Welcome to Episode 18 of the Sales Influencer Series, where we interview leaders on the cutting edge of sales and marketing. In today's episode, Ambition Director of Marketing Jeremy Boudinet interviews LeadLiger Co-Founder and CEO, Ken Barton.

Leadliger is a brand-new prospecting tool that integrates with LinkedIn, pulls leads of your choice, then auto-generates accurate contact information and imports them directly into your CRM.

Ken joins us to give his passionate, insightful advice for prospecting new leads.

Ep 18. How to Prospect Like a Champion

Interview Topics 

1. Introductions and Pre-LeadLiger. 0:00 - 7:40.

Synopsis: Ken Barton is the Co-Founder and CEO of LeadLiger. He grew up in Orlando, Florida surrounded by nothing but franchises, so he created his own business at 14 years old, a newspaper, and got paid advertising for it. He then sold the ads to an actual newspaper. He went to Florida State, graduated and entered the sales profession, where he's been a top 5 percent performer in every sales team he's been on.

Ken lives by one word: tenacity. He was taught by his hockey coach to have a very militant approach, focused approach. Ken brought that to sales and found out that if he was militant about prospecting and quickly grabbing their attention, he would be successful. Ken was spending a massive amount of his time prospecting. He didn't mind getting no's, because he used that to create his ideal customer persona.

Right before LeadLiger, Ken was managing a team of sales reps, who were tasked with finding and reaching out to hundreds of people every day. Finally, one of the SDRs came up to Ken and told him, "I can't find prospect contact information." I can find prospects using LinkedIn, Owler and so forth, but I can't figure out how to contact them.

Ken took it upon himself to go out and find contact information for his reps. LeadLiger was born out of the massive time required to find prospect contact information, Ken's desire to find a faster way to get prospect information and the realization that no such software existed to get that information to his reps. Lead lists like ZoomInfo, for example, often provide bad data.

2. Ken's Philosophy on Prospecting. 7:40 - 11:00.

Synopsis: When it comes to prospecting, Ken believes that too many sales managers give a man a fish, rather than teach a man to fish.

What he means by that is, many sales organizations supply their reps with thousand-person lead lists (often with incorrect information) only to have the reps come back and say, "these leads suck."

Ken built LeadLiger to help "teach reps how to fish," by making it easier for reps to go out, find accounts they thought were great fits, then quickly get contact information on several key prospects in that organization.

3. Who Should Do Prospecting? 11:00 - 15:29.

Synopsis: Ken has experienced many different marketing and sales relationships. In Ken's experience, although marketing is working very hard and delivering a large amount of leads to sales, they will never be in the trenches like sales is.

Ken believes in the autonomous sales team, who says, "here's our ideal profile," based on who they've sold to in the past and who your current customer base is. As you build out a prospecting plan, you should be looking at how your clients are structured. For example, you're seeing a ton of success in finance companies with between 200-1000 employees, and in these particular states.

On the other hand, you're striking out a lot with other types of companies in the finance industry, either because a competitor is already in a certain segment, pricing and so forth. On the subject of whale hunting, Ken believes that reps should spend 80 percent of their time focusing on accounts that are not whales. He also believes that it should not be marketing dependent.

4. Ken's Do's and Don't of B2B Prospecting. 15:29 - 20:27.

Synopsis: Ken believes in 3x3. You should know 3 things about that company and their personal needs before you reach out via phone. If you're doing a calling blitz, it's good to spend 3 minutes researching that company before you reach out.

Next, Ken advises thinking about "unique need." Don't try to ask the same questions as anybody else. Do a lot of listening. You'd be surprised. If you get a chatty Cathy, you can learn a lot about your prospects. 

Dipping into email, Ken has scored many leads with a calendar link and a threat. I will follow up with you. He sends a Calendly link, USP and a threat. Would you like to snag a time on this day, so I don't have to call you again? 

What happens more often than not is they say: Fine, I'll take the meeting, because this guy is going to email me 50 times over the next 6 weeks.

As for don'ts, don't spray and pray. Don't think that you should go after every company in an industry the same way. Don't expect prospects to call you back. 

5. Being Persistent vs Bothering Prospects. 20:27 - 24:28.

Synopsis: If you're not providing a proper solution to a prospect's problem, or, if you don't believe that you are, then you will feel like you're bothering a prospect. One of Ken's old reps would start every email with, "I'm sorry for bothering you." And it drove Ken insane. He told her, "if you believe our tool is so bothersome, then you shouldn't be selling it."

You have to believe in the product you're selling and believe that you can add value to clients. And it all comes back to prospecting. If you're not talking to the right people or company, then you're digging yourself in a hole you can't get out of. One of the first thing Ken implements in his teams is the mentality, "we are solving a problem."

That's incumbent on the sales director. A friend of Ken's who sells ERP, for example, knows that the way her solution helps top executives is by saving them time. And that's why she's extremely successful - she's able to communicate the number one way she can help them across the board.

6. Ken's Do's and Don'ts of Lead Qualification. 24:28 - 31:41.

Synopsis: Fail fast. As a startup founder, Ken does this every day. It's important to fail fast and learn fast, so you can start qualifying better rapidly.

Start by looking at what you already have and what you had previously, in terms of previous customers. Think of it like a spiderweb. Who have you sold to into the past and how? Was it company size, industry, the person you went after - that helped close the sale. Why did they buy, how are you helping them and do you believe that they'll buy in the future?

Use funding, competition, social media and so forth to do crazy research and figure out, in three minutes, whether a company is qualified for your product. Make a tally system or some other way to keep track. But whittle down your ideal customer profile and keep refining and testing using research.

Don't go whale hunting. 40 percent of sales-based companies are now only whale hunting. You should not just qualify off of value-size. We get it. You all want to go for those whales. But it's just not a good idea. The largest market segment that's buying software, for example, is mid-market.

Ken had an SDR previously who was selling QA to tech companies. She said, "I'm going to figure out how to get you, Ken, on the phone with Facebook. Look at how much money they have. They're perfect." Ken had to explain to her that they were, in fact, not a good fit. He told her that she needed to focus on just setting meetings with qualified leads, regardless of size. The smaller the company, the faster the deal can come because the more immediate the problem you're likely solving. In the end, thanks to competition and internal diligence tendencies, it's much easier to go after mid-market and SMB than hunt enterprise.

7. Ken's Favorite Prospecting Tactics. 31:41 - 38:14.

Synopsis: Ken's cold outreach tactics involve a lot of email. As a sales guy, he's always in front of his email, so there's a benefit. He also likes all the statistics he can get based on A/B testing messaging, subject line, persona and so forth.

Where Ken has a don't for cold outreach tactics is using LinkedIn InMail. Once LinkedIn removed the refund it granted for an InMail message that didn't receive a response, the value plummeted. While Ken believes people live on LinkedIn, he still sees cold email as his favorite outreach tactic. With that said, he also believes in a phone follow-up. No deal has ever been closed by a follow-up email.

Ken also preaches easy buy-in, namely by putting the Calendly link directly in the email. After a conference, Ken will send out emails with his Calendly link directly in the email. This allows prospects to quickly grab 30 minutes where it's convenient for them.

Using Calendly, Ken is also able to ask 3 quick, qualifying questions such as: 1) How many sales reps do you have? 2) What CRM do you use? And so forth. That expedites the qualification process and gives Ken important intelligence for the meeting. This tells them how qualified they are and how Ken can help them.

What's great about LeadLiger is the analytics that they provide, but the pitch will differ to small versus large companies. Ken advises getting an email with a Calendly link in it.

7. Where to Find Ken and LeadLiger. 38:14 - 41:29.

Synopsis: Ken can be found on LinkedIn or by email at ken@leadliger.com. LeadLiger tends to work best with small to large sales teams. They're trialing with Oracle EMEA right now, which has 1,700 reps. But they're also in Intacct, who has 14 reps.

LeadLiger is a tool built on top of LinkedIn that pulls leads from LinkedIn, generates their personal email and phone number at that company, and imports that information into your CRM. And you can do 700 leads per day. LeadLiger is priced extremely low so you can use it at scale. They have a direct integration with Salesforce and are working on one with HubSpot. They can build you a custom integration with Close.io, Marketo or whoever else you'd like to integrate with, just reach out. 

The Sales Influencer Series Library

To check out further episodes and see why CloserIQ has ranked the Sales Influencer Series as one of the very best sales podcasts of 2016, just click on the links below. 

Episode 1. John Barrows

Episode 2. Lori Richardson

Episode 3. Max Altschuler

Episode 4. Matt Heinz

Episode 5. Mark Leslie

Episode 6. Kyle Porter

Episode 7. Jon Bradford

Episode 8. Eks Anderson

Episode 9. Matt Hottle

Episode 10. Heather Morgan

Episode 11. Ilan Ferdman

​Episode 12. Ryan Jenkins

Episode 13. Tamara Schenk

Episode 14. Mike Weinberg

Episode 15. Scott Britton

Episode 16. Mark Kosoglow

Episode 17. Dionne Mischler

Episode 18. Ken Barton

Episode 19. Kevin Karner

Episode 20. Jill Rowley

Episode 21. Brandon Redlinger

Episode 22. Will Wickey

Episode 23. Drew Woodcock

Episode 24. Dail Wilson

Episode 25. Nathan Sexton

Episode 26. Tucker Max

Episode 27. Bruce Tulgan

Episode 28. Dallas Hogensen

Episode 29. Morgan J. Ingram


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