Top-performing sales reps generate nearly three times more sales meetings using prospecting techniques than reps who don’t prospect at all.
Without a full pipeline of qualified leads, sales won’t happen. This is why it’s critical to prospect regularly – but sales prospecting can be challenging for even the most experienced sales reps.
What is sales prospecting?
Sales prospecting is the process of initiating new business by identifying and contacting potential buyers for products and services. It sets the sales process in motion, with the goal of converting qualified leads into revenue-generating customers.
Efficient, effective B2B sales prospecting is achieved by providing reps with the best strategies, tech integrations, and training techniques.
In this post, you’ll learn seven key strategies to help reps connect with more prospects.
1. Personalize outreach
Cold outreach can be tricky (and demoralizing) for sales reps – and a drain on productivity when it’s not optimized.
Increase the success rate of cold outreach by personalizing your emails, call scripts, and social media messages. Better yet, use automation to customize sales outreach using marketing and sales data you already have.
Take a data-driven sales approach and leverage your CRM to get the information you need to customize your outreach for each prospect.
When your sales team reaches out to a new prospect, they can acknowledge where the buyer has already been on their journey. Whether that’s downloading a guide or white paper, attending a webinar, or interacting with a chatbot. The rep can ask the buyer if they have any follow-up questions to initiate a conversation.
Your sales reps can also reference a mutual connection, congratulate the prospect on a recent round of funding, or send them follow-up content that will give them more information on the solution they’re interested in.
With Pitcher’s automation tools, it’s easy for reps to personalize slide decks, messages, and other content. These tools don’t just personalize, they also recommend the most effective content for a prospect based on their interactions. This can dramatically increase the effectiveness of the engagement.
2. Leverage inbound marketing
When B2B buyers are considering a purchase, they spend 27% of their time researching independently online.
Are prospects finding information about your solution when they’re searching online? If not, you may want to consider ramping up your inbound marketing efforts.
Inbound marketing – attracting customers by creating highly valuable content that solves problems – is still a highly effective lead-generation method. The customers you connect with using content marketing have a demonstrated interest in your company and your products or services. This interest makes them warmer leads in your sales prospecting process.
Using sales analytics, you can track what inbound marketing content specific prospects have interacted with. Your sales team will be able to customize their outreach based on that information.
With Pitcher’s powerful analytics, you’ll also be able to understand how customer interactions with your marketing content drive sales performance.
3. Transform sales reps into expert advisors
Buyers are looking for a seamless buying experience, with the ease of digital purchasing options like digital sales rooms and ecommerce checkout. But they still want and need sales reps to guide them toward the right solutions.
For more effective prospecting in sales, support your reps to adopt a consultative selling approach and act as advisors.
Instead of reaching out to prospects about a specific product, consultative sales reps recommend solutions after getting to know their customers. They base sales conversations around the customer’s specific pain points and needs – before talking about products.
Contrary to popular belief, B2B buyers don’t hate talking to salespeople. 82% of buyers take meetings after talking to sellers, and 71% of buyers reported wanting to talk to sellers early in the sales process.
4. Make cold calling more effective
63% of sellers say cold calling is the worst part of their job, according to a LinkedIn survey. But cold calling doesn’t have to be tedious or discouraging. It could be one of the most successful and proactive prospecting tools in your toolbox.
As part of your sales training program, teach reps how to “warm up” cold calls by tailoring your message to the needs of the individuals they’ll be reaching out to. Provide sales coaching, playbooks, and scripts they can use to make more effective cold calls. Your playbooks can include best practices for:
- Frequency and interval of touchpoints
- Research protocols
- Positive, low-pressure ways to initiate conversations
- Strategic timing of calls
- Handling gatekeepers
- Constructing effective voicemail messages
- Addressing objectives
- Effective follow-up
- Dealing with rejection
5. Follow up productively
Every successful salesperson knows that most sales don’t happen after just one connection or conversation with a prospect.
Sending follow-up emails, forwarding additional information, and making multiple phone calls are all reliable ways of building trust with potential customers.
Guided selling makes this process more effective and efficient. Sales reps can manage lists of cold leads, warm prospects, and even “lost” leads, knowing exactly which follow-up activities to pursue, and when.
Combined with content automation, this reduces the number of time reps spend writing follow-up emails and tracking down or personalizing the right content to send.
For example, sales reps can use AI-powered guided selling recommendations to:
- Ask if the prospect needs any additional information about solving their problem.
- Invite the prospect to the most relevant webinar, seminar, or live event.
- Send sales content the prospect is most likely to engage with.
- Ask an open-ended question about the prospect’s pain points.
5. Measure your sales prospecting efforts
Evaluating performance is essential for achieving sales prospecting success. Without tracking metrics, you won’t know what’s working and what’s not with your prospecting efforts.
Here are four metrics you can track to measure sales prospecting performance:
- Sales Activities: How many sales prospecting actions (phone calls, emails or social media messages) does it take a rep to set up a meeting or make a sale?
- Pipeline: How many prospects is your team bringing in, and what’s yoru timeline for this stage of the sales cycle? Are you getting enough opportunities to fill your sales funnel?
- Response Rate: Divide the number who reply to your outreach efforts by the number of people you contacted. Use this number to identify the prospecting tactics that get the best response rate.
- Prospect-to-SQL ratio: This is the number of prospects that become sales-qualified-leads (SQLs). Divide the number of SQLs by the total number of prospects you contacted. A low prospect-to-SQL ratio may mean you need to reexamine how you qualify leads and move them through the buying journey.
With Pitcher’s built-in analytics and reporting, you can gain a deeper understanding of seller and buyer behavior. You can track KPIs, understand how your customers interact with your content, explore how customer interactions drive conversions, and reformulate your content to better engage with prospects.
Your team members and leaders can create customized reports that include real-time insights on sales performance, and you can use that data to improve your sales prospecting efforts.
6. Attract more referrals
Over 70% of executives prefer to work with sales reps referred by someone they know.
So one of the best ways to prospect for new business is to ask your happy customers for referrals.
But despite the power of this word-of-mouth prospecting technique, many sales reps don’t ask for referrals.
Here are three quick tips for asking happy customers for referrals:
Ask for referrals immediately after the sale, when positive buying experiences are fresh in customers’ minds
- Continue to check in after the sale and provide value — whether that’s through helpful content or additional offers
- Make it easy to give referrals by providing easy-to-use template emails or scripts
Give your customers a reason to talk about your company by providing a seamless, high-quality buying experience.
Make sales prospecting easier and more effective
Would you like to enhance your sales prospecting with a data-driven approach? Schedule a demo of Pitcher’s sales enablement solution to empower your sales force to transform data into actionable insight for better prospecting and higher conversions.
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