Prospecting is the first stage of the sales process - and one of the most important. It’s also one of the most time-consuming and challenging of all sales stages, especially as it keeps changing along with our audiences and the technology we can use. So, how do you create a better sales prospecting strategy in 2018? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.
In this blog post, you’ll find 3 tips, tricks, and tools that will help you boost your sales prospecting in 2018.
First, though…do you have a strategy for 2018?
Prospecting, as I mentioned earlier, is time-consuming - and a lot of work. In order to make the most of your time and get results faster, it’s always a good idea to plan and strategize ahead of time.
- What your prospecting goals are (and set deadlines)
- Who forms your target audience
- Guidelines for qualifying your leads
- What channels you will be using
- The process for connecting with a prospect
And now, here are the 3 tips, tricks, and tools that will help you put together your sales prospecting strategy for 2018:
1. Align your sales and marketing departments
This might sound easy enough…but if it were, more businesses and companies would be doing it. Historically, though, there never has been much of a relationship between marketing and sales departments.
And while that worked out fine 30 years ago, now circumstances are very different, and there’s a big need to align sales and marketing, particularly when it comes to digital marketing.
Why? Well, the (very) big reason is that social media, blogs, and the other digital channels you might be using to promote your business, are also great for lead generation. This is where your target audience is.
However, marketing and sales have very different goals and very different strategies. So, how do you get them to align?
- Get them to collaborate when creating a new strategy
- Set common goals for both marketing and sales
- Encourage a close collaboration between marketing and sales – CRM tools like Salesforce and Zoho CRM now enable you to connect the two departments
- Establish clear qualifying guidelines for your leads. For example, what makes a lead generated from Twitter a prospect? What actions does a blog lead have to take in order to qualify as a prospect? The marketing team needs to know what qualifies a lead so that they can alert the salespeople; and generally, they have different understandings of what makes a lead a prospect. And that brings us to…
2. Qualifying your leads
Leads are easy enough to generate; however, not every lead is a prospect, and if you want to make the most of your time, you have to be strict about qualifying leads.
Don’t waste your time on leads that will never convert – spend your energy on those who truly have the potential to become your customers.
Obviously, the way you decide how to qualify leads will depend a lot on your business model, your goals, and so on. That said, there are a few tips that work across board:
Is this the right person?
Sometimes, you’ll find leads that may look perfect at first glance, but upon closer look, they might miss an essential quality: they don’t have the right role in the company you’re targeting, they’re not actually the decision makers, and so on. Before qualifying someone as a prospect, learn as much as you can about them and who they are. Then, reach out directly to the decision-maker. You can use a tool like Lusha to get up to date contact information for decision-makers, with very little effort on your part (as many salespeople know, finding the right contact information can take you hours).
Use your leads’ online actions to help you qualify them
Have they watched a specific sales video, or read through a sales broadcast email you sent them? Are they visiting your landing pages and checking out your contact page? Use this information to help you decide on the quality of a lead or prospect.
Use a points-based system to qualify your leads
Give each action a number of points, according to its importance (for example, watching a video is 10 points, downloading a PDF is 20, and so on – all up to you).
What’s great about this system is that it will also help you prioritize your prospects, so that you can make the most of your time and resources. The best prospects, with the highest scores, can be reached out to first, as they have a higher chance of converting.
3. Use interactive content to generate better leads and prospects
Using content marketing to generate leads is one of the most effective methods of finding prospects. However, it can be difficult to consistently create high-quality content that your audience actually wants to read, hear, or see.
That’s where interactive content comes in; generally, it’s looked at as a great way of boosting engagement. And while that’s definitely true, there’s actually a more appealing aspect of using interactive content, especially when it comes to your marketing and sales department: it helps you generate a lot of useful personal information that assists in qualifying leads.
- For example, some of the interactive content you can create includes:
- Polls and surveys
So, how exactly do they help you qualify leads? For example, a financial company could create an interactive calculator which their audience could use to calculate how much they could save in 6 months. Not only is this calculator very useful to the user, but it also provides the company with some very specific information about their audience (like how much they make in a year, what they spend their money on, and so on).
Or, you could create an interactive PDF. Every once in a while, as the lead reads through the document, you could ask them useful questions, include relevant lead forms, and so on.
This makes for a better experience for the prospect, it helps you stand out from your competitors, and it provides with more knowledge about your target audience.
The world of sales is changing at a very rapid rate, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Quite the opposite, in fact. Salespeople now have more channels, more opportunities and methods for generating more quality leads and properly qualifying them.
We now have access to so much information, and so many different tools, that it’s just a question of being extremely strategic and making use of different tools and other technology to learn more about your audience and find better ways of reaching out to them.
So, most importantly, be strategic this year, and make sure to align your marketing and sales efforts. The Internet provides us with a huge well of potential leads that when properly nurtured, will turn into quality prospects.
What are some of your best tips, tricks, and tools for sales prospecting in 2018? Let us know in the comments below.