Are You The Best at Engaging Prospects?


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If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.– Sun Tzu, The Art Of War

The Battle for leads in the marketplace has never been fiercer. As access to information increases, buyers turn to the internet for researching and shortlisting. The result? Prospects typically engage with vendors more than halfway through their purchasing process. Now more than ever, the first interaction between a prospect and vendor is critical. Companies with a world-class prospect experience convert more inbound leads to opportunities. However, most firms falter on basic lead engagement principles.

Here’s a personal example: I recently put out a bid to renovate my kitchen on a contractor website. I received three bids back via email the next day. I followed up on all three within a 5 minute window. The first contractor called me 15 minutes afterwards. The second took three days. Here is the exchange with the second:

Contractor B: We saw you inquired about our bid. When would you like to start this project?

Me: Tomorrow.

Contract B: (Laughing) That’s a little soon.

Me: No, it’s not. One of your competitors responded two days ago and is coming tomorrow.

As slow as they were, they were better than the third contractor. They never responded.

B2B buyers demand the same responsiveness. If your inbound marketing presence is worse than the competition, you are losing deals. How can you tell where you stand? The Mystery Shop. The mystery shop helps you understand how your company engages the strongest leads: inbound requests. Download our “How To Mystery Shop Guide” by registering for our Sales & Marketing Research Tour here.

Mystery Shop Kit

A solid mystery shop is defined by three components:

Company Website and Presence:

  • Does the content of my website speak to my audience, or is it all about my company?

  • Is the most valuable and later stage content gated to capture information?

  • Is the content in multiple formats (video, written, audio)?

  • Is the content updated and timely, or dated?

Inbound Call:

  • How long does it take my inbound call to be answered?

  • How long to call me back if I complete a “Call Me” Form Fill?

  • Is the representative able to answer basic questions or are they uninformed?

  • Is the representative able to engage in a dialogue and ask thought-provoking questions?

  • Can the representative qualify me without being pushy?

Sales Contact (after qualification):

  • How long does it take a sales rep to follow up?

  • Does the sales rep ask me the same questions, or reference information from the previous call?

  • Is the sales rep able to make an appointment in the immediate future?

  • Do they follow up if I am not ready at this point?

These opening interactions are critical, but few companies can confidently execute all of them. First impressions count. B2B consumers associate these experiences throughout the rest of the engagement.

So how should you conduct a proper mystery shop?

Here are some tips:

  1. Set Up An Alter Ego: Get an alternate number with a voicemail of the “prospect”. Make this prospect visible on the internet by creating an online psuedo-profile. Develop a story and rehearse it. Lead Development Reps and Salespeople are trained to sniff out imposters.
  2. Make sure it’s conducted by an unbiased source: Having salespeople or management conduct a mystery shop inevitably leads to a “not as good as us outcome”. If you’re going to conduct it “in-house”, assign it to someone without a vested interest.
  3. Document Everything: Record when you make each outbound call or fill out a form. These times will be critical to assessing engagement. After each conversation, document what the vendor did well and faltered on. Managing four different engagements in your head will not work.
  4. Download our tool to organize your findings: You’ll have some great insights and ideas from this event. But you need to organize them to understand the true competitive landscape. Put your findings in our tool. Use the traffic light scorecard to highlight relative strengths and weaknesses.

Give your company the chance to engage better than the competition. Get there first. Create a more professional experience. By the time the competition shows up, you’ll be ten steps ahead. Register for our Sales & Marketing Research Tour and get our Mystery Shop Kit. By registering, you’ll also get access to all of our guides, templates and tools to help your selling efforts.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Drew Zarges
Drew Zarges serves as a Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI). Drew helps sales and marketing leaders hit their number through extensive work within these disciplines: Lead Management, Demand Generation and Campaign Planning, Compensation Planning and Specialties.


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