Do you struggle with prospecting and lead generation? Is getting a meeting with a potential customer like pulling teeth? Cory Bray believes the struggle is often because you aren’t giving your prospecting a compelling offer. No one is going to be enticed by a sales meeting. A sales meeting may even be a deterrent. What does Cory recommend doing instead? He shares advice, strategies, and tactics to navigate the process in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Don’t miss it!
Cory Bray is the Managing Director at ClozeLoop. Cory has built high-performing sales teams in industries that range from manufacturing to technology. He knows what works in practice, not just in theory. He’s a high-value advisor to multiple accelerators, bestselling author of 6 books, and a dynamic keynote speaker who has spoken all over the world. He’s passionate about making sales accessible, actionable, and scalable with Fast Frameworks.
Cory notes that you need to achieve the right amount of volume with the least amount of effort. Effort can be measured by human time and the amount of capital deployed. If you have spikes in leads, it can be overwhelming to your team. So you need consistent lead volume over time so the organization can handle it.
Cory sees prospecting as human-assisted marketing. It’s targeted. With any good effort, you’re offering someone something a prospect can accept or reject. But most salespeople make a mistake when prospecting. They’re offering a sales meeting—which isn’t compelling at all. When Cory is prospecting, he offers them one of his books. It’s compelling and something of actual value. It's a touch that gets them into the funnel. The bottom line? Offer people something that they actually want.
The expected value in a casino is negative—unless you’re the house. But when you’re in a casino, you’ll win hands at a Blackjack table, spins at a slot machine, or rolls at a craps table. Casinos do that to keep you in the game. Cory shares “Unfortunately, when you’re making cold calls or you’re sending a lot of prospecting emails, you don’t have that luxury of having those intermittent wins designed to keep you around. So you have to create them for yourself.”
How do you do that? A great tactic is to set negative goals—which sounds counter-intuitive. If you’re supposed to make 75 calls a day, make your goal to get 74 “nos” a day. Along the way to that goal, you may just get a yes. You focus on the negative goals so when the positive one comes, it’s a bonus.
Cory emphasizes that salespeople have to be able to handle rejection and bounce back from every “no.” Salespeople often aren’t liked. Cory had someone tell him once, “I already have a mother, I don’t need anyone else to think I’m the greatest person in the world.” Some people aren’t naturally great at rejection—but you can learn to handle it.
Cory believes that you need to develop the ability to have a good conversation with a stranger about a topic that they’re more of an expert at than you are. So many salespeople get overwhelmed with the idea of needing to be a subject matter expert in everything. Cory emphasizes that shouldn’t be your goal or even a concern.
Whoever you’re calling will have more subject matter expertise than you will. It’s not a competition. Instead, Cory recommends becoming an expert at having conversations around topics you’re NOT comfortable with. Can you navigate a conversation without feeling like you’re under a ton of pressure? What other skills should you develop? What are Cory’s top 3 prospecting and lead generation dos and don’ts? Listen to hear Cory’s thoughts.
The first big deal Cory closed started with a solid “no.” But after the meeting, Cory came up with another idea. So he created a 4-minute video for the Senior VP. When he contacted the VP he said, “It sounds like there’s not a great opportunity for us to work together based on our last conversation. Here are 4 minutes to review another idea that I had.”
His response? “This is really interesting—let’s meet.” That’s how Cory closed the biggest deal his company had ever made. He learned that you must be resilient and don’t take no as the end of the sales process. No might just be a roadblock or an invitation for further conversation.
When you get a “no”, put them in your long-term nurture pipeline. Don’t lose sight of them. You can figure out how to use them as an asset in the future. To hear the rest of Cory’s prospecting and lead generation wisdom—listen to the whole episode!
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Persistence is one of the best things a salesperson can do to achieve successful prospecting, according to Kristie Jones. Lead generation and prospecting are a long game and there are skills that a salesperson needs to develop to be successful in these areas. What are they? How can you improve your prospecting and lead generation skills? Kristie shares her tips + tactics in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Check it out!
Kristie Jones is the go-to expert for SaaS companies wanting to build or scale their sales teams. Her 19+ years as a Sales Leader in the SaaS space fuels her passion to help businesses increase revenue through improved strategy, process, and people. She coaches everything from sales process and strategy to hiring and training Sales and Success Reps.
Kristie defines lead gen as playing the long game. You need to ensure that prospects are aware of your company. Lead gen is usually owned by the marketing team and is more of one-way communication. Prospecting is a two-way communication that is specific and targeted to customers in a personal and customized way. The goal is to get off the “maybe” pile and get into the “Yes/No” pile.
Closing deals is all about timing. Even if a company is a good fit for you, they may not need your product or service now. So you need to embrace persistence and continue to add value and stay in front of the prospect until they’re ready to purchase. Kristie’s goal is to keep leads as warm pizza until they’re ready to move forward. You want to make sure they don’t go back to frozen pizza. The end goal is qualification. Until then, make sure marketing is keeping the “not right nows (NRNs)” in the lead generation funnel.
Kristie emphasizes that salespeople need to have discipline and persistence. They need to block time in their calendar and build out time to prospect. Prospecting may be the red-headed step-child of sales—but a necessary evil. It’s one of the most important activities you need to be consistent with. Putting new deals in the funnel is 100% in your control. You have to be consistent and persistent. Consistently fill the top of your funnel. Make sure you are persistent with your NRN list and follow up with them regularly.
The qualification process is also important. Clients call her and say “deals are stalling out” and what she finds is that there's stalling out because they shouldn’t have been in the pipeline in the first place. You need a formal nurture strategy for your NRN’s to keep them warm. A lot of the messaging is all about you, your product, and your service. It isn’t about helping the client and making their life easier. Turn that around. Prospecting “Has to be all about them, before it can be all about you before it can be all about us.”
Kristie emphasizes that you can’t just “wing it.” You need a plan. The reason that prospecting automation tools exist is that everyone is great at starting the prospecting process—but not following through. Every time 4 days go by and you haven’t touched a prospect, you’re starting back at zero. Winging it is NOT a good strategy. It means you don’t have a strategy. You will be disorganized. There’s more noise than ever out there. If you’re not constantly in someone’s “face” they won’t remember you. She also points you that you can’t think a full pipeline means you don’t have to prospect anymore.
Kristie had a prospect she was trying to qualify who fit her customer profile perfectly. He would be her ideal client. She went after him 100%. He was playing along, then he went under. She let him go back into the wild and went back after him months later—with no luck.
So she started digging around. She went on Twitter and found out he was a Belgium beer lover—Kristie is too. So she sent her next email with the title: How about we grab a blue moon together? That got her the meeting. She learned that she was becoming part of the noise. She wasn’t separating herself. She had to dig deeper and get personal.
Her LinkedIn account is all business. But Twitter is business + personal. Most people on LinkedIn recognize that it’s a professional networking platform and behave accordingly. Twitter is like going to a bar with someone. You get a sense of who they are as a whole. That’s where the personalization can occur. The minute it’s on social media, it’s public. Twitter is fair game.
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Do you have a plan for lead generation? Do you have an organized approach to prospecting? Have you developed the necessary skills to be successful with lead generation and prospecting? Adam Snider has a tried and true process that he follows wholeheartedly. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented as he shares some tips + strategies for salespeople to stay relevant and craft their approach.
Adam Snider currently leads a B2B sales department, owns Leading Sales Results, is a Coach with The Sales Rebellion, and a Trainer with Quota International. He is also a frequent contributor to The Sales Expert Channel. Adam is passionate about changing the negative stereotypes of sales professionals. Don’t miss out on his 19+ years of experience.
Adam emphasizes that effective prospecting needs to start with a plan. Where are your leads coming from? Where are your customers? How will you find leads? How will you engage with your market?
Once you answer those questions, you need to organize your approach to generating leads. How do you plan to engage with potential customers on LinkedIn or other platforms and mediums? Perhaps you could target specific companies or contacts. Once you have an understanding of where your leads are, you should organize what Adam likes to call a “suspect list.”
Organize who you want to engage with. He recommends a list of a minimum of 100 and a maximum of 200 on your list at any given time. You want to feed the suspect list continually and continuously pull from it. Acclimate yourself with the companies and people, do your research.
Then you organize a daily prospecting plan. What prospecting are you going to do each day? You could make 50 calls on Monday, go to a networking event on Tuesday, or send target letters to C-level executives on Wednesday. Whatever you do, you need to set a plan and follow it.
Salespeople need to be tenacious. They need to learn to not take things personally. Some salespeople are born with traits such as extrovertedness, which is helpful. But you can also learn them. The #1 skillset Adam believes a salesperson needs is being inquisitive.
Adam notes that before a military force storms enemy lines, they research and plan to increase the chance of success. If your only reason to call a potential customer is to talk to them about your product or service—do not speak to them. Get inquisitive and find out a reason to call besides selling yourself and your company.
Adam shares some tips to help you improve your prospecting skills:
Adam was coaching someone on his team who was struggling with prospecting. This person was doing all of the right activities. He was organized, tenacious, and worked hard to grow his pipeline. But he wasn’t getting results. So to diagnose the problem, Adam listened in on one of his sales calls.
Adam noticed that the call was 100% salesy. His team member was even asked if it was a sales call, to which he sheepishly responded “yes.” Adam felt for him. Adam took the next call and ended up leaving a message. He believes you should always leave a message. If you don’t, what reason do they have to call back?
The message he left was a relevant piece of information based on a regulation that came down in this person’s industry. He mentioned how the regulation would tie into the potential client’s business. He said he’d like to have a conversation about the plans they’re making based on this new regulation. Then he ended the voicemail.
Adam was confident that the team member learned new skills. Even better, they got a call back. That rarely happens—even with a good voicemail. The moral of the story? Leaving something as impersonal as a voicemail—if it’s relevant to the listener—increases your chances of getting a call back.
Always remember: What do they want to hear? What’s important for customers? The relevance of your message is essential to your success.
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How do you save time, get results, and avoid burning your lists? How do you get results from cold emails? Kim Albee believes that it’s by knowing your perfect potential customer and providing them value. In this episode of the Sales Reinvented podcast, she shares her expertise in prospecting and lead generation. Don’t miss it!
Kim Albee founded her company Genoo, as well as the B2B Online Marketing Group on LinkedIn. Kim helps you attract quality leads, and establish the engagement necessary for sustained growth. She does this by providing practical strategies and integrated tools that maximize resources, energy, and return on investment.
Kim believes that prospecting is looking for your perfect fit. Ideally, your perfect fit is a buying opportunity—they’re at the bottom of the funnel. Lead generation is where you’re getting your perfect potential customers anywhere in the funnel. You’re generating and attracting them to you through a variety of different mechanisms.
Kim notes that at Genoo, they are always building relationships and engagement with their perfect potential customers. One of the biggest mistakes that Kim sees people make is sending cold emails. Instead of sending cold emails, you should provide real value. That means taking a marketing approach to build leads and engagement. You respond in a way that deepens the relationship and builds authority.
Give your leads bite-sized chunks and lead them a step at a time through the buying journey while building trust. You can use any kind of lead gen to do this.
Kim notes that listening is a great attribute—as well as paying attention. It’s great to have a conversation and listen more than you talk. But in the online world, you also have digital body language to go off of. What are they clicking on? What are they looking at? What are they interested in?
You should send out value emails and then track these things. If you listen well to those metrics and respond appropriately, you can give them the messages you know will resonate. You’ll hit with a lot more of them. When you reach out for a call at that point, they know who you are and will more readily take your call.
In every sales job, Kim points out that there’s a certain amount of going after a goal. You think the path from A to B is a straight line—but Kim disagrees. She believes the path is varied, that it isn’t linear. You need to have really good materials and understand your perfect potential customer. What are the different concerns that they have? How can you satisfy them? There are different routes through that conversation that you should have ready.
You need to work with marketing and put together how you move people through the buying process. How does that mesh with the conversations you’re going to have? You have to pay attention to what your prospects and leads most need. What is most relevant and valuable to them? Help them move towards that and build trust and credibility.
Kim had a customer that was using a cold email strategy. They bought a list of 14,000 potential customers. Of the 14,000 cold emails they sent, they only booked 62 meetings at a 0.4% conversion rate—meaning only 8 of those 62 meetings qualified. Their qualification rate was 12.9%. They were burning through lists.
When they bought the next list, Kim asked for a chunk of the leads so she could show them a better strategy. They gave her 350 of the next 14,000 leads. So her team sent out marketing emails that added value for their perfect potential customers. They got an 18% open rate on their emails and booked 20 meetings. They qualified 10 of those meetings—a whopping 50% qualification rate. They qualified more leads with their 350 than the 14,000 other emails that went out.
They took the 14,000 emails that hadn’t generated any leads and tried to give them value, but they couldn’t. Once you burn them, there’s no going back. Kim notes that the goal is to “Provide valuable, relevant content for the leads to engage in, and then follow up appropriately.”
Providing value matters AND it works. Good content and understanding your perfect potential customer is the key to success. Sales messages don’t provide any value. They’re designed for the bottom of the funnel. But marketing messages share value while sharing, relating, and engaging. You’re hitting the top and middle of the funnel and engaging in a long-term strategy.
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