Imagine giving the best sales presentation of your life—you covered every pain point, you effectively positioned your product as the market leader, and even your tone and timing were perfect.
Now imagine giving that presentation to an empty room…
That’s what happens when you conduct your sales process with lead prospecting.
The entire point of prospecting is to ensure that the rest of your sales process (including your pitch) is going to be delivered to somebody who is actually in-market for your solution, or at least meets the qualifications of your ideal customer profile. Lead prospecting ensures that you don’t waste your best presentations, your witty email follow-ups, and your LinkedIn Connection requests on people who won’t ever buy from you.
Therefore, lead prospecting is a foundational element of your sales plan—if you mess this up, no amount of presentation practice or email automation will ever help you achieve your sales goals.
So let’s get it right!
Sales is an ever-evolving game that doesn’t have a singular path to victory. In this post, we’ll cover 9 techniques and tools that can help you create a qualified list of sales prospects in no time.
Prospecting is the act of creating a list of people or businesses that fit your ideal customer profile. The end goal is to engage these prospects with tailored outreach and begin your sales process in the pursuit of closing new business for your product or service.
Well, why is getting out of bed important? Why is putting your pants on important?
According to the Top Performance in Sales Prospecting report from the Rain Group, sales folk who are top performers at prospecting generate almost 300% more meetings than the low performers (and people who don’t prospect ever).
When you conduct your own search for prospects, you can be assured that the people on your list are qualified according to your criteria—whether that’s job title, company size, industry, or (more likely) a combination of attributes.
It’s much easier to close a qualified prospect with a bad pitch than it is to close an unqualified prospect with a stellar pitch. If you nail your prospecting, the rest of your sales process becomes easier.
So if lead prospecting produces superior results, why don’t more salespeople do it? Because it’s tedious, time-consuming, and difficult work. Or at least it was…
These next 9 techniques and tools will help you streamline your prospecting workflow and generate more leads in less time.
When you go fishing, the body of water (lake, river, ocean, etc.) has a lot to do with what type of fish you can catch. Same goes for prospecting.
Whether you’re looking for director-level employees at enterprise companies or owner/operators at the local level, there are plenty of places online where you can start prospecting for your ideal customers.
Here are five of our favorites:
The social network for business is ground zero for sales professionals looking to build their lead lists. LinkedIn has a network of more than 750 million members and it has become synonymous with your professional identity.
- Prospecting With LinkedIn: 10 Fundamentals That Every Salesperson Should Know
- 5 Linkedin Prospecting Tools That Make Sales Much, Much Easier
- A Complete Guide to Finding Anyone’s Email Address from Linkedin
The greatest utility of LinkedIn as a prospecting area is that you can reliably filter your lists down by location, company size, and job title. There’s a reason we listed this resource first!
While LinkedIn lets you find people by attributes like their role, their location, or their industry, job boards allow you to target in a completely different way—by need.
When you see a job posting for a certain role, you can be 100% certain that the company needs whatever they wrote in the job description. Whether they hire an employee to fulfill that need or decide to outsource the solution is up to you and your sales outreach!
With their need established, you can tailor your sales presentation to present the benefits of outsourcing a solution vs. hiring a full-time employee.
People switch providers all the time, and software review sites like Capterra and G2 can give you a list of unhappy users. Prospecting on these sites is easy:
- Locate the profiles of your competitors
- Filter the reviews by 3, 2, and 1 stars
- Read who’s unhappy with their software
Prospecting on review sites is especially useful because you can find out exactly what they didn’t like and use that info to deliver the perfect sales pitch.
In a similar manner as combing through product reviews, Twitter is a great place to find conversations (both positive and negative) about products, services, and industries. Here are a few different ways you can use Twitter to prospect for potential customers:
- Competitive research – Search the handles of your competitors and see what their audience is saying about them. You might find unhappy customers voicing their frustration will be happy to listen to an alternate solution.
- Hashtags – Every industry has at least a few semi-branded and keyword hashtags their tribe uses. Search these hashtags to find conversations where you can introduce yourself and offer to help.
- Browse followings – Look up people who follow your competitors, industry publications, and influencers in your niche. Read and engage with their content, and if you see an opening, take it!
While you’re at it, follow Datanyze on Twitter for more sales tips.
While the other ‘ponds’ we listed focused on national and regional sources, your Chamber of Commerce is a great place to prospect for local leads. Pull up your region’s Chamber of Commerce website and see what companies are members—they’ll almost always be listed publicly because that’s one of the perks of membership.
Pro tip: Before just diving into each of these areas and dropping your sales pitch, hang out for a while and get to know the vibe of each place. This will help your approach.
Now that you have several different areas to look for prospects, let’s talk about how to streamline your data collection and sales outreach processes with technology.
If you’re looking to connect with B2B prospects, Datanyze is the best way to find their contact info. With more than 120 million people in our database (including 63 million direct dials and 84 million email addresses), Datanyze lets you easily enrich your prospects with accurate contact info so you can use a multi-channel approach.
Datanyze is flexible, affordable, and super easy to use:
- Create an account and download the Google Chrome Extension
- While browsing LinkedIn, enrich and export the contact info of your prospects
- Use the Icebreakers feature to start warm conversations with your leads
- Close the deal!
Get started today and get your first 10 leads free!
While most seasoned sales representatives know the value of Sales Navigator, those new to the field (or online prospecting) should know that it’s absolutely worth the price of admission—$79.99/month.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an instant power-up to an already formidable resource in LinkedIn, which we of course mentioned earlier. By upgrading, sales professionals can use advanced search features to zero in on their target customers with even more detail.
In addition to just finding new prospects, however, Sales Navigator can help you manage and contact your prospects as well. Here’s a brief summary of the key features:
- Advanced prospect and company search
- 50 free InMail messages/month
- Add notes and tags (like a CRM)
- Save up to 10,000 leads
- Create custom prospecting lists
- Lead and account notifications
Pro tip: Squeeze even more value out of LinkedIn Sales Navigator by combining it with the Datanyze Chrome Extension!
As we mentioned earlier, social media is a great place to find conversations that could lead to potential sales. But what are sales professionals supposed to do—sit around on social media sites like Twitter all day? Doesn’t sound very productive.
Mention is a social media monitoring tools that can give sales reps the benefit of using social media for prospecting without the drawbacks of social media as a time suck.
The tool provides users with the ability to set up monitoring streams of things like competitors, brand references, and even URLs. This means that sales professionals can spend some time configuring searches and feeds that will alert them of only the relevant info they needs from various social media networks. More signal, less noise.
Psychology is either a sales rep’s favorite topic or least favorite, depending on who you talk to. There’s no denying, however, that psychology can be an important tool in achieving outcomes when it comes to sales.
Crystal is another Google Chrome Extension that gives valuable insight into the personality type of your prospects. Using artificial intelligence, Crystal pulls publicly available info from a given prospect and provides you with their DiSC profile, which provides you with a quick personality assessment of your prospects.
Because if you know somebody’s personality type, you can tailor your outreach messages in a manner which suits their communication preferences.
If you would like to learn more about your prospects without a major time investment, Datanyze is worth a look. Our Chrome extension reveals a whole range of B2B contact information including email addresses, phone numbers, and more. You can also see useful company information for each prospect, such as company size and industry.
Datanyze is committed to ethical sourcing of business information. Our data is collected in accordance with GDPR and CCPA, so you’ll never have to worry that you’re putting your reputation at risk.
Ready to give it a try? Sign up today for a free 90-day trial to discover how Datayze can transform your sales process.