I have huge respect for salespeople. I do! Personally, I don’t think that I am cut out to be a sales rep. The reason is that I don’t take rejection well, I take it personally as if it’s my fault. So being told “no, thanks” 20-30 times every day is going to crush me. Needless to say, I haven’t been doing cold calls.
My leads tend to come from referrals, workshops and organic outreach from my website. It has worked well for me for several years, but the growth is not going as fast as I’d like. I’ve come to realize that sales is a numbers game. If I want to have more deals won, I need to have more opportunities. If I want to have more opportunities, I need to have more SQLs. If I need more SQLs, I need to have more MQLs. If I need more MQLs, I need to increase my targeted outreach.
As I said, it’s a numbers game. If I want to increase my batting average, I need to have more hits. That’s all there is to it. There are many ways to go about it. Everyone does it differently. My friend, Carter Hostelley, took one approach to build his pipeline. I shared his approach on this podcast: How to Build Your Own Sales Prospect Pipeline. For me, I decided to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator and InMail, since many of my B2B prospects are on LinkedIn.
Find an expert to assist me
I couldn’t do this alone. I knew that I needed someone to help me out. Sean Anthony found me via virtual cold call (InMail) on LinkedIn. I didn’t respond to his email right away, but I liked the content he shared. He is salesy, but not too salesy. He is the founder of GrowthResponse.io and specializes in lead generation and customer acquisition using LinkedIn.
Here is our approach:
- Clearly articulate my Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
- Explain ICP’s pain points and challenges thoroughly
- Comprehend my own services and offerings
- Map ICP’s pain points and challenges to my services and offerings
- Re-evaluate LinkedIn Headlines and Profile and rewrite them if necessary
- Use Sales Navigator to find prospects that match my ICP
- Orchestrate a sequence of emails to reach out to prospects
- Create a dashboard to track responses
- Monitor the progress and optimize ICP selection criteria in Sales Navigator
Identify and map Ideal Customer Profile, their pain points and challenges to my offerings
Sean said that it usually takes clients some time to identify ICP. Well, that’s not an issue for me. I know my peeps well. They are B2B enterprise marketers in the manufacturing, healthcare, and financial services segments. They need help in strategy, martech stack, content planning, working with sales and account-based marketing. I know their challenges well. At the same time, I also know what I can do for them. What Sean doesn’t know is that I did all that homework, when I redid my website back last year. I wrote about the experience of creating my own value proposition in this blog post. It’s amazing how everything comes back to your value proposition.
Change my new headline, tagline, LinkedIn profile
I told Sean that my value proposition is “accelerating marketer’s contribution to sales with content, sales enablement, and account-based marketing.” Based on my offerings and my ICP’s pain points and challenges, we worked together to rewrite my headline and profile summary on LinkedIn. We wanted to make those very clear so that people can easily understand what I do and offer.
My original headline:
“Fortune 100 Senior Marketer, Speaker, and Author of Global Content Marketing/Effective Sales Enablement”. I emphasized my corporate experience, author and speakership, but it didn’t explain what I do for my clients. So, we changed that.
Here is my new headline:
“Accelerating B2B marketers’ contribution to sales with content, sales enablement, and account-based marketing using proven methodology”. I emphasize the keywords of content, sales enablement, and account-based marketing. I also explain that I have a process to do that.
Using different words to say the same thing, we also created a tagline that I can place below my signature on LinkedIn:
This is my tagline:
“Helping B2B marketing teams increase sales velocity through content, sales enablement, and account-based marketing”. That tagline is part of the InMail, so people can immediately understand what I do without going to my profile.
The next thing we tackled was the profile summary. My original profile explained what I offer, but I didn’t tie it to ICP’s pain points and challenges. So, we re-wrote that as well. I started by sharing my passion for creating alignment between sales and marketing. I followed that with the 3 main challenges that marketers encounter, then moved on to explain how I address these 3 challenges.
Here is the profile summary:
A passionate digital marketer who loves to bring alignment between sales & marketing. Marketing has so much to offer to accelerate sales conversions. The key is to identify what marketing can do to increase sales velocity and what sales needs from marketing to close deals. By working with me – you’ll get a proven plan and framework that will give you the tools you need to get your team on the same page and increase sales velocity for your company.
So, ask yourself these 3 questions:
❓Do you feel overwhelmed and confused about how to incorporate content, digital marketing, and account-based marketing into your overall strategy?
❓Are you tired of missing growth targets due to misalignment between sales and marketing?
❓Do you wish you were able to show marketing’s impact and enablement on sales and marketing content mapping, lead generation, and sales conversions, but don’t know where to start?
If you answer ‘Yes!’ to any of these questions.
Then keep on reading 👇🏽
I’ve made it my mission to help bridge the gap between sales and marketing teams so they can and focus on growth together.
As a seasoned B2B marketer, I can:
- Increase the effectiveness of sales and marketing through ABM, content marketing, and marketing outreach
- Setup an efficient collaboration process between teams to grow the business together
- Develop and incorporate a comprehensive integrated digital marketing strategy with sales in mind
- Craft powerful messaging and map content between the sales process and customer journeys
- Understand the technology’s impact on sales and marketing such as AI, Machine Learning, Big Data, Cloud and more
If you’re looking to connect your sales and marketing to accelerate growth for your company, get in contact with me here:
Check out my books:
* Effective Sales Enablement https://amzn.to/2uf6scr
* Global Content Marketing http://bit.ly/globalcontentmktg
I still want people to know that I speak at conferences, marketing events, and private team meetings. Therefore, I moved the blurbs about authorship and speakership to the experience section, so people searching for speakers on specific marketing topics can still find me.
On a side note…
I’ve changed my LinkedIn headline and profile at least 20 times in the past 5 years. The reason is that my expertise and experience continue to grow. Therefore, I need to constantly update my value propositions to reflect that. Plus, the secret of writing is rewriting. It’s amazing that I can constantly find better ways to explain who I am and what I do. A value proposition is not something you do and then just check off. You need to constantly evaluate what you do and what you can offer to be competitive.
Once we were done with ICP, LinkedIn headline, profile, and tagline, we were ready to approach virtual cold calling. For this, we carefully crafted a sequence of 5 emails.
Carefully orchestrate the sequence of email for cold calls
The first email is very simple and short. Let prospects know that I am reaching out because we share some mutual connections. Something simple like this actually enticed people to accept my invitation to connect.
- The 2nd email is a “Thank you for connecting” email and asks the prospects whether I can be a resource to them. It finishes by letting them know they can reach out anytime if they want to explore opportunities to work together.
- The 3rd email is a Value-Add email. I created a relevant blog post for my ICP, share the link with them and ask for their feedback.
- The 4th email is a meeting ask. I follow-up and check if they read my content. I also ask if they are open to a phone chat.
- The 5th email is the final email. In it, I remind them what I do and ask them to contact me if they ever need any help in the areas of content marketing, sales enablement or account-based marketing. I also share a free chapter from my latest book, Effective Sales Enablement.
I use Sales Navigator to find prospects and reach out to a small number of prospects every day. It requires that I stay on top of it and follow through with prospects consistently.
Here are some of my findings after 8 weeks of virtual outreach:
- 35% accept my initial invitation
- Out of that 35%, 80% failed to respond to further emails and 19% said “no, thanks” after the 3rd or 4th
- Only 1% request a meeting
- Out of that 1%, 50% actually attend a meeting.
The first 90 days are typically an experimentation period where we try to achieve a message to market match. Here is the biggest finding for me:
We’ve noticed that manufacturing companies with 51-1000 employees have the best response rate, while larger enterprises, companies with 5001-10,000+ employees, have a poor response rate. That was counter-intuitive to me initially, since my experience is enterprise, therefore, I tried to align my enterprise experience with enterprise customers. But that’s not the case. Granted my experience is enterprise, but prospects that need my expertise are the companies that are growing into being a big enterprise. They are going through growing pains and have so much to do that they need strategy help… That’s really my sweet spot.
As a result, our focus for the next month will be on companies with 51-1000 employees.
One more thing to share…
For people who said no, some of them appreciate the useful content I shared. But some people are pretty nasty, saying things like ‘I don’t appreciate you looking for work on LinkedIn.’ Well, that’s what LinkedIn is for. People are on LinkedIn to find work or jobs. That’s the way it is. But I understand their frustration with getting cold calls. I get it.
Since the purchase cycle for prospects to engage with me is about 8-12 months, I am planning to run this outreach for several months and see how it goes. More updates to come.
So, do you do any virtual cold calls? How does that go? Love to hear your lesson learned.
Let’s keep learning from each other.