We’ve been doing B2B lead generation for modern SAAS based products in mid to large enterprises. As part of these projects, our work involved targeting senior profiles across functions such as Sales, Business Development, Administration, Human Resources etc. to open conversations. (For those who feel that it’s best to prospect ‘CEOs’, ‘CXOs’ instead of function heads, we’ll cover that in a later article)
While responses varied based on several factors including the size & maturity of the business, stage of growth and the industry we were targeting, we found some unique commonalities on how people from different business functions responded to prospecting
Sales & Business Development
We typically found good response rates when we were reaching out to leadership profiles in Sales, Business development. We also found that responses were quite prompt; partly due to such profiles being active on LinkedIn for their own prospecting.
Sales/BD people were polite in their responses but also had direct questions and clear in declining when they didn’t see a fit. They were also more keen on getting on a call to discuss things further as compared to discussing things over email or a face to face meeting.
If you are prospecting such profiles, make sure your responses are prompt and you move the conversation to a telephonic call soon.
Marketing people were again easy to find and reach out to. A high proportion were reading our messages, the response rates were slightly lower than sales though still good. Marketing people insisted on seeing a proposal on email, they specifically asked for case studies of work we’ve done. Their preferred mode of contact continued to be over LinkedIn or emails.
Marketing people while more active are also the ones that are sold to the most. They need a strong hook to continue the conversation beyond the first response. If you are prospecting such profiles, make sure you have strong case studies(recognizable brand) and a differentiated offering right up front.
Human resources people were one of the most active people on LinkedIn. They were keen to engage especially when the product related to employee engagement, diversity, employee satisfaction etc. For more transactional products like payroll, reimbursement, recruitment etc. we found responses were luke warm at best.
If you are prospecting for more traditional products, make sure you have concrete examples of cost/time savings in you initial messages.
While we’ve grouped quite a few different functions here together, we found some commonalities in how they responded to prospecting. These profiles were difficult to reach out to, had lower response rates and almost always asked for a ‘company profile’ over email. However, post this they were more responsive over calls than emails. These were also the most likely to assign the evaluation task to a junior resource.
To continue the conversation, these profiles preferred us to setup a ‘demo’ of the product. These demos were typically attended by a group of people.
They were rarely impressed by generic case studies. Such buyers were keen on knowing if you’ve worked with systems they already have in place(integrations) and with businesses with specific setups and problems as theirs.
If you are prospecting such profiles, make sure you spend sufficient time researching their current setup before you speak to them.
Product & tech folks we found to be one of the most difficult to reach out to. Response rates were relatively poor and they were skeptical about talking to a ‘sales’ person. If you are prospecting such profiles, remember to not approach them as any kind of sales/business development professional. We found much better success when prospecting was done through a product evangelist profile.
|Buyer Profiles||Read rates||Response rates||Preferred Mode||Key funnel stages||Key apprehensions|
|Sales / BD||Good||Good||Call||Pilot/ Referrals||Usability|
|Marketing||Good||Average||Email + F2F||Case studies||Brand Guidelines|
|HR / Talent Acquisition||Good||Average||Email + F2F||Product Demo||Integration/
|Average||Poor||Call + F2F||Customised Product Demo||Integration/
Some of you might be surprised by the absence of the ‘purchasing’ department from this article. It’s one function we interact with the most and have much to share about. We’ll cover that in another post soon.
If you feel we can help you with your sales development, please reach out to us here and we’d be happy to share our approach.