Details Salespeople Want to Know About Your Leads

Sales and marketing alignment – or smarketing – isn’t entirely a new concept. In the dawn of the inbound marketing, however, it’s importance in businesses worldwide have grown to be more pronounced due to the ever-increasing scale in which we do modern business.

Though it might arcane, sales and marketing alignment is really just all about attaining that ideal relationship between both departments. Since we’re marketers, this post will deal with our side of the smarketing bargain.

Marketers need to think with the end in mind: the inevitable sale for and delight of the prospect. The only way to achieve that is to give the prospect a highly-personal experience across sales and marketing funnels.

That bridging between two funnels will be the primary focus of this post. We will outline the information salespeople expect from their leads, as well as the relevant contextual information specific to every contact for them to close deals friction-free.

The basic stuff

The Basic Stuff

Names, phone numbers, email addresses, company names, and job titles. Obvious as they are, it is imperative that marketers get this right 100% of the time. Prospects, especially those who are in constant communication and are engaged with your company, expect their sales representatives to know them as much as they know your brand.

Verify your leads across multiple sources first before handing them over to sales. Be it through LinkedIn, further company offers, a quick survey – any privacy and GDPR-compliant method for that matter – helps to clean your data and take some pain off business development activities.

Your prospect’s industry and competition

Your prospect's industry and competition

Knowing which industry your prospect’s company plays in is helpful. Knowing who they are competing against, and on what economic landscape, is certainly indispensable. With this information, it will become easier for both sales and marketing to align their messaging and pitch to that which resonates with their prospects’ organizational needs.

There are many ways to do this, but a quick and effective way is to do it manually with SEO and SEM competitive analysis tools.

Ascertain what keywords their businesses are targeting for, and use that to get a list of their direct and indirect competitors. A good number of competitors to look out for would be around 3 – 5 companies. For this list, work inwards and see where your prospect’s brand is differentiated from the pack.

Differentiation is key to staying competitive in the market. Know your prospects further by going the extra mile and seeing the market landscape from their point of view. This knowledge will arm your sales team with a strategy for your prospect (where your solution plays a key role in, of course) that is instrumental in sealing the deal.

Business nature, culture, and target markets

Business nature

With your prospect’s brand differentiation ascertained, try to understand the execution side of their strategy and the audience they are attracting or trying to attract with it. Knowing who their stakeholders better prepares your sales team in not just aligning their pitch, but clarifying the needs and pain points of your prospects before they even begin to speak out their issues.

Have you ever had a conversation before where the person you were speaking to immediately understood and empathized with your problem? That is exactly what knowing these details is about.

Take your prospect’s market positioning statement, mission and vision, the services they offer, and most importantly, some samples of the voice and tone they use in their copy and include them in the leads list you pass on to sales. Provide a short summary of who they are as a company, the businesses they are competing against, and your analysis of what makes them better than the rest.

Responsibilities and challenges

Responsibilities and Challenges

This is where marketing starts to show that it is a business about human to human conversations. It can get even more personal than this (more on this later), but this is the minimum “personal depth” we recommend marketers look into as communicate with their prospects.

Take the time to know your prospects beyond their basic contact information, job title, company, and industry. What are their main responsibilities besides those that their job titles suggest? Who do they answer to? What sort of challenges do they face as they move to accomplish their daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly objectives? More importantly, how can doing business with you help him achieve his goals in his workplace?

For this, consider visiting your prospect’s LinkedIn profile. Have a quick run-through of his previous affiliations, attended events, skills and awards, and posts. You don’t have to write or copy and paste everything down on the report. Capturing your prospect’s responsibilities in a concise sentence works well enough, like so:

Joseph is an IT Manager with a deep background in Linux. His responsibilities lie in overseeing internal network security, but bring-your-own-devices and managing the balance between IT flexibility and security seem to be taking up a lot of his time.

Interests and goals

Marketers are in the business of getting to know their prospects – not stalking them. So be careful and know where to draw the line as early as possible!

That being said, the goal in this section is not to inspect through every available online information about your prospects. What you can do is instead to create a mini-persona of sorts that you could use as a model of interaction with this prospect.

To build this persona, ask yourself the following questions:

Interests and Goals

Not all of these questions can be readily answered with the information you have available. Just remember that what you need to pass on to the salespeople isn’t necessarily more information. Rather, a “feel” for your prospect and the motivations behind communicating with your brand in the first place.

Recent interactions with your company

Recent interactions with your company

Analytics and marketing automation reporting tools often play the pivotal role in closing deals. They contain contain a chock-full of insights about your prospects – where they first found you, the content they consumed within your website or domain, emails from your brand they found interesting, and so on.

By aggregating all this data and formatting for a more digestible layout, salespeople will be able to understand, in one glance, exactly what sort of interaction is “missing” that they could fill in. For instance, a prospect who has been a subscriber for a long time clicked on an email offer, but didn’t push through with your flow, could use just a bit more convincing to for him to convert. This, of course, along with complementary data discussed in this article.

Closing thoughts

Salespeople work best when they are able to concentrate exclusively on closing deals. The less time they spend prospecting, digging for or verifying missing information, or nurturing leads themselves, the more they can make the most out of their resources – time, energy, and focus greatly needed in their craft.

Our duty as marketers, then, is to enable them to concentrate to the best of our ability. This means passing on only the best quality leads, attainable only through complete, accurate, and filled with the necessary context – context that is needed to have human-to-human conversations with prospects.

Trend Micro Case Study

Case Study

Trend Micro Event RSVP Case Study

Trend Micro is a multinational cybersecurity and defence company armed with a vast array of home, office, and enterprise solutions for threat prevention and data protection.

In May 2018, amidst recent widespread reports of cyberattacks and data breaches, Trend Micro organized a cybersecurity workshop in Asia with a focus on simulating and defending against attacks using the same suite of tools used in the real world.

This workshop was to be hosted in Makati, Philippines, and attended by IT managers and decision makers across multiple industries from the country’s top 1000 companies.

ThinkLogic was tasked– with its unique expertise in the Asia Pacific region – to handle the invitation, registration, and follow-up and confirmation of the event’s attendees.

Trend Micro
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CORE MARKETING METRICS: To prove your Marketing ROI

CORE MARKETING METRICS

Do you know which metrics actually matter to your boss? In this cheat sheet of metrics, we’ll share the six metrics that do.

In this brief cheat sheet, you’ll find:
  • 6 marketing metrics that prove the value of your marketing efforts
  • Formulas and examples to help you calculate your own metrics
  • Explanations and scenarios of why these metrics are important and how to interpret them
Core Marketing Metrics
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LEAD GENERATION TIPS AND TRICKS: To Power Your Inbound Marketing Campaigns

LEAD GENERATION TIPS AND TRICKS

To Power Your Inbound Marketing Campaigns

Capturing your audience’s attention is paramount to the success of your lead generation campaigns. And it’s not just the volume – you have to be able to attract the right audience and set the right expectations so they sign up, and stay.

In this eBook, you will learn:
  • 30 lead generation tips and tricks to maximize your existing content
  • What makes the best lead-generating content
  • What drives killer landing page performance
  • How to create offers that are impossible to ignore
  • Website optimization tips with A/B testing
  • …and more!
Inbound Marketing
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Inbound Marketing: Creating Buyer Personas for Your Solution

Inbound Marketing

Creating Buyer Personas for Your Solution

With this ebook you can learn best practices for persona research and create thorough, detailed buyer personas that you can share with your entire company.

This ebook includes tips and tricks for:
  • Asking the right questions during your persona interviews and surveys
  • Formatting your buyer persona research in a compelling way
  • Presenting your new, finalized buyer personas to your company
  • Using your buyer personas for segmentation, content mapping, and lead nurturing
Buyer Persona
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Choosing Between Lead Generation Companies

Choosing a lead generation company can often be a monumental task, what with all the providers available and the bewildering array of specializations for an equally wide range of every industry’s requirements.

The goal of this post is not to list down every possible type of lead generation company. Doing so wouldn’t be helpful at all, since nearly all the reputable ones have their own target audience niches. It will, however, help you find the company best fit for your requirements by exposing the right keywords to search for. To top it all off will be some insights as to the best use cases for each category, as well as a few considerations before finally signing dotted lines.

We will focus on the following classifications in this post:

• Inbound vs outbound

• Strategy and approach

• Agency vs Service Provider

Before anything else, it’s important to note that there is no universally correct answer to “which approach to lead generation is best”. As you weigh your options and companies you find presented to you, take note that what is “best” isn’t a matter of who won on survey results or what is generating the most buzz online – rather, it is what works best for you and your prospects. Think with the end in mind, and the end should be the satisfaction of the customer, not that which was used to reach them.

Inbound vs outbound

Marketing activities can be classified as either inbound or outbound. It follows that lead generation companies also associate themselves with either of the two to best describe the nature of their company and strategy.

An inbound approach hinges on three things: content, search engine optimization, and social. The focus is maximizing visibility on organic search results by the (1) strategic creation of helpful content, (2) careful keyword research and targeting for better indexability, and (3) the promotion of content on the right social media platforms. In short, it’s about being found by customers, instead of the marketers finding their prospects.

After being found through inbound, marketing automation takes the spotlight in sending highly-personalized emails at just the right time – and at scale. To picture things out more clearly, the following is a typical conversion process and the players involved in inbound lead generation:

An outbound approach, on the other hand, is traditional. It deals with prospecting and finding the right prospects through the means deemed to be most appropriate for their personas – usually through phone, email, direct mail, and traditional or programmatic display advertising, among others.

Outbound is usually more straightforward than inbound, and tangible results are more visible in the short term. You simply specify your target parameters – geographic region and locations, job titles, industries, company sizes, etc. It’s also a lot faster to deploy, since all that service providers need to do (at the minimum at least) is to match your preferences list against their database.

While outbound may be faster in getting prospects towards a sale in the short term, an inbound approach is more sustainable in the long term. Websites with the right content will continue to drive in leads for as long as they are relevant and available, even if left un-updated for a while. Also, and perhaps an often-overlooked benefit is the opportunity to gain further insights about customers they are attracting besides just those being targeted.

Strategy and approach

Once you decide whether inbound or outbound (or both!) works best for your prospects, pick the strategies and channels you think will be most effective in driving in leads.

Figuring out which channels work best can be deceptively simple task. Instead of doing guesswork, consider creating buyer personas for a more systematic and reproducible approach. Trust us, your bosses will love you!

As a company focused on building partnerships with our clients, we’re huge fans of personas. Buyer personas help you understand your prospects on a personal level by doing in-depth research, facilitating surveys, and interviewing your existing client base. Check out our article on buyer personas for a full discussion on the subject. But as a quick introduction, buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of the segments in your audience. They play a pivotal role in creating personalized messaging that resonates when sent exactly to the right prospects.

Consider creating personas first, then explore the strategies and approach listed below.

Many of these channels work best in tandem with another complementary approach. Inbound marketing, for example, can benefit from search engine marketing in generating top of the funnel leads, video and social in nurturing those leads, and telephone and email in closing them to sales.

The best campaigns will most definitely be employing multiple channels and sources, requiring some management capabilities from the marketer’s side. Which brings us to the last point of consideration…

Agencies and Service Providers

Lead generation companies can come in the form of either full-blown marketing agencies or independent service providers.

Independent service providers are lead generation companies that focus on one or a set of few related channels. They are often specialists in their chosen area of expertise. That being said, their experience and exposure in that specific area leads to a greater understanding of their chosen field compared to those offering a full-stack approach – where attention and resources are spread across multiple services. Common examples include telemarketing companies, content marketing specialists, Google SEM experts, etc.

Marketing agencies, on the other hand, offer multiple services for clients in behalf of independent service providers. The specialization is the integration of the different channels, as well as the high-level strategy formulationexecution management, and analysis and reporting. Many agencies have some of the processes in-house as well to minimize middlemen costs that are usually passed on to clients.

The following is a visualization of the difference between agencies and service providers.

Full disclosure…of sorts

ThinkLogic is a marketing agency with a specialization on what we call ‘allbound marketing’.

As with inbound, content marketing and marketing automation lie at the heart of allbound. Outbound simply fills in the gap between the two by opening up alternative conversion points, speeding up the attract and nurture stage, discovering new market insights, and allowing for the flexibility needed to innovate custom strategies for every client.

It’s not a “full-stack” or “full-service”; it’s a full-human approach as we take only those that matter most to our clients’ prospects.

If you would like to know more about how an allbound approach can work for you, shoot us a message at inquiry@thinklogicmarketing.com, or give us a ring at +65-6715-8452. Tell us about your requirements, and we’ll get back to you with an in-depth strategy free of charge.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Getting the most Bang for Buck in B2B Lead Generation

We marketers know very well the implications pricing can have on consumer behavior. The trend is common knowledge:

  • Products priced at a premium instill a sense of buying confidence
  • Reassurance that goods and services are built off of high quality standards
  • Lower-priced competitors are seen as “cheaper alternatives” playing catch-up with the market leaders.

“You get what you pay for” is the phrase that gets thrown around the most often, and perfectly summarizes this perception for most industries and fields of business.

As one of the leading providers of generating product demand at extremely low costs, we receive tons of questions about our:

  • Business model.
  • Differentiators from other providers.
  • Guarantee of quality at the rates with which we offer our services.

With this in mind, we outline in this article answers to these questions, consequently challenging the notion that “cheap is always bad” and realigning it to “cheap can be cost effective”.

A lead generation company is defined by the quality of its data

Lead generation agencies can have the best trade tools and the biggest number of contacts. It is the quality of the data which they work with that spells success or disaster. Besides, what good is a large database if it is diluted with so many unreachable contacts? A ten-figure number looks appealing in the homepage, but serves not much use for lowering costs-per-acquisition.

It is for this reason that ThinkLogic prefers to build and update its list of contacts manually. Looking up prospects and actually talking to them humanizes the data acquisition process, while also allowing telemarketers to pre-qualify and sort them according to their interests.

Furthermore, this method eliminates dilution and the possibility of working with resold contacts caused by acquiring list after list from unknown sources.

Data dilution is a bane in the increasingly-competitive world of lead generation. Organizing contacts to streamline the calling process allows telemarketers to reach more by calling less. Spending fewer resources getting to those who matter, lowering their costs when passed on as leads to the sales team.

Results today are driven by dynamic criteria

The B2B buying process has changed. An overabundance of information coming from every channel possible – peer-to-peer referrals, social media, and Google queries – shaped the way purchase decisions today are made.

This does mean that inbound and content marketing efforts are more relevant now than they ever were before. This also opens for telemarketers plenty of opportunities for evolution to complement this change; evolution that’s also driven with improving the lead generation process in mind.

One such evolution is the renewed emphasis on humanizing the calling process. This is important for two reasons:

  1. It breaks prospects out from targeted, yet still impersonal ads and content.
  2. Gives them a medium to voice their concerns and challenges with – a voice that holds a breadth of information.

And this lies at the core of dynamic qualification and criteria. Employing this strategy means placing priority on having a human conversation with prospects, picking up on individual pain points, challenges, and needs along the way. We’ve discussed this in detail in relation to BANT before, but in brief:

NEED: Pain points and challenges are just as crucial as determining a company’s need for certain solutions. With this alternative set of criteria, it is far easier to evaluate a company’s buying potential after an in-depth conversation with different members of the buying committee regarding an issue they are currently facing.

BUDGET AND TIMING: To quote the original article, “Salespeople are driven by urgency. They need to close deals in short windows. One salesperson told us recently that without an established deadline, he wasn’t interested”. Budget and timing go hand in hand in the buying process. Sticking strictly to both lead criteria severely limits opportunities to just the “now” and completely forgoes nurturing for future opportunities. Assuming a need has already been established; leads failing these traditional criteria are easy prey for competitors somewhere along the line (presumably as soon as they get their budget).

AUTHORITY: Today’s buying process involves more people than it used to. Recent studies have shown that a vast majority of decision makers rely heavily on recommendations, and often turn to technology specialists for approval or rejection.

The takeaway here is that while decision makers are the ones signing dotted lines. They aren’t necessarily the ones attending webinars, doing research, and building relationships with companies. And, as was noted, decision makers need influencing from their staff.

Dynamic criteria and implications on cost

Asking prospects straight about who they are in the company, what they need, and whether or not they have a budget might look like the easy way out, but often these questions aren’t received well and significantly increase the chances of reflex rejections. The numbers will eventually add up and valid leads will be found this way, but only after costs-per-acquisition have already escalated.

Dynamic criteria, on the other hand, not only makes finding leads easier, but also uncover needs prospects may not have realized prior to being called.

Time spent getting to prospects is resources spent.

Making the most out of every second the most important stride to maximizing efficiency in the lead generation process. Humanizing conversations to increase the efficacy of calls. Making every lead count with a modern set of criteria that keeps up with generational changes.

A guarantee of safety and quality

Perhaps one of the biggest changes needed to accommodate a dynamic set of criteria is to have a longer, more elaborate discussion with clients. Not much of a change to make, given that the exact definitions of different lead tiers vary from company to company, already necessitating the setting of goals and expectations at the very onset of each campaign.

The key differentiator here is the need to make sure efforts from both sales and marketing teams are aligned. Aligned in such a way that both teams fully understand the nature of dynamically qualified leads.

A small side note: ThinkLogic operates on a cost-per-lead model and guaranteed lead replacement policy. Clients pay only for the leads they accept, which ensures them spending only for the leads that pass their standards.

Telemarketing has developed a negative reputation over the years. We have made it our mission to turn this perception around. From prospect, to telemarketer, to client, to sales team, and to partner companies as a whole, improving the experience of every party involved in the sales process.

And as our dynamic criteria and our unique interest-based methods have shown, challenging the norm with effective solutions can come at deceptively low costs.

How to Improve Your Phone Conversations

Based on a case study done at ThinkLogic Marketing, calling is still one of the most effective forms of lead generation so it’s not going anywhere, at least not yet. So sit back, take a deep breath and get ready to make better phone calls for better lead generation.

If you’re currently involved or ever been involved in any call center or tele-sales activities, then you’re most likely familiar with this expression “Smile & Dial”. As cliché as it sounds, the truth is that it does indeed work.

Since we are talking about telemarketing in general, let us first talk about the elephant in the room, COLD CALLING! What is cold calling exactly? This is the most basic and primitive form of tele-sales or tele-lead gen where the sales reps makes an unsolicited call on someone by telephone or in person. Cold calling in general really sends a negative vibe across. It makes the respondent feel uneasy with a lot of questions or doubts in mind (Who are you? Where did you get my number? etc) This negativity is then transferred onto the sales rep doubling their nervousness which in term cripples their confidence making the overall phone call a “bad experience”.

1. Research before you dial.

Organizing a list of pre-qualified names is not enough. Instead, prepare yourself before each call by taking time and researching them through Google or LinkedIn, and then organize them in order of quality. In other words, determine which contacts have better potential. Your quick pre-qualification efforts should uncover information about whether they may have any interest in your offerings. This may sound tedious for those who need to hit a specific number of calls target per-day but trust me, the better your research, the better the conversion.

2. Practice proper phone etiquette.

Although you may sound perfectly polite on the phone, and your prospect may appear receptive when they take your call the fact still remains that you have interrupted this person’s day with your phone call. How either side handles this interruption can make or break the entire opportunity.

At the beginning of any call, make sure you do the following:

  • Introduce yourself and your company
  • Be completely honest and straight to the point
  • Ask for at least 30 seconds of your prospects time

3. Know when to STOP TALKING.

Regurgitating your entire pitch and interrupting your prospects are true rookie mistakes. But it’s something we have all done before – at least once. Listen to your prospects responses, learn to shut up. One of the fastest way you can burn a lead is by not acknowledging what your prospects are saying. Let them do most of the talking. Ask open ended questions and build on that.

4. Be time conscious.

You did it – you actually got someone on the phone! Now what? Now you now have approximately 30 seconds to do three things:

  1. Gain your prospects attention;
  2. Eliminate (or at least not create) a reflex rejection;
  3. Gain your prospects trust and get into a dialogue.

If you successfully accomplish these 3 things in those first 30 seconds, then he or she will probably give you more time. Make sure you give him or her sufficient time for asking their own questions, as well as answering your questions, while you listen (as we mentioned above).

When you do talk, make sure you have and answered your prospect’s questions and acknowledge any of their concerns.

5. Ask permission for continued contact

Unless your prospect completely shuts you down or hangs up, you have succeeded in converting him or her into a warm lead. Whether your contact is interested in moving forward or not, you should still ask if you can keep in touch at the end of your call.

Offer follow-up calls and/or emails with them at a later time that they prefer – and then make sure you hold up your end of it. As well, you should let your prospect know how to get in touch with you should he or she have further questions. Keeping your communication lines open helps build trust and credibility with your prospects – and contributes to more effective lead generation overall.

These 5 tips are mostly known to all, but sadly taken for granted. Whether you have just started your telemarketing journey or are a veteran, it is very important to keep such things in mind. This will definitely improve your phone conversations hence improving what-ever your goal is on the phone whether lead generation or even sales.

Building client relationships

The B2B Marketing and Lead Generation space is a crowded one. Companies often find themselves vying for the same contracts, flaunting years of experience and portfolios and, often, trying to undercut the competition with their pricing.

But when all falls equal, customer service plays the critical role in setting each pitch apart.

According to a survey conducted by SiriusDecisions on the B2B space, most executives still prefer to interact with sales representatives – even truer as prices go up – to complement their own research. This research typically involves looking for customer testimonials and referrals, placing even greater importance in treating clients right.

“Treating clients right,” then, isn’t just about giving the best possible service in line with their needs; It is also about having the most human appeal any business can exhibit for all its potential customers. The assurance of getting the job done with the least cost may land one contract, but it is showing genuine care for the client’s growth – by being consultative, transparent, and reliable – that forges strong, long-lasting partnerships.

Consultation is key

Every B2B marketer should have the client’s well-being in mind when dealing with contracts. This means being inquisitive about the client’s goals and being highly critical of it.

In the heat of competition, it may be easy to simply take campaigns as they are before they end up landing on someone else’s desk. However, this can have fatal consequences when the clients themselves have made hard-to-spot miscalculations on their part.

Consider, as an example, the dangers of sales funnel shortcuts (“Is it time to be setting appointments?“) that some companies find themselves tempted to take. While leads closer down the neck of the sales funnel justify their higher costs with higher closure guarantees (in theory), it isn’t universally applicable to all clients. Brand awareness and volume still reigns supreme especially for companies or products in their infancy.

The job of the B2B marketer is to see himself as the client’s partner, and a partner does all in his power – consult and propose alternative solutions, for example – to ensure that campaigns exceed initial goals.

And this isn’t just out of goodwill. By steering clients clear of avoidable dangers, marketers do two things:

deliver great service worthy of recommendations and word-of-mouth referrals, and

prevent them from moving to “another company who can drive better results” in the future.

Always keep communication lines open

A happy client is a continuously updated client.

We have all been customers, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the most annoying customer service mistakes is not being kept up to date on the progress of any project.

The solution is simple: model your business around transparency. Always be ready to provide clients with details as to how their campaigns are doing so far. Never forget to keep in mind that B2B marketers are partners, and a partner ought to walk their “clients” through every step of the way.

Marketers need not look too far into the road or spend too much when planning long-term. Putting heavier emphasis on service by coupling great results and respectable support will help set you apart from the competition, and ultimately have clients coming back for more.

ThinkLogic specializes in generating leads through a healthy mix of inbound and outbound, and have partnered with many Fortune 500 companies throughout its ten years in the industry. If you are looking for a telemarketing company to help you grow your business, email us at inquiry@thinklogicmarketing.com or call +65-6715-8452.