Fleet owner prospect lists: How to lower the high hidden costs
I know you’re in a hurry to feed SDRs with more prospect lists about fleet owners. But throwing more data at the team won’t increase conversion, make quotas, or crush your competition.
Instead, take a quick time-out. Check out the steps below. They’ll help you lower your prospecting costs and improve conversion.
First, I share the significant hidden costs in prospect lists. Then, I share how you can lower these costs. We follow these steps for our customers. This process has paid rich dividends for them.
Your fleet owner prospect lists can cost you
125% more than you paid
Because for every 10 prospects on the list, only about 4.5 will reach your sales team.
When evaluating prospect lists, the spend is carefully calculated and budgeted. But did you know that additional factors make the true cost higher than the price you pay? Way higher. Try 125% higher.
The cost rises as we do the very things we are supposed to do with purchased lists: cleanse, dedupe, enrich, score.
So, what do you do?
I’ll tell you right away, I do NOT recommend that you skip cleanse, dedupe, enrich and score! Instead I have a revelation that – coming from a provider of fleet prospect lead lists – might make you fall off your chair in disbelief.
First let’s look at the catch-22 here. That as we follow good practices, this increases the cost of the purchased list.
But this is also a clue to how to improve the return on investment (ROI) of prospect lists.
What are the hidden costs?
Here is how the records get whittled down before they reach sales reps, and how this increases lead cost …
You receive a list that includes basic selects like SIC and employee size.
You likely already own many records, so duplicate records are eliminated. In our experience you can lose about 25% of records during dedupe. We’ve seen clients lose much more than this when they have saturated their market.
Prospect records are enriched and appended with valid contact names, phone, email, etc. You can lose 20% more records where valid information is lacking.
Predictive modeling or at least segmentation should be part of the mix, to identify the High Value Prospects based on “ideal customer” profiles. More records are filtered out so they don’t reach sales.
If you paid for all these records before these steps, you’re flushing 55% of your budget down the drain. Ouch!
As a result, your true list cost goes up by 125%.
So, a record with a $0.25 list price actually can cost you $0.56!
In other words, if you purchased 100,000 fleet owner records, you overspent by $13,750.
Plus, add in processing costs, sales rep fatigue and opportunity costs – which are not accounted for here – and you can see why prospecting ROI might not meet your expectations.
Our numbers are a rough average based on our experience with processing data for many clients. We do see variance in these numbers across clients. So your numbers may be higher or lower. We made an easy Excel worksheet with formulas so you can calculate your own costs. Click here to download an Excel file with the worksheet:
What can you do?
You might think, but isn’t this how it works? You purchase the records, then go through all these steps?
Here is a surprising suggestion …
For best ROI, pay only for the fleet owner leads you use
Think about it. This whole cost structure is upside down for you!
Say you go to a clothing store and you tell the sales rep that you want a solid blue shirt appropriate for the office, with long sleeves in your size for about $75. They won’t give you a pile of shirts in many sizes, a range of prices, different styles, some with stripes. And, including many shirts exactly like those you already own. Then you pay for all those shirts, take them home, and figure out what shirts you’ll really use. That would be crazy! No, you are able to define all known parameters, and filter shirts out before you buy. You get what fits your situation.
What if you paid only for the fleet owner leads that fit your situation?
Of course a clothing store is a different business than a lead selling source. But why should you pay for a pile of anything that you aren’t going to use?
If your current processes throw away prospect records that you paid for before the sales reps see them, it is time to reassess your prospect list acquisition program. Turn that process upside down.
As the VP of Sales of an aggressive inside sales operation at one of our clients said, “Let’s STOP buying leads until we figure it out.” And they did that, fast.
“Figure it out” means learning the parameters that will filter out leads that are less likely to reach your sales reps. Filter out those leads before you buy.
Next, I’ll show how to figure out those filters for your business.
How to lower the high hidden costs of outbound prospecting lists
In the first section, I told you three surprising things:
- The cost of outbound prospect lists is way higher than what you initially pay – likely 125%+ higher. This is due to hidden costs after the list purchase.
- These hidden costs are caused by marketing and sales practices that are good and necessary. So not doing those practices is not the solution.
- Instead, you should not have to pay for outbound prospect records that never reach a sales rep.
Only 45% of records from purchased lists will be available for sales reps. And, you still pay for the 55% of records that don’t! My recommendation is: don’t buy records that will not reach your sales reps.
Here the steps to filter out unwanted prospect records before you pay for them:
A one-time investment in these steps will reap dividends and
continually improve your business development results for years.
As it has for many of our clients. And, if your data provider is not giving this kind of consultative guidance that puts your business first, well, it’s time to re-evaluate.
The techniques in these steps will not only save you money on every list purchase, but as a bonus, they will build the foundation for better analytics for your organization. Once you follow these steps and get a taste for the results, you’ll never go back to willy-nilly ad hoc list purchases … ever again.
Step 1: Clean & consolidate your existing fleet owner data
The first step is to get a clear idea of what you already have.
Summarize your CRM data
At a minimum, look at leads, accounts and contact objects in your Salesforce org or other CRM. Identify all the fields you have, and how much data is blank. The blank fields can tell you how much you will need to enrich and append to fill in missing data.
Check the key contact fields like title, address, phone and email fields to see if they contain accurate and valid values. As mentioned above, you will see how much missing data you will need to enrich and append.
And as a bonus, using the job titles, you can build level and function segments. With what titles do you have the most traction with contacts? This can help you with choosing job titles during list purchases.
Dedupe and eliminate
Run deduplication, and group dupes that you identify by contact (exact same contact), location (at the same site) or company level (across sites with multiple contacts).
Cleaning data gives you two benefits:
- Opportunity to fill in missing data. If there’s data about fleets you already have – especially from reliable sources – just update those records. This will save you from buying the same records again, and adding to the cost and mayhem.
- Ability to append external data. Using contact information, you can append firmographics like industry, employee size. This will give you a more rounded view of the data and help with segmentation and profiling in the next steps.
Step 2: Identify strengths of your fleet owner customer base
Create industry segments
Group all your accounts by SIC. Then sort by metrics that are important to you, like revenue.
Then, keeping the data sorted, combine groups of SICs into 10 segments. If you have 130 SICs, you’ll end up with 13 industries per segment.
So, industries ranked 1-13 by revenue will be combined into one SIC group, industries ranked 14-26 by revenue will be the second SIC group, and so on.
Why do this? Remember the 80/20 pattern.
That is, more or less, 80% of revenue comes from about 20% of customers. The segments will show who your most valuable customers are, and which industries they come from. Here you can clearly see how the above data shakes out:
In the chart above, only 13 industries bring nearly 80% of the revenue.
Buy fleet owner prospect records that represent your top segments. Resist a temptation to buy records in the bottom segments, with the hope that there’s opportunity there. It will be tougher to get traction and win there. Time and opportunity could be squandered. Best bet is to focus on buying prospects where you are already strong.
Don’t miss this step!
Map against the list you’re purchasing
Next, map your industry segments against a B2B database, or the lists you purchase. Find out how many companies in the database or list fit your priority segments.
This way, you get an idea of the quality of this data … for your needs.
Step 3: Prioritize fleet owner records to fuel your business development
List pricing usually depends on volume. Now that you know your best industry segments, the available universe of prospects, and your own data needs, you can take advantage of volume pricing. You can commit to an annual contract with more confidence.
For the data you are acquiring, identify what are the most important fields to be delivered. How can you determine this? Think about which data can help you with segmenting, marketing campaigns, sales rep call scripts, and which data could be reported up to senior management.
Get your data from your data provider with a just-in-time process. Monthly is an ideal window to distribute data to marketing and sales. But quarterly would work fine as well to ramp up gradually.
This way, you get the best of both worlds: the right data, at the right time! Through these steps, you may learn new insights about your data that will save a lot of money and time.
As a former colleague would say:
“We reserve the right to get smarter.”
You can also download this article in a PDF for easier reading.
We hope you try the steps above. If you need our help, check out our fleet market intelligence and analytics, where we can assess your existing data, identify your high potential markets, and deliver fleet owner data tailored to help you grow.
President & CEO at Valgen
Rainmaker extraordinaire for our clients. Turns databases into gold. Analytics executive and entrepreneur with a track record of producing significant and sustained revenue gains for sales teams in fleet, transportation, high tech & financial services.