Building a Sales Pipeline – Part 3: Creating a Targeted Conversational List

Last week we explored the competitive edge you’ll gain by connecting with prospects that aren’t currently looking for your product or service, and took a glance at the circumstances under which an executive would take a phone call from a salesperson. We pointed out that, though cold calling typically isn’t effective, it is a necessary component of our five to seven touch-point campaign.

Now we’ll look at how to identify who to call.

Even though, for some sales reps it appears obvious, I would recommend that for each potentially important account, a targeted conversational list be developed. The two main reasons are

  1. You can’t sell to someone who can’t buy
  2. Buying is always a committee decision

Another thing that amazes me is the length of time and number of resources sales reps and companies spend talking to people that have no buying power or no idea or understanding of the prospect’s critical business issues that would justify them buying from you. Often we talk about “the power line”, this imaginary dividing line that exists between executives that have a budget to manage, and those that can create/define/allocate a budget. When your sales people call on a company to create a vision of what the prospect could do with your offering, are they better off calling above or below the line? Keep this in mind for future opportunities and be sure to ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Would her opportunity be better qualified if she was able to talk with the “above the line” decision maker who has the authority to secure unbudgeted funds?
  • Would her opportunity be better qualified if she could get the prospect to realize that the way they do business is costing them ten times more than the benefits they could generate by implementing your offering?
  • Would her opportunity be better qualified if her sales cycle was aligned with her prospect’s buying process?

Remember, “People buy from people who empower them to achieve their goals”.

Next week we’ll dive into the conversation you should have with those “above the line” decision makers. Until then, consider this: Do you find yourself connecting with the right individual in your prospect company? Why or why not? 


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