Seasoned sales representatives and their younger counterparts have one thing in common—they’re all working on hitting their revenue targets. And what’s the first step to reaching these targets? Sales prospecting, of course!
What is Sales Prospecting and How Is It Done?
Sales prospecting is the process of discovering and interacting with prospective clients, with the intention of creating a steady stream of business opportunities for an organization. An essential part of the sales strategy, it’s an effort towards “feeding the beast”—that is your sales pipeline—and creating a reliable lead pool.
While prospecting, sales representatives not only attempt to reach completely new people but also work on reconnecting with leads that have gone cold in the past. It can be as targeted as sending out personalized emails or as vague as entertaining booth visits at tradeshows.
Best Practices to Get Sales Prospecting Right
Change is hard and is often unwelcome. The pandemic forced the sales folks in a state of limbo. To give up on tried and tested tactics or commit to potentially promising ones—was the question. By now, most of us have improvised, adapted, and overcome the initial hiccups. But no matter how far you come, there’s always further to go.
With most people working remotely, sales folks now need to get creative. Let’s talk about some things that the sales reps must keep in mind to win at this game.
Quick Lessons to Help You Capture Your Prospects’ Attention Better
- How you say things > What you say
That hard-hitting, I-mean-business approach will alienate many prospects. Pivot the conversation, give them control and begin from there. Eventually, your solution (not your pitch; your solution) must seem like the obvious thing to proceed with.
- More empathy and patience
You can’t copy-paste one of your previous email drafts or reuse your good ol’ templates anymore. Expectations are changing as we speak. Connect over being stuck at home, how you miss eating out, that strong urge to give in to revenge travel, etc.
- Use check-in questions
Be more mindful of your prospects’ circumstances—have they recently lost someone to the virus, are they dealing with anxiety, are things okay with their job? Be human and sprinkle in enough personalized check-in questions in your messages and conversations.
I like to go back to this post by Andy Paul to remind myself that sales is all about being human –
4 things to remember (Dos)
- The value you provided yesterday might be irrelevant today. Update your arsenal—personas, value prop, messaging—most things.
- Collaborate, don’t pitch. We’re reiterating this—soften your asks. Even in a B2B setting, we’re humans dealing with humans.
- Persist, don’t annoy. You need not talk business all the time with your prospects. Share educational content once in a while. Tell them how cute their dog is.
- Focus on the low-hanging fruit, and don’t take them for granted. Find ways to effectively use all that data that you and your Marketing teams have captured.
4 things to avoid (Don’ts)
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. Fail fast and move on. Steer clear of strategies/processes/channels that have historically brought in lower conversions.
- Don’t confine yourself to a single channel. There’s more to sales prospecting than emails and phone calls. Embrace and optimize for this digital reality.
- Don’t assume everyone is always available. Stick to your scheduled meetings and respect your prospects’ time. Ask yourself – Is my prospect going to be available and in a mindset to have a conversation with me right now?
- Don’t give up. Some days (and calls, and demos, and responses) can be hard, and that’s okay. If you can’t prospect now, build a pipeline for the future.
Effective Tools for Streamlining Your Sales Prospecting Processes
Don’t spray and pray. There are ways to find out who is more likely to buy from you. So lock down on your ICP, focus your efforts towards them, and stay the course. Your time is too precious to reach out to everyone in the world.
Intelligent tools that you can rely on are your best investments. Slintel, for instance, helps you identify best selling opportunities and addressable active buyers, with the help of data-backed insights. Here are some more to help you out at various stages of your sales journey:
- For building your sales prospecting list: LinkedIn Sales Navigator (Paid plans starting at $65/month)
- For identifying potential buyers and obtaining verified information about them: Slintel
- For managing customer relationships: Salesforce (Paid plans starting from $25/mo)
- For scheduling meetings: Calendly (14-day free trial. Paid plans starting at $8/mo)
- For engaging your sales prospects: Boomerang (10 free credits per month. Paid plans starting at $5/month)
Summing It Up
First things first—do your research before reaching out to your prospects. Don’t turn up with a bunch of questions and a blank slate. Don’t ask the prospects anything that you can find with a quick Google search. Simply put, don’t skip your homework.
Selling has never been easy, and it probably never will be. But you know what? Never say never! Tailor your pitch, use a multi-channel approach, be open to change, and most importantly, empathize. Additionally, there are a plethora of useful tools available. These Chrome extensions, for instance, can be good additions to your toolkit. With some care, clever techniques, and consistency, you can build a robust pipeline of SQLs even in the face of a pandemic.