When a company’s just starting out, everyone wears a lot of hats. Most sales are made using an informal, ad-hoc process and powered by the network the founder(s) already have in place. And unless those founders come from a sales background, there’s usually not much understanding of the nitty-gritty of making a sales process work.
Fast forward to the point where that same company is trying to sustain rather than achieve rapid growth. Inbound-only typically won’t cut it so sales is a priority.
Outbound sales done well is a reliable engine of business growth. But it depends on being fed the right fuel — usable leads, in large numbers and at high quality.
And around the same point where companies move over to using a full-powered sales department, lead acquisition actually becomes more rather than less difficult. Referral networks and extended personal and professional networks are long since tapped out, and the transition to sales as a numbers game truly shocks many founders.
There’s a profound mismatch between early-stage founders’ experiences and what newly-hired sales managers or sales ops know. Negotiating that territory can be hard. Doing it while you build a sales process from the ground up? Seriously tough.
While LeadPorte can’t help companies set up their best sales process or design a cold calling program that works, we can give that program the fuel it needs to explode expectations and succeed beyond the expectations of the industry.
Here are four key areas where LeadPorte can make a sales ops or manager’s job a million times simpler, turning grinding hours of research into a few mouse clicks — and getting you better results to boot!
1. Lead Quality
Lead quality is a huge issue across the board. Marketers call it their top challenge. Inbound sales call it their top challenge. And a 2016 study of inside sales managers found 24% of them saw lead quality as their biggest challenge. It came in at number 2, consistently over two years — right behind training and development.
In the same survey, reps — who don’t have to worry about training and development — put lead quality front and center, year after year.
Like any process, GIGO applies: Garbage in, garbage out. I’m not saying there are garbage companies out there, just that with harsh limitations on resources, especially time, you have to feed a cold calling process on great fuel if you want great results.
Lead quality should be job number one.
Yet it often isn’t. Salespeople report having to make more and more calls, hit higher and higher numbers.
They’re making more calls per appointment every year.
In short, they’re swimming up a waterfall and most of their leads are a poor match.
Worse, many are simply poor records. ‘Over 50% of the data in most CRMs is out of date or invalid, and over 30% of the data purchased from most data providers is just plain wrong,’ says OutBound Works co-founder Ben Sardella.
Many business leaders plain don’t recognize themselves in the descriptions that businesses have of them. A third of respondents in a Deloitte survey said the information other businesses had about them was 0% to 25% accurate. Bought lists vary wildly in quality, typically degrading sharply with each resale. Prospecting soaks up more and more time, leaving hard-pressed sales teams between a rock and a hard place.
SDRs are being asked to make upward of a hundred calls a day in an effort to overcome this basic issue, leaving growing sales teams stuck between a rock and a hard place.
LeadPorte lets you select leads from a vast database, choosing and filtering by lead quality automatically. Select and download small, tailored lists or vast tranches of business data guaranteed to match your criteria and contain working email and phone contact details, as well as rich data that can be used to build better scripts.
Here, I’ve started with a pretty wide net: CIOs in business services companies with $10m to $50m revenue.
The important step for our purposes is here:
This lets you choose the quality of records that get returned. Obviously, AAA is the best quality, and ‘phone is present’ is checked, so this search is going to return the best records available, complete with phone numbers.
Here’s how lead quality scoring works on LeadPorte:
|AAA||Validated in last 90-120 days||Likely direct dial||Complete|
|AA||Validated in last 90-120 days||May be direct or corporate||Complete|
|A||Validated in last 90-120 days||Probably corporate||Complete|
|BBB||Validated in last 90-120 days, unverifiable response||Likely direct dial||Complete|
|BB||Validated in last 90-120 days, unverifiable response||May be direct or corporate||Complete|
|B||Validated in last 90-120 days, unverifiable response||Probably corporate||Complete|
|CCC||Validated in last 90-120 days, unverifiable response||Likely direct dial||Incomplete — job titles may be absent or names incomplete|
|CC||Validated in last 90-120 days, unverifiable response||May be direct or corporate||Incomplete — job titles may be absent or names incomplete|
Here’s what we get from my search without quality defined:
There are multiple screens of results.
But if we define quality as AAA, the results are very different:
(These are previews; full records contain much more information, as we’ll see below.)
But if it’s revenue range and job title that you’re interested in, you might be best-served nailing messaging for these few leads that match criteria exactly and come with the best possible chance of getting a direct phone call.
2. Account-Based Cold Calling
Account-based sales means selling simultaneously to multiple people at the same account, working to secure a sale to a business via several individuals rather than just one. As the average number of people involved in a business purchase decision rises from 5.4 in 2015 to nearly 7 today, account-based sales increasingly becomes the default.
However, the typical account-based data acquisition process isn’t simple. Time-pressed SDRs are hunting details on LinkedIn and cross-referencing that data with their CRMs, bought lists and email search tools like Hunter.
The ongoing lawsuit over data scraping on LinkedIn doesn’t help matters either, felling a swathe of tools whose owners didn’t fancy going lawyer-to-lawyer with Microsoft.
Salespeople can wind up approaching the wrong people — simply because they can’t get the contact details for the right people — and asking them for contact details for the person they really want to talk to. It’s not so easy to get people to pick up the phone at all — let alone to help you out by passing you on to a colleague!
Account-based sales is a long, complex process. But like any sale, it starts with getting in touch with the right people. LeadPorte lets you simply search for those contacts and acquire their contact information based on their company and role.
Suppose you’re selling a tech product: you’ll want to talk to the CIO, but also to other stakeholders. Heads of affected departments will want their say; if you’re selling a marketing tool, expect the CMO to want some involvement.
When you know which roles you need to target, LeadPorte lets you locate rich records on those individuals quickly and easily.
In LeadPorte you can search by account, then role, and simply select the precise elements of the team you need to contact.
An initial search through LeadPorte, for records with the primary SIC description ‘Computer Services, Not Elsewhere Classified,’ generated over half a million records.
Next, I’m going to search through those records. Using the top page of results, regardless of anything else, I’ll get all the C-suite results for all those records.
I’m starting by uploading the company names as a CSV file.
There’s some guidance on the site as to how this works:
But we’re just pulling company names out of LeadPorte and plugging them right back in.
My company names list contains several duplicates, but that’s nothing to worry about: LeadPorte will clear that up automatically.
Absent duplicates, I submitted a list of 35 company names. LeadPorte returned over 195,000 records matching those companies.
Next step, I’ll narrow down the results, focusing on the C-suite. That’s simple: I just set the ‘job level’ to ‘C-suite.’
That returns just a little under 6,000 results.
Many of these might be irrelevant to your specific product and sales process. We can narrow it down further by selecting for specific job titles, so we don’t get information on Chief Architects and Complex Solutions Executive Partners.
Here’s what we get if we ask for just CMOs, CIOs and CEOs:
I’ve done this by uploading a CSV again, this time with both initialisms and the full job titles, so both ‘CEO’ and ‘Chief Executive Officer.’
One company — IBM — is massively overrepresented, but even so, we’ve gotten the number of records down to 650 or so.
We can get that down further by setting a ceiling for records per company name:
That gives us 70 records:
Now you can download a list that’s sorted by company and contains records only for specific job roles that are relevant to your sales process.
3. Prospect Research and Scripting
Cold outreach works best when it’s highly individualized. That requires enough rich, detailed data to personalize scripts and emails.
Acquiring this data is time-consuming and complex. The result is either the abandonment of attempts to personalize, or clumsy efforts that ‘turn off’ recipients worse than standardize messaging would.
In reality, everything from modes of address to value proposition needs to be adapted to the recipient for best results. It’s only possible if you know enough about the person you’re targeting to speak to their specific concerns.
There are more examples of awful cold emails than of awful cold calls, but here’s one or two from each group:
Proposify’s Kyle Lacki critiques the email here. Mostly, the faults he finds are down to not knowing or caring enough about him and his business. Everything from value prop to greeting is generic and doesn’t make him — or us — want to know more. (Sorry, Julie!)
And here’s an awful cold call:
By contrast, great cold call scripts run more like this:
And great cold emails run more like this:
The difference is in how closely they address the interests of the recipient. But to do that the message has to be tailored to the recipient, and you can’t do that without detailed information about their role and industry, location and more.
In fact, as Dan Tyre says in a Hubspot post entitled ‘The Best Cold Call Script Ever’:
LeadPorte lets you filter out records that don’t have rich data attached, and gives you location, role, industry more information on the contacts you select.
For instance, if we download the search results we identified in the last section (CEOs, CIOs and CMOs of 35 computing services companies) we get 79 records that contain information like:
- Full name
- Business address
- Phone and email
- Number of employees
- Company website
- Year the company was founded
- URLs for LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter
Presented as a CSV file on download, this data can help with creating personalized messaging that speaks to industry, business size, job role and responsibilities, and form the foundation of investigation toward more individual personalization.
For example, the record for Vivek Ranadive, of the Xoriant corporation, gives Xoriant’s Twitter profile URL:
While that doesn’t mean you have to start getting into social selling, you are likely to find the right material in that Twitter feed to give you some ideas about company culture and concerns; ammunition, when it comes time to write email copy or pick up the phone.
4. Target by Technographics
The ability to target by the technology your prospects are already using is particularly important if you’re selling a tool or service that matches up with tech prospects might already be using. If you sell services for clients who rely on Amazon Web Services or whose websites run on WordPress, then it’s crucial to build cold call lists that target users of those technologies.
LeadPorte lets you search the database, filter and build lists for download based on technographics or as part of a multi-filter approach that delivers a tailor-made list.
You can do that two ways, depending on what you need to know. If you already know which individuals or companies you want to reach and technographics is about more accurately targeting your messaging, you can check in the records themselves. Here’s the technographics information for Xoriant:
Drupal; Google Analytics; Gravatar; Leadformix; Sharethis; WordPress; Talend; Python Os; Oracle Quoting; Oracle Essbase; Oracle Ejb; Oracle Bi; Microstrategy Microstrat; Microsoft Windows 8; Microsoft Windows; Ixia; Ibm Aix; Github; Cloudera; Citrix Systems Inc Netscaler; Cisco Webex; Angular Angularjs
Picked up directly out of the CSV download.
But if you want to build a list around a technographics requirement — say, you’re primarily interested in selling to companies that use Python OS — you can search for them directly, either within previously defined search parameters or as a whole new search.
Searching within the results we already have only yields one business: Xoriant.
So we need to cast a wider net. We’ll clear the company name field.
The other search parameters are still in place. So we’re going to see records for CMOs, CIOs and CEOs for computing services companies.
Targeting roles, industry, and technographics simultaneously to ensure that when you cold call, email or both, you’re reaching the right people and you have the knowledge to offer them compelling, personalized messaging.
Making a cold call campaign work is never plain sailing. Doing it for the very first time can be intimidating, and there are plenty of ways to run aground. But LeadPorte gives you ways to massively improve the list your reps, and you, will start with.
When you’re trying to get results, it can be tempting to drive movable metrics like call numbers. But it can be more effective to focus on the quality of leads and the accuracy of messaging targeting. Cold calls and cold emails alike work best when they’re personalized, and LeadPorte delivers the rich, accurate and validated data that lets you reliably and quickly personalize your messaging.
It’s vital to be addressing the right people in the first place. Via its ‘technology used’ search function LeadPorte can help you identify the right businesses to go after; using job level and role name filtering lets you target the right people at the account.
And knowing before you even look at a single record that every name on your sheet is attached to a personal number that works and an email that’s been checked out makes a huge difference.
Using LeadPorte can provide your first cold calling program — and all the ones that come after — with the fuel you need to succeed.