Prospecting is always important to a sales team, not matter when it is – whether we are in good economic times or in times of crisis. Last year was spent, in its entirety, in a pandemic crisis. It was a year like no other year we have ever seen before. Personal and professional lives for everyone across the globe were changed drastically and the changes happened instantly, with no time to prepare for the unprecedented times we faced.
The natural inclination for humans is to be cautious, pull back budgets, and put plans on hold. That may mean vacations, the purchase of a new home, or your new dream kitchen is put on hold in your personal life. In business, it may mean cutting marketing budgets and lead generation efforts, layoffs, and putting planned recruiting/hiring on hold. The cautious approach is not unexpected, considering the fact that none of us have ever experienced a time like this pandemic has presented to the world.
However, studies have shown that companies who do not cut marketing budgets (or even increase these budgets) during the tough times, fare far better in the coming years than those who make brash, sudden decisions like this. And successful sales teams know and understand that a full sales pipeline is essential for continued success in the short-term as well as in your long-term forecasting. This means marketing and lead generation cannot and should not be halted. In fact, it can be argued, these two actions are more important now than ever before.
Prospecting and your lead generation efforts are vitally important now, especially as we are hopefully heading to a post-pandemic horizon (fingers crossed!). Keep up those efforts. Do not pause those efforts. Increase those efforts if possible within your organization.
However, today we would like to talk about other actions you should be prioritizing now – these actions are ideal complementary activities to your current lead generation efforts. Especially with all the changes we have experienced in this past year, revenue from these initiatives can make a big difference in total sales at the end of the year.
Customer Retention – We have said it before, and we will say it again – it is far less expensive to retain customers than to acquire new ones. New customer acquisition costs 5-7X more than customer retention. Do not start from zero when you have a willing and happy customer already in your reach. Continue to nurture the relationship all year and when it is time to renew a contract, be sure you are ready to capitalize on the opportunity. After all, this is a relationship you already have!
Customer Reactivation – Do you have lapsed customers who are willing to re-engage with you and your company? Follow-up is not a difficult step in the sales process yet so many sales professionals are not great at the art of follow-up. As with customer retention, this is a well-established relationship you already have with the customer. Take advantage of the position you are in – and do not let your competitor be the one the capitalize on selling your customer a product or service you already provide to them.
Database Cleanup – With all the changes, layoffs, and new hires that occurred last year during the pandemic, it is a good chance that your prospect list is quite outdated. Even a new prospect list has a very good chance to be outdated in a very short amount of time. Now it the time to take the time (however tedious the task may be) to clean up your database and provide your sales team with a current, accurate prospect list with quality leads.
B2B Telemarketing – Do you have a new product or service or are you targeting a new audience? Are you staying in touch with your highest value prospects in a timely manner? Should you follow up on a direct mail or email campaign? Is there a leads list that needs to be nurtured? Telemarketing is a great way to get this work done so that your sales team can better focus on closing sales.
Lead Qualification – In this past year, an unbelievable number of things have changed for just about every company in business. That can include their needs for a product or service – they may have been speaking with you previously about your product/services offering and now, they may have a completely different need to meet new challenges with their customers. Specific efforts in lead qualification now to a current prospect list makes great sense to determine your messaging is relevant today and you are meeting their current and most urgent needs. Your sales team will appreciate working through a list of real, highly qualified leads, allowing them to focus on closing sales.
It’s very easy to forget the “low hanging fruit” that exists within your sales process and solely concentrate on bringing in new business. Take the opportunity to reconnect with current customers who can be retained or reactivated – this is a relationship you already have! Qualify leads so your team is not wasting unnecessary time pursuing dead-end leads. And be sure you are moving where your prospects are moving – so many people have changed jobs this last year. All of these other priorities will save your sales team from wasting time and help your company grow its revenue.
Contact Intelemark today and we can help you prioritize important actions you can take to consistently keep your sales pipeline full and take advantage of relationships you already have in place.