Successful sales prospecting is the basis for effective outbound sales or sales in general.
If sales is the engine that keeps your company running, prospecting is the fuel. Or rather – what provides the fuel: leads.
Whether you close a sale highly depends on how good you are at finding prospects.
Before we dive deeper into the subject, let’s begin by explaining what sales prospecting is.
What is sales prospecting?
Sales prospecting is about identifying and finding people who are potentially interested in buying your product or service. I intentionally bolded these 3 words, to bring them to your attention, here’s why:
Identifying the right people – is about realizing who your ideal customer is. The best way to do this is by creating an ideal customer profile. More on the subject here. Without knowing who your ideal customer is, you cannot do sales prospecting successfully.
Finding the right people – after you realize who your customer is, you need to find the people/companies who match your ideal customer profile.
People who are potentially interested – you will never know for sure if the person you’re contacting is a) interested in what you’re offering b) ready to buy. Which is why all your prospects are only your potential customers.
Overall, the better you are at prospecting new customers, the higher your chance of closing a sale.
Here are a few tips for successful sales prospecting.
7 Secrets to Successful Sales Prospecting
1. Monitor results from your previous campaigns
Successful sales prospecting is not a “one-off” event but a continuous process, which you should monitor. And adjust your prospecting criteria based on your results.
One of the ways to do this is by evaluating results from your previous outbound campaigns. Remember to segment your lists, and name your campaigns accordingly, for example, CEO, Startups, San Francisco. This will allow you to draw conclusions more easily.
What are the metrics you should consider while evaluating your campaigns? Your response rate. Both positive and negative.
A positive response will assure you that you have successfully chosen your prospects, while a negative response will help you adjust your targeting criteria or your messaging and in turn allow you to craft successful sales prospecting campaigns.
2. Test different target groups
Successful sales prospecting is about finding companies/people who are willing to buy your product. However, they can and most probably will have different profiles.
Your job is to identify all prospects that you can sell your product to, assess what they have in common and segment them. Let’s take an outbound sales platform as an example.
You can sell it to both marketers and salespeople – and this is a good starting point.
But there are other criteria that you should consider, like, company size, team size, their experience in outbound sales etc.
You can create at least two segments:
– The first one including marketers, with no outbound sales experience, who are part of a bigger marketing team, based in Europe
– The second one including salespeople with experience in outbound sales, working at a startup, based in the US
Schedule two different campaigns and see which one performs better. Did you spot any significant differences? Are both target groups worth selling to?
3. Automate sales prospecting
How much time do sales reps spend or should I say waste on sales prospecting? 50% of their time… time which could be used to close more deals. As important as prospecting new customers is, it is a process which can and should be automated.
If you are a sales manager, then do your sales reps a favor, and invest in an outbound sales platform.
There are plenty of options to choose from, Growbots is one of them. Combining prospecting into one all-in-one solution together with email automation and contact data is what any sales rep needs in order to make the most of their day and cut back on manual tasks.
Too much time is spent on manually searching the web for contact data or information to help personalize campaigns. Reading all the sales or prospecting tips in the world won’t save you from that – only the right tool can.
Growbots does just that by housing a B2B contact database, email automation, and sales prospecting automation & know-how all under one roof.
It will not only provide you with a tailored list of prospects in an instant, but it will also help you improve the effectiveness of your sales efforts.
Growbots analyzes your campaign results and provides you with a more accurate prospect list every time you generate one. With Growbots you can save over 4 hours daily on sales prospecting.
Think about the number of deals you could close within these 4 hours.
4. Sort out your product reviews
How to get new prospects without doing any prospecting? Get your product reviews in order.
Whenever you have a satisfied customer, ask them to leave you a product review on G2Crowd, Serchen, Capterra or another software review website.
Nothing works better than reading a positive review from somebody already using the product. It adds credibility to your business.
According to a study done by Software Advice, 75% of B2B buyers read product reviews before committing to a purchase. While there’s no direct evidence positive reviews will directly impact the performance of your sales prospecting campaigns, it doesn’t take much of our imagination to believe that most potential buyers will do some form of research on your company before deciding to reply or not to your sales email.
After seeing a number of positive reviews, there is a high chance they’ll either contact you to inquire about your product or go to your website to schedule a demo.
5. Use referrals
Referrals are considered the most successful sales prospecting method. If you have a good relationship with your customers, then take advantage of it. Ask your customers for referrals. People are more keen on buying from someone they know, someone they have a more personal relationship with.
Recommendations from people already using your product are more valuable, even more valuable than product reviews.
After all, 84% of B2B decision makers begin the buying process with a referral.
You can set up a referral program to encourage your customers to recommend you. Offering a little incentive, for example, a product discount or a few months of free subscription might give them a motivation boost.
6. Do your research
I cannot stress this enough, research should be part of your entire outbound sales process, prospecting included (or in particular, even).
Without doing proper research you can’t decide which criteria to use in order to create your ideal customer profile, and as a result, you cannot do sales prospecting successfully.
Don’t limit your research to business job titles or job descriptions. Try to find information that will let you connect with them on a more personal level. Just don’t overdo it… acting like a spy will make you look creepy!
Find enough information to show your prospects that you care – research shows effort.
Doing just the right amount of research requires practice however and for a well thought-out sales process to be in place. Just think about it: how will you know what to look for if you haven’t decided yet how you’ll be using the information you find on your prospects?
A popular way of using background information in sales prospecting is personalization of sales emails. Reaching out to a prospect with an email that seems well researched, that touches on what’s personally relevant to them, and that stands out from the rest is key to successful sales prospecting. Which brings us to our final tip.
7. Personalize & then personalize some more
Our prospects are busier than ever and so are their inboxes. While the amount of communication channels is rising steadily, email still remains king and even more so in business communication.
Most of your prospects’ days will start and finish in their inbox and the sales folks over at your main competitor noticed as well. Your product or service might be superior to what they’re offering, however with all this bidding for their attention your prospects might not even be bothered to find out as they’ll grow tired of being bombarded with generic sales messages before you can even reach them.
Successful prospecting in sales has shifted from being a numbers game to being a game about who can understand their potential customers best. Which turns out is a great thing for everyone involved.
A well researched and personalized message will help a sales person stand out from the rest and will start a sales relationship off on the right foot. The buyer will feel appreciated from the very first interaction they have with your company. And while you as a salesperson may have needed to invest a bit more time upfront, you’re left with higher quality leads and your overall close rate will increase in return.
The key to successful prospecting in sales is finding the right balance between personalization and automation to help fill your sales pipeline with the right leads.
Now that you know how to do prospecting right you might want to have a look at this article – it will tell you how to set prospect meetings to close the sale.
Or, if you’re ready to start automating your outbound campaigns, investing in a solution like Growbots might be the best way forward.
What’s your secret to successful sales prospecting? Let us know in the comments! We’d be happy to add your suggestion to our list of prospecting tips.