Best practices for lead generation, marketing automation and revenue generation topics.

5 Creative Ways to Generate Leads You’ve Probably Never Tried Before

When your company needs to generate leads, your goals should be to find creative methods that allow you to communicate and network better with other businesses as well as untapped customers and, simultaneously, establish yourself and your company as an authority figure. You need to cut through the noise and get in front of people. When you show up, you need to be remarkable so that people see you as an expert and want to work with you. Here is a look at five ways to generate leads by getting in front of your prospects, where they are. 

1. Slack Channels

Slack channels are tight-knit communities and, typically, you need an invitation to join them. However, once you get access to a channel, you can begin one-to-one communication with channel members or send broadcast messages to everyone. Slack channels are usually active, so you’re able to get in front of people passionate about a specific topic. By joining Slack channels, you can grow your brand within that community, and then help the other people in exchange. By helping others consistently, you can grow your status and authority within the group. Remember to bring value always and don’t spam.

2. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is an effective way to improve your company’s reach. Websites require content to attract new visitors and nurture their existing audience. When you provide blog posts for other sites, you gain exposure, and they benefit as well because they get to publish great content. Guest blogging positions you as an authority figure because a website is endorsing your work by publishing it. Guest blogging also helps you build backlinks, enhance your search placement and drive relevant traffic to your site.

3. Answering Quora Questions

Quora is a wonderful way for you to answer important questions relevant to your industry and build your credibility. Make no mistake that answering Quora questions has a similar effect to that of guest blogging. Quora is an adult version of Yahoo Answers where people are actively asking for help and looking for specific answers. At the time of this writing, the website recently reached 100 million monthly unique visitors. Quora allows people to answer questions and establish themselves as an authority figure.

Answer questions that come from members of your community and industry. Doing so will help you target users who fit the profile of your ideal customer. When you use this website, you can create a company profile and then answer the questions that are related not just to your company but your industry as well. You can handle reputation management by searching for questions that people are asking related to whatever service or products you provide and then answer those questions. You can even set it up so that each member of your team creates a unique profile and team members can answer questions in conjunction with one another based on different levels of expertise.

4. Syndicate Your Content

Syndicating your content gets more mileage out of a regular blog. There are so many online platforms that have many visitors, and they often need quality content. Blogs, community websites, social media sites, forums and question-and-answer sites are an ideal solution. Syndicating content is a terrific way to enhance your lead generation because it amplifies the reach of your content, allowing you to tap into an audience you might not have otherwise been able to access. All of this optimizes your returns and puts your content in front of a demographic with a high potential for sales.

You aren’t just restricted to publishing your content to your immediate audience of current customers. When you put effort into making high-quality content, you should be rewarded by expanding your reach, so prospects get to see what it is you offer. Sharing your content through syndication also improves search engine ranking with enhanced credibility and relevant backlinks. This puts you in a place of authority as a leader in your industry, which generates more traffic and potentially more qualified leads.

With content syndication, you can collaborate with another company to co-market your promotional efforts where you both promote a single piece of content. You can also swap content with another brand where you both agree to promote one another’s content on your respective social media channels.

5. Public Speaking

Public speaking is a superb way to gain a captive audience. In today’s world, as things become increasingly more internet-based, people are trusting the face-to-face selling method much more. Known as the podium effect, being a public speaker will position you as an expert in the industry, which is what each of these methods helps to do. Focus when you start at small, intimate events. This will help you figure out what your audience wants to hear and help you fine-tune your selling methods. The right strategy is important in setting your business up. You can begin at small events with just 10 people at a time put on personal company events where you make an offer at the end for your attendees. When you start out, you want to create your own events so you can craft your signature talk and gain experience with your audience. Libraries or community centers make ideal places for these local events. You can book area venues and market it to local residents. Once you become more comfortable with it, you can host bigger events. Just remember that, at the end of each public speaking event, you need to give your attendees something like a free consultation or the opportunity to try a product for free. Give them an offer they can’t refuse. On the topic of syndication, if you know other people are having events, and they are looking for speakers like at expositions, conferences or trade shows, offer yourself as a speaker. Even if it’s just a few minutes, this could be a low-cost opportunity with a lot of return.

Overall, the purpose for each of these five creative methods is to allow you a way to generate leads by establishing yourself as an authority figure. You want to expand your reach and make sure that people see you as a leader in your industry — someone they can trust to whom they can turn for answers.

To learn how to properly manage those leads, once you have them, contact us here.

Bio

Morgan Williams is a Sales Professional and B2B Lead Gen Consultant based in Chicago, IL  For a case study on how to use automated cold email marketing to spend $166.70 and make $3,435.30 in profit (2,061% ROI – email templates included), head over to his blog.

Infographic: Post-Event Lead Nurturing Strategy

Want the executive summary? Download the infographic here.

Marketing events can be a very costly effort. There’s the booth rental, the booth design/display, travel and expenses for your employees working the booth. Service costs like electricity, cleaning, or wifi can sneak up on you. Badge scanners are expensive (have you looked into other options?).

I think you get my drift: marketing events cost a lot of money. Return on investment (ROI) is paramount. Once your team has captured hot leads at an event, you should be prepared to follow up with those leads quickly and effectively. There’s no time to waste – don’t let your competitors beat you to the punch.

We are often asked for examples of how a business can (and should) nurture leads post-event. Below is an infographic that examines a tried-and-true post-event lead nurturing strategy. 

Technology to Support Lead Nurturing Strategy

The first step in determining your post-event lead nurturing strategy is to make sure you have the technology in place to automate it. Don’t count on these things being done manually – it’s just not realistic. Companies are busier than ever these days, usually with multiple people wearing multiple hats – stretched thin. There’s also tons of room for distraction at (and after) marketing events. The more administrative tasks you can automate, the better. Let your employees spend their time building relationships and making connections.

There are lots of options out there, but we recommend a wholistic approach. Look for technology that works together, so you don’t have to spend time exporting and importing. For example, our event lead management solution allows businesses to create and customize lead capture forms, prepare intelligent post-event workflows, quickly capture leads onsite, instantly sync with a CRM, and then place them into those previously mentioned workflows. No additional technology is needed.

Of course, we love our solutions. But, there are lots of options out there! Just make sure you have something in place to be able to effectively execute your plan.

Lead Management Strategy – Instant Tasks

Create a list of all the actions you want to take once you’ve captured the lead’s information, and separate them into groups based on the time of the outreach. Here are a few examples of what you might want to do instantly:

  • Tag the Prospect with the Event Name
  • Add the Prospect to the Event Leads list
  • Assign a grade or score to the Prospect based on your ideal buyer criteria
  • Distribute the lead (Prospect) – based on round-robin, geography, or product interest
  • Sync the Prospect Record with your CRM

Side Note – Lead Scoring vs. Lead Grading

Let’s talk more about lead score versus lead grade. You may want your reps to call a Prospect if their score is high and their grade is high. Or maybe just one or the other. To make that determiniation, you should know the differences. 

Lead scoring is a way to measure engagement, and it happens over time. Even before your event, a Prospect may have already been to your website, scanning a few of your webpages, which would increase their score. It will continue to increase as they continue to interact with your website or your content.

On the other hand, grading is a way to measure how well a Prospect matches your ideal buyer criteria. Your reps can qualify and assign a grade onsite at the event. With our event lead management solution, reps can collect lead data quickly and either grade them in the moment, or they can go back later and grade them when they have a lull in booth traffic.

Lead Management Strategy – Starting Your Nuture

Once those organizational actions have been completed (usually within seconds), what do you want to do next? Let me answer that for you…you want to follow up. Insidesales.com conducted a study that found 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. That means that the timing of your follow up matters.

If at all possible, reach out to your leads within an hour of them visiting your booth. A great example of this kind of outreach is with a text message. If you’re capturing a lead’s mobile phone number, use your marketing automation platform to send a text message saying, “Hi Jane, it’s Bob. Thanks for stopping by our booth! We’ll be in touch soon – but in the meantime, here’s my number if you have any questions…” That is sure to make your company stand out.

24 Hours Later

Send an email. Even though you already sent a text message, send an email 24 hours later. Give your Prospect time to filter through messages from other booths, but not enough time that they forget who you are. Remind them of a product feature that sets you apart from other exhibitors at the trade show.

Pivot

At this point in the game, you may want to consider customizing your lead nurturing strategy based on the previously mentioned lead score and/or grade (depending on what matter most to your business) and how the Prospect interacts with your outreach or content. Your marketing automation platform should have the capability of customizing the workflow using this kind of criteria. If the lead score is high, assign a task to a rep to make a call. If it’s low, continue to nurture via email.

Don’t disqualify leads with a lower score or grade. They may be hesitant because they are taking this decision more seriously. Offer a piece of educational content, like an infographic or a case study. Try to be their source of education in the industry, so they begin to see your company as a thought leader.

If they download the content, you may want to pivot further based on that. If they downloaded it, offer another link to an informative blog post with a powerful call-to-action (CTA). Make the decision to reach out to you easy.

If they didn’t download the content, perhaps they need the same information as the lead above, but rather they need it summarized within the email itself to reduce effort. Include your CTA within the email itself, to make it even easier.

In Summary

Continue nurturing your Prospects for several weeks until they are ready to buy, or place them into your newsletter list so that you can continue your educational content without being too pushy.

It’s all about creating a sense of authority and innovation within your industry. Those that actively attend trade shows, conferences, or other marketing events are not passive. They are engaged, and their presence at an event will make them hyper-aware of you and your competitors.

If you decide to exhibit at an event, be prepared to make it count. Here’s an infographic that you can save for when the time comes. And, good luck!  

Decision Guide: Comparing Pros and Cons of Badge Scanners vs Mobile Apps

Want the executive summary? Download the infographic here. 

It’s time to prepare for your upcoming trade show, but lately you’ve heard a lot about new mobile apps that allow you to forego the pricy badge scanners and use your own devices. It sounds intriguing, but you’ll need to know a little more before making the jump.  

We’ve rounded up the pros and cons of badge scanners vs mobile apps. Really, what you’re comparing is a standard lead retrieval system that captures basic information that attendees provide to the event host, versus a customizable, enterprise-ready event lead management system that can empower you to actually do something with those leads post-event.

Badge Scanners

Pros

  • Contact and rental info may be easier to find as most trade show organizers partner with lead retrieval companies who promote their solution.
  • Proven and reliable.
  • Badge scanners are fast. Scanning takes mere seconds.
  • Builds a list of contacts.

Cons

  • Managing and distributing leads after the event is a manual and time consuming process, and it could take days to retrieve your lead list.
  • There is only one way to capture a lead (by scanning a barcode). You’ll lack the ability to have multiple sources of integrated lead capture (like a kiosk for when your sales team is tied up with other attendees).
  • There is no qualification – unless you count your salesperson’s scribble on the printout from the badge scanner. Hopefully, he remembers all the notes he meant to write down!
  • You have to go through the process of renting and setting them up for each event.
  • They are expensive (ranging from $200 to $500 per device). Some might also require internet, which is another expense.
  • They are bulky and can get misplaced.
  • Limited ways to respond to leads, if at all.
  • No GDPR compliance options.
  • No control over entire experience.
  • No lead enrichment.

Mobile App

Pros

  • Leads are captured and in your possession instantly. This results in instant replies, instant lead routing, instant flow through your business process. And apps usually integrate directly with enterprise CRM and marketing automation systems.
  • Less setup & more options. Once you select your mobile app, you don’t have to keep going through the process for each trade show. You don’t have to set it up each time, outside of connecting your Media Kit. And, you’ll benefit from multiple lead capture methods, such as business card transcription, pre-registration, manual submission, and badge scanning.
  • Integration & automation makes it easier than ever to show a clear ROI for the tens of thousands of dollars spent on trade shows. Depending on the martech you integrate with, you should be able to easily track which leads actually convert to sales.
  • Sales and marketing staff can use their own mobile device instead of carrying around a bulky scanner.
  • Works offline, eliminating the need to rent internet which could cost 100s of dollars. You have complete control over the experience with your event visitors and managing leads internally.
  • Mobile apps are usually more current. For example, some mobile apps (like ours) offer GDPR/Privacy Management compliance options.
  • Consistent user experience as sales reps and marketers manning the booth only have to learn one system.
  • Leads are automatically enriched with social and demographic information.
  • Automation, automation, automation – mobile apps allow for immediate qualification, scoring, and follow up utilizing the integration mentioned above

Cons

  • There’s some legwork that needs to be done when choosing a mobile app solution provider. But keep in mind, you only have to do that legwork once.
  • You still have to purchase a “Media Kit” in order to activate badge scanning using a mobile app. These usually run around $500. That’s still significantly less than purchasing internet PLUS a badge scanner for each person.
  • Mobile lead capture apps are typically priced as a monthly subscription, so if you’re not going to a lot of trade shows, it may not be worth it. There may also be limitations on how many shows you can do or how many salespeople can use the app at one time.

Take Away

Using an event lead management system will reduce the amount of headache collecting leads during an event and managing leads after an event, while badge scanners are more convenient to rent prior to an event. Clearly define your goals, and if you go with a mobile trade show app, find one that integrates well with your martech.

To learn more about Lead Liaison’s mobile app, GoCapture!™, or our entire Event Lead Management soltuion, click here.

Plus…

We put together this infographic with the key points from above. Feel free to print and hang this at your desk, or pass along to your colleagues.

Badge Scanners vs. Mobile Apps

Badge Scanners vs. Mobile Apps

event strategy

Event Strategy: How to Properly Manage Leads from a Trade Show or Other Marketing Event

Want the executive summary? Download the infographic here.

Does your company do marketing events, like trade shows or conferences? Whether you’re just dipping your toe into marketing events, or you’re a seasoned pro, it doesn’t hurt to learn more about how to perfect your event strategy. When preparing for an event, there are two main focuses: getting your “gear” ready for the show, and setting up a process for managing the leads you get from that marketing event. We’ll save the “gear” topic for another day…today we’re thinking about LEADS!

What do marketing and sales always have in common? The answer: leads (duh). Marketing teams generate leads, and sales teams pursue them. Marketing events, and the like (conferences, trade shows, etc.) are incredibly effective ways to generate leads. But there’s often a lot of prep work that goes into these events.

The first step in planning for a marketing event is to come up with an event strategy, which should include a well-thought-out lead management process. Without this, you risk losing a lot of potential leads – leads who have seen your booth, spoken with your sales rep, and shown real interest in your solution. What a waste that would be! Here’s our guide to coming up with the perfect lead management process as a part of your overall event strategy:

Do Your Research

Find an event lead management strategy that works best for your business. Do you prefer to just order a lead scanner and do the rest manually? Or, do you prefer to use a lead capture app that already integrates with the rest of your marketing and sales technology (ex: marketing automation platform and CRM)? We prefer to use our lead capture app, GoCapture!™, as it integrates seamlessly with our marketing automation platform and our CRM. We can easily connect the dots between our event-specific marketing campaigns and the end results. We can also customize our forms so that we capture all of the information that we want/need, and we have limitless options for lead capture (not just badge scanning!).

Map Out Your Lead Management Process

Meet with your team (marketing AND sales) and lay out a plan for how you wish to follow up with your leads. A quick text saying, “Thanks for stopping by our booth!” goes a long way – especially considering the amount of email follow-ups those folks will probably have the next morning. Are there any special offers or messages that you should incorporate into your follow-up? Get to the drawing board (quite literally, if you have to!) and map out how you will nurture those leads (your “nurture campaign”). Part of a thorough event strategy is making sure that everyone is on board and knows what kind of messaging that lead will receive.

Here are a few things you’ll want to consider, when laying out your post-event lead nurture:

  • Determine the proper lead score for this event and incorporate that into your post-event lead nurture plan. Either manually, or automatically if you’ve got the technology, add that number to Prospects’ overall scores.
  • Ensure proper lead distribution. Many marketing automation platforms will allow you to automate your lead distribution based on specific rules, or round-robin. Make sure everyone is on the same page about how those leads will be distributed so there is no confusion later.
  • Incorporate omnichannel marketing in your nurture campaign. Sure, emails are great – of course those should be included. But text are powerful, postcards are unique, and handwritten letters give a personal touch.
  • Set up your post-event nurture in your marketing automation platform prior to your event, so that once that lead is captured, it is automatically tagged, segmented, scored, and placed into an automation.
  • Keep in mind that you can usually clone your nurtures (aka automations). Put the proper legwork into creating a killer nurture campaign, and then rest easy knowing you just have to edit a few minor things (like event name, etc.) next time around.

Train Your Team

Okay, now back to your event strategy: Don’t assume that your sales reps (or other team members attending the event) are up to date on lead capture technology. Although there will probably be some complaining, try to get your reps into a room to refresh them on the process or train them on new tech. If you are using an event lead management app, you can have your reps install it on their devices (or the company’s devices) ahead of time so they can get some real-life practice.

You want your sales team to be on board with your process. If they are not, you maby be less successful than you could be.

Ensure Attendance

More often than not, trade show organizers will provide an email list of people who plan to attend an event. Put some thought into your plan for encouraging attendance at your booth and start building those relationships early. Gone are the days when attendees just show up and wander around. With more and more millennials attending trade shows, conferences, and other live marketing events, we find that attendees are doing more research ahead of time so that they know who they want to visit and can plan accordingly.

Make it easy for them; properly distribute and advertise your location and booth number through marketing emails, social media, and 1:1 communication (like Lead Liaison’s Sales Enablement). And don’t forget to include past attendees in your communication (based on location).

In Summary

Marketing events can be costly, so it’s important to ensure you are getting the most out of it. Properly managing your leads is essential. Include team members from both sales and marketing through as much of the process as you can, so that everyone is on board with (and will follow through with their part of) “the plan.” Below is a quick graphic you can print out and stick on your desk, so that you’re ready for trade show season!

Event Strategy: How to Properly Manage Leads from a Marketing Event

Email Deliverability in 2018

I’ve had quite a few discussions recently about email deliverability. Most people seem to be aware of the basics; don’t use giant images, avoid spammy languages, and make sure that you have SPF and DKIM set up when using an email service. While that might have been enough 10 years ago, things get trickier when we talk about email domain reputations.

Email clients determine whether your message is any good based on your reputation. If you have a good reputation, you won’t have any issues getting your message through. If it’s bad, then you’re much more likely to end up in the junk folder. So, what goes into your email domain reputation?

Open Rate

Email services like Google, Yahoo!, and many others keep track of the open rate of emails sent from your system. If you have a very low open rate, then they interpret that to mean that you’re not sending good content. After all, if their users delete your emails before even reading them, they must not care about it very much. While a low open rate isn’t the biggest factor in determining your email deliverability, it can be enough to make a difference.

You can increase your open rate by sending relevant content to smaller segments rather than blasting a generic email to your whole database. People don’t really care about your organization; they care about how your organization can make an impact to them specifically. You can learn more about segmentation here.

Bounces

An email bounces when you try to send it to an invalid email address. Email addresses could be invalid due to them belonging to former employees, the inbox being full, or simply because the email was mistyped or made up. The more bounces you get, the more it affects your reputation. Why?

Bounces indicate that you haven’t validated your email lists recently. While that’s bad for a few reasons, it can be an indicator that you’ve sent emails to a purchased list. Never send emails to a purchased list, even if the selling company promises everyone is validated and opted in!

Unsubscribes

Email marketers everywhere fear the dreaded unsubscribe. When a person opts out of emails, you lose the ability to send them any kind of email communication. That makes your job of engaging and qualifying infinitely harder.

Moreover, a high unsubscribe rate means that people don’t care about the content you’re sending. Like a low open rate, this tells clients they might as well send you to the junk folder. Unlike a low open rate, a high unsubscribe rate can seriously impact your email deliverability.

You can avoid unsubscribes by sending relevant content to smaller segments. You should also make sure that you only send to people who have specifically opted in to your email lists. Just because they signed up for your newsletter doesn’t mean they also wanted special offers. And above all, don’t send emails to purchased lists!

Spam Complaints

Now we’re getting into serious territories. If you’re getting spam complaints, then you’re either sending to people who never opted in, or you’ve made it too difficult to unsubscribe. Either way, not only will spam complaints hurt your deliverability, they can also get you blacklisted. Worst of all, if you did send an email to someone who didn’t opt in, you could face serious fines and penalties per email.

You can protect yourself from spam complaints by making sure you only email people who have opted in to email marketing. Also, make sure you make the unsubscribe options clear and easy to find, and honor all opt outs in a timeline manner. And, like I said before, never send marketing emails to a purchased list!

Spam Traps

Spam traps are email addresses that are specifically set up to catch people sending emails to purchased lists. Organizations will leak these emails to list sellers. No matter what the seller says, spam traps are kept secret, and there’s no way they could vet them all. Even validation services may not protect you as the addresses are technically valid.

The only way they would appear on your email list is if you bought a list. Because of this, sending to a spam trap can impact your email deliverability more than almost anything else on this list. It’s basically a smoking gun proving you sent emails to someone who didn’t opt in. Hopefully we’ve already made this point, but don’t use purchased lists!

The Take Away

If you’re looking at this list and feel intimidated, don’t worry. Just do what you’re supposed to be doing. Send relevant content to segments, and only send emails to people who have opted in to the specific type of communication you are sending. Luckily, Lead Liaison can help you with this. If you’d like to learn more about how we protect our email marketing partners, sign up for a demo today.

calendar sales

How to Book More Sales Meetings

Are you wondering how to book more sales meetings? If you’re reading this, then you’re likely a VP of Sales and having problems with the reps on your team or you’re an individual contributor and looking for the upperhand. In this article, we’ll expose some eye opening statistics and give you one of the key ways you can solve this very problem to start booking more sales meetings.

A few months back I traveled from Texas to Georgia. I was traveling to accompany one of our sales representatives in a meeting with a potential client. When I sat down with the prospect, I asked him what he was hoping to accomplish that day. He answered my question by saying he wanted to see anything and everything in our software. In my mind, I thought this meeting would drag on and on unless I took better control of it. Most sales reps would feel a jolt of electricity in their chair if they heard their prospect say this very same thing. They’d be ready to whip out their box of candy and start handing it out like it was Halloween. Instead of throwing him tootsie rolls and lifesavers (or a full candy bar like those wealthy neighborhoods like to do), I turned the question back around to him. I asked, what is it you’re trying to accomplish in your role. He said, “I want to have more conversations.” Now, that’s helpful. Instead of going off on another dog and pony show that could cover things that didn’t mean much to him, we narrowed down the focus.

This sales rep was no different than the 2.7 million other inside sales representatives in the U.S.  Their main goal is largely to generate interest and set up meetings. Unfortunately, most reps are inefficient at doing so and struggle with their approach. According to SalesWolf, Sales Development Reps (SDR) waste up to 40% of their time looking for someone to call. With the average SDR making 37.2 calls per day, that’s a lot of wasted time. There’s no secret sauce to booking more meetings; however, there’s one thing we wholeheartedly believe in. It’s quality over quantity and structure/process is not an option; it’s a necessity.

I recall a CEO of a company I used to work for saying to our inside sales team, “it’s a numbers game…just do more and it will happen.” While that could be true, sales leadership really never considers the burn out rate of an SDR after running them through the ringer. Bridge Group research sites there’s a minimum of 20% annual turnover in Sales, and up to 34% if you include voluntary and involuntary. To make matters worse, Deloitte found that Millennials are even more likely to leave their job sooner, as 25% said they’ll leave their current job within a year and 44% will leave within two years.

Now, consider the time it takes to ramp up a sales rep. ClearSlide and CSO Insights report that 71% of companies take 6 months or longer to onboard new sales reps; and at all companies it takes 9 months or more. If you do the simple math here, and consider best case scenarios, there’s a window of a year or two when a rep is fully up to speed and still working for your company. Why is turnover so high? Forbes states that sales reps don’t have coaches and mentors, and lack the latest sales tools.

Stop reading this if your company is not willing to spend money on the right sales tools. And stop reading this if you’re not ready to capitalize on the window of opportunity when your rep is ready to go, and still working for you! Why? Because you’re really not ready to have your sales rep book more sales meetings and you’re not open to adopting technology to assist. Some sales rep can be true superstars, but they can only do so much. Insidesales.com finds the average company spends $2,103 per SDR per year ($175 per month) on sales technology (not including CRM). Insidesales.com found the top five adopted sales technologies are, along with their adoption rate:

  1. Social prospecting, 82.5%
  2. List services, 58.5%
  3. Email engagement, 55.3%
  4. Phone, 43.4%
  5. Sales cadences, 37%

Adopting these five core technologies into your sales team’s strategies will without a doubt help them book more meetings. It will also help them spend less time looking for things to do. All five of these approaches can be applied using a single software solution, that takes less than half of the sales technology budget ($175 per month in 2018 according to Insidesales.com). The solution also dramatically cuts down ramp up time so companies can maximize the window in which sales reps are ramped up and employed.

By using systems like Rhythms from Lead Liaison, Cadences from SalesLoft, or Sequences from Outreach.io, sales reps can build a blueprint of their sales plan. The blueprint can contain social touch points, drive email engagement, and schedule phone tasks all while ingesting a list of contacts that you source.

Reps use these systems by mixing offline and online communication over time to form their outreach process. The systems have both manual and automated tasks, working together to move the “suspect” through the prospecting cycle and into the top of the lifecycle funnel. The system keeps track of engagement and creates tasks that reps can work on in a systematic way each day – helping to keep them focused on the job at hand.

To learn more about Lead Liaison’s solution, called Rhythms, that help sales representatives book more sales meetings contact Lead Liaison today.

Sales Enablement

The Importance of Integration in Sales Enablement

Sales enablement – a strategic, collaborative discipline, designed to add value to customer interactions and improve predictable sales results – is a business function that has grown rapidly over the past few years. In fact, when CSO Insights began its annual Sales Enablement Optimization Study in 2013, just 19.3 percent of organisations had a dedicated enablement function or programme, and that figure reached 59.2 percent in 2017.

In the end, sales enablement is about ensuring that salespeople, marketing staff, customer service reps and business leaders all understand how they can help meet customer expectations and maximize the amount of revenue the organization generates. In this article, we look more closely at the role that integration plays in enablement and explain some of the steps organizations can take to align sales, marketing, and customer service.

Setting Shared Objectives

For an enablement strategy to work, it is important to understand that, while different departments will have different individual aims and objectives, the primary objective of the sales organization is to maximize sales effectiveness, help customers and improve sales results. Ultimately, for sales enablement to be successful, the individual departments need to share those objectives and understand the role that they play in helping to achieve them.

This means that sales reps need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to maximize success, the customer service staff needs to adopt best practices to deal with problems quickly and keep customers happy, and the marketing department needs to generate interest in the organization and highlight the company’s merits. Enablement leaders must then ensure all of those things happen, but that departments never lose sight of the core objectives.

“One of the major reasons sales enablement is so challenging is due to interdepartmental misalignment and a lack of ownership for enablement initiatives,” says Alyssa Drury, writing for Seismic. “Marketing plays an integral role… but it is often thought of as a sales responsibility, causing tension between the two departments. This alignment is [also] impossible if marketers aren’t thinking about how they support the sales force.”

Connecting Sales Coaching

While it is far from the whole story, a significant part of sales enablement is sufficiently training and coaching sales staff, so that they can carry out their role to the best of their ability. However, this requires integration, because sales reps need to be taught how to make use of content created by the marketing department and how to make use of CRM software, which links with the customer service department.

For sales leaders to achieve this, it is best to formally align their sales coaching and sales training processes to their sales enablement framework, so that all aspects are covered.

Yet, according to the CSO Insights 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Study, only 11.3 percent of organizations have a dynamic coaching process in place, where their sales coaching efforts are connected to their enablement framework. Nevertheless, when this does occur, average win rates stand at 66.1 percent, compared to the average win rate of 51.8 percent, representing a 27.6 percent improvement.

What this demonstrates quite neatly is that an integrated sales enablement strategy pays off in terms of enhancing sales effectiveness and improving business results. However, it requires leaders within the organization to take the time to connect coaching frameworks to enablement frameworks. Additionally, it is imperative that organisations take the time to equip sales managers with the skills to carry out that coaching.

In addition to coaching, the use of solutions to automate processes for sales staff, like Lead Liaison’s Sales Enablement solution for prospecting, free’s up Reps time to be focussed on the activities that they can really add value to.

Establishing Buyer Personas

Finally, one of the best ways to make sure different departments are integrated with one another and on the same page when it comes to sales enablement is to establish buying personas. Essentially, these are generalised representations of your sales organisation’s customers, and these can be used to teach staff about why customers choose to buy your products, services or solutions and what affects their decision throughout the customer journey.

These buyer personas should be based on real research and the actual customers you attract and want to attract. Once credible buyer personas have been drawn up, these should be shared with all departments, so they can all gain a deeper insight into the different stages of the customer journey and better understand the role that their particular department plays in bringing a customer closer to making the decision to purchase.

“Essentially, a company must establish a buyer persona and then share that persona with all key players in marketing and sales,” explains David Reimherr, a content marketing expert and the founder of Magnificent Marketing, in an article written for Social Media Explorer. “That allows people to understand the stages of where their customers go for answers, what influences them to buy, and so on.”

Moreover, the marketing department and customer service department need to consider how they can help reps to improve their sales effectiveness. This may mean creating higher quality content, which is more likely to appeal to customers, or sharing customer information through CRM software, which could be used to make sales more likely.

Author Bio:

Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales consulting firm, helping organizations to create effective sales enablement strategies. Culturally savvy, she has years of international experience in B2B marketing on behalf of dynamic, world-class enterprises. She likes to share her insights achieving sales effectiveness.

To learn more about Lead Liaison’s solution for Sales Enablement as a strategy, click here.

Growth Marketing Software Stack for B2B Companies

Growth marketing software has commonly been referred to as a strategy that focuses on the entire funnel, as opposed to the top, middle, or bottom. Small to mid-sized businesses and startups need to think out of the box and not expend precious cycles trying to mimic traditional sales and marketing methods.

At Lead Liaison, we didn’t know about many of these solutions when we first started. Over time we either purchased these solutions or built them ourselves. Most of our growth marketing needs have manifested themselves as software that we’ve created to address a specific need in the overall growth marketing strategy. In addition to our own software, we’ve been using solutions from other providers to build what we feel is the ideal growth marketing software stack. One key aspect of this ultimate growth marketing software stack is that every single solution in the stack is web-based. All your team needs is a web browser and you’re up and running!

We adopted a growth marketing strategy in the early stages of our business; however, the stack wasn’t built overnight. It’s taken many years to put together this growth marketing stack. We hope you’ve coveted an article like this as it’s not easy to identify an ideal growth marketing stack. It’s our pleasure to present this stack to you in the hope that it helps your company either get up and running quickly or accelerate faster.

Here it is:

  1. Top of the Funnel: Rhythms™, Lead411, ZoomInfo
  2. Middle of the Funnel: Lead Management Automation (LMA)™
  3. CRM: OneFocus™
  4. Business Operations: Google
  5. Sales Research: LinkedIn, Owler, Datanyze, BuiltWith
  6. Task Management: OneFocus™, Trello, Google
  7. Support & Help: Screencast-O-Matic
  8. Communication: Slack, Dropbox
  9. Product Management: Atlassian Jira
  10. Customer Documentation: Atlassian Confluence
  11. Finance: Quickbooks Online

Each of these solutions and their benefits are explained below. We break up the growth marketing software stack into two parts, sales and marketing and operations.

Growth Marketing Software Stack:

These solutions benefit the sales and marketing teams. For most companies focused on growth marketing, their sales and marketing team will be less than 10 people. These solutions are highly effective and affordable, whether you’re a funded or bootstrapped growth marketing company this is the way to go.

  • Top of the Funnel: Rhythms™, Lead411, ZoomInfo, Hunter, MailTester.com, FullContact, Clearbit. Perfecting sales isn’t that difficult. It’s about establishing a process to see what works, then rinse and repeat. Sales can be systematic too. We use Rhythms™, which help our sales people get into a groove (dare I say rhythm) with their sales. It helps them establish an outreach plan, that’s ideal for business development reps or seasoned account managers. Reps add manual emails, auto-emails, phone calls, postcards, handwritten letters, and various tasks into a plan – giving them a blueprint for sales. When new reps come aboard they can easily adopt your company blueprints. It helps to feed Rhythms™ with fresh contacts. We like Lead411 for email-only contacts and ZoomInfo for higher quality data. ZoomInfo has the highest concentration of contacts with phone numbers and emails out of all providers we’ve found. This makes ZoomInfo the best solution for high-touch sales plans or account-based marketing. Your growth marketing strategy should be focused on quality over quantity though. Gone are the days of batching and blasting emails. That’s a quick way to sink your growth marketing ship. Spend more time researching and reaching out to each contact you pull from your source. Rhythms™ will help you achieve high quality sales campaigns. Hunter and MailTester.com help round out the prospecting solution to verify email addresses. Teams might also find FullContact and Clearbit useful for finding contact information.  
  • Middle of the Funnel: Lead Management Automation (LMA)™. Once you develop your top of the funnel leads into engaged contacts they need to be nurtured and followed up with. Although some providers call these solutions “marketing automation”, we’re not a fan of that phrase. Marketing automation is a strategy really, and not software. There is software to better manage leads though. Qualifying, nurturing, prioritizing, and engaging leads are some of the benefits of lead management software. In addition, software like LMA comes with a suite of marketing tools such as an email, form, landing page builder, social posting and more.
  • CRM: OneFocus™™. Don’t waste your time on expensive and bloated CRMs such as Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics. These platforms are great for large enterprises, but if you’re reading this article and care about growth marketing software – then you won’t be interested in those CRMs anyhow. We might be a bit biased here, but we created OneFocus™, for companies like us that are focused on growth marketing. We didn’t need all the fat around the bone, we just needed the essentials of a CRM. Deal, task, contact, company management was all our sales team needed with an easy to use interface. They go it with OneFocus™. Other companies can also enjoy this light-weight CRM as it’s 100% free.
  • Sales Research: LinkedIn, Owler, Datanyze, BuiltWith. As your sales team scours the market for opportunities or finds new leads with ZoomInfo or Lead411, they’ve got to be researched further. Datanyze and BuiltWith have some nice plugins (our favorite is Datanyze) that help you visit a prospective company’s website, click the browser plugin icon, and all the company firmographics, social info, and technographics (what technology they use) is right there at your disposal. Owler is mainly useful for finding a company’s competitors, while LinkedIn helps you learn more about the Prospect.
  • Task Management: OneFocus™, Trello. There are 100s of task managers out there. Our two favorites are Trello and OneFocus™. Trello is a nice looking web application that’s very easy to use. Users can create different boards with tasks in the boards and share boards with each other. To complete tasks, users drag and drop tasks from one stage to another. Trello is great for general tasks and to-do items (even for personal tasks); however, OneFocus™ is ideal for sales and marketing tasks as it’s fully integrated into Rhythms™ and OneFocus™, solutions for the top of the funnel and general lead management. OneFocus™ has a slick task manager and task wizard making it easy for reps to make the most out of their day while staying organized and focused.

Growth Marketing Software (Extended):

We put this part of the growth marketing software stack together as these solutions complement the sales and marketing stack. Some of these solutions such as Screencast-O-Matic are lesser known, but super handy and affordable for sales, marketing, and support.

  • Business Platform: Google. Most companies go one of two routes here, Microsoft or Google. Many companies “think” they need Microsoft and still think of Google as a solution for personal use. When in fact, they couldn’t be more wrong. Google has a killer stack, which they call G-Suite. It is jam packed with value and around $5 per user per month. It includes Gmail (email), Docs (like MS Word), Sheets (like Excel), and Slides (like PowerPoint), and Drive (like Dropbox). For those that think they can’t live without Outlook, with a few tricks in Gmail, you can make it look like Outlook. Docs and Sheets are amazing. They allow companies to create Templates, making it easy to create sales and marketing material on the fly, that all looks has a common look and feel – for example, Order Forms, Master Subscription Agreements, Mutual NDAs, Addendums, and more. Try G-Suite, once you get used to this platform you won’t look back. Oh – and it’s backed by Google!
  • Support & Help: Screencast-O-Matic. This has been our little gem. For less than a meal at Denny’s, you get an easy to use screen recording software that instantly uploads videos to their cloud service (no extra charge) or YouTube (unlimited). We use Screencast-O-Matic to record help videos during the sales and support process. In seconds after a recording your video can be send to a cloud service of your choice and a link can be emailed. Sending links is so much easier than sending large files across the internet.
  • Zoom: Conferencing and screen recording. We used to use GoToMeeting until we got fed up with the quality and price. Zoom is much more affordable, gives us instant recording options with the ability to easily screen share from our mobile device (great for mobile apps) at half the price of GoToMeeting with better quality.
  • Communication: Slack, Dropbox. Slack is by far our favorite tool for communication. Prior to Slack we were using Google Hangouts on the sales side and Skype with vendors and contractors and some employees. It was a pain context switching between apps, all with different interfaces. Slack is the most amazing and modern communication tool we’ve seen. It’s ability to integrate with other sales and marketing apps to strengthen your growth marketing stack is unprecedented. Some of our favorite integrations include Jira Cloud, Google Drive, Giphy, and Dropbox. Dropbox is like a hard drive in the cloud for your company. It’s a nice interface and easy way to manage sharing documents across your organization.
  • Product Management: Atlassian Jira Cloud. Jira is used for managing product roadmaps, bugs, new features, and more. Product Managers and engineering teams can use Jira to run engineering sprints (short periods of work prior to a software release) and track overall progress.
  • Customer Documentation: Atlassian Confluence. Confluence is a cloud-based documentation platform. Use it to create different “spaces” for your organization. For example, customer documentation, employee handbooks, and corporate wikis to document process. Open your customer documentation up so you don’t require a password. That way you can easily send out links to your docs and user manuals.
  • Finance: Quickbooks Online. QuickBooks is an easy to use system to manage your books, create reports, track income and expenses. Most growth marketing software companies care hire someone part time for bookkeeping, outsource it, or give this to one member of the team as it’s a part time task and not a full time job.

We hope you enjoyed our take on the ultimate growth marketing software stack. If you have any questions on the above software solutions don’t hesitate to ask, we’d love to help.

What’s the difference between marketing automation and sales enablement?

What’s the difference between marketing automation and sales enablement? On the surface, the two solutions seem very similar; however, they serve different purposes. In this article we’ll compare and contrast marketing automation with sales enablement.

Primary User

The first difference is with the primary user. Sales enablement is used by sales people whereas marketing automation is used by marketers. Now, don’t get me wrong – sales enablement can be used by people in roles outside of sales, but we’re talking about the primary user here. Marketing automation is more advanced than sales enablement and is designed to meet the demands of different types of sophisticated marketing campaigns. For example, marketing automation actions can have different business logic (rules) wrapped around the actions while sales enablement actions have no additional criteria. Marketing automation also has a number of different action types, such as the ability to change field values, delete records, sync records to a CRM, distribute leads, and more. On the other hand, sales enablement has only a handful of actions commonly used by sales people when doing outreach, such as emails, handwritten letters, text messages, and postcards.

Where Do the Emails Come From?

The second difference between marketing automation and sales enablement is the way that email messages are sent. With marketing automation, emails are sent through the marketing automation provider’s network. Emails sent through sales enablement are sent through the company’s email server. This is typically an Exchange server, Google, Office 365, etc. With sales enablement businesses have more control over their messages, typically better deliverability, and optional unsubscribe text in the emails.

Email Tracking Differences

The third major difference between sales enablement and marketing automation is the level of email tracking. Marketing automation solutions typically track opens and clicks; however, they do not typically detect when someone replies to an email. On the contrary, sales enablement solutions can detect replies, out of office notifications, forwards, and more – making it easy to automatically take action based on this outcome. With sales enablement, people can be automatically removed from the flow when they reply to a message or the conversation can be paused for a defined period when an out of office occurs. With marketing automation, prospects need to be manually removed, or removed with an automated action, if they need to be pulled out of a workflow. Ideally, your marketing automation platform is used for building an already established relationship; whereas sales enablement is ideal for creating brand new relationships. As a result, the need to manually remove people from a marketing automation workflow is much lower if the focus is on building an existing relationship.

Who You’re Targeting

This is a great segue into the last difference between the two systems, which is who the solution targets and where the solution is used in the overall buyer’s journey. Because of its simplicity and sales-friendly setup, sales enablement is ideally suited to fill the top of the funnel. Relationships are usually not forged yet at this stage, and sales enablement can help build those connections. Companies with an inside sales team, business development reps, or reps focusing on major accounts will benefit from using sales enablement. Marketing automation is ideal for people in the middle or bottom of the funnel, when a relationship already exists. Since communication is sent out through the providers network its important to follow the providers rules and sending policies, and send to only prospects with whom you have a relationship with who want to get your email. With sales enablement, emails go through your company’s servers. How you send messages and to whom is up to you.

In Summary

Feel free to use the below summary to forward to your friends and colleagues to help them better understand the differences between marketing automation and sales enablement.

For a demonstration of Lead Liaison’s solution to sales enablement and/or marketing automation click here. Also, learn more about marketing automation strategies here and learn more about sales enablement strategies here. If you care about account based marketing, this strategy will be helpful to beef up on too!

Hope this helps!

Marketing automation:

  • is used by marketers
  • is intended for middle to bottom of the funnel people
  • is perfect for nurturing warm prospects, building stronger relationships, onboarding/upselling customers
  • delivers emails through Lead Liaison’s network
  • requires a process to be setup to remove people from an automation
  • emails require an unsubscribe link

Sales enablement :

  • is used by sales
  • is intended for top of the funnel sales activities
  • is perfect for Account Based Marketing (ABM) and prospecting
  • sends emails through your company’s email server
  • automatically removes people that reply from any automated communication stream (Lead Liaison Rhythms™)
  • emails do not require an unsubscribe link
  • is a platform to set sales goals

Marketing Automation with Squarespace

Marketing automation with Squarespace is easy to do when you connect two systems together, specifically – your website and marketing automation platform. As a standalone solution, Squarespace is a fantastic, cost effective way to build and manage your businesses website. However, without connecting it to a marketing automation platform you won’t be able to take advantage of data you collect on your website and run effective marketing campaigns with that data. Two important integration points are website traffic and form collection.

Lead Liaison provides a marketing automation platform that integrates these two areas, among others, with Squarespace. Customer’s using Squarespace as their website platform can easily add a few lines of JavaScript code into the footer or header of their Squarespace website. Once done, the marketing automation platform will begin tracking visitor activity, including names of businesses and people (something Google Analytics cannot do), and build rich profiles of visitor activity. As the system monitors visitor engagement, such as pages visited, documents downloaded, videos watched, on-site search terms, button/link clicks, and much more, a robust profile is created. This information is valuable insight that sales reps can use when contacting their prospect or following up website visitors. Marketers can also use this information for analytics, to gage how effective their Squarespace website is.

Web forms are another area where marketing automation platforms like Lead Liaison and Squarespace integrate. In Lead Liaison, users can build and style smart web forms and easily embed those into their Squarespace page. The smart web forms can pre-fill data, use advanced features like progress profiling, and most importantly easily capture the lead and/or inquiry and add it to your CRM. With the marketing automation platform, businesses can easily wrap critical business processes around the form submission. For example, lead distribution, lead qualification, lead follow up, and lead nurturing are all processes that can be built and automated using the marketing automation platform.

Once the marketing automation does it’s job of turning the Squarespace website from a static platform into an inbound marketing machine, marketers can use the rich data collected to run sophisticated outbound marketing campaigns. Instead of using basic email integrations with Squarespace, such as Mailchimp, for outbound communication, marketers can now leverage the true power of a modern day outbound marketing platform to run their campaigns. Marketing automation platforms like Lead Liaison help deliver omni-channel communications. Omni-channel communication includes both offline and online marketing channels. Instead of relying only on email, marketers can easily send handwritten letters, postcards, text messages, and more as one-off campaigns to select prospects, or as part of an advanced automated campaign. Imagine hooking up marketing automation with Squarespace and being able to automate a process around a web form submission. For example, the visitor comes to your Squarespace website, submits a form, gets an immediate response, gets sent to the right sales rep at the right time, then gets nurtured on behalf of the sales rep (because they’re not quite ready to buy – a common occurrence!). All of these things are possible when you connect your Squarespace website with a marketing automation platform like Lead Liaison.

One final area of integration is with dynamic content. Lead Liaison provides a solution called SiteEngage™, which adds a level of higher engagement to your Squarespace website. With this solution, businesses can tailor embedded content (images/text) on their Squarespace site to the visitor’s interests. For example, changing a text headline stating that your company loves working with people in the visitor’s state. Since your marketing automation platform will know where the visitor is from, this information can be used to personalize the website experience. The other benefit of making your Squarespace website dynamic with SiteEngage™, is with popups. In addition to smart web forms, Lead Liaison can use pop ups to help convert more visitors to your Squarespace website. These pop ups can use information on the visitor, like the state mentioned above, to tailor the content in the pop up. Pop ups can be trigger by button clicks, page scrolls, exit intent (closing the browser or hitting the back button), and page clicks.

To learn more about how you can integrate your Squarespace website with a marketing automation platform like Lead Liaison contact us today!