8 Sales Prospecting Techniques That Are Often Overlooked

Written by Nikola Gemeš


When it comes to sales prospecting, there are several ways to make contact with the target audience and close a sale. But not all sales prospecting techniques are scalable. It’s often hard to determine which ones have the best outcomes. Especially if you put the bulk of your resources into perfecting your product.

Several techniques have traditionally been the favorites in the marketing community. Let’s now discuss other forms of outreach which have a high rate of success but are often overlooked.

Harness the power of data

If you don’t measure the success of your email campaigns, you’re missing out on valuable data insights that can improve the effectiveness of your outreach. 

First, you need to make sure you have tools that record when your emails are opened, and in what way prospects are engaging with your emails. 

So what can prospecting data tell you?

  1. If the prospect didn’t open your email – your subject line might not be engaging enough. 
  1. The prospect opened your email but didn’t respond – the content of your message didn’t answer their problem. 
  1. If the prospect opened your email and clicked on a link or attachment, but didn’t proceed with the proposal – they might have questions. 

How can you avoid this?

Instead of run-of-the-mill emails, engage your prospects with customized digital proposals. 

At Better Proposals, we take prospecting data seriously. 

Our software tracks all openings, link clicks, and time spent on the proposals. It also tells you which proposal template brings you the most conversions. 

The same kind of data told us that our sales proposal template won over $38,000,000 of business for our customers in 2021.

This proposal template has been carefully designed to make a resounding impact on delivery. 

Right after the stunning cover page, it leads your prospects through logical steps in which they learn more about your company, previous work, process, timescale, and price.

sales-proposal-cover

You can personalize every section of the proposal for content and visuals so you can be 100% sure it answers your prospects’ pain points. 

But most importantly, the proposal ends with a clear call to action or the Next Steps section. This is where you tell your prospect what to do next to proceed with the sale.

Drop in on trigger events

A key to successful outreach is to get the right timing. If you know that your prospects are looking for your solution, you have more chances to catch their attention.

There are many public ways you can tell that a company is ready to buy. Look up the recent news on your prospect and set up Google Alerts to get notifications on future updates. 

You‘re interested in clues like:

Funding: When companies report strong annual revenue they’re more likely to buy from you. It’s a sign they can afford to invest in a new tool. 

New executives onboard: New C-suite hires are most likely open for innovation. They’ll be looking for great results in the first six months. 

Expansions: New offices are a sign of healthy finances and solid business growth. It’s also a sign that the company is ready for other investments. 

Big company news: Look out for important company milestones, such as winning a large contract or releasing a major product update. These are an excellent opportunity to congratulate and start a conversation.

Make cold calls warmer 

You might’ve heard that cold calling is dead. The truth is that no one is crazy about cold calls. But the fact is they work. The phone is an essential prospecting tool, especially if you’re targeting C-suite buyers. 

Once you hop on a call, talk about the client but keep the conversation interesting with useful information you possess.

cold-vs-warm-calling

More than half of buyers want to see how the product works on the first call. 

You need to offer them something to warm up the call.

Things you can share are techniques, trends, solutions, and proofs. Shed some light on a relevant issue – something the prospect doesn’t even know they’re facing. 

Example: “The biggest challenge will be in three years when no one will want to use sales apps without live chat…” 

After which you offer a few possible solutions or recommendations, like:

 “Our clients are preparing for this by transforming their sales proposals to be more interactive…” 

and prove it by mentioning: 

We’ve done this for <name of the company>… and they’ve seen an increase in their sales, which is why I’m calling you.”  

The whole point of warm calling is that you need to be informed. You’re the one who knows things. 

The worst thing you can do is call and ask:

“Tell me what keeps you awake at night?” or “What issues are you facing?” 

Make sure you know these answers before you pick up the phone.

Automate your marketing

Marketing automation is the answer to your prayers when stuck with hundreds of new buyers who you need to nurture and guide through the sales pipeline. 

Whichever prospecting strategy you choose, you need tools that link content distribution, customer relations, and social media to deliver the right message to the right people and at the right time.

Combined with your website, these tools help you convert visitors to buyers. 

Prospects that go through a nurturing campaign tend to pass through the sales funnel faster. Especially after they have interacted with your content for some time (which you can measure and calculate). 

Without marketing automation, you’re on a wild goose chase. 

So what are the first steps?

Integrate generating, nurturing, and converting leads into customers by automating different marketing processes. 

Import all of your contacts into your marketing automation software, such as HubSpot, Omnisend, or Zoho, and segment each group by criteria that are important for your business. 

Also make priorities based on the highest needs, and conversion goals, and identify marketing assets that can boost interest in every stage of the buying process.  

Meet your prospects on their favorite channels

In today’s data-run world, businesses have more customer information in their CRM databases than ever before. When they click “I agree”, buyers at least expect you to use this data to meet them on their favorite channels. 

Consumers love to buy from companies that hang out in the same places they do. 

For many prospects, this includes spending time on messaging and social media apps. I can’t stress how important this is if you target prospects from Millennials and Gen Zers. These people grew up with texting and instant messaging apps and are not accustomed to making phone calls.

favorite-channels

Instead, try reaching out to them through text messages or social media. 

Social media and text messaging are great ways to follow up with missed prospects in a less formal way. Instead of leaving your 6th voicemail or ending up in their spam folder again, send them a text message or DM. 

Offer to connect via message at a time that works for both of you. This helps keep the communication low-pressure for the prospect. It also allows you to tell them something about your product or service. 

On the other hand, if your target demographic is Gen X or Baby Boomers, phone calls are still the best way to go. 

Meet your prospects where they’re most comfortable. You’ll have a high chance to build rapport and show that you “speak their language”.

Segment your prospects by things they value

Prospect segmentation is the idea to group your prospects by similarities such as demographics, interests, product preferences, etc. When you group them by shared traits, you can tailor your sales prospecting techniques to each group. 

You can go even one step further and order your segmented groups based on which ones have the best sales potential so you know where to put the most of your resources. 

Let’s divide today’s prospects into five distinct groups based on what they value most in their purchasing choices. 

  • Affordability: Low cost and value are what matter most to these consumers. They may have seen a reduction in wages or job loss during the recession, so they are looking for off-brand products to save costs. To connect with prospects who value affordability above anything else, put your brand value first and formulate your message on how the initial investment can save them money down the road.  
  • Health: For these prospects, the most important concern is keeping their family and themselves healthy and safe. They may have experienced an illness or a loss of a loved one so you need to communicate how your product or service can increase their well-being and peace of mind. 
  • Environment: Environmental awareness is the top priority for this group of buyers. They prefer companies dedicated to missions they care about. They endorse brands that hold green certificates for using recyclable packaging or being carbon neutral. These people have likely noticed how carbon emissions dropped in the world during social distancing. If your product or service makes remote work easier or contributes to a paperless office environment, make sure to highlight this for these prospects.   
  • Ethics: Prospects who value ethics want their purchases to go toward the greater good. They are more likely to invest in brands that have the same values and are dedicated to transparent business practices, fair labor and wages policies, local development, etc. Reach out to these prospects by explaining your company’s commitment to making the world a better place. Prove your values – show evidence of your good deeds and social responsibility. 
  • Experience: These prospects expect nothing less than cutting-edge technology. In a SaaS environment, these may as well be the highest-value customers. Formulate your sales pitches by highlighting what makes your product superior to the competition. Let those AI and integrations shine.

Try targeting thriving industries

If your product or service can serve multiple industries, you can work the agility angle and reach prospects from different niches. 

Instead of focusing on the same markets, you’ve targeted over and over again, zero in on the industries that grew rapidly. If we can trust Google Ads Benchmarks Report, these are the industries that saw massive growth in the past two years:

  • Charities and nonprofits
  • Healthcare
  • Beauty
  • On-demand media
  • Business management & finance

Being conscious of changes in your target markets works both ways.

Apart from pivoting to the growing industries, you should also time your prospecting to wait until a struggling industry is growing again before you reach out to prospects in that market. 

This approach shows sensitivity and knowledge about the state of your customer’s business. Make your timing right and you’re more likely to get a response once the companies are in a position to spend money on new products and services again.

Set aside time for prospecting 

Large companies typically have staff who prospect full-time, while at most SMBs, prospecting is just one part of a sales team’s responsibilities. However, to keep prospecting successful, you and your salespeople need to set aside time for it. 

Work prospecting into your calendar, just as you’d schedule client meetings. Choose the time of day when you have the most energy to spend on cold calling. Still make sure to choose the time frame your prospects are most likely to be available.

prospecting-to-do-list

Decide how frequently you want to have these prospecting sessions, taking into account your targets and schedule. 

Plan each prospecting meeting with a goal you want to achieve at the end of the session. For example, to reach out to a certain number of people or to move a certain percentage of contacts to the next step in your sales process. 

These mini-objectives will help you stay motivated as you’re prospecting. 

Now, if prospecting is your least favorite part of the job, make sure to minimize external distractions during your “prospect meeting” time. Set your private phone to “not disturb” and change your  Slack status to “in a meeting”. 

Wrapping up

To grow a business you need to know your market and your target industries. You need to know the people you’re selling to. 

When you find them, you need to reach out with a personalized message that carries a solution for their pain points.

Better Proposals has a solution for your pain point. 

We helped thousands of other businesses increase their sales and minimize prospecting time.

Start a trial today and start winning new deals with highly personalized digital proposals.

Categories: Sales Tips