A Beginner’s Guide to Sales Prospecting

A Beginner's Guide to Sales Prospecting

Sales prospecting is considered as one of the first processes of the sales cycle. Even if you work hard day and night generating leads for sales, you shouldn’t stop your sales prospecting efforts and wait for the leads to come pouring in. It’s always been a challenge but definitely still worth trying. You need to capture more prospects every day to make your business reach newer heights.

What is sales prospecting?

In essence, it’s the act of sales reps reaching out to leads hoping they can create sales opportunities. This process is crucial because, usually, it is the first step in the sales funnel. Some parts of sales prospecting are identifying potential customers and developing a database of prospects. Then you have to communicate with leads willing to convert them into customers.

Sales prospecting is all about “taking care” of leads and moving them through the sales funnel until they become customers. It happens when something qualifies them as a potential customer – when a lead matches the persona of the target buyer, or when a lead expressed interest in the brand by clicking on the website and coming to a landing page etc.

Seven sales prospecting tips for you to follow

Learning the prospecting definition is only the first step toward creating opportunities for sales. The next is actually working hard to get things done every day. But before that, look at the tips below on how to do it properly:

  1. Take care about prospecting every single day. If you have time to work out every day, for example, you surely have time to book a consistent time in your calendar to prospect every day. If you’re not a billionaire, you won’t get there with the snap of a finger. Make calls and make it happen. It may not be the most exciting activity in your day, and that is why you should book this time with yourself because only then you’ll make sure it happens on a regular basis.
  2. Do the research and find your target. There are different types of people, and not everyone is your ideal client. You can’t boil the ocean all at one time, I’m sorry. Now sit and try to find out who is your ideal customer and do some research into your own database. Who is the best? Can you list the worst one? Who are your most profitable customers? And the least? Create profiles for those groups. Remember – just because a company is in your database doesn’t mean that it fits your ideal customer profile.
  3. Work your call list. Prepare your warm call list, a warm lead list, and even a lost lead list. It’s time to prioritise them and take some time each day to call these potential clients on your lists. Take care of them, check if they’re close to the end of their decision process. If they’re not, look at what is going on, help them. Answer their questions, send them substantial information. You can also invite them to a webinar or seminar you are hosting. Think about what you can do to dispel your leads’ doubts.
    Call them again in a month or 6 months. If you work the list consistently, you can turn your warm leads to warmer leads and then even hot leads.
  4. Ask for referrals. Happy customers spread the word. When is the best time to ask for a referral? Right after a sale is made. It’s because they still remember the experience of the sale and if it was good, their enthusiasm and excitement will show through. Do not forget about your existing customers! Keep in touch with them to ensure that they are still happy with your product or service.
    Create an e-mail template to use every time you want to make contact with your customers. Saving time is always a good idea.
  5. Be present on social media. If you don’t know that, let me tell you one thing – social selling is happening. And it’s still growing. There are more than 2.2 billion people online, 91% of online adults use social media regularly, 61% of global Internet users research products online. Do you need more reasons to say that it’s worth to try?
    Do not rush, take baby steps. Choose an appropriate social media site – if you are B2B, create a profile on LinkedIn, if you are B2C, make sure your business is on Facebook. Being on sites where your potential customers will never be is nothing but wasting your time. And time is money.
  6. Content is king. More than half of B2B marketing and sales professionals say that their organisation’s “demand generation campaigns” focus solely on their own company’s products, features and services. This is WRONG and the reason why, according to a survey by Corporate Visions, is that 80% of the professionals surveyed said that their demand generation efforts were ineffective.
    You should always focus on your customers’ pain points and stop sending out content that says how great your company is. Your potential clients need to know that you understand where they are in the buying process. Assure them that you are aware of their challenges, provide them with your knowledge, ideas and inspiration – it can all move them further in the buying process.
  7. Follow up and don’t give up immediately. The fruits of your labour generally do not show up on the first contact. Sometimes not even after the second one. You need to be patient and work hard, which means multiple phone calls, e-mails and other follow up activities to set up meetings.
    This whole process can become a long game. Your prospects might not be ready to buy your product or service, at least not for now. Check them in a few months, things change. Always try until they give a hard “no”. Consider using your CRM system’s capabilities, which will help to keep you on track.

Most common mistakes you should avoid making

Prospecting doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, it can be painless, but only if you know what not to do. Take a look at the list of common mistakes and don’t make them if you want to double your sales numbers.

  1. Sending the right message to the wrong person. Again – do the research. It’s okay to send an e-mail to someone that can influence the buying process, but it’s GREAT to send your well composed and persuasive e-mail to someone that can actually make the purchase.
    Please, never misspell the recipient’s name. It’s like killing your job before they even start reading.
  2. Not being personal. I’m not only talking about addressing a person or business by its name in the body of your e-mail. It is definitely not enough. If you really want to personalise your message, remember to mention their name at least a few times at the beginning of the e-mail. Show that you know who are you talking to and what they do.
    Isn’t it better to send 100 personalised prospecting e-mails and get a reply from most of them than sending bulk impersonal e-mails and get only one reply? Think about it.
  3. You are annoying. It’s crucial not to fall into this trap. Unfortunately, you may not even know that you’re doing it. Just make sure your messages are valuable to the recipient – be clear and concise.
  4. Too much information at once. Always remember that your prospective client wants to get all the information they need. More details should be left for once you have sparked an interest. Include the reason you’re contacting them, what you can do for them and a hook line. If you are creative, five sentences will be enough.

 

Work smart, not hard

To sum up, there are many elements of a sale prospecting strategy that you should consider to maximise your opportunities for generating a sale. Follow the tips and try not to make the mistakes written above to become an effective salesperson. This way you’ll be able to hit your sales quota every month without fail.