As a sales professional, you know that your pipeline makes or breaks your year (and probably your career).
Picture the most successful salesperson you know. They're probably having 10 conversations at the same time with customers, prospects, friends, and people they just met.
Great salespeople seem to be everywhere at once. And what that means is that they have a massive presence, which translates into a massive top-of-funnel.
The truth is, we all need to prospect. Every single day. But we need to be smart about it. Why? Keep reading and we’ll tell you.
Prospects aren’t waiting by the phone like they used to.
Landlines are dead, we’re constantly glued to our phone’s texts and email inbox, and we’re ready to send any phone call with an unknown number straight to voicemail. The new age of prospects also have strong opinions about where they like to communicate, and want to be reached where they are.
Prospects are flooded with more messages than ever.
Mailboxes and text threads have never been more crowded. Meetings are getting shorter, our favorite work acronym has become TL;DR and even The Economist has published a new trend called “It could have been an email.” The days of conversations that used to happen in meetings are happening in emails instead.
As people's inboxes overflow, the question becomes: how can you capture their attention?
Prospects want to feel a genuine connection.
To get a prospect’s attention now, you have to be authentic and relevant. Gone are the days of “we went to the same college” or “I love what you’re doing. Let’s connect!” Your prospects want to know that you know something about them and took the time to reach out.
How can I approach these new sales prospects?
The best companies emphasize the importance of personalization in sales. The requirement now is that salespeople really know their individual prospects in order to learn how best to reach out and stand out from the competition.
Use data to your advantage.
Using a database can help improve how much you know about your costumers (and potential customers), making it easier to pinpoint your sales efforts. Having a large database of the most important information about your prospects and customers in one place makes it easier to manage interactions and follow up.
Know thine customer.
If you want to be successful in sales, you need to do your research. For publicly traded companies, read their investor reports. For small or medium businesses (SMBs), set up Google alerts to learn about their press. For individuals, look at their LinkedIn or Facebook pages. This way, you can learn about opportunities and bring more value to the table.
Find the right channels.
The best way to find out what communication channels your prospect prefers is to simply ask them. But you have to start somewhere! Email can be a great way to ensure that you end up in front of your prospects and not in a recycling bin or halfway down a news-feed. If you can be relevant, persistent, and crafty in your approach, you'll eventually find a way to connect.
Stay one-step-ahead of your prospects.
While everyone is different, it's important to remember that your prospect can research you just as easily as you can research them, so pay attention to how you present yourself online. Whether it’s through LinkedIn, Facebook, or your general web presence, the first thing everyone does these days is Google you.
How do you make sure to move the conversation forward?
Think about what you need to say or do to move the conversation to the next level, and make that your focus. This will help you stay present and avoid getting ahead of yourself.
Prospecting is all about finding potential customers. But don’t waste your time on a deal that won’t be worth the effort. As you move the conversation forward, you need to keep qualifying at the same time. At every stage, ask whether the prospect is still a fit. Qualification also means making sure that they’re ready to move onto the next step.
Automate what you can.
The sales process is long and complex. New outlets and technologies seem to present themselves every day to help you to grow and scale your business. Start by finding the tools that can help you save time and energy around the processes that are already working for you. Experiment with the others later.
If prospecting and lead nurture is a major part of your sales funnel, consider looking to tools like Scout that can help you find your ideal audience, pull contact information, and automate the outreach process. We're rooting for you.