Episode 2 — The Leadfreak Framework
[00:00:01] Welcome to the Leadspeak podcast. With me Alex Thackray.
[00:00:17] Hi and welcome to episode two of Leadspeak, the podcast where we’ll be discussing automated sales systems, helping you to build one for your own business. Who am I? I’m Alex Thackray founder of Leadfreak. Where we build automated sales systems for many different business types. We want to pass on some of the expertise and knowledge we have. To You
[00:00:36] So welcome to Leadspeak. This for me is another fundamental episode which we’ll be referring to many times in the future, I imagine.
[00:00:50] Just a recap on last week we discussed, what was an automated sale system. What were the reasons businesses should be implementing them into their own sales processes and some of the reasons why they might not be.
[00:01:03] This week we’re going to be looking at the structure of an automated sales system and actually how we at Leadfreak would design a system for one of our clients. We’ve been operating now for two years with very strong growth rate. We’ve helped many different businesses reduce their customer acquisition cost increase their number of leads and ultimately expand their business. And the fundamental element of how we’ve been able to do that is from three areas. One is cold audience campaigns and bringing new prospects to the business. Two is developing a system within that business that attracts, nurtures and converts prospects into customers. And then three is by looking at actually once that prospect becomes a customer how can you deliver value above and beyond the competition which keeps customers continuing to purchase again and again with the same business, building advocacy, building customer loyalty, and ultimately giving the business an opportunity to sell premium valued products to a known and interested customer base.
[00:02:12] And so this week we’re going to be focusing on Number Two converting cold prospects and nurturing them through the customer journey until they become paying customers. Now I advise you to get comfortable because we’ve got a lot to get through and if you’re ready let’s begin.
[00:02:32] So if you listened to episode one at the end of the episode I told you we were going to review a framework we have at Leadfreak. I did actually refer to that framework as the s.c.i s.s.c framework but after telling you guys what that was called I thought that was utterly ridiculous. And so we’ll just refer to it as the sales system framework and what this is this is the framework that we use within Leadfreak.
[00:02:58] and our clients, when we’re looking to build an automated sales system for them. You can see a visual representation of the frame work in the Resources section and I will point you to the Leadfreak blog named Funnel Workshop number one where we give an example of when we’ve used that framework in a workshop setting to help define what that journey looks like for one of our clients. Just a few points before we get into the nitty gritty of the sales system framework.
[00:03:27] This sits post promotional campaign within the ecosystem and actually forms those campaigns which will be used to drive traffic into the pipeline, into that sale system. And second the sales system frame work is used after you’ve clearly identified who your customer is. Generally this can take a whole workshop in itself and we’ll spend a good two or three hours in actually determining the characteristics of our perfect customer, and it helps formulate the system, it helps populate that framework for the unique businesses that we use it for. And because that’s so important we’ll be looking at that in a future episode of leadspeak. So looking at the framework there are three layers, level one, level two, and of three will refer to them in this podcast. And as you move up the layers you are bringing your prospect closer to becoming that buying customer. Now the first level is all about making your prospect problem aware and establishing your expertise around that problem to make you a credible option in solving that problem for your prospect. There are three elements to this level we have symptoms consequences and expertise, or symptoms, consequences and insight. Depending on how that works for your business. Symptoms is quite self-explanatory. This is where we are looking to educate our prospects on the symptoms that they will experience when they have a problem. That ultimately you you can solve, but in identifying what those symptoms can be without even addressing the problem, your prospect is able to partially self diagnose that they have a problem or certainly they can recognize that they are experiencing symptoms that you are giving them some information about and therefore they will move on to the next piece of educational content that you deliver. So we look at what piece of content, what assets can we create, for our clients that communicates the symptoms that a prospect might be experiencing. Knowing, that ultimately it leads through to a solution that the business provides. And examples of content could be a simple blog piece it could be an article it could be a guide, anything really as long as its engaging, it’s easily consumed and it speaks to your targeted audience around a specific problem that they have.
[00:05:58] So to help identify what those symptoms might be and how to link the problems that your customer has to your products and solution one way that we run through the framework is actually from top to bottom.
[00:06:11] That helps to keep in mind actually the value proposition that your product and service provides to your target market, and it keeps that top of mind when coming up with ideas for these content pieces. So moving on to the next step of that first layer we’ve we’ve just finished the symptoms element. And now we’re going to look at the consequences. So this is very similar to the symptoms element that we’ve just discussed, the symptoms obviously looks at making people problem aware and identifying the symptoms that they may or they might be suffering as a consequence of a problem that they don’t yet know about. The consequences then looks at the next stage of that journey and establishes actually if the problem isn’t solved then what’s the likely affect on them as a person or a business (depending on who your market is) and really giving some cold hard data to support the reasoning behind your consequences. So it’s not just a case of saying if you have problem A then you will have consequence B and therefore you need to buy my product. It’s saying actually the symptoms that you are showing is part of a bigger problem, and the consequences of that problem can be X Y and Z. The reason we know that is because of customer a,b & C, who we have already worked with.
[00:07:41] Showing those exact same symptoms that you might be suffering from now. And these were the consequences. That then gives it a natural journey into that next step. So you’ve gone from this is the problem based on the symptoms that you are experiencing. These are the consequences of that problem if you do nothing about it. And then actually, the prospect is starting to think “actually what, that’s right. And what do I need to do now to try and help me solve that problem.
[00:08:12] So a key thing at this stage is really to be speaking the same language as your target market. There is no point talking about symptom A,B & C, if the way your prospects discusses those problems is in French and German. The two would just never connect. So, it’s really important to get that messaging right at this early stage, to really drive that connection with your prospect. And you know the best thing we found to determine what that language is, other than internal experience, is to actually ask existing clients, and speak to them around the problems that they faced, around the consequences of those problems, around what drove them to starting to do work with you as a business.
[00:09:07] Now you can collect this data through surveys, through questionnaires, or face to face interviews. But, again what we found is that actually, the more you speak with your existing clients about the problems that they’ve had, then it increases customer service levels. Because that is showing the existing customers that actually you care about the problems that they have, and you are looking to find a solution to those problems.
[00:09:37] So it’s an added benefit of actually engaging with your existing customer base to try and bring in new customers.
[00:09:45] So the third element on this first level is industry insights or industry expertise. And what we’re looking at focusing on in this final element, is giving some credence to you as an expert at solving that problem and is that through case studies, is it through experience, is it through informing people of industry knowledge showing the impact of those problems on businesses, showing them a change in the industry and what the future will look like for that industry. Really showing you as a as a leading expert.
[00:10:21] So for example let’s take I.T. infrastructure businesses so you have vendors operating through the standard channel to market through value added resellers and value added distributors. But the industry is changing. It’s no longer about one off hardware sales for three years and then that needs to be upgraded, it’s now changing into a software as a service industry or a product as a service industry. Or storage as a service industry, where there are no major hardware sales and actually the business models completely change to operate on a subscription basis. So where margin was given away to the VAD and the VAR, that margin is no longer there because the hardware sales aren’t there. The VAD and the VAR no longer offer the value that they used to do, and it takes a lot longer for the vendor to break even on a sale when there are no huge lump sums coming into the business, so we can show our clients that that is a problem, and actually how do you negate that problem, it’s by reducing customer acquisition cost which means removing the need to operate through a VAD and a VAR, and going direct from vendor to end user. And it just so happens that one way of doing that is through an automated sales system where we can deliver value and we can educate prospects earlier in the pipeline so that when a salesperson of the vendor is lined up to speak to an end user they’re fully informed they have the data to support what problems that person has and they can close the deal.
[00:11:51] So industry insight consequences and symptoms all comes together nicely in a package which really shows the prospect where they need to be in, and how future and how current problems are going to be affecting their business.
[00:12:04] And you might think that actually those three elements at that first level are quite basic, but it gives a good foundation for supporting your discussion with a prospect further into that framework. So they’ve always got information, they’ve always got educational points and assets to fall back on.
[00:12:22] And for you to deliver as they make their way through the customer journey. And you know one thing that we’re going to look at on a later episode of LeadSpeak is, so we’ve brought someone in to an area where they can access lots of information around problems, symptoms, consequences, industry insight, that’s providing a lot of value to them, but we can also take a lot of value of ourselves as a business when people are operating at that level.
[00:12:52] So we look at installing data collection tools which shows us what specific pages people have been on and therefore we can align that to the problem that they’re experiencing. If we cater for a number of problems, what specific problems are they dealing with and we can talk to them on a problem basis. Some people call it empathetic marketing, where we’re focusing on our clients problem. Similar with consequences and insight. What is it that is engaging our prospects and what is it that we can talk to them about at a later date. So we use tools to extract that data. We use that data to build audiences within our promotional campaigns to bring more people who have that same problem to our business, but also we can retarget the people who have been on to our site with supplementary information to again further bring them down that customer journey.
[00:13:53] So the next level in they sale system framework is self-diagnosis and actually this is probably one of my favourite levels within this framework. I really enjoy working at this level. And self-diagnosis came to me through a long history working in sales for many different businesses. I attended a workshop with a guy called Jeff Thull (THULL). He wrote a book called Mastering the complex sale. He works extensively with the likes of Shell in implementing this process into their business and this process is a diagnostic stage giving the prospect the opportunity to self diagnose based on their own data. So using their data they can not only identify that they have a problem, but they can see the financial impact that that problem has on their business.
[00:14:52] And ultimately when the discussion moves to solving that problem you can already see as a business the opportunity and value that you can deliver to your prospect, and they can see as well. So fundamentally you are enabling your prospect to self diagnose, to see the financial impact of that problem on their business, but 2) and probably just as important, it gives you insight in to, you know, the potential financial value that your product and service can deliver if it can solve that problem.
[00:15:33] And for me the one of the reasons why having that insight is so important is because it removes any discussion on pricing. If you can show that based on the price that you offer that they will receive a certain ROI based on their investment then pricing is no longer an issue, because you can show them the potential upside, 10 times, 20 times ROI of the solution that you are going to implement. And it’s a non decision. It’s just a natural course. Actually the prospect will take the next step into into purchasing the solution. So with this framework what we’ve been able to do is to pull in some of those complex selling techniques into a digitized and repeatable process, ultimately driving more and more high valued sales to our clients businesses.
[00:16:20] For example if you look at what Leadfreak are doing in this space, is we have a range of calculator’s that are hosted on our website behind an email Opt-In wall, which can help diagnose businesses who you know use a standard selling mechanism.
[00:16:37] Take sales people, and actually the potential upside if you are implementing an automated sale system that can increase the number of deals per month for their sales team. What’s the upside? What’s the financial impact to their business? And then ultimately if they were to repeat their standard process of one salesman, employing another salesman, then a third salesman. What’s the financial limitations of that process and ultimately what’s the upside if they were to implement a digital channel.
[00:17:05] A second calculator that we use is the convention impact calculator, which looks at what’s the upside for a business if they were to increase the effectiveness of their sales pipeline. Whether there is a digital channel in there are not, if they were to put 5 percent increase on conversion rates every step of the way what’s the potential upside. So we’re giving them some financial feedback on certain situations within their business and they can then make informed decisions about their next steps based on the data that they have to hand.
[00:17:35] I don’t think I can get across at this point, how important this self diagnosis stage is, and actually how much of a differentiator it is compared to other businesses, compared to maybe the competitors in your market. In facilitating the discovery of opportunities for your prospects based on their own data. So actually, it stops being a situation where you are telling your prospects they have a problem and then you can fix that problem, and actually showing them based on their data that they have a problem. And there aren’t many businesses doing it. And I think again, it is a real differentiation point for any business that looks to implement that as a standard sales process.
[00:18:28] So that’s levels 1 and 2 run through, and on to the final one within this framework. And just to make a point before we begin, you know this is just a framework to give you ideas on a structure that you can use to develop a sales process for your business. It doesn’t necessarily have to fit into the 1, 2 and 3 levels.
[00:18:51] Obviously every business is different and therefore these, these systems look different for each and every business. This is just a framework that we’ve developed that works well for us in, in our methodology of determining what those channels look like and they work well for our clients and they are getting very good results.
[00:19:11] So the final level then is short term instant relief. Now this is after a prospect has diagnosed for themselves that they have a problem, they need to fix, and it is financially beneficial for them to fix it.
[00:19:33] Now, what we found is, if a company, if one of our clients, or if we can offer short term relief, short term instant relief, to our prospects as soon as they discover they have a problem then those prospects convert.
[00:19:50] This stage of the framework, if you can align the short term instant relief to the self-diagnosis, in such a continuous journey for that prospect then the conversion rates are high, and not only are the conversion rates high for for people to consume that short term instant relief, but the conversion rate then to purchase in the core offering is also very high. And what do we mean by short term instant relief?
[00:20:21] So this obviously differs for many different businesses. If you have a software as a service business you might be offering a trial of your product for a set amount of time, you might be offering a full guide on how to implement a system. So actually giving your prospect the tools to do it themselves. But the fact that you’ve created that credibility, you’ve shown that you are an expert in the industry, then you will ultimately win a majority of business to implement those systems.
[00:20:53] Obviously it depends what the business is, but certainly where you can implement short term instant relief into your framework it is very powerful. An example that we do at Leadfreak, we look at hosting workshops, whether they’re digital workshops or face to face workshops.
[00:21:13] And this allows our prospects from businesses to come and learn some of the techniques that we have so that they can put in to their business with no obligation to purchase it. They get an immense amount of value out of that. We do like to offer these services digitally where we can. We do have a few rules at the short term instant relief part of the framework just to maximize your profitability per sale. Obviously if you are working on a face to face basis with everyone at this level of the pipeline, then ultimately the cost of customer acquisition becomes very high, if your spending lots of time with each individual customer. So we always try and make the short term instant relief digital. None person required, so you don’t need to be involved in the delivery of that short term instant relief and also, scalable. So it’s digital, it’s scalable, and there’s no human interaction involved in delivering that short term instant instantly. This keeps the customer acquisition cost to a minimum. Meaning that you get to keep more of the revenue generated by your core offer sale. What we’ve found in some of our more technical clients is that actually what they find is post self diagnosis they will look at offering an online demo of their products and how that would solve a particular problem for a business, so they would have a case study business within that demo speaking specifically around a problem.
[00:22:40] Now if you go back to the symptoms, consequences, and Industry Insights layer, where we’re looking to identify what the problem our prospects is at that early stage, we carry that through into the self diagnosis stage, and we’re still talking to them about their problem, and then into the short term instant relief. We’ve been able to tailor that offering, say the demo, to focus on a particular problem, so we can show, actually this is a viable method to solving your problem.
[00:23:10] The next step after recorded demo would be then to book one to one sales call with the sales team, again talk more about how that product and service can fit that particular business based on their outcomes from the self diagnosis, based on the value that they took from the record a demo and then moving forward to implement that bespoke offering for their business.
[00:23:34] So there are many ways that you can look to create short term instrumentally for prospects and it doesn’t necessarily have to cost you in your business in the far discounts. Again it’s very bespoke to each individual business what these short term instant relief look, and you will know from working with your customers what that could possibly be.
[00:24:05] And that’s it for the three layers of the sales system framework that we operate with at Leadfreak.
[00:24:12] So just to give you an overview of that again. Level one, we’re looking at symptoms, consequences, and insights. Making our prospects problem aware and educating them on the consequences of not solving that problem, and also establishing credibility for your organization by giving out Industry Insights, Case studies. Showing that you operate within the industry and you are an expert within it. The next level up at Level 2 we’ve got a self-diagnosis. Again this is a really really powerful level within this framework where we’re looking for our prospects to diagnose themselves based on their own data the financial impact of not fixing the problem. This then gives you insight into the financial value of your proposition and removes any element of pricing discussions because you can show them the value that they will receive by implementing your service or product, and then moving up to Level 3 is short term instant relief, where we’re looking to give our prospects a glimpse of what a world would look like where they dont have the problem that they have identified.
[00:25:27] Now there’s a whole other world around this framework where we’re looking at retargeting, we’re looking at diagnostic tools, we’re looking at you know, extracting lots of little bits of information about our prospects as they move through that journey to help facilitate our conversations, to help educate ourselves on what Converts for our prospects, and and we can use these data points to have better conversations with prospects before they become customers, and those are some of the things that we’ll touch on in future episodes of leadspeak.
[00:26:02] So from me Alex Thackray thank you for joining me on episode two of leadspeak. Join me next week. We’re going to be looking at some of the core tools that we use in our business to help build these automated systems.
[00:26:16] If you have any questions or comments following this episode, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Head over to leadfreak.co.uk.
[00:26:23] But for now I’ll see later.