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Speed to Lead, with Kraig Swensrud [Episode 823]

Kraig Swensrud is the Founder and CEO of Qualified. On today’s episode, Kraig and I get into why today’s buyers expect real-time, personalized experiences. Plus, we get into why the old Sales Development Rep (SDR) process is leaving pipeline on the table.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul: Kraig. Welcome to the show.

Kraig Swensrud: Andy. Thanks for having me.

Andy Paul: Pleasure to have you here. So where have you been hiding out the last few months? Uh, in the pandemic.

Kraig Swensrud: Uh, wow. Uh, I’ve been, uh, in, uh, San Francisco where I live right now, obviously. Um, It’s uh, it’s typical summer in San Francisco with the fog, the fog rolling by. And that’s where our company is located also, uh, right in downtown San Francisco. So just been hanging out here for the past few months. How about yourself?

Andy Paul: Well, mostly New York, some San Diego, um, San Diego. Now we came out here a few weeks ago, but yeah, the heart of it, we were in Manhattan in the deserted streets of New York city. Yeah. It’s kind of, kind of eerie at that time, but, uh, yeah, it feels nicer to be out here just, um, A little more open than, than being in the middle of Manhattan, but, um, yeah. Yeah. Plus the weather at this time of year right now, I’ve lived in New York for a while now. And, and people always say you had been moved from San Diego and people would say, well, do you, you must hate the winters. And I was like, no, no winters really aren’t that bad. It’s the summers that kill me, the heat and humidity too much rain. So yeah, if I can spend more time in California in the summers, that’s, that’s better.

Kraig Swensrud: That’s awesome. Well, really appreciate you having me on your show today.

Andy Paul: Well, hey, appreciate you being here. So for me, for people who aren’t familiar with Qualified, uh, tell us a little bit about what you do?

Kraig Swensrud: Yeah, Qualified is a what’s what’s being referred to in the industry now is a conversational sales and marketing platform. Effectively, it’s a conversational interface that lives on a company’s website and it’s really, really smart. So it identifies, uh, and collects information about website visitors, tries to identify what companies they work for. If those people happen to be cookied and they’ve provided their information before it recognizes the person when they come back and it connects them internally with the appropriate member of the sales team or the sales development team to have real time conversations right on the website. And what that does for a company is it helps them generate more leads and more pipeline faster than they otherwise would using traditional mechanisms.

Andy Paul: And I think a lot of people sort of, listen to that and go, okay, is this, they’re saying to themselves, is this a chatbot? But it’s not

Kraig Swensrud: Yeah. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a combination of a a bunch of technologies. Integration is one of them because it basically ties a company’s website into their backend systems where they use to manage marketing and sales, like a marketing automation system, Salesforce, obviously, as a kind of core CRM platform. So there’s integration at the heart of it. Uh, there’s live chat, obviously that’s at the heart of it. Because that is kind of usually the way that prospects like to start a conversation. It’s the easiest way to do that. Uh, there’s voice calls and telephony, uh, that are part of it because as every sales rep knows, uh, you can have a high fidelity conversation via voice that you could not necessarily have over messaging. Um, there’s kind of website analytics, so you can kind of see what’s happening on the website and, and, and co-browsing, and of course, you know, chatbots are, are a component of the system as well, because even the best sales reps go to sleep and take vacations and take some time off. And when obviously, when that happens, the power of a chatbot is that it can, it can qualify people. It can engage in conversations, it can book meetings. It can, it can, it can do things that, that help a sales team.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Yeah, I don’t, I think the whole thing is fascinating for reasons we’ll talk about here as we go through the conversation. So, uh, I’ve read a ebook put out by your company called Speed to Lead. And, um, first of all, that resonates with me in many, many ways because, um, it sort of takes a philosophy that I had implemented for a long time with companies about, uh, responsiveness and so on, and automates it and brings it up to up to date, if you will. And you know the idea of speed and sales is something that should be obvious to most people, but really isn’t.

Kraig Swensrud: Yeah. Speed to Lead is a book we wrote recently. It’s actually kind of a mantra. We have a written on the walls of our corporate office and probably many inbound selling teams um, have the same thing, because over the course of the last 20 years that we’ve been operating these inside selling models, you know,  it used to be just kinda over the, over the, over the telephone and obviously that’s evolved to what we have today with, uh, with Zoom meetings and such. Everybody knows that the faster that you can respond to an inbound prospect, and that’s really what, what we’re talking about here is kind of the, the inbound prospects that are, that are potentially interested in engaging in a sales conversation with your company. How fast do you respond to them? How quickly can you get them into a sales conversation? And, you know, the, all of the data shows that the faster that you can respond, the more effectively you can compete, uh, the faster that you can get somebody into a sales cycle, the reduction in dropout rates or people that just kind of totally ghost your sales team when they’re trying to get back in touch with somebody, that all of the key metrics of selling, including win rates, are improved the faster you can respond to somebody when they’re intrigued about potentially engaging with your company in a sales conversation.

Andy Paul: Yes. And, and I think that that is still something that eludes most companies. Is this idea that speed really is the speed to lead, we’ll go with that term, really is important. That it makes a difference. And it’s, it’s, it’s still, uh, astonishing to me the number of companies I’ve talked to that this isn’t really part of their lexicon.

Kraig Swensrud: Yeah, the, you know, it’s, it’s actually the concept of real time, uh, is critically important in today’s world. And let’s take a step back and just kind of paint the picture of, of what we’re talking about here. In today’s world, almost everything is done online. Like  you know, we used to, we used to even have physical events and dinners and executive briefings and, you know, things like that, but in today’s world, everything is online.

And certainly the lion’s share of every CMO’s budget, uh, is spent trying to find new targeted buyers and they do that online. And whether you’re talking about offline or, or online, every single ad that is put into market that tries to generate kind of new leads and demand for the sales team, whether it’s a Google ad or a PPC or a display ad, or a LinkedIn ad or a social media ad, or even an email or even a TV spot or a radio spot, the call to action on all of those ads is go to www.myCompany.com to learn more. Right. Like in the, in, in, in the, in the old days, it was like call one 800, you know, company and in today’s world, of course, everything says, go to my company’s website to learn more. So, you know, here in lies the problem and that for the last 20 years, uh, this shift has completely happened and the way that marketing teams have tried to generate leads for their sales team is to put forms on websites, right? It’s like, all you have to do is go to a B2B website and it says, download this, this ebook, uh, put in your email address, request some pricing info, contact us, fill out this form. And of course those form completes, uh, end up being the leads that feed the sales organization. But who’s responsible for following up with those, those, those leads. It’s usually an inside sales team. In the technology space, we often call them sales development representatives, or in other industries they might be, uh, might, might have some other name, business development, or what have you. But the question, you know, has, that’s always kind of been plaguing me, uh, in the, in the companies that, that I’ve been a leader at is, well, how fast are our team following up with those leads and, you know, and I’ve even kind of been teased by my team for running around saying like I’m blind because like, I don’t know. I don’t know right now if a lead were to come in and we’re really, really hot that rep represents a sales opportunity. Well, how fast are these, these humans that are that work for my company, how fast are they following up with those leads? And just to kind of start out with a, with a, with a key stat, um, Harvard Business Review, uh, did this study a couple years back of, of more than 2000 companies, B2B organizations, and they found that the average response time to follow up with a qualified lead is 42 hours. And that includes, you know, that includes of course, cause you know, includes nights and includes weekends and includes just teams that are busy doing other stuff. But 42 hours that like that signaled to me, I’m like, Whoa, like something we can do so much better because in today’s world, what I expect as a consumer, right. Maybe it’s maybe it’s because I’ve been driven by Netflix. Like it used to be okay that I got DVDs in the mail through Netflix days later. But now I want to press a button and watch it and stream it. Now, now I want an order order an Uber now. And so that, that change in, in buyer expectations, I think what’s driving the change in selling processes, which is why we wrote this kind of speed to lead book.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Well, I think that, that the, the greater number of people are expecting it, but I, I still believe we’re at a time, and this is going to continue to evolve and probably evolve rapidly, is that it’s still unexpected when it happens quickly. When the followup happens quickly or the, the real time engagement happens is, you know, I think people on one level sort of think we shouldn’t be doing this, but I think we’re still at a stage where people are, buyers are generally surprised when it happens and it is a differnetiator.

Kraig Swensrud: They’re surprised because it’s yeah, it’s because so few companies do it, do it quickly.

Andy Paul: Right. So it’s like, yeah, I don’t really expect a point when it happens that really sets you apart.

Kraig Swensrud: Yeah. A, um, the, the whole concept of speed is how, how come, how come a sales organization can’t respond immediately. Like if a telephone was ringing, would you pick up the telephone and talk to somebody who wanted to buy from you?

Andy Paul: No, of course they don’t, but there’s still this culture that exists in B2B sales, and it’s the sort of bifurcation, and you read the same stuff I do, is people say by definition, inbound leads are inferior. Right? I’ve been on webinars as a co-presenter and had people tell me this,just in the last few years. It’s like, win rates are lower for inbound opportunities, you know, leads that came from opportunities that have originated from inbound leads, or deal sizes on average are smaller for opportunities that, and I’m like, what are you talking about? Where’s the data on that? But this is like, this mindset that people have is like, Yeah, inbound and I quote this conversation between two senior level sellers I saw on LinkedIn where they were saying I only trust leads I develop myself and I’m like, dude, really?

Kraig Swensrud: Well, you know, um, it probably depends on your company, your industry and your deal size and the degree to which you do target account selling. Uh, and in some organizations, 80% of their, their deals come through through inbound. And you know, what might be normal is might be something like, you know, uh, 50/50 or 40/60, or, or something like that. But if you look at the vast majority of B2B companies and you look at their total revenue mix and where the, where the pipeline from that revenue came from, there’s a, you know, a huge share of that, it comes from inbound and certainly, um, you know, sales organizations, uh, uh, uh, uh, across every industry, rely on their marketing team to spend money generating awareness with their target buyers. And of course, all of that drives traffic to a website that turns into inbound pipeline. Even for companies that just focus on, you know, top 2000 accounts or top 500 accounts or, or diamond accounts or whatever you might call them in your organization.

Andy Paul: Well, I mean, you can, but it’s become like this test of manhood or machismo, if you will. It’s like, yeah, you know, we’re going to get out there. And we got, we got a prospect, cause inbound leads off by definition are inferior. And it’s like, yeah, let’s, let’s look at the truth. Right. Is, is it’s like one of these fictions that continues in sales is that yeah we develop all of our business through our outbound prospecting and to your point. AndI haven’t done the formal research, but just through my experiences is it’ll yeah. 50 50 at a minimum split between inbound and outbound and that’s that’s okay. It doesn’t make you any worse as a person to close the deal on an inbound lead.

Kraig Swensrud: Yeah, whatever your mix is. Look, we over here at our company, the way we think about it is like, we love them all. Whether you’re, whether you’re developing a new relationship by going outbound or whether you’re relying on your marketing organization to try to target the right buyers and drive them, all of those people come to your website. Right. If you’re targeting a Walmart as a potential buyer, um, that, that person that you’re outbounding to, if, if they’re intrigued, they’re going to come to your website. Yeah. And, uh, and, and then the, the question that the kind of we fundamentally asked when, uh, when we were forming our company and certainly as this, this, this whole industry has been evolving is, wow, when your target accounts or when your qualified buyers, or when people that meet your kind of ideal customer profile, meaning they’re in the right, the right industry, or they have the right number of employees or that, or whatever those qualification rules mean to you. When they’re on your website, your sales team should know. They should know who they are and they should have immediate instant access into a conversation, uh, with the right people inside of your company. And sometimes it’s that kind of that sales development team that’s responsible for kind of handling the new inbound leads, but it doesn’t have to be, right? It could be, um business development reps or somebody who’s supporting a strategic account executive or who, or whoever that is a company’s website is the face of the whole organization. In the, the physical world, it would be like walking into the lobby of the headquarters of your company, but in the digital world, people come to your website. Uh, trying to learn, you know, learn more when about what you do or, and who you do it for. And that’s an opportunity to strike up a conversation with those folks, whether or not they’ve kind of, you know, fill out a form or not. And so what, what, what we’re, what we’re kind of saying is that this is a huge opportunity for a sales organization to engage, to engage with the right buyers. In real time. And instead of saying, Oh, Hey, come to our website and fill out this form. And I’m going to try to kind of bombard you with emails and voicemails a later on my time.

How about do it on their time when they’re there? And look, all of the data shows that, that the overwhelming, almost 80% of customers buy from the company that engages with them first. And it’s like, if, if you’re there, if you’re on somebody’s website and you’re checking them out and you’re trying to learn about their pricing or the packaging or what their product does or whatever this happens to be, and you have a live human engagement they might start with a, some might start with a chat, be upgraded to a, to a phone call. If you have that kind of first discovery call, which is what every sales rep wants to do is try to figure out are you a fit for me? And am I a fit for you? If you can have that in real time then you reduce the number of people that you might be just ghosting your, your, your, your email campaigns or your, or your phone calls or the people who are never opening up your emails. Or they’re only opening up your emails to try to find the unsubscribe button, right? That’s a level of intent that if they’re on your website, it’s a level of intent that they’re interested in, in what you do. So, boom, it’s perfect time to strike up a conversation and try to get them into a selling process.

Andy Paul: Exactly. And what you do when you do that is you reduce their incentive to go talk to other vendors.

Kraig Swensrud: Well, if you take a look at, by the way, thank you for saying that, Andy, because, you know, um, what happens if, uh, if a targeted buyer qualified buyer comes to your website and says, you know what I want to, I want to contact you, right? They hit a button and it says, contact us. Or they say, I want to request some pricing info, or I’d like to see a demo demonstration of your product or whatever it happens to be. Like classically organizations would put a form on there. It says, cool, fill out this form. And then we’ll get back to you later. And at the end of the, as soon as you hit submit on that form, literally, there’s a message that says, thanks, we’ll get back to you later. Well, what’s that person’s supposed to do right then. Let’s say they have 15 minutes until they’re, you know, till their next meeting or til, you know, they gotta, you know, take their kids to soccer practice or their boss comes yelling at them or, you know, whatever happens in the real, real world. They have 15 minutes. Why, why send them to your competitor’s website? Like when there’s an opportunity to, to speak, to speak with them right

Andy Paul: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, you know I have an example of, of how we were doing this sort of pre technology, but I mean, I had a client, you know, 15 years ago that this was, this was everything for them, but they weren’t doing a very good job of following up, but they’re at a great market machine generating all these inbound leads, but it was for one reason or another, taking them yeah 42 hours to respond on average. So we got that down to the maximum of 30 minutes, but that just killed the competition. 30 minutes. I mean, even incumbents, they were, they were capturing, going into competitive accounts and capturing them. Because the incumbents couldn’t be bothered to respond within three days, you just, this whole idea, we used to call it taking prospects off the street. You know, if you can have that first engagement so quick. Yeah. I took you off the street. Your mine. They’re not going to go talk to a competitor.

Kraig Swensrud: Uh, 30 minutes is probably a dream for most companies, but, um, theres-

Andy Paul: If I can finish that story, this, this company, over two years doubled sales, just on the strength of changing their sales process. Didn’t introduce any new products. We got all the leads responded to within 30 minutes and they sort of did something which you guys do with you can do with your system too, is you know, they’ve got somebody on the phone is they would refuse to get off and they would never reschedule a second time for like doing a demo. So we started trained them with the customers like can we schedule a time for a demo? And they’d say no, but we can do it now. And if you just had them, when they’re in, as you said, they’re high intent and you’re engaged with them, have that conversation. It just, it, it baffles me when I see companies wait to do these things.

Kraig Swensrud: In our industry, I’m sure many of your listeners have heard of this, there’s something called the five minute rule and a lot of sales development organizations, and certainly, uh, I spent a large time in my career, uh, at Salesforce and at Salesforce, we had the five minute rule written up on the wall, which is if you can respond to somebody who’s interested in under five minutes, you’re, you’re a hundred times, and this is what the data showed, actually you’re a hundred times more likely to get them into a, a first sales meeting then if you respond even in 30 minutes later. So you’re a hundred times more likely in five minutes to get them into a meeting then if you respond in 30 minutes and you’re, and the data also showed you’re 20 times more likely to actually get them engaged as a sales opportunity to pipe them, uh, as if you responded 30 minutes later. And so. You know, we’re kind of what we’re trying to do is trying to help companies and inside sales organizations transform so that five minutes is actually more like 30 seconds. So you’re, you’re actually doing it really on the customer’s time.

Andy Paul: Oh, absolutely. Well, to your point, though, is with an earlier comment about what customers expect these days is that, that data from professor A at MIT, that’s 15 years old. I mean, that’s that? I mean, you’ve got to think that the expectations now are even even higher to your point earlier. It’s five minutes. Yeah. If you can do it sooner, even sooner. You’re that’s what people need now.

Kraig Swensrud: Yeah, customers, look, we all live in a world where, where we just kind of expect things to happen on our time, if, if we’re the buyer now, and if we’re interested and we’re, or we’re going to find the vendor who can support us. And for years, I’ve heard this saying that, uh, I’ve latched onto, um, in inbound selling teams that leads are like ice cream cones. Maybe this is because most people who are sales development reps is kind of their first step in their journey to becoming a, a sales professional. And so that’s really where the training ground goes. And you probably need to make more analogies for some of these kinds of first-time sellers to, to really, uh, to really grok this idea. So the, the phrases ice cream cones in that room tone is really great if you eat it in the first couple of minutes. But, you know, but just a few minutes later, it’s going to turn into mush. Right. And it’s going to be, and it’s going to, it’s going to be no good. So like, if you literally think of an ice cream cone melting, and that’s how long you have to respond to an interest of prospect before they either disappear on you, or they’ve already entered into a conversation with the competition. Speed is of the essence.

Andy Paul: Yeah, well, and I, I give a different example to illustrate the same point though, in, I wrote about this in my first book is, you know, I think inbound leads are like lottery tickets. I mean, when you buy a lottery ticket, do you buy it and then you know, go get in your car and drive home and, you know, talk to your wife or family before you scratch it off. No, you buy it, you scratch it off, right? You want to see if you won and that’s, that’s exactly what an inbound lead is like.

Kraig Swensrud: The, um, obviously what inside sales teams are, are trying to do is they’re, they’re trying to, they’re trying to get into discovery calls to figure out, you know, is this person the type of person, at the type of company that we would be interested in selling to. And so it’s, you know, in the traditional world where somebody would fill out a form, it would be like speed to respond. Right. And then how fast can you get the person. Uh, engaged, like, you know, back and forth. And then, and then finally speed to meeting. Like how fast can you get a meeting on the calendar where you can actually have that, that discovery call. And, um, one of the things that we’re kind of, kind of preaching in and we’re practicing ourselves at our company, we call it same day disco. Or same day discovery. So like all, all of those things, things that I was just talking about. And if you can do them in the same day, Um, our data shows that we’re three times more likely to end up with revenue than if you don’t do it in the same day. And so we’ve kind of trained our whole, whole inside sales team to say like, look, don’t don’t, whatever you can do. It doesn’t have to be right now. Maybe you have the first conversation right now, but maybe there’s that kind of next followup or they go, Oh, I got to get, you know, I got to get Julie on the line. Right. Great. Okay. Can we get, can we do it today? Cause if we can have that conversation today, like you’ll get the person kind of more pot committed into the transaction. Like, they’ll get to know you better. You’ll get to know them better. And you’ll both be able to see right off the bat. Is this, is this something worth pursuing or should we just like, you know, it’s like anything time, time kills all deals. Right? And so if you put something on the calendar for next Friday, well, who knows, what’s going to come up between now and next Friday.

Andy Paul: Yeah, well, I, again, I can send you a copy of my first book. It’s called zero time selling, which is all about a lot of this stuff. And because it’s been the case for a long time as is, you know, sellers have always injected this unnecessary. Time, you can do it into sales processes. I mean, it’s to your point about, well, yeah, well the first conversation will let’s schedule discovery for a few days.

It’s like, no, let’s do it now. Can we do it today? Do you ever get Julie on the phone today? And that there’s concept as is some of this. I don’t know how this gets embedded in sellers, but they think that they need to give people a certain amount of buyers. A certain amount time started to process what just happened. We had, I call that the in decent interval, um, cause it, it doesn’t have to exist.

Kraig Swensrud: Interesting. Yeah. Like we’ve all been there as sellers. Like we’ve, we’ve all seen this happen and I don’t know why. Um, if there, if there is any resistance, uh it’s you know, likely just from, Hey, this is the way we’ve kind of been doing it for a number of years and it’s kind of working just fine and well, you know, getting things done in the same day or having a conversation, right now, while the prospective buyers on my website, that’s harder.

Right? Running your business in near real-time is harder. It’s a lot easier to be like, okay, well, I’m going to go get a cup of coffee. And then when, after I get the cup of coffee, I’m going to email the person. And then you wonder, like, Well, why didn’t they respond to me? Do they, are they in, are they ghosting me? Or, Oh, let’s just, let’s just give it another couple hours. They’re probably busy. Right? We’ve all, we’ve all said that to ourselves as sales professionals. And then you convince, you convince yourself into thinking that like, Oh, they just need a little bit more, more time. And so, you know, now what, what I think, and kind of the, the, the, the practices that we’re putting in place. Um, not, you know, not only with our technology, but it’s, it’s a, it’s a process thing is, is helping companies move to a more real time model. And then once you kind of get over that hump of like, we were doing it the old way, and now we’re doing it the new way, it’s like, kind of like the light bulb goes on.

And then the ones, the, the sales reps that perform, they totally get it. And, and they love it. And, um, and the look the data doesn’t lie. When we were running the organization inside sales organization at Salesforce, which was a monster sales development team. There’s like 200 people in a giant sales pit that were just handling, handling inbound leads. Look, live chat and the telephone, uh, were the, were, which are the real time channels. They were number one and number two, in terms of pipeline creation. And then there was a huge drop into the people who filled out kind of the tier one forms. So the goal was, look, if some, if you have an opportunity to do live chat on the website, or someone actually picks up the phone and calls you. You respond to them in real time. And we, like, we had it down to a science so much that the, that the sales development reps were scared to get it from their chair and go get lunch because they would miss their turn on the telephone router or the live to live chat router. So it clearly works.

Andy Paul: Well, let me ask a question then about, about your own sales organization is, is, cause I know you use the term outbounding, I think in regard to, you know, practically reaching out to people that when they’re on your site, um, and you know, how much of your pipeline comes from sort of traditional outbound. Or do you even do traditional outbound?

Kraig Swensrud: We do, we do. We, um, probably like most companies, we’ve got a, uh, a target account list and we have specific buyers at specific companies that we think would be a perfect fit for, for our product. And so we do the, kind of the traditional outbounding, uh, Things in today’s world, which overwhelmingly right now are email and telephone calls, uh, and, and LinkedIn. Um, and that’s to try to formulate new conversations with the people that we know we want to, we want to talk to. Um, but in, in addition to that, uh, we have kind of this stream of inbound business just from general awareness of our company, or more specifically through, uh, advertisements that our marketing team puts into market that drives the drive that drives traffic campaigns. But this new tactic that you refer to is only something that we’ve been doing this year. And I’ll tell you what it, it, it works. And that is so, so what let’s, let’s call that, those two things that I just referred to the kind of the traditional outbound model and where, and then the traditional inbound model, where people come to your website and fill out a form, and then your, your sales reps try to try to get in contact with them. Well, there’s this new hybrid. Uh, which is kind of outbounding right on your website. We actually are our internal slang. We call it pouncing. Okay.

Andy Paul: Pouncing. I like that. I like that.

Kraig Swensrud: And so what we do is we identify the characteristics of a visitor when they come to our website and uh, and so we ha we do some reverse IP technology where we go, okay. We try to figure out what company does this person work for. Okay. So if, and that works like, you know, 40, 50% of the time, and if we know, okay, this is a company, um, In this industry with this number of employees with this amount of annual revenue headquartered in this city, right. We can immediately go, okay, well that, that checks a couple boxes for us, first of all, but it doesn’t check every box, but, but this smells like a good one. Or in some cases we know exactly who the person is. Like if you’re, if you’re sending email to a target buyer that you’re trying to get in touch with. And that person clicks through that email, you know exactly who it is, right. Cause you sent them an email. So in that case, we would know who the person is and the company that they work for. And in some cases, we just might know a little bit of information, like where they’re browsing the internet from, right. Is it the U S or the UK or India or Australia or whatever. And so, um, and so what, what our technology does is it, is it then integrates into every other internal system you have. So it says, Oh, well we think somebody from Walmart’s on the site. Okay. Well, what do we know about Walmart? Are they a, are they a tier one account or they a diamond account? Are they top five? Who’s the AE, who’s the BDR supporting that. And then we alert that person and they go, okay, well, got it. Somebody from Walmart’s on my site and that’s that that’s in my patch or this is the type of company I want to sell to.

And what they do is they proactively start a conversation right on the website. They don’t sit back and wait for that for the visitor to initiate a conversation. And the analogy that I like to talk about in the real world is if you were, if you’re buying a car, right? So, you know, Andy walks onto the car, lot of the Mercedes Benz dealership in San Diego. On his time when he’s free, which might be a Saturday and there, and imagine this happens. So you walk onto the car lot. You’re looking to buy a new sedan and you’re checking out the prices. You’re looking in the windows. You’re, you’re looking at the colors and then you might want, let’s say you want to go for a test drive. Imagine if there were no sales reps there. And there was a little bar and there was a little box in the corner that said, fill out your name. Right, right. What kind of car you want to test drive? Put it in this box and we’ll get back to you later. And then you, you have nothing else to do other than to leave the car lot and then just wait for somebody to get back to you. And if they get back to you on Monday, well guess what? That’s no good because you’re a work on Monday. Like you were there. And so what happens in the real world of selling is that there’s a salesman. Who’s there. They don’t pounce on you. Yeah. Initially when you come on the car lot, they look at kind of what you’re doing.

They kind of size you up. They see if like you would be potentially a good buyer and then they walk up to themselves, walk up to you, introduce themselves, um, and establish some rapport and try to get you engaged in a sales process. And so that tactic, which is a, uh, a proven selling tactic for decades, right? We’re, we’re just basically bringing that to a company’s corporate website and we’re giving sales reps, now the opportunity to proactively start those conversations. And you have to look just like in the real world of selling, you have to do it with tact. You can’t just jump all over somebody. You have, you have to introduce yourself and let them know that you’re a real human and not a chat bot or something like that, but I’ll tell you what, when you know the target, you know, the target company that you think would be a good fit for your organization is on the site. And you start at practically start a conversation. You’re not going to get a a hundred percent hit rate, but it’s going to be better than sitting back and doing nothing.

Andy Paul: Well, yeah, and I, you know, you sort of compare it to, you know, companies that provide all this intent data. That you can use to integrate with your outbound campaigns. It’s like the biggest sign of intent is there the visiting your website? I mean, for a seller, I think that’s just, yeah, I would’ve, I would’ve, I would have been all over this. You know. In my early days. I mean, it’s like, yeah. Yeah. I just don’t know the words to express it. I mean, you’re. Yeah. If you talk about in the book, one of your reps says she is delivering 90% of her pipeline, your SDR, says is from you know, proactive conversations on the site.

Kraig Swensrud: yYah. Some people take to it really well. It’s like, it’s probably like most sales professionals, some sales professionals are just killer at outbounding because they, they have the right, um, they have the right words and they have the right cadence and they have the right conversation starters and they phrase things in the right way. And the same is true with kind of, uh, outbound selling right on, right on your website. You gotta be kind of smart about how you do it. The woman you’re referring to is one of our top SDRs. We wrote about her in our book. Uh, her name is Blake. And, uh, she uses, she calls it digital body language is where, when somebody is on your website, they’re exhibiting characteristics as if they’re walking around, you know, a physical store. So they’re moving their mouse. They’re scrolling, they’re scrolling the page. People are clicking on things. Usually when people read, it’s crazy to see, but a lot of people highlight texts that they’re, that they’re reading. You can see them navigate from page to page as if they’re walking around a physical store and you have to pick the right way. You way to engage based on what you know about the person. I mean, for example, if you know, if you sent an email to somebody or they filled out a form and now they’re back on your site, you actually know who they are. Well, you can like, you can greet them by name and you can, you can actually reference hey. because all, this is your website’s now tied into your, your selling platform. You say, Hey, I noticed you had a meeting with Tony yesterday. Uh how’d that go? Or how, how, how can I help further the conversation? And that could be somebody for who’s engaged in an existing process, but if you don’t know who the person is, you can do all sorts of other things that you would do in the, in the real world. Like your IP address, broadcast what city you’re browsing the internet from. Well, our, uh, our top SDR Blake she’s from uh, from Philadelphia, there’s like literally never an opportunity where somebody is from Pennsylvania on our website and she can’t start a conversation, you know, with these people. So you just gotta use the data at your fingertips to figure out how to be the most effective, uh, sales woman or salesman that you can be at the, in that moment.

Andy Paul: Yeah. I mean the, the medium is no substitute for being a good conversationalist, but if you are strong in that area, then yeah, you have the opportunity to proactively start, you know, this outbound conversation with somebody with specific intent. And yeah, if I was an SDR, BDR,or even an AE, depending on the company, I’d probably be all over it.

Kraig Swensrud: Yeah, most AEs, this kinda gets to, um, organizational structure a little bit, but most AEs, uh, tend to be pretty busy, uh, doing lots of other things, including, uh, in today’s world back to back to back to back zoom meetings, right. Trying to try and try to further deals, but there’s usually a team or a couple of different teams inside of a company that are perfect for this. And one of them that I’ve referenced heavily are, you know, sales development reps, or SDRs or relationship managers or whatever kind of that front line that handles the inbound. And then they’re usually, uh, oftentimes another group of reps. Uh, in our industry, uh, they’re often called BDRs or business development reps that they’re more tied to the AE, so they’re responsible for outbound prospecting, uh, for an AE or a number of AEs, or they have a patch where they’re responsible for generating pipeline through outbounding into that patch. Usually those people are also perfect if somebody has like a target account, because they’re tied to, they’re tied to a territory or they’re tied to a list of target accounts and the great thing for those, those, we’ve got one company that I love, uh, one of our customers, they call them diamond accounts. Okay. And, uh, and Everett look, every organization has their own syntax, but I love these guys. They call them diamond accounts and for them a diamond account is any company with more than a billion dollars in revenue and they have their diamond accounts, all, you know, uh, tiered in terms of, uh, in terms of revenue tiers, and then they have their diamond accounts, um, Mapped by territory, obviously, which most sales organizations have a territory based model. And so they’ve got their own way of setting it up. Just like every company has their, their kind of unique structure to their, their sales organization, but these BDRs that are sitting at their desk that are basically nine to five, they’re sending cold emails and they’re doing plays and cold calls, and they’re hitting people up on LinkedIn. When one of these diamond accounts comes to their website. Right. The system automatically figures out who’s responsible for Apple or Cisco or Walmarts or whatever it happens to be. And then it goes, Oh, well, that’s Hailey. That’s, that’s her job. I mean, Haley owns Apple and Cisco and Walmart. That’s part of the territory she supports let’s make sirens go off on Haley’s computer and let’s make sure she gets every opportunity to. Um, to step up to the plate and swing the bat and try and strike up a conversation with, with a person who works at a company that they know they want to sell to.

Andy Paul: Yeah, no, I, I, yeah, I love it. I mean, and I said you combined that with the urgency and the need to be responsive. Um, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s a great tool for sellers. So, um, well, Kraig, I appreciate you spending the time with us today.

Kraig Swensrud: Hey, Andy, it has been really great talking to you today. Love your show and thanks again for having me.

Andy Paul: Thank you very much. And yeah, we’ll look forward to having you back on, and if people want to get in touch with you, learn more about a Qualified or just connect with you, how can they do that?

Kraig Swensrud: uh, certainly, uh, thanks for that opportunity. Um, obviously you can talk to anybody in our company, right on our website at qualified.com. And of course you can reach me at kraig@qualified.com. Thank you.

Andy Paul: Excellent. Alright. Thanks Kraig.