Depending on the product or service you offer, there will be unique criteria for the businesses you should target. Every lead will have a circumstance that alters how you should approach them, but what information will genuinely assist your sales team? Make your business targeting more effective by knowing what the useful details are, where to find them and how to classify potential targets.
Establish a FrameworkAny time spent calling and meeting leads that do not fit the targeted criteria is wasted time. Details surrounding industry, location, staff number and turnover should all be considered when looking at a prospective business. To understand the leads you generate and streamline the targeting process you should ask the following questions:
What is their credit rating?
What is their turnover?
Do they have enough staff members to justify the focus?
Knowing the growth curve and staff number of a business, as well as whether they can afford your services, is crucial information to the sales process. There are other points to consider, such as financial history and industry relevance, but answering the above questions will help to streamline your identification.
Look within sectors and industries that have the right profile -- if they have worked before they will be likely to work again.An efficient way of finding useful details is on the company website as well as social media, news sites and PR releases on the internet. These sources are full of information that will indicate which companies are expanding, investing or forming new management structures -- all of which open them up to sales. The material is easily available and can be readily accessed.
Salespeople at every level should be using social networks, particularly LinkedIn, to not only identify and research prospects but to build ongoing relationships with decision makers. Alongside this, press releases and all manner of media can also be utilised. News alerts can be set up in Google to send automated emails when a specified topic or term appears in an article. Thorough preparation can mean few opportunities go by unnoticed.
Categorising TargetsWorking with clear targets can leave sales people in no doubt as to the quality of a lead and also ensures that marketing work to a tight specification. When lead generating, ensure to identify the size, turnover and financial status of a business as this information can be used to establish basic criteria for lead quality. When used alongside industry and location, these details can be used to highlight and secure winnable business.
At Pareto we operate 'hot' and 'general' criteria where, in an ideal scenario, a target company falls within a certain number of employees, turnover, location and industry. Over the years we have identified which company profiles fit our sweet spot. Concentrating our lead generation in these areas allows us to convert faster and better every time, providing better ROI and profitability.
Information on the above areas gives us an idea of decision makers, need for our service and potential budget. Though we consider turnover and gross profit irrelevant at the identification stage, these figures are collated to put together an influential argument upon pitching. They do not determine lead generation, but they can assist sales further down the line.
80% of the business we close is SME, against 20% multinational.
Business size can not only alter your approach and potential revenue but also have an impact on turnaround time. Typically, we anticipate SMEs to convert into business within 3 months of the first appointment made while multinational companies vary wildly in regard to conversion turnaround time, converting within 2 months or in excess of 2 years depending on the size of deal.
Though there is no direct correlation between when a lead is added and an appointment made, it is worth establishing your own expectations to balance your targets. The implications of tackling a deal with an international company, the multiple decision makers and lengthy timespan, should be considerations but so should whether your business can fulfil any agreement. Fielding these queries during initial identification can aide this, even if they don't necessarily impact on lead generation directly.
Quality AssuranceTo consistently make high quality leads, take the time to evaluate and hone your target criteria. By building leads in tandem with a strategy, it is possible to establish a priority order and a more efficient process, rather than contacting each and every business. Begin to target businesses better by:
- Fixing a criteria for target businesses
- Examining social and online news for insights
- Making sure you are looking for the right people in the right places