Essential Marketing Tool for Professionals
Your List of Target Prospects
Depending on your location and your specialty, you should have a list of anywhere from 50-250 viable prospects AT ALL TIMES.
“Whoa, maybe I should buy or rent a list from a list broker to add numbers?”
As you can imagine, it’s not the numbers that count, but the quality of the names.
But before you even get to the quality of the names on your list, let’s take a look at the make-up of the tool itself.
How good is your list?
You can make a useful determination of whether your prospect list is properly set up for action by going through THREE simple steps.
Step 1: Examine the state of your current list.
Take five minutes or so to define your current list. For example:
- Do you actually maintain an ongoing list of prospects?
- How many are on your list right now?
- How many are individuals and how many are company names with no particular contact person attached?
Step 2: Compare the format of your list to your company’s needs.
Many business owners or sales people keep a pretty good list in their heads, but not necessarily in any retrievable or sharable form. As with just about everything in life, “getting it down on paper” begins to make it real and workable. So with that in mind, let’s move on.
Today, most big companies are turning to the cloud for customer relationship management (CRM) software to track both prospects and current clients. And they put a business development person in charge (not an IT expert). The cost of this format is in the tens of thousands of dollars a month.
Medium-size firms do much of the same, but look for something less comprehensive and less expensive, maybe like SalesForce, Netsuite or Zoho.
Smaller firms are likely to prefer something even simpler.
The important thing is to maintain the list in a format useful for YOUR practice’s needs. How do you keep and access your list?
- Do you keep it in handwritten form, like in a daytimer or on index cards?
- Do you keep it electronically, as a list or spreadsheet?
- Do you use a CRM or other contact management program?
- Who accesses your list? You alone or others in the office?
- How/when do you access it? Only when you’re in the office? Via your mobile phone? Via a tablet?
The prospect list is a dynamic asset and if your marketing plan calls for regular activity (as it should!) then your list will only serve you well if it, too, is easily accessible and updateable.
Step 3. What information do you keep on your prospect list?
A prospect list is not the same as a mailing list. The prospect list needs to contain essential marketing data that you will use to help prioritize your marketing activities.
As you can imagine, every practice has a unique “profile” so your marketing data needs may differ from those of the practice down the street. However, here are some initial questions that will give you an idea of how effective your prospect list is likely to be for marketing purposes.
For example, do you track . . .
- Where you got the name?
- When you got the name?
- Why you added this name to your list?
- What more information you still need to capture about this prospect?
- What steps you have already taken, and what the next step is with this contact?
Action item: take 15 minutes right now to lay out a “prospect data card.” What information do you need?
If you’ve neglected your list of prospects, you can start now to rebuild it. Some of the questions above will give you guidelines for the information you should be collecting. Whether you’re directing your own business development effort, or hiring others to help, your list is the natural place to start.
The Marketing Machine®
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