Sales Empowerment Group Blog

How to Turn Suspects into Prospects and Then into Customers

Posted by Geoff Kehoe on Oct 15, 2019 | Updated on 04/09/20 11:11 AM

While visiting a new client recently this subject came up… “How can we do a better job of converting suspects and prospects into customers?  What kind of marketing strategies will help us achieve these objectives?”

The first thing I suggested was to think about marketing strategies in two different ways:  Big M vs. little m Marketing.

Here are the strategies that fall into each category and how you should think about the more strategic Big M initiatives and the more executional Little m tactics.

BIG “M” Marketing


  • Internal Stakeholders
  • Customers
  • Competitors

Interview and listen to your customers!

Start a dialogue (not a monologue) with your customers

Ask your customers what matters most to them?

How do your customers want to learn about you?  – email, social media, your website?

Result:  Learn how to stand out and be relevant with prospects


  • Brand Positioning
  • Segmentation
  • Messaging
  • Mentoring
  • Content Strategy and Thought Leadership
  • Metrics

Develop your brand and messaging strategy with real customer insights!

Little “m” marketing


  • Digital transformation
  • CRM
  • Lead generation
  • Websites
  • Sales collateral
  • Trade shows
  • Press Releases

Once you have completed your insight and strategy work, then you are ready to begin the execution of your plan with a meaningful competitive point of difference.

The next thing we discussed were putting foundational tools into action for both customers and prospects:

Your Customer Marketing Checklist

  • Segment your customer base: not all customers are alike, so don’t treat them as such.
  • Segment customers by revenue size, frequency of purchase, profitability and those that have not bought from you in the last year.
  • Develop messaging and an offer for each segment to encourage incremental revenue.
  • Top revenue customers: show them the love by encouraging them to reach a special status to reach the next order level and receive a year-end bonus.
  • Most profitable customers: make them feel special by inviting them to a special event or webinar reserved for your most important customers.
  • Dormant customers: they need a push to get started or choose you over a competitor – provide an offer to get the end of year order.

Your Suspect and Prospect Marketing Checklist

  • Segment your prospect database: not all prospects are alike and you should not treat them the same either.
  • Segment your prospects into groups and develop unique campaigns and messaging for each unique group
  • Harpoon a whale – target 2-3 of your largest opportunities and create an Account Based Marketing plan that targets several influencers and decision makers within the company. Send them promotional items to create top-of-mind awareness for follow up by your inside or outside sales team.
  • Target a vertical where you have expertise – develop a case study within that vertical and send out a video describing how you tackled this challenge.
  • Invite prospects to a webinar that promises business building strategies.

Now what?

You can implement these programs to bring suspects into your funnel, qualify them to become prospects and implement recurring campaigns to convert your prospects into customers.

This can all begin with customer data you already have at your fingertips.  Let me know if we can help you put these strategies into action.