Bring your sales team the best leads with these 12 pipeline strategies

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With good marketing strategies, you can attract plenty of leads to your business. However, it doesn’t matter how many you have if those leads are low-quality.

The Business Journals

A good sales development pipeline will ensure your sales team is only receiving the best leads. That’s why we asked a panel of Business Journals Leadership Trust members to share the most important aspects of a good sales development pipeline.

1. Relationship insights
Tools like LinkedIn and LinkedIn Sales Navigator are great for identifying relationships that could be “warmer” than a cold call. Further, it’s likely that useful relationship insights exist within your own client data. They may be accessible by leveraging artificial intelligence/machine learning tools that can deliver relationship information and even suggest the best next action based on data analysis. – Nichole Jordan, Grant Thornton LLP

2. The BANT method
The BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing) method of lead generation is a good route to follow as long as you are not too rigid with it. You don’t want to interrogate potential customers — instead, use BANT to understand budget pressures, the decision-making hierarchy, the problem(s) they are trying to solve and if an event has escalated the need to act sooner rather than later. – AJ Brown, LeadsRx, Inc.

3. Lead source channels
Know your specific numbers. Track the source of all of your leads that turn into sales. Put more focus on where the good leads come from. Either avoid the sources of poor-quality leads or see how you can change the experience with the bad lead sources to improve the quality of leads. – Brian McCarthy, Birmingham Orthodontics

4. Qualification data
We use a qualifying client intake form and interview process. This way we can gauge the seriousness of the potential engagement and the budget they’ve allotted (or not) and identify any potential leadership culture elements that may impact our work with them. – Liz Wooten-Reschke, Connect For More

5. Messaging for each level of the sales funnel
As a marketer, I try to create advertising and messaging that speaks to each level of the sales funnel. Video case studies and client testimonials are amazing tools that can attract new leads at each of those stages. The sales team is trained on how to use those studies and testimonials to overcome misconceptions and provide proof of concept. Doing that increases the sales-close ratio. – Keith Woods, KB Woods Public Relations

6. Early fact-finding and validation
Early fact-finding and validation are critical. Too often you spend time working with a new prospect only to find they are not a good fit. Being transparent early on and getting past some of the common deal-breakers for your industry will save you from unwisely investing your time. – Jared Knisley, Fizen Technology

7. A realistic closing percentage
Determine a realistic closing percentage for any leads, along with the associated quantifiable revenue, to help you prioritize leads and assess the activity needed to generate the amount of new business you need to close. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

8. A defined ideal client
Targeting ideal clients in marketing is the hallmark of receiving the best leads. Any pipeline begins with defining who is being targeted, and it is essential to start with quality at the top. The sales will flow naturally and organically when the defined, specific work is nailed down with solving specific problems for specific clients. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management

9. A way to disqualify leads
Disqualifying leads rather than qualifying them is an eye-opening insight we learned from our friends at Sandler. When working to get new clients on board, your job is not to persuade someone that you’re good — that you’re good is a given. Your job is to determine if you can help that particular prospect. It’s a mental shift all business owners need to make these days. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

10. A scoring system
Scoring leads based on predetermined actions ensures you are doing three things well. First, scoring ensures sales spends time on solid leads based on predetermined criteria. Second, you can see who still needs nurturing, so marketing can take appropriate action. And third, scoring stops you from wasting time on people who are a poor fit, either by demographic or behavioral measures. – Linda Bishop, Thought Transformation

11. The right technology
In today’s market, the sales department needs to have technology working for them. Technology can automate lead development, initial contact, follow-up, lead scoring and ongoing drip marketing. By leveraging technology the sales department can spend time selling versus spending time on non-sales-related activities. Executed correctly, technology will increase leads, opportunities and sales. – Brock Berry, AdCellerant

12. A method for engaging existing clients
Engage your existing, long-term clients. First, they may have more work for you. Second, they may have people in their network who would value you the same way they do. – Brent Foley, TRIAD Architects

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