If you are like most technology founders or b2b salespeople, you practice outbound lead generation (olg). That is to say you send emails, social media messages, and make phone calls to prospects in the hope of generating leads.
The question of how to get results from olg goes way beyond your choice of sales software or the amount of times you have read Predictable Revenue or The Challenger Sale (although both are great books). The reason being is outbound lead generation is a equation and the variables inputted into a equation is what determines the outcome.
Below are the seven olg variables which have the greatest influence on outcome and what to consider when optimizing them.
Often, who is sending the message is more important than the message itself!
Ken Krogue does a brilliant job explaining this concept in terms of trust via his webinar, Climbing the Trust Ladder. Simply put, there is a ladder of trust one must climb to earn another’s business. Near the top of the trust ladder are industry experts, respected colleagues, and family; at the very bottom of the ladder is a salesperson.
When deciding who should send your message, consider the following:
Is your message getting to the right person?
One approach is to send your message to as many people possible. If you use this tactic, know that it is time-consuming, increases the chance your message will go to spam, and that you will annoy everyone except the one group of people your message is optimized for.
A better approach is to create a very detailed profile of people who suffer the most from the problem you solve, and target only them. A good way to create this profile is by considering identifiers such as job title, years of experience, industry, size of company, and location.
Many successful bloggers follow a framework called AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). Applying this framework when crafting outbound lead generation copy is a great way to begin your message optimization journey.
Other things to consider when crafting your message:
The timing of your message is crucial.
Consider asking someone if they are interested in a travel package right after they returned from a 3 week holiday versus asking right after a facebook post that reads “I am long overdue for a vacation”. Sometimes the only difference between annoying people and generating interest is timing.
Most companies optimize for their own timing and not for the recipients. If you increase message frequency and pressure on your target audience because you have a sales quota coming up, you have your timing oh-so-wrong.
Other timing considerations:
Different people prefer different mediums. Picking the right medium for your recipients means making a good impression (or at least avoiding a negative one) before your message is even opened.
I am a perfect example. I despise Twitter, and if someone uses it to connect with me, there is almost no chance I will respond. Alternatively, if someone reached out to me via email or LinkedIn, there is a very good chance I will respond.
Strongly preferring some mediums while disliking others holds true for many people. The key is to avoid relying on your favorite medium and figure out what your target audience likes.
Assessing the value of your product can be both a painful and rewarding exercise. The earlier and more frequently you perform this exercise, the less painful it will be in the long run.
For example, if you are in the web analytics space, and you sell a product which provides the same benefits offered by Google Analytics for free (products like this really exist), you are going to have a tough time generating leads, even if you have optimized all the other variables for lead generation.
To avoid this, attack your own offering viciously. Research all the alternatives to your solution and note where they offer more value and where they don’t. Constantly, look for ways to add more value for your target audience.
How many times do you reach out to a individual before you give up? How many unique people matching your target profile do you reach out to each month?
Heather Morgan of SalesFolk explains why sending someone one or two cold emails is never enough to get optimal results in her blog post, Why Every Outbound Campaign Needs 8 Emails.
Messaging volume should be the last variable you worry about, but make no mistake: part of this game is simply how much work (message volume) you're willing to put in.
Lead generation doesn’t have to be a mysterious, non-structured, or purely qualitative endeavor. Using this detailed seven-variable approach will require a good bit of effort, but the results will more than pay for themselves.
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