Let’s build a Prospect List

Who’s job is it to prospect for leads? Ask any Sales Manager and they will say it’s Marketing’s job.  Ask any Marketing Manager and they will say it’s Sales’ job. Why the conflict?

I believe it is because this is the difficult bit within the Marketing and Sales functions.

Picture a Salesperson in your head and you will, almost certainly, have an outgoing and confident person in your mind. They will have the gift of the gab and they love the thrill of the close. The opportunity to walk back into the office with a signed contract is what gets them going in the morning. However, what they long for is to be given a list of names who are eager to talk to them and are in the mood to buy.

Now imagine someone in Marketing. Often quieter than the salesperson and generally more methodical. They are usually more thoughtful and likely to be more creatively-minded. What they want to be able to do is give Sales a long list of leads created from analysing who opened what emails and who completed a Contact Form on the website.

And this is where the conflict arises. Marketing says these people are engaged, only for Sales to call the first 20%, not make a quick sale and to then complain the list isn’t any good. Both parties want the easy life.

So what is involved in building a prospect list?

  • Who are your prospects?

Neither Sales nor Marketing can prospect effectively if they haven’t got a detailed description to work to.

  • Why should they buy from you?

Both Marketing and Sales need a set of key messages to work with.  How is it you help your clients as this will be the reason(s) why a prospect will engage with your Marketing and then with your Salesperson.

  • Where are your prospects?

Is there a certain geography that you work within or can you work across the whole country/world?

  • Let’s collect the data

Today’s online world makes collecting the data far easier. Platforms such as LinkedIn quickly give you the names and maybe even some email addresses. Phone numbers, particularly direct dials, will take a little longer.

  • Test the data

An email campaign to your list will test the water. Firstly it will show if your data is correct (you don’t want too many hard bounces). You will get some opens and some clicks. If you’re sending multiple emails and the same people are clicking through on more than one, there’s the first set of people to be called.

  • Understand their needs

Digital marketing makes understanding the customer so much easier. Your email tool will tell you what link they clicked and how many times, but you need more than that. Do you know what they did after that initial click? What is it that your prospects are interested in? Let’s find out because that makes it easier for the salesperson to engage.

  • Where’s the support?

Marketing’s job doesn’t finish when the list is handed over.  Sales needs supporting material to help develop the prospect and show them that you are the right company for them to buy from. What evidence do you have of how you’ve helped others? Where is proof that you know what you are doing? All of this is helping to reduce perceived risk in the mind of your prospect.

  • Review the list

Is this the right list? Is the feedback from Sales saying you have the wrong job title? Perhaps you have the wrong geography or company size? I guarantee the definition of who your Ideal Client is will need tweaking at least once before you get it completely right.

Just because sales haven’t been generated doesn’t mean your definition is wrong. You need to analyse the quantitative and qualitative evidence before you edit the definition.

  • Refresh the list

Once you’ve worked your first 50, you need to top it back up. The people who didn’t buy (and didn’t unsubscribe) will go into your Nurture List for future activity, but you still need another 50, maybe even 100, to work next.