Historically speaking, lead generation was “throw stuff against the wall” and see what sticks. Now, inbound content marketing has taken the lead. You make great content, people read it and engage with it, they come to your site, and you nurture them through the funnel. But Darryl Praill—the Chief Revenue Officer at VanillaSoft—points out if that’s all you are doing, you’re missing half of the opportunity. Learn how he uses Gartner’s double funnel strategy in this episode of the Sales Reinvented podcast!
Lead generation is a one-to-many strategy. It’s running an email campaign, writing content, hosting a webinar or a podcast, etc. with some intelligence behind your content list. It’s typically a nurturing process where the leads are scored and are deemed marketing qualified, then sales qualified, and passed to sales. Prospecting is very different. You operate with a warm list that’s segmented. You know who you’re selling to, why they should talk to you, and you know everything about them. There is logic and reason behind reaching out to them.
Darryl points out that if you don’t prospect, you don’t close any sales. If you want to get paid, you need to do it. Many sales reps are looking for an SDR, a marketing person, etc. to feed you leads so you get to be the closer. But the reality is that you have good days and bad days and you don’t always close. Or, you have fantastic months and you’re making bank. But the next month it’s a desert and you’re twiddling your thumbs.
But prospecting keeps your pipeline full. It allows you to refine your dialogue and messaging. It allows you to hear new objections and find out what’s affecting your audience. It allows you to learn about your audience and make yourself more relevant to them. Darryl emphasizes that you have to practice your craft to stay relevant, skilled, and capable.
Darryl uses the double funnel method from TOPO. It functions two ways: You do traditional lead generation, then you do account-based marketing (ABM). ABM used to be called Target Account Selling (TAS) and was all the rage in the 90s. You say, “I know exactly these 5 accounts I’m going to go after and why.” You know the named accounts and industry accounts to go after. Then you divide and conquer.
To be successful with this strategy, you have to map them out. You have to know all the operational and executive people associated with each account. ABM is about marketing getting in front of them from a branding point of view. Then you target them with highly personalized content and then sales proactively reaching out to them.
The biggest challenge is picking the list and knowing why it’s relevant to you. So if you get on a call with them, you can get their attention. If you’re struggling in this process, Darryl recommends calling some of your customers to ask them point-blank “Why did you buy from us? What impact do we make?” You need to understand the value prop you have.
Darryl believes you have to have a great mindset. You can be book-smart and know the processes and the methodologies, but if you can’t handle rejection then you’re going to fail. Why do you get up every day? Why do you put yourself through the meat grinder? Andrea Waltz has a “Go for No!” strategy where you shoot for a no. You shoot for 10 “nos” an hour and learn to get excited about them. Every no is a step closer to the yes.
Darryl points out that people connect with people who tell stories. It makes the relationship real and tangible. If you’re reading from a script you will fail. No one will return your calls. But if you can tell a story, it gets people engaged. Then you can have a conversation and do discovery. It’s safe, you’re not a threat, and they’re giving you permission to engage.
What else do you need to do? Block time in your calendar or you will be distracted non-stop. Stick to it and protect that time. Be committed to your craft and committed to prospecting.
You have to develop the skill of social-selling, which Darryl prefers to call social marketing. It’s the skill of knowing how to engage with your community, how to position yourself as a subject-matter expert, and how to establish credibility. The first thing a prospect will do when they hear from you is Google your company and then head to LinkedIn and check you out. You have to be relevant on social which means being part of the conversation—not just reposting other people’s content.
When Darryl started at VanillaSoft, he was 50. He wasn’t familiar with LinkedIn. So he hired someone to teach him how to post, when to post, and how to format it. He learned how to engage and when not to engage. It’s a skill you need to have. What are Darryl’s top three dos and don’ts? What story does he share that taught him to build a better process? Listen to the whole episode to hear it all!
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