How to Build Up Your Prospect List
Knowing how and when to scale your business is not an easy undertaking. It’s a challenging process that you need to consider and assess in depth. Nonetheless, if you think your business is now ready to expand without compromising your product offering, service or by losing revenue, then you need to contemplate how you’re going to find and engage new customers.
You can always rely on paid advertising, SEO and content marketing strategies to generate leads, but to scale your business efficiently, you will need to carry out a prospecting campaign.
You may think that you need to target as many prospects as possible. While volume may be substantial, quality is critical. Explore your market and do your research. You need to identify which companies you should be targeting, in which industry and who you should be contacting. Pinpoint who the key decision makers are for each firm.
But how do you find such contacts? We list the best ways it builds up your prospect list.
Use search engines
The most shared and obvious method. Search directly for companies within your target market. Use search engines to carry out the necessary research to identify whether the firms you’ve identified meet your criteria. Bear in mind that as with any manual process, this can be very time-consuming.
Use social media
LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ are the top platforms with LinkedIn being the most useful for engaging with new contacts and validating them. But depending on the nature of your business, it may be worthwhile also to consider Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. For instance, if you’re looking to sell to the retail apparel industry, then Pinterest and Instagram can be a great source of data but they wouldn’t so useful for the energy sector.
Explore online databases
A more straightforward method, but considerably more expensive, is to source the data from an online database. Firms such as ZoomInfo, Mint Global, and Dun & Bradstreet will allow you to access their business data for a fee. They are simple to navigate and include all the necessary information for companies in every industry such as their structure, who runs them and how successful they are.
Subscribe to business directories
Similar to Yelp and Yell for B2C businesses, there are online business directories for B2B companies. For example, PitchBook, AngelList and CrunchBase are directories particularly for start-ups and innovative companies on the rise. Find directories that suit your client base and industry. Some publish useful reports and market analysis. If you’re willing to disclose information, subscribing to lists can sometimes be a useful tool in getting noticed by potential prospects rather than you seeking them out.
Don’t just use social media to market your business by simply focusing on the number of connections and followers. Get involved online by joining forums and answering questions posted on sites aimed at your target market. Join discussions on Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Quora and Twitter. The idea is not to self-promote but rather to offer your knowledge on a particular subject and open the lines of communication with new prospects.
If you say something of interest and demonstrate you’re an expert in your field, other members will notice you and are likely to visit your website to investigate your product offering. By building up an online presence and communicating regularly with your chosen market, you can increase your brand credibility which will lead you to new leads.
If you’re directing traffic to your website, ensure you’re pointing them to relevant content. You’ll also want to make sure you’re giving the opportunity to subscribe or register to your content offering on every page of your website, so you don’t lose those all-important leads.
Relationship-oriented strategies such as networking and referrals will always be an effective way to build up your network, but these actions take a long time as you have to develop relationships. Do your research and attend any networking events, meetings, seminars or workshops that will prove worthwhile. Don’t just focus on handing out your business card but gather other peoples too and collect any flyers or brochures you come across as they could also be prospects.
Prospecting may seem like a colossal task to undertake all at once, but it’s imperative to the growth of your business. To prevent your pipeline from drying up, you need to consider regular prospecting to ensure you’re targeting the correct people and maximising your lead conversions. It may be a costly and time-consuming process, but with the support of a solid team behind you, the results will ensure your business scales efficiently.