Before Choosing a Prospecting Strategy – Know This
All great sales pipelines start with great research.
Start by listing your existing customers and do extensive research on them. If you’re only starting, hypothesize a few buyer personas.
What are their roles? What kind of company do they work in? What’s the company size? Find mutual qualities between the customers that make them a good match for your service.
This will help you define the companies that you’ll target so that you have a strong start for your prospecting campaign.
What You Need to Know About Prospects to Close a Deal
The more you know about your prospects, the better. Even a single detail may help improve and optimize your approach further and pitch your product effectively.
Buyer persona canvases differ wildly from one to another, but there are some staples that you should definitely include.
We’ve singled out the starter formula that you can use, and then further adapt to your needs. Ensure that you take note of:
- Interests (pain points, needs and goals);
- Buying triggers;
- Company details (location, size, budget, records and behavior);
- Employee structure (key decision-makers, gatekeepers);
- Their competition.
Best Prospecting Strategies
Now we can get on with the prospecting strategies that will fill your pipeline with high-quality leads!
Our advice is to give all of these a try to be able to make an informed decision on which works best in your case.
1. Email – the mother of all Account Based Campaigns
Some salespeople might find cold-calling to be more effective than emailing, but it’s often the case that prospects are more accessible by email. Emails don’t require immediate attention, you don’t only have to use words to sell, and they are much easier to scale.
The first obstacle is crafting a great subject line. You have to convince the prospect to open the email, so go for something slightly unusual, attention-grabbing, and short but still professional.
Writing a personalized email for every account you interact with isn’t always necessary. However, tailoring your emails to their particular needs will go a long way in making them feel valued and put you in the best possible light.
The conversational tone with cold prospects remains the same, but you should generally talk less about your business and more about their benefits. Present yourself as a trusted advisor who can guide them, improve their bottom line and make their life easier.
Ensuring that your CTA (call to action) is eye-catching should be a priority. If you want people to take action, make sure they can notice it!
While links to your calendar, useful content or attachments introducing your business can be interesting, leave all this for later. In the initial email, make sure to keep it short. Max two sentence short. Yes, it’s quite an art form.
Sharing testimonials, case studies, and success stories will help you build trust with your potential client. So make sure to Include them in email conversations.
2. As much as it might not seem like it, cold calling is very much alive.
Forward-thinking business owners are recognizing the need to stay in contact with their target market and are introducing different ways to keep them engaged and coming back for more.
A lot of people believe that cold calling is dead or outdated because of technological advances such as email marketing, social media marketing, etc. That being said, cold calling is still very much alive, and it’s more important than ever to have the skills and know-how to do it effectively.
69% of buyers have accepted cold calls from new providers while 57% of C-level buyers actually prefer to be contacted in this way.
It can be tough to make those dreaded cold calls but they are still an extremely powerful lead generation tool. You’ll at least know your work has not been wasted and that you have spent time improving your cold call skills so that you will become better at them.
Really focus on targeting people who have shown interest in your product, like opening the email but not following through with a response. Or people that downloaded a website ebook. Otherwise you risk wasting time and resources on wrong people.
When you manage to get them on the phone – stay confident, control the conversation and keep track of everything.
Your goal is to hear if they might be having any specific reasons and pain points that you can solve so you can then present the benefits of your product or service.
B2B sales is not a one-shot deal. It’s more important to nurture the lead to gain trust and make sure they’re ready to buy your product/service at some point.
When is the best time for us to connect?
You don’t want to interrupt your prospect during their beauty sleep, do you? Or even worse… Their lunch?
The best time for cold calls is between 10am-4pm. It’s not likely that you’ll catch anyone at the office later in the evening (and if you do, chances are they won’t be too enthusiastic), and early morning calls may catch them before they’ve had time to get going.
To increase your chances of reaching people, we advise calling during the week, since most people are less likely to answer their phone after 5 pm on Fridays. As far as emailing goes – the best time for sending emails is early in the morning when people tend to check their inbox before starting work.
These facts are brought to you from an analysis of more than 10.000 sales calls performed by InsightSquared – you can see a more detailed report here.
3. Direct Mail – in the 21st Century?!
Wouldn’t it be nice to receive an actual, hand-written letter instead of bills and junk mail? Well, the prospects would love it too.
When you have to give a little extra token of appreciation, grab a cheerful note, or even send over a thoughtful package.
Remember when The Donut Guy left his resume in boxes of donuts? Try giving someone perfume-scented paper, an original drawing, or something else that directly ties in with the product or service you’re offering. But make it fun!
To get the best results from this tactic, it’s important to only reserve it for leads that are harder to get and are of high importance. If you’re using this tactic for all your leads, it can take a lot of time and energy, and have less impact.
A little charm can go a long way!
4. Social Selling – the eMail of the 21st Century
One of the newest ways to prospect on social media is through the use of hashtags. And while not a lot of people are using them correctly, you don’t have to worry because this post will show you how!
LinkedIn and Twitter are great places to target new leads (check out the list below for more information about how Twitter helped land a major deal).
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for both businesses and individuals. One of the benefits that facilitate selling on LinkedIn are platforms like SalesNavigator, which helps you connect with potential customers and integrates easily with CRM software.
Here are six ways you can use LinkedIn to increase sales.
1. Create a Company Page with Your Business Image and Contact Information
Creating a company page is the first step in any successful marketing campaign on LinkedIn, not just one that focuses on sales. The company page will help demonstrate your business and give consumers more information about it without having to dig through multiple pages of posts. It also features images of your team, products, work-space, etc.
2. Share Updates on Your Company Page to Promote Events and Announcements
LinkedIn’s events feature allows you to create a public event that can be viewed by anyone, not just the people you invited. This is a great opportunity to share updates about your company or upcoming event that will help attract potential customers.
3. Invite People You Know to Connect with Your Company Page
The “Invite” button on the header of your company page is an easy way for people who are interested in your business to connect with you.
4. Send a Connect Follow-Up Email After a Successful Connect
After your successful networking connection on LinkedIn, send an email to that person thanking them for connecting with your company page and share more information about your business. This will help establish rapport and generate conversation moving forward.
5. Send Group Invites
In groups on LinkedIn, people are able to garner attention faster than they would with one-to-one connections because they can post publicly without requiring permission from the person they are approaching.
There are more people to engage in conversation and you have a greater opportunity for promotion. Just make sure that your group is relevant and has members who will be interested in joining.
6. Share Updates with Your Connected Groups
This is a great way to expand beyond the boundaries of your initial group, find new connections and get more exposure for what you are doing.
Joining a niche community is one of the ways in which you can utilize social media to your advantage. It only takes a little extra time and effort, but you’ll find that it has some great benefits!
5. Event Prospecting – expensive but worth it!
If done tactfully, prospecting IRL can bring in many beneficial acquaintances.
There are plenty of events on the horizon that might be relevant to your product, conference or service. Why not go to one and test it out?
These kinds of events are a great opportunity to showcase your services and meet potential clients. If they let you know that they’re interested in what you have to offer and give you their business card, they can be considered warmed-up leads.
Here are some suggestions for networking at events, so that you can make relevant connections and potentially land a client:
When meeting someone at an event, remember: the most important thing is to interview them for their needs.
You’re not there to sell them something – you’re there to find out what they want. Keep your conversation short, succinct and to the point.
Always remember that your target audience is not limited to just one category! Don’t assume too much about a person’s demographic or interest level – ask them what their interests are so you have an idea of where you’re going with the conversation.
Convincing them to give you their business card or LinkedIn profile should be one of your main goals. A simple sentence like “All your credentials seem really impressive! I’m sure some of my friends/colleagues could benefit from your service.” should get them talking more about themselves and be willing to share more information with you.
And the best part is that you could connect with people, even if it isn’t to make a direct sale. The event guests or speakers that you invite to your events may become your clients one day, or they might connect with someone they know at the same time as you.
6. Referrals – the easiest way to close deals
Referrals demonstrate the quality of your service, so you should make a system that regularly generates referrals and is prepared whenever necessary. Don’t hesitate to ask for them – they will always help prove how great your business is! When you’re looking for referrals, focus on your interactions with clients.
I’m sure many of your satisfied customers will be happy to provide you with high-quality feedback that can put you in touch with new potential clients.
You’ve likely kept in touch with those clients you make a great connection with. Well, they could be the perfect person to refer to your services. Perhaps they have a sense of nostalgia or gratitude towards you or even know someone who could really benefit from your skills.
One other referral strategy to explore is teaming up with strategic partners. In a partnership like this, you and them would be making referrals back and forth, helping both of your businesses grow.
Strategic Prospecting – Best practices
If you’re putting a lot of effort into prospecting your stats will go up, but you have to arm yourself with the best prospecting strategies.
Make sure to know the competition
To be effective at prospecting (and actual sales), you have to know what you’re up against.
Before you start, it’s important that you go into this research with the right mindset: be realistic about your competition, and identify and explain truly how your service is different. You’ll have to know this in detail to answer any questions that your prospects may have, and convince them effectively why they should go with your service instead of your competitors.
But not only this, researching your competition will help you:
- Realize what aspect of your service is unique;
- Determine the strong and weak points in your offer, in comparison to the similar stuff on the market;
- Learn how to make the offer more valuable than competitors’.
There are many ways to learn about the competition. You can speak with their former employees, ask prospects who already use their services during the sales process, and search online for reviews. These three methods will help you to learn more about your competitors. without having to ask them directly.
After all, put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. The competition is a big factor that you need to consider when choosing the perfect product.
Keep the Beers Cold – But Leads Warm!
Warm leads are easier to talk to, and they’re more likely to turn into customers. Spending a little time every day on this process is an investment that will continue yielding returns for years.
People like to feel curious, entertained or educated so make sure you tailor the content accordingly. You can give them something for free like a pdf, quiz game or article related to what they might be into.
This doesn’t always have to be work related. Instead, think of them as one of your colleagues. You already have an established relationship, so send them something of interest.
If they’re into soccer, send them a free PDF article on improving their game. If they like reading the news, create a newsletter for them. Sky’s the limit really.
There is No Such Thing as a Failed Prospect – Keep Nurturing!
Don’t forget to stay in touch with leads that didn’t turn into customers: they could still be a great source of business and their opinions still matter.
They may provide a referral down the line or even convert to a customer down the line.
So don’t let rejections bring you down — try to gain something by talking to them, whether feedback on your service, on improving your conversation style, or just personal lessons on how to best approach similar customers.
A Good Tech Stack = An Extra Pair of Hands
AI automation will do a lot of work for you, but it’s important to pick the right tools. Do lots of research, then invest in a set of tools that work well together.
Automating is not just for blue chip companies. Small- and mid-sized businesses can benefit from automation, too.
Automating your CRM can free up your staff to work on other things like engaging with prospects. Automating lead scoring and management can help you identify the best leads, which are then easier to prioritize or reject altogether. Lead generation gets a boost from automation.
You can – and should, automate:
- Dialing (by using auto-dialers);
- Lead generation ;
- Lead scoring and management;
- Prospecting data and insights;
- Sales engagement, performance and productivity;
- Marketing intelligence;
- Various alerts, scheduling, etc.
And if you’re already automated your prospecting efforts, remember that it can always be further refined and improved. A quarterly analysis of conversion rates and drop-offs can guide your optimization efforts to perfection.
What do the metrics say?
Having a record of the ways in which your content has performed will allow you to know exactly when to change what you’re doing and how to capitalize on your successes.
Make sure you keep detailed records so that you can analyze the data later!
Some of the most important Metrics in prospecting are:
- Prospect-to-SQL ratio
Prospect-to-SQL ratio is the number of prospects that generated a SQL (sale, appointment, etc.).
- Email conversion, open, and response rate
Email conversion rate is the number of emails received by prospects that resulted in a conversion. Open rate and response rate are two other metrics that should be tracked to measure the effectiveness of your emails.
- Closing ratio
How many of your prospects actually convert to customers?
However many, expect the rate to increase after carefully applying the tips you’ve read in this post 😉
Did you hear that ZeroIn has a $99 lifetime deal now? Pay once and use forever!
ZeroIn helps you discover verified business emails, phone numbers and company profiles, in the way described above and better — with a single click along with a light CRM that helps you store and manage your prospect data.
It works on Free and Sales Navigator LinkedIn profiles and matches your search results and/or single profile views with a growing database to deliver the email address AND additional 20+ data points on the contacts’ and company level.
It’s time to turn your LinkedIn account into a prospecting powerhouse!