I don't rely solely on inbound leads. I don't work a lead just to work it. I want to guarantee a conversation. A conversion. A sale. After three and a half years in sales at HubSpot, I've learned to seek out trigger events to close more deals.
Many sales reps work a lead with a set methodology. Although they analyze the quality of the lead, they rarely research beyond the inbound intelligence trickling into their CRM.
You need to become a researcher. Think about what makes someone a buyer. What things would make them want to buy what I want to sell? Are you determining if your product or service is timely and relevant to the lead? Will it help the lead reach a future goal?
With that in mind, I wanted share my strategy for ensuring my initial contact doesn't fall on deaf ears, and hope it's valuable for your sales process, too.
Use trigger events to align with the lead's immediate needs.
A trigger event is a current, timely, relevant event resembling a welcome mat for sales reps. Since I work with sales and marketing software, these trigger event examples could easily become leads:
A prominent business journal features the new director for a leading investing group. Will this new employee need my product to stand out at the company?
A company blog post outlines a relaunch of their marketing initiatives. Oh, I can help them with their analysis and metrics!
A news release highlights a new round of investment funding for a local startup. Let me help you spend that money wisely while growing your sales!
A LinkedIn post asks for resumes from sales reps. Ah, you're expanding? I have software that can help this process along seamlessly--now!
Understanding what your company sells for and figuring out how you can help one of these potential customers makes it easier to sell more timely, relevant deals. Each of these trigger event examples is primed for change, a solution ... my products.
A simple strategy for working trigger events for your niche.
While the examples I used above were centered around my target buyer context, I believe the overall strategy -- which isn't quite as simple as doing a few Google searches -- can apply to anyone in sales. Here are my five steps for success.
1) Think: What are you selling?
A salesperson needs to think about what they sell for and the types of companies they've seen do well with their products or services -- and why. Those ideas will become some of your key selling points in later communications.
2) Collect news sources.
Get your hands on trade magazines, journals, newsletters, and quarterly reports. Subscribe to industry-related blogs and online newsletters. Check LinkedIn daily. Timely trigger events are all around you; search for them.
3) Research relevant leads.
It's easier to base opening conversations off trigger events because they're more timely than some traditional inbound leads. Before picking up the phone I browse the contact's LinkedIn, read their company website, look up their latest blog posts, and see what they're posting on Twitter.
4) Reach out in multiple ways.
I use everything I can to possibly connect because not everyone is sitting at their desk when I'm calling them. Leave a voicemail. Send a Tweet. Use LinkedIn mail. If they see one of these messages, hopefully they'll respond because it shows I've done a lot of background research.
5) Always be polite.
I start off the conversation by recognizing I've interrupted their day, then in a few sentences concisely explain the reason for my contact by using data collected from my research. Here's an example introduction:
"Hi, I'm Ali from HubSpot. I've caught you off guard, but I wanted to reach out to you because I read about your company in the Local Business Journal and it seems like you're focused on increasing your revenue by 35 percent next quarter, and looking to grow into five additional states this year. I took a look at your website and it seems like you're on the right path, and I can help. I know I'm interrupting your day, but what my company does is exactly what you're facing."
Then they'll usually start talking to me. They can tell I know what's going on right now. And they can see that I can help them right now. That's valuable. That closes more deals.
Do you go beyond calling and inbound lead generation to look for workable leads? Tell us about your creative approach in the comments below.
Originally published Mar 20, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017