In this interview we will talk about lead generation in IT using not quite standard methods.
My current guest, Max Makarenko, is the founder and CEO of Docsify, sales & amp; marketing growth hacker. Max has been in B2B sales for over a decade.
After four years of working in outsourcing, he moved to the grocery business. Now he is also engaged in sharing his experience with outsourcing companies.
Max, please tell me, why did you leave the outsourcing product? What was the reason? Is outsourcing a good business too?
Well, it is not bad from the point of view, probably, of receiving some stable income, but, from the point of view of what is more “for the soul”, the soul nevertheless lies in that where the last chain is the giving of value. That is, when we work and make products for someone, and then we look and see how they do not always take off, but more often they don’t take off, it’s a shame because you put your whole soul into it.
And, accordingly, they came simply to the fact that at the level of even internal sensations I really wanted to make my product and so that nobody would influence how it would develop, so that we ourselves could influence it.
I follow you online and I see that the topic of outsourcing does not let you go, after all, outsourcing is sitting somewhere deep down, and it is very tight. Why?
The fact is that at that moment, when I was engaged in outsourcing, I now understand that I did not see the whole picture. When I moved, so to speak, to the other side, when we started to make a product, on the one hand, we began to be perceived as an object “to whom to sell”, and we constantly receive some offers and it just turned into some kind of madness, those. we all offer outsourcing services.
I saw it a little on the other side. And on the third hand, we have a lot of clients - outsourcing companies, including not only, by the way, in the Russian-speaking space, there are a lot of foreign clients who provide such services.
And when we take root and try to understand their sales processes, we see a lot of interesting things that could be applicable, and I, therefore, want to share with outsourcing companies how it could be better than most now cases.
That is, often the problems of the outsourcing business are not visible from the inside, but when you leave it and look at it from a grocery point of view.
One hundred percent, they are clearly visible. When I was engaged in it, there was no awareness of a large number of things that I now perfectly understand.
Many for some reason are fixated on the fact that outbound is what needs to be done right now, because it works faster, and the inbound channel needs to be developed for a very long time and this is a thankless task. In fact, this is a big mistake, because, firstly, it needs to be developed in parallel, and secondly, here is a simple example, when some kind of lead comes to us inbound, it already has some kind of need that has been formed, since I saw our site, I understood what we do, I left a request.
For outbound, most often we have to write to such leads, who often do not have a need and this process of demand formation takes a lot of time.
Therefore, I, in fact, do not recommend to work with any one channel, we always say that it should be some combination where we develop both channels in parallel. But today we will talk more about outbound and what practices there are and how it generally works.
There is a lot of controversy on the topic of outbound or inbound.In fact, when it comes to sales, we can’t talk only about the lead generation channel. Both outbound and inbound are just a channel from which we get new leads, and, accordingly, we cannot reason that, well, we are doing outbound or only inbound.
It is always a kind of relationship between outbound and inbound, because when you write even cold letters to your clients, in any case, you give a link to the site, people come in, look and there either see some elements of trust, or they don’t see, depending from this, decisions on whether to respond to the letter or not will be made further.
Many people with whom I communicate, for some reason, fixated on the fact that outbound is what needs to be done right now, because it works faster, and the inbound channel needs to be developed for a very long time and this is a thankless job. In fact, this is a big mistake, because, firstly, it needs to be developed in parallel, and secondly, here is a simple example, when some kind of lead comes to us inbound, it already has some kind of need that has been formed, since I saw our site, I understood what we do, I left a request.
For outbound, most often we have to write to such leads, who often do not have a need and this process of demand formation takes a lot of time.
Therefore, I, in fact, do not recommend to work with any one channel, we always say that it should be some combination where we develop both channels in parallel. But today we will talk more about outbound and what practices there are and how it generally works.
The very first, probably, delusion that I come across when communicating with people is that the outbound should always be mega-cold and it always looks like spam, that is, if we write a cold letter, it is always spam.
In fact, this is, in fact, the outdated approach that I spoke about when we just take some leads from unknown resources or even LinkedIn, just take some thousand leads, the US geography, something, such a position, we send and, naturally, it will look to the recipient as spam and I can assure you that such recipients receive such letters several times a day and very often they just delete them without reading, at least I have been doing this recently, because it is a frank spam
And the expedient approach is that we should not, in principle, write spam to anyone, and even if we need to write a cold letter, then as much as possible, before contact, you need to warm up the person. About how to warm up before a cold letter, I will tell including in the course of this master class.
How to start?
No matter which channel you develop, it’s inbound or outbound, it doesn’t matter, you should always start by understanding how and in what company you sell and what services you sell.
I will not get hung up, I think that this is a fairly obvious fact for everyone, but communicating with many companies, very few people can really formulate, and how do they actually differ from the services of companies that are on the floor above or on the floor below.
Basically it comes down to the fact that: “Well, we make projects with high quality”. Others also say that they do quality. "And we are doing projects on time." Others also say that they do on time, respectively, it is very important when you begin to work through any channel, to understand what your company is professional in, what you can separate from competitors.
Naturally, building up prices is not an option, because this chip, let's say, is already occupied by Asian countries, i.e.they are already well developed for the price and very often they offer me something to develop for $ 8-10, so the strategy should be comprehensive, it should rely either on some business domain or on some deep technical specialization, for example , any specific projects with a blockchain or machine learning.
When you formulate these criteria, it will be much easier for you to communicate with clients, because, again, if I need a developer, for example, an outsourcing company, then I always talk with one or two or three and always choose among them, according to what they say to me
That is, here it already affects when you come into contact with the client, and what do you tell him. After analyzing about a hundred of such calls here, the first contacts with customers, I can say with confidence that no one can answer the question, why are you better than you are really different in business and in detail.
And this is a very big problem, and first of all, what to start with, what to do, is to formulate your advantages so that customers can understand why they should choose you. Later I can give examples in the course of our class.
The second point also sways outbound and inbound, but in this case we speak in the outbound section. Before you write to someone, you must very clearly understand who your target audience is. Accordingly, if you write a thousand letters to companies, people who are not included in the portraits of your target audience, then you simply make spam and do not receive any answers.
Very often I see situations in which the head of the company comes in and says: “We are starting outbound, let's try”. Some first mailings are made, the second campaign, the third campaign, as a result, after some time, we get zero answers or one where it says: “I don’t care, write me.”
And after a few months, it is decided that this channel simply does not work and “let's not do it, this is not for us”. In fact, almost any channel works, if properly engaged in preparing for work with this channel and directly implementation.
Therefore, item one, which is incredibly important, is the creation of detailed so-called buyer persona, when you clearly understand what problems these people have, why you can help them solve it, you can justify it. The most important rule I would formulate when working with outbound is to be relevant.
If you are relevant to the people to whom you write, then, firstly, you will always have higher respontrade, secondly, no one will call you spammers, because very often, as I said, I repeat that simply There is no need for the people to whom you are writing, absolutely, and this is understandable even from their LinkedIn profile.
Here, for example, I often write: "Can you give us projects for subcontracting?", Despite the fact that LinkedIn shows that I have not been engaged in outsourcing for several years.
Therefore, a detailed study of who you are writing to, next, the next step is the segmentation of these target portraits, that is, who these people are, and the segmentation should end up on the number of people in the list of up to 50 people. You took some kind of niche, say, travel, you took some kind of geography, say, Germany.
You collect your portraits and you can collect them not only from LinkedIn, there are many other resources that allow you to pull off, some of them are listed below.
Plus there are also a lot of very targeted groups where your target audience can live.Therefore, just on the basis of these factors, you make microsegmented lists of your target audience, and when you have one campaign for 30-40 people, it is much easier to personalize the letter and show what you are really writing, understanding what it is about, who you write and why.
There are resource platforms that are not very popular, these are some narrow target communities, this is what works very well now. Suppose you are engaged in insurance or you have some cases that you can show in a business niche, you can search for such target groups, they usually contain from 100 to 1000 people maximum, but at the same time these are very high people qualities that will best fit your portrait.
MQL (marketing qualified lead) is the one that corresponds to the portrait of the target audience you described. How to get them? First, determine the criteria by which you are looking for them, starting from geography, ending with where you found the person.
If you find him in a group, then we can make a variable as a variable during personalization that we found him in a group on Facebook, and accordingly, this will affect, let's say, greater personalization, the best reply rate.
How now many collect data in order to write cold letters?
Usually it looks like this: there is LinkedIn, most often some kind of sales-navigator on LinkedIn and there is some kind of application like snov.io that allows you to receive e-mail from a LinkedIn profile, or you can receive a list of emails from the list of profiles.
We save all this in a csv-file, then with the help of some platforms, which we will talk about later, we send letters. This is an approach that everyone is doing now, and I can say with great confidence that personalization, which works at the level of name - company - position, is no longer personalization, it already works very poorly, so personalize everything, therefore these letters are already lying together in the inbox in humans, and no one reads them.
The second approach, which is more unique, which, I think, is far from being used by everyone, but at the same time it is not very complex.
For example, if your target audience is startups in some field, it doesn’t matter, there is such a platform as angellist.com, where there is a list of all startups and besides that there is still quite a lot of data about these startups, including which round the investments they are in, who their investors are and a lot of things that can be used as variables for personalization.
We take this platform, connect the Data Miner, which allows collecting unstructured data on a web page into a structured view and, accordingly, we enrich not just a profile with this tool, as in LinkedIn - company, position, name and everything, we add more mass variables that allow you to add the same angellist.com or crunchbase.com, and these variables will be used in the future for personalization.
In the same way, we add e-mail using the same snov.io and similar tools, we get a more enriched file with leads data that can be used and write more personalized letters to narrower groups. This is what allows you to be as relevant as possible.
And the third approach, where there is even a case in which we managed to get a reply rate of about 90%. How it works? There are a lot of groups or events on Facebook, where every event on Facebook, every group on Facebook has a list of participants.
With the help of certain tools that are listed below, one of them is called the Phantombuster, where you can gather all the participants of a group or event automatically.
And then automatically find their profiles in LinkedIn and with the help of Dux-Soup - this is a program that helps to automatically send invitations and messages, send a very personalized message to people.
How many variables do you have in one letter?
It depends very much on what letter, what stage it is, but on the whole for the first letter I would take 4-5 good quality variables.
Is it possible to build on the feedback received from certain market segments as a result of a test marketing campaign, and not from the client’s originally planned portrait?
If the feedback is appropriate, then you just need to adjust the portrait from this feedback and then work on the portrait anyway, that is, feedback allows you to refine the portrait of the target audience in more detail.
That is, in any case, at first there is a portrait as a hypothesis, then a portrait, polished by practice.
And I can say that working with portraits never stops, that is, if we started with a small number of portraits, now we have segmented them a lot, there are already a large number of them, and every day each portrait is clarified, honed. Therefore, of course, this is a permanent job that will allow us to more and more clearly gather our target audience over time.
Another question: LinkedIn sales-navigator adds the output of those who are not nearly interested, maybe there was a bug, and maybe the algorithm is too complex and curved? Do not come across such things?
Yes, we did, of course, and it’s not just the sales navigator, it’s in principle and in ordinary LinkedIn. The problem is this: very often this is due to the fact that when we, for example, in the sales navigator enter keywords in the search, LinkedIn very strongly cuts the output. Its algorithms are far from perfect, and I recommend in this case not to use any keywords at all, but to make selections for specific fields and then the output will be better.
I'll tell you an example, which I hope will show how to use this tool correctly. Take our product. One of the portraits that we have identified is the users of the Pipedrive CRM system, that is, those who can actually be our customers.
We found a group on Facebook, it was called “Pipedrive users” or something like that and with the help of Phantom Buster gathered all the members of this group, then using the same Phantom Buster found their LinkedIn profiles automatically and further using Dux -Soup sent messages on LinkedIn, in which we wrote: "Hi, I found you on Facebook in such and such a group, and in this regard, I had a question, can you tell me something ..."
And we had a very high reply rate. Of those who were legitimate, there were about 90% of the answers, and this is the case that no one in life would ever have thought that we automated it, it looked as if I had found a person somewhere, saw what he was to the group, found his profile in LinkedIn and decided to write.
It looked very personalized, so there was a very high reply rate plus it was quite relevant, since indeed in this group there were those users of the CRM system that we needed, and they could give us answers to the questions.
And after we had already entered the dialogue, we began to ask how they solve such and such a problem, they say that in any way, and we have already offered them our tools as options further.Therefore, to find such approaches to outbound is that the next few years will actively develop, I am sure.
And this is just one of the cases of using the same Phantom Buster, this is a very large API for marketers and retailers that can be used. A little later, I will tell you what other cases he can cover.
Regarding the channels, we all know that there is an e-mail and LinkedIn, and we work with them. The question, probably, is that it is necessary to change the approaches in working with them, this is the first.
And second, you need to pay attention to Facebook as a source of communications, despite the fact that many people say that FB is a personal space, there it is better not to write about work. But it depends on who your target audience is.
I can say for sure that if your target audience is startups, whatever they are, wherever they are, then Facebook is a great place for communication.
And if you, for example, look for some narrow FB-groups, almost every geography has its own FB-group, for example, start-ups in Berlin, start-ups in London, etc., you can find some narrow in any city, any country community, groups of people who communicate with each other.
The only thing that you need to behave very carefully there, I often observe in such groups, when some John or someone else appears and writes: “Guys, I’m now considering a contractor for me that I’ll do I'm looking for a developer. Tell me, is $ 90 an hour a normal price or not? ”
And they begin to write answers, someone writes that if this is a company, then this is okay price, if a freelancer, then it can be a bit cheaper.
And as a result, after some time, Vasya Ivanov appears, who bursts into this topic and writes: “And we can, in principle, do 40 each, easily.”
In general, this is the wrong approach to sales, it is more a decrease in the value of what all companies do in relation to customers, so if you are already in these groups, then you need to at least make your offers more correct.
Accordingly, pay attention to Facebook too, there are also leads there, all people under the age of 40 are your target audience, they are much easier to get on Facebook.
Now let's talk about each of the channels separately.
First of all, everyone knows that emails do not need to be sent manually, companies do it through social tools for outreach email. I think that you have heard about some of them, and about some of them I don’t want to focus now on one tool - this is lemlist.com.
What is its competitive difference, in my opinion, this is the competitive difference that you should have in front of your customers. In lemlist, it lies in the fact that they can personalize, that is, insert variables not only as text, but also as an image.
How it works? Suppose I take a white cup in my hands, supposedly drink tea, take pictures of myself, and the client’s logo is substituted for this white cup as a variable. Or I take a photo on the background of an empty board, and automatically some text is inserted on this board, supposedly written by hand, where I write, for example, the name of the person, etc. This allows for a very high level of personalization.
When we switched to this tool, I can say that one hundred percent after the AB-tests we have increased the reply rate for various campaigns from 20 to 100%. Why it happens? Because people most often do not imagine how this could be done automatically, respectively, they have a clear impression that I did it manually, and if manually, it is not spam, and if not spam, it means, in principle , you can think, see, maybe something to answer.
Many people directly write to us: “Guys, I have never received such a cold letter,” but the main thing is that we started communicating, therefore, as an option, I advise you to consider this tool as well.
Regarding the main points to consider when you write cold letters and write email campaigns.
The first - of course, no one reads very long letters. Sometimes they send me a huge list of all the technologies that the company owns, then they write some more two-page introduction, this is simply not readable, therefore, your every letter should be short and relevant to the person. Short, it means that a person is likely to read it completely, if it is relevant, then he will also most likely respond.
The second factor, which is very important, is to write from a business domain. I sometimes meet companies that tell me: “And we create specially gmail mail and write from it”. I say: “Why are you doing this?” They say: “But what if our domain gets spammed by spam”. This is exactly the difference, i.e. you do not need to deal with spam, you need to do quality outreach, let's call it so, and really be relevant, help people in that they can be useful.
Therefore, if you do this, it will not give any results at all, you can simply stop and quietly go to your business address, write from it and write so that there is no likelihood that people will send this letter to spam.
Everyone already knows that there should be at least 5-7 stages in a campaign, I think that in some cases there may be more. There is official open statistics about cold emailing, which can be found on the Internet, that more than 50% of all answers come after the fourth letter in the thread.
I even conducted an experiment at some point, when they began to outreach me and write me letters, I watched who would reach what stage. And in fact there were an average of 2-3 letters, this is what is enough, then everything calms down. Therefore, you should try to do at least 5-7 stages in the mailing list.
Max, just a question about the topics of these letters. Immediately the question arises, what to write in these seven letters? Well, the first letter: “Hello, John, everything is okay, I found you in the group,” the second one came up with something else, on the third imagination runs dry, and on the fourth there is generally zero.
Here it is a very important point to look at the involvement of people in general, that is, it is not necessary to write the same message that was in the first letter. Very often this problem arises when we wrote the first letter with some specific message or suggestion, and then we tried to press all seven letters in the same direction.
You just need to switch. We, for example, as we do, the first letter is clear; we very often do the second letter in such a way that, say, we throw a link. Usually the goal of a cold letter is to make an appointment or phoned. The first letter is sent to this, in the second we write: “Sorry, forgot to add a link to calendly, choose the time at your convenience.” The third letter: “So I sent a letter of such and such a number, I want to make sure you saw it or did not see it, can you give some feedback?”
And then we change the approach. Here is very important understanding of the portrait. When we write, for example, to some narrow group, we understand that this narrow group may be sick, and we write: “By the way, we have written an article on this topic that may be useful to you, here is the link, see ".
In principle, probably, the entire outbound is built on first giving, and then asking for something, not so that we immediately take and ask, but first you have to give something.
Therefore, here it is exactly the place where inbound and outbound intersect very closely and partially the content that we write for inbound somehow, we also use it in the outbound channel, when we write letters and send specific content to specific target groups We understand that it should be useful for them. Therefore, we need to build these chains in different ways, we need to experiment.
Tell me please, did you succeed at the first attempt to create these chains or did you suffer, try, experiment?
Create something here is not a problem, it is necessary that they work. We managed to create something the first time, yes. The question is that they earned, of course, not the first time.
We tried a lot, you need to test everything. It happens that you find some kind of approach that works, it worked for you for a month and everything, after that it no longer works, although you write for the same target audience.
Therefore, this is the thing that should: a) constantly change; b) be constantly tested, that is, there is no limit to perfection.
We take and start by taking two topics, seeing where open rate is better, then taking that topic from which open rate is better and taking one more invented, watching, now they have been compared.
We do the same with letters, we change letters and see if the open rate changes, we do it with such personalization, with such personalization. That is, it is a very large amount of work that is being done on an ongoing basis.
I have not seen more than one case where you can find some option that you can save, click "use all the time" and it will always bring leads.
Everything is constantly changing, especially since we left this mailing when we send thousands of emails, and now these are the groups that are narrowly targeted, so the text is constantly changing for them.
5-7 stages. At what time interval are these stages calculated, is this how much approximately in time?
Gaps can be custom, that is, between the first letters of 2-3 days, between those that are closer to the end there may be a week interval. That is, in general, up to 1.5 months for it to be. Again, outbound is such a topic, where time is needed to form a need, even if a person doesn’t have it now, if you give him the right information, the right content, then over time, when this need appears, he will remember and turn.
Is the modification of chains done automatically, based on a comparison or manually?
We make several options, and in the same tools there is an A/B testing function, we simply turn on the A/B test and see which modification works better.
You can use gifs, although they should be used sparingly, we noticed that the reply rate rises when we use some kind of gif that can lift a person's mood. That is, it is important to work with how it looks at all; this is certainly not a panacea, these are such small things that can be used.
Another important point is that if you send your letters via such systems, then for the first letter, disable the tracking of the opening letter, because the tracking pixel that is added for tracking adds html-code to the letter, and if for the first time inbox comes the letter, then it can get into spam.
Therefore, the deliverability increases significantly, if for the first letter it is easy to disable this pixel. There are a few more points, for example, when we write a letter, below we make a couple of errors, not grammatical, but typos that T9 usually makes and add below “sent from my Iphone”.
This adds such personalization from the point of view of what I seemed to have just sat, typed, made a mistake, and this really increases to some extent the reply rate as well.
There are a number of technical issues that are more to the domain administrator in order to set up a correct SPF signature, a DKIM signature. DMARC is what allows you to avoid spamming. Once they called me, they said: “We have a problem, we first sent letters a month, there were no answers at all, then we began to analyze, it turned out that they do not reach.” And we looked, and there these signatures were simply not configured and everything fell into spam by default.
If you work with native speakers of English, such as the United States or the UK, then it is very important to read letters from profreders who understand the mentality and can reissue the letter to you in other words, leaving the same message.
What are the weekly plans for the number of sent emails?
It depends very much on what goal we need to achieve, they are not permanent. It all depends on the funnel, there is a funnel, there is a CRM system, we look at the entrance of the funnel, if we see that from the point of view of the lead generation, subsidence started at the first stages, then we send more letters.
If we do not have time to work out these first stages, then on the contrary, we suspend the campaigns and wait for the leads to pass through the funnel, so I can’t give specific recommendations on how many letters to send, we need to start specifically from the situation.
Now a few interesting secret pieces, maybe someone uses some, but I think it will be very useful anyway. There are tools, they are listed below, which allow you to find out from which company a person came to your site.
How do we use it? To those we are outreach, we write letters, we also know which companies we write to. And we look at which of them visited the site, and if we see what we wrote, for example, to the Disney company and two days after we sent the letter, it was a visit to our website from the Disney company, we understand that most likely this person or his colleagues came in.
Accordingly, we can personalize the next letter in the chain, and if it was on the pricing page, then we write that we can call and tell in more detail how our pricing works, etc.
That is, there are a lot of approaches, for each business they are probably their own, but it is always useful to know this information and to do some personalization based on it.
The second interesting tool. Before you start writing your leads, show some activity on social networks, for example, like, comment, share their posts and be sure to do it on behalf of which the newsletter will be sent from.
Thus, a person sees that some Vanya liked him once, liked the second time, commented on something, shared something, and then two days later he received a letter from the same photo on Facebook with the same name .
This is such a mini-warming up before we write, so that the letter is not so cold and there is a feeling that he already knows this person.
By the way, one of the cases, how to use the Phantom Buster, so as not to do it all by hand. We just pound the list of leads, and this thing itself likes, shares, does some things that are customizable and do not need to be done with your hands, it is very convenient and thus the conversion into answers increases.
And Facebook does not calculate that this is not a person, but some program does?
Not. Let's just say, this tool is for “handy”, there it is necessary that everything is clearly done under vpn, then everything will be fine.
The third approach is before we outreach, we take a list of emails that we plan to outreach and run an advertising campaign on them on Facebook, where you can run ads on a specific list of emails.
And before you write, a person sees your advertisement all the time, maybe you even took a video of yourself and tell something.
It greatly enhances trust when he receives a letter, and he is even glad that such a famous person wrote to him. We also encountered this, it works well to increase the same reply rate.
All these things are aimed at maximizing the optimization of the outbound that you are doing.
LinkedIn is literally a couple of words. Do not send standard invitations, I think this is understandable. There are the same rules that you need to automate everything and do the minimum number of actions with your hands.
To do this, there are tools such as Dux-soup, Linkedhelper. We, in principle, use both topics and themes, but LinkedIn very seriously follows such things so that it can be automated to the minimum, so they constantly try to pinch their fingers with these tools, and they constantly dodge and invent new approaches.
Therefore, it happens when it is not very stable, but in general, it works 90% very well and saves a huge amount of time for those who do this outreach.
Now a few words about why it happens that sales often work inefficiently, spend a lot of time on getting some tasks into the CRM system, on contacting incomprehensible leads that did not qualify, on to write follow-ups manually, etc.
Many sales departments are faced with a similar problem and the main nuance lies in the fact that there are no properly distributed roles and responsibilities within the sales department.
So ideally it should look like:
There is a book, perhaps many have read, Predictable Revenue, whose author worked at Salesforce, and he, in fact, developed a new approach that was implemented in Salesforce and now this approach has become quite popular.
Its essence lies in the fact that if we exclude the head of sales as a role, within the operational sales department, the roles are divided into a lead generator, SDR (sales development representative) and Account Executive (closer).
Why such a distribution of roles and how is it useful?
Firstly, it is very clear to formulate and establish kpi for each of these roles. If we are talking about the Lead Generator, then it should have marketing qualified leads and, in fact, the first generated answers from potentially interested customers.
And this is his kpi both quantitatively and qualitatively. If we talk about SDR, then the interested and MQL answers are at the input, and at the output it must have sales qualified leads and they must pass at the output according to certain criteria.
And the task of the Account Executive is to take the lead that is qualified, who has the need and have the right negotiations with him, sign the contract.
Such a system within the sales department saves time for those who previously focused on everything and most of the time was engaged in non-seller activity, let's say.
How to get sales qualified leads? There is a very good framework BANT, which consists of four criteria, the first criterion is the budget, that is, we must understand that a person understands in general what budget he is talking about, not that he already agrees with it, but at least he is aware of this budget.The second criterion is the decision maker.
We must understand that we are not talking to someone who finds out for someone, but to someone who is already making a decision. Third - needs - we understand whether a person has a need for the solution that we offer or not.
And the fourth - time - where we actually determine whether it needs it now, urgently, or in half a year or completely uncertain. Thus, the task of the SDR is to carry out this qualification and transfer the Account Executive lead, which passes on these four criteria.
And the Account Executive, in turn, focuses on working with such leads, and, accordingly, the results of his work are also improving, because he does not spend time on those who do not pass this qualification.
From what I see in the sales funnels of different companies, that very many leads do not reach the qualification stage and merge somewhere along the way. Why it happens?
Very often this happens because, firstly, we do not always measure as a whole when we write letters to people, how much they open them, how much they read them.
And secondly, very often we just forget followup-it. This is a very important point, especially already when inside the funnel. That is, in fact, when you complete a live communication with a client, you should immediately set the task to call him after a certain period of time, in two or three days, as was agreed.
Very often I see a situation where customers simply forget, or when a huge number of tasks accumulate and as a result, the person simply gives up.
This is just a big problem, which is primarily due to the fact that sales does not work in a CRM environment. When sales has the main environment of his work - it is CRM, he very clearly understands that here is the whole list of my tasks, I do nothing else, I go on my tasks.
When it happens that there is a CRM somewhere on the side, and I have 80 tasks there, but I think that now it's a priority to do something else, this is where the problem begins. These tasks accumulate like a snowball, and this leads to the fact that the CRM-system as such does not work, but serves more as a database to record what is happening with the client.
How to make proposals/estimates depending on the situation. There are a few simple rules and the most important thing is to make good, high-quality proposals/estimates. We did a little research, we have about 80% of the people who prepared the estimates, did this simply in google docs and made a google-table, where we entered the number of hours, the amount and this, in principle, is enough.
This is a big problem in general, probably, in the IT industry, when we treat the creation of such documents very, let's say, sloppy. This is what the client sees, on the basis of which he makes a decision, and he very often compares it with other proposals/estimates that he gets at the same time. Therefore, your option should be significantly different from the others. I highly recommend once to allocate some time and even a budget in order to make a very good quality template that not only adds the results of the assessment, but also adds some elements of marketing and sales.
Suppose if we send this to a client, a company in the travel industry, we show what kind of relevant cases we have, what results have been achieved by the travel company we worked with, what we gave them.
At that stage, when a person most often sees numbers, and if he sees the same google doc from sales from India, naturally, they look the same, only the price is three times lower there, and he has a question why this is so, you need to be very careful prepare a proposal/estimate, add trust.
And there is a good tool called Useloom, which allows you to directly embed your video when you send an estimate. Instead of writing the accompanying text in the letter, you simply attach the video, and this greatly enhances the trust.
A person gets an estimate, he is beautifully decorated, everything is clearly painted, there are cases, plus there is not only text, but an accompanying video showing the person, it is told what benefits there are, an understanding immediately appears that this is a living company, living people, they normally speak english and so on.
These things have a very good effect on personalization; they give a good result to customizing your offer. I highly recommend giving something beyond expectations. If you make an estimate, do something else, for which others will ask $ 100-200, some additional calculation or a small TZ, do it for free, it always pays off. Give us more than they expect from you, and they will always come and return to you.
Where to get leads? If, for example, you do not consider outbound and inbound channels, during CRM you have gathered some number of leads that you have not closed, but they are your target audience. For some reason everyone totally forgot about them.
My recommendation is as follows. First, to completely renew all the leads that you have, to resume and at least once every six months to find out how they are doing, plus it is very important to ensure that if this is the lead that you had before, and he, For example, I changed my place of work (they can be monitored on LinkedIn).
Perhaps someone else has come to his place, and you can turn to him and say that we have worked with this person before, we can continue to communicate with you.
And, on the other hand, the person who has left has a new place of work and perhaps there is a new need and this is an additional reason to contact him and clarify.
You can track it using google alerts, or on LinkedIn, but in general, you can track specific people, if something happens, immediately respond and be the first.
The first mistake I mentioned above is that many use the CRM system as a database and do not automate their work. This, of course, is already good, but this is not what the whole CRM system was created for.
In my understanding, a CRM system is what allows you to really determine priorities for employees, understand what tasks to do, when to do them, how much time to spend on it and to some extent, we can say that the CRM system should give direction .
All this is realized and set up - a rather complicated process that makes you look deeper at the processes that occur within the sales department. And if in the processes of chaos, then by automating them, we get automated chaos.
Accordingly, you must first understand how the process itself works, and only then automate it in the CRM system. How to create auto-tasks in CRM-systems depends on what goal, at what stage this client is and there are so many different options.
You probably use a CRM system for sales, email, some other services, it is very important to combine them into a single infrastructure. Now there are tools (Zapier, for example) that allow you to integrate various services among themselves and transfer data between them.
I can give you an example of how we automate the creation of tasks in our system. We have several types of tasks.
One of the types of tasks is that when we send a proposal to our client, as soon as he opens it, we immediately send a hook through Zapier, and the task is assigned to the manager in CRM, that the client has opened a commercial offer, you can contact him.
Because it very often happens that we send a commercial offer, the client has not opened it yet, and we call us in two days to panic why there is no answer.
This greatly simplifies the work and, again, sets the right priorities. There are a lot of such opportunities for creating autotasks in a CRM system, but they are almost always associated with other services. Suppose we take the same outreach system, type reply.
There, in the same way, a CRM system connects via Zapier and, if an answer comes, the responsible person is immediately asked to contact or create a transaction if necessary.
There are many different cases and there is not one of some kind of proper flow for which you need to automate CRM. It is very dependent on the company, on the processes that exist within the company, on the goals that the company sets for the sales department, on the structure of the sales department, etc.
Therefore, it is very difficult to say which concrete bundles should be used and how to automate. But now the possibilities for automation are simply a huge amount and the CRM systems themselves do a lot for this.
Metrics need to be monitored in order to be able to influence them and measure the results of this influence, otherwise they are simply not needed. What to track using metrics? To do this, you need to understand what is important to you at the moment, but in general, we set such metrics for ourselves:
And finally, three useful outbound books that I advise you to read, here they are: