How much does your company spend on lead generation and lead nurturing? Lead generation and nurturing is a huge business segment now, so the chances are that they spend a lot of time and money delivering leads into their salespeople’s hands. So isn’t it a shame that so much of that time and money are wasted?
Let me give you a couple of examples to illustrate why I say this.
Before I do that, though, I should first explain that I have two e-mail addresses – the one I use for all of my Delaine business (email@example.com), and another e-mail that I use on a personal level and when signing up for webinars, white papers etc. (firstname.lastname@example.org). The reason I do this is so that my company e-mail doesn’t get clogged with all the marketing e-mails and spam that seem to come my way these days. And frankly, I also do it to test the skills of the salespeople who will be contacting me.
So – back to my examples.
I recently signed up for a webinar, and if you’ve signed up for any webinars in the last 5 years, you’ll know that they are one of the most common methods of generating prospect leads. Sure enough, a couple of days after the webinar, my participation triggered a lead nurturing campaign to start.
The first e-mail I received warned me that it takes an average of 6 contacts to get to speak with a prospect. Right off the bat, they told me they were going to hound me at least six times before they gave up. At least they were honest.
Later that day, I got the first call from the salesperson. I didn’t answer because I was busy so he left a message. This was the standard: “I’m just calling to get your feedback from the webinar and hopefully see how we can help Sympatico with your lead generation campaigns….” Help Sympatico? For those of you who don’t know, Sympatico is the Internet Service Provider arm of Bell Canada. Needless to say it was obvious this salesperson had not done any research on me whatsoever. I had absolutely zero motivation to call back, so I didn’t.
The next day, he called again and left another message which was basically a repeat of his first voice mail. Again, I didn’t call back. For the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th call, I could see from my caller history that he just dialed my number and didn’t bother leaving a message. I suspect he then noted in this CRM that he had made the obligatory 6 attempts, and checked the “Not interested” box.
The point is that with just a couple of minutes of research, this salesperson could have discovered quite a bit about me. My LinkedIn profile is very detailed, quite clearly stating that my company is called Delaine Consulting, not Sympatico. A quick check of the website would have provided more information, and then the salesperson could have crafted a customized message that would have motivated me to call back.
One more example. I received a “cold” call from a gentleman who identified himself as the VP of Sales and Marketing for his company. I answered the call, and it was immediately obvious the caller knew nothing about me or my business since in his opening statement he referred to wanting to know how he could help Sympatico grow our business. I asked him if he knew what I did, and he admitted that he did not know. I asked him if he knew the name of my company and he replied hesitantly: “you mean it’s not Sympatico?” I asked him why he hadn’t done any research before calling, and he said he didn’t have time since he had such a long list of people to call. Hmmm….
Coincidence? I think not. Am I being deceptive using a general ISP address in registering for these webinars or when requesting a white paper? I think not. Every registration form now has a mandatory field for the company name, and I always complete it with Delaine Consulting Inc., regardless of which e-mail I use. My company name is right there for them to see if only they’d look.
This behaviour is very typical, and the example I gave earlier of the voice mail message is pretty much the “norm” rather than the exception. Which brings me back to my earlier question of: “Isn’t it a shame that so much of that time and money are wasted?”
Here are a few tips to make sure that the money your company is investing pays off for you:
1. Remember that the objective of this first contact is to engage with the prospect, and have them engage with you. You are not selling your product or service on this first contact, you are selling your credibility and your company’s credibility. Credibility leads to engagement. You do want engagement, don’t you?
2. Do your homework! I want to know that a salesperson has at least done enough research to know my company name and what it is that we do before they call. I’m not advocating spending hours researching every prospect, but it only takes two minutes to scan a LinkedIn profile, and check out a website. If you do this, you’ll have more than enough intelligence to craft your customized value message. You are on LinkedIn, aren’t you?
3. It’s quality that counts, not quantity. Prospects are inundated with marketing and sales messages, so make yours stand out from the crowd by customizing your prospecting script, voice mail messages, and e-mails, and communicating the specific value of engaging with you (the prospect’s WIIFM – What’s In It For Me). That doesn’t mean re-inventing the wheel on every call, but it does mean customizing your script template to the customer you are contacting. You do have a script template that you can easily customize, don’t you?
4. If you are a sales manager, make sure your salespeople are trained and coached in how to make effective prospecting calls. And make sure you’re measuring the right metrics – it’s the number of meaningful dialogues that count, not how many dials and contacts are made. Meaningful dialogues are the only measure that truly counts. You do want your salespeople to have meaningful dialogues don’t you?
Try it – it works!