This will be short. So…I was watching Ralph Barsi’s Dreamforce presentation: “Sales Development Professionals Must Represent” and the first thing he told the audience was an instruction: “Draw a line down the middle of the page. On one side takes notes and on the other side write down the action items you are going to go act on immediately.” (Not an exact quote). Anyway, Ralph is not the “Most Disorganized Man on the Face of the Earth”, that would be me…The point of this post is the fact that his tip of splitting the page in half is something I have done for years. Before we move on, here is the video of his presentation.
I am taking my first long vacation in 15 years. PS don’t worry someone is staying at my house so I won’t get robbed. (I think)
I do have some posts queued during my trip so expect to hear from me…just not today.
I have one thing to say: I’m tired. And because I was raised on it, I will eat SPAM musubi while in Hawaii.
I say a bunch of things, some are quoted and others are forgotten. I figured I would jot them down and see if we can learn anything from them…musings from Craig Rosenberg, like it or not:
1. Content won’t solve the problem, but you probably can’t solve the problem without content — I am completely bought into the content marketing game. However, if you need more deals/pipeline, the answer is not “more content” although content should be included as part of the plan. I talked to a couple startup marketers who told me the first thing they need to go do is create content. Let me get this straight, you are just starting to figure out how to make money and you want to create content first? Actually….
2. Don’t be a sissy, call people — I am sorry, you want to start a business? You want to launch a new product? The first thing you do is get on the phone. You will learn more from that than anything else. And don’t tell them you are doing market research, just sell…it’s ok. If you ask someone: “If I came to you and said you could do X what would you say”. If they know it will do no harm, they will say “yes”. If you ask someone, can i send you a proposal for X. You will know what they really think. Then you can create content. Buyer personas? Same thing…just make sure you know one thing:
3. You can’t create buyer personas without talking to them — Please don’t make buyer personas without talking to these people. I suggest you start with your theory and go test it live. Then create content, it will be better. By the way, have you noticed:
4. We have a bunch of people in the workforce who have never been spanked – I am telling you…I brought this up to a colleague and she said: “No kidding, can I ask that on a job description? Along with: Where you on a losing team and didn’t get a trophy? Do you call your parents’ friends mr. and mrs?” I remember seeing a tweet from @damphoux: “Please keep working hard #thingsIneverhadtobetold” Funny, sometimes I have whipped this one out:
5. There is a bus strapped with a bomb that can’t go less than 55 miles per hour or it will blow up. You are Keanu Reeves, please act accordingly – Net-net, look at the clock man and get urgent. I don’t want you to make bad decisions by rushing, but I want you to know a bunch of people on this bus are counting on you and f-ing up and saying “my bad” isn’t going to do anyone any good.
PS If you read this as bitterness, you don’t know me. I wrote this smiling and having fun.
From Monday, July 11, through Friday, July 15, Focus.com is presenting Focus B2B Marketing Week, rolling out a bunch of webinars and roundtable panels that will bring together the top experts in their fields to discuss the state of B2B marketing today.
Couple things to note:
- Wednesday at 10 am PT is a webinar with Ardath Albee and me. Everything else is a roundtable.
- You can catch all the action by clicking here.
- Ask questions before, during and after the event in the event interfaces.
For speaker details and to attend, click the event links below.
Monday July 11
1 pm PT/4 pm ET: How to Set Up an Effective Marketing Organization
Tuesday July 12
11 am PT/2 pm ET: B2B Marketing Tactics That Work (And the Ones That Don’t)
1 pm PT/4 pm ET: Modern B2B Marketing Strategies
Wednesday July 13
Thursday July 14
9 am PT/12 pm ET: The Key to Sales and Marketing Alignment
1 pm PT/4 pm ET: Expert Best Practices in Content Marketing
Friday July 15
11 am PT/2 pm ET: B2B Marketing 3.0: What’s Next for B2B Marketers?
1 pm PT/4 pm ET: Tips on Generating Leads for Yourself
Sign up to attend now — it should be awesome.
My first very important announcement is: Focus.com, my employer, created the infographic below.
My second very important announcement is: I like it and I hope you do too. Mad props to Carlos Hidalgo, who helped curate the information. For me, following the marketing automation space has been the first time I have been able to watch a market from start to finish and really understand it. Yes, I have been alive in Silicon Valley during the rise of all the other technologies du jour, but this one I know. I love being a fan.
I hope you find the infographic interesting — we’ll have to see how much it changes next year!
OK, now that I have led you off my site, let’s get back to business. I decided to write this because I continue to believe in my heart of hearts that one of the single biggest levers a revenue-focused organization can pull is to have a dedicated phone qualification team. Also, I was cleaning out old paperwork and found some of my old notes from my days at SalesRamp.
First, some clarifications: I’m talking about a multichannel process that includes dedicated phone-based resources and automation designed to determine whether or not a lead fits the agreed-upon qualified lead definition and is deemed ready to speak with sales. Or CliffsNotes-style: There are people on the phones who qualify leads or inquiries before handing them to sales.
There are a number of different names for this: inside sales, sales development, lead development, telebusiness, lead qualification, and so forth. No matter what you call it, there’s a buttload of things to do when building an LQT (lead qualification team). I can think of at least 54:
- Establish a business plan.
- Create definitions; in particular, your qualified lead definition (more on this later).
- Determine your “value-chain,” starting from revenue the organization needs to generate then go in order from there: a) Opportunities: How many opportunities do we need to hit the revenue number?; b) Qualified leads: How many qualified leads do we need to hit our number?; c) Leads or marketing-qualified leads (MQLs): How many leads do we need to hit our qualified leads number?
- Draw the value chain from top of the funnel to the bottom.
- Create metrics for each step in the value chain.
- Determine your leads’ needs (demographics and so forth).
- Determine lead/inquiry generation flow (what are the sources, etc.).
- Figure out how leads will be entered into the system.
- Establish the merged/purged database process.
- Develop a list of prospects/customers not to call.
- Develop a definition of a qualified lead. I know I mentioned this earlier, but it is the most critical definition — what criteria must you uncover in order to pass this lead to sales?
- Sales has to agree to the definition, or nothing on this list will work.
- Get a commitment from sales to follow up on the qualified lead. Some might call it an SLA (besides Dan Waldschmidt).
- What is the deliverable to sales? Is it an appointment? Demo? What is the information provided?
- What’s the closed-loop process? Sales needs to provide feedback on the qualified leads; try to do it using your CRM.
- Create lead stages just like sales stages, but make them mimic the phone qualification process.
- Develop the quota of qualified leads (as my old boss Stu Silverman called it, “The ‘keep-your-job’ quota”).
- Develop a commission plan for the LQ reps. It should be a qualified lead number with a bonus for revenue generated.
- Develop a commission plan for the manager.
- Determine how to track calling statistics. Yes, sir (or madam), you need to do this. (P.S. You may or may not be able to do this in the CRM.)
- Tie your qualified lead flow with the overall sales forecasting process.
- Establish the territories for the lead qualification reps.
- Develop “hang-on-the-wall” materials: value propositions, call guide including voice mail, qualified lead definition, competitive comparison guide, list of customers and partners, diagram of the field organization, buyer personas.
- Set content-delivery strategy – what should be sent when.
- Create scoring (this is if you don’t have marketing doing scoring). You should score on lead source, demographic info that hits your sweet spot (title, for example), and so forth.
- Score will determine level of effort and time spent.
- Create a “connect-strategy” that includes phone and email — a series of calls and emails over time.
- Determine the number of voicemails you will leave (if any; some people don’t).
- Create a web-researching strategy. Allot a certain amount of time to research each account. Provide an application to do research such as Inside View.
- Create a process for inbound calls including call routing. (P.S. Here is to hoping you get inbound calls!)
- Get senior executive staff to buy into the LQT.
- Write all of this down in a strategy document. Not just to look cool, but for your own good.
- Develop automation strategy, customizations, reports.
- Choose a CRM system if there isn’t one. Figure out how to support your process if there is one.
- Ensure you set up CRM to make lead qualification reps’ lives easier. They need to live in it.
- Write an automation cheat sheet. Lead qualification reps should hang it on their walls.
- Establish a process for tracking qualified leads.
- Develop a lead source report — goodness of sources and goodness of follow-up.
- Make sure leads are seamlessly entered into the system. Make sure lead qualification reps are alerted when they enter the CRM system.
- Train, train and train: industry, buying personas, market, technology, product, company, your new lead qualification process, the automation, the message, objections.
- Sit with the lead qualification reps; it’s the best way to help them.
- Determine headcount.
- Create job descriptions. Copy other job descriptions of like jobs to make sure you are thorough.
- Advertise on craigslist, it works for this position. And send out word to your network. After you get one or two, pay for referrals. The average age will be young for this position, and the young’uns like working with their friends.
- Manage the group toward hitting its goals.
- Monitor calling. Use a splitter. It sounds invasive, but it works great.
- Continually communicate goals and results to management. They don’t always get it.
- On second thought, continually communicate to the entire company.
- Have a closed-loop meeting with sales. It should be weekly. Accept feedback and do something about it.
- Have a closed-loop meeting with marketing. It should be weekly too.
- Have marketing listen to calls of their leads so they can see what is working/not working live.
- Constantly optimize.
- Expect a year to 14 months of maximum output from lead qualification reps.
- Wake up do it again (think Groundhog Day).
I am currently trying to buy a couple pieces of technology (true story). I won’t tell you what kind of technology (to protect the innocent). But I will tell you that I am learning how much it sucks to be a b2b buyer. I wrote a little about my experiences and recommendations on the Savvy b2b marketing blog.
It’s really eye-opening to go through the process of trying to buy something in a comparable industry. As I live through my pain, I will chronicle our experiences. (I am including my partner-in-crime Lori Janjigian as she helps me in the buying process and is supplying me with her observations, aka complaints, about the process.)
Here are some important points:
- “The biggest innovation Marc Benioff made was to allow b2b buyers to buy complex software with a credit card.” (via Scott Albro) I have a couple of witty quotes from Scott on the issue of “ease of purchase.” This is so true ‑ think about how hard it was to buy enterprise software before the Salesforce.com/SaaS cloud revolution. It was big and complicated, and still is for many companies. Now, many “smart” companies make their pricing transparent; you can order without a salesperson or if you do, it’s easy. Here’s one: I just talked to my buddy who works at at a major software vendor where he sells business applications. He told me that he has to wait for legal to approve his contracts and it can take 30 to 60 days. Not exactly “easy to buy”
- Create “buyer-helpful” content, but don’t forget people also need to be able to actually buy your product. I am the biggest advocate for content that buyers want ‑ particularly third-party content. If you have read this blog in the past, you should know this. On the other hand, the goal here is sell people stuff (sorry, it is). A tip that you can act on right now is to ask yourself one thing: “If someone wants to buy from us, what do they have to do?” I know everyone is going to say “but b2b is so complex.” Sure, but most products are going the other way. Google Apps costs something like $50 per year per user. Pretty complex? I don’t think so. Guess what, there are times when we want to talk to the sales rep and we want to know that this part of the process will not be painful.
- “A perfect example of a complex product made simple is automobiles.” (via Scott Albro) Scott likes to say, “There is more technology in cars than a data storage box.” He’s right. Consumer marketing is so refined that it’s both marketed and packaged so you and I can understand what it is we are going to buy. Consumer sales is such that I can walk in and walk out with a car in a couple hours, even though it is a gigantic piece of technology and engineering.
- Oh, and the “contact us” box sucks. I see that, and I just think black hole. The dropdown you provide doesn’t make me feel like I am going to go in the right direction. When you walk into a good store, someone asks, “How can I help you today?” How about taking that methodology to the “front door” of your buying process? As you consider what it’s like to buy, “How do I get started?” is a good question to answer.
Let’s call this my take-away: If someone wants to buy your product, what must they do? Remember that this is not a question about downloading content and so forth, this is about buying. Is it frictionless, easy to understand, easy to find, easy to figure out? That is the question. More on this in upcoming posts.