Sales Lead Best Practices

In their recent Information Industry Outlook 2019, Outsell provided the following “last mile to the sale” recommendations for sales lead best practices:

  1. Be at the top of organic search results
  2. 1-2 sentence company description on Home page
  3. Home page links to Services page
  4. Zero dead links on Home, About, or services pages
  5. 2 clicks max to get to contact pages
  6. Person answers phone in 1-3 rings
  7. Zero routing to right person
  8. 5 seconds or less to reach the right person

“If you are doing all the marketing in the world and you’re not picking up your phone or there’s no phone number on your website, you’re not going to have the results that you want,” said Outsell CEO Anthea Stratigos.

While the above recommendations were made for the information industry, they are broadly applicable to businesses regardless of size or industry.

Stratigos did not discuss conversational marketing bots such as Drift, but rapid response times and appropriate routing should be goals when implementing those tools as well.

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Data Privacy

Speaking at the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC), Apple CEO Tim Cook forcefully called for expanded global privacy protections akin to GDPR:

Our own information — from the everyday to the deeply personal — is being weaponized against us with military efficiency. These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded and sold. Taken to the extreme this process creates an enduring digital profile and lets companies know you better than you may know yourself. Your profile is a bunch of algorithms that serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into harm…

We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance…

We should celebrate the transformative work of the European institutions tasked with the successful implementation of the GDPR. We also celebrate the new steps taken, not only here in Europe but around the world — in Singapore, Japan, Brazil, New Zealand. In many more nations regulators are asking tough questions — and crafting effective reform.

It is time for the rest of the world, including my home country, to follow your lead.

We see vividly, painfully how technology can harm, rather than help. [Some platforms] magnify our worst human tendencies… deepen divisions, incite violence and even undermine our shared sense or what is true or false.

This crisis is real. Those of us who believe in technology’s potential for good must not shrink from this moment…

They may say to you our companies can never achieve technology’s true potential if there were strengthened privacy regulations. But this notion isn’t just wrong it is destructive — technology’s potential is and always must be rooted in the faith people have in it. In the optimism and the creativity that stirs the hearts of individuals. In its promise and capacity to make the world a better place.

It’s time to face facts. We will never achieve technology’s true potential without the full faith and confidence of the people who use it.

He also warned about the dangers of AI which fails to protect privacy:

Artificial intelligence is one area I think a lot about. At its core this technology promises to learn from people individually to benefit us all. But advancing AI by collecting huge personal profiles is laziness, not efficiency.

For artificial intelligence to be truly smart it must respect human values — including privacy. If we get this wrong, the dangers are profound. We can achieve both great artificial intelligence and great privacy standards. It is not only a possibility — it is a responsibility…

Yesterday, Cook tweeted that privacy is a human right

Tim Cook on GDPR

based upon four principals:

  • Data Minimization – Personal data collection should be minimized or de-identified.
  • Transparency – Individuals have the right to know what is being collected and for what purpose.
  • Right to Access – “data belongs to users” with personal data available to individuals for copying, correcting, and deleting.
  • Right to security – “security is foundational to trust and all other privacy rights”

Cook isn’t the first CEO to call for a global GDPR. Microsoft has built GDPR into its products and CEO Satya Nadella has expressed similar thoughts. Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff discussed data privacy and cybersecurity on a May earnings call and SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin has also voiced concerns.

Benioff Dreamforce Keynote

Salesforce CEO Mark BenioffSalesforce CEO Mark Benioff has long taken a stakeholders’ approach to his business, understanding that technology firms can do both good and evil.  Unlike many of the social media companies which are now beginning to understand the dangers of taking a laissez-faire approach to how others use their technology, Benioff has ensured that his enterprise cloud company takes an affirmative action towards social justice, equality, and the ethical application of his firm’s technology.

Eighteen years ago, he started the 1:1:1 campaign (1% of product, time, and resources) to nonprofits and philanthropic purposes.  At Dreamforce and World Tour events, the firm regularly promotes local nonprofits and holds sessions for them.  The firm has also taken stands against discriminatory legislation and adjusted salaries to ensure gender pay equity.  Benioff is calling for “inclusive capitalism” which benefits all members of society and recently created an Office of Ethical and Humane Use of their technology.

Here is what Benioff had to say at this year’s Dreamforce (abridged):

What is really important to us? what is the most important thing what are our values? What are we going to stand for? What do we really want?…

We’re watching…for companies who are not listening to their key stakeholders, not listening to their customers, not listening to their employees, not listening to the kids…Then we watch the executives walk out. The employees walk out.  The customers walk out as a vote of no-confidence against their values and as a community we stand here and we say we are going to commit to a higher level.  We are going to a higher level together to express our values.  We know what the most important thing is to us and in this community and we’ve said it for years and we’ll say it again:  Our culture is built on trust – The fundamental trust that we have with you; the fundamental trust that we have with our key stakeholders, with our customers, with our employees, with our partners.

Our trust is with you and we take that very seriously.  It’s our highest value and we ask every company to ask what is your highest value and in the world when technology is taking us over and in a world where technology through the Fourth Industrial Revolution is grabbing us, realize that we all have a higher responsibility to ask that question especially you see the gambits that are unfolding really before us. Especially as artificial intelligence gets released into the whole world we must ask this question, “What is truly important to us?”…

We realize technology is not good or bad, it’s what you do with it that matters…We’ve restructured our company to have an Office of Ethical and Humane Use of the technology so that as our employees or our customers or our partners say “Are we doing this? Are we aligned with our values? Are we moving forward?”

We can have a structured conversation not just with our own employees myopically but by bringing in the key advisors and supporters and pundits and philosophers and everybody necessary…to ask the question, “Is what we are doing today ethical and humane?” and we’re all gonna have to ask that question in the technology industry and every company and every CEO better be ready to answer to that question through their values.

And we’re putting our values into action because our values create our behaviors…

We believe we have to bring everyone in.  Everyone has to come in to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It’s inclusive capitalism.  Inclusive capitalism means we’re all going together into the future.  We are leaving no one behind. Nobody will be left.

 

 

Congressional Research Service Reports

Congressional Research Service reports are finally available via a centralized, government database.
Congressional Research Service reports are finally available via a centralized, government database.

It only took twenty-five years, but Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports are finally available through the Library of Congress.  Members of Congress have long released the reports to third-party databases, but now the reports are available directly from the Library of Congress.  As the research is paid for by taxpayers and conducted at the behest of Congress, limited access to this research has long been an affront to legislative transparency.

According to their FAQ, the CRS is “a federal legislative branch agency located within the Library of Congress, [which] serves as shared staff exclusively to congressional committees and Members of Congress. CRS experts assist at every stage of the legislative process — from the early considerations that precede bill drafting, through committee hearings and floor debate, to the oversight of enacted laws and various agency activities.”

CRS research is non-partisan and takes a multi-perspective approach to current issues and legislation.  Reports are both on demand and anticipatory.  “CRS approaches complex topics from a variety of perspectives and examines all sides of an issue. Staff members analyze current policies and present the impact of proposed policy alternatives.”

CRS services include reports on major policy issues; tailored confidential memoranda; briefings and consultations; seminars and workshops; and expert congressional testimony.

“With public policy issues growing more complex, the need for insightful and comprehensive analysis has become vital. Congress relies on CRS to marshal interdisciplinary resources, encourage critical thinking and create innovative frameworks to help legislators form sound policies, reach decisions on a host of difficult issues and address their constituents’ concerns and needs. These decisions will guide and shape the nation today and for generations to come.”

  • Congressional Research Service FAQ

The CRS database was included in The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018.  “We worked closely with Congress to make sure that we had a mutual understanding of the law’s requirements and Congress’ expectations in our approach to this project,” said Carla D. Hayden, Librarian of Congress.

As governmental work product, CRS research is not subject to copyright.  Thus, CRS research may be broadly disseminated without permission.  However, some research may contain copyrighted third-party images or material.

The new website provides the same search functionality as Congress and is keyword searchable.  Full-text searching is available along with filtering by topic, date, author, and additional keywords.

What is Fit Data?

A Subset of the D&B Hoovers location selects with regional filters for the US and UK.
A subset of the D&B Hoovers location selects with regional filters for the US and UK.

Last month, I discussed intent data, one of a trio of datasets that assist with lead scoring.  This month I’m touching upon Fit data and next month I’ll be discussing Opportunity data.

Fitness data consists of firmographics, technographics, and verticalized datasets that help define whether a company is a good prospect.  Biographic values such as Job Function, Level, Skills, and Responsibilities should also be employed when evaluating contacts or leads.

Firmographics are the basic variables that have long been used to define a good prospect.  Firmographics include location, size (e.g. revenue, employees, assets, PE/VC funding, and market cap), industry, and year founded.  Other commonly used dimensions include Ownership Flags (Minority Owned, Woman Owned, Veterans Owned, SOHO, Franchise), Ownership Type (Public, Private, Nonprofit, Government), and Parent/Sub/Branch.

Ownership flags are used for both inclusion and exclusion with SOHO and Franchise flags generally used to exclude small businesses and those with limited purchasing authority.  Subsidiaries and Branches are often excluded as they also have more limited purchasing authority, but are included when looking for locations to sell into after an MSA is signed or when evaluating entry into overseas markets.  In these cases, knowing all of the locations of current accounts and top prospects is quite valuable.  Likewise, logistics companies look for companies with many locations.

Several vendors support radius searching around a ZIP code.  This select is valuable for both event planning (e.g. 50 miles from a tradeshow) or for sales reps when traveling and looking to include additional accounts and prospects on a trip.

A recent study by Dun & Bradstreet found that three of the top five dimensions used when targeting B2B accounts are firmographic (Location, Industry, and Company Size).

Firmographic variables such as geography, industry, and company size are commonly used for specifying target accounts (Source:
Firmographic variables such as geography, industry, and company size are commonly used for specifying target accounts (Source: “The 6th Annual B2B Marketing Data Report,” Dun & Bradstreet, Sept 2018).

Furthermore, Account specific lists for ABM generally employ firmographic criteria when building or extending ABM lists.  (Online activity is an intent variable which was discussed in my last What Is.)

Technographics are an example of a verticalized dataset.  Generally they consist of vendors, products, and product categories.  Originally, such data was only available from technology sales intelligence vendors such as DiscoverOrg and HHMI (now Aberdeen Services), but HG Data built and licensed a technographics dataset which is now widely available in data marketplaces, predictive analytics, and sales intelligence platforms.  Aberdeen followed suite in licensing their dataset as well.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers a set of unique selects for targeting departments, department headcount growth, and employment growth.  Unfortunately, this data is not downloadable or available for lead scoring.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers a set of unique variables for building lists. Unfortunately, the variables are not exportable.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers a set of unique variables for building lists.

Biographic variables are also important when determining fit.  Job function and level help determine whether a lead is likely to be a decision maker, influencer, or noise.  Most vendors map job titles to taxonomies of between 8 and 60 job functions and 4 to 8 levels.  Other biographic variables include education, years at company, former companies, and interests.

Data availability and currency may also play into Fit both directly and indirectly.  If a select is weakly populated (e.g. Education, Skills), then many potential targets will be omitted from lists or given low scores.  In some cases, lowering the lead score due to a missing field makes sense.  Lead scores should incorporate the availability of emails, direct dials, and LinkedIn handles because this information increases the likelihood of successfully communicating with a prospect.

TIP: When evaluating vendors, ask about the fill rates on key fields you anticipate using in your lead scoring or prospecting.

In a similar vein, last update dates should also be used as a filter.  Data from SHRM indicates a 2016 average contact decay rate of 27% when accounting for job departures, lateral moves, and title changes.  And this is only at the contact level.  The rate is even higher when including company name changes, relocations, and bankruptcies / facility closures.  Thus, the last update field is a relevant fitness variable for prospecting but not inbound lead scoring.

In short, lead fitness can be defined by a broad set of who, what, and where variables related to companies and contacts.

Facebook Reaps What It Sows

Facebook dropped 20% in one day as the ongoing news about their misuse of personal data began to hit their bottom line a few weeks ago.  Here is a guerilla protest campaign in London which encapsulates their issues:

The problem at Facebook is that they forgot that they were there for their members not their advertisers.  The idea was free content (news, fake news, and social), no editorial review, and monetization of the data exhaust from their platform.

When that happened, truth and privacy became irrelevant.  They can whitewash their actions and pretend that the problems are exogenous to their company, but hiring editors is only the beginning of excising the rot that rests at the center of Facebook’s business model.


Source: Instagram images from ProtestStencil

Rhetorik: What Does GDPR Mean for B2B Marketing? (Part III)

One of the concerns raised by GDPR is fear of draconian fines, but that should not be a concern in the UK, at least for those who act in good faith.  “I have no intention of changing our proportionate and pragmatic approach, said ICO Information Commissioner Liz Denham.  “Hefty fines will be reserved for those organisations that persistently, deliberately, or negligently flout the law.”

And while many have complained that GDPR is a major hindrance to traditional marketing, it redirects efforts towards better targeted accounts and prospects.  “B2B direct marketing is alive and well, and is explicitly envisaged in the GDPR legislation,” said Kevin Savage, Rhetorik’s Chief Revenue Officer.  “You can do B2B marketing, and you should because compliance requirements are really a blessing in disguise. Relying  on Legitimate Interest requires you to be more mindful and selective about the personal data you keep and use. This selectivity enables you to be more targeted in your messaging, to cut through the noise and engage prospects more effectively.”

Please find the underlying statutes for major European countries, courtesy of Rhetorik:

Country Legislation
Belgium The Code of Economic Law, and the Royal Decree of 4 April 2003 (advertising by email)
France Article L. 34-5 of the Code of Post and Telecommunication and  Article L.121-20-5 of the Consumption Code
Germany The German Act Against Unfair Practices 2004 (UWG) and the revised German Telecommunications Act
Ireland The European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) Regulations 2011 (the “2011 Regulations”)
Italy Protection of Personal Data Consolidation Act (Data Protection Code – Legislative Decree No. 196 of 30 June 2003) & Legislative Decree nr. 69/2012
Netherlands Telecommunicatiewet
Spain Law 34/2002 on information society services and electronic commerce (LSSI)
UK The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003

This is part III of a discussion of GDPR. Part I begins here.