Last week (Tuesday through Friday), I was back in the trenches with the sales team at Balihoo, a local marketing technology and services company. Phil Bear and I spent our days warm calling into our lead list of small businesses who utilize Balihoo’s channel partner’s products. Balihoo’s solution will help market the channel partner’s product to the local community in which the business sits. I say warm because a.) these offices are using our partner’s products b.) Balihoo sent direct mail to each prospect recently, so most likely the person who picked up the phone at least recognized the Balihoo name.
On the outbound calls where I actually connected with the decision maker, I would ask the prospect if and how they advertise their services to their local market, and the benefits that local marketing has brought to their business (if the prospect was not advertising, I asked how they think it COULD benefit their business if they could advertise locally — this got them at least thinking about the cha-ching $$$ they could be making). Finally, I would recommend the prospect sign up for the upcoming educational webinar, “Best practices for dealing with an aggressive competitor in your local market place.” If I sensed that the prospect was very engaged and/or the webinar days/times didn’t work for him/her, I would suggest a one-on-one demo with Balihoo’s program manager, Matt Borud. The one-on-one demo is obviously ideal, but for those prospects who were still on the fence, and didn’t quite “get it”, the webinar was a great tool.
Having been in a pure lead generation role for an OpenView portfolio company in the past, I was relatively comfortable getting on the phones on day one. OpenView invested in Balihoo and I worked with their team previously, so I have a general understanding of Balihoo’s product and services.
That aside… there is definitely another MAJOR reason why I felt more comfortable on the phones than I did with the other portfolio company for which I made calls in the past. On the first call, I was discussing a Thought Leadership piece — I wasn’t giving the hard sell. Lead Generators are NOT responsible for the hard sell. They are responsible for gathering the data (the pain points of the prospect) and expressing the value proposition of the products/services they are representing, but they are not CLOSING. The sooner a lead generator realizes this, the more comfortable they will become in their role.
So back to the idea of thought leadership (Click here for our recent Research Report on Thought Leadership)… the webinar was not all about selling Balihoo’s product/services. The main focus: a local marketing “how-to” seminar — how you can compete against the local advertisers in your market. The webinar will be led by VP of Marketing, Shane Vaughan, in a very non-threatening environment. The message on the phone: tune in to better understand how marketing can make a difference between your potential customers going with your business, or the business that offers the same services on the other side of town.
Balihoo’s prospects are not marketing gurus. They are very specialized in the services they offer, and often times marketing at a local level is not the top priority. Referrals are the means by which they get their new business. Many of these prospects are overwhelmed by the idea of marketing — where do you start, how do you execute? Balihoo’s webinar is a way to show people — it’s do-able, and it will increase your customer-base substantially if done properly. Oh, and by the way, Balihoo’s solution will make it SUPER-easy for you to execute.
Here’s my point — the less of a “push” you can make on your first calls, the better. Balihoo is calling into a sales channel, so their approach is very focused. They understand their prospect — their industry and the issues they are most likely dealing with. The first call is also to bring up a thought leadership opportunity — a free webinar specifically for individuals in their exact industry.. that’s the “pull.”
How can you make your lead generation efforts less of a push, and more of a pull?