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How to prioritize customers for sales outreach

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Remember the time when you started out in this field, with a handful of customers and employees? The first of these customers were precious and all your employees probably worked hard to tend to all these customers one by one. Customer engagement is crucial as most businesses would agree but there comes a point when not all customers can be dealt with equally. Some require more attention and some, regretfully, are not here to stay and therefore should be let go.

Companies these days are implementing techniques like lead scoring to better sort out the easily convertible leads from the difficult ones. According to a case study conducted by DMS Digital Agency, 5 months of implementing lead scoring resulted in 15.3% of leads being rejected due to low scores. These rejected leads were replaced with new high-scoring leads, thus increasing the conversion rate by 12.1%. Techniques like these prioritize customers effectively to increase the productivity of your company.

So how do you pick and choose? How can these customers be identified and how should they be treated? To answer those questions, one must first understand why some customers are easily converted while others are not. 

Converting a prospect into sales depends on what the client needs as well as what the service provider is offering. 

The Client’s frame of reference 

Urgency

A customer may purchase your product without further considerations if they have limited time on their hands. For instance, if a customer is looking for plumbing services to fix up a leaking pipe in his house, he wouldn’t take weeks to decide. If a customer’s need is urgent make sure you prioritize them because this kind of customer can be easily lost but on the other hand if you succeed in providing them with the best service, they could potentially become regular customers.

What you need to keep in mind here is that urgency can be a personal factor on the customer’s side but there are marketing strategies to create urgency. Marketing strategies implement urgency and scarcity by introducing limited time offers and sales.

Budget 

Most customers have a definite budget in mind and what they aim for is a product that would satisfy the greatest number of their requirements while staying within their budget limit. If your company offers products that fall within the mid-range category, make sure that you prioritize customers who have the same budget in mind. While pitching your product subtly point out why your product is the best in the price range. 

For instance, consider the competition in the sector of mid-range laptops, a few years ago the companies like Acer and Asus had no competitors in this price range as their products offered the best features within that category. When Mi entered the mid-range competition with its aggressive pricing, it was able to catch the attention of many by highlighting how their products were different from the other products in the same price range.

Purchase Cycle

Every customer goes through the purchase cycle as they recognize the need for something and then try to find a product that fits their personal criteria. The purchase cycle differs depending on the sector or category the product belongs to; however, the first step is always awareness or the identification of the problem. 

A customer who is in the initial stages would require convincing whereas a customer in the final stages is ready to order. Engage your customer accordingly; convince the ones who are on the initial steps of the purchase cycle and help the ones on the final steps place the order. If a customer is sceptical and hard to convince, make sure that you know when to let go. While some prospects can be quickly convinced some can choose another company over yours. Identify these customers and make sure to let them go so that you can focus your efforts on easier leads.  

The Desirability of the Product

Always focus on solving a customer’s problem and meeting their needs rather than blindly pitching your products to people who may not even need them. Identify the customers who can benefit from your product and accurately explain how your product is the perfect solution for their problem. 

When a customer’s needs or requirements cannot be met by your products, resist the temptation to pitch other products. Most customers know exactly what they want and while you are trying to convince a customer who does not need your service you may end up losing the ones who really need it. Creating customer personas and tailoring your product or service to match them can help better cater to the requirements of your customers.

The Service Provider’s frame of reference

Sales Targets

Sales targets ensure that your sales force remains motivated and does not slack off. Having a sales target to meet puts pressure on your workforce but at the same time, it helps them quickly adapt and identify the different kinds of customers. 

For instance, an employee who has a target to meet would manage his time effectively and spend more time on easily convertible leads. This ensures that their time is not spent non-productively pursuing customers who do not add to the sales profit of your company.

Life Cycle of Products

To come up with an effective customer prioritization plan, know which stage your company is at and tailor your plan accordingly. This can be better explained with an example:

If your company is going through the initial stage of introduction the focus would be on converting as many leads as possible into customers and getting your product out there. As your company goes through the stage of growth and moves on to maturity, the focus would be on retaining the regular customers and attracting new prospects simultaneously. Always look to the future and plan ahead, if you feel that your company is headed towards a decline, make sure you take steps to retain the regular customers and nurture their loyalty as chances of getting new leads are slim at this stage. 

Price and Offers

When a customer discovers you and contacts you, keep in mind the fact that they have already looked at what your competitors have to offer. If the pricing of your product is aggressive and therefore more attractive than your competitors, stress on that point to convert your prospect into a customer. 

Prioritize customers who could in the future provide you with better business and consider offering customized offers to win them over. If this is not possible consider giving them a heads-up about offers that would soon be rolled out so that they take a decision in favour of your company. According to Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop from brands who recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations.

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