What is sales prospecting and how is it done?

Written by Claudia Roca

sales prospecting

Blog » What is sales prospecting and how is it done?

Reach those potential customers who don’t know you yet.

The success of a company depends to a great extent on its growth and recognition. The more people who know your brand, the more opportunities you will have to obtain leads and increase your sales.

For this same reason, it is essential that our marketing strategies include campaigns that reach those users who do not yet know about our company.

The possibilities are endless, and without a doubt, there are hundreds of users who can become potential customers. And better yet, in final customers who consume your product on a regular basis.

This is where the importance of prospecting comes in. Through prospecting you can reach those potential customers.

Table of Content

What does prospecting mean? 

It refers to “the possibility of something good happening in the future” and is used in the work environment to talk about the possibility of success. We can use it as professionals when we do something expecting good results. 

So how can we understand prospecting in marketing?

This term is used in marketing to talk about the search for opportunities with customers that our company has not yet reached. Of course, with the expectation that we will have a positive response from potential customers.

Prospecting marketing is an outbound strategy that seeks to create potential customers by doing a market study in order to have the best opportunities.

To put it more clearly: prospecting marketing is nothing more than detecting potential customers and making them loyal to our brand.

Prospecting has always been used in traditional marketing. Yellow pages, billboards, TV ads, radio messages, sales in a local company… all are a form of prospecting to attract new customers.

Prospecting marketing is usually understood as the strategy we carry out to attract new users to our website, as part of an outbound marketing strategy.

When prospecting is applied to social networks, it is known as social prospecting.

5 Reasons to implement prospecting in your marketing strategy 

Prospecting is essential in every company’s digital marketing strategy, including yours. And the reason is simple: to sell more, you need to increase the number of customers. And to increase the number of customers, they first need to know your brand. 

If it’s not clear enough for you, take a look at the benefits that prospecting has for your company:

1. It increases the number of sales

The ultimate goal of prospecting is to increase the number of sales of your company, like any marketing strategy. By increasing your brand awareness, potential customers will increase and therefore, sales. 

2. It connects you with potential customers 

However, prospecting doesn’t exactly seek to close the sale. Its purpose is to capture leads. 

Through pain points, a good prospecting strategy will increase the interest that users have in your brand. And therefore, it will connect with more potential customers. 

3. It promotes your products and services

Prospecting strategies usually present a product on sale or a special service that will cover the user’s need. This way, users will get to know what your company offers. 

4. It increases the awareness of your brand

As a result, your brand awareness will increase. And the user will know that he can come to you to satisfy the need that your company addresses. 

5. You will obtain valuable information

Prospecting will allow you to obtain valuable information for future marketing campaigns. You can use that information to make a prospect loyalty campaign or for a retargeting strategy. 

Prospecting

How to use prospecting in marketing

There are many techniques to implement prospecting in a marketing strategy. Actually, prospecting encompasses all the strategies we perform to attract customers in a digital environment. 

Here are some examples of how to do prospecting in our digital marketing strategy: 

  • Content marketing.
  • Social Media. 
  • Networking. 
  • Email marketing.  
  • Ads and advertising. 
  • Cold calling. 

Prospecting and retargeting, what is the difference?

The concepts of prospecting and retargeting are often confused. This confusion is probably due to the fact that both strategies seek to attract customers to your brand.

However, they are very different from each other. While prospecting is about the first interaction we have with the customer, retargeting is used to increase the number of conversions from customers who already know our product.

Let’s see it in the following chart to make it clearer:

Prospecting Retargeting
Goal Capture leads Increase conversions
Type of user New users Users that already know you

Prospecting means making sure that advertising reaches users for the first time. Retargeting looks for users that we’ve already sent advertising to without achieving a conversion, in order to sell them our products.

Let’s apply it to a digital marketing strategy. Prospecting seeks to bring users to our website for the first time. But retargeting looks for users who came to our website, but did not perform the action we wanted.

Consequently, the way in which we contact users in each strategy is quite different. Prospecting uses advertising on social networks and Google to reach new customers, or establishes a conversation through a social network or by mail.

But retargeting goes to a database of users who have already visited our website. This way, we can contact them directly.

Tips for you to implement prospecting effectively

Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start, we will take you step by step through what we believe should be the stages of effective prospecting: 

1. Research the market and define the profile of your ideal client.

The first step is to do a market research.

The more clarity you have about your potential customers, the greater the chances that the prospect will become a customer.

To do this, you should collect as much information as possible about your potential customers. City or country, buying habits, age, preferences, needs and challenges…

There are different tools you can use to get this information, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook Ads and Google Ads.

LinkedIn is perfect for identifying potential customers, contacting them and researching more about the industry. Especially when your customer segmentation consists of professionals. Or when you want to do prospecting in a B2B marketing strategy.

Social networks and Google Adwords are perfect for reaching a more advanced segmentation of your audience. Good prospecting in online advertising considerably increases ROI.

You can use Twitter to get to know your competitors better, approach dissatisfied customers, identify leads, promote your own content and build customer loyalty.

2. Register your prospects in a list

The next step is to make a list of all the prospects you have acquired. CRMs are very useful for making a list of prospects and there are free options. At the end we will recommend a few options.

If you find it too complicated, Google Spreadsheet and Excel are classic and easy options.

The number of prospects you are going to include in this list depends largely on the objectives of your campaign.

But don’t focus so much on the quantity, but on the quality of the prospects. What we are looking for is for that prospect to be a potential customer.

Segmentation is important to measure the quality of the leads we have obtained. In addition, segmenting prospects will make your list more organized and easier to filter. Remember to include in the list the stage in which each lead is.

3. Create a clear and simple process

Next, you must create the process you will follow to engage with each lead. The process should be easy to follow. We recommend that you define it accurately and have it clear before communicating with your prospects.

There are three things you must define in the process: 

  • The time and the means: define when you will send the first message, by which means you will get in touch and what will be the sending frequency.
  • The message: remember to keep in mind the pain points you will help them overcome. Here it is important to focus more on the customer than on your company. Be concise and to the point so that your cold messages are more effective.
  • How to bring the process to a close with interested customers: you must also define what will happen after a prospect responds to the message and is more interested in you.

4. Contact the prospect

At this point, we are ready to contact our prospects. The key to effective communication with each prospect is in the frequency and content of the message. 

We must have enough frequency to make the prospect aware of our brand, but without overdoing it so that we don’t become a spammer and generate the opposite reaction. 

In addition, each message we send should be different. This way, we will not tire them with the same content and we will have a better chance of converting them into a lead. 

This is an example of the messages that characterize communication with prospects: 

  • The introductory message: this is the first message you send to the customer, where you attack their pain point and present your company as the solution to their problems. It is sent on day 1. 
  • Offering content or a product: the second message is usually an invitation to check out a piece of content or try a product. It’s usually sent a week later. 
  • A reminder: reminds the user that they can see the content or try the product from the previous message. It’s usually sent one or two days after the previous message to motivate the user to interact. 
  • Sending material or inviting them to an event: at this point, you get the user’s attention by giving them material or by inviting the prospect to a webinar. This is done 1 week after the reminder. 
  • A new presentation: if after a month you have not received any response, you can make a recommendation. A recommendation is using another channel when you make another presentation with a different message. It’s likely that there was no response to the first messages because the prospect doen’t use that channel. So you should look for another one through which you can contact them more effectively.

If you are a B2B company, the same principles apply. However, the important thing here is to know which person in the company to contact. You probably won’t get any response if you have a cold message with the higher ranks of the company.

The safest thing to do is to target a middle rank and one who is involved with your area of interest. If you offer a product for marketing teams, it is best to communicate with the marketing manager.

This type of prospect will be a bridge to communicate with a higher level person that will allow you to reach your goal: to sell your products, since these prospects will understand the importance of your product and can convince the higher ranks to establish a relationship with your company.

If you want to get this kind of prospects, LinkedIn is the best platform. There you can find the professionals with information about their position in the company.

5. Increase conversions

If you go through this whole process correctly, it will only be a matter of time before you start getting conversions.

Not only can you measure the conversion rate through the number of customers who converted or bought your product. You can also consider a conversion to be all the users who responded to the email.

If the conversion rate is very low, it is very likely that you need to change some part of the process you have previously defined. Therefore, the next step is fundamental: 

6. Evaluate your metrics

Choose the metrics you want to evaluate to measure the results and effectiveness of the campaign. It can be the conversion rate, the quality opportunities, the number of responded emails… 

If the prospecting was carried out through an email marketing campaign, you may need to evaluate the number of:  

  • sent emails, 
  • opened emails, 
  • and responded emails. 

If your message has a link that invites the user to take action, then you should measure the level of user interaction with the email. The CTOR is fundamental here.  

tips prospecting

Reach more potential customers through prospecting

Prospecting has to go hand in hand with other marketing strategies. It’s all well and good to make an effort to build loyalty with the customers you already have. But there are thousands of opportunities out there for your company with hundreds of customers who don’t know you yet. Opportunities that you must take advantage of with good prospecting.

Don’t forget about unknown potential customers.

Create a strategy for them and increase your leads and conversions.

There are many tools you can use to find, register, control and contact your prospects.

LinkedIn and Twitter are the best alternative to meet and contact your prospects. On LinkedIn you can establish a direct connection or obtain an email. On Twitter you can get to know the opinion of those users and ask them questions that will help you in your segmentation.

To register and control your prospects, we recommend using a CRM. HubSpot, Holded, Zoho and Bitrix24 are some free CRMs that will help you a lot.

What do you think about all this? We are dying to know your opinion about prospecting, as always, we invite you to leave it in comments:

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