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.
[vimeo 24117471 w=600&h=400]
How One Company Slashed Their Cost per Lead by More than Half from B2B Lead Roundtable on Vimeo.
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.