How Do You Successfully Prospect in Sales? Steps & Tricks
What Exactly Is Sales Prospecting? Types of Prospecting Importance of Effective Sales Prospecting How to Do Sales Prospecting in 7 Steps? Techniques & Tricks Sales Prospecting: Quality Over Quantity
Effective sales prospecting is essential in an ultra-competitive environment where highly solicited customers are becoming increasingly picky. It is an essential part of a sales approach, which requires skills to find the right prospects and successfully convert them into a long-lasting partner.
To generate repeated customers, you need to nurture leads in order to establish a concrete bond between customer and supplier. In order to achieve this, you need a strategy, and careful techniques must be followed for effective lead conversion. This type of prospecting efforts are very important for overall customer satisfaction, due to them feeling engaged with the product or service received, thus leading them to recommend your product or service and therefore overall good press.
So, how do you successfully prospect in sales? What techniques should you follow?
What Exactly Is Sales Prospecting?
Sales prospecting or prospect marketing is the process where the sales team seeks and reaches out to new leads and potential buyers to convert them into real customers. Outreach may take many forms depending on the target audience, however, the most popular ones are:
- Email templates,
- Phone calls,
- Going through social media.
The main goal of effective sales prospecting is to successfully convert leads into customers by using the two types of prospecting.
Types of Prospecting
There are two types of sales prospecting. Typically, sales organizations specialize in the one that effectively coincides with their company’s strategy and overall image:
1. Outbound Prospecting
Prospecting is where sales representatives contact leads, without any prior engagement, meaning the prospective client has minimal to no information about the company prior to the initial approach (canvassing). During this approach, the sales representative does not have a lot of space for negotiation, due to the lead not being primarily interested in the offer and therefore not ready to buy yet.
Outbound prospecting is the method with the least instantaneous positive results. However, it is the one that generates the most brand visibility, due to their initial approach allowing audiences to be introduced to the company through word of mouth (WOM) advertising.
2. Inbound Prospecting
It is the approach where leads already have an idea of the company's offer and are already interested in it; allowing the sales representative to feel more comfortable to negotiate. It’s completely different from outbound.
This is the type of prospecting that has most instant positive results, due to the lead already having knowledge of the product or service and showing interest in the company. It’s the most organic type of lead acquisition.
Companies nowadays apply both of these methods, according to what they want to achieve and the type of client they want to acquire. By mixing both of these methods they should be able to come to the conclusion that certain clients are more receptive to certain methods and the main objective is satisfy their needs.
Importance of Effective Sales Prospecting
Even though sales prospecting has existed for a long time, starting with sales representatives going house by house trying to sell. Companies no longer have to go door to door to find leads, they go directly to hundreds and even thousands of potential customers with a click of a button
This allows companies to build long-lasting relationships with clients, it allows them to really understand their target audience in a way where their product is customized to their needs; enabling companies to innovate and create products that revolutionize their specific industry.
How to Do Sales Prospecting in 7 Steps?
Step 1: Define Your Prospecting Plan
The sales prospecting plan is an extremely important prerequisite before starting any canvassing. Your prospecting plan is unique and must be specifically researched and developed for your business and your current campaign.
It must clearly outline the characteristics of the prospecting campaign, determining:
- The offer: clearly describe what you want to sell.
- The target: beyond the classic criteria (age, geographical area, sector of activity, income, etc.)
- Objective Definitions: they must be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Time-defined).
- Which channels: your target type and your budget can determine the channels through which to contact your prospects.
- Actions to implement: determine the methods you will use on different channels.
Step 2: Generate the Prospecting File
The prospecting file regroups all the leads in your target audience with their contact information. It must be updated regularly to make for precise targeting and to segment your contacts and companies. The objective is to identify the most relevant contacts as quickly as possible.
To do this, using prospecting assistance software or CRM software can save you time, especially by giving you access to a large volume of processed and sorted information.
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Step 3: Develop Your Prospecting Arguments
Now that you know your target, as a salesperson, you need to define the arguments that will convince them to buy. To do so, adapt the needs of your potential customers to the company’s offer and explain how the product or service can help them or is a good fit.
This allows customers to feel personally attached to the offer, which will most likely result in a positive result and overall engagement.
Step 4: Qualify Leads
This step is about identifying leads interested in your solution, in order to qualify them as prospects.
To do so, you have to follow these three steps:
1. Analyzing Lead Behavior
Whether it’s on your website, in a physical meeting or the lead’s behavior in an email campaign, opening rate, click rate, etc., the information collected allows you to build an ideal customer profile in order to better understand them, and therefore know how to talk to them.
2. Segmenting Leads
By properly segmenting your lead, you will be able to better communicate in a more personalized way to generate interest, send the right message to the right person, at the right time and through the right channel.
3. Prioritize Through Lead Scoring
By assigning a score to each prospect, you can identify and list those most likely to turn into a customer, so you can contact them first and focus your efforts where the chances of conversion are highest.
Step 5: Convert Prospects into Customers
Get in touch with your leads through the most relevant channels. Talk to them about their issues, motivations and doubts. Make sure your product is one of the possible solutions, and then convince them that it is the best for them.
Step 6: Analyze Results
The analysis of the results of your campaign is essential to know if your prospecting is effective, in other words, if you met your objectives.
If not, it will allow you to pinpoint what you need to improve, tools, methods, etc.. Determine relevant indicators in order to make the right decisions.
Step 7: Choosing the Right Business Development Tools
Depending on the company’s size and its sales rep and strategy, different tools are the best option for guaranteeing an effective sales prospecting result.
Platforms can help you build and maintain:
- an attractive and complete website that showcases your level of professionalism and the quality of your offer,
- leads to remain and get in touch with you,
- an updated prospect file,
- a process tracker for identifying opportunities etc.
Techniques & Tricks
B2B sales prospecting is not an easy job, since it involves major negotiating skills that not everybody has, which is why certain techniques are needed in order to guarantee effective sales prospecting.
1. Stay Relevant and Time-efficient
People, in general, are busy and don’t like being interrupted and pulled out of their daily lives; which is why sales representatives must be relevant and time-efficient to guarantee the prospect's full attention and get their valuable information across. Otherwise, the lead will get bored or feel like they are wasting their time and leave.
💡 Trick: create a template which will help you look and see how the progression of an approaching must go and what key elements to talk about. This will allow you to be precise and focused on the value content you want to offer.
2. Friendly Tone
People, in general, don’t like being dealt with in a cold way, it doesn’t make them feel connected and makes them more likely to be negative. In order for this to not happen, you should talk in a friendly tone and immediately try to connect with them by talking about something you have in common.
💡 Trick: you should adapt your tone of approach depending on the type of lead. Some people like being spoken in a formal way, while others prefer a more casual way of speaking; it also depends on the type of product or service you are offering.
3. Make a Script
Developing a script lets sales representatives have a standard follow up of how the meeting should go and what things to talk about. This allows for a more fluid conversation and guarantees that the sales representative will talk about the main points and not forget any important points.
💡 Trick: work along with your script, but not solely follow it up. This allows the conversation to be more organic and less robotic, helping you seem more approachable and engaging.
4. Build Relationships
Through this technique, representatives get to avidly engage with the prospect in their daily life. It’s essential to create a connection with the client, in order for them to feel attached to the product or service, for a more positive approach.
💡 Trick: come up with and integrate a client follow-up tactic, it helps companies have a more enduring client-provider relationship, while understanding which areas they need to improve.
5. Be a Trustworthy Source
Because the market is full of competition and possibilities of getting scammed, prospective clients are very wary of providers and don’t easily have a positive attitude towards a sales pitch; which is why establishing yourself as a trustworthy and reliable source of information is one of the most important techniques.
This allows users to be more open to hearing you when they know they are not being scammed or the product or service offering is real.
💡 Trick: when first approaching a client, use all forms of validated sources like company email, LinkedIn page etc., so that the lead knows the approach is a trustworthy source. Furthermore, try to connect to leads through referrals, this type of approach normally leads to a more positive result.
6. Social Media Engagement
Because now most people use social media it has become the new way of connecting with prospective clients, these platforms are the best place to maintain brand visibility while allowing a safe space for finding and contacting potential clients.
💡 Trick: don’t be afraid to use jokes or funny remarks when dealing with young clients. This allows the company to feel more approachable and warm while maintaining professionalism.
7. Understand Your Target
This is one of the most important techniques as it allows the representative to know about their lead before approaching and allowing them to have a more personalized experience, where the customer will feel engaged and may lead towards a more positive result.
💡 Trick: study your target's likes, dislikes, profession etc., in order to approach them with interesting topics or a possible solution to their problems. Leads are more likely to remain engaged when representatives approach them with a solution or a captivating topic specifically designed for them.
8. Brand Awareness
This technique, if implemented correctly, opens space for more inbound prospecting, due to this approach offering companies visibility of their product or services to a wider audience. Furthermore, it is what adds value to your business by displaying the unique qualities of your product.
💡 Trick: in order to compete in today’s increasingly competitive market, awareness in social media is a key player for increasing leads in an international market, thus generating more prospective clients.
9. Mind Your Attitude
Remember to always be polite and assuring. People, in general, don’t trust anyone that sounds unsure or nervous, and this can lead to negative results and an overall missed opportunity. When leads are being converted to clients, prior to this, they will ask many questions about the business in order to proceed with the sale. If the representative doesn’t know the answers to their doubts or is shown nervous, the lead might not feel reassured and pull out of the deal.
💡 Trick: try doing talking exercises or mock scenarios in order to prepare yourself for future approaches, this will not only prepare you for any type of person but also for any type of question.
10. Provide Quality Conversation
This technique offers an added value to a general approach. People get approached every day from sales representatives: over the phone, emails, social media etc. However, most of them don’t stick, because they are not quality conversations where the clients’ needs are met.
💡 Trick: use technique #7 to understand your client in order to have a quality and productive conversation where the needs are met and make them understand your product is imperative for their daily life.
Sales Prospecting: Quality Over Quantity
Sales prospecting intends to find new customers by following a qualitative business development strategy. It is no longer a question of sending mass emails to win some customers, but of contacting the right prospects, at the right time, with the right channel, and providing them with a personalized proposal.
This doesn't require more time, but it does require the right software and, above all, careful consideration of a prospecting plan beforehand.
And you, what are your sales prospecting techniques?
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