How Difficult Is It to Generate a Meeting? Common Misuses of SDR Teams in Appointment Setting

In my book, The Radical Pipeline Strategy, I discuss the strategies and best practices I have used to build effective Sales Development organizations with regards to appointment setting. These teams, commonly known as Business Development (BDRs); Account Development (ADRs); and Sales Development (SDRs), consistently help your sales teams to achieve pipeline and revenue targets.

How difficult is it to set a meeting?

Over the years, Sales Development has come a long way. It is no longer disparagingly thought of as “Telemarketing”—a group of junior people whose primary role is appointment setting, or register people for seminars and events.

The SDR role is, however, still considered an entry-level position: their job is to generate a sales qualified meeting otherwise known as an SQL. The reason why companies hire junior-level people is because they think, “how difficult is it to set a meeting”? This is a pivotal question that I explore fully in my book.

In this blog, I will outline common misuses of SDR teams as appointment setters that I have encountered while retooling client SDR teams at over 65 companies.

Role of SDRs

To start, consider this: companies hire junior SDRs as their first line of defense. Their job is to call valued prospects who have 10 or more years of experience in their field. However, most junior-level SDR’s haven’t acquired the skills to speak to these seasoned professionals in a meaningful way, nor have they been given the tools to support their qualification efforts. In other words, “junior” SDR’s are the first point of contact with the most valued prospects of your company. This is an ineffective strategy for appointment setting that simply doesn’t work.

Junior SDRs don’t know how to speak to executives, and executives—who receive hundreds of calls from the same type of people—will tune them out. As a result, few qualified meetings are set and pipeline goals simply aren’t achieved.

To make up for the lack of quality meetings, companies hire more SDRs to help them squeeze out more appointments needed to meet their qualified meetings quota. In doing so, companies just build larger, more unsuccessful teams. This, in turn, costs companies a lot of money and frustration as they continue to miss pipeline targets month after month.

Next, consider this: billions of robocalls (over 50 billion in 2021) are made to the same seasoned professionals which lowers your SDRs chances of getting the target to answer their calls. And when they do actually answer, SDRs aren’t prepared to talk to the potential prospect. SDR’s need extensive training—in B2B appointment setting—to have conversations that provide prospects with the “valued” information for making informed decisions. Without this training, no one (prospects or sales) gets what they want or need.

Below are some examples of how SDRs are misused.

SDRs are NOT:

  • A panacea! If your company doesn’t have a viable solution, or your executives haven’t identified your best targets, or if your messaging is off the mark, SDRs won’t be able to generate a quality sales process and pipeline. Don’t force your SDRs to make up your messaging—they will fail.
  • A cold-call engine. Our research shows that it takes around 2,000 cold call dials to generate one closed deal. I don’t know any company that can afford a resource just to make dials. Instead, give your SDRs enough MQLs (marketing qualified leads) to meet your stated objectives. Then, set up a Target Accounts program, which are key accounts that your Sales Executives want to close, during the year. Market to these specific accounts using ABM, for example. Next, assign a handful of these accounts to your SDRs each quarter and arm them with content to give to prospects as they work to make contact. Finally, provide your sales reps with SDR marketing solutions, like FrontSpin and Outreach.io, to enable them with the skills to send personalized and targeted messages.

They are also NOT:

  • Your Chief Marketing Officer or VP Marketing/Sales. Every team I retooled allowed their SDRs to create emails and sales tools, which were not effective. SDRs are not product marketing executives or writers. Effective SDRs are good on the phone, but most are not good at writing. Marketing and Sales should consistently provide the right tools and fresh content with the desired messaging to their SDR team members. I tune out emails that are regurgitated and sent to me week after week… your prospects will too.
  • Your Sales team. Don’t expect your SDRs to close deals. Instead, educate them to uncover basic needs and pain. In addition, let them focus on generating quality SQLs and appointment setting with viable prospects. Have your sales and inside sales teams close the deals.
  • Admin support for your sales team. Many of the companies I have worked with loaded their SDRs with admin work. When this happens, SDRs who don’t enjoy making phone calls focus on admin work, and the SDRs who like making phone calls won’t do the admin work. So, SQLs are not being generated, nor is admin work being done. Remember, SDRs are there to develop a quality pipeline for your sales organization. Give them one job: generating highly qualified SQLs and sales appointments.
  • An after-thought. The SDR operation works best when it is considered an integral component of a company’s overall marketing and sales strategy. Companies that just “plop” in a SDR team without providing the right infrastructure, or with effective marketing or sales strategies in place, waste a lot of time and money. It takes careful thought and planning to build a SDR team that will generate a quality sales pipeline.

SDRs are:

  • Often the first live personal contact your prospects will have with your company. This first conversation needs to be spot-on and meaningful in order for your prospects to stay engaged with your company.
  • An effective method for delving into your prospects’ needs and building pain for your solution. Teach your SDR’s how to ask the right qualifying questions that build pain and need.
  • A sales pipeline development engine.
  • Most effective when supported by MQLs, or have an effective Target Accounts program in place.
  • Opportunity builders. Every communication with a prospect increases your company’s chances to create a viable opportunity. Make sure every call counts. Train your SDR team to take full advantage of every prospect interaction through efficient lead generation. Provide them with the right tools and proper training. Help them learn how to keep your prospects engaged throughout the qualifying process.
  • A great way to stay in touch with key or Target accounts. While field reps are closing deals or chasing warmer opportunities, someone needs to stay in touch with the key accounts or else you may lose them to the competition. (Some years back, one of SOMAmetrics’ clients had Comcast™ listed in their database as a Target Account. Comcast™ had been in their database for a while. Our SDR discovered that Comcast™ was going to acquire NBC. She called them and generated an enormous opportunity for our client. The field rep was unaware of this new information. This might have been a missed opportunity if our SDR had not contacted Comcast™ when she did).
  • In touch with the same prospects every month. These prospects often provide useful market intelligence which your company can mine to perfect its messaging and targeting.

Building a quality sales pipeline

To answer the previous question, “How difficult is it to set an appointment?”: it is very difficult to set an appointment. This is why so many SDR organizations fail. Every connection with a prospect needs to be treated like gold. Today, most people don’t pick up the phone to speak to anyone who is not on their contact list. When they do, the SDR needs to be armed with the right messaging and understanding of both your targets and your ideal customer profile (ICP). They must know how to qualify for pain and how to identify compelling prospect events, which align with your solutions.

In short, the role of your SDR team is to build a quality sales pipeline. They do this by setting highly qualified meetings with the right targets in the right market. Pipeline is always king. If you view this team as a strategic part of your pipeline build and set it up properly, you will hit your pipeline and revenue targets consistently.


Read the book The Radical Pipeline Strategy: How to Grow Pipeline and Revenue by Optimizing Sales Development. This book outlines tested best practices and implementation strategies that I developed while rebooting and building 65 SDR and Inside Sales organizations.

Find out more about SOMAmetrics’ Intelligent Prospecting Platform and get free resources on our website at www.somametrics.com.

Quadrant 3: Customer Retention and Upselling to Drive Sales

customer retention

Quadrant 3 is all about encouraging existing customers to buy new products; generally upgrades, add-ons, and bundles. In general, the goal is to increase the number of products your customers use by about 15-20% per year. It may seem like a big ask, but keep in mind that, apart from Quadrant 2, these buyers have the lowest perceived risk — they’ve bought from you before and are going to be a lot more willing to buy from you again, studies show. Meanwhile, the chances of selling to a new prospect are between 5 and 20%; selling to an existing customer skyrockets to as much as 60-70%. 

It’s crucial to invest in 3rd Quadrant prospects as it’s been proven to yield massive ROI. Bain & Company found that even a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-95% ROI. That’s a five-fold return. In the following sections, we’ll be looking at the strategies industry leaders are using to drive Quadrant 3 sales. 

Customer Support Strategy

The reduced risk factor for Quadrant 3 prospects is dependent on their elevated trust in your company. Make sure your customer support strategy continually renews their trust in you and keeps you fresh in their minds. 

This can be facilitated by having a scalable support infrastructure like chat and self-help portals that can offer painless and quick support to customers as they learn and use your products. You should also maintain good communication with customers in order to stay relevant and keep them educated on your products and updates as they come out. 

Keeping close contact with customers also yields valuable insights into their buying behavior, which can help when it comes to pitching new products to them down the line. Knowing your customers well (including their needs and pain points) translates into knowing what to suggest to them to make their processes more efficient. 

Customer Retention Strategies 

Quadrant 3 sales rely on offers like bundles, packages, and deals that incentivize customers to buy more products from you. Make sure you figure out which products are best paired together and create promotions that offer added value to the original products your customers want to buy. 

Automation can play an important role here, too. Use it to promote targeted marketing campaigns to customers based on what they’re already buying. For instance, if a customer is already buying product X, use marketing campaign A, and if they’re already using products X and Y, use campaign B. 

Sales reps should also be invested in these strategies. Train them on which products are to be recommended together and on how to pitch an additional product without coming off as too sales-y; customers want to know that you’re on their side and trying to add value to their purchase rather than simply selling to them. Management can build a compensation plan around account penetration to encourage Sales reps to fine-tune their upselling capabilities. 

Upselling Strategy

Everything discussed previously has essentially been strategies that support upselling, which is the main goal in Quadrant 3. Upselling is when you recommend additional products that will complement those the customer is originally buying. HubSpot has outlined some key strategies that support upselling and will ultimately drive Quadrant 3 sales. 

First, determine which product combos get the best results, both in sales and in customer satisfaction. You want to find combinations that make sense to customers when pitched (and can be backed up by proof, like with case studies or infographics) and that will ultimately add value to the customer’s original purchase. Tracking KPIs and asking for customer feedback can give some direction to these efforts and highlight which pairings you should be pushing. Oftentimes, segmenting customers by personas can help fine-tune which recommendations to provide and to whom.

Make sure your upselling strategy is based on integrity; you’re only hurting yourself if it’s done with anything less. Though upselling is generally very profitable, if customers sense they’re being taken advantage of or don’t find added value with the extra purchases you recommend, they’ll lose faith in your business and might churn. The products you upsell must be chosen with customer experience in mind, with the main goal of making them better, easier, or more efficient. 

To support upselling, make sure to consistently introduce new products that can complement one another. Releasing a new product every 2-3 years is recommended in order to keep complementary items current and relevant. 

Recapping

Quadrant 3 is a great place to invest selling resources and if your customer retention and upselling strategies are well-thought-out, it can bring in considerable ROI. Driving sales in this Quadrant is all about investing in an excellent and helpful customer support strategy that will build trust between your customers and your brand. Some key customer retention strategies can also help boost your upselling capacities to reach your maximum Quadrant 3 selling potential. 

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

Quadrant 2: Customer Retention Strategy for Increased ROI

customer retention

Hubspot has shown that customer acquisition costs have skyrocketed by as much as 60% in recent years, making the customers that you do have that much more profitable to your business. As McKinsey notes, if you’ve already spent a sizable amount of time and money to acquire a new customer and they churn early in the process, you’ve lost out on the full potential revenue of that customer. Their study goes on to show that what’s separating top-performing companies from their competitors today is how efficient their customer retention strategies are. 

Customer retention is hugely important in today’s business world. Falling under the 2nd and 3rd Quadrants of the Four Quadrants of High Growth model, customer retention is all about encouraging existing customers to buy more一 either of what they’re already buying (Quadrant 2), or related products (Quadrant 3). Optimizing your customer retention strategy can lead to considerable perks.

Many companies tend to take their paying customers for granted, placing most of their marketing budget in Quadrant 1 and favoring customer acquisition over retention. Invesp found that 44% of companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition whereas only 18% focus on retention. It’s only when unsatisfied customers churn (and their revenue is halted) that these companies realize how crucial it is to invest in Quadrants 3 and 4. More importantly, they see how important it is to see all the Quadrants as important sources of revenue rather than just the first. In a study by Invesp, 70% of informants reported that it is cheaper to retain than acquire a customer, and indeed, existing customers are both 50% more likely to try new products and 30% more likely to spend more on them than new customers. Customer retention can be a game-changer if you invest in it. Bain & Company found that even a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-95% ROI. That’s a five-fold return. 

Fortunately, there are a series of proven strategies that today’s industry leaders are using to boost customer retention and drive Quadrant 3, all of which will be discussed in the following sections. 

customer retention

 Customer Support Strategy

Your target audience in Quadrant 2 already uses your products and is familiar with your brand. In order to promote the likelihood of them ordering more from you down the line, make sure you have excellent customer support. You want to develop their trust in the idea that your company is helpful and easy to work with. That way, they’ll be incentivized to become more involved in your offerings and might even become open to buying other products (i.e., joining Quadrant 3) down the line. If customers are unsatisfied with your company after purchasing from you, they’ll be highly unlikely to order any more from you. Conversely, customers that feel well-connected to you through good customer support will be all the more likely to engage with promotional offers or discounts to buy more. 

Remember that, from your customers’ perspective, everyone who works in your company is there to support them一 that includes Marketing, Sales, and everyone else, for that matter.

Also, remember that the best support strategy is to continuously educate your customers on how to use your product better to realize the returns they are looking for.

Customer Journey & the Buying Process

Current customers who have already vetted and approved your company are among the most valuable contacts for marketing campaigns. Make sure to keep your brand at the top of their minds even after they’ve made their initial purchase with you. The best way to do this is through email marketing一 by offering them promotions, discounts, or even premium services as a perk for buying more. Try to send at least one promotional email a month to keep connected with your customers and make sure these campaigns incentivize them to buy more. Update customers on new features that increase ease of use and efficiency and let them know about related products they may be interested in. 

The buying process in this Quadrant should be as simplified and easy for the customer as possible. On your end, too, it should be very low-touch and standardized; automate as much as you can and shoot for the majority of your purchases in Quadrant 2 to be completed without the direct involvement of a Sales rep. The operations should resemble a self-serve portal where customers can easily order more of what they want and have those orders fulfilled immediately. Automate pricing, contracts, and order fulfillment to ensure the buyer’s journey stays as seamless as possible. 

KPIs & Strategy Sharing 

As with any business strategy, the best way to improve your effectiveness is by measuring and analyzing the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). McKinsey found that customer retention success is best measured through customer-oriented metrics, such as website traffic, customer engagement time, response time, and conversion rate. However, other figures matter quite substantially here. The customer experience is important and metrics in customer frustration (perhaps with bugs on the website or with the products), a slow load time, or a poor onboarding experience can all highlight crucial areas that may need improvement. 

As these KPIs are analyzed and improvements are made based on them, make sure these valuable sources of information are not limited to just part of the company. Make sure that customer insights are shared across the entire organization, and specifically mutually updated by the Sales, Product, and Marketing teams. Feedback of this type will ensure an overall and constant improvement in customer retention that is propelled by a concerted effort across multiple departments. 

Recapping 

These days, it’s becoming increasingly more costly and time-consuming to acquire new customers, making it all the more important for companies to tap into the full potential of their existing customers in Quadrants 2 and 3. Quadrant 2 is all about encouraging customers to buy more of what they already use, and the key to maximizing this customer retention can be found through the following steps:

  • Grow trust in your company through excellent customer support 
  • Simplify and incentive the buying process
  • Track KPIs and share customer insights across the company 

Considering that even a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-95% ROI, customer retention is a great place to commit resources and boost sales. You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

Quadrant 1: High Growth Sales Strategy

sales strategy

According to Hubspot, customer acquisition costs have skyrocketed in recent years, increasing by as much as 60%. What this means for B2B companies is that it will be crucial, now more than ever, to have an effective Sales strategy that will optimize customer acquisition and drive down costs. Customer acquisition falls within the first Quadrant of the Four Quadrants of High Growth model, which is a highly effective sales strategy that helps B2B companies optimize their Marketing and Sales resources through segmentation to achieve the highest ROI.

Quadrant 1 is all about attracting new customers to the customer base, with a general goal of growing it by 15-20% each year. This is normally where companies throw the most money, especially as compared to the other three Quadrants, and because customer acquisition costs have only gotten higher in recent years, it makes sense to invest in a highly effective strategy that will use these funds as efficiently as possible. In the following sections, we’ll look at the strategies industry leaders are using today to drive growth in Quadrant 1. 

sales strategy

Content Strategy 

Since Quadrant 1 is largely about attracting new customers to your company, content will be the most important element of a successful high-growth sales strategy. The Marketing and Sales teams should come together to define what marketing content needs to be created to drive prospects through the various levels of prospect awareness, which range from completely unaware to engaged and actively searching. This content should be created with the goal in mind to produce the desired amount of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), and so a level of automation is required here to provide prospects with the right content as they engage with entry-level materials. To read more about the Funnel Framework and how prospects progress through their buyer’s journey via content, click here

Hubspot has outlined the best content strategies we can employ to drive growth in Quadrant 1. Content marketing is quickly emerging as one of the most effective ways to reach new customers. Not only does it alert them to the existence of your company and expertise, but it also offers valuable, free, insights to them that will build their trust in your brand. Within this area, you can provide blogs, content offers such as ebooks or guides, and even videos that will all surface when prospects research their company’s pain points online. To drive results here, search marketing (both paid and organic) can be used to ensure your online presence makes an impact on your Quadrant 1 growth. 

Additionally, email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to directly reach and engage a customer base. Nurture emails can help convert new subscribers by delivering helpful information and slowly increasing brand awareness, and in later Quadrants, new product information and discounts can increase customer retention. 

Sales Strategy 

On the Sales end, having a broader, formal strategy is crucial to ensure you meet that goal of increasing the customer base by an annual 15-20%. This is done best by defining the qualification criteria that make a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and then by mapping these criteria into the Sales Operation and Sales Automation system. The automation of this process will ensure that Sales immediately follows up with SQLs, and a thoughtfully-designed compensation program can incentivize agents to drive the Sales Cycle through lulls. 

Onboarding & Customer Support Strategy

Once we’ve reached a sale, the customer experience becomes only more important. The goal here is to turn new customers into happy and satisfied ones within 2-3 weeks一 and having a strong onboarding and customer support strategy can help here. 

Learning how to use a new product can be tricky, especially for working professionals who may not have much time to dedicate to their understanding of your process. According to Salesforce, a great thing to keep in mind when crafting your onboarding strategy is to keep it simple; streamline your instructional content so that only the most essential items are present during the first steps of the onboarding process. That way, new users won’t be deterred or overwhelmed when interacting with your products for the first time. 

Additionally, have an abundance of various materials available to them to reference during and after the process. This can include blog posts, video tutorials, instructionals, or even email sequences delivered over a set period following the purchase. To ensure things are going smoothly, it can be helpful to send out a follow-up email a couple of months down the line, which has the added benefit of delivering customer insights about the onboarding process. 

Overall, the process must be as quick and painless as possible for the new customers. At a broader level, it can be helpful for the onboarding team to be organized around facilitating an efficient process for the customer; at the start of the process, outline each key component and assign agents accordingly. This will allow them to complete the onboarding process efficiently and with the highest level of accuracy. 

After the onboarding process is complete, make sure that the customer support is there to keep customers happy and loyal to your brand, important needs that fall under Quadrants 2 and 3

Recapping

Quadrant 1 is all about attracting new prospects to your customer base, and creating a high-growth sales strategy can drive ROI in the face of increasingly expensive customer acquisition costs. Having an optimized content strategy, an automated sales strategy, and a simple, easy-to-use onboarding process can all drive sales Quadrant 1 and prime customers to remain for Quadrants 2-3. 

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

Three Ways to Categorize B2B Buyers

There’s a few different ways we like to categorize buyers. Though they are by no means fool-proof indicators of any individual’s behavior or preferences, these classifications can help us organize the strategies we use to educate different prospects at a more broad, macro level. 

In this discussion, we’ll be looking at three different categorizations of buyers, each of which will influence the content and strategies we use to educate them and move them along the funnel; 

  • Psychographic Buyer Types
  • Generational Differences
  • Buyer Readiness
buyer

Psychographic Buyer Types

The Psychographics of a B2B buyer tells us that person’s internal attitude towards change. Different people have widely varying openness to change一 from those who are the first to try something new, to those who will never willingly try something new, and to those in between.

Geoffey Moore, best selling author and leading B2B high tech marketing thought leader, describes three types of B2B buyers in his classic book, Crossing the Chasm.

Visionaries

Visionaries actively seek change and are constantly looking for a significant competitive advantage, a capability that does not exist yet, or a “game changer” that nobody else has. They like to see improvements in order of magnitude (5X, 10X) and cost is rarely the priority. Unlike the following two types, they are willing to accept projected ROI.

The messages that engage Visionaries are things like; game changer; dramatic; the first; the only; X times faster/better; cutting edge; “X factor.”

Pragmatists

Pragmatists take pride in being rational, practical, and objective in their decision-making process. They accept change as inevitable but do not precipitate it, and they don’t believe in “game changers.” They consider themselves rational and objective and are willing to take some risk for a proven level of reward. When researching solutions, they look for demonstrable incremental improvements, case studies, and quantifiable ROI. Importantly, the cost is not the primary concern, but it is factored in the ROI calculation.

The messages that engage Pragmatists are things like; proven; verifiable; demonstrable; incremental; have x number of the top 10 companies as customers.

Conservatives

Conservatives hate to change unless forced to do so due to regulation, customer demands, obsolete products, etc. They do not believe that things will get better. In fact, they really believe that things are getting worse, more complicated, harder to use, and expensive. 

For this group, cost and brand are everything. They typically buy the cheapest of something they already use all the time. They hate taking any risk, resist change, and deeply believe that the best things in this world have already been invented. They want things to remain the same—forever if possible. They don’t trust or like technology and hardly ever willingly embrace it. 

The messages that engage Conservatives are things like; oldest, most used; most popular; most trusted; award-winning; since 19XX.

Generational Differences

In addition to the psychographic element of a B2B buyer, generational differences add a significant layer of complexity in designing our marketing campaigns. The three dominant generations in the workforce today are Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials, all of whom have had majorly different experiences and involvement with technology and culture. These differences will influence the type of marketing that will most engage them.

Baby Boomers

Born between 1946 and 1964, Baby Boomers tend to be highly individualistic and grew up in an era when “A-type” personalities were highly admired by employers. They are therefore generally very competitive in the workplace and not as collaborative. When buying, they generally prefer vendors that have extensive networks, and that are willing to let them access those networks.

Compared to the two other generations, they do the least amount of online research, preferring to use their networks to find new vendors. Unlike later generations, Boomers are more likely to want to talk to someone in real time, so it’s important to be reachable by phone by displaying contact info readily on your website and having a live person on the other end to answer it. Boomers also prefer conferences and webinars because these present venues that allow them to network.

Gen-Xers

Born between 1965 and 1980, Gen Xers like to see data or evidence of a claim before moving forward with a solution. They seem to be more focused on improving organizational outcomes and become the most interested in productivity increases, process improvements, and revenue gains. In accordance with this, they will need to see demonstrable evidence of any claims you make during the Marketing process. 

Gen Xers are tech-savvy and don’t have a problem with any digital channel; they will comfortably chat, email, text, and call. They also don’t mind attending conferences and other physical events to learn about solutions. Importantly, while communication doesn’t have to be formal, Gen Xers expect it to be professional.

Millennials 

Born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials make up over 70% of the workforce today. Roughly 51% of all B2B decision makers today are Millennials. When searching for a vendor, they tend to look for characteristics surrounding a company’s values. They want to understand the vendor’s vision on that particular subject and whether it is something they can support. In fact, a survey from Deloitte found that 90% of Millennials today view the success of a business through more factors than simple performance; they’re likely to take into consideration the employee satisfaction, the company’s integrity, and environmental concerns where applicable. 

Millennials prefer to engage digitally, preferring a Zoom meeting to a live one because they find it more efficient. They need lots of content in all types of digital media—documents, videos, podcasts, recorded and live webinars, and more. They’re also much more receptive to chatting casually and virtually than other demographics. As such, chat boxes on website pages can go a long way with them.

Buyer Readiness

As explained in our white paper on Prospect Education, a third way to classify Prospects is by the stage of buyer readiness they’re at in their buyer’s journey. The levels of Buyer Readiness indicate how aware they are of their problem and how engaged they are with finding a solution for it. We can use this classification as a way to further narrow down the messaging we should be sending to Prospects, as not every Prospect is at the same level of Readiness as others, and will therefore need messaging that reflects how far they are along the buyer’s journey. 

Level 1: Prospects with No Clue

These prospects are oblivious and unengaged, just beginning to feel and take note of a pain point in their business. However, they may not know that it’s a problem yet or, if they do, they won’t know how to fix it. They’ve begun some light research into the symptoms of their problem and are starting to understand the various potential options they have to solve it down the line. For those that are clueless, the marketing challenge is immense. You need a way to deliver messaging to them, which generally comes from Lead Generation content such as blogs, infographics, or online ads.

Level 2: Exploring Prospects 

Exploring Prospects are interested but not yet engaged. They’re fully aware of the problem they’ve been experiencing and are actively seeking to solve it. They’ll be researching all of the products available to them and interacting the most with those whose content is the most informative and relevant to their needs. 

At this stage, they should have ample access to relevant and helpful information in order to learn more about how they may solve their problem. They likely won’t be ready to talk with Sales until they’ve learnt enough about the issue and their options to solve it.  

Level 3: Actively Searching Prospects

Actively searching and fully engaged prospects are deep in their buying journey and have likely narrowed their list down to a few options that have stood out to them along the way. They’re now searching for the final information that will let them decide on which solution to employ to solve their original problem. 

Content at this stage should be targeted for those at this advanced level of buyer readiness, like comparisons between your product and your competitors’ or more in-depth content like case studies and white papers. 

It needs to be pointed out that a “Contact Us” form will not cut it here. You must provide them with a way to schedule either a demo or a call with one of your sales reps, on their own and see that the meeting is set on their calendar as confirmation.

Recapping

These three categories (Psychographics, Generations, and Levels of Buyer Readiness) should greatly inform how you target your messaging when educating Prospects. Though we covered the essential information of each category and what messaging works best for them here, you can read a much more in-depth profile of these marketing strategies and possible solutions for your company in this white paper. 

Additionally, you can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

How to Write Engaging B2B Email Sequences

As email marketing has become the most effective way to initiate contact with leads today, thoughtfully coordinated and targeted email sequences can drive curiosity and engagement in prospects — which will prepare them to eventually schedule an appointment with a Sales rep. Understanding your audience when crafting email marketing campaigns is vital to sending out content that will engage leads. As the bridge between Sales and Marketing, Sales Enablement can play a functional role in managing and automating these emails. 

b2b email marketing sales enablement business development representative bdr training.png

Email Sequences and the Pandemic

During the pandemic, as the push towards virtual business incentivized Business Development Reps (BDRs) to transition their work online, email marketing became the new strategy for contacting leads before calling them. Though email marketing is certainly a wise choice for this, many BDRs were not adequately trained to write compelling emails to connect with leads, especially given how sudden the urge was to shift to virtual engagement.

Many resorted to sending out overused (and, as a result, ineffective) template emails from their prospecting tools that garnered little attention. The result was a series of unpromising emails that didn’t reflect the full selling potential of the company. Worse, they lacked the compelling content needed in emails to spark interest in leads. 

Centrally approved messaging and email sequencing are now the most effective ways to help BDRs meaningfully connect with leads through email marketing. These strategies save the BDR from having to create their own messaging and content and instead will equip them with a library of targeted messaging crafted by Marketing and Sales Enablement. 

Email Sequencing That Makes an Impact

To craft impactful email marketing campaigns, the customer must come first. Sales Enablement should use an intimate understanding of the target audience (e.g., busy executives) to craft compelling emails that will stand out from the rest. High-level decision makers budget their time and read emails on the go; hence, email content should be highly scannable, focused, and bring unique value to the recipient. 

Each email should also use numbers, easily scanned bullet points, and short-form content (e.g., checklists, infographics) to share meaningful information. Each email should be connected to 6-9 emails that altogether educate and inspire trust in the recipient gradually. 

Prospect engagement content should also be distributed with these email sequences, resulting in a streamlined catalog of messaging for BDRs that supports approved positioning. The end goal for any communication should be to educate the recipient enough on the product to encourage them to call or meet with a Sales rep. 

Sales Enablement’s Role in Email Sequencing

As a liaison between Sales and Marketing, Sales Enablement’s primary role in email sequencing should be to ensure that the right content is created and is targeting the right persona profiles. There should be a robust and continuously updated library of content available to BDRs, and Sales Enablement should ensure that BDRs are comfortable accessing key content to share with leads. 

To build on this training, Sales Enablement should also educate BDRs on the various persona profiles they’ll be contacting in order to help them locate which emails and email sequences they should use when initiating contact. 

On the technological side, Sales Enablement should oversee that these emails are collected into thoughtfully arranged sequences with specific personas in mind, as well as including differentiation between inbound and outbound audiences to deliver specific and on-point messaging. 

Operational support in Sales Enablement will also play a large part in automating the sending of each email a sequence. This will give BDRs more time to focus on what matters most in their role: connecting with leads. 

Recapping

Email sequencing is an important part of email marketing in today’s world. Writing engaging emails and making sure they get sent in the right order and to the right people are both roles that Sales Enablement teams can adopt. To read more about how Sales Enablement can drive sales through email sequencing, click here
You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

Why Virtual B2B Marketing is Here to Stay

Virtual B2B Marketing

Among other changes, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred the marketing and business industries to adapt quickly to an online-only working environment. This transition is something that B2B marketing has been hesitant to do for years, even though B2C marketing had largely already taken the leap. However, many of the changes to the industry brought on by the pandemic have proven successful, and so even as day-to-day private life may be returning back to the “normal” we saw in the days before COVID-19, it’s highly unlikely that the virtual evolution of the B2B marketing field, and business in general, will see a similar reversion. 

What B2B Marketing has learned during COVID-19

The world has been slowly integrating the use of technology in many sectors of life over the past few years. Unsurprisingly, B2C marketing has taken advantage of this fact, transitioning the majority of its marketing materials online in order to target a population increasingly preferential to virtual business. As to be expected, this technological update has been met with great success. However, we never saw a similar shift in B2B marketing until the dramatic transition brought on by the demands of the pandemic. 

This hesitancy to go virtual has largely been due to the assumption among B2B marketers that e-commerce is only feasible for small-ticket items, many of which you’d see in B2C online selling. However, as we’ve begun to see in the post- COVID-19 landscape, 70% of B2B decision-makers are willing to buy products worth up to $50,000 in a fully self-serve and remote setting, with 27% being willing to pay up to $500,000 (Mckinsey). The evidence here suggests that the once-dominant notion (that fully virtual buying and selling should be reserved for the B2C realm) may be unnecessarily limiting. 

In fact, since the transition to virtual business, we’ve seen that the possibility for highly effective virtual B2B marketing may be a lot more promising than we once thought. Not only is virtual marketing the most efficient and cost-effective, but it’s also shown promising results in its recent debut in B2B marketing. On the seller’s side, 96% of sales teams have shifted to online remote selling since the start of the pandemic, 65% of which report it to be equally or even more effective than previous methods (McKinsey). B2B buyers also agree that remote selling is as effective as in-person interaction, with three-quarters of them reporting to actually prefer digital self-service and remote engagement over in-person communication. 

Overall, around 43% of all B2B revenue today comes from e-commerce and remote communication, both of which cut down on travel costs and expand products’ reach of engagement. Unsurprisingly, 79% of the companies who were prompted to transition their marketing and sales teams fully online during the pandemic say that they plan to continue this trend for twelve or more months after it (McKinsey). 

Why Virtual Business is Likely to Stay

Many of the changes we’ve had to make due to the pandemic will not outlive it, but this isn’t going to be the case for all of themー especially not for those that we’ve found work better than our previous practices. 

In business in general, the virtualization of our work has proven efficient and effective. As discussed earlier, the implementation of virtual work has already shown success in B2B marketing, but there are plenty of other shifts in general work habits and practices that will also ensure that B2B marketing, and business more broadly, will continue its virtual trend even after the pandemic stops necessitating it. 

For one thing, the transition to remote work has already displayed a number of benefits. On the finance side, studies have shown that switching to remote work could save companies up to $11,000 a year per employee (Forbes). Hearteningly, this transition wouldn’t likely come at the expense of efficiency; another study found that 94% of employers believe that productivity was not impeded by the switch (CNN). 

Employees have also shown a preference for remote work that makes it unlikely that they’ll want to revert to in-person work once things go back to normal. A poll found that two-thirds of remote workers said that they’d like to stay remote even after the pandemic (Forbes), citing increased time for family, the lack of commute, and the comfort of being at home as prime reasons for keeping the new practices around. In addition, the flexibility of location that remote work allows employees has highlighted yet another unexpected benefit of virtual business that will presumably keep it relevant post-pandemic. 

New data surrounding the efficiency of virtual interviewing and conferencing also provides promising evidence of its likely longevity. A study of hiring recruiters found that 74% said that video (as opposed to in-person) interviewing is more efficient for their work. Additionally, companies who held virtual conferences reported that they were significantly cheaper to organize than in-person ones, an efficiency that parallels the doubtless saving of travel expenses by those who attended the conferences. 

Lastly, the recent increase of decision-making power among millennials in the workforce will likely influence the continued support of virtual business in the coming years; millennials are the most tech-savvy generation in business today, and seeing that they now hold 73% of the decision-making power in the professional world, their preference for virtual work will likely be a powerful driving force behind why virtual business will see continued support in the post-pandemic landscape. 

What this Means for the Future

People rarely change old habits unless they’re forced to, and the pandemic certainly pushed the business world to change like it never had before. The switch to virtual work brought about new practices that will likely outlive COVID-19 because they’ve proven to be more efficient and effective than previous ways of doing things. Even as we start reverting back to the daily routines we held before the pandemic, these new practices will remain, precisely because of their recently proven success. 

In the world of B2B marketing, this means that those who don’t adapt, or who try to revert to majority in-person business post-pandemic, will likely struggle to remain relevant. In a market fresh off an almost two year online-only stretch, decision-makers are going to be choosing those companies that function in the ways we’ve now found to be more successful and efficientー and that’s going to be, in many ways, through virtual business practices. 

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.