Sales prospecting is the process of reaching out to prospective customers, usually in a sales cadence, in order to convert them into paying customers. It’s the most crucial part of every sales process and requires a creative approach for achieving optimum results.
In relatively larger organizations, there is dedicated staff that specializes in prospecting; however, in smaller outfits, the sales team could be doing the prospecting on their own.
Challenges of Prospecting
According to a research study conducted by Richardson in 2015, 18.59% of respondents cited gaining appointments as their biggest prospecting challenge in the sales process. Likewise, 15.45% of the sales professionals said “creating a targeted prospecting strategy” was their biggest challenge while 30.11% of those surveyed said providing insights and challenging clients was the toughest part.
Evidently, gathering relevant information on the leads, understanding their decision-making challenges, and getting ready to offer compelling solutions are key to getting prospect appointments.
Best Practices for B2B Prospecting
Since sales prospecting is critical to maintaining a healthy B2B sales pipeline, your sales team might benefit from following best practices for prospecting leads in order to enhance their chances of lead conversion. Here are some prospecting tips to make your job easier.
Know Your Prospects: It’s important to gather information about your prospects before contacting them. In fact, the more you know about your prospects, the higher your chances are to close a deal or, at least, make some progress in an elongated sales process.
Most sales professionals research their leads to gather key information such as their position in a company, their responsibilities and company objectives. However, along with that information, you could use social media and lead intelligence to develop crucial insights into your leads.
Using LinkedIn and Twitter, you can gather information about their past company, current project, and even their current interests. While LinkedIn can help you understand how the leads are connected to other decision-makers in the company, Twitter can help you track what they are currently talking about.
Likewise, gathering intelligence on your leads can help you better understand how and why the lead arrived at your website. For example, if they found you on Google Search or a promoted tweet, you could articulate your pitch accordingly, making it super-focused and effective. Moreover, this information will help your company nurture leads more successfully.
Learn When to Engage: Learning the most appropriate time to engage with your leads is one of the critical components of prospecting. Knowing when they read your emails or responded to a tweet, for example, can give you useful hints about their engagement patterns. Using notification tools such as Sidekick, you could monitor the following engagement alerts:
- When a lead mentions your company on social media.
- When a lead revisits your website.
- When a lead opens an email or downloads your brochure.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for some great prospecting tools to make your job easier, check these out.
Look Beyond the Lead: When it comes to prospecting, in some cases, the direct contact may not be the decision-maker. In fact, in many cases, the decision-maker may ask their associate to do the research before making a purchase. In such cases, you should try to contact their boss - the potential decision-maker - instead of the immediate contact. To deal with these situations you can ask the associate if you could include the VP of their department in demos.
Since, technically, the associate may not be part of the decision-making process, you could ask them to share the information with their boss or ask if you could have an appointment with the boss regarding the product.
- If you’re making a follow-up call or sending a follow-up email to your lead, remember to add value rather than making it sound like a repeated request. For example, instead of asking them whether they got a chance to think over your product offer, tell them how someone in their industry improved productivity using your products.
Follow a Variety of Methods: When prospecting, it’s important to use a wide range of methods to get in touch with your prospects. From sending emails and cold calling to interacting with them on social media to keep in touch with them during the sales journey. Moreover, it’s important to know which touch point a particular prospect is more comfortable with. Similarly, try to add some value to each communication with the prospect to build a “need” in their mind about your offerings.
Prospecting can seem less daunting for those who use advanced tools with smart approaches. The journey of B2B prospecting is full of exciting challenges including the inevitable highs and lows. However, with a proactive approach and positive mind, you can evolve into a rockstar prospector.
What are your best tips when it comes B2B sales prospecting?