You Might be Prospecting Wrong…

About 5-7 a week – that’s how many sales scripts, cadences, and “lead follow up messages.” I review as part of the crucial step involved in our new client on-boarding process. With teams that rely heavily on outbound marketing and lead generation, 75% of scripts include a first touch that pushes people away. This brings us to question; “Why is this is common?”

40% of sales reps think prospecting is the hardest part of their job. 60% of marketers have specific goals tied to revenue creation. As opposed to overall volume of leads attributed to the ‘funnel.’ The value in so much of our initial messaging is lost. It is essential for sales and marketing to control prospecting methods more effectively.

Let’s start with ‘Every Lead Is Not Created Equal’

This is something that’s hard for most teams to not only grasp, but to identify and adjust. A good portion of marketing campaigns hit the “go” button, and then drive leads directly to the sales team.  Marketing may have them tagged to a particular vendor, or routed into their system with specific ID’s for easier marketing attribution. Indicators as to how each lead is considered based on the marketing channels being used. 

I get it.  It’s not easy.  It’s becoming increasingly challenging to create a bond between the technologies we use to deploy the marketing campaigns being run.  With the vast amount of budget being spent on the fanciest new technologies to help accelerate a scalable marketing and sales process, there’s an endless amount of options at our fingertips.  Is there such a thing as too much? 

Let’s take Outreach as an example.  An extremely robust tool that allows sales professionals to prospect at scale.  This is becoming a widely adopted tool amongst most organizations. However, how much should marketing get involved to ensure the leads passed to sales receive the appropriate context based on the origin of the campaign. Is an inbound website lead going to receive the same messaging as a third-party whitepaper download?  Should it?  Why not?  These are all questions both marketing and sales leaders should be asking themselves before hitting “go” on their lead follow up messaging. 

Here’s a scenario to consider. 

John Smith just sat through an hour-long live webinar around IT Service Management, and how to depend on technology to drive optimal efficiency and productivity for business success.  Bob Jones just downloaded a whitepaper from a third-party website or partner on a similar topic.  Knowing the engagement each person had, should they be receiving the same messaging?  Should we drop them in our “canned” sequence that goes over the same touch points regardless of what that person did?  If you’re answer is “No”, you’re right, but are you walking the walk?  Knowing that content is so readily available and on-demand these days, we need to consider how its actually being consumed.  As easily accessible as it is, most companies are now fighting against 20-30 other pieces of content PER WEEK.  That being said – how are you providing value in your lead follow up, and how are you standing out from the oversaturated content-sphere of your competitors.  If you’re leading with “I saw you downloaded…” then you’re missing the mark, unfortunately.

Providing value at every touch point

One of my favorite ways to think of prospecting (regardless if it’s cold prospecting, or prospecting someone who just completed a CTA) is the fact that we’re all creating a form of “disruptive communication”.  We’re trying to catch someone that’s likely multi-tasking and providing immediate relevancy and value to why that person should dedicate their focus and attention on what we have to say.  If that’s the case, then we should know that providing value in every touch point is important on any email or call. Yet organizations still follow the lazy scripting of “I saw you did this; do you have time for a call next Monday”.   Insert third party companies, vendors, and other partnerships to the mix of today’s ‘outbound’ marketing channel.  You’re now inserting even more variables to create that confusion on what the engagement was, where it came from, whether or not it was consumed yet, how it was consumed, etc.  If we’re not 100% certain that the person on the other end can recall this exact scenario, then why take the chance on leading with that in your first touch, to result in an immediate objection?  Do we want to create a chore for that person to back track on how and when they consumed that piece of content, or do we take that as the “bait” to then open up with value prop, USP’s, competitor references, and other valuable items to create that instant relevancy on why “this is important to you”.  It’s easy to lose focus on the end goal and instead try to connect back to the content instead of “leading with the need” and making that lightbulb go off in the prospects head.

The Lost Art of Prospecting: 

The more sales organizations rely on marketing generated leads (outbound), the worse they become, at least it seems…  That’s a blanket statement, and not entirely fair, but it’s beginning to be the norm I see and hear from the many calls I have with SDR leaders and sales teams that rely heavily on outbound lead generation to fuel their pipeline.  This doesn’t have to be the case!  But unfortunately, teams rely on the same old messaging to try and secure meetings, in an ever-crowded market.  And if it doesn’t go their way, they fail to take the blame, but instead think it’s a “bad lead” that came from marketing.   I wasn’t fed with a silver spoon of leads when I started my sales career.  In fact, we didn’t even have a lead generation team at all.  Not a single marketing lead was received.  I had to source, research, learn different industries, and spend time to curate intelligent messaging to stand out from the rest in order to prove my value and land a meeting.  And that was before we’re now up against a minimum of 30 other competitors fighting for market share.  We don’t see this level of time spent on prospecting as much anymore.  Who/What’s at fault?  Is it the technologies being implemented?  Is it the SDR leaders that have fallen complacent to the “best practices” of their sales prospecting tools and processes? 

It’s not easy. 

We’re being tasked with more and more each day, presented with countless technologies to “help” us, and are trying to do all of this in an oversaturated sea of competitors.  If we can just take a step back, get back to some of the basics, and provide value in our outreach, that should typically be enough..  Whether it’s a cold prospecting email, or a lead generated from an outbound marketing campaign, let’s not get lost on connecting back to the content they consumed, but rather the need/challenge they may have and the value you can provide.

Whitepaper: Closing Leads Like a Boss

To learn more about personalizing your prospecting and how to enhance the lead qualification process with permission marketing, personalized communications, and improved response times – check out our white paper Closing Leads Like a Boss.