I recently gave a presentation focused on collaborative qualification and have included the slidedeck here.
We all know that the web and inbound marketing has changed the buy-sell cycle and that buyers are well educated before they engage with sales. As a result, some argue that sales lead qualification is now less relevant as prospects are self-qualified on the web before ever engage a sales representative.
We believe that qualification remains an important element of the sales and marketing operating model and requires a new more collaborative approach.
Traditional sales qualification models like BANT and SCOTSMAN can be adapted and applied effectively across the marketing and sales funnel.
We have written several posts over the last few years on 1:1 engagement. We highlighted tools like XOBNI (for Outlook), Social CRM tools, and more recently Cloze and Newsie and even Plaxo to name a few. Now LinkedIn’s new LinkedIn Contacts is another powerful tool you can use.
LinkedIn Contacts is based on the Connected technology, the content management startup LinkedIn acquired in 2011.
Similar to tools we like such as Cloze, LinkedIn Contacts let’s you view LinkedIn profiles and easily see the last time you contacted them (e.g. a recent email correspondence or a calendar entry). Try LinkedIn Contacts to:
LinkedIn Contacts helps you brings your contacts together across address books, emails, and calendars, and keep them up to date (remember the Plaxo promise?). I am just starting out with LinkedIn Contacts, but eager to see how well it works to engage with my professional network. If you have not seen it yet, look for your service invitation over the coming weeks.
For golfers, particularly in the northern and colder climates, this is a great time time of year. We immerse ourselves in the Masters experience. Non-golfing friends and partners hear The Golf Channel in the background and before long, they get to know the players and the shot strategies though subconscious listening.
As I look ahead to the weekend - and in particular to the last 9 on Sunday (the best 3 hours in sports), I also think of the how incredible it is that Augusta National has created such a powerful and unique brand. Even Bubba Watson was brought to tears yesterday when talking about the importance of the “green Jacket” There are lessons in here for any business and particularly for those offering a professional service experience.
I had a chance to be behind the ropes at Augusta National, explore the inside of the clubhouse, spend time in one the private cabins, and walk with players from the clubhouse to the practice facility. I even stood right next to Phil Mickelson, Dave Pelz and Phil’s caddie, Bones, as they talked strategy on the Saturday morning. An incredible experience for me.
Can you incorporate some of the experience ideas from Augusta National into your own brand positioning?
Consistency. Unlike the other major tournaments in golf, The Masters is always played at Augusta National. This is a private invitational event and it has been run in a highly consistent manner for decades. Improvements are made each year, but the fundamental experience is rooted in its founding principles and the legacy of Bobby Jones.
What would this mean at your company? Do you deliver a consistent experience? Is it rooted in core values that are enduring? Does it create an emotional connection?
Exclusivity. Of course, is hard to get an invitation to play at the Masters – but it is also hard to get a ticket to go to the Masters. And, not all tickets are the same. Some tickets offer clubhouse access others are providing access only to the grounds. People really want to go to the Masters – even more when it is a hard ticket to get. Yet, Augusta National, while exclusive, is also very focused on delivering a compelling experience.
Can you invite clients to get behind the ropes? Are there “velvet rope” strategies that you can incorporate? How can you make your brand and service more desirable by being exclusive?
Experience. OK I need to admit this. I actually ran at Augusta – only for about 10 yards, but I ran. There is no running at Augusta National. I wanted to get into position to see a player tee off at number 10. A gentleman from the club tapped me on the shoulder politely and said, “Sir, there is no running allowed at Augusta National”. Embarrassed. Augusta National has thought of about everything. The TV experience is like no other – with very limited advertising and long term sponsorships. Sandwich wrappers and napkins are colored green so that, in the event a patron (that’s right Augusta has no “crowds” or “fans” we are “patrons”) drops a wrapper by accident, there will be no glaring white object set against the pristine green grass.
How does your brand deliver an experience? Are you thinking of the details?
Enjoy the golf this weekend and, while you are watching the play, take a minute to consider how you might enhance your brand and deliver your clients an experience that is more like getting behind the ropes at Augusta National!
With all the focus on digital and inbound marketing, many of our clients look for ambitious results from their inbound marketing programs – and they should!
Over time, as reputation and ‘Klout’ builds with effective social engagement and content marketing, the inbound machine will pay off. However, an effective revenue strategy involves more than inbound marketing – especially for complex and considered sales and higher-end professional services. Inbound marketing is critical, but smarter outbound selling strategies, in most cases, will continue to drive the largest share of revenue performance.
By: John Nielsen
Although it is a tedious undertaking, it is important to integrate your Act-On Software account with your Salesforce account. Having a seamless flow of information between databases prevents dated information from reaching your sales team; that is if you set it up correctly.
First, and probably the most important thing to do, is visit the Act-On University located in the “Resources” section of your dashboard. If you’re unfamiliar with the Act-On University, it’s time to get acquainted.
Under “Checklists and Guides” you will find the CRM section containing the Salesforce Integration Guide. FOLLOW IT TO THE LETTER. I cannot emphasize this enough. Should you try and skip forward, or even follow the Act-On prompts on the screen, you may miss something – like I did – the first two times.
Click here for a direct link to the Salesforce Integration Guide
Now that you’ve located the Act-On University, look for the Checklists and Guides section in the left sidebar. Once open, look to the lower right for the section titled “User Guides – CRM”- you should see the Salesforce Integration Guide there. Following the steps outlined in this guide and you will be set.
To insure you don’t get ahead of yourself, I’ve included a few points to remember while integrating Salesforce and Act-On:
1) If you have tried and failed to integrate Act-On into Salesforce, before you can successfully integrate the two programs, you’ll need to uninstall any failed Act-On packages in your Salesforce account.
2) Save your Salesforce Security token in a file and keep handy for future use
3) ‘Grant Access to All Users’
Once you’ve integrated your Act-On account with your Salesforce account it’s time to customize your Salesforce fields to show your Act-On Activity History. This process is outlined in the “SFDC Admin Set Up and Custom Fields” section within the Salesforce Integration Guide.
This guide will show you how to sync your leads, contacts, opportunities and much more. It goes into Campaigns, Reporting, Prospects, Opt-Out, customizing your buttons and setting up sales users. It is important that you follow the Salesforce Integration Guide every closely to avoid any complications.
The integration of your marketing automation and customer relationship management software is crucial to generating and nurturing qualified leads for your sales team. By following the Salesforce Integration Guide, and properly syncing your sales and marketing efforts you can maximize your potential for success while reducing your day to day marketing efforts.
There are a range of terrific CRM solutions out there and we have tried several for both client installations and our own team’s use. We settled on Salesforce.com based on the richness of functionality, the level of demand we see with our own clients and some excellent integration opportunities.
In addition to integrating fully with our marketing automation solution to pass through inbound marketing leads and see lead scoring, we have implemented Cirrus Insight as a browser widget for contextual integration with Gmail. We like Cirrus a lot, though until recently, we were a little bit frustrated by how it co-exised with Rapportive – another fantastic solution recently acquired by LinkedIn. That problem has now been solved!!
Check Out Cirrus Here! (this is an affiliate link which would earn us some brownie points with Cirrus and you might get a discount!)
First, why is qualification important?
One of the critical drivers for revenue success is an increase in close rates by the sales team and effective qualification is critical to that metric. Not only will effective qualification help the sales team re-focus on the right deals, the very exercise of qualification inspires better engagement tactics in the sale.
These models also work in marketing and elements can be configured in lead scoring qualification and identifying the MQL – marketing qualified lead and SQL – sales qualified leads.
So, here is the team and why you want them:
If there was one person from planet earth that you would put up against the aliens, wouldn’t it be Tiger?
Here is your super star sales guy. You aren’t going to promote this guy to manager (too much history!) but you don’t want to. You want your best sales guys in front of the customer going low. Mark him down as your top 10% year after year.
Sometimes you need to go long. Risk taking in sales can pay off big. You might just bring in the green jacket with this guy. Prepare for a bumpy ride and some bad quarters, but keep this guy on the team – just might help you blow out the numbers. Get him some help with the paperwork.
Mr. Steady. He may not be the first guy you think of to put in front of your best client, but you can avoid the HR department with Jason. Count him in as a top quartile guy day-in and day-out. And, don’t be surprised if you come in the office one day and Jason hands you a “major” contract.
Believe! After going 1 for 1 in majors after the 2011 PGA, Keegan backed this up with solid and clutch performances. Give him the New England Territory or the Putnam Investments account and he will blow out the numbers.
Mr. Smooth. Another long putter guy, Web is a complete player. If you can survive the grind of a US Open, you can do just about anything. Give Webb two of your most complex and grueling clients. He will avoid mistakes – in both on and off-field performance. Focus on retention. Remember, someday, you may be working for Webb so treat him well!
The mechanic. The perfect new business guy. Lot’s of singles and doubles and the next thing you know he’s on the top of the sales leaderboard. Not every swing at a new client is pretty, but each one progresses down the funnel and the funnel is healthy. Throw in a few big wins, and you have a steady performer.
A big smile can go a long way in winning over the big relationship client. Like Webb, Matt is your man for the large account and the one you want to deepen the relationship. A big team player, this guy has developed steadily into a top player and a career winner. When the time is right, a management promotion makes sense.
Phil would be the CEO if not for his value in the field. The right mix of raw DNA and creativity can blow away the client. Phil will increase the average revenue per deal with creative solutions in every proposal. Occasionally it may backfire, biut most of the time he will be right there in the winers circle. Definitely a future captain and already a hall of famer, let Phil teach the junior sales team how to get it done.
You need the glue on the team to keep it all together. Super nice, if not a little boring, you aren’t going to get yourself in any trouble with Steve. No bad headlines, no calls from HR. Yet, Mr. Innocent can bring out the best in his team mates.. and, when it is all in the line, let Steve take the lead. Mr. clutch putter.
Your contract guy. Meticulous and detailed. You don’t want to see the sales process, but show me the results. At the end of the day, I can trust that the SOW is right, the “I”s are dotted and the “t”s are crossed – and most importantly, the deal is done.
A rookie on the sales team, Brandt is one of the guys you need out at the bar at the end of a busy week of sales. He’s is going to bring life to the party and earn the respect of the rest of the team with solid performance and clutch putting. Hey nothing wrong with being number 1 in putting! Drive for show, putt for doe.
OK, so HR may call a few times, and you aren’t quite sure who he is… he may not show up every day for work, but put a club in his hands and hang on – this guy is going to bring in a few “major” deals and maybe a few heartbreakers along the way. Put him on the right client (or course) and team him with a “Mr. Putter” and you will make your numbers for sure.
Would you want to go up against this team? Good luck and good selling!
I am operating out of our Vermont Office – which is really a home office looking out over the mountains of northern Vermont including Mt. Mansfield and the surrounding hills a few miles from the pristine Caspian Lake in Greensboro.
Today’s highlight includes the installation of a solar energy system to generate sustainable engergy for our home. In keeping with this blog’s focus on sales and marketing, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on the sales and marketing process that I experienced with the team from SolarTech in Vermont.
So, what was the marketing and sales cycle? Actually it was very typical of a “considered sale”.
The cost (before incentives) of the Solar Trackers are over $50k – clearly an investment that requires consideration. Incentives bring this down nicely and the payback is reasonable considering the local cost of energy. So, this was a very substantial investment and a classic “considered sale” – where content and the web plays a role along with an active sales process.
1) My first step was research. Of course I spoke with my social network – others in the area that had experience. After learning that I wanted a tracker to maximize power, I went to the web to search for trackers in Vermont and quickly found All Earth Renewables. They did great work on SEO – on the first page of my organic search results. Their web presence includes Facebook and Twitter.
2) I posted to the AllSun product on Facebook – seeking to learn more from my network about options for solar power and researched forums to see whether there were any comments. I later ended up connecting with an experienced solar expert who looked over the proposal and the technology solution.
3) I wanted to discuss a solution, so I filled out a form on the web site seeking contact with a sales representative. The conversion form online was clean and simple. I had an introductory email within hours.
4) I was introduced to a channel partner, SolarTech, who managed the sales cycle. Rich Nicol engaged professionally in all aspects of the sale from feasibility to economic ROI. He handled all the objections and concerns and mapped out a solution tailored to our needs – a classic professional sales process.
In order to get this sale, All Earth Renewables and SolarTech needed an integrated sales and marketing process.
Part of the marketing mission for B2B is to provide sales with qualified leads. Every company will consider leads differently yet there is a common set of factors that can be mapped into a scoring model for B2B lead generation.
We have identified four steps to develop a lead scoring model along with a set of factors that you can use to map your model. Prefer some help? Our team at Revenue Architects can help you design and deploy your lead scoring system and configure your marketing automation solution to facilitate marketing and sales alignment: