From the Outbound Assist Team and Friends
Which outbound B2B lead generation strategy is the best?
When I ask the cold-callers, they reply that cold-calling is the best B2B lead generation strategy and that cold-emailing is a waste of time. When I ask the cold-emailers, they say that their method is the best and that cold-calling is dead.
Clearly there is some confirmation bias in play, and everyone I’ve asked seems to believe that emailing and calling are mutually exclusive.
But at our company we use email and the phone together to create very effective sales campaigns.
We use multi-phase, behaviorally responsive email campaigns to create product awareness, get attention, and educate targeted decision-makers. Our software tracks all prospect activity and uses AI to tell us which prospects are interested. Then our sales development reps use the phone to warm-call the interested prospects.
Using the two methods together drives down customer acquisition costs and drives up lead generation. We don’t need a lot of costly sales development reps to research leads and make cold-calls.
Our software finds the leads, sends the emails, and tells us who is interested.
We have a small sales development team that spends 90% of their time warm-calling prospects that are already educated and interested.
So perhaps the cold-callers and cold-emailers should get together, because the best solutions come when you use all available tools to focus on the task at hand — generating leads.
AI and machine learning are completely changing how complex B2B products are sold. Just a few years ago B2B products were sold by sales execs that managed the complete sales process from prospecting through closing.
Then the prospecting function was separated, and the concept of a Sales Development Rep was born. The SDR prospected for interested leads, qualified them, and handed them to the sales exec for education and closure.
The sales development role involves a lot of repetition and pattern recognition — things that computers are good at. Software developers recognized this and built sales automation platforms. Now the sales development function is being taken over by machine learning and AI.
We are already using a sales automation platform that finds decision-makers that match the ideal customer profile for our products, finds their email address, engages them in an email campaign, and monitors their behavior to see if they are interested.
All of these things were done by our sales development reps before. Now all our SDRs do is make warm calls to interested prospects that were identified by our software.
Now we have 1 SDR instead of 9, and we see this trend accelerating across many of our clients. I suspect the relatively new role of an SDR will be short-lived as sales automation platforms proliferate and supplant this part of the B2B sales process.
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What should you consider when building a capture strategy? Answer this question by reversing roles and thinking about how you behave as a consumer. Your buying cycle usually starts when you have a compelling reason to buy. Perhaps you have a problem, want to decrease expenses, or want to increase your free time. Because of this compelling reason, you are receptive to products that might solve your problem. Business consumers are no different, so you should start a capture strategy by defining your customer’s compelling reason to buy and explaining how your product fixes the customer’s problem. This is a pretty sensible start, because the first thing you will have to do in a complex pursuit is convince the buyer that your product will solve their problem. More
I’ve been fortunate to have led several sales teams in the past twenty plus years. My specialty, and the focus of these teams, is complex technology and software sales. These deals typically involve sales cycles in the range of six to twenty-four months, have a selection process involving a committee of three or more people, and most of the time price is not the deciding factor. In my experience, the single biggest factor in winning a disproportionate number of these deals is having a smart capture strategy. More
Many studies show that the probability of closing a sale is highest in the first 24 hours after a prospect signals interest, and the probability steadily decreases as time elapses. Most sales executives and sales leaders know this. Even so, I’ve consulted with many salespeople that weren’t able to follow-up with interested prospects for weeks. More