6 Secrets to Doubling MQL Engagement
It seems that marketing organizations are producing more leads than ever before. More prospects are visiting our websites, downloading our content and attending our events. But the increased lead volume isn’t impacting our sales pipelines and revenue growth. What’s happening to all the leads? How can we engage more of our MQLs and convert them to SQLs and ultimately opportunities?
1. Stop hiding behind the screen.
Your prospects are being inundated with emails and other digital interactions. What your sales and marketing process needs is more and better conversations. A little human touch can help your marketing message rise above all the noise. Instead of trying to build just the right nurturing workflow with the appropriately crafted email message, pick up the phone and talk to your prospect. Doing so will allow you to quickly determine if they are a qualified decision-maker worthy of the investment of additional sales and marketing resources.
2. Blow the dust off your scripts.
Many people think that call scripts are throwback to days of telemarketing boiler rooms. Maybe so, but they work. Getting a decision-maker to pick up your phone call can be challenging, so let’s not blow the opportunity. A script will enable you to accomplish everything you need on the call in a timely and efficient manner. Scripting your call will allow you to craft an opening statement that grabs your prospect’s attention and entices them to invest a few minutes of their time with you. A good script will also map out all the qualification questions that need to be asked. BANT questions (those that address their budget, authority, need, and timeframe) are important, but you may also want to discover information about their current vendor, their decision-making process, and product preferences. The final element of a good script is to facilitate the “next-best-step” in the sales process. That may mean scheduling a demo or a face-to-face meeting. A good script will maximize your engagement with the prospect and keep you from playing the “coulda/woulda/shoulda” game after you hang up the phone.
3. Be first to call.
Research indicates that 50% of inbound leads ultimately select the vendor they talked to first. Research also tells us that the average response time to an inbound lead is about 3 hours. Further, 40% of all inbound leads are never followed up on. So, you can put your organization in a position to win by simply beating your competition to the punch. Don’t wait weeks or even days to follow up with a lead. Worse yet, don’t be the company that simply sends an email and never calls.
4. Call more.
Don’t give up too soon. Most salespeople make just one call; leave a voicemail message and then assume that the prospect isn’t interested when they don’t hear back. The fact of the matter is that it may take 7 – 10 attempts before you’re able to engage a prospect on the phone. Keep trying. Don’t give up.
5. Plan your work and work your plan.
A script makes your calls more productive and efficient. A playbook will do the same for your prospect engagement and follow-up process. Don’t just wing it. Map out a cadence for your follow-up. Develop a plan for when follow-up calls will be made; when emails will be sent; and what the messaging is for each. Your cadence should also build out the specific call and voicemail scripts, as well as email templates for each interaction.
6. Build a bridge between Sales and Marketing.
Leading organizations start with the premise that salespeople suck at marketing and marketing people suck at sales. The fact of the matter is that most salespeople simply don’t have the time or discipline to deploy an effective lead follow-up strategy using the phone. They’re busy traveling, meeting with clients and prospects and preparing proposals. Prospecting via the phone takes time, focus and dedication. It makes sense to take this function off of the sales person’s plate. Instead, build a bridge between sales and marketing by deploying a dedicated inside sales/business development team. This team can be deployed with internal resources or outsourced to a third-party. Doing either will allow you to implement the best practices outlined here in a controlled environment and will result in an increase in MQL engagements, SQLs and new opportunities flowing into your pipeline.