Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
April 7, 2022
Nothing happens in sales without prospecting. That’s because prospects – potential customers – are what fill the B2B sales pipeline. And without prospects, there are no sales.
In the 21st century, there are so many different sales prospecting methods, it’s hard to know which ones to try and which ones will yield the best results.
But before we get into the how, let’s go through the why.
Salespeople know their role is all about closing the deal. Before the deal even gets made, you have to rewind all the way back to how you find those ideal customers. Finding those perfect fit customers is the best way to meet your sales goals. And the more prospects (possible customers) you have in your funnel or pipeline, the closer you’ll be to closing those sales.
The goal is to build a relationship with your prospects and that’s why having different sales prospecting methods in your sales arsenal is the best plan for any sales rep. Using only one will limit your potential pool of leads, that’s why having different techniques is the best strategy.
Here are 7.5 different sales prospecting methods you can try to help you meet your sales goals in 2022. (Half because of the bonus tip at the end 🤓.)
Phone calls are still a very important tool for the modern B2B sales professional. And since most people don’t expect cold calls these days, it can be a great way to get your foot in the door.
Consider this: Hubspot reports that half of buyers like speaking over the phone, and that increases with seniority – meaning VPs and C-suites prefer the phone!
The trick with cold calls is to do your research. Spending lots of time researching potential companies will help you understand their business model, who is responsible for the purchasing decisions (the decision maker), and how your product can help solve their pain points. This step should not be overlooked because well-researched calls can be the difference between getting hung up on and initiating a conversation – the first of many.
Tip: If phone calls aren’t your thing, consider preparing a script with bullet points instead of full sentences. That way, you won’t feel compelled to read off the page, rather it’ll be a guide to make sure you touch on all the important points.
Sending cold emails can be easier for some since the process is faster and rejection oftentimes is not receiving a response.
When it comes to research, the same holds true for emails as it does for phone calls. Be sure to research the company and know exactly what their pain points are and how your solution can make their life (at work) easier. And be sure you’re reaching out to the right person – Bob in accounting probably doesn’t want to hear about the email service provider you are promoting.
The other advantage of email is that you can add a bit of unexpectedness to your messages. Think about recording a custom video or adding a GIF to your email. These will help your messages stand out from a sea of cold messages.
Tip: Personalize the emails so the prospect knows you did your research. Use their name (and spell it correctly), compliment them on a recent accomplishment they’ve shared publicly, and speak to the solution you provide.
When was the last time you got a physical piece of mail that wasn’t a bill? Well, getting a little package in the mail can leave a lasting impression. But you need to make that impression count. So give your prospect a taste of what being a customer will be like.
A PwC report shows that 73% of buyers say positive experience is an important factor in purchasing decisions, surpassed only by price and quality. And showing is always better than telling.
If you’re in a different part of the country or you can’t meet in person, consider sending them a Starbucks or DoorDash gift card to treat them to a virtual lunch-and-learn. Or have a local baker send them a dozen of their favorite freshly-baked cookies in time for your demo.
Tip: A handwritten letter to accompany your direct mail is also a nice touch. It shows you’ve taken the time to craft the package especially for them.
With live events getting back up to pre-pandemic numbers, there is nothing like prospecting in person. Connecting a face to a name, sharing a drink between panels, or bonding over a joke the keynote speaker made can be the key to building a genuine relationship with your prospects.
Don’t just talk about your product or company. Take time to truly listen to what they need in a solution before offering yours up.
Tip: When you give someone your business card, write a little note to remind them of who you are. Something like: “We both love dirty martinis (stirred not shaken) & agree Sandra Oh should be the official Canadian ambassador to Hollywood.”
As far as social networks go, LinkedIn is the best platform for sales prospecting. Yet so many sales reps do it wrong. Either their first message out of the gate is all “sales-sales-sales” or their connection message isn’t personalized and gets jumbled in with all the other templated requests.
LinkedIn, like all other social media channels, is there for professionals to build genuine connections in their industry. With that in mind, using tools like CoPilot AI can help sales professionals manage those connections at scale while retaining the human element through it all.
Tip: To write the perfect LinkedIn connection request message, consider the anatomy of your note. Getting each part right can help build a more genuine relationship.
The best prospects usually come from referrals. Customers who already use and love your product or service will be great advocates to their colleagues. These recommendations go a long way in providing social proof from someone they already trust.
Don’t be shy to ask existing or past (satisfied) customers for referrals. If your team offers a referral bonus, be sure to mention that as well so there’s a little extra incentive to entice the introduction. You can find out which customers are willing to share their experience when you conduct check-ins or include the request in feedback surveys you send.
Tip: Make the referrals easy for your customers. Provide pre-scripted copy they can swipe so that it’s even easier for them to share via their social networks or emails.
Start hosting free webinars for your network on a monthly or quarterly basis. Topics for your webinar series can include:
Hosting webinars means the topics are more generalized but it also makes it less salesy for the audience. This way, they can learn from you and become familiar with your product. The audience will also get to know you as a subject matter expert. You’ll be able to establish a more trusting professional relationship with your audience.
Tip: If you’re ever not sure what topics to do next, poll your audience. That will help you know what information they want and you’ll know there’s an appetite for it.
It bears reminding that if you don’t hear back, follow up. No matter which prospecting methods you test out, always follow up. A surprising 44% of sales reps actually give up after just one follow-up, which is a real missed opportunity.
If you’re using tools like CoPilot AI for your LinkedIn outreach campaigns, you can schedule reminders and follow-ups. To remember your follow-ups with any other prospecting method, schedule them in your calendar and block some time to do them at once. This applies to emails, phone calls, even sending out handwritten cards after a direct mail.
Check out how CoPilot AI can help you scale your prospecting strategy. Request a personalized demo.