Lead Generation Best Practice Follow-up – Avoid the Call of Shame

March 3, 2012 at 7:00 AM

How does your lead generation team perform follow-up and nurturing?  This article will give you the fundamental Lead Generation best practice points to guide your team’s calling practices.

First let’s examine the problem.  It’s painful to be afflicted with ineffective LeadGen calls.  After engaging a company’s website, prospects are often rewarded with scripted and unimaginative follow-up.  Here are some classic Calls of Shame: 

 Lead Generation Follow-up Best Practices
  • “I noticed you downloaded a white paper and wanted to see if I could answer any questions.”
  • “You stopped by our booth at the conference, I would like to schedule a time to discuss your needs in more detail.”
  • “I received your request for a demo and wanted to start by asking you a few questions… Are you the decision maker? What is your timeframe for a decision? Blah blah blah

3rd Down and a Cloud of Dust  

We have all seen NFL teams that lack imagination.  Observing Lead Generation teams execute unimaginative follow-up is a throwback to the Marty Schottenhiemer led Kansas City Chiefs of the 1990’s. 

Schottenheimer excelled in coaching the defensive side of the ball, but largely ignored the offense. His offense was laughable.  When faced with a ‘3rd and Long’ the Chiefs offense would line up in a double tight-end set and run a 270-pound bruising tailback nicknamed The Nigerian Nightmare right up the middle for a gain of 3 yards.   Third down and a cloud of dust was the predictable result.  It didn’t seem to matter that 1st down conversions were almost non-existent.  Schottenheimer willed his teams to bluntly pound a path to success.  His offense was inept because he didn’t adapt. 

Lead Generation teams operate no different when pounding out follow-up calls that are out of synch with best practices.   Adapt to work smarter. 

Balanced Approach – Leveraging Lead Generation Best Practices for Follow-up

Warm the Call - Gather knowledge on the contact by reviewing their company and industry through 3rd party data sources, website search and LinkedIn.  Identify their main product/service offering. Review past activity reports of their website visits and content downloads. Think through their likely challenge.

Familiarity vs. Expertise - Don’t worry about being an expert. Deep questions that challenge you are the perfect opportunity to propose a meeting to discuss further with the real expert -- the sales representative.  It is okay to say “I don’t know” when the questions go deeper than knowledge. Basic knowledge and natural non-scripted delivery is more than enough to be successful.

Bring New Value - The LDR must go above and beyond what an automatic nurture path can provide.  Value must be brought to the table in every interaction.  Delivering value:

  • A concept that specifically applies to their company
  • A piece of information related to their activity key interests
  • An example of how a similar company achieved success

Give the Prospect a Sense of Control - The key purpose is to engage in discussion.  Interactions should not be pitches but an opportunity  to explore their own needs.  Ask what their thoughts are and if they believe a concept could apply to their company. 

Build Off of Activity History - The Prospect has already revealed to you some of their  preferences, as well as concepts that were interesting.  “I saw that you were interested in ‘X.’  I actually have some more material on that topic that I think specifically applies to you.”

Develop Natural Conversation Talk Tracks - People can sniff out a scripted caller.  Rip the scripts up. Invest time helping your LDR’s develop conversation ability through exercises and feedback. 

Engaging High-Level Contacts - High-Level contacts are bombarded with requests for their time, so initiating engagement requires use of a few key concepts to overcome their hesitance:

  • Be Confident and direct to open a call - Explain the purpose of the call in the first sentence. 
  • Be Brief - Be short and concise.
  • Show Investment - Show them that you invested time researching their company by being prepared to talk about their company.
  • Provide Value - Voice how you propose to help them and what pain point you can solve.  The Prospect’s time is valuable and they will lose patience unless they see value quickly.

Summary

These calling best practices will set your team on the right path and help you avoid the Calls of Shame category.  Respond with your favorite Calls of Shame, and additional suggestions for calling practices

Your Lead Development Representative team will also require quality training and Lead Management Process to reach world class performance.  Ready to be World Class?

Topics: Lead Generation, Lead Management, CMO Resources, CMO, Lead Development Rep

Posted by Vince Koehler

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