Sales prospecting techniques are marketing activities designed to generate leads from potential prospects for your sales team. In an environment where consumers have unlimited choices, it's more important than ever to reach out to potential customers and generate interest in your offer.
Best prospecting techniques allow you to build relationships and stay relevant by creating strong personal connections with decision-makers and influencers in your target market.
By building rapport and sharing helpful resources and relevant content, you'll be able to create brand advocates who can open doors for new business opportunities.
Using the best sales prospecting techniques can help you fill your sales pipeline faster and generate more leads, shorten your sales cycle, and increase your overall conversion rate.
While it’s up to you to decide which tactics are best for your sales team, here are some of the top ways to use prospecting to improve your overall sales strategy.
The most obvious benefit of successful sales prospecting is that it generates leads. When you reach out to a potential customer, you’re making a first impression (hopefully a positive one), and that first impression can determine whether or not someone calls your business back.
Sales reps can also engage in better-informed conversations with their prospects if they've done some research on their target market; they'll be able to tailor their pitch accordingly and will have more insight into why certain products will appeal to that clientele.
While social media and content marketing may help generate leads indirectly, there's no substitute for direct interaction with customers—prospecting is an essential part of building a successful sales pipeline.
Outbound sales refers to reaching out to customers and sales prospects directly, through a variety of prospecting methods—from cold calls or sending them cold emails to setting up face-to-face meetings.
Inbound prospecting and inbound sales, meanwhile, refer to inbound marketing tactics that generate quality leads by getting customers and future customers in touch with you instead of vice versa.
These two approaches may seem like they're on opposite ends of a spectrum; however, they can actually complement each other quite well—outbound sales may help warm up your lead list while inbound efforts give you more content to share online.
Marketing and sales are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually very different things. Marketing is a company’s efforts to promote itself, while sales is all about converting interest into actual business.
For example, advertising is marketing. Selling your product or service to someone who’s expressed interest? That’s sales.
Sales prospecting refers to any effort you make to reach out to leads in hopes of building a relationship that could eventually lead to a sale—even if they don't have an immediate need for your product or service.
The idea behind prospecting is simple: If you can talk with sales prospects on a regular basis, you can discover what their needs are now as well as down the road.
A successful lead nurturing program can be an excellent asset to any business. The existing relationships that you nurture through your lead nurturing program will be considered warm, qualified leads and as a result they will need less sales attention when they first reach out to you.
So it’s important to nurture these leads as soon as possible! Here are some ways you can create an effective lead nurturing program that saves you prospecting time.
Personalized emails have been shown to be six times more likely to drive purchase decisions than non-personalized email marketing messages.
This is because personalized email marketing campaigns make recipients feel valued and needed – which makes them more likely to respond in kind by taking action on your calls-to-action, whether it's purchasing products or signing up for additional information or notifications about new product releases.
What makes one highly-personalized email different from another? Great copywriting is what makes great personalization happen. The best lead nurturing programs are built around email marketing that is carefully crafted to directly speak to each specific individual.
Emphasize Trust and Credibility: Believe it or not, a whopping 90% of business decision makers use online reviews as part of their decision-making process.
That’s pretty significant data! As a result, focusing a portion of your efforts on creating positive reviews will help you establish trust with potential clients early on in your interactions with them.
Choose Your Lead Nurturing Activities Carefully : There are countless ways to nurture leads through various channels including social media , forums and blogs.
Every lead nurturing channel has its pros and cons, but when used correctly they can all work together effectively.
Social media is a great way to nurture both new prospects and warm prospects when used correctly. By interacting with people and building relationships on a professional network you can identify potential lead candidates who are interested in your product or service .
Once you’ve identified these prospects, try sending them engaging content that keeps them up-to-date with what’s going on in your business or industry. Top performing sales reps confirm: selling isn’t selling at all.
Instead, it’s about establishing a relationship with potential buyers and showing prospects how you can add value to their lives by showing them information that addresses their pain points.
89% of B2B buyers say they are more likely to trust a vendor whose employees interact with them on social media. A recent study found that more than half (59%) of companies have purchased goods or services from vendors discovered via social selling.
The numbers don’t lie – social selling is crucial for today’s sales reps to succeed in their roles. So what exactly is social selling and how can your sales organization become better at it? Let’s dig into it.
In short, social selling means using any available medium to establish authentic relationships with prospects, educate potential clients about your offerings, and ultimately get them excited about working with you.
It all starts with building strong relationships before making sales pitches- typically by posting educational content on your company’s account (keeping an eye out for when your followers like/comment/reply) or responding personally to customers who reach out directly.
Use other tactics like Q&A sessions, contests, polls etc., to help build rapport with your target audience and turn leads into paying customers. Got it?
Not quite yet? Don’t worry—you will once we break down some of best practices!
Anytime you’re reaching out to a new contact or customer, remember that they are doing you a favor by listening to what you have to say.
Even if they have no intention of ever doing business with you, respect their time – be polite and helpful even if their inquiry is ridiculous (we know ours are sometimes).
Be sure that whatever strategy is being used – email campaign, cold calling etc., provide value in some way as well as a clear outline of how things work along with every single step outlined for them.
Think about it from their perspective: do they need one more thing added onto an already long list of things they need to do today?
No – so make sure all these details are laid out clearly in order, without sounding pushy at all.
Not all prospects are ready to sign a contract on first contact. Most never do! Learning how to deal with objections is critical in sales.
For example, if you’re selling skydiving lessons and your prospect says, I’m not sure I can afford it, you need to be prepared with a strategy to turn that objection into an opportunity.
A prospecting process should be like a game of chess where you’re always one step ahead of your opponent.
You know what arguments they will use against you and have an arsenal of rebuttals ready for every occasion.
In other words, every objection or situation is another chance for you to close!
Technology may seem like it’s taking over your life, but you can use technology to improve and boost your sales prospecting.
Understanding that best sales prospecting techniques are digital now, and what technologies are a good fit for your business, is crucial when it comes to your sales process.
Check out these top tips for tech-savvy sales reps looking to generate more leads, close more deals and shorten the buying process.
Don’t stop there — learn more about technology in small business here.
LinkedIn is one of the best sales prospecting tools. If you’re not using it to its full potential, you’re really missing out.
This social media platform (along with Sales Navigator, LinkedIn's paid solution) is a great place to find your ideal clients and prospects — and to build up your network in your field.
After all, most of us spend our time sharing content on social media — why not share yours with people who are interested in learning more about what you do?
Think about other ways that technology can improve your sales prospecting efforts: would a tool like an email newsletter increase your lead generation?
What about automation software or CRM? If sales prospecting is part of your job, consider whether it’s time to upgrade some of these strategies so you can turn new leads into real customers as quickly as possible.
One common element of successful lead generation is staying in touch with prospects over time.
But it's not always easy to figure out how and when to stay in touch with these leads without seeming desperate or pushy.
The key is to keep an eye on your database and make sure you're staying active and up-to-date with contact information.
You can also use any customer referrals as opportunities to revisit your leads by checking in periodically via email or phone calls, thanking them for their referral, and asking if they have any questions about their experience working with your business.
This can help grow trust and remind them why they gave you a chance earlier on.
One of the best ways to make sure you stay top-of-mind with a prospect is by following up regularly. But that doesn’t mean calling after every meeting.
Too much follow-up can be perceived as pushy or even spammy, which will turn off a lot of leads. The best way to ensure that you are staying top-of-mind but not being perceived as pushy is by sending another follow up within 24 hours after your initial call/meeting, and then once more a week later.
You need to build rapport before you can start pitching your offer. But how do you do that?
You need your prospects to be receptive and ready to listen before they begin any type of sales process.
That means finding out where they are at with their business needs, understanding what their pain points are and being sensitive with how you approach them if they don’t seem interested right away.
Your business can gain a lot from LinkedIn, so make sure you’re putting in effort to get people talking about it.
Become a thought leader and post updates on your company page and respond to comments from others.
This way you’ll appear personable and interested in what other people have to say—which will help build rapport for when you need it most and will turn cold prospects into clients.