How to build a prospecting campaign: a step by step guide
Building a successful B2B sales prospecting campaign isn’t necessarily difficult (especially when we’re here to give you a helping hand). There are, however, quite a number of steps involved. But follow them correctly, and you’ll find yourself securing phone calls and meetings left, right and centre!
Here’s our guide to building a successful prospecting campaign.
Firstly, you’re going to require some technical wizardry to set up a campaign suitable enough to send out thousands of emails.
When sending a mass amount of emails, it’s essential to have one or more IP addresses dedicated solely to your business to safely protect your reputation from other senders who share the same address. If you share an IP address with a company that undertakes bad practices, you run the risk of being categorised as a spam account and not even being able to reach the prospect in the first place. Managing multiple IP addresses cannot be done manually, but that’s okay – as we can take care of all this for you!
Agree on targets
You can’t just haphazardly fire out thousands of emails and expect the leads to come flooding in. You need a specific, targeted approach featuring qualified leads with a high likelihood to convert.
Through the alignment of your sales and marketing teams, your company should establish target prospects for your campaign. This is where your ideal customer profile and buyer persona come in handy as they highlight the types of companies and people you should be targeting and where to find them.
Here’s another step where we can do most of the legwork.. Once you know your target, we can filter through these prospects and help you build an audience on a basis of characteristics such as:
- Company profile
- Job title
- Technology used
Once you have selected your target criteria, Outbase can map the size and scale of your total addressable market. We recommend running a search and building at least one audience, but our technology allows you to build multiple audiences to better target different personas with the appropriate messaging and content.
Review list results
Once you have built an extensive list of your prospects, you must review the results to ensure you have included the type of people most likely to respond positively to your campaign. If you aren’t happy with the list and feel that many of these prospects are not a good fit for your business, you can go back to the previous step and test different criteria.
It’s quite likely that your list will include some of your current customers, people you’ve recently pitched to, or even some of your competitors. For obvious reasons, you probably aren’t going to want to direct your campaign at these guys, so they can be excluded from your list.
Now, this step is optional, but can be helpful in optimising your campaign.
Passively engage each prospect with a follow on social media channels to familiarise them with your company name. By getting your brand in front of them prior to initial contact, they are more likely to open your email as they will recognise your company name.
In order to truly maximise your prospecting efforts, it is important to carry out some research into your prospects, companies or high-value targets. This can easily be done over on their social media channels while you are passively engaging with the prospect.
Social media platforms like LinkedIn are amazing for gathering information on what the prospect is doing currently. For example the content they share may reveal if they are working on any big projects at the moment or have celebrated any big accomplishments.
This research will help you to further personalise your approach and tailor your message to their specific circumstances.
Write the perfect introductory note
Now that you’ve carried out your research and possibly done some passive engagement, you need to determine how you plan to introduce yourself to the prospect.
Introductory notes should be light-hearted, conversational and 100% personalised. Prospects will have no interest in reading on to your main discussion if they think it’s just another spam email.
Keep the length short and be straight to the point regarding your aim, which should always be a call or a meeting and NEVER a sale. Trying to sell during the first interaction is a notoriously unsuccessful approach and can put prospects off responding completely.
Engage via email
You’ve done all the prep, now GO! GO! GO!
It’s time to start sending out those targeted, personalised emails.
The rule of thumb we recommend is to source and queue between 50-100 fresh prospects per agent per day. Reasons for why are as follows:
- Your approach should mimic a sales person doing the campaign manually.
- Targeting thousands of prospects at once can damage your domain reputation.
- It makes the management of prospecting and pitching more feasible.
- You will learn about and optimise your data from each daily batch (for example you may decide to focus more on a particular segment or tweak your copy).
So you’ve sent out your emails, and the replies start rolling in. Great, but it doesn’t end here.
Responses should be categorised and logged. If you fail to categorise your responses, you won’t be able to gain a full understanding of how people are responding to your campaign – leaving you stuck and unable to make further improvements.
To successfully track your responses, you must ensure that every response is read through carefully in order to get a full grasp of what prospects are saying to you. Responses can be categorised into 4 broad groups:
- Positives: those who want to find out more – you can book in with these prospects straight away.
- Declines: can be long rejections, short rejections, or simple misunderstandings.
- Deferred Interest: it may not be the right time for these prospects, but the interest is there. They may delay the conversation until a time that works for them.
- Referrals: being referred onto someone who the email is of more relevance to.
Pen the perfect follow up
One of the most important steps in prospect emailing is chaser emails (don’t worry, there is no running involved).
The kind of chaser we’re talking about refers to different follow-up emails for different stages. A study by Sopro found that while 23% of responses are generated by the first email, a staggering 77% of responses are generated by chasers. There are a few different types of chaser emails you can send:
- A nudge: a gentle reminder of the first email.
- A chase with a benefit: reestablishing why they may be interested in speaking to you.
- A break up: if they don’t respond to the previous two chase attempts, remind them that you really want to speak to them but inform them that you will stop emailing them. This final push may trigger a vital response!
Schedule chaser emails
Space out your chasers so that the receiver has time to breathe and consider, but also make sure that you still send them soon enough so they don’t forget your last email.
When scheduling your delay, never send at the same time of day and same day of the week. If you space your chaser emails by 5 working days, then the email is going to land on the same day each week, making it feel too automated. To ensure that your chaser appears more personal and natural, try spacing them across 6-8 days instead.
Import to CRM
Every time a prospect responds positively and allows you to go ahead and book a conversation, you must log it in your CRM. In fact, everything should be logged in your CRM – conversations, emails and notes.
Importing even the tiniest details into your CRM can make a huge difference to your campaign. Dropping these tiny details into the conversation can make a big difference in any sales call as the prospect will appreciate that you have fully listened to them and gave them your full attention. For example, say your prospect mentioned that they had been on holiday. By simply asking them if they enjoyed their trip, they will instantly appreciate the fact that you remember this minor detail and the trust in your relationship will start to build.
Remember to log these tiny details straight away, and never trust your own memory – o matter how good you are at remembering birthdays or song lyrics! Failing to log that tiny detail could lose you the sale.
Analyse and optimise your performance
Like any marketing effort, you need to analyse your campaign results. Realistically, you should review the performance of your campaign by segment and on a weekly basis. This way, you will gain an understanding of which campaign areas, which segments and which email templates get the best results. On the other hand, you will also understand what areas you aren’t doing so well in and why they aren’t working.
Once you have your analysis results, leverage this information to test and optimise different approaches to inform any changes you make to your campaign. You may decide to take a different approach to your subject lines or email copy to improve open rates and click-through rates. Optimising your results on a weekly basis will allow you to continuously improve your results and maximise your campaign.
You may be tempted to play it cool when you get a response, but we can tell you right now that, unlike dating, this is not an effective approach to prospecting.
You should never wait hours/days to reply to a prospect. To be blunt, if you take too long to reply you’re probably going to lose them altogether. There is no such thing as beating around the bush in prospecting. Forget slow and steady – quick and responsive wins this race.
78% of customers buy from the company that responds to them first, so it is crucial that when someone responds positively to your email, that you act quickly and book the sales call immediately (preferably within less than 30 minutes). Now that’s effective prospecting.
We understand that may have been a lot to take in. But on the bright side, Outbase can take care of the majority of these steps for you!
You don’t need to be a technical wizard to set up an Outbase email campaign, as we already have inbuilt intelligence that can auto-populate server settings, pick from pre-defined compliance messages, and map your total addressable market.