The Ultimate Guide To Sales Prospecting To Get Higher Quality Leads In 2020

A new decade. A new time. And a new strategy. Welcome 2020! In these past years we have figured out various effective and successful ways to do business. We have maintained call calling, outbound emails to prospective clients, networking, referrals, social media reach outs and other sales tactics. It is now time to reprocess and rethink how you approach leads and define sales prospecting for your business.

What Is Sales Prospecting?

Sales prospecting is the active process of searching for potential customers via calls, emails, social messaging, etc, to drive your business and generate more revenue.

Businesses focus on sales prospecting with the aim to guide their target audience through the sales process to eventually bring to sales closures.

There are 2 major techniques that companies widely use to incorporate sales prospecting within their business strategy.

One is outbound marketing.

Outbound marketing covers email marketing, cold calling, networking, and social media. This means that in this process sales representatives reach out to prospective buyers depending upon the persona that they create.

Second is inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is when customers themselves come to you. Inbound marketing can be achieved by having a call to action on your website or creating a persuading landing page. Visitors who are interested in your product or service, therefore, can submit their contact information.

Other way is to maintain an active blog on your website to educate and hook the readers.

Inbound and outbound marketing efforts are most effective when backed by detailed research and analysis. As a business you must be fully aware of what your potential buyers are looking for. When you keep tabs, you ensure that you are collecting relevant information. This helps you plan future campaigns as well.

Building a Prospecting Strategy

When you create a strategy you must keep in mind that your end goal is to ensure that the potential customer makes a positive buying decision. Moving a potential buyer down the sales funnel is a long process. So, the key feature in this is to make the process as seamless as possible.

Let’s breakdown the framework of sales prospecting and see how your strategy will fit into it.

1. Do your research

The top of the sales funnel, or how we famously know it – TOFU, requires research. At this particular stage, you would be evaluating the quality of a lead. This means that you must work around a set of criteria to evaluate how interested the lead is or will be in your offering.

So, basically, you must analyse what kind of content you must push to make the receiver interested in your offer. You must work out and qualify the dimensions at the very beginning.

Familiarity Level

This shows how well you and your sales team know the prospect’s industry, market, services offerings. etc. The greater the familiarity, the greater the potential.

Therefore, you and your sales team must focus on these leads for faster conversions.

Awareness Level

This shows how aware your prospect is with your company and your offerings. If they are significantly aware then their chances of becoming a paid customer are higher than if they are not fully aware.

Organizational Fit 

Based on demographics, for example the prospect’s industry or buyer persona, it will reveal the overall size of the opportunity that exists for a successful business transaction to take place and their potential lifetime value.

Deal Breakers

Yeah, they too exist in the middle of all the pitch, prospecting and sales. Deal breakers define any budget constraints or lack of time that can influence the buying decision of a potential customer.

2. Prioritize to meet deadlines

This step will help you organize the list of prospects into high, medium, and low categories. So, you reach out to them on the basis of level of urgency and priority.

You can use lead management software to automate parts of this process, like calculating lead scores.

Want to find out more about lead scoring? Read this!

3. Reaching out

Learn about your prospects before reaching out to them. Know what is it that they care about because once they know that you care, they will be all interested in at least hearing you out.

At the later stage, you can work out the pitch that you want to use with them to ensure a guaranteed conversion.

In fact, many marketers and sales professionals reach out to the next best person to talk to so that they can know more about the prospect. For example, the receptionist, personal assistant, colleague, friends, acquaintances, or others.

Once you know who is in what role and what they like and dislike, you can use your research to personalize the outreach messaging and other campaigns..

You can analyze your competitors and see how you can better position yourself to the prospect.

4. Build the connection

When you determine how you want to conduct your first outreach, whether that be email or phone, keep a few best practices in mind:

  • Personalise it: Call them by their first name. Build a rapport. Speak in a way that shows how much you understand them and their needs.
  • Be a helper, not a pusher: Remember that your potential buyers are looking for value and not just unkept promises. Offer to be a motivator and ensure that you fulfil what your promised.
  • Be on time and be consistent: Time is money and wasting it is not just cost inefficient but disrespectful too.
  • Stay casual: Take a deep breath and then initiate your conversations with prospective clients. It is definitely about making the sale but before that, it is about meeting the needs of a potential buyer who is looking for long-term investment in your company.

A positive first impression should then lead to a discovery call that will lead to further enhanced interactions.

5. Education and Assessment

Here, sales teams should focus on the pain points and assess a prospect’s objections. Such objections often stand in the way of a buying decision.

Address their concerns when you follow up after the discovery call. Offer all the necessary information about your brand, company and offerings that can remove any form of hesitation.

6. Closure

Finally, this is your chance to score the goal and bring it home for the team. You’re ready to turn this opportunity into a customer. It can go in one of the two ways:

  • Closed-won: The potential buyer is willing to make the purchase from you.
  • Closed-lost: The potential buyer is not willing to make the purchase from you.

No matter what the result it, see value in the winning situation and learn from your mistakes from the lost ones.

Sales Prospecting Techniques

You can break down prospecting into two groups, namely inbound techniques and outbound techniques.

Inbound Prospecting

Inbound leads are easier to target as compared to outbound leads. This is because inbound leads have already taken an action and want to pursue your offerings. Or at least know about them so that they can come some time later in the future whenever they are ready.

Inbound prospecting includes:

  • Social selling: Through social media, you can easily build a relationship with a lead who is familiar with your services. As a sales rep, you can offer value over the same social channels with the help of useful content and interacting directly through comments and questions.
  • Warm email: Interacting with prospects over email rather than social media is more professional and reliable. It’s a more direct form of contact where you have space to be warm, engaging, and start the relationship off strong. On the other hand, social media is a more relaxed platform where you can discuss topics casually.

Outbound Prospecting

These practices require you to reach out to leads and prospects who are not completely aware and are still in the dark.

Outbound prospecting includes:

  • Cold calling: These are unsolicited calls to sell your product or service. More like spray and pray or shooting in the dark. No doubt, these calls can pose awkward situations at times but you never know you might as well find a genuine lead who may not have any other source to find you.
  • Social connections: This is basically social media reach outs where you reach out to potential buyers through social media messaging. You can either send them a request to connect with or without a message. If they seem interested, go ahead and make that connection!

Want to know more?

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Blog Cover Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

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