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How to Prioritize Your Leads & Increase Revenue

Alyssa Rimmer
Jan 20, 2014 8:00:00 AM  |  Alyssa Rimmer

Effectively prioritize your sales-qualified leadsAs a salesperson, that's inundated with leads, it can get tricky to know where to start. Sometimes we go into panic mode and just try to get through the list as fast as possible. Other times, we'll be more strategic and start from the top then work our way down. And then other times, we'll even start with the oldest and make our way up to the newest contact.

Great, you're getting through your list, but are you being effective and using your time wisely?

If you're lucky and every single one of your leads is qualified (i.e. ready to buy and fits within your target audience), then yes, one or more of these tactics very well might be effective.

If you fall in the normal range for a business, where you have high qualified leads and maybe less then stellar leads (that may still turn into paying customers) all mixed together, it's important that you have a system that helps you prioritize who to contact first. 

In today's post, we're going to give you a few tips for prioritizing your leads and prospects. We hope this will not only bring a little sanity to your life, but also help you become a more effective salesperson.

Industry

Since you're a B2B marketer, we're guessing more than likely, your customers fall within a specific industry or two. Now, let's take this into context. If, for example, your target industry is telecommunication software and you have two leads come in, the first being one that works in the renewable energy field, and the second lead working as a VoiP provider.

While neither of these companies potentially fall in your direct target market, one of them is clearly more relevant than the other. So rather than just reaching out to the lead that came in first (the renewable energy lead), reach out to the lead that aligns most closely with your ideal customer profile. 

Job Title

When considering the job title of your lead, it's important to understand (and know) what their "power" is within their organization. For example, are they a decision maker or are they going to need to go up the ladder to get approval on your contract? If you have two equally qualified companies, and one person is the Chief Marketing Officer while the other is a project coordinator, more often then not, the approval process will be much quicker when you engage with the CMO. You want to give your attention to the leads who are more qualified to make a buying decision.

Now, that's not to say that you should ignore leads that may be in lower positions within their organizations. In fact, we have found with our own sales process, that we can really support these people and make their jobs easier when they're going to their boss to ask for budget or present our solution. We call these folks our champions - they're the ones on board with our offering and who really want to work with us - so we need to empower them. To do this, we have collateral that we give them that helps them make a case to their boss and positions them for success, ultimately positioning us for success and helping us increase revenue.

Annual Revenue

This prioritization tactic can be telling, but it also might not always be effective. We thought we'd include it anyway because it will be applicable for many of your businesses. So, let's get to it. 

In general (remember, we're speaking in general terms now), a company with higher annual revenue will have a higher budget. Whether that's a marketing budget, a software budget, etc., overall they are going to be more willing to invest than a very small company with small revenues. 

With this model, it depends on what you're offering, but if annual revenue is a line item (or trait) in your buyer persona worksheet, then we suggest you include this in your sales prioritization model also. Focus on the leads that you know are actually going to have the money to spend with you. There's no point chasing the little guy who you might have to fight tooth and nail with on the contract price, if you have a lead that has a multi-million dollar budget (and annual revenue can be a good indication of this budget).

Potential Business

When you're working a list of leads, it's hard to not get swept up in the sales process and want to just close as many customers as you can. We want to give you a word of caution here: not all customers are created equal. While it might be more money for your company on the front end, if that customer is going to bail after three months, all the time you invested is basically wasted. 

You want to focus on the leads that are going to bring your company the most potential business in the long run. You want to help foster those relationships so that you can continue to sell to them while their a customer. It's important to remember this (if you're doing it right): it's much easier and cost effective to sell to a current customer who has already bought into your offering, than closing a net-new customer.

So the point of this section is to ensure that you're focusing your time and energy on the leads that are going to be the most valuable to you for the length of their life as a customer.

Type of Service

We all have our specialties right? Even if you're a "jack of all trades" type of company, who does everything for everyone (which we just have to say, we do not recommend, and if this is you, it's time to get your buyer personas on track and figure out who your ideal customer is), there's still one service or product that you offer that stands out.

And when we say "stands out" it doesn't necessarily mean it's the flashiest to the customer, but we're talking about standing out internally. It's the thing that your team is the best at executing on. It's the thing that you consistently turn the most profit on.

That service / product? That's what you want to focus on. 

So when you're looking at your lead list and you notice there is a lead who is looking for that service, get in touch with them! Hop on the phone, schedule a meeting, do what you have to do to keep the conversation moving. You should be almost confident (barring no huge malfunctions), that this engagement is going to increase revenue and be profitable for your company and should be a walk in the park for your team to deliver on.

Engagement

Finally, let's talk about engagement. Now if you're using a marketing software platform like HubSpot, it's fairly easy to measure how engaged your prospect is with your company. You can tell what content they've downloaded, where they have visited on your website, what blog posts they've read, how many times they've tweeted at you or clicked on a link you shared on Facebook, and even how many emails they have opened.

This is incredibly powerful information that you, as a salesperson, should use! You can see how interested this prospect is in your solution by how they are interacting with your company online. Obviously, the more engaged the better. 

Move the leads that are showing active interest to the top of your list. And as we mentioned before, use these engagement points as conversation starters and show them that you understand what they're looking for. We promise, the conversation and sale will be easier.

Now remember, these are just some ideas to help you prioritize your leads. It's important to always remember your ideal customer. Take those traits, weigh the importance of each, then compare your leads to those metrics. This will help you to see a) who will be more likely to close and b) who will help keep your company on the growth pathway you want to be on.

Do you have any tips for prioritizing your leads? We'd love to hear them in the comments below!

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