There was a great question on LinkedIn recently. The person asked, “What is the first thing a Director of Marketing should do?”
Responders to the discussion post had more questions than answers, or gave answers that were not on point. My response was simple: “Fill the Sales Funnel.”
Filling The Sales Funnel
One of the major roles for Marketers is to create opportunities for the Sales Department. Salespeople close prospects. We are all familiar with the idea of a sales funnel where opportunities or names go in the top and sales or sold business comes out the bottom.
Here are some prospecting techniques that should always be considered in the toolkit.
- Cold calling
- Pre-approach letters & follow-up calls
- Public speaking
- Volunteering and community work which puts you in a position to meet people
- Referrals and introductions
- Social Media (Linked In, Facebook, Twitter)
- Networking Groups
- Referral Clubs (BNI, LeTip)
Work The Funnel
Lots of time and resources are spent identifying prospects. The challenge is separating the prospects from the “suspects.” As the funnel gets narrower so should the list of prospects. Work the prospects to identify the golden opportunities for today and tomorrow. Prospects should be in different stages of development. Suspects should be relegated to low cost and low priority efforts.
Sales cycles vary in their duration. What all cycles have in common is the need to identify prospects and move them through to a close or sale.
That’s What I Think. How About You?
- How do you prospect for new customers?
- How full is your sales funnel?
- What new approaches have you undertaken in prospecting?