Improve Your Sales Development Strategy with this Best Practices Checklist
Generating sales development activity is laborious. It’s time intensive and requires lots of consistent, repetitive outreach via numerous channels, including the human touch. To help you be most effective, here’s a best practices checklist to help you develop your new business strategy.
1. Utilize a data-driven marketing approach
Before making decisions, look at your data from the year and conduct an analysis to see how your lead channels performed comparatively. Which segments of your market are gaining more traction and from which messages? What can you do more of (and less of) and where should dollars be invested?
2. Keep your CRM up to date and validated
Natural movement in the market results in an average 20-30% annual churn in your database contacts. To fuel your strategies and plans, you need to ensure you are reaching the right audience. Make sure before executing, you’ve got the right players identified.
3. Review your email automation strategy
Be sure to regularly review which inbound leads have gone through a full email cycle and haven’t moved forward in any meaningful way. Who is falling into a never ending black hole? Add new and different touch points and steps designed to move warm leads deeper into the sales funnel.
4. Identify prospects which didn’t materialize into customers
Unfortunately, really good leads that are a perfect fit don’t all materialize into customers – right away. Fortunately, with planned strategies, those leads can be your best customers – someday. Be sure to develop a strategy for continuing to reach out and win-back old prospects you didn’t win the first time. Create a two-way street where marketing feeds qualified leads to sales and sales sends leads back to marketing. Those leads typically need more time, more information and more nurturing.
5. Find your fan base
More and more, companies are buying from trusted advisors and you should have an established fan base that you can continue to develop for future opportunities. In today’s market, people change jobs all the time. Every executive you worked with at Client Company A is now a “fan” at their new place of employment. Those fans represent potential new business opportunities at new companies.
6. Develop account based marketing
This is a tried and true method that still applies. Take a look at specific companies you’ve been hoping to break into. Refresh the list. Conduct research to drive thinking around how to target these entities. Plan your communications. Execute.
7. Brainstorm on strategies for driving net-new leads throughout the year
The top of the funnel needs to constantly be addressed. What strategies will continue to drive those early-stage leads into the top of your funnel? Without attention there, your pipeline will eventually run dry.
8. Maximize timing
This year, we worked with many of our clients to create “90 Day Sprint Campaigns” where we designed business development strategies aimed at specific market segments during critical points in the year. In some instances, we wanted to maximize a hot time of year. In others, we aimed to impact a stalled step in the sales process. And in yet another situation, we simply wanted to create momentum to impact year-end goals. As they say, timing is everything.
9. Avoid creating a black hole
This is where leads are passively nurtured through email only without timely call to action with a personalized human touch. Now more than ever, it takes a lot of time, effort and touch points to get your sales or business development professionals in front of the right decision makers at the right time.
Why You Need a Sales Development Strategy
What we find in working with our clients is that the sales development funnel should be treated as a growing, living, breathing entity that is cyclical and always revolving. Those leads that come in at the right time move forward. However, those right time, right place scenarios typically represent the lowest percentage in your sales activity. Therefore, you want to have a strategy to keep filling the top of that funnel.