If you are an executive tasked with creating demand for your product or service, there is a very strong possibility that what was working quite well for you in the past isn’t working nearly as well today.
If that is the case, this post is for you!
As the host of the Bright Ideas podcast, I have the good fortune of being able to use interviews to tap into the minds of some of today’s smartest marketers. Many of these marketers work for venture-backed startups with very ambitious growth objectives.
In other words, I get to pick the brains of some pretty smart folks on a regular basis.
In recent interviews, it has come to my attention that outbound marketing is far from dead. In fact, if done correctly, and supported by content, outbound marketing is still very effective.
Before we get into all the nitty-gritty details, let’s first make sure we are on the same page with the terminology.
What is Demand Generation Marketing?
In a nutshell, demand generation marketing is the collection of strategies and tactics that are used to create qualified sales opportunities. Demand generation programs can help your company attract new customers, tap into new markets, promote new products, build consumer buzz, generate press, and re-engage your existing customers.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s break these activities down into two buckets:
- Inbound Marketing
- Outbound Marketing
I have already written extensively on how to succeed with inbound, how to define a target audience, and how to blog effectively, so in today’s post, I’m going to share with you the details of how to build a successful B2B demand generation marketing program using outbound marketing.
When we first developed our program, here were the key questions we wanted to be answered:
- How do we find our list of targets?
- How do we get their contact information?
- How can we create a system that our Business Development Reps (BDRs) can rely on for consistent outreach?
- What technologies will be required for this?
- What should we say and what mediums should we use? (What language will resonate?)
- How can we track our results?
In the remainder of today’s post, I’m going to share with you all the nitty-gritty details you need to succeed. Ready?
How Do We Find Our List of Targets?
If you haven’t yet defined a specific niche market to pursue, do that first. Once you have a target audience defined, your next step is to build a finite list of suspects.
There are plenty of list vendors out there; however, I would strongly suggest you avoid buying a list, and instead, task your BDRs with building their own lists that match the criteria you give to them.
To build the list of companies and individuals, the tool that we use is a LinkedIn premium account. The great thing about LinkedIn is that it is extremely accurate, and with a premium account, you can create (and save) very granular searches.
How Do We Get Their Contact Information?
The primary piece of contact information we are looking for is their email address. A direct line is also a plus, but not mandatory as we can most likely just call the company’s main number and use the auto-attendant to direct us to their extension.
There are a number of ways to make a very educated guess for an email address. I will cover two of them.
The first way is to use HubSpot’s Sidekick. This wonderful tool costs just $10/mo and makes guessing an email address pretty darn easy to do.
Once the Sidekick browser extension is installed in Chrome, all you need to do is visit the company’s website, click the Sidekick button and enter the name of the person you want an email address for. Sidekick will do the rest.
As if that isn’t enough, Sidekick will also give you a bunch of helpful stats on whether or not recipients are opening your emails. Plus, if you are using HubSpot’s CRM, you can eliminate the painful manual data entry and just click one button to add this person into the CRM.
While HubSpot’s CRM is very affordable (freemium model), the downside is that it isn’t (yet) nearly as advanced as Salesforce.com. There are a number of pros and cons to Salesforce; however, I believe the pros (integrates with almost everything) outweigh the cons (higher price, more complex).
If you are using Salesforce for your CRM as we do, the tool that we have found to be ideal for capturing contact information is called Prospector by Salesloft. If you are a fan of Aaron Ross’ Predictable Revenue methodology, you will love how Prospector can support you in this regard.
When using Prospector, your BDRs’ productivity will increase significantly. For example, when searching on LinkedIn as I have described above, Prospector will allow you to very easily add these folks to Prospector with a single click.
Once you have clicked the button to add the people you want into Prospector, you will be taken to a page that looks like the one below. As you can see in this example, Prospector has accurately guessed Kyle Porter’s email (green) and it has generated an email address for Hannah Lewis that has a very high probability of being correct (orange).
You can now either add these contacts as leads into Salesforce one at a time by clicking the little button to the right of the email address that looks like a cloud, or you can export them to a .csv file for mass import into Salesforce.
How Can We Create a System That Our BDRs Can Rely On For Consistent Outreach?
Now that you have built a list, got their contact info and imported them into Salesforce, it’s time for your BDRs to start the actual prospecting activities.
There are a number of ways to systematize the outreach. You could create a campaign in Salesforce, or, if you want to use a more BDR-friendly tool, I would suggest you use Salesloft’s second application, Cadence.
As the name suggests, when it comes to outreach, your BDR’s will be most successful if they follow a cadence (sequence of activities) that you have designed.
Cadence makes this very easy to do.
Below is a screenshot of our 7 x 7 basic cadence. As you can see, it is made up of a combination of emails, phone calls (we expect to get voicemail), and social media.
The goal of creating a sequence of activities like this is to both systematize the activities our BDRs must do, as well as to increase our chances of making contact with our prospect.
If you are going to use Cadence for this, there are a few things to note:
- The emails are sent from your inbox (we use Google Apps) so they don’t look like they are automated (they are only “semi-automated”).
- Each day before your BDR sends out the batch of new emails, they should look at each one, make any edits to customize it, and then once happy, they can click a “send all” button; hence my calling it “semi-automated.”
- Cadence provides wonderful reporting.
- When you get replies, it is very easy to pause the sequence of activities for that prospect so no more emails are queued up and your BDR can now manage communications either with Salesforce.com or whatever CRM you happened to be using.
- With the Cadence browser extension installed, you will see a blue button in Salesforce that will add each prospect into Cadence, or if you attached the contacts to a Salesforce Campaign when you originally imported them, you would be able to import all contacts from that Salesforce campaign into Cadence with a single mouse click.
What Should We Say?
Knowing what to say to your prospects is both an art and science; however there are some rules of thumb that I would suggest.
First, if you have done your homework with social listening, you will already know what language your prospects are using to describe their problems. When talking about your solutions, you will want to use that same language.
With that said, I would suggest that you don’t begin the conversation by talking about you!
Instead, focus on the problems, interests, and priorities of the people you are reaching out to.
As you might imagine, the subject lines you use are pretty important. Here are a few ideas from HubSpot. As you can see, none of them are about anything the sender is trying to sell.
Assuming you succeed at getting your emails opened, make sure that your first sentence accomplishes two critical things:
- It’s about them or their problems.
- It immediately lets them know that you had to type it manually.
Here’s a good example, in the email below, both the subject line and the first sentence are all about the person that I’m trying to connect with. This is the right approach.
How Can We Track Our Results?
Numbers that are measured tend to improve, so when creating your B2B demand generation program it’s vital that you pay very close attention to your key performance indicators.
The best way to do this is with a dashboard of some kind. There are many different ways to build dashboards. As this post is already getting pretty long, I’m only going to show you an example of one that I’m familiar with from Guiding Metrics. There are many others in the Salesforce AppExchange.
In the screenshot below, you can see the current month’s revenue is $85,460, up 16% vs. last month and down 4% from the same month last year. We can also see the projected revenue for the month is $529,852.
Even more helpful is the weekly sales summary by rep. Here we can easily identify problems that need to be addressed.
In this example, we can see that Liz is struggling to make her numbers, and by taking a closer look we can see that while her connect rate of 75% isn’t great, the real problem is her proposal close rate of just 25%.
Given that Joe has a close rate of 67%, it would be a good idea to get Joe to do some training with Liz!
As you can see, there is plenty of important information presented on this dashboard. Some or all of it might be right for you. The key is to determine your most important KPIs and have them displayed in a way that they are readily visible.
As you can see, there is no lack of affordable tools to help you create a highly effective B2B outbound marketing demand generation program.
In addition to these tools, the key to success is going to lie in your ability to attract, train, and retain people who can succeed as BDRs within your organization. I have conducted several interviews for my Bright Ideas podcast with sales leaders that have succeeded in this regard and can share these tips:
- Always hire in pairs so each new hire has someone to compete with.
- Consider hiring college grads eager for a career in sales.
- If possible, plan to promote your new hires who make their numbers to a more senior sales role in 9-12 months (and share this with them when you hire them).
- In most markets, base salaries for this work are $40-50K with total compensation coming in at $60-70K.
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