B2B Lead Roundtable Webinars
The marketplace is being deluged with powerful insights, ideas, technology, and services that can help us accomplish more, achieve more, and be more with less time, less money and less effort. But how do you wade through it all to determine what’s worth your time and what’s not?
The B2B Lead Roundtable webinars can help. Every month, we bring to you thought leaders who reach far beyond theory to real-world application of the newest, best business practices. Invest an hour to learn from their experience, their successes and their mistakes to gain powerful, actionable takeaways that can launch your business to the next level.
Watch Past Webinars
Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to share the most exciting aspect of working at MECLABS – Research Partnerships that allow us to test and optimize lead generation processes. Spouting theory is easy, but it’s meaningless unless you know how it works in the real world with real companies.
It’s thrilling for me to observe lead generation strategy transform into revenue for our Research Partners. Watch the webinar replay for a behind-the-scenes look at this research. You’ll learn how we:
- Improved the quality of sales-ready leads by attaining better information about prospects and where they are in the buying process
- Determined how and when we speak to prospects to quickly advance them through the sales funnel
- Achieved a 375% increase in sales-ready leads and $4.9 million in additional pipeline in eight months
For more information about these lead optimization tactics, view the webinar replay below:
B2B Lead Testing: “Cheap” data is actually expensive (via MarketingExperiments Blog)
Webinar Replay: 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report Reveals How Marketers Can Transform Mounting Pressure, Challenges into Revenue
Warning: If you watch only the first few minutes of this webinar, you might get discouraged about the state of marketing today. However, if you watch the webinar through the end, you’re going to be excited about marketing’s potential for driving more revenue than ever before.
At the beginning of the webinar, Jen Doyle, MarketingSherpa Senior Research Manager and Lead Author of the 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, revealed that 1,745 marketing organizations are reporting remarkable declines in marketing effectiveness in 2011. But their other responses point to what’s causing this.
While almost all respondents said they’re expert at lead generation:
• 68 percent have not identified their sales and marketing funnels, no less optimized them.
• 61 percent send leads directly to sales.
• 79 percent don’t score leads.
• 65 percent don’t nurture leads.
What does this mean? In essence, they’re not making the most of the leads they’ve become expert in generating. Watch this webinar to learn the strategy that will transform leads into revenue as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Use these timestamps to jump to key points fast.
8:20 – Jen compares B2B Benchmark Report responses between 2009, 2010 and 2011. Key findings: It’s increasingly challenging to achieve success. Challenges are growing in pertinence year after year. Marketers are torn between prioritizing more leads vs. better leads.
9:30 – Perceived effectiveness of tactics are declining severely. It’s getting more difficult to get results from the same marketing activities.
10:21 – The 2012 B2B Benchmark Report reveals that regardless of challenges, marketers are still not optimizing their funnels. Jen reviews the percentages: 68 percent haven’t identified sales and marketing funnel. 61 percent send leads directly to sales. 79 percent haven’t established lead scoring. 65 percent don’t nurture leads.
11:30 – Kaci Bower presents a case study on how Postcard Mania, a B2B organization serving small to medium businesses, combined a lead-generation effort with a multi-channel nurturing strategy that optimized their marketing and sales funnel. The goal: to drive more prospects to call them. Why? They could convert 19 percent of those callers into customers.
18:19 – Postcard Mania’s results: Optimizing lead generation efforts with a three-part nurturing funnel increased inbound calls by 69 percent.
19:41 – An explanation of what funnel optimization means.
20:23 – The funnel begins when the lead converts – not when it’s passed along to sales. Some will be ready to talk to sales, many more won’t. But the rest will stay in marketing for nurturing.
21:55 – Benefits of funnel optimization: generate a greater volume of highly qualified sales leads to improve revenues.
23:13 – Lead generation is top priority, but conversion is the greatest challenge according to the B2B Marketing Benchmark report. Both are interdependent. Marketers are prioritizing lead conversion, they know it isn’t only a sales function.
24:51 – Most marketers understand lead generation, but very few have mastered funnel optimization.
25:25 – Overview of a five-step process to optimize the sales and marketing funnel.
25:56 – Step one: Identify the sales and marketing funnel: make it measurable, make sure it holds marketing and sales accountable, make it simple.
27:30 – Brian Carroll explains the key to optimizing financial performance is to understand what your funnel looks like today. Think of yourself as a plumber who’s plugging the leaks in your funnel. Make sure you capture all of your leads and guide them through the funnel without allowing them to slip out.
29:43 – Step two: Establish lead qualification and lead scoring. It begins with determining your universal lead definition and making sure there is agreement. Incorporate demographics and behavior in lead scoring.
31:34 – Brian expands on how to develop a universal lead definition and why it’s so critical that there is alignment between sales and marketing on what a lead means.
32:23 – Questions to ask your team to develop an on-target ULD. “What are the must-have questions we need to answer to be 100 percent certain that you will follow-up on a marketing-generated lead and provide us feedback on it 100 percent of the time?”
35:30 – Identify when a lead is ready to talk to a sales person or when they need to be nurtured by marketing through content or through inside sales. “When you match expectations of customers with expectations of sales person – you’re doing well.” Here’s a meeting guide for developing a Universal Lead Definition: Lead Generation Checklist: Universal Lead Definition.
36:40 – Step three: Nurture non-qualified leads until they’re ready to engage. Nurturing is the process of improving relationships with leads by giving them relevant, ongoing communication to improve relationships, interest and engagement over time.
37:54 – Outreach nurturing collects more information or permission from the leads that you have. Provide them content that’s so valuable that they’ll be willing to provide more information about themselves by filling out another form.
38:44 – Engagement nurturing hones in on early-stage buyers.
39:41 – Brian explains how to set up a nurturing program. Make sure what you’re sharing with your future customer is valuable to them regardless of whether they buy.
40:50 – Set up a nurturing database- put all names into one spot – even if it’s as simple as an excel file. Review your database – what are the titles, what are the companies, what are the roles, where did their interest start?
41:50 – Understand what information would be most relevant to your database. What are questions customers are asking? What issues are they facing? Go to existing customer to find out what they care about.
42:25 – Email them the content, but whatever you do, don’t pitch or they’ll tune you out. The purpose is to generate a click and support a conversation.
43:19 – Follow up with the human touch. When you send content, it provides a valid business reason for you to connect. You can’t rely on email alone, at some point you have to use the human touch.
45:05 – Step four: Continue to nurture through the funnel. This helps sales win deals. Make sure you’re tracking contact to avoid duplication and bombarding leads with too much information.
46:45 – Develop relationships to accelerate leads through the pipeline. Ask sales, “What can we be doing in marketing to help you cultivate a more relevant dialog with your customers?” Leads that haven’t been reviewed by sales in 60 or 90 days should come back to marketing.
48:37 – Case study: 65 percent of leads that were sales ready came from leads that were previously lost, ignored or discarded. Leverage content to position sales people as trusted advisors.
50:24 – Step five: Adapt and optimize because our market and our organization can change. Stay on top of what’s happening in the marketplace and funnel. Check in with sales frequently to make sure you are always providing value.
51:36 – Sales has a pipeline, marketing should, too. Brian outlines how a marketing and sales funnel should connect.
53:26 – Brian explains the critical importance of bringing sales and marketing together to huddle to ensure the funnel is always operating optimally. “The best football teams are the ones that do the best job of huddling between plays. The frequency of your funnel will impact your ROI.”
53:59 – Jen reviews the five key steps to funnel optimization and how it represents an opportunity to be ahead of your industry.
56:05 – Brian reviews key takeaways.
For proven approaches to drive the highest return on the money you’ve invested in marketing and sales this year, watch the replay of the second half of our webinar presentation, “Six Funnel Focal Points to Finish 2011 Strong.”
It’s chock full of immediately actionable advice, emerging from data-driven case studies and science-based research, to help you make the most of the time and money you have remaining in 2011 and begin 2012 on solid ground.
In this webinar, Brian Carroll is joined by Pamela Markey, MECLABS Director of Marketing , and Dave Green, Director of Best Practices. Together, they dug into data from MECLABS clients. They reveal the power of testing and how it can help you be certain that every aspect of lead generation produces the best results.
Learn the fastest, easiest approach to ensure you’re using the best lists. Find out the impressive difference that can make on your bottom line. Discover how one organization timed lead-generation activities to attain the highest possible return on investment of time and resources. Learn how another’s marketing department made sales professionals into their biggest fans through closed-loop feedback. And these are just a few of the highlights. There’s much more. See for yourself in the webinar replay below.
Download the slides here.
Jump to key points fast with these timestamps.
1:45 – Poll – Are you systematically testing the quality of your data?
3:43 – Poll – Would you consider your lead-management process a closed loop?
5:50 – MarketingSherpa’s results from a survey of 1,142 B2B marketers on how they managed the sales and marketing process.
7:27 – Introduction of MECLABS and presenters.
9:48 – Quick overview of the first three of the six funnel focal points: Clarify channel message, optimize list approach, re-engage your base. Watch the first webinar here: b2bleadblog.com/part1
10:22 – Funnel Point 4: Tune Data Streams. Why? Because you want to follow the lead of builders – measure twice and cut once. There’s a lot to measure in marketing: how fast are you getting leads from a particular source? What’s the rate of disqualification? How many leads are out of your target market? When is it worth it spend more on a list if it will bring you more, better leads?
11:51 – Continuously clean your data to ensure accuracy, no duplications and no missing information. Data goes bad very rapidly. It takes 670 hours call to clean 10,000 names, and twice as long for email addresses.
12:27 – Clean leads require the standard of an Ideal Customer Profile and a Universal Lead Definition, and they avoid duplication of contact, locations, accounts, and areas of interest. Sales people hate it when you send them a new lead that’s actually old.
14:32 – Case study overviews how to test list efficiency and hygiene, and impressive results. Lists had been prioritized based on chronology or “gut feel,” rather than ability to produce leads quickly.
22:01 – Case study result: a 76 percent decrease in calling-cost per lead by using the most efficient list.
24:01 – Identify why lists perform better than other through qualitative analysis. Take advantage of decision-maker conversations. They help identify why a campaign is or isn’t working.
25:14 – Overview of how to optimize your data.
25:48 – Bad list: Disqualified lead for every 20 calls. Average: Disqualified lead for every 50. Better: Disqualified lead for every 100.
27:04 – Overview of how to purchase the best list and test them.
29:51 – Funnel Point 5: Timing It Right. When do you get the highest return on investment from your calling? Case study overviews how manufacturing client determined point of diminishing returns on lead follow-up. Weigh the cost of following up with the value of the lead.
33:33 – Overview of testing results.
35:31 – Overview of how to apply case study results to your own organization.
36:56 – Funnel Point 6: Closing the Loop. It helps us know whether what we’re doing is actually driving sales. In the complex sale, the purpose of marketing is to help the sales team sell. Yet 80 percent of leads are lost, ignored or discarded because the sales team is getting leads that they don’t think will result in a sale.
39:17 – Make sure you’re only giving the sales team sales-ready leads. Use teleprospecting to take leads that aren’t qualified and follow-up with a human touch. Get sales leadership support. Nail down an ideal customer profile and a universal lead definition.
41:39 – Pilot closed-loop feedback with a small group of sales professionals and then scale. Don’t rely on software to do it.
42:29 – The more often marketing and sales connect and communicate, the more energized the outcomes will be. Once people agree on process and are collaborating, when you’re preparing reports on how nurturing campaigns are contributing to deals, then build closed-loop feedback into a CRM system. Know how many leads are turning into pipeline opportunity and don’t overlook the importance of deals that didn’t close.
44:40 – Make it super simple for sales to close the loop with you. Find out from them – was this a valid lead or not? Then offer four to five simple options to tell you why.
45:58 – MarketingSherpa case study of how Aprimo successfully closed the loop with sales by using surveys and top leadership.
48:00 – Case study results: Surveys filled out 100 percent of the time and reps love the process. Reps appreciated that marketing was doing the prospecting for them=
49:16 – Overview of key success factors to close the loop.
51:15 – Sample feedback survey.
51:45 – Overview of next steps and additional resources.
If you attended our most recent B2B Lead Roundtable Webinar, Six Funnel Focal Points to Finish 2011 Strong – Part I, you found out that even though the end of the year is less than 125 days away, there’s plenty of time to drive more opportunity through your sales funnel and to the bottom line.
That’s because Brian Carroll, Executive Director of Applied Research at MECLABS, and Pamela Markey, Director of Marketing for MECLABS, revealed some of the most valuable takeaways you can execute right now to drive leads fast. They drew upon MECLABS’ experience – specifically, more than 10 years of research, one billion emails, 1,300 major experiments, 10,000 tested sales paths, 5 million phone calls and 500,000 conversations, as well as hundreds of publications and conferences.
So, if you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to meet your end-of-year sales goals or quotas, don’t worry – there is still plenty of time. Just watch the webinar replay below and be sure to attend Six Funnel Focal Points to Finish Strong – Part II, Tuesday, September 20, 11 a.m. CDT, noon EDT.
Want to jump ahead to key points fast? Review these timestamps.
2:55 – Find out the length of the sales cycle for most webinar attendees; it happens to be aligned with how 935 marketers responded to Marketing Sherpa’s 2010 Benchmark Survey.
3:47 – What three top-of-the-funnel approaches will maximize your resources and help you achieve your year-end goals within budget and time constraints?
4:45 – An overview of the source of ideas and insight revealed in this webinar.
7:12 - Clarify and test your value proposition, and then consistently communicate that message across all channels.
9:04 – Experiment 1: A case study of a B2B software organization reveals how clarifying value proposition increased the number of clickthroughs by 21 percent. (But it gets even better…)
11:09 – Value propositioned is defined: “If I am your ideal customer, why should I buy from you vs. my competitors?”
13:01 – Experiment 1 continues. That 21 percent increase in leads from the PPC ad escalated to a 272 percent increase in overall conversion. This led to 268 percent more projected revenue. Combined with the corresponding 66 percent reduction in cost-per-acquisition, this effort produced more than four times the monthly profit – a 302 percent increase.
15:23 – Download a worksheet that easily walks you through the steps of creating a better value proposition: MarketingExperiments.com/ValueProp.
17:25 – Optimize your list approach by testing them, and choose the list source that ensures you get the most leads in the least amount of time. Experiment 2 reveals how a “cheap” list ultimately cost $188,000 more than the most expensive per record list.
20.50 – Learn why the most expensive per record list drove campaign costs down by more than 60 percent.
21:38 - Find out how to run a test yourself to determine list efficiency.
24:47 – Re-engage your base. You can significantly shorten your sales cycle by selling to those who know and like you. Offer upgrades, bundles, new product lines.
25:50 – This case study reveals how a company with a month-long sales cycle gains 37 percent of its business from clients who initially engaged with them three months ago, and 27 percent from those who initially engaged more than a year ago.
31:47 – 70 to 80 percent of marketing-generated leads are discarded because they’re not ready to buy right now. Just because sales ignores a lead, however, doesn’t mean they won’t eventually buy. In fact, only 5 to 10 percent of prospects are ready to buy right now.
34:08 – Quick review of takeaways begins: complete the value proposition worksheet; make sure channel communication is clear and align conversion paths to that.
34:57 – Optimize your list approach. Test to find out how efficiently your sales team can turn those lists into sales-ready leads.
36:53 – Mine your base of existing prospects. What was your last touch and how can you re-engage them? Complete the conversations you started back in Q1 and Q2.
40:54 Q & A begins
Webinar Replay: Research from Harvard, MIT Pinpoints Hard Lead Conversion Lessons with Easy Solutions
Since 2007, InsideSales.com 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 InsideSales.com, 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.
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. InsideSales.com 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
If you want leads to convert into sales faster, be sure to check out the webinar replay below. Sergio Balegno, Director of Research, MarketingSherpa/MECLABS Primary Research Group, explains how the strategic integration of SEO and social marketing is helping B2B marketers remarkably accelerate lead capture and conversion.
Through feedback from thousands of in-the-trenches B2B marketers, including hundreds of CMOs, Sergio reveals:
- Why social media is critical to improving your search rankings, engaging prospects and making them eager to buy.
- What inbound marketing is and isn’t, and why social media and SEO integration is key to a successful inbound-marketing strategy.
- What to do – and what not to do – when developing a social marketing strategy.
- How to measure the value of your social media investment in a way that impresses skeptics in the C-suite.
- A step-by-step explanation of how one B2B company’s inbound marketing strategy drove 70 percent more leads and doubled revenue per account in merely one year.
View the replay below, and if you want more details about how marketers are successfully leveraging and measuring social marketing, be sure to check out MarketingSherpa’s 2011 Social Marketing Benchmark Report.
Here’s a summary with timestamps to help you pinpoint key takeaways:
4:41 – Companies with integrated search media and SEO achieve 60 percent better conversion rates. Sergio explains that when prospects find information that’s relevant to them during a search they feel more engaged with the organization presenting it, which drives conversion.
5:52 – Social media and SEO integration is a B2B-marketing essential. Prospects aren’t only searching the web for information; they’re searching for videos, blogs and real-time discussion. Search engine algorithms are tied to this younger, more relevant content.
7:33 – Sergio defines inbound marketing for the 11 percent of organizations who don’t know what it is. Inbound marketing is a strategy where prospects find you; they come knocking on your door, as opposed to you looking for them. This is executed through earned media like Google searches and content sharing, as opposed to paid advertising on social sites like LinkedIn.
8:45 – Case study of how Delivra, an email-marketing services provide, developed an inbound strategy that pulled in 70 percent more leads and doubled revenue in one year. Sergio outlines the five steps that helped Delivra overcome the problem of a limited outbound marketing budget combined with “list fatigue” that happens when lists are used over and over again.
10:27 - Step 1: Align messages across brand channels from conversation to conversion. Sergio explains how Delivra’s entire customer-facing organization – from customer service to sales representatives – embraced the brand messaging integrated into their social media channels, and how social media made the process easier.
11:40 - Step 2: Design a social-marketing architecture. Create a hub, typically a website or blog. Surround it with “spokes” (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) that engage communities and direct traffic to the hub.
12:12 – Step 3: Add content designed for SEO conversion. Sergio points out that too many people write content for social media without considering SEO and vice versa. Social media requires engagement and that requires content the audience can find and cares about. Sergio explains how Delivra developed content that engages.
14:02 – Step 4: Leverage auto-response marketing. Leads from inbound marketing are much easier to convert than outbound, so auto-responders must be adjusted accordingly, notes Sergio. Inbound leads don’t require an extensive nurturing process.
15:30 - Step 5: Analyze and optimize. Sergio notes that Delivra did more than merely analyze data; they analyzed the data that was most relevant to company leadership who controlled the budget.
16:20 – Delivra’s results included increasing quarterly revenue by 25 to 40 percent, doubling annual revenue per account, increasing leads by 70 percent, and increasing web traffic. Their blog now generates three to four times the amount of traffic that their well-established website had been generating.
17:00 – Don’t do random acts of social marketing. Sergio outlines the most successful social-marketing architecture and provides real-world examples.
20:56 – Understand the priorities and perceptions of leadership so you can get the funding you need. CMOs are expecting to see a return on investment from social media activities and that requires approaching social media strategically. Those who do so, says Sergio, are 80 percent more likely to achieve a return on investment from their efforts. If you think social media is free, you’re going to get what you pay for.
26:02 – Social Media ROI = (Value gained from the investment – cost of the investment)/cost of the investment. Sergio admits that calculating the value of social media for building reputation is challenging and complex. It helps if organizations put a value on leads. Results can be directly measured through a CRM system that can track a sale back to when it was captured as a lead. He points out that what’s rarely being measured is cost reductions in customer support and customer acquisition. Only 13 percent are using reduced costs as a value to calculate ROI.
38:00 – Question and answer begins.
38:02 – What does conversion mean? It’s different for every organization. Conversion can be anything from a click on an email link that sends them to a landing page to a cash sale for organizations with ecommerce capabilities. It’s up to marketers to define what conversion is for their organizations.
39:28 – Does social media help people connect with each other rather than providing an entry point to business resources? Social media does both – it gives marketers a place to build community and brings people to your organization.
41:24 – Which vertical markets do social media and ecommerce have the most effect? Technology-compatible industries, like high-tech equipment manufacturers with high-value leads that require a great deal of lead nurturing and relationship building. In terms of ecommerce, businesses are building ecommerce solutions into their facebook pages.
46:42 – How do you convince a following community to buy from you? Sergio points out that there are those who are looking for content to educate themselves and those who are qualified prospects looking for services. Both are valuable. Those who don’t turn into leads are valuable in building your brand. The key is providing content that’s valuable even if they never buy from you.
50:20 – How can a high-end sales vendor develop a social media strategy where the audience is a highly targeted niche market? Sergio admits that not all businesses will benefit from inbound marketing, just as not all businesses benefit from television or radio advertising. The key is to go to where your audience is and being proactive.
53:30 – What framework would assist with the ROI tracking? Track cost and value. Costs are easy. Value is difficult. You can use something basic and universal like Google Analytics to track activity from social media to landing page, or something more complex like Radian6. Only measure the metrics that matter most to your organization.
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.
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.
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.
This is a must-see webinar for any marketing organization that is contemplating the value of a CRM system or would like to leverage theirs more fully.
John Johnston, eBusiness Marketing Manager for Volvo North America, frankly reveals what business was like before CRM, which included temporary employees manually distributing leads to sales and the communications challenges that ensued. He then details every step he took to resolve those challenges, increase conversions, accelerate the sales cycle, and close the marketing-sales loop both online and off. Watch the video here:
As promised in my most recent blog post, below is the link to the MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay that looks at how one organization overcame stagnant sales, regardless of more marketing activity, through lead nurturing.
Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director of MECLABS, joins me in discussing how we worked with them to execute a lead-nurturing program that launched them from their sales rut into $4.9 million in additional sales pipeline growth in eight months.
I encourage you to watch this replay if you want a better idea of how lead nurturing works in the real world. If you have further questions, feel free to comment below.