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6 Actionable Tips for Successful Sales Prospecting + Bonus

Last updated: May 27th, 2019

Sales prospecting is the act of finding and qualifying leads before you attempt to convert them. It’s one of the most effective things you can do for your business, as it will help to ensure that you’re focusing your energies on the best possible prospects. To get the most out of your efforts, here are a few sales prospecting techniques and methods you can use.

1. Leave Prospecting to SDRs

Our first tip is to have a dedicated team in place that’s in charge of prospecting. Sales prospecting is a lot of work, and you don’t want to take time away from your Account Executives, whose time would be better spent closing deals. According to data from Vorsight, it can take anywhere between 60 and 90 calls in order to set an appointment. This is simply not a good use of time for account executives. Instead, you should hire the Sales Development Representatives (SDRs).

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SDRs can then be in charge of finding leads, sorting out the good ones from the bad ones, and keeping your sales pipeline full. This ensures that the job gets done right, while also freeing up the time of your salespeople.

 

2. Really Get to Know Your Niche

A mistake commonly made during prospecting is casting your net too wide. The thought process goes that the more people you contact, the better chance you have at finding a good lead. However, this isn’t the approach you should take. Rather, you should really get to know your niche and specifically target certain people and groups.

Let’s take Amazon as an example. When it first started out, Amazon didn’t target every possible consumer in the world. Instead, it focused on book lovers who wanted to buy their books online. This was an underserved and specific niche that they were able to target. From there they grew to more niches until it reached the behemoth it is today.

To start, think about your ideal customer profile. If you had to come up with a description of the type of person or business who would have the most interest in your product/service, what would that sound like? Is it a stay-at-home parent? The head of a major corporation? Someone who just founded a startup? Once you have this description, this is the type of person you’ll want to spend your time on when it comes to prospecting.

It’s also a good idea to think about who your most profitable customers are. For example, while someone running a startup may have an interest in your product, maybe they can’t afford it. In a situation like this, your time would be better spent focusing on people who work at established companies. The key is to learn as much as you can about your niche so that you can pinpoint the best targets for prospecting.

 

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Use a Script

When someone is just getting started with prospecting, don’t be afraid to rely on a script. A script is something you can prepare before you make the phone call, so you know what kinds of questions to ask and how to answer some questions you might receive. Some people shy away from scripts because they feel it makes them sound stiff. But when you’re first starting out, having some prepared answers in front of you can provide confidence, which will outweigh any stiffness.

According to one survey, 75% of executives said they were willing to make an appointment after a cold call. However, in another study, 85% of respondents said they are dissatisfied with their on-the-phone experience.

This means that if you can provide a good experience on the phone, you have a good chance to set an appointment, but that you have your work cut out for you.

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Take some time to write down the key questions you want to ask your prospects and the best way to ask them. Also, play out the conversations in your head and think about the questions you might receive back. Then, when you’re on the phone call, you can use this as a guide to help steer the conversation.

Here’s an example script that you might use:

A simple script like this establishes who you are, gets to the point, learns information about the prospect and works to set up a meeting. You can then tweak it or add to it based on your own needs or how past conversations went.

 

4. Make the Most Out of Social Media

Social media has become one of the most powerful sales prospecting tools for two major reasons. The first is that it allows you to connect with thousands of people in a matter of moments. Since practically everyone has some form of social media these days, you can find an unprecedented amount of leads through a simple search on any social media site.

According to one study, 66% of marketers said that social media was responsible for bringing in new leads.

The other reason is that social media allows you to learn more about these prospects. For example, let’s say you come across a social media profile of a CEO you think might have an interest in your product. By taking some time to search their profile, you can learn things like how long they’ve been in business, what their company goals are, and any issues they might be having. This is invaluable information when you’re trying to decide on the quality of a lead.

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But it goes the other way as well. In a study of B2B buyers, 55% say they look for information on social media before they make a purchase. By creating and utilizing your social media accounts, you’re providing social proof that prospects will consider during their decision-making process.

To make the most of social media, you need to have accounts on the major platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. From there make sure you’re utilizing your accounts regularly, posting updates about your own company, sharing relevant information, and connecting with others in your niche. Finally, analyze important social media metrics to ensure you’re performing well. When used correctly, social media can provide prospects for your sales pipeline for a long time to come.

 

5. Coordinate an Inbound Strategy with Your Marketing Department

A great way to bring in more leads is through an inbound marketing strategy.

According to Invesp, “properly executed inbound marketing is 10x more effective for lead conversion than outbound.” In addition, “inbound practices produce 54% more leads compared against traditional outbound methods.”

Unfortunately, inbound strategies are not typically an area of focus for SDRs, who focus more on outbound marketing. That’s why they should coordinate with your marketing department.

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With inbound marketing, you produce high-quality content to drive more leads to your website. Rather than going out and making the first contact on your own, you wait for potential prospects to come to you.

For example, let’s say you’ve created a tool that helps small businesses manage their social media presence. As a part of your business’s inbound strategy, your marketing department produces a comprehensive blog article outlining all the ways that social media can help small businesses. In this article, you promote your product and provide a way for interested parties to get in touch with you.

Now you send the information provided by your visitors straight to your SDRs. Your SDRs can then reach out to the interested parties, learn more about them, and start qualifying them. The key is coordination between SDRs and the marketing team. Your SDRs should know what sort of information people are looking for when they browse your website, and your marketing department should know who to target. By improving your content marketing efforts, you can make both departments more efficient.

 

6. Work With Leads Consistently

One of the hardest parts of prospecting isn’t getting rejected – it’s when your prospects are unresponsive or non-committal. This leaves you in a sort of limbo. You don’t want to waste your time reaching out to prospects that have no interest in your product or service, but you also don’t want to miss out on a good lead, just because someone didn’t have the time to answer you that day.

The best thing you can do is remain consistent and not get discouraged. Sometimes you just need to follow up with a good lead a few times before they are ready to talk to your sales team.

According to TOPO, a sales and marketing company, “Believe it or not, well-messaged, thoughtful yet persistent follow-up is part of a great buying experience. Buyers are extremely busy. They aren’t always ignoring your phone calls because they aren’t interested.”

As a prospector, your goal isn’t always to find a lead you can pass on right away. You want to position your company, and always be on your leads’ mind. So, when they are ready to buy, they will reach out to you rather than someone else. You can do this by simply checking in on your leads every few weeks or months until they give you a definitive “no”.

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For example, let’s say you reach out to a prospect and they tell you that they can’t afford your product right now. Rather than giving up, you wait a few months and talk to them in a new quarter. They tell you that things are still tight and they can’t do it just yet. You remain consistent and reach out to them again a few months later once again. Now things are better for this prospect, and they are able to do business with you. This prospect never shut the door on you entirely, so all it took was a little time and consistency to convince them.

 

Bonus: Sales Prospecting Tools

If you want effective sales prospective efforts, you need the right tools. While a few were mentioned above, we thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of some of the best in its own section.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Hubspot CRM – Keep track of sales activity and prospects
  • ClickFunnels – Helps build marketing funnels
  • Pipedrive – CRM for keeping track of your sales funnel activities
  • BlueTick.io – Automates the process of sending follow-up emails to cold & warm prospects
  • Prospect.io – Sales automation tool

 

Get Started with Sales Prospecting

Hopefully, this guide was able to offer you some actionable tips on how you can improve your sales prospecting techniques. Once you fine-tune your sales prospecting techniques, you should find that you’re able to keep your sales pipeline full of strong leads and that everyone within your business is using their time efficiently.

Marketing Manager @ TaskDrive Actively participating in the digital marketing world more than 5 years. Currently making sure that our website content is up-to-date and our blog is filled with easy and useful sales and marketing guides. Very passionate about dogs, topics on spirituality and Unicorns.

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