As you kick off your 2021 sales initiatives your prospecting activity probably looks a lot different than it did a year ago.
COVID sent us online for connection like never before. We attended classes, seminars, meetings and likely even a couple happy hours. A lot of sales professionals who had tremendous success with more traditional methods of meeting and even direct mail were forced into a new world of outreach because no one was meeting in person and very few were even in their office to receive the phone calls and mail.
Enter Online Networking.
LinkedIn and other digital mediums became the main way to connect with sales prospects. And there are literally dozens of lead generation tools hitting the market every day. So you’ve got leads, you’ve made connections. Now what?
- Stop the social spiral but keep your consistency We all know social media is a time suck personally, so it seems logical that it can quickly become a time suck professionally. I suggest setting aside 30-45 mins per day to keep you within your limits. Set a timer, create your post, interact with your followers, comment on and share posts you follow, and when the timer goes off – you’re done for the day.
- Automate your marketing messages but only where it makes sense.
Marketing automation allows you to communicate, evaluate and accelerate your leads through your sales funnel. Email and printed communications help reach your audiences with customized, relevant information, triggered by THEIR behaviors. As a general rule I do not suggest automating your social media, its just not authentic and more importantly the algorithms will generally deprioritize them.
- Qualify the connections and identify which are viable leads.
You will have far more connections than will ever become worthwhile prospects. It’s the nature of the beast. So if you don’t qualify them you’re going to be out of the social spiral and into the outreach one. Bucket your leads by a few key criteria such as titles, region or whether or not you have spoken with them. The more you know about your leads, the more personalized your automated messaging and nurturing can be.
- Augment what you know about your lead.
If you don’t have a lot of information about your qualified leads you can easily find more. An email address is the perfect place to start. You can then create additional content to get more information from them or simply reach out to them via email and start a conversation.
Finally, it will take both your patience and your persistence to effectively following-up with your new connections. It is a near certainty that it will take several calls and emails — research says up to 12! — at different times of the day to finally reach your prospect. A structured lead follow-up system will prepare and aid you to connect more effectively with those hard-to-reach leads that suddenly drop off the ether the moment they hit your sales funnel.