Do you have some?
Every day we hear about the sales challenges our clients or potential clients are having. I sort the sales challenges into two groups: “I can’t get sales meetings”, and “I can’t close sales meetings.”
To get sales meetings, you have to talk to people.
In order to talk to people, you have to find people to talk to.
That’s pretty much lead generation in a nut shell: finding people who will talk to you. If you can’t get sales meetings, you’re not talking to enough people. If you can’t close sales meetings, you’re talking to the wrong people or you’re saying the wrong things. All of these things are issues that can be fixed with a more strategic approach to defining your TCPs (Target Client Profiles).
Unreachable Prospects? There Ain’t No Such Thing.
A prospect you can’t reach is not your prospect.
If you can’t interact with them, they aren’t your prospects. They might be prospects for someone – but they’re not responding to you, which means they have no need or interest. It could also mean they just don’t interact with vendors in the way you’re attempting to interact them – which is a big factor people seem to ignore when creating their TCP (target client profiles). Without consideration for where and how your TCP interacts with vendors and whether or not you’re capable of meeting them there, your TCP is a wish list, not a prospect list.
Your prospects should not only want to talk to you, they should actively seek you out.
Prospects are reachable, or they’re not prospects.
Wishing Don’t Make It So
If you’re not connecting with the prospects you WISH were yours, that’s a whole different story.
Wishing isn’t a business development strategy, but it’s a good start.
If you’ve only tried one way to reach a prospect before declaring them “unreachable”, in the words of Inigo Montoya:
“You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means!”
The Value of Historical Data In Determining Marketing Investments
At Managed Sales Pros, we had over 50,000 MSPs in our database. In ten years, over the course of 50+ multi-agent, multi-year partner recruitment campaigns, less than half of the MSPs on our list answered their phones, replied to emails or responded to a voicemail. Not just for Managed Sales Pros, but for ANY vendor.
One could be an anomaly. Maybe they don’t like Datto. Maybe they weren’t interested in Sophos. But to not answer the phone in ten entire years for any call that was made to them from 50 different caller IDs? That tells me they don’t answer the phone. Not that they don’t answer the phone when Carrie calls. They don’t answer the phone. Full stop. For me, those unreachable contacts are not my prospects because I use the phone almost exclusively for my outbound marketing activities.
We’re Not The Only Ones Adjusting Outbound Strategy!
We aren’t the only ones saying that not everyone can be reached by phone. (Though we remain believers in the “any given Sunday” approach to outbound – sometimes plain ol’ dumb luck wins the day.)
Robb Rogers, CEO of Sales Maturit, and MSP Makeover Expert states that they’ve been able to reduce their number of calls to conversations by over 60% using targeted marketing in combination with cold outreach! Listen to Robb on the MSP Makeover Podcast!
Robb’s “State of the Union” was shared on the MSP Marketing Marathon online last week. You can see the unedited 7 hour livestream here, or wait a few weeks for the individual segments to be processed for viewing smaller segments!
Measure Early, Measure Often
Upon further analysis, only ten percent of the market ever took a sales meeting through traditional cold outreach. We learned this after the fact, once I had transacted on the business and had our data analyzed for trends and patterns. If we had started analyzing data as a younger organization, our vendor campaigns would have cost less to fulfill and generated better results. 1/4 of my outbound calls leads to a conversation today. 1/160 lead to a conversation in 2018.
Of the millions of calls we made and the thousands upon thousands of demos we scheduled, imagine my surprise learning that we could have eliminated 90% of our contacts and produced the same results with much less effort.
Hindsight is 2020, but what did those MSPs have in common?
Nothing. There is no discernable or identifiable pattern. We looked for similarities.
Time of Campaign Month or Year?
Time of Day we Dialed them?
There were no real trends.
Frustrating, but interesting. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. We had a unique insight into the MSP space, as we partnered with pretty much every major (and many of the newer) vendors in the channel at one time or another within the last ten years. Imagine if we’d run this data analysis as comprehensively in year five vs. year ten.
That measuring helps me today – there’s only 6000 MSPs in the market that take cold calls. I take that data, I map who I believe to be our best prospects against the MSPs most likely to take cold calls and I come up with a legitimate prospect list.
I know they’re prospects because they have shown over and over again that they will connect in the ways that I’m trying to use to connect with them.
Adjust Your Market Before You Adjust Your Marketing
What do I do to target the rest of the market?
2000 leads will feed our funnel for the next five years. I know this because I know how many of everything I need to do in order to convert my suspects into prospects into opportunities into deals.
Instead of trying to figure out how to get the other 53,000, I laser focus my attention on the 2000 that I know I can reach without making new investments in marketing.
I’m not changing how I market, I’m adjusting who I market to.
You can do either to improve your results – but one I know I know can do, and I understand the numbers and the activities and the sales cycle. I know what levers to use for improvement. Sticking with what I’m good at, and targeting the prospects that I know will respond to the way I work makes far more sense to me than trying to throw very expensive spaghetti at the wall.
Suspects are not Prospects
If a prospect isn’t responding to you, they aren’t a prospect for you.
You haven’t figured out how to interact with them, so you can’t consider them a prospect. They’re a suspect, at best.
So how do you make unreachable suspects into prospects?
Try something, measure it, then improve it or eliminate it.
Build a TCP That Considers Your Current Marketing Skills, Tools and Budget
Build a list of suspects by first identifying the commonalities in your client base.
Can you connect with 20-50 seat law firms easily, but 50-100 seat engineering firms never respond to your marketing initiatives? It reasons that you’d double down on 20-50 seat law firms, and skip the accounting firms vs. targeting a market that to now has ignored all of your attempts to engage them.
Your prospects in this case are 20-50 seat law firms. They engage with you in ways you already understand how to execute on.
You are also able to convert them. These types of companies are on your client roster already, and they run in the circles that your current clients also run in.
Marketing Success Often Begins As A Best Guess
Some of this is semantics – lead/contact/prospect/suspect – it doesn’t matter what you call them.
If you’re investing a lot in determining the “who” without doing any math on achieving the “how” you are setting yourself up for very expensive failures.
It’s great that you WISH you had clients that looked different from the ones you have now, but what are you changing to engage with suspects that have ignored every attempt you’ve made so far?
The Definition of Marketing Insanity
If you can’t figure out how to interact with 100-employee businesses, but refuse to stop pursuing them, or refuse to explore different ways to pursue them, you’re burning energy, time and money over and over again.
This leads to an empty pipeline, the expenses and opportunity costs associated with hiring and firing a merry-go-round of third party marketing engagements, and a revolving door in your sales or marketing department as your team gets frustrated following directions that aren’t intentional or measured and don’t lead to success.
You can’t hire a sales rep to achieve a goal that you as their leader don’t understand how you’ll reach.
With that in mind, here are some of my favorite cold outreach ideas.
Here Are A Bunch Of Ways To Engage With Your Suspects:
- Engage thoughtfully on social media posts by them or to them – learn how to use LinkedIN Navigator to eliminate some of the guess work. Don’t pitch people in their inbox, ask them questions about the things they’re posting. Connect them to people in your network. Find ways to give before you ask.
- Go to the events they go to – as an attendee or as a sponsor.
- Join the organizations and associations they belong to and engage with the leaders of those groups to find opportunities to add value to the group through content, education and volunteerism.
- Engage with the charitable functions they host, sponsor, donate to or attend.
- Host them on your webinars – use content creation as the path to connection. (This is what Croocial does!)
- Host them on a podcast or offer to appear on theirs.
- Bring them by snacks or coffee on a regular cadence until they take a meeting or demand you stop.
- Invite them to a party you’re hosting, or better, an event that you don’t have to organize that you can buy a table at – local charity galas are a wonderful way to show community involvement while engaging with your suspects.
- Offer to host an educational seminar for their office, their kids’ schools (online safety, for example), or as a marketing lever for THEM.
- Send them a popular business book with notes on what you took away from the book and ask them to compare notes with you when they finish the book.
- Take note of what they post about on social media and send appropriate thoughtful notes or gifts. If one of my suspects announces the arrival of their new baby, a branded onesie or a door dash delivery card is coming their way. If my mom isn’t too busy, I’ll ask her to knit them a special sock monkey. You can support local artists very easily this way – I recommend going to local art fairs and finding people who will take commission work. During the pandemic I had a local artist, create mini-monster characters. I sent him pictures and tips on what they liked to do in their spare time, and he made unique small monster paintings “of” each of them.
- Find out who you know in common using Linkedin, and ask for introductions to the people you’d like to do business with. You can follow the R&R Referral Process step by step if you are using The MSP Sales Process – all our enablement content is built right in!
All of these activities can help reach the unreachable – but they aren’t your prospects until they’ve connected with you in a meaningful way and have indicated they have some interest in continuing to do so.
It’s time to find ways of confirming your suspects are your prospects. The high volume “let’s just see what happens” days are over. Anyone who doesn’t want to be reached won’t be, so instead of doubling down on ways to reach people, let’s start investing in the things that make people genuinely want to talk to us.
There Are No Bad Ideas In Brainstorming
Prospecting is a chance for you, the business owner, to get super creative and think about ways to start conversations.
We’d love to help you define a better TCP and a better process to engage with them. We have systems and processes to help youright “out of the box” like Fox and Crow Group MSP Sales Process (we have 12 of 50 free accounts left to give out, so check it out!) and the Croocial CoStar Marketing System.
We offer consulting engagements for companies that are tired of the merry go round of poor results they’re achieving using ineffective marketing engagements and bad sales hires create in the business.
You can build it better, and we can help.
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