Your Ultimate Guide to the Most Effective Sales Prospecting Techniques
The year is 2008. You’ve got a long list of prospects to call to start off the day (in hopes to hit your quota). You start dialing the numbers, the prospect picks up, you talk to them about your services, successfully convinced them to buy and then closed the sale. Life couldn’t get better.. until the rise of technology.
Gone are the days when sales reps can close a sale with just a mere phone call. But is cold calling really dead? In a world where seeking digital content has become the norm, traditional pitching and prospecting techniques may no longer be as effective as before. The introduction of CRM software have paved a way to an advanced approach to prospecting, giving access to a wide database of customer data and behaviors, automate workflows and optimized tool of analytics. However, despite all of these enhancements, prospecting remains to be a challenging task in the sales process.
What makes prospecting difficult and what are the key strategies to be successful? Before we talk about that, let’s get down to the basics.
What is Prospecting
Prospecting is the process of acquiring potential buyers to convert into new business. These prospects are then qualified and nurture through the sales funnel until they eventually become customers.
Common Prospecting Methods
- Cold Calling & Warm Calling
- Email Prospecting
- Content Marketing
- Event Prospecting
Challenges in Prospecting
Despite all the tool advancements introduced to increase productivity and obtain better results in sales, many sales professionals still struggle with prospecting. Value Selling found out on their research that getting an appointment with a prospect garnered the top spot among the challenges faced by sales professionals in prospecting.
Best Practices in Sales Prospecting
Establish a Targeting Plan
Success in sales starts with prospecting. There may be plenty of fish in the sea, but not everyone is a good catch. In qualifying potential prospects, you need to understand your best buyer, should have in-depth knowledge about each prospect and a more hands-on approach compared to the initial outreach. 93% of companies who exceed lead and revenue goals report segmenting their database by persona.
In qualifying your prospects, consider these factors:
- They align with your ideal customer profile (demographics, geographical location, company size)
- They expressed an interest in your business
- Their industry is a great fit for your product/service
- Identify their pain points and evaluate if your company can provide a viable solution to resolve it
- They have an allocated budget to invest in your company
Build and nurture relationships
It takes a lot of “no’s” before getting a “yes”. Every sales rep knows the frustration of exerting much effort to reach out to a prospect only to be turned down all over again. However, it’s really up to you how you take a rejection. Instead of giving up every time a prospect tells you “no,” you can change the way you respond to a situation and learn from it. Analyze the situation carefully and find out what made them say no in the first place. The key to nurturing a relationship with a prospect is to understand them and their needs. Look for other opportunities or ways to show them the advantages your business can provide for their industry.
Relationships are built over time. If you are as consistent as the first time you reach out to your prospects, it will establish trust and will open doors for new opportunities.
Generate Lead Scoring
One of the most effective ways to succeed in the early stages of prospecting is by lead scoring. With this method, you can manage your sales pipeline efficiently, focusing on hot leads that meet the criteria of a potential customer. The requirements can base on different qualities such as customer needs, a defined timetable for a decision, budget, competition, contact level, etc. Once you’ve analyzed the qualifications, the best way to build your prospecting list is to set up a ranking system and assign point values assessing each prospect based on your criteria.
There’s a thin line between low ranked prospects and unqualified ones. The latter are those who have nothing to do with your business but could still be beneficial in developing new products or services. Low ranked prospects, on the other hand, typically don’t bring a large impact on your business, especially in the sales funnel. Each point will determine which prospects will be nurtured or excluded further in the prospecting stage.
Invest in the Right Tools
There’s more to prospecting methods than cold calling. Sales tools have been in the buzz over the years because of how it dramatically streamlines the overall sales process from prospecting to closing. Every business nowadays, big or small invests in a set of software integrated into their sales stack to engage with the right people, increase productivity in workflows, and accelerate revenue.
These tools provide solutions in the different aspects of your sales performance from growth acceleration, data insights, sales enablement, social selling, lead management and scoring, account-based sales & marketing, performance management and more. We’ve rounded up a list of our top sales tools to use which you can find as you read further in this article.
Build an Online Presence
In the age of digital content, prospects will take advantage of the information online to find out about a particular company they are interested in. 67% of buyers say that content that is 100% customized to their specific situations captures their attention and they’re more likely to accept a meeting with that company.
Social media is one of the advantages of Inbound Prospecting. If you leverage social media efforts, you can engage with your target market on a deeper level. Aside from that, you are allowing them to connect and contact you on different platforms, which means you can build relationships with them.
Provide Value Upfront
Think about the dozens of proposals that show up in your decision-maker’s inbox. Instead of ending up in a pile of archived emails, take time to improve your approach to prospects. Create a catchy subject line that will catch their attention and give them hints on how your product is different. Most importantly, show them the real value that lies in it. You’ve only got one shot at making a first impression, don’t waste it.
Giant companies like Amazon, wouldn’t be as successful as they are today without outsourcing. According to the Global BPO Services, the outsourcing market is expected to expand at 10.8 % CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) in 2024 that’s because, 78% of businesses all over the world feel positive about their relationship with their outsourcing company.
The primary reason why companies outsource is to cut overheads. But there are far more advantages that are often overlooked such as helping companies focus on their core business and eliminate tasks that are time consuming and can hinder productivity. One of those tasks is prospecting. Outsourcing to the right partner will not only give you access to a wide variety of technological advancements but will also give you a team of industry experts whose skills can steer past gatekeepers and appointments with decision makers.
Prospecting is a lot of work, something that most sales reps don’t enjoy doing, at least 42% of them. Due to the amount of effort needed, not to mention the time spent finding the right prospect in a sea of leads, there’s no wonder sales reps will eventually feel less motivated. Tenacity and determination should come together. If sales reps aren’t motivated in the first place, it will affect the overall results.
Sales Prospecting Tools
Prospecting is already difficult but it doesn’t have to be. Investing in the right tools will not only give you a full pipeline but it will help automate workflows, streamline your sales process and improve your performance metrics. (Which is by the way, goes beyond a CRM software.)
Here’s a list of tools to include in your sales stack.
With more than 50 million records in its database, LeadFuze does all the work in your prospecting process. Its automation tool starts from data gathering to reaching out to every decision-maker. It collects all the necessary information based on your ideal customer profile, targeting key industries and locations.
With a cloud solution platform focused on revenue acceleration, Inside Sales provides optimized, multi-channel workflows backed with cutting-edge features such as Real Intelligence, data science, and predictive analytics that drive productivity and great results in the overall sales performance.
Salesforce Maps boasts an edge with its territory optimization. Brought by its core mapping technology that is mobile-ready, it maximizes geographic potential and reach by eliminating location barriers that affect field sales reps.
Say goodbye to your plain, old boring sales talk. With Dooly, you’ll no longer need to browse on Evernote or pull out a cheat sheet of your script during a sales talk/meeting. The software integrates real-time coaching, analyzing a call from a specific customer, at the same time evaluating his buying signals. During the ongoing conversation, Dooly sends out the right follow-up questions and competitive insights to wow potential customers and convince them into buying.
By utilizing a personalized outreach from a 320 million verified contacts, Growlabs’ Machine Learning algorithm systematically follow-up prospects and nurture them into sales-ready leads. After analyzing each potential prospect, multi-channel campaigns are distributed to target accounts to increase response rates and close deals faster.
One of the frustrations in prospecting is spending a huge amount of time filling your pipeline, only to find out that your leads are unqualified. Cognism’s patented Revenue AI engine has access to highly-actionable B2B data that doesn’t only cut time in prospecting but as well as converting more leads into new business revenue.
Sales teams utilize a stack of software to increase productivity. Although it’s a great advantage, things could get disorganized and could result in an additional workload. Thanks to Hull, it keeps all your tools in one place with its 2-way synchronization capabilities allowing giving you full control over shared resources in your stack, including customer accounts and data.
Velocify Pulse understands that the sales industry is a fast-changing landscape which is why they built powerful automation software to help sales teams keep up. Another advantage is that it allows sales teams to hone their skills and experience by providing them a fully scalable customization and intuitive workflows wherein they can combine their expertise with the technology to take sales performance to the next level.
Prospecting isn’t rocket science but a full pipeline is necessary to have a steady flow of new business opportunities. Those practices mentioned above may or may not work best for your business. However, if you break through using different methods, combining your goal-driven techniques, think about how successful it would be if they work together.