Prospecting is one of the key elements of the sales process, yet it is the most challenging stage and a source of misery for most of the sales reps.
Mostly, salespeople see prospecting as a time consuming and hectic task. This is why most of the salespeople do not take interest in prospecting the way they should, and the result is awfully slow progress. Part of the problem is that only a few marketing companies teach their sales reps prospecting techniques.
The truth is that sales prospecting has changed over time. Due to widely available information and a lot of options out there, customers have gained more power than ever. Without customer retention, sales reps can’t build a sales pipeline full of quality leads.
This is why, prospecting is crucial- to build strong business relationships with potential customers. The top 1% of salespeople who are successful from the rest is because they consider their customers a priority. Sales reps who still use traditional ways to generate leads are way behind. They need to adopt new ways of prospecting if they want to be successful.
In this guide, we will discuss the key strategies for prospecting. However, before that, let’s take a look at ‘what is sales prospecting?’
What is a Sales Prospecting?
Sales prospecting is the process of using advanced automation tools and techniques to create new business opportunities by searching and connecting with potential clients. The ultimate goal is to find the ideal prospects, nurture them, and move them down the sale funnel until they become a buyer.
An important aspect of effective prospecting is finding the leads that are actually useful for your businesses. This means focusing on the quality of the leads rather than the quantity.
Key Strategies for Effective Sales Prospecting
Strategy # 1: Research Your Customers
The core of every successful prospecting strategy is to do research.
The root of the failing B2B sales prospecting strategy is the lack of knowledge about your ideal customers.
If you don’t have enough information about your target prospects, their interests, problems, their buying pattern, you would never be able to sell your products to them.
To make it simple: without a clear understanding of your prospects, your marketing and sales efforts are futile.
Statistics have shown that companies and marketing teams that excel in lead generation focus more on buyer’s persona than those who miss on lead generation and ROI generating opportunities.
- 90% of the businesses that exceed the lead generation game collect customers’ data and segment their databases based on the customer’s persona.
- 35% of the companies that successfully generate leads have a short sales cycle.
- 25% of the businesses have acquired more leads by using the customer’s data.
Targeting cold leads based on persona-based content is, undoubtedly, more effective than hitting a warm lead without persona-based content.
Strategy # 2. Remember: Quantity Over Quality
A major mistake that sales reps commit is that they consider prospecting like a numbers game.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock- That’s the sound of the countdown and sales reps start racing to hit their daily quota. They start targeting every prospect in their way whether or not this lead is relevant to their business.
Eventually, you’ll end up with a few prospects that are actually a good fit for your business. This is the waste of time, energy, and skills that you have invested in the wrong process.
More than half of the prospects in your sales funnel aren’t worth the time and effort to even build relationships with them.
On the contrary, what successful sales reps do is that they spend maximum time understanding their ideal prospects. They focus on quality rather than quantity.
No doubt that generating quality leads take a lot of time and effort, however, you will see the benefits of choosing quality over quantity, especially when you’ll be able to close more deals.
Weeding out the irrelevant leads will remove complexities, shorten your sales cycle, speed up your productivity as you will focus on the potential leads in your leads funnel. When your focus only on generating the right leads, you are more likely to get a response from them which is far better than generating hundreds of cold leads that may never respond. Therefore, a sales rep must focus on the sales-ready prospects to get productive results.
Strategy # 3. Make Prospecting An On-going Process
Prospecting needs to be consistent. Most of the sales reps fail because they don’t put prospecting on their priority list. They treat prospecting as a less important process; putting it off and then starting again when required. Research has shown that salespeople devote most of their time to prospecting in the last quarter of the month when they have to reach the monthly quota. And the success rate of doing prospecting at the eleventh hour was lower than before.
This is definitely not the right approach if you really want to generate leads and grow your business. Top salespersons give prospecting the same time throughout the whole month.
If you want to be successful at sales prospecting, invest time into prospecting just as much as at the start of the month as the last quarter.
Be very consistent; set aside a certain time every day and use it for prospecting. This is the habit of the best performing sales reps to put more effort early in the month because they know customers are more likely to buy at the start of the month.
Strategy # 4. Use Automation Tools to Speed Up Your Sales
The truth is that the sales process has changed- quickly. Typical prospecting efforts are no longer useful because customers’ buying patterns have changed. Customers today have a lot of options to buy products and if you don’t put the effort into engaging with them and knowing their needs, you won’t be able to make sales. This is where marketing automation tools come into the picture.
If you are still using cold outreach such as cold calls and cold emails to generate leads, you’d have an idea of how time-consuming and sloe this approach is. You spend a lot of time, energy, and resources in manual data entry, repetitive tasks, cold calling and end up with only a 0.3% conversion rate.
Instead, you can use this time and energy in engaging and building relationships with potential clients.
In the latest marketing landscape, marketing automation tools are the answer to your modern marketing problems. B2B marketers and companies that used the best marketing automation tools were able to generate more leads and improve their conversion rate.
According to GitHub marketing surveys, 70% of the B2B marketers that used a marketing automation tool has seen a significant improvement in their lead generation process.
How marketing automation tools are helpful?
Marketing automation tools are used to automate your repetitive tasks and help you find, connect, engage, send messages, and build relationships with potential clients. A major benefit of using these tools is that they only find you the right leads, not just hundreds of random leads that are not useful for your business.
They save you a lot of time, energy, and resources which you can use to perform other important business tasks. These tools are helpful as they connect with the right prospects at the right time. B2B marketers and companies that use marketing automation tools have been able to generate more sales and revenue.
This is because leads coming from a nurturing campaign are more likely to turn into a potential buyer. If you are prospecting without marketing automation services, it’s like shooting an arrow in the air without any aim.
Strategy # 5. Set levels of prioritization
Prioritizing the leads can save you from a lot of trouble. Even when you have found quality leads, you need to set your levels of prioritization to focus more on the prospects that are more likely to convert.
Based on the prospects’ data, you can divide them into high, medium, and low. All those leads which perfectly meet your customer persona or which are potential decision-makers should be dealt with first.
By knowing their needs and problems, you can easily move them down the sales funnel. If you address those leads on time, you’d leave a good business opportunity on the table for other customers.
After high-level leads, come the medium level leads. These are the leads that meet some of the requirements of the customer persona. You need to interact with them, pay them more attention to nurture them, and turn them into potential buyers.
Low-level leads don’t match your customer persona. Don’t spend too much time on them while ignoring high-level leads because you are not sure whether they will become your potential client or not.
What separates a successful salesperson from a low-performing salesperson is their ability to use the best sales prospecting practices. A successful salesperson is successful when he has mastered the basics of prospecting.
By understanding fundamentals, implementing the latest prospecting techniques, and the best marketing automation tools, you can improve your lead generation and boost your sales.