You may have heard the term prospecting while selling your products and services, and now you’re asking yourself this question: what is prospecting in sales, and what is the sales prospect definition?
Prospecting in sales refers to the act of identifying and approaching potential customers or clients with the intention of generating new business opportunities. It involves researching, qualifying, and initiating contact with prospects to explore their interest, needs, and potential fit for your products or services.
Sales prospect definition
However, you may think that prospecting in the sales process is a straightforward task. But you’re completely wrong.
It’s no exaggeration to say the fact that you can clearly see the sales prospecting process in every successful small and large business.
Therefore, to review your sales prospecting process, you must be completely familiar with its meaning.
It’s important to know that learning the definition of the sales prospect is the first and most significant step toward creating opportunities for more sales.
Here, we’ll cover anything you need to know about sales prospecting such as definition, methods, why it’s so important, and more.
What does sales prospect mean?
In other words, they consider the fuel for your sales pipeline.
In the next sections of the article, we’ll walk through these sales prospecting methods in detail.
What does sales prospecting mean?
Simply put, sales prospecting involves the process of finding target audiences: potential customers or buyers -known as prospects- for your products and services, as well as identifying your competitors in order to connect with them and bring them into your sales funnel.
According to LinkedIn, prospecting is a strategic process for discovering and reaching out to potential consumers and buyers. And its purpose is to create a database of qualified and ideal leads so that you can easily access, engage them, and finally convert them into profitable buyers.
Having said that, you must have realized the importance of sales prospecting.
To grow your business as much as possible, you must have access to accurate and quality prospects for both marketing and sales.
You may be wondering: what is the difference between marketing and sales prospects?
To answer it accurately, you must have experienced them in your sales process.
Marketing prospects are leads who haven’t confirmed their interest in your product or service.
While sales prospects have expressed their desire to buy your products or services and have a lower position in your sales funnel than marketing prospects.
In other words, they’re more likely to become your regular customers than others.
Why is prospecting in sales so important?
That’s why nearly 50% of marketers and sales representatives believe that prospecting is one of the most difficult steps of the sales process.
Generally speaking, the more professional you’re at prospecting and identifying prospective customers, the more likely you’re to convert them into regular customers.
In other words, if you don’t get to know prospecting techniques, your prospecting won’t be optimal, accordingly, there will be only a slim chance that you achieve the desired sales goals.
We recommend that you follow the 80/20 rule for anything you do in sales.
As we all know, the main task of a salesperson is to prospect for potential customers and then keep them.
Hence, according to the 80/20 rule, as a good salesperson you need to spend 80% of your time getting and attracting customers and only 20% of your time retaining them.
The four main factors you need to become a sales prospecting professional:
1. Develop your sales pipelines: You can build and fill your sales pipelines via three methods: Forms on your website that your qualified leads fill out, Phone calls to leads who have contacted your company, and Your company’s internal sales efforts that deal with qualified marketing leads.
2. Get competitive insight: To gain the right competitive insight from your audience, you need to know them thoroughly. The insight you get from communicating with your potential customers will allow you to know how to market your products and services to them.
3. Become a loyal advisor: Have a continuous and active presence in the sales prospecting process. To be a trusted advisor you need to focus on empowering and learning about your sales team.
4. Drive productivity: In order to increase productivity, you need the right CRMs, accurate measurement systems, and a great prospecting plan, which will help you to identify and strengthen your target and ideal customer.
It’s better to know that in order to understand why sales prospecting is important in the world of digital marketing, you need to understand the sales process and how to do it.
The sales process includes the following three basic activities:
- First, searching and uncovering clients;
- Then promoting the products and enticing the customers to buy from you;
- Finally, closing the sales process and following up, i.e., good buying at that moment.
As a rule of thumb, remember that your pipeline is your lifeline and consequently you need a great prospecting process to maintain and grow it.
So, for a highly successful sale, 80% of your time should be allocated to the first two steps (prospecting potential customers and promoting products or services) and only 20% to the third step (following up and closing the sale).
The important thing that you need to bear in mind is that the most powerful and fruitful word in the field of sales is “exploration or prospect”.
As we mentioned earlier, the most important task and the first step in the sales cycle is to hunt for and find a loyal customer.
Sales lead definition
What does a lead mean?
To put it simply, you can regard a lead as a nature, person, company, or organization that has shown interest in your products or services.
So when someone asks you about them for the first time, they may want to buy from you and become a customer. Consequently, they’re leads.
What does a sales lead mean?
As a professional marketer or internet business owner, you’ll definitely be dealing with the concept of a “sales lead”.
Sales lead, equivalent to the term lead generation, is one of the most important steps in a digital marketing process that helps you convert website visitors into customers and then into advertisers for your brand.
Sales leads are generated when your company or organization obtains contact information of people who are interested in purchasing or even knowing more about your products or services.
In other words, the sales lead is the starting point of the sales process where we try to boost the volume of the audience by doing things like creating content for the blog (e.g., sharing relevant posts on your LinkedIn company page), advertising on professional social networks (e.g., promoting your books or a webinar on LinkedIn), distributing discount codes, etc.
That’s why every new contact that enters your website can eventually become a customer and increase your sales revenue.
So every new contact is like a lead. The higher the number of these leads, the higher your revenue and profit will be.
Why are sales leads important?
The importance of sales leads for companies and organizations is very similar to the importance of fuel for cars. Although fuel is a necessary condition for running and starting the car, it’s definitely not enough.
Accordingly, it’s the driver’s (sales force) responsibility to know how to start (initial contact with the lead), how to use the car’s features (sales process), and how to avoid a car crash (successful sale).
Today, with the advancement of technology and the pervasiveness of cyberspace, businesses have changed drastically, and also continue to change rapidly.
As we all know, in the past, in traditional businesses, there were very limited channels for lead generation sources, but now, with the boom in digital marketing, sales lead discovery is much different than it used to be.
Though the process of finding qualified leads may be easier than before, due to the intense competition in the digital world, uncovering a B2B leads database that leads to higher sales is difficult and complicated.
It’s very important to remember that every sales lead is a golden opportunity for B2B sales.
What are the benefits of sales lead prospecting in business?
Remember that only through lead generation can you be sure that your brand matches the tastes of customers. The advantages of generating leads are:
1. Brand reputation:
Lead generation leads to increased audience awareness and brand reputation. When customers are familiar with your brand, you can provide them with more information about the various features of the products.
2. Focus on the target market:
Businesses can focus their resources on targeting specific markets and customers. This focus leads to cost savings, increased sales, and improved return on investment.
3. The possibility of collecting valuable information:
Lead generation plays an important role in collecting basic and important marketing information. Customer information such as their needs, preferences, and tastes helps you to tailor your services and products to their needs.
4. Brand loyalty:
By generating leads, organizations can build a large community of their customers. This greatly improves brand loyalty.
What are the key criteria for leads prospecting?
After the sales lead generation and prospecting process, you need to measure the results of your efforts with a set of metrics.
In this section, we introduce a number of important and basic criteria for measuring marketing and sales leads.
It’s good to know that these metrics are applicable to both B2B and B2C businesses.
1. Website Traffic
Website traffic is a common method to measure online business effectiveness in attracting your target audiences.
A high number of views to your website means that a large number of web users visit it. Google and other search engines consider this traffic as a sign of the site’s credibility.
So your website will get a better ranking due to targeting keywords.
Also, keep in mind that one of the ways to attract more visitors to the website is to introduce and advertise it widely on professional social networks such as LinkedIn.
You can easily expand your business in the world’s largest professional platform by promotional posting on LinkedIn.
2. Click-through rate (CTR)
This metric is used to measure the number of clicks made by users on ads, links, or CTA buttons.
For example, if 1,000 people visit your landing page and 650 of those people click on the CTA, your click-through rate is 65%.
To get a high click-through rate on social media like LinkedIn, you should pay attention to the following factors:
- Offering values on the website or advertisements
- Using and placing the CTA buttons
- Relating the posts’ content to the needs of the target audiences
- Tagging people or companies on posts
- Using hashtags and emojis on posts
3. Rate of return on investment (ROI)
Return on investment or return on costs is a financial ratio that calculates the gain and loss from an investment on a sales lead compared to the initial investment in the form of a percentage of the original costs.
To put it simply, if you have an investment with a net profit of $400 and a cost of $200, your ROI is 2 or 200% indicated as a percentage.
To gain a high ROI, you need a great lead prospecting tool like CUFinder.
Using the latest AI technologies, CUFinder has collected the largest unique database of more than 250 million corporate and contact profiles from high-quality public and private sources across the world.
By using filters such as job title, location, industry, etc., you can ensure that you get your ideal sales leads’ full contact information, including phone numbers, email addresses, website URLs, company employee numbers, LinkedIn profiles, etc. in real-time.
4. Sales lead management
Sometimes it’s possible that your sales analytics and reviews show that, for example, 70% of the leads generated don’t convert into sales, thus leading to a drastic decrease in ROI.
Where is the problem? Management of sales leads.
What is sales lead management? Lead management is the complete process of following through on leads that convert them into sales, sales opportunities, and long-term relationships.
In other words, the general plan of the sales lead management process is a combination of different steps that include:
- Generating sales leads
- Measuring lead quality
- Nurturing sales leads
- Reaching out to leads for a sale
What are the best sales leads prospecting methods?
No matter what type of industry or company size you have, there is a rich variety of sources for finding qualified sales leads.
To get the best list of sales leads, you need the best lead generation methods that actually work. In this section, we’ll shed light on them in detail.
1. Social media
We’re in the digital age. Everyone in the world is present on social networks! So use the benefits of such channels to your advantage. First, you need to determine the strategies and location of the target audience.
But if you are a B2B company, you need to be active on LinkedIn, you can’t find your buyers anywhere else.
Then move on to social media marketing. Post articles or posts about your product on these platforms to attract potential customers. Your message must be special and attractive; Otherwise, you have wasted your money.
With more than 875 million professional users, LinkedIn provides many features for job seekers, recruiters, employers, and marketers.
Google Ads is the sleep and food of the best businesses. With click ads, you will increase your website traffic like drinking water. Run your campaigns on this platform so that you are always in front of your audience’s eyes after they search for a keyword.
How to generate sales leads?
Social networks (such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn) also have good offers for paid advertising. These platforms provide you with information about your ideal sales leads (such as their demographics, educational qualifications, and interests). In addition, they have different targeting methods that you can use to generate sales leads and nurture them. YouTube is also a very good tool!
In general, in today’s market for any industry, as we explained above, social networks have a high potential to generate sales leads.
3. Search engine marketing
Search engine marketing never gets old. Make a list of the best and most suitable keywords. Then write as much as you can. It is one of the cheapest methods of lead generation and has long-term returns.
When your article ranks well in the search engine for using the right keywords, the desired sales leads will come to your website. You just need to consider a good CTA for articles.
4. Webinars and podcasts
These methods are one of the most effective methods of generating sales leads. They are especially well-established among young people. Choose topics that are interesting to your audience and will get people talking about you. If you do it right, it will change the game in your favor.
Because webinars and podcasts require registration, you can use the information that leads enter to join your webinar or podcast.
In addition, you can record your webinar video and provide access to the video in exchange for registration. These methods will attract the best sales leads for you.
Usually, in any industry, many events are run by large companies and organizations. Hence, it’s recommended that you find and attend events that are great and relevant to you.
It’s better to get a booth at these events and distribute promotional brochures or training manuals for your business.
People who come to these events are usually looking for the product or service you offer. That’s why the sales leads generated from these events are high-quality leads and lead you to the results you want.
6. Warm calling
8. Content marketing
10. Email marketing
Related Questions & Answers
What is prospecting in marketing?
In marketing, prospecting refers to the process of identifying and targeting potential customers or clients for a business’s products or services. It involves searching for individuals or organizations who are likely to have an interest in what the business offers and engaging with them to generate leads and sales opportunities.
The goal of prospecting in marketing is to build a pipeline of potential customers and nurture relationships with them. This typically involves conducting market research to understand the target audience, their demographics, interests, and preferences. Based on this information, marketing professionals develop strategies to reach out to potential prospects through various channels such as advertising, content marketing, social media, email campaigns, and more.
Prospecting in marketing often involves creating awareness about the business and its offerings, generating interest, and encouraging potential prospects to take action, such as signing up for a newsletter, requesting more information, or making a purchase. It is a critical component of marketing efforts, as it helps businesses expand their customer base, increase brand visibility, and drive revenue growth.
Importance of prospecting
Prospecting holds great importance for businesses and sales professionals due to several key reasons:
- New Customer Acquisition: Prospecting enables businesses to identify and connect with potential customers who may be interested in their products or services. By actively seeking out and engaging with potential prospects, businesses can expand their customer base and generate new leads. This is crucial for sustained growth and revenue generation.
- Sales Pipeline Development: Prospecting helps in building and maintaining a healthy sales pipeline. By consistently identifying and nurturing potential prospects, sales professionals ensure a steady flow of qualified leads. A well-managed pipeline increases the chances of converting leads into customers, thus driving sales and business success.
- Targeted Approach: Through prospecting, businesses can focus their efforts on reaching out to individuals or organizations that are more likely to have a genuine interest in their offerings. This targeted approach saves time and resources by concentrating efforts on prospects who have higher conversion potential, resulting in a more efficient and effective sales process.
- Market Insights: Prospecting provides businesses with valuable market insights. By engaging with potential prospects, sales professionals can gather information about customer needs, preferences, pain points, and industry trends. These insights can guide product development, marketing strategies, and overall business decision-making.
- Competitive Advantage: Active prospecting allows businesses to stay ahead of the competition. By consistently seeking out and engaging with potential prospects, businesses can position themselves as proactive and customer-focused. This competitive advantage helps in building brand reputation, establishing trust, and differentiating themselves in the market.
- Business Growth: Prospecting is essential for business growth and expansion. By consistently identifying and converting new customers, businesses can increase their market share, expand their reach, and tap into new opportunities. Prospecting provides the foundation for sustainable growth by fueling sales and revenue generation.
In summary, prospecting plays a crucial role in business success by driving new customer acquisition, maintaining a healthy sales pipeline, enabling targeted approaches, providing market insights, offering a competitive advantage, and facilitating business growth. It is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort and attention to effectively identify, engage, and convert potential prospects into loyal customers.
We return to the first question: What is prospecting in sales? As you found out in this article, looking for sales leads is the first step in the growth and development of your business.
By finding qualified leads for sales, as well as converting them into prospects, you can generate significant traffic for your business, which will increase your site conversion rate and increase your sales.
As a whole, a good and flawless lead prospecting process can turn people who are searching for a service or product on the Internet into regular customers.
What does prospect mean in sales?
It refers to all prospective customers who meet certain criteria that indicate their interest in purchasing your products and services.
What are the steps of prospecting in sales?
There are 6 key steps of sales prospecting, as follows: Identify prospects, Create a database of prospects, Build systematic relationships with prospects, Find out prospects’ needs, Convert potential customers to current customers, Maintain current customers.
What are the 5 prospecting methods?
There are several ways to search for sales leads, the most important of which are: Content marketing, Email marketing, Networking, Referrals, Warm calling.
Why is prospecting important in sales?
Prospecting in sales is the most important and first part of the sales process that helps you create and grow your pipeline of potential customers, and increase revenue, ROI, and CTR.