How to Become Elite at B2B Prospecting
One of the most difficult challenges you will face as a salesperson is obtaining the commitment of a potential customer’s time. This is a moot point, however, if you lack the ability to prospect effectively.
I’ve met countless salespeople who (while ambitious and intelligent) didn’t have a clue when it came to prospecting. If this sounds like you, don’t be discouraged. With the proper framework and strategy in place, you can quickly become a B2B prospecting warrior. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
Know Who it is You’re Targeting
When it comes to prospecting, the end goal is to create opportunities, no matter if you’re targeting new customers or existing ones. However, in order to gain an opportunity to sell you first need to set up a meeting -- and this requires meticulous planning.
First, you need to know who it is you’re targeting. For some, the ideal prospect is one they’re already doing business with. For others, you may be looking at people who have never even heard of your company before. Moreover, you’ll need to figure out the best character traits and demographics to target in order to set you up for success.
For example, your product or service may suit start-ups better than more established companies. If this is the case, you need to ensure your prospecting campaigns speak to this audience specifically.
Going into prospecting blind, without a plan, makes netting a meeting (and eventually an opportunity to make a sale) extremely difficult and inefficient.
Figure Out Why a Prospect Should Change
Many salespeople mistakenly believe that what they’re selling is a product, service, or solution. In reality, you’re selling an idea and a reason for a prospect to change.
This is what you need to keep in mind before approaching a prospecting campaign. Figuring out why a prospect should change now or in the near future is critical. Without an answer to this question, whatever it is you’re selling becomes irrelevant. With that said, this process is, by no means, an easy one.
For starters, you’ll have to thoroughly research your target audience’s industry and vertical. This will allow you to identify the root causes of their systematic difficulties and inefficiencies. With this knowledge at your disposal, you can shine a light on areas of improvement for your prospect, while providing the perfect solution (your product/service).
Exchange Value For a Prospect’s Time
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a prospect willing to give you their time if they believe they won’t benefit from the interaction. This is why having a compelling value proposition can make all the difference when it comes to obtaining a meeting.
As any good salesperson will tell you, simply promising to explain what you offer is not enough to get a prospect’s attention. Instead, you need to speak to their individual needs and let them know they can gain true insight into making their business better. You can also offer additional (albeit gimmicky) incentives, such as free coffee or gift cards just for hearing you out. Keep in mind, though, that offers as these do little in terms of adding actual value; which means you’ll really have to nail your sales pitch in order to close a deal.
Build & Execute The Perfect Prospecting Campaign
Back in the day, prospecting was a small activity that involved nothing more than making a few phone calls. While the telephone should still play a pivotal role in your prospecting campaigns today, there are a plethora of additional tools out there to help boost effectiveness.
Blog posts, eBooks, and emails without an ask (or call to action) are all great ways to position yourself as a thought leader in your prospect’s industry. Campaigns like these help showcase your knowledge of a prospect’s world and your awareness of the problems they face on a consistent basis.
Be Persistent (in a Professional Way)
Everyone wishes for a quick sale (myself included) but in the world of B2B sales, they rarely exist. Make no mistake, the timeline to get from prospecting to an actual sale is a long one; hence why endurance and persistence are key to successfully net a prospect.
With that being said, you want to avoid becoming a nuisance in a prospect’s life. This means you should keep your persistence professional. Instead of calling or emailing every day, get them to sign up for your weekly or monthly newsletter. This way they are choosing to hear from you on a regular basis and you can effectively nurture them into an actual customer.
All in all, prospecting is an art form and demands meticulous planning, practice, and effort. If you’re unsure of your ability to prospect successfully or want to gain more B2B sales knowledge, check out my podcast: The Brutal Truth About Sales & Selling.