Archive for the ‘Lead Qualification’ Category
Brian Carroll

Universal Lead Definition: Why 61% of B2B marketers are wasting resources and how they can stop

April 16th, 2012

Confession: I wish I could flash this across every marketer’s computer screen the moment it powered up:

A universal lead definition (ULD) clarifies what a lead is to everyone in your organization. It also:

  • Fits the profile of your ideal customer
  • Has been qualified as sales-ready
  • Spells out the responsibilities and accountabilities of Sales and Marketing
  • Makes Marketing and Sales more efficient

Still, most of the companies I meet with do not have a ULD. An astounding 61% of B2B marketers admit to sending “leads” directly to Sales without qualification, according to the MarketingSherpa 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report.

Are these truly leads? Not really. Anyone who expresses interest in what you sell is an inquiry, not a lead. Experience has taught me that only 5% to 15% of inquiries are ready to speak to Sales. However, as many as 80% of inquiries will be ready to speak with Sales in the future. If you send leads too soon, Sales will discard them, so you must nurture them until they fit your ULD.

What does a universal lead definition look like?

A ULD doesn’t need to be complex. Here’s an example from one of our past research partners, an $80 billion IT management organization.

An inquiry becomes a lead when it:

  • Fits the target customer profile (industry, revenue, number of employees, etc.)
  • Has interest from a decision maker
  • Needs what the company sells
  • Plans to evaluate the solution in three months or less
  • Plans to make a purchase decision in six months or less
  • Is ready to speak with a sales rep within two weeks

Setting and using this definition brought a 375% increase in sales-ready leads without an increase in spending. It also helped the sales and marketing teams solve problems such as:

  • Leads not being qualified or prioritized
  • Leads not being nurtured
  • Sales rejecting leads
  • No accountability or handoff

The definition could be applied to every lead regardless of where it came from — whether teleprospecting, inbound marketing, webinars or elsewhere. It set the standard for determining which leads should receive the highest priority and brought efficiency to the sales process.

How to create a universal lead definition

So now that you know what a ULD looks like, here’s how you create one:

  1. Bring Sales and Marketing together for a meeting with a leader/facilitator whom both groups respect. The premise is that you’re in this together.
  2. Asks Sales this key question: “For us to be 100% certain that when we send you a lead, you will act on it and provide feedback 100% of the time, what do you need to know? At what point do you consider a lead qualified?”
  3. Listen to what Sales has to say and don’t interrupt. Every salesperson must participate.
  4. Clarify and continue. Write a summary of your meeting, including your initial definition, and have another one to clarify what was said. Make sure everyone is satisfied — strong consensus is critical.
  5. Publish the ULD everywhere so people who are involved with lead generation are constantly aware of their target.
  6. Close the loop with huddles — face-to-face or voice-to-voice meetings. Don’t count on software to close the loop for you. Sales and Marketing should meet biweekly to ensure the lead definition is still accurate. Ask questions like, “Was X a lead? Did they enter the sales process? Why or why not? What else would you like to have known about this lead? What else can we improve? What should we stop doing? What should we start doing?”

It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to heed my warning, but I promise you, the rewards of doing so — more pipeline, sales, success and better ROI — will make it more than worthwhile.

Related Resources:

Lead Generation Check list – Part 4: Clear and Universal Lead Definition

5 dials to tune in your lead generation process

Why the Term “Marketing-Qualified Lead” Creates Serious Confusion – Part 2

Fostering Sales-Marketing Alignment: A 5-Step Lead Management Process

Webinar Replay: 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report Reveals How Marketers Can Transform Mounting Pressure, Challenges into Revenue

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Lead Qualification , , , ,

Pamela Jesseau

Nine Simple Tactics to Drive a Higher Return on Trade Show Investment

January 15th, 2012

In his most recent post, Dave Green pointed out how marketers invest most of their budget on trade shows even though it ranks fourth in effectiveness. He went on to explain how to get a better return on your trade-show investment through lead scoring.

Now I’m going to share nine tactics that will drive those lead scores – and your ROI – even higher:

Do thorough research. Find out which attendees fit your Universal Lead Definition. If you have access to the registration list, analyze it. Look up registrants on LinkedIn. Develop a list of targets you want to seek out during the event. Research the sponsors, too. They should all be on the event website. There may be ways to join forces with them to reach your audience.

Leverage social media before, during and after the event. Connect with attendees and build your profile before the event through your blog and updates on Twitter and LinkedIn. Tweet relevant content during the event. Invite customer feedback afterward. There’s so much more than can be addressed in this post, so I advise looking online for more great ideas.

Creatively partner with event organizers. If you’re holding an educational or social event, brainstorm with them to see how they can help you attract more and better attendees. This could be everything from sending pre-event emails to including information in registration packages. Negotiate support before signing contracts to minimize costs and maximize opportunity.

Get involved with the event. Don’t just be a statue at a booth. Try to attend a few sessions, switch off with your team members to sit with attendees at lunch and engage on a personal level. It will help you build relationships and you will be able to strike up more relevant conversations if you just sat through the same keynote. Best of all, the conference will be more fun and you’ll learn a lot more.

Provide value, not trinkets. People attend events to gain knowledge and share it with their teams. Time is always tight as they try to take care of work back at the office while absorbing as much information as they can. That’s why you must always think about what’s in it for them to engage with your brand. Provide what they really can use: resources to drive their business to the next level – whether that’s a strategic piece of content, a tool or an opportunity to network with their peers.

Focus only on those who have expressed genuine interest. Trade shows often reward people if they visit as many booths as possible. At too many events, I’ve witnessed sales professionals requiring attendees to sit through a 10-minute presentation to “prove” they’ve visited the booth, when the attendees clearly don’t care about their product.

Are they interested? Take note. At minimum, jot your name and notes about their issues on their business card, and assign one person to collect and enter information into your database for follow up. Include the solution they’re interested in, the issue they’re trying to resolve, other contacts they’ve had with your organization, and any qualitative intel that will help the person following up – such as “launching a new website in Q2” or “unhappy with solution X.”

Promptly and professionally follow up. Before the event even begins, be ready to follow up. Prepare a brief, customizable email template to send out immediately afterward. It can come directly from the sales professional who spoke with the prospect, or it could reference the conversation and any key information you were able to capture. If the prospect doesn’t respond, follow up with a thoughtfully scripted phone call where you position yourself as a resource they can turn to when they are ready to talk. Don’t stalk and don’t be pushy, but do be responsive and close the loop. And be absolutely sure that only one person is doing the follow up. (This is why it’s critical to work from a single database.)

Track and measure the results. After the follow-up emails have been sent and calls have been made, note how many are still in your marketing and sales funnels, and how many deals closed. Monitor this throughout the year to determine whether the trade show is worth investing in the next time.

Do you have additional ideas on how to make the most of your tradeshow investments? I’d love to hear about them. Share them in the comments below.

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Event Marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Management, Lead Nurturing, Lead Qualification, ROI Measurement, Sales Leads, Social Media

J. David Green

How to Use Lead Scoring to Drive the Highest Return on Your Trade-Show Investment

December 29th, 2011

In the 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, 1,745 marketing organizations revealed that trade shows took up the biggest chunk of their marketing budget – over 21%. Yet, they only ranked fourth in marketing effectiveness, under websites, SEOs, and emails.

I suspect that part of the ROI problem may be due to improper prioritization. Smart marketers apply some type of lead scoring to leads generated from website, SEO, and email initiatives. They need to do the same with trade shows. I recommend ranking trade show leads using the point-system outlined below – the higher the ranking, the hotter the lead.

1. Trade-show registration lists. While useful to build your marketing database for lead nurturing, a trade-show registration list is the least-qualified lead source because some aren’t remotely interested in your solution. In fact, they may not have attended the trade show at all. If the trade show closely aligns with one of your solution offerings, then the quality of these kinds of leads will be better. The more broad based the trade-show appeal, the less aligned it will be with your product/service categories and target market, so the conversion rate will be lower.

2. Those who attend a widely publicized trade-show social event sponsored by your organization. Obviously, such events give you time to engage prospects and customers in a more relaxed atmosphere. At times, however, these social events are so large that many of those in attendance never speak to anyone from your team. If that’s the case, the overall conversion rate of attendees is unlikely to be very high. Still, there’s an indication of awareness and interest in your company.

3. Booth visitors. Make sure their reasons for stopping by aren’t for merely collecting a tchotchke or fulfilling a requirement to win a prize.

4. Those who attend a special public event. Often, marketers will create an event within their booth in which someone presents to a small group. There’s typically one-way communication, not a conversation. Depending on the nature of the presentation, this indicates a relatively early stage in the buying cycle. The buyer enjoys a level of anonymity while gathering information to determine whether the solution warrants a conversation. These attendees generally have a deeper level of engagement than someone who stops by your booth to window shop.

5. Those who attend a learning event. These events can be executive roundtables or seminars held during the trade show. You can specifically target the audience and their attendance indicates significant interest.

6. Those who interact with a team member. This group is obviously more qualified than a booth visitor. The challenge is capturing this information. One way is with radio-frequency identification which tracks visitors’ movement. It can tell who stopped by, where they specifically stopped and for how long.

7. Those who attend a one-on-one meeting. Trade shows can be great places to meet individually with key decision makers in target accounts.

This type of trade-show lead scoring can supplement your larger lead-scoring model that includes information like the title, industry and organization size, or the number of responses from the prospect’s company over time.

Most importantly, it can help you determine, as you sort through the massive amounts of leads that trade shows generate, who is most worthy of your attention.

Image: AAPEX Shows

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Event Marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Management, Lead Qualification, Lead Scoring, Sales Leads

J. David Green

Why the Term “Marketing-Qualified Lead” Creates Serious Confusion – Part 2

November 23rd, 2011

In my post earlier this week, I outlined the challenge presented by SiriusDecisions’ Demand Waterfall taxonomy, specifically with the phrase “Marketing-Qualified Leads” (MQLs). Another problematic phrase is “sales-accepted leads.”

Often, funnels leak the most during the handoff between sales and marketing. Invariably, marketing blames sales and sales blames marketing. A lack of clarity around the term “sales-accepted lead” is the real culprit.

Marketing doesn’t need sales to “accept” the leads. Marketing needs sales to confirm whether the lead met the Universal Lead Definition that was agreed to between sales and marketing. This is a yes/no answer. Sales people should be able to tell on the first sales call, whether by phone or in person, if the lead met the criteria they set with marketing. If the lead didn’t meet the criteria, then marketing needs to know why. There are usually just a handful of reasons.

Such feedback need not wait until the lead is converted to an opportunity weeks or maybe months later. Instead, marketing can take immediate actions to improve lead-qualification practices. And sales leadership can identify sales people who do not understand the agreed-upon criteria, which can lead to an improvement in the Universal Lead Definition.

That’s why I like the phrase “sales-validated leads.” That’s what sales should be doing: validating whether the lead is really a lead, per the definition agreed to by sales and marketing. For most marketing organizations, this small change in funnel focus can make a huge difference in plugging funnel leaks.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments. At MECLABS, we don’t want to “own” the funnel taxonomy. We want to create a new, universal language that is useful for everyone and share our knowledge freely. That objective is best accomplished through a community effort via social media. So please, share this post with other funnel mavens and share your opinion. Together, we can create a new, more useful set of funnel definitions.

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Lead Generation, Lead Qualification, Marketing Strategy, Sales Leads, Thought Leadership

J. David Green

Why the Term “Marketing-Qualified Lead” Creates Serious Confusion – Part I

November 21st, 2011

SiriusDecisions made a brilliant contribution to B2B marketing several years ago when they created their Demand Waterfall. That “waterfall” is a metaphor for key funnel stages. It seems like everyone I talk to who works in the technology industry, which is an early adopter of marketing innovations, uses the Demand Waterfall framework. The concept is useful for any B2B industry with complex sales.

Part of the beauty of the demand waterfall vernacular is that it added descriptive language to the word “lead.” All too often, sales and marketing have very different definitions of what a “lead” is. With its Demand Waterfall, SiriusDecisions created a common language between sales and marketing by labeling key funnel stages. By benchmarking industry funnel conversion rates, SiriusDecisions provided B2B marketers with a powerful framework for evaluating their own conversion rates from one funnel stage to the next, identifying funnel leakage and best practices, and forecasting results.

The problem with the SiriusDecisions model is one of language. 

 What Does “Marketing-Qualified Lead” Mean to You?

To apply benchmarks to funnel stages, you need an apples-to-apples comparison. The problem is that “marketing-qualified leads” has two distinct meanings. For some marketers, “marketing-qualified” includes telequalification. For others, it doesn’t. In fact, the same marketer might very well route some leads to a telequalification function and other smaller, transactional leads directly to sales. This problem is further compounded because, as revealed in the 2012 B2B Benchmark Report, sometimes sales owns the teleprospecting function and sometimes marketing does.

Obviously, filtering leads through a telequalification process greatly reduces the number of marketing-qualified leads and improves the downstream conversion rates. So what are you really benchmarking? 

That’s why I break “marketing-qualified leads” into two funnel stages: “phone-ready leads” and “sales-ready leads.” 

  • Phone-Ready Lead:  Marketing has done whatever it can to suppress duplicates and enhance, score and nurture the lead until the lead is ready for a phone call – that call may come from an inside sales rep or a telequalification professional. 
  • Sales-Ready Lead:  The lead has been qualified via a phone conversation. In such cases, the teleprospecting rep has typically confirmed that the person participates in the decision process, has a relevant pain, and wants to talk to a sales person.  In short, the lead is ready for sales engagement.

Lack of clarity around funnel stages will lead to misunderstanding, muddled benchmarks, funnel leakage, and the adoption of sub-optimal practices. Do you think the terms “phone-ready” and “sales-ready lead” are an improvement?  Do you have a suggestion for more precise language? I welcome your feedback and will share additional thoughts in future posts on a new funnel paradigm for the complex sale.

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Lead Management, Lead Qualification, Marketing Strategy, Sales, Thought Leadership

Brandon Stamschror

Do You Expect Your Inside Sales Team to Practice Alchemy?

August 15th, 2011

Too many marketers think that their inside sales teams are alchemists. They dump data that’s absolute garbage into the top of the sales funnel and expect sales lead gold to come out the other side.

This came to mind when my teleprospecting team was struggling with one of our lead-generation clients.

They had promised us a “high-quality list” from their database: tens of thousands of names of c-suite executives who were in their target-market sweet spot.

The reality: nearly half the contacts had disconnected phone numbers and another 30 percent definitely wasn’t in the target market for this particular product. Think fast food joints and mom-and-pop businesses. The remaining contacts had missing or inaccurate information. My team spent at least 80 percent of their time doing research and investigation to make the list usable so they could do what they were actually hired to do – generate leads.

Unless you want your inside sales professionals to be mere data entry clerks, test your lists! It takes about 30 hours of calling to attain a fairly accurate understanding of list quality by answering these questions:

  • Is there duplicate data?
  • Is the information current and complete?
  • Are the contacts truly in your product’s target market?

If more than 1 out of 20 contacts fail this test, I advise cleaning this list before you pass it along to a lead-generation team. Unless, of course, you don’t mind your team spending their time tracking down and entering data instead of generating leads.

Here’s the crux: you may think you have this awesome, robust database, but only a small segment of it may actually be the customer you want to reach. Unless you’re constantly updating your lists, too much of the data is likely old and unusable.

Your team may, indeed, be alchemists, and generate impressive numbers of leads regardless of the garbage you’re giving them. My team did. They ended up giving the client with the horrifically bad list an 800 percent return on investment, but not without a lot of extra work and stress. I can’t help but think how much higher their ROI would have been if we were given a better list. Think about what your teams could achieve, too.

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B2B Telemarketing, Human Touch, Inside Sales, Lead Generation, Lead Management, Lead Qualification

Andrea Johnson

Webinar Replay: Research from Harvard, MIT Pinpoints Hard Lead Conversion Lessons with Easy Solutions

July 25th, 2011

Since 2007, has been partnering with leading academic institutions to analyze data gathered from two billion communications with 80 million customer profiles. During Tuesday’s B2B Lead Roundtable webinar, Dave Elkington, Chairman and CEO of, shared the juiciest statistics and trends from these analyses to help B2B marketers optimize inbound lead contact, qualification and close rates. Here’s a taste of what he presented:

• 78 percent of sales goes to the company that responds first
• An average of 43 percent of companies never respond to inbound leads
• Most sales professionals give up trying to reach a lead after an average of 1.29 attempts, but 61 percent of leads go into the pipeline after the second call.
• If you set an appointment, expect a 20 to 45 percent no-show rate. Decrease no-shows by 20 percent by using Google or Outlook calendar invitations.

Not a minute passes in this webinar without Dave presenting some type of data you can use to speed leads into your sales pipeline. If you’re serious about driving the highest ROI from your inbound marketing investment, be sure to watch the video replay below.

View and download slides via SlideShare.

Want to jump ahead to key points fast? Review these timestamps.

2:20 – Dave outlines the history of InsideSales and why organizations like MIT, Harvard and Stanford are eager to partner with them.

7:00 – There is a revolution in sales, says Dave. In 2009, there were 800,000 inside sales departments. In 2013, there will be 2.3 million. Meanwhile, outside sales will have flat growth. Venture capital firms want companies in their portfolios to have inside sales departments, so much so that they’ll recruit, train and transplant inside sales teams into their portfolio companies.

9:33 – When does a web lead cold go? Immediately! Contact rates decrease 100 times if you wait 30 minutes, as opposed to five minutes, to call back. If you think your company is good at responding, think again, says Dave. has conducted more than 5,000 audits for leading companies, and the average response time is 44 hours! An average of 43 percent didn’t respond at all.

13:15 – 78 percent of sales goes to the company that responds first – not to the company with the best or cheapest product.

14:00 – Sales professionals will attempt an average of 1.29 calls to reach a lead and give up after that. However, in the B2B environment, 30 percent of leads go into the pipeline after the first dial attempt, 61 percent go into it at the second. It’s worth calling back until the eighth attempt. Some companies see leads move into the pipeline even after the 12th call.

16:18 – Higher-ticket items require more research before calling the customer. The more you research, the less you will have to dial.

19:00 – Efficient sales reps tend to leave more voicemails because they’re making more calls. That means they can spend more than two and a half hours a day leaving voicemail. However, about four percent of those voicemails result in a call back which goes directly into the pipeline. Script voicemails to ensure more call backs, and even automate them.

22:11 – Make the most of every call by capturing permission to communicate with them in the future. A single rep can capture 7,500 permissions in the course of a year, “That’s enough contacts to fill a webinar without making another phone call,” Dave points out.

26:23 – No-show rates to appointments can be as high as 50 percent. Prevent that with a “hot transfer” – ask if they would have 10 to 15 minutes to talk immediately.

27:42 – Build a direct dial database. Contact rates increase by 300 percent when using direct dial.

29:21 – If you can’t do a hot transfer, do appointment reminders via Google or Microsoft Outlook, there will be a 20 percent greater chance that they won’t cancel.

30:32 – If you call between 8 and 9 a.m. and 4 and 5 p.m., you’re 150 percent more likely to connect. If you call on Wednesday and Thursday, you’re 80 percent more likely. Always call before emailing. And don’t limit communication to email – leverage Twitter, LinkedIn and fax. Dave reports fax pulls seven times better than email.

33:53 – Show a local presence. When callers used a local number, there was at least a 60 percent increase in contact rates. Emails sent with a local number received a 40 percent higher response and 33 percent lower negative response rate.

39:08 – Review of key takeaways

41:08 – Q&A begins

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B2B Telemarketing, Human Touch, Inside Sales, Lead Generation, Lead Management, Lead Qualification, Webinar Replay

Andrea Johnson

Webinar Replay: Teleprospecting that Drives Sales-Ready Leads

May 26th, 2011

New technology to connect with customers is emerging every day. But even so, nothing is as efficient and effective as a simple phone call for beginning the conversations that ultimately result in sales, points out Brian Carroll.

During the latest B2B Lead Roundtable Webinar, Brian and his colleague, Brandon Stamschror, Senior Director of Operations for MECLABS Leads Group, explained how to make the most of the oldest and best sales conversion tool: the human touch. They explain why:

  • The human touch is essential, especially if you count on inbound marketing to drive opportunity and you want to make the best use of sales time and resources.
  • Quality data is critical. Good data significantly lowers your cost per lead. In fact, it slashed costs by more than half for a multi-billion dollar Cisco partner.
  • Teleprospecting is about connecting with people, and that requires making sure every call counts through thoughtful value-adding conversation.

If you missed the presentation, you can watch the replay below.

How One Company Slashed Their Cost per Lead by More than Half from B2B Lead Roundtable on Vimeo.

View and download slides via SlideShare

Here’s a summary with time stamps to identify key sections:

4:10 – Lead generation is about building relationships. Brian emphasizes that lead generation requires communication and conversation: identifying the right people in the right companies, and engaging them with memorable, relevant conversations.

6:28 – Teleprospecting and email are the two most effective lead generation tools. Brian explains that while emails are a great way to support a conversation, they’re not a good way to start one. “What’s needed to drive conversion into the complex sales is the human touch,” says Brian. He notes that the fastest-growing companies, the companies that are fueling huge amounts of growth, look to teleprospecting and inside sales to maximize effective selling time.

8:11 – Qualify leads accurately and make the most of your sales team’s selling time with teleprospecting. Eighty percent of marketing leads are lost or discarded, according to MarketingSherpa. The biggest reason? They’re not ready to talk to a salesperson. The prospect may have responded to marketing campaigns and provided basic contact information, but sales professionals need much more than that. They need a valid business reason to talk to them and you’re not going to get that on a web form.

10:03 – Quality data is critical. Brandon reveals the outcomes of a breakthrough experiment the MECLABS Leads Group just completed with a $3.6 billion Cisco partner. They tested how higher cost/higher quality lead data affected the cost per lead. The outcome: cheap data is very expensive. The difference between the best- and worst-performing lists was an astounding $581 per lead! Listen to the webinar to find out the details.

22:58 – There are six teleprospecting rules that produce leads. The emphasis is always on building relationships. Teleprospecting is not about talking, it’s about listening.

24:55 – Rule 1: Sustain the calling. Developing relationships is a serious micro-conversion. Therefore, teleprospecting should be long-term and consistent. While most sales people give up after three times, it can take 8 to 19 calls to reach a prospect.

27:21 - Rule 2: Make every call count. There’s no such thing as a wasted dial; every call is an opportunity to learn. Brian advises taking a top-down approach. When you start calling at a higher level, the person you’re speaking with is more apt to confirm contacts and provide referrals. Know the specific role you’re calling for so that if you get voicemail, you can “zero out” to get another referral. Be in the moment. People are open to cold calls if they’re relevant. Five to 10 percent will be ready to speak to you about what you’re selling. With the rest, be prepared to add value to their day regardless of whether they’re ready to buy. After all, 70 percent of brand perception comes from direct contact with a salesperson.

36:28 – Rule 3: Throw away the scripts. Conversation is the goal. Outline the first 30 seconds of the call, briefly explain who you are, your company, the purpose of your call and how you’re going to add value. A call guide is a living document that should be flexible and assume multiple outcomes. It should outline the call’s goal, how you can add value, the important questions that you need answered, and the business issue you need to help solve. Remember: it may take several conversations to qualify someone as a sales-ready lead.

42:44 – Rule 4: Always be relevant. Sales training teaches that we need to follow-up. It doesn’t teach how. “I just want to catch up” or “I just want to touch base” is code for “Are you ready to buy yet?” That’s not being relevant; relevancy is connecting with people by understanding their priorities and their company’s priorities. MarketingSherpa found that 92 percent of B2B buyers are open to cold calls if the salesperson is relevant.

47:34 – Rule 5: Gain opt-in. Do this by sharing valuable information. Provide your teleprospecting team an email template with a valuable piece of content, it’s an easy way to gain email addresses. Brandon and Brian role play so you can hear how it’s done.

49:48 – Rule 6: Always follow up (with nurturing). This segment addresses how to deal with the 85 to 95 percent of prospects who aren’t ready to buy immediately. It outlines how to filter and find relevant content to keep them engaged, and how your teleprospecting team should present it. How do you know you’re nurturing? When what you provide offers value even if the prospect never buys from you.

53:53 – Put the rules into action. Remember, building relationships takes time. But when you add the human touch and bring all the pieces together, this is where conversion takes place. It takes conversation to achieve the discovery that qualifies leads at the level that most sales people need.

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B2B Telemarketing, Cold Calling, Email Marketing, Human Touch, Inside Sales, Lead Generation, Lead Nurturing, Lead Qualification, Webcasts/Webinars, Webinar Replay

Brian Carroll

Celebrating the B2B Lead Roundtable and Its 8,500 Members

May 19th, 2011

I have a confession: you know the cliché about the cobbler’s kids? I’ve been there and done that. And you can see proof of it back in April, 2009, when I blogged about how to best leverage LinkedIn as a lead generation tool.  Step five was “create your own LinkedIn group and share relevant content.”

The problem was that my company at the time, InTouch, which became a part of MECLABS this year, didn’t have its own LinkedIn Group.  My message to my blog readers should have been, “Do as I say not as I do.”

I knew, having advised my readers to start a LinkedIn group, that I should at least consider doing the same. But I wanted to make absolutely sure that whatever I created would contribute value that couldn’t be found anywhere else. Why add to the noise?

So I began perusing groups in earnest. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find any one, at the time, that was completely dedicated to lead generation. Okay, let me qualify that – one that was completely dedicated to lead generation without self-promotion drowning out discussions that addressed real issues. That was the gap that needed to be filled, so three weeks later I launched the B2B Lead Roundtable.

Today, we’re celebrating its second birthday, and I am proud to say we are on the verge of 8,500 members. In fact, I expect that we will reach and exceed that milestone this week.

I am also glad that the B2B Lead Roundtable became what I had hoped: a forum where professionals can share their questions and insights without being inundated with people trying to sell them something. Instead, they’re given legitimate, compelling feedback from professionals who genuinely know what they’re talking about.  That’s probably because the vast majority are seasoned executives.

Read more…

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B2B Telemarketing, Content Marketing, Current Affairs, Lead Generation, Lead Management, Lead Nurturing, Lead Qualification, Lead Scoring, Leadership, Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Thought Leadership, Web/Tech

Brian Carroll

Cisco Video: Uncovering Trends and Best Practices in Lead Generation

May 12th, 2011

This week I was in San Francisco doing a live, streamed presentation, Uncovering Trends and Best Practices in Lead Generation, for Cisco. It’s part of their on-going Partner Velocity Program which provides in-person events, in-depth resources, and online marketing tutorials to their value-added resellers worldwide.

I believe Cisco sets the standard for how to engage channel partners, and am honored that they asked me to share my ideas around where they need to focus their marketing attention and resources. In essence, smart marketers approach their work like a portfolio manager; they’re constantly thinking about and testing the optimal investment strategy.

In the playback below I examine how to make the best investments of marketing time, money and energy, and point out the areas where too many marketers are squandering opportunity and resources. I cover:

  • The latest trends in lead generation.
  • How to create buyer personas.
  • Social media as a lead generation tactic.
  • Steps to optimizing the B2B mix.
  • Guiding principles to effective B2B telemarketing.

Of course, I only had an hour to speak and each of these topics could be a webinar on their own. In fact, that’s precisely the case next week, considering the topic for the next B2B Lead Roundtable Webinar: Teleprospecting that Drives Sales-Ready Leads – How One Company Slashed Their Cost per Lead by More than Half.

What other points would you like me to expand on? Let me know; watch the broadcast replay and review Cisco’s excellent blog post about my presentation. I’d love to hear from you.

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