Identifying Who To Add To Your Sales Pipeline
by Jo Shaer, on February 8, 2017
Hold on there a moment! You can’t just up and at ‘em. You need a plan!
Choosing The Goals For A Successful Sales Pipeline
The best way to measure whether your sales process is actually working is to start with a goal and a time frame and then see if you can actually hit the goal before the time has elapsed.
So, a SMART goal that includes numbers and dates.
I will increase turnover by *% or to £***** by the end of the year. Well that means you are going to need to get some more customers – or upsell some existing ones.
How many customers do you need to achieve that goal? Let’s say it is 10 new customers.
How many conversations do you need to have to get those 10 new customers?
Break that number down into monthly, weekly and daily contacts that you need to make. If you’re not sure how many, then think about how many customers you gained last quarter. How many people did you speak to who didn’t become customers?
I will speak to *** people each month so that I can close 1 customers by the end of the month – you may need to make this per quarter if you have a longer sales cycle. People don’t always make a decision quickly.
Who To Add To Your Sales Pipeline To Achieve Your New Goals
Now you need to think about how you are going to have those conversations. Does your company provide you with leads? How good are those leads? Is that going to be enough? If not, you’re going to have to start finding your own.
Who do you think is going to be most likely to need your product or service? Which industries? Are there criteria that any company within that industry might also need to fulfil – like sufficient turnover to be able to afford a budget for your product or service?
A great place to start is to look at your existing customers. Where is the money coming from currently? Which types of businesses are the easiest to work with?
This is your Ideal Buyer Profile. It defines which companies are a good fit for your product or service and helps you to exclude those who are not so you don’t go on wild goose chases.
Identifying Your Ideal Buyers and Making A Target List
Make a list of potential companies in a particular location or industry who fit - this is the Target List of Ideal Buyers.
Better still, recreate your Target List on your Hubspot CRM by creating a Company ‘card’ for any business on the list.
You can fill out all the details – address, phone, website, turnover, number of employees, social media profiles, etc. Just hover over the field where you want to add the information and click on the pencil.
Strategy A If you create a deal for this Company, you can add it to your sales pipeline in the Identify column. Now you have your target list right in front of you whilst you do your buyer persona research.
Then you can add your contact cards for those buyer personas as deals in the Connect column and prioritise the best ones there.
Strategy B Alternatively you might prefer to wait until you have discovered some suitable buyer personas that you can add as contacts and put those into the Identify column. Then you can prioritise these in the Connect column.
Here's Where Most Salespeople Get It Wrong!
Now you need to work out the people at those companies who are most likely to need your product or service and those who are going to be the ones who would approve such a purchase. These are your Buyer Personas.
And this is the point at which the process goes awry for most salespeople.
Identifying the right business opportunities from the outset can be the difference between your business thriving or failing. Prospecting is really hard but it has to become part of your DNA in some capacity if you want to generate new business. Besides, practice makes perfect!
Previously, you may have been haphazard - and a bit half arsed - aimlessly cold calling people alphabetically as their company appears on a list or bulk emailing ‘To Whom It May Concern’ and asking them to forward it to (or tell you the name of) the right person.
Think about it… Why should anyone in your target Company put themselves out if you can’t be bothered to make the effort to directly speak to the right person?
Please don’t buy a list and just blast out some emails, no matter how attractive this opportunity may seem.
Hubspot CRM + LinkedIn Social Selling
Using your new Hubspot CRM with your LinkedIn profile is a chance to create a predictable, scalable sales funnel.
LinkedIn is a great place to identify both your ideal buyer profile and the buyer personas. Using your Target List, go onto the platform and search out those businesses that have a LinkedIn Company Page. It will list any employees who have linked their personal profile on the platform to their employer’s business page.
But you don’t just want any employee, you want those members of staff who match the buyer persona you decided upon earlier. These are the personnel who are most likely to need your product or service or those who will have the power to say yes or no to its purchase.
Hubspot talks about listening to the market to identify the buyers that are active In the buying journey. But what on earth does that mean? Here's an explanation of the Buyer's Journey.
The idea is that, before trying to connect, you view the Recent Activity of your Buyer Personas on LinkedIn to see what they are posting about and interacting with. This may give you some clues about the problems they are having and allow you to create a strategy to start helping them.
They could be at any stage of the Buyer's Journey and asking questions related to that stage. This strategy allows you to prioritise buyer personas who have expressed a problem that your product or service can solve.
Of course, If you’re using an Inbound Marketing strategy, your buyer persona may have recently visited your website and filled out a form to download something. That will give you some easy clues that they have a problem and what it might be.
What To Do About Pre-Awareness
Sadly, many of the Buyer Personas on your list are going to be pre-awareness. That is people who have a problem that your product could solve but they don’t actually know they have a problem!
They’re not thinking about a potential purchase at all. So before you can even think about a sale, you’re going to have to get their attention, disrupt the status quo and make them start thinking. It’s going to be a lot longer and harder as a sales cycle.
You might want to think about de-prioritising this type of individual.
Add Buyer Personas To your Company Cards As Contacts
Once you have identified the Buyer Personas at a company on your Target List, scroll down the left hand column in your Hubspot CRM to find the ‘Contacts at [Name of Company] section’. Click add another contact.
On the next screen you will be able to Associate your Contact with the Company. Hubspot will automatically pick up the name of the Company.
Some people rely on a single point of contact but, according to the latest research from CEB, an average of 6.8 stakeholders are involved in every B2B purchasing decision. If you focus on just one buyer persona within any company, you could be on a sticky wicket.
It's good practice to try to identify more than one Buyer Persona at each of your target companies and the CRM will display any other contacts on the right hand side of the Associate contacts card. See image below.
Now you’ve got a list of people who fit your buyer personas from companies that fit your Ideal Buyer Profile.
It’s time to assess who to connect with first. Once you have your priorities, create a deal for that contact and move these into the Connect column.
Remember to add a date by which you intend to have achieved that connection and start working out how you're going to do it.
More on that in our next blog post.
Getting A Steady Flow Of Leads For Your Pipeline
One of the most effective ways to start generating more leads for your pipeline is to get them to come to you, instead of chasing after them.
To find out how you can make that happen using your website, just click the image below and download your free eBook.