Sales Prospecting Techniques and Prospecting Tools for Sales
What are prospecting and sales prospecting?
The technique of beginning sales discussions is known as prospecting. Prospecting helps you to find consumers that are a suitable fit for your company. This entails identifying sales leads who desperately need your goods or service to ease their problems.
You’ll have interactions with leads that are a lot better fit for the product once you’ve finished prospecting. In contrast to a lead who churns once a contract is closed, good-fit clients give long-term revenue and value. By asking the correct sales qualification queries to all of your leads and prospects when prospecting, you can uncover good-fit clients.
It’s also crucial to note that, while leads and prospects are defined differently, your objectives with both are the same. Nurture them until they purchase the product or service. This nurturing program begins as soon as you prospect and continues until the contract is closed. But where should you start with prospecting?
Sales Prospecting Techniques
Prospecting that isn’t fruitful is a major waste of time. As a result, we suggest the inbound approach and have developed a basic structure that can be used in any sales process. But there’s a catch.
We recognize everyone takes a different approach. As a result, we’ve included personal prospecting advice from some of the top salesmen.
Add value to your prospect’s business
As this is by far the most crucial component of prospecting, we’ll go over it again and again in this piece. To enhance our chances of offering value to them or their business, we ensure that we qualify our prospects. We want to accomplish a few things at this level of prospecting:
- Check to see if the opportunity is feasible.
- Start qualifying and ranking prospects.
- Customization, building rapport, and trust development are all ways to form a relationship.
Prioritize your leads
Prioritizing our prospects can help us save time and guarantee that we focus our efforts on the prospects who are most likely to buy the product.
Prioritization levels will differ depending on the type of sales organization and the salesperson, but the general concept is to group prospects into a few buckets based on their potential to purchase and concentrate on one bucket at a stage.
Create a proposal for each prospect that is unique to them.
In this stage, we’ll acquire detailed information on our prospects in order to fine-tune our pitch and tailor our outreach. So, first and foremost, we must decide what matters to our prospects.
We can accomplish this in several ways:
- Examine the prospect’s blog to see what they’re interested in based on the posts they’re creating and publishing.
- Make a list of their social media profiles and go over them. Do they have any fresh postings or updates?
- Examine the “About Us” section of the organization’s website.
We may develop a decision map to define our prospect’s alternatives and end goals if we want to become more elevated with our preparation. This will allow us to better manage any concerns and customize a pitch to their core objectives.
We might also do a competitive study to see how our company’s products or services may be better positioned within the industry.
Create the ideal first impression and make sure you’re assisting rather than selling.
Our outreach, whether by phone or email, should be highly customized to our prospect’s specific business, purpose, and industry.
When approaching a prospect, whether by phone or email, keep the following general guidelines in mind:
Personalize: Mention a specific issue that the prospect is having and provide a specific remedy.
Maintain your relevance and timeliness: Check if the problem a prospect is attempting to address is still relevant.
Be a human being: Nobody enjoys conversing with a professional bot. Details like greeting someone on a nice holiday weekend or expressing how great their company’s product is, are genuine touches, that help us develop a stronger connection.
Don’t sell; instead, offer help: Provide value, expecting nothing in return. It’s not about us in this process; it’s about them. Instead of organizing a follow-up meeting, we may offer to undertake a digital media audit and get back to them within a week with our results.
Maintain a relaxed atmosphere: Keep in mind that this is only a chat. Maintain a casual demeanor and avoid being overly salesy. Prospecting is defined by the fact that we never sell. We’re merely analyzing if a relationship would suit both parties.
Look at the career pages of your prospects.
Look at the company’s employment board to see which divisions they’re investing in or expanding. This might help us learn more about their major objectives or obstacles. We may also look at their yearly financial report if our target is a public corporation.
It would be under the “Risk Factors” section to evaluate if their stated business issues and our product offering are compatible.
Use ratings to categorize prospects
Qualitatively classify prospects by ranking their appropriateness on a scale of high, medium, and poor. Example:
- Customer persona characteristics are met to a high degree.
- A clear business problem that is related to our product offering
- Having the ability to communicate with a decision-maker
- We have a shared interest or have a mutual connection
- Interaction with our website and social media profiles at a high level
Note: Every other work day, five touchpoints are recommended.
- Complement some of our consumer persona’s characteristics.
- A clear business problem that is related to our product offering.
- Interaction with social media platforms and websites.
Note: Every other day, four touchpoints are recommended.
- Doesn’t fit our customer’s profile.
- Uncertainty about the business problem.
- Unable to establish contact with a decision-maker or an influencer.
- Interaction with social media platforms and website is limited or non-existent.
- Recommended level of effort: Every other day, three touchpoints
Follow the blogs of your prospects.
The following is how it works: Select some 30 – 40 posts from your prospect’s blog. Create a new tab for each post that interests you. Each post should be skimmed. Take a look at the most fascinating posts. Reduce the final selection to the most intriguing posts after looking through all the possibilities.
As we read these stories, we must put ourselves in the shoes of the prospect, looking for pain spots or trigger events. To design an email or a call to our prospect, use the most intriguing, relevant information we uncover in the articles.
Use Twitter to keep track of your prospects
Everyone, including your prospects, is on Twitter. Create a Twitter list of your top priority prospects to make it easier to identify trigger events and streamline your investigation. You might wish to combine all of your high-priority leads into one list.
We may now concentrate on building a highly focused, relevant list. We should have a refined profile of our target consumer based on our research, and every organization or individual on our prospect list must fulfill those requirements.
Keep an eye on this stream as it fills up with prospect activity. We may monitor this every morning and evening to see if any trigger events took place that might allow us to connect more effectively.
Prospecting sessions in batches
Prospecting sessions should be scheduled for 2 – 4 hours at a time, with a five-minute break in between. Set an egg timer for fifteen minutes, 30 minutes, or 45 minutes, based on how much time we arranged for the call.
Use 5 minutes to follow up, 5 minutes to update notes and administrative chores in your CRM, and 5 minutes to prepare for the next call once the timer beeps.
Communicate by email and phone in a balanced manner
We must choose between email and phone communication to make contact. Some of us will begin by sending a cold email, while others will begin by making a cold call. This method will differ depending on which salesman feels most at ease. Let’s begin with the pros and cons of email communication:
Pros of email communication
- Emails are visually appealing and provide prospects with the opportunity to study the offer at their leisure.
- Prospects have enough time to investigate the organization and product when they get emails.
- They may quickly be shared with important stakeholders who are more appropriate to interact with.
Cons of email communication
- Because email is a busy medium, it may be more difficult to capture a prospect’s attention.
- They’re easily forgotten or removed.
- It’s possible that we’ll have to follow up many times before receiving a response.
Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of the phone conversation.
Pros of the Phone conversation
- Because phone calls are less popular than email, they can immediately and readily capture a prospect’s attention.
- They create a more personal connection right away, giving salesmen the opportunity to build rapport.
- They’re frequently more responsive than email communication and can help you complete a transaction faster.
Cons of the Phone conversation
- A call may overwhelm some prospects, making them less likely to consider a proposal or schedule a second encounter.
- Calls, while intimate, might be perceived as invasive, especially when they are unannounced.
- There’s no assurance that a potential client will answer the phone. Depending on the volume, voicemail might become as congested as email.
To take advantage of the benefits while minimizing the drawbacks, frequently combine both approaches.
Email and phone call sequence
This strategy allows prospects to ponder our offer, perform their own research, and answer at a time that is convenient for them by switching between voicemail and email with a distinct message each time.
Let’s look closely at the dos and don’ts of each communication channel.
The Cordial Email
To send an email that gets read, we need to contain the following elements:
A subject line that engages: The subject line should catch the prospect’s attention while eliminating cliché hooks.
Personal beginning line: Instead of talking about ourselves, we should start our cold email by talking about them. After all, understanding the prospect’s pain spots and determining a means to offer value to their business or operations is the goal of this approach.
Making the connection: Now it’s time to connect the dots. They discover why we’re reaching out to them in the first place, but now they’ll have to know why they must be interested in what we do.
Clearly stated call to action: Make it obvious that the ball is in their court by suggesting a certain time to connect or by asking a closed-ended inquiry. “Do you have five minutes tomorrow to catch up?” or “Are you available for a 20-minute call on Monday between 9:30 and 10:30 AM?”
To get right to the point, send a calendar invite rather than an email. We can set up a quick 5-minute session to get our foot in the door with customers that have extremely busy schedules.
The Call to Prospect
If we choose to call a prospect, whether, in connection with an email, we can use the following basic structure:
Establish rapport: We shouldn’t be afraid to ask about a prospect’s weekend or what team they’re pulling for in tonight’s game. These personal touches help us build a more proper relationship with prospects as well as increase our likeability, which should lead to a higher likelihood of a prospect purchasing from us.
Leverage their pain points: During the call, delve into their pain spots. We should understand all of their key business difficulties, as well as the underlying causes, at the end of the session. We can better target our service or product to address these main challenges once we have a deeper grasp of them.
Create a sense of wonder: Inquire about their company’s operations. Rather than telling, ask questions. This talk is about them, and it’s about getting to know their wants and needs. The less we say about our company and product, the more interested our prospects will be in hearing the final presentation.
To sum it up: To schedule a follow-up meeting, find a time on your calendar within 24-48 hours following the discovery call. Try this: “Do you have half an hour next week to follow up?” My colleague Tom, who is an expert in X, Y, and Z, will join us. “I have availability on my calendar; what works best for you?”
Follow up after a deal has been lost and closed
If prospects reject your offer, send a follow-up email. The aim of this email is learning. This refusal may be used to have a clear knowledge of how we can improve our sales efforts.
With all the procedures and tactics required in the prospecting process, it’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae. Fortunately, we can increase efficiency and automate processes by using sales prospecting tools.
Prospecting Tools for Sales
You may pick and choose which tools to use alone or in combination from this list. To evaluate your needs and gaps, consider the tools you presently use for prospecting. Then try out the choices listed below to see which ones are good for your company.
HubSpot makes it easy to maintain track of sales activities and find new leads. Manage your sales funnel, track all rep activity automatically, maintain all of your contact information in one place, and communicate with them in real-time. To make things even easier, you may call those prospects straight from the CRM.
What to do with it: Warm prospects who have previously visited your website can be found using the CRM. Contacts and firms can be saved, deals can be tracked, and duties like follow-ups and meetings can be conveniently managed. Sending tailored email sequences to your consumers may also facilitate the experience of nurturing them easier. Then, immediately within the CRM, track the performance of your email templates.
To find out when prospects read emails, click on the links, or view attachments, use email tracking. Sales Hub also gives you extensive contact information directly in your inbox and lets you send emails when you believe your prospect is most likely to open them.
What to do with it: If we notice that a prospect is looking at an email we sent three weeks ago, we can email them with material relevant to what they’re looking at, or we may email them to schedule another appointment.
By utilizing SalesHandy to schedule outreach emails, you could even automate your lead nurturing cycle. This application lets you automate up to nine levels of follow-up emails to anyone who hasn’t opened or responded to your first email.
What to do with it: Use email campaigns to communicate with new leads and prospects. You may automatically follow up and urge them to answer whenever you’re alerted about their email openings. Email monitoring shows you how many times and at what time your emails were opened, allowing you to measure their interest and advance them to the next level of your funnel.
Company Pages on LinkedIn
This gives us a feed of the company’s most recent updates, which we may use to find out about industry news, marketing initiatives, seminars, product launches, and newly published material.
What to do with it: We may use these changes as trigger events to start actual discussions with our prospects. This method may also be used to identify key stakeholders as well as decision-makers.
Datanyze keeps track of rival technology suppliers and lets us know when firms start or stop utilizing their products.
What to do with it: Reach out to prospects after they’ve stopped using a competitor’s product to catch them when they’re looking for a better deal.
We can utilize Twitter to learn more about what our prospect values. We may show them that we care about their interests, concerns, and needs by offering them support through a retweet or like, or by engaging them in the discussion.
What to do with it: Utilizing Twitter’s Advanced search, check if the prospect has asked a question about our product. If so, then it’s a great chance to answer.
We may use Google Alerts to keep track of mentions of a company’s name, product, rivals, or industry trends on the internet.
What to do with it: Create custom alerts to provide real-time, every other day, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly information on the terms that are most important to our prospects. These can be used to personalize our outreach.
Take notes in Evernote, which seamlessly integrates notes across mobile, desktop, and online apps, to stay organized and efficient.
What to do with it: Use this application to keep note of pain areas, company facts, and action items when on a preparatory prospecting call.
Hunter is an email lookup application that makes it easier to discover a person’s or a group of people’s email addresses fast. Hunter also allows you to automate outreach by crafting cold email campaigns and scheduling follow-ups directly from your Gmail account.
What to do with it: Depending on your circumstances, you can utilize one of three email lookup methods. If you want to locate all the people who work for a given company’s emails, use Domain Search. You may divide your contacts into departments. If you need to discover an email address for a certain expert, simply type their name and email address into the Email Finder and hit search. By simply inputting the article URL into Author Finder, you may get the author’s email address.
Kixie is a sales prospecting tool that uses AI (artificial intelligence) to help you in connecting with more leads.
What to do with it: To help with voicemails, create a virtual receptionist, as well as transfer calls, use the full-voice and SMS corporate phone platform. Create sales cadences, automatically track all of your conversations with prospects, as well as trigger your HubSpot Workflows either during calls by integrating it with HubSpot.
Prospecting is a vital sales talent that takes the majority of your group’s time and effort; therefore, it’s important that they master it. Your team’s new employees and seasoned veterans will turn to you for prospecting best practices and proven techniques.
Let’s take a breather and examine the sales prospecting strategy as a whole now that you’ve got the advice, techniques, and tools you need.
The Sales Prospecting Methodology
It’s time to go more specifically and restart the nurturing process, which should ultimately lead to a concluded contract. Regardless of the state of your sales funnel, you’ll most likely travel through the following stages.
Do some research.
Effective prospecting starts with a deeper dive into the prospects we’ve identified are a good fit in general. Our aim throughout this step is to identify the prospect’s quality — whether they’re likely to make a buy based on their difficulties and budget.
We’ll achieve this by analyzing the prospect using pre-defined qualifying parameters and using a CRM to keep track of our findings.
- Qualifying dimensions are a collection of parameters used to assess the likelihood of a lead or prospect of becoming a client.
- CRM (customer relationship management) software enables organizations to maintain accounts of their current and potential customers at any point in the sales cycle.
If we’ve previously identified someone we’d like to contact, we’ll send them a sales prospecting email. At this point, we’ll meet one sort of person: a gatekeeper who protects the path to a decision-maker.
- Receptionists or personal assistants are examples of gatekeepers who are in charge of transmitting or stopping information from reaching a decision-maker.
- The person responsible for making the ultimate decision on the sale is known as the decision-maker. To get to them, we normally have to walk through a gatekeeper.
It’s time to organize the next meeting: a discovery call after we’ve reached a gatekeeper. During the discovery call, we’ll learn about the prospect’s specific difficulties and gain a better understanding of their business by asking the proper questions.
A sales rep’s first contact with a prospect in order to be eligible for the next stage in the sales cycle is known as a discovery call.
Educate and Assess
Assess and evaluate the prospect’s requirements after a discovery call. This is crucial since it demonstrates how much the prospect requires the product to achieve their business objectives.
During this phase, we’ll look at two things:
Pain point: A prospect’s business requirement is the pain point that sales agents must find in order to deliver value and advance them through the sales cycle.
Objection: An objection is a barrier to a prospect’s purchase of a product or service, such as a financial or time limitation.
We have all the information we require. We understand the prospect’s problems, pain areas, and potential obstacles to buying the product. It’s time to convert them into clients by persuading them of the benefits they’ll receive. Below are the things that will happen as a result of this:
Closed-won: When a buyer buys a service or product from a sales representative.
Closed-lost: When a buyer fails to acquire a service or product or service from a sales rep.
We can determine our closing ratio or the percentage of prospects that a salesperson closes and wins, using these two statistics.
You may often engage with prospects in one of two ways as you progress through the process: inbound or outbound prospecting.
Prospecting: Outbound vs. Inbound
We’re witnessing a transition in how prospecting is done as the sales environment develops. It is no longer divided into inbound and outbound. Instead, they must figure out how to do both in a responsible manner.
When you reach out to prospects who haven’t indicated an interest in the product or service, you’re doing outbound prospecting. Prospects are often identified through independent research, such as searching for them on LinkedIn, Google, or another site.
When you go out to a lead who has expressed an active interest in your company or product, this is known as inbound prospecting.
They’ve browsed your website, subscribed to your blog, and perhaps even filled out a form requesting to talk with a sales representative. Then you interact with them to see whether they’re a suitable fit for the product.
Use an inbound strategy with a cautious approach to outward measures like as cold calling and outreach. This last point is critical for firms that just don’t have enough qualified inbound leads. It’s a pastime for businesses and salespeople to start assisting rather than selling to buyers by using context and knowing who they are and what they require.
How can you locate potential buyers and learn about their company requirements? Even more essential, how do you know if you should start selling to them? By asking a few fundamental sales prospecting questions, you’ll be able to do this.
Sales Prospecting Questions
We can save a lot of time if we know who to go after. There are some questions that can be asked to decide whether an opportunity is worth pursuing.
We should see a lot higher response rate even if we employ outbound prospecting approaches because we took the time to assess their company for appropriateness.
Is the prospect’s firm a good fit for your organization?
This qualification is primarily based on demography. Is the prospect inside my sphere of influence? Do we sell in their line of business? Is it appropriate for our buyer’s persona?
A deeper investigation reveals that our service or product will naturally deliver more value to a specific profile within the target market.
Have you identified the most important stakeholders?
On the opposite side of our sales process, there are two categories of people: decision-makers and influencers.
Influencers may not have purchasing power, but they are frequently the ones who will use the product and therefore may become our most powerful internal advocates. They can make a convincing argument to decision-makers.
The decision-makers, of course, are the ones who approve or disapprove of the purchase. To understand the decision-making process, we can ask the following questions: Will there be any other people engaged in this decision? Is this a purchase that you can make right now?
Are the restrictions imposed by the prospect a deal breaker?
The most common obstacles we hear from prospects are time restrictions and financial constraints. Let’s do some investigation ahead of time to see if we can filter out potential purchasers who plainly don’t have the bandwidth to explore our product before spending time on an explorative call to hear this concern.
Do you have any experience with the prospect’s industry?
Certain sorts of firms, marketplaces, or sectors are expected to be more recognizable to us than others. With markets we’re familiar with, our pitch and sales approaches are likely to be more honed, thus we should target these prospects first.
Are they aware of what we’re offering?
Our prospects will very certainly have varied levels of understanding of our goods or services. They are more likely to perceive the value of our service and become clients if they are more aware of it. If a prospect has viewed our website, subscribed to our blog, or submitted material about something connected to our business, they already know a lot about us.
You’ve successfully contacted a few potential customers. So, what’s next? It’s time to use prospect marketing to nurture those leads.
Prospect marketing is the practice of supplying prospects with sales literature, tools, documentation, and compelling multimedia in order to assist them in making a purchase decision and closing the deal. Prospect marketing, like lead nurturing, is often done via email, especially during the prospecting phase.
Working with marketing to give prospects the appropriate sales literature is one method to do this. Can you offer them a demo or do a customer interview to help them make a decision? Are they willing to go over a pricing range with you?
Collaborate with your marketing and customer support teams to generate sales collateral for potential customers at each point of their journey if you haven’t already. Prospect marketing tools like email templates, telephone scripts, and pre-call guidelines are just a few examples.
Prospect marketing, in a nutshell, is something that retains your prospects engaged with and informed about your company. Even a weekly or daily check-in with prospects is beneficial. Again, just because you’ve made contact with a prospect does not really mean you should stop promoting.
Prospecting does not have to be a time-consuming and tough task. In fact, for both sales professionals and prospects, it may be a great experience. Incorporate a couple of the tactics we discussed above into your process and try out various methods to figure out what works for your team. Then you can be confident that you’ll start turning numerous good-fit prospects into paying clients.
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