Sales prospecting is the initial stage in the sales cycle. The sales prospecting techniques involve identifying, researching, and engaging with prospective customers in order to generate new business. Prospecting is the process of creating a database of people who are interested in your business or who meet certain qualifications and then reaching out to them to convert them from potential customers to customers.
The Sales Prospecting Techniques involve the following steps:
- Research: Obtain as much information about a potential customer as you can. Your goal is to determine if they’re a good fit for what you’re selling and to craft a message that is tailored to them. B2B leads are often researched by looking at their LinkedIn page and social media accounts, reading about the company and using web crawling lead generation services.
- Qualification: Prioritize consumers based on whether they are worth pursuing. The likelihood of a prospective buyer becoming a customer and/or their value to your business is usually considered when ranking prospective buyers. The qualities of a lead are usually assessed through lead scoring.
- Outreach: Create a pitch that is tailored to each prospect. It doesn’t have to be a hard sell - you can send a useful resource or informational article, for example. You can contact them via email, phone, or social media, depending on what channel you believe they prefer.
In sales, prospecting involves finding potential customers for your product or service. People will only purchase your product or service if they pay attention to what you offer. Prospecting customers helps you build a pipeline of interested clients, which is essential to the sales process. Proper prospecting helps you build a pipeline of potential customers and establishes you as a trusted advisor. It also helps you focus on the right accounts.
The importance of prospecting lies in the fact that regardless of your price range, service quality, or product, if customers don’t know who you are and what you offer, then any price range, service quality, or product will not matter to you. You generate more revenue when you have more customers. Your business will generate more sales if your salespeople find and convert more prospects into customers. In the end, this is what allows companies to grow. Besides having benefits, effective prospecting is an essential component of retaining customers and generating revenue for salespeople and their companies.
There are two types of sales prospecting techniques:
- Outbound Prospecting
- Inbound Prospecting
Outbound prospecting: This is the traditional form of sales prospecting, where sales representatives research their target market and contact prospects with the aim of converting them into clients. The goal of this approach is to make first contact with potential customers to educate them about your products and services. The first step in this approach is to search for prospects. The salespeople contact prospects via cold calling, cold emailing, and social media prospecting. Among the social media platforms, salespeople use to connect with prospects, LinkedIn has emerged as the most popular.
Inbound prospecting: Inbound prospecting refers to the process of attracting customers to your business on the basis of information they have found about you online. In this method of prospecting, you attract your target buyers to your company. A salesperson’s inbound prospecting strategy is based on social selling and warm emails. CRM tools are essential for inbound prospecting, as they provide a detailed view of how prospects first visited your website, what pages they viewed, and what action they took. Using this knowledge, salespeople can better understand the needs and intentions of prospects.
Inbound marketing or outbound marketing will depend on the nature of your business and your ideal client base. Outbound sales prospecting techniques work better for B2B companies, while inbound sales prospecting techniques work better for B2C companies. It may also vary based on the industry.
Cold calling can be so daunting that marketers often say it’s dead. However, that is entirely false. Cold calling is more important than ever in today’s remote reality. Reaching out to prospects via cold calling is among the most popular and effective sales prospecting techniques.
Cold calling involves making first-time phone calls to leads who still need to express interest in a salesperson’s product or service. An excellent cold call targets a person likely to be interested in or benefit from the product - specifically, who fits the salesperson’s ideal buyer persona.
Prioritize your cold call and warm lead lists, and then contact those on your lists daily. It is not necessary to have a scripted sales pitch, but rather to have a dialogue with them during which you can discover their pain points, needs, and wishes, and most importantly - where they are on their journey to making a decision. It is much easier to qualify leads if you can maintain an interesting conversation. Here are a couple of questions to keep in mind:
- What are they searching for?
- Is there a specific solution to their problem?
- How much information do they have?
- Do you have any information you could send them?
Email is still a valuable sales tool. An email campaign is an effective means of reaching multiple potential customers at the same time. However, this does not mean you should use the outdated practice of spraying and pray. Instead, you should reach a targeted audience with highly personalized communications. It is much easier to personalize emails to multiple recipients with the help of sales automation tools. The leads will receive an email automatically according to your preferred time, and if they respond, they will be removed from the campaign. It makes Email marketing strategies much more manageable.
Some best practice tips:
- Ensure that the content caters to the specific needs of each prospect. You should impress them by showing how much knowledge you have about their company or industry. Provide certain content that addresses the prospect’s needs.
- Make sure your email looks good on mobile devices, as over half of all emails are read on the go.
Transactional emails are often overlooked in inbound prospecting; make sure your team pays attention to transactional email problems for optimized conversions. These emails are sent automatically after certain actions occur on the website. Transactional emails differ from marketing emails because they result from specific interactions with a specific individual. Businesses can automatically send transactional emails using applications that allow email automation and data sourcing.
The LinkedIn network has over 810 million users worldwide, making it a valuable resource for consumers and businesses. You need to utilize the potential of social selling to boost and accelerate your LinkedIn prospecting process. LinkedIn Free, Premium, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator, among others, can make prospecting more effortless and personalized.
A LinkedIn prospecting approach involves finding your ideal clients on LinkedIn and establishing genuine relationships with them. Through LinkedIn, you find sales leads who can benefit from your offerings and then try to convert them into customers. You can use LinkedIn to:
- Contact decision-makers directly.
- Promote your content to a broader audience.
- Increase traffic to your blogs and sites through social media.
- To find Email addresses of key decision-makers.
- Make your LinkedIn profile customer-centric. Ensure they know who you are, what you care about, and how you can help.
- Make sure your communication with prospects conveys a sense of valuing and caring for them.
- Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to customize your search as per your ICP (Ideal customer profile ) and find emails from LinkedIn profiles.
- Networking is important. You can build your funnel by creating opportunities for others.
- Maintain a consistent approach. The road to success on LinkedIn takes time, but nothing good ever happens overnight.
A business’s prospecting process begins with understanding and defining its ideal customer profile. You can’t develop a clear prospecting strategy if you don’t know the attributes of your target customer.
Determining your customer’s profiles will give you a better understanding of what they want and need. You’ll be able to provide better support, anticipate software problems, and rise above your competitors. Here are some simple steps you can use to create your ideal customer profile so you can begin building an effective prospecting strategy.
- Identify the problem your business solves
- Conduct market research and identify your best customers
- Analyze both positive and negative feedback from customers
- Identify the key characteristics of your customers
- Optimize your marketing strategy and brand by using your ICP (ideal customer profile)
Make a list of the types of customers you want to attract and do some research in your database to find out what they look like. Refrain from assuming that just because a company appears in your database that they match your ideal customer profile. Additionally, it is crucial to think of your product in a “problem-solution way,” i.e., identify pain points your ideal customers may have and what your solution would solve. After doing this homework, you can use the profile and your existing company list to find other businesses that meet your criteria.
Establishing yourself as an industry thought leader or subject matter expert gives you credibility and trust before engaging new prospects. Start a blog, write guest articles for industry publications, and speak at trade shows and conferences to establish yourself as a thought leader.
Share this writing on your LinkedIn and other social media channels. Doing this increases your chances of a prospect knowing about you and learning from you before you contact them. Therefore, they won’t view you as a stranger but as someone intelligent and credible, already familiar to them, so selling to them will become much more manageable.
A content marketing campaign can engage your customers without selling to them. Instead of pitching the products or services, you share content that makes your buyer more knowledgeable. Your customers will trust you if you provide valuable and educational information.
Many business owners realize the benefits of providing great content that effectively markets their products and services. An effective sales and marketing strategy relies on high-quality, engaging content, perhaps in conjunction with exit-intent technology. Lastly, it’s a valuable tool for your sales funnel.
Develop a social selling strategy and reach out to prospects wherever they are. There is a good chance that some of those who have researched your product is active on social media (e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook). Get in touch with them and share relevant content to their research. You can gain a lot of useful information from frequently checking social media platforms for relevant data: topics that interest your audience, industry changes and advancements, high-profile industry professionals moving, and sentiment data for your competitors and yourself.
You can increase sales through social selling activities. Companies that regularly use social selling practices are more likely to reach revenue goals than those that do not.
When you approach prospects, you are likely to be disappointed many times. The key to success is to keep trying; eventually, you’ll succeed. When you close a deal, ask your prospect or champion if they have anyone in their professional network you might connect with. They can recommend some of their contacts who may also need the products or services you offer.
You’re leaving out your most reliable prospecting if you don’t ask for referrals. A happy customer spreads the word about your service or product, so nothing is better than a satisfied customer. Their referral will increase the likelihood that the referred person will purchase since someone they trust and know has endorsed your product or service. Furthermore, you can’t pass up this free-of-charge opportunity - ask your customers for referrals.
Webinars are a great way to gather leads because you know your attendees are interested in the topic. Organize a webinar with like-minded organizations within your industry on a mutually beneficial topic. Ask your audience a yes/no question at the end of your webinar, such as “I’m open for a demo” or “I’d like to know more info on (your company name).”
Contact those who replied “yes” to your poll or post-webinar survey within 24 hours and set up a time for them to learn more. Keep trying to sell to people who said they were still getting ready. Put them in nurture campaigns and keep in touch over the next few months in case their buying position changes.
Following up after the first contact is important. Most people might not remember you when you reach out to them for the first time, but if you reach out to them again, they will probably remember you and pay more attention to you. Ask them if they are available for a meeting or phone call. Send additional product information. Follow up with a thank you if they gave you their time. Maintaining regular contact with prospects also increases the likelihood of turning to you when they’re ready to purchase your products or services.
A solid opportunity can become more difficult to close if you wait too long before following up with a warm lead. It is more effective to contact a lead as soon as possible to get to the top of their consideration list. The response shows they have priority treatment from a responsive representative, injecting energy and urgency into the new relationship.
Despite the changes in sales prospecting techniques, there are still effective strategies to attract prospects and increase sales.
You’ll be able to establish a sales prospecting process that will encourage you to regularly contact potential customers and identify good fits by using the techniques we’ve outlined here. The rewards will come in the form of compensation and better results from the buyer conversation. If you keep trying new sales prospecting techniques and see what works, you will soon reach sales prospecting success.