10 Sales Prospecting Techniques To Crush Your Quota
When you started out in the sales business, you probably thought you were going to spend most of your time, well, selling. But the data shows that that isn’t the case—most salespeople only spend about a third of their time doing sales-related, income-generating activities like going to meetings, following up, and prospecting leads.
With more than 65% of your hours spent not selling, why should it be a surprise if you’re not hitting your quota?
The fact of the matter is, the more time you spend actually selling to customers, the more likely you’re going to hit your goals.
So the objective is pretty clear: spend more time selling and hit those numbers. But how exactly do you do that? You have to understand where the rest of your time is going, and fix the problem at its source. That means less getting distracted on social media and more using your CRM to improve your time management.
Then you have to shift your prospecting into overdrive. Prospecting is the first step to reaching any customer, and the average sales rep spends just 10% of their time doing it. But imagine if you could make that 10% pay for the other 90% of your time—talk about incredible returns.
Are you ready to get better at sales prospecting?
Well, you should be. Here are 10 tips and techniques for sales prospecting:
Know Your Product—And Your Target Market—Inside And Out
The first prospecting technique on this list should pretty much go without saying, but you’d be surprised how many sales reps try to prospect and close sales without it.
The bottom line is that you can’t sell your product (well, at least not properly or effectively) unless you know it like the back of your hand. Reading the product/service brochure isn’t enough. It’s not just about what the product/service is, but why the product is necessary in the first place. Knowing which problems your company is supposed to address will help you market it to the people who need it.
Your ability to understand the customer particular problem, and relate that to an effective solution that meets their needs, is one of the main factors that will earn your prospect’s trust.
Establish Your Expertise & Prospect On Autopilot
If you’re having a hard time finding new prospects, why not let them find you? Become a trusted name within your community, and people will better trust the solutions you present. There are a number of ways you can establish yourself as a thought leader and industry influencer—starting a blog, writing for recognized websites in your customer’s industries, attending speaking engagements—but they all have to do with demonstrating your capabilities and expertise.
Sales Prospecting Is A Daily Grind
We understand that prospecting isn’t the most fun part of the job, but it goes a long way toward getting you where you closer to your quota. It’s one of the necessary evils of sales, and one that many people put off until the last minute, which really hurts their bottom line.
Prospecting is a journey, not a destination. You have to do it consistently to actually see results, so make sure you set aside a little time for it every day, even if it’s stressful or difficult. Spreading it out over every day (instead of doing it in big chunks at the end of the quarter) is also a great way to make prospecting easier.
Prioritize Your Leads When Prospecting
While other sales prospecting techniques on this list are about getting MORE leads, this one is about getting HIGHER QUALITY leads.
Work out what kind of people would actually be interested in your product. Is it SMBs? Mid Market? Enterprise? Who are the different buyers you are selling to? Figure out what your ideal customers look like and make a customer persona or profile, for at least 3 profiles:
- User persona – the person who will be the direct user of your solution
- Manager persona – the person who might not be using your solution day-to-day but will manage the User persona, and will be experiencing the aggregated benefits of your implemented solution. The Manager persona is frequently the person who will approve the check.
- Evaluator persona: the person who’s role is to search for and compare alternative solutions.
Grouping Your Lead Prospects
Then, when you’re prospecting, group your leads into each of these profiles. This will help you narrow down your focus to the profiles that are actually most likely to influence or make a decision to buy your product or service, instead of wasting time on dead leads.
After you’ve identified the leads that actually fit your target market, you can narrow them down even further. Group similar prospects by type, by budget, and by how familiar they are with your company. Then, you can label each prospect as a high, medium, or low-priority lead.
High priority leads would be those that align well with your target customer profile, have shown interest in your company/product/service, and may even have a mutual connection with. These are the leads that are worth the majority of your effort.
Once you’ve grouped your leads, you’ll know what actions you’ll need to take to target the leads in that particular group.
Having the ability to make lists in your CRM is very beneficial to accomplish this.
One Of The Most Undervalued Sales Prospecting Techniques: Referrals
Word of mouth isn’t dead. In fact, it’s stronger than ever. The Internet has made an interconnected web of customers—one glowing review, one positive Facebook post, one tweet could get you dozens of new leads. When you’re prospecting, you’re not just reaching out to one customer but their entire network of friends and family.
The trick is to ask for a referral at the right time, preferably after you make a sale. If the customer is happy with your product (and your sales techniques), they’ll probably also be more than happy to put in a good word for you.
Utilizing Content Marketing In Your Prospecting Arsenal
You’ve heard it before: content is king, and that’s especially true when it comes to sales prospecting. Content marketing can make a huge impact on your sales. If done right, this technique could be one of the single most effective things you can do to funnel clients through the sales pipeline.
Creating content that’s engaging, valuable, and relevant isn’t easy, but there’s a fool-proof method you can follow. Whenever you make content, focus on your customer’s needs, pain points, and concerns—NOT your products or company. This isn’t the time to hard sell. Don’t talk about how awesome you are; demonstrate it by providing them with real value.
You can do this by presenting the right value proposition formulation supported by blogs, videos, infographics, and other kinds of content that answer their questions. Match your content with their stage in the customer journey, and you’ll maximize the number of leads that actually make it through to a purchase.
Become A Social Media Star
Okay, you don’t have to become a viral sensation for this sales prospecting technique to work, but you do need to build an audience of loyal brand ambassadors. How do you do that? By using your social media to spread knowledge, answer questions, and share content.
You can reach out to prospects where they live; whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Quora, and LinkedIn by simply putting out as much information that engages conversation, as you possibly can. Use the social media sites’ search function to find people who are asking questions that you can answer.
Use a variety of sales prospecting techniques and tactics until you find a strategy that works for you—and don’t forget to monitor your engagement to see which one works the best.
Establish An Alliance
Imagine how many companies are selling to your prospects on a daily basis—dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? The average person sees about 5,000 ads a day. That constant exposure is a double-edged sword. It’s easier for businesses to build awareness but customers are also much smarter and more cynical than they used to be.
How do you stand out from the crowd and get prospects to lower their guard? By teaming up with a non-competing company, you can leverage their audience while offering yours in exchange.
For example, if you sell network security software, you can partner up with individuals who sell network equipment, or who manage data centers. You could have a deal where you refer clients to each other and you could offer their services as part of a package to your customers. Alliances like this can double or even triple your leads, leading to more sales down the line.
Look Back At Lost Leads
Just think about all the recent leads that led to nowhere. Taking a closer look at your losses might feel weird or even painful, but understanding what went wrong is crucial to creating a more effective strategy.
When you’re looking to generate new leads, consider revisiting the last few deals you didn’t get. You’ll gain some insight into what your competitors are doing better and what you can do to sell more effectively. Or if the customer couldn’t work with you for whatever reason, they may still be able to land you referrals with people who can.
Take Advantage Of New Sales Tech
Technology should be your best friend as a sales professional. CRMs and other apps are all there to make your job easier so that you can focus on actually selling to customers.
Programs like ZynBit are specifically built to make you much more efficient at doing the menial, everyday tasks of a sales rep. Things like entering data, booking meetings, and even some aspects of prospecting, can be automated through ZynBit. Better yet, these programs often integrate into your current CRMs and email inboxes to create a superpowered sales machine with incredible results.
Use Cutting Edge Sales Prospecting Techniques To Your Advantage
If you feel like prospecting is the most difficult part of your job, you’re definitely not alone. Almost half of all sales professionals say that prospecting is the hardest thing they have to do—even more so than closing a sale! Thankfully, there are tons of sales prospecting techniques you can use you hack your way to better numbers, increased productivity, and less stress!