Following a year of pandemic hesitation, the Great Resignation kicked off in April 2021 with talent at all levels shopping around for new roles. This higher turnover makes it harder for marketing and sales, as your main contact within a company is changing more frequently. This month we talk about how to make the most of this time in flux, by improving your relationship building, account-based marketing and new opportunities.
“It is challenging to stay on top of current data,” our CRO Gavin Page said. “All these staff changes leave you calling somebody one day and calling somebody else the next.” Few lead generation teams are refreshing their data regularly, which is key, especially in these changing times.
And then, even when the data is right, too many sales reps and SDRs are zeroing in too closely on one main decision maker. Especially in times of heavy turnover, you’ve no room for single points of failure.
Gavin says this proves the value in account-based marketing and sales, where you reach out to and build relationships with multiple stakeholders. More senior sales reps and SDRs go about this more cleverly, he says, understanding when there are multiple people involved, then reaching out to and liaising with them.
One of our partners Hans Peter Bech is a trusted management consultant and author. “Define your target audience very carefully so you know your unique value proposition is right for that group,” he explained.
Then write about the problems they face. Knowing how people search, be sure to write a lot of “how to” pieces and work to ask and answer your unique customer profile’s questions and doubts. In his book “International Inbound Lead Generation,” Hans recommends doing this via articles, podcasts, videos, ebooks and morel, as people prefer different formats.
“Repackage them to attract a broad segment of your ideal customers, and do that over a long time, building a repository of relevant content for that target group on Google and social media, so people start finding you,” Hans continued. A strong inbound lead generation game is for life, not just a singular prospect or campaign.
How do you go about finding the right person to build a relationship with? For outbound lead generation, Hans has an all-around favorite in the LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which features a broad set of selection criteria to lead you to your ideal customers. He explained you can leverage the tagging features to get the most value out of the product, identifying the individual people in that segment. And then you start communicating with them.
He says start by just following them, commenting on their work and sharing their posts. Overtime you can connect with them, working to build “a relationship that is based on your mutual interest in the challenges in this industry,” Hans said. “Instead of pushing your sales messaging on them, you support them.” It takes time and patience, so working with partners that have existing relationships moves it along, especially in trickier-to-infiltrate industries like telecommunications.
If your prospects aren’t active on LinkedIn, you can send messages to people, but be careful that these messages are relevant to what they do, and not too salesy, he reminds. Then you can follow up with LinkedIn paid advertising or Facebook retargeting those who have already visited your website.
While turnover is high, your initial contact within a company is likely to move. It’s time to look at that as an opportunity, instead of a failure.
“When you have built relationships, it really doesn’t matter when they shift from one company to another. A company is just a legal entity, it’s an artifact. Those relationships will survive when they go to another company,” Hans said.
Unless they’ve moved outside your industry, this usually means they are moving to another prospect. With their help, you can continue that relationship, opening up a second lead, and they can also point you in the right direction of other stakeholders in their previous company.
Finding the right sales representative takes time. Especially in a new country or market niche. But you often don’t have time, especially when you are trying to beat the competition.
Hiring and retaining talent is especially challenging right now. “What we’re seeing at the moment is the promise of more money. Outrageous salaries but with no real evidence of how those bonuses will be reached or the support the individual will get to reach them,” Gavin warns, for both lead generation and inside sales in tech companies.
But even when the pay is super appealing, the infrastructure, he continued, isn’t always in place to facilitate their success, which is essential to recruitment and retention. SDRs and teams need all the measurements and tools that make target earnings more realistic.
“People should be careful not to be ‘wowed’ away from a quality role and realize they are no better off as the target just can’t be achieved. Plus, our clients are finding it harder and harder to afford to do proper lead gen in-house in the context of the price point of their product versus the number of leads they might get — the ROI of permanent, full-time SDRs doesn’t always stack up,” Gavin cautioned.
As a lead gen team who also does inside sales and then field sales, we are better than most at retaining quality people as they have a clear view of their in-house path of progression with opportunities to learn and develop. Most of our SDRs we have been working with for several years — and over a decade with many of our sales reps — but we are always interviewing to find new talent. And we understand the formula for retention and success when turnover happens. You need to have set up metrics-based processes with data, systems, reporting, sales coaching and management to act as the strength behind your whole business development program.
Need help? This is one of our specialties. We can help you leverage outsourced lead generation even during these unusual times. Just reply to the email to set up a conversation.