Adjust the messaging for all your marketing campaigns.
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When reaching out, acknowledge the changes they have to deal with in their current job and address the following:
• For example if you are selling an Account Software to the Head of Finance or CFO, they are not thinking about getting their taxes in, but rather about adjusting budgets, looking for financing options, etc.
• Acknowledge that and share any valuable insights you might have around the new responsibilities they might have.
Still ask for the meeting if it makes sense.
• Don’t just stop asking for a meeting if you think you can provide value.
Leverage the phone as a channel for your outbound.
• More decision makers are picking up the phone than ever.
People want to focus on how to keep their business running strong and not how to do better sales and marketing – so address your message accordingly.
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It’s time to Stop, Pause and Pivot your Prospecting Strategies:
• STOP your automated templated emails for 2019 and early 2020
• PAUSE to create a framework for new messaging
• PIVOT towards a new sector or emerging market with opportunities
The Keep-It-Honest Framework for Messaging:
• Lead your outreach with subject line “Seeking Advice/Feedback”
• Ask them how they are doing and adapting their strategies
• Be honest about your current situation and how you are currently adapting.
• Share your insights on what you are seeing in the market
• End your message with “Hang tough” not “Cheers”
Follow up with 4/5 decision makers within your existing opportunities (middle funnel leads) with content that they find valuable to help them run their business:
• It could be a survey you conducted
• It could be your summary/thoughts of an executive brief prepared by an Research Firm
• It could be something you noticed about this account or their industry in general
What can I say, these are strange times indeed. Over 20% of the world is in complete lockdown and we’re seeing unprecedented difficult times, personally and for businesses, all over the globe.
We have prided ourselves in helping B2B technology companies find in-market customers and grow their business, and today, we’re wondering how we can keep doing so with sincerity and authenticity.
After speaking to our customers,prospects and seeing discussions online in various sales forums, we decided to seek advice from one of the smartest minds in B2B Sales – John Barrows. John was kind enough to give me specific pointers on the Do’s and Don’ts of Sales Prospecting and we composed a couple examples of sales prospecting emails and recorded the process! Below I have outlined the key points that were discussed.
P.S. The full video link is below – it is 8 minutes of highly actionable content for sales prospecting, I highly recommend checking it out.
1. Give a Sh!t
Truth is there is NO “right” way to do sales prospecting right now, other than taking a pause and thinking through the lense of empathy and caring for your prospects.
2. Stop All Your Templated Messages
With the advent of Sales Engagement platforms – the empathy towards who we are reaching out has taken a back-seat over activity and results. Now is the time to flip it over. First thing you need to do is pause all your automated and generic template sequences/cadences. This does NOT mean you should stop prospecting – just not the generic templated ones.
3. Do NOT Fake Empathy
Don’t leverage coronavirus or the current situation to make an irrelevant connection to your solution. Nothing is going to kill your chances of having that meeting with the prospect than your fake empathy or your lame attempt to connect work-from-home or Coronavirus to your solution.
4. Go Deep on Research Before Prospecting
Just knowing the company or the prospect fits your ideal customer profile is not going to cut it now. Go 2-3 levels deep in your research before reaching out to anyone.
• Where are they located. For example New York and the tri-state area is massively impacted right now, so I’d stay away from reaching out to anyone from that region.
• Consider who your prospect sells to before reaching out. If the prospect sells to industries that have been massively impacted (i.e retail, travel, hospitality, etc.), I’d refrain from reaching out right now.
• Do some research on the recent company news. Did they have to lay-off a big part of their team? Are they publicly talking about going on cash-conservation mode? I’d probably not reach out to them right out.
5. Add Value
I know everyone talks about adding value when prospecting, but it’s more important now than ever. No I don’t mean sharing a blog/white-paper/case-study you’d published 5-months ago. Think hard about what your target market is most worried about and make a collection of free resources that you can share, expecting nothing in return. Another idea is get 5 of your customers on a panel and get them talking about how they are overcoming the challenges – record it, document it and then share it with your prospects.
6. Scenario A: A Survey Software (legitimate connection)
Hope you and your family are healthy going through this.
I was going through your Twitter/LinkedIn Feed and noticed you implemented a work from home policy to deal with Covid-19. Love how you and your team is keeping the internal communication going while working remote.
I wanted to reach out to you because as the Head of Human Resource with a team of 200+ all working remote – it must be pretty tough to get a sense of the team morale.
<<Your Product Pitch relating to the Employee Morale problem + Offer/CTA>>
7. Scenario B: IT Infrastructure Solution (no direct connection)
Hope you and your family are healthy going through this.
We are working with several other companies that are going through similar challenges as you and we interviewed 5 Head of ITs discussing their strategy – thought I’d share the video with you.
8. Scenario C: JBarrows Selling Sales Training Services to a Prospect
N.B LeadSift picked an intent trigger from F5 networks as a prospect for John and shared some context around them hosting a webinar around threat awareness (link to webinar). This is how John decided to craft an email to the Sales Exec at F5.
Noticed you are doing a Webinar about Threat Awareness and how your audience should pay attention to OWASP Top 10 threats.
I am working other sales teams right now to show them how to take this type of content and add some context to it for them to share with their audience so that they can add value in their engagement. I’d love to have a conversation with you about this.
Let me know if you have some time this week for a quick chat?
Key Takeaways (TLDR):
• Give a shit about the prospects you are reaching out to
• Stop all your automated generic emails
• Stop Faking Empathy
• Do deeper research about the company and how they are doing right now before reaching out
• Add value and context in your outreach
To avoid wasting time and money pursuing prospects that either already just bought the product from your competitor or are not serious about buying yet, your team should focus on the right people, targeting them at the right time by leveraging intent data, which will help you understand total active demand. Instead of a broad market of generic buyer personas, it enables you to find specific accounts that are active in your market.
Once you find your potential buyers, content marketing helps you lower customer acquisition costs by focusing less on advertising spend and more on building relationships with customers that facilitate your sales funnel. Often, marketing messages are created based on what internal team members think the customers would like. This trial and error lead to higher acquisition costs. However, with intent data, you can eliminate this issue by gaining deep insight into the kinds of content that your ideal audience would engage with most.
Intent data will give you a better idea of what posts you should publish and increase the ROI of your ad costs. All of these benefits will, in turn, lower acquisition costs. By leveraging machine learning and algorithms, marketers are eliminating a lot of the guesswork from media planning and buying. Ad spends and messages are optimized only for the appropriate targets for the marketing campaign.
Sales and Marketing
However, customer acquisition costs can skyrocket when sales and marketing teams aren’t united in business efforts. Even if you feel you’re pursuing meaningful metrics for lead generation, content marketing, or email marketing, your efforts still have to lead to sales.
Better leads make it easier for SDRs to close deals and also lowers your general customer acquisition costs. Intent data provides you and the sales team with a common language to use while having so much information about how prospects interact with competitors and in which phase they are in the buyer’s journey means that you will always pass qualified leads on to sales.
All of these benefits, however, depend on your ability to invest in the right intent data. First-party data is good but has its limitations about insights that go beyond your own website. A quality third-party intent data provider, such as LeadSift, will give you the vital information necessary to lower acquisition costs.
Benefits of Data-Driven Marketing
Data-driven marketing personalization is easy and effective as marketers can segment buyers easily and create tailor-made campaigns that speak to niches. Research shows that this kind of marketing leads to increased revenue. According to a survey from Monetate, 83% of the time, marketers were exceeding their revenue goals in 2017 when using personalization techniques.
When you create the right message, you must choose the right channel. For example, leads created through Facebook get a different response from leads generated from the Google Display Network (GDN). This is why marketers have to develop and implement their strategies according to where leads come from in order to optimize conversion rates.
With data-driven marketing, however, you can see which channel performs the best, and which message evokes the desired customer behavior. You can also see which content format works the best at each marketing channel such as social media, email, or blog posts.
Search through your data and find out what kinds of media your customers use and the places where they are most likely to receive your marketing content. Data shows you where to start, but you will fine-tune your strategy along the way. Also, consider the characteristics of each channel, budget, and the talent you have available.
Keep in mind that while omnichannel campaigns can be successful, try not to spread yourself too thin, as this can make your strategy less effective. You can always include more channels at a later point. That said, make sure you coordinate the messages you’ll use across all of the channels you choose.
Messaging Audiences with Relevant Messages
The age of generic marketing messages is behind us. For most companies, messages must get more specific in order to be relevant enough to resonate with the right consumers. All of these benefits together result in significant ROIs for marketers.
Recently, some platforms like Facebook have created new formats that require multiple separate versions to be uploaded for the publisher to create the final ad. Marketers want to personalize the message according to who is seeing it and where. Intrusive media ads are in the past, and new, more consumer-friendly, formats that use personalization and not intrusion, are gaining attention.
The channels you choose will also, in a way, impact the kind of content that will work best. Some media, like Instagram or billboards, are ideal for images. Others require more emphasis on text. Optimize your content for every platform by studying data, looking for the kinds of content that perform best. Although you want to customize your content for the platform where it appears, it should still be a cohesive cross-channel campaign that uses the same keywords and phrases.
The main factor is, again, the preferences of your audience. Do they like videos or blog posts? How long should they be? Today, video content is increasingly popular, but you should customize your strategy according to your customer’s likes.
Paid advertising is also a great way to get data. You’ll get tons of data on your target audience and can use that data for your paid advertisements.
One option could be a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. PPC ads are ads that appear at the top of the search results on search engines, and they operate on keywords among other criteria. Data-driven marketing can help you optimize the PPC campaign to create ads that speak to your audience. You can find keywords that fit what your audience searches for so that you provide them with the right information.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Data-driven marketing can make a significant impact on your bottom line because it helps you create a more personalized campaign. When you post content that is valuable to your audience, they’ll be more interested because it is tailored to them. That means they are more likely to convert, and you have more potential to earn a higher ROI.
Data-driven marketing provides statistics that show the outcomes of a specific marketing effort. Marketers can see how many products were sold thanks to a specific campaign or quantify conversion rates that come from content like blog articles or webinars. That way, they can spend their budgets wisely.
With all this information available, more prospects discover about your product or service. When addressed conveniently at the right time and way, prospects have more intent to buy, therefore increasing your ROI.
The world of SaaS is changing every single day. What worked yesterday, doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to work today. Also, the rising cost of digital media is really causing SaaS companies to have to get creative when it comes to their sales and marketing strategies.
We set out to ask some of the top experts what their thoughts were.
“In 2020, more SaaS companies will be implementing a mobile-first approach in their marketing strategies. Mobile optimization is crucial for any strategy and for any business since most people own a smartphone. Customers use their mobile devices to do pretty much everything, and SaaS companies are no different. Improving mobile apps and using mobile-first practices are key elements coming up in 2020.”
“There will be an increasing importance of consistency and arrangement of data. Machine learning for SaaS products and for marketing will be the key to the success for the companies willing to pay for it.”
“Sales teams are also getting much more adept and using video, and that’s only going to continue in 2020. It’s not enough to just send emails and make phone calls anymore. The best salespeople are using their phones to create and send individualized videos to customers and prospects—and they’re winning deals as a result.”
“What’s really going to be effective as a SaaS marketing strategy in 2020 is leveraging review sites for your own marketing efforts. That means building out profiles, seeking out reviews, and potentially spending for advertising on one or all of these review websites.”
“SaaS companies are going to have to leverage B2B micro-influencers in their space more in 2020. This means having collaborative webinars with industry analysts and getting content created on other blog content created on niche sites where their buyers live. This is the way B2B companies are going to grow their email list and create new opportunities in heavily competitive industries.”
After hearing the response from the top SaaS experts, they gave us insight on:
Implementing a mobile-first strategy
Using chatbots for increasing your inbound leads
Machine learning for SaaS products as our future
Personalization by using video
Leveraging review sites for marketing efforts
Collaborating with B2B micro-influencers
If you are ready to become a top expert in SaaS by using Intent Data with LeadSift, you can get started by receiving a free report that includes account insights to see how it works.
Intent Data is a buzz-word all digital marketers must have heard by now. And why wouldn’t it be? Everyone would love to know which companies and buyers are in the market for their solution. No wonder why Intent Data providers are in the spotlight now.
Even though B2B Buying Intent is generated across multiple different sources (online and offline), current software vendors can pick it up across three different sources:
First-Party Intent – Activities/Intelligence that you pick from your own audience across your all your Digital Properties, i.e. Websites, Blogs, Email Campaigns, Marketing Automation Tools, CRM, Product Usage etc.
Second-Party Intent – is essentially someone else’s first party data. The seller collects data straight from their audience, and it all comes from one source. You typically purchase the directly from the source. Companies like TechTarget and G2Crowd are couple great examples of providing Second Party Intent Data.
Third Party Intent – Activities/Intelligence aggregated across various different sources, publisher networks, data co-ops, Ad networks, social networks etc.
Why this Analysis?
As a player in the Sales/Marketing Intelligence space – we firmly believe Intent is never generated in isolation and companies need to look at multiple different sources of Intent to make the right prediction. A majority of our customers use Intent Data solutions like G2Crowd, Bombora, TechTarget etc to pick up on intent signals. However – I was very surprised to see there has been NO prior experiment/research done on comparing the efficiency/impact of the different Intent Data Sources.
Given Intent Data is quickly becoming a key piece of the overall B2B Marketing stack, I think it’s super important for B2B Marketers to know the different kinds of intent sources and understand each of their strengths and weaknesses.
Being a Data Mining geek myself – I decided to run an experiment comparing data between LeadSift’s Behavioral Intent and another source of Intent. For the purpose of this experiment, we used Intent Data (Second Party Intent) sourced from G2Crowd from a joint customer in the Marketing Automation space.
N.B. This is purely an exercise to shed some light on two vastly different sources of Intent data and highlighting the importance of having a broader look at Buying Intent. Hopefully, this will encourage people to think of Buying Intent as less black-box and more of truly a Predictive Engine – that is getting stronger every day.
A B2B Buyer researches across multiple sources prior to buying a solution and hence Behavioral Intent Signals (Third-Party) from LeadSift should overlap with Intent Signals seen in Second Party Data sources
• G2Crowd(Second Party Intent Data) is one of the largest review sites for B2B companies and as part of their paid services they provide insights (intent signals) into companies researching your industry category and competitors on G2Crowd.
• LeadSift is a Sales Intelligence Provider who has their own Intent Datastream (Third-Party Intent) – where we crawl the open public web looking for engagement with competitors, content consumption, company growth events, hiring patterns etc to predict buying intent.
• Date Range: 8 weeks (April 4th – June 4th)
• Product Category Analyzed: Marketing Automation and All-in-One CRM
• Location: Global
• Company Size: All
• Target Industries: All
• G2Crowd: 8,530 Intent Signals from 3,329 unique accounts
• LeadSift: 21,512 Intent Signals from 19,288 unique accounts
• 34.9% (1,162 / 3,329) of accounts showing Intent on G2Crowd website where also showing Intent Signals on LeadSift Intent Stream
• 20.8% (4,012/19,288) of companies showing Intent on LeadSift were from Senior Marketing/Sales professionals
• 72% (839/1162) of the companies showing intent across both Intent Sources were from Senior Marketing/Sales professionals.
Observation & Comments:
• Behavioral Intent from LeadSift had 5.7X the number of intent signals compare to G2Crowd. This is to be expected as G2Crowd only provides signals from one source, while LeadSift picks signals across millions of publicly available sources
• Average number of intent signals/account in G2Crowd is 2.55 vs LeadSift 1.15. This makes sense because people spend more time researching different companies in G2Crowd. • 35% of companies showing Intent Signals on G2Crowd were also showing intent across other Third-party sources. Goes to show how people are doing multiple research before buying a B2B software. This does validate our hypothesis. • 72% of companies showing intent signals on both G2Crowd & LeadSift were identified as Senior Sales/Marketing professionals. So pairing LeadSift Person Level Intent along with G2Crowd Intent signals can be a tremendously powerful way to prioritize their sales strategy
• Over 3,000+ companies showing Intent towards Marketing Automation category in LeadSift Intent Stream, but not picked up by G2Crowd where from Senior Sales/Marketing professionals – these are some great additional accounts to market too.
This experiment made two things abundantly clear for me:
• We need to look at Intent Data across multiple sources and then combine them together to prioritize our Sales/Marketing strategy.
• Knowing who within the company to contact with, makes any Intent Data significantly more Actionable and Powerful.