Finding Invisible Prospects: How to Fill the Gaps in Your Sales Funnel

 In B2B Marketing, B2B Sales

Part of a marketer’s job is to capture as much market share as possible. And you’re probably making your best effort to do just that. However, unless you’re one of the few marketing teams out there using predictive-intelligence tools as part of your marketing mix, the fact is that most of your potential buyers are simply invisible to you.

The Four Types of Invisible Prospects

Invisible prospects are nowhere near getting into your sales funnel. They include the following four types.

  1. The anonymous visitors currently coming to your website and leaving without engaging with you.
  2. Companies that ended up buying from your competitors without your knowledge.
  3. Companies that are currently very close to buying from your competitors (and probably too late for your sales team to influence).
  4. Companies that are actively looking to buy a solution like yours, but that never find you (and vice versa).

You can try your best to keep the sales funnel full of promising prospects, but the fact is, traditional technology tools don’t offer much help in identifying and targeting any prospects who fit into any of these four types.

Why Lead Scoring Falls Short

That’s because lead scoring and buyer-fit models are based on what a company thinks its best prospects look like and not who is actually looking to buy now. These scores require that the buyer be known and in a company’s marketing automation and CRM systems. That means these prospects must fill out a form on your website or contact you somehow in order to get into your databases.

The fact is, more than two-thirds of B2B buyers actively research solutions for weeks and months before engaging with a vendor. This research takes place outside your world, on third-party websites (including blogs, search, review sites, research portals). Because you have no visibility into these activities, your lead scores will be incomplete. Those “in-market” prospects are not accounted for at all.

Now imagine how much market share you could capture if you could see the prospects who are currently invisible to you.

The Power of Predictive Intelligence: How It Works

How does it work? These tools tie together billions of time-sensitive buying signals from your customer data as well as first-and third-party sources to spot potential customers early in their buyer’s journey.

The upshot is that predictive intelligence will never give your marketing team a higher volume of low-quality leads to sift through. That’s because predictive platforms look for prospects who are showing patterns over time indicating an intent to buy. And the platform accounts for fit (right title, right size company) and engagement (did this prospect attend your last webinar?). This is far different from our conventional understanding of scoring leads.

The Purchase Committee: Revealing Hidden Identities

Predictive intelligence is actually so powerful that it can highlight the most important contacts involved in the buying decision. Typically B2B enterprise companies have long sales cycles and have multiple individuals involved in a purchase decision. If those buying committee members are in the initial phases of their buying journey, they’re leaving online traces of what they want and need. Again, predictive intelligence will pick up on those traces, identify patterns and highlight anyone your sales team should consider as a decision maker.

Compare that to qualifying someone as a lead because he has a senior job title and downloaded a whitepaper last week from your website. Now that “lead” gets all your emails and numerous calls from a salesperson. It turns out that this “lead” wasn’t ready to buy at all and now you’ve turned him off!

Predictive intelligence gives you the power to see all your prospective customers—even those that are currently invisible to you. The sales funnel gets full. Sales finds more net-new customers. And, best of all, marketing gets the credit.

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