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Thursday, October 14, 2010

I usually collect phases from episodes of The Simpsons, so it was great to hear my latest favourite on a Demand Gen Report webinar "5 Baby Steps to Lead Nurturing Success".

Referring to today's various marketing automation tools to track visitors, score their activities based on what they're doing online and then send leads to your hungry pool of inside sales people, one of the speakers came out with the phrase:

"Observe and Serve, don't Track and Attack"

Unsurprisingly, prospects get a little freaked out when they click on a link for a whitepaper and get a heavy breathing salesperson calling them within seconds.

I experienced this first hand a few weeks ago when I followed a company on Twitter (they run networking events for Directors within specific business functions) and within a minute the phone rings and some sales guy is trying to sell me a ticket to his latest event.

Now, in some cases this may work but, on other cases you are more likely to scare the day-lights out of them and send them running to the hills. Is that really the start of a long-lasting relationship?

Particularly when it comes to higher-value business-to-business (B2B) marketing, you need to react quickly but, let's be honest, decision making cycles are much longer than with consumers.

In the instance I gave as an example, it would have been better if they guy had called me within 24-48 hours. This would have been quick enough to be seen as responsive (bearing in mind I wasn't filling out a contact form, simply following the company on Twitter).

In addition, if he had waited just a few more nanoseconds to really read my website (which is where he got my contact details from) he would have realised that I wasn't his core market. At best, as I explained, I could have referred some clients to his company.

Just pausing to think about why I would be interested, and then leaving a little breathing space before calling me, would have made for a completely different experience.

And that's from someone who doesn't mind being called by a salesperson!

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Posted by: David Regler @ 8:02 am |  0 comments  | Links to this post  

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Friday, October 08, 2010

Another day, another acronym for qualified leads, eh?

This time it's the guys at RainToday, in their post No Budget, No Problem: The New Definition of a Qualified Sale.

They have come up with FAINT, which stands for:

Funds, Authority, Interest, Need, Timing.

It's a variation of BANT but, as you'll read in their article, they propose that asking about Budget kills a lead which could still be a genuine sales opportunity.

They have a valid point regarding asking about Budget but, in the end, I think it's the difference between qualification for leads and for sales opportunities.

You see, budgets are set for known categories of product and services. Plus budgets are the domain of mid-level managers. If you're in that game, understanding whether there's a budget in place can be useful and saves a lot of wasted time.

However, if you've got a new proposition for something that they don't already buy, or something that they have covered in a different way then it's no use talking about budget related to your specific offering.

In most situations like this, prospects will need to build a business case to invest in your solution. They need to find budget. If they want it enough and are senior enough - they will get the money.

"Authority" is a better way to qualify in this instance, backed up with some questions around their particular circumstances to uncover a real "Need".

From a lead generation perspective, Budget and Money are both areas that are best qualified more deeply as part of the sales process, which is when you're actually sat in front of them.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 9:59 am |  0 comments  | Links to this post  

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