In this presentation, Scott Logan talks about how a sales cycle can be improved with a tactic that sends a calendar invite in the first contact. He goes over how this method works and how it can be implemented to increase revenue. He then goes into how this method can work with events, both in person and virtual.
Scott Logan is the SVP of Marketing at Kronologic, a company that creates a world where your work day is automatically scheduled to prioritize the most valuable interactions.
“This lead chasing motion we have is really the best thing that we have going for us to turn these leads into pipeline. But this lead chasing motion really isn’t a great notion. Seth from Forrester states that we talk more about the route to getting to where we need than actually just getting to where we need on time.”
“We need to get to that yes faster.”
- How to reduce the speed to meeting
- How to better generate leads from events
- How to tailor meeting invitations to increase conversion
Hi, everyone. Welcome to this session 2022 events playbook new tactics to 3x pipeline. If you don’t know me, I’m Scott Logan. I run marketing at chronologic, who’s filling the calendars of some of the largest and fastest growing companies in the land. And we also have some of the strongest and leading ref tech companies as customers as well. What we’re going to talk about today, are the neverending challenges that events face. Some of them we’ve just begun the status quo when it’s the last we have to deal with and we try to do as best we can. And it all boils down to one specific issue that is spread across demand gen, and we’ll talk about how that affects events specifically. What can we do differently? Let’s not leave you hanging in there, let’s give you some things to do. And then we’ll give you four specific tactics for hybrid virtual or in person events for this next year to really get more ROI out of any of the events and all of the events that you have coming up this year. It all focuses around the last mile problem if you’ve heard us speak before you’re familiar with this. If not, I’ll touch on it as fast as I can hear, but it’s really a wasted investment in lost opportunity due to the failure of most leads and marketing leads for that matter to convert to sales appointments. And Slow from Forrester says this in a recent blog she has. She states there are leakage points that dilute marketing’s efforts and sales ability to maximize marketing’s efforts. I mean, I think we’re now all hopefully having enough best practices and implementing enough ABM practices to where we no longer are beholden to that three and a half percent conversion rate average. But even if we’re up to like eight 9%, eight 9% Of all the leads that we push through turn into pipeline. I mean that’s still kind of sad. We can do a lot better than that. And a lot of it isn’t just because we don’t have enough quality action ready leads in the campaign’s we run. It’s a matter of the sales team having a hard time getting to all of them and getting a hold of people and people are more averse to answering random emails and answering phone calls that are even if it’s a local presence number. This lead chasing motion we have is really the best thing that we have going for us to turn these leads into pipeline. But this lead chasing motion really isn’t a great notion. Seth from Forrester states that we talk more about the route to getting to where we need than actually just getting to where we need on time.
We need to get to that yes faster.
If we took a modern day sales sequence and tried to get in touch with a x from your past, our CRO likes to say that you probably have the cops called on you around day five. It’s not something that the buyer really wants to go through and it’s not really something that the seller is excited to go hit with their next massive list of to dues attached to every single lead that gets pushed their way. There’s got to be a better way to get a yes faster with the people who want a meeting get a no faster. Get the people who aren’t going to say yes out of the way. So that we’re really only pursuing the leads that are known or good fit, we know have some intent. But having this motion for everything makes us only capture a small percentage of the yeses, especially when it’s hooked to an event because everyone’s pursuing the same leads. All at the same time. And when you ask the buyers, you know, what are you most annoyed about when you’re trying to book a meeting with sales and they say the lead chasing with calls and emails is what they’re most annoyed by 80% of them. And you think well then why are we doing it? Well, we’re doing it because 78% of marketers biggest fear is the lack of or not enough follow up when passing leads to sales. This is a study done in the middle of last year with Heinz marketing, and it keeps putting us into the cycle of well maybe this is a better sequence. Maybe that’s a better sequence, maybe 10 more steps. Over here, and direct mail over there is still all dependent on rep catching buyers at just the right time. Right when they have intent, and there’s a lot of luck involved. Let’s take the Luck out of it. Let’s just get every single person who wants to say yes to you to say yes at that point of engagement. And so what we’ve created is the calendar first methodology, which is the automated sending of calendar meeting invites at scale, using AI based time negotiation to book revenue focus meetings with no human intervention. Now, this is literally sending the calendar invite first as the first point of touchpoint, first touch point immediately or as close as you can, to the engagement point that that lead has. So if it’s a booth scan, why not just book the meeting right then and there. If it’s a webinar that you’re hosting, why not just you have the list, you’re the one running it, why not send the meeting invite out right at the end of the webinar, or even in it and we’ll talk about some tactics on how to execute against that. You don’t need our solution though to do this. You absolutely do not. Counter first is universal. And most of the really good sales reps or many really good sales reps already do some form of this, if not exactly this, when a qualified lead is ready to talk. And they just want to have a meeting, just send the invite. If you want to see a blueprint of how to do this, you can go to chronologic.ai forward slash calendar first, and it walks you through the steps of how to manually do that. And so what we’ll do here in the next little while is explain how to do this within events. The key to the invite, though, and having this process work is making sure it’s tailored and timely. We’ll talk about the tailor part. You need to have a subject line that describes what it is you’re providing and what it is you’re asking for so many sales reps today. Even the standard best practices when they send that meeting invite out persons verbally said yep, that time work Cisco you’ve had a bunch of back and forth. The meeting invite is still in this case, Lauren plus Jane meeting. Well, we have a little game we like to play where you put the subject line in a sentence and ask them if they want to join that meeting type. So in this scenario, you would say, hey, Lauren, would you like to join a Dell sales engagement needs analysis? Sure. I’d like to join that meeting. That sounds great. I’m interested in that. Sounds a lot better than Hey, would you like to join a Jane plus Lauren sync today?
Yeah. I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like there’s much value there. So make sure you provide the value in that subject line itself. What is the engagement? You’re reaching out to them? And then what are you going to provide? Do the same thing but in a sentence, warm up a little bit in the description of the note that goes along with the invite, and then tell them the time that you’re going to propose so it’s there in two places. And then what you’ll see you don’t see here, but you’ll see in that blueprint is the agenda that you actually place inside the invite itself. And it’s a very four point structured agenda that allows the person to stay interested in what it was that they were originally interested in when they engage with you or your company, and it shows them what the actual deliverable is that you’re going to provide. So please check that out. All this combined together, sending the tailored and timely invite helps us get to the yes faster. Seth Mars is stealing that from his blog. We just got to get to the s faster. Stop worrying so much about the relay race of the sales sequences. These are adventure racing. Let’s just get to yes, right away. Yes, I catch them in the moment to say yep, I want to talk about that. Not two days later. Not one day later, not four days later, when the sales rep can finally get to that. Get to that step in their queue because of all the other priorities and then get the nose out of the way so that your sales reps aren’t chasing someone who’s just going to say no anyway when you do that, compared to the Goji sequence, you actually get an accepted meeting in 1.4. Invites sent within an average of four days to get the accepted meeting in today’s world, even if you use best practices a 15 step process over 14 days. The response is all you’re going for sales rep goes through this whole thing just to get them to pick up the phone and have a two minute conversation or to respond to an email if they even see it in their inbox, just to reply to it, and then you got to do a little bit of back and forth to get the meeting. Here you just get the meeting. It’s super easy. Sorry about that. When you do that, here’s a conversion rate. So here’s what we’re used to with sales engagement platforms, with SDR teams. You know, these are ranges that we’re probably used to using best practices today, but when you use a calendar first methodology, this is all of our customer data. Obviously, this is the automated version. And you can do it manually if you want but our own conversion rates are right in the middle to the upper end of these ranges for all these lead sources. So let’s dive right into the events. Now that you know the science behind it, how do you actually apply it to hybrid virtual or in person events? It’s a really quick look at all the challenges that we’re going to be addressing, you know, the ever changing logistics of these events is crazy. This top left one is a brand new one but it’s common in the last few years. I now don’t care if it’s virtual in person or hybrid or even switches at the last minute. I can use these tactics in specific ways to have the same you know, 10 to 30% lead to meeting conversion rate and 10 would be on the low end if you kind of missed the step. Data is always important contact timing. That’s what this is all about. Speed to lead, but even more so let’s just say speed to meeting. Speed to lead is you know, can you get that connection with them right away and then it’s up to the rep to be really good at landing that discovery call. And then prioritizing, you know, today’s event, especially during the event season, is a super important highest priority, but now we’re at another trade show next week. But that long list of leads that have all these steps to them are still in the queue from last week that need to hit all their SLA touch points. So prioritization becomes an issue. And it’s almost an impossible job in summary arts for the SDR to keep up with all of that. So virtual events start there, the easiest one, we did three large scale-like 1000s of online virtual attendees shows last year. The two that we’re going to highlight here, the demand gen report, Next Level ABM and the sales hacker virtual events.
These are events where we had a sponsorship and a breakout session. And what we did is the lists were like 4000 people when they came back, we scraped out and filtered out everybody except for our perfect ICP for the perfect title for the perfect size company and industry. And we boil it down to a few 100 We then put that several 100 into a calendar first emotion and we had for demand gen report 98 accepted meetings for sales hacker 131 accepted meetings. We not only beat other companies’ SDRs to follow up on this. We literally within days had the discovery call booked on the sales reps calendar. Half a million in pipeline for both of these specifically for that demand gen one we closed half of that pipeline even within our regular sales cycle, it actually sped that first part up from several weeks in the traditional sense to just a week or two. If you’re not using automation, or automation for this, no problem doing it digitally. If you have a virtual event each one of your sales reps could probably handle at most to be reasonable, maybe 20 or 30. Really high quality leads. So you take that list and you say alright, I’m going to take the ones who attended our session who visited our booth, who downloaded content and or are showing some intent and part of that list. Take that group right there. divided up how you normally would amongst your SDRs and then just send that block of time. With the template you provide a meeting template that you’ve provided using the best practices from that landing page and just have them send out meeting invites will take them 2030 minutes to send out all those meeting invites. But now the prospecting is done. They can go back to their regular lead chasing work that they’re doing today. And they’re going to see a bunch of declines. So they don’t have to have Chase folks who are going to say no, but they’re going to get way more access than they’re used to getting way faster within just a few days. They’re going to get accepted on their calendar, and then the folks who they wanted to get in touch with on their list after a few days, usually to one to two days. Then they can go and put them back into their sequence and they’re going to have a lot more and you’re going to have a lot more success with a lot more discovery calls a lot faster. Switching now to an in person event. This was a 60 person in person event. It was like an event where a sponsor was also a participant and you had 15 minutes as a sponsor to give your little spiel. And otherwise you just blend it in. So we really had to make a really big impression at that moment. And what we did was we had the calendar motion loaded and ready to go right before a session. Right as I was stepping up, the marketing operations person hit send on the invites and the invites launched from the sales reps calendars and went out to all the people who were in the room because in usually in these small events, sponsorships even if it’s yours, you have that list ahead of time so that was pretty easy. In the middle of the presentation, at the most exciting part of it, I stopped everyone in the room and I said everyone if this sounds exciting to you if this is something that you’re interested in and you want to talk more about breakout your phones is this break the rule of no phones, no computers, open your computers, break out your phones, take a look at the invite. It’s on your calendar right now just hit accept. And you can go ahead and have a tailored deep dive discussion about this. After the show. Now you don’t have to wait till the show is done and then have the SDRs call them and say here’s what happened and here’s what’s going on and here’s what your talk track should be the invite you know what you want the notes to be you know what links you want to include for assets. You can even put the slide in there for us so it was super easy. And if you don’t have automation to do this same thing divide up the 50 people that you want in the want to go through this motion and say if you’re presenting at one o’clock Eastern time, line everyone up to one o’clock Eastern time, or 15 minutes before that and launch their 10 invites each and then you’ve done the same exact thing. You can still stop it. Say hey, in your cybersecurity so you sell cybersecurity your cybersecurity presentation. You can say If this sounds interesting to you. If this is exciting, which usually you’d say that at the most exciting part of your presentation. Go ahead and hit accept our sales team has already put a calendar invite on your calendar. Go ahead and go for it until it doesn’t work, propose a new time and they’ll accept that time. 50% of the people in the room by the next morning had accepted that meeting invite absolutely incredible. We loved that this experiment worked out the way it did because it made life easier for our sales team. Let’s get forward then to How about another version of in person where you have a booth. So say you have a booth. The hardest thing about booth duty is when you actually have a business card that a sales rep is going to have Ashley here is in our booth and you can see on the right side and what a good rep unfortunately typically will do is take that business card right there little note on the business card and instead of scanning them, they’re gonna put that business card right in their back pocket, and they’re gonna go call that lead they want SDRs following up on that conversation that they just had. That’s the best lead of their month, maybe talking to a VP face to face in a booth. So the last thing they’re going to do is give that up and then you lose tracking on it. And then all of a sudden that big deal that close doesn’t get included in your ROI and when you don’t have the biggest sponsorship next year rep so like what I close this big deal from it and you’re like what, I didn’t know that, or you didn’t know that but it took gobs of manual digging to go find it. So and again, you don’t need our platform to do this. It just makes it more streamline. Create a landing page. And it’s an internal landing page and they’ll all have them loaded on their phones. The sales reps will have that landing page loaded on the phone like an uncashed form that has two fields. One for the leads email one a drop down list for all the reps who are working the booth. Then when you’re in a conversation with someone as a sales rep in your like this is a great lead. This is gonna be awesome. I’m closing this deal this quarter. Tell them to break out their phone and ask the person the lead for their email. They type the email in and they hit their name from the drop down. If you have automation then the invite will launch automatically from that sales reps calendar and land right on that person’s calendar. During the conversation. Our reps are saying okay, you can go ahead and check that the invite for us to carry on this conversation is on your calendar already. So we can go ahead and get onto your happy hour and we’ll have a deep dive later on with more details. If you don’t have our automation, that’s fine, still do the same thing with a form in the drop down and then that form submission could populate a report. And then at the end of the day, the sales rep can go in to see who all submitted on that form and send the meeting invites. Then at the end of the day or maybe even the next morning if there’s like a happy hour or something at the end of the day and they wanted to wait till the next morning that’s fine. Now they have confidence that that lead stays with them. You have confidence that you’re going to be able to track all the really quality conversations without having to do spreadsheet matching or hunt people down for missing not turning in business cards. And you’ve enabled the calendar first motion to happen. You can even have those invites sent out ahead of time or set up as a template ahead of time which would actually be recommended here. Exciting stuff for both the reps and marketing for booth duty. It works so well. We had reps who had almost 20 discovery calls already on their calendars before they even hit the plane to go home. It was great. The next thing is dinner. This has nothing to do, you can’t even use our software to do this like this. This has nothing to do with chronology, it’s just using that calendar first methodology in a way that is going to make things easier for you to host a dinner whether it be a small dinner or a big dinner. What we did was we created a regular calendar invite, just Outlook or G Suite, whatever you use, and put the location of the dinner as you can see on the left here. We were at the top of the Delano in Vegas, and we rented their private room that overlooks the strip. It was really cool and so they knew the location and it was a VIP just channel partner show. So VIP channel partners had dinner, and we then listed everyone who we wanted to have at that dinner there. We knew we had room for about 20 to 40 people that we could expand and collapse to so based on historic conversion rates, we thought we could convert 20 to 30% of them. And we want to leave a little bit of room in case we go over. So we put 100 names on that invite leading into the event that we sent about a week ahead of time. We had about 20 as the event got closer and the the event started, we ended up with 30 accepted dinner RSVPs where all they had to do was click Accept on the dinner invite because the invite hit them a week before we sent an email saying hey, we sent this dinner invite to you we had a nice little fancy graphic there to say hey, this is what it is. And please go ahead and accept that invite because you’ve been accepted for dinner or you’ve been invited to an exclusive dinner. A few people dropped out but a few people came in and added to keep our rate at 30 because we created some FOMO. There was one VP of Marketing who said she just was sick of booth duty and didn’t want to do the wholesales thing all night long and she wanted to get away. She opened up her calendar and saw this invite for the dinner was still there and she hadn’t said yes or no yet. Looking at the RSVP list saw a few of the people that she wanted to actually speak with at the show and hadn’t had a chance to have accepted. So she accepted and she showed up, told us a little story and said thank you. This was the perfect, you know, Breakaway sit down dinner that I was looking for. It was great. It worked perfectly. And we did a similar fashion with a small one we had like a 10 person dinner. We had eight of 12 Except because it was a smaller knit group where we all knew each other really well. We knew the acceptance rates would be high. But again, in both scenarios you don’t have to beg Your SDRs to go get people to a dinner because that doesn’t hit their goals but it’s super important. And you don’t have to ask an EES to break away from their day . Did you ask those people for dinner yet? Have you asked them to dinner yet? Have you asked them to dinner yet? That’s the worst. And they don’t want to do it and you don’t want to bug them about it. And this was just a mind blowing way to do that super, super slick. So, key takeaways, be tailored and timely. With your meeting invites. Get a quick Yes, get the yeses to say yes at a higher rate. Because you’re asking right at that moment of interest. Get the nose out of the way, use your sales sequences for everyone else. And then include your very tailored subject line and agenda. You can find the blueprint for firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash calendar first. And if you want to see the platform and how it works, go ahead and request a demo. Otherwise, have a great day. I hope you learned something and I hope your events go extremely well this year.