Every sales campaign has a common objective – to win the confidence of new leads. It isn't as easy as it seems. While there are many media channels to explore, competitors are multiplying and attention spans are shortening. You need to design campaigns that cut through the noise and make an impact.
Unfortunately, many of the techniques used for sales prospecting are outdated and ineffective. For example, scheduling a face-to-face meeting is too slow in the age of video calling.
To make your sales team more efficient, you need to choose the right methods and techniques. Let's look at a few sales prospecting techniques and methods you can incorporate into your next sales engagement campaign.
4 Best Sales Prospecting Techniques
Why are some sales teams more successful than others? It comes down to the techniques used and the quality of their execution. Here are some tips:
1. Know Your Customer
No matter whether you're calling a lead or sending an email, you need to personalize your content to make an impression. It starts with addressing them by the right name. You can't expect a lady to respond positively if you address them as ‘Dear Sir'!
Along with knowing the customer's name, you need to know their approximate age, and other demographics etc. to be able to segment them correctly. This helps with making relevant product recommendations.
You can infer the type of products your leads would be interested in as well as the price points they would be comfortable with. Here's a simple example, a sports brand could recommend trekking shoes to leads living in hill stations and beachwear to leads living on the coast.
2. Use Multiple Mediums
One of the reasons why your conversion rates may not be as high as you like could be because you are limiting communication to a single channel. When you have multiple mediums available, you should use all of them. For example, if a customer doesn't pick up a call, you could follow it up with a message. Or, send prospects an email to reinforce the message delivered in a phone call.
You can also use different modes of communication to set yourself apart from the competition. For example, instead of relying solely on explaining how a product works, you could video call prospects to give them a live demonstration of your products.
Using multiple mediums in tandem with each other increases your brand presence. Even if the lead doesn't make a purchase immediately, they will be familiar with your brand and develop a certain level of trust in the name so that when they do want to make a purchase, they turn to you.
3. Nurture Relationships
Given the number of calls a sales representative makes in a day, it is easy for a few contacts to slip through the cracks. We're human and you might forget to return a call. Hence, it is important to be able to track all communication at all touchpoints. You also need to follow up on conversations as the lead moves from one stage of the pipeline to the next.
For this, you need to set up a central platform for communication. When you're setting up a contact center, look for systems like Ringover that let you not only make and receive calls, but also exchange messages, faxes, etc. from the same interface.
4. Tweak The Script
It's helpful to provide basic scripts and templates sales agents can use for calls, messages, etc. This ensures that your messaging stays cohesive. That said, you may need to tweak these templates from time to time depending on how your sales representatives use it. For example, if you find a large number of calls deviating from the script to talk about an aspect of the product that you haven't included in the script, you may want to edit it and make it more relevant to the lead's questions.
To understand this, you need to be able to monitor incoming and outgoing communication. Most of it happens on calls. Hence, when you set up your phone systems, you need to look for features like call monitoring, whisper, takeover and call recording.
By monitoring live calls, you can coach new sales agents without the lead getting to know or taking over calls if required. Similarly, call recording allows you to review calls at a later time and use the same to illustrate things that have been done right as well as those that could have been done better.
What Is Sales Prospecting?
Sales prospecting can be defined as the process of identifying potential customers or qualified leads and reaching out to them to generate business. There are many sales prospecting techniques and methods that can be used for this. Irrespective of the method chosen, 3 basic steps must be followed.
To begin, you must find out as much as you can about the prospect. You need to know their likes and dislikes, demographic details, etc. so that you can personalize your communication with them and promote relevant products and services.
Not all leads are equal. Spending time on a lead who isn't ready to make a purchase could be a waste of everyone's time. Hence, you need to be able to prioritize leads and identify those who are most likely to make a purchase. You also need to know the potential value they bring to your business. The attributes used to score these leads could include job titles, website activity, etc.
This is where choosing the right sales prospecting techniques and methods becomes important. You need to choose the right medium to speak to every prospect and then personalize your pitch.
What Is The 30-Day Rule Of Prospecting?
Like everything else, consistency is important for sales prospecting. This cannot be a seasonal activity if you expect year-round results. Successful sales teams follow a 30-day rule for prospecting. There are 2 parts to this rule.
First, the leads entering a sales pipeline in 30 days will show returns in the 90 days to come. Hence, pipelines must always be kept full. When you close a deal, you need to be able to find new prospects to bring into the pipeline.
Secondly, it is safe to assume that you will close at least 1 out of every 10 prospects in the pipeline. The remaining 9 can be disqualified. Hence, rather than assume that you still have 9 leads to pursue, you must find a whole new list of 10 leads to replace the 1 closed deal.
This means you need to keep making calls, sending emails and reaching out in every way you can. Let's look at some of the best sales prospecting techniques, to do this.
What Are The 5 Prospecting Methods?
Broadly speaking, irrespective of the industry, there are 5 common prospecting methods used by sales teams. They may be used independently, but success is stronger when you use the channels together.
- CallingCalling qualified leads is one of the oldest and still the most effective ways to reach out to prospects and bring them through the sales pipeline. What has changed with time is the evolution from cold calling to warm calling.
Cold calling refers to calling leads on a list irrespective of whether or not they have shown any interest in the company or the range of products and services offered. These calls typically follow a set script. The average cold-calling success rate is just about 2%. That means 98 out of 100 calls are unsuccessful.
The key difference between cold calling and warm calling is that the call list for the latter includes only those leads that have shown an interest in the product/service being promoted. They may have commented on a social media post, filled out a contact form, engaged with your paid ad campaign or expressed their interest in some other way. This makes them more receptive to your calls and more likely to engage with you.
- EmailingEmail marketing is a quick, cost-effective way to reach out to multiple customers simultaneously. Regularly emailing leads makes them familiar with your brand without intruding into their lives. Email campaigns can be used to introduce new product ranges, announce marketing campaigns and sales, etc.
The challenge with emails lies in how to stand out in a cluttered inbox. You need to word the email's subject line carefully and find ways to personalize your content. The first 10 words of your email are the most visible. Hence, they need to be the most impressive. Find ways to pique their interest.
You also need to make sure the content in your emails is relevant to the recipient. This means the mailing lists need to be segmented according to varying demographics and interests. It comes down to how well you know your lead.
- Content MarketingSales prospecting need not always take the form of actively selling products and services to customers. Sometimes, communication needs to be aimed at providing information rather than selling.
Content marketing refers to giving your audience information that adds value to their lives. For example, a women's fashion brand may create content on how to style outfits for the winter or how to dress up a plain top.
Of course, it may contain links to relevant products, but it does not actively tell the reader to make a purchase. This content can be published in the form of blogs on the company website or third-party websites as well as on social media sites like LinkedIn.
Good content helps build trust in a brand. It projects the brand as a thought leader in the space. And, when it's time for the customer to make a purchase, your brand is the name that comes to their mind.
- ReferralsReferral prospecting refers to leveraging your existing network of customers to expand your audience. Give your existing customers, vendors, partners, business partners, etc. a reason to talk about your brand and make an introduction to prospective leads.
Referral prospecting can be very effective. Since your existing customers are making the introduction, they will frame the brand in a positive light. This increases your chances of converting these leads into paying customers.
- NetworkingNetworking is not a stand-alone technique but rather a process that must be continually worked on. Whether you're just starting a career in sales or have already established yourself in the industry, you need to constantly work on expanding your network of professional contacts. This includes vendors, store managers, business partners, etc. Many of these contacts may go on to introduce you to clients and help you build relationships. Today, you can network online as well as offline.
What Is The Most Effective Way Of Prospecting?
Of all the different methods and techniques of prospecting, nothing beats a phone call. Hearing a person's voice makes people feel so much more connected to a brand than reading about it in an email. It should be no surprise to note that 92% of all customer interactions with a company happen over the phone.
That said, simply picking up the phone and saying hello doesn't convert leads.
You need a well-thought-out strategy and tailored messaging. You need to create a script that takes care of all possible queries and makes the prospect feel a need for the product.
Which Sales Prospecting Methods Work The Best For You?
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, there is no single sales prospecting method that can take you to your sales goals. You need a combination of sales prospecting techniques - follow-up calls along with emailing or a text message. If the customer doesn't take action, follow up with another call after a few days.
When you have a VoIP phone system provided by Ringover, you don't have to worry about per-call costs and can talk to as many leads for as long as you like. This allows you to nurture relationships and maximize your conversion rate.