For better B2B sales leads, sift, sort and select

Your company needs prospecting results fast.
You have no time, money, or inclination to call, mail, email, send ravens, or interact with those less likely to buy.
You want to stop doing the lead generation dance with those with mere possibilities of success.

You may “know your market” in a more general sense. But that is not the same thing as being confident that your limited lead generation budget is laser-focused on the sub-segment of your prospect universe most likely to buy, most likely to buy more and most likely to buy now.

If consistent quality lead generation is a challenge, let me offer a humble suggestion.

This suggestion comes from 25+ years of b2b lead generation experience, seeing the commonalities among those that succeed and the most frequent causes of those that fail.

Sort your targets by the probability of buying and potential average sales volume before you do anything else.

I like to keep it simple and divide targets into A – E groups. Based upon history, your “A” group represents your best targets, most likely to buy and purchase the most. The “C” group represents your most likely average account/client. “E’s” are the dregs to be avoided. There may be gradations among these groups.

How do you do that? A very basic marketing success rule is that those most likely to buy from you tend to look like those that have already bought from you. Create a list of your past clients or accounts you wish to clone. Look up each of these records in a database (there are very good free resources) and note SIC/NAICS industry codes, revenue range, # of employees, square footage, what side of the street they are on, or any other factor that might be indicative of purchasing behavior.

Looking up as few as 50 records can provide you major insights into how to properly allocate time and money for best results.

Typically the “A” prospects will be clumped around different characteristics than the “C” or “D” groups. Call or interact with your A’s first, then your B’s, then your C’s. Genius.

What about “great accounts” that would not show up on that list?

We all have great clients that are outliers. Maybe it is a smaller company than you typically deal with that buys a lot. Or a company in an industry that usually does not buy from you yet is a great client.

You don’t want to miss out on them, so you significantly enlarge your target list to include these outliers. Successful programs resist that urge.

You also might sell something for which lists that can be segmented are not readily available. For example, if you are a management consulting firm selling to large companies that acquire other companies, or provide advertising services to companies that spend $100,100+ a MONTH on Facebook advertising (both projects I have worked on,) there may not be good lists available to you, but it does not change your issue.

You still must prioritize, and prioritize well, your target audience into segments. Even in challenging situations such as those, there are ways to properly allocate your resources to give you the best chance of success. You must do that.

Successful prospecting is about chasing probabilities, not possibilities.

Take just a little bit of time to reassess if you have sorted your suspects into groups by priority. This simple step is far more likely to give you a lead generation boost than better scripts (a good script spoken to low-quality suspects is not much help) or more call activity (more dials or visits to D or E suspects is a treadmill to nowhere.)

Sort your prospect universe into segments by potential value and probability of buying.

Once sorted, sift through those groups to tighten up your targeting even further. Even a great “A” quality group will include some C’s and E’s.

If you properly sort and sift, you have selected the very best targets and can now with confidence work on all the other issues that could lift your success.

Remember, those with the most successful sales prospecting and lead generation programs get this right. For and spend too much time and money with lower probability or no possibility targets.

Don’t assume. Double-check to make sure you have this right.
Sort and sift to be sure you have selected your very best prospects to target.

Once you are confident you have this right, other improvements such as scripts or increasing sales activity will be like pouring gas on a fire.

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