Companies with even a limited amount of quality content now have some distinct advantages in generating more sale ready leads with specific outbound tactics. As an outsourced sales company, we often combine our client’s content, with some specific outbound tactics, our reps and software to produce qualified sales opportunities at a lower cost. What follows are a handful of quick tips and best practices to help you amplify your existing content to:
- Effectively leverage eMail marketing for more cost effective top of funnel lead Generation
- Amplify your existing educational articles and videos to score leads
- Generate more Sales Ready Leads at a lower cost
Pendulums swing back and forth as do sales and marketing strategies. According to Marketing Sherpa, with the advent of content marketing, more B2B buyers now prefer to be introduced to new products and solutions through email. This is a financial windfall, especially for SMBs, and needs to be taken full advantage of while it lasts. For less than one month of the fully loaded costs of a cold caller (not to mention the cost of buying their calling list) a company can now generate 2000 to 6000 early stage top of funnel leads. For more info to evaluate the economics, you can visit our eProspecting educational microsite and video here.
Target the Decision Making Unit
According to the Harvard Business Review, 90% of Buying decisions now require both a technical and business buyer (HBR – 2010). The same article goes on to state that the number one purchase criteria for C-Level decision makers was the buy-in of their managers – and the number one criteria for middle management was approval by senior management. This risk aversion and need for consensus is a lasting legacy of the 2008 downturn. Most solutions are now made by committee so it makes sense to initially introduce your solution to everyone in that Decision Making Unit. The takeaway is if your solution hits a hot button with middle management, it will gain traction.
While we appreciate that all marketers want to segment more because different buyers have different needs – when it comes to top of funnel lead generation and email marketing, the economics of this may not make sense. If you can target/engage 25,000 buyers/influencers for $4,000 and 75,000 for $5,000 it just makes sense to introduce your solution to 3X the buyers/influencers for an incremental investment.
You can diversify your messages with your automation platform once you have generated the initial top of funnel leads.
No one ever buys a solution after reading one email
B2B products and solutions are not impulse buys. So you should not expect to send one email and instantly have the phone ringing off the hook. For email marketing to work effectively, it requires multiple emails spread out over a period of time. We typically recommend a three-step integrated approach:
- Generate your top of funnel leads with a rented, opt-in e-mail list from a certified vendor
- And then leverage a marketing automation platform with lead scoring capabilities for continued digital communication
- Then focus your callers on the most highly scored leads that are showing a propensity to buy
The content framework below will help to illustrate that point.
First things first – Educational content works better than a great “offer”
eMail marketing is no different than the early stage job that is done by an inside sales rep. The first job of an inside rep is to establish trust and empathy. This can often take 2 to 3 phone conversations – which may take 30 attempts to connect to the buyer to get them on the phone. You can use the same approach with your early eMail communications at a much lower cost. As an outsourced sales and marketing company, we have seen the best results with:
- Leading with a few simple educational blogs, intro videos and articles (especially for top of funnel and early nurturing)
- Then moving to more solution based content like demo videos, webcasts, case studies and testimonials
There are no short cuts to building a relationship and we see that offering more info beats “sign up now” 85% of the time. In most cases, your buyers want you to prove you can be helpful before they want to know the details of how you can help. Don’t sell the product, but rather the content – because in this age of digital engagement, more and more products are first “bought’ then “sold”.
One final note – If you have video, use it! The video doesn’t have to be Clio Award winning. In fact, we have seen the opposite – once the lead has been generated, simple, straightforward headshots, screencast demos and videos that stress benefits rather than features that are substantive are some of the best ways to score buyer propensity.
As an outsourced sales and marketing company that supports SMBs and Start-Ups, Gabriel Sales has a somewhat unique view of the world. While as marketers – impressions, reporting and top of funnel leads are important to us as an outsourced sales company, we are more interested in generating sales ready leads as cost effectively as possible. We believe SMBs initially only need two key features from an automation system – The ability to sell one to many digitally and the ability to prioritize who to call first. To achieve these two goals marketing automation platforms allow you to:
- Build trust with the buyer digitally through nurturing email campaigns
- Score the leads based on a buyers engagement with specific types of content
Ironically, according to the Marketing Automation Strategy Survey published by Marketo in 2016 (see graphic above), the lead scoring function is often the most overlooked by marketers. As an outsourced sales and marketing company, our suspicion is that automation tools are often so focused on inbound marketing efforts that the sales function is overlooked. Don’t forget to score your leads! This is the number one way to optimize your outbound calling efforts. Our best practice is this simple to use formula to the left.
Why is video so important? Because, according to Forbes magazine, video is preferred over text by 59% of Middle Managers and Executives as a way to understand a solution. And 50% typically move onto another piece of information after viewing. So:
- Buyers prefer it
- It demonstrates authentic interest beyond initial early education
- It shortens your sales and development cycle (they move onto another piece of content)
It has become easy to have optimized and easy to digest on your mobile device.
Design for Mobile
More email is read on Mobile than on desktop email clients.
- Stats say 48% of email is now opened on a mobile device and it jumps to 55% for executives – Litmus “Email Analytics” (March 2016)
- 65% of Media Time is now spent on mobile (comScore)
What does this mean for you and lead development? For effective use of content:
- Keep your videos clean and simple
- Landing pages and microsites must be optimized for mobile first
- You should not over design and over code your emails with heavy graphics and complex design. Make getting to your message clean and straightforward. Get them to the website and get them to mobile enabled content
For most SMBs, generating sales ready leads and improving the effectiveness of your callers is not as difficult as it may first appear. This is especially true if you are already starting with a well-designed website, a couple of solid educational offers and a handful of videos and blogs to help with lead scoring. A marketing automation system helps and if you have not invested in a system yet, Gabriel Sales has two cost effective solutions that can be leased on a month to month basis to help you get started and avoid the annual commitment most providers now require.
Who We Are and How We Can Help
Gabriel Sales is a full service outsourced sales and marketing consulting and execution firm that provides outsourced sales and marketing services. We combine sales strategy consulting, digital content marketing, marketing automation expertise and sales execution in order to produce self-sustaining, scalable, and measurable sales engines – all designed to put more sales qualified leads in your closers hands to generate revenue.
We have been building repeatable sales processes with automation tools for long enough to understand that companies are at different stages of sales automation maturity. So we offer solutions for companies at different stages. Solutions include:
- Top of Funnel Campaigns
- Sales Ready Lead Campaigns
- Thought Leadership and Sales Automation Content Production
- Tradeshow Support
- And Full Go-to-Market Packages
To learn more about Gabriel Sales we invite you to check out the About Us section of our website
If you are still a little uncertain if eMail is even right for your business you can check out our eProspecting educational microsite and solution video to learn a little more about how eProspecting can fill your funnel fast.