While you may just want to jump in and start pitching decision-makers to see if they’re a good fit for your business, this isn’t the most cost- or time-effective approach to lead generation.
That’s why you need to have a sales prospecting technique that is scalable and values the time of your sales development and marketing teams.
In this blog, we’ll highlight the following:
What Is Sales Prospecting?
Sales prospecting is the process of seeking out new clients to grow your company and generate more revenue. Sales prospecting involves moving prospects through the sales funnel and making every attempt to increase the number of leads who will eventually become customers.
The purpose of B2B prospecting is to locate new clients and incorporate them into your sales pipeline. To prospect successfully, your sales reps must qualify leads, initiate conversations with potential buyers, and nurture relationships to improve their sales conversion rates and reduce the amount of time a potential buyer spends in the sales cycle.
A successful B2B sales prospecting strategy backed by the latest technology will make your prospecting activities streamlined and more efficient, allowing you to concentrate on selling and acquiring new business.
Why Is B2B Prospecting Important?
B2B prospecting is important because it helps salespeople identify their best sales opportunities in the most efficient way. Strategic prospecting is designed to help sales teams identify, qualify, and prioritize sales opportunities and also to determine whether those sales opportunities represent new potential customers or opportunities to generate revenue from existing customers. With the B2B prospecting methods and techniques in place, your sales professionals have the opportunity to fill your pipeline with more qualified leads that are likely to present your company with a positive ROI.
Benefits of Having a Sales Prospecting Process
One of the most significant benefits of having a sales prospecting process is that you get more qualified leads and customers who are ready to make a purchasing decision. This allows sales development representatives (SDRs) to spend more time focusing on leads that are closer to the end of the sales cycle, rather than leads who are only in the awareness stage.
Sales prospecting also allows you to determine a prospect’s preferred method of contact, whether it’s cold calling, email marketing, or social media outreach (specifically through LinkedIn). Rather than chasing dead leads, your sales development experts have the ability to target the best decision-makers using strategic sales prospecting tactics that align with their buyer personas.
At the end of the day, not all leads will convert into customers. However, the data gathered throughout the process can provide insights into the current state of the market and customer behavior. This empowers businesses may make data-driven choices and rethink their strategies, benefiting their lead generation efforts in the long run.
Outbound vs. Inbound Prospecting: What’s the Difference?
Outbound prospecting involves sales development teams taking the first step in reaching out to potential leads and customers. They can do this by making cold calls, sending sales emails, or reaching out to decision-makers through professional networking platforms like LinkedIn.
On the other hand, inbound prospecting is the process of connecting with potential buyers who have expressed interest in your company’s products and services through your marketing efforts. Prospecting in marketing often occurs when a user submits their contact information on a webpage or signs up for an email newsletter, showing that they want to learn more about what your company has to offer them.
How To Find the Best Prospects for Your Sales Pipeline
Step 1: Think of Your Ideal Prospect
Prospecting is a vital step of the sales cycle that sets the stage for the rest of the prospecting process. That’s why it’s so important to identify your target market and ideal prospects. By developing a set of search criteria, you can save both effort and time that would otherwise be spent on unfit leads that don’t fit your desired customer profile.
When defining your ideal client profile, it’s best to distinguish between individuals who want your product and those who actually intend to buy it. If someone is interested in what you have to offer, it doesn’t always indicate that they are a qualified lead. To begin identifying your ideal prospect, go into your customer relationship management (CRM) tool and check out customer history. Keep an eye out for industries with the greatest conversion rates and client categories with the highest order ratio. Examine the characteristics they share and the duration of their respective sales cycles.
Step 2: Consider How You Want to Find Prospects
You’ll need dependable lead sources to identify new consumers. These are directories, websites, and other resources that may give correct prospect information. Here are a few ways that you can fit prospects to implement into your sales pipeline:
When a business recruits for a certain function, it indicates that it wants to devote more time and focus to that area. For example, if you’re trying to recruit new loan officers or real estate agents, you should examine new technology, tools, and services to help them in that role. You may find listings that match your consumer persona job titles by exploring employment sites like Indeed and Glassdoor.
Trade shows and industry groups are both excellent places to locate prospects that fit your ideal customer profile (ICP). On their websites, most industry organizations mention their members or member firms. These directories might be an excellent source for new customers. Partner organizations, authors, and other listings may also contain leads for new prospects.
Sales Tools and Technologies
While the methods described above are beneficial, manually gathering and analyzing prospects may be time-consuming. Luckily, you can use an efficient prospecting CRM tool to expedite the process. For example, some systems enable you to acquire high-quality prospect data based on parameters such as job title, firm size, geography, and industry without leaving your CRM. Using these technologies, your sales team can quickly gather contact information, compose and send a fresh tailored email, and build and automate follow-up activities.
Outsourced Data Vendors
If you want, you may start from scratch with your prospecting database. Following some of the above-mentioned tactics, such as scanning LinkedIn profiles or dedicating some time on Google, is a good place to start. However, it’s also worth considering purchasing a prospect mailing list from an outsourced data vendor. Purchasing a B2B database from a reputable data source offers you an advantage in the lead generation process because you’ll have a pre-arranged list of businesses, so you can begin investigating, pre-qualifying, and ranking them based on your sales and marketing qualifiers.
Here are a few of the best prospecting tools we suggest that sales teams use for their strategic prospecting efforts:
- D&B Hoovers
For a full list of our recommended sales tools and technologies, check out our blog here.
Step 3: Prioritize Your Most Qualified Prospects
Prioritizing prospects will help your sales reps focus on leads with the highest likelihood of progressing down the sales pipeline and becoming customers. The more thoroughly you define and rate your ideal prospects based on their degree of interest, the less effort and resources you’ll spend on connections that will most likely go cold.
Create some criteria for prioritizing your leads and have your sales team concentrate on one sort of customer at a time. High-priority prospects tend to be influential and have decision-making roles within their respective firms. They would frequently interact with your product channels such as your website and social media and would also align perfectly with your ideal persona of a prospect.
Ideally speaking, they would also have a clearly defined challenge that your organization is capable of pursuing. Low-priority prospects, on the other hand, have undefined problems, with weaker roles in their respective firms and infrequent interactions with your social channels. Most lead management software allows you to allocate lead-scoring progress, which can help the members of your sales team know whom to focus on in their ongoing targeting efforts.
Step 4: Tailor Messaging to Align With the Prospect’s Buyer Persona
The first point of contact should be short and focused on solving a particular issue by providing a specific solution. Refer to the material and connections discovered when you were researching your prospects—anything that the person or company is aiming for—and relate it to your solution. This goes a long way in making the message relevant and appealing.
Prioritize initiating a meaningful discussion over immediately attempting to schedule a meeting. The message should offer value, assist the prospect as much as possible, and attempt to determine if both sides would earn value from working together.
The most effective cold messages and calls adhere to a winning formula. If you really want your prospect to read your emails or remain on the phone, begin with your purpose, concentrate on your prospect’s pain areas, ask open-ended questions, provide social proof, and listen with intent.
Step 5: Remember to Routinely Follow-Up With High-Quality Prospects
Yes, understanding your product, giving a nice presentation, answering all the questions right, and building a connection are all important, but if you don’t follow up, the odds of losing sales are quite high. But why is this the case?
Marketing their own goods or services is the client’s first goal. They are busy making their own companies successful, and although your service could help them accomplish that, they often find other businesses that offer comparable services and goods to help them. People may appreciate your presentation, but they will not remember you for the following few weeks and will move on to the next service supplier.
Ways to Connect With Prospects in Your Sales Pipeline
Now that you have a list of prospects and a streamlined sales process in place, how can you go about connecting with these potential sales opportunities. When it comes to outbound lead generation, there are many ways you can connect and start building relationships with prospects. Here are a few of the most common strategies sales development teams use to introduce prospects to their business and guide them down the sales funnel.
Make Cold and Warm Phone Calls
Getting a prospect on the phone can help your SDRs provide a more personalized experience for the prospect. They can develop a stronger relationship with a prospect by hearing their voice and gauging their response based on their verbal and non-verbal reactions. Making cold and warm phone calls can capture a prospect’s attention more readily than a cold email message. This is because the connection is created in real time rather than over the span of numerous emails. Additionally, one-on-one phone conversations have the ability to shorten how long it takes to close a business deal because trust is established more rapidly.
Send Sales Emails
Many B2B sales teams extensively depend on emailing prospects since it offers various benefits over other modes of communication. An email can visibly layout vital information that your prospect may need in a manner that phone conversations cannot. It also generates a document that may be easily sent to a key decision-maker.
Emails also allow the prospect to analyze the offer on their own time and spend the required time researching your product and organization. When sending a cold email, your sales personnel should try to make it as personalized and helpful to the prospect as possible. Customized emails have a greater possibility of attracting the prospect’s attention and initiating a conversation.
Some tips for writing good cold emails include using short and simple sentences so they are readable on mobile devices and easily skimmable. With this in mind, one should also include clear and visible calls to action within the contents of the email, while personally referring to the prospect by name in the subject line to add a personalized flair.
For more insight on how to write good sales emails that boost conversions, read our blog here.
Connect With Prospects on LinkedIn
Many people consider LinkedIn to be the most essential work-related social media network. It’s an excellent platform for social selling to engage with prospective customers. Your salespeople may use it to find prospects who meet certain criteria such as business size, geography, job description, and more.
LinkedIn groups can be an excellent approach to initiate value-based discussions with potential clients. For example, if anyone asks a question about your firm, your representative may send them a personal message with help and information. It’s an excellent technique to establish credible relationships with prospective customers.
A tip for interacting with others on LinkedIn would be to create an identifiable professional brand with a consistent visual aesthetic. It also helps to share industry insights since most people on the app tend to engage with those they consider to be industry leaders.
And last but not least, it’s essential to engage with users on the platform so you can be seen as a helpful expert, educate users, and draw in more prospective clients.
Although B2B prospecting is often regarded as one of the most challenging phases of the B2B sales cycle, any combination of the techniques listed above can aid your efforts. Experiment with various tactics and strategies to see which works best for your sales team.
To see results, you’ll need to build an effective program. With a robust process and industry-leading prospect finding and management solutions, you’ll make sure your team takes the crucial actions required to achieve sales targets.
However, managing all of this can be quite a hassle for a company if it doesn’t have the resources to invest in hiring and managing a sales team. At Abstrakt Marketing Group, we take the burden of sales prospecting off of your shoulders so you can focus on creating better products. Let us do the heavy lifting and find the right sales leads for you to contact.
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