Getting Started with Prospecting
Prospecting is simply identifying good-fit customers for your business. These good-fit prospects provide you with long-term business. By asking the right qualification questions while prospecting, all your leads and prospects you can identify good-fit customers.
37% of marketers say the most challenging part of their job is prospecting, and without that crucial first step, it’s difficult to build a pipeline. The following are some steps that can make the challenging process of prospecting easy for you :
The research phase is doing a quick internal qualification check to make sure your leads tick all the major boxes of criteria your sales team has set to identify the most common qualities of strong potential buyers. Researching the background of a company and the person you're trying to speak to before the first email or call can make a world of difference. So the sales team has to collect information for every single prospect because no two prospects would be the same. But this would consume much time so here are some qualifying questions to help you evaluate whether or not a prospect is a good-fit customer for your business :
- How well does this lead match your ideal customer persona?
- Are they in one of the key geographic areas you service?
- Have you identified key stakeholders?
- Do they have an awareness of your product or service?
- Do you have familiarity with the market?
- Are they currently using a competitor product? If so, which one?
- Have they already expressed an interest in buying your product?
The aim of this step is to determine if the prospect is workable and find opportunities to develop a connection with the qualified prospects through personalization, rapport building, and trust development.
After going through the rigorous research phase, you should have two clear buckets of leads—those who’ve been disqualified as not a good fit, and those who may be qualified sales prospects. It’s incredibly important to prioritize the order in which you reach out and start conversations with leads because your time is limited. Levels of prioritization will vary between each type of sales organization and each salesperson but prioritizing ensures we’re dedicating our strongest efforts to prospects that are most likely to become customers.
Break down the qualifying dimensions used in the research step above into percentages between 1% and 100% based on how important they are to the sales process. You can assign a value between 1 and 100 to these dimensions for each prospect in your list.
Next, you can multiply each prospect’s value by the percentage of weight we gave to the dimension. The total score for each prospect is the sum of all the dimensions scores, the result thus obtained is a prioritized list.
Identify The Key Decision-Maker
One of the big reasons salespeople spend so much time looking for decision-makers is that many of them miss the first step: They don’t know what decision-makers look like across their target companies. The solution starts with developing personas that explain who your decision-makers are. The buyer persona is an important piece of the entire sales and marketing process, and they come in extra handy when it comes to finding decision-makers.
Identifying the key decision-makers right from the beginning means your contact search becomes laser-focused and a lot more efficient. Hence you spend less time scrolling through and qualifying the wrong contacts, and more time actually selling to the right people. One of the best tools salespeople have for finding decision-makers in the wild is LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Also, to find the right decision-makers in any company, you can use Advanced filtering on LinkedIn.
When you start out with a detailed picture of your target contacts and take advantage of the best sales and prospecting tools available, you can make that process faster and more efficient, so that you don’t want to waste your valuable sales prospecting time on conversations with low-level managers that won’t be able to make an ultimate purchasing decision on your product.
Prepare Before You Pitch
Remember this: the more you know about your prospects, the better your sales prospecting process is. The aim of this step is to determine what your prospects care about and gather in-depth information on your prospects in order to prepare your pitch and personalize your outreach. Before you pick up the phone or write an introduction email, you must learn what the prospect's specific needs are and what motivates them. This way, you can prepare before your pitch and it will help you better handle any objections and personalize a pitch that resonates with the prospect’s primary objectives.
You can know about your prospects in different ways:
- Understand the prospect’s industry, needs, and motivations by reading the company’s website and blogs.
- Understand the prospect's personality and identity by his or her social media presence. Find out how their clients are, whether they have a strong following, or do they have recent updates or new posts.
The insights you gathered about the prospects give you a reason and the right context to contact them, being timely and not spammy. As you use real-time prospect lists, you can tailor a pitch that addresses and resonates with the prospect’s needs and objectives. The time you spent researching earlier will pay off because the prospect will feel like you understand their business, which is extremely valuable for building trust.
Establish The First Contact
It’s time to reach out and establish the first touch, you must decide between email or phone communication. Some of you will initially jump on the cold email approach while others will dive into the cold call. No matter how you decide to reach out to the prospect based on what you feel most comfortable with, you should always try to personalize your message by referencing a specific problem or issue that’s relevant to the prospect.
This is the step that reveals the success of your prospecting process. Rejection anxiety can be a major feeling, but remember, if you followed the previous prospecting steps thoroughly, you can rest assured, that your outreach will be highly tailored to your prospect’s particular business, goal, or industry. Remember this: The key to prospecting is that you’re never selling, you’re simply determining if both parties could mutually benefit from a relationship.
You should strive to genuinely help the prospect, instead of simply trying to push your product or service. No one likes being sold to, so don’t make the prospect feel like you’re only interested in getting their business, rather provide value and ask for nothing in return. During your conversation with the prospect, make sure to fully qualify them, and try to determine if they align with your target buyer persona.
Iterate And Improve
Finally, you should analyze your conversation with the prospect to see if there’s anything you could have done better, regardless of whether you closed the prospect or not. Also, after the first touch, the relationship with your prospect has just started, but you should be in a position to nurture this relationship.
You should think about how you uncovered the prospect’s challenges. Ask yourself, did you help them create well-defined goals, determined their budget, and helped them understand what kind of results they could get with your product or service? Consider all of the above and try to keep notes throughout this process to assess what activities generated value for the prospecting process and which wasted time.
Hence remember, it is important to assess what you know about the prospect after the first touch and try to improve your approach before you talk to the next prospect. This self-reflection will help you learn and improve your prospecting techniques in the future.
The sales professionals’ ability to bring in new business is a crucial skill in any organization. There’s little chance for long-term growth without a pipeline of prospects. Hence, without prospecting, there’s no way you can be completely effective at the remaining elements in the sales process. When it comes to the sales process, the sales reps struggle the most with prospecting. Remember, prospecting does not have to be difficult, in fact when done correctly, prospecting can save you time and energy. So if you adopt some of the strategies we reviewed above into your workflow then you can convert more prospects into revenue-generating customers.