The thought of sales prospecting inspires mixed feelings among sales professionals. On the one hand, prospecting is the lifeblood of the sales industry. The more you prospect, the more customers you have. And the more customers you have, the more profit you can earn.
But it’s also the part of the sales process that most reps struggle with. It requires searching for new leads, reaching out to dozens of people, and getting rejected a lot before finally landing a client—it’s tiring but it’s a necessary part of the job.
By refining your prospecting strategy you can pull in more customers with less work. The sales prospecting tips below will help you be more productive, find higher-quality leads, and hopefully make a sale or two.
Read on for our top 12 tips for more effective sales prospecting.
Every sales professional should sit down and come up with an action plan before anything else. Having an action plan helps you stay focused and on track, and it provides you with a guideline for when things get difficult.
An action plan outlines your overall goals and the small daily tasks you need to complete to achieve those goals. It also details the strategies you’ll use at every step of the sales process.
First, come up with a customer profile for your ideal prospect, then identify opportunities where you can meet and reach out to them. Develop questions that reveal crucial information about your prospect, and commit to using them in your conversations. Set manageable daily, weekly, and monthly targets, then break each goal down into smaller steps.
Learn about your prospects before you make first contact. Get more than just their name, title, and contact details—actually take the time to understand who they are, where they work, and what their biggest pain points are. This insight will help you develop the right approach, maximizing your chances of converting them into a paying customer.
There are lots of resources on the internet that can help you with this. Social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and search engines (Google) are incredibly valuable tools for this. You can also connect data enrichment platforms like ZoomInfo to your CRM to get more data for every prequalified contact. Then bring the data automatically to your fingertips with sales intelligence systems like ZynBit to automate the process.
When a deal falls apart (it’s a normal part of the job and it will happen), don’t look at it as a lost deal—think of it as an opportunity to learn instead. Go back to your recent unsuccessful deals and review those calls. Pick it apart and find out why you didn’t get that deal.
Did they go for a competitor?
Were you able to get the right people involved, both from the prospect’s organization, and yours?
Did you skip important qualification and nurturing steps?
Or were they simply a bad fit?
Use that insight to improve your sales strategy. And who knows, you might be able to resurrect a few prospects or get qualified referrals in the process.
Bundles sell as much in B2B sales, as in a grocery store. You reach a whole new audience, increase your value, and create meaningful business connections that will come in handy in the future. So if you want to stand out from your competitors, why not team up with a non-competing company and offer your products/services as a package?
Just like how supermarkets bundle chips and sodas or household products together, you should find other brands that sell to your target demographic. For example, digital marketing agencies often team up with PR firms, events companies, and website developers. They refer clients to each other and white label each others’ services so that they appear as a “one-stop-shop” to their customers.
We get it, prospecting isn’t fun. And because it’s not an enjoyable task, many sales professionals avoid doing it unless absolutely necessary. But that’s the thing—prospecting is always necessary. If you procrastinate or put it off, you’re just hurting your own success.
Look at sales prospecting as a process, not a one-off task. Do a little bit of it every day, and your pipeline will always be full of customers. Plus, breaking it up into small daily tasks makes it a lot easier to handle than if you leave the tasks to pile up until the end of the week or month.
A single high-quality lead is worth more than 1,000 unqualified ones. It doesn’t matter how many leads you get if none of those are likely to convert. So how do you stop wasting your time on people who will never buy from you? By identifying your best prospects, grouping your leads by priority, and following up on the ones that show the most promise.
Your highest-priority leads should be the ones you spend the most time on. These are the people who match your ideal customer profile, have a pain point that your company can address, and are in the market for the products or services you’re offering. You can also look at customer engagement patterns with a system like ZynBit, so you can see whether they are opening or clicking on your emails, looking at your attachments, or visiting pages your website.
People are more willing to give money to a company they know they can trust. And you can build trust in many different ways, especially if you take advantage of social media and the internet.
One of the most common ways companies try to establish their authority is by becoming a thought leader or trusted resource within their industry. You can publish blogs, create videos, host events, and partner up with other websites.
During the sales process, you can point to these resources as proof of your expertise. Plus, this technique has an added benefit: leads will seek you out, saving you lots of time and effort.
The sales industry is built on mutual connections and referrals. The right person could connect you to dozens of potential leads, so don’t hesitate to reach out to people within your personal and professional network.
The next time you meet up with a friend, family member, or colleague, ask if they can put you in contact with a decision-maker at their company. You should also ask for referrals from your successful sales—after all, if your product and sales approach worked on them, they might know other people who’d love to sign up.
Content can be a sales person’s biggest ally. While creating content is more marketing than sales, content marketing helps move customers through the sales process. The bigger piece, however, is knowing which content is helpful and when it should be used.
The secret to great (and effective) content marketing is to stop hard selling and instead focus on providing content that addresses your prospect’s biggest challenges. Not only do you establish your expertise on the topic (winning over a few customers in the process), your content can answer their questions, address their hesitations, and convince them to make the jump from prospect to full-on customer. Another dirty secret in the sales industry? You don’t even need to wait for your organization to create every single piece of content you need. You could leverage other content sources such as industry research or content provided by your vendors.
How much time do you spend on admin work and mundane tasks? 30 minutes a day, an hour? Every minute you waste going through your emails, updating your CRM, trying to schedule meetings, or digging information about a prospect, is one less minute you can spend doing something that actually earns you money, like sales prospecting.
If you want to automate your daily tasks—and give yourself some more time throughout the day—invest in a sales tool like ZynBit. ZynBit can automate a lot of tasks that take up your time every day and makes customer data and customer insights available right in your inbox. It automatically logs your activity (emails, meetings, tasks) in Salesforce, which means that you don’t have to do it manually. Plus, whether you use Gmail or Outlook, ZynBit integrates right into your email inbox, allowing you to schedule meetings and pull client info with ease. It also tracks how engaged are your prospects so you know how to prioritize your follow-ups. With the time that you save, you could generate more leads and even snag a few clients.
Social media is incredibly powerful—it can build careers or destroy them, it can help your business or harm it beyond repair. Get social media on your side, and you’ll be an unstoppable force.
Set up social media accounts that are separate from your personal ones. Get on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest....wherever your target market is. Then, use the platform to share your content, reach out to prospects, and monitor the conversation around your brand and your competitors.
Even if most of your followers don’t convert, that’s okay. This technique will help you build your network. If you create valuable, relevant, and engaging content, your followers will share it—as will their followers’ followers, and so on. You’re pretty much guaranteed to connect with a few people you can turn into customers.
If you’re struggling with sales prospecting, don’t worry, most sales professionals do! But if you follow these sales prospecting techniques, you can speed up the process, get higher-quality leads, and save yourself a lot of time and energy. And if you’re really struggling, consider a tool like ZynBit.
Zynbit is one of those all-in-one sales tools that helps you update Salesforce, schedule meetings, track your emails, and identify engaged prospects. It really makes prospecting easier!