Once upon a time (2018), in a land not-so-far-away (any given target market), a young sales professional (say hi to Jane!) proclaimed that she will spend more time selling and less time researching in 2019. A year later, Jane has yet to ace her prospecting game and is still wasting precious hours identifying contacts and dealing with inaccurate contact information. Is this prospecting story hitting too close to home?
Jane is not alone for sure—the average sales person spends almost 65% of their time on activities that generate 0 revenue. At this rate, it’s no wonder that 40% sales people agreed that prospecting was the most challenging part of the sales process in 2019. Yet Jane is looking to turn things around in 2020 and sharpen her prospecting skills before they eat into her opportunities. Let’s follow Jane on her journey and unpack the 3 steps that will guide her towards prospecting success.
Step 1: Get a Better Fix on Your Best Buyer
Your database is awash in customer data, but this still leaves a lot of questions unanswered: Am I engaging with the right customers? Who are the most profitable ones? What do they want? What do they need? What are their buying triggers? That’s why you need to cut through the noise and get a better fix on your best buyer.
Indeed, it sounds good—but how? When it comes to building a better value proposition, you need less guesswork and more relevant data.
In this sense, you want to refine the data you already have, narrow down on the accounts that matter, and define your best buyer. That’s right, define. You don’t want to just identify your target prospects when it comes to building a better value proposition, you want to know why they buy and craft messages that resonate with them. After all, there are 60-70% of B2B marketers who say that they don’t truly understand their buyers and you don’t want to be among them, especially since this only means one thing: lost revenue. The narrower your prospecting list, the shorter the sales cycle, and the higher the chances of closing more deals.
Once you’ve defined your best buyer, you are able to build on customer acquisitions and your entire business case. The obvious next step? Create deeply targeted campaigns with the highest relevancy possible by delving into the specifics and crafting better messages for your prospects.
Step 2: Focus on People, Not on Deals
In sales, as in all walks of life, this old saying rings true: timing is everything. No matter how well you know your buyer, you might still hear “no” due to objective reasons—they are simply not ready to invest. So what do you do? You are not going to disappear just because you did not get an instant “yes.” Most of the time, the road to prospecting success is paved by nurturing your buyers for the long haul—this means checking in regularly, writing thank you cards, sharing content, and ultimately creating value for them.
This is the time when you have to put pen to paper and create a relevant nurturing plan. When every second counts, it pays to be smart about your content and aim for tailored connections every time you reach out. Remember, you want ‘value over volume’ so before you even consider the content or the frequency, you want to know more about your target audience: the geographic location, company size, management level, social media activity, industry intent signals and more. Once you’ve set this foundation, you can go ahead and answer these questions: What will add value? How often call I call? How often can I share content? What should I share? How can I create trust?
Nurturing your prospects sure takes time and planning but it helps you acquire the same social intelligence as the familiar sales person buyers interact with in their favorite store—the one who knows what to recommend when they have friends for dinner and understands when they’re in a rush because they have an upcoming appointment. Nurturing does not mean aiming for an instant “yes,” it’s about investing in relationships that take time to win and will lead to new opportunities in the long run.
Step 3: Don’t Do it Alone
So, you’ve gone over Step 1 and Step 2 and you’re probably wondering: I wanted to sharpen my prospecting skills to spend more time selling, not invest more in research and planning—how will I fit all this in a day’s work? But what if you could achieve smarter prospecting in less time? You could define your best buyer and nurture the most promising prospects all while creating new opportunities for yourself. Well, you can and you should with the right tools at your disposal.
The same principle applies: less guesswork and more relevant data. Your target market and your ideal customer can become apparent at a click of a button. Similarly, you can evaluate your prospects using intent data and drill down your searches by geographic location, company size, management level, and more. As a result, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of your prospecting has never been easier.
The more data points you have in your tool, the higher your chances of identifying potential good-fit customers and closing more deals. However, if your tool contains inaccurate or missing information, you’ll spend more time putting out fires than building the strategic process you deserve. You need accurate, up-to-date information at your fingertips, on a tool with a simple layout that helps you get to the right person, faster, with minimal scrolling and only the filters you actually need.
Having gone through the three steps of better prospecting, let’s go back to Jane and try to imagine how her 2020 will look like. Jane will take the guesswork out of her prospecting game by defining her ideal buyer through relevant data, she will nurture the right leads and keep them engaged with messages that resonate with them, and she will invest in the tools that can provide clean data and help her focus on one thing—selling. What’s your 2020 going to look like?