We are a Ukrainian company. We stand with our colleagues, friends, family, and with all people of Ukraine. Our message

Sales prospecting: tips, methods, and ways to prospect

Table of content

How important is sales prospecting for business development? It is central to getting quality customers and, thus, the company's growth. 

An effective sales prospecting process ensures the ongoing inflow of leads.  Yet, it can be tricky to develop the right approach for finding leads, qualifying them into prospects, and turning them into customers. Much depends on how you define the process and which sales prospecting methods you have at your disposal.

This article will cover the basics, offer the best ways to prospect, and share some tips and tricks that may add to your strategy.

What is prospecting in sales?

First things first, prospecting in sales is about developing and growing the business by finding and reaching out to potential buyers or customers of your product or service. 

That way, sales prospecting becomes the fuel that the whole sales engine works on, filling the sales pipeline with interested leads. Without prospecting, no nurturing or deal closing is possible. 

Difference between lead generation and sales prospecting

At this moment, you may think, how is that different from lead generation? 

Well, prospecting for sales leads offers a direct one-to-one approach, where the salesperson contacts the lead who has yet to hear about your products and determines if they may be interested.

In contrast, the lead gen approach is concerned with a long-term effect, where a business attracts potential customers with content, bringing more warm leads as they already have an interest. 

As a result, the sales prospecting aims to contact a lead, define the level of interest and qualify them as a prospect, where subsequent nurturing will allow them to become customers.

Importantly, can you use prospecting in marketing? Yes, if you are looking for an influencer or a person to promote your product.

Effective prospecting methods

For sure, a well-defined sales prospecting process brings quality leads. Yet, a lot is influenced by the methods you apply. In this regard, we would specify the following prospecting tactics:

  1. Cold outreach and cold calling

  2. Finding people via referrals

  3. Social media prospecting

  4. Networking online and offline, at the events and conferences

Cold outreach and cold calling

The chances are high that you will use particular outbound techniques to reach out to the leads and qualify them as prospects. Why? Outreach is the most productive prospecting method. Email outreach is 40 times more effective than other means, like Facebook and Twitter prospecting, while cold calling is ideal for targeting C-level executives.

Yet, successful prospecting in sales depends on your pitch, how well you researched the lead, and what you have to offer. Thus, cold outreach should be well supported by teamwork, a clear customer persona, accurate contact information, and tools.

Note: The correct contact details are crucial for the deliverability of your email or a dial. Thus, do not hesitate to use lead generation tools with email extraction features and CRM-backed databases. 

Find email addresses of people based on name or surname

With GetProspect, you can save the leads into the lists and organize your sales prospecting flow

Find leads emails

Finding people via referrals

Among prospecting tactics, referrals are a surefire way to get quality leads. They are based on the trust of your existing customers. This method works if you target decision-makers and have a fantastic reputation supported by pleased clients. Having good relations with them is critical there.

Therefore, develop relations first and then ask your stakeholders to recommend someone who will be interested in your product. Knowing that an individual has benefited from your product is social proof, significantly affecting the leads' buying decisions. 

In the end, you will be able to get interested leads and move people within your sales pipeline faster. 

Social media outreach

The following prospecting method is concerned with social selling, under which you connect with prospects and build relationships. That’s why you should have a developed and active profile.  

The social media sales prospecting process requires you to take a long-term approach, earning the trust and helping first, and only then offering something.

Even though a direct message on social media is said to be too personal to push a sale, it can be very effective. 

Kacper Rafalski, Digital Marketer from NetGuru, underlines that personalization is a key to effective prospecting there:

«On social media platforms like LinkedIn, it's important to create targeted content tailored specifically for your target audience’s interests and needs – emphasizing personalization over generic messaging will help capture their attention more effectively than a blanket approach.»

Just remember that timing is crucial there, and you can push something or try to close a deal only if you qualify the lead first.  

Note: Various platforms are suitable for specific leads. In particular, LinkedIn is perfect for B2B prospecting, where you can write InMails, send targeted messages, or better research your leads.

Networking online and offline, at the events and conferences

Lastly, one of the effective prospecting tactics relates to networking. It is the type of activity you can do online and offline: on social media, at events, or conferences. Under it, the salespeople identify and connect with qualified prospects via referrals and relationship building.

The sales specialist would begin the sales prospecting process by connecting with trusted clients or experts in the niche. Yet, reaching out to indirect contacts can have a more significant effect.  

Firstly, networking offers access to valuable insights or niche news. Secondly, it becomes a tool to affect the buying decision and introduce your company. How? By providing references with the help of industry experts, loyal customers, influencers, reviews, and stories.

Note: As sales prospecting is only effective if you do it on the everyday basics, applying various methods is the best tactic. Outreach can be your primary strategy, backed by social media outreach and networking, allowing you more access to contact details. Referrals can help you target niche experts and get a solid image to be used as a reference.

How to prospect in sales?

  • Step 1. Do the research
  • Step 2. Qualify and prioritize leads
  • Step 3. Prepare a worthy pitch
  • Step 4. Make a solid first by diagnosing a problem
  • Step 5. Get results, analyze, and repeat

Step 1. Do the research

First, to offer value to the lead, you should know what it is for them. Therefore, research the pain points of the leads and the details regarding their work, company, priorities, and preferences to offer relevant and specific solutions.

We have already discussed the importance of a clear and updated ICP in B2B prospecting. So, make sure your research reflects your ICP and brings you details that you can use in the subsequent steps of the sales prospecting process. What are they? 

  • Company details (like location and niche, revenue, budget)

  • Team size 

  • Decision-making process

  • Recent challenges

  • Job changes

Step 2. Qualify and prioritize leads based on a score

Irrespective of sales prospecting methods, you would like to reach out to high-quality leads. Their quality derives from the interest and buyer intent you define based on your research info and prospecting questions. Upon the data analysis, you will prioritize and segment leads. 

Notably, most salespeople utilize scoring frameworks to see who is ready to be approached and can bring conversions. 

The most common are: 

  • BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeframe)

  • GPCT (Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline)

  • ANUM (Authority, Need, Urgency, and Money)  

  • CHAMP (Challenges, Authority, Money, Priorities, and Pain Points), 

  • MEDDIPICC (Metrics, Economic Buyers, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Paper Process, Implications of pain, Champions, Competition)

Each of these scoring models puts various factors in the first place. Yet, they are all about signals showing whether the sales will take place concerning leads' budget, plans, needs or pain points, authority to make a decision, and urgency to have a solution. 

Note: Your choice of the model will likely depend on your sales prospecting process and the sales cycle you have. Thus, pick BANT and GPCT if you have a short sales cycle; they are pretty simple and straightforward.

Step 3. Prepare a worthy pitch 

What is another essential part of the prospecting process? Approaching the lead. At this stage, you should focus on devising a personalized message being non-intrusive, respectful, and intriguing enough to start a conversation. Moreover, in sales prospecting, the first message should avoid selling; instead, offer help and ask for anything in return.  

An excellent personalized pitch would include the following:

  • Subject line. The phrase or word combination to hook the recipient

  • Introduction. Few words about you and what you do.

  • Commonality. State what you have in common (event, connection, place, school, issue).

  • Observation about recent activity. It is the way to link to the value and show that you are interested in the connection.

  • Value/help/solution. A content piece, stats, or insight to interest the recipient.

  • Qualification question. The question regarding the pain point allows you to plan your next move.

  • Request to connect/join the customer journey. The link to the website, forum, lead magnet, or a request to subscribe.

Email template for effective email prospecting:

Subject: {Lead name}, struggling with {specific pain point}? It can help.

Hey, {Lead name}



I’m {Your name}, from {your company}. We help {your niche or industry} professionals to solve {mention specific/common issues} and improve their operations.



I came across your post on LinkedIn about {pain point it mentions}, and it looks so familiar. Why? Our clients have the same situation. Here is {Link to case study} they find incredibly effective.



Is {the issue} something you struggle with? Have you thought about its roots? I would like to know more as we can offer you some solutions.




Let’s discuss this in more detail here or via a call. Book any time that is convenient for you: {Call Reservation Link}. 



All best,

Step 4. Make a solid first touch by diagnosing a problem

In a sales prospecting process, certain things depend on communication and understanding. The way you deliver the first touch can impact the whole sales experience. Thus, make your messages helpful and solution-oriented. How to achieve it? 

One of the main prospecting tactics is identifying and challenging the prospect's problems. In many cases, they believe they know what is wrong. Thus, in the first message, your job is to specify the problem and validate its root. 

Here is the approach you can use: 

  • Step 1. Ask what they believe their issue may be

  • Step 2. Admit the problem and ask to learn more about their practice

  • Step 3. Determine the root cause of the issue and if they are right 

  • Step 4. Utilize your expertise and experience/cases to provide a solution

Ultimately, by sharing the possible root cause or validating the one they shared, you offer real value and make sure you help. That way, a salesperson would build relationships and position themselves as an expert the leads would like to hear more from.

Step 5. Get results, analyze, and repeat

The sales prospecting process contemplates that you look for prospects all the time. It is an unending action, meaning you can always do better. 

Effective sales prospecting for leads requires you to make notes, evaluate your progress, create a list of lead locations, monitor people's reaction, and test the various approaches. 

Therefore, upon the conversation with a prospect, check whether you get all the right info or how good your answers are. For instance, you can check whether you:

  • Identified the issues or obstacles;

  • Determined the source of the lead;

  • Defined the budget of the prospect;

  • Provided enough value;

  • Shared an effective plan;

  • Recognized who is responsible for buying decisions;

  • Analyzed outcomes and risks in case of failed communication.

As a result, if you see that you lack certain information or believe you missed something, it means that you can advance your sales prospecting process. Ensure that your first touches are solid, that your scripts work, and that your personalization is on point. Discovering patterns and effective sales prospecting steps will help you a lot in the long run.

How to prospect for sales leads on social media?

Social media platforms have become a vital source of leads. With access to the data, advertising features, and reach capacities, social media sales prospecting becomes the choice of many salespeople. 

We have collected effective prospecting tips and tricks that you can apply:   

  • Tip #1. Be a thought leader and develop a potential of a thought leader
  • Tip #2. Post content and be active
  • Tip #3. Work on your networking
  • Tip #4. Watch after career pages to know what your target needs 
  • Tip #5. Participate in discussions online

Tip #1. Be an expert and develop the potential of a thought leader

Before all, reputation is crucial for attracting and connecting with clients. Why? Self-education is one of the steps the B2B lead takes to buy a product.

Useful information is what senior managers and decision-makers seek on such platforms as LinkedIn. Thus, in terms of sales prospecting, proven expertise allows you to support your content pieces, insights, and solutions with authority and add credibility. 

By establishing yourself as a thought leader and building relationships with your connections, you'll be well-positioned to convert the prospect into the customer.

How to raise your expertise and develop yourself into a thought leader? With the following marketing methods that focus on value:

  1. Develop insightful and actionable pieces based on experience.

  2. Share actual case studies and solutions supported by 3rd party data.

  3. Do interviews with senior executives and other experts in the niche.

  4. Try to break through the noise via challenging ideas.

  5. Develop your own voice and approach.

  6. Share deep and accurate thoughts on specific issues.

Tip #2. Post content and be active

Also, one of the tips for prospecting on social media contemplates that you consistently post interesting materials. It is about being visible, raising awareness, and backing your credibility. What is better social proof than a post with reposts, comments, and likes?

Importantly, you can share news, your thoughts, comments on trends and major challenges, case studies, and e-books. Any reaction to your post can become an occasion to write a lead. Moreover, at some point, it can result in a webinar, being a great source of warm leads.

Note: An excellent tactic is to share a mix of news or stats and support them with your relevant comments, analysis or recommendations. Remember that the first 2-3 seconds are vital for capturing attention. 

Tip #3. Enlarge your network

Also, prospecting for sales leads on social media needs you to develop a solid network of contacts. It is beneficial due to several reasons. 

Firstly, for instance, on LinkedIn, this tactic allows you to access more profiles, meaning you can get better data on your leads. 

Secondly, it adds to credibility and relationship building. Sending an invitation may result in a meaningful conversation, a quality referral, or a request for a demo.

Even though we have already covered networking in terms of effective prospecting methods in sales, LinkedIn offers an excellent tool for doing it online and staying in leads’ eyesight.

Note: Use commonalities to start conversations and send invitations to connect. Think about what you have in common. Is it a niche, issue, place of work, education, event, or similar goal? Your request should not be about the product; do not hurry to sell; instead, offer help first.

Tip #4. Watch after career pages to know what your target needs

Here is an effective prospecting tip for B2B businesses: if you represent a tech service or product, track the updates of the targeted company. In B2B prospecting, the opportunities for sales arise when the targeted business opens a new position, offers promotions, or restructures the work.

You can identify sales possibilities by tracking career pages and changes in experts' careers. For instance, if a company opens numerous sales positions, help them optimize the work by offering a CRM, automation suite, or a new advanced package. 

The same applies to prospecting for sales leads when your target is a person who starts a new job. Target them, knowing that they will have new challenges.

Note: On LinkedIn, use Sales Navigator to mark those with whom you interacted or had a meeting. After they move to a new job, you will be notified, so it is the way to track the buyer intent data.

Extract email addresses of leads straight from Sales Navigator and contact prospects via email

If you are communicating with a lead on LinkedIn, but they fail to answer, get their corporate email and push a deal

Use LinkedIn extractor

Tip#5. Participate in discussions online

Lastly, what about prospecting sales tips related to engagement with a lead? Do not hesitate to start a conversation online. 

If you search by a keyword and see an open question, a clear call for help, or a poll to participate in, take your chance. The actionable advice or a comment with a clear root validation can be the grabber you are looking for.

Thus, participate in various conversations on social media platforms. If it is LinkedIn, utilize groups and search by keywords. On Twitter, you will likely find threads with active discussion by a hashtag. Share your insights there.

Once you get a reaction, it is a signal to send an invite or DM and share a link leading to your website. It is how you identify warm leads and benefit from the social media sales prospecting process.

Effective prospecting tips for cold outreach

You already know the golden rules of sales prospecting: do not sell in first messages, offer value, and prospect your sales lead daily. That way, you develop relationships with leads that are important for trust and long-term effect on the sales pipeline.

Yet, what are other tips for effective email prospecting?

Tip #1. Use a mix of emails, cold calls, LinkedIn touches

Tip #2. Ensure you add a social proof

Tip #3. Personalize based on intent data

Tip #4. Focus on one problem per an email

Tip #5. Develop a strategy for sales objection and break up emails

Tip #6. Invite your SEO to the sales prospecting process

Tip #1. Use a mix of emails, cold calls, LinkedIn touches

It is helpful to have various options to approach a lead. In particular, you may start a sales prospecting process on LinkedIn but get no answer from a lead upon reacting to the post or comment.  

In this case, you may use an InMail or extracted email address to send them a follow-up to the personal or corporate inbox. What next? Seeing that online communication is not effective enough, you should apply cold calling to talk via phone. If they have answered, you have a good reason to push communication.

We know you may be waiting for prospecting tips and tricks from the best salespeople, but here is a practical one from Adam Purvis,  BDR and Account Manager at Coconut Software. He heavily relies on multiple touches and considers them very helpful:

«An effective sales prospecting strategy involves multiple emails, cold calls, and LinkedIn touches over a 2-4 week period or longer, with messaging that addresses the specific problems your product solves for your prospect.»

Note: Salespeople actively use databases with phone numbers to contact decision-makers. However, only half of B2B leads want to be contacted by phone.

Tip #2. Ensure you add a social proof

Effective prospecting requires a certain level of trust to you from the lead. When you approach someone for the first time, you need something to prove that you or your product is legit. In many cases, it is about social proof. One of the tips for sales prospecting is to include social proof in the signature. 

For instance, if you are a salesperson working for a SaaS company, insert a picture with the G2 or Capterra ratings or mention a specific industry award in the bottom block. They can help you to get, if not positive, at least an answer.

Tip #3. Personalize based on intent data

Personalization is known to improve open rates of sales prospecting messages. Yet, do you know what is better than personalization? Relevance! Now, imagine you have both: an issue you discovered at the research stage. That’s why intent data is crucial and can inspire your personalization.

For example, you see that your lead changed company, meaning they are likely to use a larger package or adopt a new system. For you, it is a chance to tackle a specific issue that you know they have due to your previous sales experience. 

In B2B prospecting within an ABM strategy, you can use intent data to personalize emails sent to the contacts for re-engagement. What can be such a signal? Again, the lead's promotion, moving to the new company, or the start of a recruiting campaign.

Notably, you can improve your personalization with special software. What are the sales prospecting tools to boost productivity in this regard?

  • Data enrichment tools

  • AI-powered personalization and predictive analytics

  • Sales intelligence with a focus on buyer intent

Tip #4. Focus on one problem per an email

Even if you know that your sales lead has several issues that you can help with, be specific and accurate. For sure, your product may be pretty universal. However, for effective email prospecting, you should make a lead focus on a single aspect. Why? It will add to the goal of the email and allow a clear CTA. 

If a single email becomes a sequence, do not limit yourself. You can include up to 2-3 problems if you have discussed the solution to the first one. Remember that you should make the conversation detailed and specific.

Tip#5. Develop a strategy for objection response and break up emails

Sales prospecting contemplates that you will hear «‎no»‎ often. You as well may be ghosted. Thus, develop a plan or a script to use in such situations. No one wants to be pushy, but we remember that 6th follow-up has the highest chance of a response. That way, you leave an opportunity for lead qualification and still respect the lead.

In case of objections, what sales prospecting steps should you take?

  1. Identify the root of it to repair the connection.

  2. Ask an open-ended question to understand how.

  3. Showcase how you helped others.

  4. Pick a rebuttal method: using denial, super point, or substitution.

Note: For a scenario when you get no answer, prepare an example of a compact break up email. Such emails are the last follow-up attempt, closing communication, and highlighting your suggested solutions or offers. 

Tip #6. Invite your CEO to email sales prospecting

Lastly, among all prospecting tips, this particular one may be great for small and medium companies in the B2B sphere. Senior executives or decision-makers will not respond to people or companies they barely know. It creates issues for small companies when they do B2B prospecting.

How can a salesperson give more weight to communication? By inviting a CEO to the conversation, or at least using their name. It leads to higher chances of getting a response, as the CEO may be more recognized, have a well-developed profile, and add credibility.

Summary: Key information about prospecting for sales leads

  • Sales prospecting contemplates identifying potential customers and contacting them for qualification as prospects; it is vital for business development, fueling the sales pipeline and conversion wheel. 

  • The popular sales and marketing prospecting methods refer to cold emailing and calling, networking, finding people via referrals, and social media prospecting.

  • Fueling the sales cycle requires the salespeople to research the leads, define their chances to become prospects, prepare a worthy pitch, and make a solid first touch with their issue in mind.

  • When prospecting on social media, you should focus on expertise, be active and post pieces, enlarge your network, watch after changes within the lead's profiles, and participate in discussions.

  • To develop an effective prospecting process, pick a strategy that will use a mix of emails, calls, and LinkedIn touches, provide enough social proof, focus on personalization, be accurate, and have a mechanism to cope with objections.

About author

Roman Gryshuk

Roman Gryshuk is registered as a content specialist in Ukraine. Overall, he has over 6 years of experience as a Content Writer.

Roman's top projects are writing content for UvoCorp, GetProspect, and EducateMe.

He juggles words to educate and share insights about digital marketing, content creation, and product promotion. Roman genuinely believes that a quality writing piece is the key to a fruitful conversation.