IMG_0306It’s the makings of your worst nightmare: deals that were once on the table disappear, new leads aren’t coming in as fast as they once did… your sales pipeline is starting to dry up.

Anyone who’s been in this situation knows that there are two routes to take. The first is to panic (which we don’t suggest); the second, stay calm and work towards a solution.

In any business, some months are quiet and others are tough to keep up with—much like the ebb and flow of a tide.

what not to do

It’s easy to panic about your dropping numbers, but don’t frantically scramble to fill your sales funnel.

Turning to desperate tactics will likely hurt your business in the long-term. Following these simple rules will help you focus on being proactive rather than reactive:

  • Never buy an email list and spam the contacts. Your business will develop a reputation of being spammy, not good to work with, and you may be blacklisted.
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  • Don’t discount your services; that includes listing “limited time” deals on your website. This strategy can attract clients that aren’t a good fit for your business and can potentially turn off good prospects that are.
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  • Never settle for clients who don’t fit your Ideal Customer Profile. Though these types of clients can boost your numbers quickly, a bad fit may end up being more trouble than they’re worth, costing you time and money. A prospect that’s a good match with your service understands the value and is less likely to contribute to churn.

How To Safeguard Your Sales

Ok, now you know what to avoid, let’s talk how to make sure your sales pipeline is always full:

  1. Recycle – The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60–70%, whereas the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5–20%. This means that recycling your list once a quarter can be very fruitful. Just make sure you remove contacts from companies you’ve qualified / disqualified, and nix anyone that unsubscribed or sent a ‘negative’ reply.
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  2. Revisit – Take time to look over your company lists once a quarter and expand your list of contacts at those same companies. This can help you reach new hires or connect with those in new roles. New contacts can lead to renewals, upsells and cross-sales.
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  3. Change it up – You might be set in your ways with one comfortable lead source, but try different list sources to keep things fresh. Different sources have different contacts, so you can’t rely on just one medium. Find people on social media that are looking for answers to their questions right now. Sites like Quora, Clarity, Twitter and LinkedIn can also be great for lead gen, but continually require time and energy to yield results.
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  4. Widen your potential network – Try casting a wider net with broad titles (vs. getting super specific with one contact). Use the cold calling 2.0 referral network and reach out to ‘referral targets’ (CXO’s and VP’s), not just the decision makers you want to meet with.
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  5. Ask for help – Kickstart your outbound efforts by outsourcing the initiative with a third party. Pipeline Automation Apps like Carb.io (shameless plug 🙂 ) can help you identify your ideal customer profile, set up targeted lists and optimize email templates.

If you understand that leads can dry up and businesses have bad months, then you can be proactive in your sales strategy and avoid potential nightmarish situations. Instead of panicking, use the above tactics as a part of a larger strategy to ensure that your sales funnel runneth over for many quarters to come.

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