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Summary - Lead Generation For The Complex Sale - Brian J. Carrol
Lead generation for the complex sale
Brian J. Carrol
John Kivit – Multiscope
Why is lead generation inherently more challenging in the complex sale?
- Fewer opportunities
- Commoditization is more difficult to overcome
- Increased selling at the executive level
- Must reach the sphere of influence
- Less selling time
- Return on investment
A complex sale more often than not entails a consultative approach to selling.
1. Essential lead generation
“Sales people must be enabled to do what they do best – to sell, with leads that have
been qualified as sales ready.”
Trust is important. Sales people must earn the recognition of “trusted advisor”.
People buy based on emotion and then backfill with logic.
“In today’s commoditized business climate, the thing that sets companies apart is
their ability to create and develop relationships.”
- Be familiar with you, your company and what you do
- Perceive you and you company are expert in the field
- Believe that you an you company understand their specific needs and can
- Must like you and your company enough to want to work with you.
A clients CEO asks his marketing manager, “What are our most effective tactics for
generating leads?” The marketer’s reply: “All of them.” A table requires all four legs;
to lose one is to become less sound, less secure. So too with lead generation.
Crucial for success with any lead generation program:
1. Closed loop feedback
2. Database, CRM, Sales Force Automation
3. Open dialogue (a mindset).
2. Marketing and sales: one team in the complex sale
Sorry, not a single note on this chapter. It could be left out as far as I am concerned.
Just reading the chapter title is enough
3. Defining your best lead
Carroll cites John Coe (Fundamentals of Business-to-Business Sales & Marketing).
His book is a must have!
Make lists of the best and the worst of you current customers:
- Rank customers by most profitable, best revenue, easiest to do business with
- Evaluate the characteristics of each company to determine why the top five
companies (high and low) are on the list
- Identify the key attributes that they share
Clearly articulate your target market. The ideal customer profile becomes the
standard that is applied against the total target universe. It compares to “practice
- Tier 1: 500 companies (bulls eye)
- Tier 2: 1.000 companies (ring 1)
- Tier 3: 2.500 companies (ring 2)
- Tier 4: 5.000 companies (outer ring)
An inquiry is an interested party who has requested information and needs some
level of assistance, but inquiries are not leads. Numerous lead qualification programs
have shown that as little as 5 to 15 percent of all inquiries are sales ready leads.
A lead is a potential customer that wants to learn more about what you sell and that
has acknowledged it has a business problem that you could help solve.
A good (hot) lead passes the BANT(S) criteria:
- Time frame
- Sales ready
Creating the universal lead definition:
1. Meet: get all those involved together and select a capable leader
2. Ask: what do we consider a qualified lead?
3. Meet again: is there consensus that we are on the same wavelength?
4. Close the loop
5. Edit and republish
Criteria for the universal lead definition:
- What makes a good sales lead?
- What information do you want in order to qualify a lead as being sales ready?
- How would you differentiate between near-term, mid-range and long-range
- What functions or ‘buy point” are targeted in term of key contact information?
The lead generation fable: Oasis and camel dung (see page 34)
The Sirius Decisions lead spectrum:
- Level 1: a response from an individual to a marketing campaign or someone
who has taken proactive steps to demonstrate interest in you message,
product or service.
- Level 2: a meaningful interaction (via phone or e-mail) with an individual
meeting the requirements of fully qualified company or audience.
- Level 3: level 2 plus individual demonstrates a specific need for and interest in
your product or service.
- Level 4: level 3 plus the individual is in the process of defining a requirement
for your product or service.
- Level 5: level 4 plus the individual has the responsibility, budget and a
defined timeline for the purchase.
Lead scoring: the method of assigning a numerical value to the responses gathered
during the lead qualification process.
4. Lead generation ROI depends on data quality
“If you have eight hours to cut down a tree, spend six hours sharpening your ax.”
Developing the database
- Industry identification & description (SIC)
- Annual revenue
- Employee size
- Geographic information
- Decision time frame
Fields that should be included in all databases:
- Contact names & titles
- Division / company relationship
- Unique identification number
See figure 4-1 on page 47. Basically try to create the ‘firmographics’.
Include status & tracking fields for activity:
- Status codes: where is the lead in the sales process
- Assignments: who was the lead generator, who is assigned to the lead
- Activity dates: the leads most recent activity or next anticipated activity
- Lead source
- Forecasting tools: close probability & estimated revenue
A sales process would logically include these steps:
- New record
- Sales-ready lead
- Needs analysis
- Contract Negotiation
- Signed contract
Entry normalization can ensure proper data quality:
- User proper capitalization, punctuation and standard abbreviations
- Standardize a form for telephone numbers
- Uniformly structure addresses, e-mail etc.
- Enforce minimum and maximum values for numeric and date fields
Reporting makes your database come to live and could answer questions like:
- How many leads are we passing to sales each month or quarter?
- What has happened with each of our inbound Web leads?
- Who is the top-performing teleprospector?
- What is the ROI for direct mail-generated leads?
- How many leads fit the ideal customer profile?
- Where are the major points of deviation from the ideal customer profile?
Building up the database, you can use these sources:
- Sales team
- Inbound phone
- E-mail & web inquiries
- Trade show attendees
- Past marketing campaigns
- Past customers
“It has been shown that more than 70 percent of businesspeople change one or more
elements on their business cards each year”.
5. The Value proposition
“Regardless of the industry, 10 percent of potential customers are actively in search
of a solution and have an inclination to buy what you are selling. Another 10 percent
may be interested in knowing about your solution but are just looking around”.
“People often buy an emotion and backfill with logic. That’s where a brand comes
“The more awareness you create, the more sales will likely result…In the b2b market,
however, there is much more at stake, particularly in the complex sale”.
“In short, a good reputation leads other to make conclusions about the corporate
brand, but the corporate brand itself does not create reputation”.
Reputation is rooted in value propositions and aligns with notions as:
- Brand awareness is not enough.
- Tactics like thought leadership, PR and analyst coverage are more effective
than traditional advertising efforts.
- It is important to understand your potential customers buying process.
The goal of lead generation is to connect your value proposition with the target
A value proposition essentially answers these questions:
- How can you help my business
- What difference can you make
- Why is your solution the one to buy
A good value proposition:
- Focuses on the contacts with an ideal customer profile
- The potential customers business issues that need to be resolved
- The potential customer must now the difference between opting for your
solution and doing nothing
- The potential customer must be convinced that you represent the best solution
Value proposition can be developed around:
- Increasing revenue
- Avoiding costs
- Improving profitability
- Reducing costs
- Improving quality
- Retain employees
- Shorten product development cycles
Point to consider in detailing and refining the value proposition:
1. How much do you really know about your current customers
2. Can your value proposition be evaluated from the customers perspective
3. Research potential customer’s industry for trends
Learn from you current customers if you don’t know:
- Why they choose to work with you
- How working with you helped their business
- How well they can quantify your value in terms of numbers
- What intangible benefits they value
- Are these benefits important to their business
- What the believe your company offers from the standpoint of discernible
Neil Rackham, author of Spin Selling discovered that all major buying decisions go
through four distinctive steps:
1. Recognition of needs
2. Evaluation of options
3. Resolution of concerns
Lead generation model on page 60 (Figure 5-2) gives a very good
overview of the possible instruments in each stage of the buying cycle!!!
“Consistency leads to reinforcement, reinforcement leads to familiarity, and familiarity
leads to trust”.
The economic buyer consists of multiple roles:
- End user
- Info gatherer
- Gate keeper
- Technical buyer
- Decision maker
Search for triggers that can help to send the right message:
- New product or service introduction
- New key hires or recent personnel departures
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Strategic announcements
- Relocations, office closings, expansions
- Change in competitive landscape
- New laws, regulations, restrictions
6. Building the Lead Generation Plan – Critical Success factors
“Set goals before spending a dime”
1. Number of inquiries and leads
2. Revenue targets
3. Market share objectives
Good tool to help calculate the number of qualified leads: The Marketing Lead
Some good ROI goals:
- Cost per inquiry
- Cost per lead
- Cost per closed sale
- Leads-to-sales conversion ratio
- Reduced sales cycle (as a percentage)
- Total program cost
- Revenue contribution (as a percentage)
Critical success factors:
1. Conversations, not campaigns
2. Sales & Marketing – one team
3. The ideal customer profile
4. The universal lead definition
5. The database
6. List acquisition
7. Value proposition
8. Multimodal tactics
9. Effective lead management
10. Lead Nurturing
A customer will always think, “How you sell me is how you will serve me”.
The final pages of this chapter are a GREAT summary of all the previous chapters.
7. Synergies in tactics
“Although trigger events and timely marketing messages are key elements for
effectively generation leads, dedicated lead generation for the complex sale calls for
a comprehensive, disciplined, and multimodal plan of action in order to begin to
reach a satisfactory level of ROI”.
According to a Cahners Research study, a typical b2b sale of $35,000 takes an
average of 5,12 calls to close.
Lead generation is like a financial portfolio:
“ The CEO who asked his marketing manager about the most effective
tactics for generating leads and got the response – all of them-, probably
was not too pleased to learn that it take more than one”
Great schedule for multimodal lead generation on page 81 (Figure 7-1). Download it
The basic ‘instruments’ are:
• Phone calls
• Online marketing
Success requires a balance of push tactics that encourages the contact to action and
pull tactics that create a strong impression of you company and build brand
awareness. Push & pull instruments are in table 7-1 on page 84.
8. The Phone
“To begin a dialogue, phoning is by far the most appropriate and reliable method for
contacting high-level decision makers. If you really want to know, pick up the damn
To use phoning as an effective lead generation strategy, consider creating a
specialized teleprospecting function within the sales group. Better yet, make
teleprospecting a marketing responsibility to create a more direct alignment with
ongoing marketing and reputation-building activities.
One teleprospector on one or two salespeople is a general rule of thumb. On
average a teleprospector averages between 40 and 80 calls per day, and of these
reaches 8 to 10 true decision makers.
Telemarketer = data gathering & verification
Teleprospector = more extensive relationship building conversations
Research show that the addition of an inside teleprospector to support one direct
salesperson can increase that person’s sales revenue by from 50% to 150%.
“90% of salespeople hate to cold call and the rest are lying ”
Questions to ask in setting up teleprospecting:
- Do I have support from management
- Do we have the expertise to build and manage the team
- Do I have the resources for extensive training support
- Do I have space in our facilities for new staff?
- Can I change / upgrade our information systems to better manage operations?
- Have I identified overhead and revenue goals?
- Can I afford the learning curve required?
- Do I have sales, marketing and operations support?
Four categories of phoning comprise the objectives/application of phoning:
Improving phone calling performance:
- Sustain the calling: keep it going
- Make every call count: information is the crux of productive lead generation
- Scripts and call guides: an outline of areas to be discussed and questions to
- Top down: it is better to be referred down than to be referred up.
- Executive assistants are allies
- Be relevant and informed: knowledge of the potential customer & the company
and understand issues faced.
- Align teleprospectors with verticals and roles
- Gain (e-mail) opt-in
9. E-mailing with credibility
E-mail has earned the much-sought label of cost-effective.
Think quality, not quantity:
- How effective is my relationship-building
- How many contacts within my sphere of influence do I have on my list?
- How relevant is my e-mail messaging?
Examples of good e-mail content:
- By-lined articles
- Third party articles relating specifically to your value proposition
- News releases, news stories
- White papers
- E-mail newsletters
- Event invitations
- Research reports
- Survey results
Building the e-mail list:
- Opt-in by teleprospector
- Add enticements to landing pages
- Add a sign-up or registration form to the website
- Add a separate checkbox for newsletter sign-up to the contact form (s)
- Establish incentives to provide contact details when requesting white papers,
- Make newsletters accessible by search engines
- Include messages that provide links to newsletters
- Promote your newsletter by all available means
Good for executive reach:
- Use e-mail as a follow up on what has been discussed
- Extend the invitation to a breakfast roundtable
- Extend the invitation to a webinar
- Send a message of congratulations on recent media attention
- Provide information from studies and research on key business trends
relevant to the industry
- Strike the right balance in frequency.
When developing e-mail campaigns, take the following into consideration:
o Delivery timing
o That the from line matters
o The subject line is accurate and to the point
o Format & content are properly personalized
o Copy is clear & concise
o Copy is free of words that offend spam-triggering filters
- Before implementing:
o Proofread and proofread again
o Verify all links
o Preview in HTML and text
o Make sure opt-out is in
o Make sure the e-mail looks personalized
10. Public relations and lead generation
According to Sirius Decisions: “While brand isn’t dead, we believe it has become a
byproduct of (1) reputation, reputation has a direct link to (2) demand creation that
indirectly helps drive (3) revenue”. Trust is built upon reputation.
“As a recognized expert –thought leader- customers and potential customers will
respond to you or seek you out when a solution is called for.”
The ultimate goal for PR is to create thought leadership. Real thought leaders
communicate; the write, they speak and in many ways they openly share insightful
ideas. They create content and content is king.
The thought leader toolkit:
- Research reports
- How-to guides
- Case studies
- White papers
“Public speaking is less about selling what you do than it is selling what you know”
Good information to have from your audience:
- Most credible print, broadcast, online media & blogs
- Specific media most regularly followed
- Type of information sought or relied on from each medium
- Trade group or association memberships
- Trends and news
Ways to share content:
- Sales team
- Press releases
- Online publicity tools (blogs, RSS, online press release distribution,
- Online search engines
Reputations do not happen overnight, however, and it is good to remember that PR
is in essence a sustained effort over an extended period of time.
This chapter is a bit disappointing. We know better @multiscope
11. Event marketing
Most events fit into two categories:
1. Promotional driven: objective is name recognition and association.
2. Reputation driven: seminars, summits, symposia, trade shows or conferences
with content designed to improve sales or customers relations
“Webinars are currently the champion of event lead generation tactics”.
Content is king, look to a variety of sources available like feedback from other
interfaces, editorial cues, trade journals, industry intelligence, whispered tips and
your sales team input.
Tips for webinars:
- Use a ‘tease’, bit-size chunks of valuable information with a view to being
educational and informative
- Don’t force attendees to stay through the whole webinar.
- Never read verbatim for the slides, paraphrasing is more powerful.
- Keep the slide count fewer than 30 per hour or roughly on every two minutes.
- Context must be give-and-take by design
- Employing more than one speaker helps to sustain the audience interest
- Be sure of your expertise with the technology to guarantee a smooth
- Archive the event. They are known to pull in more virtual attendees than
attendees of the original event.
Planning your event:
- Have campaign objectives been defined?
- What is the target audience?
- What will attendees gain from this event?
- What is the topic and how is it best described?
- Does the topic tie to your value proposition?
- Is content appropriate and ready?
- What is the agenda?
- How will the success of the event be measured?
- How will ROI be measured?
- Is the event adequately budgeted?
Promotional strategy for events:
- Take a multimodal approach
o Other events
o Other speakers
o Co marketing partnerships
o Direct mail
o Phone calls
o E-mail campaigns
- Be especially careful in evaluation tactics
- Design promotional materials
- Let the sales team invite leads being worked on
- Make registration procedures prominent and clear
- Employ a well-thought-out e-mail template for confirming registration
- Make event details a conspicuous element on your web site.
- Gear up your database
- Develop survey questions before, during and after the event
- Use a pre-event inquiry:
o What the registrant is hoping to learn
o What attracted the registrant
o How the registrant heard about the event
o If there are colleagues who should be invited
- Incorporate a reminder messages schedule
For events, it is not inappropriate to allow a three-to-six month lead-time for planning,
development and execution.
Average industry attendance runs about 30% of registrations!
After the event:
- Move the registrants to your database for tracking
- Share useful and relevant information
- Compile event metrics:
o Number of registrants
o Number of attendees
o Number of no-shows
o Names of registrants, attendees & no-shows
o Percentage of attendees to registrants
o Cost per attendee
o Number of attendees to sales-ready leads
o Cost per sales-ready lead.
o Percentage of sales-ready leads moved into the sales funnel as
o Number of contacts added to lead nurturing database.
o Surveying responses
o Things learned, things that worked, things that did not work
o Possible changes
o Sales team feedback
Typical conversion of an event:
1. Multimodal promotion to 100%
2. 2-5% of target registers
3. 30-40% of registrants attend
4. 5 -15% a are sales ready
For every 1.000 contacts invited you have about 1 to 3 sales ready leads.
12. Lead generation on the web
According to Forbes magazine, the most important source of business information
- 49% of C-level executive said the Internet
- 57% of large corporations senior management said the internet
- 85% of all respondents said they use search engines
The process of lead generation on the web:
1. Search engine optimization
5. Track website ROI
Questions to be asked about the company website:
- What does it convey about the company?
- Is it professionally done?
- Does it have the right information?
- Is desired information quick and easy to locate?
- What value is perceived?
- What is the next step?
“Turning visitors into high-quality leads is regularly a matter of how quickly your
respond to their inquiries.”
A “good practice” case:
- A company generating 12.000 lead via their website
- Leads are immediately passed on to the sales team
- Sales calls the leads within 15 minutes to an hour
- A meeting with a salesperson is subsequently scheduled
- If a lead is not followed up within 24 hours, that sales person can expect a call
from management, even worse things happen after 48 hours.
According to Anne Holland from Marketing Sherpa, 50% of website visitors spend
just eight seconds scanning a companies website landing page before deciding to
“The sales process is actually a long series of micro conversions resulting from
Metrics to be uses for tracking website ROI:
- Visitor-to-inquiry conversion rate
- Visits to ‘contact us’ page
- Inbound phone calls from website
- White paper requests
- Newsletter registration
- Opt-in e-mail addresses
- Key words clicked on most frequently
- Key words producing the best inquiries
- Key words producing the worst inquiries
“Currently, two primary elements reliably drive favorable search engine indexing and
ranking. They are cross-linking and search term relevance.”
General principles using the web to accomplish better lead generation:
- Focus on relevance and visitor conversion
- Tie the value proposition to the search terms visitors will use
- Use keyword density that accurately reflects the value proposition
- Collateral materials should be provided freely with little or no qualification
- Use content created for other lead generation activities
- Inquiries must be responded timely and professionally
- The easier to get information, the more likely dialogue will be opened
- There should be multiple means of finding and reaching the website
- Website should be integrated with the database for searching, scheduling and
record keeping purposes
13. Lead generation and direct mail
“When it comes to the complex sale, not only is DM ineffective by itself, but also is
frequently used incorrectly and even abused.”
“But when the target is narrowly defined an the strategy is specifically geared to
incorporate a follow up function or supporting an existing dialog. DM becomes an
important component of the entire lead generation strategy.”
A targeted campaign:
- What are you trying to accomplish?
- Your value proposition and its relevancy
- Who are you trying to reach?
- The language of the potential customer
- Does the customer know “what’s in it for them”?
- Your DM message
- The database
- Cleaning the database
- Calling to verify contact information
- Adding key contacts to the database
- Reviewing results of last contact
- Calling for permission to send the DM
- Sending the mailing only to verified database contacts
- Making the DM interactive with a follow up mail
- Send only DM mailings that the team can quickly follow up
Direct mail possibilities:
- Case studies
- White pages
- Event invitations
- Research reports
14. Lead generation and referrals
The recommendation that a company or person makes on behalf of another, to a
company seeking similar products or services.
A statement or a testimony as to another’s character or ability / value.
Ask this questions to your customers:
- Would you refer to our company to others if the opportunity presented itself?
- Would you agree to act as a reference if requested?
- If not, what can we do to earn your trust?
Think about using:
- Expert referrals
- Internal touch points
15. Blogs, podcasting and the brave new world of lead generation
A tip in general: “Just be people with people”.
For now, blogs are not popular with the Fortune 500 crowd, but no doubt they spend
a great deal of time keeping up with blogs of others in the same industry.
Are you ready to blog?
- Why you think you should be blogging?
- What your writing would be about
- The audience you hope to attract
- Your willingness to take the extra time required to cultivate relationships
When it comes to lead nurturing, your blog’s RSS could become an invaluable tool.
Some things to keep in mind about podcasting:
- Know what you want so say and have a point of view
- Be ready and willing to learn by trail and error because podcasting is still
formative without a lot of helpful tools
- Develop a working familiarity with sound editing software.
- Determine your comfort level with speaking in a broadcasting voice
16. Working with you leads
The lead management process is clearly described in figure 16-1 on page 161.
Questions all potential customers ask themselves:
- Is this company credible and solid?
- Is there a competitor of this company that is better?
- Will this company’s solution really work for me?
- Can I afford this company’s solution?
- Will buying from this company make a difference?
- Can I trust this company?
Four criteria underlying trust in the lead generation process:
- You are known: awareness in the market, proven track record, served similar
- You are credible: wonderful reputation, expert in the field
- You are convincing that you can help: offering a plausible solution
- You are liked: your personal qualities stand you in good stead.
Really important lead generation model on page 165 (figure 16-2) about
the information requirements by stage.
17. ROI measurement and metrics
- Cost per inquiry
- Cost per lead
- Cost per closed deal
- Inquiry-to-lead conversion ratio
- Lead-to-sales conversion ratio
- Number of leads required to generate a single closed deal
A framework for measuring ROI the right way:
- Sharing goals
- Documenting the process
- Providing sales the ability to return leads to marketing
- Ensuring closed-loop feedback
“What gets measured, gets done”
Sales process table:
0. FYI: Review requires special attention
1. Appointment: Lead qualified by marketing and sent to sales to be qualified
2. Qualifying: Salesperson is determining if lead is actually a viable prospect
3. Prospect: Salesperson actively pursuing
4. Profiled: Completed written proposal and opportunity assessment
5. A) Pre-proposal: Confirming initial plan prior to formal proposal
B) Proposed: Final proposal sent
6. Committed: Agreement delivered and verbal yes to proposal
7. Active contract: Agreement approved and signed
A. Nurturing: Was prospect and dropped out of the sales pipeline
B. Follow-up: Sent back to marketing for requalification, rescheduling or lead
C. Rejected: This clearly wasn’t a lead – returned to marketing
Not a fit: Lead advanced beyond step 3 in sales process –
salesperson decided not a fit
The Sunshine Machine: This happens when you hear about overly optimistic or
“sunny” individual sales forecasting, that suddenly turns cloudy when the selling
starts. A solution for this:
- Individual sales forecasts from the sales force
- Consolidate the individual forecasts
- Reducing the consolidated forecast by 20%
- Reducing the revised consolidated forecast by another 20% after top sales
Development concerns for a sales management dashboard:
- Getting to know the sales team’s process
- Gaining close familiarity with the universal lead definition
- Having sound means for closed-loop sales input
- Ensuring data point accuracy.
Example of an executive dashboard for lead generation ROI on page 178
18. Lead nurturing
“Lead nurturing keeps the conversation going on over time, building solid
relationships and allowing the creation of interest in products and/or services while
bringing leads so sales-ready status when the buying opportunity presents itself”.
An in-depth study for Cahners Business Information of inquiries generated by ads
and press releases found that six months after inquiring, 20% of the subjects had
bought the product or service either from the promoter or a competitor and 15% said
they would buy soon.
70% of the final customer brand perception and preference is determined through
direct contact with the salesperson”.
“The salesperson must be recognized as a trusted advisor to be successful”.
The complex sale requires:
- Your prospect is familiar with you and your company
- Your prospect perceives you and your company as experts in the field
- Your prospect believes that you and your company understand his or her
specific issues and solve them
- Your prospect likes you and you company enough to want to work with you
Ask yourself the following questions when developing a lead nurturing program:
- Exactly whom do I want to nurture?
- What problems does the prospect need to overcome each day?
- What is the prospect’s top priority right now?
- Do I know what the prospect worries about?
- What messaging do I want to communicate?
- What is the best way to deliver the message?
- What action do I want the prospect to take?
- Will I need to demonstrate my product or service?
- If incentives or inducements are required, what are they?
- How often should I strive to be in contact?
- Which tools require direct sales involvement?
Figure 18-3 gives some tools for lead nurturing; tables 18-1 and 18-1 give
some example lead nurturing plans.
“A general rule is to bring salespeople into the process about six months before the
targeted purchase time”.