Balancing Short-Term Revenue Targets with Long-Term Prospect Experience


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There is a company in the marketing technology space (I won’t name names) that talks often about how successful their sales team is.  They are quite proud of the tenacity and success rate of their BDRs in particular, especially how many appointments they are setting each week and month.

The metrics, if indeed they are correct, are impressive.  Knowing what it often takes to hit those metrics, I worry about the long-term collateral damage the company may be creating for those who do not respond.

I downloaded a white paper from the same company a year ago, and for the next 60 days (including the weekend) every single day I received either an email, phone call or LinkedIn message from a well-meaning junior sales representative.

To make matters worse, each and every connection attempt had a single message – when can we set up 15 minutes to talk?

There was no implied value, no offer, nothing to tease me on what I might learn, hear or receive in exchange for my time.  Just a pounding for two whole months.

I’m quite sensitive and empathetic to the need for companies to drive short-term results with their sales and marketing efforts.  I face that pressure myself each month and quarter as well.

But if you call me for 60 days straight, does that decrease the likelihood I’ll want to engage with your company again?  Will I second-guess clicking on anything from your company moving forward for fear that the calls will start all over again?

In other words, if you go scorched earth on your prospects to hit higher short-term metrics, you run the real risk of alienating a high percentage of the rest of your prospects who could be customers in the future.

Keep in mind he vast majority of your prospects aren’t ready for you, aren’t actively buying, and may not even consider the problem you solve a priority right now.  Of course, for many prospects that will change over time based on a myriad of internal and external factors.

Your call blitz isn’t likely going to sway them in a positive direction in that regard.  In fact, it may do the opposite.

As much as you may want to manage the pipeline with a tight, precise eye on appointments and demos, remember that an eye towards the long-term prospect experience is how enduring brands are built.

Meeting prospects where they are – occasionally nudging them forward but letting them stay in control – is how you gain their trust, develop preference and competitive differentiation, earn ongoing attention and engagement, plus reduce long-term acquisition costs because more of those prospects will enthusiastically come back to you when they are ready.

A few best practices to effectively strike this balance:

  1. Know what real buying signals look like: Just because someone downloaded a white paper doesn’t mean they want your demo.  Know your target accounts and key buying committee personas well enough to be able to differentiate “just educating myself” content from “I might be close to ready” content.
  2. Watch for, and respond to, activity storms: If all of a sudden you see a prospect highly active with a particular topic or subject matter, especially if you can measure that across channels, it’s good indication you might be able to engage successfully.
  3. Give generously before the ask: Even when you do respond to buying signals and activity, start with a give.  Create something that’s 95% give with no expectation in return for the prospect.  Earn their engagement to earn a response and ask.
  4. Teach your BDRs how to give: Sixty calls in a row is probably still too much, but if you lead with value I bet your response rate is better.  And sometimes three steps is better than one to get more of those appointments in the first place.

I’ve heard some people tell me hitting short-term revenue targets is how you earn the right (and time) to build long-term brand value and prospect experiences.  The pure math might trick some companies into believing that to be true.

Unfortunately, if you don’t value the prospect experience from the get-go, that initial bump in appointments is going to dry up much too quickly.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Matt Heinz
Prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger, Matt Heinz is President and Founder of Heinz Marketing with 20 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. He is a dynamic speaker, memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.Matt’s career focuses on consistently delivering measurable results with greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty.


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