Friday, April 9, 2010

So long Blogger....

Its been swell, but the contents of this blog have moved to  

Hope to see you over there!

Rusty and Mark

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A scientist's thoughts on lead generation - target identification

This is the third article in a series on finding Key Influencers (KIs) to champion your products (Part 1 and Part 2).

If you read part two, you now are armed with the power to observe and identify the KIs in a lab on cold call (cold walk-through).  The next step is to identify your target by name, email, phone number, and interests both scientific and personal. Your job is to get to know that KI personally and, you will do that by helping them with their research.

Back to the Role Playing.......You get home (late because you walked through after 5pm when KIs are working).  On your walk through one lab you saw the name "Rusty" and initials "JRB" on a lot of products and notebooks in particular bay.

To identify this KI, you can go to the lab's website and look at the members. Here's an example on my labs webpage, the Esko Lab at UCSD.

You quickly know two things about the potential KI; he has PhD and his last name is Bishop.  The fact he has a PhD tells you he has at least been in the lab for 6 or more years.  The last name is your final clue in fingering this scientist as a KI.

Look at that handsome devil! Nice goatee

To do that, you need to discover his publication record in pubmed. 
So surf over to Pubmed, enter the last name of the lab head and the last name of the potential KI (in this case 'esko and bishop'. You should get a reasonable list of publications 9-20 with their name it might look something like this. Remember his name was Rusty, the correct scientist has the intials JR thats him!

Here's my publication record in Pubmed, maybe if I had more papers I wouldn't be writing this blog.

Now you know, this guy is a KI - 4 papers in two years in reasonably respectable journals, lots of notebooks, lots of products around his bench, has a PhD.  You also know his email address, which you got off the lab website, his mailing address available on the most recent publications, you know what he is researching from the publications, and most important you know where he lives.

Don't spam him with emails or drop off some literature, thats the best way to get ignored, you gotta get to know him first and thats an article for another day.....

The next step, ' Getting to Know the KI' will appear on our new website -!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New site is so close....

How to Sell to Scientists has outgrown Blogger and, it seems I have outgrown the lab too.  Thank you for all the emails and tweets since I started. With your help the new site is going to be even better.

Yep, we're moving out and just now putting the finishing touches on our new website

Its my first attempt at coding with Wordpress and so far its amazingly versatile. I really wanted to have the ability to do some deep coding and design work, and I think its going to pay off in the near future.

Here's a screen shot of the homepage


J Rusty

P.S. This is also the unofficial birth announcement of Red Funnel Consulting, a collaboration between one scientist (moi) and one business guy (Mark).  I hope we can be of service to you all in the near future. Its been real lab.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Manuscript Accepted

"Manuscript Accepted"-  the two most joyful words a scientist can hear or read.

I just read them today. Here's the manuscript online at the Journal of Biological Chemistry

Insulin-deficient diabetes mellitus in mice does not alter liver heparan sulfate



P.S.  I just noticed there is an ad for the Shimadzu Nano-Spec on my article at JBC!  Oh the irony......

A scientist's thoughts on lead generation - power of observation

In a previous post, I talked about the concept of Key Influencers (Part 1).  

Key Influencers are the individual scientists that can and will push your products far beyond the original purchase to labmates, colleagues, and beyond. Over the next few weeks, we will show you some tricks to identify Key Influencers and provide some ways to warm them to your products.

The Cold Lab Visit

Walking into a random lab to push your products is intimidating. I know this because I get intimidated when I walk into an unfamiliar lab. Everyone either gives you the stink-eye or they refuse to look up or there's no one in sight or someone asks you brusquely, "Who are you looking for?"  This happened to me this week when I went to borrow a reagent from a friend that knew I was coming. Freaked me out!

Through timing and observation, you can turn this uncomfortable cold call into a Key Influencer discovery mission.

Visiting Times

Key Influencers are the scientists that come in early (before 8am) or stay late (after 5pm).  They are serious about their science and getting experiments done, so they work when there are fewer distractions and care little for work schedules. I’ve know scientists that literally had a cot in the lab.  Furthermore, scientists have journal clubs, lab meetings, and talks to attend during the day (10-4pm) and, Key Influencers will be at these meetings (hint : these are the meetings where they will push your products). Time your visit for success.

‘Chance favors the prepared mind’ - Louis Pasteur

To find a Key Influencer observe the following as you pass through the lab.

  • Personal Bench Areas and Open Freezers - Look for a bench with tons of reagents, pipets, and equipment labeled in the same hand writing.  Key Influencers will have products stuck in every nook and cranny. If you can see an actual name or initials on these products – REMEMBER IT! 
Here's an example of what you are looking for!

  • Desk Area – Look for shelves or desktops with lots of hand-labeled binders.  By lots, I mean 10-30 notebooks.  If the writing looks old or the labels are peeling off, that’s not it.  You want fresh labels and recent dates (past 3yrs).  Again you are looking for a name.

  • Scientists - Key Influencers are typically in the 30's to 40's age range. Practice identifying people of this age group. Again observe and file it away.

RED FLAG WARNING - If a scientist is working at their bench (gloves on, pipet in hand) – WALK AWAY!  Don’t leave some fliers.  Don’t bother them.  Just observe the above and leave with the knowledge that you have identified your target.

Let’s review; personal bench (products and bottles labeled), desk (10-30 binders names or initials), and scientists (30ish).  You now have an idea who is using products and directing purchasing.  Identify them, help them, and you will succeed.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A scientist's thoughts on lead generation

I've really enjoyed Mark Walker's last two articles on sales and marketing working together.  To be honest, I thought sales reps just wandered through labs passing out candy and, marketers bought ads and put ipod drawings in booths at conferences.  As a focused bench scientist, I had never considered that side of the life science industry.  Oh to be naive!

Please consider this is an open letter from a scientist to your company.  Ask me anything you want about me for lead generation information gathering. Let's work together.

Im hoping this article will generate some dialogue between your world and mine. There are thousands of struggling scientists that need you to give us the best products for our research.

What do you want to know about a scientist?

I'm guessing the most important question is.....

"Do I have money to spend?"

Yes, I have an AHA grant that gives me $60K a year to spend on reagents and services.

Lets take it one step further though.  As a long time researcher (17 years), what is my influence with other scientists?  Consider the following...

1. In my immediate lab there are 12 scientists that ask me for help on experiments.  Three of them have grants of their own.  One is a career Research Scientist with "lots" of money (he just bought a new mass spectrometer and HPLC).

2. My PI (principle investigator) is a seasoned vet with multiple grants and is constantly invited to speak at meetings.  He knows 100s of other PIs. However, I can definitively say he does not have time to talk to you about your products.

3. In my "area" there are two others labs totaling 3 PIs, 4 Research Scientists, 17 postdocs, 16 graduate students (weird), and 12 technicians.  We are all friendly and regularly talk to one another about experiments.

4. I use and regularly interact with 3 large on-campus services that buy a ton of products (IHC, Microscopy, and Animal Facilities).

In my mind, that influence is a lot more important than my grant money. A scientist like myself can push your products to 100s of others.  You just have to learn how to identify me.

Hint - Dont ask me if I have money to spend!

In my next article, I will write about some ways to train yourself or your sales staff to get this information from scientists and find Key Influencers = leads.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lead Management (Part 2)– Sales and Marketing Playing Nice

In a previous post (Part 1 here), I suggested ways Sales and Marketing can work together on a more effective way to score and prioritize incoming leads. Its a great place to start building trust between the two groups and it pays off in converting more leads. Continuing on those thoughts...

Who Qualifies Leads?

Make sure everyone know what they are expected to do and when. Having a highly scored lead fall through the cracks is like losing money. If the online lead needs to be further qualified, who does it? Will inside sales qualify the leads further and set up appointments for Field Sales or is the Field Representative expected to? In the life science marketplace, it is not as common to separate these activities. Researchers in the lab don’t respond well to phone interruptions. In other industries, its standard practice. Qualification is a different mindset than closing, and you will be more effective if separating the two, if your customers will accept it.

Is There any Value to Low Priority Leads?

Where do the low priority leads end up? First, are these really low priority leads or are they not being qualified effectively? If your lead form doesn’t ask the right qualification questions, it is probably harder to figure this out. If they truly are prospects that are not ready to purchase, start a conversation with them. Let them know how you can help them, not by focusing on products you can sell (they told you they aren’t ready) but by telling them about information resources you either have on your site or can link to. Start by becoming a trusted and valuable source of information and there is a better chance they will want to do business with you.

I’m a fan of letting field sales access all leads, including low priority, especially when you are still testing your process. However, make it clear what you want them to do with them. Some may want to contact these leads to avoid dealing with more tense selling situations. Many will want to follow up on any potential lead, especially if your qualification process is not trusted by the field or not effective. Let your sales team see the entire lead management process, where they fit, and why they will be more effective focusing on higher scored leads.

Feedback Loop

Set a timeline to review results with an eye toward revisions and sharing best practices. While it’s great to share stories about the sale won in a specific case, it’s critical to measure each step of the lead process and review what’s working and what is not. Facts are friendly and numbers should drive lead management decisions.

CRM systems are critical components to this process. There are many choices currently (way beyond the scope of this post) so that even small companies can use these tools. If your systems do not enable your organization to track leads and conversion easily and report results, you need to do some more work. If you have it but sales and marketing are not using it, well, you know you have some work to do.

Customer Expectations

I called my bank last week and gave my account number to the nice, automated voice prompt and endured a couple more menu options to talk to someone. Frustratingly, when I got to that live person, I had to repeat it the account information. Sure, maybe it’s an extra precaution, but if so, tell me that. I expected them to have my information at their fingertips, so we could immediately resolve the issue.

Few customers, especially in the B2B space, have time to chit-chat or even repeat themselves. They expect your company and its representatives to know about their account and interests when you contact them, especially when they have volunteered the information.

A successful lead management process will reinforce both sales and marketing buy-in to working together and will have an impact on sales. Even more importantly, it will help you shine in your customer’s eyes.