B2B Sales, Lead Generation and Marketing Blog

Carrying Around Customers Like Excess Baggage?

Posted by Sean O'Neil on Thu, Mar 6, 2014 @ 12:03 PM

Airplane baggageIf you’ve seen the movie, Meet the Parents, you probably identified with Greg Focker, Ben Stiller’s character, as he struggled with supplementing his wardrobe and other personal items when the airline lost his luggage. Who likes dealing with airline customer service, watching the luggage carousel go around and around and around, worrying about the potential ramifications of losing the items in your luggage for good, and then, finally, having to endure that uncomfortable moment when you have to ask to borrow PJs from your significant other’s relatives just to have something to sleep in other than the clothes you wore on the plane?

If you’ve ever lost your luggage, you’ve probably discovered that while it can be a real pain to recover your losses, it’s surprising how well or how easily you can get by without many of the items you’d packed in your suitcase.

How many customers are you lugging around like excess baggage? Which clients are taking up valuable space on your calendar without warranting the effort it takes to keep them around? Would your business really suffer if you lost those clients who, yes, pay up for a time, but aren’t actually critical to your organization’s survival or success—serve as fodder rather than fuel?

Stop Catering to Profit Takers

One way to prevent yourself from taking on a customer who is going to be what a recent blog post on LKR Social Media’s website called, “a profit taker rather than profit maker,” is to qualify and score leads before you attempt to make a sale and begin an engagement.

When you qualify leads using specific criteria and perameters, you prevent yourself from taking on customers that don’t see the true value in your products or solutions or who don’t have an honest perception of the benefits of your offerings. In other words, you prevent yourself from taking on customers that will constantly question what you’re bringing to the table and even what the ROI you are winning them means to their organizations. You prevent yourself from acquiring time-consuming, resource-draining customers that are likely to cost you more than their accounts are worth and that will inevitably leave you before you’ve had the opportunity to serve them or profit from them in any significant or memorable way.

When you score leads at different points in the sales cycle; that is, when you are able to determine each lead’s place within your sales funnel at any given time, you can uncover which leads are hot, warm and cold and identify the length of the sales cycle that will be required to win them. As you propel leads through your sales funnel, you can decide at specific touch points whether or not it is worth it for you to pursue them as well as how aggressively to pursue them. You can uncover the potential immediate and long-term values of leads and adjust your sales efforts and functions accordingly.

Don't Just Add to Your Client List—Add to Your Bottom Line

In our rush to add more clients to our current client list, we’ve all sold to leads that aren’t quite in alignment with our organization’s business model and long-term goals. Why is it such a big mistake to sell products and services to a lead that doesn’t have a clear want or need for your company’s offerings, or who doesn’t have the capital your ideal customer would have to invest? Why is it a mistake to sell to a lead without knowing the level of the immediacy your services are needed, from the lead’s perspective?

The short answer to these questions is that selling to a lead without knowing what the lead wants or expects of you beforehand sets you up to play out a scenario in which you are constantly having to inform and educate the lead-turned-customer and prove your value.

While it’s true that keeping customers informed, educated, and providing a visible ROI are things that all B2B companies have to do to remain competitive, there’s a big difference between doing it for customers that have been qualified and scored and doing it for customers you’ve simply persuaded to come on board for the sake of adding to your client list. The former customers will add to your bottom line; the latter customers will wind up being excess baggage you carry around until you lose them for good. The latter customers are the customers you’ll be able to recognize in hind site as not only not critical to your organization’s success, but not worth the efforts you’d put into them.

Focusing on selling to the right customer rather than on merely making the sale is the key to making the most out of your lead generation efforts. Lead qualification and lead scoring are two processes that can empower you to set yourself up for properly streamlining your organization’s sales efforts and functions.

Stop carrying around excess baggage that is weighing on your revenue potential rather than serving it! While letting go of your excess baggage might require you to borrow a pair of PJs in the short term, in the long term, through lead qualification and scoring, you’ll win the customers that will allow you to sleep well at night.

Topics: prospect lists, lead generation, lead nurturing

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