As a salesperson, you can be prepared to receive an abundant number of no’s for every yes. Or, you can clean up your prospect list and start spending your time on the right contacts.
It has never been more difficult to fight your way through all the noise and reach out to new customers than it is today. But at the same time, it has never been easier to very precisely analyze and narrow down a target group, and quickly and easily get the names of the right contact persons at the companies.
These are some words of advice from Mattias Halvarsson, who helps produce prospects for marketing purposes for small and medium-sized companies. He has assisted in prospecting efforts for everything from newly established bowling alleys to well-established IT companies and has a lot of expertise in the area.
“I have a basic principle that applies to everyone: use short and well-updated prospect lists,” says Halvarsson. “If you have a clear picture of your audience, you can pick up fresh lists from a service such as Dun & Bradstreet’s online DM selection. From there, you narrow down potential customers and get direct access to high-quality data by filtering based on a variety of parameters.”
“Such self-service is a also good tool for those who are uncertain about their target group. For example, if you are new to a market or want to renew your customer base, you can learn a lot about what the structures look like in different industries and in the business community in general in Sweden through DM selection.”
But there are pitfalls in self-help. One of these is that it’s easy to get blind to your own shortcomings.
“It can be hard to see the real common denominators of existing customers,” says Halvarsson. “That’s often when I come into the picture. I can help with small but effective analyses of a company’s customers and then work with the company to build a selection with an appropriate number of prospects.”
However, this type of analysis can not only be used to find new customers, but also to raise warning flags on existing ones.
“Companies contact us to find new customers,” he says. “But when we do growth analyses on their biggest existing customers, we often find groups that have unfavorable growth and which they should reduce their exposure to. It can be an eye opener for many.”
FOUR TIPS FOR SMART PROSPECTING
Get short lists
The most common mistake companies make is to produce long prospect lists. The risk is that you shoot too wide and your campaign therefore has
a weak or adverse impact. Another risk is that the list gets old before you get halfway through it.
Get rid of old lists
Clean out old lists or get new ones. Mailings addressed to people who no longer work for a company are not only ineffective, they also give an unengaged first impression. You should never use a list for more than three months, as the quality drops significantly even in such a short period of time.
Who’s going in or out?
Sometimes deep analyses of existing customers are needed to obtain high-quality prospects. Be sure to simultaneously analyze which of your current customers are showing a downward trend and who will be likely to buy less in the future. If you want to do an in-depth analysis on your customers, you can get help from professional analysts.
An easier variation of analysis is to look up which industries your current clients operate in today and pick out twins — clients similar to your most profitable existing clients. For example, comparing which industries your top 10 best clients operate in is a good first step to starting a list to refine.
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