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Sales Prospecting: Your Definitive Guide for 2023

Sales prospecting is an essential part of the sales process. It helps you ensure that every lead you spend time and effort on is a good fit for your products or services. In this article, we’ll explain the importance of sales prospecting and provide you with a guide on how to use it in your company.

Only by understanding the specifics of prospecting, will you be able to experience amazing results.  

What is sales prospecting?

Sales prospecting is the process of finding the best possible customers in order to win more deals and conquer new markets. It is used to expand your existing customer base by reaching out to leads and nurturing the relationship with the goal of turning them into customers. 

This process is mostly done by email marketing, social media, networking events and more. Prospecting allows you better understand your customers and what their customer journey looks like. 

The process of deciding which leads are prospects will look different from company to company. But don’t worry, our guide can be used for a wide variety of industries. 

The importance of sales prospecting

Sales prospecting is essential for any sales team wanting to scale its business. It helps you identify customers that have a real need for your solution. Since they are already aware of their pain points and issues, targeting them can speed up your sales cycle. 

Focusing on people that are already searching for a solution similar to yours is far more effective than trying to convert people who aren’t even aware of their pain points. If your sales strategy is solely focused on the top of the funnel people, you’ll lose out on a lot of conversion opportunities. 

Research shows that 82% of buyers accept meetings when a salesperson proactively reaches out. A big reason for this is that people who are looking for a specific product or service will be more willing to jump on a sales call than the ones that are still cold leads.

defining sales prospecting

However, if you want to take advantage of these numbers, you need to up the quality of your sales meetings. If you waste people’s time by talking about your company, instead of focusing on personalized benefits and features they will love, you won’t increase your conversion rate. 

That’s why it’s important to prepare for your sales meetings. You need to research your prospects and find out how to customise your pitch to them. We’ll focus more on this in a later chapter. For now, in order to truly understand the importance of sales prospecting, we should delve into the differences between leads and prospects. 

The difference between leads and prospects

A lead is a person who may become a client after a considerable amount of effort and time. 

On the other hand, a prospect is a person you’ve qualified as one that is more likely to purchase from your business. 

While leads expressed some type of interest in your company, products or services, they still need to be engaged and informed. This is because they fall into the early stages of your sales pipeline. 

They are usually engaged with helpful and informative blogs, how-to videos, case studies and more. 

Prospects are leads you’ve decided are more worth spending time and effort trying to convert. That is because they showed a higher level of interest, and possibly reached out to you to find out more about your products and services. 

They don’t need a lot of convincing, since they are very likely to buy, so answering their questions and dealing with any type of objections will be enough. 

Once you understand how to qualify your leads, you’ll be able to shift your focus on the people you can easily and quickly convert. 

Automate your sales prospecting

If you want to speed up your sales process, you will need to automate parts of it. While we believe that people buy from people and would never tell you to completely automate your sales process, there are parts you can speed up with reliable software. 

Better Proposals

As the name suggests, Better Proposals can help you quickly create beautiful business proposals which include digital signatures and payment gateways. With all that being said, Better Proposals is more than a proposal tool, it’s a sales tool that can transform your converting process. 

We offer more than 200 document templates that you can easily customize in a few minutes. You no longer have to create your proposals, contracts and client sign-offs from scratch. We’re the ones that are constantly analyzing successful business proposals and know how the trends change. 

Since we’re so immersed in the proposal process, it’s easy to see why you would let us take care of your proposal structure and other elements. This leaves you with more time to focus on shaping your offer. 

All of our proposals come with a digital signature option which significantly speeds up your approval process. This way, no one has to print out or scan documents, the only thing your client needs to do is type in their name and it will get turned into a legally binding digital signature. 

Another great feature you’ll love is the payment option. It allows your clients to pay their dues through the document itself. You can set up a one-time payment, monthly payments, or annual ones, it all depends on the payment provider you use. 

The payments can be set up through PayPal, Stripe and GoCardless. 


The importance of the follow-up process

Since prospects are already interested in your solution and are likely to buy, you don’t want to ruin your chances by not following up. 

When using Better Proposals, you can do this very easily through our proposal analytics. They show you when your proposal was opened, forwarded, signed and paid, as well as how much time the reader spent on each of the chapters. 

This will inform your follow-up process because you’ll know exactly when to reach out and what your approach should be. There is no need to message them with specifics on your offer if they still haven’t opened your document. 

Knowing that they’ve read your proposal, got to the pricing section and haven’t responded yet, you can craft a great email outlining how you helped previous clients reach their goals. Send a short case study that shows how quickly you helped your client reach ROI. 

That will help convince your new clients to agree to your proposal. 

Learn how to prioritise your prospects

In order to be successful in your sales prospecting, you need to learn how to prioritize your prospects. That way, you can ensure that you’re focusing on the right clients. 

The process of prioritizing your prospects can be quite easy. If you already have an amazing understanding of your target audience and previous clients, you’ll know exactly who to zero in on. 

Create a map of your leads and grade each one on how likely they are to convert. You can use percentages for this. Once you have a list of potential clients who are in your opinion more likely to buy from you, share your findings with the team. 

They can give you input and together you can come to a final list of prospects. 

The factors you should focus on while grading leads should be: 

  • The size of the company
  • Previous communication
  • Market changes
  • Timing
  • And more

There will always be surprises along the way, so make sure to update your list regularly and include new data. 

The importance of a personalized approach    

If you approach your prospects with a universal message, without any type of personalization, you won’t reach your full potential. 

You need to set time aside to research your prospects and customise your approach to their needs and wants. Don’t be afraid to do some social media stalking. Find out what the company’s values are and how to win them over. 

Are they focused on the environment, do they work with non-profits, and do they offer scholarships? Find an angle to quickly differentiate yourself and show the prospect that you’ve done your research. 

Make sure to research their competitors as well. Understanding your prospects’ standing in the middle market will help you shape your sales pitch. You will know which benefits to focus on and how to present your solution. 

It’s not a bad idea to look for mutual connections and ask for a referral. That way, your potential clients will have more confidence in their choice to meet you. 

Personalizing your approach will help you relate to your clients. With 80% of consumers saying that they would rather buy from a company that provides a personalized buying experience, it’s easy to see why investing in such an approach is worthwhile. 

This can be done in very easy and quick ways. If you’re sending emails, make sure to include the reader’s name in the subject line, instead of using the same template over and over again. 

personalized approach in sales prospecting

Craft the perfect pitch

Seeing how we covered the importance of personalization, it’s only logical we explain how to craft your sales pitch. If we could give you one piece of advice on how to create a great sales pitch, it would be to focus on benefits. Don't put too much focus on the features of your products and services. 

To put it simply, your potential customers won’t care about features. They want to understand how your solution can help them specifically. 

We’re not saying that you should completely avoid talking about your features, you can overcome objections by comparing your solution to your competitors. If you offer specific features at all price points or have unique features, make sure to mention that. 

However, the main points of your sales pitch should be the benefits. 

In specific terms, if you’re selling website development, you should focus your pitch on how much visibility your client will get from a new website and how they can increase sales and quickly experience ROI. 

Another tip we would like to share with you is to carefully consider when you’ll talk about yourself (and your company). 

Put yourself in your client's shoes. Would you want to sit through a presentation of a company’s history, values, previous work and more? Probably not. 

Your clients will expect your presentation to be focused on them. Although it seems like a non-starter, people are still making their potential clients listen to a presentation about why they’re the perfect company for the job, without focusing on the client and the issue at hand. 

If you’re adamant about mentioning your company in the sales pitch, make sure it’s not at the start of it. That way, you’ll lose the attention of your listeners right away. 

Key takeaways

Sales prospecting can help you sell more and increase your revenue, as long as you know how to do it correctly. 

Remember, it all starts with understanding your audience and who would be more likely to buy from your company. If you don’t have deep knowledge of your audience, you won’t be able to successfully qualify your prospects

Once you do all the groundwork, you will see that qualifying your prospect will come easy to you. Just make sure everyone in your team is on board with your decisions. 

If you’re looking for a way to speed up your sales prospecting, sign up for a free trial for Better Proposals. We can help you raise the quality of your sales process, while also speeding it up. 

Say goodbye to boring PDF proposals and contracts you can’t track by utilizing our document editor and understanding how our proposal analytics can help you improve your conversion rates. 

Vanja Maganjic's profile image
Vanja Maganjic is an experienced writer with a unique passion for creating content that helps brands connect with their customers. She believes in brands that stand up to the man and thinks that storytelling is an essential part of what makes us human. Her long term goal is to become the cool auntie that gives out family-sized Kit Kats on Halloween.