Thursday, March 22, 2012

Could Event Triggers be the Marketing Assist that Sales Needs in order to Score?

Being a Boston-based company and with the Stanley Cup approaching, we thought what better way to explain the importance of triggers to sales and marketing then with a hockey analogy.  Don’t worry baseball and fishing fans, we will be sure to make those analogies as the spring and summer kick into full gear.

In any given hockey team, we have these key positions: Goalie, Defense, Right/Left Wing and Center. 

Here is how we equate hockey positions to your org chart:

Goalie: VP of Marketing/Sales
Right/Left Defense: Marketing
Right/Left Wing : Marketing or Inside Sales depending on the size of your company
Center: Sales

Left/Right Defense gets in there to grind out the puck from the corner and push it out to an open Left/Right winger.

Left/Right Wing carries the puck out of the defense zone and into the neutral zone, ideally passing the puck off in the neutral or offensive zone to the center.

Center is available to receive the pass, particularly in the offensive zone.  They are poised and ready for the pass. They shoot; they score!

This is, of course, the most ideal scenario that any coach would love to see their players execute flawlessly.  We know that it gets a little more complicated in practice. Why? Because the neutral zone is where communication breaks down. It is in the neutral zone that it is mandatory to read the other player’s signs and make adjustments accordingly.  Something we like to call triggers.  What events occur to make us decide to puck handle versus make the pass to center?  Should we nurture that puck a little longer in order to have the center move into a more prime position to receive the pass and increase their likelihood to score? 

Luckily in business, we don’t need to make Nano-second decisions, but can react to event triggers daily to see what events occurred to make us want to pass the puck to the center versus carry it through the neutral zone a little bit longer.  We may even need to make a pass back to defense.  But, we must be in position to read the digital body language™ in order to see where the puck should go. This takes both, agility and flexibility and a willingness to see this dynamic data as key to making your next move as a salesperson or a marketing person.

In your next Marketing and Sales meeting try this explanation:

1.     Know your positions – Don’t chase the puck.  Get yourself into the right position to receive the pass.
2.     Communicate in the neutral zone --You want to know when and who to pass to, but you need to read the signs; the center might not be open yet, in which case you should stick handle a little longer. 
3.     Remember that an assist is just as important as the goal --The center wouldn’t be able to score unless you pushed the puck to him at the right time.
4.     Evaluate – Even after the winning goal is scored, analyze the steps along the way, see if there is any room for improvement or if what you did as a team is repeatable.

And because we wouldn’t be Boston fans without a little shout out – Go Bruins!  See you at the Stanley Cup – Fingers X!  

Visit us at:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

If Only We Had a List of Triggers to Help Us Find True Love...

Many of us have spent time in bars hoping that we might find that true connection. OK, well, maybe not lasting love, but at least the hopes of a second or third date.  I often wished that if I had been armed with the correct knowledge about the guy sitting next to me, I would know whether or not I was willing to continue the dating process. I wanted something equivalent to event triggers in the business world. Wouldn’t it be easier if we all had our trigger list open for everyone to read? Unfortunately, we don't have these event triggers available to us in the dating world, but we do, however, have the technology to find event triggers in the business world.

We can now know that Company X needs you because they just had a record growth year.  And vice versa, if CEO, Joe Smith just spent the last week watching his furniture get repossessed, wouldn’t you want to know, so you don’t waste valuable time and money going after Mr. Smith?

Firmographic data isn’t updated enough to keep you in the know.  You need dynamic triggers, which can give you the timing you need in order to know whether or not Mr. Smith is moving in to his office or moving out. Or whether, Mr. Right is really as dapper as his Hugo Boss suit appears.

Fortunately the business world is much simpler than the dating world.

How Triggers Work:

Marketers, if you knew that Mr. Smith and his company are having a bad year, you will probably change your messaging accordingly, or wait until Mr. Smith gets a brand new office to deliver your 4Ps.

Sales, because you now know that Mr. Smith is in no position to buy, three things happen:
1.     You won’t waste your time or resource going after a bum deal.
2.     You won’t make Mr. Smith angry, because you try to pitch him something that he just can’t buy.  Don’t make Mr. Smith feel bad; he just declared bankruptcy.
3.     Because you didn’t pummel him with services he didn’t need when he wasn’t ready, when he is back on his feet, not only does he hold no resentment, but also he sees you as a fresh and inviting face.

Timing is everything.  Good luck out there finding Mr. or Mrs. Right!

Visit us at:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Can you Define a Marketing - Qualified Lead? And, Then What…

With our continued focus on diminishing the divide between sales and marketing, we thought we would take a moment to define a marketing qualified lead.

We pulled definitions from a lot of different sites, blogs, groups on Linkedin and here is what we found for a MQL(Marketing-Qualified Lead):

1. Are they in the correct sector?
2. What is their size and company revenue?
3. Are they decision makers?
4.  What have they touched in your campaigns thus far—ie. White papers, tradeshows, site visits, demo forms, webinars?
5. Do they need you—can you find their pain points?
6.  Will they be able to buy in an appropriate timeframe?
7.  Do they have the budget to afford your services?

In theory, everybody agrees that this checklist defines MQLs, but when in practice, we think the above list has some grey areas for who is willing to take action to answer Phase 2 and 3.  What is the most effective way to extract that information?  Should marketing ask in a lead form? Should inside sales call to qualify? Should sales reps make the call? Nobody is better at extracting this information than sales reps, but it is unlikely that they will, so what now? The lead falls into no man’s land, resulting in wasted marketing efforts, missed opportunities and fewer closed deals.

Is there a middle ground?  We think technology helps to offer a credible solution; when you know the condition of your leads and prospects, then you have a better idea of when they are ready to buy. Company X just had three good earning releases; looks like they have a budget to buy.  Sales will feel compelled to follow up with this kind of evidence.

Remember that static information won’t help marketers or salespeople. Static information is only Phase 1 on the checklist.  A contact list is just that, only a list.  You need dynamic data (Phase 2 and 3) that let’s you know the pulse of the organization you are following. And if you can’t get sales or marketing to take ownership, then leave it to technology to help bridge the communication gap.