Prospecting is considered as the most challenging part of the sales process by more than 40% of sales professionals.
In a marketing model that has shifted significantly in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to grab the attention of B2B buyers. Increased competition adds to the difficulty of standing out from the crowd.
The stage in the sales process when the sales or business representative searches for, makes contact with and engages with key persons from organizations is known as sales prospecting. The goal at this stage is to build a healthy supply of qualified prospects so as to let your company attract new customers.
Sales prospecting is essential for companies and their sales representatives so as to retain customers and increase revenue.
Reasons for Sales Prospecting
It is vital to understand the reasons behind prioritizing your efforts and investing your resources in prospects.
- Business lifelines are created by prospects: It is essential to view your prospects as a sustainable sales pipeline. To do this, take a macro look at your current customers while keeping in mind your prospects.
- Gain valuable feedback from your prospects for your efforts: Once you have initiated a campaign or an important marketing activity you can gather feedback from your prospects regarding whether your efforts are paying off or not. You can change your content or your target strategy based on this information.
- Be memorable: Once you engage with a prospect you gain the advantage of leaving an impression on them. So even if your prospecting attempt leads to a non-conversion you can still re-engage with them later. If you understand your prospect’s need and the service you offer aligns with it then eventually you will get through to them.
- Prospects are contacts: Each contact that you gain has a list of contacts of their own which is an invaluable exposure. It is considered an intelligence asset to have many contacts on your list. But always keep your contact list updated for optimal results.
Sales Prospecting Methods
In order to find, evaluate and qualify prospects, sales representatives use a range of methods which include:
- Cold Calling: When sales representatives contact individuals who have not yet expressed interest in the product or service offered.
- Referrals: When your happiest customers recommend your product or service by permitting your sales team to reach out to a contact provided by them.
- Warm Calling: When a sales call is preceded by contact with the potential customer through direct mail campaigns or referrals.
- Email Prospecting: When sales representatives initiate contact with potential leads through the use of emails.
- Social Selling: When sales representativ3es develop relationships with their potential leads via social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Sales Prospecting Techniques
When using the above methods and any others there are certain techniques that you can employ that would boost your sales performance significantly.
1. Prospecting and sales quantity matters
The more leads your sales team adds to their pipeline, the better your chances of converting some of them into prospects.
2. Sales velocity is key
With the help of in-depth research, social networking and referrals, your sales team can proactively warm your cold calls and cold emails which will, in turn, expedite the prospecting process.
3. Refrain from inbound ignorance
Even though inbound operations are separate from prospecting they share the same goal of qualifying, growing and nurturing the pipeline.
4. Being social is rewarding
Build transparent and sincere relationships with potential customers with the help of social media. Without hard selling, offer valuable insights that could help prospects overcome challenges.
5. Learn from lost opportunities
Keep notes and learn from each rejection to make the techniques that you use better.
Irrespective of which prospective method you employ, it is important to keep your messaging specific, relevant and casual.
7. Using the right prospecting tools
According to the kind of business model you have, use the appropriate B2B prospecting tools. Some of the key tools you need to have are sales and marketing intelligence tools like Artesian, and DiscoverOrg, Customer Relationship Management tools like Salesforce, and Insightly, lead generation tools like DataFox, and DealSignal and productivity tools like Cognism, and Fileboard.
According to B2B sales execution specialist Tibor Shanto; if you master prospecting then you will be the master of your sales destiny. As you practice your prospecting skills, your sales will start increasing which in turn will help your business succeed. For maximum efficiency, use sales prospecting methods in places where your potential prospects are concentrated the most. You would need to showcase how your product or service is an instant solution to their issues.
No matter what your role is in your sales team, these methods and techniques will help level up your B2B sales prospecting game. Use these sales prospecting techniques to convert your prospects faster into paying customers.