It's important to be organized in sales. You always have open loops you need to close, like sending a new contact the case study they requested. Or perhaps you owe another client an edited contract for a new offering they are interested in buying. Being organized improves your efficiency, allowing you to do more work in less time and with less effort.
When you have a list of prospects, being organized requires you to prioritize them in some meaningful way. Whether the list is analog, like a list of company names on a legal pad, or digital, like a list your marketing team added to your CRM, you want to pursue your ideal prospects. This article will help you build a prospect list and acquire a first sales meeting with a potential client in just a few steps.
Step 1: Acquire Contact Information
Researching your contacts is time consuming. If you have a source of contact information, you have a tremendous advantage for being efficient and effective with your time. At minimum, you need the following information for each contact:
- Job title
- Phone number
- Mobile number
- Work email
- Social media presence
If you don’t have access to this information, the best strategy for a sales professional is to separate researching and prospecting. Spend some time in the late afternoon doing enough research so you can spend 90 minutes prospecting the next morning. The contacts you call will be your customer base.
It might be tempting to research one prospect, then call them, then research another prospect, then make that call. Avoid this pattern. Switching your focus from one task will cause you to be inefficient. Instead, dedicate a single chunk of time to research a bunch of contacts. Then, dedicate another time block to call them all.
Step 2: Prioritizing Your B2B Sales Prospects
Winning a larger client is better than winning a small client. Winning a large client sooner is better than winning them later. You should factor this in when organizing your prospect list and order it by the potential revenue of the companies that make up your target market. This will also help you in a number of sales scenarios, as the following examples illustrate.
The first scenario is a competitive selling scenario. If you work in an industry where your prospective client will take meetings with two or three of your competitors, you should start your list with the prospects that have the highest revenue potential. In this case, you are better off being the first salesperson to start the pursuit because it allows you to frame the prospect’s pain points, lay the groundwork for triangulation, and use the value creation strategies that make for effective sales conversations.
In the second sales scenario, you need to displace your competitor to win the client's business. This is another situation when you want to pursue your clients based on their potential revenue. One of the major mistakes salespeople make is avoiding a large client owned by their competitor. Because the client has a contract and contacts they've worked with for some time, some salespeople ignore some of the largest revenue opportunities and instead qualify leads with low revenue potential. If you ever want to displace your competitor, you need to establish a relationship with their client, even if you don’t think they’re ready to give you a chance.
You need not be accurate in estimating the revenue opportunity. You need to be directionally right. The revenue may change from year to year, but companies that spend a lot of money buying what you sell should be at the top of your prospect list. Your list should look like this:
- Largest revenue opportunity
- Second-largest revenue opportunity
- Third-largest revenue opportunity
There is, however, another way you may want to organize your prospect list.
An Alternative Prioritization of Your List
If you have left the legacy approach, there is another way to prioritize your prospect list. The modern sales approach requires you to create value in the sales conversation through a set of insights that help clients understand the root causes of their challenges and how best to improve their results. Because you need these insights, organize your prospect lists by industry vertical, followed by revenue opportunity.
By researching and organizing your insights, you can build an approach for all the companies in a vertical. The time to develop the insights improves your results when you make calls to your prospective clients. If your first vertical is e-commerce, you build that list from the highest revenue opportunity to the lowest. Because you are calling the same types of companies, you can tailor these calls to the industry. When you finish those calls, you can move on to the next vertical—say, distribution—repeating the process, calling from greatest opportunity to lowest opportunity.
It would look like this:
- Largest e-commerce
- Second-largest e-commerce
- Third-largest e-commerce
- Largest distribution
- Second-largest distribution
- Third-largest distribution
The Sales Cycle Dominates
When you prioritize by revenue opportunity, you start your pursuit of these highly desired prospects early in the year, giving you time to open relationships that result in an opportunity to help your prospective clients improve their results. It may take you a quarter or two to gain the traction you need to engage the largest prospects on the list you are organizing.