What Is Prospecting in Sales?
B2B prospecting the process of searching for potential customers or clients to develop new business. By moving these prospects through your purchase journey, you can convert them into revenue-generating customers for your business.
Effective prospecting depends on identifying good-fit customers for your business, namely qualified leads who truly need your product or service to solve the difficulty or pain point they’re facing. These are the customers who will provide you with long-term business and value.
There are two main types of prospecting – online and offline. The former uses digital platforms like social media, online forums, and email to engage with prospective customers. The latter requires that your team goes out to physically meet with people, to see if they would consider using your products or services.
Offline prospecting still has its place, especially in local communities and industry events – but it requires more time, energy, and resources to engage with a smaller number of potential clients. This is why for most modern B2B companies (especially software companies), online prospecting is the norm.
Within B2B sales, there are different strategies used for different types of prospects. For instance, a sales team may assign some members to small or mid-sized business prospecting and dedicate other team members to their enterprise sales strategy. This allows for a more streamlined workflow since enterprise sales prospecting requires more research and outreach to develop relationships with all the stakeholders influencing a buying decision. In comparison, small or mid-size business prospecting might only require researching and connecting with one or two decision-makers. As you can see, the question, “what is prospecting in sales?” is answered by a number of different variables.
Sales Prospecting Tools
There are many prospecting tools in network marketing that can help sales professionals. Assistance can come in the form of a CRM system, sales email automation tools, or outbound sales tools to name a few.
Integrating automation into your marketing and sales process will benefit your team in numerous ways. Perhaps the two most important benefits, however, are time savings and personalization. These tools can complete routine sales tasks – such as updating contact databases – much more efficiently and accurately than humans. Moreover, these types of systems can instantly create personalized buyer’s journey’s based on prospect information and signals. The more tailored your sales pitch is to the potential customer, the more likely it is to succeed.
However, success is not determined solely by the B2B prospecting tool you use. It comes down to who uses these automation tools and, more importantly how they use them. To help them sell more, move faster, and be more efficient, your team has to be well-trained in using your sales prospecting tools.
As Bill Gates famously said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business setting is that automation applied to an efficient operation will further magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will further magnify the inefficiency.”
There is an overwhelming amount of sales tools available, so it’s best to start with strategy and goals. After you know your sales strategy and goals, then determine a shortlist of tools needed to help your team succeed. If you look around, you can even find free sales tools that might fit your purpose.
The traditional prospecting process is to “spray” a general message out to as many people as you can, to see if anyone replies, or shows interests. From there, you try to get them to commit to a meeting or demo. There was a lot of emphasis on “fun prospecting ideas” to try and generate as much attention as possible. However, the internet has revolutionized how people search for and engage with brands, meaning these traditional prospecting ideas are often no longer effective.
To put it quite simply, business buyers now expect and demand a more personalized approach, where sales and marketing teams understand their needs and work to develop a good relationship. More important than being “fun,” prospecting ideas need to be relevant to the audience. The attention economy is fiercely competitive and consumers increasingly filter out anything that doesn’t hold value to them. Sales prospectors that fail to understand this can come off as uncaring, gimmicky, or only interested in making a profit – in other words, not the type of business someone wants to select as a vendor or partner.
Sometimes you’ll hear people asking “why is prospecting so hard?” But if they’re using a generalized approach is it such a surprise that they’re not getting good results? With the “spray” approach towards sales prospecting, although the number of leads may be there, sales and marketing don’t have much visibility into how qualified the prospecting sources actually are. This results in poor conversion rates and wasted time by the sales team as they beg unqualified prospects to commit.
This is not to say that things like cold calling and cold emailing shouldn’t be considered when prospecting leads – rather that they need to be done in a more strategic, meaningful way.
A reputable sales prospecting techniques pdf will discuss how B2B prospecting methods must take a more personalized route. Modern prospecting tactics combine the best of traditional sales prospecting techniques with the power of marketing automation and big data, to help sales professionals reach the people who really need their products and services. This approach, which focuses on the buyer’s needs rather than the company’s needs, has proven much more effective.
For instance, social selling prospecting methods. Salespeople use social media to discover, reach out to, start a dialogue with, and reconnect with prospects until they are ready to become a customer. Through these social channels, they can identify and analyze their audiences’ behaviors, preferences, triggers, and pain points. This information can help sales teams cater to the needs of their prospects and provide solutions to their problems. Furthermore, social media channels give sales professionals the ability to easily communicate and build relationships with potential customers in an organic, conversational way.
Another popular example of a modern B2B sales method is account based marketing (ABM), which is increasingly getting published is a type of prospecting plan. This is a focused growth strategy in which marketing and sales teams collaborate to identify high-value accounts and create a personalized prospecting plan and buying experience for them.
So, rather than going after any and every lead no matter what, ABM teams first conduct extensive prospecting research to identify which accounts they should approach. These prospects fit the team’s ideal customer profile, or a number of characteristics that mean a prospect would be interested in their product or service, find value in it and be a long-term paying customer.
The results of these qualifying efforts are highly relevant prospecting tactics, meaning they’re more efficient and likely to succeed. By weeding out less-valuable companies early on, ABM ensures that marketing and sales are in complete alignment. This means teams aren’t wasting time with unqualified leads but can instead more quickly focus on the prospecting tactics of engaging and delighting those accounts. Using a personalized, strategic approach like account based marketing results in improved sales and marketing alignment, better conversion rates, faster sales cycles, and bigger contracts.
How to Get Customers as a Car Salesman
Traditional car sales prospecting techniques simply aren’t enough to keep prospects coming to your dealership. But how to get more customers as a car salesman, if the standard car sales prospecting script is no longer effective?
Savvy dealers are now using digital marketing methods and car sales prospecting tools to update their car sales strategies and increase leads.
Customers can now research vehicles, find competitive prices, compare financing options, and check dealer inventory from the comfort of home. They can decide on a car before ever setting foot in a car dealership. For this reason, individual car salesman advertising, marketing, and sales prospecting should focus on being a source that people trust for information. For instance, start a blog and be active on social media to answer questions. Share eye-catching video and picture content. Or develop a car sales leads app, where people can easily compare different models.
Another effective tactic is a good email campaign. Just be careful not to use a generic car sales prospecting email template. To be successful, your email campaign needs to be relevant to your audience. Content should be based on the vehicle types the prospect has viewed on your website, mentioned on social media, etc. Marketing automation technology makes this type of audience segmentation fairly straightforward.
Make use of digital marketing strategies and tools to reach the right buyer and the right time. Rather than coming across as trying to make a sale, you want to be their go-to expert that they trust to help them make a purchase decision. This is how to increase car sales for salesman professionals.