Sales teams have become complacent in their efforts to separate the most valuable leads from the so-so. Is it because the qualified leads they're receiving are few and far between and they're afraid to give any up? The practice of waiting around for leads isn’t just damaging reps' own quotas — it's affecting your bottom line.
Time to rouse the crew! Today, we’re talking about how to proactively create a targeted prospect list that actually gets you results.
The biggest advantage your sales reps will reap from targeting their prospect lists is time. A targeted list ensures your reps are spending the most time on the most valuable leads, the goal being to hook more fish, snag bigger fish, and ultimately — increase your sales conversion rate. Here are some tips to create a hyper-focused prospect list:
1. Define Target Criteria
Take a long hard look at your best customers. You know…the ones who closed on big deals, or repeatedly buy from you, or refer others to you for business. What characteristics do they have in common? Create an inventory of target criteria and apply it to your prospect list. Your target criteria should include:
This information will serve as a launch pad for your targeting efforts.
Next, use resources like LinkedIn or HubSpot Prospects to actively look up companies and fill in information as it relates to your defined target criteria. As you research, always be asking yourself questions like, Does this company need my solution? Why? Will the decision maker for this company share the same challenges as my current customers? Only pursue companies that truly have a need for your solution.
If some of the leads on your prospect list align with the characteristics of your best customers…cha-ching! Move them to the top!
Note: If, as you investigate target criteria, you discover something about your ideal customer that isn’t currently listed in your buyer personas — update the information. It will help marketing pull in more of this type of lead for your next prospect list.
2. Zero in on Current Customers
Sales reps learn this kernel of truth on day one: it takes less time, money and effort to sell to current customers than it does to cold call and sell to a complete stranger. In some organizations, we refer to this as “cross-selling.”
Take a look at your prospect list and determine if your company has already closed deals with any of the companies on the list. If you’ve done business before, that means they already trust your brand, chose you over competitors, and use your solution, which makes them very promising prospects that should absolutely be pushed to the top of the list.
3. Pay Careful Attention to Company Growth & Funding
It takes money to spend money. If a company has been consistently stagnant or declining for several quarters, they aren’t interested in spending money--they’re busy tightening margins. Conversely, if a company has been in a state of consistent or booming growth — bingo! They have money to invest and they also likely have a lot of growing pains to address, which might require your products or services.
If your clients fall into the enterprise category, compare your prospect list with the Fortune 500, or Fortune 1000. HubSpot also recommends using Hoovers, a company profiling resource. If your clients are smaller, try TechCrunch, VentureDeal, or CrunchBase for tracking growth. Don’t forget about companies that may also be receiving supplementary funding.
4. Determine Which Industries are in Good Health
Like we said above, it takes money to spend money. Zoom out from your company view and also take a look at the health of each industry you serve. Some of today’s most vibrant industries include:
Computer & Software Services
Companies that exist in these verticals will likely be more willing to invest in new products or services.
Some of the most unstable industries include:
Oil & Gas
Companies that exist in these verticals may be operating under more strict budgets. This doesn’t mean they aren’t worth selling to, but they may be the more conservative deal.