When it comes to growing your database, there is one area that many sales teams fail at. They focus too heavily on their existing pipeline. They get to a certain level and think they only want to work off personal contacts and referrals so they start to limit who they reach out to. According to a study done by HubSpot Research, a whopping 90% of agencies cite referrals as their top source for new leads. (HubSpot) While you should still keep those contacts close, you must always be working on finding cold leads- new blood. Those non-existing relationships are qualified opportunities for you.
The connections you make and the relationship you build with your prospects and clients are the most crucial concepts of growing your business. Still, many companies find themselves at a standstill with over 60% of marketers reporting their top challenge is generating traffic and leads. (HubSpot) Without continually expanding your pipeline, you are missing out on the possibility of connecting with qualified leads.
After you have properly taken the time to cleanse your prospect list, you’re then ready to identify the areas you may have holes. To ensure the success of your list, you must compile enough contacts to work through so you can fill in the gaps. A hundred prospects is not a big enough scale to work from. Building and maintaining a quality database will take time and consistency. Discipline is key in data management because it’s an ongoing task that will take follow up and creative thinking.
To garner results, you’ll have to work through every event, list broker, association, membership, industry publication, marketing campaign and lead sources to make sure you are compiling the best data possible. Sometimes you can find yourself at a standstill after exhausting all your contacts. If you still need additional help in building up your pipeline, purchasing a list from a credible broker would be a great resource to utilize. Also, as you go through your database you may notice missing information for specific contacts. For instance, maybe you have a name and number, but you are looking to find out their title or email. A list vendor can help you fill in the missing pieces so you can best reach out to your prospect through multiple channels or through the best option based on their persona.
The area sales people often fail at the most is follow-up. They tend to focus heavily on the hot leads instead of what’s on the back-burner. It takes time and dedication, but the payback will show in the end. That’s why it’s important to manage and work your pipeline, which means holding your team accountable. Companies that put in the work to nurture their leads make 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost than non-nurtured prospects. (HubSpot)
If you have a sales call that didn’t result in a sale, you must continue to work that lead with some type of nurturing. If you continue to stay in touch with these prospects you are going to have a greater chance of them working with you down the road especially because you know they have interest. Any objections from the prospect may resolve over time so it’s important to stay top of mind. This can easily be achieved by simply setting reminders to pick up the phone and speak to your leads directly.
For example, a prospect may like the concept of your product or service, but doesn’t have the budget. Instead of just writing them off or following up cold in a year, you should keep pushing out material to remain front and center. It could be marketing material that shows how your services could save them money in the long run and then after a few months offer some sort of discount. It creates a call to action to get them to reconsider your offer. As we all know, things change and you want to be top-of-mind when funding becomes available, or when your prospect loses a top sales performer.
Putting in the time and funding to adequately build up your pipeline will ultimately set you up for success. Setting a proper foundation with a solid pipeline will arm your sales team with the resources to hit their goals. Remember, the work doesn’t end after you construct your database. It carries on through the sales calls and expands with continued nurturing of your prospects. Next week we’ll further our discussion of effective data management with insight on how to put your list into action.
Stay tuned as we discuss four more pillars of database management!