I started out as a Systems Engineer for a think tank in Los Angeles developing Operating System software. I liked speaking with clients, interpreting what they wanted and passing requests along to the development teams. I moved from development into product marketing.
I upgraded my skills and started supporting sales teams in disruptive technology. I worked with firms mostly located south of San Francisco, CA. Analog to digital phone systems – voice, data and 1MB Ethernet over twisted pair wire. Fun stuff. Unfortunately, salespeople struggled in selling disruptive technologies; management fired them all and bumped the System Engineers into sales.
Sales was tough. New market, new technology, nobody understood what we did. After a time of banging my head against a wall, I started applying my process background to sales. It worked. I developed an outreach content management system & managed my leads and contacts via a database.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I started my own company specializing in lead generation process (leadgen 1.0). I focused on outreach. Making contact with people we don’t know yet. I developed direct-response client-server technology for healthcare and financial services using direct-mail, phone & faxes for our content.
The software allowed clients to track conversion rates at every step in the sales process. Clients I serviced included the likes of UPS, NY Telephone, BCTel, Healthnet, FHP, MasterCard, Pacific Bell, Apple (Mexico), Deloitte, Bose and 1-800-Orkin.
Continuing to add to my outreach sales process expertise, I developed call queueing software for a 100-seat lead generation call center I co-owned (and sold). For those of you who’ve worked with me, the terms I teach are borrowed from predictive dialer technology. Back then, we used predictive dialers to generate appointments for companies like Pacificare, SCAN Health Plan, Prudential Insurance, AAA and Ameritech.
In 2009, I found Aaron Ross of Pebblestorm and began to learn the outreach process he developed for Salesforce.
We co-produced a book called Predictable Revenue and started working with clients. I soon realized that the process was incomplete. It was missing the entire side of direct response. It was also missing the idea of blending the telephone into the initial touch sequences.
Clients who hadn’t figured out that content, whether for inbound or outbound, drives behavior and therefore movement down the pipeline, were struggling to create anything predictable. The conveyor belt was in, but the high performing, finely-tuned stations along that belt (that is, content) were missing, meaningless or not compelling.
After Aaron & I parted ways, I continued to integrate my years of knowledge in building lead generation systems into the evolved concepts I use with clients. I overlay my new process with lean concepts of continuous improvement. I’ve been trying out my new stuff since then with great success:
“Kolmisoft – In about one month we have increased our email response rate from average 2-3% to 6-7%. We also have increased the number of meaningful conversations per day. We finally started getting leads that were passed to AE for further qualification.”
“Prialto – we got 10.5% response rate on emails this last week! It takes time but definitely works.”
“Yieldmo – I am so busy thanks to you. With your help I am consistently having 2X to 3X the number of conversations than in the past.”
“Ceros – The ‘CLOSED-WON’ emails keep coming from salesforce which is so exciting to see. We could not have made it this far without you Marylou!“
My clients continually push me to excel beyond my comfort zone. I welcome you to do the same.