You want and need to determine potential buyers in order for your sales pipeline to be successful. Sales prospecting will get you those potential buyers, but how do you do it? Simple, by understanding the nature of it and by using good strategies like the one below!
Prospecting is the first stage of the sales process. It involves finding individuals or businesses that match your ideal audience and turning them into a sales opportunity. Once you have determined the opportunity, then the sales agent can begin the process of turning them into a customer.
Prospecting is a very important step in the sales process because it pushes leads further down the sales pipeline, which creates sales! When the process is done right it produces satisfied customers and allows your team to optimize their skills and time on the right accounts.
The big difference is who is being prospected. B2B is business to business and B2C is business to consumer. While both prospecting relationships have the same goals at hand, they do differ in the approaches to gaining those customers. Since the potential buyer for B2B and B2C prospecting is different, the seller has to approach their prospects with different tools and methods for the target market.
When a prospect turns into a potential buyer they go through what is called the ‘buyer journey’.
The buyer journey usually consists of 4 stages: attention, interest, desire and action.
Prospecting is what gets the potential buyer into the sales cycle/pipeline. During prospecting it is the sales agents job to determine if they are a good fit and gain the attention of the prospect. Understanding the prospects level of interest is important in qualifying or disqualifying a potential prospect. The sales agent also has another task at hand, which is to provide something of interest to the customer, so they will continue with a follow-up call or meeting or better yet a purchase! Ideally, the time spent prospecting is also a time to develop a relationship with the potential buyer and understand what they need from the product or service.
‘Prospecting vs lead generation’ is a term you likely hear all the time and they are likely used interchangeably. I can assure you that they are not the same and they do serve different purposes. Prospecting is when a sales agent speaks with a potential customer to determine their level of interest. In prospecting the potential buyer likely won’t know about the company. The sales agent is simply looking for candidates who fit the criteria of the target audience and trying to make contact.
In lead generation, however, it is a large marketing process in order to build awareness and engagement for a large target market. In lead generation the idea is to use many methods like blogs, social media, chat boxes, etc in order to find pre-qualified leads. These pre-qualified leads will become warm since they will have already engaged with the company through one or more of the methods used.
A sales prospecting action plan is a plan designed for the sales team that will outline the steps/process for identifying the potential customer and how to turn them into a customer.
Creating a sales prospecting action plan consist of six steps:
With each of these steps the sales team must keep in mind who the targeted audience is and how the targeted audience will respond to the plan.
There are many ways to prospect, but not every method should be used. Different methods can be used for different campaigns, customers, products, promotions, etc. A few tips for sales prospecting are through referrals of customers, email marketing, networking, webinars, following up, being an industry thought leader, and of course cold calling. Three of these in particular have proven to be very effective and depending on your sales action plan you may find them to be effective as well.
You want to know why cold calling works?
People see between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements a day. It is so easy for your company to be lost within the sea of advertisements a person sees on any given day. A phone call, however, is very hard to forget and would certainly gain the customers attention much more than an ad on the side of their computer screen.
When customers are able to talk to a live agent, they are able to connect with the company in a personal way and it is a great opportunity for them to ask questions from the source as well as resolve any concerns they might have.
People want to buy from a company they trust and while you can answer questions about your own product/service, it’s not necessarily enough to be an industry thought leader. If you can instill trust in the company by providing relevant and accurate information, people will look to your company for guidance and will trust you when it comes time to make a purchase.
Creating a blog, using the company social media platform, participating in keynote speeches, or providing platforms for customers to ask questions will all help in developing a reputation as an industry thought leader. Almost 60% of business decision makers said that thought leadership directly led to their awarding of business to an organization. Therefore, get familiar with industries that coincide with yours and be up-to-date on industry changes, so when the customers come asking, you will have the answers.
Just because the deal closed or was “lost” doesn’t mean it has to be closed or lost for good. Don’t let sales slip through the cracks because the timing wasn’t right for them or they weren’t currently in the marketing for the product.
This is where notes on a potential buyer come in handy. Knowing the reasons for them not being able to purchase, is very helpful in setting a time for a follow-up. If you don’t have great notes and don’t know what approach would be best for that potential buyer refer to these 8 sales prospecting techniques. You are bound to find one that will work for every situation and every “lost” lead.
There are many tools out there whose main purpose is to make your process easier and more efficient, such as ClaraLabs, which helps to schedule meetings. Using tools specifically designed for sales prospecting will create a noticeable difference in the time saved and the amount of effort needed to conduct daily tasks.
It is needless to say that telemarketers need to budget their time well in order to deliver the best results. Therefore, in 1-2 sentences state how telemarketers can invest in buying sales leads so that they can have/spend more time cold calling and deliver results.
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