The art of perfecting prospecting in the sales industry can be an incredible difficulty, even for the pros! Prospecting is one of the key stages of the sales process…
- Handling Objections
- Closing and Follow-up
…then repeat! Through prospecting, your sales reps are potentially creating a pipeline of potential customers, as each prospect equals an opportunity. Yet, statistics show that 42% of sales reps named prospecting as the most challenging stage of the sale process.
But why is it so difficult?
Prospecting Issues in 2019
Prospecting has become increasingly difficult for sales professionals for numerous reasons. Some problems occur when many prospects intentionally create barriers to make it more difficult for sales reps to get in touch. Also, many sales reps shoot themselves in the foot when they only use one avenue of approach, which could be solely focusing on cold calling, or cold emailing or other alternative routes.
The problem which is consistent for most sales professionals though is that prospects in 2019 are overloaded with sales and marketing pitches from outsider companies that it becomes difficult for your company to be recognised.
9 Tips for Sales Prospecting in 2019
However, when done correctly, prospecting can work a charm, in polishing your sales skills and for allowing you to find the goldmine of potential customers who are the perfect fit for your company.
Creating an ideal prospect profile
An important thing to remember is that just because a company is in your database, it doesn’t necessarily fit your ideal customer base. Recent studies show that 50% of your current prospects are NOT a good fit for what you want to sell. Therefore, take some time to get to know the different types of customers for your company.
Who are your top five best customers? Who are your top five worst customers? Who are your most profitable customers? Which customers are your least profitable?
From this, you can create an ideal prospect profile for each of these groups. Once you have a full profile list of customer groups and your existing company list, then you can find more potential customers who match your criteria, as you will have a focus on the bigger fish in the sea, rather than chasing after the little fishes and wasting your time!
Identify ways to meet your ideal prospects & use a portfolio of contact methods
Identifying prospects can be a simple task once you understand the way you found your “best” customers. This could have been through a trade show, or via referral or through social media. Once you discover this, you can then pull your resources into focusing on the best way to reach prospects for your company.
For each prospect, you can then identify which social events they will be gathered at, which social media channel they are most active on or which person will be the best point of contact for a cold call.
Furthermore, each prospect you identify has their own personality and preference in the way of which they want to be contacted. Some prospects will take cold calls, some won’t. Some will read cold emails, some won’t. Some will read snail mail, some won’t. Some will read blogs, some won’t.
It is important to put in the time and effort to reach each prospect in their preferred way, not in the manner which is easiest for your company.
Actively work on your call lists
It is important to set some time aside each day to focus on your cold call lists. Research shows that 69% of buyers accepted a call from new salespeople in the past 12 months and that sales professionals find this effective nearly 30% of the time.
For each cold call, it is important that you are prepared with questions which you think your prospect would be interested in. You may want to create a general list of questions or make sure that it is specific for each prospect, as you should make your prospect feel like they are wanted by your business, rather than just being a part of a long list of prospects.
By having a dialogue prepared, then you can ensure to maintain an interesting conversation with your prospects, which can aid in securing a sale.
It is important to keep in touch with your prospects, whether this is every 6 weeks or 6 months. By working consistently on your cold call list, you will be able to turn potential prospects into interested prospects into permanent prospects.
Send personalised emails
There are two important factors to remember:
- Each email should be personal to the prospect
- NEVER forward the same email twice
With the number of sales and marketing emails that your prospects are being bombarded with, it is important that you stand out from the crowd. With most prospects preferring to be contacted by email, it is shown that there is a 26% higher open rate for personalised emails over mass emails, therefore it is vital to make the time for each prospect.
Ensure that the content is different and identifies the needs related to each prospect, as well as ensure that the email is correctly optimised for both desktop and mobile devices (not all prospects will use the same device)!
Ask for referrals
It is common knowledge that happy customers help to spread the word of your company. Statistics show that 91% of B2B customers are influenced by word-of-mouth when making their decisions, with the referral-based sale closing ratio is between 50% to 70%.
A vital, free of charge service which each sales rep should be focusing on are asking your customers for referrals. By keeping in touch with your existing customers, this should be an easy enough task. Asking your happy customer for a referral immediately after a sale is the key point as the sale will be fresh in your customer’s mind.
For a positive experience, research shows that 83% of happy customers would be more than likely to provide a referral. So, chase up your new customers for a referral, because it could lead to a whole new list of potential prospects.
Become a know-it-all
By becoming a know-it-all of your own company and what you offer, you can help to keep those referrals coming in.
Becoming an expert in your field will help to create this image for each prospect that you are interested in benefiting the prospect’s business, rather than a salesperson who is trying to make their own company more money.
By creating a personalised experience for each prospect, you are providing them with attention and are taking their business seriously, as you know their needs, their concerns, but also their victories and achievements. Using all that knowledge, you can help to add value to your proposition.
Finally, you know what your company is offering inside and out. Did you know that 54% of prospects want to find out how the product works on the first interaction? Hence, you need to be prepared and ready to speak in detail about what you offer, to discuss the key functions, to be able to answer any questions and to give examples of how it will benefit each prospect.
Build your social media presence
Social media is a continuously growing giant which is taking over sales and marketing efforts, and it is here to stay!
Prospects can visit various platforms to try and find information on what they are buying or signing up to, such as Twitter, Facebook LinkedIn, and YouTube. If your company is relatively new to social media, then simply start by creating a social media profile on a social media channel which you think will be most beneficial for your company. For B2B companies, LinkedIn is the most important platform for you. Then you need to start gaining followers from your employees and existing customers, gain reviews and implement a social media campaign to regularly post to your profile.
Statistics show that 84% of senior executives use social media to support their purchasing decisions, therefore you need to make sure you have a social media presence to increase the chances of securing your prospects in the future.
Demonstrate your sales skills in video format
Something which is relatively new to the sales prospecting process is using video as an outreach tool!
This can be both corporate demo videos or a simple amateur video to introduce yourself (the sales rep) to your prospect. This helps to give your prospect a look into what the real you looks like, rather than just speaking through emails or over a telephone, or briefly speaking at a trade show. Using videos, you can help to add that personal touch to your sales pitch to your prospects which you have been missing. After all, 7 in 10 B2B buyers admit to watching a video at some point during their buying process.
So, why not take advantage of your trend? It may be something completely new to your business, but it may be the key that you are missing with your prospecting.
Follow up, follow up, follow up
Finally, following up on your first initial point of contact with each prospect is vital! This means making multiple phone calls, emails, sending additional information and other follow-up activities.
Following up helps to build relationships and demonstrate the ethos of your company, showing determinations and trustworthiness. Each follow up will be different depending on which point your prospects are up to. A follow up could simply be sending a “just checking in” or a “thank you” note can go a long way or sending a draft proposal or further information about what your company can offer.
Research shows that if you haven’t heard back from a prospect within 24 hours, then it is vital to follow up as you have a 21% chance of getting a reply with your second form of contact.
With a CRM system, you can easily keep track of when you need to follow up with prospects. SuperOffice CRM is a great way to ensure that you optimise your sales prospecting to the best of your company’s ability.
If you would like to get started with SuperOffice CRM today to aid your sales prospecting, then get in touch with Synergy Technology on 0345 456 0050 or send us your enquiry and we will respond promptly!