We all understand why sales prospecting is important—it helps you scout for new leads and builds a healthy pipeline. Customers are the lifeblood of your business. But that doesn’t stop a whopping 42% of sales reps from struggling with prospecting.
One of the biggest issues that sales professionals face is that prospecting is much harder today than ever before. Customers are busy and hard to reach. They’re smarter about purchasing and more cynical about sales tactics. if they do want to buy a product or service, they don’t go to you for information—they turn to the internet.
All of these challenges make prospecting a dreaded part of the process. Sales prospecting is like having an annoying boss—you may not like it very much, but you have to put up with it if you’re going to get your job done.
Read on to find more info about prospecting, our buyer’s guide, and our top 6 sales prospecting tools that are guaranteed to boost your numbers.
Prospecting in sales isn’t just one activity; it’s actually broken down into several stages. In this section, we’re going to address each stage of the prospecting journey, from start to finish.
Before you can begin prospecting, you need to understand what kind of prospects you’re looking for. The first stage of prospecting involves the creation of an “ideal customer profile” a.k.a. who you are trying to sell to. Is it the thriving local startup business owner? Is it the marketing executive at a Fortune 500? Capturing the persona of your target clientele will help you focus your energy on the leads that matter the most.
Once you have your customer criteria, it’s time to collect as much customer information as possible. Build your list of leads with your prospect profile in mind. Get their contact info. Narrow it down to key decision makers and do your research on them to develop a personalized approach. Prioritize the ones you’ve identified as a potentially good fit for the product or service you’re selling. Your highest-value leads should be at the top of your list.
Client meetings are your ticket to an actual sale. Set up a call or in-person to discuss your product/service and build the foundation for a long-term customer relationship. Continue to engage with your prospect over several days or weeks, whatever it takes to get a clear answer from them on the sale. Remember that sales is, more often than not, a long game. If you’ve picked the right prospects, persistence is the key to overcoming your prospect’s initial objections and turning them into a satisfied customer.
As we covered earlier, there are many different stages involved in prospecting, and you’ll need different tools to address the challenges that each stage presents. Some will help you mine for leads while others will make scheduling meetings a breeze. Others tackle the whole prospecting journey in one convenient tool.
The whole point of using tools for sales is to make your job easier, not harder. It’s natural for a new program or app to have a learning curve, but if you find yourself struggling to use it, you might be better off with something else. A good prospecting tool should be intuitive, easy to use, and require less effort compared to what you were doing before.
You probably use a CRM or other kinds of software in your day-to-day, so why add another one? Having more than one sales tool means opening multiple programs, syncing data, and updating information endlessly.
That is, unless you have a tool that integrates with your other software.
Then you’ll be able to multitask from just one program!
While you’re busy prospecting for sales, you should be able to rely on your tools. But there will be times that something doesn’t work the way it should. In those cases, it’s great to have a support line to the company behind the tool, so that you can get help when you need it.
Everything you do—from prospecting to closing sales—is to earn money. And because you work hard for every dollar, we understand that you don’t want to waste any of it on unnecessary tools or programs. There are many affordable or even free sales prospecting tools that do the job, but you also don’t have to shy away from paying a premium if it’s worth the investment.
Ready to take your prospecting game to the next level? Here are six tools you should start using NOW.
Never underestimate the power of social media. Not only does it help you connect with friends and family, it helps you make professional connections as well. Twitter is an especially great place to prospect for sales.
Using the search function will help you find people asking questions you can answer, posting about you or competitors, and ranting about problems that your product/service might be able to solve. For instance, check out the example below where we searched for our own product and found someone who uses an outdated version of a similar tool offered by Microsoft.
Plus, you can use your Twitter account to show a more personal side, support people through likes and retweets, and share content that you think your prospects will find valuable.
This is a great way to stay top-of-mind with prospects.
Price: Free for first 50 searches; Paid plans start at $49/month
Finding accurate, up-to-date email addresses of key decision makers can be a huge pain in the butt. VoilaNorbert is a sleek, simple tool that you can use to ensure that your emails are actually getting sent to the right people.
Boasting a 98% success rate, VoilaNorbert has a database of millions of corporate B2B contacts across the world. You can also use the tool to verify email addresses you already have, or get the enriched version that pulls a wealth of information (such as job title and social profiles) on each of your prospects.
Price: Free for limited views; Pricing available upon request
CrystalKnows is used by some of the biggest brands on earth: Airbnb, Coca Cola, Nike, Amazon, Disney, and even Google. So you know it’s gonna be good.
Crystal addresses one of the hardest parts of prospecting: researching your potential customer and crafting a personalized strategy to communicate with them. The program pulls info from across the web to understand your prospect’s personality, and gives you specific advice on how to reach out to that person.
Price: Pricing available upon request
Knowing your prospect’s competitor is knowing their strengths, their weaknesses, and their pain points. Owler provides you with crucial insight into your client’s industry, such as who their biggest competitors are, what they are up to, and how much they make. Having this info will help you situate your products/services as the solution to staying ahead of the competition.
Price: Pricing available upon request
Detective is one of the most revolutionary apps in the sales biz. Whenever you have a meeting lined up, Detective will scour the net for information about them. It pulls from a variety of sources like news, features, and their social media to put together a comprehensive profile. Right before your meeting, you’ll get an easy-to-read one-page summary that will brief you in on everything you need to know about your client, and how best to approach them.
Price: 14 days free & paid plans starting at $9/month
You can create smart contacts that have all of the info you need right on the side panel, such as name, job title, email, account, time zone, and many more. There’s also ZynBit Calendar, the built-in scheduling assistant that makes booking (or changing) appointments ridiculously easy.
Most important to prospecting, however, would be the ZynBit Tracking feature. This feature keeps track of all of the emails, meetings, and web visits that your customer makes, sends, or receives. The tool works quietly in the background, collecting and recording data - allowing you to focus on more important activities.
If your prospect opened up your email, you’ll know. If they clicked on this particular link, you’ll know. If the email is sitting in their inbox unopened, you’ll know. All this gives you insight into how well you’re performing and what else you’ll need to do to snag that customer.
Prospecting is one of the most difficult parts of the job, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little help.
ZynBit and other sales prospecting tools can help you generate leads, qualify prospects, and help you take charge of your quota.