18 Appointments and 15% Closing Rate. Embracing the Art Dualism of Sales for Consulting Firm MONA
About MONA Solutions
MONA Payment Solutions is a consulting firm that works with businesses looking for a trusted merchant services provider. Since 2010, this boutique-style Californian agency has targeted retail, wholesale, facilities, business supplies, etc., helping them to make cumbersome credit card processing easier for thousands of clients across the world.
Having never partnered with a lead gen agency before, MONA Payment Solutions wished to outsource prospecting to boost their bottom line. MONA’s task for Belkins was to find the target audience sweet spot so that their pipeline would be packed with new deals. Here’s how this ongoing partnership started.
- B2B sales prospecting – Prospecting is crucial in every organization because it directly impacts the top line. However, this task is often tedious and intrusive, making it one of the least favorite tasks of sales professionals. Even if you don’t see prospecting stall in your company, ensuring your sales pipeline is packed with fresh quality leads is essential to the bottom line. MONA wished to make the most of its in-house sales team by outsourcing the back-breaking work of prospecting to a third-party expert. .
- The client’s ICP & BPs – As a young company, MONA wanted to be confident it doesn’t make a “rookie mistake” (prospecting without a comprehensive ICP). A detailed customer profile is the foundation of effective prospecting, so a lack of experience and knowledge can result in an inaccurate ICP or excessive details. Although an ideal profile is a generalized description, it can’t be too broad or overcomplicated. Once an ICP gets changed, Buyer Personas (BPs) are to change correspondingly.
- Email deliverability – MONA had low deliverability because the company name turned out to be a stop word in some languages. Clearly, having an irrelevant word in the email body couldn’t let MONA’s cold outreach find prospects effectively. Therefore, Belkins had to boost the client’s sender score and resolve these issues to ensure that the bulk of MONA’s cold emails landed in the recipients’ inboxes.
What we did
MONA’s prospecting project is ongoing. Even though there can be changes in lead generation tactics, so far, Belkins’s email marketing strategy looks like this.
Taking time for onboarding
Before any sales development team starts delivering, a lot of onboarding time may be needed to learn the client’s value proposition and hone their sales pitch to build an effective sales pipeline. The Belkins team pored over MONA’s sales enablement materials to understand all the nuances of the client’s business.
The challenge was to put in simple words what they do – how their credit and debit card payments work, how they calculate interest rates, and so on – so that Belkins reps could engage prospects with the value. Belkins’s learning curve was quite steep as we wanted to start booking appointments as fast as possible, yet we needed to educate ourselves more on the product and its features. However, the MONA team has provided us with all the learning content and chatted with us regularly to make sure they answered all our questions.
Embracing the Art/Science Dualism of Sales
Being good professionals as we are, the Belkins team relies on the perfect combination of art and science in our sales prospecting approach. We know that the two elements – creativity and structure – are equally important, and we excel at both. Dealing with the creative and artistic side of sales prospecting means that we’re working to develop effective messaging and connect with prospects empathically, on the level of emotional intellect. Then, getting the best of analytics and metrics goes in that science bucket.
Science is studying the data, analyzing the statistics, and learning from past mistakes. For example, we tell ourselves: We launched ten campaigns over the last month, performing brilliantly at six. Let’s look at the four we lost and examine why they didn’t work out. Let’s slice it by industry and budget to understand better where we should focus our efforts next time around. For MONA, we blend art and science for each and every approach.
- Targeting the right audience. The Belkins team has been looking for the right-size targets for MONA. Large companies aren’t the best-fit niche for MONA because they have their merchant providers. First, we tried a lot of different industries, including wholesale, facilities, medical devices, transportation, retail, e-commerce, building materials, etc. Next, we tested multiple approaches, titles, and buyer personas to understand what works best.
- Cold calling. Then, two months in, MONA started a research package. Belkins professionals do lead research and put up lead lists, and then the MONA team starts cold calling leads directly. That approach showed what titles responded better.
In email marketing, rejection isn’t as straightforward as face-to-face selling. You just don’t get the expected numbers. And there can be many reasons why your email outreach campaigns fail to fly. Here our analytic thinking skills come in handy. This template doesn’t work – how can we tweak it? Let’s change the subject line. Any improvements in open rates? Good, now let’s play with the opening line. Let’s improve incrementally.
- Email outreach. We have tweaked our email templates many times, looking for catchy subject lines and customizing wording. Short templates turned out to work much better than the more detailed ones. So we decided to move further with the "short" option.
- LinkedIn outreach. We have recently added a LinkedIn campaign to boost our traction and generate more appointments for MONA. But it’s too early to see the tangible results.
Feeling for the delicate balance between discipline, intellect, creativity, and empathy, the Belkins team brings its top results.
- 18 qualified appointments booked in just 3 months;
- 15% sales closing rate from appointments booked to deals closed;
- 0% - appointment "no-shows" rate.
- Be relentless. Try as many approaches as needed to find the most effective one. Look into various industries and gather feedback from those prospects who are not interested as sometimes they can give you a hint on what should be improved.
- Think big and fresh. Don’t hesitate to check whatever needs should be tested for success. Let’s take titles and personas, for example. One company puts a CFO or just a Financial Manager in charge, while another chooses a CEO or a COO. It depends, and we need to reach out to many different titles among a huge number of companies to understand which title will work best for the client.
- Longreads aren’t working in email marketing. Email marketing doesn’t favor long-form emails. It’s true that no one even considers writing a 2-page proposal. However, two paragraphs is a long read these days. Our understanding is prospects are too busy to read long emails, so only short hyper-personalized templates work for cold outreach.
- Your diligence pays off. Because of the specificity of the client’s business, we spent loads of time looking for ways to explain to prospects what the company does in simple words. We diligently tried various templates, and after gathering some stats, we finally found out what produces excellent results.