When we talk to people about doing outbound business development, many people talk about qualifying leads. Usually, that preoccupation is based on past experience of dealing with prospects who haven’t been qualified. If that’s you then you’ll know the problems that bring – time wasted on business that was never going to happen or losing pitch opportunities because you’re not speaking to the decision-maker. Our view is that this is a planning issue and is easily solved:
- There are three levels of qualification: Company, Prospect & Interest
- Company: Clearly define what defines a good company prospect, using easy to find information (turnover is bad as it’s time-consuming, headcount is good as LinkedIn can do it for you. If you’re going for businesses where size/budget is more difficult to ascertain (e.g. ‘up and coming brands’), you might need to spend some time defining criteria (e.g. ‘have a listing in a major supermarket’). You might have to research a list but you’re talking hours, whereas the wasted time and energy on poor leads runs into months!
- Contact: Like companies, clearly define what function and decision-maker level are likely to be the main decision-maker. Don’t stop there though – think about influencers, gatekeepers and stakeholders. Free tip – think about the problems each has, use it to inform your content and alongside that engage them all.
- Now – cut out all companies that don’t fit the criteria you’ve defined. The end result gives you two things. You’ll never waste a minute on leads that won’t ever go anywhere again. Furthermore, you’ll have a realistic measure of the size of your market – no more fingers in the wind and guesswork based strategy.
- Interest: It’s difficult to evaluate a prospect’s interest levels without engaging with them in some way – but the right questions will allow you to cut out time wasters.
- A final note on interest – lead scoring algorithms/marketing automation platforms can help but they require a lot of (costly) set up and a lot of data, which comes from the traffic that usually has to be paid for.
Feel free to comment if you agree/disagree/want to know more, or of course, get in touch with us using the company page contact us button above if you want some advice.