Before we go for the techniques, let’s see what sales prospecting is. A lot of us think that it is about cold calling constantly, then a cold email campaign, and then more and more calls. It is much more than that and uses tools, techniques, and technology. In simple words, sales prospecting is the first step in the sales cycle. It is the process of identifying and communicating with prospects using different techniques. It is an outbound activity that is to be done one on one.
Prospecting techniques for sales involve methods to identify and reach potential customers. One effective technique is cold calling, where sales representatives contact prospects who haven't shown interest before. Networking is another powerful approach, building relationships with individuals who can refer or introduce new leads. Social selling on platforms like LinkedIn involves engaging with prospects through content and interactions. Email marketing allows reaching out to potential customers with personalized messages. Additionally, leveraging data and analytics helps target the right audience with tailored campaigns. A successful prospecting strategy combines these techniques to find and nurture potential customers, leading to increased sales and business growth.
What are prospecting sales techniques?
Sales prospecting is one of the most important things every business is to do. Because if they cannot do this, they cannot even generate leads. Two-fifths of reps say prospecting is the toughest part of the sales process. It is so hard that only one-fourth of the companies can generate more than 50 new opportunities every month and this 25% of the companies are the ones that bring in 101-200 new opportunities a month.
There are a lot of sales prospect techniques including cold calling, direct mail, attending networking events, and connecting on platforms like LinkedIn. As we mentioned, it can be a real trouble if you do not know where to begin and how to continue.
You need to know the best and most suitable technique for your product to have the best result. Unfortunately, many sales reps waste too much time on incorrect sales prospecting techniques and find incorrect leads that will never turn into customers.
Customers’ expectations are changing every day. Just look at the marketing strategies and how much they changed, the prospecting techniques are changing as well. Cold calls used to work pretty well to attract prospects and turn them into customers once, but that does not work that perfectly now. It is a war and the winner is the one with the best plans and tactics, so you need to employ the most suitable technique to find the best leads.
There is no ultimate technique for sales prospecting, it all depends on your business features. You need to consider a lot of factors when you are choosing one of the techniques below. These factors can include the product you are selling or the service you are providing, the size of your business, and the demographics of your ideal customers, etc. for instance the younger prospect respond to LinkedIn encrypted messages much better than to a call from a stranger, older prospects might prefer the cold email and the cold calls. Let’s have a look at some prospecting techniques for sales.
Ideal customer profile
Having an ideal customer profile is vital for prospecting. Not having this profile makes prospecting like building a house with no building plan. You might actually be able to make it at the end, but is it really fast and cost-efficient? I don’t think so. It is important to know whom you are looking for before picking that phone or start expanding your LinkedIn connections or looking for leads in other ways. This profile can be based on different qualities like age, location, job, behavior, etc. be as specific as possible. The best customer profiles are the ones as specific as a good movie script. They portray the ideal customer in every detail.
For instance, if you are prospecting for kids’ clothes in Germany, your ideal customers are not children, they can be the parents. Specifically mothers of the millennia, from the big cities in Germany, who make over 60k Euros a year, with children under 7, who purchase clothes every one or two months from the bigger clothes chain stores.
Research and warm calls
I always tell my fellow salespeople that warm calls are still the best way to set up appointments with the right decision-makers in their target accounts. It is very important that when the person picks up the phone, a warm voice and a familiar tone speak to them, rather than a salesperson who is like a robot and seems to be programmed to say a series of dialogues. In fact, based on my personal experience, this issue can be strangely effective on whether a person is motivated to buy or not. So I recommend doing a little research on a prospect before you call him. Fortunately, we live in the age of social networks, and gathering information about people is not that difficult. You can look for common things like the industry they work in, or the LinkedIn group they are members of. At the beginning of the call, introduce yourself and your company, and don’t go to the introduction of the product right in the first second. The prospect engine must be warmed up first and then you can start prospecting.
Personalized and attractive emails
People don’t really like being put on the spot. That is why we use personalized and engaging emails instead. It gives them the opportunity to read the content when they feel like it, do their research about you, and answer the call when they are ready for it. Emails are also perfect for time management since you can CC the email to many prospects or send them in categories like time zone or demographic features. You can always use services like CUFinder to find millions of email addresses based on different information. Have their name, birth date, industry, etc., and personalize these emails.
For instance, if I want to send emails to that kid’s clothes company, I will use this information for our winter collection and write “hey [fname], Christmas is coming and it’s getting so cold in Berlin, right?” this email is engaging for those mentioned parents and leads them into the sales funnel so easily.
LinkedIn is the best place for you to find your target prospects. This professional social media platform with over 810 million users is the best place to promote your products or services for the users who actually work or are interested in a specific industry. You can filter your prospects based on so many different categories in it, prove yourself as an expert and a credible knowledge source, build your personal brand, build trust, etc. So you need LinkedIn as a salesperson.
This platform includes more than 30% of the B2B and B2C traffic on the whole internet and according to stats, 50% of the B2C buyers use it to seek different products and/or services. So, be active on LinkedIn and connect with your 2nd-degree and 3rd-degree connections.
There are other techniques and methods for prospecting as well, but I preferred to talk about the ones which are more effective than the others in my experience.
Importance of prospecting new customers
Prospecting is an essential part of sales. You must first acquire, develop and retain leads before you can sell anything. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you are an expert in the sales game or a newbie, you should still be prospecting and applying the basics of it. Believe it or not, having prospecting ability makes you a very effective and sometimes irreplaceable member of your company or organization.
Prospecting is the first step in the sometimes winding road of sales, where you identify your potential customers AKA prospects to enter the next steps and move them into the sales funnel. So this process is actually done to create and complete a database of potential customers of a product or service and create a systematic relationship to convert them into real customers.
Almost all of us, do prospecting on a daily basis! But it is interesting that we don’t even notice it most of the time. how long did you look for suitable options the last time you wanted to change your mobile phone, car, or house? For example, in order to change your car, you may have thought that “Well, I need a hybrid car to save money, the cost of gasoline is increasing, and my car should be an SUV so that I have more confidence while driving. It should also have a lot of space on the back seat for my children to be comfortable there. It should have high safety for everyone’s sake. And the seats must be comfortable so it doesn’t give me back pain every time I go from New York to New Jersey and come back. Car parts should be available so that I don’t get into trouble when it breaks down. I have this much budget” This list can go on and on, this is the first stage of prospecting. You are creating a profile for your ideal option. Then you go to the available options to find the best one according to the mentioned features.
This process is repeated in many things we do. As I mentioned, whether you want to change your mobile phone or house, whether you are looking for a suitable college or even want to go on a date with someone, you are unconsciously prospecting. So its importance is not only to be mentioned in business, it has been proven that prospecting makes a better choice in all the above cases. Maybe it is mentioned more in sales because it causes more sales and income along with less cost in marketing and sales.
The main importance of prospecting is that you are not actually finding leads, you are introducing yourself to customers. If people are not aware of your existence, your brand, and your products, there will be no business at all, it doesn’t matter what products and services you offer, how high quality they are and what price range they have, or how strong your customer support is. With prospecting, not only do you get to know potential customers, but you can also handpick the highest-quality options.
can feel prospecting importance yet? to put it simply, the most important part of your business isn’t how much money you have or how great your products are, it is if there’s someone out there who will call you (or for you to call). It’s very important that there’s someone who wants to know more about your product, be able and willing to buy it from you, be willing to recommend it to others, etc. Always keep in mind this phrase that says “A business fails when its salespeople fail to consistently generate the right amount of prospects at a sufficient speed.”
What are the benefits of creative prospecting ideas?
Do we really need to keep talking about the importance of prospecting in sales? Is it really needed to mention the benefits? Creative prospecting for sales just like breathing for beings is a necessary condition for the survival of any business. You always need prospecting to find potential customers to continue your activity in the market. But still, I would like to share three of the most important benefits of this prospecting with you:
1. Increase sales and income
As mentioned in the previous subtitle, creative prospecting increases sales by increasing potential customers. Fortunately, professional salespeople have an outstanding ability to find prospects and convert them into real customers. So having professional employees is one of the conditions for any business’s growth over time. When your company has a good growth rate, the risk of increased costs in production which is often caused by inflation is much more easily controlled, this is a win-win deal. The salesperson earns more commission and the company makes more profit at the same time.
One of the most important parts of prospecting is finding customers who meet certain criteria. Just like the list we made of the features of the car we want to buy, in this case, we must find the most profitable customers based on some features and the answers to some questions. Salespeople must understand the need, reasons, and motivations of potential customers to find the best ones and guide them in the sales funnel. Not only prospecting reduces marketing costs but also helps a lot in saving and better usage of time because now salespeople can make more calls in a certain time.
3. Data gathering
Creative prospecting does not always equal immediate sales. In many cases, the salesperson only contacts prospects to create or complete a database, and sometimes their purpose is to conduct market research. You must have seen that sometimes salespeople share survey posts or polls on the company page or post on their LinkedIn feed. Their purpose may be that they want to know why customers buy a certain product or use a certain service, what features they need to see to get persuaded to buy that particular product or service, the best way to sell it from the customers’ point of view, etc. All this information will be very effective in improving the quality of subsequent calls and of course in developing the sales strategy.
Best prospecting techniques tips
Cold calls don’t work like the previous decades? There is no rule to be cold, you know? In fact, marketing experts suggest warming up your prospect first. It has proved to increase the chance of successful prospecting. You can start with your name or a brief introduction of your company then get to the marketing stuff.
Be a thought leader and a reliable source
You can use publishing valuable content on your company page or feed to prove yourself as a thought leader and a credible source. This makes the leads trust you much easier, makes the prospects know your name before the first contact, and makes the sales process much faster.
It can be very helpful to use a script while you are calling or talking to a prospect. This lowers the uncomfortable pauses, elevates your confidence, etc. Although a lot of experienced sales representatives don’t like the script and believe it makes the conversation unnatural. Still, many use them and some repeated the process so much that the script became their normal.
Don’t miss the step
Prospecting is too much important of a step to be ignored. Although it is not selling, it is about finding qualified leads who can enter the sales funnel. You cannot start coding without starting the computer first, prospecting is starting the system in the selling process. It is a critical factor to build relationships while prospecting in the modern sales environment.
People love it when the sales representatives who already have a relationship base with them, keep them in the loop and check in with them at every step of the deal. The topic does not really matter here, it can be confirming a time for your next meeting or sending over additional resources, seeing if they have any complaints about the product or service, etc. A simple follow-up can prove you as a reliable source, especially for the prospects. They get to know that they can always access you for their problems.
It is vital to be as interesting to the prospect as possible. That can be done by using videos while making your outreach. Use the videos for self-introduction on LinkedIn and other social media platforms or on your website, recaping your connect,etc. A little video can always help capturing the prospect’s attention, especially if it has an interesting thumbnail image.
Block of time
It is suggested to dedicate a specific time every day for prospecting. Prospecting is no easy task to do. In fact, it is the most challenging part of the sales process. It is very important to be organized while prospecting. That can really help the process according to my own experience.
Social media strategy
Use different social media marketing strategies to have access to an unlimited prospect sources from all around the world. There are billions of people out there and who knows how many of them are looking for your products? Share valuable content on your LinkedIn company page or on your Twitter account, etc., and answer their questions.
Statistics show that the companies that use social media marketing strategies constantly have a 40% more chance to hit their revenue goals than those corporates without social selling activities.
They are a perfect lead source for you since you know that these people who are attending the webinar are interested in a specific topic. It is suggested to hold a webinar with other companies and organizations, it can help you a lot in holding it the best way possible. You can always poll attendees after the webinar to estimate how many of them are ready to hear more about your service or product. It is better to have a yes or no poll for that, like “are you ready for a demo?” or “I want to learn more about the [company].”
Follow up with the ones who answered “Yes” in 24 hours and schedule a time for them to learn more and know that there is always hope for the ones who answered negatively. Put them in different campaigns and check in with them after some time to see if they are in a buying position.
Just like the webinars, events are full of opportunities for prospecting for the correct customers. They are full of people who are interested in a topic and most of them are ready to learn more about different companies’ products and services in that industry. All you need to do is to find the correct event, and see why most people are attending it (population purpose) and how many people are attending (the population size).
LinkedIn groups and other forums
You can always use LinkedIn groups, Quora, and other forums to educate your audience about your prospects about a certain product, service, or topic. They are also a perfect place for asking and answering questions from like-minded and/or expert people in a group. You can review the way people pose questions, the rules for questioning, etc. For instance, we always answer questions about email finding tricks, services, etc. in LinkedIn groups since that is what we do in CUFinder.
Prospecting techniques are essential for successful sales lead generation, particularly in the B2B sales arena. Various prospecting strategies play a crucial role in identifying and engaging potential clients. Traditional prospecting involves methods like cold calling, door-to-door visits, and direct mail. While these methods still have their place, modern sales professionals incorporate digital tools and platforms into their selling process. Social media and professional networking platforms like LinkedIn offer valuable opportunities for connecting with potential clients, nurturing relationships, and showcasing expertise. Email marketing, content marketing, and targeted advertising also contribute to effective prospecting, allowing sales teams to reach a broader audience and deliver tailored messages that resonate with prospects’ needs and pain points. By adopting a diverse range of prospecting techniques, B2B sales professionals can expand their reach, build meaningful connections, and drive successful sales outcomes.
Prospecting is the first and one of the most important steps of sales in any business. This actually is identifying potential customers who match your ideal customer profile and are likely to benefit your business the most. They are the people who seem like potential customers of your business, who are waiting for you to give them a good offer to turn them into real new customers and move them to the lower parts of the sales funnel. Therefore, we always emphasize that you should always do the prospecting stage carefully and patiently. There is a famous proverb that says, “A good beginning makes a good ending.”
- What are the 5 prospecting methods? Warm calling, referrals, content marketing, networking, email marketing.
- What are the 9 techniques of prospecting? Create ideal customer profiles, focus on warm calls, send engaging, personalized emails, target prospects via LinkedIn, target prospects via Twitter, ask for referrals, use automation, attend relevant events, and always follow up.
- What is the most effective way of prospecting? Email outreach, social selling, event networking, and warm outreach over the phone.