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Sales prospecting

Sales prospecting

Prospects, or potential customers, are the fuel for the sales pipeline. Every prospect represents a possible sale, making it important to grow your base of prospects.

Prospecting is used to expand the size of the potential customer base. Sales reps will reach out to leads and nurture them into opportunities, using techniques such as making calls, direct mail, networking events, and connecting on social platforms.

How to approach a new sales prospect

How to approach a new sales prospect

We need to study prospects and be relevant when we reach out to them.

Steps to find an authentic common ground that gives traction to the relationship:

  • Lean on customer relationship management (CRM). CRM technology helps to keep all your interactions with your prospects at your fingertips - the email you sent, notes from all your meetings, the pitch deck.
  • Research your way into their world. If it's a publicly-traded company, read their investor reports.
  • Find the channel that sticks. If the prospect doesn't answer the phone, try to connect on LinkedIn. Be as relevant as you can.

Keep the conversation moving

It's not about closing the deal but about closing every step of the deal.

  • Obsess over the next step. End the conversation with a question. "Can we connect for five minutes after you've taken a look?"
  • Advance but qualify. Prospecting is about moving forward. Don't over-focus on a deal that won't be worth it. Ask at every stage if the prospect is still a fit.
  • Selling is a team sport. You won't have all the answers and need to lean on those who give you the information you need.

How to qualify a sales prospect

How to qualify a sales prospect

Questions to help you qualify a prospect:

Is this the right person?

  • Does the prospect match your ideal customer profile?
  • Are they interested in your product?
  • Can they influence the deal or even decide to purchase?

Is this the right company?

  • Is it in your territory?
  • Is the industry a good fit?
  • What’s the size of their organisation?

Is this the right project?

  • Is the department funded to pay your price?
  • Will the project be a priority for the company?
  • Will the team be using the product for the right use case that will create an impact?

How to find new sales prospects

  1. Follow the prospect before you connect with them.
  2. Find them in groups. Join and engage in groups where your prospect is active.
  3. Hype them up. Follow the prospect's activity and help to up engagement.

Moving sales prospects to the next stage in the sales cycle

You won't get far with prospects by repeating the same general information on your company's website.

To go deep with them, you'll need to learn their accent and become knowledgeable about their lives at work. Learn about specific industry trends, their companies and their lives.

The stages of the sale prospecting process

The stages of the sale prospecting process

The sales process moves from cold leads → to warm opportunities → to hot deals. Prospecting is what happens in-between.

  • Sales and marketing source leads. Leads are unqualified prospects and come from marketing or sales.
  • Sales qualify leads into prospects. Sales get to know leads and decide if they're a good fit (qualified) to become a prospect.
  • Sales nurture prospects into opportunities. Sales make prospects more interested in the sale, turning them into "opportunities."
  • Sales close opportunities into deals.

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