Any business should know that the sales team is directly responsible for the amount of income you generate. As a result, businesses must ensure that the sales representatives are making the most of their time.
Prospecting is a crucial component of sales, even though many salespeople dislike it.
Unfortunately, most sales representatives use poor and antiquated sales prospecting approaches rather than practical practices, resulting in a more extensive amount of well-qualified prospects (and making them more partial to prospecting).
In brief, prospecting builds a pipeline of possible customers and helps to portray you as a trusted counsel. It also assists you in focusing on the proper accounts.
Read on to learn more about the intricacies of sales prospecting and how different it is from lead generation. The art of finding and securing leads is not very easy, and we have taken up the challenge to simplify the basics for you in this article ahead.
What is Sales Prospecting?
Sales prospecting is a process that the inside sales representatives carry out to make outbound calls or send outbound emails to their leads with the hope that it'll create opportunities for account executives. Prospecting involves cold-calling, emailing, SMS texts, and other forms of reaching out to nurture the leads that have gone cold or try to reach entirely new people who could be potential buyers. Various inside sales organizations have achieved success by hiring dedicated sales prospectors in their companies.
Notably, "prospect" and "lead" aren't the same thing, and they shouldn't be used in place of one another. Every prospect is a lead, but every lead isn't always a prospect:
A lead is any potential client who's shown interest in some of the products. But they aren't a good fit for us right now, necessarily. Dialogue with them is pretty much a one-sided affair. They are more or fewer people who are strangers just present on our mailing list.
While a prospect, on the other hand, is a lead that fits the buyer profile perfectly and has the mandatory means/budget, and conversations with a prospect are more likely to work, as a prospect shows interest in the things you talk about.
Sales prospecting generates prospects and takes them along the sales funnel until they become clients. If something qualifies a lead as a possible customer, they will become a prospect. This could imply that the lead fits the target buyer's persona or that the lead has already indicated an interest in the brand (clicked on the website, came to a landing page, etc.). When a lead is converted into a prospect, the actual job begins.
What is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is a sales and marketing hybrid in which your organization identifies and contacts qualified sales leads, i.e., potential clients for your products and services. Consider an inverted funnel with the wide end at the top as an analogy.
A lead generation program is brought into effect, increases awareness about the brand, builds relationships, generates genuine leads, etc. The better the quality of leads the sales team is directed to, the more leads will result in actual sales. By doing this, the company witnesses growth, while there is also the growing belief for the marketing dept, showing actual results.
Previously, traditional marketing methods such as email blasts were sufficient to attract customers; however, rising competition and information make it more difficult for firms to track, reach, and interact with potential clients.
Lead generation and lead management, or the marketing process of generating and capturing interest in a product or service to create a sales pipeline, allows firms to nurture leads until they are ready to buy. Lead generation benefits all businesses, regardless of size or industry, and may be used in B2C and B2B settings.
How to Identify Leads?
Today the independent buyer is overburdened with information, so it's essential to find new, creative, and attractive ways to cut through the static and reach potential customers.
A qualified lead is a prospect identified beforehand by the marketing department as a potential customer before being passed on to sales. This drive comes from things that the lead tells you or suggests with their behavior.
Finding a good lead is more compound than just targeting individuals who downloaded some white paper. The sales representatives must not waste any time ringing unqualified leads continuously when there are ways to clear the pool.
Qualifying the leads is a time-saving activity, but it does need some work on the sales team's end. The meaning of a quality lead will vary from one company to the other as the company's products or services offered can be highly distinct.
Lead generation, a process of attracting interest in any product or service to create a sales pipeline, allows a company to foster targets until they are ready to buy. 60% of dealers say that lead generation is a significant pain point for their company.
Lead generation has been in practice for a long time, but ways have altered from simply finding a consumer early on in their sales journey and sending the sales team their way. The optimum place to begin when determining quality leads is by tracking all incoming leads. An example of tracking lead info is from the website forms and marketing campaign software. Here are a few tricks to qualify leads that align with your business goals:
Turn to automation
Manually entering the findings into a spreadsheet can be time-consuming and challenging to manage at times, which is why lead management software is recommended.
Marketing automation software automatically allows you to set criteria for your leads to qualify based on demographics or actions. This is why developing a qualified consumer persona is so important: the more exact you can be when defining the criteria, the better your automation software will be at sorting them out. Concentrate on habits, industries, geographies, demographics, firm size, and so on, then sit back and allow your program to do the heavy lifting.
Analyze based on current clientele
Work backwards to determine what a qualified lead looks like by identifying the characteristics of your present clientele. Every client was previously a qualified lead, thus investigating their patterns will undoubtedly teach you something. You can then create a qualified client persona based on the attributes and behaviours connected with your specific lead pool.
To begin, consider your most successful clients - those you've had the longest. These are the most satisfied customers with your product or service, and they reflect the types of customers you wish to attract.
Consider what they have in common, such as their industry, goals, and steps to ensure success. All of these factors can give you a good idea of what your most qualified leads are.
Networking and gaining insights from the sales team
Asking probing questions to the sales representatives can get the business to the heart of what qualified leads look like from their perspective. What types of businesses and people do they have the most fruitful interactions with? What level of expertise do qualified leads have about your industry, product or service, and associated software?
This practice accomplishes several goals for you. For starters, it provides a wealth of information that you can subsequently utilize to qualify leads.
It can also be highly beneficial when generating sales enablement content and other marketing materials to target your most qualified prospects' interests and pain points.
Why is attracting leads important to a business?
Any business needs to generate ample leads. Without them, almost all the businesses would lack sales and consumer growth. Organizations can't count on their intuition; they need advanced plans for the types of consumers they aim to attract.
Lacking such a strategy can cause a company uncertainty about what kind of people it should target– and without the details, most companies will have trouble generating leads. Typical businesses, therefore, need a constant supply of potential consumers to sustain their business in the long run.
Most marketing teams consider lead quantity when judging the success of a lead generation effort. Sales teams, on the other hand, place a premium on lead quality. Quality leads are those who have demonstrated an interest in buying your products, have the financial resources to do so, and meet the requirements you set.
When a business prioritizes lead quality, the odds of converting a lead into a customer skyrocket. Higher conversion rates will allow you to invest more confidently in your quality leads, enhancing your ROI. Below are a few points that throw light as to why attracting leads to the business can be fruitful:
- Helps in building target audience: Companies can focus the resource on targeting specific markets, saving money, and increasing sales if they target the appropriate prospects and not blindly convince any lead that comes their way.
- Helps in increasing awareness: Lead generation can build brand awareness and reputation. When people find out about the brand, we will be able to provide them with additional info concerning the features and benefits of the product.
- Higher chances of collecting prospect information: Lead generation has the prospective to gather valuable marketing information from prospects. Customer details regarding needs, want, and inclination can assist in making the product and the service suit the customers' needs.
- Helps in building loyalty for a brand: Companies can aim to build vast communities of compatible consumers, which will, in turn, make the customers more loyal.
To summarize, lead generation is a critical component of worldwide business growth and expansion. A company's ability to acquire new customers determines its success.
Lead generation is critical for driving massive traffic to a company's website, increasing sales and conversion rates, and expanding the audience base. B2B marketers' fundamental goal is to develop successful lead generation tactics to communicate directly with customers.
Steps to attract qualified sales leads
Before jumping into the steps, it is essential to understand the difference between qualified and average leads.
Those who will profit from the product or service you offer are qualified leads. They will participate in surveys or opt-in forms because they believe they have a stake in what you're offering and want to be notified of new offers and promotions. They'll be curious to read your articles or blogs to learn more about your product or service.
On the other hand, average leads may show some curiosity but are much less likely to convert. Average leads require a more extensive sales effort to persuade them to buy. The bottom line is that the extra time and effort are usually not worth it.
Devise a content calendar
You'll then create a content plan based on what you learned in step two. Your material should be tailored to the stage of the buyer's journey where your potential consumer is: awareness, contemplation, or decision.
Your approach can include content like free checklists, ebooks, and tips at the awareness stage. You can distribute content like case studies and free samples during the consideration stage.
A potential consumer is primed to buy by the time they reach the decision stage. This stage's material should include free trials, demos, and coupons to drive them over the finish line.
Your goal is to generate helpful material persuading potential customers to give you their contact information, such as an email address. This behaviour indicates that they trust you, and you've progressed from being merely a resource to a valuable collaborator in a business-customer relationship.
Build a practical approach for the sales team
Asking frequent questions that prospects ask early in the sales process is an example of this. You should also identify the types of consumer objections you regularly face, as well as the strategies you employ to deal with them.
Consider how sales play a role in defining content for your marketing campaign. Imagine that your ideal customer is constantly bombarded with requests for their budget.
There is a steady stream of requests, but your customer has priorities regarding the issues they choose to invest in. You've just built a topic cluster for that trigger that drives consumers to buy if you understand these themes and define in-depth content for each of them, as well as a cluster of articles that pertain to them.
Create numerous digital funnels to attract and convert your ideal prospects by defining several topic clusters that connect to their priorities.
As you can see, your current sales process and techniques contain a wealth of valuable data that you should take advantage of. Your initial content will be driven by this exercise, which is part of our material planning work.
Events, fairs, and conferences can be sponsored or attended
Another example of prospecting actively to find sales-ready leads. It is beneficial to the company's market presence and positioning to attend or support corporate/business events and conferences. More than that, networking can be a terrific way to meet people who may have a problem that your solution can solve.
This is because attendees at corporate events are more likely to learn about new ideas, techniques, and products that will help them improve their procedures and grow their business.
Discover if there are any extraordinary events around you now that you know this. Create your meetup or event if you don't already have one! Start small, with a few dozens of people, then work your way up.
Corporate events are well-known for attracting the attention of decision-makers and influencers.
Some sponsorship categories allow you to convey communications to a targeted audience and exhibit your solution. That way, they'll be more likely to visit your website and learn more about what you have to offer.
Make Customer Service a Secret Weapon for You
Everyone appreciates excellent customer service, but they don't expect to receive it until they've signed up for something or purchased something.
Customer service is usually found near the end of the sales funnel. It does not have to be this way. It shouldn't be, in reality. At the top of the sales funnel, customer care is a tried and true method of converting prospects into customers.
The response time taken by the customer support is just as crucial here as it is at the other end of the funnel.
When customers ask inquiries about your products, at least half of them want a response within an hour. The faster you respond, the more likely you are to turn a lead into a sale or at the very least maintain their attention.
The faster you respond, the more likely you are to develop a positive rapport with the prospect if you wait more than two days to answer—your chances of landing a prospect decline to fewer than 1%.
Prospects perceive a prompt answer from you as a genuine attempt to reach out to them by exhibiting a sincere desire to solve their problem.
Create a company blog
By starting a blog for your company, you may start a conversation with potential customers. A blog is essential for improving your SEO and search results—the more blog content you produce, the more chances you'll have to rank in search results for several keywords connected to your industry. As a result, your ideal prospective consumer is more likely to come across you.
Don't believe you can throw one together and go from there, given how vital a blog is for your business. Like any other aspect of your inbound marketing activities, your blog requires planning, including a content calendar to assure consistency and a strategy for distributing and promoting that information.
Although consistency is vital, remember that a few thoughtful, thorough, and valuable postings are preferable to a large number of short, low-quality posts. Don't just make a post for the sake of making a post.
Finally, your blog must professionally deliver your content—you'll need professional writing skills for this.
If you don't have these talents on your team, you can hire a freelancer or a marketing firm to cover the gap. Furthermore, these experts can assist with content creation. Still, many also have experience with SEO, link-building, and other related aspects, all of which may help you get the most out of your content investment.
Engaging on social media
In various ways, social media is beneficial to marketing. To begin with, it provides an online hub where your most devoted admirers may congregate. And those fans can like, comment on, and share your material on their own, effectively recruiting more leads.
It's also one of the most effective ways for you to communicate directly with your customers. Your followers can utilize social media to provide feedback, ask questions, or tell you about their experiences with your products or services. Keep in touch with your consumers, respond to their interactions with your profile, and use this opportunity to assist, support, and encourage them to show that you care.
Furthermore, you can use social media to generate and distribute tailored content. From polls and infographics to engaging videos, you can create unique content for social media. At the same time, you may engage your audience by repurposing content from your website and other platforms.
A finding from the State of Inbound 2018 Global Report: When asked what content distribution channels organizations plan to add to their marketing efforts in the next 12 months, YouTube and Facebook came out on top with 45 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively.
To put it another way, they're employing video marketing techniques to generate more quality leads.
Videos work great as visual exposure to your content effectively spreads the word about your business, products, and services. You can upload a series of webinars and record them for future viewings instead of a 2-minute video on your website (which is about as long as any visitor is willing to sit through).
Better yet, combine the two.
Unlike TV infomercials, which trend toward complicated sales and overstated claims, your videos should undoubtedly be soft sells, evoking comfort, hope, and want to buy. They should emphasize the difficulties you can solve and the benefits your products or services providers can make the viewer's life easier than competing products or services.
Allow the customer to make the decision - in their mind.
Make a buyer persona for your business
You need to know who your consumer is before you can start marketing to them—as tempting as it may be to think "everyone" is your customer, not everyone will buy your products or services.
You want to fine-tune your content so that it resonates with the client who most wants and needs what you have to offer—in other words, someone who is likely to convert into a sale, not just a member of a broad audience.
The buyer persona has a role in this. This is a crucial stage that should not be overlooked.
Surveys and quizzes
Quizzes and surveys are an underappreciated source of qualified leads. They're a fun and educational method to learn more about your prospects. You'll learn about your prospects' difficulties and issues by using passive questions.
You'll be able to determine where they are in the client journey. Quizzes are also popular because they allow people to learn more about themselves.
Pro-tip to enhance sales prospecting skills
A sales team should be very clear of a blurry line that differentiates lead generation and sales prospecting.
Lead is a prospect who fits your ideal customer profile. You have their contact information, but they may or may not be interested in your business, products, or services.
Leads become prospects after they have been qualified. As they go through your pipeline, a sales prospect can become an opportunity.
Misaligned marketing and sales teams can waste time and lead to lead squandering. Both departments must collaborate for the sales process to be successful. Through lead generation techniques that focus on higher-quality contacts, marketing can assist sales teams in shortening the sales cycle.
There will be less uncertainty if you have well-defined lead qualification standards, and the marketing-to-sales handoff will move more smoothly.
Excellent prospecting is the cornerstone of a healthy pipeline, and success, like any other part of sales, necessitates a consistent procedure. Just remember, lead generation is not equal to sales prospecting.
How Deskera Can Assist You?
Whether you are a sales manager or running your own business, there are tons of duties and responsibilities that you have to fulfill. Using the Deskera CRM system, you can manage your contacts, leads and sales deals. You can use the CRM system to manage all customer data and manage your leads, deals and your sales quota.
Doing so will help you to save the time taken in transferring customer data between the different systems. Having a good CRM system will help you manage your financial and sales reports and be prepared to kick-off your meetings.
Deskera can also assist you with real-time updates about your business like cash flow status, customer satisfaction, inventory management, sales, purchases, purchase orders, customer tickets, customer satisfaction, managing leads, revenues, profit, and loss statements, and balance sheets.
Moreover, it would also help in integrating sales methodology across different platforms onto one system so that you have a consolidated list for email campaigns, leads management, and sales pipeline to mention a few.
It will also help you to sync between your orders, payments, taxes, refunds, product variants, sending out invoices and reminders, facilitating invoice management, and even undertaking follow-ups and advertisement campaigns.
Such a consolidated platform will help you to improve your sales through building effective sales compensation plans and also facilitate faster and well-informed decision-making. It will help you in strengthening your opportunities and being braced for the threats.
Sales prospecting is the process of expanding and developing your business by seeking possible customers, clients, or consumers for your goods and services. Your sales team can then work with these potential buyers via the sales funnel to convert them into revenue-generating customers after locating them.
Lead generation, on the other hand, is a critical component of worldwide business growth and expansion. A company's ability to acquire new customers determines its success. Lead generation is critical for driving massive traffic to a company's website, increasing sales and conversion rates, and expanding the audience base.
B2B marketers' fundamental goal is to develop successful lead generation tactics to communicate directly with customers.
Effective prospecting strategies differ by sales organization and industry, including email outreach, social selling, event networking, and warm phone outreach.
Sales prospecting is one of the most challenging aspects of the sales process, but it will result in a robust sales funnel full of leads if done consistently and with effort. You can then identify suitable customers or clients who are a good fit for your company.
As mentioned earlier, sales prospecting is one of the most challenging aspects of the sales process, but it will result in a robust sales funnel full of leads if done consistently and with effort. You can then identify suitable customers or clients who are a good fit for your company and worth in the long run.