Getting Your Lead Research Right

Author:

Mark Colgan
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Episode

92

Getting Your Lead Research Right

Aurelien Mottier

CEO at Operatix

Mark Colgan

Co-Founder and CRO at Speak On Podcasts

Just because a prospect matches your buyer persona, it doesn’t mean they want to buy your product.

You’ve got to find triggers or signals to get in front of accounts more likely to be in the market for a solution like yours.

Recently on B2B Revenue Acceleration, we spoke with Mark Colgan, Co-Founder and CRO at Speak On Podcasts and Outbound Prospecting Coach at Sales Impact Academy, about how to get your lead research right.

Beginning his career as an SDR in the recruitment industry enabled Mark to form a solid foundation for the most challenging type of sales: “In the world of recruitment, you’re selling two things. You’re selling an opportunity to a candidate, and you’re also selling a person to the hiring manager,” he said.

Mark has developed 14 lead sourcing playbooks based on data from over 100 outbound companies, and today he shares his top insights with us.

Let’s get started!

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How do I find people who are more likely to buy? The answer that I fell upon is relevance and timing.

Mark Colgan – Co-Founder and CRO at Speak On Podcasts

Lead sourcing playbooks

Citing his inspiration as The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes, Mark contemplated these statistics – the book came out in about 2007, but it is still as relevant now.

  • Only 3% of your market are actively buying.
  • Only 7% may be interested in buying.
  • The remaining 90% just aren’t in active buying mode.

“How do I find people who are more likely to buy?” Mark asked. “And the answer that I fell upon is relevance and timing.”

Relevance & timing

Identifying relevancy and timing means paying attention to the triggers or events happening in prospects’ lives that signal they are more likely to buy.

Here are just a few of the signals to watch for:

  1. Raising a round of funding (the company is growing and has new targets), which was also mentioned by ‘Michael Hanson’ in your interview with him – ‘How to Get Outbound Sales Cadences Right’
  2. Currently hiring (need new solutions for their team)
  3. Technology (what they have vs. what they need)
  4. New hires (motivated to make changes and do things differently, making them adopt more of a ‘buyer mode’)
  5. Social expansion (developing social platforms and influence) – what people comment on, request a pdf for etc. means that more often than not, that person will have an interest in whatever is posted, and this information can be an indication that they could be interested in your product, or have a problem you may be able to solve.

Think about the events based on the information you can see to determine whether you’re reaching the 3% who are actively buying.

“It’s taking the hypotheses that these people may be more likely to be interested in your product or solution or they have a problem that you can sell,” Mark said.

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What is happening in my prospect’s life before they need the solution that I sell?

Mark Colgan – Co-Founder and CRO at Speak On Podcasts

Results from the playbooks

As mentioned previously, Mark has produced around 14 playbooks to this date.

Caveat: Every company is different, of course. But here are three illustrations of how the playbooks are successful. 

Example one – Mark helped a cold email copywriter find people who were voting on product launches on Product Hunt and offered to review their cold email copy. The copywriter had to stop the campaign because he was flooded with inbound leads.

“It’s because we were targeting people that we knew were interested rather than targeting every VP of Sales in London, of which there’s tens of thousands on LinkedIn. So it’s really narrowing that 3%,” he said.

Example two – Mark helped a HubSpot agency set up a trigger alert, when a certain size company uses a particular technology they would reach out with a tips-and-tricks email to establish goodwill. This helped in the long run, as when these companies have a problem, they know who to seek.

Example three – Mark helped a cloud security company find a LinkedIn learning course for people with a specific certification – he used that information as a reason to reach out, because he knew the cloud security experts would have the problem that the software would help them overcome.

“It’s all about thinking, ‘What is happening in my prospect’s life before they need the solution that I sell?’” he said.

Check out Mark’s 20-minute webinar about the playbooks here.

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My main methodology when it comes to outbound is that it’s not about booking appointments. It’s about starting conversations.

Mark Colgan – Co-Founder and CRO at Speak On Podcasts

Leveraging relevant research

So, how can sales people effectively address the context of their research when they reach out to the companies and individuals identified as most relevant?  

It depends who you are selling to, but cold calling is one of the most effective channels when it comes to sales. 

You don’t want to spook your prospect, obviously, but it’s fine to reference public data.

“The key is not to pitch your product or service. It’s really to start with a question,” Mark said.

His tried-and-true approach is to ask them whether they’re experiencing this pain.

“My main methodology when it comes to outbound is that it’s not about booking appointments. It’s about starting conversations,” he said.

If you’ve done your research well (which is a crucial step in a successful sales process), the answer to the pain question should be yes. Then you can start to ask for details and establish yourself as a reliable expert.

At one of Mark’s previous companies during a conference, they put on a happy hour and golf trip raffle instead of the big stand they usually bought. Through the relationships that were formed by putting peers in the same room, the company turned a £2,000 spend into a $ 20 million deal.

“It’s thinking about what they really want. They want to learn, they want to know whether they’re doing a good job, they want to understand from you who has a unique insight into hundreds of campaigns or hundreds of customers — and learning from your insights is one of the best ways to build yourself up, to position yourself as a trusted adviser and not that salesperson,” said Mark.

Reach Mark on LinkedIn or markcolgan.co.uk.

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About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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Channel Transformation

Digital transformation is changing how companies buy and use business solutions, making vendors re-assess the capabilities of their channel ecosystem. With channel dynamics in constant flux, vendors need to be ready to cut ties with partners that don’t share their vision or have connections with the right B2B buyers.

 

Operatix has supported numerous vendors in their path to Channel transformation by assessing current partners and recruiting new partners that are more aligned with their new channel strategy. Once the right partners have been identified, Operatix built scalable outbound sales development programs that accelerated their routes to market.

Inbound Response Management

In a competitive industry like technology every lead counts. Operatix can help you maximize conversion from MQL to SQL and from lead to pipeline, increasing both your revenue and ROI on marketing activities.

Account Identification

Identifying the accounts that are more likely to buy from you is part of our expertise. We will research the market, identify verticals and industries that can benefit from your solution and set up qualified sales engagements for your teams to kick-off the sales process. 

Cold Prospecting

Our team will identify new sales opportunities within the strategic accounts that you haven’t been successful in penetrating through your sales & marketing efforts. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, multitouch approach to connect with prospects, generating qualified sales engagements for your team and ultimately increasing your pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Partner Concierge Service

Our Partner Concierge Service helps vendors accelerate their channel programs, by engaging and nurturing channel partners and supporting them to get to revenue quicker.

Demand Generation

Whether you need to implement a demand generation strategy or get more results out of your existing demand gen engine, Operatix can work alongside your marketing team to yield better results out of your demand generation programs.

Account-based Marketing

An Account-based Marketing strategy is only as successful as the revenue it generates. At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Lead Qualification

If your marketing leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help sieve through leads that need further qualification, so they are ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with.

Account-based Selling

At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Pipeline Generation

Generating Pipeline for our clients is our key-objective. And we do that by using a multi-touch, multi-channel approach to generate qualified sales engagements for our customers’ sales teams.   

Account Intelligence / Deep Dive

Understanding buying centres, hierarchies and relevant personas in strategic accounts is a fundamental step to increase conversion rates. By leveraging account intelligence in a sales conversation your team can tailor their message and provide value to their prospective customer. But sales & marketing teams often struggle to dedicate time and resources to do the deep research and this is where Operatix can help.

DMID – Decision Maker Identification

Finding quality data is an on-going challenge for B2B Tech vendors. The accuracy of data platforms is questionable and that is why Operatix developed a manual process to identify & verify contact details for decision makers within strategic target accounts.

Playbook design

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to get your messaging right, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapt the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

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Sales Playbook Development

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to implementing the correct messaging, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapting the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Lead Qualification

If your leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help filter through leads that need further qualification, ensuring that they’re ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with and progress through the funnel. 

Partner Portal / Marketing Concierge Service

Vendors often spend thousands of dollars building multifunctional Partner Portals to help channel partners educate their teams, manage opportunities, and create marketing programs. Still, these portals are often underutilized due to lack of bandwidth and capacity from vendors to offer support in enabling their partner community. Operatix, through their Partner Development team, can support your partners to make the best use out of your partner portal, managing the relationship with your partners and helping them set up co-marketing campaigns to drive more revenue for both businesses. 

Marketing & Sales Alignment

The sales development function is often seen as the “glue” that brings sales & marketing teams together. By working as an extension of your teams, Operatix will be your predictable source of pipeline, sales & revenue.

Optimization of MDF

Market Development Funds are an important component of any channel ecosystem, though vendors believe they are not maximizing the return on investment they should be getting from their MDF programs. At Operatix, we build scalable outbound sales development programs that will give you the visibility of return over the invested spend and will provide clear value for your channel partners.

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The 80/20 rule is still very applicable to the channel, which means that investing in partner productivity should be a priority for vendors looking to grow their businesses. Operatix can increase partner productivity and shorten sales cycles, by identifying ready to engage sales opportunities for your most valued channel partners.

Virtual Channel Account managers

Our VCAM team is responsible for building, maintaining, and managing sound relationships with current and prospective channel partners. They can get involved in opening up new sales conversations as well as closing small businesses up to $ 10k.

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Whether your business decided for a Tier 1 or Tier 2 distribution model, Operatix can help your channel partners get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements to your channel partners we can accelerate your route to market with tangible and easily measurable results.

Solution Selling Training

Far too often vendors insist on enabling their channel partners to talk about features and technical details of their solutions. Customers don’t buy features; they buy the benefits your solution can bring. Operatix will work with your partner community to train them in articulating your message from a high-level business perspective, enabling them to talk to prospects about the value your solution can bring to their company from a board-level perspective.

Channel Enablement

Enabling your channel partners have measurable wins for your business when done right. Operatix has a proven track record in enabling channel partners from a sales & marketing perspective, providing them the knowledge and tools to successfully pitch your solution and sell the value & benefits of it. 

Partner Recruitment

Recruiting the right Channel Partners is the first step for a successful channel program. Operatix has helped over 350 B2B Software vendors recruit suitable channel partners across EMEA and North America, supporting them to scale and expand their presence in different geographies and verticals. 

Risk/Reward Business Model

To truly work as an extension of our client’s sales & marketing teams, we have also adapted our business models to show how our clients operate, and how their success is measured. With our risk/reward business model your investment is proportional to the results our team delivers.

Sales Qualified Leads

On average, 52.5% of the sales engagements set up by our team progress into a next step in the sale process. That means that 5 out of 10 meetings will progress either into a POC, a Demo or a pipeline opportunity.

Geographical Scale

Trading in different geographical markets not only requires a knowledge of the native language, local rules & policies, but a deeper understanding of the local culture and habits. We have the ability to deliver campaigns in multiple countries with flexible resource allocation. This is through our team of international speakers, who have the ability to sell in 17 different languages across the globe.

Increase Revenue & Decrease Cost

Building an internal sales development team comes with many additional costs and challenges that aren’t always taken into account: recruiting resources, training and enabling them etc. You also need to take into account the need for having the data and tools to make them successful, which in turn requires time, capital and effort. By outsourcing your sales development to Operatix you will see your revenue increasing, while decreasing costs and business risk.

Predictable Pipeline Generation

On average, our clients see a 26X ROI on the programs we deliver. By understanding your revenue targets and sales pipeline gap, we will work on a sales & marketing plan that will deliver tangible results.

Vertical Growth

Entering new industries or launching new product lines? Operatix can accelerate your growth by supporting your go-to-market strategy, and getting your sales teams in front of decision makers in key target accounts.

Reduce Headcount

By outsourcing your sales development and partner programs to Operatix; we reduce headcount and the challenges that come with managing people, technologies, and processes. We take care of your sales development, so you can focus on what matters the most: growing your business.

Revenue Acceleration

Operatix helps your business get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements for your direct sales team (to kick-off new sales cycles), or by accelerating the growth of your channel partners, our focus remains on delivering tangible results for your business. 

Persona-based Selling

Operatix team will design specifically tailored messages to influence the different levels of decision makers in the sales process, tailoring the communication according to each job function. Our focus is to sell the value of your solution from a business perspective, not its features.    

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