HOW TO DEVELOP AN EFFECTIVE SALES PROSPECTING STRATEGY
The UK is booming with start-ups. A staggering 660,000 new companies are registered in the UK every year. That’s equivalent to 70 new businesses being formed every hour!
It’s often said that more than half of new businesses fail during the first 2 years. According to An Article In The Telegraph, 60 per cent of those new businesses will go-under within 3 years, and 20 per cent will close their doors within just a year.
- The businesses fail to attract a sufficient number of qualified prospects.
- They fail to turn their prospects into buying customers.
- They run out of cash – literally!
So, the only way to be successful is to be relentless in your pursuit of getting a constant supply of Qualified Prospects that you can turn into buying customers. To do this, you need to come up with an Effective Sales Prospecting Strategy.
We will look at the background to sales prospecting, the challenges to overcome and the massive new opportunities available to us today.
What Exactly Is Sales Prospecting?
Sales prospecting is one of the most important steps in the sales process. It refers to the process by which you search for and identify potential new customers from your pool of leads and nurture them through the sales funnels until they become paying customers.
Prospecting uncovers potential customers, fuels a business’ sales pipeline, and gives vital context to future sales conversations.
The Sales Prospecting Challenge
- People will only buy when they are ready.
- People don’t want to be sold to.
- People prefer to buy from people or businesses they Know, Like and Trust
How To Be Better At Sales Lead Generation
A sales prospect is a qualified lead. Sounds pretty simple, right? Not so fast. On the surface, the task of generating a sales lead can look very simple. But unknown to many business owners, there is so much more to sales prospecting than meets the eye.
Unfortunately, the majority of sales people still use outdated and ineffective lead generation techniques. Try using effective practices that will help you gain a higher volume of well-qualified leads.
Initiating a conversation with prospects is the most important part of boosting your success in sales. Without a practical sales lead generation strategy, identifying potential buyers can be labour intensive and a big time suck.
Short, Medium Or Long Term
Whilst many business owners acknowledge that medium and long term prospecting is essential, they also need customers today.
Deal with getting new customers today. To make this possible, you will first need to scrutinise the challenges and how best to position yourself in the marketplace. Combine this with a cost effective, efficient and reliable Lead Generation System to match your business needs.
Your Business Has Only 2 Functions
“Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business has two – and only two – functions! Prospecting and innovation which produce results, all the rest are costs.” – Peter Ducker: Author and Professor.
It doesn’t matter the type of business, target market, products or services sold; all businesses are Sales and Marketing driven services.
Having a great product or service alone won’t help you achieve success. BUT marketing that product or service in a superior way GUARANTEES your success.
Successfully implementing affordable Prospecting and Innovation is the secret to a profitable business.
The New Reality: Buyers Take Over The Sales Process
Sales lead generation is changing – but not in the ways most business owners might think. Sales conversations are becoming more buyer-focused, which means that you have to get creative when it comes to prospecting. It is for this reason that the customer experience is an integral part of any deal.
As a result of expended connectivity and widely available information, consumers now have more power than before. Buyers research companies online before making purchases. But this is a good thing if you ask me because those you seek are actually out there seeking you!
Due to these new developments, businesses are scrambling to develop their own techniques, hacks and processes for prospecting in order to move prospects through the sales funnel and make them paying customers.
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The 5 Essentials For Strategic Prospecting
A 5-year study of the Times 1000 and Fortune 500 companies revealed that industry leaders invested heavily in these 5 areas:
- Direct Prospecting.
- Customer Education.
- Brand, Image and Positioning (how they are perceived).
- Personal Contact.
Sales Lead Generation Strategy – Existing Versus New Customers
In most cases the responsibility for developing sales leads falls on the shoulders of a company’s sales force. Top sales teams care just as much about making the sale as they do about creating long-lasting customers. While 51 per cent of sales leaders are focused on improving customer retention, 56 per cent are focused on growing leads and new customers.
Prospecting needs to be split between existing and new customers. Increasing sales from new customers demands 8X more resources than from existing customers. However, there’s always a limit to the return on investment, from increased sales opportunities that can be derived from existing customers.
Every business should invest time (20 per cent) and resources in prospecting for new customers.
Best Practices For Effective Sales Prospecting
Here are our top sales prospecting approaches and how best to incorporate them into your sales strategy.
- Quality Over Quantity Leads
Having many leads sounds good, but if they are not going to buy, what do you really have? A great deal of sales people get lulled into complacency when business is booming. Understanding your target audience – their pain points, interests and buying triggers – will make it easier to sell to them. It is better to have a handful of high-quality prospects that are passionate and engaged.
Weeding out low quality leads will result in increased productivity, faster completion of your sales cycle and reduced inefficiencies within your sales pipeline. You will have to put more time and effort to analyse your ideal client profile and develop quality leads, but the results will be impressive. You will see the value in picking quality over quantity in the surge in your close rate.
2. Recognise That Lead Generation Is An Ongoing Process
Prospecting is the lifeblood of sales. Unfortunately, some business owners treat this as a one-off event. Persistence is the name of the game in generating new leads for your business. You can start by setting aside a block of time every day for prospecting. According to most salespeople, developing sales leads isn’t a particularly “fun” activity. Prospecting gets a bad rap for being time-consuming, monotonous and boring.
The minute you stop prospecting, you risk choking off your business. Connecting with a buyer takes an average of 18 calls. To make it a regular occurrence, scheduling time each day will help. Draft a weekly plan that includes time to prospect every day. Whether it’s over the email or on the phone, continuous cultivation will help to build a relationship with a prospect. This will be the backbone of a strong pipeline for the days, weeks and months to come.
- Leverage Marketing Automation Where You can
This is your answer to the new buyer’s journey. Automation tools complement any solid prospecting process and without them, you’re shooting without aim. In an increasingly digital world, technology can make or break your lead generation strategy. Marketing tools that link customer relationship management, social and content distribution help to nurture prospects. These tools will help get the right message at the right time to the right people. It has been proven that prospects that come through a nurturing campaign showcase a quicker pipeline velocity.
- Ask for Referrals
Happy customers spread the happy word. Referrals are one of the most powerful sales prospecting strategies. According to Useful Social Media.com when making their buying decisions, 91 per cent of buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth. When things are going well, make the most of the best. Asking for a testimonial, referral, case study or quote is a free-of-charge opportunity you simply can’t afford to miss. Before committing, most prospects love to hear from peers. Ask clients for social proof to provide peer reviews immediately after the sale is made. This is when the experience is still fresh in the customer’s mind.
- Set Your Goals
The sales process essentially boils down to two things: numbers and time. Attempting any strategy without a firm goal in mind is setting up yourself for failure. In the words of Peter Drucker, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure. You need to know what you measure yourself up against to improve. Setting up a prospecting target for your sales team will help them figure out the amount of time and effort they should be devoting to prospecting.
- Use Recognition and Incentives
Recognition and incentives can impact all types of behaviour modifications. Recognising employees’ successes can inspire them. Reward them for getting prospects to visit your headquarters, pipeline velocity, number of leads closed, etc. Sales is mostly made of embarrassment and rejection, and as a business owner, you provide empathy. The same way you are with your team members during a strong week of success, be there for them for motivation, encouragement and recognition after a long week of strike outs.
Whether you’re new to sales prospecting or just looking for a refresher, the steps above will help you and your business create a far more effective and streamlined sales prospecting strategy.
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