Sales Prospecting Techniques
These sales prospecting techniques will hopefully assist you in your prospect engagement and lead generation activities. It may sound oblivious, but the biggest challenge in sales prospecting is getting a sales opportunity started in the first place, and for that to happen you need to get the prospect to listen.
Every prospect goes through a number of phases on their buyer’s journey, where they make certain decisions on the priority of solving the pain point, the solutions available and the suitability of the vendors to make their buying easier. In the early and middles phases of their buyer’s journey, the decision to keep progressing with you will include the clarity and value proposition on the solutions you offer. They will also consider how familiar they believe you are with their business needs and comfortable they are with your company. These decisions and considerations can be directly linked to how much trust and confidence you have built up with them through your various sales prospecting touch points.
So as part your sales prospecting techniques, we urge you that all your interactions and touch points should be geared towards creating specific outcomes, not for you but for the prospect. Outcomes that make the prospects life easier, their jobs more rewarding and ones that simplify their buyers journey.
Five Sales Prospecting Techniques
Carefully select your target prospects
Using your ideal customer profiles (if you haven’t already created them I suggest you start there) you will need to map the buyers journey. Before you reach out to them via social selling, cold email or phone call you need to be able to answer “why are they on your list of prospects”. What information, signals or insights would make them a potential customer?
Proactive sales prospecting where you either have to find or create an opportunity isn’t easy. It involves quite a bit of effort to establish credibility and to get the prospect to listen so you, so you can begin to engage with them over a period of time. There is no point in a haphazard approach as research shows that only well planned out sales prospecting campaigns that include research and the use of sales tools find success, scatter gun prospecting is mainly a waste of time. Core to every good salesperson sales prospecting techniques is the importance of understanding the company’s needs, as well as the prospects desired outcome they will get by using your product or solution. Using LinkedIn, Google search, Forums and Business directories are the most effective and efficient way to find quality prospects that match your ideal customer profiles.
Your Value Proposition must reflect their potential pain points.
Prospect don’t care about what you have to offer, they care about their problems, challenges and pain points. They are not looking for a nine-inch drill, they are looking for a nine-inch hole. They want to listen to salespeople who make sense, who create value, who are credible and who will make their lives easier, this includes helping them through the phases on their buyer’s journey. If your sales prospecting pitch is product lead, then you will get little or not interaction, they don’t want to listen to product pitches. A prospect wants to hear solutions to their pains and problems, evidence that others have experienced this and got a resolution. They don’t need more vanilla flavored content and sales messaging, they demand a value proposition that will make it worthwhile listening to you. They want insights, they want to see the end result (without the sales pitch) from the earliest step in the buying process.
So, develop your personal value proposition and run it by a few people, Does it make sense? And Will it get a prospect to listen?
Social Media is a critical part of modern sales prospecting
The buyers journey and purchasing decisions are influenced more and more by social media. Within the next five to ten years, the vast majority of B2B and consumer buyers will be digital native. Social media is their go to channel to research, connect, reference and to educate. Social media not only gives you access to buyer profiles, but rich data such as background history, connections, similarities, likes, interests and deep insights into the company. Social listening can throw up signals about the prospects needs, trends in their market or challenges within their industry. All this data can be used in your research and in your value proposition for a market segment.
But it goes further than that, social selling along with inbound lead generation have surpassed the older, more traditional forms of sales prospecting. Social selling training is now a must have requirement in successful sales prospecting techniques and in a sales training. Whatever other sales prospecting techniques you think will help you, the use of social media and social selling should be on your list.
The use of Sales Tools and Content is growing
While there is probably too much generic content posted on the web every day, buyers value content that really educates and fills in some blanks for them. As more and more selling will be conducted via the digital channels, you need to up-skill yourself on the use of sales tools and content to engage a prospect. Content that supports your prospecting activity must be based on fulfilling your customers’ needs and requirements, so that they come to build a trusted connection with our you in your interactions. Buyers are drawn to thought leaders and surveys show they prefer interaction with salespeople whom they consider to be a trusted adviser.
Forward looking companies are now prioritizing the education of their target audience through the creation of deep and insightful content that makes buying easier, and they are doing this with a customer first approach.
Sales tools such as video, ROI calculators, AI, scenario planning, live webinars and messaging channels will grow.
Sales prospecting techniques prioritizes nurturing and building long term relationships
At any given point, only 3% of your target market are actively seeking to buy with another 6-7 percent in the consideration stage. This leaves a whopping 90% of your market that is in what we call the status quo position, in other words while they may have pain points, no salesperson has made them critical enough that a buyer wants to prioritize a solution.
Maybe you’ll get lucky and find those 3 to 10% of the market seeking or considering to buy, however to be truly successful you will need to nurture more relationships. Nurturing and engaging a focused group of ideal customer profiles should be an essential part of your sales prospecting strategy. This will take time and skill but sales prospecting is now about getting in early, building credibility, cultivating a relationship and getting the prospects trust that when the time is right, they will move with you.
I hope these sales prospecting techniques will act as a catalyst for you to want to learn more and explore the future trends for successful prospect engagement. You might also wish to read The Guide to Effective Sales Prospecting.