All You Need to Know About Sales Prospecting
If you’re canvassing your customers without having established an effective sales prospecting strategy, you’re risking losing your time, money, and your credibility. All this in an increasingly competitive world.
So, it is absolutely essential to ensure that your prospecting is as refined as possible. This optimization requires the implementation of concrete processes and proven techniques.
But, how do you set up an effective prospecting plan? Which prospecting technique should you choose? What are the essential tools for your prospecting in 2022?
We have compiled all the information you need to start or optimize your prospecting activity. Become a real expert by following our guide here.
Table of contents
Chapter 1Chapter 1 Chapter 1 Chapter 1
What is sales prospecting?
In this first chapter, the objective is to help you understand the basics and main principles of sales prospecting: What is it? What is the objective? How does it work?
If you think that business prospecting is about selling your products or services to your customers, you’re in the right place; but you’re on the wrong track.
By definition, sales prospecting (outreach) refers to all the techniques and efforts put in place by a company to find new prospects (leads).
In concrete terms, prospecting means finding and identifying your potential customers (prospects). It is, therefore, a step that takes place well before the sales phase.
The final objective pursued by the sales representative remains the same: to transform them into interested customers and encourage their purchase.
However, before hoping to sell anything, the sales prospecting process must be honed. For this, sales automation will be of great help.
LaGrowthMachine allows you to contact prospects on several channels simultaneously (LinkedIn, Email, Twitter) and set up your messages in advance, for a result that is both efficient and very organic.
This is precisely what we will see in the next sections.
Chapter 2Chapter 2 Chapter 2 Chapter 2
Why do you need sales prospecting?
In this second part, we would like to present you with the major issues of sales prospecting. In other words, the idea is to highlight all the benefits of sales prospecting for companies.
Nowadays, no one has time to devote to untimely commercial canvassing.
When you walk down the street, you are probably one of the many pedestrians who dodge donor requests. Nor are you the first one to hang up abruptly when a voice on the phone asks you “Hello, our energy comparison tool allows you to […]“.
It’s exactly the same thing when you want to sell your products, whether in B2B or B2C. If the person in front of you does not need your services at the moment, you will waste their time and yours.
As a salesperson, your job is to sell. Without having determined a prospecting strategy beforehand, your efforts will be totally counter-productive.
Before hoping to prospect properly, it is essential to set achievable objectives and the necessary means to achieve them. This is what we will find out together.
Chapter 3Chapter 3 Chapter 3 Chapter 3
How to do sales prospecting right?
In this third part, we will explain the details behind how sales prospecting works. We will give you a step-by-step battle plan for your strategy.
Without an effective prospecting plan, you are heading straight for failure. Its implementation requires a bit of thought beforehand, though. Here are the key steps:
Define your objectives
Ask yourself some important questions like:
- What will be the purpose of your strategy? Are you trying to make actual sales or to obtain physical appointments? Or are you trying to distribute samples or enrich your database?
- Who are your audience targets?
- What are your sales targets?
- What relationship(s) are you trying to establish?
This will be the foundation of your prospecting business. It is the basis on which the entire mechanics of your commercial prospecting will be built.
Set concrete results to achieve
What turnover do you want to reach at the end of the month? How many effective sales, appointments made, samples distributed, or contacts do you need to make/send?
Giving yourself results to achieve will allow you to improve your processes during the following months.
Quick Tip 💡
Setting results-oriented goals will allow you to improve your processes in the following months.
By basing your actions on a turnover result, you will be able to know how many sales you need to make in order to achieve it. You can then use your current conversion rate to determine the number of prospects to contact.
Identify your prospects’ trigger
A trigger is simply the element of your product or service that engages your contact to be a lead. It is the moment when you identify your prospect’s problem.
It is determined by listening to the market. This can be done by monitoring social networks, reading dedicated studies, or having conversations.
Once identified, you can then take action by offering your solution and adding them to your database.
Create and segment contact lists
You’re not going to approach cat owners to sell dog food.
It may seem obvious, but too many companies still forget to define precisely the selection criteria of their prospects.
You can segment your audience according to information like:
- Their age
- Their profession
- Their sector of activity
- Their geographical area
- Their income
- Their interests
- Their buying behavior
For this, the best combination in B2B is to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator and LaGrowthMachine together. Sales Nav’ will allow you to build massive yet accurate lead lists. On the other hand, LaGrowthMachine will allow you to retrieve even more data from this initial list and create automated multi-channel prospecting sequences.
Now that you have gathered enough information about your potential customers, it is almost time to prospect.
But before you do, you need to comply with the law.
Make sure you comply with data protection
Breaking the rules set forth by the GDPR law is the best way to jeopardize your business. From the moment you collect and operate a customer file and personal data, you are withheld by these regulations.
- List all your data processing in a register
- Sort and secure your data
- Respect the rights of the people you are contacting
- Obtain the express consent of the recipient of the advertisement, before sending it
If you are in good standing, you now have the right to address your prospects (finally!).
Properly define your sales prospecting channels
These entry points are critical components of your sales prospecting plan. On the internet, the average attention span is estimated at 8 seconds. To create a sales relationship, you have to have an impact… quickly!
It’s the same on the phone or in the street. You have to be able to determine where your sales pitch will be most effective:
- Which social network is your target on?
- Which TV channels do they watch?
- Are they comfortable with phone contact?
- Do they prefer content emails?
With LaGrowthMachine, you can use A/B testing to see if your target audience responds more via email or another channel like LinkedIn.
Choose the right sales prospecting tools
Once gathered, all of this data can quickly give you cold sweats.
To optimize your organization, act with precision, and avoid making mistakes, it is better to have good Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
Quick Tip 💡
LaGrowthMachine is compatible with most CRM tools on the market! You can also activate the CRM synchronization so that your prospecting activities are updated directly from our tool into your CRM, in the manner you choose!
You can thus interact more easily with your prospects, improve your processes, and increase profitability. A company equipped with a good CRM tool sees its turnover increase by an average of 15%.
CRM systems allow you (as a salesperson) to have a 360° view of your database(s).
A non-exhaustive list of the best CRMs of the moment:
Once your prospecting process is in place, you need to know which techniques are the most effective.
Chapter 4Chapter 4 Chapter 4 Chapter 4
What are the main techniques of sales prospecting?
In this part, our aim is to give you very practical techniques and processes applicable to your organization. This will allow you to quickly improve your current processes.
There are many methods and actions to take to perfect your B2B prospecting strategy. Not all are equal, but there is no absolute truth. Some will tell you that phoning is dead. Others swear by social selling (selling via social networks).
The only truth is the one expressed by your results. As with any strategy: test, analyze, iterate.
To help you see things more clearly, here are some of the different options available to you:
Phone prospecting (cold calling)
Although it is losing ground, telephone prospecting remains a must for many companies. Historically, it consists of using a list (often a lead base) that has been provided to you by the marketing or management team and calling them one by one.
However, the numbers are not great… According to one study, it takes about 18 calls with a prospect to get a real meeting and hope to turn him into a customer.
This is one of the most uncertain methods. It relies on too few criteria to be sure you’re providing a potential client with a solution that suits them.
Quick Tip 💡
It is a much more useful technique in loyalty processes or in the last steps of your acquisition funnel (when you address the price or the benefits of your product, for example), to convert a hot lead.
This is an inexpensive variant of customer acquisition by phone.
Even though the method is extremely intrusive, it stands out with a considerably high opening rate of 92% in the 4 minutes following the sending (per a Mediapost study).
However, it is not necessarily the best method to convert and it makes tracking difficult to set up.
This is the counterpart of telephone prospecting. This method consists of shooting prospecting emails to predefined segments of leads in the hope that they will open them.
More qualified than cold calling (80% of buyers prefer to exchange by email than by telephone), it remains, however, relatively uncertain with an average open rate of about 24%.
“Hello, do you have two minutes to talk about the gestation of swallows in Brittany?”
Here is an example of sales prospecting that will seem at best corny, at worst annoying, and most likely inappropriate.
Fortunately, physical prospecting is not limited to street canvassers. It is also all the actions and physical meetings taken with your B2B or B2C leads. If it has the advantage of refocusing the human element in an ultra-digitized world, it remains extremely time-consuming and therefore costly.
However, spending a day at a trade show dedicated to your business and networking can be a key factor in launching your business.
Digital outreach has gradually become the preferred solution for sales and marketers who want to move fast. Whether it’s in social selling, advertising, or mass-mailing, the results of a digital campaign are undeniable.
This solution has several advantages such as:
- Costs are lower (in time and money)
- You can more easily pre-qualify your leads
- The possibilities of targeting are numerous
- Automation allows you to save a lot of time
Although effective, this technique has a price: Depending on the sector, your product, and the configuration of the campaigns, it can very quickly become expensive.
However, there is an interesting variation in sales. Instead of ads, consider outreach on LinkedIn! Nowadays, this is the preferred digital solution for salespeople with more than 80% of leads generated on social networks.
Follow our guide to prospecting on LinkedIn to quickly boost your sales.
At LaGrowthMachine, the results of sales prospecting campaigns on LinkedIn are inspiring:
This is the most advanced technique, but also the one that will require the most thought (and the most time to set up). Its process is simple, though. Capture the attention of your target audience before trying to convert them and then retain them.
It is a very effective B2B strategy in the long run. By providing quality content to your prospects, you position yourself as an expert on the subject and thus affirm your credibility.
To learn more about the subject and how to conduct an effective inbound marketing strategy, do not miss our guide to lead generation.
Chapter 5Chapter 5 Chapter 5 Chapter 5
In this fifth part, we summarize what you need to remember from this guide. This is your time to review all the points developed in the previous chapters to see if you have fully understood the idea.
Now that you know all about sales prospecting, all you have to do is get started. Here are the most important things to remember:
- Set up a prospecting plan
- Refine your targets
- Respect the data protection regulations
- Choose your entry points and prospecting channels
- Boost your results with the right tools (CRM + LGM = 🚀)
- Analyze your results, iterate
Chapter 6Chapter 6 Chapter 6 Chapter 6
Automate your sales prospecting with LaGrowthMachine
In this last chapter, we would like to tell you about LaGrowthMachine, our software that allows you to automate many of the tasks we have detailed in the previous chapters. Time saving and lead gen improvement guaranteed!
After reading this article, you are probably starting to wonder how you can find the time to manage everything. Fortunately, there are solutions that allow you to automate your prospecting tasks and it’s called sales automation.
Our solution allows you to conduct an effective multi-channel prospecting strategy without having to deal with the most tedious tasks.
By saving 40% of your day, you will have more time to qualify your leads and enrich your database. In fact, thanks to our solution, you can ensure a response rate 3.5x more effective than a traditional outreach strategy.
For even more efficiency, you can even link your CRM tool directly to our software. Now that you are well-equipped with sales prospecting, all you have to do is get started.
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