Hi, Me again (Alex Austin). I’m back due to popular demand and you only have yourselves to blame for asking for this blog post next. Kidding! Though please do continue to let me know which you would like me to publish next and thanks to the many Sales/Marketing Directors who have passed on their positive feedback. For those of you that missed it, here it is – C3 Clear Cut Connector
(Dated) Standard Practice
Sales spend their time trying to build up pipeline from the data that marketing has passed over, just to find the outcomes are either the 1% interested or part of the other 99% who we just don’t know. This is even more detrimental with not being able to even get through to the prospect intended, especially when marketing has spent money to generate ‘hot’ leads. We now know how much more difficult it is to reach the decision-maker when they are not in the office/WFH. Here is what you can do to alleviate the issue. And no, it’s not to have several glasses of wine and forget the issue exists.
Are you continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result from before the pandemic to now? Let me guess what you do. You produce a white paper or webinar then follow up with a marketing email and pass it to sales as an ‘MQL’. Sales then must catch up with all the marketing information, somehow sieve through it and call the most top priorities hidden amongst the campaign data. Sound familiar? Thought so. Ask yourself, why have I not modernised our approach with a few simple but very effective outcomes? Even if what you’re doing is working, below can drive a higher demand generation.
C’mon then Alex, what needs to change?
Answer: ‘The How’. I was always taught ‘the WHAT’ and ‘the HOW’! What the marketing/sales process is and how the process is executed. To establish ‘the What’, we need to know our own journey end to and mostly this looks like for:
- Marketing: – Data – MQI (prospect interaction) – MQI Nurturing to become an MQL – MQL (hot or cold)
- Sales: MQL (hot) received – SAL (sales accepted lead) – SQL (introductory meeting arranged) – Opportunity created (needs established) – $ value added – PIPELINE!
How the above process is carried out is what needs to change! To understand what needs to be done, we need to bring sales and marketing together through automation and update how we approach our nurturing strategy from BOTH sales and marketing perspectives.
First thing’s first – choreograph automated, personalised sequences.
Type of MQI
Knowing when your prospects have engaged can be game-changing. If a prospect downloads 2 whitepapers in the matter of a couple of days Vs over 2 weeks, we know this can change the scorecard on them. Either we’re going to have a fast or slower approach to booking an initial meeting. Likewise, knowing the difference between those prospects that only registered for the webinar Vs watched the webinar live Vs watched on-demand, not only gives marketing the intel they need to take forward, but this really helps your sales reps to know more about the type of conversation they are having and change the nurturing stream.
Yes, that’s right, sales can now call those who watched the webinar live first and while they are calling this batch of leads, can be automatically nurturing (email/social) those that registered for on-demand. When these are completed, can now call the batch that watched on-demand (which will now include those they nurtured) and finally, if necessary, call those leads that registered and never watched. There is still hidden pipeline here and to think this is just 1 example.
Now we have our hot or cold information on the MQI, the next stage is to follow up with an impactful sequence that has meaningful content that is campaign outcome specific. Gone are the days that a generic marketing email is needed to follow up. Using an automated tool, we can follow up with a personal email from the sales reps’ account (please refer to my recent blog with more information here). But, to avoid going directly into prospect’s spam/junk folders, there is an initial warm-up procedure needed and then you are good to go, with up to 1000 emails per day, per rep.
There are 3 types of sequence structures I have built that I find work:
- MQI (hot) – This would be short with an email and few calling steps.
- MQI (warm) – This is a 20-day cycle with some automated emails, calls, manual social selling steps and direct access to the rep’s calendar with a scheduling link to book a slot.
- MQI (cold) – This is a 30-day cycle that is more automated with automated emails, more marketing assets to see what takes their fancy, a few calls, automated and manual social selling techniques and frequent calendar scheduling access links.
Here we are looking to make it as easy as possible for the prospects, especially those cold MQIs and if they have already engaged once (we have their details), why make it harder for them to view our information. Using a good sales engagement platform, we can see when a prospect engages with further content, alert the sales rep and move them up to a hot lead status. Now, with all this information at our fingertips, your sales reps can really be focusing their calling time on hot leads. They pick up the phone and DAMM! 99.9% of the leads passed do not go through to the intended prospect. There are 2 categories I class them as, either ‘No Answer’ or ‘Email Only’. I’ll explain.
60 % of your call outcomes: No Answer
No Answer prospects are those that you left a voicemail for, it just rang and rang out or you got through to the gatekeeper who says “they’re away from their desk/they’re in a meeting/they’re not in today” yawn! We know it takes 5 or 6 times to call a prospect with a valid number so here is how to work around these types of setbacks.
Firstly, a good sequence’s structure will incorporate annual leavers which is very powerful, given you now have access to their email signature and tends to have their direct dial/mobile number. Now you know they are off; we can resume them when they return and not waste time calling to find they are not in the office. If they are not off but the gatekeeper is clearly succeeding at their job in parring you off, there are social selling techniques available to you.
By adding the prospect on LinkedIn, you gain access to further information (personal email and mobile numbers) and this validates further the information you have at your disposal. Lastly, through the use of LinkedIn, there are further messaging options that make it more accessible for a prospect to respond either as a 1st-degree connection or using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can further reach those you are not connected with. These really make a difference to any sequence structure.
Your email could be blocked, and call missed but LinkedIn isn’t.
40 % of your call outcomes: Email Only
Email Only prospects are classed as those with wrong numbers, or you could have spoken to a gatekeeper who says, “they’re not in the office due to covid/our office is closed/they don’t take calls”. These just need to get out of your hair the second you hang up and join the fully automated sequence that is integrated with automated social selling steps. This is what drives our C3 model – Check out my previous post for what this means.
With email-only data, we can single out who is interacting in a ‘hot’ way and then highlight this activity to the sales rep to then focus on. When this prospect opens and clicks an email several times, instead of a calling task, this would generate a LinkedIn task. In addition to the automated LinkedIn steps (connect, follow, message) they can check to see further information (if accepted) or now have a reason to find a new number from the company website. This would be worth the time on a lead like this as they are clearly showing signs of interest.
Look out for our next article and you can decide which topic that is. Let me know which one you would like to be published next and we will focus our attention on what the market (you) desire.
- What are you doing while the phone is ringing?
- How to harness the potential of your sales reps/managers and fully optimise their time, prioritising what really matters to them and the business.
- Data optimisation and using LinkedIn to continuously update this – stay focused on true real-time data
- Recycling your hard work and avoiding lead decay. Stay tuned….
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