All About Sales Prospecting
Ever thought about how parents identify the best schools and colleges before their kids are enrolled in them? They do it to get an exact idea about how those schools are going to shape up their children mentally in a way that they never fall behind.
Similarly, as customers, we also check numerous possibilities and the history of a product or a service before we buy them.
We should be equally aware of the people who will be our clients, and this process of knowing our potential crowd of customers is known as Prospecting.
According to a CSO report, 42% of sales reps find the sales process's prospecting step to be increasingly challenging.
What is prospecting?
In simpler terms, sales prospecting is the process where you verify their eligibility for entering your sales funnel while reaching out to them for buying your product at the same time. This process generally goes on before you pitch your actual product to them.
Prospecting is important, but the fact that it should be good is imperatively applied here. You should comprehend the pain-points and the needs of your lead so that you have an accurate strategy to introduce your product as their 'only' solution to all their challenges. The more information you have on your lead, the more chances you have of them move down your sales funnel.
Every prospect can be considered a lead, but not every lead is a prospect.
Lead: A lead, in general, is a potential customer as they could have signed to your blog posts, or might also read what you post daily. But that is not going to be good enough for you as for all you know; they could be strangers who like your work from afar but have no intention of reaching out to you.
Prospect: A Prospect on the other side is an entity that is interested in what you do and reaches out to you for the product or services you provide with any possible medium. They have the budget and the intention of possibly being your buyer.
Sales prospecting's main objective is to shake off the odor of amateurism that surrounds you when you set up a first meeting or cold call a lead. Accurate Prospecting gives you information on the buyer's behavior patterns, and it gives you the identity of the decision-maker. Therefore, the best sales phenomenon will occur at the right time, the right amount of practice, which results from the correct guidance, and the precise amount of willingness to learn.
Qualification of Leads in Prospecting
We do know that the process of lead generation comes before Sales prospecting. But you have more chance of converting them into your buyers if you qualify your leads. Characteristically, lead generation processes result from both outbound and inbound marketing efforts, which is a marketing drive, but the sales prospecting efforts are more towards the warm leads.
Sales prospecting is the process where you direct your efforts to convert your existing leads into paying customers. You define the buyer persona and, thus, move forward in the sales pipeline with leads.
Accept The Reality First
The way the world has changed, the same way the buyers have changed in this marketing industry. Buyers are the ones who make the rules for sales in this Era.
The 21st-century trends have turned the tables as we as customers do a lot of prospecting to see the company's whereabouts. We always see what kinds of other products they sell, their processes, and, most of all, how trustworthy they are.
As customers, we are bound to do it, and why not? We pay for it, don't we?
It is not unusual to know that 45% of people now like to take matters into their hands when they buy something, and what does this mean? This means that Salespeople are losing their clutch on sales.
There is nothing to be afraid about as 91% of people admit that they would converse with a salesperson once they are convinced of their own choices and 34% new buyers are themselves inclined towards a salesperson initiating sales from the start.
What we can do here is to always be present for those customers who need us. People consider their options and shortlist them; they look towards the expert opinion and knowledge of the salespeople to make the final choice.
Another way of being the first to take hold of the sales wheel is to contact them first. You can contact them before they come to you, and with an experienced air, you can explain what your product or service is all about. Many times, reaching out is all you need to get the desired response! Using a marketing automation software can help in determining the buyer’s journey and thus approach a prospect before your competitor does it.
Absolute Commitment to Prospecting:
"Start working with your prospects as if they've already hired you. "– Jill Konrath
Prospecting is never a one-time process and a one-time ask. It has to be done regularly to ensure a continuous flow of leads into your lap. No one will motivate you every morning except Youtube Videos and musical lyrics, but sometimes even that's not enough.
A discipline that tells you to dials numbers with a vigor that shows in your voice is the most important along with Prospecting. You can never be sure of what kinds of people you shall encounter while Prospecting, and strict discipline to follow the daily processes with a kink of innovation are worth doing in Prospecting matters. A Sales Force Automation Software can remind you about the sales calls or emails you are supposed to do today and stay motivated in terms of conversions.
Ways of Prospecting
"Every brand isn't for everybody, and not everybody is for every brand."
Isn't this true?
We do know that customers are an enigma for salespeople. Some rare salespeople understand who their customers are and what kind of retrospective actions they shall please them.
Not every salesperson knows to prospect, and those who do, rarely do it. It's true! They find that Prospecting is a waste of time as they are over-confident about their skills. But, believe it or not, finding disparate personalities while encountering sales is a boon as well as a bane. No matter how much brushed up your sales skills are, you are bound to find new characters with interesting characteristics in sales.
You cannot duplicate your sales techniques on every prospect and try to implicate success in their conversion. Sales prospecting needs to be deep enough to know all the facts and fast enough not to waste your time.
Let's dive into the world of Prospecting:
Create the Prospect Profile about your business
It is a whole wide world out there with N numbers of companies, their way of working, and their market-turnovers which might leave you speechless.
The first place to look is your database in CRM Software! Before you go searching out, why not have a look at what you have accomplished till now? Take a look at your customer base and see where you have done the best work. Who are the most profitable customers? Who are the ones that are the worst? Who are the ideal ones?
This research will then show you what your efforts and ideas were for extremely satisfied customers with your work. It will also show you the mistakes you made while making the worst customers. Your Ideal prospect profile will come out after you and your team ponder over these questions:
Does this lead match your customer profile?
Are they in your geographical area?
What is the size of their company in terms of revenue, customers, and employees?
What is the size of the department that you are selling your product?
Is their industry or business a good fit for your product?
Can they use your product in the way it is meant to be used?
What is their time duration of entering into this business industry?
Answering these questions accurately can help you qualify them to be in your ideal prospect list.
Where can you set up meetings with your prospects?
As mentioned earlier, your best experiences with your finest customers should be the first place you start. Try to reconcile the processes, efforts, and the site or situation you met those customers and converted them.
What kinds of events would your ideal prospects be in? Try to span out places where you could meet people who fit your perfect profile.
Also, try to analyze their digital existence if it exists. What do they like the most, and how will your product or services support their preferences? It is said that most of the time, you get an idea about the perspective of the customers from their likings, and this helps you to map out the ways to meet your potential customers and put a noticeable impact on their subconscious.
Active operations continued on your call lists?
People very soon forget what you say, but always remember how you made them feel - Maya Angelou
This saying will sit well with all the people who know the impact of regular phone calls and keep in touch.
Always note the importance of phone calls because they are the best way to deal with a person and identify their entire buying persona from a call when asked the right questions. You will have the database of the cold call list, warm prospect list, and list of leads that have been lost.
Set apart a time duration that you will utilize only for making calls to these people, and you can touch base through so many different tactics every time you call! The key here is not to have a 'sales pitch' but a set of dialogues ready to counter any of their objections or questions.
When your mind is prone to having objections and questions, you automatically become your company's trusted advisor. You have to find out their pain points, which can be soothed by your services or products, and scour during the call if they have enough information about your product. Grab the opportunity and let them know how your company can be useful to them during the call.
Thus, calling is not only about pitching sales; it is about maintaining an interesting conversation through which you can determine their interest in you.
Specialize your efforts with Personalized Mails:
"Instead of one-way interruption, personalized marketing is about delivering value at just the right moment that a user needs it." – David Meerman Scott
Salespeople have a stereotypical image that they always keep disrupting the day with their irritating phone calls and messages, which frankly, spoil the mood. They spam our phone with messages and emails which are sent to everyone. Ever wonder how this image was built?
Due to the same formats of mails, messages, and phone calls to every person we encounter. Especially the mails. Mass or bulk mailing is such a spoilsport because everybody knows a stereotypic marketing mail as soon as they read one.
Mail is an effective way of impact but not one that is being sent to everyone. The mail you send needs to be customized as per the prospect you are sending it to. The content needs to be specific and should directly or indirectly address the needs of that particular prospect.
Ensure that your email looks good on mobiles as well. Nevertheless, you should know how to hit the mark with your content. Know what are the best times to send emails to your clients.
References from happy customers:
What are 'references'? References by a company or a person mean the replica of a business persona that they have. So, the best way to get good prospects under your sales wing is to ask for references from your existing customers or the customers who are hot leads.
Organize meetings, have tea or coffee together and then, grab the opportunity to ask for references from your existing customers. Be in consistent touch with your hot leads, and keep them focused on you. Always ask for their concerns, and you will never fall short of leads.
It's true that typical Einstein brains are rare and when they are found, often irritating. But when you ask for references, you cannot do it just as a seller or a vendor. As mentioned earlier, you should be transformed into a trustworthy expert and an all-round answer provider.
It would be best if you were an absolute know-it-all about the industry you are targeting, potential customers, and your product. It would help if you had all the facts about an initiative which will be relevant to you while briefing your product there, so you can handle all and any counter-questions and never be fazed.
It is a fact that when you treat your prospects as if they are already your customers, the impact is other-worldly. This does not mean expensive hotel meets or lavish dinners; it means you know every inch of their business and every curve of their victories and achievements. Research your prospects like a detective out to catch a criminal, and you will inevitably find the ball in your court. When that happens, your product should be ready to be showcased, and you should be seen as an expert in your field, not only as a salesperson.
Emphasize your presence with Social Media!
Presence on social media is the best way to emphasize your business reputation in front of well anyone! Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram is some of the places which will never be closed even if the world ends, and they are a global arena of your potential buyers.
Let's take a look at some of the statistics which are bound to affect selling:
54% of social browsers use social media for researching products, according to Statista. (73% of salespeople believe that their efforts through social media marketing have been very effective according to buffer.
Social networks motivate 37% of consumers to find purchase inspiration, according to PWC.
According to adobe, social media is the appropriate advertising way for 50% of Gen Z and 42% of millennials.
Do you need any more verified statistics to see if social media is important? Social media is the best form of marketing presence one can have, and If you don't have it, try baby steps and create profiles.
Take assistance from digital marketers and learn where you can hit the mark. Invest in your social media presence, and you will automatically grow.
Content that is sent to the prospects should be relevant
Content can be sent to the prospects at any time, but the subjects should be relevant and significant according to their interest.
When the prospects are at the top of the sales funnel, you can send them Blogs, articles, infographics, or FAQs that ignite their interest and help you judge their level of interest.
They can be sent materials like free evaluation, trails, and coupon codes.
This way, you should send the content to your prospect at specific times, and they should address the pain points during a particular situation. Stop sending out content that always talks great about you or your company and starts sending value-adding and value-creating content to your prospects.
Videos fasten the pace!
Video marketing is the tip for sales prospecting and not yet tried. The most trending tip for sales prospecting is videos. You can send direct videos for the enhancement of the product and its processes. Corporate videos are not accepted, but informal videos can be made, and this is the best way to portray and convince your customers about your expertise.
A sale is a tiring process, but it doesn't have to be monotonous at all. Keep patience and make multiple emails and phonecalls, which one day would yield in converted customers.
Followups at regular times assist in building relationships that are beneficial at times, which goes a long way in making sales at the later stage.
Managing followups is a difficult task, and this challenge can be sorted out with minimal efforts and excessive dedication towards your business. Thus, 'checking in' now and then is important for building interaction.
Buying Trends in the Present Era:
Present situations have changed the entire face of people of earth and how it operates. Buying trends are in a significant change in the Era. Businesses face problems instead of loss of valuable ROI and cuts in research due to pandemic situations. We need to understand how the customers' needs have changed, which will direct us to the change in their buying behaviors.
Customers are now focusing on basic needs, which have created a demand for hygiene, cleaning, and staple products. Their needs are soaring, and these factors influence even brand decisions.
Digital E-commerce has also risen due to people entering into quarantine mode and avoiding going out into the market. Food, finance, and medical securities are some other priorities as well.
Customer behaviors will now focus on an entirely new arena, and thus, sales prospecting will also change its course shortly.
Sales prospecting cannot be taken for granted, as we many times do. It is the base of a sales funnel, and we win 50% of the process and the customer if it is indeed done in detail and get appropriate facts for the same. Sales prospecting resonates with our efforts for the consumer's attention, which gives us a wide arena for negotiating our product and reputation. Sales prospecting is your roadmap to successful sales, and absolutely nothing can change this fact!
Technology plays a major role in ensuring that maximum leads are converted into customers. A CRM software can help you in streamlining the entire sales process starting from capturing leads to closing deals. For more information you can go through the complete details about CRM software. And if you are looking for customized solutions that can work as per your business logic, you can go through the list of free and open source CRM software.
Just go through the buyer’s guide to CRM software to select the best one as per your business requirements.