By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

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This week’s show is called “Is Outbound the New Normal? How Prospecting has Changed in 2020” and our guest is Eric Quanstrom, CMO at CIENCE Technologies

We talk all about outbound and how to make outbound work.

We first talk about why outbound is still working and then differentiate between good outbound and all the bad outbound that we still see. We start with how and why outbound is still thriving the way that it is.

I think that number one, outbound works because it’s taking a very specific targeted approach to having a vendor solution provider services based company that wants to land a specific logo or specific logos going forward. And then backfills with all of the motions necessary to create sales opportunities for themselves with that targeted group. And that’s really the secret sauce if you will.

This AND A LOT MORE.  Listen in now and/or read the full transcript below.

Matt:  Thank you everyone for joining us on another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio, very happy you’re all here. Very quickly, if you’re listening live on the Funnel Media Radio network, thanks so much for joining us in the middle of your workday.

If you’re joining us on the podcast, thanks so much for subscribing and downloading. This has been a record year, Paul of people checking out the podcast in a pandemic it’s been pretty exciting to watch. And if you want to catch up, if you’re new to the program and you want to see what we’ve been up to, you can catch all of our past episodes on demand at salespipelineradio.com. We do have an amazing guest today.

Every week we’re featuring some of the best and brightest minds in B2B sales and marketing. Today, absolutely no different the CMO of CIENCE Technologies from beautiful San Diego, California, Eric Quanstrom. Eric, how are we doing?

Eric:  I’m dynamite Matt, that I couldn’t have asked for better intro.

Matt:  I always give Paul a hard time because he’s down in south Cal. He’s more sort of Orange County area. And so I always give him crap about, when he talks about the rain, I call it beach drizzle. And so in my wife is from San Diego and I realize it’s not quite June gloom time, but how are we doing down there? Do you have forest fire smoke or is it, is San Diego just as beautiful as usually?

Eric:  It’s beautiful as it usually is, but we are in the middle of what is now fire season, it’s always a concern. And few weeks ago we had a kind of a lot of ash in the air. Who knows what’s the new normal these days anymore?

Matt:  Well, hopefully we can get some of those fires out, clearly the sky up and be able to differentiate between the marine layer and the smoke because marine layer is a little healthier, but… Now I appreciate you joining today and you know so much we can talk about, Eric, known you for a while and you’ve led fast-growth startups in the marketing side for a long time.

And I’m very intrigued by what you guys are doing at Science Technology. Maybe just talk a little bit about the company and what you guys do and sort of what marketing’s role is there.

Eric:  Absolutely. CIENCE Technologies is a little over five years old. In that time we’ve worked with over a thousand different organizations, helping them, and I think this is really appropriate for your audience, build pipeline. I’m on Sales Pipeline Radio, and that is literally our mission and goal in life, is to mainly through orchestrated out-bounds, go in and source new sales opportunities for each one of our clients.

And we have clients as big as Google and as small as sales consultancies with two people in the entire company and frankly a lot of businesses in between. It turns out that we have a really large total addressable market.

And what’s exciting about that is we get to work with a lot of different types of B2B businesses and bring a lot of our thinking, our methodologies, our ways of conducting multi-channel outbound to the table, and so it never gets boring around here.

Matt:  That’s awesome, and I think, as Paul mentioned, I think one of the things I want to talk about is sort of the role of outbound in marketing today. Because I think for years we’ve heard about the darling of inbound marketing that we need to earn all the prospects to come to us and even during a pandemic, Oh, the phone’s dead, no one’s answering the phones. Everyone’s sort of going into their digital holes.

And both the data that I’ve seen from companies, the research I’ve seen from people who ask what and what’s working and then even some of the stories you’ve been able to share, not only is outbound not dead, it is alive and thriving and a lot of companies are using it in smart strategic ways to build their pipelines. I want to first talk about why is outbound still working? And then I do want to also differentiate between like good outbound and all the bad outbound that we still see. We’ll start with how and why is outbound still thriving the way that it is.

Eric:  Well, I think that number one, outbound works because it’s taking a very specific targeted approach to having a vendor solution provider services based company that wants to land a specific logo or specific logos going forward. And then backfills with all of the motions necessary to create sales opportunities for themselves with that targeted group. And that’s really the secret source if you will.

A lot of people, the heritage of outbound has negative connotations. You hear people calling it cold calling or cold outreach. I like to look at from the standpoint of a vendor forward, when you’re choosing go-to-market strategies, outbound is extremely relevant because ultimately you get to pick your direction, you get to pick purposefully the motions in which you use, the messaging in which you use, the targets in which you’re speaking to, and having all of that, be very premeditated, are the ingredients for running successful outbound campaigns?

Matt:  Well, I think what’s important to keep in mind in there is that you’re being targeted with your message, but you’re also being respectful of the prospect and talk a little bit about why that approach like having a buyer centric approach is so important to making outbound work. So it doesn’t feel like another interruptive cold call.

Eric:  Yeah. If you’re not leading with the personas, if you’re not leading with a buyer centric mentality, then you’re not going to have that much success, and you’re frankly doing it all wrong. Largely because any time you are coming onto their radar, regardless of channel, whether it’s phone, email, social, primarily LinkedIn, web, or even kind of advertising, the ideas are really around putting a message into a place where it can be relevant to the prospects themselves.

If you’re irrelevant, if you’re just kind of pushing your agenda, pushing your features, your benefits, “Me, me, me,” is what I like to call that, you’re going to get tuned out and you’re going to get ignored.

And I’ll tell you this, most of our clients, companies and who we’re reaching out to and their ideal client profiles, including our own, are very smart, super savvy, ambitious executives, and their pattern matching capabilities of kind of tuning out the noise are extraordinary. The bar for conducting outbound campaigns that work is already really high.

It’s really about each company kind of getting their game together to where they can develop commercial insights where they can have interesting hooks or reasons why you should pay attention to their brand, their product, their service in light of a prospect’s own needs

Matt:  Talking today on Sales Pipeline Radio with Eric Quanstrom, he’s the CMO at CIENCE Technologies and talking all about outbound, and how to make outbound work. And I think when you talk Eric about sort of this cold call and what cold calls, and cold call in the industry sometimes feels like a dirty word. Like I can’t cold call, cold calling is dead. But calling cold is really not that different than emailing cold. Then sort of reaching someone called another channel. I mean, every relationship starts cold until you prove you have something interesting to say, is it because the phone is seen as more interruptive? That it’s seen as such a bad thing and cold emails or are okay.

Because I think your message about sort of approaching that call by saying, I know who I’m calling, I know why this, I have something of value for them. I’m not going to assume my first call is going to work. I’m not going to assume that like cold call or cold email to a cold list is going to yield a high conversion rate. How much of this is about approach and how much of this is about sort of patience and discipline for a process that sometimes can take some time.

Eric:  It’s all of the above. That we’re an SAT question. Targeting matters, messaging matters and the way in which the craft in which you outreach also matters. Yeah, people are generally disdainful or feel like something interruptive. If they can’t immediately be taken to the value of, why call?

One of the things that I like to look at or break down kind of the interaction if you will, on behalf of any SDR that’s placing a call to any targeted ideal customer, prospect on the other end of the line, would really be around what value am I bringing to the table and why am I reaching out in the first place? Understanding that is something that’s really important. In fact, if I kind of just take the cohort of the prospect themselves, I asked myself because I’ve been on the buy-side for two decades now, and it’s pretty relevant because I like to say that I’ve seen it brutal, heard it at all.

Where do ideas come from? Where does value come from? Where does finding a better solution, a better answer to a project or a need that my company has actually come from? Certainly it can’t be within the sphere of our locus of control of one individual. I think that it’s probably an underappreciated thing, but the ability to source and set an agenda from an outbound perspective is a really powerful one.

And the data kind of supports this, if you look at all of the most successful companies in the B2B space, all the fastest growing companies, they’ve been running outbound campaigns for pretty much their whole growth trajectory. They all know something that I think a lot of other companies would be wise to adopt, which is outbound is a great way of getting in first with the idea that you want to put out there to the world and really talk to an audience that is a good fit for your product.

Matt:  Now we got to take a quick break here, pay some bills. We’ll be back more with our guest today talking about outbound. I want to talk about some pitfalls or how companies approach it both internally and externally. We’ll be right back on Sales Pipeline Radio.

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Paul:  And now back to Matt and his guest.

Matt:  Thank you, Paul. It’s an interesting topic today. Something that in some corners can be controversial, but I don’t really know why, because I think it’s a strategy that when done well can be highly effective at driving one of our favorite topics while which is predictable pipeline, talking today with Science Technology CMO, Eric Quanstrom.

Eric, sometimes if you talk to people, they’re like, okay I get it. Like I can come up with the right target list and a good message. I’m just going to write a script and give it to a couple of college graduates and have them set some appointments for me.

And to quote Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi. Everything about that statement is an untrue, ineffective. Talk a little bit about some of the pitfalls that companies face, that can artificially make outbound ineffective and fail.

Eric:  Putting any campaign into the hands of the inexperience is generally a recipe for failure. Any successful campaign really starts with strategy. It starts with understanding kind of who you’re outreaching to. I love to think, because this is pretty much religion here at science, that research matters because it saves time and efficiencies for all the motions that follow up.

If you get that piece of it wrong, like if you’re just going to a phone book and you start dialing in A and ending with Z, you’re just radically inefficient, on the flip side once you get targeting down, you can really start to think deeply about what are some of the needs of this title, of this organization, of this particular role? And how does my product service or solution relate to solving those problems?

And so you can make some educated guesses as to the kinds of things that the personas you’re reaching out to are really going to care about, what their hot button issues are, what are the things that they’re likely to respond to? And then also, fairly big religion here, we like to hit on virtually every channel at our disposal. We’re multichannel by default, which is a really tough thing to pull off. If you’re not used to designing a sales motion, the sales playbook for each and every channel at your disposal.

Matt:  What about the idea of trying to systematize the outbound effort? Because I think key to making it work is having some kind of a process you follow, but I don’t think scripts necessarily are the way to do that. I mean, the research I agree with you is really important, but how do you create that consistency? And then why do a lot of good appointments, a lot of good outbound efforts fail to get converted?

Because especially in your organization, you guys are teeing up pipeline, you can throw that back to an organization and they can still fumble it. What are some of the keys to driving real qualified interest from the prospect and what are the keys to converting that into authentic pipeline on the client side?

Eric:  Sure, great question. And you know, about the sales cycle, any sale has changed. You’re really going through a change management process at the very top of the funnel, initiating that change oftentimes has nothing to do with the brand of the product or service that you particularly in habit.

In fact, one of the pernicious mistakes that I see a lot of marketers make when experimenting with outbound, is that they want to do outbound very similar to the way they do inbound or anything else. They want to lead with features and benefits, and that’s a mistake. And the reason why is because nobody cares yet.

And ultimately, if you can wrap anything again in the language of your persona, their problems, their needs, their goals, their hopes, their dreams, their own aspirations, so that they can begin to evaluate again, your product or service or solution in a way that would be a better alternative, it would solve a discomfort that they currently have. They would be better than their current vendor or current way of attacking a particular problem. That’s exactly where successful sales cycles are born.

From that point forward through the rest of the sales cycle, outbound should be treated differently than all of their channels in the go-to-market stack. Don’t assume that people are doing their homework and forging their own research in the mythical 57% of the way through the bicycle. Outbound actually can circumvent that process because it can set the agenda and get you in early.

And the benefit to doing that for a sales team is to ultimately bring a buyer on a journey that you helped shape, right? And this is really where paying very close attention to how you helped other customers in the past, not just post-sale and what you’ve solved for them, but how you help get them to the mindset of why they needed your product or service in the first place, right?

So that you’re pattern matching and you’re basically offering a solution to a prospect that you’ve already solved before. That’s your unfair advantage. And bringing that forward through the sales cycle can allow for an organization to teach, educate, bring customers into their fold in ways that will make them better.

Matt:  Just a few more minutes with our guests today on Sales Pipeline Radio, Eric Quanstrom. You’ve been at Science now one of the three and a half years or so. We’re able to get some pretty solid footing and momentum before the pandemic hit. Can you talk a little bit about some of the pivots that you’ve had to make internally and what have some of the lessons been for you as a marketing leader, as a business leader, leading a team of marketers, what are some things that you think are going to be lessons that we can continue to use to improve our performance moving forward?

Eric:  Yeah, it’s been really fascinating, is we landed on the Inc. 5,000 list last two years in a row and that’s a three-year study from first 2015 to 2018 and 2016 to 2019, prior to the pandemic hitting. We were able to really grow and grow fast. Well, what I will say is during COVID, we had a fair number of our own clients pause, and kind of like, wait to see which way the wind blows. And then June, July, August, and September hit. And they’ve all been the four highest sales month in our entire company’s history.

And I think one of the things that I attribute that to is that number one, we drink a lot of our own champagne. Outbound is very key and very core to how we go to market as a brand. We’re actually, and this is going to get kind of matter, but we’re actually showing how we do the job by doing the job that we’re about to do for a lot of our clients. So they get comfortable with, “Oh, I could have that happen for my brand, and I can get a taste of what multi-channel orchestrated outbound actually feels like.” That said.

I think some of the other things me as a CMO have really been focused on and that we’ve been hearing a lot in kind of our sales cycles and anecdotally from our own clients, is that after the pandemic kind of like took everybody and work from home and what do we do and all of the uncertainties and the very next conversation that seems to be happening in so many organizations is all right, how do I grow? Where’s my next new deal coming from? How do I build pipeline right now? Because Q3 and Q4 and Q1 of 2021 and beyond are where my head is now with my business.

Matt:  Yeah. And it really, for companies that are trying to build qualified demand and pipeline from larger organizations, they should be thinking about pipeline for 2021 and let’s not assuming that the email next week and that quick growth hack tactic is going to help you get there. And it’s certainly gratifying to see that not only is outbound still highly successful, but I got the question the other day, how are you adjusting to an all digital marketing landscape?

And I said, “Well, it’s not all digital for me, like I mean, you could still use the phone, you can still use direct mail. There’s just these, some of the previous expectations around those channels may have shifted a bit.” But to be honest, Eric, it’s great to hear you guys growing, but for your clients and for your pipeline, it should be good news to hear that a lot of companies are abandoning those channels, because it means it’s going to create more oxygen for those that use it and use it well to be successful.

Eric:  Yeah, and let’s be honest from one marketer to another, the noise that’s out there on virtually every channel is incredible. There is no golden ticket, there’s no easy button that any marketer pushes any more these days, all channels are kind of very occupied, very competitive and super oftentimes expensive.

kind of look at a lot of the companies that used to go to market pre pandemic with huge event budgets and kind of relied on a lot of old strategies to get them through. Well, a lot of them are really thinking differently about their entire business and thankfully a lot of them are really coming around to the benefits of outbound and moving forward I think very strategically towards new growth.

Matt:  Last question for you that I kind of briefly referenced to the beginning is sort of the fascination with inbound for a long period of time, you had some software that generated a bit of a movement and now you’ve got a bunch of people sort of saying, “hey, it’d be great if I could just get everybody to come to me.” My biggest challenge with inbound alone is among other things, is that you really don’t have control over quantity and quality of what comes in.

In the last couple of minutes we have here, talk a little bit about the right balance between using inbound and outbound and how it’s really maybe more a matter of all bounds and sort of like finding the right mix of all of the above to make sure you’re getting not just volume, but getting quality and consistency take your number.

Eric:  Yeah. I couldn’t agree more and as someone who’s been head of marketing for geez, decade and a half now, what I would say is that there’s absolutely never anything wrong with inbound and, I’m an inbound supporter and enthusiast if you will. That said, I think one of the smartest moves that I’ve implemented in any of my last few roles, is really front-ending inbound with an SDR motion. That ultimately what you’re providing downstream to any sales team members that you’re feeding is qualified, trusted leads.

And I think that having an SDR for immediate response time, a very cogent qualification process that can and should be buyer focused is really worth its weight in gold and something that I would definitely advocate to any practitioner, any other fellow CMOs out there. Largely because we’ve seen such great return and frankly if you lose trust with the sales organization, so many podcasts about sales and marketing alignment. Once that trust is lost, it frankly never comes back.

I’m a big believer in having marketing serve sales and I think that having all of the motions that support the sales apparatus in any given organization is really smart, wise, resourceful thinking.

Matt:  Last quick question for you before we have to wrap up, things changed quite a bit in February, March of this year. Things are still going to stay a little, socially distance for a little while longer. What’s something you miss from the beginning of the year that you’re looking forward to eventually getting back to and what’s maybe something that you do not miss that it was part of sort of your old life, professional or personal that you’re looking forward to leaving behind as well.

Eric:  Wow. That’s a great question. I feel like I’m an extroverted person and I don’t mind going to gatherings, parties, places where you just don’t have to think twice about. Interacting with other people, live and in person, like events on the business side, like social gatherings on the personal side, that I just can’t wait to get back to and I feel like that’s just something that can come too soon.

On the things that I won’t miss, I think that one of the things that’s fascinating, we’re a company of just under 700 people and we went entirely virtual in early March, I feel like slightly ahead of the curve, but our employees for the most part have said, “Work from home works for us.”

And have really kind of raised their hands vociferously, that there’s a lot of economies of scales and efficiencies to not having a long commute or to getting back into kind of the way things were always done, just because that’s the way they were always done. So I think that the work from home kind of reality for most knowledge workers is going to be here to stay. And for a lot of people, that’s a really big benefit.

Matt:  Well, lots of good insights today on a lot of different topics, want to thank our guests, Eric Quanstrom, from CIENCE Technologies for sharing with us about a lot about inbound and about what’s clearly still working as we navigate through 2020.

We got to run. It’s been great. Thanks very much for joining us on behalf of my great producer, Paul, this is Matt Heinz. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Sales Pipeline radio.

Paul:  And with that, we wrap up another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio right here on the Funnel Radio channel, for at work listeners, Like you.

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Sales Pipeline Radio is sponsored and produced by Heinz Marketing on the Funnel Radio Channel.  I interview the best and brightest minds in sales and Marketing.  If you would like to be a guest on Sales Pipeline Radio send an email to Sheena.