Using subject matter expertise in lead generation

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There are about six million different approaches to lead generation. Probably 97 percent of them will never work, although companies keep trying them.

At its heart, lead generation is about conveying trust and value to someone who isn’t a customer yet. They are still a “lead,” and they might be cold or hot — ideally the latter — and you need to move them from there to “I give you money.” 

All these leads, be they cold or hot, have a problem in their business. They need to solve something, and probably someone — i.e. their boss — is on them to solve it quickly and within the right cost structure. 

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Oftentimes, in the lead gen stages, sales will keep sending “resources.” The resources have value, sure. But often, the leads need a problem solved now

Could there be an opportunity here?

Use your subject matter experts

Every company has subject matter experts internally, whether that’s based on their previous jobs or what they do for you. Often, these people’s time is protected, which makes sense. But loosen up those reins a little bit.

Imagine if someone in sales could say to a lead: “I hear the problem you are experiencing. Let me get you 30 minutes with Larry, who has helped a lot of companies with that problem. He will have some advice.”

Now, set up Larry with the lead for 30 minutes. Yes, Larry might have better things to do for that half-hour, but this can help close a deal.

Larry and the lead talk through the problem that the lead is experiencing. At about 23 minutes, Larry starts to wrap up. If the lead wants more info on his/her problem, Larry gives two options:

  1. Book paid time with me.
  2. Here are some of the features of our product/service that help with your specific problem. Look at those and ping me if you want.

Now you’ve turned a subject matter expert into a secondary salesperson

This can scare some executives, who think “My SMEs don’t have sales skills!”

Right, they might not. But you are not asking a SME to close the deal. You are just asking them to provide knowledge and insight about a problem to a lead, so that the deal can move along faster.

Almost everyone in business is trying to solve problems, overcome hurdles, do things faster, or do things at cost. If you can connect them with a legitimate expert in one of these areas, you’re going to move a deal from lead to close much faster.

One important note

SMEs often have a wealth of knowledge on a topic, so they might want to talk forever in response to a question. This is actually bad and can hurt sales flow. So you do need to prep SMEs about taking their knowledge and condensing it into bite-sized chunks or enough to fill a 30-minute discussion. 

Increasingly, companies are actually hiring less salespeople and more SMEs in some industries, calling SMEs “the new rainmakers.” This strategy can work for you if you’re willing to work with SMEs on how to structure discussions with prospects. 

How should they structure those discussions, then?

  • Quick small talk (2-3 minutes)
  • Ask what their main problem is (1-2 mins)
  • Listen to them discuss it (1-2 mins)
  • Respond with a high-level look at what you’ve seen and one example of what the company has done to help others (3-4)
  • Back-and-forth on the core problems of the lead (8-10 mins)
  • SME begins to wrap up (1-2 mins)
  • SME takes final questions and encourages next steps, product research, etc. (1-2 mins)

How does Bizxpand fit in?

We can actually provide both subject matter expertise and sales help! 

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