Content Marketing is now required as ground cover for your sales team. If you haven’t started you need to start now. As a sales outsourcing company working to successfully launch sales content marketing efforts for multiple clients we often hear that “it take to much time, or I am not ready to commit.” Our position:
- Content marketing does not need to be complicated for B2B marketers to meet the needs of sales. As a thought leader you have tons of little snippets of value to share on a regular basis.
- You don’t have a choice if you want your sales reps to successfully compete and win.
As a sales outsourcing company we understand that, especially for company’s new to content marketing, it may seem daunting. But it’s easier than you think. We are experts and thought leaders in sales and marketing tactics and strategies. You are experts and thought leaders in your product and solution area. One of the values we bring as a sales and marketing outsourcing company is that we have a methodical system to quickly turn your thought leadership into tools that will empower your sales and marketing efforts.
Below is our framework for content marketing that will help empower your sales team with the tools they need to be successful.
Using our framework we help our clients to quickly determine what specific content is required at specific stages of the sales cycle. We implement Digital Demand Center™ our proprietary Content Management System to accelerate this process. As the survey below indicates the majority of the content required can be initially distributed with blogs. When combined with our expertise in sales storytelling, educational webcasting and sales video content production we can get your sales team (or our sales outsourcing and marketing effort on your behalf) to market with a winning sales content marketing strategy in a fraction of the time you may be able to achieve on your own.
Can Sales Outsourcing Help Your Company?
To check out what your peers are already doing check out this previous blog post. To discover how we can help accelerate your sales integrating multiple tactics and strategies please feel free to reach out for an initial conversation.
Marketing Automation Outsourcing Can Be Accelerated with Content that Helps both Your Sales Team and Your Lead Generation Efforts
As an outsourced sales and marketing company we now require quality sales content to successfully do our job. To accelerate our demand generation engine we execute specific campaigns to put new leads in the pipe to accelerate the Marketing Automation Outsourcing services we provide. Below is a recent survey of what your peers and mature competitors are doing to win in the market place. And below that in this blog we prioritize what we provide as an outsourced sales and marketing company on the content front to support your successful sales efforts as we build demand generation engines.
Combining Sales Collateral with a Marketing Automation Outsourcing Solution
Here is a quick list of the content we need and prioritize to help support your sales and to accelerate your marketing automation outsourcing solution simultaneously. Typically when we engage with a new client we either help to implement a marketing automation outsourcing solution or execute a campaign specifically to implement some of our marketing automation outsourcing best practices.
Blogs – We generally find that we get the biggest bang for the effort and the buck especially when launching new sales efforts. The majority of what we need to get a sales effort underway can be done with your thought leadership through quick blog posts. Especially in the early stages of engaging a prospect.
Microsites – Gabriel Sales deploys our proprietary Gabriel Sales Digital Sales Base Camp™ as part of every engagement. This allows us to quickly re- contextualize your existing content for specific target markets. As an outsourced sales and marketing company this helps all your marketing and sales content, both current and to be created, work harder and faster for you.
Case Studies – These don’t need to be incredibly technical. Keep your case studies business and solution focused. They help your sales reps qualify if a potential buyer is a fit.
Webcasting – We love webcasting as a tool and tactic. They are the gift that keeps on giving and helps to reduce your COS% because we can introduce your thought leaders, sales engieneer and product specialist so they can sell one to many and we are engaging your buyers 1:1.
White Papers – We love white papers but you need to be prepared to drive some serious value with them. We help our clients design White Paper that can be re-leveraged for additional blog posts and integrated into a complimentary Webcasting Series. Given a choice between webcasting and white papers we generally lead with Webcasting. They are faster and typically more valuable in moving qualified deals deeper into the pipe.
E-Newsletter – Once you have the above bases covered these are easy to create.
Social Media – We lean heavily on Linked In and for some technologies we sell we advocate Twitter. From our perspective adding Facebook and a half dozen other channels simply need to be automated with RSS feed.
For a deeper dive how your company can align sales and marketing with smarter content marketing lease check out our knowledge center How to Integrate Content Marketing.
To learn more about how we can help to prioritize your sales content marketing strategy to accelerate deal flow through your pipe line please feel free to reach out for a quick conversation.
A Successful Outsourced Sales and Marketing Company can take Tips from a Rock Star?
As a successful outsourced sales and marketing company it’s important that we keep our outsourced sales reps and marketers up beat and motivated. Success in life no matter what your pursuit all take the same basic building blocks. This quote was particularly helpful in demonstrating that with our sales team so we felt like we would share it with a wider audience.
Bono In response to the question about U2’s drive for huge worldwide success:
“Be honest. Are you really telling me that you’d never contemplated failure before?”
“I don’t remember it. I would get angry, I would get upset that we weren’t what we could be. I don’t remember thing that we never would be successful. I always thought we would. And as soon as we did, it would be clear. Doubt, self doubt, was about the current material we could improve, but the destination was never a doubt. See, there is a chasm between envy and desire, OK? Envy is like wanting something that’s not yours, not worked for. But desire is different. Desire comes out of wanting what is yours, and still wanting it even if it’s not yet there. When desire becomes envy there is a difference. And there is a difference between the point of view of the fan. When (a fan) looks up at desire they think I can be”
Great quote but what does this have to do with sales and marketing. We think the difference between desire and envy, where you are coming from in your heart and head is often the difference between success and failure. Obviously you can’t get much more successful then U2 has. And its clear from this quote that this was not an accident.
What does this quote demonstrate to help create a successful outsourced sales and marketing company?
- Success requires passion but not anger. A drive to push yourself and your team.
- Success requires knowing what your chief aim is. Visualizing it.
- Success requires never doubting that you are capable of it.
- Success requires coming from a place (desire) where you believe in what you are doing (selling, marketing)
- Success is about never forgetting that your success requires that you genuinely care about your fan (customer).
If your sales pipe could use a boost feel free to contact us to see if one of our programs can help.
The entire purpose of a demand generation engine is to align sales and marketing to put more Sales Qualified Leads in your closers hands. To do this requires your inside sales team helps with your marketing automation implementation. As part of this process Gabriel Sales typically executes a 90 day lead generation campaign that can fuel your initial Demand Generation Engine. Your campaign combines email marketing, outbound telesales reps and in some cases PPC and SEO campaigns. Your dedicated campaign helps to accelerate the production of your engine producing “Sales Qualified Leads” ready for your sales reps and increases your initial volume of earlier stage leads to support your telesales and sales team with earlier stage deals if necessary. These 10 tips for a productive marketing automation implementation will also help to accelerate your investment in your marketing automation platform and to help with the cultural shift to a more mature demand generation process. They should help you to avoid false starts and turn quarters of effort into months.
In Marketing Automation Implementation Best Practice – Agree on Lead Definitions we discuss how sales and marketing can quickly reach agreement on early stage pipe. We also discuss scoring criteria so your sales executive can help frame the engine without needing to be involved or distracted by the minutiae of the implementation. In this blog we discuss the simple steps and recommendations to make the effort as productive as quickly as possible and to give your sales team access to the increased lead volume sooner rather than later.
Don’t disrupt what already works – As you implement your demand generation engine we recommend that you don’t disrupt your existing lead flow to sales. If you have SEO, PPC or email campaigns in motion don’t stop that practice.
Involve Sales Executive Early – Get your sales executive involved in the Early Stage Pipe scoring criteria. See Agree on Lead Definition Blogs
Have Your Sales Executive Work with Telesales Team to Develop Smart Questions – By giving your outbound telesales reps the right probing questions, need assessment questions, open ended questions and leading questions you can script and accelerate your telesales ability to effectively score leads. We have a quick 1 hour process to make this seamless.
Use Leads Generated from One Designated Campaign to Initially Feed the Engine – It does not make sense to immediately take all your leads directly into your Marketing Automation Platform out of the gate. We strongly recommend you start with one source. Ideally a campaign dedicated specifically for this purpose. Gabriel Sales has several campaigns designed specifically for this purpose. This allows you to feed your demand generation and Marketing Automation tool in a methodical way with a clean set of leads.
Designate One Person to Assign Leads Coming Out of Your New Program – Typically your SVP, VP or Director of Sales is already assigning leads to your sales reps that come from other campaigns. Its generally a best practice to keep that person designated to assigning leads the same and that this person gets trained in the use of Pardot to assign leads as well so the understand how lead scoring works. In some cases we understand that sales needs more leads faster and doesn’t always want to wait for leads to be Sales Qualified. In some cases Sales Accepted or even new leads to the pipe may meet your immediate needs. During your initial campaign designed specifically to feed your engine the SVP of Sales (or whoever you have designated to assign leads) can assign leads from the initial campaign effort at multiple stages noted above as A, B and C based on their short term lead volume needs. However we simply strongly recommend that you don’t take all the leads and assign them at stage A or B so the engine has time to do its job and marketing can learn how to optimize the engine.
Note – Telesales Engaged Leads typically have indicated they are not ready to speak with a Sales Rep yet as part of their qualifying process so these we would recommend you nurture with telesales reps and your automation platform.
Marketing Should Train your Sales Reps on the New Lead Scoring Criteria – Before handing leads to sales reps it’s important that they understand the new scoring criteria so they can maximize and intelligently approach the buyer in the most effective way.
Marketing Should Train your Sales Reps on the Source of the Lead and How to Use Pardot – Have your marketing manager train sales how to use the insights and tools a marketing automation engine provides. (e.g. how to find the buyer information in your CRM, how to use the lead deck, etc.) Pardot has great online training for this as well.
Execute a Wake the Dead Campaign from your Marketing Automation Platform – Once your marketing automation platform is working and you have your initial leads flowing from Gabriel Sales the first campaign we recommend your marketing team executes with your existing opt in database (leads not generated through Gabriel Sales initial campaign) is a “Wake the Dead” campaign. This is a drip campaign that your marketing team or Gabriel Sales will execute to leads that no sales reps have touched for a quarter or more and/or dead leads sitting in your database that are not currently assigned to a specific rep. Typically the Wake the Dead campaign will parallel the initial drip campaigns that are being created as part of your initial campaign with Gabriel Sales. Companies generally see a solid bump in volume with these campaigns and they are a great way to start to wrap up your initial implementation.
Don’t Over Complicate Your Initial Drip Campaigns – This is probably one of the biggest lessons we learned. When we first started we came up with a very complex IF/ then workflow so if they opened this piece of content on a topic area we would send them another piece of content on topic area B and then if they didn’t open that we would send them content Z. It was too much and just writing about it confuses me. What we found is about 80% of the value you are going to get from your initial drip campaigns is going to come from simply implementing them. It takes time to learn a new software and the biggest value the software provided initially is simply keeping your brand and solution in front of your buyers over time so your reps don’t have to. A simple five to seven touch campaign without any IF/then work flows was enough to get more deals flowing at less cost. Don’t frustrate yourself. You will quickly learn from your wins.
Use Existing Content or Quickly Produced Content to Kick Start Your Engine – The whole point of a marketing automation platform is to drive more business in a more effective way. This starts with how you are speaking with your buyer. If your content is still all about your product – tech sheets, features and benefits etc. its -time to think about being “customer centric rather than product centric.” Your drip campaigns will drive more business if you talk to your customers about their problems and their needs. You may need to look at the “voice” of your messages and refine your language a bit. As a starting point look at how many times you talk about “Our” product, “our” team vs. “your” needs, “your” business and “your” customers. If you are working with Gabriel Sales you can implement Gabriel Sales Digital Sales Base Camp Content Management System you can quickly create context for your existing content. This CMS allows you to immediately take your existing material to start being customer centric by recontextualizing existing offers and content with easy to construct landing pages. Finally we really love webcasts to kick start these programs because you can typically cut one webcast into several blog posts with graphics you have already created.
We hope you find these 10 Tips to align your sales and marketing efforts to accelerate the production of your marketing automation implementation. Hopefully these basic tips and best practices help you avoid some headaches and helps you learn from our mistakes and successes. If you have not checked out what these marketing automation platforms can do and the benefits to your company here is a quick overview from Pardot 5 Minute Overview of Marketing Automation and this post will make a whole lot more sense.
Please feel free to CONTACT US with any additional questions, more tips on your marketing automation implementation, and to see if we can help you as you ramp your sales pipe short term and build for long term success.
This blog is part of a two part series that discusses two marketing automation implementation best practices to accelerate your demand generation engine implementation using Sales Lead Definitions. These marketing automation implementation best practices allow marketers we work with to increase their initial lead volume from our initial Gabriel Sales Ramp™ Campaign (to keep the sales team happy) while we also help to build your engine.
As background – as Gabriel Sales works with our clients building a repeatable telesales process and demand generation engine, we often discover that your company has great metrics and processes to move deals from “Sales Qualified Opportunity” to “Close” but limited visibility into the Early Stage Pipe metrics. Just like late stage pipe velocity, using Sales Lead Definitions to define the discrete stages of your early stage pipe is critical to success of any integrated content marketing and sales effort to put more sales qualified leads into the pipe.
The purpose of this blog is to introduce a marketing automation implementation best practice using Sales Lead Definitions to help accelerate agreement on how the early stage pipe can be scored so your sales team:
- Can quickly help marketing create the lead definitions and get back to selling
- Has the flexibility to successfully take early stage leads from the pipe in the short term to take advantage of the initial lead volume
- And as the engine reaches maturity, the sales team reaps the benefit of more sales qualified leads in the mid and long term
Starting with the End in Mind with your Marketing Automation Implementation
Building a Demand Generation engine does not happen overnight but once created it pays huge dividends. The top three short term benefits are:
- Turn buyers ready to buy into Sales Qualified Leads faster to increase your sales pipeline’s velocity
- Maximize your lead generation budget by effectively nurturing leads not ready to buy so when they are ready to buy they buy from you, (which will eventually increase the size of your sales qualified pipeline)
- Reduce the cost of time spent by your senior sales reps and product specialists educating and selling to buyers that are not ready to engage with sales yet (or buyers who are just kicking the tires and never plan on buying) so your top resources spend their time focused on “closest to the dollar” activities.
Once the engine is built the end goal is to take your increased revenue and the bottom line savings your demand generation engine is producing to:
- Put more even more leads into the pipe
To build an engine requires a telesales team and marketing team aligned with a singular focus of putting more sales qualified leads into the hands of your closers. Below is how this alignment works.
A Framework for Agreement on the Lead Stages is a Critical Marketing Automation Best Practice
Most clients we work with are generally great at defining what a “Lead” is and what a “Sale Qualified Lead” is. If a company has an active inside sales team in place already they may have some of the other sales lead definitions in place as well.
As part of our initial consulting work we work with the sales team to distill specific probing and open ended questions that can be used in the early stage sales process to define where the buyer is in their sales process. This is then used by both marketing and the inside team to support the sales team.
Ultimately the key driver to the organization is going to be how many deals actually close. What a combined telesales and marketing team can impact is how many “Sales Qualified Leads” get in the hands of the “Closer”.
There is no one right and wrong way to set the criteria below. What we are sharing is a starting point so your executives and your closers can evaluate the early stage pipe and make better decisions about what actions to take. For sales specifically it is meant to communicate where the buyer is in their buying cycle, if and when sales should engage and how sales should approach engaging your buyer (where is the buyer in their buying cycle). The criteria below allows your marketing automation to do its job and allows your inside team to move deals through the pipe more effectively. When properly executed you will:
- Save your closers and product specialist’s bandwidth.
- Allow your sales team to “cherry pick” leads from the pipe earlier if they see an opportunity they would like to pursue.
- Clearly communicates to your sales team where the buyer is in their buying cycle so they know how to best approach that buyer.
Lead Target – The decision makers and companies you are targeting. Ideally you are targeting an ideal customer profile.
Marketing Qualified Lead – Any lead that has expressed mild interest or raised their hand and opted into receiving content from your company. The source of the lead does not matter.
Telesales Accepted Lead – A lead where the company is the right fit (right account profile) and the buyer you are speaking with has the interest in learning more. May have the ability to influence or may have the ability to get you in front of the influencer or decision maker.
Telesales Engaged Lead – (a sub set of Telesales Accepted Lead). There is an agreed next step. Could be in a week, month or could be in a quarter. In some cases it could be at a specific point in time for next year’s budget cycle. Typically the buyer has been asked if they are ready to talk to sales and has declined “not yet but stay in touch”.
Sales Accepted Lead – You know the lead has the ability to influence or champion. Your product can solve a problem the buyer has articulated. May be willing to schedule an appointment. May require someone more senior to move forward.
Sales Qualified Lead – Meets one or more of the following criteria. Decision maker is involved. Path to budget or live budget is in play. A champion has expressed interest in moving the deal forward with you. Specific pain or need has been articulated by the buyer.
We generally find that reaching the initial agreement is simple to reach as part of our initial interview process. Once the questions and criteria are in place we are able to work with our client to keep lead volume up as we work with our clients to build the engine. For more marketing automation implementation best practices details check out our next best practice blog – How to Keep Volume Up as You Build Your Engine.