Lead Generation Feed

Named Account Marketing: New Tools and Techniques to Reach a Limited Universe


Some B2B marketers know exactly what accounts are in their target market.  What a luxury!  These marketers can eliminate the old “spray and pray,” and focus all their attention and investment in a finite universe of prospects and current customers.  It’s almost like mass customized selling, with maximum coverage and minimal waste.  Best of all, a number of new tools and tactics are now available to do the marketing job efficiently. 

I’ve been involved a few situations like this recently.  At DMA14 in San Diego, I heard a fascinating talk by Mark Rentschler, marketing director at Makino, a large manufacturer of machine tools.  They have spent a few years building a database of the 6,000 accounts they already do business with in North America, plus another 6,000 prospective accounts.  Makino’s approach?  “Laser focus,” says Rentschler.  “These are the accounts we pay attention to.”

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How does Pay for Performance work in Lead Generation?

Not every company has the guts for it, or the experience to pull it off.  

David Balzen Headshot


Pay for performance is an interesting topic in lead generation.  In this interview with SalesStaff CEO David Balzen we get an understanding of the what it takes for a pay-for-performance model to be successful for both parties. Certainly many companies want someone to take all of the risk while they reap the benefits of new sales.  We’ll see how this works and the pitfalls for both parties.   The host is Jim Obermayer. 


Beyond Alignment: 5 Ways to Integrate Sales and Marketing Teams

LisaCannon_headshot-2014Getting sales and marketing teams into alignment is a hot topic lately, and for good reason. According to a study from the Aberdeen Group, highly aligned marketing and sales organizations achieved an average of 32% year over year revenue growth, while their less-aligned competitors saw a seven percent decrease in revenue. And MarketingProfs has found that organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing functions enjoyed 36% higher customer retention rates. So if we all agree that alignment is critical, and the data proves that it provides tangible business benefits, why isn’t everyone doing it?

It’s simple. Making fundamental changes to the way we work can be extremely difficult. But maybe the problem isn’t that sales and marketing aren’t aligned. Maybe the problem is that alignment just isn’t enough.

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Marketers: Stop Hypothesizing and Start Testing

Guest Author: Jenny Vance 

Before embarking on a lead generation program, companies often believe they must have all the answers: who is the ideal customer, which market is the most ripe, what message is best.

 Companies can spend months hypothesizing about the perfect calling lists, messages and strategies before launching an appointment setting campaign and making the first call.

Jenny-vance-cropped-pink I won’t go so far as to say that this is a waste of time; however, the law of diminishing margin returns takes effect very quickly sitting around a boardroom table hypothesizing about how the market will respond.

 There is a better way: let the market provide the answers.

 It’s time to start looking at your lead generation efforts differently. Lead generation is the greatest live dialog you have with prospects, and can be a powerful tool in spotting trends, honing messaging and identifying areas of market opportunity. In other words, lead generation can answer all your campaign questions without guesswork and delay.

 Lead generation campaigns provide two different kinds of data that can help you refine a lead generation campaign: call center metrics and conversation level information.


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SEO is a lead generation technique.


James Obermayer the host of SLMA Radio interviewed Judy Key Johnson from the Key Marketing Group as she discussed Lies, Myths, Falsehoods, Deceptions and Snake Oil promises surrounding discipline of search engine optimization.  Judy covered:

  • What to expect.
  • What not to expect.
  • What not to do.
  • How much doing it will cost.
  • How to choose someone to do it.
  • And how long it takes to see results.

Judy Key Johnson, KMG’s founder, has been a company president and a chief operating officer of several companies and has served on a board of directors and raised venture capital.  Everyone on the KMG team meets her high standards of performance.

Some show highlights included: 

SEO is a lead geneation technique.
It's more like PR.

What NOT to expect:

  • You MAY influence getting a nice spread in the paper about your business, but that doesn't guarantee a front page mention or interview.

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I can’t hear about what you do, because I’m busy telling you about what we do.

By Mari Anne Vanella, The Vanella Group

This statement gets back to the quantity versus quality leads. Lead generation companies making buckshot calls to countless companies hoping one will hit the target. A bit of research may reveal that not only is this company you are calling NOT a potential client, but that they may indeed be a competitor offering the same services.

IStock_000000796755SmallThis reminds me of tradeshow, webinar and other “guest” situations. Periodically, I’ll bring a customer or partner to tradeshows and other sponsored events as my guest. Their company name is usually included in the registration, yet no one vets the list so perhaps up to four years later our main line is receiving calls seeking out our “guest” as if they work for our company. Did you read this part, “FOUR YEARS LATER.” How big was that event list? Chances are a bit of research on LinkedIn would have revealed they are currently a VP at a large software company and has been since the time of the past event.

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You call THIS networking and Lead Generation?

Guest author Mari Anne Vanella of The Vanella Group (NEVER call her MARI) - shared some stories and I had to add in my feedback, as well. This is a big topic and becoming a bigger problem in lead generation.

IStock_000014362317SmallFrom Mari Anne Vanella:

Have you noticed an increasing trend of very poor outreach techniques on LinkedIn both via messages, InMail, and calls? A lot of it is laziness and the fact their mamas never taught them any manners, and their managers didn’t instill the respected way to introduce yourself to avoid having the door slammed in your face.

The complete lack of research people do before reaching out continues to amaze me.  A week or so back, I had someone reach out to me saying he knows I manage the Ace Hardware account and went on to ask me, “What can you tell him about them?”  First off-- why would I tell a complete stranger about a client?  Then we get to the LAZY part. This guy was referring to the job I had 17 years ago managing their EDI roll-out. 17 YEARS AGO.  Curious how he could be so desperate for information that he would ask someone about something so far from current experience, I asked if he looked at my profile.  His response was, “Yes, very impressive.” and then right back to asking what can I tell him about Ace.  Under the circumstances, what else is there to share except "They sell hardware.”

This gets us into another topic covering “being too familiar with the unfamiliar.”

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Solve a sales slump with older inquiries and jump-start sales

IStock_000008941429SmallThe majority of companies that enter a quarter in dire straits can solve revenue and profit shortfalls simply by mining sales inquiries generated in the previous 12 months. If there is no database of these prospects, the company gets what it deserves. But if you have a database of inquirers, read on. (If not, stop here and go get a Jack Daniels because you are going to need it.) 

The reason this works is three-fold:

  1. The majority of inquirers (sales leads, some might say) haven’t bought yet.
  2. Unlike new inquirers, they have already approached you at least once and now have some information from you (most of the time).
  3. If you are an average company, 25% of the inquirers have heard from your salesperson anyway (and this is the problem, but we can’t solve that here). 

Management’s first inclination is to ask the salespeople to follow up all of the previous inquiries. Stubborn salespeople may or may not do it. If they were dumb enough to skip follow-up the first time, why do you think they will do it the second time you ask? 

Go to an Outside Service

Results come faster, much faster, if you go to an outbound telesales services company to make the calls for you. 2,000 inquiries will require a conservative 120-166 hours of telemarketing time to make one call into the list. On average, telesales reps will speak with 332 inquirers. If they are calling easy-to- speak-to people, they may talk to 500 or more. If they are going after F1000 IT managers, they may only speak with 125.

Let’s say they speak to 332 inquirers. In that case, you will probably generate a new lead in one out of every three hours of calling (remember they know who you are). This is 55 (in round numbers) “newly hot” people. This is conservative. Leave voice mail messages for the rest. Send a special email to every one of the 55.

Make two more passes through the list. The results will be slightly less each time, but you will then have 90 to 125 reasonably hot people. Yes, some telesales people will promise more, but if you live with these numbers you will see a solid sales result.

  1. These are more likely to be hot.
  2. More proposals and quotes will come from them.
  3. Many will say, I talked to the rep; have him or her call me again. 

What about the cost?

Consider that you’ve already spent about $100,000 for the 2,000 inquiries at an average cost of say, $50 each. The cost for a telesales program such as this will be about $18K. It can be completed within three weeks, but you can stretch it out to four-to-six weeks. Some companies will charge more (set-up fees, monthly management fees, reporting fee) but generally, you will not spend less than $15,000, and seldom more than $22,000.

The cost is insignificant,

and the results oh so sweet. 

Let’s take the high number, $22,000. You have now spent another $11 per inquiry. You have generated an additional 125 hot leads from the group that already knows you. Sales will close faster because they know you. Your fourth quarter is saved if another $300K can save your butt. Out of the 125 inquiries, you can assume 40% will go to quotes, bids, and proposals. You will get 40% on the short side and closer to 50% on the high side. Remember, these are qualified.

If your product is worth $10,000, this measly, tiny, pocket-change figure of $22,000 will bring you $300,000 in sales. If the product is worth $20,000, cash in $600,000. And so on. Some of these sales may go beyond the quarter.

Yes, the geeks in the crowd will run the numbers and see everything is rounded. There are a lot of variables, and mileage will vary. Results can only be better. 

The cost is insignificant, and the results oh so sweet.