Sales prospecting has never been an easy endeavor but in today’s digital-driven world, it’s more difficult than ever. With multiple advertising channels popping up every day, today’s prospects are drowning in marketing noise and have become numb. This makes it extremely difficult for sales and advertising specialists to be heard, let alone convert the prospects.
In this article, we discuss the various sales prospecting tips to help accelerate your B2B sales cycle. While it remains a fact that B2B sales prospecting is no walk in the park, with these five insightful tips on your side, you’ll find that it’s no rocket science either.
What is sales prospecting?
In simple terms, sales prospecting is the process of identifying potential business relationships. It is arguably, one of the most crucial stages in the sales funnel. Here, the sales representatives use various sales prospecting methods to identify clients and attempt to convert them into actual customers.
During the process, sales representatives create a database that contains potential customers. They then come up with the various sales approaches best suited for each customer and contact them in a bid to convert them into paying customers.
There are perks associated with effectively prospecting in sales. For example, automated search for work emails and phone numbers will save a fair amount of time just because avoiding a lot of simple regular operations like copy-pasting data found in social profiles into CRM. E-mail finding services like GetProspect handle the routine alongside getting verified prospects data from multiple open sources at once.
To fully leverage these rewards, a company must employ various strategies to accelerate the B2B cycle and ensure conversions. Below, we share sales prospecting tips every entrepreneur should know.
1. Optimize the sales cycle
This is a supersized tip on accelerating your sales cycle. It involves three main aspects; using effective prospecting techniques, optimizing these tactics, and eliminating bottlenecks.
Allow me to expound;
Use prospecting methods that work.
Technological advancements are bringing in newer and more effective methods to find new customers and increase sales. Some of these prospecting methods include;
Have you ever wondered why businesses are keen on social media?
According to Vendasta, 90% of marketers agree that their social media marketing efforts have increased brand visibility. That is why social selling is becoming more popular by the day.
Social selling is a top sales prospecting strategy. Social media platforms offer businesses an opportunity to connect with other businesses for a chance at fostering meaningful business relations.
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are common social media platforms that can bring you closer to clients. According to statistics, more than 75% of B2B marketers consider LinkedIn to be an excellent source for generating leads. Taking a more business approach, LinkedIn is home to over 740 million professionals. Such statistics are great news for any business looking to accelerate its B2B sales cycle.
To get started, you need to join a social media channel best suited for your scope of business. From there you can join the various relevant groups or communities that are likely to lead you to your ideal clients. Be active in these groups and strive to always kick your engagement levels a notch higher every time. By doing so, you gain outreach and establish your brand as an authority, equipping you with the right arsenal to ensure success when reaching out to prospective clients.
Leveraging referrals is one of the most overlooked but highly reliable sources of quality leads. Unless you are a start-up, you have worked with clients before; clients who can vouch for your product or service. You can leverage these existing connections by asking them to refer you to other businesses that may be in need of your service. This is a great strategy for you to build new relationships. Remember, more than 90% of B2B sales are influenced by peer recommendations.
The vast number of businesses emerging every day is making the B2B landscape more competitive. Content marketing is a sure-fire way to create brand awareness and gain a competitive advantage. As a business, make sure you create a content strategy that positions you to attract highly qualified leads. You can do this by creating content that addresses client pain points. Doing so brings quality clients your way, which is instrumental in speeding up the B2B sales cycle
Improve your current prospecting methods
The prospecting methods mentioned above effectively attract other businesses to work with your company. The only problem is that they are not always as effective. The trick here is to use technological advancements in your favour. Be keen on the latest trends revolving around prospecting and employ them in your business processes as you deem fit.
You want to improve these methods to ensure they achieve a higher success rate t. That may be an iterative process where you test out new techniques until you find the combination that brings the best results. In many cases, you can find guides on how to improve each different prospecting tactic.
For example, when it comes to email prospecting, you can improve overall performance by sending personalized warm emails. The key point here is relevant personal data (which usually doesn't lie all over the place, so you have to dig for it), arranged in a convenient way. This will help you to create messages with a value that your audience will appreciate.
Bottlenecks occur when a business cannot handle incoming tasks as efficiently, leading to a prolonged life cycle of processes. Chasing the wrong customers and neglecting prospective clients are common bottlenecks in the sales cycle, the same as delays in approval and follow-ups.
The first step to eliminating such bottlenecks is to track how long (on average) it takes your clients to move through each sale cycle. Identify the places where they get stuck or take prolonged periods. Use this information to find ways to move them along. For example, if your clients take long to respond after a sales pitch, identify the possible problems and find viable solutions.
Another example of a bottleneck your company might be facing is minimal conversions from your sales representatives. It is advisable to identify the stage where your salespeople face challenges and train them. This equips them with the necessary knowledge to move prospects through the sales funnel faster.
2. Target specific leads
As an aspiring successful entrepreneur, understanding that not everyone is a customer is vital. As such, businesses must learn how to target specific leads, if they are to maximize revenue.
To do this, entrepreneurs must create a potential client persona, which comes with a myriad of benefits. A great client persona includes information such as their demographics, pain points, desires, and needs. Depending on your target audience and scope of work, you can choose to design one or several personas. Next, you need to make sure that you send them content that matches their needs.
Here are a few sales techniques tips that will make your marketing efforts more effective;
- Make sure you are offering them value. Clients will only buy if the product or service is of value to them.
- Target a decision-maker. You want to talk to someone with the power to make decisions. CEOs and managers are good examples of key decision-makers.
- Focus on building a relationship before pitching. People will often buy from businesses and people they trust. The best way to build this trust is to build a relationship with your prospective clients through engagement prior to approaching them with your product or service.
- Be persistent. Sometimes your potential lead may hesitate before buying. To hasten the decision-making process, focus on alleviating their fears, addressing their objections, and reiterating how they will benefit from your product. The goal is to be gently nudging, not annoying.
- Do not lie. Potential leads can back out if they find out that you are lying about your products, their benefits, or the terms. Honesty is the best policy. Remember that the internet is a powerful resource, especially when it comes to proving the legitimacy of a brand. Clients can initiate a search query or even look up online reviews. With so many sales happening through peer recommendations, one client's bad review can have a ripple effect and scare away more clients.
- Schedule meetings and appointments. We live in a digital age where more and more people are moving towards remote meetings. Despite this, face-to-face meetings will always have an immeasurable effect on sales conversions. As such, aim to move from communicating through e-mail or online chatting platforms to scheduling appointments and meeting with your potential clients.
3. Automate repetitive tasks
Some aspects of your sales cycle are repetitive. By automating them, you gain many benefits, including saving precious time that you can use for other purposes like building relationships and closing sales. There are many types of sales prospecting automation tools that can be used to accelerate the B2B sales cycle. They include;
- Lead tracking tools - These tools will track your leads' activities. You can then use this information to determine if the lead is a good prospect or not. For example, they can track your potential clients' behavior towards your emails or websites and tell you if you should make an effort to sell.
- Email automation - Considering there are other mission-critical business processes apart from selling, it is not every other time you will have the time to send sales prospecting emails. Email automation tools can help you end your emails even during the busiest workdays and also make it easy to follow up for the best results.
- Design or suggest automated lead sequences - Follow-up is crucial in sales. There are automated tools that can help you design or suggest automatic lead sequences for your follow-up. There are many benefits of using a well-designed follow-up sequence, and automating this process can help you achieve your business sales goals.
- Personalization tools - Tailoring content to your client preferences is a sure-fire way of gaining their attention. A simple thing as addressing them by their name in e-mails is an effective strategy to keep them interested. By using personalization tools, a business can encourage engagement, a factor with a significant impact on accelerating the sales cycle.
4. Determine your KPIs
When streamlining your sales prospecting process, you may need to change things up often. The only way you can be sure if your changes are having any positive impact is if you track your progress using key performance indicators. Below are four groups of KPIs you can use to measure if your efforts are bearing any fruit.
- Activity KPIs - These metrics deal with how much your sales reps are doing per day. Examples of metrics in this category are how many calls or e-mails are sent per day. Using these metrics, you can identify underperforming prospects and find ways to help them improve.
- Prospecting results KPIs - These metrics focus on the outcome of your reps' activities. An example is how many meetings they hold.
- Sales results KPIs - These metrics measure the results of the sales reps' activities in terms of a successful closing. An example of a metric in this category is the hit rate which is the number of meetings that end in sales conversions.
5. Follow up
Just because the prospect did not buy into your idea does not mean you should give up. Sometimes, it may be bad timing.
The importance of following up on leads cannot be over-emphasized. A scenario where a client needs your service or product but forgot to get back to you is not uncommon. By not overlooking followers, and calling or texting them a few days or weeks after a pitch, you will be strategically positioning yourself for a business opportunity.
Follow-ups are also a great way to understand why a potential client does not want the product or service. If it has something to do with the quality, that presents an opportunity for improvements or to address client concerns.
Congratulations you savvy, insightful sales specialist. Now that you have these five pragmatic tips, navigating the market and staying one step ahead shouldn’t be a problem. Our goal is to help sales specialists hone their prospecting skills and accelerate their B2B sales cycle. Leverage these five tips to revamp your sales prospecting strategy and get better results.