The general impression of how to do business to business sales is to pick up the phone and dial, send out email blasts, and in some cases go door to door as did the encyclopedia sales person of days gone by.  While we have progressed from some of these techniques to using social media tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs, etc., all successful sales efforts start with data, similar to predictive analytics.

While it might not be predictive analytics in its true form with the use of data scientists, algorithms, and metrics, accurate data is still critical to a successful sales effort or campaign.  Before you perform the research necessary to build your campaign list, you must first define target customers best fit for your product or service.

There are essentially three types of business: government, education and private companies.  There are typically three sizes within each of these types: small, mid-size and the enterprise. It is highly unlikely that you will be successful in selling to all three business types in all three size categories.  A product such as SAP would not be a fit for small or most mid-sized private businesses, nor education and government-based entities.  There is a significantly better chance of selling the product to private enterprise-based businesses.  Even without the use of predictive analytics tools, you can still identify the businesses that are most likely to buy SAP.

Many variables are used in building a campaign list once you have identified the target company sizes and types.  Are you going after a particular vertical within your target definition? Are there certain verticals that are simply not a fit for what you are selling?  Who are the decision makers that you are selling to (CEO, CIO, CFO and office manager to name a few)?  These are just a few data points that are critical in identifying who is most likely to buy.

While sales requires a great deal of effort to be successful, particularly for startup companies, by properly defining “who is most likely to buy” and getting that data up front, you significantly increase your odds of acquiring new business.