My client has thousands of leads from whitepapers and webinars and Sales can’t convert them.
It came up in conversation when my buddy Ted Rubin visited last month. If you don’t know Ted, you haven’t been paying attention.
We discussed why Sales is having trouble with marketing’s leads and, ultimately, what sales should be doing today to correct the situation.
Naturally, with my #RecordYourself initiative, I recorded our conversation, for your benefit.
Here it is, with the transcript below it.
Joe Hage: So, I had this client who came to me because they have thousands of leads that downloaded a white paper or attended a webinar, the sales guys get the leads, and nobody could be converted.
It’s just like garbage. They’re like, “These people are not good prospects. I can’t close them. They’re not ready to buy.”
And my advice to them was – There’s nothing wrong with doing a white paper, but the way you’re delivering that information is just too much to consume.
Now, I get it, if you’re far enough down the funnel, you’ll spend as much time as you need, but most of the people learning about what it is they do are not aware their need is as acute as it may be.
And I was telling them about how it’s important they record themselves and share their thoughts. And just so their customers are aware.
I said, “When I put out this or that, I don’t expect someone to call me up and say, ‘I saw your post. I need to hire you.’ But I’d be willing to bet if you ask anyone remotely in the industry – do you know anyone who does medical marketing? – I’ll be in their consideration set. They’ll be aware of me, and that’s all I need.”
What I was suggesting is,
The concept of getting a lead from marketing is going away – in that marketing does a good job when they promote awareness and keep relevant stories out for people to discover.
Ted Rubin: Right.
Joe: So, my question is, “So, what’s the role of a sales guy now?” because, I believe 10-20 years ago the head of sales said, like Alec Baldwin, “Here are the leads. Mitch and Murray gave me these leads. These are good leads. Go close the leads.”
Ted: This might sound self-serving, but I think it’s becoming more and more about that salesperson becoming a relationship builder.
Because the leads are coming from webinars someone signs up to watch. It’s not a lead. It’s just a name. It’s like going to LinkedIn and just pulling out the buyers of a certain type of product and calling it a lead.
It’s like the leads I had when I was a broker. I’d just open up the Yellow Pages. “You don’t have leads. Here. There are people. They got money. Go get it.”
Ted: And there were guys that could that. There are guys that could make 300 cold calls a day. And when they did that, they would get 10 real prospects.
I was not capable of making that. I would make 80 cold calls in a day, so I would fail at that method.
So, the way I overperformed those guys was I got out and got to know people. I took them out.
I spent time at seminars. I walked in and met Joe and, then, sat next to him through the whole thing. So, whenever Joe might have said, “Hmm. I wonder what this…,” I’ll be there.
And back then, my sales manager belittled my approach. He kept telling me I was going to fail because I wasn’t getting the numbers. He was a straight get-the-numbers, get-the-thing.
Joe: This is the formula. You make 1000 calls, you get —
Ted: Right. And, then, I reverse-engineered it to say, “Joe doesn’t have to be as good as I am. He might just have to work hard.”
You might not be able to… like I did, so you might have to make 3- to 400 calls a day.
So, you shouldn’t look at me and go, “I can’t do what Ted does. I’m not going to succeed here.” There are other ways.
I think what’s happening now is,
What used to be considered qualified leads have become the yellow pages – the webinar leads, the LinkedIn searches that come up.
I think the reason Brand Innovators has worked for people – and, believe me, this was not strategized by the owners – is because almost everything being sold is the same.
Therefore, I’m going to buy from the guy I got to know a little bit. Or even better yet, I’m going to buy from the guy who, when I was talking to Joe, he says, “We work with Ted.”
“Is he the best?”
“I don’t know if he’s the best, but he’ll get the job done. He’ll answer my calls.”
“Great. Check! I’ve got that done, now I don’t have to look anymore.”
Joe: So, at a bigger company – and you’ve certainly been there and I don’t even remember it – when did Salesforce come on the scene? Did we have it at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM?
[As an aside, Ted and I met in 1999, both working for 1-800-FLOWERS.COM. I was Director of Relationship Marketing to his Director of Sales. We became fast friends.]
Ted: No, not even close.
Joe: Okay, so there’s a pipeline. And, look, I get it. I hear everything you said.
Ted: I think there’s still a pipeline, but I think It’s more of a relationship pipeline.
But what about projections?
Joe: But do I put numbers against that? Do I say this is a 5% chance of closing in Q4? Because I have to make a projection. This is a publicly traded company.
Ted: I don’t do this as a regular thing anymore so I can’t answer that question.
If I was running a sales team, I can say this is what works for me or this is what I see.
I’m not close enough to it to answer that question. And I’m very frank about this. When people call me, I go, “I don’t know. I’m not trying to prove what I’m teaching. I’m telling you what I believe. Now, you go out and execute it.”
Except certain products which still might be numbers-based, most of the better sales managers were guys that know how to do a consultative sale and work with people.
And there are a few products where that’s not the case. Media is really not that case.
Media is right-place, right-time; buy-it, I-got-it-for-you. Straight media sales: It’s why most of the platform companies won’t hire the media sales guys.
The media sales guys are out of work. They can’t get jobs because dynamics have changed. They don’t want to hire them because it’s a nine-month sale.
Their meeting-to-close can be six to nine months. That’s what it means to be the sales guy. They feel they don’t have the skills to develop relationships, to walk people through.
And part of that relationship is in listening to you, hearing what you’re not getting and, then, being able to come back with a solution for you that you can understand.
Joe: Are you saying something like I want to put $100,000 buy on a mommy blog, and that’s the media sale you’re talking about?
Ted: I’m talking about I want to buy TV time –
Ted: What they call programmatic buying where I want to hit this demographic this many times. That’s how many you buy.
Formulaic Media Buying, yes; Sales, no.
Many sales jobs are disappearing because it’s becoming what’s called programmatic.
Joe: It’s formulaic.
Ted: Yes. It sucks because programmatic buying is not as good as the personal buying. When I really bought, I’d sit down with you and go, “Joe, tell me about your ‘Pennsylvania Gazette.’ I want to really understand your customer and who they are and who your demographic is.”
Now, it’s a machine saying there are 10,000 people here in this category.
Joe: And they share the characteristics.
Ted: And it’s going on Breitbart. It’s going anywhere. You have very little control.
You can put blocks but, more or less, if someone calls you and goes, “Did you know you were in ‘Guns and Ammo?’”
Because ‘Guns and Ammo’ has 25s and 35s that do something else.
Joe: Like advocating gun responsibility. [inside joke]
Ted: Yeah. But you understand what I’m saying?
Ted: It used to be you knew exactly where your media was being placed. You don’t anymore.
The sales guys are losing their jobs because people are just getting the numbers and going into a computer. It’s like anything else, it’s way less guys. So these guys who are looking for jobs, a lot of them don’t have the consultative skills.
And I think a lot of sales in general is going to the relationship side, the consultative skills.
And relationship building isn’t just about having cocktails.
It’s about giving you value, getting back to you with what you need, being able to help you understand what it is, being able to educate you to the point where you can buy my product and know it will work for you.
So, you need the sales skills and closing. A lot of these guys work on teams now. They have the person who is the educator there – the person who gets them the materials, the computer scientist that walks and knows how it works because very few sales persons can be able to do that.
You simply MUST engage!
Joe: Another thing, I just don’t see most people doing this but,
Find the dozen or so people you really want to influence and follow them on social and leave comments.
Ted Rubin: 100 percent agree.
Joe: There is this one guy. He leaves a comment every time I open my mouth. I was compelled to check out his profile, and I learned there’s no reasonable business between him and me ever. I was like, “Woah.”
Then, I had to write them. I was like, “I really appreciate your –“
And he’s like, “I just enjoy your stuff.”
Ted: The other side of that is –
I tell people this all the time – if you want to do business with Joe, especially if he’s a content writer, start commenting on his stuff. If you want do business with a company, someone eventually is going to say, “Who is that guy?”
So many people don’t do it. It’s so easy to stand out.
Joe: I know. One of my first relationships – this is eight years ago out of the medical devices group – a guy named Robert Packard is one of the best regulatory and quality guys I know.
And he just was there. He just kept giving these really solid answers. And I was like, “Who is this guy?” And I reached out to him and I said, “You’ve got to run my regulatory group.” And he made a great run of it.
Ted: I had so many one liners, and I have all these shortcuts in the flow because it sounds intelligent.
Look, I’m as busy or busier than anybody. So how do I comment on so many things? Because I have things in shortcuts. And I see Joe made a thing, and I leave all those [pre-prepared one-liners in my comments] so it’s not just like, “Nice.” (I do that too, but mostly when it’s a picture of your dog.)
Joe: How many [ready-to-go comments] do you have?
Ted: Oh, I probably have 100. I put them on photos.
You know, you’ve seen my photos. [I have so many things on there… and I keep writing new ones!
On publishing – and recording!
And what you said is so funny because, to John, I say it all the time. We should record our conversations. Because when we drive, we talk.
And so often, content comes out of it!
Joe: I know.
Ted: And we’re very accustomed to it.
First of all, a lot of my stuff comes from John. He starts it, I refine it. People would, “Do you know Ted just tweeted what you said and took it as his own?”
He goes, “That’s what we do. Why would you criticize that?”
So, when someone really questions him, John would look at them and say, “I would never do that. I would not do what Ted does.”
So, when I come up with something, he takes ownership of it.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of this one – “Simplicity is the new EDLP.”
Joe: Yes, ‘Every Day Low Price.’
You know, I haven’t seen you talk about #RetailRelevancy recently.
Ted: Work on it is a little bit slow because John insists on writing it himself. He doesn’t write the way I write my books.
I give the ideas to my editor. I give her the faces and, then, she makes a chapter out of it. He wants to write – which is great. He’s good writer – but it’s just taking a ridiculous amount of time.
We’re already going back to chapter 7….
Ted: Because it’s changed so much.
Joe: So you have a writer that’s rich enough you can give her a concept and she’ll flesh it out?
Ted: I give her a concept. I give her a bunch of one liners. If she doesn’t work it out, we have a phone, she records it and, then, she actually fleshes it out, we can edit it.
Joe: How does she charge you?
Ted: Well, most of time she’s written my books, so she just charges me a flat rate for the book. So, we pay her $10,000 for “Retail Revelency,” I would say.
Joe: Regrettably, I have a 9:30. So why don’t we put off for–?
Ted: That’s okay. How long will I wait?
Joe: As much as a half hour.
Ted: Okay. I’ll still be around.
Joe: Yeah. I’ll be back.
And here’s a transcript of our entire call. This last 15 minutes. Everything we’ve just said.
And it’s still doing it.
What site is this?
Ted: Joe, I just don’t remember this.
Joe: Okay, I told you four times!!
Ted: Yes, but I’m asking you just to say it. Not talking about how many times you gave it to me. This way, I will relate it in my head to that.
Joe: It’s that thing!
Ted: Okay, and can you do that on your phone?
Ted: John and I can use it when we drive?!
Joe: Exactly. *
Now, readers, I challenge you.
Yes or No?
- Helpful? Was this conversation helpful or illuminating?
- Impactful? Will this perspective impact the way you conduct or work with Sales?
- Impressive? Are you at all impressed that Ted and/or I are knowledgeable and could help build your business?
That was not rhetorical.
Please, tell me your answer. Click the nice orange button and leave me a voicemail(!) using your computer’s built-in microphone.
A nice little plugin, that SpeakPipe. ????
If I didn’t hit the record button, you would never have heard this information.
It was easy. ❤️Lucia❤️ made you a one-minute video to show you how:
YOU can hit the recording button.
YOU can say smart things and share them with Your Prospects and Customers
YOU can be seen as a technologically-savvy thought leader.
That’s what #RecordYourself is all about.
You came to this blog for medical device marketing advice, right?
Well, there it is: My #1 piece of advice for you in 2019. Record yourself.
I’m telling all my paid clients (and now, you, for free): Record yourself while talking about your discipline. Your future customers will appreciate it.
Lead generation. In Journey #66, I broke down precisely how we executed my most successful campaign, ever. Michelle’s campaign has since reached 94,000 views and 850 downloads of her Regulatory template.
The Impact Artificial Intelligence will have on Marketing. I’m intrigued and will attend the inaugural Marketing Artificial Intelligence Conference (MAICON) Conference in in Cleveland, Ohio (July 16-18, 2019). Wanna discover it together?
Question for You. I’m considering hosting a weekly virtual group meeting about medical device marketing, say, at 10 a.m. each Friday morning (Pacific time).
Does once-weekly marketing coaching interest you? If yes, what is a reasonable monthly investment?
Thank you for joining me on The Journey.
P.S. A longshot if we’ve not discussed it already, but love to see you in person at my 10x event in two weeks. (San Diego)