Maximize revenue growth by leveraging your sales database.
There are two kinds of sales prospects – those you know (and who know you) and those you have yet to meet. However, too many sales & marketing initiatives focus on trying to uncover more of the latter.
I submit, however, that the opposite (focusing on those you know) is a more efficient and more effective way to grow revenue.
Think of it this way… you’ve spent a ton of time, money and effort trying to increase the number of contacts in your sales database. Now it’s time to leverage all of that work.
Before you jump in with both feet, make sure your database is ready for the big splash:
- Clean up all of the obvious typos, errors, formatting mistakes and empty fields.
- Note: if your database is large enough, consider sending it off to a vendor for a full scrubbing and updating.
- Update the information. Read through publications and pay attention to LinkedIn to stay on top of people and company news in your industry (new office openings, promotions, job changes, etc.).
- Segment the list. Not all names in your database are created equal.
- Some are clients and some are potential clients, some are vendors, some are competitors, some are friends, etc. Categorize them as such.
- There are small, medium and large companies – have a field for that.
- What about the industry they’re in? That’s a critical factor for sales and marketing.
- Bottom line: whatever characteristics are important for you to know about your sales prospects… create fields for them in your sales database and record that data for all contacts.
Using the Database
OK! The sales database is all cleaned up. Now What?
Now it’s time to get to work…
- Send emails. If you’re not regularly sending out an e-newsletter, you need to be. Without a consistent, orchestrated series of on-going touches… you will be forgotten. These emails should be helpful and beneficial… not salesy. They should help keep you top of mind in the way that you want to be kept top-of-mind. For example, if you want to position your firm as an expert in qualitative research… then use the e-newsletter to link the reader to articles and blog posts you’ve written on qualitative research, invite them to a webinar you’re producing, etc.
- And because you’ve segmented the database, you can now create emails that are customized to each of the different segments.
- Connect on LinkedIn. If someone is in your database, it’s because there’s been some sort of contact with them in the past… an old client, a networking contact from a conference or maybe they downloaded an eBook from your website. Regardless, that’s enough of a reason to reach out to them to connect on LinkedIn. Once connected, not only will that help you track them should they change jobs (see above), but now, every time you post something on LinkedIn, it will show up in their feed – further helping you to stay top-of-mind.
- Pick up the phone! If your firm is like most… you’ve been around a while and have built up a pretty sizeable sales database. And I’ll wager that most of the names in the database have not heard from a live human being at your firm in a long time. So, pick up the telephone and reach out to them… try to reconnect and establish (or re-establish) a basic relationship… use the initial calls to gather data (to update the database)… and assess their needs. Potential buyers have to get to know you / like you / trust you before they make a buying decision… and connecting with them – not just digitally – is critical for moving them through that continuum.
- Quick suggestion: set a small goal of reaching out to 3 old names from your database every week. Once you get comfortable doing that, that goal is likely to increase.
It’s easier, faster and much less expensive to generate business with people who know you (even a little) than to try to connect with brand new prospects. And the key to that is the sales database that you work with every day. So, instead of using it as just a repository for data, take advantage of it as a strategic growth tool.
Good luck and good selling.