Scott outlines the how and why of the calendar-first approach, a radically effective new approach to getting booked meetings.
Scott, VP of Marketing at Kronologic, is an experience demand generation leader who builds strategies to grow B2B companies. Note: this episode was taken from the Demand Gen Summit Spring 2021.
Billy Bateman 0:11
All right, everyone. Welcome to this session of the demand Gen summit today. For this session, I’m joined by Scott Logan, Vice President of Marketing at Kronologic. Scott, thanks for joining us.
Scott Logan 0:23
Yeah, thanks for having me.
Billy Bateman 0:25
Yeah, I’m really excited for this. We’ve got a really interesting topic. Really like how do you and we’re going to get into is how do you get to accepted meetings, rather than just MQLs, you’re delivering to the sales team. big gap, you know, like my l to a real meeting. Not always the easiest thing to do. But you have a method for helping us to incremental logic does to solve this problem. So, I’ll let you give a little more background and just introduce your philosophy on it.
Scott Logan 0:56
Getting more ROI
Yeah, thanks. And it is a unique problem that we have solutions for. But it’s just not as efficient or scalable as we want and kind of boils down to the fact that demand Gen marketers and marketing teams are not really in control of their own destiny, where we still have to pass over leads to sales teams in order to create the opportunities that we’re pushing.
I mean, some marketing teams have their own SDR team, which is fantastic. That’s one step closer. Yeah, the time and the processes that are in place still aren’t as efficient as we need to get as much ROI as quick as we need out of the investment being made by the company.
Marketing having their own SDR Team
Unknown Speaker 1:42
Yeah, I agree that the move towards marketing having their own SDR BDR team, I think it’s great. And it helps you stay a little more aligned. Because you know, for marketing, you’re usually bonused off of those opportunities that you don’t that the sales team delivers. And having a little more control over. That’s great. So how do you solve the gap between when that SDR team isn’t part of marketing, it’s top part of the sales, you’re handing these, these SQL these MQLs SQL is whatever your organization wants to call them off, and just, you know, hoping they do their job.
Unknown Speaker 2:18
Yeah, in just a couple seconds ago, you raised a good point, that demand Gen teams are now being bonused in gold off of the opportunity creation and the point associated with it. And any winds that come across that are sourced or influenced; however, you’ve set it up. We no longer are even gold.
The Ultimate Goal is the Opportunity
And in many cases, and certainly on demand Gen teams are a little bit more advanced, off of leads, and MQLs and, you know, hitting an open rate metric, like those types of things gone in the past, because the ultimate goal is the opportunity. So, if one campaign converts very high with very low volume, that’s going to be way different, and could skew your numbers, even though the end result is better. So, we’re always focused on the end. But the problem even if your SDR team lies in marketing is that we’re still kind of focused on those leading indicators.
We’re looking at how many calls did you make today? How many emails did you go out today? How many conversations were you in today? And how long are the conversations with a lot of those things are still good to look at. But we’re still bonusing and goaling. And on a daily basis looking at those in terms of Are you a winner? Or are you not based on that, and really need to do is the same thing, we’re looking at the end result of the opportunity, which for sure SDR teams are looking at. But the problem is, is the time it takes to get to that point is still just far too long.
Mindset Changes for Marketing
Unknown Speaker 3:52
Yeah, I agree. You know, it’s a mindset to go back to what you were pointing out is, you know, we have all these activities in marketing, we’re tracking, you know, email sends ads, you know, website traffic. And even with our own team, we’ve made the shift that the one metric we really care about for marketing is the pipeline, they deliver the sales.
And it’s been a little bit of a mindset change for him where they’re not as like, they should still be focused on those things. But personally, like, I don’t even really care what the website conversion rate is, if the pipeline being delivered is large enough to support the sales team and our goals.
How to Align
So, when you are, when you’ve got this in between, you know, you’re going to hand this off to sales, and you’ve got to get there quickly, you know, speed to lead. We all know the research, we know getting the hold of people right away, getting those meetings, helps to solve helps to, you know, get them in pipeline quickly, while you’re top of mind. What’s the best way for us to get aligned and make sure that we’re doing this?
Which Metrics to Align
Unknown Speaker 4:56
Yeah, so let’s break what you said down a little bit. First is You’re looking at the opportunities created by the SDR why opportunity creation. And absolutely pipeline is probably not the best for us to align on for sales and sales development. I know that sounds weird, I still track it. But it’s probably not your most important metric. Because opportunities take weeks to develop. Because you have to sort through all those leads, if you hand over 100 leads to a sales dev team or rep, that’s actually 1000 tasks to do lists you handed them.
And if you increase volume, or you have a larger team, or you have a really great event, you’ve handed them 1000 leads to follow up on, you’ve actually just handed them if you have like, say for instance, 1010 activities over the course of 14 days, 10,000 tasks to do list. No wonder it’s so hard to hit SLA s and their heads are spinning, trying to get through everything and qualify those leads and make sure they hit their daily SLA is, but it’s actually leaving them less time to do quality discovery.
Demo Meeting Booked Metric
And it’s harder, even with a sales engagement tool to prioritize to get that what you mentioned a second ago, to lead. And it’s not really a leading indicator, we’re always looking at a lagging indicator. What we’re finding is the metric to join the teams together is the actual demo meeting booked within a matter of days, typically, on a highly successful campaign. So, you have great coverage.
The meeting is what happens right away, and it may get pushed may get bumped. But you know, you’re going to have a discovery call with someone, what you can also do is forecast off of that based on your meeting to opportunity conversion rate or discovery call or demo to opportunity creation rate, see what’s going to happen one to two to three weeks out, because a meeting is date stamped. So, you can see per your team for your rep per your just entire company, how many of those meetings you have booked out in the future, and how successful each team or each rep is. And as far as how many meetings they have to generate, how many opportunities they have to generate pipeline, and how many at bats are going to have come forward?
Booking Meetings Faster
Unknown Speaker 7:30
Yeah, I agree that that would make sense to, to start focusing on those meetings held. But so how do you book these meetings faster in today’s process, like we already know, for an inbound lead using a product like our own, people can book the meeting with the sales team right off the website. Now they’ve got to, you know, say, hey, I want to book a meeting and do this. For those people that aren’t just hand raisers. And willing to book the meeting right off the site. What do you do to get that meeting on the on the books faster?
Unknown Speaker 8:03
Yeah, so here, you’re like, no, duh. Because there are, there’s one way to get those meetings on the book. That’s a great leading indicator, you probably agree with that. And more predictable, you probably agree with that at this point. You can set it up in in your CRM that way, or even use a tool to do that. But you still have to chase those leads. Yep. What we’re saying is, you actually don’t need to chase those leads, because that’s what slows down the process. And that’s why our conversion rates are lower than we want.
Calendar First Approach
Except for the first, you know, 10% of everybody’s lead list, probably. And what we’re saying is to take a calendar first approach, what a calendar first approaches are actually sending out the meeting invite as the first step of the process. You send a meeting invite this not just blank, not just that has a Billy and Scott intro on it in Yeah, subject line with the context of why you’re meeting. So typically, an SDR gets a lead from a webinar or trade show or a demo request or any number of sources that you’ve read them on.
And that’s the context of that. Invite the invite, then it has a thought-out agenda as to what are we going to talk about? What heartache or challenge Am I going to present you with? And then what’s going to be your takeaway, what are you going to benefit from whether or not you continue to have discussions with me or not, it should be present there. We also accompany that with an email drawing attention to that meeting that just pumped on their calendar to let them know the detail of the kind of the context of that call. And the first thing everybody tells me when we say that is that’s way too presumptuous. That’s Yeah, that’s we’re going on.
Targeting your ICP
We’re, you know, it’s asking for marriage before we even gone on a date. We don’t even know Well, maybe If you’re the salesperson saying that, but this is a demand Gen conference and demand Gen summit, and we spend a lot of time figuring out, what is our Tam? What is our ideal customer profile? Yeah, how much intent is there, how much engagement is there.
And based on that, we are willing to give a phone number to somebody to call an executive person. So, a junior SDR calls an executive buyer in the middle of their day, and tries to have the best 37 second pitch in order to get them into a meeting and qualify them. And that person’s not even on them in the right mindset, you probably have a local presence and probably tricks them into thinking it’s their daycare calling, and they don’t even know what they’re getting into. And they’re already working on something else.
So, it’s not a great environment to create value in in the first place. And with an email, there’s so many firewalls and so many other ways that that email message could get skipped or missed, or the copy gets changed by the sales rep based on whatever experience they had in marketing, like you should not have done that. So, when you get the calendar invite, avoid spam filters. The it can be
Avoiding the Spam Filter
Unknown Speaker 11:10
Yeah, so that that was something I wanted to ask you. Do you do a calendar invite avoid the spam filters altogether?
Unknown Speaker 11:18
Yeah, most the time, what we’re seeing is that you won’t get caught in spam filter, where an email will it also Yeah, importantly, it shows up on someone’s calendar with a little bit different of intention, you’re like, huh, yeah, you actually take a look at this meeting. And if it’s blank, like most people’s experiences, then it’s going to be thrown in the garbage and you’re going to look stupid. But it’s a context.
Engagement on Calendar Automation
And it’s sent right when that engagement happens. So, if you use a calendar automation platform like ours, it can be triggered immediately. Or if you, do it manually, you send it as fast as possible. Now you’re getting complete coverage with the ultimate intent signal. First, upfront, all the to do is to get a yes. And they already know, before you talk to the rep that they’re in the market to buy. And because their business isn’t going to change immediately.
Overnight, they already know if it’s and you don’t have to have a rep, doing the job, the part of their job, they hate the least over and over and over and waste the time when they could just have that meeting accepted within a matter of minutes of sending out some meeting invites. And that intense signal is a one clicks for them. And very little to no work on the behalf of the rep and it just saves everybody the poor experience of being lead chased and experienced in the in the first conversation being a structured thought out with the right resources, maybe with a sales engineer if you need to, in that first discovery call where they can actually decide whether or not to continue with you.
Sending an Agenda
Unknown Speaker 12:52
Okay, all right, I’ve got a couple questions I want to dig in on how you do this process really well for you. So, you’d mentioned you don’t just send a calendar invite, you’ve got an agenda, why we’re doing it. You know, you guys have been doing this for a while? Are there any best practices? If I’m putting this together? I’m going to try this approach. Like, you know, we’re hosting a webinar, everyone who signs up for this webinar that looks like they fit, you know, our buyer profile, we’re going to try it with what would you suggest we do is we’re putting together these calendar invites.
Unknown Speaker 13:26
Speed to Lead
Yeah, going back to the thing we’ve all known forever speed to lead within the first five minutes is when you want to have this done. If you have a tool that does, like on logic, then you just use the tool. But if you don’t, or don’t yet, then what you do is, it’s a lot easier to structure the top most engaged most ideal prospects that you have to have this invite. So, you use you could even have a candidate use Outlook and ICS thing already built out. The rep just puts in there, the person and it comes from them.
And now you’re having that level of intent happen right when the webinar ends. And it’s from the rep and it has the context of Hey, you just attended a webinar on say you sell it security solutions. I teach cybersecurity. I’m offering a cybersecurity assessment as the first step, which IP security platforms have or whatever your best foot forward on that introductory call is you’re offering them something, don’t just say it’s an intro or Yeah, Mo that’s fine. If what you talked about aligns with your solution, then that’s great, too. But it’s Yeah, offer them something and have the context of why they’re getting it. Whether it be right after a piece of content was downloaded or what have you. And yep, now they know why they’re meeting and it seems much more thought out.
Unknown Speaker 14:57
Yeah, I’ve gotten these before where it’s Not, it’s just like, hey, here’s an intro call to us, you know, I signed up for a webinar or downloaded something. And I was like, yeah, I’m going to decline this. But actually, now that we’re talking about this, I’ve had this.
I’ve received it, where they’ve done it well like, like, it’s okay, here is the man, I’m trying to remember what the company was, I didn’t end up buying, but I took the call and had the meeting. And it just wasn’t a fit at the time. But everything was mapped out. Here’s why we’re getting on the phone. It was like 15 minutes. So not a ton of time. But what kind of acceptance rates Do you guys typically get with these? Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 15:35
yeah. So, I’ll go down two paths that you just discussed on accepting trades, we’re finding that if you propose it three to seven days out, then we’re seeing at from our customers 80% plus acceptance rate. If they’re qualified, if they’ve had the engagement, we don’t suggest this is just they’re showing some level of intent or they’re cold. They should be the same qualifications that you have for an SDR to call them out of the blue and interrupt their day, that same level of qualification should go for this.
And it really, in many cases, and I’ll go through some use cases here. It’s not just double, it’s like triple or quadruple the number of meetings, you can book in a serious fraction of the time. The goal is to remove the call blocks, remove your prospecting time out of your calendar and replace them with these discovery calls and demos.
Full Funnel Usage
And there’s it really spans a whole funnel. So, we’re talking a lot about top of funnel. But if you’re a customer marketer, it’s the expansion opportunities. It’s a cross sell opportunities. It’s ghosted demos, ghosted leads, if you Yeah, it wasn’t you want to try it on, it works really well. Because typically, maybe like, with us working at home, you got a kid here, you’re like, oh, my four-year Olds, throwing a tantrum has just a discovery call cancel, that one’s like, attend to my family for just a second and get this kid settle. But you were still interested. But the sales rep is like, oh, they didn’t show up, they must not want it. And then you’re calling and emailing, trying to schedule a time again, here’s a link book on my calendar, asking them to book on you, for you.
So, you don’t have to do it and fill out a form again, like all this back and forth, just send them a new calendar invite for new time, you don’t really know that they didn’t want that. You have to cross sell products all the time, hey, we know that this set of customers that have this requirement and this ICP, typically also buy this and you have a value statement for that. Yeah, via a calendar purse campaign, it doesn’t have to be just the top of the funnel, and typically bottom of the funnel. For those of you who are trying to grow that middle of the funnel pipeline that you’ve generated, this is a fantastic tactic to push those down deeper into a win.
Unknown Speaker 17:55
Awesome, man. I love the idea. I mean, we got to be trying new things like the Hey, you know, we filled out the form str calls me back emails me. You know, that’s been we’ve been using that for a while. And it works to a certain degree, but it doesn’t mean it’s the perfect solution. So, I love this idea. Is there anything else before we wrap up, that we should hit on this topic?
Unknown Speaker 18:20
Yeah, I think just, there’s a few takeaways here. align with your sales dev team on the meeting, and start to track your meetings. If you have to create a custom object or just utilize what’s already there in your activity to create a specific activity type in your CRM that has a date stamp on it, start tracking that now you’re going to be able to see how well a campaign did right away instead of weeks.
So, within days or a week, you can now report back to that how did last week’s campaign go with it actually has this many meetings scheduled for the future instead of making calls or making emails, no opportunities yet, you’d like to Yeah, of course, there’s no opportunities yet. But that’s really bad for marketers to have to report back on.
So, start for sure on that. So, you have something tangible that you can actually predict some pipeline with. The second thing is trying a few use cases of calendar first, to try and get more of those meetings on the calendars quicker, look at your best leads your best conversion. And those are going to convert no matter what with your hottest leads and your hottest events and your cross sell upsell customer campaigns.
So, take all the busy work away from those use calendar first, and then uses your engagement tools for the harder to get stuff that you’re going to have to create more context with a phone call or something. And then there’ll be more time for that. Many of your top reps at your companies probably have already done this in the past. And then third, I’ll just say if you want to be able to do it at scale, then go ahead and contact chronologic and we can help you.
Unknown Speaker 19:56
Okay, awesome, Scott. appreciate you sharing the knowledge and Being part of the demand Gen summit problem. Thanks for having me, Billy. Okay, we’ll chat later.