The bulk of a sales representative's time is spent on prospecting—communicating and educating prospects about your product or service—to move leads closer to a closed won deal. But moving prospects to the next stage can take weeks or even months, which isn't ideal for the rep's quota or your bottom line. Prospecting takes time, but there are ways to make the process of prospecting more efficient. Here are 3 ways you can streamline your prospecting process:


A majority of the leads sent to sales representatives are never acted upon. This happens for a variety of reasons, including:
  • the lead is routed to the wrong person;
  • the lead is not ready to make a purchase; or
  • the lead is not looking to make a purchase at all.
You need to figure out who qualifies as a prospect and spend your time on the leads that make sense. What kinds of businesses and consumers have a genuine need for your product? What kind of purchasing power do they have? Who is your ideal customer? You also need to figure out when those prospects are in a position to buy. When your sales and marketing staff have a clear definition of when a prospect can turn into a real sales lead, you can work on managing those leads and qualifying them more effectively.


Prospecting is a dedicated effort, and you need to give it time and stick with it. But you also need to have a standardized process to follow when reaching out to prospects instead of adopting an ad hoc approach. Analyze what has worked for you in the past, create a call and/or email plan, and document your process. Optimize and adapt as you go along. While you might use the same cadence for each prospect, their schedules and preferences are different. Ask prospects what their communication preferences are, including when (times or days) and how (methods) they prefer to be contacted. This will help you connect with them more efficiently.


You need to learn more about your prospect to effectively sell. In order to do that, you have to ask them strategic questions that will help you gain a better insight into their wants and needs. Ask critical questions that will provide you with the information you need about their pain points, needs and wants. Keep your questions open-ended—this will give your prospect room to tell you more. Most importantly? Listen to what they have to say and learn from your conversations. Only then can you present your solution in a way that will appeal to their wants and needs.