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You have a great product, talented and experienced salespeople, but you still struggle to make sales? Your problem is undoubtedly related to prospecting. When you can’t find the right people who will be amazed by your offers and want to get them as soon as possible, having the best product doesn’t help that much. In order to help you avoid this situation in the future, we will guide you through the best practices that will improve your sales.
What is sales prospecting?
Sale prospecting is the process of finding potential customers, clients, or buyers for your products or services. Sales prospecting aims to move customer contacts, or prospects, through the sales funnel. The goal is to turn them into revenue-generating customers eventually.
One important aspect of effective prospecting is identifying the customers best suited for your business and ultimately retaining them. It means that an effective prospection relies on finding potential customers who need your product or service to solve their problems and difficulties.
These people who bring you business and long-term value through loyalty instead of new customers who abandon you after making a deal. You can identify the right customers for you during active prospecting by asking the right sales qualification questions in the sales pitch you present to all your prospects and potential customers.
Speaking of prospects, it’s important to note the differences between two types of people you will often encounter during prospecting: the leads and the prospects.
The difference between leads and prospects
A lead is a contact you had who had shown interest in your product or service. A lead is someone who, for example, signed up for your newsletter, read a blog post, signed up for a free trial, or downloaded an ebook. The particularity of the lead is that, even though you may have an interaction with that person, he or she doesn’t meet your targeting criteria at that time.
On the other hand, a prospect is a lead who is qualified to meet your ideal client specifications. That person is interested in what you offer and has the budget to acquire it. It could also be someone who downloaded a less costly beta version of your product. It comes to you to redirect them to the sales prospecting team to upgrade their plan or purchase more products.
As you can see, the difference between leads and prospects relies on the profile of your ideal customer. Therefore, you have to define that profile effectively.
Before you start sales prospecting – Define your ICP
You must be able to draw a portrait of your ideal consumer: the marketing persona. To do this, ask yourself various questions and document the answers to refine your customers’ profiles.
The very first thing to think about is the reason for purchase. You have to define the advantages your target is looking for when purchasing your products and services. These could be for recognition, convenience, identification, accessibility, status, or the most common case, solving a problem or getting them out of a situation. To find out what your ideal is looking for, ask yourself why you created this product or service and how it impacts your customers’ lives.
As soon as you understand the reason for purchase, you can then determine your ideal customer’s personality, particular traits, preferences, or even lifestyle.
The next step of describing the typical customer profile is to determine several demographic aspects, socio-economic factors, and details on your target’s use of the product.
The generation (baby boomers, millennials, etc.) and the age group of your target are very important. These pieces of information can establish clear trends in their preferences and actions.
The demographic and socioeconomic factors will determine the gender, age, ethnicity, marital status, education level, income level, place of residence, type of neighborhood, and household composition.
The psychographic corresponds to specific attributes that have to do with the passions, activities, interests, or trends that your clientele follows.
The geographical aspects are related to the geographical area of residence and work of the consumers you are targeting. It includes the country, the province, the number of inhabitants or the climate, and the type of living environment.
All this information gives you an excellent identification of the needs and tastes of your target customer. This way, you can easily enrich your campaigns! The more you know about your target clientele, the more you will identify their expectations and thus create value with your product and service offers.
The 5 steps for successful sales prospecting
Block out time to prospect every day
When managing a sales department, the environment can be noisy and the tasks stacked on top of each other. In these conditions, it can be hard to dedicate enough focus and time, and prospecting.
Managers have to create the right schedule and environment to allow their team to dedicate focus to getting new clients. The only way to make sure that sales will happen is to prospect effectively.
While creating that dedicated schedule, managers have to align it with the periods in which their potential customers will be available. It’s the best way to receive an immediate response exactly from the person you have to talk to.
Spend time identifying and researching the key decision-makers
When preparing yourself for prospecting, you will deal with influencers and decision-makers. Influencers are people who usually don’t have the power to buy but can impact the decision of the final buyer. After trying your product or service, having the influencers on your side (after trying your product or service) can help convince the decision-makers that your offer fits their needs.
You will not always have influencers to advocate for your offer in front of the right people. You still have a lot of solutions to get to the decision-makers. It’s important that you anticipate your potential client’s needs by doing some research.
Doing your homework can help as an ice-breaker and a pain point anticipation. More importantly, it can give you a clear path to present your product or service depending on your interlocutor’s needs. Whether it’s through a cold call or cold email, showing that you understand the decision-makers struggles makes your approach warmer.
Reach out to build rapport
Selling is not actually about selling. It may be confusing, but when you push your prospects to buy in order to close the deal quickly, you won’t close the deal. Traditional sales tactics give buyers the feeling that you don’t really want to bring them a solution but just trying to make your sales.
Decision-makers don’t have time and don’t want to lose money investing in solutions they may regret. Therefore, they want to receive relevant information, think about the collected data, and then call. The only way to reach that point is to give them the necessary time to ask all the questions about how your solution will improve their business or even life. Taking time to build rapport with your prospects is key to closing more deals.
Understand your prospect’s needs
Before making that call or getting in any form of contact with your client, it is crucial to do some research to know his activity better. To do so, you can check his website to see what he works on and the people he’s aiming to reach. Other sources of information are his social channels, his LinkedIn posts, and the company press releases.
Let him talk when meeting or having the potential customer on the phone. Listen to him explain his area of focus and his concerns. By doing so, you will be able to ask probing questions. You will then base them on each aspect of the prospect’s product, service, or environment.
In the same sense as the previous point, understanding your prospect’s needs is to segment his pain points. You need to be able to identify your potential customer’s highest necessity. He could want to make money, save money, reduce time or effort, and in some cases, or want to express a Human need.
As you gather information and ask relevant questions, your prospect will feel listened to and want to know more about your solutions. Once again, you will have to listen carefully and give relevant answers.
Share knowledge and become your prospect’s trusted advisor
As your prospect starts to see that you listen to him and answer his questions, it’s time to gain his trust. You can reach this crucial point by becoming an expert in the subject. It means that you have to assess all the opportunities your offer can bring to your potential customer.
Sharing your knowledge with your customer is one part of the equation. The second part is the personal efforts you and your team display. You need to personalize your speech and focus on addressing your prospect’s concerns. That way, your prospect will remember you as the company willing to help him evolve and not only looking after some payment. He will then come back to you as much as possible until getting confident enough to pay for what you offer.
Sales prospecting tools to increase sales
Wingmate is a simple yet innovative and powerful CRM that helps commercial services to get and retain customers. This sales prospecting tool engages your field staff to create new customers, improve their service and communicate in real-time.
With Wingmate, your field staff will easily capture all valuable intel they come across daily. Your salespeople can track, update and sell wherever they are. They will also have their meetings booked for them. The CRM helps you to connect your team with practical tools so that they can dominate the competition.
LeadFuze is a search engine for leads that uses AI to collect, match and verify companies’ info, mobile numbers, emails, social profiles, and more in real-time. This sales prospecting tool allows you to integrate your workflow tools as well as your CRM.
LeadFuze provides you with hyper-targeted lead searches and offers great integrated tools such as ignore list, deduplication, verification, and list building. Using the latter will save you time to focus more on your prospects research.
LinkedIn on its own is already a powerful tool that helps you connect with the right people for your business. To make their platform even more powerful for businesses, the company has launched LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
As a sales prospecting tool, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a combination of powerful features set with personalized algorithms. They help you reach the right decision-maker by displaying more search filters and more detailed information about him.
Sale prospecting strategies
Send personalized emails
When you are reaching out to a potential customer for the first time, you have to follow some good practices. Your introductory email has to be effective enough to push that prospect to want to know more about your company, product, or service.
One way to do so is through referrals. By letting them know that you helped a mutual connection attain their business goal, you will surely grab that potential customer’s attention.
Another technique to make a prospect curious about you is to reference his content. You can then — politely — pinpoint some portions of their content that you think could need some improvement. You can then offer them some advice to show your expertise and invite them to talk more about it.
Ask for referrals
Building a strong relationship with a prospect and showing that you have the skills and the tools required to add value to them open many doors. When a business manager trusts you, it becomes easy for you to ask for referrals.
Asking for referrals is letting him know that you want to bring the same value to his colleagues or friends in the same field. You set yourself up for more quality contacts ready to listen to you by getting access to your prospect network. It‘s then up to you to close more deals.
Build your social media presence
Nowadays, social media is an integral part of almost everyone’s daily life. It means that you will indeed find many prospects for your business among the millions of social media users.Therefore, it is important that you develop your presence to be seen by the right people.
Social media increases your visibility, helps define your level of authority in your field, displays your authenticity, provides easier access to assistance teams, and encourages engagement. Building your social media presence is an excellent way to make your prospect seduced by your product or service.
Use events to reach your prospects
Even though we are in the digital age, event marketing is still effective, mainly when it comes to B2B sales prospecting. By attending these kinds of events, you access a large stream of people with similar interests.
To be sure to get all the odds by your side, you have to select the events carefully you should attend to. In order to know the best event for your prospecting goals, check for those with the highest proportion of prospects, the profitable networks and sessions meetups, and the best ways for you to stand out from the crowd.
Final thoughts on sales prospecting
Prospecting can be fun and bring you a lot of great acquaintances when you use the right strategies. Make sure to bring value to your potential customers so that they become curious about your offers. By doing so, you will gain their trust and build the right horizontal relationships or partnerships. From that point, it will just be a matter of time to start converting prospects into paying customers.
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