Visualize your sales pipeline as a list of targets that is segmented out by when you should call leads back. Essentially, your pipeline should be seen as a calendar that goes way out into the future. Nurturing leads by following up with them on a regularly scheduled basis takes care of the timing aspect (eventually, you’ll catch leads when the timing is right for them).
In sales, opportunities are born when the right timing, the right target, and the right message all align. If you’re incorporating lead nurturing into your sales strategy, you’ve taken care of timing. If you have great sales enablement content, you’ve taken care of the message. But what about having the right target? Having a list of prospects who fit into your target market isn’t enough.
Lead cleansing is the process of collecting information to add to a list or identifying if the information you currently have in your list is accurate. There are two main reasons why lead cleansing is so important:
- There is only so much information you can find through a database. There is some information that you’ll never find in a database. You can obtain contact information like a phone number and email, and this is a good start. But a list won’t tell you things like: is a company happy with their current provider? How long has the KDM been with the company? The initial cleansing phase of a B2B appointment setting program helps you build out your list to include information like this.
- Information for your prospects changes constantly. If you buy a list today, a large portion of it is going to be worthless because the information on it has changed due to the dynamics of the workplace. A company who engages in B2B appointment setting activity has cleaner data than anyone else because they create their own lists, call on prospects, and update information as it changes. Keeping information updated is more important now than ever before since COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point. People are working remotely and virtual sales meetings are becoming more common. A managed services provider must be aware of this; they can take advantage of the fact that IT situations at all companies are changing faster than ever.
- Micro-cleansing/ongoing cleansing: In any sales program, there’s the initial cleansing phase and an ongoing cleansing phase. Since things change constantly and prospects stay in your pipeline forever (unless they become disqualified), cleansing never stops. Things are always changing, and you must continue to cleanse records and keep information updated. This is just as important, if not more important, than the initial cleansing phase. If you don’t continually cleanse, you could be using the wrong messaging, emailing the wrong KDM, or sending info that’s no longer relevant.
In short, lead cleansing is important because the more information you have, the more actionable your target is. Don’t go into a sales program blindly, make sure you have a solid contact record, only then will you produce the best results.
In sales, testing out different times and messages is important, but the only way you can do that is if you have a clean target. If you’re marketing to a dirty target, you’re wasting time and money. Every activity in a B2B appointment setting requires a clean target—qualifying, nurturing, and scheduling appointments are all pointless if you don’t have a clean target.
Lead cleansing and lead qualification are easy to get confused. Sometimes, they overlap, so it’s understandable why someone may not know the difference. However, these two activities are actually different. Lead cleansing helps you obtain accurate data and information for a list, whereas lead qualifying involves asking survey questions to further uncover if a lead has a high chance of becoming a successful, long-term customer.
Lead cleansing helps you identify information and data that you’d keep in a list, such as:
- Company name and key decision maker (KDM)
- Email and phone number for the KDM
- Other qualifying information (for example, with IT leads, determining how many workstations a company has may be an important part of the cleansing process if you only work with companies of a certain size)
Once you cleanse an IT lead and have 100% accurate information, you can begin qualifying the lead. Qualifying questions for IT leads may include the following:
- How do you currently handle your IT? (In-house? Outsourced?)
- Do you currently use remote or cloud hosted solutions?
- Is your data secured in an off-site location?
- Do you currently have a disaster recovery solution?
- Does your current phone system do everything you want it to?
- What IT services do you feel that you need/or are you most interested in?
- What are the most important things you are looking for in an IT provider?
- When would you most likely be considering solutions like the ones we offer?
As one can see, qualifying questions are a little more in-depth. They help a salesperson understand whether or not a lead has a good chance of becoming a successful customer for their business. Furthermore, it helps the salesperson develop a relationship with the prospect and tailor unique messaging to them during the sales process.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, we have cleansed hundreds of contact records for our MSP partners. For us, cleansing means we’ve collected the following information:
- We’ve identified the KDM
- We have an email and phone number
- The record is qualified per industry standards (for IT companies specifically, this means the prospect is a company within the professional services, financial services, industrial, manufacturing, distribution, education, healthcare, and/or nonprofit vertical markets with 5-200 users/workstations and is interested in a conversation regarding IT managed services, IT project work, IT consulting, and/or IT staff augmentation)
To give you an idea of how much activity our Sales Development Representatives do on a daily basis, here’s how many companies we’ve cleansed for our IT partners in the past four months:
- August 2020: 1,546
- September 2020: 2,925
- October 2020: 4,028
- November 2020: 1,366 (as of November 11th, 2020)
That’s 9,865 contact records cleansed in less than four months!!
If you have an internal salesperson, are they even cleansing? Let alone re-cleansing? Our callers at Abstrakt are. If you want to target your message to cleansed, qualified prospects, only a process will do this, not a person.
For IT companies specifically, our cleansing process uncovers a lot of information about your potential customers. Here are just a few examples of information we can find for you right now (during COVID-19) that you won’t be able to get from a database:
- Is a company working remotely? Do they need virtualization?
- Does the prospect have good cybersecurity solutions in place?
- When is the company planning on returning to the office? Is their server able to handle being back in the office? Do they need IT staff augmentation to help with this?
Without a dedicated B2B sales rep, would you know this information about your prospects? Would you even have the time to keep in touch and continue the cleansing process? Most likely not. And that’s okay, but what’s not okay is marketing your message to a dirty target. You’re wasting time and money if you do. Fortunately, our team does have the time. It’s what we do.
Cleansing is one of the first things you should do in a B2B appointment setting program, and it’s one of the most important things you will do. You can’t do any other sales activity until you cleanse your list of targets. At Abstrakt Marketing Group, we have a process for building, cleansing, and qualifying lists on behalf of your company. This strategic process has helped us to generate qualified sales appointments for IT companies for more than a decade. We can help make sure that you don’t waste your time targeting leads who aren’t cleansed or qualified.
Interested in learning about how our B2B appointment setting programs could help your IT company get more qualified sales appointments? Let’s chat → schedule an appointment today.