Here at Messente, we run a “sales lab” that constantly tweaks different aspects of the sales process, measures and records.
These hundreds of iterations have enabled us to at least double or triple all the annual baseline sales metrics for Messente for the past 3 years in a row. But at the same time, these have enabled us to gain a lot of insight into the importance of researching for leads in B2B sales.
While looking for high profitability, the potential for future growth and ease of closing is great, googling for those criteria brings little result. To know what prospects look like in real life, the existing clientele needs to be analyzed - even if you already think you have an accurate gut feeling what your clients look like.
The three things we usually look for are:
Which industries and markets they come from?
What is their growth potential and have there been expansions?
What is the possible decision-making process?
For example, ask the following questions about your top 100 clients by gross profit:
- What are the most profitable markets and industries?
- Which ones drive the highest sales volume, which ones have the highest sales margin?
- How does the company use the product, is there room for further implementation?
- Has the business grown rapidly, have there been expansions domestically or abroad?
- How is the company structured and what could be the decision making process?
- Was it a direct sale or a tender?
- How long did it take to close the deal and get to the current profit level?
- The answers will form keywords that become sales research input. From Googling and following industry-related media to using Crunchbase and LinkedIn to generate prospects, all methods require input to deliver consistent results
The use of keywords varies per each method used but the idea remains the same – the ideal prospect has a profile that can be drawn up from previous experiences and is supported by data (profit gained, revenue growth, closing time). While a certain gut-feeling is still needed, the more systematic the approach, the more reliable and repeatable the outcome.
So why have we focused on sales research that much?
Systematic sales research is the easiest and the most underrated tool for increasing sales results. Our dedicated sales research team makes sure that our closing team is working with leads that are profitable and easy to close. Not one or the other :)
For Messente this has enabled us to shorten the deal closing time by 40% and get our answer rates up from 30% to 70-75% (depending on the tool used for the approach). In addition, the client base has diversified, reducing dependency on certain types of clients.
Part two is on the tools of the trade.