Improving your sales numbers is the name of the game; but how do you win? Creating a successful B2B prospecting plan will put you in the ranks with the greatest salespeople. This is also, however, a difficult thing to start if you don’t know what you need or why you need it.

Learning the techniques to use the data to put your prospecting strategy together will help you launch it effectively, build your lead list, and keep your sales pipeline full. There are so many ways to prospect, but many of them aren’t a good fit for targeting businesses.

Here, we’ll discuss the what’s, why’s, and how’s of it all to help you make a successful sale (or two!) for Business to Business lead generation.

What is B2B prospecting?

Looking to sell your product or service as a business to a business is called B2B prospecting. If you work for a company that only sells to other companies rather than directly to an individual (consumer), you are in a B2B situation.

Anything from calls to emails to social media posts can count as prospecting if you’re talking about things related to your product or service.

Why are we focusing on the difference even though you’re still selling to a person? Well, partly because speaking to a business has different approaches. But it’s also because there are specific things you can or shouldn’t do when your target is a business.

Lead generation is a key piece to any marketing or sales rep, but find out next why that is.

Why do B2B prospecting?

If you’re speaking to a company, your approach will not only be different than a consumer, but your methods, accessibility/privacy laws, and even tone. Using this strategy develops better and more long-term relationships with your prospects.

These relationships provide the foundation for long-term success. Especially since these types of sales typically take anywhere from 1 to 6 months. If you’re consistently building that relationship, buyers will think of you when in the market for your product.

Another benefit of these methods is referrals. Businesses almost always have partners and vendors they can refer to you if they’re happy with you and what you do. But how exactly do you get those high-quality leads?

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How to do smart B2B prospecting

There are many methods you can use to help you contact the right people for you and your company. In order to get started, however, you’ll want to set yourself up for success by creating a plan first. One great thing to do beforehand is also to collect the data you do have so you can analyze it best for this process.

Here are some of the top prospecting methods to use. Choose which works best for you, your potential customers, and your product/service.

Target the right persona

First and foremost: Determining who exactly is your ideal prospect and eventual customer. If you don’t know who exactly they are, you’ll be hard-pressed to find them.

Identify an ideal customer profile of a great customer you have or invent one if you want to target a new industry or market. Give them a face and a name as well as everything you need to know about them. Each of these details determines the foundation on which you build your pipeline strategy.

Work on the best channels

For many types of companies, cold calling a prospect is no longer an option and they have turned to the cold email approach. For B2B, however, a personal phone call is often one of the channels you’ll come to rely upon. Building a relationship with the people you need to sell to is your top focus here.

There’s also the ever-present social media. The great thing about it is that it’s everywhere. The difficult thing about social media is…that it’s everywhere. You can’t be everywhere all at once so you must define exactly which social media platform you should be spending your time on.

Social selling is a great tool if you use it as part of your overall strategy. Creating content for that channel is also much easier with your ideal customer persona identified. This is an increasingly popular place to find potential quality customers.

Research where your ideal customer is typically spending their time online. If it’s LinkedIn (which is most often the case for B2B), then you’ll want to create a presence on that platform. Only then should you reach out to your ideal prospects using the right approach and the right messaging.

Create the right messages

Developing the right messages for your ideal customer will now be easier with your customer profile foundation in place. You’ll be able to identify what you’ll need to talk about when approaching your leads.

Whether you’re calling, emailing, or using content on social media, people want to work with reps they trust. Follow their journey along with them if you can, and you’ll know what makes them tick.

Your prospects have needs, worries, and jobs each their own, and understanding what these are will help you in composing the right message. Regardless of what their job or industry is and what their typical focus is within their company, messaging with this understanding automatically puts you in front of competitors.

Next, you want to employ the methods that support your message.

Employ the right methods

Fortunately (or unfortunately), there are myriad ways to deploy different sales methods to help you be successful. Your choices depend upon what you prefer, what your potential customers prefer, and how you work best.

Choose from sales methods like these for your B2B prospecting and you’ll see your sales pipeline flourish:

  • LinkedIn. Improve and optimize your profile with all of the information someone might be searching for. As this will likely (or should) be your top method of prospecting, people will want to know who you are, what you do, and why they should get in contact with you. Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator also benefits reps who want to use this method.
  • Lead nurturing. Send your prospects a regular message or phone call. Provide them with the information they’d need to make an informed decision and reach out several times. Use the channels they prefer best. Commonly used in B2B are emails, LinkedIn, and even Twitter or Reddit (for tech especially). Building trust is the key here.
  • Videos. Whether on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere, be visible. People are fearful of spammers and tricksters — especially if they (or someone they know) doesn’t know you already. Showing your face provides more of the trust-building component.
  • CRM. Contact management is going to be a lifesaver for your organization as it can handle every piece of data you could ever want and need. Programs like Salesforce and HubSpot get you organized and keep track of where your prospects are in the process.
  • Automation. Repetitive tasks are not exactly what drive us as humans in general. Using tools that do parts of your sales process automatically saves you so much time and sanity! Try out LaGrowthMachine, IFTTT, and Zapier to get you started.
  • Referrals. Follow up with your happy customers. Emails or phone calls to check in to see if their needs are being met (and ensure they are if not) will go a long way with the relationship. Ask if they know anyone else who could benefit from your product/service as well.

These are the top recommended methods currently available that are best for B2B businesses. Try not to get too distracted with all of the social media platforms, data management softwares, and whatever people tell you that you “MUST” do. Just focus on what works best for you.

Use the right tools

With the right tools, you can do so much more than you ever imagined! These can help you create content, manage your contacts, and save you time and energy.

Here are just a few that will help set you on your B2B prospecting success path:

  • LaGrowthMachine. Automate some of your sales processes. Deploy automations that create time for you, engage your contacts, and make sales so much easier! Get 3.5x more leads with a system that you can set and forget and still make your sales goals.
  • HubSpot Sales. This is a cloud-based sales software tool. It offers real-time engagement updates and is helpful for managing the sales team.
  • Prospect.io. A great tool for verifying names, titles, contact numbers, and other important information in your email list.
  • GMass. This Gmail-powered tool helps you create cold email sequences and track email opens, clicks, and replies.
  • Datanyze. A Chrome extension that is geared toward B2B companies to help them find and connect with prospects.

Each tool has its own functionalities, pricing, pros, and cons. Evaluating them will take time to find the right fit for you and/or your team, but the long-term benefits are enormous. Try to focus on those that are truly useful rather than a distraction, however.

There are seemingly billions of different software available for sales automation in your B2B prospecting plans. Write down exactly what your needs are and it will speed up the process a great deal for you.

What is the best B2B prospecting strategy?

There are best practices and strategies that work best for B2B leads and prospects. Focus on what works best for you, but especially best for your prospects. To which way do they respond the best? Track your results and boost your sales with these top 5 strategies:

  1. Cold emailing (Your OG digital marketing tool)
  2. Inbound Marketing
  3. Sales Automation
  4. Partnerships
  5. Online and in-person events

More often than not, using 2 or more of these strategies will prove more successful than only using one. It simply means you’re in more places for your prospects to find you — and with all of the places you can be online now, it’s necessary at this point to at least be in a couple.

In fact, 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-Suite executives use social media when making a purchase. So even if you’re targeting higher-level positions, you need to be visible online.

Get to prospecting!

Following this path will help get you to where your business needs to be in a much more seamless and effective way. By creating a plan using this template, you’ll

Choose your goals, determine the best places and messaging, automate, and see the sales come rolling in!