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.
This 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.
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.
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.”
The 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:
- The majority of inquirers (sales leads, some might say) haven’t bought yet.
- Unlike new inquirers, they have already approached you at least once and now have some information from you (most of the time).
- 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.
- These are more likely to be hot.
- More proposals and quotes will come from them.
- 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.
How many of you are over the fact that when you click on a helpful or interesting headline the first thing you need to do is fill out a form to view it? This is typical on Twitter and LinkedIn. Time to practice combatting what we rant about regularly. The SLMA.com website has had a wonderful library of articles for members to read. They were required to login and then they had access.
This doesn't help everyone who just doesn't feel like remembering one more password. Our article authors take a lot of time to write these articles. We want to share their information with everyone - member or non-member. So we have gone through and made EVERY article on SLMA.com public.
Members wll be required to login in order to nominate and vote for the 50 Most Influential in Sales Lead Management each year. Members will be required to login to nominate for the 20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management, as well. We may have one or two items like that requiring login, but information, articles and whitepapers are available to all as of this week!
There is a wealth of information sorted by topic. If you haven't logged in lately, or just never bothered, this is a great time to read some of our articles, including these topics:+Susan Finch
By: Jeff Molander
Earning leads with LinkedIn Groups is easier than you might think. The trick is provoking your target market into contacting you for more details by teasing them with content that they cannot resist interacting with. This gets customers to click to your Profile and onward to your blog--where they can more clearly understand the thought you just provoked.
"Experts” say being engaging in LinkedIn Groups is the key to generating leads with LinkedIn. Finding crafty ways to mention your blogs, webinars or new product releases within LinkedIn Groups, they claim, will create more appointments, leads and sales. "Engaging" is like magic. But you know it's not true. Here's what works.
The System Revealed
I’m creating leads and sales using blogging, podcasts and LinkedIn Groups with this simple system. I...
1) Create valuable content (answers to burning questions)
2) Monitor for people demonstrating need for it (in LinkedIn Groups)
3) Reveal answers in ways that create cravings for more of what I have to share
The last step is where I provoke reaction--beyond sharing. This part is key. I make sure to not “tell a story” or “provide valuable content” or educate my target market. We hear a LOT about these as successful tactics but it's mostly social media guru blather. You've got to get people to do MORE than share the content.
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.
Without lead scoring, you risk your sales team wasting time on prospects not ready to buy, and marketers nurturing opportunities that will never qualify.
VisionEdge Marketing President Laura Patterson shared her tips recently in this two-part video series on crafting an effective scoring system. She outlines how to use “fit” and “behavior” metrics to rate opportunities and how those scores translate to action.
These videos were recorded and edited by Software Advice