):

Email

  • A contact opens your email 
  • A contact clicks a link you’ve enabled tracking for

LinkedIn (after you mark a contact as a VIP)

  • When a VIP changes their position
  • When a VIP posts an update 
  • When a VIP adds a new connection

Salesforce

  • When a contact becomes a new lead
  • When a contact opens an email sent through Salesforce

HubSpot

  • When a contact visits a page on your website

Note: The email open notification only works if the prospect has "display images" enabled.  If they do not show images in their emails, email open notification will not work.  Solve this issue, and the Gold Medal gets a Gold Ribbon with it.

Tags: sales, b2b, b2b sales, demand gen, outbound marketing, inbound marketing, b2b marketing, hubspot, product reviews, outbound calling

@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 mickey@mouse.com
  • 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

Social Surround - Social Selling Takeaway from SiriusDecisions #SDsummit

Posted by Michael Damphousse

Social Surround Selling Techniques resized 600

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

Tags: b2b, demand gen, outbound marketing, siriusdecisions, twitter, lead gen, tips, linkedin, facebook

Demand Generation Tactics You Actually Use

Posted by Michael Damphousse

There is a whole set of new, fun, exciting demand generation tactics happening right now. Some of the recent trends like content marketing and social are reaching new levels of sophistication. Video is the next wave and we know enough know to provide useful advice. B2B demand generation is fun again and there is a lot to learn and go test. Green Leads is sponsoring an online summit with the Funnelholic, Act-on Software, and Radius Intelligence to explore the latest and greatest things happening in b2b demand generation. We carefully chose speakers who would bring the latest techniques, talk about real results, provide tangible tips, and present at least one surprising idea, fact, or result. We want attendees to understand "how" along with the "why". Scott Albro, Matt Heinz, Koka Sexton, and Matt Childs headline the event.

Join in on the fun. Click attend on the landing page below and we will see you there!

 

Tags: b2b, demand gen, outbound marketing, inbound marketing, webinars

5 Things To Be Thankful For In B2B Lead Generation - Demand Gen Gravy

Posted by Michael Damphousse

b2b lead generation gravyTurkey and B2B Lead Generation?  What is the gravy that makes your demand gen programs sing?

Even companies such as Green Leads do our own lead gen.  Here's a quick list of what I'm thankful for this year as it pertains to b2b lead generation in hopes that you might find an idea or two that you could implement:

  1. Alumni - Our largest source of leads.  After 5 years of 2x plus growth year after year, the tribe is huge.  Nurture your alumni, don't just let them move on. Deliver quality service and stay in touch with your clients.  They will come back if you did a good job. LinkedIn is your tool. 
  2. Expand - In one day we acquired a company that overlapped 90% with Green Leads' offerings, delivered the market a one stop shop for Americas/EMEA b2b marketing, and doubled our size again.  We were able to expand many of their European clients to the US and many of our US clients to Europe. Look at your existing client base and ask "how can we expand?"
  3. Inbound - Yet again, our inbound leads consistently came in and our SEO was kept fresh by using HubSpot.  Our blog subscriber list doubled, and our rankings improved. The two key elements we find to a successful inbound program is content and social activity. Keep the visitors interacting and coming back and SEO will follow.  
  4. SiriusDecisions Summit - By far the best place to be if you are into b2b sales and marketing.  We sponsored both Scottsdale and London and in both cases walked away with tons of valuable information and new network contacts. Always be learning.
  5. Technology - No inside sales/outbound lead gen team should be without VoIP, Click to Dial, and some sort of power dialing system (we use 8x8, Skype, Salesforce CTI adapter and ConnectAndSell). Selling doesn't start until a conversation starts with the prospect. Do what you can to have more conversations.
What are you thankful for?  What filled your pipeline this year?

Tags: b2b, b2b sales, demand gen, outbound marketing, inbound marketing, b2b marketing, hubspot, SEO, inbound, linkedin, outbound, content

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

Inbound Marketing Gurus -- Where's All The Outbound Marketing Goodness?

Posted by Mike Damphousse

Outbound Marketing Advice

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's Inside 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's NetProspex 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's RainMakerBlog - 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:

Marketo's Modern B2B Sales Blog - Marketo, the marketing automation company, has several blogs, but its Modern B2B Sales blog hits the mark.

Constant Contact's Constant Commentary Blog - 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!

Photo Credit:  laughlin via Flickr

Tags: outbound marketing, inbound marketing, inside sales, appointment setting, netprospex, marketo

Outbound Marketing Efforts Fail, Now What?

Posted by Mike Damphousse

OutboundIn a perfect world, all of our marketing efforts work exactly to plan, don't they? 

Unfortunately, our world isn't perfect, and as great as our plans may seem at the beginning, sometimes they're going to fail.  Sometimes, they're going to fail miserably.  But, much like a rising star in the boxing circuit, the victory comes not from how many times you get knocked down, but rather, how many times you can get back up.  So in that regard, what do you do when your outbound marketing efforts fall flat?

Evaluate

First of all, evaluate the current plan.  A pretty simple step, but sometimes one that gets overlooked because of the severity of a failed marketing plan.  In a race to fix the problem (especially if it's a big one) we can neglect the evaluation process: 

  • Did you target the wrong audience with the "right" message?
  • Did you target the right audience, period?
  • Did you take the time to put your buyer personas together?  
  • Did the list you marketed to contain data that, at the outset, should have been cleansed?  
  • Was the content or offer valuable to the prospects?"
  • Were the calls to action clear?  Were there calls to action at all?
  • Was the implementation team spread too thin?
  • Was it the right team for the job?

Measure and Review KPIs

There really isn't time to overlook details.  Hopefully, you'd determined the metrics that you'd hope to hit and have measured and evaluated them.  No stone is to be left unturned.  When you think you've asked all the questions, it's time to go back and ask some more.

Regroup, Replan and Share, Share Alike

The plan may not be worthy of a total re-write, but make adjustments.  Realize that you cannot do everything yourself. Mike Volpe, VP of Inbound Marketing at HubSpot, shares that, "...all of [HubSpot's] implementation and support consultants also sit among sales and marketing, so we have sales, marketing and post-sales all together, helping to build even more cross-functional communication."  HubSpot shares ideas and accepts input from others so that they can build a better all-around offering. 

Augment with Experts

Don't be afraid to look outside of your own organization.  If you have a new product launch or new sales reps being added to your team, you may need assistance.  Use these opportunities to work with good outsourced vendors.  They aren't specialists at lead gen and appointment setting just because they stumbled upon it -- they have a playbook that works and they are experts at what they do.  Take advantage of it.

Execute

Lastly, it's time to execute the modified plan.  Having spent time evaluating what went wrong with your original campaign, regrouping and replanning, now you're ready to try again.  Be confident in your new plan. If you're not, how can you expect anyone else to be!?

What do you do to ensure success in your marketing efforts?

Photo Credit:  Chris Devers via Flickr

Tags: marketing, outbound marketing, b2b marketing, hubspot

B2B Appointment Setting Teams and How to Get the Most From Them

Posted by Mike Damphousse

Appointment TimeAppointment Setting is a part of demand generation that is done through vendors that specialize in the task, or by inside sales teams that add it to their roster of tasks.  Building a performing team of appointment setters, as a business or a function of inside sales, requires best practices, tips and tricks -- and most of all -- discipline. 

I get asked the following question a lot when I’m on the road, be it from clients or prospects or from folks I’m chatting with during industry networking events:

“How do you get the most out of your appointment setting team?”

That's the $64,000 question.  Getting the most from appointment setters is always something that’s at the forefront of our minds -- especially when maintaining both quality and quantity in the results. The minute you stop thinking about driving performance is the minute production and quality drops, and a minute lost is a minute you'll never get back. 

There are several ways that you can keep your B2B appointment setting team cranking and happy, too.  If your team is happy, they’re going to be executing at a higher level.

Incent Them Strategically - If you want to get the most out of your appointment setting team, you’ve got to incent them to achieve the right goals.  If the most important measure is to have meetings with a positive outcome (read: logical next step in the sales process), then doesn’t it make sense that your appointment setting team is compensated on the quality of meetings rather than dials, pitches and meeting count? Old school call center tactics work, but need adjustments.  We're not selling new paper subscriptions here.

SPIFF Them Periodically - Everybody loves competition, fun and reward, and a SPIFF is a great way to way bring it.  If your team is chugging along but you’re looking for something to push performance or direct it in a certain direction, a SPIFF is a great tool.  Do you know what your reps hold dear.  Is it cash?  Is it time off?  Is it gift cards?  Is it ego?  Whatever it is, surprising them with a contest is a great way to up the team’s production and incent teamwork.

Provide Them With Sales 2.0 Tools - Don't just help your team, implement Sales 2.0 tools and techniques and make your whole organization more agile.  Run a training class on LinkedIn tips and tricks.  If your average appointment setter is taking 100-120 dials to get an appointment, why not demonstrate techniques that can shorten those cycles and provide better quality in the process?  Add click-to-dial software for your CRM, Jigsaw and NetProspex subscriptions, or social media tools for prospecting purposes, and you’re all set.

Give Them Freedom to Work - I've seen this job done a hundred different ways.  Provide freedom of technique.  If someone is better starting the task with research and others are better as hard core dialers, accommodate them.  Maintain best practices, but give your team the freedom to work in their comfort zone.  Find ways to measure them that takes into account "their personal best practices".

Provide Them With Support - Don't just give them a pitch and a phone.  Back up your appointment setters with resources and staff.  Help them with things like list-building, email creations, scripting, etc.  If your reps can spend less time on support tasks, that leaves more time for production.  Simple as that. 

Ultimately, what you want to do is get the most from your B2B appointment setters, and these are some of the ways we do that for our clients and ourselves.  How do you push your team to greater achievements?

Photo Credit:  ianturton via Flickr

Tags: b2b, b2b sales, outbound marketing, greenleads, lead gen, appointment setting, sales2.0, outbound, meetings

Sales 2.0 Tips: Discussing Outbound Marketing Stats (Video)

Posted by Michael Damphousse

describe the imageLast 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:

Tags: b2b sales, outbound marketing, inside sales, cold calling, b2b marketing, appointment setting, sales2.0, demand gen data