We welcome Kendra Lee to this week’s episode of the Conversational Selling podcast. Kendra is the President of KLA Group and a new business development authority. She helps SMB companies increase revenue through targeted, multichannel lead generation and sales strategies that focus directly on a business’s ideal prospects. She is also an author of multiple sales books and is an in-demand speaker.

Because each potential lead is unique, reaching out only through LinkedIn or email is not enough; we have to do more and we have to do it in coordination with marketing, sales, and delivery teams. Kendra is here to explain the benefits of having a multichannel approach to lead generation and how it results in increased sales and greater revenue. Her Revenue Generating System is a multipart process for filling a company’s prospect pipeline, and Kendra breaks it down for us.

Our conversation is wide-ranging and full of great insights any sales or marketing team member needs to hear, including:

  • How to write emails that people will respond to
  • The importance of communication between teams
  • Her proven process to increase referrals within weeks
  • And more

Get past referral dead-ends, tie your lead generation activities with your sales efforts, and listen now!

Mentioned in this episode:


Voiceover: You’re listening to the Conversational Selling Podcast with Nancy Calabrese.

Nancy Calabrese: Hi, it’s Nancy Calabrese. And this is Conversational Selling, the podcast where sales leaders and business experts share what’s going on in sales and marketing today, and it always starts with a human conversation. Today we are speaking with Kendra Lee, president of KLA Group. She is an author, speaker and new business development authority. She helps SMB companies increase revenue by using targeting, multifaceted lead generation, and sales strategy that speaks directly to ideal prospects and highlights her clients’ uniqueness. She is the author of the books The Sales Magnet and Selling Against the Goal. 

KLA Group has assisted business owners, marketing teams, and sales teams in increasing referrals more than 328% in just seven weeks, moving from solution selling to consultative selling in only nine months, and engaging technical and non sales people in uncovering new opportunities and increasing annual revenue. She is a big believer that sales is not an art, it can be learned. So wow, there is so much to cover today. Let’s get started. Welcome to the show, Kendra. 

Kendra Lee: Well, thank you for having me, Nancy, I’m really looking forward to this. 

Nancy: Well, ditto here. And, you know, I just love that you’re all about first time appointments. So let’s let’s dive in. In doing research, I know that you use multi channel approach to lead generation. I’m a big fan of that. Why is this approach necessary? And why is it effective?

Kendra: You know, as we look at all the different ways that you could reach a person, and even knowing target marketing and personas and all of that every person is still unique. And they may or may not respond to a phone call right now. They’re not responding as much as we would like, they may or may not respond to an email, what if the email doesn’t reach them, they may be checking LinkedIn, or they may not they may attend a webinar, or they may just signed up. So we just don’t know where they’re going to be. And using all these different approaches to try and reach people increases the chance that we’re going to hit on the one that they do pay attention to. So I believe that you need to try as many different ways as possible to reach a person. 

Nancy: Yeah. And it does one seem to be more successful over another?

Kendra: I would have said email. But LinkedIn, I think is almost equal to that now. However, you have to have the phone call so that they’ve heard that you’ve tried to reach them. And they’ve heard a voicemail. And even if they didn’t hear the voicemail that they read it because it was transition, you know, translated, they still knew you tried to call and chances are they’re going to listen to the voicemail anyway. So yeah, you know, you need all three, at least of those.

Nancy: Yep. Now, I, again, I’m a big fan of everything that you just said. And of course, for me, it’s the human voice that I think very often can make a difference as well, because you can hear that person in an email, right? Or a text.

Kendra: Absolutely. They hear how interested you are and they hear your passion. They hear a real human. And sometimes the emails are more stilted. 

Nancy: Yeah. So you you have this amazing system called revenue generating system. Can you tell the audience a little bit about that?

Kendra: Yes, it is how you look at your lead generation and your sales combined. So that you can get from generating a lead all the way to closing a sale. And so we look at that as the revenue generation system. And okay, and if you thought about it, there’s marketing or there’s lead gen, you know, whoever does that, and then there is the selling activity. And oftentimes people separate those. Well, we don’t. We say you can’t be successful at your marketing and lead generation, if you don’t have somebody who’s doing the sales that you can hand it off to. And I don’t care if that’s the business owner, or it’s a sales person, but somebody’s got to be focused on doing something with the leads they’re generating. And that’s the revenue generating system.

Nancy: Yeah, you know, it sounds so simple, right? And yet, many organizations struggle with a fractured marketing team and sales team. And what I mean by fractured, there’s not the communication to one another. Doesn’t there have to be consistent communication amongst all the teams, so that everybody is aware of what everybody else is doing?

Kendra: Yes. And we, as you mentioned, work with smaller companies, the companies we work with tend to be between 1 million and 85 million in annual revenue. And it’s those size companies, it’s easier to make sure that you’re having those conversations, because your teams are smaller, the larger the organization gets the much more fractured they become, because marketing is its own silo. Sales is its own silo. And it’s amazing when we’re working with our larger clients in that 80-85 million size, you know, sales doesn’t even know that marketing’s running a campaign unless somebody says, wait a minute, we should tell sales. 

Nancy: It’s like common sense, isn’t. It is let everybody know what you’re doing? 

Kendra: Yes. And what’s interesting is we can be talking to marketing, because we have, we have a client that is desperately trying to run Google ads. And they have not been getting results from their Google ads. Well, in talking with them, they cannot articulate what their business problem is on the marketing side. So to try and get results from their Google Ads isn’t gonna work if they can’t articulate what the problem is, that would cause somebody to want to even call them, let alone click on an ad. So and who knows that, but sales. So it’s really important that the two are talking because sales has critical information that will make marketing successful. And marketing has the tools to warm up all these people to create the leads the sales wants to call. So that communication is really important.

Nancy: Yeah. You know, going back to what we spoke about earlier about emails, you you had mentioned that you used to feel that email was the best form of outreach. And every listener, I’m sure today, on this podcast, they’re getting bombarded with emails daily. It’s like email overload. And you speak about, and I don’t know if you have a program on this, but email sales prospecting, proven strategies to break the delete barrier. I love it. Can you share some tips?

Kendra: Yes, we do have a training called email power prospecting. It’s a two session training that teaches reps, how to specifically for salespeople on how to write emails that people will respond to, email is still a favored tool to get people to reply. Because, you know, your, your prospect, frankly, can be watching TV and checking their email and reply, or really laying in bed and checking their email and send a reply. But you have to have written your email in a way that they’re going to open it. So, tips I would offer, focus on the problem you think they have, that’s why you’re emailing, you’re not emailing to introduce yourself as their rep. You’re not emailing to tell them that you’ve got a solution. And if they need it, they should reply. You’re not emailing to say, hey, we’re connected in LinkedIn. And I’d like to tell you all about what I do. So here’s the link to my calendar. 

Nancy: Right. Right. Right.

Kendra: You’re not emailing for any of those things. 

Nancy: Yeah. Well, what you’re saying is it’s not about you, it’s got to be about them. All the messaging has to be has to touch somebody in a way that would make them say, Hmm, they know what I’m going through. Let me give them a call or let me reply. 

Kendra: Exactly. And when you focus on that problem that uses fact they may have because you know other companies like them or other titles, executives like them, then when you hit on the problem that they really are grappling with right now, they’re going to be more likely to respond. That would be my first tip. My second would be keep your emails really short. Leave the longer ones for your marketing team, who also should be keeping them shorter. But leave the longer ones for the marketing teams, keep yours shorter. 

Nancy: My team knows if they send me a book, it’s never going to get read. Oh, my gosh, I won’t do it. I won’t do it. I just delete it. 

Kendra: I wrote a blog post one time, Nancy, that’s called why I hate long emails. 

Nancy: You should re post it. Re post it.

Kendra: It’s time to revisit that you’re right, I need to do that. 

Nancy: That’s right. So you know, when we were speaking earlier, and one of the things I love to capture in these calls, is what what sets my guests apart. And I know we talked about integrating sales and marketing, right? By doing that you generate leads, you’ve also shared with me give it a year, and you’ve got to be diligent at both. Why does it take that long? 

Kendra: You often don’t have any name recognition with your prospects. So that’s one in that we have to keep continuing to try and reach them. At the same time, you are honing your knowledge of your target market. And as you do that, all of your outreach gets even better. So those are two that relate directly to the process that you’re using to try and reach people. The other is, it’s just it’s the law of numbers. We have a list, we are making our way through the list with both our lead generation and our sales prospecting. And it takes that amount of time to reach enough people that you can fill your pipeline. So in that year, you’re building name recognition, you’re nurturing a group of prospects. They’re starting to pay attention to you. They’re realizing you’re not going to go away. And they start to talk to you. It takes a year. 

Nancy: Persistence. 

Kendra: Persistence.

Nancy: Professional persistence, right? 

Kendra: Professional persistence, using that multi channel approach. 

Nancy: Yeah. You know, I’m going to go back to my introduction, because I’m looking at it. How can you possibly increase referrals more than 328% in just seven weeks. Everybody pen and paper, this is hot stuff.

Kendra: So this is great, because it’s a perfect example of integrating marketing and sales. As we work with clients on their referrals. What we want is marketing, doing a referral campaign, where they’re asking for referrals, and sales is following up on that campaign. But that’s not enough. Because that’s just the campaign. That’s only one thing. Remember, I’m all about multiple ways that we can attack a problem. And the campaign is one. The other is changing the mindset within the organization that referrals are really important. 

So now we’ve got marketing, doing a campaign, we’ve got sales, who’s going to follow up on the campaign. At the same time, we adjust the account management process, to ask for referrals as part of regular touches with clients. And with your delivery team, whoever is doing the work for the client, whether it’s a service is the product, whoever is interfacing with the client at solving that problem, is also asking for referrals. So now you’ve got the primary teams within your company, all focused on referrals. And when you build it into your marketing process, your sales process, your account management process and your delivery process. You get that increase. 

Nancy: Okay, just a simple marketing will send an email out. This is what we do. Who can you recommend? 

Kendra: Yep, this is but this is what we do. We grow primarily through referrals. Who would you refer like yourself that we could, we should be working with. And guess what? The first time they’re going to say I can’t think of anybody.

Nancy: Of course. 

Kendra: Okay, so this is like cold calling. Are we going to give up after the first call? 

Nancy: Nope. 

Kendra: No. That means and it’s really interesting, because we’ll get clients who say, well, we sent the referral campaign and nobody, everybody said they didn’t know anybody. Well, of course they did. You’ve never asked for a referral before they have no idea. It’s like going to your neighbor and, and asking them who they would refer. They know very little about who you’re looking for why you want a referral? Who should I refer to you? What would you do for them? They don’t know anything. 

So you have to have a whole process around it. We’re gonna ask for referrals. We’re gonna thank them very much that, hey, we absolutely understand that you, you might not know anybody, think about these types of people. These are the types of people these are the types of problems you know, just listen for those. And as you hear them, let me know. And I’ll ask you again.

Nancy: Right. How often do you ask? 

Kendra: In a campaign, I would do no more than quarterly. And then you could do every six months. The problem with every six months is they forget. So in a campaign like I, like we’re talking about, I would do quarterly. In sales, I would do it more frequently. Like if you’re out in your account management, and you’re doing, say, a monthly meeting with them. I don’t know that I would ask every month, although I might in the beginning. At least every other month, is what I’d say.

Nancy: Yeah, I know, one of the things we do here, in each and every call in our and our cold call efforts is we always ask for referrals, we can’t be a resource to them right now. And you’d be surprised how many people will stop, think and recommend. Because nothing to ask. Right? 

Kendra: Exactly. All they can say is no. And their their immediate response is, oh I don’t know anybody. And so that’s an objection. Right? So if you get past that and say, oh, you know, people like this, and you describe it, describe the ideal referral that you would like, then they might say, oh, well, you should contact John, over at ABC Company, because I heard he needs to do this. 

Nancy: That’s right. Yep. I love it. You know, I could spend hours with you, I want to spotlight something for you. What would you like to talk about?

Kendra: How about the multi channel approach? And the lead gen because we work with clients that that very front end around? How are you going to drive those leads that you can then pass to sales? And then of course, we work with the sales team on how are they going to? How are they going to catch them? But maybe we should talk about that lead generation part. 

Nancy: So lead generation and sales. People might be confused of the two. A lead is an interest, is that correct? And it could be coming through your website, or a referral? Or do you consider a lead just a name and a title and a phone number? 

Kendra: I do not consider just a contact a lead. I consider that to be a contact in your database. And ideally, they fit a profile of a market that you want to target. So there’s a right size, right industry, if you’re industry focused, right geography, you know, they fit who your ideal client would be. To me. There are several types of leads. When we think about marketing, you have both inbound and outbound leads. So that just determines how they arrived at you. In marketing and sales, what you really care about are marketing qualified leads, which means marketing generated this lead, but we don’t know yet. If it’s a sales opportunity. So then it gets passed to sales, who qualifies it and now moves it into the pipeline, and that’s a sales qualified lead. 

Nancy: Got it.

Kendra: Typically the sales qualified lead occurs after the first call. You don’t know that they’re qualified completely prior to that somebody has to them and actually determined yes, they are that size. Yes they have that need. Yes, we can fulfill it. So if we talk about the difference between sales and marketing, we work on both sides. On the marketing side, we are driving the leads. So we’re putting the lead generation strategy in place. What are the different channels we’re going to use to reach our target market? Who are our target markets? What is the strategy that we’re going to implement? What’s the content, we’ll write the emails, we’ll send search engine optimization, website changes, you know, all the things that go in to attract that first marketing, qualified lead. 

And then, on the sales side, what we find is sales will get these marketing qualified leads, and then they’ll say, these aren’t any good, they won’t return my call, or I talked to them and they’re not qualified. When we get underneath it, what we discover, and I’m sure you’ve seen this, Nancy, is, the reps don’t really know how to have the conversation with the lead. They don’t know how to qualify it and generate a deeper interest, such that they recognize the opportunity. So we train them in that. So on the marketing side, we run it for them. On the sales side, we’re going to train the business owner or the sales person, how to prospect more effectively.

Nancy: Yep. And it is all about the quality of the questions. You determine number one, are they indeed, a fit? As you’ve mentioned, two, are they experiencing an issue we can solve? And three, are we speaking with the decision maker, right? And are they motivated enough to keep the conversation going? So that that’s a great overview. I appreciate that. And I cannot believe, once again, we are running out of time. If we had one takeaway, one takeaway, that we would all walk out of this podcast with, what what would it be? What would you like to share?

Kendra: When you come by the lead generation activities that you are doing to reach a broader audience with your sales, and you’re working very tightly together, that you will build this healthy pipeline? I said, it takes a year. Hang in there, do those things work closely together, and you will build that pipeline that leads to closing more business. 

Nancy: And I think we’re all for that right everyone? I just listen, how can my audience find you? 

Kendra: Well, I have to give a phone number first. The best way is by phone. 303-741-6636 is our phone number. And you of course can find me on LinkedIn at Kendra Lee or email kendra.lee@klagroup.com. Reach out in any one of those ways. Multi channel.

Nancy: Yes we’re all gonna be that multi channel group now for the rest of the day. And you know I want to thank everyone for listening in but especially thank you Kendra for joining the program and sharing your knowledge of in the sales and marketing community. I’ve walked away myself now with several nuggets and to all the listeners reach out to Kendra when you’re ready for more first time appointments, you need a system put in place and when you’re ready to get things right. Make it a great sales day, and Kendra, you’ve got to come back on the show.

Kendra: I would love that. Thank you. This was a lot of fun. I appreciated being here.

Voiceover: The Conversational Selling Podcast is sponsored by One of a Kind Sales. If you’re frustrated that you don’t have enough leads or your sales team complains that they just don’t have enough time to prospect, we can help. To work with Nancy and her team one on one to help you manage your sales team, install her proven outbound sales process and create more bottom line results, email her now at Nancy@oneofakindsales.com. To learn more about Nancy and her outbound sales secrets, grab your free copy of her book, The Inside Sales Solution at oneofakindsales.com/book.