Most B2B marketers don’t always realize that the initial follow up on your leads can make or break your conversion rate and ultimately your ROI. The B2B marketers that do realize this have adjusted – they either own lead qualification, work extensively with the sales-lead lead-qualification team or outsource to a tele-vendor who qualifies leads before they pass them to the sales-lead lead-qual group. Just generating leads or managing CPL, and so on means nothing if you aren’t optimizized for what happens after you generate the lead. FYI: the biggest and best marketing organizations have already solved this and continue to do so.
So, as a person who has been providing leads to organizations for 10 years, I can say I have heard them all. Not just from the person on the phone following up, but from the marketers who gather feedback from sales. This “feedback” is from the front line of leads. If this is the feedback you are getting, sometimes fixing the follow-up first makes all the difference. Remember, if Sirius Decisions is right, 80 percent of the leads that sales disqualifies end up buying within 24 months. So those leads that “suck” many not be that bad after all.
Before I go on, I do want to say one think I have learned: many times all “frontline” objections are solved by three things:
1. Being clear about what the goal is of the call. In most cases, its two-fold: Figure out whether you should keep talking (score) and, if so, get them to the next step in the sales process (demonstration, appointment, and so on). This is where follow-up fails: Lead-qual reps think their job is to sell the product (bad call), figure out if they have read the whitepaper (hilarious). Every objection can be answered by the question “Are you the person involved in …?” Seriously.
2. Training and management – repeat after me: training and management.
3. Marketing automation and lead nurturing.
So, here they are the 6 common, but easy to overcome, yet honestly, completely annoying pieces of feedback you receive on leads*:
1. “They don’t remember downloading the whitepaper”: Yes, I know. Since the advent of online whitepaper syndication, it has been the new buyer objection. Suckers get derailed from this objection. Seriously, why do you care? YOU know they did, so leverage that knowledge to keep on fighting. How about, “no problem, are you in charge of…?”
2. “They won’t call me back”: That’s right, because buyers (even when buying) can’t wait to call back someone so they can be subjected to BANT qualifying questions. Don’t just leave “checking in and seeing if you have any questions” voicemails of the early 90s. The buyer’s job is to NOT call you back or email you back (even when they LIKE you). Winning organizations have the following:
- Coordinated call/email campaigns designed to get people to connect.
- Outbound dialing service like Connect and Sell www.connectandsell.com
- An understanding that not everyone will answer their phones in 3 weeks, so nurture.
3. “They don’t know who we are”: Now this one CAN be solved to an extent with the lead sources that you are using, but again, is that the ultimate opening question? Who are you? Don’t mind if I do.
4. “They don’t have a project”: Sorry that they don’t have a project today, but seeing as this is the right person who is requesting information about your market, you may want to talk to them. Just to note, from our marketing programs at Tippit, we have one simple lead definition, “Right Person, Right Interest.” We will pay for that. We know over time, they will buy. Just get us started.
5. “They aren’t the decision maker”: I know, I know, you need to talk to the CEO or VP. Well, they aren’t going to download things on the Internet. I understand why we need to get to the C-suite at some point, but that’s not going to happen with industrial grade, lead-generation machinery. Particularly with companies that want to do LOTS of business. If you want to hit the C-suite, put together a VITO campaign leveraging execs, make sure you have experienced outbound callers on the project and be happy with a couple leads. But don’t expect your lead machine to punch out CEO’s.
6. “They have a project but…”: You can’t have it both ways from lead gen. The perfect project ready to buy in one month with no warts attached is just NOT going to happen. If you do get projects, be happy you did. These are still leads. Here are some of my favorites:
- “They fit our employee parameters, but they only want a small amount of licenses”
- “They are already down the road”
Note: This is primarily related to leads and inquiries, depending on what you call them (not BANT scored).
*This “feedback” means there is a problem with expectation setting, process, and so on and can always be made to go away.