Cheap and Easy Sales Prospecting with Your ACT Database
As you know from my regularly scheduled appearances on my soapbox, I believe the ONLY #1-sure-thing, guaranteed-successful ROI is marketing to your existing customers. No one does it enough, and then they whine when a good account goes to the dark side and buys from a competitor.
But I’m sales prospecting these days, and following a specific stepped strategy using a targeted prospect list that I created from online research, my ACT! database and a free list-building tool called Contact Capture.
The process is efficient, cheap and easy and repeatable. (If you want to see the details of how I’m doing it, I recorded this tutorial, which includes the free Contact Capture software, free email introduction copy and a folloow-up telemarketing script.)
Most sales organizations start by siccing sales reps on new customers. Then they market to existing customers “when they have time.” Or not at all because, “We already have those people.” (Those people!!!)
I’ve always advocated reversing that approach: You should start by marketing to customers, and then prospect when you “have time.” (You may want to listen to the interview I gave on how to incorporate drip marketing into your business, if you’re not already. Remember how it’s 7X easier to sell to an existing customer than to find a new one?)
But these are desperate times. And right now every company is looking for a business-generating silver bullet–it doesn’t even have to be “magic” at this point…just something to raise “customer engagement” to keep the shark (the business) moving forward, and to avoid the alternative.
Now I recommend both RETENTION (keeping customers you have) and ACQUISTION (getting new customers)–but doing it strategically, as I’ll explain in a minute.
I believe in today’s business climate, we must work harder and expect less for the effort. Doing business the same way you did last year means accepting that failure is an option. We don’t have a choice right now. We must do more to push sales out of the sludge.
So I decided to add “cold calling” to my marketing mix. I’m not succumbing to “smile and dial,” 800-pound telephone cold calling–I brag that I haven’t made a cold call in more than 20 years, and I don’t want to break my record.
Instead, I’m applying the lessons I’ve learned from customer relationship management (CRM) to leverage my existing database marketing tools to warm up new sales calls. The goal is to have new prospects call me.
As a result, our business is thankfully steady. (But I’m working my you-know-what off to make this happen.)
Here are the 3 components of my strategy:
- ACT! Database to hold the sales prospects I’m marketing to
- A targeted prospect list which I compiled for free using Contact Capture, a free software tool (which you can download off the banner ad to the right of my website…you don’t need to order the tutorial to get it, but if you don’t, you won’t get my prospecting strategy and insight.)
- Swiftpage E- marketing subscription (which comes with a free drip marketing module)
Here are the 5 steps in my sales prospecting strategy…
- Research and build a targeted prospect list using Contact Capture
- Get opt-in email permission (my part-time assistant, Hannah, gets an 80% capture rate. I share her secret script with you in the tutorial)
- Send a 3-step drip-marketing campaign in Swiftpage e-marketing to warm up the cold calls
- Write a telephone follow-up script to entice prospects to take my call or get them to call me back (I include the script I use in the tutorial)
- Close the communication loop by assigning a next-step after the drip campaign ends and I haven’t connected with the prospect
Sales has not been much fun this year, but having a step-by-step sales prospecting plan and being consistent with it has filled our pipeline in addition to the drip marketing we already have in place.