If you already know who your target companies and decision-makers are, why waste all that energy trying to generate leads?
In this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl welcomes Darrell Amy, acclaimed Growth Strategist, Author, and OutBound Conference Speaker, who contends that you don’t need leads for driving sales. Join Darryl and Darrell as they explore this controversial notion further and discuss why engaging with the ideal prospects should be your go-to sales strategy. You’ll also hear more about collecting intel on key players and companies, building procedures and systems to engage them, leveraging 100% coverage, and turning ideal prospects into ideal clients.
Subscribe now and hear how to grow your numbers without relying on leads.
Darryl: It's another week here on the Inside, Inside Sales Show. You know what's happening? You know what's happening? That's right. If you guessed that we're getting freaking close to OutBound conference time, well, my friends, you would be right. And if you haven't picked up on it already, we have been teasing and taunting you with this just non- stop parade of some of the speakers who will be presenting at OutBound, so today is no different. Hold that thought. I know you're excited about it, you are talking about OutBound, but I want to ramble, I want to talk, I want to share with you because I was just on, literally, a podcast with Janice B. Gordon. And she's awesome. If you don't know her, she had the beautiful British accent. Love her. She hit me up, by the way, with the hardest question, because if you don't know, Janice is a person of color, and she was asking me about inclusion and diversity and how do we get more reps? And she asked me a legitimately hard question about," Darryl, do you think a sufficient people of color are represented in the organizations across the world, sales organizations, and if not, what's it going to take?" So of course, as you might imagine, I don't have the answer. Tune into that session. Why does that matter? Because in our conversation, she was actually very polite and nice to me, unlike what today's guests will be, I'm sure. And she was saying wonderful things about how she'd seen my content for years and how I'd really managed to establish a brand for myself. She goes like," I love your glasses and your hair is distinctive," and all of these things, of course, are things we've talked about before on branding, right? So I'm not going down that road, but I want to actually go down to kind of like, okay, that's where I'm at today. What got me there? And I'm not going to talk about branding, although it's branding related. What got me there was when I knew I had to embark upon this journey of establishing a personal brand. It was like, well, how do I get myself heard? How do I interrupt your day, complete stranger, you don't know me from Adam, and get you to stop and take me seriously and listen to what I'm about to say to you? How do I do that? That was my quest. And if you stop to think about it, that's your quest every day when you're selling, because you're reaching out to strangers and you're saying," Listen to me. I got something I want you to pay attention to. I want you to listen to what I have to say," so that's what I had to do with social. And what I did was, I started working backwards. I said," Well, who's my audience? Who do I want to be in front of?" So we sit around as our own little tribe here at VanillaSoft, and we identified who our ideal customer was, and then we said," Where do they hang out?" And we figured out quickly, they hung out in a variety of places, but they're definitely there on LinkedIn, and I thought, well, how, most of my target audience, almost all of my audience, the vast majority, 95- plus percent of my audience are not truly what you would call conversational on LinkedIn. They like to lurk. They might have an opinion. It's a great place for a CV or a resume so they can get recruited, but that's about it, but they were consumers. So who were they following? So because I knew my ideal customer, I started to figure out, well, where do they hang out? What do they care about? Who do they care about? What was the content they were following? And then I started working back and saying," Okay, so a lot of these are people we see as authors." Larry Levine, Selling from the Heart, good example, right? Or people who fundamentally speak at shows and events like an OutBound conference, these are people who they learn from. So you start working backwards. You say,"Okay, so if I reach out to them, they're going to be my champion in all of my ultimate accounts I want to get into. They're going to be my way in, almost like a referral. If they give me the good housekeeping seal of approval, then others will listen to them, kind of like a buying committee, right? If you're looking into an account, you physically say,"If I get this one person to advocate for me, then the rest of the buying committee will take my calls," because this advocate is going to say," You should talk to Darryl," whereas before, they might not have, but because the advocate said they should, they will. So a good way to get a buying committee is to start with a sponsor or a champion, and that's what I did through all these notable people. And then that worked into me establishing my own value- add through conversations in debate and discourse, and then that led to me saying," They're going to check me out. I better make sure that I look credible." So my profile was up- to- date, I rebuilt my profile completely. Then I started using multi- channel. I wasn't just typing stuff on LinkedIn. Then I started using video. Crazy, right? And then I would call them and have offline meetings to say," We're friends, we're associates, we're colleagues online. Let's talk face to face," so I started doing multi- channel. And that, all of that, that targeted outreach based on who I knew as my ideal target audience and how I wanted to get in front of them, was how I actually built my brand. It was incredibly intentional, and at times, frustrating, and humbling, and nerve- wracking, and scary and anxiety- inducing. And I was the most impatient person in the world because I wanted it to happen overnight, but I had to play the long game. All right, that's how I did it. And I contend that's how you are going after your accounts, or that's how you should be going after your accounts. Now, here's the thing. Here's where it comes full circle. This is what I didn't do. I didn't wait for all of these influencers, these people who were going to be my advocates, to come to me and say," Hey, Darryl, I don't know you, you don't know me, but use me. I'm just here for you to use, and I'll bring you into the promise land." I didn't get a single influencer lead. You see the metaphor I'm doing here? I didn't get any leads. I had to actually create my own business. And that is interesting, because very recently, Mark Hunter got into a bit of a, I don't want to use the word heated, let's call it a effusive conversation-
Darrell: It was effusive.
Darryl: ...with... And with my good word... good friend, oh my goodness, my good friend, Darrell Amy, that's right. Growth strategist, author, and speaker. You can check him out on LinkedIn, on Twitter, on his website. We'll get you all the details shortly. And Darrell contends that you don't need leads to drive sales and the marketer in me just said," I got to have him on." And plus he's at OutBound so that's another good reason. Mr. Amy, good to see you again. How are you doing my friend?
Darrell: My other brother, Darryl. It's great to be here. This is going to be a fun, engaging, and effusive conversation.
Darryl: You like that one? I used the word discourse and effusive in the first five minutes.
Darrell: In the same sentence. Brilliant.
Darryl: I'm feeling pretty, pretty hyped.
Darryl: I know, you know, my marketing background comes through sometimes. I know a lot of synonyms if you want to just play that game, but maybe in for another day. So you and Hunter got into it and he talked to me. So that's pretty bold, what you said, sales reps you don't need leads. You and Hunter had a difference of opinion. I know it was all good joy and fun precursor to what's going to happen there at OutBound, but what in the hell are you smoking Amy?
Darrell: Well, that's not the topic of today's conversation. But what is the topic of today's conversation is look, as salespeople, we go to marketing and we say, we need leads, we need more leads, we need more leads. And marketing goes, okay, I'll give you some more leads. And then what do we say as salespeople? These leads are garbage. And this is what we talked about. And you and Dan Disney did such a great job of illustrating in the comedic lead up to the 2021 sales and marketing alignment challenge. Here's the deal, if you're in B2B and I'm talking primarily people in B2B right now, and you know who your ideal client is, you've got an ideal client profile, an ICP. If you know who your ideal client is, and you've got a description, data, and decision- makers for that ideal client profile, then you take that and you figure out who your ideal prospects are. And once you do that, you get the list. And here's what I want to say is, you don't need leads. You already know who your leads are. It's those ideal prospects. So as marketers, and by the way, I started my career in 1993 in a hardcore, in- the- field office, equipment sales, you know, dog eat dog. I had a marketing degree in my hip pocket and ended up starting an agency, a digital marketing agency in 2004, and went on that journey of websites and search engines and social media and inbound marketing and account- based marketing. All of that. I've had a foot in both. I've been involved in sales and sales development. Co- hosting the Selling from the Heart podcast with my good friend, Larry Levine. So I've dialed into both, much like you Darryl. And, and what I began to realize is in B2B, salespeople are griping about leads. Marketing people are trying to create leads. We don't need leads. We already know who our prospects are. They're our ideal prospects. They're the companies and the decision makers and influencers in those companies. So what I say to you is, let's just stop talking about leads, stop waiting for the fish to swim by and nibble on your bait. If that happens, that's wonderful. But let's focus on engaging with the ideal prospects who we know who they are, we can list the companies, they should all be on the wall, right? They should all be on a massive poster on the wall so we can cross them out when they become clients or circle them or highlight them or whatever. Let's take that list. Let's figure out who the core decision- makers are in those ideal prospects. And let's build systems and strategies. We'll do strategies first, then systems to engage with those people, to collect intelligence on those people and use that intelligence to drive engagement as BDRs, as marketing, working together to take down these ideal prospects. And so this is the world. And we spend so much energy trying to generate leads, I say, stop that, start trying to generate engagement with the people you know you want to work with.
Darryl: Okay. So there's so many places I can go with on this one. And I want to make sure I don't lose anything. And so I'm furiously typing stuff down here. So where do we start? So here's what, let me see. Okay. So ahead of sales, a CRO, a Chief Sales Officer, would all say to you," You're right! You don't need leads." You should know who your target audience is. Your ideal customer profile is, and you should go and pursue them relentlessly. Which by the way, folks, that goes way back in time to why we have activity, whether it's email, social selling, or just phone calls, people would say you do a hundred calls a day or whatever the number is that's because you know who your leads are and you're calling into them. Yet, then we had HubSpot come along and create this whole concept around inbound marketing, where they just drove them to great valuations. And everybody became an overnight millionaire. Bastards. And, then we started to realize that inbound leads were kind of nice. Because they were marketing qualified. We had a history of engagement. We had lots of buying signals and you know what? They were just easier. And it's gotten to the point. Now, when I look at sales reps, a couple of things happens. One, if I say," Why did you not hit your revenue number, your targets this month?" They'll say," I didn't have enough leads from marketing, enough inbound leads. I didn't have enough leads." Alright. So, and that's what drives a CSO or VP of sales or CRO through the roofs. Wait, because if I just want marketing to close sales, why do I need you? Alright. So what that is, that's what we call bonus, gravy, extra. You call that even, oh, I don't know, sales gravy. Just throw it out there for Mr. Blunt. So you need to own your patch. Speaking of Blunt, Blunt says, pipe is life.
Darrell: That's right.
Darryl: That's because you're building your pipe, not waiting for it to be fed to you. You're targeting and going after them. You're doing that as Mr. Hunter likes to talk about through prospecting. He's a big prospecting fanatic. Alright. So these are the elements. So the other part is, is that when I talk to reps, I'll say," Okay, so you don't have enough leads. But I'm looking at your activity and you're not doing hardly anything at all, that you did 25 outreaches last week." Really? So that's the thing that drives us nuts. Now you said," Darryl, you don't want leads. You want to generate engagement," which by the way, in my branding story, my social story, that's exactly what I wanted to do too. I knew I would get notoriety if I generated engagement, because they're like, who is this guy? So you mentioned their strategies and their systems. All right, let's talk about that. Let's drill down. Mr. Amy, rockstar. This is what you do. What are some strategies? What are some systems to help us engage, generate engagement with our target audience?
Darrell: Yeah, I've got a bunch, but I want to start before we go to strategies and systems. I want to start with, what's the objective? What's the goal here? And I want to put two numbers, one for sales and one for marketing, because we're working together to land net new business with ideal prospects, turning ideal prospects into ideal clients. What's the goal? The objective for sales is what I call 100% coverage. So we have, let's say just round numbers, let's say we've identified a 1000 target accounts that meet the qualification of being ideal prospects for us. These are your, if you want to use the L word, these 1000 accounts are your leads. They're your leads. That's who you're going to call. And what we need to do is, we want 100% coverage. What does that mean? Well, it can mean whatever you define it as, but in your organization, you might define 100% coverage as the top three categories of decision- maker. Let's say it's the CFO, the IT manager, and the HR director for your SAS company or whatever that is. The top three people hear from our sales team, a minimum of once a quarter. Define it however you want, but now we're able to go," Okay, Darryl, you have 100 of these target accounts, 200 of these target accounts assigned to you. How did you do last quarter? Well, did you do 100%? Did you do 25%? Did you do 80%?" And the rule in the sales team becomes this. You can call on whoever you want to call on, but guaranteed, you will hit 100% coverage on the ideal prospects." Well, Darryl, I don't want to call on that account." Not a problem, we'll assign it to somebody else. But as a company, our sales team always hits 100% of our coverage goal for our ideal prospects that we've identified. So this is a new, maybe not a new, but this is a way to think about sales activity, because the reality is most companies have a broad market of people that could probably buy what we want. And they've got a narrow defined list of ideal prospects. Ideal prospects are people that can buy everything that you sell and have a good fit with your culture. So they're high value, high yield. So 100% coverage on sales. Guess what the metric is on marketing?
Darryl: Okay, pause there. I want to come into marketing. I want to finish this thought.
Darryl: Many organizations, VanillaSoft, as an example of this, are all- in on account- based marketing or company selling. So let's just translate what Darrell was talking about on 100% coverage. And I love that, right? So 100% coverage. He said that, maybe it's 1000 prospects, right? Maybe it's 500, maybe it's whatever, but those are your target accounts, target companies. Then he says, what are the top three people in each of those accounts? Well, that's called your buying committee, right? Those are the people influence the actual purchase process and you should have all those personas down pat. Mark kind refers to these as an avatar, if I recall, so same premise, right? So, you know you're going after them. So the account- based marketing, which often says you're going to have, maybe this is just typical, a rep will have five large accounts, 40 named accounts, and maybe upwards of 500 industry accounts. So I just did 545 as opposed to 1000 but you get the idea and 100% coverage. So again, Darrell talked about saying you have to actually touch a minimum each person in that buying committee. So in his example, three people per account, once per quarter. So in other words, if you've got 500 accounts or 545, in my example, then that means you're doing, am I doing this right? 1, 635 touches. If there's three people per account per quarter, which means if I work it backwards you're doing roughly, maybe 545, 550 touches a month, which, you can just start working backwards to 500 a month. There's 20 working days in a month. You're at 25, 30 touches a day. That's what you're doing, right? Nothing outrageous. You think about that. Let's say let's even 40 touches a day. That's email, social and phone. You have an eight hour a day. That's not hard to do if you balance your time. So 100% coverage is the exact same thing as ABM. If that's what you're in. Okay. I'm sorry. That was the goal. And the objective for sales. What is it for marketing?
Darrell: A hundred percent engagement. So marketing...
Darryl: That's good.
Darrell: Yeah. So and marketing, we go, and once again, I've worn the marketing hat, I've worn the sales hat, really similar to my other brother, Darryl here. And in marketing, we go, well, we sent out 50,000 emails and we got, 2. 6% click- through rate and 40, 325 people visit our website. And wonderful, I'm so happy for you. But what I really care about is those 1000 ideal prospects. Have we gotten on their radar? Now, this is a new way for marketing to think in a lot of ways. And this is account- based marketing. I call it outbound marketing because a lot of the account- based marketing strategies have lived at the enterprise. And so, they're kind of working their way down, but account- based marketing or outbound marketing says, look, I got 1000 ideal clients, I hope that everyone in the world hears from our company and finds us on Google and insta- chat or whatever gram you're on. I hope they find us, but those 1000 companies, I'm going to figure out how to get on every one of their radar once a quarter, let's say, and the three decision makers. So you know what? My email blasts, they may reach an X percent of those ideal prospects. Great. Ding. I got engagement point. Other ones, I may go, I have a really hard time getting on Darryl Praill's. Well, guess what? Marketing, let's figure out how to do that. Darryl is a high value prospect. Let's figure out how to get on his radar. So guess what? Maybe I need to look at my exceptions list of the people I'm not getting through to, with my standard marketing methods and maybe I need to figure out how to get on Darryl's radar. Maybe I need to open up LinkedIn and comment on something he put out there. One- to- one. You go, really? Now, can you do that for everybody? No, you don't need to. You're marketing strategies overall will get you on the radar. But the goal is 100% engagement and you set your criteria however you want as a team. But if we use that same thing, the company is going to get on this prospect's radar, at least once a quarter. So then you do the math and now in the marketing meetings, as you move through your quarter, you go, okay, we're up to 65% engagement, who's left? And what's going to happen is that number gets down and you get to the really hard to reach ones. And you're never going to get to 100% by the way, but you should get to the really hard to reach ones. Then you sit in the room together and go, okay, what's it going to take? How are we going to do this? And you go, okay, well, have we tried sending a fax to them? Have we tried sending balloons to them? What are we going to do to get on their radar? This is a mindset of saying, marketing's job is not to measure itself by the stuff that's put out there. It's to measure itself by the stuff that is received and engaged with. Is everyone going to respond to the email or pick up the phone and call? No, but I want to make sure as a company that we're on the radar, nothing makes my blood boil more than being a sales. And this goes to sales and marketing. And the times I've spent as a sales leader, when you go on the field ride, I did a lot of field sales, and you go out to an ideal prospect. An obvious ideal prospect, and you walk in and you realize really quickly, they've never heard of us. Right? You go," Whoa!" Those 1000 ideal prospects, whatever your number is, they need to have heard of you. And not just one person, but there's 5.6.3, 5. 7., I think Brent Adamson said, now it's over 10. I was on a Power Lunch Live the other day and I quoted Brent Adamson from The Challenger, customer and said, there's, 6. 7 decision- makers in the average B2B transaction. And it was actually a cool moment. He actually chimed in on the YouTube chat and said, it's 11. I was like, Brent Adamson's here, folks. This is cool. But it doesn't matter whatever that number is, it's more than one. So you need to decide as a company who are the top three, top four, five, whatever it is in your industry, decision makers and influencers. And how can we set up our marketing to generate, to aim at 100% engagement with those five people? Are you going to get 100%? No, but in the pursuit you're going to get on their radar. And that's, what's important here.
Darryl: Alright. So a couple of mistakes that people make. Organizations make. And if I say something, and you go," Oh," then don't beat yourself up. Just fix it. Okay. Number one, sales and marketing have not defined a list of those accounts that you're targeting with a 100% coverage or 100% engagement. You need to have a shared list. And that doesn't just include the account but it also includes at least three or more of the key members in the buying committee. Exactly as Darrell talked about, maybe VP sales, VP marketing, CFO, who knows? Whatever, you know. The second thing you need is, the definition of your ideal customer profile for every vertical you've gone after. As well as, an overview of every persona or avatar. Okay? Which also means that both marketing and sales need to consult this regularly before you talk to them or engage with them to make sure you're in the zone of what matters to them and that'll affect your conversations or your marketing email blasts or whatever it might be. I find too many people make this stuff and then never look at it again. Alright. And the next thing is sales, you have to stop going off and chasing wild goose chases, for all of a sudden, maybe IBM wants me. Are they on the list? No, but they're IBM. I'm going to chase IBM. No, you pick the list. Pursue the list. And marketing, that means that you're only really targeting those people on your list of others. If others come, you can nurture them, set- up an autopilot, nurture them. And if they get to a certain MQL, then you can pass them across to sales. But you're not relentlessly chasing them. You're relentlessly chasing the 1000 people that you two agreed in sales and marketing. So you both own accountability to stay true to your definition, true to your list and constantly consult those definitions. So you make sure you're all saying the same thing. Too many reps, bail on that. So just FYI.
Darrell: Well, and just going back to the IBM thing, or whether it's IBM or mom and pop incorporated, if it's outside your ideal client profile, I'm not saying you don't take that call or make that call. What I am saying is you can take down business wherever you want. But on our sales team, 100%, we hit 100% coverage month in, month out, unnegotiable. Outside of that, yeah, you can call on whoever you want. You can sell whatever you want to sell. Because I think that's where, when you get into account- based marketing and target accounts, sometimes salespeople and sales leaders go," Whoa, whoa, whoa. What if someone else wants to buy it?" Great. Let them sign the purchase order.
Darryl: Take that deal. Exactly.
Darrell: That's great. Take the deal down. But 100% in our business, it is our policy, it's our habit, it's our culture, that we engage with and have sales coverage on these ideal prospects. And I've gone so far as to think, and I know a lot of us are virtual now, but if I had a sales bullpen, if I were a sales leader, again, what I would do is I would put all of those names of those target accounts and then I'd go to some printer that does billboards and I'd plaster them across the entire wall of the office. And we'd start crossing them off as we got them. Because the whole goal of the business is to drive revenue. And how are we going to drive revenue? We're going to drive it faster and more efficiently as we bring on the types of ideal clients that can buy everything that we sell, their best fit for us. So this is our mission, these companies on the wall are our mission, to bring them in, to be clients. And until we're done with that mission, we still have work.
Darryl: Okay. So we're down to our final two minutes my friend. Are there any things you want to talk about in terms of either strategies or systems? And by the way folks, because we're running tight on time, there's a simple solution because you're saying I want to hear more, follow Darrell on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter, ask him directly. Better yet, go sign up for OutBoundConference. com, use VanillaSoft100, you'll get$ 100 bucks off. Life is grand and you can just talk to him right then and there. Okay. With that said any final thoughts, strategies, or systems for our sales listeners?
Darrell: What you need is an engine. And by the way, my lawnmower has an engine and my Audi has an engine. One is faster than the other one has more cylinders. So I like to look at sales and marketing as processes. The processes become the cylinders of your engine. So in revenue growth engine, we'll be talking about this by the way, in one of the virtual sessions at OutBound, how to build a revenue growth engine to drive net new business and cross sell. If you want instant access, you can just text the word, revenue, to 21, 000 and snag a free copy of Revenue Growth Engine, just pay shipping and I'll get one out to you. We'll have one sent. But every business is a little bit different, but there are core processes that need to be put in place. And here's the deal. Sales and marketing is like the wild west. Most of the time, when it comes to process and the more processes we get in place, repeatable, predictable things, empowered by systems like VanillaSoft to make them measurable and repeatable and efficient. Those become cylinders to the engine and now the flywheel starts rolling. And now we've got processes in place to ensure 100% coverage and 100% engagement.
Darryl: So every sales leader out there right now is going," Preach it, brother," because every sales rep hates the fact that we implement process or process, pick your choice. Because they feel constrained that the reality is it's that process that will allow you to exactly, as you said, get the flywheel. It may start off slow. That's the definition of a flywheel. It starts off slow, but then it gets easier. Friction gets less than it goes faster and faster and faster over time. So trust in the process. We're out of time folks. I'm sorry. My fault. I talk too much. But my other brother, Darrell, you can find him, OutBoundConference. com, LinkedIn, Twitter, Convergo.co, you'll find is his website. And of course you can listen to him with Larry Levine, who are always selling from the heart. Check it out. In the meantime, thank you to my friend, Darrell. We're out of here, folks. We'll see you next week. Take care. Bye- bye.