The best part of this forum is I get the liberty to go totally open source with the content I'm featuring and with permission plug some epic B2B technologies that I believe in. If I were ever to take some kind of referral fee, I would disclose that here. Why aren't I? This is a purely pay-it-forward post because I feel my readers and companies everywhere can benefit by employing world class B2B lead generation platforms on-demand to accelerate their sales cycles and run even leaner.
Are you delivering meaningful interactions within quality segments? Are you using the correct value proposition for value creation? How are you sustainability setting appointments and building fresh qualified pipeline? Are you mastering and maximizing your outbound prospecting? Would you agree that the traditional funnel has changed? I would argue that opening has become more difficult than ever with contact rates below 2% by phone and email? What if you could hand this part off to a technology platform that has a secret sauce which figures it out for you?
I believe Mike Scher to be a thought leader and he's been doing this for 13 years out of Atlanta. Below he provides a couple case studies that he's been gracious enough to share. Granted there's no magic bullet in sales or life - you still have to go engage and close the lead - but technologies like this can help you quantum leap into the the funnel rather than flailing around seeking to throw opportunities in. The results speak for themselves...
We all want to drive more sales predictably and open more deals. First conversations are the Stargate to explosive revenue growth. To my cricket fans out there, you'll have to forgive the baseball analogy, as I lived in the States for a few years and I'm a fan of the game. I came into contact with Mike Scher who is the CEO & Chief Demand Creation Architect for FRONTLINE Selling, helping B2B clients create demand, increase their sales pipeline and get more first appointments in America & Australia.
As I circumnavigated the globe in search of unique ways to fill the proverbial funnel, his name kept coming up in conversation. I linked out to Frontline Selling in a post and amazingly, one of my readers got in contact with the company to try it out. That's the power of social 'sneazing' as Seth Godin would call it and the power of making a recommendation to my growing tribe.
Here's some wisdom from Mike on how his technology platform allows leading B2B enterprises to optimize both the quantity and quality of first conversations (in the photo he is talking with Gerhard from Selling Power Magazine):
"There are mysteries and there are secrets. What is the difference? Well a mystery is something where no one has the answer. A secret is something at least one person knows the answer.
One of the biggest problems in B2B sales is securing and executing that
first meaningful sales conversation. Of course, every sales organization
would like to have more first conversations. But what if you REALLY need
more, how would you go about doing that? How could you increase the number
of 'at-bats' your sales team has by 50%, 100%, 200% or more?
If that is a question you have asked yourself recently, you are not alone.
I am here to tell you the answer isn't a mystery.
A few years ago, Agility Recovery Solutions in Charlotte, NC was plugging
along selling business continuity solutions. They had trouble scaling
their sales team until they found out a secret to getting more first
appointments with the right people that enabled them to grow their sales
team from 5 to 40 people in 9 months and increase recurring revenue 500%!
Coupa Software needed a way to scale their business development efforts to
support hyper growth. They used this secret to grow their business 100% in
2013 and did it again in 2014.
Northbound DGS is a high end provider of demand creation solutions.
Northbound leveraged the secret to drive triple digit growth. They used it
as a way to train sales people to produce high value leads and appointments
and get them productive in days instead of months.....or never.
So what is the secret these and hundreds of other companies world-wide all
leverage to drive the type of game changing outcomes described above? It's
Staccato On-demand™ by FRONTLINE Selling. Staccato is a predictable and
repeatable technology that is simply the most effective way to increase the
quality and quantity of meaningful first appointments.
We help our clients get more first appointments with people who are genuinely interested in talking to them - so they can sell more. Period.
In any B2B sale, whether it's with someone who has expressed an interest in you -- a white paper or web hit lead -- or someone you're interested in selling to, like a targeted account -- the game really begins with that first meaningful conversation.
Lots of important marketing activities take place prior to that conversation like messaging, marketing automation, lead scoring - and many sales activities kick in after that to close the sale.
But, initiating that first conversation is key - it's the critical junction, the catalyst to all that follows. And, it's what we do.
Staccato drives amazing results by taking all the guess work out of the
prospecting and lead follow-up process for B2B sellers. Over the past 13
years, FRONTLINE Selling studied 1.8 million calls, conversations, emails
etc., and determined which ones work best along with when, how and how
often to follow-up. Staccato is offered as an app that you can find on the
The FRONTLINE approach is truly a game-changer! Our productivity and ability to uncover net-new sales opportunities has gone through the roof. This is truly a repeatable process."
Director of Global Business Group Sales
My newfound obsession is with cutting off the top of the traditional funnel with B2B automation and optimization. Imagine if you could run a leaner sales team with a lower cost of sales and get warm introduction delivered to you. This way of thinking not only increases efficiency and effectiveness to work qualified deals lower in the pipeline but it allows your closers to further specialize.
Part of the fun in applying Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross (took Salesforce to $100MM) or the concepts extolled in The Sales Acceleration Formula from the CRO of Hubspot, Mark Roberge (took Hubspot to $100MM) is finding unique and innovative ways to outsource or leverage technology platforms to fill roles in the assembly line process. Read both of these incredible books - they're absolutely essential to your strategy for scaling!
I think we can all agree, that without a funnel chock-full of qualified leads, it's going to be a mission impossible to build a sales machine that lives up to and even exceeds forecasts to satisfy the demands of The Street or investors. FRONTLINE is just one of the cornucopia of technology companies that I would like to feature from my publishing feed. There are also some stealth social driven database analytics engine fueled technologies that are quite compelling too. [By popular demand, case studies forthcoming...]
Undoubtedly, there's a bit of humor in making a request in multiple LinkedIn Groups recently as follows:
Here was one amusing response from a thought leader I respect who later did actually provide me a lead.
That discussion is here so I'd love to hear more of your deepest inner thoughts on what the best technologies are in this emerging sphere. I'm certain Frontline Selling is at the top of that list of ways to creatively solve the neoclassical front-of-the-funnel problem:
Now it's your turn: What B2B front-of-the-funnel automation or augmentation technologies have you seen prove to be successful for new business development? What's worked for you? What has been the result of your experiments as a sales leader with elements of sales and marketing automation? What is the role that Artificial Intelligence, big data and predictive analytics will play on this sector in the near future? Won't we always need meaningful human interactions to create a quality introduction? Hello Watson!
And now a moment of Dilbert zen that highlights just how painful the old ways of selling used to be, as you ponder a meaningful response to new memes below...
BONUS - A bit more about Frontline Selling gospel from Mike Scher:
There's no secret sauce. No magic incantation. Just a proven, common sense approach that FRONTLINE has used for a decade to help tens of thousands of sales people from firms across almost every vertical get more first appointments with people who are genuinely interested in talking to them.
FRONTLINE fundamentally changes the way sales people (theirs or yours) think about prospecting, they use a system and process that delivers a very structured approach to reach decision makers, and they provide a discipline of who to contact, how to contact them, what to say, how to say it, when to say it, how often to say it --- and, most importantly, the focus to make it a ritual.
Their simple, but powerful web app reinforces, maps and guides daily activities - and provides managers visibility into activity and productivity for every team member - allowing them to coach for success. And, their approach is identical whether they get appointments for clients or share their knowledge with their team. They've added a new product name, Staccato, in honor of the continuous repetition of who to contact, how to contact them, etc., and, in celebration of their first decade...
Check out these brilliant concise LinkedIn Publisher Articles By Mike Scher before you go:
Tony Hughes is ranked as the #1 influencer on professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is a keynote speaker and best selling author. This article was originally published in LinkedIn where you can also follow Tony's award winning blog. Also visit Tony's keynote speaker website at www.TonyHughes.com.au or his sales methodology website at http://www.rsvpselling.com/.
Main image photo by Flickr: James Willcox
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