John Tackett

Lead Nurturing: Why good call scripts are built on storytelling

July 14th, 2014

In teleprospecting, it’s not just about what you “ask” prospects; it’s about when you ask them.

This is where a lot of teleprospecting gets it wrong. Intuitively, fast, upfront and to-the-point seems like a sound approach and I’m a big fan of brevity.

But, I also believe in timing and sequence, as both can make or break conversion.

In this B2B Lead Roundtable Blog post, we’ll break down a call script used for voicemails from a lead nurturing experiment to better understand how positioning your “ask” at the right time can aid your lead nurturing efforts.

Breaking down your script into sections can help you diagnose problems

control-call-script

In the control for this experiment, the voicemail script could be divided into four sections:

  1. An introduction
  2. The company identifier
  3. The follow-up from previous touch point
  4. The “ask”

Know when to flip (and rip up) the script

follow-up-in-call-script

The MECLABS research team hypothesized the follow-up section, or part 3 in the control, was buried too deep in script and should be moved up in the treatment.

new-copy-call-script

The team also included a new sentence that further justified the reason for calling. The copy changes were hypothesized to deliver a prospect-level appeal of letting us “work with your consultant” instead of “doing the work yourself.”

call-script-results

The new treatment script aligned every sentence into a carefully crafted argument that increased conversion 31%.

Build scripts to tell prospects your story

Ultimately, the big takeaway here is people arrange their thoughts in story format.

As a consequence, how you arrange the story in your marketing efforts will make the difference between delivering information of true value, or just another frustrating sales pitch prospects don’t want to hear.

Value craves sequence, for sequence is the mother of perfect timing.

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Lead Generation: The power of copy [More from the blogs]

Email Marketing: Do you test your legacy marketing? [More from the blogs]

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John Tackett

3 Factors that Connect Value Prop to Prospects

July 7th, 2014

There is one question at the heart of lead generation that your marketing efforts should clearly answer.

“If I am you ideal prospect, why should I buy from you rather than your competitors?”

To put this into perspective, take a few moments and ask yourself, “Do I clearly and succinctly state the core value proposition of the product or service that I am marketing?”

In other words, what’s the elevator pitch for what you offer in the marketplace?

Take a moment to write it down.

Here are a few examples of poor value propositions from the MECLABS Value Proposition Development Course to help you identify value claims that may need a little work:

  • “We empower you software decisions.”
  • “I don’t sell products and services; I sell results — my guarantee.”
  • “We help companies find their passion and purpose.”
  • “We are the world’s leading [our jargon goes here] provider.”
  • “We have the solution your company is looking for.”

Now, let’s be honest as we’re among friends here.

If your answer was close to any of these, then you’re not offering value.

What you are actually offering is hype, bland-vertising and the creature comforts of company jargon that only you understand. I would also suggest that your marketing is likely underperforming as a result and could use a little work on value proposition development.

In this B2B Lead Roundtable Blog post, we’ll look at three factors you should consider when crafting value propositions that you can use to aid your lead generation efforts.

It’s all about connecting prospects to the right value

value-proposition-spectrum

Before we go further, let’s put some context around digging a little deeper into value prop using the illustration of value proposition spectrum above.

When you answer the question of why customers should buy from you rather than anyone else, it’s a great starting point for really understanding the overall value your organization delivers.

However, the move from broad brush understanding of a company’s value proposition to the granular level of value prospects are looking for is where many marketers become lost.

connect-value-prospects

Think of it this way:

A primary value proposition is why you buy from Apple or Microsoft.

For example, the prospect level value is why a CEO would choose a laptop with business class specs over a standard model.

Essentially, it’s where you take the big idea of value proposition and laser focus it to help you deliver the right message to the right people.

Here a few factors to consider that will help you do that using the three prospects in the example above.

Factor #1. Objective

The objective in your value proposition is where you move from finding purpose to finding focus.

To help you do that, you have to think about a prospect’s main goals and desired outcomes.

For a CEO, their objective is, perhaps, “I must increase the financial performance of my organization.”

This translates to new pressures for the business manager who “must achieve X amount of revenue by the end of the year.

This is also where understanding how your product or service addresses existing pain points and deficiencies will really pay off.

Factor #2. Motivation

Motivation is tough to nail down and really differs at an individual level.

So a good place to start is by asking, “What are the core motivations that drive this prospect’s actions?”

I told you this would not be easy.

But here a hint: A little research on your existing customers will also help you understand some common prospect motivations for your offerings, and you may even discover a few patterns you never knew existed.

Factor #3. Experience

What are the past experiences of the prospect?

A prospect’s prior experiences will factor into their decision-making process.

Considering your prospect’s previous experiences when crafting your messaging can help your lead nurturing efforts by addressing how perceptions can impact choice.

Value proposition is the gateway to trust

All of these factors are helpful in building (or reworking) your value proposition, but they are still just a means to an end.

The value in your claims is only a gateway to building trust with prospects.

You still have to deliver on those claims, and more importantly, you have to recognize they are now more than claims.

They are a promise exchanged for trust and made payable to customers who will look to you to make good on those promises – or to your competitors if you don’t.

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Email Marketing: Do you test your legacy marketing? [More from the blogs]

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Jessica Lorenz

Lead Generation: Streamlining the process for quality over quantity

June 30th, 2014

For her first week on the job, Debbie Pryer, Program Manager, Siemens Healthcare, arrived ready to accept an intimidating challenge: Bring Marketing and Sales together for one common cause – generating quality leads.

According to Debbie, the process in place had been corrupted and broken by a system of incentives to drive lead volume with little check and balance in place for assessing lead quality before the handoff to Sales. The end result was a sales team overwhelmed with unqualified leads, 65% of which were tossed out.

“I had a roadmap of what was wrong,” Debbie said. “I had to figure out how to make it right.”

At MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013, Debbie’s presentation “Lead Generation: How to empower your program like Siemens Healthcare” took the audience on a deep dive into some of the challenges Siemens Healthcare faced in its lead gen process.

One of Debbie’s key goals was to re-establish a long-broken trust between Sales and Marketing.

Suggestions were made about what could solve this dilemma. Although many brought up automation, Debbie knew that by bringing in more technology as a solution, she would simply be “automating the problem.”

Challenge your process

Debbie explained that returning to the first love of the company – the patients and the hospitals that serve them – was an ideal starting point for building a lead process that put prospect needs first.

Her solution was to “slide the leads into what they were already doing” in the sales funnel, rather than pushing unqualified leads into the funnel.

With this strategy, Marketing delivered higher-quality leads to Sales, and the two teams started to (slowly) restore trust.

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Local B2B Marketing: 150% boost in lead generation [MarketingSherpa case study]

The Complex Sale: Lead scoring effort increases conversion 79% [More from the blogs]

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John Tackett

Email Marketing: 3 lead nurture paths you should automate

June 23rd, 2014

Marketing automation can help you manage lead nurturing efforts in a complex marketplace.

So where do you even begin in terms of an automation strategy?

In today’s B2B Lead Roundtable Blog post, we’ll look at three lead nurture tracks you should automate to aid your email marketing efforts from a MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013 presentation featuring Keith Lincoln, Vice President of Marketing, SmartBear.

Path #1. Separate users from prospects

behavior-based-content-nurturing

When you boil down behavior automation, using prospect actions as triggers for email sends ultimately creates a list within a list as you separate product users from potential prospects.

As Keith explained, the product download is where the track begins, followed by responding to those product usages with emails offering helpful content.

“The next thing we want to be able to tell our team is: Did they activate the software, or are they using it?” Keith asked.

Path #2. Turn users into customers

behavior-based-nurturing

Automating a sales nurturing track is significantly different from a content nurturing track as it turns up the dial on complexity.

In this case, prospect behaviors trigger email sends based on a conversion process to turn free, one-time users to paid, ongoing customers.

“This is a little bit more complex than finding out if they are just activating the software,” Keith said.

Keith also explained how the sales nurturing track has been helpful in delivering additional customer intelligence to Sales on where customers are within the conversion process.

Path #3. Remind users the clock is ticking

campaign-based-trigger

Campaign-based triggers are probably the easiest of the three tracks to set up, and they also acknowledge the elephant in the room with free trials – time will eventually run out.

Using your free trial timeline can help you deliver helpful content to prospects when they might need it the most.

You can’t automate trust

As I mentioned at the start of this post, automation can help you manage lead nurturing, but you can’t automate trust.

Trust is earned by being helpful, relevant and honest with your prospects.

To learn more about how marketing automation impacts lead generation, you can watch the exclusive MarketingSherpa on-demand replay of “The Marketing Automation and Autonomy Paradox.”

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Email Marketing: 133% ROI for B2B’s first-ever lead nurturing program [Case study]

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John Tackett

Lead Generation: 2 simple tactics to determine cost per lead

June 16th, 2014

Getting to the heart of lead cost is not easy.

There are a multitude of factors to consider. For example, should you factor in nurturing into the costs? Even then, how much?

In today’s B2B Lead Roundtable Blog post, I wanted to explore cost per lead by sharing a few tips and insights from the panel of industry experts that spoke on the subject at MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013.

Tip #1. Clearly define what a lead is for your organization

define-lead

Before you can even get close to what your lead costs are, you first have to define what a lead is to your organization, or as Atri Chatterjee, CMO, Act-on Software, simply said: “Just because you have a name, it doesn’t mean you have a lead.”

lead-definition

The panel rightfully pointed out the idea of a lead can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

So the first step on your path to determining lead costs is to cut through the confusion by creating a universal lead definition that the key stakeholders in your organization can all agree upon.

Tip #2. Move toward thinking of lead cost in aggregate

calculating-lead-cost

So what should you factor into your lead cost?

This can get tricky, but let’s consider, for example, that you can buy a list of 2,000 leads from a broker for $20.

Does each lead cost only a penny?

Not so much.

I say this because when you factor the associative costs to create content, market and solicit to those leads, the true price is likely much higher.
lead-components

One recommendation the panel had was to uncover some of the factors that you might be overlooking and consider them in your cost.

When you look at the price from an aggregated perspective, you’re probably a lot closer to a true lead cost.

This notion was also shared by Erik Matlik, CEO, Madison Logic, who summed up the factors to consider in your cost per lead.

“I would put literally everything into your cost per lead,” Erik said.

To learn more tips on lead cost, you can watch the MarketingSherpa on-demand replay of “How Much Should Leads Cost? Tips for different channels, industries and deal sizes.”

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Fostering Sales-Marketing Alignment: A 5-Step Lead Management Process [Case study]

Why the Term “Marketing-Qualified Lead” Creates Serious Confusion – Part I [More from the blogs]

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John Tackett

Lead Generation: 2 tips to transform your content marketing

June 9th, 2014

Content marketing can be an effective tactic for lead generation as customers look to your brand as an authority in the marketplace delivering relevant information that is useful to their needs.

In today’s B2B Lead Roundtable Blog post, we’ll look at two tips on transforming your content marketing strategy from Shelby Britton, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Adobe, who presented at MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013.

Although Shelby’s example was rooted in Adobe’s webinars, the principles are transferable to your own unique situation.

Tip #1. Develop a highly focused, targeted strategy

webinar-strategy-adobe

Shelby explained that one of her first challenges in revamping Adobe’s content marketing was rooted in moving from “one-off” webinars to a strategy that focused on specific targeted verticals.

Making the move to targeting specific verticals with content also helped Shelby’s efforts to determine where prospects were in the purchase cycle.

“We decided that we could use content to start qualifying these leads,” Shelby explained.

Tip #2. Move from generic to relevant messaging

webinar-titles-adobe

Shelby also explained making a move from generic messaging to content that focused on relevance for the audience was also vital to the success of Adobe’s content transformation.

“We started talking about the specific solutions and how we could add value to them,” Shelby said.

To learn more about Shelby’s content marketing strategy to aid Adobe’s lead gen efforts, you can watch the on-demand replay of her MarketingSherpa Summit session, “Lead Qualification: How demographics, email content and behavior helped Adobe boost conversions 500%.”

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Webinar Marketing: Adobe revamps strategy and achieves a 500% lift in conversion to sale [Case study]

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Erin Hogg

B2B Content Marketing: Find the bigger story

June 2nd, 2014

“Anybody here think you have nothing to create content around? No exciting stories to tell?”

Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute, has heard this issue from a lot from B2B marketers. Many do not think they have any content that is relevant or exciting enough to share to their audiences.

As he gave his keynote address at MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013, he revealed that he also gave a presentation for metal working manufacturers that also posed the same question: What do we talk about?

“If you really want to get into content marketing, you have to realize the golden rule is: Your customers don’t care about you, they don’t care about your products … they want a solution,” he said.

Watch this video replay from his keynote for  a case study on how B2B shipping container and energy company Maersk Group used content marketing to garner 1.5 million Facebook page likes (now at 1.8 million) including  more than 25,000 people actively talking about the company.

One key takeaway from Joe’s session was a challenge for marketers to ramp up efforts to deliver content that’s relevant to their target audience.

“My call to you is:  Do you really know what the pain points are of that persona, and what the bigger story could be?”

Watch the full video replay of “Content Marketing: 6 forgotten strategies to execute now” to discover the five remaining strategies to aid your content marketing efforts.

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Content Marketing: Consulting firm nets 388% more leads with 4-step strategy [Case study]

Content Marketing: 3 tips for how to get started [More from the blogs]

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David Kirkpatrick

Multichannel Marketing: How zombies invaded a B2B campaign

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, we added a new feature, the Media Center, where MarketingSherpa Reporter Allison Banko was able get behind-the-scenes interviews with presenters, attendees and event vendors.

This B2B Lead Roundtable Blog post features a segment with Christine Nurnberger, Vice President Marketing, SunGard Availability Services, speaking on how the B2B IT disaster recovery company was able to take advantage of the pop culture zombie trend to create an effective multichannel marketing effort.

Christine said, “I’m so passionate [about B2B marketing]. I always love the opportunity to share what’s worked for us, and to hear what’s worked for other people. When you bring folks together like this in a group where people are really learning from their peers, you can take a lot of powerful stuff away from it.”

In this video clip, she goes on to describe SunGard’s business model – disaster recovery business continuity – and how her team realized that not only are zombies very hot in popular culture, the idea of a zombie apocalypse played directly into SunGard’s core marketing messaging of a business being able to survive a disaster or catastrophic event.

Most companies probably agree that a horde of the undead roaming the streets would be pretty catastrophic for businesses, so the team knew that the zombie tie-in was likely to resonate with the target audience as well as bring a bit of levity to the fairly serious business topic of disaster recovery.

“[We thought] it’d be really interesting to tie something that’s so relevant in pop culture to our business value proposition,” Christine explained. “What better way to test your continuity plans than to see if they could survive a zombie apocalypse.”

She added that the key takeaway from her presentation was the importance of measuring campaign KPIs and performance to better understand the campaign’s target audience.

One interesting takeaway for SunGard from this effort was CFOs had a much higher email open rate and website download rate when they received an email sent between 7 a.m. and 9a.m. on a Sunday morning.

Additionally, watch a brief excerpt below of Christine’s MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014 presentation titled, “Above the Noise: How an IT company leveraged unique creative and an integrated approach to ‘wake up the dead’ and connect with its audience,” where she discussed how the team was able to fit the zombie theme into the campaign messaging.

You can also view 14 other valuable sessions from the Email Summit 2014 stage for more transferable insights from marketers just like you.

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Email Marketing: 3 award-winning lessons about relevance [More from the blogs]

Timing and Email Marketing: Sunday generated 23% higher clickthrough than Tuesday in test [More from the blogs]

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Jessica Lorenz

Lead Generation: How to speak the language of your prospects

May 12th, 2014

At Lead Gen Summit 2013, Keith Lincoln, Vice President, SmartBear Software, discussed the importance of speaking the language of your customers, and, more importantly, when to say nothing at all.

“If you’re ever tired of hearing from us,” the email read, “you can opt out.”

Curious eyes met the screen at those words.

This text was not in light gray, hidden in small font at the very bottom of the email. Instead, it was in plain sight, in the body of the email – against best practices. Although the team did test an email  following best practices that resulted in a slightly lower opt-out rate (under 1%), they ultimately decided they wanted to ensure that the recipients actually wanted to hear from SmartBear by using the more up-front version, resulting in a 2.5% opt-out rate.

How did Keith make the decision to abandon best practices with his campaign?

“Having sat at that lunch table for so long,” Keith said, “[and] knowing how testers and developers thought, I just said ‘Hey, let’s try this.’”

He interacted with his ideal audience every day and learned how to speak the language of his customers. He took what he knew about his audience and tested it against best practices.

Ultimately, Keith knew that by offering a quality free trial product, users would become loyal customers and tell their friends about it – all of the emails and encouragement from the marketing department wasn’t necessary to convert free trial users to customers.

Keith explained that they already captured the lead, and the lead was using a free trial version of the software. The team could track and monitor the customer’s use there. They did not want to annoy free trial users and decided that good will outweighed a large list and that a strong product would convert more users to a paid version.

You can watch the entire presentation, “Lead Nurturing: How solving the marketing automation and autonomy paradox increased lead volume 200%,” in the MarketingSherpa video archive to learn more about Keith’s lead gen efforts.

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Courtney Eckerle

Customer-centric Marketing: Using metaphors in your B2B strategy

Who are your customers?

While it may be (hopefully) impossible to individually name your customers from memory, marketers need to be extremely familiar with them.

In the case of Jacob Baldwin, Digital Marketing Manager, One Call Now, as he recounted for the audience at MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013, not knowing his audience came at quite literally too high of a cost.

“We had pictures of soccer balls and school buses, and these types of images didn’t really connect with a corporate audience looking for an enterprise-level solution. Which we were certainly capable of doing,” Jacob said in his session.

Realizing they were missing an entire swath of potential consumers, Jacob and the team at One Call Now embarked on an entire website redesign, and with it, new funnels for customers. They just had to plot out who their customers were.

Referencing “Star Trek,” the team created four customer personas: humanistic, methodical, competitive and spontaneous, with the metaphor for each being Dr. McCoy, Scotty, Spock and Kirk, respectively.

Following the science fiction character’s traits: the humanistic customer connects with human interest stories; the methodical is logical and will consume a lot of content before moving forward; the competitive is very results-oriented; and, finally, the spontaneous customer knows what they want and acts almost immediately.

“We used this … to identify which pieces of content we have, and what pieces of content we’re lacking, and what we need to create moving forward to accommodate all of the different persona types,” Jacob said.

Plotting out and fully understanding your customers’ motivations and needs is difficult. From there, you also have to convey the necessity for any changes or extra work clearly across departments.

Injecting a little fun into the process can not only make the task lighter, but using a metaphor can actually have a huge effect on comprehension within your company. Categorizing customers this way allows your team or employees to feel a new connection with your customers, and better understand their motivations.

Metaphors have the unique quality of putting abstract concepts into easily digestible and memorable form. As Orson Scott Card wrote in Alvin Journeyman, “Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.”

There’s a common misconception that there’s a lack of beauty or poetry in B2B marketing, but Jacob and his team proved that these tasks are what a marketer makes of them. If you follow their lead, injecting a little literary influence into your marketing can garner big results.

Jacob will be speaking at the upcoming Web Optimization Summit 2014 in New York City, May 21-23. He will be presenting, “Managing Optimization: How a subscription company applies the conversion heuristic throughout the customer journey.”

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