October 4, 2022 5 Min Read
How To Fill Your Sales Pipeline With Qualified Leads
Ebb and flow: it’s the nature of sales. Even when customers seem to be pouring in, you know all too well that a dry spell could be right around the corner. That’s when your pipeline kicks in.
The ultimate goal is to keep your pipeline in a constant state of flow, right? Right. That’s why we’ve rounded up the top three components to a high-potential prospecting strategy.
But before we jump in, let’s take things back to basics for a minute. Prospecting is the process of finding and engaging new leads to qualify them as future buyers — those who may not be ready to purchase, but are seeking a solution to a particular problem. (One that you can solve, of course.)
To ensure your future quarters are even better than the last, prospecting should be second nature. By calling on the right targets, with a good mix of social proof and activities that feel like second nature, you’ll be able to consistently build a qualified pipeline that converts into revenue. So let’s set you up with a plan to make the top of your funnel the envy of every other rep, shall we?
Set your sights on the right targets
You don’t want to sell to just anyone. Reaching your buyers requires laser focus on the right prospects at the right company, all at the right time. Put simply, this means identifying the accounts and leads that are the most likely to convert into customers, quickly and consistently.
Your sales and marketing teams may already have data around your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). But we have a feeling you want to be a top performer, so let’s go a step further. Create your own list of targets based on criteria you know matters the most to your territory.
On the account level, you can identify:
- Firm size
- Business driver (revenue growth, profitability, cash flow)
- Intent data signaling that people at the firm have been searching for your offering
At the contact level, find:
- Tenure (new to role)
- Tech adoption (early adopter or fast follower)
- Risk tolerance (gain maximizer or risk minimizer)
For example, let’s say your company’s marketing team has already identified your ideal customer: CIOs working at non-tech firms with over 5,000 employees. But as a rep in the New England territory, you see the biggest opportunity when targeting CIOs at financial services and pharma companies who are fast followers and risk minimizers.
That level of specificity narrows the universe of accounts and contacts to call on so that you can focus only on the leads that have pipeline potential. Target: acquired.
Flex your Network
Humans are social animals, and we buy from people we know and trust. So the best way to reach your targeted prospects is through a mutual connection. Borrowing the credibility of your friend, neighbor, former colleague, or fellow alumni could get your foot in the door.
Your existing network is great at championing your value. But when its reached its limit, you can widen your circle of connection in two ways:
- Build your personal brand online: Have opinions? Of course you do. Share your industry knowledge and become a thought leader. Share relevant content like link round-ups, or write your take on the big issues in your industry. Remember to be original — not just posting company press releases or resharing marketing posts. Doing that is neutral to your brand at best.
- Attend in-person events: Yes, networking works. Conferences and events accelerate familiarity with your potential prospects, because everyone else is there to rub elbows with the right people, too. The in-person factor creates 10 times more trust and credibility than online interactions do.
The bonus? As you expand your network, more people will know you as a credible expert in your field. And in turn, they’ll share their own credibility and make introductions to your target prospects.
Love it or hate it, outbound selling is a necessary ingredient for sales success. Beyond cold calling, this could be emailing, LinkedIn messaging, sending personalized videos, going door-to-door — any way you directly engage with prospects for the first time.
The good news is that you can make outbound selling an automatic part of your work flow through two main channels:
- Technology: Think about anything that can be automated using sales engagement platforms like SalesLoft, Outreach, or Hubspot. Set a schedule of regular cadences to send emails or messages at just the right times, and create call tasks in between. This is truly one place where sales has come a long way in the last 15 years.
- Habit: Some things cannot be automated away. Think highly-personalized emails, picking up the phone, and making videos like Vidyards. Carve out time every day to work through your non-automatic tasks. Doing this at the same time every day will build an unstoppable prospecting habit.
Outbounding is the lifeblood of prospecting because it’s completely in your control — and the best way to generate new, qualified opportunities.
So get out there and start prospecting. Your pipeline — and bottom line — will thank you.