The market is saturated. There are an abundance of industries, businesses and professionals out there, each with their own set of goals, challenges and plans. And here you are, trying to make sense of it all, figuring out where on earth to start. How are you going to find customers who are in need of your specific offering?
With prospects doing a lot of research themselves these days, it’s often assumed by salespeople that they’re not worth prospecting until further on in the sales process. Wrong. Over half of buyers want to hear from reps in the first stage, so it’s essential you get prospecting right from the very beginning.
But don’t panic about your current prospecting process, or worry of implementing one unsuccessfully. We’re here with some of our top B2B sales prospecting tools to help you reap the greatest rewards.
During the initial preparation stage, it’s vital you know exactly who it is you’re selling to. To avoid losing out on sale opportunities early on in the prospecting process, try researching your ideal customer profile (ICP).
Carry out some initial research of your current customer base – look at who your top and most profitable customers are. Take note of their goals, problems, industry, practices, budgets, and any other key elements relevant to what you can offer them.
You could also look at your worst customers and highlight what doesn’t work, this will help you determine what leads could be a waste of time. Bear in mind that just because a lead is in your database, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are your ideal customer!
Now it’s time to create your ICP – a hypothetical company made up of the characteristics drawn from your research. The closer a lead matches the ICP, the more likely they are to convert into a paying customer.
With Outbase, you can segment your audience using the Audience Builder. You can break up your target audience into:
This segmentation will help you to target your ICP even more accurately.
You may feel tempted to give all your prospects the same high level of priority in an attempt to ensure as many of them turn into sales as possible. However, this can actually hinder you from doing just that. Prioritising too many prospects is likely to be a waste of time and resources.
Try using the ICP to rank your prospects in order of who matches the fit from the best to the worst. Then, group prospects into who should be given high priority, medium priority, and low priority. You should be aiming to have multiple touchpoints with high priority prospects as these are the most likely to become sale opportunities. As for the medium and low priority groups, you can aim for less as these prospects don’t have as much in common with the ICP and don’t align as well with your offering.
This is also known as Lead Scoring, and it’s a vital part of effective prospecting.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to sales prospecting, as irritating as it may seem. Even with an ICP, not all prospects are going to have the exact same goals to achieve and problems to overcome.
You have already carried out your research into each prospect, so use it. Tailor every email based on what you have already discovered about their goals and how they plan to achieve them, or their pain points and how they plan to overcome them. Use this information to communicate how you are able assist them – your proposal could end up being the exact solution they are searching for!
In Outbase, you can personalise your email templates to make it feel like a 1:1 communication. Take it one step further by ordering a personalised email template, our team of expert writers can produce an email template that promises results.
Despite sales prospecting often being confined to mainly phone calls and emails, there is one power tool constantly on the rise that should never be ignored: social media.
It’s likely that your potential prospects are already checking social media for solutions to their problems… so, why not meet them halfway? Since these platforms facilitate two-way conversations between buyer and seller, they can work as a great tool for engaging with your prospects. Remember: the more touch points they have with you, the more likely they are to become a sales opportunity.
Since many leads will find you on social media, you must ensure that all your pages are up-to-date as these are important places to find information. As helpful and revolutionary as social media is, however, we suggest that you use this more as an activity to run alongside your main sales prospecting campaign rather than using it as your sole prospecting tool.
Now this one might sound counterintuitive to some, but trust us. When reaching out to prospects, your priority should not be to sell but to help. You are reaching out to provide them with value, to help fulfil their goals and overcome challenges to the best of your ability. The key here is to keep things natural and casual, rather than what you would expect from a formal, rigid sales pitch. It is all about building a meaningful and trusting relationship with your prospects.
Learn all the ins and outs of the industry you are targeting, your potential customers, and what you are selling so that you are well-equipped to answer any of their queries from day one. The more knowledgeable you are, the more likely you’ll be able to help your prospect and build your relationship with them.
Sales prospecting tip #6: rapid responses
The speed of your response to a prospect can be vital. The timing of your reply could be the difference between you closing a sale and you losing a prospect to another vendor. Many businesses make the mistake of not responding quickly enough, leaving the prospect waiting with time to explore their next best option. If a competitor gets in there before you do, you could miss out on that sale.
If a lead has reached out to you, it is in your best interest that you get back to them ASAP, within the next hour at the most. Many leads are most likely to go with the vendor who replies the fastest.
Not all leads convert to prospects after the first outreach, and that’s okay. In fact, it hardly ever does – nearly half of all leads require between three and five touch points before becoming a qualified prospect.
When following up, content remains crucial. It doesn’t need to be just a reminder of the previous email or call though you don’t need to write another email with all the details in it! Save some information or facts for your follow-up email as a little extra persuader. This added value will also help strengthen your relationship with the lead, increasing their likelihood to purchase.
Keep follow-ups persistent, yet timely. Avoid bombarding leads if they don’t seem to be warming to the idea. This will come across as intrusive and put you at risk of losing them.
Sales prospecting tip #8: ask for referrals
Say you’ve succeeded in helping a prospect, so you close the sale. Great! But what can you do now?
About 90% of all buyers are influenced by word of mouth. It’s likely that some of your clients may have found you through word of mouth. So don’t be afraid to ask your customers to spread some positive word of mouth after closing a sale!
Referrals are a low-cost method to generate more high quality leads, as those customers referring you are likely to be referring you to people in similar businesses with similar goals. These leads are already looking to purchase, so a large part of the research work has already been done.
If you want to go the extra mile, you could adopt a referral marketing strategy. This may include one-way referrals, where just the referrer is rewarded for generating a lead. Or, it could be two-way, where the referrer and the referred lead both receive a reward.
It may seem tricky at first, but take these 8 tips on board and you’ll be well on your way to executing the perfect sales prospecting campaign.
The whole process may still seem like a little too much, especially if you’re new to the world of prospecting. But fear not, as with the assistance of Outbase, the system becomes instantly simplified. With easy-to-use sales prospecting tools to help you prepare, launch and manage your campaign, your pipeline will be full of qualified leads in no time.