Episode #006 - Common Pitfalls to Lead Generation

Transcription of Episode

Chris Battis: On this episode of Intent Topics we're going to talk about a common pitfall to lead generation. I'm Chris Battis and this is Logan Kelly, and today we'll be talking about common pitfalls to lead generation. Logan, this one's simple, why don't you kick this off?

Logan Kelly: Yeah, man. I think the biggest problem with lead generation right now that's after the lead is actually generated is that it just goes to die. There's a few different things that I mean by that. We all know what it looks like. Damn.

Chris Battis: Am I supposed to ask you a question there?

Logan Kelly: Yeah, but that's okay.

Chris Battis: What's the question? What's the question?

Logan Kelly: Let me keep going. I'll keep going. I'll keep going. What we see are it's on both the marketing side and on the sales side. When we look at the marketing to sales handoff, there is a ton of value that is lost in many cases. We get a form submission. We get an email reply from the marketing or the demand gen or whatever those activities are. Then what happens is sales for whatever reason drops the ball or lets the lead die. This isn't like a crap on marketing or crap on sales conversation.

Logan Kelly: What this is, is there's a huge hole in a lot of company's funnels, and it's really up to the leadership that's above the sales side or above the marketing side, or for the sales and marketing leaders in larger companies to put their hand across the aisle and close this gap. Because the gap is the problem, not necessarily what marketing is doing and not necessarily what sales is doing.

Chris Battis: There just needs to be more connective tissue between the two organizations, right?

Logan Kelly: Yeah. Absolutely. What I've seen is sales will get a lead, not believe that it's qualified, and then there's no communication as to why that lead is not qualified, other than, "It's not what I'm looking for," something in that flavor. Go ahead.

Chris Battis: What would a really good lead look like to a cranky sales rep that's not happy with their leads? What does success look like?

Logan Kelly: As I said, this isn't a crap on the sales person session. It's like a smart salesperson is going to prioritize their opportunities. A smart salesperson is also going to be prospecting. If I have a rep who is prospecting and driving business, hunting or eating what they kill, so they're prospecting on one side for the right amount of hours per week and they're also closing their deals. To me, if they get a lead, they follow up with them a couple of times. They're like, "Hey, there's nothing here," I'm not going to say, "Follow up with your leads. You're a lazy salesperson."

Logan Kelly: I'm going to say, "Cool, but I need to do something with this. What am I going to do?" I think when we identify that it's not the salesperson missing something, which I think is the sales manager's job to make sure that we're not missing X, Y, and Z, it's to have a place to put that lead for future follow up. That's why marketing automation tools exist is to put some sort of follow up on autopilot that is maybe not ready for that salesperson, or it's something that if they come at us a little bit harder, then maybe we'll spend the time, but it's just not that profitable of a deal that if it becomes something like a self-service play then maybe we spend time on it.

Chris Battis: Step one is follow up, and then step two would be to use your tools to continue to follow up should you not get in contact the first attempt, or whatever, and pick up the phone.

Logan Kelly: Yeah. Man. I think it's like pick up the phone, LinkedIn, email. There's a lot of different prospecting or nurturing outbound methodologies or channels that we can use. I think the pitfall that we're talking about here is that the gap between sales and marketing means that leads are very one directional, so nothing's going into a nurturing cycle when it needs to.

Logan Kelly: I think that's where we see the marketing team getting some stick from the sales team for sending leads over that they think are qualified. I've said on previous podcasts that not every form submission is necessarily a lead.

Chris Battis: Back in my pre-HubSpot agency days, at that time this is say 2012, 2013, there was a form on HubSpot in their partner directory. A customer could fill out this form and tell you a little bit about what they're looking for. There were some dropdowns where there was web design or content creation, and stuff like that, and budget and all that.

Chris Battis: They'd fill out a form and it would go to all the registered partners. Just one email to everyone. That was a good lead source, but I wasn't closing much business. Then I hired a sales rep, this kid Casey Lockwood. He's awesome. If he's listening, hi Casey. He came into the organization and he just started closing these deals off these email submissions that would come in, like deal after deal. I'm like, "What are you doing? What's the trick? Why can't I do that? What was I doing wrong?"

Chris Battis: He was like, "I just call every single one of them. Every person I talk to says, 'I just got six emails, nobody called me.'" Some people weren't calling. It's kind of like just hiding behind emails, hiding behind the tools. We've talked about this in other podcasts, but it's like do the work. Pick up the phone and stay on them.

Logan Kelly: It's funny. Harvard Business Review put out a study. This is like a year or two ago. They're starting to blur together. Basically they said here's the average time it takes for a company to follow up with a lead. I think it was like an hour. There was something like 20% of companies wait almost a day to follow up on a lead.

Logan Kelly: I would say that that's something that sales managers and marketing people and VPs of sales and CMOs, they all talk about response time. Response time is a function of belief. If my job, I'm not getting paid to make a phone call. I'm getting paid to close a deal as a salesperson. If I don't believe that if I follow up with this lead and all I'm going to do is get a bunch of crap for not knowing what to do with them or not putting them into a nurture cycle or something like that, I'm just not going to do it. That's not abnormal human nature.

Logan Kelly: If we have our systems and our processes tight about what happens to a lead based on X parameters, then the response time is going to increase and your lead closing is going to increase, and that's how it works. I think recalibrating the culture of what do we call a lead, what happens with a lead if it's not necessarily qualified, and giving that pressure release valve to the sales people. Then building the belief that they're going to get what they need if they just hit that phone a little bit harder.

Chris Battis: For example, we have a client who we will do business development work, and we'll get this company a lead, and we'll have all this information on what emails they clicked and what pages on the site they went to. Because the true problem that this company solves isn't necessarily defined, this client isn't totally sure this is a great lead. When it's really just one phone call to unpack that conversation. It's time to have a personal conversation at that point anyways.

Chris Battis: My thought is just get in there and have that call, and it will come up very quickly. Especially if they're raising their hand, saying, "Call me. I need to talk to you." The problem that needs to be solved is one of the pieces of information that makes a rep more interested in acting on a lead. What other information do you and can you provide or would you like to see as the salesperson getting a new lead? What would you like to see?

Logan Kelly: I think that's what we're working on here at Union now. The context of the conversation, so what call scripts were they exposed to, what kind of email scripts were they exposed to, what kind of content on the website were they exposed to. These things help. Intent data, what topics were they searching for? Technographic data, so what kind of software are they using? Where are they located? A LinkedIn link to their profile, and also the company's profile. There's a ton of stuff that we can provide.

Logan Kelly: Now, I will say this, done is better than perfect when it comes to making a phone call. The context of this lead because it was a form submission and it's not a download an eBook. This is a pricing or a contact us because we have this special offer going on, which is a buying signal to me. That's not a self-service information lead. If I can't provide you every piece of information, I'm sorry, dude, but make the call.

Chris Battis: Not to backpedal here, but lead comes in. Prospect raises their hand. It's time for us to pass to client. We have to then in a timely manner compile the information, transfer the information in a way that this person can consume it very quickly so that they can act quickly. This might be an outdated statistic, but wasn't the statistic like you're 90% more likely to have success if you are in touch with a lead within seven minutes of their submission? Something like that, right?

Logan Kelly: Yeah.

Chris Battis: The clock's ticking.

Logan Kelly: Exactly. In some of the B2C work, I mean I've built software ...

Chris Battis: To be instantaneous.

Logan Kelly: ... to make it so it's like zero minutes. I'm a true believer in this. It's like if I get you on the phone, then I can probably um and ah a little bit to get into the conversation. It's better than never getting on the call. I'm not saying be a bad salesperson. If you know your product, you know what you're selling, you're a salesperson, then you should be able to do it.

Logan Kelly: As an organization though, when we look at the culture, like if you're going to subject a salesperson to that sort of expectation, on the other side the stuff that allows him or her to put that lead where it needs to go is super-important. Build the culture that allows a salesperson to really be able to self-select what the disposition of that lead is to a certain extent.

Logan Kelly: Cherry picking is not what I'm talking about, but I am talking about let the salesperson go hard, run hard at the lead, and then when you realize that it's not a good lead, have that culture so you can trust that, "That should go back on a nurture float. Not a big deal, because our pipe is fine."

Chris Battis: You went in and you investigated, you checked it out, and it's a pass for now. The thing about you were talking about the software that you've created, it's called Rapid Contact. The thing that I think is really clever about that is what it does is it dials a number instantaneously when somebody fills out a form. Isn't that how it, or texts, right?

Logan Kelly: It's text and then obviously I'm working on the instantaneous call, so that's [crosstalk 00:13:11].

Chris Battis: What I like about it is it's an instant reach out at the moment, like if someone's on their phone or computer, whatever it is, that literally the second ... My point is they haven't moved on to anything. They couldn't possibly have moved on unless they're like have 800 tabs open on their computer or something. The point is they're there thinking about this at that moment. If you can reach out then, your timing couldn't be more perfect.

Logan Kelly: Exactly. If we look at this from a B2C versus B2B, so B2C where am I generating leads? You're going on Google. You're going on Facebook. People are on their smart phone. Buying is emotional whether you're buying B2B or buying B2C, but whim is so much greater of a factor when you're talking about B2C. If they submit on the Safari app or on Facebook or something, when they swipe to close that app you're toast most of the time.

Logan Kelly: In the B2B world, we haven't got that crazy yet, because these are organizational decisions. You're researching for an organization. It might be a conversation that happens today and then a week. Still, if you've missed the window that they're thinking about this or they're excited about it, you're still losing. I think that that's the important thing.

Chris Battis: Even if that's the window of research, not necessarily window of transaction, that's still just a window. It's like either that person needs to go to their leadership or whatever decision making process it is, and it's just not as whimsical. The window's the window, and you want to be there answering the right questions and building trust, and providing as much useful content for them to have the rest of the conversations they need to get to the purchase.

Logan Kelly: Exactly. To put a bow on this conversation, I think we talk about the pitfall of lead generation. It is that leads go to die. Why they go to die is a greater conversation than marketing automation. It's a greater conversation than CRM automation. It's a greater conversation than response time. It's all of them. It's the culture. I think what as organizations we need to look at is what is that sales and marketing alignment and what can we do to close the gap between the two so that it's pretty bidirectional, which allows us to have just a more fruitful and effective lead generation set up.

Chris Battis: I guess this is, to add on to the culture piece, but it's the person too. If it's a solopreneur or a CEO of a small company that their product is not exactly sales, there's an intimidation factor of hopping on a call with a lead, especially if they don't feel that it's qualified or they have enough info to get excited about it. Not everyone's like you and has no ... You could pick up the phone and call anyone anytime. You would not care. I don't know that that's the average sentiment, especially when you get into small business ownership.

Logan Kelly: Sure. I would say that if a small business owner has a product or process or a service that they're selling, and it's theirs, the hardest thing to do is to sell that if you created it. My biggest advice to somebody who is in that position is to find somebody to help them grow their business. The hardest thing to do is to sell your baby. That's the toughest thing in sales. I've done it, and every time you get a no, it's like a knife through the heart.

Chris Battis: You take it personally.

Logan Kelly: Yeah, dude. I think when we look at the follow up and the sales and marketing alignment, that I think is for a little bit larger of a company than the solopreneur or the entrepreneur. For those guys, that's where, shameless plug for Union, or some sort of outsourced or employee role that is for prospecting or appointment setting or something like that. Because you want to make sure that you're focused on the right things, and it just gets harder and harder with every no to sell that thing that you created.

Chris Battis: Yeah. Cool, Logan. Well, this wraps up today's episode of Intent Topics. I'm Chris Battis.

Logan Kelly: I'm Logan Kelly. Thank you so much everybody for listening today. Please give us a five-star rating on whatever podcast app you use. We will see you next time.

Chris Battis: Take care.

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