Archives For Demand Generation

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Live Marketing Events Work

But Only If You Treat Them Like Direct Response Marketing

Every week I talk with sales people who are involved in setting up lunch & learns. In some cases they have an audience building, in other cases, they’re struggling to get people to attend.  But in just about all cases, no thought has been given to the conversion plan.

A Word On Sponsoring Vendors and Why They Should Never Be Your Speaker

Your sponsors – Vendors who supply MDF, are looking for an ROI – Return on Investment. It’s interesting to me that their demands are more often than not, to get a speaking slot. I guess they think that by speaking they have more control over the message. But the truth is, their message is not designed to convert anyone to a sale.

They’re top direct sales people likely have great selling skills, but those attending your event most likely don’t. That doesn’t mean they aren’t great channel managers or SEs, and it doesn’t ding their technical knowledge.  It simply means they don’t really know how to close a CIO or small business owner.  Why should they. It’s not in their job description.  (Of course some vendor partners do staff one or two keynote speakers – but getting one of them assigned to your account is not easy.)

Do You Have A Solid Conversion Plan?

Direct Response means, there’s a conversion plan, and you plan to measure it. I was recently talking to a channel manager about events. He made the statement, ” We pay for this – it doesn’t cost the reseller anything!” Wow, very short sighted. It’s expensive to run an event. Even if the reseller has no cash expenses. The time spent on the phone, writing invitations, and even attending they event, is costly to the hosting company. Everyone has skin in the game. So what’s the conversion plan? If it’s good, the ROI is strong and the cost is meaningless. It’s an investment with a strong return, like buying land in a growing city.

In just about every case, when I ask what the event is suppose to drive, the answer is – conversations or call backs. “We hope they’ll call us when they have a need.”

Don’t count on it. Out of sight, out of mind. The fact is, they have a need right now – it’s security. There may be other needs across the group, but this one is predictable in every account. The question is, can you move them in your one hour meeting?

Selling From The Platform Has Already Been Tested

Selling from the platform is what speakers do. If you are doing a live event, you have a speaker. If they understand the speaking industry, they know that all speakers, at least the successful ones, have learned to sell from the front of the room. We call this, “Selling from the platform.”

It’s a proven fact that if you let your audience go home without closing, they won’t be back. Maybe 2%, but not enough to call the event a success. A speaker who closes less than 25% of his audience on something, goes home feeling like he failed to close.  Does your event speaker feel the same?

Here are some statistics from my own experience.  If I make an offer and follow up by phone, it’s going to be a 2% conversion. If I have them line up in the back or go online to order, it might be 20%. If I get them to sign up by asking them while they’re listening, my close goes up to 75 and sometimes 90 or 100%.

Don’t waste your time on events with no conversion plan. Instead, start with your conversion. Convert to what? Convert to something – my favorite is the assessment.  It’s a next step that offers value and builds justification for future involvement.

Next ask, “What will cause my group to convert?” The speaker’s job is to make this conversion, but everything surrounding the speaker also encourages the conversion.  So do you need 3 speakers to convert? No. You need one – the best one.  Should your event go all day, or is one hour long enough. Test it. Find the sweet spot – where conversion numbers seem highest. Then, repeat the process over and over until you have a predictable sales model in place.

© 2016, David Stelzl

More on this process in my book, The House & The Cloud…and you can pick up Digital Money, a book built to convert your clients!

 

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WebinarJam Offers A Great New Way To Reach Prospects

Are You Spending Two Hours in the Car Just To Explore?

That’s what I heard today while on the phone with an SVLC Insider’s Circle Member – two hours to the nearest city, many times just to meet.  No sale opportunity and a wasted trip.

It’s frustrating, but IT directors will take a meeting, letting you drive two hours, one way, knowing full well they don’t intend to do business with you. Another frustration is conducting expensive lunch & learn meetings at a high-end steak house only to get a room full of techies with no money and little influence.

Over the past half year I’ve been using Google+ Hangouts to meet with people.  Some are one-on-one coaching sessions, others are demand generation events, and a third is for group coaching sessions with the SVLC Insider’s Circle – a private forum I host for sales and marketing professionals in the IT Technology Industry.

It’s been a great platform.  You can have people inside the meeting for private intimate discussions, but you can also broadcast to thousands without paying a for a thousand seats – kind of like being on TV.  The one drawback is your ability to interact and gather contact info.

WebinarJam changes all of that.  Rather than explaining the whole thing – there’s an excellent video presentation overviewing the system – see the above video…(visit my blog if it won’t play in your email. )

Don’t miss this – it’s not just cool technology. The video they’ve put together is an excellent marketing piece. One we can all learn from.  Consider how you can use video and WebinarJam to attract more prospects without making the drive. Then, once you have some qualification going, feel free to make the drive to pick up a signature.

© 2014, David Stelzl

P.S. Pick up a copy of my recently published Special Report on Converting those you meet online into customers.

 

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How to Convert Prospects to Customers…

This is the big issue.  Sales managers constantly ask me, “How can I find more great  sales people?” While sales people continue to tell me, “Our company needs some marketing to attract new prospects.” Then I hear from marketing (speaking of their sales team), “They don’t use our stuff.”

Everyone’s pointing the finger – because technology sales, for the reseller, is getting harder every year, and no one has a solution.

Yesterday I addressed this issue on a Nationwide webinar sponsored and hosted by Cisco Systems, w/ Brian Avery. I covered three important points.

1. Marketing Has to Change!

It’s a new concept, but I believe sales people have to become marketing people. Reseller businesses don’t have full time people working in marketing who are able to attract a constant stream of new customers. Most of the marketing people are doing all they can to keep up with event planning, marcom, and marketing administration such as keeping up with business cards. Demand generation is clearly a different set of skills and one you won’t find in most technology reseller businesses.

I see a lot of resellers (VARS) spending time and money on branding exercises.  This is a total waste of time in my opinion. It won’t lead to one single sale for you. Instead, you need a direct marketing system that reaches out to the masses and attracts qualified buyers. Direct marketing and branding are totally different animals. Direct marketing reaches out systematically, using email, landing pages, auto responders, webinars, and marketing events. When done right, it’s measurable in it’s effectiveness, and can be tested and refined.

It’s the art of getting the right message to the right person, at the right time. And it results in a next step that is also measurable and well defined. In our session I explored the need to focus on a specific group, with a well crafted message designed for that group, and the right combination of media to reach that group.

I showed, in just a few minutes, how the average sales rep can apply a set of easy access online tools to build their own list building campaigns to attract buyers. Which can then be moved into a systematic sales approach.

2. Making the Conversion

The next step is making the conversion from FREE to FEE.  It would be nice if I could take a cold list from Hart Hanks, call them, get them on the phone, and convince them to take a meeting that would then lead to a sale. If you’re on that course, you’re destined to fail. It won’t work. There are thousands of people just like you doing the same thing. You might have a good message and you might be a skilled professional, but standing out in the masses of millions of other sales reps with the same skill just won’t cut it.

I proposed several ways to get your message out there. I talked some about the proper use of social media – which in most cases is not really working for you – but it can. I talked about deliberate content, designed to reinforce your message and drive the prospect along a specific path – toward an event. You can make that event call one-on-one, but that leads to long hours and lots of windshield time. The alternative is to set up lunch & learns using a process I laid out in some detail in my Special Report on Converting Prospects to Customers (Get it right here).

A Lunch & Learn meeting set up the right way can attract buyers – not IT. You’re probably inviting the managers, but in most cases it’s the IT, or what one channel manager recently called, The Hot Dog Eaters, that are attending. If that’s the case, I understand. But it’s not because executives wont attend. It’s your message. The wrong marketing approach will lead to the wrong audience every time. Get your message right and you’ll have decision makers in your next event.

3 . You Need Justification To Make a Full Conversion

Justification requires more than an unsolicited proposal. In fact, the conversion begins at the event. If your event doesn’t have a conversion process built into it – you’re wasting your time and money. Marketing events aren’t really marketing events when you refuse to move your guests toward some next step.

Now, I understand you don’t want to sound like a used car salesman here – however, the right message can move people to buy. We see this all the time when a motivational speaker gets on stage. More often than not, people are out buying their books and high dollar coaching programs right after the speaker speaks. There’s nothing “Used-Car-Salesman-Like” about this. It’s the natural result of a motivational message that shows people a true need – which is exactly what your event message should sound like. Do this and you’ll have the first step to conversion done.

The next step is using some type of offering in your event that gives you access to the key influencers. For years I thought IT people were influencers. In some ways they are, but more often than not, they’re blockers or neutral. The real influencers sit in the departments that use technology to make money for the company. If you want to see the power of influence, show a loan officer how he can process twice as many loans with a new application, and he’ll be influencing in ways you never imagined.

Get my 8 page Special Report on Making this Conversion.  You can get a copy right here (CLICK).

 

© 2014, David Stelzl

 

Marketing Success is a Formula

Not an Event…

My last three posts were videos describing different aspects of Marketing Events and marketing success. This Thursday I will be speaking to Cisco partners on how to Turn Prospects into Customers. That’s exactly what a marketing event is.  If you sell Cisco, you can sign up and join us online right here: (CLICK). – Thursday, July 17th, 9:30 AM ET.

Also, make sure you have my latest Special Report on Turning Prospects Into Clients…this special report offers some great insights on reaching out to qualified buyers and offering them a message that will move them to buy. Click Here To Get Your Copy!

© 2014, David Stelzl

P.S. You can check out the Making Money w/ Security Boot Camp Right Here! (Click)

 

What Message Works Best With Execs?

Having conducted dozens of lunch & learns over the past 10 years I can tell you what message works every time…there’s no question.  When I use the principles I laid out in The Event Marketing Success Kit – at least 50% of the the audience moves to the next step.  Here’s a quick refresher:

 

Also, make sure you have my recent report on getting more customers!  It’s free…

http://morecustomers.stelzl.us/specialreport

 

© 2014, David Stelzl

In a recent Insider’s Circle Meeting I was reviewing key aspects of the Event Marketing Process. This clip explains what topics work, and what topics don’t work…

Also, make sure you have my most recent Special Report on Event Marketing and Converting Prospects to Clients…

http://morecustomers.stelzl.us/specialreport

magnifyingglassWhat happens when you do an event, offer a complementary assessment, and then the opportunity goes silent?  This happens sometimes.

(By the way, if you’ve not done events where lots of people are committing to a next step, join me next week for Making Money w/ Security and I will show you exactly how to conduct a demand generation event.)

This week I am in Chicago working with a company on event follow up.  The goal of our last executive security event was to educate business leaders on what to be doing in their companies with data – specifically, how to be thinking about security and making sure their organizations are doing the right things to keep data safe.  On the heels of the event, the hosting company offered a complementary assessment to those attending – 100% of them signed up…the offering was valid, simply because it is true that all companies need more help with security.  My job was simply to show them, in a way that moved them to action that afternoon.  Once signed up, you can expect several things to happen…

1. Your contact doesn’t have the authority.  If you find that you can’t really get permission to go in, once your prospect has signed up, chances are you invited the wrong person.  An IT director might agree that an assessment would be prudent at this point, but may not have the authority to do it.  Make sure you have the right people attending.

2. IT pushes back – even though the President of the company invited you in after the event.  Yes, the president can invite you, only to have IT people reject you.  The problem here may be that the President doesn’t understand the need to question what IT is doing.  This might just be fear on their part. In this case you need a way to raise their emotion back to the level it was at in the event.  One strategy is to work toward meeting the president, with the agreement that you won’t proceed with assessing unless you first gain agreement.  By working at the executive level, you just might be able to raise enough support among the leadership team to get someone to put IT back in their place.  I find that Presidents are more likely to want to keep everyone happy – where a COO or CFO is used to telling people what to do.

3. You get delegated right off the bat.  If your contact immediately pushes you down to the next level  – all is not lost.  If it’s still an executive position, no worries.  Proceed with the meeting and use it to identify other asset owners.  Use each meeting to gain more support from key influencers – not IT people.  Once you have it, agree to meet with IT.  If you are sent directly to IT, try this.  “We’ll do this however you like, however in the past when we have strictly dealt with IT, we find that….”. Remember, you are liable for what you propose.  If you end up working with IT first, don’t complete the process until you have worked your way back up.  Go broad if you have to, but eventually you must move up.

4. The account is too small to justify the time – when this happens, figure it out on the phone, not in a personal meeting.  Conduct your interview by phone with some simple questions, give them some direction, and send them on their way.  If you offer them some value, but don’t engage in an actual sales process, you really haven’t lost anything and the attendee will likely be happy.  It’s a win/win.

There are many more strategies here – each road block demands a response…I’ll be covering this in detail in next week’s class.