Larger prospect pools. Do they mean greater sales?

Part of PILYTIX Series “Challenging Conventional Wisdom”: Larger prospect pools. Do they mean greater sales?

Larger prospect pools represent a tactic to cast a wider net to maximize sales. It is a tactic that nearly all organizations have tried at some point.

The idea, simply put, is that if the organization approaches a larger target audience, it will scoop up more sales. The obvious implication of this approach is that teams have to undertake a laborious and often expensive process of sourcing, sorting and storing these new contacts.

In many cases, expanding the prospect database is absolutely needed. But not all cases. Before undertaking a potentially major initiative to expand your prospect database, teams should consider a few questions.

Larger prospect pools. Why are you adding to them?

Otherwise stated:

  • What is the specific objective of this exercise?  What are you trying to accomplish?
  • How will you measure the efficacy of this project?
  • Is there a more efficient alternative to get to the same objective?

Too many sports teams invest in data-related initiatives without first addressing these questions.

What is the source of new leads?

Are there obvious candidates that your team just never bothered to put into your database (i.e. people who have purchased in the past, or people who have filled out interest forms on your team’s website?)

Or are you doing the equivalent of uploading your city’s phonebook into a database – hoping that there are some buyers in that massive list.

Both sources will result in a larger database. The latter case will also result in significant wasted time and money.

Are you effectively targeting the contacts that you do have?

Are you systematically identifying and targeting your hottest prospects when they are most likely to be interested?

Or are you only marketing en masse to large groups of people who share some attribute that aligns with a pre-defined campaign? If your team falls into this category, you have plenty of company. But, just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t make it right.

What are the costs?

While the actual costs of ingesting and storing data are trivial, most outsourced data storage providers charge an incredible premium to provide these services.

Further, there are opportunity costs that must be considered. What are the opportunity costs of your data/analytics team undertaking a big project? Are they postponing higher impact activities to do this project? If you haven’t appropriately answered the first three questions, the biggest opportunity cost will be felt when your sales team’s attention is diverted by selling to a lead pool whose quality has been greatly diluted.