"When your timing is off, so is your stride. When your cadence is off, you’re in deep trouble as a hurdler.” – Rod Millburn
In all likelihood, you’re not a hurdler. However, if you’re in sales and marketing, you know you have to overcome a lot of obstacles to land a deal. And cadence is as important for conquering sales hurdles as it is for leaping over a series of high jumps. Get it wrong, and you could fall flat on your face with little to show for your efforts.
So what is a sales cadence?
A sales cadence is a well-defined process that business development reps use when following up on leads. It’s not simply the number of times a sales person should reach out; it also includes the timing of the outreach and the format — usually a mix of phone calls, emails and interactions via social media. Because what reps do naturally and what they should do to be successful are usually two different animals, a delineated sales cadence is necessary.
So how do you know if your sales cadence is off kilter? According to The Sales Cadence Report 2017, there are several signs that it’s out of whack.
When your marketing efforts start to pay off, delivering a boatload of quality leads, it’s exciting. You want to celebrate. But the game’s not over. Your sale is not won yet. You’re just at the starting gate of your demand generation process.
The bare bone fact is: Leads do nothing for your organization’s bottom line unless you can convert them to sales. And the quality of the lead alone does not predict how likely it is to convert. The magic is in the lead nurturing: how you treat a lead after you receive it.
This brings us to the study conducted by Velocify. They looked at data from 3.5 million leads from 400 companies and discovered the formula to maximize conversions. While they note there are differences between businesses and what works for each of them, the overall findings are
What are the most effective B2B lead generation tactics? How about social media, content marketing and search engine optimization?
These shiny new tactics have their place, but according to research depicted in the chart, they pale in comparison to some good old-fashioned tactics. Ranking in the first, second and third spots for B2B lead generation are inside sales, executive events and telemarketing.
We all love the sales funnel…at least in concept. Visually, it’s the perfect model: Our leads pour into the top of the funnel. As they move through the middle of the funnel, marketing and sales both qualify the leads. And buyers flow out the bottom.
Or do they?
With the increasing complexity of B2B purchases, sales cycles are becoming longer, and more decision makers and influencers are involved in the buying decision.
It’s time to stop playing a numbers game and just pouring leads into your sales funnel. Now’s the time to flip the traditional sales funnel on its head and create a new model. The image of a sales and marketing pyramid helps you understand that you need to be more responsive to buyers’ needs throughout the sales process. You must assist them as they climb the pyramid and reach the pinnacle—a decision to buy from you.
Where once sales were relatively linear—prospects came into your sales funnel and decided either to buy or not to buy—today’s buying patterns have changed. The buyer’s journey is more complex, more fluid and increasingly self-directed. Above all, we know that leads don’t naturally convert into sales. Left to make the journey on their own, buyers easily stray off course:
A sales pyramid presents a more accurate model of today’s sales process. It’s a reminder that buyers and vendors must climb several significant steps to reach the top of the pyramid. You need to help them because there is no natural gravitational force downward, drawing them to a decision to buy from you. Instead, leads and prospects need assistance up the pyramid.
As a result, you need a well-defined lead management process that reflects an understanding of each step to the pinnacle. That’s how you’ll be able to transform prospects into customers.
The process includes:
The days of just playing the numbers are past. Today’s marketing and sales teams need to work together to target their best leads with a series of carefully crafted messages and activities that help them climb the sales pyramid. Leads alone are not enough. It’s the ability to convert prospects into customers that raises ROI and increases the bottom line.
B2B sales acceleration is all about closing more deals faster. When people think about speed, technology often comes to mind. There are, of course, many technologies that accelerate sales, but there’s one that you may not have considered.
According to an article in Forbes by Ken Krogue, one of the keys to sales acceleration is to pick up the phone. While new, shiny tools are exciting to marketing leaders, in the end, what’s most important is increased sales.
It turns out that to help buyers buy, which is what you have to do to sell faster, you actually have to talk to them. What’s interesting, however, is that you don’t need to have a face-to-face conversation. This isn’t just speculation. Research proves it.
InsideSales.com showed that on average inside sales teams close deals in 69 days while outside sales take 144 days.
A little math is in order. Inside sales programs slash the sales cycle by more than 50 percent!
Why is inside sales so much more efficient?
As a B2B marketer, it’s easy for you to get caught up in lead generation. After all, you often get measured on the number of leads you generate and even the cost-per-lead. But the truth is, none of that matters unless the leads convert. Inbound leads without a strategy for conversion are like kindling and logs without a match. One won’t ignite your sales. The other won’t start a fire.
The leads, however, are the starting point. If you have them, that’s great. Now you just need the match that ignites leads and transforms them into sales. You can find it in these inbound lead conversion tips.
No one said that tech marketing was easy. After all, you’re trying to reach IT leaders — some of the busiest people on the earth. Not only that, other companies are hot on their trails too. Naturally, they’re seeking cover, doing everything they can to avoid vendors and stay focused on their never-ending to-do’s.
Given the challenges of reaching your target audience, you need to have your marketing and sales ducks in a row. Where are marketers going wrong?
When you’re managing business-to-business telemarketing representatives, you can record their conversations and use them as learning opportunities. If one agent is particularly productive, you can listen to recordings of her phone calls to determine what sets her apart from the others. Also, if another is having difficulty meeting their goals, you can re-live their conversations and learn where they go off track.
Before doing anything, however, become aware oflocal and federal laws related to recording calls and ensure that you abide by them.
When you’re listening to recordings to find out why some representatives are successful and others struggle, pay attention to these areas.
How to rock sales lead development? The quick answer…put a sales lead management team to work.
That of course, begs the question, “what is a sales lead management team?” It is, unfortunately, often the missing link between sales and marketing. It’s that gap between the two disciplines where leads are lost either because marketing doesn’t qualify them or sales doesn’t follow up on them. Conveniently, marketing points the finger at sales and sales points the finger at marketing.
If only there was a group in between marketing and sales that could take marketing leads and transform them into qualified sales opportunities.
That’s what a sales lead management team does via the phone, email, and more. And a Forrester Research study says that businesses which put a priority on lead qualification and nurturing have 50 percent more sales-ready prospects and reduce their cost-per-lead by 33%.
It seems like this missing link is made of gold. What are these sales lead management teams doing that is multiplying the number of ready-to-buy prospects while cutting marketing costs?
Like most B2B marketers, you probably agree that the most successful way to create qualified leads is by using a human touch.
In its study, B2B Marketing found that 40% of marketers believe telemarketing is the best vehicle for generating high-quality leads. That’s second only to live, in-person events that were cited by 43% of respondents. Even in the era of online marketing these traditional tactics, where we talk one-on-one with prospects, stand out.
It’s one thing, however, to know that you need to add telemarketing to your marketing initiatives. It’s another to make it happen.
Selling telemarketing to the powers that be and ensuring it pays off comes down to executing it the right way — the way that’s most likely to maximize ROI.
While some marketing leaders want to test the telemarketing waters by doing it in-house, this isn’t a fair test. Why? Because statistics show that the ROI of in-house telemarketing isn’t as high as when it’s outsourced. Read more.