by Justin Arnold, Regional Director – North West England
Imagine the following: You’re talking to a random stranger, trying to tell them how wonderful your widget is, but they keep looking at their computer screen, despondent and aren’t asking any questions. They’re not listening or paying attention, and you feel you’ve wasted your time when the conversation is finished.
That’s what selling without prospecting is like!
Prospecting ensures that every lead you talk to is the decision maker and the company they work for is genuinely a good fit for your product/service — or has the potential to be a good fit. While you won’t know for sure until you carry out the lead qualification process, you can save significant time by researching potential buyers before writing a single email line or making a single phone call.
The truth is that the sales function is rapidly changing. As sales conversations grow even more buyer-focused, sales reps have begun developing hacks, techniques, and processes for prospecting. In addition, automated computer tools quickly gather buyer information from various sources. And that’s where this blog guide comes in. In this growing sales landscape, I will outline the different processes and critical strategies for sales prospecting — the selling phase that often consumes the most time and energy and is the most crucial to get right.
What is Prospecting…?
Prospecting is the process of initiating and developing new business by searching for potential customers, clients, or buyers for your products or services. The goal is to move these prospects through the qualifying process until they convert to revenue-generating customers.
Prospecting allows you to identify good-fit customers for your business. This means finding leads who genuinely need your product or service to solve their challenges and pain points and deliver ultimately for their customers.
At Least Half of Prospects Aren’t a Good Fit for What You’re Selling.
Source: (Sales Insights Lab)
Salespeople who are top performers in prospecting always generate more sales meetings than those who are “low” performers — or those who don’t prospect at all.
Once you finish prospecting, you’ll have meetings with leads who are a much better fit for the product. Good-fit customers provide long-term business and value versus leads who churn after closing a deal. You can identify good-fit customers while prospecting by asking the right sales qualification questions to all your leads and prospects.
Speaking of leads and prospects, it’s important to note the differences between these two types of people. You and the rest of your sales team will be communicating with them during prospecting — and knowing who’s who will affect how you approach them.
Let’s take a look.
Lead vs Prospect
Leads are potential customers who’ve expressed interest in your company through behaviours like visiting a website, subscribing to a blog, or signing up for a free trial. Prospects are qualified leads and align with your target audience and buyer personas.
Depending on their qualifications and fit, a prospect (not a lead) can be classified as a potential customer even if they have had limited or no interaction with your company.
It’s also important to remember that although leads and prospects differ by definition, your goals with both are the same: Nurture leads and prospects until they buy your product or service. This nurturing process begins when you start prospecting until you close the deal.
40% of Sales Reps Say Prospecting Is the Most Challenging Part of the Sales Process
Look for the next blog in the series – #2 How to Prospect and if you have any questions, please reach out to me at any of the below.