Filling Your Sales Pipeline: How to Successfully Contact Prospects

Brian Cristiano Jun 17, 2021
Businessman using a tablet device to reach out to his prospects and manage their business needs.

You know that your sales pipeline is critical to your business as a whole. If your sales pipeline is empty, you aren't getting sales. That means that you aren't able to scale your business on the level you really want and need.

How you contact your prospects--and move them through that funnel--is the ultimate determining factor in whether those leads will transform into satisfied customers of your business or fall away from your brand after choosing one of your competitors.

Think about it: when you're making a buying decision for your business, who do you go with? Is it the lukewarm salesperson who barely knows how to answer your questions? The one who doesn't get back in touch with you until you make contact, and who has no real concept of what you want from your solution? Or is it the salesperson who is energetic, confident, and will go the extra mile to make sure that you, and by extension your business, are taken care of? 

Take a look at the steps you need to consider about your sales pipeline. Here are some tips to take as you reach out to your prospects and get a better idea of what they want and need. 

How You Can Fill Your Sales Pipeline

1. Reach out. Keep reaching out. 

You need to be absolutely relentless in the pursuit of your prospects. When you're selling high-dollar solutions, every prospect counts. You don't want to allow them to fall out of your sales funnel. Especially if that means they're going to turn to your competitors. Remember, the prospect's problem--the reason they started looking into your brand in the first place--doesn't go away until they find a solution to it.

They're motivated to find a solution. You're motivated to make a sale. Therefore, it's critical that you take the initiative and push to connect with them--whatever it takes.

You don't want to be aggressive or annoying. But you do want to ensure that you're able to actually connect with your prospect and provide them with the information they need to make a decision about your brand. That means:

You keep reaching out until you connect with the prospect directly.

It's not enough to make a phone call and leave a message, nor is it enough to send out a couple of emails, then assume that when the prospect is ready, he'll get in touch with you. You want to be top of mind for your prospects. To be the first thing that comes to mind when they start thinking or talking about the problem you can solve.

Do you offer cybersecurity services? Every time they hear about another cyberattack or see a potential problem, you should come to mind. Provide communication solutions? Every time they struggle to get in touch with a coworker or notice the challenges associated with a lack of interdepartmental communication, they should consider how your brand can make their daily work lives easier. 

That means you keep reaching out until you actually make contact with the prospect. Until you can talk to them directly, sit down for a meeting, and schedule a demonstration. Don't just let that information sit there. You want to make direct contact and form a connection with the prospect: to start to develop trust that will encourage them to trust your brand.

You show consistency (but not aggression). 

Be consistent. Your prospect should be able to count on you. And should know that you'll keep coming after them until you actually get in touch. However, that does not mean that you're aggressive with your prospect. Aggression--hearing from you too often; noticing that their inbox is flooded with emails from you--can quickly leave your prospect frustrated from the moment they hear your name. That frustration will transfer to their opinion of your brand. This may leave you struggling to recreate any sense of connection in the future. 

Create a routine that shows consistency as you connect with your prospects. Get a feel for how often you need to contact them. Don't give up until you receive a hard yes or no. But don't leave your prospects frustrated about hearing from you, either. 

Businesswoman with her diverse team in an office having a meeting about determining their business' sales pipeline.

2. Be genuine about solving your prospect's problems.

As you got to know your target audience, you had the chance to dive deep and get a real feel for who your target audience is and the challenges they face. You know exactly what problems your target audience is looking to solve when they connect with your business. Now, it's time to get real about how your product can provide the solution that your target audience needs. Consider:

Exactly how does your product solve your customer's primary problem?

You know exactly what your product is designed to do. How it fits into your customers' workflows and processes, what it does to aid their business, and more. 

Your prospect, however, may have only a vague understanding of what you have to offer and how it will fit into their plans. 

Take a hard look at your product or service and how it solves the challenges your customers are facing. Look into the details. Get a feel for how it works in a given environment.

What industry is your product really designed for?

Who are your ideal customers: the ones who will benefit most from the solutions you have to offer?

How has your product grown and adapted over the years to fit the needs of your customers even better?

You want to be able to answer those questions quickly when dealing with a prospect. It's part of your pitch and part of the solutions you're able to provide--and you should be able to clarify that easily.

What secondary problems does your product also solve?

Often, your product will solve more than one challenge for your customers. It may aid in the bigger challenges that business owners face every day. Including the challenge of increasing revenue or avoiding potential losses for the business. It may provide a deeper look into customer data and offer insights that customers might not have considered on their own. It might help solve several secondary challenges that stem from the primary problem your product is designed to address.

What are those secondary problems?

Sometimes, your prospect might not even realize that those secondary issues are a concern for their business yet. They might have a vague idea that there are some things that are difficult or uncomfortable to manage. But they may not have run into serious challenges regarding those concerns yet.

You, however, do know about them--and you know how you can help your customers achieve their overall goals. 

As part of your sales pipeline to pitch your prospects, particularly as part of your connection with them over time, make sure you describe those secondary solutions as well as the primary ones. Provide customers with a deeper look into what your product can accomplish. Especially if it offers a number of bells and whistles or secondary functions. Make sure that prospects know exactly what they're getting if they choose your product over your competitors. And why they should turn to you as their primary solution. 

How do you address any challenges that the customer might face in adopting or using the product?

In many organizations, change is challenging. Sometimes, it's hard to convince the CEO or CFO to release the funds needed for a solution. Especially if it's not the cheapest option in the industry. Other times, it's difficult to get employees on board with adopting that new solution. After all, they've been doing it X way for years. And even if X way no longer works, some people will cling to it as long as possible.

You know your product. You know the challenges associated with adopting it. 

How do you solve those problems for your users? 

You might, for example, offer robust onboarding and training, in-app tutorials, or a detailed guide that will help employees understand exactly what they're getting into when they choose your product. You might offer comprehensive customer service and support. Allowing your clients to connect with you any time they have a challenge that you might be able to address. 

You might have an intuitive design and easy-to-use product that makes it easy for employees across the organization to adopt those new methods. 

Your clients already know that the road to adoption could be a challenge. They need to know that you have a solid understanding of those challenges and that you have taken the steps necessary to offer them support through that process. Often, simply knowing that you've already considered those challenges and problems can set you above your competitors and increase the likelihood that the customer will choose you.

3. Be curious.

Take the time to genuinely talk to your prospects and get to know them. Be curious about the challenges they face and the details of their company operations. 

Each prospect is unique and has a unique story to go along with the challenges they face. They may have similar problems, but their specific challenges might be a little different--or they might face them in different ways. 

Get to know them. Ask questions. Get a deeper feel for how your product can help solve their challenges. Including whether custom solutions or adaptations may help your clients more effectively. Asking questions regularly can help your business--and your prospects--in several key ways. 

You'll be better able to address your prospect's concerns. 

When you listen to your prospect and ask the right questions, you'll get a better feel for what their real challenges are and how your business fits into the solution. Sometimes, a one-size-fits-all solution simply isn't enough to help clients achieve a resolution to the challenges they may face. Nor is it enough to help move prospects through your sales pipeline. 

Here are some questions you need to ask:

What specific element of those concerns are your prospects talking about and focused on?

What challenges do they share with you? 

Do they have worries about your product? 

Often, being curious about the needs of your prospect can help you answer their questions in a way that will help move them through the sales funnel. Suppose, for example, that Prospect A knows that your business provides the best solution for their challenge, but they're worried about having the cost of that product approved. By pointing out additional features or long-term cost savings of your product over your competitors, you can help them present the product to their upper-level management and increase the odds that they will ultimately adopt your product.

On the other hand, Prospect B may have the right budget for your product but might worry about the time it will take the organization to adopt your solution. They need a fast resolution to their problem, not one that could drag out for a long time. To help that prospect move through the sales funnel, you might talk about factors like how you can streamline adoption for the organization, the support you will provide after the product has been put together, and the specific orientation and onboarding services offered by your business once a client makes a decision. 

If you don't take the time to listen to your client, you might never have any idea about the services they really need or the barriers that they're facing in moving through the sales pipeline. That means they're more likely to get stuck--or that they'll fall out of the sales pipeline altogether.

Businesswoman with her employees having a meeting in an office about sales pipeline strategies.

You'll get a better feel for the needs of future prospects.

You know your target audience very well. You've taken the time to address as many of their pain points as possible.

Identifying those needs and pain points, however, isn't a one-and-done proposition. Rather, it's an ongoing process: one that you have to conduct again and again with your clients, prospects, and general target audience as you get to know them and their needs better with every passing client. 

Change is inevitable. Your industry is constantly growing: adopting new technologies, transforming the solutions you can offer, connecting with clients in new ways. Clients expect your business to keep up with those changes and to be ready to address their new challenges.

By being curious about your current prospects, you can get a better feel for the needs of future prospects. Sometimes, that means that you may change the way you present your product or your solutions. Other times, it may encourage innovation throughout your company as you get to know what else your clients need and what new solutions you can offer. 

Listen to what they have to say. Ask the right questions. It could provide you with answers you didn't know you needed.

You'll form a deeper connection with your prospects.

People want to know that you care about them. Despite all the algorithms and the often long decision-making process that goes into choosing a new product or service, ultimately, it comes down to people making a decision.

If you show that you genuinely care about your prospects, they're more likely to form an emotional connection with you and your brand, which increases the likelihood that they will choose you. 

Consumers as a whole--including B2B consumers--want a connection with the brands they trust most. They want to know that they can count on you. If they can count on you and form an emotional connection with you when they're just prospects, they're more likely to feel as though you will be there when they need support after they become customers. In the fast-paced business world, that type of connection often matters more than you think. 

4. Go WAY above and beyond (for the right prospects). 

Be willing to go the extra mile on your sales pipeline for your prospects. Offer them a free demonstration or trial. Put together some free samples of a product that could help transform their workplace. Connect with them over a meal that you pay for.

Listen to what your prospects need, even when it seems to go beyond the specific services you would usually offer, and then do what's necessary to provide it for them. Think about offering discounts for prospects who choose your service. Add on services or support that they would not usually receive, especially if they're waffling. Spend time with them. 

As you make a point of going that extra mile on your sales pipeline, however, make sure you're focusing those efforts and that attention on the right prospects. You don't want to put all that energy and effort into a prospect who has already shown that they're more interested in what your competitors have to offer, or one who isn't really sure that they need your solution yet. Instead, you want to focus on the prospects who are most likely to actually choose to connect with your business and everything you have to offer. 

Conclusion

By going the extra mile now, you'll establish that you'll go above and beyond for your customers once they choose you--and that you're a trustworthy, reliable option that they can count on.

Do you want to learn more about how to transform your sales pipeline and move your prospects through it more efficiently? Are you looking for ways to expand and make the most of your business? Check out my Deal Flow Accelerator program today, or contact me to learn more about the sales pipeline how you can grow your business exponentially. 

Leave a Comment