Interview with Mari Anne Vanella, CEO, The Vanella Group
Situation: High tech companies need a more effective, higher level approach to prospect accounts. This means capturing sales intelligence more meaningfully, and aligning marketing approaches with customer needs based on prospects’ experience. Traditional transactional lead generation methods must be replaced by a deeper methodology that enables salespeople to speak to the personality of the business buyer. If all of this is true, how do you revamp your lead generation process?
Advice from Mari Anne Vanella:
- Executives are so busy that their schedules are overloaded. If you want to reach them, you must engage them at a meaningful, more situationally fluent level.
- Executives aren’t disinterested in new vendors and opportunities to gain efficiency or save money; they’re just hard to reach. Therefore, it is critical to develop sufficient knowledge prior to initial contact so that you can quickly engage the prospect, and equally quickly re-engage them on follow-up calls as they progress through your sales pipeline.
- Companies must mature beyond volume-based marketing and sales. The traditional model calls for up to three or so telemarketing center contact attempts to a large number of leads.
- Current research indicates that 80% of leads are matured into prospects after 5 or more contact attempts. More effective approaches call for 7 to 10+ contact attempts to reach busy executives and managers. This requires greater skill and persistence than the traditional approach.
- Re-engineer the process through which you contact leads and follow-up on prospects. Most deals fall out of the pipeline through mismanagement.
- The focus of sales and marketing transformation should be on new metrics to boost success rates, as well as communication skills and pipeline management.
- It is critical to understand the individual buyer’s purchase process. Sales close at varying rates. This requires listening closely to the prospect’s timeline and the next steps in his or her consideration process. If you agree on a follow-up date, honor it. Attend to the smallest details.
- A lost deal calls for a deeper de-brief than a simple note of “sale lost” or “lack of prospect interest.” Marketing needs to understand why deals don’t happen to optimize processes.
- The implication of these observations is broad. Most sales and marketing teams are held strictly to results, expressed as numbers that can be taken to management and the Board. This serves a function, but if it dominates sales and marketing processes it may undermine results. Understanding the realities facing prospects calls for a more technical marketing organization and an empathetic customer approach based on an intense understanding of the prospect and their needs.
You can contact Mari Anne Vanella at firstname.lastname@example.org
Key Words: High Tech, Customer, Intelligence, Methodology, Revamp, Lead, Generation, Prospect, Volume-based, Telemarketing, Pipeline, Follow-up