It's a dog-eat-dog world, and the world of sales prospecting can be ruthless. The competition is tough, to say the least. 40% of sales agents find prospecting to be the most challenging part of the sales cycle.
That said, looking for new clients and sales opportunities is vital for business growth. In this article, we'll explore the best techniques and sales strategies for sales teams, to get you on your way to smashing your goals.
The top 10 sales prospecting techniques
What is the best prospecting method available to you?
- Preparing prospects in advance
- Direct marketing: By email, SMS, door-to-door, phone prospecting, etc.
- Trade shows and other flagship events in your business sector
- Product tests
- Inbound marketing
- Social media
- Word of mouth
- Becoming an opinion leader
- Standardizing your prospecting
- Sales strategy
1. Preparing prospects in advance
We've discussed it before on this blog and we'll discuss it again: Cold prospecting through through emails or cold calling. Yet, in 2024, at a time when we're being solicited from all angles, can we really talk about completely cold prospecting?
To improve your prospecting, it can be particularly helpful to make your prospect aware of your world, your brand, your achievements. The idea is that you prospect is able to easily re-contextualize what your business is when you get in touch with them.
This can, of course, be achieved through lead nurturing, but also through simpler measures such as reactions and comments on your prospect's posts, for example.
2. Direct marketing
You know, sometimes you just can't beat the classics! Yes, classic telephony may be losing ground in the modern world (check out the latest stats on the topic); and yes, there are dozens of social media platforms that can make it complicated to get your bearings, but don't fall into the trap of underestimating direct marketing: it's still got some tricks up its sleeve.
Our tip: Mix and match your prospecting techniques. Get testing and find the right balance between the techniques below.
3. Taking part in trade shows
Events organized within your sector are great ways of finding new prospects. The concentration of prospects is generally higher at these events, as they tend to attract people who are already potentially interested in products and services similar to the ones you're offering. They give you an opportunity to establish direct contact, or to even create a personal connection with the prospect.
It's also a chance to give demos, right there and then, and to take part in conferences as an opinion leader on themes that are important to you. Plus, you can easily get information on your competitors, the marketing strategies that they're using, their new products, and their positioning. Lastly, trade shows and events are excellent tools for bolstering your reputation and boosting your business' visibility.
4. Offering product tests
Offering product tests, particularly digital demos, can be a good way of collecting leads. If you're marketing a software, you can propose that visitors to your website download a test version or access an online trial account by entering essential information. This information can then be passed on to your sales team, who can follow up and guide the prospect through the sales funnel.
5. Organizing webinars
Regularly organizing webinars is also a good technique for collecting leads. This is a great opportunity to interact with potential buyers and to demonstrate all your expertise and know-how in relation to challenges that impact their day-to-day lives or their professional activity, if it's a B2B situation.
To boost your visibility, you can also opt for webinars organized with co-marketing alongside partners who are also experts in their field.
6. Use inbound marketing
Inbound marketing allows you to detect new sales opportunities. Creating high-quality content with pertinent and reliable information will draw in potential clients.
Plus, a good inbound strategy helps to install a sense of trust and to establish your expertise, as well as your authority in the key topics of your business sector. Visitors are converted into leads through contact forms and calls to action (CTA).
Your inbound strategy can operate through offering qualitative content on your blog, in white papers, case studies, or even through webinars.
7. There's no avoiding them: Social media sites
Social media offers certain advantages to prospecting professionals. Through it, you can reach a wide circle of people who are potentially interested in your products. Social media allows for extremely precise targeting, using fine-tuned criteria such as targets' interests, locations, and even their behavior.
Social media is also a good tool for identifying trends ands easily interacting with potential buyers. On these sites, you can monitor the competition and harvest precise information on your targets, particularly through LinkedIn, which can help get you in touch with the decision-makers.
8. Word of mouth
In our article on the MEDDIC method, we covered the way you can find a relay point within the company that you're prospecting, so that this person is rooting for your side in the deal. You need to make them your ally.
However, your relationship with this ally mustn't end once the deal has been signed. It is highly recommended that you nourish this relationship enough to incite your ally to recommend you to other companies within their network. Just like in everyday life, we're more likely to take the recommendations of somebody we know well, which is why you can never underestimate this leverage point. This way, forming relations is facilitated.
9. Becoming an opinion leader
To boost your prospects' trust in your business and to gain credibility in their eyes, you can become an opinion leader. For example, you can develop your personal branding. This may be done through a blog, videos, a podcast, or even appearances in sector-specific media, professional events such as conferences, or trade shows.
10. Standardizing your prospecting
To get the best results with prospecting, you absolutely need to standardize things. You can easily do this by using the following tactics:
- A sales script.
- Automating processes, particularly repetitive tasks such as syncing your CRM and your tools, dialing numbers during calling campaigns, sending follow-up emails, etc.
- Drafting standard emails.
- Creating prospecting guides for your new recruits, to get them up and running more quickly.
- Using prospecting tools that will allow you to identify the top-performing emails, scripts, and SMS messages.
The top 10 sales prospecting tools
- Cadence for multi-channel prospecting
- Ringover for phone prospecting
- Empower for detecting opportunities in your phone calls
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator
- Zoom Info
Cadence is a tool that helps you to organize your sales prospecting. It's particularly suited to multi-channel approaches, insofar as it allows you to standardize these channels.
The solution gives you access to 100% customizable approach templates, so you can adapt every from their structure to their content to suit your business. This way, you can easily reproduce the approach sequences and techniques that are most effective.
Even better, it automatically lists your sales teams' daily tasks, so everyone knows exactly what they need to do. Cadence has the advantage of integrating into your favorite business applications, whether they're for telephony or your CRM.
- A Power Dialer to boost your teams' productivity
- Click-to-call to launch calls in just a click
- Two-way listening and call recording for concretely monitoring agent performances
- Discreet intervention during calls
- Voicemail drop campaigns for less intrusive prospecting
The solution integrates into various business tools and allows you to track the progress of calling campaigns and SMS campaigns in real time. You can also track your outbound call center KPIs thanks to an intuitive dashboard which lets you easily create performance exports for individuals or teams.
Empower is an artificial intelligence-driven tool for conversational analytics. To get into the technical details, it uses natural language processing models to analyze your interactions with your clientèle.
If we look at the practical aspect, Empower allows you to detect sales opportunities that may have slipped through the cracks during your calls. It's also an excellent tool for call transcription and automated call summaries. It connects to your telephony software, analyzes your calls, and transcribes them into text.
Empower is able to analyze the language and voice of your client to gain an insight into their mindset, and to identify specific key words that allow you to anticipate certain behaviors, such as terminating a contract with a competitor, for example.
4. LinkedIn Sales Navigator
It's time to unlock its potential: LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a must-have tool for B2B prospecting. Why? Simply because, depending on your sector, if you're marketing a B2B solution, there's a high chance that your targets are using Microsoft's professional networking platform.
By using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can quickly identify the decision-makers and influencing profiles within a company that you're prospecting.
You also get access to an incredible range of search filters, allowing you to accurately target profiles which match your personas.
This tool can supplement your arsenal for sales prospecting. Its main advantage is that it helps you to find professional email addresses based on the name of your prospect and the domain name of their company. The tool is available in a free version which lets you make 25 searches per month. It also integrates into the Cadence tool developed by Ringover.Discover the Hunter x Cadence integration
HubSpot is a publisher of solutions designed for sales teams, which you've probably heard of. It has a great reputation on the market, and for good reason. HubSpot is a comprehensive CRM that helps you to automatize your workflows and precisely filter your list of prospects based on their preferences.
With this solution, you can set up an efficient follow-up solution. Even better, the tool features an activity report for each prospect, which gives you information on any obstacles that may hinder their progress through your funnel.
It should be noted that HubSpot can be transparently and seamlessly combined with the Ringover telephony solution and the Cadence prospecting tool, as shown in the video below:
Another leading CRM solution, Salesforce is a solution that is particularly suited to large or medium-sized businesses with well-structured sales teams. A must-have for team alignment, it centralizes a huge amount of data and features tools that will help you to track lead maturity and progression through your conversion funnel.
Like HubSpot, you can unleash the full power of Salesforce's features by integrating it into Cadence to rationalize the sales approach, and into Ringover for telephony:
More specific than HubSpot and Salesforce, Sellsy focuses more on sales management. This CRM software gives you an overview of prospects and sales opportunities, and allows you to easily identify who needs to be followed-up with and their progression through the sales journey.
The tool also includes automation features and scoring tools, to facilitate sales agents' day-to-day work.
Monday.com is a tool that highlights collaboration, organization, and planning. This intuitive solution allows you to easily track your various prospecting tasks and centralizes information on prospects.
Monday.com gives you a series of fully customizable dashboards and helps you to create an environment that fully reflects your way of prospecting.
ZoomInfo is a goldmine of information that can be put to valuable use by marketing and sales teams.
It brings together data that is constantly updates, amongst which there will definitely be elements of interest for you: A prospect's career path or the contact details for the renowned decision-makers in the companies you're prospecting.
Even better, it gives you insights and suggests similar contacts to the buyers that you're targeting.
What is phone prospecting?
The simple way of defining it is as the initial phase of the sales cycle. Through this strategic process, sales agents are able to identify and contact people likely to be interested in their products or services, a.k.a. potential buyers.
Prospecting is a great way for your sales force to build a database of qualified leads that can then be integrated into your sales funnel, to convert them into clients and increase your turnover.
How can you prospect for new clients in 2024?
Here are 5 prospecting actions you can put in place to win over new clients and really plump up your database:
- Defining your client targets
- Use social media
- Collect feedback
- Use landing pages
Let's look at them in more detail.
Defining your client targets
It is absolutely essential that you define personas for sales prospecting, as these persons will allow you to get a better understanding of the needs, challenges, behaviors, and expectations of your potential clients.
Creating these standard profiles will help you to customize your sales approach, particularly in identifying the communication channels used by these potential clients and in drafting messages.
Using the power of social media
Social media is a growth leverage point in its own right. Make sure that you're present where your targets are, whether it's on TikTok or LinkedIn — invest in the right networks for your business.
Identify the influencers in your industry and follow your prospects. This will help you to gain a better understanding of how they communicate and to identify potential points of contact, particularly for B2B prospecting on LinkedIn.
You can launch co-marketing initiatives with your partners to attract their clients with services and products that may interest them. For example, offer an exclusive promotion for a limited time for your partners' clients. They'll do the same in return.
It's a simple way of pooling efforts to grow your prospect base. You can also organize joint events, such as webinars or podcasts, and collect prospects' email addresses through sign-up forms.
Online review platforms are essential for buyers, including for B2B buyers. Today, according to Power Reviews, more than 99.9% of consumers say that they look at reviews when making online purchases. In 2018, this figure was 97%.
It's therefore of interest for you to collect positive reviews from your current clients to win over potential buyers looking for information on your products online. To do this, facilitate the review submission process by encouraging your current clients to leave one after your phone conversations (via satisfaction surveys through your call center software) or by email through the implementation of marketing automation actions.
Use landing pages
If you already have a website, make sure that it's optimized and that it contains pages specifically aimed at your personas. Also think about the user experience, avoid long and complex forms and intelligently position your CTAs (Calls To Action).
Lastly, create landing pages. They'll allow you to offer a highly targeted experience to convert visitors into qualified prospects. This conversion is made through a form which collects essential data, such as the prospect's phone number, email address or industry, and the number of employees in their company, if it's for B2B prospecting.
What are the advantages of sales prospecting?
Sales prospecting does not only allow you to collect information and plump up your list of potential clients to contact: Below, we've listed the key advantages that it offers for businesses:
- Acquiring new clients
- Compensating for the churn
- Diversifying your client portfolio
- Improved preparation for meetings
- Limiting unnecessary and non-profitable costs
- Improving profitability and boosting revenues
- Adapting and reacting to the market quicker
Acquiring new clients
The various techniques and tools for prospecting all work towards a key principle: Helping you to expand your client base and make the most of new sales opportunities that arise.
Compensating for the churn
Even by having them sign a contract, the acquisition of a client doesn't mean that they'll stay with you forever. Clientèle volatility can vary depending on the competition in your sector and the type of products or services marketed.
Of course, clients can be more inclined to change offers in a competitive environment, as they have more options available to them. Your capacity to stand out from the competition can help you to secure and keep your clientèle, and also to win them over. It can play a determining role from as soon as the prospecting stage and first contact with the prospect.
Diversifying your client portfolio
As you know, it's better not to put all your eggs in one basket. Prospecting helps you to diversify your client base. How? Simply by attracting prospects from different market segments. This way, you reduce your dependency on a single type of client.
Improved preparation for sales meetings
Prospecting allows you to get precise data on potential buyers. This data is a real gold mine for sales agents, who can use it to customize their approach and their sales pitch.
Limiting unnecessary and non-profitable costs
How can prospecting help to limit unnecessary and non-profitable costs? The answer is simple: Through targeting! Prospecting allows you to precisely target the prospects most likely to take action. You'll therefore avoid wasting resources (time, money, staff) on working non-qualified prospects.
Improving profitability and boosting revenues
If it's done right and with the right tools, prospecting can help you to improve your sales. It helps you to detect opportunities and close more on cross-selling and incentive sales by offering additional services during demonstrations delivered to qualified prospects. On top of stimulating our sales, you can increase the average value of each transaction.
More adaptability and reactivity to the market
Effective prospecting helps you to identify the emerging trends in your market. By keeping your finger on the pulse of client needs, you can be more reactive to changes and even anticipate certain trends. Sales prospecting helps you to adopt a proactive approach and can reduce the impact of market fluctuations.
If you have a well-structured sales team, it can help you to get an upper hand over your competition, either through identifying the right time to reveal a new offer, or through detecting a key development opportunity in a particular market segment or geographic area.
Wrapping things up
Effective sales prospecting lays the foundation for a successful sales strategy. In order to make sure that it's a success, it's essential that you first identify who you're going to target, creating ideal profiles which you'll focus your prospecting efforts on.
Easily combine prospecting methods and channels, such as phone, email, webinars and trade shows, and customize your interactions with prospects as much as possible.
To help you, use prospecting tools such as Cadence to refine your approach, Ringover for calling campaigns, and Empower for detecting sales opportunities. You can also add essential solutions to your toolkit, such as LinkedIn for contacting prospects or a good CRM like Salesforce to centralize your information and ensure efficient follow-ups.
Sales prospecting may be a pretty arduous task, but with perseverance, a carefully though-out approach and constant adapting to your targets, you're sure to get positive results. Challenge your teams! Take notes as you observe and listen to your top-performing agents.
For this, you can use call recording and transcription tools, and you can then organize workshops to highlight areas for improvement and the most effective techniques, so you can share them with your whole team.
FAQs - Sales prospecting
What are the techniques for sales prospecting?
6 sales prospecting techniques that you need to use:
- Phone prospecting or teleprospecting
- Marketing SMS
- Social selling
- Physical prospecting
- Direct mailing
What are the different types of prospecting?
Sales prospecting comes in many different forms, which we can categorize as follows:
- Digital prospecting: Emailing, social media, webinars, trial periods (for software)
- Physical prospecting: When you go into the field to work your clientèle or during events, such as trade shows.
- Direct mailing, which is fading out due to ecological issues.
What's the best way of prospecting?
There's no miracle one-size-fits-all answer, as the efficacy of a method depends on various factors, such as brand awareness, the quality of your product, your sector, the competition, etc.
However, multiplying points of contact with a single prospect is a technique that has been tried and tested. For example, you can start a conversation in the comments of a LinkedIn post, followed up with a direct message in LinkedIn, then follow up with your prospect via email and then have a chat with them via a video call or phone call.
How to prospect to sell
Here are 6 top tips that you can use for successful prospecting and sales:
- Create a list of qualified contacts
- Identify the contacts most likely to be converted into clients
- Identify the best methods and channels for getting hold of them
- Properly prepare your sales pitch and anticipate objections
- Spot the right time to close the sale
- Generate client loyalty