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“Nowadays, more so than years past, the first sales call really occurs on the website.”

Mike: Hi everyone. I’m Mike Sullivan, and this is MO.com. Joining me today is Paul Alves of AG Salesworks. AG Salesworks is the leading provider of outsourced sales and marketing solutions for clients worldwide. Paul, I want to thank you for joining me today, and to kick things off, can you just tell us a little bit about AG Salesworks, what you do?


Paul: Sure. Absolutely. So what we do, initially, upon beginning an engagement is work with the team, so the VP of sales, VP of marketing, product specialists, salespeople, to really get a feeling for what it is that our client’s products or services do to help their clients. Once we get a great familiarity of what it is that they do and how they can help their clients, we engage in a five step process.

The first step is to focus in on data. We need to start with very, very high quality accurate data, 90% accurate or better. So we engage with our data team to pull together a list of quality data. Once we have that, we move to the next step, which is working with a part of the data team as well, which is a business development associate and take that data and begin to put together a marketing automation process where we reach out in an automated way to these folks as well as make an initial email and voicemail drop to start to touch the market.

From there, we move to the business development reps who will make the cold calls directly into the marketplace to engage with the prospects. Once we have done that, we will begin passing opportunities over to the salespeople. Once those opportunities occur, we close the loop by making a call to the salesperson as well as the prospect to make sure the call went well, it occurred, it was accurate, and is moving to a next step to close that loop.

The final step is to roll up the data and report on that data and to deliver the marketing intelligence back to the clients so that they can make the best decisions as to how to tweak their message or their approach moving forward.

Mike: Explain what you mean by taking a quality or a quantity approach to fully qualified sales lead generation.

Paul: Sure. So quality is something that we have been laser focused on for coming up on almost ten years now. When I was formerly a VP of sales and sales executive, what I found is there were many folks and many firms that were focused on appointment setting, and while that’s a fine model for some, we think that an approach where we’re much more laser focused on quality really maximizes the time, effort, and energy of the sales team. So we would much rather focus on real opportunities that have a very high probability of moving forward versus just a meet and greet with someone that might want to learn about the product or service and may or may not have any real ability or inclination to buy.

Mike: Paul, we’ve touched on a bit of this, but what makes AG Salesworks better than its competitors?

Paul: So our people, number one, and our process, I guess would be the second piece. We go to great lengths to hire, train, and retain the best and brightest in the industry, and we’ve been able to that very, very successfully over the past ten years. Our managers and directors have been with us seven to ten years, and our business development reps average ten years, a couple of years, which is more than double the industry average. So the high quality people and knowledge that they bring to the table and their capabilities, in addition to a process that we perfected over ten years, which we think is the best in industry, really enables us to deliver the highest quality opportunities and the highest number of opportunities that convert into sales pipeline and forecast.

Mike: You’ve worked with many clients worldwide, including many of the Fortune 500s. Can you describe for me what your ideal client would look like?

Paul: So our ideal clients are technology firms, software as well as hardware, that are searching for net new opportunities and high value opportunities. So while they are likely fielding inbound marketing leads and running after those and closing those, there’s always a subset of must-win accounts or these sort of dream accounts that the client wants to pursue, and that’s really where we specialize, is identifying high value opportunities and delivering those high value opportunities directly to the salespeople so that they can take the ball and run with it and close the deal from there.

Mike: Tell us more about your service of providing event optimization.

Paul: Sure. So event optimization generally runs in parallel with our process and our outreach. So while we’re on the telephone, if we don’t, well I guess if we do have a live opportunity or if we don’t, we invite those folks to a webinar or seminar or any event that might be important for our clients. So that is one of our services that runs in parallel with our general lead generation, and we also can do that on a separate basis where someone is just looking to drive attendance to seminars, webinars, etc.

Mike: I’ve been to your website, and I consider it to be extremely user friendly. Can you talk a little bit about the importance of a strong online presence?

Paul: Nowadays, more so than years past, the first sales call really occurs on the website. When we reach out to our marketplace or even on behalf of our clients, but specifically our marketplace, the first thing that they’re likely to do if they have any interest at all is go to AGsalesworks.com and take a look and learn about what it is that we do. If they feel, based on that experience, that we can help them, they’re likely to pick up the phone and give us a call or return an email and engage with us.

So it’s very, very important. That’s the sort of first impression. If you have the ability to capture their attention and really deliver a message of the value that we can bring in that first sales call, as I called it, it can be very powerful. We also engage in social media with a lot of blogging, our Twitter presence, and offering the marketplace a great deal of knowledge and best practice as well to drive that activity.

Mike: All right, Paul. I appreciate all the information. Any closing thoughts?

Paul: Sure. So I guess the only thing would be that I’m real excited to see where the marketplace is going. Ten years ago when I founded this business with my business partner, it was really all about quantity play. Just get me a bucketful of appointments, and we’ve been beating the drum for ten years that really it’s quality that you’ll want and best practice process. I’ve seen over the past couple of years, especially with the economy and marketing funds being very tight, that focus has shifted to the quality approach. So I’m real excited to see where the market is trending, given that that’s our focus, of course. A little self-serving there.

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