How can you get better at sales prospecting and hone your sales prospecting techniques?
We will explore sales prospecting and sales prospecting techniques in this article. And answer questions like:
- What is sales prospecting?
- What is the best way to prospect for potential clients?
- What are the best sales prospecting techniques?
What is sales prospecting? Sales prospecting is the process of searching for potential customers, clients, or buyers in order to develop new business in your target market. The goal is to move these prospects through the sales funnel until they take action on your conversion goal or purchase something you sell.
Meet Aaron. He is an employee at a large online company and his job description involves discovering and communicating with prospects. Aaron considers himself a hard worker because if he finds a potential lead, he is doing his best to develop a great relationship with them.
He sends a bunch of emails.
He calls the prospect’s office.
He even pays an office visit if possible.
However, after these attempts fail, Aaron tosses contact information of that lead into a folder with lots of contacts of “dead” leads. And begins looking for new ones.
This is the most common approach to prospecting in modern companies. As you have probably guessed by now, it doesn’t provide stellar results because it deprives prospects of the opportunity to truly engage with businesses and see what they’re all about.
What many businesses don’t realize is that prospecting isn’t an event that involves one or two attempts to establish a relationship with a lead.
Prospecting is a campaign that requires using a specific strategy that involves clearly defined processes and tactics.
Instead of following Aaron’s approach, check out how to create an effective strategy for a comprehensive approach to establish good relationships with prospects and turn them into customers.
Step #1: Create CRM-Ready Sales Email Templates
Before we get to tips on writing email templates, let me say this: avoid the “send more email” approach at all cost. It becomes hardly sustainable in the long-term and just makes you a spammer. Remember that every email should have a unique purpose to get a response.
Here are the tips that will increase the chance that your cold outbound email will get a reply.
- Write in conversational language. Yes, you’re writing a business-related email, but it’s not that like you must use formal style required to address the King of Sweden. Most people prefer to communicate with other people, not companies, so they appreciate if you address them in a way that you would in real life. For example, a receiver is more likely to answer a question like “Hey Matt, did you have a chance to check out the case study I sent you on Monday?” than something like this: “Dear Mr. Thompson, I am writing to inquire about your availability to try our new product.”
- Aim for five sentences. People receive lots of emails every day. That’s why the average email open rate (percentage of emails opened compared to sent) is just 18.16 percent. The moral here is that receivers of your emails don’t have a lot of time to read every message they get, so keep your text short, preferably no more than five sentences.
- Create a compelling subject line. Business2Community reports that 69 percent of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line, so including a ‘salesy’ line is the worst thing you can do. Instead, go for something personalized like “Hey Matt, take a look at your personal guide to increase email open rates!” This line is also good because it has an action verb and tells the receiver what’s inside the email.
Here’s an example of an email that uses the tips above:
Subject Line: Mary, a Question for You
I read your post on organic makeup, and I absolutely loved it. I agree that “organic” label doesn’t eliminate the risk of having an allergic reaction to an ingredient, so it’s important to know how your body responds to certain ingredients.
I was wondering if you’ve ever looked at our selection of organic makeup products from all over the world that are allergy safe. We’d be happy to provide a free sample of a product that interests you for a test, how does that sound?
Step #2: Test Campaign Touchpoints
A great sales prospecting campaign involves a number of important variables that you absolutely need to test before you begin contacting leads.
An important factor here to remember is that you need to create different campaigns for different customers (that’s why you should segment your leads). For example, if you’re running a B2B campaign, you may discover that one business may be looking for marketing assignment help on LinkedIn while others prefer to do business using emails or other ways of communication.
The list of variables that need to be tested includes:
- Language and tone of communication
- Number of touches (direct mail, social media message, face-to-face meeting, phone call etc.)
- Social media mix
- Email subject lines
- CTA text and buttons
- Top-down vs. bottom-up approach
One of the best ways to test them is A/B testing, which involves comparing the performance of two versions of a digital product.
Make a timeline for all the variables to be complete and decide which ones are worth including in your multi-touch campaign.
Step #3: Define the Prospects
When you identified the variables that you will be using in your prospecting campaign, it’s time to import the leads you have in your databases. Each lead has some characteristics that make them more suitable for a specific method; for example, it may be easier for some of the leads to receiving emails instead of social media messages and so on.
Use your CRM platform to import leads into campaigns you’ve designed but ensure that each of them is placed in a different campaign.
Step #4: Plan the Follow-Up
This is the last step before the launch. At this point, you almost completed designing the campaign, congrats! Now, you have to think about how you will follow up with prospects who remain silent after you tried to contact them.
Every variable has its own optimal number of tries that proved to be successful. According to ZoomInfo, for example, the optimal number of call attempts is 6 while 5 email messages are enough to reach the receiver.
The timing of the follow up is also crucial; for example, ZoomInfo stated that following up with web leads within 5 minutes made businesses up to 9 times more likely to engage with them; also, 11 AM is identified as the best time to email leads, according to Entrepreneur.
Image Source: Screenshot from Entrepreneur
Keep in mind that your campaign succeeds if it results in forming a positive relationship with a prospective client. Your effort should ensure that their interest peaks when they are communicating with you.
Step #5: Launch the Campaign!
Take a final look at your templates, lists of prospects, and other resources you’ll be using in your campaign to make sure that you’re not missing anything. When you’re done, the only thing that remains is finally hit send and begin communicating!
Step #6: Measure the Results
Every step before this last one was designed to make your prospecting campaign measurable because it provides a surefire way to assess what methods are working and what aren’t. There are a number of metrics that you could use including:
- Lead-to-Close Rate. Simply explained, this rate is a percentage of prospects that converted into customers. Remember that you should calculate this rate in a specific period of time.
- Revenue per lead. This indicator means the total revenue obtained from a limited number of leads, divided by the number of leads.
- Email open rate. If you’re using emails in your campaign, you should definitely track this one. The higher the percentage is, the better your emails are. Bloom and Google Analytics are great analytics tools for that.
Check out this infographic below to learn how you can boost your email marketing.
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Over to You
So now that we’ve discussed all the things required to make a perfect sales prospecting campaign, it’s time for you to give it a shot. Always remember that prospecting isn’t an event but a campaign that represents a lot of planning and analyzing. Happy campaigning!
Lucy Benton is a marketing specialist, a business consultant who currently works at A-writer.com. She helps people to turn their dreams into the profitable business. Lucy studied Creative and Professional Writing at the Maharishi University of Management. Now she is writing about marketing and business resources. If you’re interested in working with Lucy, you can find her on Twitter.