Just the other month, I conducted a sales assessment for a company with a sales team of 15 people only to discover that they were calling on a second-rate list of prospects. Just think about that—we’re talking 15 salaries, costing the company in excess of $1.5M per year in labor cost, and the company hadn’t put the thought into ensuring that their team had a great prospect list.
This simple oversight was costing the company many millions in lost sales opportunities. And to think that the solution just required a relatively small investment and a little effort on the part of management.
How good is your prospect list?
I hope the answer is that it’s outstanding, but if not, here are three tips to developing a great prospect list:
- Focus Only on Ideal Clients: So often companies want to build a massive list of prospects, and, in order to build a large list, they add less-than-ideal prospects to the list. Be sure that your criteria for your prospect list is laser-focused on the exact types of prospects you want to be working with.
- Ensure It’s Up to Date: Many of my clients have paid companies for prospect lists only to find that the purchased data is out of date. Be sure to get samples of any data you are buying and TEST IT. Give the list to one of your sales people and get feedback on the reliability of the sample. Companies like Hoovers offer great quality prospecting lists and are constantly keeping the information up to date.
- Keep it Centralized: Once you have your list, how do you manage the list? Having a CRM system is a must. Excel spreadsheets are unacceptable. Whether you use Salesforce.com, Act!, Oracle’s On-Demand, or something industry-specific, be sure that you are making records of all contacts with the list. If you don’t organize this now, the pain down the road will be insufferable.
By following these three tips, you can develop and maintain a great prospecting list to increase your sales effectiveness dramatically.
Marc Wayshak is author of the book Game Plan Selling and a sales trainer in Boston.