How Prospecting can help you in increasing your sales (Best Practices)
Sales Prospecting is exciting for some and daunting for many, but it is essential in the growth of your business.
Being an essential part of the sales process, businesses must get it right.
Before we begin unfolding how Prospecting can help you in increasing your sales, let’s quickly go through what it is and why it matters.
Table of Contents
- 1 Prospecting in sales: what is it and why does it matter?
- 2 Sales prospecting methods
- 3 Sales prospecting process
- 4 Best practices in prospecting to increase sales
Prospecting in sales: what is it and why does it matter?
In the simplest terms, prospecting is the process of identifying potential customers for your business. It is a step in the sales process where a lead is converted into a prospect.
Now, a lead is a part of the “unqualified” database, whereas a prospect is someone who has been qualified and is ready to be moved further through the sales funnel.
Why prospecting matters is because not all leads are going to be your customers. Prospecting helps you identify who will actually bring business to you.
This is why it is important to get it right. Time, quantity, and quality are everything that matters in sales, and not doing it right does not only consume most of your time but brings down the sales numbers, too.
Sales prospecting methods
There are two main methods to sales prospecting: inbound and outbound prospecting.
Inbound prospecting is when you reach out to a lead that has shown interest in your product or service. They have either responded to a message you put out on social media, an email, or they may have visited your website and placed an inquiry there.
Outbound prospecting is a rather cold approach where you reach out to leads that have shown no prior interest in your product or service. Cold calling, emails, social media, etc. are some of the ways through which communication with unqualified leads is initiated.
Among the two, inbound prospecting is a much more convenient way to prospect. Your business’ positioning and messaging must be relevant to your target audience to get more inbound leads. This ensures that they show genuine interest in your product or service.
What is important in both methods is to find a good fit for your business. Sales is not just numbers, quality is equally important.
Sales prospecting process
Prospecting can be broadly classified into four steps that are:
Once you have determined who your target audience is, the next step is to research even more deeply. To ensure that the prospecting process is efficient, you have to determine the quality of your leads.
Again, not all are meant to be your customers, hence thorough research is important to not just find the ideal customers, but to save a lot of time.
After you are done researching, the next step is to connect with the leads. While connecting, you don’t always get through to the decision-maker. There are gatekeepers, like lower management executives, you must get past.
If you are targeting a large enterprise, dead-ends are sure to come. But in such organizations, there are plenty of touch-points. A quality you must imbibe here is persistence. Once you reach the decision-maker, your pitch will matter.
Evaluation is like the climax of a movie when the main developments take place. You pitch your product or service and then evaluate whether or not your offering is something that the contact really needs.
Also, there are going to be various objections like budget issues, lack of urgency, time constraints, questions about your offer, etc. At this stage, it is critical to be well-versed with everything, so that handling these objections does not turn into a terrifying experience.
This is the final stage where your lead has been successfully qualified as a prospect. You now have gotten over the initial objections, know the problems and requirements of the prospect, what is left is closing the deal.
It is either won or lost, perhaps not lost forever. The prospect may change their mind and may ask you to contact them later. So, for now, they may be lost, but they remain in your sales funnel if they are open to future negotiation.
Best practices in prospecting to increase sales
We put in a lot of time and effort in prospecting. But the hours spent in it are not always productive. Meaning, a lot of our valuable time is wasted on leads that are not a good fit for our business.
This unproductivity can be accounted for by a lack of proper research, sales management tools, and more.
Explained below are practices that you must follow to ensure smarter prospecting.
Before buying anything, we all look for it online or ask our friends or family about it. Why not the same while prospecting?
Research is paramount for anything you do and is also the most important aspect of prospecting. It’s crucial to ensure that your leads are qualified and that you are not putting in time following up with the wrong set of leads.
Strategize and be consistent
Following a definite “process” pays off in the end. While prospecting, you need to follow certain steps and be consistent about it.
Your calls, emails, posts, etc. should be consistent. They should not be like a hundred one day and just twenty the next day. The key to a thriving sales pipeline is following a sound strategy and keeping a consistent approach.
Have utmost clarity on your customer type
Just 25% of people meet their sales quota and one of the reasons behind such a low percentage is that a majority of them target the wrong customers.
A lot of time is wasted trying to connect with a lead who would eventually reveal not to be a good fit. To overcome this, narrow your list down by the factors that are relevant to your business like location, age group, business size, etc., and personalize your reach.
Prospecting involves a lot of repetitive tasks like manual dialing, maintaining lead and prospect information on multiple excel sheets, keeping track of every follow-up, and a lot more that affects your productivity adversely.
Fortunately, many sales management tools in the market take care of all the mundane tasks and streamline the process to help you maximize your efforts. You must streamline how you connect and engage with your leads, unless you do that, there will always be an unresolved unclarity.
Calls and emails are not the only ways to connect with your leads. Luckily, we are in an age where we have so many options available to communicate with our target audience.
It has become easier to reach potential customers. You must concentrate on building a strong presence on the media channels where your potential customers are highly likely to engage. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. are some places where you can easily contact and be contacted by prospects.
Focus on your message/pitch
Know your product or service well and be clear on which group is likely to benefit from it. Draft your sales pitch or your social media messages, emails, etc. accordingly.
It’s important to be relevant and precise, otherwise, no one will be sure about whether to connect or not. And while on a call, keep a script handy. It helps you be precise and gives a sense of direction. Be sure to include everything that must be said.
Stay up to date
Keep track of everyone you get in touch with and all the necessary information related to them like their requirements or certain issues.
Don’t let gaps come in the process, ensure you don’t miss out on follow-ups or lose a piece of highly critical information. Stay up to date both in terms of the information you handle and the techniques you use in handling your prospecting.
Prospecting in sales doesn’t have to be a difficult task. There are so many ways in which you can make your first contact exciting and fruitful. Consistently follow a strategic process and make sure to implement the right sales management tools to obtain desired results.
NeoBiz is one such sales management tool that streamlines your sales and customer engagement process and lets you manage sales right from your phone. You can download it by clicking here.