The ‘profiting’ part of the lead generation and appointment setting scenario only starts when you and a prospect close the deal. But until that point, these ‘prospects’ are mere targets. You basically don’t know 100% what the outcome will be.
In essence, that’s what you call a leap of faith. But you need to rely on chance – you can improve your probability of a sale if you start polishing from the beginning of the process. And where do you start?
You start with the calling list.
The list is the raw ingredient. If you’re making pizza, your list is the dough, and everything else is just toppings. If you’re dough is bad, the pizza is ruined no matter how much toppings you dump onto it. Okay, bad metaphor.
The point is, plenty of time and effort could be saved if a list is already optimized to include only those which are relevant and qualified. If you’ve been having leads that do not end up as a sale, chances are you’ve been working on a shoddy list.
How do you optimize a calling list?
It would certainly involve an elaborate and time-consuming process to sanitize a list, especially if it’s a huge one involving several industries. First, you start off by checking if your current pipeline system is up to the task.
The functionality to categorize prospect information based on history and relevance is very important in any pipeline infrastructure. The more organized it is, the faster you could get rid of futile elements and bring to front the ones that have the most potential.
Compared with Business-to-Consumer (B2C) lists, Business-to-Business (B2B) lists need to be more encompassing and specific. There are a lot of considerations in deciding whether a particular contact is even worth the call.
More often than not, these are the basic mandatory information for a list to include:
- Business name and address
- Business size: employee count/sales volume/asset value
- Type of business: SIC or NAICS Code
- Name and title of key executives and their contact information
Use these criteria in going over your list to check if there are entries that aren’t supposed to be there. This is helpful in making calls more efficient, especially if your agents are using auto-dialers which don’t really take into account the relevance of the person being contacted.
You can also cross-reference your evaluation with previous transactions with certain prospects. Checking the history is very important in determining whether there are valuable conversations in the past that could be relevant today but weren’t properly documented.