Even the best tele-services agency cannot generate leads from a bad marketing list. Whether you’re using email, direct mail or telemarketing, the list is the foundation for your marketing initiatives. So, while it may be time consuming, it’s essential to build out the details of your list and keep it up-to-date.
The Complex Web of Decision Making
If you’re marketing a complex product or service with a high price tag, you’re likely selling to a web of decision makers within an organization, each analyzing your offering from a distinct perspective and interjecting their opinions at different times in the buying cycle. You need to understand as much as possible about the prospect’s decision-making process and who is involved so you can move forward with your marketing outreach in an intelligent way.
In addition, because it’s an ever-changing world, companies are constantly adapting to survive and thrive. That means roles, titles, email addresses, phone numbers and more shift as people move to meet today’s challenges. So, a large percentage of your account information is likely to become flawed quickly.
Account Profiling – A Map to Creating the Sale
For these reasons, we’re strong proponents of profiling accounts before launching a campaign. With accurate, fleshed-out account profiles you have a map to help you reach your destination rather than wandering around aimlessly in the dark.
Creating an Account Profile
An account profile should include everything you know about an account. But because you probably don’t know as much as you’d like to, you need to do some research. You’ll likely need to do some online research, for example, checking out a company’s website as well as profiles of the company and employees on LinkedIn. You should also see if the company is making the news and how that may impact your sales strategy. But you need to go further to gain the information that will give you a competitive advantage. To fill in knowledge gaps, you need to pick up the phone and talk to decision makers, as well as lower-level employees who are often the gateway to valuable information.
Once you make contact with an associate at an account, establish rapport and let them know the value your company and solutions can provide. As you engage in conversation, try to fill in some of the blanks in the account’s profile. While the first person you talk with may not have all the answers, they can act as a stepping stone, helping you to move further into the organization by providing names and information about others with whom you should talk.
At the end of a diligent research process, you should know who the key players are, their titles, contact information and roles in the buying decision. But to be truly successful you want to go deeper. Ask about the competitors they may be considering to solve the problem your solution or product addresses. Discover the decision makers’ hot buttons so you can effectively differentiate your product or service in your sales messaging. Find out if there are other problems business leaders are facing with which you can help; this can lead to up-selling and cross-selling opportunities.
If you take account profiling seriously, you’ll have at your fingertips a “cheat sheet” for how and when to approach an account with a solution that can help them right when decision makers are looking for answers.