Dan McDades PowerViews is on it’s eight episode. Dan has interviewed Ginger Conlon, Andrew Gaffney, Christopher Hosford, Jonathan Farrington, Paul Gillin, Trip Kucera, and Jeff Ernest.
The highlights from Dan’s discussion with SLMA’s Jim Obermayer are:
2012: Companies Lifting Off with Higher Budgets for Marketing & Lead Generation
- There has been a significant increase in marketing and sales alignment becoming subject matter for conferences.
- There have been more comments from marketing automation vendors that cold calling and other traditional ways of generating sales leads are going away.
- Based on SLMA Radio interviews with 120 marketing and sales leaders and other conversations, a big change is the way companies are spending more dollars on marketing and lead generation. Jim is seeing a lot of companies lifting off as a result.
- Increased budgets of this nature are including outbound telemarketing and lead generation companies.
- Budgets seem to be there for marketing and sales initiatives that can measure the return on investment.
We Can’t Get Away from Basic Integrated Marketing: Outbound vs. Inbound:
Commenting on the outbound marketing and inbound marketing mix, Jim says we can’t get away from basic integrated marketing. While everyone wants less expensive leads in the form of prospects who identify themselves via company websites, traditional direct marketing is still needed to educate prospects and drive them to websites.
Research indicates that prospects are completing 70% of the decision making process before they want to talk to a salesperson, but information sources for this self-education still needs to include direct mail pieces, emails and trade show participation.
He notes the basics haven’t died—they’ve just shifted.
Proactive Value-Added Selling Needed Much Earlier in the Buy Cycle
In response to a question about the real value of prospects who contact sales when they are 70% of the way through the buying process, Jim describes a common scenario:
“I’ve seen a resurgence in value-added selling because companies are being hammered on price by people who call up the sales rep and say, ‘We’ve done our research and want to get a price.’ But it really doesn’t tell you they’ve been talking to one or two salespeople from their most valued suppliers for five months, and the only reason they’re talking to you is to get the third bid. And this salesperson is trying to create value, and it’s way too late in the chain to create value.”
Because of experiences like this, many companies are focusing on value-added selling. This approach helps them ask better qualifying questions, separate valuable leads much faster, and create value from the start.
He recommends that value-added selling take an integrated multi-touch, multi-media approach—at least six to eight touches with email, direct mail and phone calls. He cites research he’s done that shows any contact after the initial inquiry helps push up the closing ratio by as much as 50%.
The Marketing Manager’s Role in Alignment Leadership & Wealth Building:
In discussing alignment, Jim immediately focuses on marketing and sales managers who need to step forward into leadership roles. With many sales managers focused on their own responsibilities and teams, it is the marketing manager who can and should take the bigger, longer view.
Marketing managers should start with quota and figure out how many inquiries are needed to reach it. He notes the best companies—the ones that are lead machines—still only produce enough to get 50% or 60% of the company’s sales. Charged with wealth building for the company, the marketing managers have to create buzz, inquiries and leads—all linked to quota. Ultimately, the marketing management staff delivers more wealth for the company than their sales forces do.
Recommendations to Close More Deals in 2012
He says it’s necessary to compare quota to the size of the pipeline to see what has to happen to resolve the difference, and then start by focusing on all inquiries that came in during the last year.
His research shows 15% of leads close in three months, 26% close in six months, and 45% close within a year. But numbers also show 56% of inquiries that are six months old and 36% of inquiries that are one year old are still in the marketplace. Go back and talk to all these inquiries.
To bring in the most qualified leads in the shortest period of time Jim recommends these tactics:
- Hire a B2B telemarketing company to call inquiries from the last twelve months.
- Use large flights of both direct mail and email.
- Take another look at trade show attendees as leads from trade shows still take fewer touches to close.
- Use BANT qualifiers.
- Filter inquiries and leads by grading them.
- If you have outside salespeople, always deliver a proposal in person.
You can connect with Jim and learn more about his work at the Sales Lead Management Association via the following resources:
Jim’s Email Address: jobermayer at salesleadmgmtassn dot com
Sales Lead Management Association Website: www.salesleadmgmtassn.com
Sales Lead Management Association on Twitter: @SalesLdMgmtAssn