A Guide to Sales Prospecting | Nexer
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A Guide to sales Prospecting

50% of sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting.We don’t want you to fall into that sales statistic.That’s why we recommend the inbound way and put together a basic framework that applies to all sales processes. But with a twist.As we mentioned earlier, we understand that everyone has their own approach. So we’ve also weaved in personal prospecting tips and tricks from the best salespeople we know. Pick and play with whatever works best for your own sales hustle.

Step 1: Research

This is by far the most important aspect of prospecting. We must make sure that we’re qualifying our prospects to improve our chances of providing value to them or their business.

In this stage of prospecting, we’re looking to accomplish a few goals:

– Decide if the prospect is workable
– Qualify and begin ranking prospects
– Find opportunities to develop a connection through personalization, rapport building, and trust development

Is the prospect’s business an organizational fit?

This type of qualification is based solely on demographics. Does the prospect fall within my territory? Do we sell in their industry? Does it fit our buyer persona?

Say our target market consists of small to medium-sized businesses with anywhere from 100 to 1,000 employees. We should eliminate any potential customers outside of these criteria.

Diving deeper, our product or service will naturally offer higher value to a particular profile within that target market. For example, medium-sized businesses consisting of a larger team. Those customers are also more likely to upgrade to a higher tier of our product, providing more lifetime value as a customer.

Have you identified key stakeholders?

There are two types of people involved on the other end of our sales process: Decision-makers and influencers.Influencers may not have the power to buy, but they’re often the ones that will be using the product and thus can become our biggest internal advocates. If we get them to rally around our offering, they can make a compelling case to decision-makers before we even speak with them.

Decision-makers are, of course, the ones that either approve or reject the buy. We can ask these questions to determine the decision-making process: Will anyone else be involved in this decision? Does this purchase come out of your immediate budget?

Do you have familiarity with the market?

We’re likely to be more familiar with certain types of companies, markets, or industries than others. Our pitch and sales techniques are also likely to be more refined with markets we feel comfortable talking about, so we should rank these prospects first.

Value-added prospects to whom we can offer more value are more likely to buy. For example, if we’re selling basic digital marketing services and we see that our prospect already has a robust web presence, the probability we can create tremendous added value is low.

Do they have an awareness of our offering?

Our prospects will likely have varying levels of knowledge about our product or services. The more awareness they have, the more likely they are to see the value in our offering and become customers. If a prospect has visited our website, subscribed to our blog, or posted content about something related to our offering, they probably know a lot about our company or service.

Based on our research, we should have a fine-tuned profile of our target customer, and every company or individual on our prospect list should meet those criteria.

Step 2: Prioritize

Prioritizing our prospects can save us time and make sure we’re dedicating our strongest efforts to prospects that are most likely to become customers. Levels of prioritization will vary between each type of sales organization and each individual salesperson, but the main idea is to create a few buckets of prospects based on their likelihood to buy and focus on one bucket at a time.

Let’s break down the qualifying dimensions used in our list above (and any added relevant dimensions) into percentages between 1% and 100% based on how important they are to the sales process.

For example, size of opportunity is probably more important to us than timing when closing a deal, so it would receive a 70% whereas timing would receive a 5%.

Now we can assign a value between 1 and 100 to these dimensions for each prospect in our list. Once we complete this step, we can multiply each prospect’s value by the percentage weight we gave to the dimension. Add up these dimension scores until each prospect has a total score. And now our entire list is ranked.

Step 3: Prep the outreach

The end goal of this step is to gather in-depth information on our prospects to hone our pitch and personalize our outreach. So first, we must find what our prospects care about. We can do this in a few ways:

– See if the prospect blogs to define what they write about (as a proxy for what they care about)
– Find their social media presence.
– Do they have recent updates or a new post?
– Check the company website to review the “About Us” information.

If we want to get more high-level with our prep, we can create a decision map to outline our prospect’s options and end-goals. This will help us better handle any objections and personalize a pitch that resonates with their primary objectives. We could also conduct a competitive analysis to determine how we can better position our company’s service or product within the industry and how we can combat prospects’ objections.

Step 4: The first touch

Whether calling or emailing, our outreach should be highly tailored to our prospect’s particular business, goal, industry. Keep these general tips in mind when contacting a prospect, whether on the phone or through email:

Personalize. Reference a specific problem that the prospect is encountering with a specific solution.
– Stay relevant and timely. Make sure the issue a prospect is trying to solve is still relevant to him or her and their team.
– Be human. No one likes to communicate with a professional robot. Adding in details like wishing someone a happy holiday weekend or by conveying how awesome their company’s product is are real touches that allow us to make a connection on a deeper level.
– Help, don’t sell. Give value and ask for nothing in return. This process isn’t about us, it’s about THEM. For example, instead of scheduling a follow up meeting, we could offer to conduct an audit on their digital media presence and get back to them with our findings in a week.
– Keep it casual. Remember that this is just a conversation.
– Stay natural and as non-salesy as possible. The key to prospecting, and sales, is that we’re never selling. We’re simply determining if both parties could mutually benefit from a relationship.

In terms of establishing contact, we must decide between email or phone communication. Some of us will initially jump on the cold email approach while others will dive into the cold call. This strategy will vary based on what each salesperson feels most comfortable with, but let’s quickly review pros and cons to both.



In terms of establishing contact, we must decide between email or phone communication. Some of us will initially jump on the cold email approach while others will dive into the cold call. This strategy will vary based on what each salesperson feels most comfortable with, but let’s quickly review pros and cons to both.

Allows prospect to consider our offer
Gives prospect adequate time to research our company and product

Email is a cluttered space so it may be harder to grab a prospect’s attention
Emails are easily deleted and forgotten
We may have to follow up multiple times before getting a response

But, how do we leave a voicemail or send an email that prospects want to respond to? Let’s dive into the dos and don’ts of each communication method below:

The Warm Email
If we’re looking to send a first-touch email that gets opened, there are some essentials that we must include:

Engaging subject line
The subject line has to pique the prospect’s interest while avoiding cliché hooks.

Personal opening line
We should begin our cold email by saying something about them, not about us. After all, this process is about finding the prospect’s pain points and determining a way to add value to their business or processes.

Creating a connection

Now we have to make the connection. In our opening, they learn why we’re reaching out to them, but now they need to know why they should care about what we do.

Clear call-to-action
Suggest a concrete time to connect or ask a close-ended question to make it clear that the ball is in their court. Try using one of these lines: “Do you have ten minutes to catch up tomorrow?” or “Are you available for a 30-minute call on Tuesday between 9-11 a.m.?”

The Prospecting Call
If we decide to call a prospect, whether in conjunction with an email or not, we can follow this basic structure for the call:

Establish rapport
We shouldn’t shy away from personal conversations, like asking how a prospect’s weekend was or what team they’re rooting for in the game tonight. These intimate touches help us develop a more meaningful relationship with prospects and enhance our likeability which, hopefully, means a prospect will be more likely to buy from us.

Leverage pain points
Dive into their pain points during the call. By the end of the conversation, we should know all of their primary business challenges and the underlying causes associated with them. Once we have an understanding of these key issues, we can better position our product or services to solve them.

Create curiosity
Ask questions about their business. Ask more than tell. This conversation is about them and understanding their needs and problems. The less we talk about our business and product, the more our prospect will be interested to hear the final pitch.

Wrap it up
Find a calendar time between 24-48 hours after discovery call to book a follow-up meeting. Try this line: “Would you have 30 minutes to follow up this week? My colleague, John, will join us — he’s an expert in X, Y, Z. My calendar’s open, what works best for you?”

Step 5: Iterate

Keep notes throughout this process to assess what activities generated value for the prospecting process and which wasted time.

After each contact with a prospect, we should assess how well we think we:

– Uncovered challenges
– Helped create well-defined goals
– Confirmed availability of budget
– Understand the decision-making process
– Determined consequences of inaction
– Identified potential results of success

This self-reflection will help us improve our calling techniques in the future.

inbound marketing guide

Are you interested in learning more about Inbound Marketing and how you can get customers to come to you instead of having to chase? Feel free to read our guide to get started.

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