It’s the epic question for sales and marketing alike after any large tradeshow, event or webinar:
What is the return on our investment and why didn’t we see an uptick in our sales?
With webinars gaining popularity as a way to gain new leads, I wanted to share some best practices on how to ensure that none of your leads “leak.”
Several months ago, we held our annual Sales Acceleration Summit (SAS), the world’s largest virtual summit for sales and marketing leaders. This year we had more than 30,000 registrants from over 11,000 companies.
It was a great chance for us to showcase our expertise and leadership within the inside sales industry. As you can imagine, it took a lot of work to pull off.
It was also a great means to acquire a significant number of sales leads for our business development (sometimes referred to as sales development) and sales teams.
After all, how often can you capture 30,000 possible prospects in a day?
Not surprisingly, this huge number of prospects came with its fair share of challenges. We had to build a strategy that would allow us to successfully handle the volume of leads and remain as effective and focused as possible.
This is where the story starts. Hopefully our experiences will inspire some ideas of your own.
This is the trump card. Leads decay at an alarming rate and allowing them to wither away significantly erodes the ROI on your event.
According to one of our XANT Lead Response Management studies, sales reps are 100x times more likely to contact a lead if they call within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes. This metric is measured in minutes and seconds, not hours and days.
The leads that are extracted from a webinar typically have missing fields. These are often referred to as mispelings (see what I did there?)
To correct this, you must conduct several “checks” on the data.
Two of the more basic checks you must conduct are:
Dedupe your sales lead list against existing customers, speakers, employees, etc. You should also look for early and late stage prospects and treat them appropriately. Nothing can make you look more foolish than calling on a prospect who is targeted to close in the next week.
2. Data appends
Use a firmographic database (D&B, Data.com, etc.) to append company information. Then use a contact-centric database (ZoomInfo, etc.) to add direct-dial numbers, emails, etc.
Another significant challenge we faced was sorting our sales leads. Obviously, not all of our 30,000 registrants would be in a position to hear from us, let alone buy our software.
Enter lead scoring. Lead scoring is a technique used to rank leads based on their perceived value. This allows organizations to focus their efforts on those most likely to connect and convert. The higher the score, the more you’ll want to prioritize that individual.
There are many attributes you can use to score a lead. Some of the most common are:
- Attendance (and engagement during the event)
- Company size, vertical
- Previous engagement with your company
In advance of determining what attributes to score, you should have two activities completed:
1. What is your target market?
Too many times companies go after the proverbial “white space.” Unless you are selling lollipops to kids, your market is defined. Define this going into your lead scoring exercise.
2. Back test against your customer base.
Once you feel the attributes are nailed down, back test them against your customer base. Were they accurate? Were they more accurate against customers that churned? Why or why not?
There are three main elements to the optimization process:
1. Capacity planning
Don’t load 1,500 leads in a person’s queue if you know he/she can only make 150 calls in a day. Set clear stretch goals and load leads appropriately.
2. Best leads go to your best reps
For heaven’s sake, don’t give a lead that is scored a 100 to your newbie rep who is still getting the marbles out of his mouth. Giving the right leads to the right reps can increase your conversion by as much as 30 percent.
3. Be active on the floor and don’t be afraid to call an audible
Sometimes the best plans go awry. That’s OK, things happen. It is worse to stick with a failing plan than adjusting and amending in order to drive success.
This is a tricky one. Many companies either: a) call a lead once or twice and declare it “dead” or b) call it 58 times in a two-hour window. There is a balance here.
Depending on the industry and region, we recommend calling a lead at least six times. Please note, you must allow an adequate “rest period” between calls.
What sales or business development rep does not like a good incentive? It is imperative to ensure that your reps stay motivated, energized and driven.
Doing this does not have to cost you thousands of dollars.
We used a four-pronged approach for this event:
1. Hype and energy
Our team (managers and leadership) was on the floor. Our coaches were hip-hip with the reps. We used walkie talkies to call in our hourly results. We had the music going. The floor was buzzing.
Everyone likes being at the top of the leaderboard. This event was no different. Using the XANT PowerStandings tool, we gamified all productivity elements.
We bought energy drinks, snacks and meals for our team to keep them fueled throughout the day.
Contests and incentives are fun, but they don’t have to cost a bundle. We had smaller, fun prizes (movie tickets, candy, etc.) that we used to celebrate winners every couple of hours. Then, at the end, we drew for one large prize.
Like the rest of these tactics, this planning is not something that you should complete the day of the event. It should be created, approved and socialized several days in advance.
As with any campaign, it’s important to look back and evaluate. This is key to understanding what worked, what didn’t and what needs to be done next time. This debrief meeting should be open and honest with all parties (regardless of level) participating.
There you have it. And while this was our story, we’ve come to learn that creativity is contagious.
We’re confident that as you apply these proven strategies, you will flawlessly execute your next big event and experience a much better return.
We’ve made the content and presentations from the Sales Acceleration Summit available on demand and free for everyone. Visit the SAS page to learn from some of the biggest names in sales.
Image credit: JD Lasica