A couple months ago, I shared five steps to conquering sales call reluctance, including the need to have a purposeful goal each morning (i.e. the number of calls you need to make in order to generate the sales you want.) A key component to success with this goal – and cold calling or sales prospecting in general – is an accurate, updated sales and marketing database.
A database of prospective customers is only as good as what the sales person enters into it. If you’re just starting out in a sales position or in a new sales territory, hopefully your predecessor left you with a good, clean call database that can help you generate sales leads right away. If you’ve been in sales for a while, you know people change jobs frequently. It’s important to keep track of those changes as much as possible.
Copeco purchased a sales database dedicated to our industry; from there, we expand that list in-house. Chances are there’s a database tailored to your industry, too. Hopefully, your employer already has one. If not, you may need to do some Internet searching to see what’s available. You can also tap Reference USA, a public database that many libraries offer as a free service.
Here are six tips I’ve found helpful in building my sales call database and getting the most out of it:
Update your database daily.
If you’ve found new contact names, titles, phone numbers, etc., make sure you add that information to the database immediately. Otherwise, you run the risk of misplacing the information or forgetting about it. Plus, you don’t want to waste time leaving voicemail messages for the wrong person or asking to speak to individuals who no longer work for a particular company.
You can also have your IT department run a quarterly database cleaning that checks for accounts with no activity during a certain period of time. I also recommend synchronizing the database with accounts receivable and payable. That helps you maintain customer relationships and follow up with people in a timely fashion.
Set a dedicated appointment call day.
I like Mondays because that’s when people are most ready to get something done. The rest of the week, I make survey calls and “dig” for information. Who’s the buyer or decision maker? What kind of equipment does the office use? When is the lease up? Then, it’s back to point #1: update your database daily.
Target your database searches by industry or number of employees within a specific market.
For example, I might look for all real estate companies or medical offices or schools by zip code. Or, I may look for companies with more than 50 employees by zip code. That will be the group I survey and then approach on appointment call day.
Search for customers who may be interested in buying your product in the near future.
That’s a critical reason why I strive to gather lease information about printers and copiers when I’m making survey calls. Knowing that type of information gives me time to cultivate a relationship with a prospective customer before equipment is needed.
Add new names to your prospect pipeline through networking and referrals.
When you attend events, business after-hours, chamber lunches, etc., be sure to add that information to your database. Once again, point #1: update your database daily.
In addition, ask your satisfied customers for referrals. They can often be your best source of new sales leads.
Connect with as many customers and prospects as possible on sites like LinkedIn.
That way, when contacts change positions or companies, you’re in the know and can update your sales database right away.
As a sales person, your marketing database is your ticket to new sales. It pays to clean up your sales call list regularly and maintain it wisely. Get started today!