In most video games, you may have heard of a term called event flags, the activation of certain events as you progress that also doubles as important points in a game’s plot or story. Example, when you bump into a girl on the street but it turns out they’re actually the princess/love interest/new party member etc. That point when you decide to talk is considered a flag.
Similar cases happen in real life and right within the process of B2B telemarketing. You hear stories of marketers struggling with a prospect but days later finally began communicating after another customer referred them. That’s a typical success story but one that certainly follows the event flag routine.
Though in marketing, acquiring ‘the right flag’ is not easy since you also have just as much chance of going the wrong route (which sucks even more given the absence of a reset button). You don’t want the so-called bad ending that’s gaining popularity in a lot of recent games.
In order to avoid these ominous paths, you’d normally use things like predictive analytics and research beforehand. Yet even then, those ‘unnecessary’ routes can be necessary when you realize that (like in a lot of games) they too could have unlocked more information about a prospect. For gamers, those are known as Easter Eggs but B2B telemarketers can use the same term when describing hidden facts about a prospect.
The term Easter Egg for the media was originally coined by Atari personnel due to game designer, Warren Robinett’s stunt for secretly applying a secret message to credit himself. (The company at that time didn’t want to bargain with well-known developers, not even their own). The move was so unexpected that the term went viral not long after and can be seen in applications like Microsoft Word 97’s pinball game.
In real B2B telemarketing, all paths could have these hidden eggs as a bonus. It’s like their own version of accessing bonus levels or extra points. It can be subtle but relevant (e.g. photo of the staff or strangely coincidental connections on LinkedIn).
So does this mean you really have to go through these risk-laden routes to get the good stuff? For games, the bonus stuff is usually placed in one of two ways:
One is where they are actually quite accessible as long as you went with the right routine but it’s only hidden in ‘plain sight.’ In other words, you need to keep your eyes and ears out for even the most ‘trivial’ details.
Other cases actually do require a bit of bad first impression (like contacting the wrong decision maker but getting routed there when the number is otherwise unavailable to the public).
Fortunately, both possibilities are easy to navigate if you’re just simply willing to take risks. No matter how prepared you are, you never know when you’ll need to take a different route to reach your prospect.