Set up a Q4 pipeline to close the year like a boss!
If your sales pipeline is currently leakier than a broken sieve, then you’re not alone. No organization is immune to pipeline challenges or missed quotas.
If you’re looking to re-evaluate your sales approach just in time for Q4 to finish the year strong, we’ve got your back…
Webinar topic detail
Hello and welcome to this Essential B2B webinar brought to you today by Lead Forensics. I am your host, Brand Awareness Manager, Joe Ducarreaux.
The theme of today’s webinar is Set up Q4 pipeline to close the year like a boss! If your sales pipeline is currently leakier than a broken sieve, you’re not alone. No organisation is immune to pipeline challenges or missed quotas. If you are looking to re-evaluate your sales approach just in time for Q4 to finish the year strong, we’ve got your back!
We’ve assembled a panel of industry thought leaders to share their tips for effective sales pipeline management, maximising opportunities and closing winnable deals.
So, joining me to discuss sales pipelines and more is a panel of excellent guests. We have Michael Manzi, (inaudible) Head of Sales with over 80,000 followers on TikTok where he’s helping companies under $10m build scale outbound, advising CEOs or training teams. Hi Michael, great to have you with us today.
Michael: Glad to be here.
Joe: We have Charlotte Lloyd, Strategic Sales Director, Podcaster for Investment Monitor. Hi Charlotte.
Charlotte: Hi Great to be here.
Joe: We have Tyler Witt, returning guest to our webinars, Sales Evangelist and charming human for Lead Forensics. That’s what’s on your Linkedin, so that’s what I went with Tyler, Hello Tyler.
Tyler: Hello, thank you for having me again.
Joe: We have Cillian O Grady, Head of Sales and Senior Sales Director at Sprout Social. Hi Cillian, thank you for joining us. .
Cillian: Hi Joe, delighted to be here.
Joe: and finally, but absolutely by no means least, we have David Bentham, Director Sales Development at Cognism. Hello David, how are you going?
David: Hey, not too bad. It’s really good to be here as is everybody else, apparently.
Joe: Excellent. I do have to apologise, I have a slight sniffle so my voice is slightly nasally but we’re going to carry on all the same. We do have a chat function that you can get involved with through the webinar so if anyone in the audience feels like they would like to ask a question, please feel free to pop it in….although we have quite a stacked card here so there may not be time but if there is time, we’ll get to your questions.
So guys, the first question I have for you today is, what’s the best piece of sales strategy advice you’d give. Something you’ve put into practice and has made an impactful change to your results? I think Cillian, we’ll start with you.
Cillian: Yeah, lovely. One of the key things is that even though Q4 is very important, it’s very unlikely that things are going to fundamentally change from any other quarter. So I think from a sales reps point of view it’s really important to know your numbers, to know your conversion rate, your average deal size and know your sales cycle in particular. I think that’s something people get caught out on and I think just to make sure that…..there’s a fair amount of science to selling and I think the more you know there’s a lot of predictability there. You should know the pipeline coverage that you need and if you keep all those things in mind, Q4 shouldn’t …..obviously there’s an extra push and energy from the sales team hopefully but other than that fundamentally customers don’t change a huge amount in that short space of time so keep your focus on the science behind the numbers.
Joe: Knowledge is power, I suppose. Thanks Cillian. Charlotte, we’ll come to you on that one…the best piece of sales strategy advice you’d give. .
Charlotte: I’ve got several, so first off….. make sure you are focusing on RGAs, Revenue Generating Activities. So everything has to be client facing or calling prospects. Make sure you are managing your time well….do you need to have internal meetings? Could those meetings be an email? Time block to prospect…..I can’t stress the importance of this. If you’re going to spend one hour cold calling, time block for the week so you focus on that for one hour and you might want to focus on cold email. When you are researching a prospect make sure you block it off in your calendar, don’t leave any white space otherwise you are going to end up forgetting to do it.
Another thing I would say works really well for me is multi-channel prospecting. Don’t just rely on sending emails to your prospects, cold call, use video, use Linkedin. Start sending Linkedin messages, Linkedin voice notes – they are under 30 seconds, they’re great. Many of my prospects use them, this is still really under utilised on Linkedin. When you’re commenting on your prospect’s post on social media, leave a thoughtful comment, don’t just say ‘well done’, ‘congratulations’, ‘looks good’. Say something a bit different, read what they are posting about, what’s their company been posting about. Show that you’ve done your research and that you are using all these different channels. So on Linkedin, send a video. Sending a video is really easy. I think a lot of salespeople get into this whole mindset of ‘oh, it’s going to take me too long to put together a 30 second video’. Time block 30 minutes, I can record up to 20 videos in that time and get them sent out. Show your prospect that you are doing all these different things and the more you touch them on different channels, the more likely you are going to get a response.
Another thing that I will add is, disqualify to qualify. Not only in Q4 but in previous quarters, a lot of salespeople have deals in the pipeline that are just not going to come through because they haven’t disqualified properly. So if you sense that your prospect is not interested, call it out! Get on the call, tell them, if you’re finishing a demo or you’re coming to the end of that proposal call, ask them what the hesitations or push back would be. If you sense that they are not going to move forward, say it. You want to get an answer, you want to get a ‘no’ faster so that you’ll see more conversions from your pipeline the quicker you disqualify, to qualify.
Joe: What a comprehensive answer to that question, that was fantastic Charlotte. As you were talking about RGSs and the need to go into video, there was a big show of appreciation there from Michael Manzi, down there. So Michael what have you got to add that?
Michael: I can’t agree more with two things in particular. One is using the Linkedin voice notes, you see it, you have to click on it, right? You’re just wondering what this person said. So if you want to increase your open rates …..some of the people I talk to are like ‘oh my god, great open rates, 10%!’. That’s really garbage. My clients are doing 30, 40, 50% open rates on their emails but on Linkedin voice notes, you’re going to look at 90-100% of them. The second thing is, with videos I totally agree that it is under utilised, the only videos we ever see are the videos of the sales reps from Vidyard going (pointing at a sign). Those ones are crap by the way. Videos you should be sending……sorry I’m really big on specific tips but your name should be at the end of the video not at the beginning. No-one is interested in “Hi I’m Michael, calling from”……delete! So the email should be “Hey, I know that you’re Tom over there and you are the CRO. That typically means you are super pissed that your reps are not doing enough prospecting, you’re super frustrated because your CEO isn’t giving you enough budget and you want to make sure that you have reps that never want to leave. Now I can’t help with the first two but I can help with the last thing. I’m Michael and here’s how I do it.” But having that real life conversation, that’s slightly funny but very real and lets them know that you understand their business and not just I understand their business as it relates to my business, gets them to be like “Okay cool, I want to talk to you.” You leave your name until the end because there really should be, just like on TikTok, a hook, action or engagement stuff and then a call to action. So, I cannot agree more with that at all.
What I would say though, similar to what you were saying where you have to disqualify people. Here’s what I think are a couple of ways to expand on that. What you need to do is not only disqualify, which I completely agree with and I am sure you would agree with this, but project manage. As sales reps, especially earlier in the year, we’re like my job is to get you convinced and then hands off the wheel. What it really is, it’s my job to get the first person convinced and then my job changes now I’m a project manager through my point of contact to the rest.
So my framework for that is, you start by saying “what are the next one or two steps you have to take internally”, not what are the next steps because they give you a bunch of BS. “What are the next one or two steps you have to take internally to get something like this through”. I’m not pushing my product. Then no matter what they say, I go “okay cool, if this doesn’t work out, you don’t buy me, you don’t anybody else, what are the likely reasons?” I might even provide some reasons, I’d say “Listen, your boss is the one who bought the previous tool, so is there any chance your boss is going to say I don’t want to buy this new tool because I’m going to look dumb.” But I will say if this doesn’t work out what are the reasons versus asking “anyway this doesn’t work out? ” or “are we good?” Commit!. Even if this doesn’t work out, what are the likely reasons? I think the real killer that’s been really helpful, especially in Q4 or just towards the end of quarters, is if that happens, “your boss says no, budget”, or whatever your guy says are potential roadblocks, “what are you going to do?” Too often we say, “hey, are we going to be good?” and they say “yeah, we’ll be good, budget might be an issue” and we go ”okay cool, I’m going to make a ROI calculator, I’m going to send you an email, 87, 89 links that you are never going to read for that long and here’s an 85 page deck”. What we really should be saying is “what are you going to do?” And if they have a good answer, wonderful and if they don’t and they say “ah, hum, er, ah” because that’s what they are going to do. They are going to be like “do you have anything?” Now instead of you sending an 85 link email, you are sending something that they are asking for specifically and you know it’s specific to a problem that they have and now you are controlling the deal way, way, way better.
So those are like my first two things. I’m happy to answer any questions about that but I can’t let my time be gone without saying this last bit, which is anytime you need somebody to move….you get your significant other to go to dinner at the place you want to go to dinner or someone to sign before the quarter ends, there are only two things you can do. You can either reduce friction or increase the incentive. So Amazon makes the ‘Buy Now’ button, that reduces the friction to buy. Other things that you could do to reduce friction are things like “can you boss come on the call”….., “no”, “shoot, can I get in touch”….”no”. “Well the reason you can’t buy is because your boss hasn’t seen the demo, let me make a video of the demo”, “I have a friend who can make it”, “can my boss reach out to your boss?” What are the ways I can push you along and help you reduce friction to whatever that next thing is. Or increase incentive and of course we know incentives are things like discounts and we all say we never discount and give 30% off. The other thing you can do is just say things like “hey, the better CSM is going to come onboard if you guys do a certain thing” or “I can send you a thank you if you do”…. something like this. These are all different ways that you can get someone to move. The best example I have of this is, I had a client once who had 30-40% of inbounds they actually booked meetings from, which is terrible. So we jumped it up to 80% by just changing the email from ‘can we meet’ to ‘Option A – you do it yourself’ ‘Option B – we meet’. And just by doing that made the email easier to respond to, by reducing friction we increased the rate there. So, those are my three thoughts.
Joe: Fantastic. I really like the idea of using the video in that creative way. David, down to you then. The best piece of advice on sales strategy that you would give?
David: I’m actually going to jump on a little bit of Charlotte and Michael’s points of ….I was going to talk later about Linkedin voice notes but we’re massive on them. It’s been the second biggest channel for Cognism in terms of outbound bookings for the whole of this year, we’ve been doing it all year. I would say though, just because differences in opinion are really interesting and it can be based on persona…..cold video, back in 2018/19 we killed it. I can say the same thing, the second biggest channel over dialling. But we really find, in our persona which is sales, which tends to be a bit more ahead of the curve, has potentially gotten a little bit bored of that. We are using video but pretty much exclusively in follow ups nowadays. I think a lot of that is going to depend a lot on the audience’s persona as to how effective it is but I’m definitely a big advocate for both as part of the outreach process.
The best piece of sales strategy I could give right now, I am very much SDR focused, top of the funnel focused and the biggest thing that we are investing in at the moment is actually the list build, the accounts that we are going after, the prospects we are going after. We’re getting that as tight as physically possible, so we are really focusing on, yes the accounts that will ultimately close but not only close but can become really consistent and good customers for us. So we have been recording, for years and years, forever, since the inception…… we’ve recorded so much data. We’ve gone over the top in what we are asking from our SDRs, As and Account Managers. To give us that feedback loop so that we can have a really clear picture on our ICP and Lead Forensics have not, I promise, asked me to say this or paid me to say this yet but please pay me afterwards…..we are massive on intent calls. So whether it be something like Lead Forensics, where it’s telling you people are on the website. We partner with a company called Bombora who are absolutely fantastic in terms of giving us their intent. We’ve blended in to our account scoring system through our wonderful (inaudible) team, we’ve got triggers if someone hires a particular job title within the company that’s going to pull that account well up in account scoring immediately. We go really deep in that kind of information. Now, not everybody here is going to have access to that especially if you are an individual seller but you do have access to Linkedin where you can search for job titles that are interesting in terms of or within your ICP and see if they are actively hiring for them and then add that to your account list. So, for me it’s the list build that’s such an important part of the overall strategy at the moment.
Joe: David just let me know if you would like your usual payment in gold bullion and we can discuss afterwards…..
David: Thanks, I appreciate it.
Joe: Tyler, best piece of sales strategy that you’d give.
Tyler: I have a couple of things written down and there’s one I think I will hit on specifically here because Cillian hit it dead on, it’s no different to any other quarter. I think what Michael, Charlotte and David were talking about, especially Charlotte and David were talking about the bucket of your net new, so you’re going to go out and find and build that pipeline and Michael was talking a little bit about your existing. There are really 3 buckets, your net new, your existing pipeline and the one thing that does change in Q4…. you do have more older pipeline. So if those are your three buckets, what’s your game plan? Know your numbers, figure out how I’m going to get to X. Here’s X, whatever that goal is, figure it out, reverse engineer it and break it down to those three buckets. What do I need for net new, what are my current opportunities and what do I need to do on those. Then the old pipeline and in Q4 that does become, especially for people in full sales cycle or a closing role, it’s the largest it’s been all year. So how do you go about that? For me, I do put extra focus in on that and I’ll put together my list and I’ll start my drip campaigns and I don’t really care if a person told me a month ago or 3 months ago, ‘no now is not the time’ ‘not ready’. The good news is things are always changing, especially for myself. I target sales and marketing, the highest turnover in any company so there’s a good chance the person who told me ‘it’s not the right time’, doesn’t work there anymore. I am going to be fairly, may I say the term, aggressive or assertive in my approaches in reaching out.
One of the biggest tips, we’ll see how this one lands. I go back and scrape my entire database and one of the big things I’ve always done in Q4 is, I know my company’s touch policy and if they are within boundaries so meaning within territory or product lines, I’m going to pull any pipeline from wherever I can find it. Marketing lists, I’m going to pull other people’s sales pipelines…… if they’re not working it, you’d better believe I’m going to be working it. Because Q4 is a time when people will be reassessing budgets, they are in the market potentially for what the next year is going to look like. I want to go after that.
So I am being paid to say this, I would buy Lead Forensics, 100%, I would get that in place. I would put together, that’s my big thing in Q4 is, I’m going to scrape my largest bucket of the year, my old pipeline and I want to get in front of as many of those people as possible and I won’t go into the details of the cadence and this and that. I would pull in all the different strategies that are being talked about here because they are brilliant and they are perfectly applicable to market and just as applicable to your older pipeline as it is to your new or current pipeline. I would go like ham after that market and try to get back in front of those people because it’s going to be my largest untapped lowest hanging fruit in terms of sales for my Q4.
Joe: And again, gold bullion coming your way Tyler for….
Tyler: I’ll take it, I’ll take it.
Joe: Cillian, I want to come back to you on this one. What are the most important things to consider when managing your sales pipeline efficiently?
Cillian: I think the interesting word in that sentence is ‘efficiently’. I think efficiency means different things in different segments. I manage different teams, some focusing on very high volume sales and some on much more strategic sales. So I think it’s a little bit different in every segment. Obviously, the thing to remember is that you have to understand the customer, their buying journey and what they are going to go through and what times are involved in that. Just because we want something to move particularly quickly in Q4 doesn’t mean the customer is suddenly going to move faster. Knowing your typical sales cycle, maybe it could vary by deal size, it could vary by complexity. But one of the things that we’ve certainly seen is that the buyer process has become a lot more complex for a lot of the organisations we are selling to and I think you’ve got to reverse engineer it. That drives a lot of the efficiency of your pipeline management. You’ve got to know what steps are going to have to happen from whatever the final step in your sales process is, back to wherever you are, be that right back to prospecting. So I think it’s about identifying and bucketing those deals together and know that you’ve got, to Charlotte’s point, to block out time to do stuff. From an efficiency point of view, try and do more of the same thing at the same time. As humans it’s difficult for us to switch from one task to another so if you’ve got your prospecting time, you know even I find if you’ve got your various buying persona it’s better if you are engaged with same ones one after another because you can get into the mode of the conversation and the language, rather than switching say from a finance buyer to a technical buyer or whatever it might be, so try and tie them together or focus if you are across multiple industries try and segment your pipeline in a way that makes sense so that you’ve got some commonality in terms of either persona, industry, sales stage or whatever it is at the given time
But again, what I said at the very start, knowing your numbers and knowing your status. So for each of my teams it’s slightly different. My SMB teams, for example, would have high volume. They know what their win rates are and I think the thing is not to waste too much time. Again, to the point of qualifying out, disqualifying prospects I think that becomes a very important part of it. I think with the more enterprise and strategic deals, the risk always is that you put all your eggs into one basket, put too much effort into one deal and it’s always about balancing. Have you got….what’s going to cover it if it goes wrong? Have you got something to cover that? So it’s very much an individual thing but I think for every deal it’s important that everybody is aligned and knows that these are the steps that they are going to have to go through and they can’t suddenly short circuit it because it’s important to us to close by a particular date.
Joe: It’s not even necessarily a sales thing is it. Compartmentalisation and time blocking is useful in all aspects of work I suppose. Charlotte, what are the most important things to consider when managing your sales pipeline, for efficiency’s sake?
Charlotte: So touching on what Michael said before, certainly for Q4, is how do you incentivise your prospect. So you might say “look, can we do anything special to make this happen sooner?” “Can we onboard you in Q4 and then start in Q1?” Save that time, incentivise your prospect so it’s a win for them. Another thing I would say, again going back to activities, so know your metrics as Cillian was saying (inaudible) control your input, you can’t control your output but you can control your input. So know what you have to do, the activities you have to do to be able to get those results triple x (inaudible) pipeline.
One thing that no-one has mentioned, ask for referrals. So when you are on calls with your prospects, is there any other department that your solution might tailor to? It’s really important to ask for referrals.
Another thing is your mindsets. So a lot of salespeople neglect their mindset. So every morning, this has really helped me, journal. This is something that takes under two minutes. So you write down two or three micro goals for your day. What will you be grateful for and then you go back to it at the end of the day. Is there a tough situation that you are anticipating, are you anticipating any ‘no’s’? How are you going to overcome that? Do that first thing, then when you go into your day you’re ready for this, you’re not going to feel that rejection as sharply as you would if you had not done that. So that mindset is key and I think it’s perhaps one thing that salespeople don’t focus on enough.
Joe: Yeah, it’s probably in the sales culture to quite easily neglect that as you say. That’s a fantastic point, it’s probably something that I’m going to implement actually going forwards. Just make a little note.
Charlotte: And one morning thing I want to say is, the pain points! So when you are on discovery calls, are you really getting under the skin of the prospect’s pain points? Still, salespeople will hear one problem and then they will jump into “oh this is my solution, this is how we can help you”. You need to really get under the skin of their pain points and these are changing with each quarter. The pain point three months ago might not be the same pain point in Q4. So are you really uncovering all those pain points, “what’s the impact if you don’t solve this problem, what impact does it have on XYZ.” Really thinking not just how it impacts the person or the people you are talking to but how will that impact on other areas of the business? Are you uncovering all of those pain points?
Joe: Leading to the emotive side of it I guess. David, down to you. What are the most important things to consider when managing your sales pipeline efficiently?
David: Again I come at this from the top of funnel end and although I don’t manage pipeline directly, I do create and am accountable for the creation of it. One thing that goes with both top of funnel individuals as well as our A’s, our closers and account managers, is just multi-threading. Especially in Q4 when we’ve got December coming up, people are going on a lot of holidays, you have a bunch of job switching. Some real life stats out of Cognism is that it’s 7 times more likely for us to close a deal if we have 5+ stakeholders involved in the opportunity versus one. It’s pretty unsurprising if we’ve only got one person that it falls off pretty quickly so I think multi-threading is super important. Actionable Tips: We incentivise our SDR team, if you have an SDR team, to multi-thread and they work on opportunities actively with the A’s to help bring in different cross-sell regions and different stakeholders where required. But also just on the A’s side, if you are a closer and you are sat there with one or two people in your opportunity, start reaching out to the others because it’s going to be incredibly important especially in this holiday season.
Joe: Absolutely. Thank you very much David. Michael, we’ll come to you.
Michael: Sweet! I agree with everything. Cillian, 100%….reverse engineering everything, I can’t agree more. Charlotte, you’re totally right. I think one of the things that is not talked about enough is how our self worth is (inaudible) of quota. I don’t think that’s talked about enough. But some of the things I’ll say….the first thing, kind of related to Cillian, is understanding which deals are coming in and which ones are not. Too often a sales rep is like “yeah, things are going well, I have this deal and that deal and this deal” and I sit down with them and ask “of your 20 deals, which are going to come in?” “These two, you’re right” “and that means we got this much left. Okay where are you going to get that from your current deals and what percent do you typically close in the month? Okay, that leaves you 75 grand short.” So having that direct conversation with your reps or if you are the rep with yourself, to figure out how much short, am I?…. effectively. To just know and to just have your own goal posts. I think having a quarterly goal post might be really challenging. If you see the goal posts are here and you think “okay, I’m really crushing it” and you recognise you’re actually at the 20 yard line, it gives you a different pace that you are going to want to take.
But to be more efficient, I think that one of the big things is the next steps bit that I told you about before. The other bit is understanding politics and processes. Who you are selling to, it’s also their Q4. That means the CEO is saying “Tell me what your budget is more next year” and “sell more stuff” amd every department head is “okay cool” and they’re slapping together all sorts of random stuff and they are taking calls and they’re like “yeah we’re going to need all these training things”. Now, when they go to bring it up to the CEO, you’re person is like “The CEO is going to love this, the CEO is going to need this, we’re going to have to get it, its called (inaudible)” and then its well actually the CEO is “I told all you guys to make these budges so I could slash a third of them off the table immediately”. So having the conversation with your person. Say “listen, why don’t I give you a higher price because your CEO is going to want to slash it” or “if your CEO told you to slash 30% of your stuff, all the other things you are asking for, would we land in that 30% that’s getting slashed or not”….to understand where you are and talking about that process can help you guide the person through this process and be more efficient because you will be like “this deal is a great deal but its not going to come into Q4, my person loves it but its not going to come in to Q4”. Great move your time.
The real transactional side, like for Cillian’s SMB team, we’re doing discounts or doing anything else to try to move someone quicker. Anything that we are doing to move people quicker, whether it be a discount or friction reducing thing or otherwise….there are two things that I’ve found that work really well, one is everything having a deadline of the 15th or whatever is effectively the 15th of the month. Everyone hates being pushed on the 30th because it feels like commission bred. On the 15th, if they go over by a week, who really cares because you are still getting it in, in that month or quarter. The other thing that I’ve found that is really helpful is actually just having discounts or incentives that decrease over time. So if you are able to say to the sales team, listen in October we’re doing 15% off if they do X, in November it’s 10%, in December it’s 5%. They are going to bring it up to their customers and that gives them and their customers a reason to create some urgency. So when their customers are saying they have to go to the CEO to get budget, they say “hey, can we say yes to this thing really quick in November, I know we’re not saying yes to everybody’s stuff until our December 20th meeting but can we say yes to this really quick?” It just gives you more of a chance to win. (inaudible) not for larger deals but a couple of things to help you be more efficient.
Joe: Thank you very much Michael, again another hugely comprehensive answer there. Tyler, round us out on this question then.
Tyler: I’m glad that Charlotte brought that up. Whenever you talk about sales you have to talk about mindsets, I’m glad you brought that up. Your mindset dictates performance, your performance should never dictate your mindset. It’s always important whenever you’re talking about sales that you do bring that up, so I appreciate that.
When it comes to organisation, number 1 – if you’re organised you’re already ahead of 80% or the salespeople out there. A vast majority of them have zero idea of where their pipeline is going to come from, where their next call is going to be out to. I think a lot of time we like to believe we live in this world where salespeople are super organised and we’ve all been salespeople on this call and we all know that wasn’t the case most of the time. For me that organisation is always broken down and I find it the easiest, I just look at here’s what my goal is. I want these 3 buckets, I’ve got my new, I’ve got my current and I’ve got my lapsed. Then I just focus, just like a business owner would. Here are my revenue channels, my new customers coming in, my existing customers, maybe customers I’ve lost along the way….how do I do my winbacks there and I focus on each one as a separate channel. So that’s how I’ve always looked to organise, regardless of whether I’ve done B2B, B2C, B2B2C, whatever it is, transaction, enterprise….I always break it down to that. I look and historically speaking my revenue is going to come from my existing. For a B2B cycle it will probably be existing because it’s the pipeline you are currently working. Your net new is usually pretty hard to turn around on some of the sales cycles but if you are transactional it’s going to be flipped, your net new is going to be the stuff to call and close. But understanding right there, having a game plan and then organise your day. Here’s what I’m going to focus on for this bucket, here’s what I’m going to focus on for that bucket and here’s what I’m going to focus on for this bucket and that’s going to be primarily my path to every single month, every single quarter. Over time you’ll get more data back and it will give me more insight on how to plan that going forward. But that to me is the key to organisation.
That’s going to be the big one but the other point I was going to say on this was one of the laziest things you’ll ever hear from a salesperson is “I can’t get this person on the phone” and I think that’s what everybody is talking about in here but I just want to say this out loud. That is laziness! There are so many ways, there are so many social media channels XYZ. If you didn’t ask for the cell phone or may be they have a slack thing that they use, if you’re not asking for that stuff, if they are not willing to connect with you on Linkedin, you’ve already got some big red flags of whether or not that should even be in your pipeline. Beyond that, if you are going after older pipeline maybe you should be tackling ….if I talked to person X and they said no this isn’t in this year but it’s a good fit maybe talk to person Y. Don’t be afraid, if you’re going to make an omelette you’re going to break some eggs so if you’ve hit a roadblock here, just reach out over here.
So again, organise down to those 3 buckets and go until you get the result you’re looking for. Don’t stop simply because it got hard or this person “I think they’re out this week” or whatever it is. You don’t want to be stuck in a grey area, I don’t really know where we stand. And final, final, final and this will be the only time I get a little long winded like this. Michael said something in there that I just want to hone in on because it’s absolutely correct. “Are you in the budget?” This is big especially in Q4 because we are all looking at budgets in B2B, B2C is different, find a dress that fits them and you’re in pretty good shape in retail around the holiday season. In B2B you ask them “so you’re in budget planning, am I on that list in your budget? Where am I on that list?” Find that out because they have a presentation they bring back, “here’s the stack we’re looking at” and they have a ranked order. So find out “have you prepared the list, I am even on the list?” I’ve found out so many times “well no, but if this gets bumped and bumped, we’ll put you on there.”
Great! But you know what I mean. And “where am I on that list” and I’ve been told before “you’re number 4 or 5. Number 1 is Salesforce.” “Great, okay! What kind of budget are you getting next year?” …and I’m in big, big trouble! This is going to get out of hand very fast here. I think that’s a very important point to bring up. When the world is tightening down on their budgets, you have to be having that conversation in the B2B world and have it now because if you’re having that post November, into December, into the end of the year….you’re in really big trouble.
Joe: Thanks very much Tyler. Again, guys you’ve given such brilliant answers to these questions. Just a quick reminder to everybody watching this Essential B2B webinar is brought to you by Lead Forensics, so thank you very much. Right, so guys there have been a lot of actionable tips and a lot of insights you have all brought to this discussion so thank you all so much for doing that. I am going to come around to each of you and I would like you all to give one top tip. If there was one thing that everybody who is watching this webinar would take away, what is the one key lesson you would like them to learn? So Cillian, we’ll start with you. .
Cliian: Okay, so the one thing I would say is, this probably is relevant to Q4, is to create urgency and Michael touched on it a little bit with the 15th of the month type of approach with discounts, etc. But I think urgency and scarcity are two things. If you can create those, it will really help you move your pipeline forward. Two great examples I’ve seen, one is even though we sell a SaaS solution it’s pretty easy to implement but no matter when the customer says they want it, you’ve got to fake that they should have ordered it a couple of weeks ago but I will pull out all the stops to get it for you. As we have moved more to a virtual world, one of my A’s has which I really like……we offer trials of the product like you’ve just offered in your poll and typically if you do it online you get a month….one of my A’s has turned these trials into a real opportunity of scarcity. He looks away from the camera as if he is looking up at a shelf, as if these trials were physical products and says I have one 3 day trial left and two 5 day trials left, just to create that FOMO that you could miss out. It’s really shortened the sales cycle and rather than giving something to someone for a long time, that they don’t really need as people can evaluate software really quickly. So just creating that scarcity, is the tip I’d give.
Joe: Thank you very much Cillian and thank you very much for joining us for this webinar. Scarcity and urgency to takeaway. Charlotte, your final take home for everybody?.
Charlotte: I’m going to ask you to become content creators and social sellers and you can start by doing this on Linkedin. Since May I started posting 7-10 times a week on Linkedin, talking to sellers mainly because part of my prospects are not just marketers but they are also sellers. It’s had an impact, it’s a great way to be seen. Talk about a niche, be out there but also generate leads. I’ve been on calls with several prospects who don’t even like, or comment or engage with my posts but they mention them to me when I’m on a call with them. So leave an impact, make your sales job easier, start posting on Linkedin. You don’t have to start posting 7-10 times a week, you just need to be visible so start by posting 3 times a week and how you are going to help, educate, inspire, challenge or understand your audience. Social selling is something we are seeing a lot more of and that would be my tip.
Joe: Fantastic Charlotte, thank you so much for that tip. If you do want some more tips on Social Selling, we did a webinar some months ago that was very informative and gave some ideas about getting started with social selling so do go and check that out. Charlotte, thank you so much for joining us for this webinar. David, can we have ……I’m sorry Michael you were going for it there, weren’t you! We’ll get to you, don’t worry.
David: My comment is going to be really quick so we can get to you. Not prepared for this one but just thinking about it I’m going to make a public prediction in front of you all….we spoke about Vidyard being like, yes I felt that 2018-19 was its peak, voice notes on Linkedin are peaking at the moment. My prediction for next year, so to get on it early because early adopters always win, is not cryptocurrency……it is Whatsapping, its Slack/Teams Connect ….I don’t know what its called. We have started testing it and it’s going pretty well but we Whatsapping and people seem to be very receptive to it. We’ll make a call and drop them a Whatsapp afterwards, as long as you have a professional looking pitch and everything else, then generally we’re not getting much negative feedback on it at all. The second thing is this Slack/Connect, as long as you’ve got their email, instead of emailing them you throw them a connect out on Slack and actually even as a way of getting another touch point out there that’s unique. It feels potentially a bit more intrusive to some people but again the responses have been really positive. So get on that early, that would be my top tip.
Joe: Amazing! Thank you for that prediction. Michael, we’ve finally come to you, if I can limit you to one tip to take away please.
Michael: Ah no, first of all. But I am going to both Charlotte and David on both of these. Charlotte, I can’t agree more – create content! David, I can’t agree more – be different! What I think is the marketing funnel used to be awareness, engagement, conversion, value. I truly believe that it’s now awareness, engagement, value and once they have gotten value that they then want to convert. So I will say for my business, I’ve 15X my business year over year by posting on TikTok and I’ve grown my Linkedin following by probably double in the last two months by simply copying and pasting Tiktoks over to Linkedin. So I can’t agree more. 100% of my leads I get are all Tiktok and I don’t do any outbound at this point.
That said, my biggest tip specifically for Q4 is using this one phrase, which is “too soon”. When you are talking to somebody who says they will talk to their boss, you say “great, let’s meet next week”. Instead say “you’re talking to your boss, great. Can we meet Thursday or is that too soon?” “Can you bring us to your boss next week?” “No!” “Can you bring us to your boss Thursday or is that too soon?” “Shall we meet tomorrow morning or is that too soon?” They will always say it is too soon but they will give you a time that is almost immediately thereafter. “Thursday’s too soon, Friday morning how about that?” Those are my tips.
Joe: Fantastic! Michael, thank you so much for joining us for this webinar, some smashing tips there. Tyler, see us home.
Tyler: Yeah, we’re talking about setting up the Q4 pipeline. To sum it all up for me, really be selfish with where you invest your time. So make sure you’re investing your time in the right places. We talked about in terms of qualifying, make sure you are going after the qualified prospects, get that information early, ask the tough questions early in the process. Number 2, segment down your buckets, so where am I investing my time, is it net new, is it existing, is it old. Figure out as many ways as you possibly can to automate this stuff as well. Once you’ve reverse engineered it, automate that stuff so your time isn’t getting sucked up. Then last but not least, I do mean it….one of the hardest challenges who should I be reaching out to, who’s in the marketing right now, who’s got budget, who’s this, that and the other. Get some sort of intent information, I would go with Lead Forensics, clearly but that for me was one of the biggest game changers for my Q4. When I came here, in B2B typically Q4 is kind of the slowest because you can’t always get people to spend money,etc. But if I know who I will be calling everyday that just makes my job so much easier. That’s how I look at it, my time is very valuable so put it where it needs to go. Speak to the qualified prospects, segment down, what actual bucket because maybe it’s not net new, you can’t turnover quick enough in Q4 so you do need to go and fish from these other wells a bit more.
The last part is, get something in place, get something in place that says you should call this person right now, watch for signals. You can follow them, they can make posts, you can get intent data, there’s all different kinds of things but figure it out. That way you are only putting your time into people who are going to be receptive to that message because you can create all the value you want but so are all of your competitors, so is everybody else in your market. If they see value, you’ve identified their problem, they’re on your website, they are doing their homework and if you are not in the conversation at the right time, you are going to lose that deal. So you may have done all the branding but somebody swoops in because they’ve got a cheaper price listed on their website, you are in big trouble so get something that tells you that I should be calling this person.
Joe: Tyler, thank you so much. Thank you everybody for joining us for this webinar, it’s been a fantastic chat, lots of value. Thank you so much for joining us for another Essential B2B brought to you by Lead Forensics and we’ll see you for the next one. Thank you so much
B2B Superpowers - How To Avoid Burnout in Sales
In the high-stakes world of sales, burnout is an all-too-familiar adversary. This webinar, featuring the esteemed Dr. Tamara Beckford, MD, delves into the unique challenges faced by sales professionals and ...Read more5
B2B Superpowers - How To Get More From Your B2B Advertising Budget
In this exclusive webinar, join Oliver Yonchev, CEO and co-founder of Flight Story, as he unravels the secrets to supercharging your B2B advertising budget for optimal returns. With years ...Read more5
B2B Superpowers - What's working in B2B Marketing Right Now?
B2B marketing is a dynamic realm, and staying at the forefront of industry trends is crucial for success. This webinar offers an exclusive look into the B2B marketing ...Read more5