By Megan Hottman, Brand Evangelist
It’s a known fact that most organizations place incredible pressure on their teams to shorten sale cycles and to improve close rates. A key piece that contributes to the effectiveness of increased productivity is to ensure the entire sales process is optimized every step of the way. What I’ve found to be an essential component in the optimization of the sales process is the segmentation of leads.
Rather than dumping contacts into one large general category, successful sales organizations use a wide variety of categories and filters to assist in segmenting leads for their sales teams to aid in better-targeted discussions, leading to more closed-won opportunities. I will share with you what I’ve found to be the most successful segmentation categories and how to use those to benefit your teams.
Segmenting your leads for telemarketing companies
The main goal of separating customers into different segments inside the same campaign is to be able to differentiate marketing activities towards these segments. Customers expect a personalized approach and frankly, why shouldn’t they? Lead segmentation provides that personalization from the very start, lending a positive interaction from the very first outreach.
Consider the following attributes when refining lists for telemarketing companies:
- Lead source
- Company size
- Decision-maker job title
- Target product
- Opportunity size
What is the lead source?
It is imperative to identify where your leads are coming from. We know that the “one size fits all” approach just doesn’t work for telemarketing programs. The case may be that prospects who sign up through email marketing initiatives respond better to certain sales pitches and offers than customers coming in from direct mail campaigns and from cold calling efforts. Other lead sources to consider are whitepaper and eBook downloads, cold call lists, customer referrals, partner referrals, trade conference attendance, social media, and webinar attendees. When you take the time to segment prospects and customers this way, you may also discover that the majority of your sales come from one or two distinct lead sources. This insight can help influence budget allocation for future lead generation and prospecting efforts.
Understand the number of employees a prospect’s organization has. The approach is much different for Enterprise organizations compared to SMB. It’s likely that contacts at larger companies may have to get buy-in and approval from multiple people in different departments before they can finalize the contract and a purchase. On the other hand, it may be possible that a smaller organization may empower the prospect to make purchasing decisions and be ready to commit to a contract much sooner. Once you notice these and other patterns emerge, you can develop a more effective strategy for selling to small businesses and large enterprises. In addition, for telemarketing companies, the dialing strategy can be further refined once you know the size of the company that you’re targeting in different segments of the list.
Create targeted campaigns according to the industries in which they operate. It’s likely that buyers from large healthcare organizations make purchasing decisions differently than buyers in the automotive industry. The same can be said about prospects from marketing agencies and financial service firms. Consider who your customer’s customer is. A business to business company potentially has different needs compared to a business to consumer brand. Telemarketing companies must also understand the industry to ensure proper training is conducted, maximizing the opportunity to create a return on investment for their client.
Companies can often sell multiple solutions to the same customer, though that customer may only be interested in one or two of your main offerings. With each product comes a distinct conversation and unique sales pitch. Some leads are best segmented according to the products or services they seek to purchase.
Garner an understanding of who your primary contact is. A junior financial analyst may be more open to a sales conversation, but likely does not have the authority to make or even influence a purchase or present your proposal to the rest of the team. However, the vice president of finance probably has enough clout to not just influence, but to introduce you to other decision makers within the firm who would hear your sales pitch. Again, let me point out that understanding and segmenting job titles allows for a more targeted discussion and can help eliminate wasted time in getting to the right person to speak with.
Potential contract size
Customers follow different purchasing paths when they are considering licensing a $5,000 consulting service versus a $200,000 hardware spend. The salespeople who are more effective at closing bigger contracts can be provided with opportunities according to estimated deal size. Alternatively, sales reps who are better at securing smaller contracts can instead focus their efforts primarily on engaging and nurturing leads who may only commit to $500 engagements at a time.
It’s wise to group businesses in a specific country or time zone together that way you can contact or follow up with them during their normal business hours when they may be most responsive. When you strategically schedule your outreach, it can help avoid your email from getting buried overnight in a prospect’s inbox. Segmenting geographically also allows you to use a different communication style, depending on which area of the country or world you’re speaking with. For instance, I always find that I communicate differently with people in New York compared to folks in Iowa. Having lists segmented by time zone or region allows for a more targeted communication style.
Bonus tip: Be Nimble
While every good sales organization should use aspects of the traditional sales funnel, including segmentation to organize their sales process, they should also be mindful that it is fluid. To improve close rates and reduce cycle times, sales leaders and their teams should constantly update their sales approach to complement the ever-changing and evolving sales process. Being nimble and open to new ideas is key.
To learn more about how Quality Contact Solutions has successfully executed lead segmentation strategies for its clients, call us today at 1-866-963-2889, press 1 for sales.
Megan Hottman is a Brand Evangelist for Quality Contact Solutions. Megan’s experience includes working as an outbound telemarketing manager for a Fortune 100 company for many years. Megan has been both a client and an employee of QCS, so she knows first-hand the quality, productivity and passion the team brings to work on a daily basis. As Brand Evangelist, Megan is a freelance contributor to our website. You can reach Megan at https://www.linkedin.com/in/meganehottman/