Smashmouth B2B Blog: Sales & Marketing Demand Gen

Lead Gen Companies Should Not Dictate Your Pace

Posted by Michael Damphousse

Demand Gen ExpertsOn a recent sales call, the prospect told me he is working with a pay-for- performance appointment setting company like Green Leads.  The difference, and the reason for the call, is that he wants more meetings per month, but the other vendor is "dictating the pace" at which he gets them.  Was I dreaming?  Did I hear that right?  

If you are paying for performance after the meeting takes place, isn't the vendor incentivized to deliver the exact number of meetings you ask for?  Frankly, by not delivering the requested run rate of appointments, the vendor is (a) disappointing the client and (b) leaving money on the table. 

Whether you have an internal team or an external team, whether it is pay for performance or retainer based, here are a couple of lead gen tips for you:

  • You -- the demand gen specialist -- should dictate the production you are seeking. 
  • Establish and manage to a Service Level Agreement (SLA).  If you want 20 meetings a month, then you should get 20 meetings a month.  Vice versa, if you are to supply inbound leads or lists, you deliver, too. 
  • Vendors, as well as inside teams, are all about headcount, and that is what they are juggling -- production per person.  That's their problem, not yours.
  • Understand why you are not receiving your request.  Is there a skill issue? A headcount problem? A list issue? Reschedule/cancel rates? Messaging?  You may not own their issue, but you can understand it and help solve it.
  • If you don't get what you want, make changes.  It can be as drastic as replacing a vendor or laying off some deadwood, but don't live with mediocrity.  You own the budget and are measured on your results.

Tags: b2b, b2b sales, demand gen, inside sales, b2b marketing, lead gen, appointment setting, tips, Quality vs Quantity, introductory meetings, meetings

Marketing Strategy of Going Negative -- Does Mudslinging Pay Off?

Posted by Michael Damphousse

Marketing StrategyWitnessing the recent Scott Brown senatorial campaign in Massachussetts caused me to question the value of mudslinging -- I'm sure Coakley's staff is analyzing the same. 

A week after the election, the topic surfaced again after reading a recent article on HubSpot's blog, Are You Unwittingly Making This Disastrous Sales Mistake?, focused on turning a bland, salesy voicemail into a compelling voicemail.  Guest authored by Jill Konrath, who wrote the book Selling to Big Companies, it suggested language for more effective voice messages. And it sparked a controversial thread of blog comments led by Luke Brown, who signs his comment posts "Sales Pro", but the comments soon turned to mudslinging.

Let's analyze the marketing value.  Negative blog posts/comments that create controversy also create traffic.  Marketers love traffic.  So is the strategy of going negative worth the traffic it generates? 

Most controversy revolves around intelligent debate, but occasionally it slips (degenerates?) into ranting.  The former can be valuable, the latter ... just plain damaging.

  • Debate (for or against) = Traffic and Branding
  • Ranting (illogical, slanderous, or otherwise) = Traffic with Negative Branding

Tips to take advantage of a controversy:

  • Keep the controversy at the debate level
  • Don't get personal
  • Back up your statements
  • Take a stand on the issue, not a stand on the others in the discussion
  • Write a blog article that expands your thoughts on the debate, and post a link to it on the original site that started the debate (take some of the traffic)

The controversy that sparked this article had turned into a one-sided war from Luke, who wrote a scathing blog post on the topic and offered a $10k A-B challenge to Jill.  He even posted a negative Amazon review on her book and posed a question about voicemails on LinkedIn that assaulted her anew (then pulled it off after a few days.)  I'm sure his site traffic was up (I visited several times to try to find value), but I'm also sure his negative branding offset the traffic.

Healthy debate draws interest and showcases your thinking abilities. What about a personal crusade over a difference of opinion? Would you do business or hang out with a mud-slinger?