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How to Fill Your Pipeline with Qualified Leads

blog author
Written by Mike Schultz
President, RAIN Group

Put me in front of 10 buyers and I'll close 7 of them. All I need is more meetings.

I hear this from sellers all the time. Get me more "at bats" and I'll get the hits.

To succeed in sales, you need a consistent stream of new leads to fill the front end of the pipeline.

You can't, however, just sit back and wait for the phone to ring or email to ding.

You need to be proactive in filling your own pipeline if you're going to succeed with prospecting.

Based on our groundbreaking Top Performance in Sales Prospecting research, we distilled the framework for prospecting success into the following 4 areas:

  • Winner’s Mindset
  • Attraction Campaign
  • Value
  • Execution

Or WAVE.

Winner's Mindset

How you think about yourself and prospecting correlate to success. In our Top Performance in Sales Prospecting research, we found a marked difference in the attitude of the sellers at top-performing organizations and The Rest. Top Performers report they feel more energized after prospecting and they're more likely to enjoy the time they spend prospecting. Meanwhile, The Rest are more likely to say prospecting is the least appealing part of what they do in sales.

Prospecting is a great motivational challenge. If you want to succeed at filling your pipeline, you must start by adopting a winner's mindset.

Attraction Campaign

Prospecting has always been a challenge, but it used to be a lot simpler. In business-to-business markets, sellers in the past used paper-based directories to call their target prospects. They'd call, ask the prospect for a few minutes to review their capabilities over the phone, and share the results achieved for similar buyers. If they were being fancy, the seller may have sent a letter or two preceding the call.

This doesn't work anymore.

Buyers are pressed for time, harder to get through to, bombarded by sellers, and are more informed. The content marketing trend combined with a field of competitors that looks increasingly similar means it takes a lot for sellers to stand out. It takes even more for a buyer to be intrigued enough to allow their attention to be captured.

Those sellers who create customized (and I mean manually customized) content and messages, and who reach out across channels in coordinated campaigns designed to attract buyers, succeed more often than those who don't.

Value

Buyers are looking for your advice. They are awash in information and need help sorting it out. When we asked sellers about the effectiveness of various content offers in their prospecting efforts, we found remarkable differences between Top Performers and The Rest. The top 3 differences of note are:

  1. 100% customized content: Sellers at top-performing organizations are better at reaching out as individuals to individuals with better research and content, stronger focus on value, and better prospecting execution.
  2. Best practices: Buyers love to know what works and what doesn't. Top Performers in Sales Prospecting do a better job of using this messaging to get through.
  3. Primary research: Top Performers in Sales Prospecting tend to expend more effort on creating research that buyers want to see, and do a better job using it to capture buyer attention and interest.

You must customize your messages and put in the time and effort, to not just seem, but to actually be valuable to buyers even before you speak with them.

Execution

The first 3 elements of the WAVE framework support this last one. The best prospectors are focused, motivated, and execute more effectively.

You must:

  1. Maximize your time, energy, and focus for prospecting
  2. Have the right prospecting skills to impress, rather than repel buyers

Prospecting is a challenge, but you can succeed with today's busy buyers by consistently filling your pipeline with qualified opportunities. Follow the WAVE framework and you'll start getting better results instantly.

Download Now: 5 Sales Prospecting Myths Debunked White Paper

Topics: Sales Prospecting