In a webinar covering sales pipeline growth with Michael Hanna, Donato Diorio of RingLead, and Channa Heng of Yesware, a vibrant Q&A session covered a wide array of pain points surrounding the need to quickly and effectively grow the sales pipeline. In case you missed, here’s a look at the biggest questions and their answers.
1. What are some well known sources for finding the right targeted leads?
Donato Diorio: Every situation is going to be different, but the key is to have a plan. If you have knowledge about the possibilities, such as technologies like Yesware and Capture, you’ll understand how to use your CRM effectively. Each lead generation strategy is going to be different based on your target market, based on the size of the market, based on the team that you have available, etc. No matter what, your goal is to capture that market, but having the right tools will get you there faster.
Channa Heng: A great place to get leads for your market space would be popular and relevant LinkedIn groups.
2. Where do you start when it comes to targeting prospecting? How do you find the contacts and get their contact data?
Donato Diorio: First, identify your target market and learn the terms to accurately describe them. Once you have the right terminology, you can map the market. Use technology to determine how many companies are in your target market, then identify the target companies. The final step is to identify the target contacts within those target companies. The data science behind market development is very specific, and you can work with companies like RingLead on a step-by-step practical approach of how to build and dominate your market segment.
3. What are some ways to correct bad data when it comes to gathering information?
Donato Diorio: Step one: Have a data plan. If your CRM accepts “The Container Company”, “Container Company, The”, “The Container Company, Inc.”, then you are allowing the Tower of Babble. In other words, there are many different ways to say the same title. Determine your schema, for example, how do you want your data to look? Once you do that, enforce it! Make sure that the data is appearing in one way, in one format, according to one plan. Imagine if you never had to spell out “Vice President of Sales” because it was always “VP of Sales”. This enables you to very quickly and easily report on every VP of Sales. If you don’t have data standards, then you have to look at all of the combinations of that title. Having data standards is one of the first steps to making sure that your data processes run smoothly.
Michael Hanna: To help you implement and enforce that standard, keep a running checklist of all of the points of entry into your system. It’s very easy to lose sight of this. All of your web forms, landing pages, and lists are unstandardized, and yet you want to feed that data into your field marketing team. Any data that’s coming in needs to be identified and noted on that ongoing checklist. That way you know exactly where it is that you need to enforce those standards.
4. Does true lead generation and pipeline growth only apply to the SaaS model?
Michael Hanna: Once you get into the SaaS differentiators, you’re really getting into your pricing model and your customer experience model, however, what is important is how you fill the pipeline. No matter if you’re a SaaS or non-SaaS business, the structure of a lead is the same. It may impact the nature of your messaging, it may impact the nature of how it converts, and it may impact what it looks like in your pipeline. However, smart sales pipeline generation principles can be universally applied in a business-to-business context; both SaaS as well as perpetual.
5. Any final words of advice on growing your sales pipeline?
Michael Hanna: Sales is in a constant state of continuous improvement, both on the quality and the quantity of your pipeline. There’s never a place where you can say, “Ahhh, I’ve arrived. We are now optimal.” There’s always constant improvement, and constant learnings. By the time you’ve mastered something, it’s changed again. However, don’t be discouraged. There are experts available to guide you through this, and you can find yourself in that rhythm of continuous improvement.
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