John Barrows joined Tom Alaimo, GM of Pavilion’s Associate community, for an AMA covering a variety of topics from taking a career break in this economy to thoughts on outsourcing lead generation efforts.
Continue scrolling to read more, or watch the recording here.
Please be aware that the event recap does not provide a full transcript but presents condensed and refined responses for clarity and conciseness.
You mentioned in a past training how low-quality reps who send spammy emails will be in a tough spot with AI’s popularization. Where’s your head on this now?
Despite this being the norm, changing a person’s name or title in an email template does not make it truly personalized. After receiving an email in 2017 that was written by AI, John found it to be better than anything he could have written. This caused him to change his entire approach to personalization and recognize that AI can genuinely personalize at scale, specifically a better job of picking up subtle details.
But AI isn’t perfect at personalization. AI-generated emails are often obvious. But they are significantly better than what most SDRs shoot from their spam cannons.
Shortly after receiving that email, John attended Gary Vaynerchuk’s 4Ds Immersive Consulting Session. He asked Gary V about the impact of AI-generated content on human salespeople and was advised to focus on being the "last mile" – adding a human touch before sending the message. It was emphasized that as long as there is a human on the receiving end of communication, there is still value in personalization.
Thoughts on resigning to take a career break in this economy? Should I be concerned about open AE positions later in the year if I take a break?
First to consider is if you are financially stable enough to handle being out of work for an extended period of time. Right now, layoffs are happening, and there are quota-crushing AEs who aren't even getting the opportunity to interview.
If you take some time off, completely unplugging is not recommended. Things are moving so fast right now that if you're not staying up to date on what's happening and continually improving your skills, you're going to come back and be leapfrogged by hundreds of people who have continued to develop their craft.
What is your general take on the outsourced B2B call/lead generation agencies?
4-6 years ago, John would have declined the notion of outsourcing to B2B call/lead generation agencies. However, that was before AI-driven personalization. The crux of the matter is that external assistance lacks the internal insight, product awareness, and customer knowledge that in-house employees have.
John recommends looking for outsourced groups that have a model where you don't need them after a period of time. They help you identify your exact persona, figure out your messaging, and run tests. Then after the contractual time period, they give you back a data set so that you can continue to execute internally so you have better insights helping you scale fast.
What are ways to keep hot leads hot today?
First, I’d want to know what you consider a hot lead. I’d also want to know if you are nurturing a prospect or if are they further down your pipeline.
But all salespeople hear at some point, “I’m not ready right now,” and to call your prospect back in X number of months. Follow up with, “Happy to call you back in X months, but what is the best way to stay top of mind between now and then without being annoying?”
When you ask a question, you want to assume that the person you asked the question to is going to push back on you and ask, “Why?” Questions that have purpose are good questions to ask.
A simple reason “why” is by saying something like, “I like to stay up to date on industry trends and news. Is there anything specific that interests you that I should pass along?” You can set up notifications on Google or platforms like Feedly or Owler to be notified of relevant content, company awards, or new funding to keep your follow-ups relevant.
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