A Manifesto For Sales and Marketing Leaders

Posted by LinkedSelling in B2B Lead Generation & Sales Development

Every business agrees that consistent results from lead generation is important .It’s a given.

There’s something not every company “gets” though…

Because most businesses believe that the reason lead gen is important is because you need sales. OK… we’ll give you that. Every business needs sales, otherwise there is no business, right?

But what a lot of companies don’t realize is that the real benefit driving everything, the real key to lead generation is summed up in one word:

CONTROL.

It’s not just about keeping the pipeline full for its own sake. And it’s not just about keeping the sales team busy.

It’s about having the capacity to plan ahead for the next quarter and the next year. It’s about being able to calculate where to allocate resources in order to scale and grow - and knowing where those resources will come from. 

Simply put, control is the driver behind business growth. 

As well as piece of mind. It starts with a methodology you can trust to generate leads consistently.

You can’t scale a company let alone keep it afloat based on haphazard (at worst) or inconsistent (at best) lead generation.

That’s why today we’re taking a stand and we’re publishing our Manifesto for Sales and Marketing Leaders. This is our take on lead generation and why…

  • Too many companies get it wrong (what they completely neglect)
  • Why we swear by a multi-channel approach,
  • What it actually looks like (we’ll provide some real examples)
  • And why we get the results we do for our clients

Let’s dive in...

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Why Control is At The Heart of Lead Generation

There are many reasons why control is at the heart of WHY companies need lead generation. 

The first is that many businesses inevitably hit a ceiling. Something is working for them that gets them from point A to point B but for whatever reason, they get locked up there and they aren’t able to get to the next level without adding something different to their arsenal. They don’t control the pieces needed to get to that next level. They were growing but now they are stalling out and are missing out on that continued growth. 

We also see a lot of companies that struggle from a lack of control because they don’t actually have a system that gives them a necessary level of predictability within their company. They rely on referrals or notoriety within their market.

Granted, both are GREAT things to do to win business. The problem is neither of those things are actually controlled by the business. Companies who focus on this are left with no real machine where they can actually push a button to generate momentum. 

You need control of your lead flow. Every company does. Because it gives you control over the rest of the company as well. It’s the “trickle down effect”... 

When you know how many leads you have coming in every month, you know, relatively, how many will show up to calls, how many you will close, and how many you will need to fulfill and retain as clients.

Every B2B business with a service offering knows exactly what I’m talking about. If it’s something every company needs, why the struggle?

Frankly, because there are a lot of companies that try to help, but they miss the mark...

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What Most Companies Do

Over the years, we’ve heard from a lot of our clients who’ve worked with marketing and lead generation agencies. Our clients pay them hefty sums to drive traffic to their website. The focus tends to be on awareness campaigns, with the heavy focus on “vanity metrics” - likes, shares, comments, etc.

Sure there’s a place for those things… you certainly want people to know about your company but do these awareness campaigns contribute directly to revenue? Absolutely not. The missing part there is that traffic is not valuable unless you have a system in place to convert those potential leads into real business opportunities.

That’s where the problem lies; too many agencies don’t establish the backend funnel that drives your prospects to book appointments. That’s where marketing must overlap with lead generation and sales development.

On the other hand, another big issue is that too many companies focus too strongly on sales. I know that sounds weird, but hear me out…

They “bring out the queen” too soon so to speak when they get the prospect’s attention, they immediately jump into the sales pitch. This only serves to drive your prospects away because they don’t know you and they don’t trust you yet.

At LinkedSelling we fine tune the machine that addresses both of these issues and that books appointments with qualified prospects. So if you consider getting traffic step 1 on the staircase to sales, lead generation and sales development cover the rest until your prospects get on the phone with your sales team.

The Funnel

Let’s talk about those steps, because too many people pay a lot of money with no real results to their bottom line. What kind of backend funnel will actually make a difference to a company’s revenue?

First in order to create a lead generation machine that actually gets people to go through a funnel (or process) that nurtures leads, encourages them and moves them to book an appointment with us, we need to understand the buyer journey. [LINK - Template For Creating Highly Converting Facebook & LinkedIn Ads (linkedselling.com)]

The first place to start building out any campaign is understanding the prospect (we’re assuming you’ve already built out a strong prospect profile) LINK and understanding what they need at every step of the buyer journey.

The buyer journey as we view it is,

The decision-making-road the prospect travels on, morphing from total stranger, to visitor, to prospective buyer, and finally, to client and advocate. The buyer’s journey demands different approaches from marketing and sales at each stage of the journey.

To learn more about how to align your sales process to the buyer journey, click here.

To summarize that post, the three overarching stages of the buyer journey are:

  • Awareness (this is marketing)
  • Consideration (this is marketing, lead generation, and sales development)
  • And Decision (this is sales)

You want to align your sales process to exactly what the buyer needs at each stage. The post linked above will tell you exactly how to do that.

And it’s crucial that you do because most companies don’t. In fact, you probably fall into one of these buckets:

No System at All...

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Many companies realize too late that they have no system at all. They are probably doing a lot and spending a lot in an effort to execute lead generation, but it’s not an integrated system. More often, they’re one-off tactics.

Like relying on referrals. Or using online ads with no real back end system. Or using email and phone calling, but not in an integrated way. This results in a choppy message and confusion for the prospect. Confusion is the last thing you want if you want to attract leads and convert them to sales.

All of this results in inconsistent pipelines and unpredictability in how often your sales team can close and convert quality prospects into leads. And as you know, if you can’t count on your sales team to consistently and predictably close new business, this directly affects your bottom line.

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Focus on the Wrong Metrics

Companies who have executed Lead Gen, but it's NOT cost effective

Cost effectiveness in any marketing, lead generation or sales endeavor is a crucial concern. You need a positive ROI and if you’re spending all you profit on getting leads and trying to close them, you’ve got a problem. Unfortunately, this is a pretty common problem that companies deal with on a regular basis.

It begs the question, when and how to invest in your lead gen system in a cost effective way?

One of the biggest questions we hear regarding this is whether or not to execute lead generation in-house or to outsource.

The top three factors to consider here are:

  1. Cost of hiring out your team
  2. Cost & time spent managing that team
  3. Outbound Strategy and Optimization

When it comes to creating your own in-house team, it’s worth it to consider whether or not it’s valuable to pay someone $50k a year to prospect, plus copywriters, designers, people who’ll call on the phone, plus overhead, training/onboarding, insurance, plus cost of client acquisition itself.

We went in-depth on the cost effectiveness of both inhouse and outsourcing lead generation and sales development. To learn more about what factors to consider, along with why and how they affect your results, click here to read the full run-down. LINK

Of course lead generation and sales development campaigns that are not cost effective not only put stress on the company as a whole by pushing the limits of your marketing and sales budgets but it also results in:

  • Lack of predictability and consistency (you might’ve noticed this is a common theme)
  • And ineffective strategies and mismanaged metrics (are you going after quality sales appointments? Are you focused on building trust? Do you keep your funnels as simple as possible and aligned to the buyer journey?

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What Happens When You Find Predictability and Consistency in Your Pipeline

One client, Arria, came to us when they were struggling with their current lead generation methods. They needed an easier way to reach their ideal customers in order to sell them on their natural language generation product. Previously, they had been relying on lists, trade shows and prospecting. 

These methods just weren’t cutting it anymore. They turned to a multichannel approach including LinkedIn Advertisements plus an integrated back-end funnel incorporating messaging via email plus phone calling to fill their pipelines consistently with quality prospects.

Before we get to the rest of Arria’s strategy, let’s dive into this multichannel idea a bit more...

(Or, to see the full case study, click here.) 

Multi-Channel Dominates High Performing Strategies

With a multi-channel outbound approach, you diversify your lead generation to maximize ROI. It’s the same with your retirement account.  You are invested in a mutual fund that diversifies your portfolio, so that when one channel suffers from market trends, another outperforms and it balances itself out.  The key though is being able to predict the volume, regardless of what happens in each channel.

That alone is reason enough to consider using multi-channel campaigns but it’s not just related to the fear of change. The real driver of including as many channels as possible in your outreach to prospects is based on the habits of those who succeed.

Over 80% of high-performing sales teams use at least three marketing channels and create at least 15 touchpoints per prospect. (Source)

Why are so many of these teams taking a multi-channel approach? 

Because they’ve learned that showing up in your prospects’ preferred channel is how you break through the noise.

The main reason is that it comes down to opportunity cost: You risk sales opportunities if you are not connecting with potential prospects via multiple channels. 

At the right time with the right message and in the right place. Learn more about this here.

Understanding the channels you incorporate into your marketing mix and how they work together to create a sum that is greater than its parts and allows you to engage with your prospects via the channel they prefer, at the time they prefer, and with the right messaging.

There are several benefits to a multichannel approach:

First, an integrated multi-channel outbound approach offers more control over lead quality and volume

It isn't enough to "get more leads." If you want to advance your sales conversations and streamline the sales process, you must find the right type of prospects. We’re talking sales qualified prospects. It doesn't matter how many leads you get if they are not qualified.

Speaking of how many leads you’ll get, with the outbound approaches that we’ll cover below, you’ll have much more control over the lead volume of your pipeline with a multi-channel strategy. As you grow, you want to be able to control this aspect so that your team can manage the lead flow properly, ensuring that leads aren’t falling through the cracks. For example, with referrals only, you have no control.

second, it allows you to take back wasted time and resources. allows you to be a more cost effective organization

We hear all the time from businesses we speak to that they need to be careful with their lead generation and marketing budget. They’ve been burned before, and they need results. They’re sales teams are either wasting time with haphazard prospecting or they’re too busy with admin tasks that they’re not as focused on closing as they could be. 

By working with someone like us, or by implementing a similar approach on your own, the approach we utilize fills your best sales people’s calendars, you’ll save money and get better results. Rather than allowing your best closers to waste time doing what they’re not good at…poking around on LinkedIn, sending emails (which often don’t actually get sent), and picking up the phone to call new prospects (which your best sales reps probably avoid like the plague), you can create or outsource a system that will turn all that around.

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Third, this approach makes your pipeline more predictable

You’re taking a more proactive approach to your lead generation, rather than being reactive to - and relying on - incoming referrals and reputation. By knowing exactly where your next quality opportunities will come from you’ll be able to better forecast sales and unlock real growth by allowing your team to do what they do best.

Fourth, it provides a structure that will build more profitable business relationships for your company.

The foundation to any sale is the trust your prospects have in your reps and your business. Not only that, our multichannel outbound campaigns position our clients as leaders in their space, further supporting and building the trust their audiences have in their expertise and ability to deliver. We approach outbound marketing campaigns and the database of leads we build for you as assets to be nurtured the right way for both short-term gains and long-term wins.

Finally, this will make your influence and authority more widespread.

If you want to level the playing field with your competitors and arm your team with the ammo they need to close more deals, your brand (and your employees) need to be viewed as authorities in your field. We take a unique approach to develop strong relationships with your audience through a multi-channel outbound approach, including social media, email and phone all while positioning your team as the go-to choice in your vertical.

What An Integrated Multi-Channel Outbound Approach to Lead Generation and Sales Development Actually Looks Like

There are two approaches to multichannel lead generation and sales development:

  1. Inbound (this includes any method where your leads come to you.)

    Inbound lead generation includes the use of ads, content, actively messaging and emailing your contact list + a backend funnel that includes targeted emails & messaging, and SDR calling.
  1. Outbound (this is any lead generation method where you engage in outbound prospecting campaigns)

    Outbound lead generation includes any 1-on-1 outreach via social media messaging, email, and or cold calling +  a backend funnel that includes targeted emails & messaging, and SDR calling.
  1. The other option is a combination of BOTH inbound and outbound campaigns.

    As an outbound outsourced lead generation and sales development agency our job is to put you in front of the hard-to-reach, high-value prospects. We use a combined method of both inbound and outbound tactics strategically integrated in one system that builds momentum on its own and that continually optimized over time, resulting in predictability, consistency, and cost efficiency, 

Our tactics include our revolutionary and proprietary:

The beauty of an integrated system comes when all four work in synchronization to add brick upon brick and build a foundation for trust in your prospects. Together, they build momentum far more than one on it’s own. 

Looking back at our client, Arria, the multi-channel system we executed on behalf of that company looks like this:

Using our Social Selling System, we set several 3-step LinkedIn ad campaigns that targeted

prospects who would likely be interested in Arria’s complex data translation software.

First, we used an inbound approach with LinkedIn ads to drive traffic to content.

Using 4 different ad copy sets that pitched a video, 2 different PDFs, a webinar, and sending a sponsored InMail message, the prospects were sent to a lead form where they entered their information. They were then redirected to a page where they could instantly view or download the piece of content they requested. 

From there, we engaged in outbound methods that build on the momentum built by the inbound lead generation campaigns. This includes targeted email follow-ups as well as calls from our sales development reps (our SDR team) who proceeded to call anyone who opted in for any of the options with the ultimate goal of scheduling a demo.

With the results they have seen from these various campaigns, the potential for additional revenue is huge. Thanks to the follow-up phone calls, a percentage of these qualified prospects will likely become a customer over time.

The best part? This system is easily replicated month after month, and they are consistently growing their email list, and consistently booking appointments for their sales team, keeping that pipeline full and helping increase revenue.

Conclusion

What’s the stand we’re taking?

That it’s not enough to focus on vanity metrics
That it’s not enough put out awareness campaigns that just drive traffic
That you can’t jump right into a sales call

That you MUST build trust and utilize an integrated, multi-channel approach to lead generation and sales development systems. 

Doing this builds trust, aligns your sales process with the buyer journey, and results in predictability, consistency, and cost effectiveness.

It means growth. It means more revenue. AND...

IT MEANS MORE CONTROL for your company.

If you’d like to learn more about how we do this, or even how we can work together to help you do this as well, let’s talk. Schedule an appointment with a Director of Client Strategy on our team now. We’re happy to discuss strategy, give our recommendations as to what we think will work (or not), and even provide some next steps you and your team can try.


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