Entries Tagged as 'Podcasts'

B2B Selling - How to handle “I’m not ready to talk to sales yet” - Part 1

One of the toughest tasks for a sales person is engaging a prospect that is in the early stages of a new project and dismisses the need for help. Their response sounds something like this “I’m not ready to talk to sales yet, we’re just researching solutions right now…”. This is often followed by the dreaded, “I’ll contact you if I need more information”.

This is surprisingly easy to handle if you’re prepared, but a momentum killer if you aren’t.

Since the majority of the 70,000+ B2B leads that we’ve captured for our IT Technology clients over the last 4years fall into this category, I thought we might share one way to handle the objection and turn it into your advantage.

Our approach to solving this is based on 20 years of selling high-end IT gear to large commercial organizations and the Federal Government in both the pre- and post- internet era. To sell at this level, you must capture the customer’s curiosity and then wire the customer’s future requirements to fit your solution. This will work wonders but there are no short cuts!

Step 1 - You must create value in the eyes of the prospect at their current stage in the buying cycle - research

Resist the temptation to “sell them”. They don’t care about your solution. What they really need help defining are PROJECT REQUIREMENTS.

For a project of any significant size ($50K and up), most organizations will need to thoroughly define their requirements. So why do you launch into your product features and/or benefits?

Take a different approach, give them what they NEED by asking the Golden Question.

Yes, there is a Golden Question that you can ask to 1) instantly elevate your value, and 2) start the process of “wiring” your solution into their project requirements.

The Golden Question - via Phone or Email

“Mr./Ms. Prospect,
I completely understand you are in the early stages of your project so may I ask you a question (builds curiosity)?

Have you defined the requirements for your SAN Storage project, or no?

If not, I’d be happy to send you our “Top 20 Customer Requirements for a SAN Storage Solution”. This list was compiled from dozens of our storage customers and could be a starting point for your project.

I’d be happy to send you an electronic version to use however you wish, just reply with “send me the requirements doc” and I’ll get it out to you, no strings attached. Then, you can contact me when you are ready.

Thank you for your interest.


Top Sales Guy”

That’s it. Now you don’t have to buy my new book “The Golden B2B Sales Question” (grin).

This may sound simplistic but it accomplishes several key things.

First, it builds trust because you are listening to the customer and understand he is just researching.

Second, it asks the Golden Question in a way that the prospect is compelled to answer “Have you defined the requirements for your XYZ project, or no? The “or no” part is important because it gives the prospect an opening to tell you no, he hasn’t.

Third, any prospect that is serious now or in the future will want that “Top 20 Requirements…” list that was created by other customers…trust me. Just be ready to provide it in a form the prospect can use internally to help sell your products/services; no marketing fluff.

Creating the Top 20 Requirements Document

In Parts 2 and 3 of this series (one week apart), I will show you an actual example of a SAN Storage Project “Top 20 Requirements” document. You would, of course, need to tweak it to fit your specific solution but I’ll provide two different versions.

If you want it faster than that, email me. Otherwise, see you next week!

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How LeadLifter was born on LinkedIn

We are in the process of rebranding our EchoQuote tool into a broader company we’ve dubbed LeadLifter. EchoQuote is a good name for our lead capturing tool because it attracts our customer’s customers when they visit our client’s websites. The name EchoQuote, however, did not resonate with OUR prospective clients; B2B marketers. EchoQuote will continue to be the tool name under the LeadLifter umbrella so nothing will change for our existing clients.

How we got to LeadLifter using LinkedIn

Instead of embarking on a secret campaign of finding a new name, we decided to come up with a basket of potential names and then put it out into the marketing community for feedback. It was a bit risky but we pre-bought several domain names to make sure we could get the name we would ultimately choose.

We posted this on LinkedIn in the B2B Technology Marketing Discussion Group:

“Help us name a new company, watch it get built

We are starting a new “umbrella” company and need help naming it from the tech marketing pros here.

Our current problem is that we are using one of our tool names as the company name and it confuses our target clients. The tool will become one of several offerings for this new, high-level company.

Since companies these days must have an internet presence, we are limited by the names we can register. Here are our choices so far:


and a few other derivatives…

The value proposition for the future company is: “Our solutions maximize your marketing team’s efforts and supply your sales team with quality leads, fast. We do this by helping B2B marketers capture more high-quality leads from their existing websites quickly and inexpensively. We then help deliver those leads directly to the sales team for quick response, shortening the sales cycle and increasing sales. ”

Our target client is a VP/Director of Marketing and/or Sales of a mid-sized B2B company; generally technology based.

We want to choose a name that implies: action, fast, quality, lead conversion, funnel building, sales opps, etc.

The company is yet to be built. We’ve been agonizing over choosing the right name and I thought “go to the pros”. I’d rather use this method to get better feedback than a simple poll (which we will probably do once we get to a short list).

Of the name choices above, which would catch your attention? Which sound corny?

Suggestions and input will be greatly appreciated!”

The Response

LinkedIn members immediately began commenting on the posted names and came up with some terrific alternatives. There was considerable disagreement on several points but everyone backed up their positions with good data. We ultimately chose LeadLifter because it truly reflects what the new company does for its clients. Our flagship offering is our Lead Launch Program, a fixed price lead generation service that runs for 90 days.

Whether you are considering something major like rebranding or rolling out a new service, consider using social media channels to help guide you in the process. It worked for us!

Here’s our new LeadLifter logo with associated tagline “Maximize Marketing. Boost Sales.”


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The Unsung HR Heroes of Summer Vacation Scheduling

It’s been an extremely hot summer here in Maryland with many days exceeding the 100 degree mark. While most people get excited talking about their vacation destinations, there is no rest for the folks that have to manage all that time off for large companies. They are the unsung heroes of summer.

I’ve worked for large companies in the past, and I never realized the effort that goes into balancing associate time off with company objectives…until I talked with Terry Schilling at Tugboat Software.

Tugboat Software specializes in Labor Scheduling and Vacation Scheduling Software for medium to large companies. To properly set up their EchoQuote instance, I needed to understand as much as possible about Labor and Vacation Scheduling Software, and how customers purchase it.

Labor Scheduling Software

The variables in Labor Scheduling are endless. For typical labor scheduling, one company has a requirement to move employees from job to job on an hourly basis; it reduces worker boredom and improves cross training. The software must handle that.

Vacation Scheduling Software

For Vacation Scheduling, organizational priorities must be blended with employee self-service functions. For example, the organization may designate some vacation blocks as “first-come-first-served” with instant approval. Other requests must be reviewed and approved by management based on seniority, vacation credits or other criteria. “Key staff” roles further complicates scheduling.

Of course, Tugboat’s Vacation Scheduling Software is built to handle a variety of requirements. The difficult part, according to Terry, is the upfront definition of the rules that govern time off. This is where Tugboat’s years of experience pays off.

So, before you leave on vacation, thank the person whose job it is to schedule your time. Remember that while we’re vacationing, it is their *busy* season. Even though your time off is well deserved, it must balanced with an endless set of rules and objectives to keep the organization on solid ground. The schedulers make it look easy, especially if they are using Tugboat software.

Is it Fall yet?

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B2B “Fast Lane” Lead Conversion Podcast with Paul Dunay

Want to accelerate the quantity and quality of lead conversions on your B2B site? If so, you may be looking for a “fast lane” lead conversion strategy.

B2B lead conversion is a critical first step in a solid lead nurturing process. Paul Dunay (Buzz Marketing for Technology) and I discuss how to augment a lead nurturing system by creating a fast lane conversion process to capture sales ready leads.

While we discuss one specific way to implement it using EchoQuote, it is certainly not the only way and there are no silver bullets. Choose what fits for your organization and target customers.

The key to implementing a successful Fast Lane Conversion strategy boils down to the strength and value of the *offer*.

A strong B2B offer:

  • … has high-value for your target prospects
  • … appeals to serious prospects more than casual ones, regardless of their buying time frame
  • … appeals to prospects early in their buying cycle, when their decision criteria can be influenced the most
  • …. is scarce and is available only from your website to eliminate search abandonment
  • … is easy to act on by a serious prospect with minimal friction to avoid abandonment


Thanks again to Paul for providing this platform. I just picked up his Facebook Marketing book and it is fantastic.

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Defining The Perfect Lead Generation System

Jim Logan at B2BRainmaker just posted Here’s how I define the perfect lead generation system and I think he nailed it.

What’s interesting is that Jim, like myself, spent years selling high-end technology so he offers a the sales person’s perspective. B2B marketers that want to help their sales teams can learn a lot from Jim.

Per Jim:

“I define the perfect lead generation system as a system that passively brings prospects to me that have a need and interest in my products or services.

By passive I mean it works for me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, without me having to do a thing once it’s launched.

By qualified I mean a system that only brings me prospects interested in exactly what I have to offer — their presence self-identifies them as a qualified lead.”

Short, sweet, and powerful. That’s Jim’s style.

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B2B Website Conversion Strategies

I’ve always really liked the team over at FindandConvert, which offers first-class internet marketing services like SEO, PPC and Social Media development. The CEO, Bernie Borges publishes an excellent blog, “Web Marketing Strategies, SEO, Social Media Marketing and Podcasting”.

Bernie just published a podcast with me discussing B2B conversion strategies.

Here’s a summary of the podcast from Bernie’s point of view:

When a visitor comes to your website due to your well planned SEO or SEM strategy he or she is not necessarily ready to convert into a buyer, or to fill out a form, or ready to talk to a salesperson. This is especially prominent in B2B websites.

Buyers have many options when they do their research on the web and therefore, they are harder to engage. Many marketers struggle with how to engage a website visitor.

Marketers must look at their website from the customer’s point of view. Visit your website as a prospective customer. Ask yourself if your website content and calls to action are engaging for visitors at different stages of their buying cycle.

Most marketers have not done a good job of engaging visitors based on where the visitor is in their buying process. Some of the calls to actions marketers have offered such as white papers, are not very compelling or they are sometimes freely available. They often don’t address needs of the buyer at the current stage when they visit the website.

EchoQuote is a group of IT sales people. They came up with a method to provide a website conversion through self service budgetary pricing without displaying pricing on the website. By offering the website visitor the promise of budgetary pricing without having to contact the company or talking to a salesperson, many visitors are willing to engage.

Often a website visitor wants to know the general price range of your products or services. By offering the ability to provide budgetary pricing the request rates can be very high. But, just because someone requests pricing information doesn’t make them a qualified sales prospect.

When someone asks for pricing info using a link from your website to EchoQuote, the first detail captured is an email address. Therefore, this email address can be nurtured for future sales potential. This method is a good way to build your email list.

Once someone requests pricing they are a “suspect” and it’s a good idea to have a sales person contact the visitor to explore their criteria in order to avoid a situation where they scope your products or services without your input.

EchoQuote is a patented system whose clients are businesses interested in B2B lead generation. Most of them sell a complex product or service with a direct sales force or a knowledgeable channel partner.

EchoQuote client example: a 20 year old company who traditionally does a lot of email marketing. They had noticed a drop in leads from the contact form. When they implemented the EchoQuote self service pricing their lead form conversions picked up by 30%. The client attributed it to giving visitors the ability to receive budgetary pricing in a self service model.

Dale summarizes the podcast interview by pointing out that all situations are different but suggests that all marketers visit their website with your customer’s perspective and assess if you’re providing compelling calls to action relevant to different stages of the buying cycle.

Listen to the podcast for the full interview between me and Bernie.

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Add a Fast Lane to your Lead Nurturing

Paul Dunay (Buzz Marketing for Technology) and I recently discussed how to augment a lead nurturing system for sales ready leads. Here is the podcast as posted on Paul’s site.

Dunay Link Page

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