Sales prospecting is the process of seeing if a lead is qualified as a potential buyer—or in other words, if they’re a hot lead.
According to research conducted by Ascend2, leads is a quality-over-quantity game, with 58% of marketing influencers reporting that improving the quality of their leads was their top priority in their lead generation strategy.
Which makes sense. After all, most of us would rather get 10 leads who actually have potential to buy our product over 100 leads who don’t.
Keep reading to uncover six sales prospecting tips to help you land some high-quality hot leads.
1. Don’t be a salesperson.
Wait, just hear us out.
Rather than focusing on closing sales, focus on offering solutions.
You’ve probably heard this one before. People don’t want to be “sold” things; they want to acquire things that are going to truly improve their lives and help them reach their goals.
But what’s a salesperson to do with a prospect who “doesn’t want to be sold things?” Here are some pointers to keep in mind when contacting a lead:
- Know your audience.
- Do your homework. You should know what a prospect’s pain points are before talking to them—and be able to demonstrate this knowledge when you do speak with them. This shows you’re serious and not just another salesperson going through a call list.
- Know the industry.
- This applies to both your industry and the prospect’s (if they differ). You should be able to confidently speak about how your product ranks against competitors, as well as what your prospect’s competitors are doing that you may be able to help them do even better.
- Be genuinely helpful.
- Even if a prospect isn’t ready to buy now, that doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future. Treat every lead with respect and focus on building positive relationships with everyone you speak to. Play the long game. By thinking of yourself as someone who delivers solutions vs. just a salesperson, you’ll be be able to truly understand a prospect’s needs and make honest recommendations.
Pro-tip: Learn about 5 ways that sales teams can prospect more effectively in this webinar.
2. Track your website visitors.
Our next sales prospecting tip requires a little technical assistance to set up, but it’s well worth it.
A lot of people may visit your website on a regular basis. Unless they complete some sort of conversion (like filling out a contact form, downloading an ebook in exchange for their email address, or leaving an offline message) though, you may never actually get to meet them.
In other words, hot leads could be passing through and you’d never even know.
That’s where website visitor tracking comes in. Website tracking lets you know which companies are visiting your site. You then do your own research and find out if some of these companies would be good clients for the services you offer. Plus, they definitely know who you are now and are actively learning about you.
Jump on them.
According to research conducted by Forrester, buyers tend to end up signing with the first vendor that can create a vision for them and define a path to get there—74% of the time to be exact.
To start tracking your website visitors, you can use a company like Leady. Leady was built for B2B companies and will show you who’s visiting your site, how they found you, and what they’re interested in, automating your lead search.
Use the information from your website tracking tool to pick out the hot leads, then do a bit of social media sleuthing to find the company’s decision-maker for buying your product or service, and slide in their DMs (in a completely professional manner).
Remember, these people didn’t ask you to contact them so be mindful of this when you reach out as you don’t want to come off stalker-ish (“hey I saw you creeping our company’s website” = what not to do).
For example, warm them up a bit first by sending them a request to connect on LinkedIn. Include a message in your invite briefly introducing yourself, the areas you specialize in, and why connecting would be mutually beneficial for both of you.
You can learn more about warming up prospects before initiating a prospect call or email here.
3. Connect with people on social media.
You’ve heard of companies using social media for brand awareness—your company is likely on multiple social media sites and you might even have an entire department dedicated to upholding the brand’s image and online reputation.
But what about your own brand and online reputation?
When you contact a prospect, it’s true you’re repping your company, but it’s important to also be your own person in order to form relationships with people. For this reason, it’s important to dedicate time to establishing your own social media presence as well.
For starters, be vocal on social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn where a lot of hot leads happen to hang out.
Share your opinions on subjects you specialize in, join relevant groups and become an active member in them, and post valuable content.
Actively seek out engagement by initiating conversations with other members of the groups you join and respond to people’s questions. Connect with people and build relationships with them—in other words, network.
These things will all help build your personal brand and position you as a subject matter expert in your field. Plus, you’ll get prospects coming to you versus having to rely on outbound prospecting.
When you do make that first prospecting contact, you’ll be a human being your prospect knows and trusts, not just a brand they’ve heard about.
4. Host a webinar.
You know that thing you’re good at that customers are always asking you about because you’re just that knowledgeable on the subject?
Host a webinar about it.
Webinars are an effective way to connect with people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say, making them flaming hot prospects.
You can use webinars not only as an opportunity to meet new prospects, but to strengthen your relationships with existing clients as well. You can also use them as a chance to slide in content about your business such as information packages, ebooks, infographics, the works.
To host a webinar, use a video conferencing software like GoToMeeting to create a meeting link and share it on your social media platforms. Add a signup page to your website. Investing in paid advertising on platforms like LinkedIn can get you more reach as well.
5. Share useful content with your leads.
By useful content, we mean content that addresses your potential prospects’ pain points and helps them improve their business and reach their goals.
“Useful content” does not mean long emails listing all the reasons why your company is the greatest thing to ever happen to the planet.
According to a survey conducted by Corporate Visions though, 60% of B2B marketing and sales reps reported their lead gen campaigns were doing the latter. Which isn’t great, but hey, it’s good for you because it gives your marketing an opportunity to shine.
Some examples of useful content you can share to warm up your leads are:
- An ebook that addresses a common pain point in their industry
- An email breaking down (in as few words as possible) how your product or service can help improve specific areas of their business, along with a commitment-free trial invitation
- An invitation to your free webinar where you’ll be answering questions from participants
You’re probably starting to notice a trend with the sales prospecting tips we’ve given so far. The more value you can provide upfront, the easier it’ll be to convert prospects into paying customers.
6. Implement live-chat functionality into your website.
Have you ever visited a website, and almost instantly a little box appears in the right-hand side of the screen asking you if you have any questions?
Those things are basically prospecting machines.
A live-chat platform like SnapEngage can initiate conversations automatically with website visitors in real time. If they engage back, you’ve got yourself a hot lead.
Here’s how it works:
- When a visitor lands on the website or web page where chat is enabled, a prompt will appear inviting them to chat.
- If the user types into the chat box, a rep from your team will be notified and can hop on and chat with them.
Getting leads this way also skips the whole “guessing they’re interesting, warming them up, initiating the first contact, following up until you get a reply” thing. It’s inbound prospecting and it’s great.
7. Ask for referrals.
Tap into your existing client base.
“Make yourself more valuable to your existing clients, and they’ll do more business with you. They’ll also provide you with more referrals than you’re getting now. With referral business, they’ll help you cut down the amount of time you need to spend prospecting.”
— Tom Hopkins, Founder & Chairman of Tom Hopkins International, Inc.
Hopefully, you’ve been keeping in touch with them and maintaining your customer relationships as you should. If you have a good thing and they’re happy with your product or service, chances are they’d be willing to refer more business to you.
According to the Harvard Business Review, staying in touch with your customers is incredibly important as their value to your business is about a lot more than just the dollar amount of their purchases. At the end of the day, how your customers feel about you and what they’d say about you to others has just as much power to impact your bottom line.
You can also ask freshly closed accounts for a referral immediately after the transaction or a month afterwards in a follow-up call or email. Ask how they’re doing with their new purchase and if they’d be willing to refer you to anyone else who could benefit from your product or service.
Follow these prospecting tips on the regular.
Schedule time in your day, every day, that’s dedicated to prospecting and experimenting with different combinations of these tips.
By doing so, you’ll make things easier on yourself—prospecting won’t seem like such a daunting task as you’ll be regularly working toward getting those high-quality leads. Go forth and prospect like a pro!