I saw this post last month that was entitled ‘Lead-gen by phone: the ultimate content marketing’ and aside from the title making me want to click and read it immediately, I started thinking about marketing and whether we consider phone conversations as part of the content mix at all. This plays in very nicely with my recent post asking whether inside sales should report up to sales or marketing (if you missed it, click here).

The article suggests that in situations that involve a ‘complex sale’, people need to be involved early on, not just the content. We have seen and heard too many times to count that the buyer is now in control. We setup scoring methodologies that tell us when they are ready for us to call them. Maybe this doesn’t work in all situations. It’s a good question to ask yourself.

Integrating Call Campaigns with Inbound

Consider what happens after someone becomes a contact record in your system. Do they get an email? Are they routed to a nurturing program? Perhaps they are scored based on demographics and what types of content they downloaded or viewed on your website? Where does the personal touch play into this?

Nurturing prospects works – I know this – but it doesn’t work by itself. When we think about a ‘complex sale’ there are often multiple stakeholders involved. If you are scoring and nurturing people, you could miss the big picture. A CFO, for example, may not download anything on your site but they do play a role in the decision process. Someone needs to make the connection because this person is not going to raise their hand.

Consider how you can integrate a call campaign into your inbound strategy. Does it make a difference if someone calls a lead that converted today vs. tomorrow? How about if they call them every day this week? The chances for a connection to be made increase with each attempt.

Aside from the time and day to call or even how long after they follow-up, ensure your team on the phone has what they need. Do they have a script? Are they familiar with the piece of content the prospect downloaded? Do they know enough about the industry and the challenges your target market has? Give them everything they need to succeed.

Knowing What Will Work For You

I will walk you through an exercise I performed at a former company. The patterns I discovered helped us convert more leads into demo appointments and ultimately closed more deals.

First, I ran an exportable report from my CRM into an Excel spreadsheet I could manipulate. I extracted all the people who had converted in one way or another over the last 3 months (length of time for our sales cycle).

Next, I mapped out what the touches were for each of those contacts. So, running down the y axis were all the contacts sorted by conversion date and running on the x axis, I had every day for the 90 day period. I put an x in each day corresponding with each contact when there was a touchpoint (call or email).

After I had done this, I highlighted each row where we had won the deal.

I noticed some interesting things. For this particular company, the touchpoints for a closed won deal were considerably different from those of a closed lost deal. For those we won, we were calling and emailing a lot more in a shorter period of time. For those we lost, we let them sit there for a while and then tried to connect.

I shared this report and analysis with my VP of Sales & Marketing at the time and he was shocked (and a little excited too). We then shared it with the CEO and after we had buy-in, we initiated a program for the inside sales team that ensured their cooperation (they wanted to close more business too).

This probably took me about 2 hours to complete but led to numerous closed won deals. I was happy that my leads were converting into revenue and sales was happy with their commissions. I encourage each of you to try this and see what the formula is for your company. I think you will be surprised.