Stacy and Jeff pointed out that buying patterns have changed, and the responsibility for communicating with prospects now falls more heavily on marketing. Marketers are evolving new strategies to cope; most plans require CRM and marketing automation technology for execution. Last week, Jeff and Stacy offered a blueprint for building a solid sales infrastructure to deal with this new reality. This week focuses on the prospects you hope to reach.
Who are you targeting? List building
Jeff and Stacy stress these points:
You need to know your market. Think of them as individuals and consider what they care about. Look to industry trends and your own customer base to refine your thinking.
A bad list will really, really, really hurt you. Think huge waste of time, calling the wrong people, mondo spam complaints, big headaches for you (and your boss…!), bad data. It will also harm you downstream, by trashing your deliverability rates. Just – don’t – do it.
Lists are extremely dynamic and prone to decay. People change titles, divisions, jobs and responsibilities often. Stay on top of your lists.
We don’t advise that you buy lists, but if you choose to do so, work only with providers that have good, well-established reputations. Even the best purchases list will not be clean. Before buying, find out if the provider has a policy of giving you credit back for bad addresses.
The best list is the list you own and maintain, and clean constantly. At a trade show, you can get 60 business cards a day from people who want to win the iPad you’re giving away. The list that goldfish bowl yields will be fresh…but do you know whether these people fit your target? You’ll need to test and clean.
Segment your lists. Put people in buckets so you can target them with messages tailored specifically to them; this will shorten the sales cycle.
Embrace the soft bounce. Often, a soft bounce from someone on vacation or out of the office will direct you to contact others in the company, frequently with names and contact data.
Embrace the hard bounce. If you email to Joe Smith, someone with potential and a high lead score, and Joe comes back as a hard bounce, find out why. Check LinkedIn; Joe may still be a viable lead – just at a different company now. He might also tell you who took his place at XYZ Corp.
Collect all the data you can. If you’re employing marketing automation, use progressive profiling to ask a series of questions in a series of interactions. You can ask questions about the organization, industry, number of employees, revenue and so on – questions you can’t ask in the beginning – as your engagement and relationship with the prospect progresses.
The real value of your sales framework, and your CRM and marketing automation platform, lies in helping you collect data. Suppose when you talk to people and find out they use competitor ABC, you track that. Then suppose that ABC stumbles somehow…they do something wrong and get really bad press, perhaps. With good CRM and a marketing automation platform, you can get a campaign ready to every prospect you have that uses ABC, in minutes. That’s a first mover advantage you get only with good data.
Another example: Suppose you track budgets, and you have a whole segment that likes your product but can’t quite afford it. If you come out with a lower-priced version, you have an instant, highly targeted segment that you know will appreciate your new message.
In summary: Having good data, in a clean, well-kept list will make your marketing people happier, your sales people more effective, and your bottom line healthier.
Mr. Stacy Gentile is the President of Invigra, a fully integrated B2B Lead Generation company that helps organizations fill the top of their sales funnel with three primary services: Sales Infrastructure Improvement, Content Marketing and Outbound Sales Calls.
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