Most of us are aware that the buyer’s journey has changed dramatically in the last few years (and months given the global pandemic).
This is supported by a CEB (acquired by Gartner) report in 2016 that shared “buyers on average are 57% of the way through their buying journey before even reaching out to a vendor”.
Fast forward a few years since that report, the explosion of Inbound Marketing, and the development of buyer journey optimized content I would argue that it is probably closer to 90%.
That is, buyers have almost all the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision.
In 2007 Chet Homes shared the statistic that only 3% of any market is in the “buying mode” now. This means that 97% of prospects aren’t actively looking to purchase a product or service.
When you acknowledge the above statistics, it is easy to understand why the spray and pray method of prospecting doesn’t work anymore (not that I believe it ever did truly work for 99% of B2B sales teams).
If your prospecting efforts consist of sending templated messages to prospects who just match the “job title” of your past customers, it simply won’t cut it.
Just because someone matches your buyer persona doesn’t mean they are actually interested in buying what you have to offer.
You’ll be sending out hundreds of emails and generating only a handful of replies. And that isn’t fun for you or the prospect.
Prospecting is tough. It’s time-consuming, it takes tenacity to stick with it and the will power to continue prospecting each day.
But it doesn’t have to be so hard.
By taking a smarter approach to prospecting and focusing on triggers and highly personalized emails, you’ll be able to reduce the volume of emails you send, whilst increasing the number of conversations you have with engaged prospects.
This isn’t a silver bullet, but it is an efficient method for starting more conversions that begins before you even draft an email.
What is Trigger-Based Lead Sourcing
Lead sourcing (or list building) is the process of building a list of leads without previous marketing activities.
It includes finding the source of targeted leads and extracting them into a CRM system (or a spreadsheet). Usually, if the source is good enough, finding the names, phone numbers, and addresses of your leads shouldn’t be a problem.
Trigger-based lead souring takes this a step further by only sourcing prospects when an event or sales signal has occurred. It is at this moment you have an opportunity to start a conversation when there is a higher chance that the prospect is “in-market”
Examples of triggers range from obvious to not so obvious, these include:
Below are two of my favorite trigger-based lead sourcing playbooks and step by step instructions on how to perform them without the need of intent data or expensive software.
Remember, only 3% of leads are ready to buy now and it’s your job to nail the timing.
And this isn’t about building large static lists of prospects, it is about curating smaller, dynamic lists and refreshing them with new data on an ongoing basis.
Pro tip: LinkedIn remains the best database for finding the most up to date information on prospects’. If you combine these playbooks with LinkedIn, you will be able to identify a number of decision-makers who are ready to make a purchase or at least considering this option.
Playbook 1: The Social ExpansionThe Social Expansion playbook helps you send highly targeted and personalized messages based on your audience’s interactions.
This playbook helps you identify thought leaders or influencers among your target audience and build a list of those who have interacted with them through comments. When they engage with a post, they are actually giving you a signal that they may be interested in buying the product or service you offer.
From there, you can start a conversation on whatever platform you monitored, including LinkedIn, Quora, Slack, Facebook groups, and so on. Always keep in mind that there are a number of places where your prospects spend time online.
Here’s a step by step guide to the Social Expansion Playbook:
Take a screenshot of their activity on LinkedIn and include that in the email - this will take more time, but worth it if your LTV is higher.
Playbook 2: The In MarketWith the In Market Playbook, you can identify prospects who have expressed an interest in a competitor or non-competing, complementary solution. They will most likely be interested in your product as well.
When your prospects upvote a certain product, you can start the conversation about your own service or product that is relevant to their interests.
Here’s a step by step guide to the In Market Playbook:
Whilst you can automate these steps, I always recommend having a human check over the email addresses, formatting of the data, and any additional data points you intend on using in your outreach.
These are just two examples of using trigger-based events or signals to initiate your outbound sequences.
Use these as a foundation and build your own playbooks that work with your specific audience and your tone of voice.
The days of spray and pray are over, you know this and so do your prospects. Spend more time personalizing your emails and making them relevant to your prospect and you’ll be booking more meetings without burning through large volumes of leads from a list.
About Mark Colgan
Mark is the Chief Revenue Officer at TaskDrive. In his role, he leads the direction of a 100+ person, remote team by aligning Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, and Product – and he loves it.
His brain’s default mode is ‘Revenue Generation’ and his personal mantra is Give without expecting anything in return.
The Tenbound Virtual Sales Development Conference is the only full day live Virtual conference 100% dedicated and focused Sales Development!
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The Tenbound Virtual Conference experience also includes amazing networking and learning opportunities. When you register you will be automatically added to the event community and able to connect 1:1 directly with other attendees, Tenbound Market Map tool providers and the Tenbound team!
What sales development leaders need to know about the connection between sleep and productivity and how to get more of both.
Even before the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans were underslept. A large body of research shows we were quite unproductive as a result. During the current crisis, we face even more threats to both sleep and productivity: anxieties keep us up at night, while distractions working from home, burnout from a lack of boundaries between our professional and personal lives, and the cognitive overload of Zoom all curb our focus. Now, more than ever, it's imperative to understand the connection between sleep and productivity and invest in your team's rest.
The Science of Productivity
There's a deep body of research on the negative effects of sleep deprivation on mental processing. The prefrontal cortex area of the brain, which directs what psychologists call "executive functioning", has been found to be particularly impaired by a lack of sleep. Problem solving, reasoning, organizing, inhibition, planning, and executing plans - processes essential to performing our jobs - are all the domain of the prefrontal cortex. It is true basic motor and visual skills decline when people are sleep deprived, but they do so not nearly to the same extent as these higher-order mental skills.
And the more sleep deprived you are, the worse the consequences. This is the concept of Sleep Debt - how much sleep you miss, or owe your body, relative to your sleep need over the course of 14 plus days. The bigger the debt, the worse the impact on how you perform your job. Yet, when organizations think of ways to make their teams more productive, more regular sleep is rarely the answer.
How Your Team's Sleep Debt Impacts Its Productivity
The last 100 years of sleep science includes tens of thousands of studies on the direct impact of sleep debt on workplace performance, and the implications are becoming harder to ignore.
Deloitte, the multinational professional services network, has escalated sleep deprivation to a "business issue", supporting the scientific community's findings that "people’s ability to learn, concentrate, and retain information is greatly impacted by how well-rested they are.” This remains the case regardless of remote work practices or the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, rigorous academic research shows that sleep debt affects productivity in profound ways:
● Increases in cognitive lapses that reduce alertness and attention: Researchers found a 400% increase in mental lapses following one night of missed sleep - and the same result for participants who slept for 4 hours over the course of six nights.
● Increases in response times and increased errors in tasks that require sustained attention, especially under time pressure and as task duration lengthens. Research has tied sleep deprivation to an 11% increase in response times - equivalent to the increase you would see from someone with a 0.8 BAC (the threshold at which you're deemed legally impaired).
● Difficulty learning new information and acquiring new skills, with a decreased likelihood to revise and adapt strategies in response to failures. Researchers have found one night of sufficient sleep improves motor learning task speed by 20% and accuracy by 39%.
● Degradation of working memory: When you sleep at night, cerebrospinal fluid and slow-wave activity both help flush toxic, memory-impairing proteins from the brain. Research has found a 40% reduction in the ability to form new human memories under conditions of sleep deprivation.
● Fewer insights: Sleep, by restructuring new memory representations, facilitates the synthesis of your day. Researchers found 2x as many subjects gained insights after 8 hours of sleep than after wakefulness.
● More sick days: Sleeping less than 7 hours a night has been found to make you 300% more likely to catch the common cold. Direct costs due to sickness absence could decrease by up to 28% if a workforce gets sufficient sleep.
Worse, sleep debt can have negative consequences for traits and habits that foster team collaboration and morale, including:
● Increased likelihood to use a negative tone of voice. Decreasing sleep debt by 8 hours reduces negative vocal emotions by up to 67%.
● Emotional irrationality: Sleep deprivation leads to a 60% amplification in emotional reactivity.
● Less empathy: Decreasing sleep debt by 8 hours increases empathic response by 30%.
● Difficulty reading emotions
● Increased risk taking
● Unethical behavior
It’s actually possible to measure the productivity costs of sleep debt in dollars and cents. In an 8-month controlled trial we ran with a Fortune 200 sales team, sellers using Rise increased key activities as their sleep improved. Outbound calls increased by 50%, while overall revenue increased by 14%. When you assume roughly 70% of your salesforce is underslept, it's easy to see how fatigue-related productivity losses add up quickly.
Why We Fail to Make the Connection Between Sleep Debt and Productivity
So why don’t organizations prioritize sleep? Caffeine may be one reason, since we can use it to counteract low levels of wakefulness. But this use ultimately boomerangs, as caffeine negatively impacts that night's sleep, triggering a vicious cycle.
The more insidious reason leaders don’t focus more on sleep debt is we as humans tend to underestimate just how underslept we are and how impaired our performance really is. Indeed, sleep researchers have wondered, if sleep is so important to our daily performance, then why don't we realize it? What they've found consistently is significantly sleep-deprived individuals repeatedly rate themselves subjectively as only moderately sleepy. In "Why Six Hours of Sleep Is As Bad As None At All" the author aptly describes the findings of seminal research: "Lack of sleep ... apparently tricks you into thinking you’re an office all-star. People who slept just six hours per night for two weeks functioned as poorly as if they’d gone without sleep for 48 hours—yet they thought they were performing at the top of their game."
How to Improve Your Team's Productivity Through More Sleep
The good news is some organizations appear to be changing their tune. Google and Goldman Sachs cover healthy sleep in employee trainings. Aetna actually pays its employees about a buck for every night they sleep seven to nine hours. We at Rise Science are seeing an uptick in companies prioritizing sleep for improved productivity outcomes.
The even better news is that improving our sleep—and reaping the rewards for productivity—is in our control (unlike much of the current moment). Managers and other organizational leaders can encourage their teams to harness the benefits of regular sleep. Not sure where to start? Research shows that simply giving employees more control over their schedule, without even directly influencing their sleep, has lasting benefits.
But there are also ways you can explicitly prioritize sleep for improved productivity outcomes. These fall into three main categories: awareness, environment, and behavior.
If all this sounds like a lot, consider the alternative: less focus, decreased memory and learning, irritability, and a cut to your bottom line. A lot is uncertain right now, but the need to run a business remains. If you’re looking for tools and tricks to stabilize your team’s productivity, why not start with the one that is a certainty? Sleep is the most important investment you can make.
At Rise, we're committed to bringing you content that's 100% backed by science. To discuss, go deeper, or question any of the claims we make here, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Kahn is Co-Founder and CEO at Rise Science. Rise is the only app that delivers the real-world benefits of better sleep.
Jeff and his Rise co-founder were the first to publish research on technology-enabled sleep behavior modification over a decade ago, and have recently completed the largest known study on sleep and real-world job performance across the NFL and sales teams.
Jeff's research and work have been featured in The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, and The Wall Street Journal, and on ESPN, NBC, CBS, and Fox Sports. Jeff holds a B.S. in Health Systems Engineering and an M.S. in Engineering Design & Innovation from Northwestern University.
You might be wondering what a marketer knows about cold calls, and the answer is “Quite a bit!” I sit with my SDR team, when we’re not working remotely, so I hear their cold calls and pitches all day every day, which gives me insight into what’s working for them and what doesn’t based on the rest of the conversation.
There’s nothing more important for an SDR / BDR than the first words that come out of their mouth, and that especially holds true for an agent-assisted call, where the potential customer has been passed from the agent to the sales rep for the pitch and you have just a few seconds to gain and hold their attention.
So, what should you say and what should you NOT say?
● DO NOT state your company in your first sentence. Say your name, but not your company. They most likely don’t know what your company is, which gives them no reason to care. Your job is to make them care.
● DO note that you’re an interruption. There’s no way around that. You are an interruption to their day with your cold call, and by acknowledging that right off the bat, you’re showing that you’re self-aware.
● DO NOT call without knowing who you’re talking to. Before you start dialing, or have your human agent start dialing, you should have notes in your CRM for each person on that list from your research into their LinkedIn or past conversations. Don’t go in blind.
● DO ask them for their help. Most people want to help others, and if you state that you’re looking for 30 seconds of their time to just point you in the right direction, instead of saying that you’re looking for them to buy something, the conversation is more likely to continue. Plus, the person you’ve called might not be your ideal customer, but someone else at their company might be. All you have to do is ask.
● DO NOT let the person just avoid the call. But do so nicely. If they say they’re busy or have a meeting to get to, your go to answer is not “Sorry. Bye.” Instead, ask them if there’s someone else you should talk to or if you can set up a meeting for another time.
Once you’ve gotten past those first 10 seconds, you can go on to ask open-ended questions that discuss their pain points and challenges to narrow down what you should focus on for that next meeting.
The objective of any cold call is for it to feel like an actual conversation instead of a sales pitch that hits the potential customer over the head. You want to keep that conversation going to build a rapport and hopefully lead to a sale.
Mary Hart is the Senior Marketing Content Writer at ConnectLeader, a multi-channel sales engagement platform focused on helping B2B sales professionals increase their top line revenue and reduce sales cycle time. https://www.connectleader.com/
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