Effective prospecting can make or break a sales team’s success. By not finding the right personas to target and not reaching them effectively, a seller will make their job far more difficult. But nailing effective prospecting is not as easy as it sounds.
According to HubSpot research, “More than 40% of salespeople say [effective prospecting] is the most challenging part of the sales process, followed by closing (36%) and qualifying (22%).” There has been plenty written about prospecting—how to find the right prospects, how to judge when they are ready to buy, how to interact with them and so on. The bottom line is that without prospects, sales calls do not exist.
Sales Prospecting Process
Much more goes into the sales prospecting process than phone calls and emails. Yes, those happen eventually, but before you can reach out to prospects, you must find the right ones. Only after this can you come up with a system to connect with them and reach out. Keeping these general steps in mind, here are Salesvue’s three steps to follow.
Target the Best Leads for You
The first part of prospecting is finding out who to target. Oftentimes and from a young age sellers and businesspeople are taught about different customer segments. These segments are usually very general, such as age, gender and income levels. However, much more goes into finding the right customer personas when you are trying to prospect efficiently. You must narrow your search down by relevant factors in your search to reach those that are most both willing and able to buy your product or service.
There are a few ways you can do this. One of which, and a highly effective one, is by looking at your current customers and seeing what is working. By analyzing reports that give insight into your current customer base, you can develop a good picture of who is most likely to buy your product. For example, with Salesvue’s Math of Sales reports, you can see what customer segments your team has the most success targeting. By being able to break these down into industry, job title and more, you can gain understanding into where you should focus your efforts.
Create a Standardized and Optimized Cadence
After you understand who you should target, it is time to develop a plan on how to target them. Another factor that involves customer personas is figuring out what your prospects respond to best. Whether this means emails, phone calls, social media interaction, direct mail or more, you need to have a good understanding of what media your prospects respond well to. There is no use in bombarding your targets with social media messages if a high majority of them are not active on social media. So, understanding what your targets will answer to and gain value from can be key in determining how to reach out.
Once you find out what you are going to use to reach out, you must figure out how often you are going to. On top of this, you need a way to make these connections in mass, while still bringing value to every customer. To solve this, Salesvue utilizes cadences. These cadences give a seller the ability to enact a “set it and forget it” method to their communication. Once a prospect is put into a cadence, a seller will be prompted on how to reach out by a predetermined and fully customizable cadence, like shown below.
In this cadence the seller is prompted to both send an email and make a call. The first task in the cadence is an email task. A preloaded email template will be available for them to send out in mass to any prospect due to receive it on this day. The second task is a call task. For the call, the seller will have all the information needed at their fingertips, including contact information, a call script and even what the next step is going to be. With these cadences, sellers do not have to keep track of every prospect and step in their head. Tasks are given to them at the beginning of every day, then can be scheduled out in the future so sellers can spend more time on meaningful tasks.
Follow Up Once Connections are Made
The final step in an effective prospecting process includes following up once connections are made. Following up to prospects can be the difference between capturing their attention while it is hot or waiting until they lose interest and it is too late to close a deal. Making sure sellers are responding in a timely manner to inbound leads is a big key for sales teams. By having insight into who does the best job of responding quickly, you can then implement those seller’s practices across the whole team. This is important because the faster you respond to prospects, the better off you are.
As alluded to earlier, there are many different ways to reach out to prospects. Here are a few of the most common ones and things to remember when utilizing each avenue.
Everyone is used to getting more emails in a day than they know what to do with. So, you must make sure your emails are effective in standing out amongst the others. By using effective subject lines, writing content that grabs the attention of your target persona and reaching out on a schedule that resonates with them, you can help ensure to get your name out there effectively.
Phone calls are another big part of the sales world. Especially now that many people are working remotely, phone calls (and video calls too) are a great place to expand more on your product or business. After getting a prospect’s attention through social media or email, a phone call is the time to show them what you are about. Make sure you come prepared however. Understand or ask about your customer’s pain points and have information about their industry or who their customers are, so you can ask informed questions that will show you have expertise that can help solve their problems.
Raising brand awareness is a big part of effective selling. This however is not solely on your marketing team to accomplish. By being active on social media as a seller, you can help reach out to prospects and get your product or service in front of more eyes. Social media is also great because it is not a one-on-one interaction like a phone call would be. You can potentially reach thousands of people at once!
Do not overlook the value of social media as a tool for building trust. Share insights and helpful information that others can learn from, which will improve how prospects see you - more like a trusted advisor than a nagging car salesperson.
While it seems like those three mediums are the only ways to connect to prospects, there are many others. Whether this means utilizing direct mail, networking events or trade shows just to name a few, there is always another way to get your name out there. Always be thinking about what would resonate with your target persona.
Sales Prospecting Techniques
You must always be looking to improve your sales prospecting techniques. Whether you have been in the business for five years or 50, you can always learn something new or improve on current skills. Here are a few more tips for effective selling practices.
Tips for Phone Calls and Emails
Phone calls and emails are the most common ways to connect with prospects. So, you must make sure your skills are on point when connecting with them in these ways. If you do not, you leave yourself open to losing a sale to a competitor who is sharper than you. Here are a few tips for sales phone calls:
- Be ready to listen - nobody buys from someone they do not trust; do not just start off with a pitch deck
- Talk about the value your product/service will bring to the prospect, not just what you do or what your product does
- Use both data and stories to get your points across
- Fully understand objections by asking follow-up questions
Check out the full article here on Salesforce to learn more!
For sales emails, check out this article on Sales Hacker for 25 of the best tips, and see some of them below:
- Make sure the emails address a pain point
- Back up every claim you make
- Make sure it is easy for a prospect to respond
How to Make Prospects Comfortable
Using all the methods and tips outlined above will help make prospects feel more comfortable about discussing their pain points with you. Once a prospect feels like you took the time to understand their needs and wants, make a meaningful connection with them and reach out, they should be more open to talking freely with you. You do not want prospects holding back important information or shutting you out completely, so you must make sure you are doing everything you can to make them feel comfortable and valued.
Making meaningful connections to prospects is what can separate your team from the rest. Targeting the right leads, creating systems to connect with them and following up effectively across a multitude of channels is what will take your prospecting efforts to the next level. To help with this, we suggest utilizing Salesvue. By using a sales engagement platform like Salesvue, you can ensure that all the tools needed for a great sales prospecting process are right at your fingertips.
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