Demand Generation as we know it is broken.
Just check your junk folder and find the unrequited emails asking for 15 minutes or following up on an email never read. When was the last time a retweet, like, or comment ever yielded any fruit on social media. Think of the last cold calling phone blitz – what were the results of that little exercise? R2 Integrated studies have found that less than 1% of demand generation activity produce any meaningful result.
What worked in 2015, 2016, or even 2017 won’t work in 2018 because sales technology has automated best practice to the point it is no longer a best practice. Our buyers are numb and apathetic to our message. They are busy and can see right through the automation. Sellers need a new and proven approach to meet our demand generation needs. As is always the case, what was old is new again. In 1998, Michael Boylan wrote a landmark book called The Power to Get In to help sellers with demand generation before the advent of sales tech.
The concept is very simple.
- Write a letter that shows you understand the goals of the organization. This can be found in the form of press releases, annual reports, or news searches. It is a good idea to stay on top of these trigger events because they are constantly changing.
- Connect your solutions and service to the attainment of these goals. If you are unsure how to link your solution then refer to use cases or Win Stories. Not only making the connection but sharing how you have done it already with a comparable company will give you credibility.
- Take a census of the entire buying committee. If you are unsure who all is involved – work with the end in mind. If the deal closed, who would be on the training call, who would be responsible for implementation, who would sign the deal, who would be on the evaluation committee – what are their titles?
- Send the letter to the entire buying committee and reference them inside of the letter. This part is key because if you reference someone who is no longer at the company you lose credibility. If you miss someone, then inevitably that will be the person you need the most.
- When calling behind the letter – start at the top and get sponsorship for the evaluation. Demand Generation is like gravity, start with the CEO and call the CEO’s admin to start the process.
This is called a “Circle of Leverage” letter by Boylan and truly fits into modern account-based demand generation tactics. The research shows you are invested in the company, the linkage shows you have the understanding, and the use cases show you have the experience. Although that alone isn’t enough – copying the entire buying committee and starting with the CEO to spark an evaluation means your probability for sponsorship goes way up. A buyer can ignore your solicitation – they cannot ignore their boss.
Mike Scher of Frontline Selling teaches us to embrace the CEO’s admin. “We think of the call-screeners and/or admins as Tour Guides on our journey to the deal. Briefly explain your value proposition and ask for their help in identifying the person who would be part of that decision-making process. With the right approach, you can easily gather names, titles and email addresses—as well as internal referrals that establish credibility within the organization.”
In closing, if you are relying on sales tech alone to crack into your key accounts then be prepared for disappointment. Try a new approach, an account-based demand generation approach. Even if you don’t secure the appointment, then at the very least you have educated yourself on your key account and have become fluent on how you can help them. That will come in handy when they are ready to buy in the future. Besides – it beats a 1% efficiency rating any day.