Best Lead Practices with Chris Rack


In this presentation, Chris speaks about sales leads and how to follow up with them. He stresses the importance of the relationship between sales and marketing and how to improve it.


Chris Rack is Chief Revenue Officer at DemandScience, a leader in global buyer intelligence accelerating demand generation for the world’s largest software, technology, and B2B companies.


“Sales and marketing should work together to have a clearer understanding of how leads are being followed up on what scripting, what time, what frequency, etc.” 

“First and foremost is to help them [SDR team] identify buying triggers across their leads and prioritize them.” 

Key Points

  1. What sales and marketing want from each other in order to succeed
  2. Focusing on helping the marketing organization drive ROI by improving how to handle lead follow up
  3. How to take control from a marketing standpoint and from a sales perspective


Hello ChatFunnels- Demand Gen Summit time!

I’m Chris Rack here scheduled up to talk to you a little bit about every marketer’s favorite topic- leads, how to follow up on them, how to get sales follow up to up on them, sales buy in and eventually marketing ROI.

So, it’s a very, very contentious topic. I work with a lot of clients both on the sales and marketing side of the fence and probably one of the most disagreed upon topics in the world of revenue these days is how you should generate leads, who should follow up on leads, what is the quality lead, etc., So, I thought I’d take time to dive in a little bit, talk a little bit about, you know, lead best practices and following up with them. And different ways to create buy-in, you know, for your SDRs or your marketing organization to drive forward.

So, before we do that, let’s take a little bit of a dive into the current state of affairs right so let me know if any of the following to you out there, right obviously in the recorded land but think of this to yourself, do any of the following look familiar? Emails that look like this: Generic subject lines, mediocre follow up, automated no personalization, no customization. Again, a full word of that same previous email from an automation system or a sequencing software, right that again, no personalization, no customization, no real effort outside of an automated sales touch. And then finally, the third step, the final outreach or the breakup email that all of us have become so excited to get and so excited to see over the years as it’s come through, right, too often what we’re seeing in the sales and marketing space right now is that leads are being passed over to sales. They’re getting automated, mediocre email touches and they’re ending up in a bit of an abyss of quote on quote disqualified leads. Right? And this leads us where we’re at in this particular junction, right? It’s not pretty.

We recently did here at Demandscience a quick survey, we asked sales and marketers kind of what they want most from marketing right? And we asked, you know, obviously we asked sales what they want most from marketing and we asked marketing what they want most from sales. Funny enough. The questions or the answers were quite, quite parallel, right. So overall, you know, what do sales want? They want better quality leads, right? They want to do less work and get more return for it. Right? And that makes sense, right? It’s not just sales being lazy.

If I’m a VP of sales, and I have my call center, my largest single call center is human or people power right. So, the cost of a bad lead coming over to my team can add up pretty quickly, right because how many leads? You know, how many people does it take to follow up on those bad leads to qualify them? How many calls are we running with candidates that just aren’t a fit for our products or solutions? These are all questions that you need to ask yourself. And from a marketing perspective, we asked marketing what do you want more from sales and the most common feedback or the most common runner up was better lead follow up. Right and, and that just means that a vast majority of leads that are being passed over for marketing to the sales organization, don’t even get touched Right?

I have some clients where 30, 40, 50% of the leads that are passed over don’t even get called upon because they either are deemed quote on quote, not qualified or quote on quote, not ready to be called right. So, from a marketing perspective, lots of time, lots of effort, lots of budget goes into driving leads right and driving return on investment for only a fraction of them to be followed up on. It’s obviously fairly challenging. So, some things I guess you would say, aren’t pretty between the sales and marketing space right now. And that divide for whatever reason seems to be growing.  So, let’s talk a little bit about how you can solve the problem. The challenge is there, right? We all experience it, right? How can your account and how can you solve for the challenge of lead follow up and taking these leads and turning them into quality return on investment for your team? Right.

So according to the demand gen report more than half or 53% of all demand, marketers now have revenue-based quotas, right? So, we’re seeing the path to coming in. Right. But the problem is that marketers especially demand gen Marketers don’t control the systems to follow up on the leads, but they’re responsible for revenue coming from the leads that they generate, but they have zero control, in the mechanisms, sequences, language, Cadence follow up, or even volume at which their leads are followed up on right so it’s almost like having a target and having little to no control over the end result of the target.

So, what’s happening is that what’s causing the decline is that lead follow up tactics are shifting a bit as I mentioned earlier, email engagement is declining, right coming from, let’s say, less than healthy, automated email practices, right? According to SendGrid, 23% of emails sent are not even delivered, given the anti-virus and anti-spam technology in the space right now. Right. So, there was more and more pressure to drive more and more leads given the declining engagement rates with email, right? Again, email sequencing automation tools, these things are driving so much email and so much bad email that your clients and your prospects are becoming to doubt right the amount of messages hitting the inbox is lower and the amount of quality messages in the email boxes lower and people are just becoming burned out by all the sequencing technology. Right? And obviously, there’s more of a drive in the b2b space to SDR driven methodologies, right teams are hiring more STRS and pushing towards specialization, right.

Training a group of team, a group of team members to focus specifically on a single part of the sales process, instead of the entire sales process from start to finish, right? Instead of fixing things right. Sales teams tend to push on marketing for higher quality, right? Instead of focusing on little changes, getting better, improving scripts, improving follow up sequences, being less reliant on automation, right? The easy thing to do is to push on marketing and just say the leads that we’re getting aren’t good enough.

So, as I mentioned, what are STRS missing, right, they’re missing a lot because they’re over reliant on automation. B2B buyers can sniff out email blasts a mile away, right? And again, the actual math beyond that is that according to an Aberdeen report, click rates and conversion rates increased by over 10% by simple personalization, but more and more companies are using automated email-based sequencing structures and automated email based follow up sequences, right because it’s just easy to set it and forget it, right? That’s for lying and putting more pressure on marketing to generate more leads because conversion rates are a fraction of what they would be with custom personalized and high-quality sales outreach. And there’s an over reliance on volume, right?

Most STRS are trained to take the path of least resistance to get what they’re looking to do and that’s scheduling a meeting with someone who’s interested in potentially buying the solution. Right. And to do that, a lot of them trained to disqualify the haystack to find the needle or as I like to put it, light the haystack on fire to find the two or three needles in there. Right and doing so, they’re just burning through data. They’re burning through permission-based leads. They’re burning through contacts, they’re burning through accounts, right. And what’s happening is that again, marketing and operations and sales and marketing operations are being pushed harder and harder to drive the amount of volume and the amount of engagement to keep justifying the sales outreach. Right. So can’t identify a certain amount of people beyond the amount that are available to be looking to buy. Right, there are only so many folks in marketing at a given time.

In any specific software category outside of a rare few huge tam type situations like collaboration software, you know, IP based phones or things of that nature. Most b2b technology and software companies and other companies have a very finite amount of people who could buy their products and solutions and on average, only three to 5% of those people are in the market at any given time. Right. So, we need to focus on helping the marketing organization drive ROI by improving how we handle lead follow up. So how do you take control from a marketing standpoint and from a sales perspective? Right, there’s a couple different ways, right, first and foremost, right, we need to stop BANT, we need to stop that bant qualifying leads like it’s 1979 and that we’re IBM.

If you provide value right, if you do your job well as a seller, right or if your sales team does its job well, they should be able to create enough value to push past budget and authority. Right meeting timelines still may be important. Those are objections that need to become countered. But getting on the phone and not moving through the sales process with someone because they don’t have a quote, budget or authority is really, really not the best way to do it. Right. And again, from a lead generation perspective, we need to stop requiring our marketing teams to bring us quote on quote bad leads, right because all we’re doing is giving ourselves less opportunity to drive results.

As a marketer, the juice is not worth the squeeze, you’re paying higher CPMs you see your pain, you’re getting less leads overall for your budget. You’re getting lower overall volumes of leads. Your spending, giving you less chances and less bites at the apple to drive pipeline and return on investment. Right and you’re missing opportunities.

Now just because someone is bant qualified doesn’t mean that they’re an opportunity to become pipeline for on average by focusing on only quote on quote bad leads, you’re likely missing out. About 20% of the market is either just beginning their purchase process, i.e. they haven’t identified a budget yet, they haven’t identified the decision maker who’s in charge of the project. And by the time you get in, by the time that lead does become bant, your competition is already engaged with them. They’ve already become a thought leader. They’ve already helped them to find that problem. So, stop the bant, put the bant down, walk away from the bant, I assure you, it will help you drive more return-on-investment long term.

Help your SDRs win, right, there are many things that you can do with your SDR team, right that can help them drive higher engagement with leads and help them drive more return-on-investment long term. Right, so first and foremost is help them identify buying triggers across their leads and prioritize them. Right. Are you getting leads that come in, you see a higher propensity for closing business in a specific industry in a specific company size range in a company that had a specific trigger event like a recent funding, a new leader hired a changeover in the executive team right how does it come into the mix? Give your sales organization the tools to prioritize the outbound reach on their leads based on those leads that have the highest propensity to convert based on those individual specific gaps right. So, if you have a specific industry or someone who gets funding, right, you should give your sales organization the tools so they can know if a company has an alert or something of that nature. Predictive intelligence or buyer intent should also be factored in.

Well, there’s a lot of great platforms out there. Ours at Demandscience included that can help your sales organization prioritize and score their leads based on current intent in the market, so they know where to focus their time and their energy to convert at a higher rate. Second, collaborate on scripts right and follow up scripts and sequences. Right. So, sales and marketing should work together to have a clearer understanding of how leads are being followed up on what scripting, what time, what frequency, etc. Right and my recommendation here and again, this is something we offer as well if you’re happy to is to go to a third party and ask them, right now this is how we do it. Is it good? Right on average. And you know, over the past five years, I’ve read about probably 1000 Different outbound SDR scripts and I can tell you that 65 probably 70% of them are pretty terrible. I also get a ton of outbound emails. I also get a ton of follow up on real pieces of content and demos and trials that I request pretty regularly and most of the follow up is fairly, it’s fairly poor, not personalized. And, you know, generally to, let’s say, product D right to drive true engagement. So, ask for help identifying a third party not in sales or marketing, to give both teams an open view into what they could potentially be doing better or even better with their peers in the space.

Alright, thank you so much. For jumping in. It’s really been great. Obviously, taking leads and turning them into ROI is really, really challenging. And I think just by focusing on a couple of little things, right, and really focused on you know, removing some of the filters and some of the bad and over qualifying of leads that you can have identifying, better scripting and collaborating on that and really figuring out how to prioritize your lead stack can drive a ton of return on investment for your marketing ROI.

So, if you have any questions, you can always reach out to me __ I don’t know why I gave you my email but hopefully they’re going to edit that out. You can hit me up on social media and LinkedIn, which is where I’m most common as well.

So, thank you. I appreciate all the time today and look forward to catching up soon. Bye bye