Before salespeople even start getting into the mindset of talking to prospects, they first need to devise a well-thought-out prospecting strategy to find them.
Finding prospects can be tough and without a clear plan on how to attract them, salespeople will continuously find themselves with an empty pipeline as they look to boost their sales numbers.
When gold was discovered in California in the mid-19th century, people came from far and wide in search of the precious metal. In order to find it, they first had to engage in prospecting tactics to have the best chance of claiming their bounty.
Just as the California gold miners flourished thanks to mindful and strategic prospecting, salespeople can equally benefit from implementing effective prospecting tactics in their sales process.
This guide will discuss everything related to sales prospecting and we’re sure it can help salespeople in their own quest for gold!
Sales prospecting is the process of identifying and initiating contact with potential customers for your products or services. As the first step in the sales process, this is where salespeople really get started on their journey to sell their product.
There are a variety of ways to find prospects. Prospecting methods include cold calling, cold emailing, networking at events, or working alongside your marketing team to determine your most qualified leads. There are also many great sales prospecting tools that can help you accelerate the prospecting process.
When done effectively, prospecting can help salespeople save time and energy by knowing exactly who they should be pitching their products to, allowing them to craft and hone their message to maximize their selling efforts.
How to Prospect in Sales
Knowing how to prospect in sales is important. You need a well-thought-out plan in order to reach out to the right type of prospects and start conversations with them.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important prospecting strategies.
By identifying who your ideal buyer will be, you will know exactly who you should be pitching your product to, giving you an immediate advantage over your competitors before your first sales meeting. By creating buyer personas,salespeople can focus their pitch on prospects who are more likely to buy. This helps salespeople save time and increase their close rate.
Since not all buyers are the same and different ones have different needs and priorities, take time to customize your approach to each individual buyer. With your buyer personas created, you can easily tailor your message to a specific target audience and ensure you are saying the right things to the right people.
One prospecting tool that can help you find new leads is Badger Maps. Badger Maps allows you to search for prospects by business category and view their location and contact information on the go.
Let's say you are selling sports equipment and you are looking for all the sports retailers in your territory. By typing the word sports in the search bar, reps can find all the businesses that deal in sports in their territory which will instantly appear on their interactive maps.
Badger Maps is also capable of much more. It’s an all-in-one field sales tool that allows you to plan your day in seconds, eliminate busy work by updating your CRM data from anywhere in the field, optimize your routes on the go, follow up with your customers, and much more!
How are you going to talk to your prospects? You can pick up the phone and cold call, you can message leads on Linkedin, or you can chat with them in person. Each of these communication methods is different, so you need to tailor your message accordingly.
Cold calling requires a steady and focused voice. People tend to be wary when it comes to answering unknown numbers so if you’re lucky enough to make contact with your prospect, be confident in yourself and what you have to say to make an instant impression.
When it comes to social media, users will often have their guard down and be more open to new and exciting opportunities. With a polished online presence, prospects will be able to get a good sense of who you are and what you’re all about, raising the chances of them trusting you. Social media can also help salespeople discover prospects who may have originally missed their radar.
When meeting prospects in person, it’s important to first know where they’re going to be! A potential buyer for your product can be anywhere from a networking event to a trade show, so knowing where your prospects arecan help you focus on perfecting your in-person sales pitch.
With in-person meetings, you can really sell yourself and show your prospects why they should buy from you. You can dress sharp, or casual, to connect on a personal level with your prospect.
So you’ve met with your prospects. You’ve presented a perfect pitch and left a lasting impression on them. But they haven’t taken the bait.
According to Hubspot’s 2024 Sales Strategy and Trends Report, the number of interactions it takes to make a sale is growing. On average, it can take up to eight touchpoints to make a sale. Touchpoints can be anything from your initial contact through a phone call or email all the way to a dinner meeting. So the time it takes for a prospect to commit to a purchase can vary.
After initial contact, salespeople should let their prospects breathe for a minute. When it comes to making a purchase, people are more measured than ever in signing on the dotted line. Once you’ve waited a couple of weeks, reach out again. Your prospect might be more clear-minded and ready to really talk at that time.
This is when you should ramp up your touchpoints and zone in on making a sale. Some may bite straight away, some may take a bit longer. But it’s important to stay the course as the rewards at the end will be fruitful.
Consistency is key
Being consistent in any practice is vital to ensure its continued success. Prospecting is no different and it’s important for salespeople to always keep on top of it.
As a salesperson who every month is faced with new targets to hit, it’s vital to always have a full pipeline of prospects ready to pitch to. If too much time is spent on closing deals, salespeople can end up with no new incoming prospects and watch their sales dry up.
Prospecting can be hard and that’s why it’s often forgotten about amidst the fun and fanfare that’s involved with closing deals. But remember, the closed deals all came from somewhere - effective sales prospecting!
As the first step in the sales process, the importance of prospecting shouldn’t be downplayed. An effective prospecting process will lay the foundation for all your future customer interactions.
Through careful and measured prospecting, salespeople can significantly add to their sales pipeline.
Understanding the World of Your Customer
Communicating directly with potential customers can give salespeople a clear picture of what’s going on in the world of their target audience. By knowing customer pain points and what’s troubling them, salespeople can position themselves as an effective solution to their needs, opening up viable pathways to closing the deal.
With all of the information out there online, customers can get all the information they need at the touch of a button. So if a customer seeks out a salesperson for information, they should seize the opportunity to pitch their product as the customer will be more than willing to start a conversation.
With your prospect engaging in conversation, you can start to get to know them on a personal level and show that you truly care about them, opening the door for you to position your product as the solution they need. This level of trust created at the prospecting stage can ensure that you, and not your competitors, are the ones making the all-important sale at the end of the day.
Remember - the more you know about your customer, the more you will be able to predict their needs and desires and tailor your messaging accordingly.
Your metrics and MRR only tell one side of the story. Listening to what your prospects are telling you about your product is vital as it’s a surefire way to determine whether or not you’re heading in the right direction with your selling efforts. If a prospect is enthusiastic about what you’re pitching to them, you can be confident that you’ll find others who are in the same boat.
On the other hand, if your prospects turn cold when they start hearing more about your product, this can be a good sign that you need to change your approach. You can use this as research that you can bring back to the product design department who can make tweaks in order to sell to a wider audience.
Although your main goal is to sell your product, never forget that you must cater to the needs of your customers first!
It can be foolish for salespeople to go out thinking they are number one and that there isn’t a better product than theirs on the market. In the world of sales, it’s important to be confident in yourself and your product, but what’s equally important is knowing exactly who is out there on the playing field with you.
By talking directly with prospects, salespeople can gain new customers while at the same time conducting market research on their competitors who they may already be in conversation with.
Listening to what your prospects are saying about your competitors can help salespeople discover what they are doing well and formulate a plan to ensure they surpass them to have the #1 product on the market.
As we’ve seen, good sales prospecting can lead to an endless amount of new opportunities. Building strong relationships with your prospects will not only allow you to convert them into paying customers, you can also watch your sales multiply through successful referral campaigns.
Customers who are happy with their newly purchased product will spread the word to their friends, family, and work colleagues, allowing for unlimited revenue growth that occurs in a natural and organic way.
Referrals can also bring customers to you who are more likely to make that final purchase. After being informed of your product by someone close to them, they already have a degree of trust and aren’t walking into a sales meeting suspiciously. This is good for you as the prospect will be more inclined to open up, allowing you the opportunity to close the deal.
Remember, the best prospects are the ones who can refer others to you, helping you boost your sales with minimal effort!
Although the lines can be blurred, prospecting and lead generation are different. The end goal for each is slightly different and they are done by different company teams. Prospecting is more often than not led by sales teams while lead generation is usually handled by marketing teams.
So how exactly are they different?
Prospecting is a sales activity that is done by speaking to potential customers on a one-on-one basis. Although sales teams should have a long-term prospecting strategy in place, the time it takes to prospect with individuals is relatively short.
Salespeople research and identify prospects themselves in order to move prospects through the sales process and close deals. Ways of doing this are through cold calls, emails, social selling, and in-person meetings.
Lead generation on the other hand is mostly led by marketing teams. This is a long-term strategy that can take months or even years to develop successfully.
Lead generation tactics include creating engaging landing pages on your website, blog content, or lead magnets.
Sales prospecting software can improve the way you discover and engage with prospects. When leveraged properly, the tools listed below can help you pinpoint the best prospects for your business and create a personalized sales strategy to win those deals.
So let’s take a look at some of the best sales prospecting tools on the market today!
Badger Maps is the ultimate sales prospecting tool for anyone in field sales. The interactive map helps salespeople get a clearer picture of what’s going on in their territory and allows them to prioritize prospects on a case-by-case basis.
Sales reps know that on any given day anything can happen. From no-shows to meetings getting canceled at the last minute, a day in the field can include many surprises. With the Badger Maps Lead Generation tool, these problems disappear.
“We’ve identified over a thousand qualified leads that were not already in our CRM thanks to Badger”.
Director of Sales, GeoSearch
The tool allows sales reps to search for prospects by business category and view their location and contact information at the touch of a button.
Badger Maps is the best prospecting software for field sales reps as it allows them to create routes with up to 120 stops.
With Badger Maps, the average sales team of 10 reps saves $11k per year in gas. They also sell $936k more the year, as they use that extra time to meet with more prospects.
Being able to create a route with multiple stops will allow reps to effortlessly plan for the week ahead. By having their routes planned out in advance, sales reps are able to spend more time with their prospects.
Sales teams can also mobilize their CRM with Badger Maps, allowing them to access and update customer info directly from the field. This enables field teams to sync and leverage data in their CRM, all from their phone. Badger Maps can integrate with leading CRMs such as HubSpot, Salesforce, ZohoZoho, Microsoft Dynamics, Insightly, NetSuite, and many more.
So whether a prospect cancels their appointment or you just have some spare time on your hands, you’ll find opportunities around every corner with Badger Maps!
Sign up for a free trial today and power up your sales prospecting!
Overloop is a tool that not only helps you find the right prospects, it also allows you to contact them directly, all from one easy-to-use dashboard.
This is useful as you don’t have to move your customer information from one place to another to strike up a conversation. You can also sync up your existing email account in order to migrate all of your contacts.
Once you’ve got all of your email addresses on Overloop, you can use built-in cold email campaign scheduling to set a multistep outreach - all this without the need to send a single outreach email manually. This can be beneficial for small teams that want to do this tedious and time-consuming part of sales more effectively.
Gong is a revenue platform that leverages artificial intelligence to analyze phone and email conversations. This can help sales teams by providing them with high-quality insights which will give them a clear picture of exactly what is going on in their customer interactions. This will help them understand what they are doing well, and what they are not.
Gong can also help sales teams by providing personalized recommendations on what leads they should follow, allowing reps to focus on their most important customers.
Crunchbase is a database service that provides business data on both public and private companies. Sales teams can discover prospects that fit their ideal buyer personas. They can also find verified contact details and reach out to them directly.
Crunchbase also provides in-depth financials including funding rounds, investors, investments, and acquisitions. This can be useful as it can allow sales teams to really know who they are pitching to and make sure they are hitting all the right notes in their sales presentations.
Owler is a cloud-based competitive intelligence platform that allows salespeople to find new prospects and view important information such as who’s on the leadership team of a company, a list of competitors, and revenue and employee count estimates.
With Owler's competitor graph, salespeople can find hundreds of companies that match their current customer base and provide them with exciting opportunities to increase their revenue streams.
Users can also get curated, real-time alerts informing them of the latest sales news.
There’s a treasure trove of information available to you if you’re looking to discover more about the world of sales prospecting. High-quality resources such as books and podcasts from some of the leading experts in the field can help you as you look to gain a competitive edge over your competitors.
Let’s take a look at some of the best content that’s out there.
In Fanatical Prospecting, Jeb Blount outlines his innovative approach to prospecting that works for real people, in the real world, with real prospects. Successful prospecting incorporates multiple touches across multiple channels. In this book, salespeople can learn how to text, email, call, and socially engage with buyers.
This book is filled with the high-powered strategies, techniques, and tools that salespeople can use to fill their pipelines with high-quality opportunities.
No matter how much repeat business you get from loyal customers, the lifeblood of your business is a constant flow of new accounts. Packed with examples and anecdotes, New Sales. Simplified. by Mike Weinberg offers a proven formula for generating new sales.
This book provides a detailed process for sourcing, developing, and closing deals. From drafting a compelling “sales story” to making time in your calendar for business development activities, Mike explains the secrets to establishing trust with your customers and getting more sales.
Search engines and social media have certainly changed how prospecting pipelines for salespeople are built today, but the vitality of the pipeline itself has not. Even today, the key to success for every salesperson is a pipeline of prospects.
In High-Profit Prospecting, sales expert Mark Hunter shatters costly prospecting myths and eliminates confusion about what works today. This book will teach you how to find better leads, tailor your timing and message, use social media effectively, leverage referrals, get past gatekeepers, and much more.
The Outside Sales Talk podcast is the best sales podcast for field salespeople looking to learn more about the latest sales trends.
Featuring stellar sales thought leaders such as Jeb Blount, Tiffany Bova, John Barrows, Mark Hunter, Anthony Iannarino, and Viveka von Rosen, this podcast hosted by Steve Benson is an excellent resource to keep up with constantly evolving sales strategies.
From time management to relationship building, the podcast covers a variety of topics. Check out this playlist with curated episodes on Prospecting!
Jeb Blount is the bestselling author of 15 of the most definitive books ever written on sales. He believes that sales professionals are the elite athletes of the business world. On the Sales Gravy podcast, Jeb teaches salespeople how to open more doors, close bigger deals, and rock their commission check.
The Sales Gravy Podcast has been described as “passionate, motivating, and essential for Sales Professionals and leaders who want to win and win big!”
The Practical Prospecting Podcast is a relatively new podcast that shares practical tips on how to improve your outbound prospecting methods.
This podcast is brought to you by the sales engagement tool Mailshake and its hosts Jed & Maggie share their years of experience in sales while providing listeners with actionable steps that they can use to boost their outbound productivity and success.
Prospecting is the first step in the sales process. If you don’t have a steady stream of new prospects in your pipeline, you definitely won’t have a lot of customers waiting to buy your product!
So make sure you know how to identify who your buyers are and implement the strategies listed above to ensure you have a healthy pipeline of prospects ready to go!
MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT SALES PROSPECTING
What is prospecting in sales?
Sales prospecting is the process of identifying and initiating contact with potential customers for your products or services. As the first step in the sales process, this is where salespeople can start to see the end goal for the product or service they are selling.
How to write a prospecting email
The best way to write a prospecting email is to keep it short and sweet, know what you’re pitching, and most importantly, know who you’re pitching to.
How to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator for prospecting
To use LinkedIn Sales Navigator for prospecting you can take advantage of the LeadBuilder tool which allows you to develop a targeted and relevant sales pipeline.
Why is prospecting important?
Prospecting is important because it helps you to understand the world of your customer, get feedback on your product, and gain insights into your customers.
How to place the successful sales and prospecting call
You can have success on your prospecting calls by doing extensive research in order to be fully prepared when speaking with prospects.