A Sales Rep’s Guide to Effective Sales Prospecting

Sales prospecting is often an unexciting and mind numbing job. There I said it.

Spending hours identifying and researching prospects, drafting personalized cold emails, and chatting them up on the phone—there’s so much to do. Yet, you don’t see the fruits of your labor right away either which is why it can feel demotivating.

But prospecting is also the very lifeblood of your sales career. Deals can’t happen without uncovering a prospect to communicate the value you offer first.

So if you hate prospecting and you’re looking for a quick and easy tool to make your selling life easier. Stay tuned.

What Is Sales Prospecting?

Sales prospecting is the process of finding and reaching out to potential buyers of your product or service to enter them into your sales funnel and eventually make a sale.

For most sales professionals, prospecting includes:

  • Researching your prospect thoroughly to determine the quality of the lead
  • Connecting with the lead through emailing, calling, or on social media platforms
  • Evaluating the lead's unique needs and pain points
  • Positioning your product or service as the best solution to the lead’s requirements
  • Following up with the prospect

Being good at prospecting is vital. The more effectively you can find good prospects whose needs and pain points are satisfied by your product, the more likely you are to convert them into sales and beat your sales quota.

What Are the Benefits of Sales Prospecting?

Prospecting is all about communicating with potential customers. When your prospect effectively, you can:

  • start a conversation with your targeted prospect,
  • qualify high-quality prospects, and
  • position your product as the best fit for the prospects’ needs.

Keeping these in mind, here are the main benefits of mastering sales prospecting:

  • A steady stream of prospects. Sales prospecting makes it easier to build and fill your sales pipeline, which is invaluable to business growth. A sales pipeline helps you target the right customers and understand how close you are to meeting your sales quota.
  • Increased productivity. Tracking your prospecting efforts in a CRM like HubSpot allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Eventually, you can optimize your efforts and eliminate inefficiencies to do your job more efficiently.
  • Building trust. As a sales rep, you’re the trusted advisor for the organization you represent. However, this isn’t an easy task—you have to continually provide prospects and customers value by helping them wherever possible.
  • Collecting competitive insights. An integral part of sales prospecting is researching the competition. This makes you aware of your company's advantages over your competition, which you can use to position your product as the better alternative and close more deals.

So with that said, where can you find new leads without having to Google companies, guess at email addresses and beg gatekeepers for access to your potential decision makers?

You can use today's post sponsor, Lusha.com.

Generating new lead lists

Generating lists of potential prospects using Lusha is easy –

A) Sign up

Sign up to Lusha using the link below this video for free and get 25 free credits. Then install the Lusha plugin by following their simple instructions.

B) Start prospecting

Click the prospecting link at the top of the page and then select the variables that make up your ideal buyer persona in the left hand menu.

For me that might be –

  • Industry: Computer software
  • Revenue: Min $5m
  • Contact location: United Kingdom
  • Department: Sales
  • Job title: Sales manager

And wow, that’s over 1,632 potential prospects for me to reach out to –

Let's say I want to reach out to Julie here and understand if her team is a good fit for our Selling Made Simple Academy training. All I have to do is click the “show details” button and bam –

C) Build your list

There are her contact details. For convenience I can also save the contacts details to a list and also export the details to a bunch of other platforms like HubSpot CRM, Outreach or you could connect Gmail and send emails directly from Lusha too –

Filling your pipeline and increasing the chances of sales success has never been more simple.

If you’d like to start using Lusha to start filling your sales pipeline too, then click the link in the description below and get started with 25 credits for free, today.

5 Effective Sales Prospecting Techniques for Sales Reps

Here are five sales prospecting best practices to polish your sales skills and find prospects that are the perfect fit for your product.

1) Create an Ideal Prospect Profile

What does your ideal customer profile look like?

Think with the “problem-solution“ viewpoint: identify your ideal customer’s pain points and understand how your product can solve them. Here the are some questions to help you get started:

  • How would you describe your top five customers?
  • Who are your most profitable and least profitable customers?
  • How would you describe customers that don’t fit the bill at all?

Create a customer profile for each of the above. Remove companies and prospects from your database that don’t fit the bill or generate enough profit. Trust me; this will make your prospecting even more fruitful, especially considering 50% of your prospects aren’t a good fit for what you want to sell.

2) Invest in Time-saving Tools Like Lusha

  • Bad news: prospecting can be very time-consuming.
  • Good news: several sales prospecting tools can speed up prospecting.

As a sales rep, your time is your most important resource. But you also cannot rush prospecting as you need accurate data to identify and qualify leads. Luckily, you can use certain tools to prospect faster and more effectively.

Lusha, for one, lets you find your prospects' contact details and contact them directly, breaking down gated barriers.

After installing the Lusha plugin extension, continue prospecting on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter as you normally would. When you match a person with your ideal customer profile, check the Lusha icon on the right-hand side of your screen.

If Lusha has the contact details of the person on its database, a number batch will appear over the icon like this:

Click it to see what contact details are available. Jot down the prospect’s details in your database. Keep in mind the full contact details of the prospect will only be displayed when you use your Lusha credit.

This way, you don’t have to waste your time sending emails to info@ email addresses anymore, nor do you have to spend money on wrong information.

Other technological solutions like CRMs, marketing automation, Google alerts, and social media can also make prospecting easier and faster.

3) Leverage Your Existing Network

93% of customers trust recommendations from family and friends over anything else.

Word-of-mouth clearly works, which is why asking your network for referrals also works. But before asking for referrals, you need to develop a good relationship with your customers by being there whenever they need your help.

Time is equally important here. For instance, if your customer achieves anything substantial using your product, you can politely ask them for a referral.

4) Make the Most of Social Selling

Contrary to popular belief, social selling doesn’t mean the entire sales process will happen over social media—and nor does it have to be on LinkedIn only.

Let me explain. There are two main social selling types:

  • Broad authority-building, where your followers and prospects see you as an authoritative figure in your industry
  • Targeted sales prospecting and nurturing, where you directly connect with target accounts and prospects

Whether you deploy the above social selling types separately or together, you get to leverage a medium where people are open to communicating and building relationships—something that can't be replicated over the phone.

You can warm up a cold prospect and make them more willing to participate in sales conversations.

Pretty awesome, right?

5) Follow Up x3

Follow-ups turn a cold email into a mutually beneficial conversation. It shows your prospect you’re genuinely interested in their business.

At the same time, you also don’t want to end up annoying your prospect—or end up in the dreaded spam folder. So what's the correct way to follow up?

According to a Yesware study, the most successful cadence based on replies is six touches in over three weeks.

Based on the findings, here’s the most-likely-to-be-successful follow-up cadence you can follow:

  • Follow-up #1: 3 days
  • Follow-up #2: 7 days
  • Follow-up #3: 11 days
  • Follow-up #4: 15 days
  • Follow-up #5: 19 days
  • Follow-up #6: 22 days

I can’t stress enough how important it is to follow up. Don’t give up too easily!

3 Top Sales Prospecting Tools for Sales Reps

Over 40% of sales representatives find prospecting to be the most challenging stage of the sales process. One of the main reasons behind this is the limited—or lack of—access to powerful sales prospecting tools—tools that help reps target better prospects and convert them faster.

Below are our top five best prospecting tools to make your sales process more efficient and disciplined.

A) Lusha

Lusha is a top-notch B2B prospecting tool that allows you to target organizations based on location, industry, size, job title, and other filters to narrow down your prospect search.

The available results give you your prospect’s up-to-date contact details, like work email and phone number. In fact, Lusha delivers 37 firmographic data points about your prospect, helping you build a qualified and hyper-focused list with a 93.5% data accuracy rate.

What's more, you can save the results in your CRM or create your own prospect list within Lusha.

B) LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an excellent tool to facilitate B2B sales, where you get access to the social network’s 800 million-strong database.

This tool has advanced search options that simplify and streamline lead generation, plus it also suggests new leads based on your preferences. Getting crucial updates about target accounts, such as press releases and job changes, is another advantage.

C) Mailshake

Mailshake lets you scale up your personalized cold email outreach efforts. Use it to stay on top of prospecting by building outreach sequences with touchpoints across all important channels like email and Twitter.

I also like Mailshake’s simple and intuitive dashboard that gives you a single-view glance into your outreach progress. Integrations with popular CRMs like HubSpot, Pipedrive, and Zapier are also useful.

Effective sales prospecting means a healthy sales pipeline. I hope my prospecting tool and technique recommendations will help you master your results.

Want to learn more? Browse through Salesman's free training content for more amazing selling tips and techniques.

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