To some extent, it’s true that the more people you reach out to in prospecting, the more customers you’ll attract. But only to a certain point. Beyond that, you might rapidly reach a point of diminishing returns. You may easily end up expending energy in vain, getting very little results for your efforts in return.
Every marketing expert out there can confirm that prospecting can be quite a pickle when teams don´t work with the proper methods, tools, and filters. Likewise, sales development representatives (SDRs) demand refined prospects to perform their lead generation activities.
For this reason, this article aims to lay down a solid foundation about prospecting as a concept and its relevance in the B2B marketing environment.
What Is Prospecting?
A fitting prospecting definition involves all efforts taken by sales to reach out to potential customers that have already begun their buyer’s journey.
The main goal of prospecting is to develop a massive yet accurate database of likely customers so marketers can have an easier time nurturing and filtering these prospects.
Once prospects are qualified, sales reps take over to try to close those deals. The prospecting process usually has a very standard distinction of all website visitors, followers, and potential customers who have shown some interest in your brand or product. These include the following groups:
These individuals and organizations may require a solution like the one you offer but aren't necessarily aware of your brand or value proposition. The mission is to raise brand awareness and familiarity with your business to discover if your solution fits their needs.
Prospects have confirmed their interest in buying from you at some point. For B2B prospecting, it is extremely important to discover the real urgency to access a solution, the decision-makers, and if the budget is solvent enough for your product.
To put it in simple words, a customer is a prospect who has already purchased one of your products or services. Other upselling strategies can be set in motion to further increase the size of the deals that both parties agreed on at a certain point.
The Importance of Prospecting in Sales
As usual, the B2B prospecting efforts have some meaningful variations from the B2C approach. The prospecting game for B2B marketing and sales reps demands to supply the sales funnels with only the best-qualified leads. Here are some outbound B2B prospecting tactics that tend to hit the mark:
Cold phone calls
Cold calling is more alive than ever. It can be defined as a prospecting technique used to start business conversations with decision-makers over the phone. The goal is to raise awareness and ultimately set up a discovery appointment with the appropriate individual.
Cold email campaigns
A cold email is an initial email sent to a recipient without prior contact to start business conversations. It’s similar to cold calling but much less intrusive.
Email campaign strategies allow B2B companies to create tailor-made messages so prospects feel like you understand their pain points and know how to solve them.
Remarketing is a strategy in which a marketer re-engages with someone who has shown interest in their company but has not yet taken the desired action. This could take many forms, including clicking a programmatic ad, visiting your website, opening an email, or following your page on social media.
Top 5 B2B Prospecting Tips
Prospecting clients is about building trust-based relationships, which sounds like something that's hard to pin down. However, it’s possible to have a sound strategy in place to help you build those relationships, and if you pursue them diligently, the return for your efforts will be greater.
Here are five essential prospecting tips that will help your marketing and sales teams to engage your potential customers more effectively:
1. Thoroughly understand the customer you hope to find.
If you don’t know precisely who you’re looking for, there is a chance you might find the right prospect anywhere. But at the same time, you’ll waste most of the time pursuing people who are uninterested in the products and services you offer. That’s why it’s essentially important to outline your prospecting strategy.
You'll need to understand the demographics and other special characteristics of your ideal customer to identify their needs. At the start, you can focus your efforts more on using referrals and researching your existing clients.
Then, search for prospects with similar needs to them. Developing an ideal customer persona and appealing to the problems they want to solve when getting to you shows consideration and empathy, rather than just trying to win a sale.
2. Know where you’re most likely to find your potential client.
Sales leads may be found in places other than where you expect. Years ago, Land Rover created a ruggedized mobile phone that they expected to sell to outdoor laborers like construction workers. It didn’t take long for them to realize they had another market they didn’t expect: mothers of toddlers in the suburban jungle.
While you want to make the most of the knowledge you get from your customer base, it’s worth expanding your concept and figuring out who might be well-served by your products as well. Then, do a little research, and find out where they tend to congregate online, their areas of interest, and what needs they have.
If you don’t have the bandwidth or a team dedicated to prospect research, companies like CIENCE are able to supply qualified leads and research directly to you every week.
3. Define and articulate your unique value proposition.
Your unique value proposition (UVP) is a concise statement of the benefits your product or service delivers to your ideal customer. This includes a description of the product or service, the definition of the target audience, and the value of your product or service.
In other words, with a UVP, you explain what is so special about your offer that your prospects can’t do without. This can be something as simple as getting more time, increasing the cost-efficiency of the product, or improving customer service. Your UVP should clearly define what the ideal customer will gain and experience after they buy from you.
To do good prospecting for business, you should clearly understand your unique value proposition and be ready to articulate it to others.
4. Devote time to prospecting with a disciplined strategy.
No doubt, there is an art to prospecting. But success largely depends on making the commitment and sticking with it. Developing a disciplined strategy helps to ensure you maximize the returns of your effort and that you don’t forget any important steps that might let customers slip through the cracks.
To start with, you can designate thirty minutes each morning to prospecting, set a goal of a certain number of prospecting calls per week, and determine how much of each week should be devoted to new business development. Tracking your results and refining your approach should also be part of the strategy. While measuring spending time prospecting is important, this shouldn’t harm other sales processes which need your undivided attention.
5. Use sales prospecting tools and services that give you an advantage.
Without the right tools or system in place, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of prospecting. How do you know which leads are active or even ready to buy? Which ones do you target and which ones do you leave for now? Data service providers like CIENCE have the tools that make prospecting easier to navigate.
Prospecting customers starts with a careful evaluation of your ICP. Your parameters get entered into the database and are matched with actual contacts. These records are ready for prospecting and available to you throughout the whole course of your subscription.
Meanwhile, if you want to go deeper, there are highly professional researchers who can conduct data analysis to segment your customers into specific categories. It's later followed by creating personalized advertising and outreach campaigns to deliver unique customer experiences across multiple channels.
Outsourcing a prospecting team like this is more cost-effective than hiring one in-house. Instead of spending time on routine tasks, you can focus on building meaningful relationships with your clients.
Get Ready to Prospect
Customer prospecting isn’t easy, but with the right strategy, software and dedicated amounts of time can become a more seamless process. Be sure to measure the amount of time your team dedicates to prospecting daily.
If it takes up more time than you’d like, working with a lead generation company is worth the investment. It enables you and your team to focus on the sale and increases the likelihood of closing even more deals.
CIENCE's meticulous outbound solutions take care of prospecting your clients. With the help of cutting-edge technology and human intelligence, you get personalized campaigns targeted to your ideal customer profile, customized email and phone outreach, and reliable appointment setting. Sounds good? Don’t hesitate to book a meeting with CIENCE and improve your sales process today.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2017 and has been completely updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.