ICP + TAM = A Sales Qualified Lead Machine

In the modern world of Sales Development, high quality and high velocity Sales Qualified Leads reign supreme. We find ourselves in a new era of Outbound. Sales Development teams are transforming from Clark Kent’s (suits in a phone booth) to Iron Man’s (suits full of high-tech accessories).

Never before in the history of sales have we really had this big of an advantage.

But listen, it’s not just because the technology is being built for us. Or because data is cheaper and more accessible than ever before. Or because there’s a whole new level of transparency to it. Or because we have unique ways, like social media, to get in front of buyers. No. All of that is awesome, but without knowledge and know-how, it’s just clutter and spam.

So that leads me to the focus of today’s knowledge bomb which is: qualifying leads.

Here are the four most important tactics to build a sales qualified lead (SQL) machine:

  1. Find your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
  2. Define your Total Addressable Market (TAM)
  3. Enrich your customers
  4. Meet your future customers

Now let me tell you about the traditional, 1.0 way people qualified leads in the past.

Step 1 – Buy a list (non-exclusive, so a ton of other people are calling it) and likely unqualified other than the fact that they are a business.

Step 2 – Call these people. One by one. Maybe email them a canned message. Both basically spam.

Step 3 – IF you get a hold of someone, ask for more of their time. (Usually in a call/second call, which they’ll likely duck because they just wanted to get off the phone with you the first time and felt uncomfortable saying no).

Step 4 – You call over and over. Maybe send a few emails.

Step 5 – Realize you’ve wasted a ton of time and move on.

Now if you’re 2.0, maybe you’ve done this and added some automated emails and social media in there. But you’re still missing the big picture. Because whether you buy, build, or pull a pretty little list out of your…office drawer, without defining you ICP and your TAM correctly, you’ll just waste time; and time is the most valuable resource for a salesperson.

So why are you here? You’re here because you don’t have a true grasp on your customer profile, and you don’t know who the best people to contact are. This leads us to two very important concepts.

  1. ICP – aka your Ideal Customer Profile
  2. TAM – aka your Total Addressable Market

Here’s how you can use your ICP and your TAM to build leads lists that are pre-qualified, saving you tons of time on those pesky qualification call questions that will likely result in a disgruntled and disengaged prospect.

Finding Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

The ICP is broken into two parts: Company and Job Title. This can be broken out even further as you get more advanced for Company Size or Industry.

For example, your target buyer at a 200-person company is the VP of Marketing, but at a 2000-person company, it’s the Digital Marketing Manager. As organizations grow, they hire out for more focused roles.

The better you can target and more granular you can get with your ICP, the more successful your Outbound Campaigns will be.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when trying to identify your Ideal Customer Profile:

What products are my customers using that I compete with, complement, or that might translate to interest in my product?

  • E.g., if you have a Mailchimp-style service, you want to speak to Mailchimp customers.
  • E.g., if potential customers are running Facebook Ads, they might also be interested in Ad Optimization or Analytics software.

Where are these people living on the web?

  • E.g., someone interested in your e-commerce service might have a store hosted on Shopify or built with Magento because these services are built to host online vendors.
  • E.g., if you want to find people to create video courses online, go find people who have already created content on the subject in written or audio form and are selling it on Amazon. Then convince them to try video content.

What do I consider my low-hanging fruit?

  • These are the people already doing what you want them to do, just somewhere else.
  • E.g., An individual who is buying or selling a service on Craigslist that your company provides. It’s easier to get the person to use you over Craigslist than to create a new buyer/seller from scratch. Pinterest has emerged as another way to source potential customers that are already playing ball.
  • E.g., you’re going after their budget focused on ad spend and you see that a potential buyer has a testimonial on a competing company’s website. You know they have budget and are already spending it somewhere else. Time to go get your slice or even the whole pie!

What can I decipher from my previous closed deals that I can use in new ones?

  • You keep closing deals with companies, so take a moment to ask yourself, what do these companies have in common and how can I apply this when speaking to companies with the same common variables?

Once you’ve figured this out, you’ll want to build massive lists of these companies.

Here are some good places to look to start building lists of your ICPs:

  • LinkedIn and Facebook groups
  • Meetups
  • Industry conference websites
  • Trade association forums and directories
  • Job boards such as Indeed, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Public Legal Filings
  • CrunchBase
  • AngelList
  • Glassdoor
  • Yelp
  • Shopify
  • Etsy
  • Kickstarter
  • Any company database or marketplace

There are plenty of databases out there for you to use to inquire about these companies and find even more information! Things to look for might include:

  • Amount of money raised to date (for startups)
  • Timing of last round raised (for startups)
  • Employee head count
  • New employees recently added
  • Job titles and new titles added
  • Company headquarters
  • PR announcements, such as product, funding, key hires, or partnerships
  • Legal filings

For more actionable insights to build your Ideal Customer Profile, check out the book  Hacking Sales.

Now What?

Sounds cool, huh? But we’re not at the finish line yet. Use your ICP to build targeted lists that you know will convert because you know it’s the right person, at the right company, that almost certainly has budget at that moment. Once you have a clear sense of your ICP, it’s time to work out how to define your total universe of potential accounts.

Defining Your Total Addressable Market (TAM)

Enrich your Customers

Your customers chose to partner with you for a reason. Tapping into the commonalities across your customer base will leverage enormous value and build a more complete picture of your customer.

Once you understand the profile of your customer, you can determine how deep the market is for companies with a similar background. Moreover, taking a step back and looking at the customer base will inform you of outlying trends that could support a move into a new industry or market segment.

Map your customer base, using a tiered data framework:

Tier 1: Sales Cycle, Average Contract Value (ACV), Win Rate

The goal of this tier is to understand the sales velocity (i.e. the number of opportunities multiplied by the ACV multiplied by the win rate divided by the sales cycle) of your customer base.

  • These data points will form the basic foundation and expose any outliers in the customer data
  • Invest time to validate your data integrity

Tier 2: Industry (and Vertical), Employee Size, Growth Score, Location, and Technology Stack

The goal of this tier is adding an additional layer of firmographic data that will form the basis for your size and scope analysis.

  • There are a number of large data sources to validate Industry, Vertical, Employee Size, Growth Score, and Location including: Mattermark, FactSet, and Hoovers. When evaluating your potential database partner, the following criteria will help to guide the choice:
    • Matching percentage (i.e. number of your customers that are present in their list)
    • Number of additional data (commonalities) points
    • Data integrity – check third party sources to validate
  • Industry and Vertical are interdependent (and often confused). An example of the relationship (Box is in the Cloud Storage vertical within the Technology Industry)
  • If your customers have adopted a set of technologies, surfacing this data at scale will provide an additional proxy. For the Technology Stack, there are several sources to capture this data:Datanyze, Ghostery Enterprise, BuiltWith, and SimilarWeb. Using these providers you can determine if your customers are using Website Analytics,  Marketing Automation, PPC advertising, A/B Testing, etc.

Tier 3: Company specific data

  • Using freelancers (Upwork, CrowdFlower, etc.) you can add valuable data from competitors websites, the AppExchange, or any website. If you have a hypothesis that you’d like to test (e.g. your buyer is a VP of Marketing), you can have the freelancers do a pass against your customer list via LinkedIn.
  • The scope of this collection is broad, so identify a few hypotheses and you can validate them from your Tier 1 data points

Meet Your Future Customers

Once you’ve collected extensive data on your existing customers, it’s time to flip the magnifying glass onto your future customers. Assuming you invested in one of the databases mentioned earlier, this process will be fairly straightforward.

This next set of steps will draw on your customer list and extrapolate the data across the dataset of your database partner.
Step 1: Map your customer data<

  1. Using Excel, create a datasheet for each Tier
  2. Form a consistent list of your customers across each sheet
  3. Cluster (and sort) the companies with high concentration across each variable – specifically those that perform well across the Tier 1 data points

Step 2: Identify the Early Adopters and Mainstream (see Crossing the Chasm)
Place your customers into two buckets:

  1. High number of variables and high performing characteristics from Tier 1
    1. This list will surface companies that are early adopters and have a faster than average sales velocity
  2. Outside your (assumed) ICP but possess high performing characteristics from Tier 1
    1. This list will provide companies that have a faster than average sales velocity, however may not be in your present ICP.

Step 3: Validate the size and scope

  1. Based on your two customer sets, use the confirmed variables to export companies from the largest database available for your given Industry and set of Verticals
  2. Separate the two distinct buckets (from Step 2) to ensure you can test performance

Make It Actionable

Now you’ve collected all this data – what do you do with it? Empower the Sales team with the same insight you’ve collected.

Step 1: Confirm the variables
When you check the weather, are you interested in the barometric pressure? Probably not, so applying the same logic for the fields you expose. The goal in this step is to understand the optimal information that can be effectively positioned to personalize their outreach.

  1. Take a holistic approach to how the team can use this data
    1. Industry/Vertical will align future customers (see Geoffrey Moore: bowling pin strategy)
    2. Geographical concentration adds degrees of separation and can be valuable for marketing events
    3. Technology providers will allow easy dynamic fields within emails
    4. Competitive takeaways will give great talking points
  1. Limit the variables to 4-5 (to avoid paralysis by analysis)
  2. Choose your filters (for the Dashboard) so that you have overarching segmentation

Step 2: Create custom fields within the CRM
Add a collection of custom fields and be particular about how you present the data (i.e. on the Account record and/or Contact record). This will involve using a feedback loop with the Sales team around what they would find valuable – specific to the sales process.

Step 3: Mapping the fields to reports in Salesforce
In this section, you want to think about the optimal method for presenting the data so that 1) the Sales team can quickly interpret the chart and 2) you are telling a story with each data point.

My advice for this section is use a combination of different charts, and leverage feedback from the Sales team on how they interpret each report. The longer it takes for individuals to understand the context of the report, the less valuable the report.

Refine & Optimize the Entire Process

Finding your ICP will ensure you’re having the right conversations. Defining your TAM will uncover the breadth and depth of your market. The two exercises are not designed to be set-and-forget. As your customer evolves and you test your outliers, you’ll need to tweak and adjust the model.

In order to create and maintain this process you should have a qualitative feedback loop from your Customer Success/Account Management team; and a quantitative feedback loop to continually improve the ICP and TAM.

This post was originally published on Mattermark’s blog. Mattermark launched in 2013 as a data platform for venture capital companies to quantify signals of growing startups. 

Max Altschuler is CEO of Sales Hacker, an organization dedicated to helping B2B companies and sales reps build modern sales processes that generate more revenue. 

5 Custom Sales Beat Updates You Can Share With Your Team

What Is Sales Beat?

In our last post we talked about Why Your Sales Team Should Use Sales Beat and gave you 10 creative ways to use it within your team. Now, we’re adding to that list.

Sales Beat transforms your Sales team into a streamlined and connected team that thrives on collaboration. With the Custom Update card, it’s your opportunity to make Sales Beat the true nerve center of your team.

Here are 5 custom Sales Beat updates that you can share with your team:

1. Give a Shout-Out

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People love shout-outs. It’s a positive public acknowledgement of respect and good work. In Sales Beat, you can give multiple kinds of shout-outs. You can spotlight a top performing rep who’s crushing their deals or boost team spirit at the end of the month.

2. FYI

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Your company has just hired a new Sales Development Representative – congrats! Use a Custom Update card on Sales Beat to announce the new hire to your entire Sales team and get them excited about their new colleague.

3. Marketing Announcement

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As Marketers, you’ve worked hard on a brand new Case Study, now it’s time to share it with your Sales team. (More on Sales and Marketing alignment here). In Sales Beat, you can seamlessly slip in new marketing collateral right into your Sales team’s workflow.

4. Share Relevant Articles

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Your team shares a lot of articles, whether through email or group chat. Until now there hasn’t been a centralized place to share articles and learn about closed deals in one feed. In Sales Beat, you can do just that. Now you can inform your entire team with the latest and most relevant articles straight into their workflow.

5. Ask a Question

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Sales isn’t just about asking customers and prospects the right questions, it’s also about asking your colleagues for the right answers. In Sales Beat, you can do just that. Need to ask Marketing a question or need help with a deal? Ask on Sales Beat.

 

How does your team use the Custom Update card? Let us know in the comments section below. For more information on how to get your team on Sales Beat, watch this video and contact our Sales team.

How to write 5 kick ass emails too irresistible to delete

Of the 200 emails decision makers get per day – how many does she delete before reading more than the subject + teaser? Here’s how you, as a sales rockstar, rise above the noise to have your emails read.

If you want busy people to pay attention and ultimately pay you $$$, keep reading.

Keep it short – real short

No one has time to read your novella email. Heck – only 62% of you read past the headline of this article.

Here’s the problem

I’ve seen a lot of new sales reps blast out really long emails. That’s not what sales is about. Sales is about being personal, building relationships through education and helping solving your customer’s problems.

Keep it short and sweet. Most emails are read on mobile. If your customer has to swipe up, or sees a big block of text – it’s not getting read. If nothing else – split that 6 paragraph email into 6 separate emails focusing on 1 key benefit in each.

The Best Subject Line

Write for your customer, not for your product features. Start your subject line with “Your…” or their first name to see an immediate 20% improvement on open rates. Measure it.

But here’s the secret.

Being persistent is better than the best subject line. When leveraged the right way, persistent follow up is the easiest change you can make to earn more meetings and close deals. And it’s barely any extra work. (We cover this at the end.)

It takes 5-12 touch points to make contact with 80% of your business – most stop after 3 or 4. – James Oldroyd

Remember you’re reaching out to a real human. Keep it specific to their role/location/challenges. Volume isn’t a sales strategy – the goal is to be valuable.

Pique their curiosity and they’ll begin to remember you in a positive light and want to speak to you.

Keep it personal: The 10-80-10 rule

This is it: the 10-80-10 rule. First, use a template but keep your sales rockstar creativity to spice it up. 80% of your email is already written, 2 minutes saved per email – boom.

Ready for your conversion rate to go platinum?

Personalize the first and last 10% of your email. This is where the n00bs get left behind.

If your customer is going to invest 15-20 seconds reading your email, make sure they know you took time to learn about them and what they care about.

(Picture credit Stuart Szerwo http://stuartszerwo.com/)

Be Valuable

You know what the customer thinks about 20 times a day? Themselves. Do you think they have 15 minutes to talk to a sales person? Hell no.

But they do have plenty of time to speak with an expert who will help them.

Your job isn’t to lead the ‘horse’ to water. Your job as a sales professional is to make them thirsty. – Tom Freese

Help them solve a problem and educate them about potential solutions – that’s what you’re good at, and that’s what they need you for.

Create templates that are specific for each type of persona you’re reaching out to. Are you selling SDN solutions to an IT Director? Their challenges are different than a CIO, or a VP of Sales.

If you blanket them with the same message, you’re doing it wrong. Show that you value their time and keep it specific to how their life will be better after an email from you.

Here’s How – Sales Drip Campaigns

For your initial outreach to lower tier prospects, link together a few emails to go out automatically. You hyper-personalize the first one, and the customer will now get automated follow ups specific to what they care about.

5×5 Method

Set up a targeted sales drip campaign. DO NOT SEND THE SAME EMAIL TO ALL OF YOUR PROSPECTS. Specialize your outreach based on your customer’s persona (i.e. VP, Director or C-level). Keep your emails short with a strong call-to-action.

Here’s an overview on how to frame your 5×5 emails:

  1. Introduction: Send a couple lines to your prospect to introduce yourself and how she will benefit from what your company does. Remember, customers buy benefits not features. 
  2. Provide Value: Share a piece of content that educates your customer and makes her better at her job.
  3. Offer Help: Because you know her persona, ask the prospect what her goals are in relation to the top 3 benefits you’ve helped people like her accomplish. Share 1 more piece of valuable content.
  4. Engage for Feedback – ask about the content you sent over – was it helpful? You’ve now established yourself with some credibility.
  5. The Ask: You’ve earned it after providing a bit of value. Do you have 15 minutes for a call next Tuesday afternoon?

Depending on how qualified the prospect is, vary the number of days between each email – a good rule of thumb is 5 emails over two weeks sprinkled with phone calls and social engagement.

Sales is a process. Rock it.

~~~~~~~~~~

Example: Introduction email

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Subject: Jill, your improved sales workflow

Body: Hi Jill,

Congrats on the recent round of Series C funding! I was prompted to reach out as I work with 15+ VP of Sales like you every week as they plan to scale their team.

In a nutshell, {{my_company}} helps sales teams gain visibility into what’s working without throwing a wrench into their workflow.

Are you free for a 15 minute phone call next Tuesday afternoon? I’d like to discuss how we help other great Bay Area companies like Acme, Dunder Mifflin and Gotham Enterprises collaborate to share best practices to crush their sales goals.

Best,

Dan

Did I miss anything? Any success stories? Leave a message below.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn. Add Dan to your network here and follow him @JustDanSmith.

Why Your Sales Team Should Use Sales Beat

What’s Sales Beat?

It’s the nerve center for the modern, collaborative sales team that gives you real-time insights on what’s going on across your sales floor. Reps will know what messaging works and managers are better informed to coach their team with the advice they need to close every deal.

There are ten pre-existing cards that your team can deploy on Sales Beat. Here are 10 ways to get creative with those cards:

1. Deal Alert: Get Your Team Excited About the Future

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Congrats, you closed a deal and rang the gong! As a sales rep, this is a huge win for you. For a manager, the Deal Alert card is the opportunity to track the future of your company’s sales with revenue and deal size metrics while adding a competitive motivator amongst your sales team.

Think about it – if you close a deal today for $5,000 and that company grows within the next three months, that deal could double – if you play your cards right that means more $$ for your company.

2. Top Reps Across Your Team: Ramp Reps Faster

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You’re a new hire, it’s your first sales job and you want to get to know your new company. Where do you start? Well, start looking at the Top Reps Across Your Team card and talk to those reps about best practices. Those top reps are doing it right. And you’re hungry to get to the top – so put time on their calendars and get on that leaderboard now.

3. Top Templates Across Your Team: Get Behind the Scenes

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Sales reps everywhere want to know the secret sauce that makes an email irresistible to a prospect. With the Top Templates Across Your Team card, you can get a behind the scenes look on what’s working for your peers, improve your writing and ultimately climb up the leaderboard.

4. Deal Alert: Prep for a Call

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A fellow sales rep just closed a deal, don’t simply congratulate them on their win – learn from their win. Analyze and use the information provided on the Deal Alert cards to prep for an upcoming call. If you’ve got a similar company in your pipeline, use this Deal Alert as ammo and leverage for similar deals.

Example talk track: “Your competitor just bought our product and said they’re going to use it to ramp the 10 new reps they hired last week.”

5. Most Used Team Template: Have Some Fun

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Sales Managers want to keep a pulse on what’s happening within their sales team. Instead of guessing what’s going on, look at the data provided on the Most Used Team Template and learn what’s popular and working for your team. Take that information and coach them along and provide actionable next steps.

6. Your Top Performing Template: Boost Your Productivity

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Stop copying and pasting your emails. Instead, save two minutes per email and use a template. Keep a lookout for the Your Top Performing Template card to amplify your productivity throughout the day.

7. Top Reps Across Your Team: Eye on the Competition

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Sales reps are naturally competitive. They want to get ahead on their deals and climb up the leaderboard. Great sales reps will have their eyes glued to the Top Reps Across Your Team card to see who’s moving through the ranks and where they land.

Make a game of it – send more emails, improve your messaging and stay hungry for the top of the leaderboard.

8. New Template Shared With You: Help Others in Their Day-to-Day

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Even if sales reps are competitive, some still want to help their peers out. Winning sales teams however will share their most creative emails to see what works.

9. Your Top Performing Email: Get Insightful Research

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You already use Tout’s tracking, templates and analytics in your sales process. With the Your Top Performing Email card, get all the research and information you need (because this card is all about you). Get hyper-personalized and real-time insights on how this particular email is your secret weapon and know exactly when to use it next.

10. New Shared Group: Be Strategic

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Here’s the use case: a sales rep closes an upsell deal and shares a new email group to that company’s Customer Success Manager to facilitate the onboarding process. Cross-team collaboration for the win.

 

Have an even more creative way to use Sales Beat? Add yours in the comments below. And for more information on how to get your team on Sales Beat, contact Sales or watch this video:

Increase Revenue by 20% with Sales & Marketing Alignment

Did you know that when Sales and Marketing teams work together, they can experience a 20% growth in revenue? And yet, Sales and Marketing teams are still working in silos, in separate offices, with different tools and no clear line of communication. Instead of being frustrated with one another, organizations need to take the necessary steps to drive alignment between the two teams.

Sales and Marketing need to take a page from each other’s book and work together now. We’ve written a six-part series that gives you actionable steps to solve for alignment. So, in case you missed it, here’s everything you need to know about Sales and Marketing alignment:

1. How Sales and Marketing Can Work Together with Content

B2B companies are investing 28% of their total marketing budget on Content Marketing and 55% said they’d increase their spending on Content Marketing within the next 12 months. And yet, a majority of that marketing content created collects dust. For an industry that’s shifting towards using content, that’s an alarming statistic.

In the article titled 80% of Marketing Content Created Goes Unused by Sales, both Sales and Marketing will learn the following:

  1. How to have a cross-team meeting with an pre-planned agenda
  2. How to collaborate and actually work together
  3. How to organize and test shared content

2. How to Get Visibility Into Your Sales Team

Today’s leading marketers are realizing the treasure trove that is sales data and are beginning to use that data to inform their content creation. Instead of content that only caters to the marketing funnel, smart marketers are now driving content that reduces friction points within the sales funnel and aids sales.

If you’re a frustrated marketer and want to get visibility into your sales team or a frustrated sales rep who can’t work with Marketing, you’ll want to follow all the steps outlined in How to Get Visibility Into Your Sales Team.

3. Top Three Metrics Sales and Marketing Should Track Together and Why

Sales and Marketing keep track on a lot of numbers. But, based on our research, we’ve uncovered that out of all the metrics – there are only three metrics that Sales and Marketing must track together. In this article, we’ll talk through these three metrics and articulate how they can drive important conversations, result in alignment and positively impact revenue.

For a sneak peek, here are the three metrics:

  1. Revenue per Lead
  2. Conversion by stage in funnel
  3. Usage of marketing content in the sales process

Read the in-depth post on the three metrics that matter the most.

4. Salespeople Are Becoming Mini-Marketers

The sales world is changing. As sales is moving towards being more consultative and customer-focused, sales reps must adopt new strategies that blend their sales know-how with marketing savviness. Today’s top performing sales rep is a hybrid between Sales and Marketing and leading sales organizations are priming their sales reps to become mini-marketers.

In Salespeople Are Becoming Mini-Marketers, you’ll learn all the key strategies to ramp up your reps in no time.

5. Using Engagement Data to Gauge Effectiveness

Alignment between Sales and Marketing is about taking action and for both teams that involves looking at engagement data. Salespeople don’t have time to write emails, they’re focused on building relationships and closing deals. Now that Marketing has learned how to get visibility into their Sales team, Marketing needs to take action and write email templates for Sales.

But that’s not all, in the article How to Effectively Use Engagement Data to Accelerate Your Sales Process, you’ll know what to do with those email templates and how to incentivize Sales to use them.

6. Don’t Send Emails on Behalf of Sales

Email templates are an entirely different beast than sending an email on behalf of sales. Here’s the new rule of thumb: Sales, don’t let Marketing send an email on your behalf. No one wants a sales email that’s disguised as a marketing email. It’s a disservice to the entire sales process.

Instead, in the article Don’t Send Emails on Behalf of Sales, you’ll learn what to do and what not to do to avoid any email snafus.

Parting Thoughts

Armed with the right content, data, statistics and actionable steps to drive alignment between Sales and Marketing – it’s up to you and your organization to implement new processes sooner rather than later. So, if you want alignment – follow these steps and take action now.

How to Effectively Use Engagement Data to Accelerate Your Sales Process

In our previous articles, we’ve articulated how marketers can get visibility into their sales team and define which metrics the two teams must track together. Now let’s dive deeper into how to drive real-time alignment and make it truly effortless.

Sales and Marketing need to have a comprehensive understanding of the engagement data that’s driving deals forward.

Here’s the sales engagement data that you need to look at and how to get that data:

Package Content for Easy Access for Sales

Salespeople don’t have time to write emails, they’re focused on closing deals. Marketers are frustrated because they don’t have insight into which pieces of content sales is using and if they are using the right messaging.

Here’s the solution: marketers need to package up content as an email template to incentivize sales to use it.

Marketers need to keep a pulse on what’s happening on the sales floor. If a prospect requires multiple touches of nurturing during their sales process, Marketing needs to arm Sales with the right content (more on the types of content to generate here) to educate prospects. Having an arsenal of case studies, product one pagers and industry research studies packaged into an email template is indispensable.

Sales and Marketing need to have access to consistent messaging, data-backed engaging content and real-time insights into what types of content your sales team is using across the team.

Contextualize and Track Email Templates

If Sales and Marketing truly want alignment, Marketing cannot just write an email template, send it to sales and simply walk away. Marketers need to put context around their content and email templates, so their content doesn’t end up adding to the 80% statistic.

To truly arm sales with great email templates, Marketing needs to make it extremely explicit on when and why Sales needs to use an email template that they’ve created. Before sending out a packaged email template to Sales, Marketing needs to contextualize the email and simply say this email template is for this part in the sales process for this industry, role, etc.

This segmentation will then facilitate usage by the sales team because they can take immediately deploy the said email template to their appropriate prospects.

Then, for every email template that’s written for Sales, Marketing needs track the usage and engagement data attached to each email and discern its success rate. Additionally, Sales and Marketing can A/B test templates side-by-side to see what messaging works best.

This engagement data and template data then becomes a shared metric that resonates with both Sales and Marketing. Both teams will know what works, how the numbers prove that it works, how many deals were closed by using this specific email template and the timeframe it took to close a deal.

Parting Thoughts

Taking what we’ve learned in the previous sections of this article, Marketing will get a better understanding of the sales process and will know how to concentrate their resources in building a refined, agile and fully-packaged content library for each stage in the sales funnel. For Sales, they’ll have to resources they need to have a more streamlined and hyper focused sales process and are overall better equipped to do their job.

While sales engagement data is instantly actionable, there are also long-term metrics that Sales and Marketing must track together. In a previous post, we’ve narrowed down the list of metrics to the top three that directly impact your company’s bottom line.

For further insight on how to drive alignment between Sales and Marketing, read more about how salespeople are becoming mini-marketers.

 

Salespeople Are Becoming Mini-Marketers

In our ongoing series of articles, we’ve conveyed the need for sales and marketing to come together to drive alignment and revenue growth. And we’ve uncovered that one of the strongest data points for alignment is an average of 20% revenue growth.

In a study by LinkedIn and IDC it stated “the fastest way to a B2B buyer’s heart is through engaging their mind. B2B buyers are 5x more likely to engage with a sales professional who provides new insights about their business.”

As salespeople are moving towards being more consultative, they must adopt new strategies that blend sales know-how with marketing savviness. Top performing sales organizations are priming their sales reps to becoming mini-marketers, here are are four ways to achieve that:

Strategy #1: Teach Your Salespeople to Nurture to Top of the Funnel at Scale

We all know the statistic of 57% of the buyer decision is made before a prospect talks to sales. The top of the funnel is the earliest stage where salespeople must proactively engage with prospects to educate them on topics that concern their business. At this stage, salespeople should leverage content that will demonstrate expertise in their field.

This top level engagement will influence the velocity and conversion through the remainder of the funnel. Nurturing at the top of the funnel can be executed at scale once you set the right tools in place. The 5×5 Method allows salespeople to stay top of mind with prospects by sending out a pre-determined set of five emails over a length of time. During their campaign, salespeople need to rely on content because content plays a critical role throughout the tech-buying cycle. These emails should be to-the-point and written as valuable digestible nuggets of information.

Sending out the campaign is step one, step two is monitoring its engagement rate to see which prospects are opening your emails, digesting the content and moving through the funnel. And once you’re able to move prospects through the funnel, there are email tracking, templates and analytics tools that you can invest in to empower your sales team.

Strategy #2: Build a Smart SDR Team

In traditional sales organizations, reps did it all from prospecting to closing deals. Today, modern sales teams are segmented and hyper-specialized. According to the Selling Power Blog, “we need a disruptive approach to sales and customer engagement that allows sales reps to consistently perform as consultative, trusted advisors.” That disruptive approach is building an incredibly agile and smart Sales Development team.

Sales Development Reps (SDR) Responsibilities include:

SDRs use their strong entrepreneurial streak, analytical and research backgrounds in creative ways to start meaningful conversations with your prospects. SDRs are a hungry and hard-working group of individuals that are eager to win, so arm them with the best thought leadership around their targeted accounts.

The SDR is a distinct strategic and competitive advantage for any ambitious sales team, so make it a key role for your organization. For more information on how to get the leg up on your competition and build out your SDR team, read our Definitive Guide to Building an SDR Team and learn from top sales leaders on how they built their team.

Strategy #3: Have Your Salespeople Blog

You’re in sales and you’re probably thinking you don’t have time to blog or it’s not part of your job. You should spend all your time focused on prospecting and closing deals – not writing blog posts. But, if you choose to blog, you can reap the benefits just by publishing your first post.

Blogging isn’t hard. Here’s the blogging 101 checklist:

You know a lot about the sales process, customer pain points and best practices – don’t be afraid to blog about it. Say you came across an interesting article about Social Selling, you should provide commentary and give further insight into how social selling has helped you exceed your sales quota by 10%.

Beyond thought leadership, each blog post that you write drives traffic to your company’s website and it creates individual interest for you – as a salesperson and a thought leader. Every time you write a blog post, it gets indexed on your company’s website and drives more Google search results for both your company and yourself.

 

 

But, every time you hit publish – you’re not just posting to your company’s blog, you’re sharing your expertise and insights to a combined audience of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ which can expose your post to an exponential audience.

So, start blogging because one hour of effort can lead to exponential views, future leads and it can grow your career as a thought leading salesperson.

Strategy #4: Collaborate with Marketing & Form a Line of Communication

Armed with the three strategies above, it’s important to reemphasize that to make this all possible, you need to collaborate and communicate with marketing to execute each strategy,

Why?

We’ve learned that the benefits of sales and marketing alignment can be as much as a 20% growth in revenue. But spoke extensively about how 80% of marketing content creates goes unused by sales, even if it’s intended use is for sales enablement. That’s a problem and it needs to be fixed. Both teams can start by forming a line of communication where each team gets visibility into the inner workings of each other’s team.

With an open line of communication in place, both teams can then track three crucial metrics which will positively impact revenue. It’s proven that collaborative teams are more successful, so make sure your sales and marketing teams are truly aligned.

Conclusion

Today, the blog is the starting place for online content. In fact, according to Social Media Today, 70% of consumers learn about a company through articles rather than ads. So, empower your salespeople to become mini-marketers through nurturing the top of the funnel at scale, sales development reps, blogging and collaborating with Marketing.

Three Metrics Sales & Marketing Should Track Together and Why

In our prior articles, we’ve articulated how best-in-class companies that align Sales and Marketing are defined as the top 20% of performers in the B2B space. Through this series, we’ll talk through exactly how you can become a top 20% company by driving alignment.

In this article, we’ll talk through a shared set of metrics between Sales and Marketing that can drive important conversations, result in alignment and positively impact revenue.

Based on our research, here are the three metrics you need to look at:

Metric 1: Revenue Per Lead

Revenue per Lead is a fantastic unit metric that crosses between Sales and Marketing and tells you the efficiency of both your lead generation efforts and your sales closing efforts.

In measuring Revenue Per Lead you need to take the amount of revenue generated and divide it by the number of leads generated during a pre-determined amount of time (say, a week or month). For instance, if you generated leads during the first week of a quarter and the average closing rate for deals is 60 days, you can look at the revenue generated for that quarter and divide it by the number of leads.

This metric communicates to you not only how you’re doing in generating revenue in comparison to costs of a lead, but will also help you understand the productivity of a single salesperson.

This metric is also particularly valuable when you find out that you’ve doubled the number of leads generated month-over-month. With this metric, you can easily track whether the lift in leads are actually quality, revenue generating leads.

Metric 2: Conversion by Stage in Funnel

Instead of looking at separate funnels, both Sales and Marketing need to focus and look at one unified funnel and zero-in on where opportunities are falling out.

The Conversion by Stage in the Funnel metric is on-going and tracks the conversion rate within the sales funnel and pinpoints where marketing can play a role and create content to prevent opportunities from leaving.

Once you track this metric closely, both Sales and Marketing will be able to discern the friction points in the sales funnel. Typically, the sales funnel looks like this:

Once Sales and Marketing has figured out where opportunities are falling out of the funnel, both teams can collaborate to fix those leaks. For example, if the historical data show that sales struggles with converting an opportunity from qualified to identifying a prospect’s business needs, this is where Sales and Marketing need to come together.

This is where Marketing can create content (more on this further in the article) that will drive the conversion percentage at this specific stage upward. Instead of guessing if the talk track could be off. Or the marketing collateral created for this stage is thin. Or the competitive messaging and value proposition isn’t strong enough. Or reps aren’t empowered enough to adequately run through their demos, let the data prove where to fix the problem.

Sales and Marketing need to focus their resources and time on the lowest performing conversion percentages because those are crucial points in the sales process and opportunities cannot fall out of the funnel.

For those of you that are focused on the post-sale side of the funnel, we’ve also seen incredible value being delivered through a collaboration between Marketing and Customer Success Managers to move customers through their journey in using the process.

Metric 3: Usage of marketing content in the sales process

In metric two, we talked about how Marketing must play a more significant role in the sales funnel. Now we’re going to breakdown the specific types of content that Marketing must create and how they can get the feedback they want from Sales by using this content scoring matrix:

For the content scoring matrix to be effective, Marketing needs to survey their Sales team for content feedback, if not Marketing runs the risk of missing out on valuable information.

  • Step 1: Send out a brief digital survey with easy-to-answer, yet specific questions surrounding the most recent piece of content.
  • Step 2: Make sure Sales has enough time between content distribution and being able to actually use it in their sales process
  • Step 3a: If you’re in Sales, be sure to use the content that marketing is providing – it’ll elevate your sales game (and don’t forget to give feedback).
  • Step 3b: If you’re in Marketing, be vocal about new content and know how to talk to sales about sales.

Rethink Metrics

While most metrics will still hold significance for a company, it’s necessary to look at metrics that impact revenue and are actionable. For top B2B companies, revenue growth is the core of their business. It’s why sales and marketing exists and it’s how they should align themselves. Now, we’ve armed you with the right metrics, it’s up to you to track them.

Building a High-Performing Sales Development Team

In traditional sales organizations, most are structured in a way that a salesperson handles the entire sales cycle from prospecting to closing deals. But today’s sales world is rapidly evolving and to keep up in the competitive landscape, you need to build a dedicated and segmented Sales Development team.

These hyper-specialized reps work at the top of the funnel and proactively reach out to your company’s prospects and bring them into the fold.

And when we looked at some of the fastest growing companies on the ToutApp platform, we found that every company invested in a Sales Development team. In the video below, you’ll learn from sales leaders at Nexmo, KISSmetrics and Optimizely as they share their learnings, best practices and stories from their SDR team.

“I think the SDR role is vital to any sales organization because it helps them scale more effectively, it frees up the hunters to hunt new business and it gives people who are new to sales the ability to learn and grow within the company,” said Charles Rummelein, Team Lead, US Sales at Nexmo.

Ready to build your own high-performing SDR team. Get The Definitive Guide to Building an SDR Team eBook below.

The Worst Week of Prospecting Ever

We have aggressive goals on the ToutApp Sales Development team. We roughly need to book a meeting a day in order to hit our monthly number. While aggressive, I’ve always prided myself on being able to hit those high numbers. That was until the second week of April.

My last blog post was (now-ironically) titled 5 Ways to Prevent SDR Burnout, and I have since experienced what will forever go down in my SDR career as my worst prospecting week ever. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not burnt out, but it was a bad week.

Prior to that second week in April, I had a strong beginning of the month. And when Monday, April 6th rolled around, I was ready to carry the momentum forward. So I emailed prospects and I called them. Nothing.

On Tuesday I upped my outreach. More emails, more calls, some InMails. Still nothing.

This continued on through Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I didn’t book a single meeting the entire week. I was the toxic SDR in the office – no one wanted to be around me in case my prospecting juju was contagious.

By Friday afternoon I gave up. I closed out of Gmail, grabbed a beer and started to examine my whole week of outreach and analyze what went wrong.

The Breakdown

I started to look at all the data points from the week – call volume, email volume, open rates, click rates, website views, etc. What I found was that the volume of emails I sent had increased significantly from the weeks prior, but that my engagement was abysmal. I had the lowest engagement on the entire team, in fact.

I realized that I had tried to play a numbers game. With my success and momentum from the week before, I unknowingly got it into my head that if I sent more emails, I’d get more responses.

I’d forgotten one of the prospecting rules we hold strongly at Tout –

“The number of emails means nothing.” 

Don’t Forget to Personalize

I had spent the week sending out non-personalized emails that didn’t cater to my prospects interests or business needs. I had forgotten that they were real people behind their email addresses. In an effort to increase my volume, my usual creative approach had been replaced with dull value propositions that I myself wouldn’t read.

Remembering that the prospects we’re reaching out to are real people, with real interests in and out of work, and business challenges that they are looking to address, is instrumental to the success of our outreach at ToutApp. That line of thinking pulled me back into a mindset that allowed me to rebound the following week.

What I’ve Learned

I think it’s important to have some perspective when we (as SDRs) have bad weeks. Reflecting on the data, it was easy to see the trap that I fell into and why I wasn’t as successful. If you’re having a bad week, or venturing into a slump, take a step back and take a 20,000 foot view of your prospecting game. Most of the time you’ll see a pattern that’s easily fixable.