Alchemise Insights Interview – 5 minutes with Andrew McFayden – Sales Development Representative

Here is a 5 minute interview for insights with Sales Development Representative,  Andrew McFayden, on tips and what his experience and learnings has been to perform as a successful Sales Development Representative. He shares his view about how the modern customer centric approach is different to traditional lead generation methods which don’t work anymore.


Question 1: What is your view on the role of an Sales Development Representative in today’s market? 

Answer: Andrew 

When I started with Alchemise Consulting it became apparent that the role of the Sales Development Representative today is a unique offering very much different to the standard inside sales positions. While they wear a sales, commercially focus hat, they also need to sit on a marketing chair. What makes this role unique is prior to the 90s (and the digital age of data collection, such as names, phone numbers and email addresses, etc), the marketing department/agency was engaged to attract the customer and compel them to pick up the phone or walk through the door. The sales people then qualified those that walked in and then proceeded with the sale process.

Today the Inside Sales Role (ISR) or Sales Development Role (SDR) performs a bridging function between the two business units and in part prospects/researches and initially qualifies the contacts before introducing the sales team/contact to follow through with closing the sale.

Where the role is able to be fed qualified contact lists from established sales enabled processes, it facilitates the efficiency and focus of the position to facilitate the commercial outcome needed for the business.


Question 2: Have you needed to be more sales or marketing focussed in your day to day activities?

Answer: Andrew 

My focus in the role has been more on sales to qualify the prospect while balancing this with the marketing aspect of researching and profiling, looking for online triggers relating to the companies and challenges/changes that the company may be going through that are relevant to begin initial engagement. This balance of both sales and marketing understanding provides the experience with focus on being customer centric.


Question 3:  Is relevant industry experience or sales experience required, for example to market technology based solutions or high value services?

Answer: Andrew 

Having industry experience for ISRs does provide value with the comprehension of the on the ground language when speaking with the prospective contacts, especially with the acronym saturated Information Technology world. If this is a gap in the ISR’s comprehension and it is not addressed early in the engagement of the ISR then confidence in phone discussion will not be present. This can also lead to misinterpreting key information that is conveyed by the contact. When talking with people in the industry, trying to ‘fake it till you make it’, will destroy the ISR’s credibility.


Question 4: What specific skills/experience and approach do you need to develop to increase your success in the role? 

Answer: Andrew 

As mentioned above, understanding of the industry vertical jargon is important for the Inside Sales or Sales Development Representative. Of equal importance also is the mental fortitude, resilience to be able to shake rejection off, like water off a ducks back. Being phone (trigger) happy as opposed to phone (gun) shy is vital to have in this role. I believe that having an approach of being willing and able to speak to anyone would be an ingrained quality/skill in your ISR. Making numerous calls in a focussed way is also another key requisite of the role.

If the ISR has a customer service/centric approach to the position, in that they are looking at ways that they are able to help their prospective contacts will also be of benefit to the business, the client and success in the role. If the skills and experience are needing fine tuning then having someone to coach you is vital to future success. The other key skill that needs to be developed is common courtesy. Lacking this level of etiquette can ruin the business reputation fast.


Question 5: How did your manager help mentor or guide you in bridging the gap between sales & marketing as a team?

Answer: Andrew 

With the above mentioned, it is worth stating that even with the skills that I started with at the beginning of the engagement. There were additional areas of learning that were also needed. I found being able to verify some of the unfamiliar industry speak, along with a higher level of industry understanding from Chak Ng, greatly assisted with my own knowledge gaps and approach not to mention the guidance on courses best to take that would further improve my own skill set. This highlights the importance of working together and keeping the communication lines open. Working as a team as opposed to having a siloed approach is one of the stark differences, I have seen with Alchemise Consulting as opposed to other organisations that I have engaged with previously.


Question 6:  How did the use of marketing and sales tools CRM/marketing automation help you in your role? i.e HubSpot value.

Answer: Andrew 

Part of this is having processes in place to ensure smooth engagement, a team approach, the use of a CRM that is more intuitive and of value straight out of the box, along with the marketing automation that the tool supplies were of great assistance. The tools and automation enabled me to gain visibility on prospect interactions, thus being able to reach out when the contact had viewed the content/communication that was sent to them and not fly blind and pester the contact when they have been busy with BAU issues that draw their attention. The analytics also provided insight into being able to understand which part of the (PDF) communication was viewed and for how long. This was especially true when used in campaigns.


Question 7: What type of training did you required for each campaign?

Answer: Andrew 

As for the campaigns the additional training that was undertaken was very much bespoke to each business that was engaged with. Knowing the client’s business in preparation with being onsite, immersing and spending time within their business  or reading through additional marketing collateral along with a content map to furnish individual material relevant to prospect discussions. In addition to this any cultural idiosyncrasies relating to geographic region was also required. This all comes down to distinctions or details of the engagement. Without the additional research and pertinent information, it would have been difficult to achieve the results that were gained.


Question 8:  How important is preparation during a campaign setup and which aspects are vital to having a chance of success? 

Answer: Andrew 
This comes back to the initial preparation when starting a campaign. Which as mentioned previously comes down to understanding what the client’s needs are and also making sure that all systems, tools, internal contacts/stakeholders and needed processes are in place before starting the engagement. While I have been at Alchemise I have seen other clients who have adopted a cowboy, gung ho approach and have not realised the success that they were hoping for. When you consider the capital outlay and personal reputations put on the line, it is exceptionally important that informed preparatory ground work be in place prior to implementation of on the ground activities.


Question 9: Can you share two examples where the use of a sales enablement process worked well and what type of customer engagement made sure everyone was in sync?

Answer: Andrew 

A client event set one month in advance is an example of the preparation needed that provided a tangible result through the use of a sales enablement. A list of relevant enterprise companies where supplied by the marketing department and additional scripts and supporting collateral. This facilitated confident discussions with supporting documentation that could be supplied to clients that was relevant to their position in the company. The result was 19 pre-registrations were booked in from C-Level contacts for the event in this time period.

Another example was for another organisation providing Cloud management services that needed to warm up a list that had gone cold due to the timing of the previously implemented campaign by a 3rd party. Scripts were put in place with along collateral marketing material. The use of a CRM that supplied analytical information on individual contact engagement also enabled me to further successfully interact with prospective contacts. The result on this engagement was in just 30 days, from 200 contacts, we achieved 53 leads, 23 MQLs and 8 SQLs.


Question 10: How did you measure success in the campaigns? Can you give me an example of where greater conversion was achieved?

Answer: Andrew 

With each of these two examples above the success was measured in initial qualified preregistrations for the event and with the second engagement it was a pre defined qualification process on what stipulated a MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead), SQL (Sales Qualified lead) and leads that needed further nurturing.


Question 11: What would you suggest to a company that is searching for more leads and approach to lead generation?

Answer: Andrew 

With qualified leads being vital to a company’s survival, I would suggest that with other companies with their own lead generation process, that they work out exactly who they are looking to reach. Have a sound marketing strategy in place with supporting marketing collateral. Define what success will look like with the commercial return that is expected with a set time frame.


Question 12: What is your advice to the many start-up and SME companies you have spoken in the last 12 months about their business growth aspirations?

Answer: Andrew 

For the companies in the last 12 months that I previously spoke to there have been some real observations and useful tips about handling some growth obstacles.

  1. Don’t engage with a creative company unless you have a defined plan on what the commercial return will look like.
  2. Ensure that the agency defines the process that they plan to implement to generate leads.
  3. Make sure that the leads generated are categorised into levels with each level clearly defined so it can be prioritised. If your creative agency is not able to at least provide marketing qualified leads from the work that is undertaken then this should be a warning sign for you.

For more insights about how Inside Sales and Sales Development process and resources can increase performance and conversion, please look at these previous blogs.

To read more about our recent sales and marketing insights and related articles please visit our

Alchemise Consulting News link.

Good luck in 2019!  To kick start your year, we would like to offer you our FREE E-Book on “How to increase your profits with 7 Profit Multipliers!

 

Are you reflecting about your 2019 plans and where you need help with Sales Development or Inside Sales structure, processes or resources?  Feel free to contact us for an initial discussion about your sales & marketing challenges and to book in your independent health check. We can demonstrate specific value by identifying where we can help you and your business accelerate your sales engagement and increase your sales development performance and effectiveness.

Contact Alchemise Consulting at  info@alchemiseconsulting.com or @alchemise_cons or call our office on +61(3) 9225 5022.

 

Marketing and Sales ROI: How your technology and telco strategy impacts your growth

In order to drive top line growth, business owners still need to manage overhead costs and the cost of technology and telco operations is an increasing expense with people, process and systems. Time is short for planning with everyone and you are starting your last quarter already for the financial year. How can you drive more customer sales growth and increase marketing performance using effective technology and telecom services other than price driven decisions?

The Quick Look
:
What do I need to consider? 

technology-and-telco

Here are some areas to have a think about and analyse with performance versus operation cost impact analysis for each area of your current technology and telecommunications services budget:


The Bigger Picture:
How does this impact me? 

Are you proactive or reactive to technology market changes? If you aren’t keeping up with the technology market developments and adjusting your strategy accordingly, you will be caught behind your more progressive competitors.

The commoditisation of services and products in your industry sector is hurting many industries to continue growing and sustaining profits. The spread of disruptive technology driven initiatives is causing change with fundamental traditional business models to continue to stay viable, sustainable and competitive.

If you don’t have a strong competitive advantage derived from the benefits of the right telecommunications and technology solutions you will become irrelevant to your customers no matter how great your historical relationships have been.

These decisions then become a cost conversation around financial and business investment in technology changes such as assessing the move to cloud services or change in telecommunication service providers whilst finding ways to improve customer experience and return on investment.

start-strategyGiven the wider range of choices in the market for telecommunication and technology solutions and service providers, where do you start to assess what is right for you and what budget you should allocate for technology decisions based on business enabling outcomes?

 

What can I do? Increasing ROI through business strategy…

We typically encourage starting at the business strategy and objectives level to determine your real needs with technology and telecommunications requirements. If your sales and marketing strategic initiatives utilise MarTech, FinTech, AdTech, Sales Tech, then the return on investment becomes even more important to select the right telecommunications provider and solution to help deliver your business outcomes.

Technology ROIWhen was the last time you talked to your sales team about customer acquisition and retention strategy in order to establish how to best serve your client needs and growth plans?When was the last time you talked to your marketing team to determine what insights they have on customer interactions and digital channel engagement to support your sales teams?

Perhaps getting an independent view on your gaps or strategy can help uncover or drive more clarity on your position or requirements for technology investment decisions.

It is important to establish the link for how the right technology investment in the right areas can drive your sales and marketing results forward. Of high priority should be how you measure your ROI and also understanding the right metrics to use and relevant data reporting available.

This may be used for considering IT cloud services, telecommunications and internet services or you may be evaluating sales and marketing cloud tools such as Salesforce CRM, Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, Adobe or HubSpot marketing automation platform.


What are some areas of potential challenge?

  • Telecommunications services (including NBN)

Telecoms strategyYou still have choice other than the large players with telecom providers. Do you need the most agile or responsive customer service or a customised plan that suits your billing cycle

There are many new technologies coming in which are being offered with new services from the telecommunications market. SDN (Software Defined Networking) and SD-WAN technologies are terms you may have heard about in service provider circles from Optus and Macquarie Telecom recently.

If you are looking to connect NBN services, the multitude of NBN resellers in Australia must be mind boggling if you don’t come from the telecoms industry to understand all the options and jargon involved for business decisions.  The time it can take to review and research through all the changing service plans to make an informed choice can be onerous without having sufficient experienced resources or telecoms knowledge to look at this.

An example of this changing landscape is in Australia with the recent NBN plans/pricing changes.

What does this all mean in telecommunications terms and how do you start to review your providers and process involved cutting through all the marketing and technical details which can be unclear what your investment is accessing?

Could having 5G Mobile Internet Access strategy be more cost effective than using NBN for your business needs?

The role of telecommunications and faster high speed broadband is becoming more pressing in terms of robustness, reliability and speed of access (including the 5G mobile coming) with an ever increasing internet data usage pattern due to the explosion of cloud application subscriptions and user access required for many business opting to move to cloud services.

Do you know how your clients choose to interact with you digitally and if your employees can respond anywhere anytime in real time?

The value of obtaining an independent, holistic perspective on your telecommunications investment cannot be underestimated, particularly when you consider the potential sunk cost, time and user impacts of making the wrong decision about your service provider or solution.


  • Cloud-based applications

cloud-based-applicationsThe rapid progress, interest and uptake of cloud services need to be measured in terms of cashflow, cost/benefit and ongoing investment cost of moving to the cloud. Recently a marketing campaign we ran for an leading IT services organisation identified that one of the top concerns of moving to hybrid cloud services is cost control with the CFO when selecting Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services for example.  If this was your consideration, how would you start to budget for your connectivity costs in order to have an effective sales team and marketing team to keep bringing in the forecast revenue. How would you select the right telecommunications provider to ensure they are a right fit for your business requirements.

During the last 12 months, sales and marketing cloud technology providers Marketo and Salesforce have both had outages which impacted the productivity for clients and the reliance on the data centre, disaster recovery plan or network connectivity.Has this been an issue for you and how did you deal with this in terms of opportunity cost and sales?

What could this mean for your business sales and marketing campaigns if your telecommunication services or connectivity is unstable, insecure or at risk of downtime in a 24 x 7 digital environment where responsiveness is expected?


  • Business revenue risk and technology impact 

Business Technology RevenueWe usually suggest a simplified approach to translate this into the best business technology decision strategy for you. 
We know you don’t have the time to cover every base within the ICT services and telecommunications market. If you run a tender process or encourage many proof of concepts this takes significant amount of cost and time to review.

Are your sales team or marketing initiatives delivering strong results due to digital transformation or using cloud services to exchange, communicate or market to your clients?

If your Salesforce CRM and Office 365 users all require internet connectivity for your staff to be productive then it is important to review your cost structures regularly.  The contract review of your service provider and their ability to add value such as real time billing access or flexible contract terms might influence how you choose a new provider or whether to keep your existing provider.

Do you have the right telecommunications and technology strategies in place to deliver your sales and marketing plan?

We believe it’s more than just employee productivity and operational efficiency gains from the use of technology and automation. There is an intrinsic cost factor but also external cost impact for your clients if you can’t service them or respond quickly or on demand via multiple digital channels. Whether you provide communications connectivity via mobile, internet, voice or other digital channels all require a robust solution and a strategic based approach from your provider.


  • Customer experience strategy

customer-experience-call-centre

If you run a call centre either inbound or outbound and drive an omni-channel skilled agent team to improve customer experience, reduce churn or perhaps a work on a retention policy, do you have an effective way to analyse the metrics of customer engagement and sales?  This may come from getting visibility of inbound voice call behaviour as part of an inbound marketing channel report?
Typically the metrics are typically for operations but there are ways to increase and measure your digital marketing customer effectiveness with your telecommunications services  – i.e. 1300 number and inbound contacts.

What would that mean for your customer engagement and business effectiveness if you can observe the inbound user behavior that links to your CRM and marketing automation platform?

If you can lower your operational costs from the bottom line, what will that mean for your investment and top line performance within driving more effective digital marketing engagement and sales? This can take some time and industry experience to perform some specific analysis and reporting back the the CFO and COO.


In summary… Why sales and marketing performance depends on how you manage your technology and telco services strategy?

strategic-technology-reviewMany organisations spend about 20% to 30% of their operational costs on telecommunications and also energy expenditure on a broad scale.

You might wonder what is the connection between telecoms, ICT and marketing and sales functions. It’s all about top line growth for businesses? If the bottom line is loaded and high in overheads for technology services then the ability to scale and increase your revenue and profits may be hampered if the incorrect technology and telecoms partners are selected.

Let us review your technology and telecommunications cost strategy to see if we can free up operational cashflow whilst improving your telecommunications service levels. We then focus on your ability to deliver better customer experience and to help determine the best digital channel strategy to implement for sales and marketing teams to help deliver better ROI.

If you are a business owner currently spending at least $10,000 per month on telecommunications (voice, mobile and data plans), we want to talk to you about driving up your marketing and sales engagement while reducing your technology services costs.

Reducing customer churn and finding ways to increase your customer lifetime value are all contributing factors to your profit and revenue growth targets. Often we end up talking to the Chief Operating Officer rather than just the Chief Sales Officer or Chief Marketing Officer.

If you need a review or validation, allow us to independently review your strategies to help drive down your telecommunications provider costs and increase your sales and marketing effectiveness and performance. 

Once we run through a review of your strategies as independent consultants, we can guide you from our market insights to help you make an informed choice of which telecommunications or technology services providers best suits your needs and customer outcome.

Surely a review is worth an initial 1 hour of your time to meet with us to hear our insights.

Increasing your return on marketing investment for sales growth

“Want to increase your return on marketing investment? It’s All In Your Mind…”

Too many business people and marketers remained grounded in one-dimensional thinking habits. Marketing is a tool of the mind, and it’s in the mind where true wealth is made. Before this starts to sound like some kind of New Age lecture, let me give you an example of what I mean.

Let’s say you mail a sales letter to 50,000 people at an average cost of $1 each, for a total cost of $50,000 – That’s a fixed cost. If you get a poor response and only manage to break even then there is a strong tendency for you to give up and say: “Why should I spend $50,000 and go though all that work, only to break even?”

If by scientifically changing and testing a few characteristics of the mailing piece you are able to multiply the response by five, fifteen, fifty or even five hundred times then you are using leverage. The concept of A/B testing for digital marketing or trial and effort is part of the marketing lead generation strategy as an art and science.

How To Massively Boost Your Response…

The sales letter that broke even has the potential for almost infinite change. It’s highly likely that something in the sales letter can be improved to increase response. Often, simply using a stronger opening headline, or making a better offer in the body copy of the letter, a bonus, or trying a different price, can increase response dramatically.

By improving the content of the sales letter, and doing it successfully, you employ the leveraging action of marketing. You’re still sending a sales letter – but it’s not about the physical tool. It’s about the infinite possibilities impregnated in the marketing concept carried by that tool.

How To Never Run Out Of ‘Marketing Budget’

Other than available cash flow, there should be no such thing as a marketing budget. It is a ridiculous idea based on the assumption that marketing is a cost rather than a revenue generator, so the return on marketing investment should be seen a key indicator for sales growth.

Here’s why:

If an ad costs $1,000 and the revenue generated from the ad is $1,200, why would you stop the ad just because your budget dictated it? With a scientific approach and providing the cash is available, the marketing budget is unlimited. It is self-generating. Understanding this self-evident truth is the key to marketing leverage and massive business growth.

Your can never truly run out of ideas. In marketing, persistence almost always pays off. Marketing ROI can leverage a losing or a bland idea into something spectacular – if you have what it takes to make it happen. It’s all about thinking out of the box!

Alchemise Consulting is able to assist with “thinking out of the box” marketing campaigns and drive profit multipliers for stronger sales growth.

To learn how you can grow your sales with the 7 profit multiplier method, click here below to register for your FREE E-Book or our recent blog article

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