Have you ever invested hours trying to convince a lead only to learn they don’t even have a requirement? It’s every salesperson’s biggest nightmare and a complete waste of your time, energy, and cost. Sales prospecting is all about ensuring that the lead requires your product to begin with and is a good fit for you to move ahead.
Instead of targeting random leads, if you can spend some time on researching and using the right tools to identify a lead’s purchase intent, it becomes more straightforward for you to drive more sales. Every sales team’s goal should be to adopt a data-centric approach that helps them land on those leads with the maximum purchase intent.
In this sales prospecting guide, you’ll find some unconventional tips and prospecting strategies to get started.
What is sales prospecting?
Prospecting is the very first phase of a sales process. Sales prospecting doesn’t focus on converting a lead into a paying customer. Instead, it tries to convert a prospect into a potential customer by analysing their purchase intent. Sales teams use prospecting data to fulfil the following objectives:
- To initiate a conversation
- To nurture a prospect
- To identify the prospect’s pain points and position your products/services accordingly
Why does sales prospecting matter?
Business prospecting helps you identify customers who are the right fit for your organisation.
That means even prospects seek to connect with reps who understand their pain points and offer suitable solutions.
The lead prospecting practice is highly significant. Here’s why it matters:
1. It fills your sales pipeline
A sales pipeline should be filled with potential leads that are most likely to convert. Businesses should have an active strategy to fill their sales pipeline. Else, the sales team will struggle. With sales prospecting, you can fill your sales pipeline with valuable leads with high-purchase intent. That way, your prospects can only invest their efforts on leads that will convert soon.
2. Sales prospecting helps you gain actionable insights
Want to expedite your sales process? Build strategies that can help you stay ahead of your competitors. Sales prospecting can help you discover the lead conversion strategies your competitors are using to grow sales.
Sales prospecting is all about going in-depth to understand your prospects’ needs and offering them relevant solutions. When your prospects are involved in core prospect research, they can easily gain useful competitive insights to leverage later in the sales cycle.
3. It differentiates your leads from the prospects
Leads and prospects are different from each other. A lead is someone who has expressed some interest in your products and services by visiting your website, subscribing to your newsletters, or signing up for your free demo. However, can a lead be your target customer? Not always. A prospect, on the other hand, is a qualified lead and a perfect fit with your buyer persona.
An active sales prospecting process can help your reps differentiate the leads from the prospects. Hence, it becomes easier for them to figure out whom to nurture with the hope to convert into a paid customer.
9 Sales prospecting strategies to fast-forward your sales process
Here are some of the top lead prospecting strategies that can help you build a more efficient sales process:
1. Allocate some time for sales prospecting every day
Sales prospecting requires consistency. You can’t master it or complete it in one day. So, the best way is to dedicate some time to sales prospecting every day. Sales reps already have too much on their plate. If they don’t block some time specifically for client prospecting every day, they may very well miss out on this practice.
The prospecting time you set should be aligned with your target customers’ availability. You can’t reach out to them at an odd time when they’re not ready to connect with reps. To maximise the chances of getting a response, set a time that suits both you and your prospects.
2. Host events for a smooth sales prospecting process
When it comes to B2B sales, event marketing is still a thing.
Suppose you’re hosting a webinar and you promote it on social media. Who do you think will sign-up for this event? Definitely, people who are interested in the topic you’re covering. So, even if you have a fewer number of attendees, the majority of them are your prospects. That definitely makes sales prospecting easier.
But then again, the events you’re planning should be impactful. That’s the only way to make your sales prospecting process count. So, find the answers to these questions first:
- What type of event matches the most with your buyer persona?
- What topics should you cover in these events to engage the attendees?
- How can you position your services in these events without sounding salesy?
- How can your event be a unique one?
3. Research, research, and more research
The secret to efficient sales prospecting is in-depth research. The more you research, the better you know your prospects, their pain points, and requirements. This will help you ace the very first cold call. Cold calls don’t always have to be odd and full of rejections. In fact, with proper research, you’ll approach leads who’re interested in your products, which means higher chances of conversion.
Are you exhausted with all the research? Well, you can use a speech analytics tool like SalesKen instead. SalesKen helps you with actionable lead scoring insights for sales and marketing. That means you can analyse a rep’s conversation with a prospect through this tool to find out a prospect’s purchase intent. Hence, you can connect with those prospects who are the most interested in your products. That means optimum utilisation of your time and effort.
4. Build long-term relationships
Sales prospecting is not at all about selling. It may sound ironic but you don’t ask a prospect to buy from at the very first interaction. Instead, try to build relationships with them and slowly nurture them. If this goes well, the prospect will convert on their own. Hard-selling may have been a conventional sales tactic, but it doesn’t work with today’s prospects. They want to know more about a product before they can actually invest in it.
A study by HubSpot shows that 61% of buyers don’t want the reps to be assertive.
Instead, they expect relevant information from the reps to place a product with respect to their needs. So, build relationships, and you’ll see an immediate boost in your sales prospecting process.
5. Create prospect segments
Want to follow a quick sales prospecting process? Break down your prospects into different segments. Here’s how:
Prospect score: High
Prospect score: Medium
Prospect score: Low
- Fits your target buyer persona perfectly
- Pain points are aligned with your product’s features
- Prospect frequently visits your website and social media, showing interest
- Some pointers of your buyer persona match with the prospect
- Business challenges are aligned with product offerings to some extent
- Some level of interaction on the website and social media
- Buyer persona doesn’t match the prospect
- Business challenges are vague
- Almost no interaction on the website and social media platforms
Now that you can differentiate your prospects, doesn’t it simplify the sales prospecting process? It easily tells you which prospects are most likely to purchase from you and those who are not. So, you can plan your efforts strategically.
6. Leverage social media for prospecting
Today, social media research can be a major part of your sales prospecting process. You can track your prospects on all social platforms as most profiles are public. But we recommend prioritising Twitter and Linkedin. Twitter works on trigger-based marketing, making it easy to discover needs and intent, so you can leverage this information to nurture the prospects. For B2B sales prospecting, LinkedIn can also be a huge source of opportunity. You can adjust your sales strategy accordingly.
7. Mix and match with email and phone communication
Leverage a healthy mix of email and phone communication to avail the following benefits of both modes:
- Emails will add a visual representation of your message for the prospect.
- Emails work well for business decision-makers who are generally very busy and therefore unavailable to attend calls.
- A strategic and well-planned cold call can do well in terms of engaging the prospects.
- With phone communication, you can establish an intimate connection with the prospects that is effective for an extended period.
- Phone communication is faster compared to email communication and therefore expedites your sales process.
Just a little bit of mix and match between these two communication modes can help you enjoy the best of both worlds.
8. Engage with prospects on different Q&A platforms
Your target buyers are the busy decision-makers of large companies. The same old tricks may not always work for them. So, try to find new ways and strategies to educate your prospects. A cool way to approach this is through various Q&A platforms. You can use Quora, Reddit, Moz Community and other forums to find out what the buyers are discussing or what they’re looking for in a solution. This information can simplify the positioning for you.
9. Subscribe to prospect’s blogs/newsletters
Want to keep a close eye on your prospects? Subscribe to their blogs and newsletters. Here’s how it can go:
- Read each blog/newsletter they’re publishing
- List the most interesting ones
- Find out relevant information from these blogs
- Use this information to draft your cold emails
This will help you fine-tune your value proposition and ensure that you’re only using relevant information in your emails.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started with the sales prospecting process and use these strategies. Reps should remember that sales prospecting is a consistent process. Also, you can’t perfect it overnight. So, be patient and keep it going. You’ll observe the results pretty soon.