What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear or see the word, “salesperson”? In a recent Campaign Creators study, the most common responses were: “annoying” (that was VERY popular), “schemer”, and “liar,” amongst a whole slew of negative adjectives and expletives. Let’s face it; it’s tough being a salesperson nowadays. Nobody trusts you. So, as someone interested in sales, how do you get people to trust you enough to engage with you?

This blog post is part of Your Definitive Guide to Lead Generation blog series. 


If you’ve been to our website before, you know that Campaign Creators is a staunch supporter of the inbound marketing methodology. In other words, instead of outbound tactics (actively seeking out contacts), wait for your contacts to come to you. In an inbound ecosystem, marketing and sales funnels work together to nurture leads. There’s a lot of statistics out there on how much more efficient inbound is than outbound in a digital environment, but the whole process can be… abstract and theoretical. That’s why we created this study.



Nurturing the Millenial

Did you know that millennials are expected to make up more than 50% of the workforce by 2020? That’s four years from now. If you’re in the business of business, it’s a difficult demographic to ignore. In fact, over half of the marketing personas that come out of our office are in this age range. This is partially due to the fact that we are resolutely in the middle of an era where technology has replaced human interaction. There’s a reason why Gary Turk’s “Look Up” video went viral; it’s because it’s relatable (watch the full five-minute version below).



If you’re looking to ramp up your sales and marketing, you NEED to have an online presence, and what better persona to target than the generation that has the highest percentage of digital engagement?



Day One

That’s why we took this study to the SDSU campus- to engage with a high volume of people within the 18 to 30 age range. On the first day, we set up an experiment that mirrored traditional, outbound methods. We equipped a staff member, Larry Bevins, with a clipboard, headed over to the SDSU pedestrian bridge, and went to work. 


What did we do?

Larry approached young millennials to ask them the following questions:

  1. Can I have a moment of your time to ask you two questions?

  2. What is the first word that comes to mind when I say the word “salesperson”?

  3. How old are you?



In one hour, Larry approached 271 people and engaged with 16 for a 6% conversion rate. The most common response given by the general populace was, “I’m late for class.” Overall we weren’t so impressed with the results. Forget getting people to answer the two questions; it was difficult enough to get people to stop. Poor Larry was ignored nearly every time he approached someone. How can we change this behavior?



Day Two

On the second day, we switched to the inbound methodology. We addressed the persona’s need and let them approach of their own will. Unfortunately, it happened to rain on the second day, which may have altered the variables considerably


What did we do?

  1. Larry did not verbally/ physically approach anyone.

  2. This time, he stood with a sign and directed engaged traffic to a table where another staff member collected data.

  3. We changed the offer. “Answer 2 questions; we’ll pay you $2”



Approximately 437 people walked past Larry with his sign; 28 people engaged for a 6.4%conversion rate. Those who chose to participate were shocked. “Seriously? That’s all you need?” was the most common response. Still convinced that we could do better, we decided to amplify the offer.


What did we do?

  1. Changed the offer from $2 to $5



We’d like to give you more hard data, like a conversion rate, but things happened so quickly after we changed the offer, that we could not accurately record numbers. In 15 minutes, we engaged with 26 people, ran out of money, and had to turn the rest away. The interesting thing about this is that we witnessed a viral effect in real life.

Once someone answered the questions, they were so excited about the ROI that they went out, found friends, and brought them back to the table to respond to the questions. Some people approached us saying that they received a text to come to the bridge ASAP. In no time at all, we had a line. Moreover, those that came to the table (even those we couldn’t pay) stuck around to ask about our research.




By providing something of value at little cost to the contacts, we gained their trust. In the online environment, that value can come in the form of education, entertainment, or coupons. Once you have proven to the contact that engagement results in a mutually beneficial arrangement that skews in the favor of the contact, conversion is nearly inevitable. That is the crux of inbound marketing methodology. Now the challenge is providing the best value over your competitors…

Are you ready to start targeting millenials? You'll need to create your buyer personas first! Check out the Persona Workbook in our resource library. Don't worry; you don't have to return it. 

Get Persona Workbook


Special thanks to the following contributors:

Originally published October 21, 2016, updated June 12, 2020
Tags: Marketing inbound methods Market Research Research video