A random email that you found on a website doesn’t qualify as a lead, let alone a qualified one, but you have to start somewhere, right?
Now this is where sales prospecting comes in.
I truly love sales prospecting, because it’s can truly make the difference between wasting your time on people who couldn’t care less about your product and efficiently selling to people who are interested about what you’re selling to them.
Sales prospecting has been around for ages and it’s not going anywhere.
But the methods have gone a long way in the last 20 years, with the introduction of social media and mobile technology to our daily lives.
No more selling door to door to people who aren’t interested.
It’s time to close those deals with people who are right within your target audience parameters and interested in what you’ve got to tell them.
The article is called why we love sales prospecting, so obviously I had to tell you why I loved it and I can pretty much guarantee you that most sales people would say the same, but now I have to convince you that you should love sales prospecting too.
I’m going to do that with some basic explanation of different techniques you can use for your prospecting, after which I’ll cover some of the tools you should be using to enhance your prospecting efforts and finally, I’ll teach you a few different tricks about leveraging social media in your prospecting efforts.
Ready? Let’s start the prospecting.
Sales Prospecting – The Techniques
There are two types of sales prospecting, inbound and outbound, with both containing their own individual sets of prospecting techniques.
The difference between the two is that inbound prospecting is done by you providing your potential leads a way of leaving their contact details to you in order to have you reach out to them, whereas outbound sales prospecting is the process of you going through a list of people you think make for great leads and contacting them first.
Content marketing has revolutionized the inbound marketing game (although the two aren’t the same thing as commonly mistaken by marketers), and therefore the sales prospecting of leads has become way easier by allowing the visitors of your site let you know they are interested in your product or services.
For example, we write the ClickFunnels blog to help you become a better marketer, but also to get you on our site and getting you informed about our product. That way we don’t have to push the product to you.
Instead, you’ll either sign up for a free trial or reach out to us and ask about the product.
So, if you aren’t doing content marketing already, I highly recommend you to start right now and get some of those precious inbound marketing leads.
Outbound sales prospecting is a whole another ball game and is considered the traditional way of prospecting your leads.
Cold calling is still the most common way to reach potential. Personally I dislike cold calling, which also why I am a huge fan of content marketing.
By calling a person who has already signed up as interested in your product is much more convenient and less disturbing than calling a person whose number you got off the internet or bought from a list collecting website.
Emailing your leads is the other popular way of contacting potentially interested leads in your target market. It’s a lot less personal space invading than cold calling is, but it’s also a lot easier to just simply ignore the sales email than a phone call.
A good way to identify what you wish to do with your prospecting efforts is to look at these statistics about sales prospecting, and determine which methods would best align with your brand and target audience.
Use The Proper Tools
First and foremost I recommend you to get yourself a CRM – Customer Relationship Management – software. It will make your life as a sales person a lot easier by keeping your data accessible and organized.
Some CRM software, such as Salesforce and Zoho have been around for years and are the leaders of the industry. Both offer a wide variety of integrations and allow you to automate your sales prospecting process significantly by building up a database based on your prospecting efforts.
From capturing inbound leads to keeping a record of your cold calls and emails, they do it all.
A more sales prospecting focused piece of software comes from LinkedIn, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that it has been a very effective tool for businesses in the sales process. After all, LinkedIn allows you to reach people who are in your target industries, making the decisions of purchases and partnerships.
LinkedIn has gathered data to support its software sales, and the results are quite impressive, with an approximately 80% increase in efficiency and 51% of sellers using the software are more likely to reach their sales quotas than those not using it.
Then there are the complete software solutions for your entire sales process, like Outreach.
Software such as Outreach allows you to bring together all your sales tools and techniques conveniently under the same roof. From LinkedIn to Office365 and Google Apps, all of your slaes channels can be easily integrated into the platform and your leads can be controlled more efficiently.
Outreach also integrates with Salesforce, allowing you to combine the data of two very powerful customer management and sales tools, meaning more efficiency and more sales.
Naturally, these tools come at a cost (Zoho has a free plan available!), but just like I told you in a recent ClickFunnels blog article about email marketing, good software is worth paying for.
You’ll be able to achieve better results and scale your business much faster.
But of course, I wouldn’t leave you hanging with only paid software, so here’s an awesome list of free sales prospecting tools for those of you with a tighter sales budget!
Social Media as a Part of Your Sales Prospecting
In today’s world of digital technology and communications, you need to be on the frontlines of the consumer base, and what better way to rub shoulders with your target audience than social media?
Well, not literally rubbing shoulders like you would have done in the good old days, but you get the point.
Many successful entrepreneurs and businesses have leveraged social media in their marketing and sales efforts. If you’re not sure whether social media is worth your precious time, just take a look at Nasty Gal.
By leveraging the social part of social media, you’ll be able to directly influence the buying decisions of the people surrounding your qualified leads.
Let’s say you were able to sell your fantastic efficiency increasing product to Jennifer, who is in charge of employee efficiency at company A. Now we have to make an assumption that she has a strong network of other people in similar positions at other companies around her, but thanks to social media, the assumption is nearly always correct.
In order to leverage social media to the full, you need to utilize techniques from content marketing and social media marketing to achieve a growth of spread into her network, which means writing a blog, advertising on social media and asking for Jennifer to review and comment on your product on your social media accounts.
Also, a quick tip about a tool that could be useful for those who are more active on social media. Nimble is a nice piece of CRM software that is very socially aware and social media focused, which means your efforts on social media can be combined with your customer data in the CRM.
Just take a look at these statistics to see the potential that social media can offer you, if you’re still uncertain about the need of leveraging social media for sales prospecting purposes. (There’s an excellent infographic in there if you want to use it directly on the blog –Eetu)
Sales prospecting has truly evolved over the last two decades, but it’s still going strong.
While it’s different from the auto diallers seen on TV shows depicting sales people in the 70s and 80s (or if you’ve ever watched How I Met Your Mother you might remember Barney using one to hook up with girls, which was pretty darn incredible if you ask me), sales prospecting is still at the core of our sales efforts.
By using modern tools and techniques together with leveraging your social media accounts, you can rest easy at night, you’ll be seeing a much better future sales wise from now on.
Just remember to treat people as people, not targets or must-sell-to-this-guys, because pushing over the limit of good behaviour can strike back at you with a horrifying force, all thanks to social media.
Not a day goes by without a complaint from someone going viral on social media, so just be careful and courteous when interacting with your target audience and leads, online and offline.
As always, comments, questions and experiences are most welcome in the comments sections below.