Three years ago, I was working as a freelance sales director, helping tech startups to win their early customers. I hired a telemarketer and researched some people for her to call and gave her a near-impossible job of getting me in front of people in the largest companies in the UK.
I was setting her up for frustration and failure, and despite some success, I decided that we had to change our approach.
We needed to warm people up, give them space to learn about us before making that direct ask, over the phone, by email etc.
But how would we know when people were warm enough?
- We had to track the information we had sent over and when, so we knew that they knew
- We needed to know we are on their radar, and they are open to engaging.
I loved the idea of drip-feeding info and only when we had enough engagement in return would we then make a direct sales ask.
As a salesperson, you have an instinct for this, so we needed to take that instinct and make it into a formula that would flag ‘buying signs’ and enable us to do this at scale.
Having scoured the marketing automation and CRM platforms for something that could bring LinkedIn, email, twitter (and more) together to lead score, but also for the communication to be from me as a person, one-by-one, rather than company marketing, I realised it didn’t exist.
Fergus was on the same thinking, having gone down a different path but arriving at the same conclusion. He came up with a good old Excel sheet – the tracker, that became a Google sheet as we grew, and became a monster as our clients matured.
Fast forward and our Operations team and Developers were hard at work to create something that first of all reduced the manual tracking of messages out (& in!). Could automate and log the status changes as connections made, conversations were had that resulted in ‘no for now’ or ‘interest shown’.
In developing the scoring for each action, from us, from our FAN, ‘FAN joined your LinkedIn group’, ‘FAN follows you back’, ‘FAN downloaded e-book’, we now can understand when each person is engaged to enough of a degree to be ready for a sales ask.
For an Account-Based Approach, we can also score engagement on a company level, which gives you a pipeline of companies which can feedback into content production, so we deliver really targeted messages or content to the companies that are engaging the most.
What’s next? Now it gets exciting. We can tell which messages resonated, and which ones didn’t. We start with instinct, we get (more) brave, and fail fast. We measure, we optimise, we prove what works, and when it stops working we have the next thing that works.
I guess it is AI, but I prefer to call it Sophisticated Selling.
Welcome FANbase, you were simply a twinkle and now you are here.