B2B Sales 101 - Making sales conversations worthwhile: Prioritising your sales leads

Leanne Clegg

Sep 23, 2020 • 6 min read

Have you got a whole load of leads in your pipeline but don’t know where to start with contacting them?

Don’t worry. You’re not alone.

We often hear from salespeople about the struggle to have as many valuable conversations each day as they’d like to due to the time they also need to spend revising their sales script and familiarising themselves with who their next lead is before making the call. This is usually because they’re working down a list of leads, which are not prioritised in any particular order.

To give you some time back and make your work day more efficient, we’re going to guide you through some tips on how to prioritise your leads.

It will also make sure you’re dedicating your time to those most likely to convert, first.

There are two previous steps you need to have completed before you can accurately do this:

  1. Understand your ideal customer profile (ICP) so you know what business is a good fit for your business product or service.
  2. Answer questions based on comprehensive research to understand which leads fit your ICP.

Once you’ve addressed those, you should have a better understanding of who’s most worth your efforts and therefore you’re ready to prioritise your prospects.

Is it the right time to reach out?

One thing you need to do before creating priority lists, is to check the news for industry updates and company announcements for those leads you’ve identified. This will give you an even better indication of whether it’s the right time to reach out to a particular company.

For instance, finding out a business has just raised a funding round may mean they’re open to purchasing new products or services and so now is the best time to start a conversation.

On the other hand, if they’re in the news because they’ve had to make redundancies due to financial struggles, it’s probably a good idea to put them to the bottom of the pile, as the worst thing to do is contact them and come across tone-deaf to their personal situation.

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Segmenting your leads

50% of sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting. That comes down to a lack of organisation and reaching out to the wrong people at the wrong time.

To help diminish this statistic, you should segment your prospects into groups based on how likely they are to buy, based on the research done. You can simply call these high, medium, and low priority leads or create a naming convention that makes sense for your business.

Here’s an example of what high, medium and low opportunity criteria may look like (but please bear in mind, this may differ slightly for your business depending on your goals and the data that matters for you).

High opportunities will:

Medium opportunities will:

Low opportunities will:

High priority opportunities will be the first leads you will make contact with. You should be confident these people are likely to convert or at least have interest in your product, and you already understand their business requirements, making an easier first conversation.

Once you have made some progress with moving your high priorities along the pipeline, you should then move on to your medium list in the same way.

Low opportunities, on the other hand, may be best served in a marketing communications list first. They’re very unlikely to convert any time soon as they have shown little to no interest in your product yet or don’t have an obvious use case for your product or service. Therefore marketing can be used to educate and familiarise them on your business to see if they become warmer leads and, as a result, move to your high or medium priorities.

You should revisit these lists on a regular basis. As you learn more about your customers and what their needs are, your lists will become more accurate.

Get back time with segmentation

Many salespeople are selling a product or service that’s beneficial to many different use cases and solves many problems. This usually results in having to have a variety of sales scripts ready, based on the needs and requirements of each individual lead.

Even with leads prioritised into high, medium and low opportunities, they can still find themselves having to spend time going back over their prospecting notes before every call, and familiarising themselves with who they’re speaking to next.

Sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be like that.

To make this much easier and time efficient, it’s a good idea to go one step further with your priority lists and segment these into smaller groups that you are able to have similar conversations with. This should be based on their values and business problems being on par.

This makes communication and your working day much easier as you know exactly what conversation you’ll be having without needing to stop in between each one to familiarise yourself with the next lead.

Help, my high priority leads aren’t converting

Don’t panic. If you find conversations with your high priority leads are not resulting in any interest or conversion, you may need to address one of two things:

  1. Readdress your ICP criteria - it ‘s likely you are not targeting the right market and you may have customers who are actually a better fit than those you first thought.
  2. Refine your messaging and sales pitch - if you are certain your product or service is designed for the people on your high priority list, it may be that your current sales pitch and messaging is not aligned with the benefits your product or service will bring the lead.

Once you’ve looked at these two things, revisit your high priority leads and re-engage them and reach out with your new sales pitch and you’ll hopefully start to see conversion happen.

Put prioritising to practice

Now it’s time to look at your lead list and try and prioritise each business based on how close they are to your ICP and work out an order for contacting them in.

To help you gather the data you need to prospect successfully, there are a range of sales tools out there that can help you gather the data you need.

Ricochet’s Chrome Extension can help you quickly familiarise yourself with your list for the day without having to search through multiple websites and information.

Ricochet brings company information, social media profiles, contact details and recent business updates into one single place, all while you’re on your leads website, making it easier to scan and remember the information you need to make your first conversation a success.

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