The nirvana is referrals – and referrals comes from strong relationships from people that know like and trust you.
Below are 6 key elements of the sales and marketing machine
- Marketing generated leads from content publishing, websites, events, and alliances
- Sales development reps (SDRs) who are doing outbound like you but typically at a lower level in the target accounts and smaller-size prospects; they are sometimes called market development reps (MDRs) or inside sales reps (ISRs) and may seek to move leads from marketing qualified (MQL) to sales qualified (SQL)
- A formalized referral program with rewards for staff and customers
- Outsourced lead-generation and appointment-setting companies
- Your senior company executives or board members who have quality relationships and who can introduce you
- Partners and alliances who can provide you with referrals
Build a plan to leverage the machine
Create a business plan for your own success. Analyze your territory, the suitability and market fit for what you sell, the competition, the resources available to you, and then create a plan in partnership with your sales manager and marketing team
Know your numbers . Work backwards and Chunk it….
- Divide the sales target by the current average deal size, then divide that by 11 months (allow 1 month for annual vacation and public holidays)… to get the monthly numbers – and then divide by 20 to get the daily target…... This tells you how many deals you need to do in a week or month to achieve target.
- Then calculate the number of qualified pipeline opportunities required based on your proven conversation rate. You will need somewhere between two and five times the sales target in qualified opportunities.
- Then calculate how much prospecting activity is required per available day to achieve this in terms of emails sent, phone calls made and live conversations had with real decision-makers. Now you know how much prospecting activity you must do every day. If the number does not scare you, you botched the calculations.
Make sure the SDRs or outsourced lead-generation company can actually carry the conversation for proactive outbound by sitting with them and making calls together. Help them with their own sales strategy for blends that elevate the conversation and improve response rates so they can provide better quality leads for you and others.
Know what sales success looks like – know your numbers
- Twenty-one meetings per month
- Sixty-two percent conversion rate from meeting-to-opportunity
- Thirteen opportunities per month
How many social and email outreaches plus phone calls are needed to achieve these results?
Again, do the math for your own business based on your own stats, and then discuss with your SDR team to agree on what’s needed and what’s acceptable to drive the necessary results. (SDR is a sales development rep focussing on outbound prospecting)
If they can’t hit these numbers, consider outsourcing
There are many others in your part of the world who will deploy software and sellers on your behalf to land qualified meetings. They are so worth it and they also bring powerful databases!
Tony Hughes recommends ConnectAndSell, which operates at 1,000 dials a day and provides on-demand outbound with transparency. Every dial, conversation, and outcome is available online for inspection and listening.
Bring marketing to the party and get better results
Don’t leave any MQL unturned
Let marketing know what resources and support you need to be successful, what events you need to attend, and what content will best attract early-stage leads.
Use MQLs (A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead judged more likely to become a customer compared to other leads based on lead intelligence, often informed by closed-loop analytics.).
Obsessively use the CRM and marketing automation platform.
Sirius Decisions published research stating that salespeople speak with less than 9 percent of MQLs.
This means that 91 percent of the marketing budget literally goes to waste.
Not because the MQLs are bad but because they don’t answer the phone or email in the limited number of attempts made by salespeople.
I can’t imagine giving up on trying to reach a legitimate MQL. Be the one to ferociously follow up and close the loop with marketing in the CRM.
Create relevant Content Articles interesting to your targeted leads
The most fundamental marketing automation play for pipeline creation is web-to-lead programs. Identify the topics that will attract the right kind of leads.
You should be researching your potential buyers and customers to identify the hot issues, so create a list of content topics for marketing to work with.
Design an unforgettable customer experience CX CX CX
Truly appreciate those who can create high-value articles, papers, videos, and other content with which marketing teams can attract and nurture leads to keep your prospects swimming around the boat. Every business needs a platform that brings marketing, sales, service, support, and stakeholder engagement together.
This is because customer experience (CX) is the single biggest point of differentiation, and it should be targeted as early in the buyer’s journey as possible.
A lead called within five minutes of requesting information is over 10 times more likely to answer and 4 times more likely to qualify.
I once downloaded a state of sales report from the Salesforce website as part of my research for being a keynote speaker at one of their events. I was called within the hour, and they did it well – no hard sell. They simply asked what my interest was in the report and if there was anything else they could help me with. I am now in their sales and marketing database and being profiled for future contact as appropriate.
Salesforce drinks their own champagne when it comes to sales and marketing automation.
It all needs to work together
- Sales and marketing,
- insight and value,
- old-school content and
- new-school channels,
- humans and machines, and
- social and the phone.
Create a “blue ocean” by asking the right questions
The most important questions that marketers must ask when seeking to create high-quality sales pipeline are:
- What trigger events occur in the customer’s world to start them on their buying journey?
- What do my buyers look for online before they know to look for me?
- Where do they go online to be educated about their problems and the opportunities?
These questions are important because they can create “blue ocean” leads, where buyers are motivated by their problems or opportunities but they are early in their journeys and you have little competition. “Red ocean” is where the competition is abundant like a dozen piranhas in a goldfish bowl.
“Blue ocean” strategy requires you to identify topics for articles, papers, videos, and other content that your marketing team can create to attract leads.
Reflect all of this in your own publishing within your LinkedIn profile, and be an industry thought leader.
Have someone in marketing be your editor to make sure your content shines.
Guest Author: Tony Hughes is a bestselling author, award-winning blogger and the most read LinkedIn Author globally on the topic of B2B sales leadership. Tony’s first book is a business bestseller with his second book, COMBO Prospecting, is available on Amazon here. He can be found on LinkedIn and at TonyHughes.com.au andRSVPselling.com