Ways to Instantly Improve Your Sales Prospecting Results
Every business needs to keep their lead pipeline open to generate continual revenue. Sales prospecting is one way of doing this. In its simplest form, it’s finding new customers in places where you haven’t looked before. Like a gold miner prospect for gold in a new claim, sales prospectors try to find new customers.
This is different from working an on existing base of customers like you would with networking or referrals. It’s like building your sales list from scratch. Needless to say, this makes sales prospecting a difficult process. However, if you can find a new vein of customers, you can make your business much more profitable.
If you’re a salesperson or business owner struggling with sales prospecting, here are some ways you can instantly improve your results.
Know Your Customer
The golden rule to any new sales contact is to show that you know them first. You must know who you are selling to and what their pain points are before you can approach them with a successful offer. This is where your existing customer database comes in handy. Another handy source is to ask your SEO service company how customers are finding your website. People who find your site are motivated to learn more, so this could yield useful data.
If you don’t already have buyer personas for your business, make them first by using customer data as a guideline. If you do already have personas, see if you can refine them. Once you have these personas, take a moment to think about who you might be excluding that could have an interest in your product. Revisiting your personas every quarter is a good idea because of market change needs. Maybe the customer data shows there’s someone buying that is similar to your current personas but is different enough that they need their own. Starting off with a fresh persona in your prospecting plan will give you entirely new directions to explore.
When you do reach out to a contact, find a way to show you know something about the lead. In an email campaign, this is typically the subject line and the first two emails. In a phone conversation, it’s the first 30 seconds. You must establish a line of empathy before you can even begin to start selling successfully. This is why your personas must also include information about how your ideal customers go through a sales process. Do they want details? Chumminess? Demonstrations? Do research.
Watch Product Reviews
Product reviews are a salesperson’s best friend. They tell you how customers are responding to you. If you have access to CRM data on your reviewers, you can quickly see which kinds of people respond positively to your product and which ones don’t.
Negative reviews are lessons. Figuring out why someone didn’t like your product can help tune your sales pitches. It can also tell you which demographics might not be worth pursuing. See if you can get into a polite dialog with the reviewer to get more information about their issues. You might be able to do more than regain a customer; you might discover new pain points to use to prospect for different customers.
Qualify Your Leads
It’s frustrating to find new leads that look like promising prospects but never convert. Every moment spent with a lead that won’t convert is wasted time. This is why qualifying your new leads is so important. You need to see whether or not it’s worth continuing the sales interaction.
Matching leads to buyer personas is like a pre-qualification, but just because a lead matches your profile doesn’t mean they’re ready to buy. You can use lead scoring techniques and your knowledge of previous sales interactions to create a qualification matrix. Use the Pareto principle and try to find out which 20% of behaviors end up creating 80% of the conversions, as well as the converse. This will give you a good start.
PPC campaigns are another great way of pre-qualifying leads. If your PPC company is collecting data on your leads, get that information!
Optimize Your Contact Path
If you think you’ve found a source of new leads to mine for prospects, take a moment to consider who are the gatekeepers and decisionmakers. A new lead source might use different patterns than the ones you are used to. As you likely know, the decision-makers are the people who have the power to make buying decisions. Gatekeepers are those who stand in the way of the decisionmakers and control access.
While there are some generalities that can be made about this, depending on the corporate positions you’re targeting, every company will have their differences. Try to do your research beforehand so you can raise your success rate.
Sales prospecting is a game of experience as well as knowledge. The more you do it, the better you’ll be at it. But there’s no sense in hamstringing your efforts before you start. Do these research activities first and you’ll instantly see a bump in your success rate.