27 June 2010

Ambulance Chasing Lead Generation

Recently at Nuxeo, we had the pleasure to announce that our investors funded an additional $3.3M in our company to continue the expansion of our North American business.

What I had forgotten about is that the "Ambulance Chasers" in lead generation would start calling once the press release hit the wire.

Typically, the term "Ambulance Chaser" is reserved for lawyers that solicit business from the victims - at the scene of the crime.

However, in lead generation/sales, there are a group of bottom-feeders that troll for business based on such business announcements. Keep in mind, 99% of these folks have never done nor asked for our business before - nor do they understand our business pains. They are simply trying to get a slice of that money.

It is one of my biggest pet peeves.

They have no understanding of my business issues, they don't care why we got this funding (or how we plan to use it) - and worse, they set themselves up for me (as the consumer) to never want to use their services. It's not just that they annoy me temporarily - it actually makes me turn to other vendors if I do want that type of service.

You may ask "why" it annoys me so much - especially in light of the fact that I'm a staunch supporter of creative ways to find the next hot lead.

It is my pet peeve due to the fact that it is the equivalent to "spray and pray" lead generation - aka SPAM, mass mailings, cold calling centers that have NO background about your specific business.

In the era of Google, one can find out a wealth of information. Both about the company itself - and its principles - but also the management (including their Facebook pages, Twitter streams etc).

Why in the world would anyone elect to give business to someone a) who doesn't have a freakin' clue about their goals, b) who can't articulate how specifically their service can help with those business goals, and c) puts a classic "sales cycle theater" pressure on them to make a decision ASAP (thanks to Cheryl McKinnon for teaching us about sales cycle theater) before the end of their fiscal quarter?

If any of them think that they are going to be successful with me, you're not. Good luck finishing out your fiscal quarter bottom-feeders.

15 June 2010

The shelf-life of contact data

Have you ever had bad milk in your fridge? Or rotten veggies? They stink - and you have no way of using them (despite how much you may want to).

Same goes for lead data - I've advocated in previous posts, a routine cleaning of leads - but what is the real shelf-life of a lead? When does a lead start to smell like rotten milk?

In the era of downsizing, restructuring, and acquisition amalgamation, how realistic is it that someone will be at the same email address in six months? By leveraging drip marketing campaigns, you can relieve the burden off of your insides sales team to maintain this data point - instead, you can let your automated system do the work for you in contact communications and the ultimate smelling of bad milk (hypothetically).

Think about it - let's say you have 10000 new leads per month - if you enact a drip campaign based on interest, you have 10000 follow-ups that don't have to be handled by hand.

As for marketing automation, I had a recent discussion with a peer about the fact that he routinely receives emails from "bots" (as in email robots). His commentary was that he hated bot communications - and that he could spot them a mile away.

I partially agreed - how many times have you received a routine email that contains some sort of variable data field that is inaccurate - and therefore, when received, you roll your eyes?? But isn't the reason that you roll your eyes is because of bad data - not the fact they came from an email robot?

In light of how vast the universe is - and the fact that everyone is trying to do more with less (i.e. be more efficient), why not have an email robot handle the smelling of the milk?

By looking at the data that I've had access to, the true shelf-life (on average) of a lead is six months - within six months, something has changed....the lead has changed companies, the company has been acquired, the sales rep has left your company. This is why you must automate this type of follow-up - so that you are not dependent on people. After awhile, people/leads start to smell like bad milk.

An automated system never minds smelling bad milk! :)

03 June 2010

Having nothing to say...or so you think

In the constant stream of 24x7 communications - as my Tweetdeck keeps chirping at me - it seems inconceivable that a marketer would be at a loss for something to say. Everyone is talking, texting, tweeting, emailing.

But for marketers who have a niche market, or who have been in the industry more than a few years, I bet you find yourself cringing as you think you "have I already said this before?". Or worse, grapple to find something to say at all - the ultimate death knoll for a marketer.

Before you start worrying that your career as a marketer is over, stop for a moment - and think as a consumer.

How many newsletters, emails or online catalogs do you receive in a given week, month?

You may have the time to read their message when they first arrive - but I'll bet that you often delete it, or lose it in your inbox and basically wait for the company's next message to you to arrive to actually read it.

Consumers want their information when they want it - not when marketers send it. It is almost impossible to align the two tangents on the same consumer curve.

Instead, as a marketer, when you think that you are out of things to say - say those things again. Work to rotate messages, delivery schedules, subject lines, plain text versus HTML.....say it funnier, enhance it with research, write it in another language - something to break up the monotony.

Someone, somewhere, is reading/listening.