Filling the Pipeline
With today’s growing number of sales tools and strategies, account executives have their fair share of great options to fill the funnel.
Here’s our thoughts on 9 channels that AEs can investigate NOW to start filling out their pipeline.
1. Social Selling
One newer prospecting strategy is the use of social media. Reps that take advantage of channels like Twitter set themselves up to be an industry thought leader, which automatically gains them more trust than their competitors. They can also utilize their LinkedIn connections to network and find commonalities among their audience. A LinkedIn inmail is a unique touch seen that may gain more attention than an email lost in their inbox.
2. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation has become a household name for most tech companies. Prospect scoring and grading allows reps to find the companies showing the most engagement in their target profile. Nurturing campaigns also allow reps to automate the process of staying top of mind until the prospect is in a better place to buy. Some marketing automation platforms give you real time alerts when companies engage. This allows the rep a higher probability of connecting when the potential customer is available and thinking about them.
3. Target Accounts
Systems like Sales Navigator and Infer make it simple to build out your ideal customer profile. Narrowing down the search to those more likely to buy and more like your customer-base will increase your conversion rate to close. The rep can then laser focus their time rather than spending it calling on the wrong fits.
Does your product have some relation to another app? Are your best sales targets marketing automation users? Ghostery or Datanyze are tools to gather what application a company is utilizing on their website. Referencing a tool they are using will give you an in to start a conversation. Another key area to review is the careers page. Businesses hire based on current objectives and needs, so open positions will tell reps what their prospects are hoping to accomplish or solve.
This is an old tactic, but a good one. People buy from people so what better way to sale then getting to know your audience on a more personal level. Research events in your area. Are there any that are being hosted by your key accounts? How about one that might have your potential prospects attending? If there aren’t any events in your area that may be of value, plan an event of your own. What would draw in your audience but not be too salesy?
6. Direct Mail
A direct mail piece would make you stand out from the many sales emails and phone calls received on a daily basis. Try something that draws positive feelings but also relates back to what you are selling. Food, clothing, and office supplies are all good options.
7. Dead Opportunities
A common theme among many opportunities is finding a pain but not being aligned with timeline or budget. These opportunities tend to fall off the radar. Try a “wake the dead” campaign and see how many you can track down to pick back up where you left off. These tend to be the most neglected but most valuable area to fill the pipeline with.
8. Cold Calling
Oh the dreaded cold call. While it’s not the favorite activity of any sales rep, I have seen it work very well. While it is a numbers game, there are many areas you can master to help your success rate. Research the right messaging, tone, time to call, who to call, length of pitch, etc. Then track your conversion from call to success over time. Compared to an email, the prospect usually has a tougher time of saying “no”.
While emails get deleted or skimmed most of the time, the right messages, subject line, and call to actions will give any rep a higher success rate. What type of messaging will resonate with the customer? How long should it be? What is something unique you could mention about them or their company?
A good sales rep is good at prospecting, but it does take a strong work ethic. Jeb Blount with Fanatical Prospecting said it best:
“Superstars are relentless, unstoppable prospectors. They are obsessive about keeping their pipeline full of qualified prospects. They prospect anywhere and anytime - constantly turning over rocks looking for their next opportunity. They prospect day and night - unstoppable and always on. Fanatical!”
What are some other channels your team has seen success filling the pipeline with?