Choosing a Sales Prospecting Technique to Generate Revenue

Choosing a Sales Prospecting Technique

Prospecting is hard work.

It’s long hours spent identifying prospects, writing emails and hammering the phones; much of it thankless.

Really, it’s no wonder that roughly two-fifths of reps say prospecting is the toughest part of the sales process (compared to a third who say it’s closing and a fifth who say it’s qualifying leads).

Part of the challenge with prospecting is the pressure of the situation. In most cases, stakes are high. Three in four companies generating fewer than 50 new opportunities a month fail to achieve their revenue goals, versus just one in 25 companies that bring in 101 to 200 new opportunities a month.

In other words? If your prospecting isn’t up to scratch, the chances you’ll hit your sales targets are pretty slim.

What is Sales Prospecting? 

Sales prospecting is the first stage of the sales process, focused on identifying potential customers.

Prospecting can involve cold-calling, email, SMS messages, and other forms of outreach to nurture leads that have gone cold, or attempt to reach completely new people who are potential buyers. Many inside sales organizations have achieved successful results by hiring dedicated sales prospectors.

Prospectors, also known as sales development reps (SDRs) or business development reps (BDRs) can help achieve predictable ROI by creating a steady stream of opportunities for account executives. These opportunities fill the sales pipeline, which provides valuable fuel for the sales team. This can be highly effective because it frees account executives from having to prospect for their own leads. Instead, they can spend their time selling to sales-ready prospects that have been qualified by sales development reps.

Sales prospecting is performed with the help of sales tools that help prospecting reps research companies, find the right people to reach out to, information about that person, and then actually contact them.

Sales prospecting is an essential part of any sales strategy that provides businesses, and sales teams, with qualified new leads to sell to.  One of the most key aspects of outbound prospecting is that SDRs/BDRs choose who they reach out to, meaning that they can specifically target buyers that your company has deemed pre-qualified. This ensures that your sales pipeline is topped with qualified leads from companies that you already know are a good fit.

To maintain sales prospecting effectiveness, prospecting strategies must evolve hand and hand with changes in buyer behavior and demands. 

What Sales Prospecting Techniques Are Effective? 

Prospecting is one of the most time-consuming and challenging tasks that salespeople face. But, if done right, it can be an exciting experience that polishes your sales skills and allows you to find the potential customers who are the perfect fit for your offer.

Cold Calling
You’ve got the cold call list and the warm lead list, and even a lost lead list. Prioritize each list and then take some time each day to call the people on your lists. Research shows that 69% of buyers accepted a call from new salespeople in the past 12 months, and 27% of sellers admit that making phone calls to new contact is very/extremely effective.

Did you know that asking between 11–14 questions during a lead call will translate to 74% greater success?

What you need is a dialogue during which you can learn about their pain points, needs and challenges, and most importantly – where they are in their decision process. If you can maintain an interesting conversation, qualifying leads becomes much easier.

What are they looking for? Do they have a specific solution to their problem in mind? Do they have enough information? Is there any information you can send them? Perhaps, you can invite them to a webinar or a seminar that you’re hosting.

Call to touch base again in 6 weeks or 6 months. 

In the end, it’s all about keeping in touch. By working the list consistently, you’ll be able to turn lukewarm leads into warmer leads and, finally, into hot leads.

Email Outreach
Don’t think that email, as a sales tool, is dead. Quite the opposite – it’s alive and kicking, as 80% of buyers say they prefer to be contacted by sellers via email. But there is one thing that’s dying out as we speak – mass or bulk emails. With a 26% higher open rate than mass emails, personalized emails now run the show!

Firstly, make sure that the content is customized to each prospect’s needs. Your task is to impress them with how much you know about their company or industry. Make sure the content is specific and addresses the needs of a particular prospect.

Second, in order for your leads to open and read your email, make sure that your email looks well on mobile devices, as more than half of all emails are read on-the-go. In fact, emails that are optimized for mobile devices generate 15% higher click through rates than those not optimized.

Finally, in order for your sales email to hit the mark, you need to know what to write and how. To help you, we have created the 5 sales ready email templates guide that is full of sales tips and tricks.

Simply read the guide and you will learn: how to increase sale productivity through emails; what are the best times to send an email to new prospects; examples of subject lines that will get your email opened; and 5 sales email templates to increase response rates!

Social Media
If you haven’t figured it out yet, social media is here to stay. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube are all channels that your potential buyers visit to find information. So, if you’re not there, somebody else will take your place! Here’s some useful social selling statistics:

  • 91% of B2B buyers are now active and involved in social media (Source)
  • 84% of senior executives use social media to support purchasing decisions (Source)
  • 65% of salespeople who use social selling fill their pipeline (Source)
  • Using social selling tools can increase win rates by 5% and deal size by 35% (Source)

The key message?

Social selling works!

If you’re in doubt of where to start, start easy and take baby steps. Create a profile on one of the social media channels which you think are important in your work.

If you’re B2B, make sure you’re on LinkedIn (or Xing). Investing in your LinkedIn profile is very important, as 82% of buyers claim that they look up vendors on LinkedIn before replying to their outreach efforts.

Referrals
Nothing is better than a happy customer, because happy customers spread the happy word. So, it’s no surprise that 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth when making their buying decision, while the referral-based sale closing ratio stands at 50% to 70%.

This is a free-of-charge opportunity you simply can’t afford to miss – ask your customers for referrals!Yet, the sad truth is that 40,4% of salespeople rarely do that.

The best time to ask for a referral is immediately after the sale is made because this is when the experience is still fresh in the customer’s mind. If the experience was positive, a massive 83% of customers would be happy to provide a referral!

It’s also important to keep in touch with your existing customers to ensure that they are still happy with your product/service and with your company.Set up a sales meeting to just to say hello and see how things are going. Send them invitations to events, share whitepapers, and other content that you think would be valuable for their business – making sure you stay top of mind!

Networking Event
Salespeople should consider attending events which play host to relevant topics for your clients and which potentially, have a significant share of prospects and subsequently the best ROI. Access to a large volume of individuals with similar interests via events and conferences provides a great opportunity to draw in potential clients. 

You can gauge which talks and network sessions are relevant and make your presence known by the way of either speaking at the event or managing a booth.Attending industry events can be an excellent way to introduce your product and company to potential customers.

At these events, people will generally be more open to networking than if you turned up on the door of their company one day trying to set up a meeting.To prospect at events effectively, you should research which companies will attend. This will allow you to plan how to contact them. Consider trying to set up an appointment at the event in advance, or letting key prospects know you will be attending and where they can find you.

Begin Prospecting 

Sales prospecting techniques have come a long way from cold calls and cheesy emails.

With the level of sophistication of tools in today’s market, sales reps really have a unique chance to capitalize on their prospect’s relationships.

But the key to making the most of your time as a sales rep is still the same: work smarter, not harder.

Using these techniques, you can save your company time and money—and build more valuable relationships along the way.

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Eleni Nicolaidis

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