62% of buyers prefer to hear from the sellers when they are actively looking for the solutions of their pain points and 75% sellers mentioned that sales prospecting is the biggest challenge for them. When 62% of buyers are ready to hear from the sellers, why are the sellers struggling to find the prospects?
May be sellers are not reaching the relevant contact or they are adopting inefficient sales prospecting methods. The sellers can reach buyers when the sales prospecting techniques are efficient and target driven.
Prospecting is the method of searching and identifying the potential leads and nurturing them to enter into the sales funnel. Your sales reps should be aware of the significance of prospecting, as it is the initial step of the sales process.
Why is prospecting important in sales?
All sales reps try to achieve their target every day by contacting potential customers. Only structuring the day well and putting all effort into random calls and emails will not produce the potential leads. Therefore, your sales rep should know what is prospecting and how it is helpful for them to achieve their targets.
Prospecting is a significant part of sales as it strengthens the pipeline of potential customers. Right prospecting not only strengthens the pipeline but also, helps to establish a good relationship with leads for further prospecting.
Random prospecting eliminates your sales teams’ productivity with the result of minimal sales. Whereas strategic prospecting strengthens the sales teams’ productivity.
What is strategic prospecting?
Strategic prospecting is an efficient method in sales that provides the right leads with less time and less effort.
Generally, Prospecting is just looking for the leads but, strategic prospecting is to research, plan and target the right market and identify the potential and qualified leads.
The strategic prospecting process provides a healthy pipeline of new customers. Here are three steps of strategic prospecting:
- Generate Sales leads: Generate the leads from internal or external sources.
- Qualifying Stage: In this stage, there are three things to see if the lead is qualified or not. Need, finance and authority. What is the need for the lead, what is his budget and whether he/she is the decision-maker?
- Sales Prospect: Once the lead is qualified with the above-mentioned processes, prioritize the prospect list and initiate the calling plan.
How do you start prospecting?
If you are new to sales or setting up your new sales team for your business, commencing the prospecting process will be more challenging than managing your business.
You can’t start prospecting until you take the first few steps.
Here are the few steps through which you can start prospecting:
- Set Minimum Goal for the day (As per your call list plan)
- Use script (To shape the conversation with a lead)
- Understand the requirements of the leads through possible channels like LinkedIn, personal chatting, etc.
- Spend less time with the leads when you encounter a negative response in order to avoid demotivation.
How can you improve your sales prospecting?
To improve your sales prospecting, there are certain steps you need to follow:
- Research: When you do research and gather all the information about a lead to decide whether he/she can be your prospect, it is called quality prospecting. Research is the first and important technique for sales prospecting.
Without researching the requirement of a lead and his pain point, contacting a lead randomly is like throwing a ball to the dark arena. If you are lucky, the ball will hit the perfect point or else the attempt will go in vain. If you contact a lead and his/her requirement doesn’t suit your products or services, then it is a waste of time and effort.
- Consistency in Daily Counts: Consistency is the key point of success in every field. Although it is difficult to maintain, it is result driven process. Plan the number of prospecting per day and practice it on a daily basis.
The biggest myth in sales and marketing is to stick into a particular day of the week at a particular time to approach the prospects. The best way to approach the prospects is to set a weekly plan and follow it rigorously.
- Don’t stick into one method of prospecting: Try different methods of prospecting and see which one is the most effective method for you. That doesn’t mean you will follow only the effective method of prospecting. Sticking into one prospecting method may provide you a great result but it may not last for long.
For instance, if you attend an event in a month and you are getting 2 new prospects, you can follow other prospecting methods to increase the number of new prospects.
- Focus on End Result: To be very frank, the outcome of effective prospecting is to schedule an appointment. No matter how long you are taking time to prospect or how much you make the prospects to be positive, but the end result should be to make an appointment for the demo or to discuss further proceedings. The keynote is that always be result driven and focus on the outcome while prospecting.
Sales Prospecting Techniques
As the sales landscape is changing day by day, the prospecting methods have to be updated and smart to acquire potential customers. If you adopt the efficient sales prospecting methods, out of 62% (Mentioned in the beginning) of buyers, you may encounter 20% of buyers for your product or service.
There are several efficient methods listed below that can help you prospect efficiently.
1. Warm calling:
Let’s be honest, cold calling can get frustrating and has a lot of drawbacks. Hence, the smartest way of prospecting is to adopt the art of warm calling. Warm calling is always better than an unexpected call (Cold calls). As mentioned above, doing a bit of research is the most important part of prospecting.
Before making a warm call, converse with the lead through possible channels like social media, LinkedIn, etc. and try to find his industry and pain point. Try to fix an appointment with him for a call.
Before heading for a warm call, frame the structure of your call.
Make the prospect realize the trends or problems and its effect, then proceed towards the solution part and finally, offer your solution (your product or service) to heal his pinpoint.
2. Nurture the Existing Customers
Your existing customers can be a potential source of finding the new prospect. Building a relationship is a key point in the realm of sales. Nurture your existing customers even though you are done with the sales. Once you have a good rapport with them, you can hunt for prospects through their network.
Again, the action, “research” is most important in this step. Once you find the contact information of a lead from the existing customer’s network, don’t connect them directly. Try to know their industry, requirement and whether your product or service suits their requirements. Once you are sure about their needs, you can connect them at the right time.
3. Engage in Social Media:
As per the Pew Research Center, about 72% of US adults are at least on one social media site.
In this digital landscape, it is very hard to find people who are not engaged in social media.
When it comes to prospecting, this is a strong channel through which you can find quality prospects. This is the only platform where you can find leads’ all information ranging from the industry to the requirements. This is not only helpful to hunt the prospect but also, helps build a good network through which you will have opportunities for further prospecting.
Here are a few tips for social media engagement:
- Post the informative content on a regular basis on Social media
- Like, Comment and share the post by others
- Respond to the people
- Answer the question they ask in social media
- Bring your product or service to your network when it is required
The businesses that use the social selling process hit 40% more business goals than businesses that don’t use the same.
4. Host Webinar
This is an efficient method to prospect the leads. People, who are interested in your industry will register for your webinar. The first filtering step is done here. During the webinar, you can find the affirmative prospects from the type of questions they ask and the way they answer your question.
Post webinar, poll the audience who have demonstrated their interest in your products or services with the help of polling forms. Follow up with them within 24 hours providing the option to have a demo and schedule the demo on a prior basis.
Also, don’t ignore them who have not shown their interest. Nurture them for few months and then check their buying position if they need more nurture.
5. Get involved in Q&A Forum
Get involved in the Q&A forum to educate the audience. The online forum like the LinkedIn group and Quora opens the door to the relevant group to join and participate in the discussion. You can answer the question related to your industry asked by the audience and expect the answer from the experts on the new topics.
It not only helps to expand your network but also provides the opportunity to educate the people on your product or service at the right time. It doesn’t work overnight but eventually, you will have a good network where you can hunt the prospects.
6. Value the Leads(Don’t connect for sales)
Prospecting is the first step in sales and positive prospects are found where you have a good relationship. Hence, building a relationship is the key point of prospecting.
While connecting, try to build a good rapport first and value their opinion and discuss the trending problems and suggest possible solutions. Don’t sell your product or service directly from the beginning. Once you and your lead are comfortable with each other with regard to business talk, you can present your product or service.
7. Use Video
According to Google surveyed buyers, 70% of B2B buyers watch the video throughout their purchase path and 48% of buyers watch the videos that are more than 30 minutes.
From the above stats, you can find the effectiveness of the video in the realm of sales and marketing. The marketers who use the video grow revenue 49% faster than the none-video users.
In the video, you introduce yourself first, bring the trends or challenges and provide the solutions which make the marketers visit your website.
8. Expand Networking in Events and Conferences
Networking is a significant part of the sales and marketing field. Being physically present and expanding your network matters a lot when it comes to sales and marketing.
Attend the events and conferences that is in your niche and try to build a relationship to seek prospects. Once you start a conversation with the people there, it will be easier for you to find the prospects and understand their level of interest for your service and products.
9. Refer a Script
Referring to a script while conversing with leads will comfort your pause if you are new to sales or new to the process. Script is not required for the experienced salesperson as they know how to customize the conversation according to the leads response. They prefer to make the conversation natural without using a script.
Script provides a good shape to the entire conversation, but listening carefully and responding to the leads accordingly is most important even if you use a script.
10. Ask for referrals
Most of the salespeople ignore this prospecting method. Once they close a new business, they stop further communication with the customer. However, you can find new prospects through your existing customers asking for referrals.
Send follow up emails to your existing customers to find out how things are going on with your products or services and once you (preferably) get a positive feedback, you can ask for a referral in a friendly manner. This is the most effective prospecting method that provides more accurate information to target.
The more new ideas you implement into your business, the more results you will find. This process will provide you the opportunity to track which ideas are more productive for your business. Similarly, all of the above-discussed methods are efficient for the sales but try all the methods and see which one is more effective for your business.