Most sales reps view sales prospecting as a necessary evil. But that might just be because they’re spending time on methods that aren’t producing the results they want. The right sales prospecting methods can help generate qualified leads and more of them.

But to do it right, it’s important to know where the customer is at. And we don’t mean physically. Most buyers are 57% of the way through the sales process before they ever speak to a salesperson.

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With the Internet, buyers have more resources, information, and research available that lets them be informed, consumers. Unfortunately, many salespeople rely on cold calls that treat customers as if they have no awareness of the solutions available on the market or the benefits of competitors.

One Baylor University study estimates that it can take 7.5 hours of cold calling to stumble across one qualified lead. Ouch.

The good news is that choosing the right sales prospecting methods is available to every sales rep. Buyers today, even in the B2B space, want authenticity and value.

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Instead of spending time 7.5 cold calling to generate one lead, consider investing that time in one or more of these sales prospecting methods that work for you long after your initial time investment.

But first: research and prioritize prospects.

The first key to ensure that your sales prospecting methods lead to success is making sure you’re talking to the right people. And this doesn’t just mean finding the decision maker in an organization. As sales reps, prioritizing which leads to pursue can help us close more deals faster.

A buyer persona can go a long way to help you do this. For example, if the product you sell works best for startups with less than 20 employees, reaching out to the CEO of a multi-national enterprise isn’t going to be an effective use of time.

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You can also use this research time to answer other questions about the company.

Does it seem like they have the bandwidth to commit to a new product right now? Are they going through a leadership transition? Do they show any awareness of your product?

Qualifying out leads is just as important as qualifying them in. Taking the time to do this research period thoroughly can save you a lot of time down the road.

5 Awesome Sales Prospecting Methods You Shouldn’t Ignore

1. Leverage social media to draw prospects out of the woodwork.

Of course, if you do B2B sales, you should be on LinkedIn. That’s where most of your customer base is likely spending time. However, it’s not the only social media site that can add value to your prospecting efforts.

Facebook Groups can be a great way to ‘let down your hair’ and show a little personality and expertise at the same time. Twitter is the smallest of the Big Four with just over 300 million users.

This means you can be a big fish in a little pond. It’s a great place to spark genuine conversation and get your name out there.

2. Establish yourself as a thought leader.

Inbound sales prospecting methods are about making your name and company familiar to prospects before you ever reach out. One great way to do this is to establish yourself as an expert in your field. The great news is this is easier than ever before.

Even if you dislike public speaking, you can start a blog, write LinkedIn posts, and contribute to industry magazines.

One great way to add value and get your name in front of future customers is by answering questions on Quora.

Not only do you have the chance to show your expertise, but these pages are read by thousands of people. This is a tactic that superstar salespeople like Gary Vaynerchuk and Tim Ferris use.

3. Host a webinar with evergreen content.

Webinars are another great way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field and can be a powerful sales prospecting technique that you do once and it will work for you forever.

The key is to host a webinar with evergreen content that you can use as an informational video over and over again.

Instead of hosting a webinar as an excuse to run through your sales pitch, you will want to add real value for a common pain point. For example, here at Growbots, a good webinar topic might be how to run an effective email marketing campaign.

Not only is this a topic that future customers will be interested in, but we can offer some real value when it comes to email marketing and our automated outbound sales platform.

4. Turn to your current satisfied customers.

Word-of-mouth is incredibly powerful. Take the time to reach out to current customers. Closing this loop and coming full circle is the last impression to make to ensure your customers are happy and satisfied with your product or service and the company.

Customers tend to be happiest with a new product a few weeks after the sale – once the learning period has ended and they are beginning to see real value. If you reach out to your customers at this point, it’s a great time to ask for a referral.

You may be surprised by the number of customers that know someone that might benefit from your product or service. Use this sales prospecting method to your advantage and you might find that referrals are one of your favorite ways to generate leads.

5. Automate outbound sales with a solution like Growbots.

Growbots combines prospecting and outreach into one nifty package. Using AI, it can generate a list of leads based on characteristics you are looking for, help you create a targeted email campaign to make an impact, and offer robust analytics so you can see the results of your effort.

All in all, a solution like Growbots can help reduce the man-hours associated with prospecting while still generating qualified leads.

Do you have a sales prospecting method you love but we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.

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Kasia Kowalska

Kasia Kowalska

Content Manager at Growbots. Reading good copy makes me want to sing.