Jonathan Farrington in conversation with Dan McDade.
I recently interviewed Dan about his concerns so far in 2014 and found his responses to be both enlightening and entertaining. Not only will readers benefit from his expertise, but they will enjoy the discussion as well.
Jonathan Farrington (JF): Dan, apparently at the top of your pet peeve list is what you refer to as “inbounditis.” What is inbounditis and why is it a temptress that could kill companies in 2014?
Dan McDade (DM): Inbounditis is a condition found primarily among marketing and sales executives. Early symptoms appear when there is a misalignment between marketing and sales efforts. Left untreated, the revenue backbone of a company will gradually deteriorate and inevitably result in a compromised sales pipeline. When a company begins to focus its resources primarily on inbound leads and neglects efforts towards nurturing and precision targeting, inbounditis will present with the following symptoms:
- deal sizes decreasing as inbound leads increase;
- high-performing reps avoiding inbound lead follow-up; and
- the percent of sales accepted leads decreasing while lead quotas increase.
This is not just my opinion. One particular client we worked with for a total of ten years went all-in on inbound and found that their deal sizes shrunk to 1/3 of what they had been with a more balanced approach. The result was a ruptured pipeline.
Pundits point toward an empowered buyer who is 70% through the buying process before a sales rep needs to get involved. BALONEY! Unless you are selling a low-priced commodity, to wait for the buyer to feel ready to talk to you is business suicide.
JF: You also appear to have a bee in your bonnet about marketing automation. Are you against marketing automation?
DM: Not at all. We use marketing automation. What I’m against is using it as an email marketing spam cannon. Also, despite what you hear, marketing automation can cause more low-value leads to be sent to your sales force faster than ever before.
Senior executives are a lot less likely to spend time filling out forms to provide analysts with their digital body language. They are, in fact, 2.5 times more responsive to a quality multi-touch (call, voicemail, email) approach than their more junior counterparts. Few if any companies can afford to sit back and wait for a prospect to hit a magic number and then contact them. If you doubt me, go fill out one form on any marketing automation vendor’s site and see how long it takes you to be bombarded by calls and emails. Marketing automation companies are among the most aggressive outbound marketers that exist today.
JF: What else do you have for our audience?
DM: There is a lot of talk about “Big Data,” but I’m concerned that most companies are ignoring “Little Data.” For example, if you run a marketing campaign and ignore all dispositions other than leads, you waste about 2/3rds of the money you spent on that campaign. To not identify or work Pipeline and Nurture dispositions is the equivalent of forfeiting $2 of every $3 you spend.
According to a December 2013 Harvard Business Review article, “the biggest reason that investments in big data fail to pay off … is that most companies don’t do a good job with the information they already have. They don’t know how to manage it, analyze it in ways that enhance their understanding, and then make changes in response to new insights. Companies don’t magically develop those competencies just because they’ve invested in high-end analytics tools. They first need to learn how to use the data already embedded in their core operating systems, much the way people must master arithmetic before they tackle algebra. Until a company learns how to use data and analysis to support its operating decisions, it will not be in a position to benefit from big data.”
Sirius Decisions reports that 25 percent of the average B2B database is inaccurate, 60 percent of companies surveyed had an overall data health scale of “unreliable,” and 80 percent of companies have “risky” phone contact records
Sobering little data! The problem with most big data clean-up exercises is the money is gone before any value is recognized. In most cases, you can derive close to 100 percent of the value of database clean-up with about 20 to 30 percent of the investment.
JF: Sum it up, Dan
DM: My friend, Dan Waldschmidt wrote “Sometimes the Experts are Idiots.” Here are some thoughts he shared.
“In 1899, Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the US Office of Patents, astutely noted, ‘Everything that can be invented has been invented.’”
“In 1943, Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, observed, ‘I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.’”
“In 2007, Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, proclaimed, ‘There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.’”
To summarize in the simple, yet poignant, words of Dan Waldschmidt, “ignore the experts—just go be awesome.”
Dan McDade, founder of PointClear, an “allbound” lead qualification and nurturing firm which he established in 1997. Dan is the author of The Truth About Leads, an insightful book that sheds light on the little-known secrets that help focus B2B lead-generation efforts, align sales and marketing organizations and drive revenue. He recently received a silver award from Top Sales World for his eBook, From Chaos to Kickass, wherein he details the benefits of prospect development optimization. To find out more about Dan visit: www.pointclear.com