I’m going to explain a way you can double or even triple the size of your marketing list. In the process, and as a result, you find that you can increase your closing percentage, and increase the lifetime value of your customer base.
Let’s start with a basic premise regarding any established organization that does B2B sales and marketing: The “house file,” the database of prospects and customers, is their most valuable list. Firms can’t afford to sit on it – it must be constantly expanded, maintained, protected – and used!
To show the importance of the practices, illustrated below are painful experiences which I believe most sales people can relate to:
- You call an active prospect only to learn they are no longer with the company and their replacement was never supplied your information and are already dealing with a competitor.
- Your prospect replies to an email with the news that the purchasing agent bought your product elsewhere. (Our prospect is sorry!)
- A decision maker in the organization, who you were not in communication with, received a special offer from a competitive firm and has been speaking with them. Your prospect says, “It’s out of my control.”
- Your prospect is glad to hear from you because they lost your contact information. Unfortunately, because they came across a competitor instead when they searched on the web for your product, and just signed an agreement with them.
Enough … I’m getting depressed just writing about these situations. You get the idea, and you know the sick feeling in your gut, let alone the expletives we want to shout out when this happens. But I have some good news, and it’s not that I just saved 15% on my car insurance! There is a way you can reduce the likelihood that you’ll become a victim of these kinds of sales’ sob stories. That’s right – instead of losing sales, you can be increasing sales!
The answer is to double or triple the size of your marketing list! I know what you’re thinking: Great idea – why don’t we just triple the size of our advertising budget too?
But I’m serious; there is a way to double or triple the size of your marketing list, without renting one more list or attending another trade show. The answer is to add “influencers” and “key contacts” to your existing house file of prospects and customers.
Inside nearly every organization we deal with there are at least 1 or 2, maybe even more, individuals who may have some influence in the buying decision that affects us. Chances are we’ve heard their name, or they’ve even been on conference calls and in our demonstrations.
Day in and day out we have opportunities to enhance our house files with these names, titles, phone numbers, and email addresses. Unfortunately, many sales people who are in the best position to capture this information fail to take an extra moment to update the database with all the needed information when they have a chance to.
Entering the information alone may not be enough! We may need to “flag” or “code” the contact properly in order to ensure that these individuals are included in marketing communications. (Attention GoldMine users – think “merge codes.”)
There’s a saying in direct marketing, “when you need the list it’s too late.” Here’s why…
It only takes a moment to enter this information properly – but it’s a “now or never” moment. If we forget to do it at the same time we have the opportunity to collect it, we probably won’t ever do it. And, then, when our broadcast email goes out to our target list, our influencers and decision makers won’t be on the receiving end. You know what happens then … refer to the sob stories.
Here are some reasons for having more than one key contact on your marketing list:
- Don’t rely on your prospect to share information you supply them internally in their organization.
- Just because the decision maker remembers your product, doesn’t mean they remember you.
- Cover your bases in case your primary prospect leaves or is ineffective as your advocate.
- Have a back-up in case one contact “unsubscribes” to your marketing communications.
- Your marketing message may have more appeal to one person than another.
So, listen up for more names during sales calls and meetings. Search for other key players on their website. Pay attention to “bounce-back” and “undeliverable” emails as a sign that your contact is a goner. Look for good contacts in “away messages.” When your contact is out, askthe receptionist for who else you can speak to.
Good sales people should know all the ways to get names – the issue is taking the time to update your database! If you need a reason to remind you, just wait till you hear your next “sob story!”