Most salespeople struggle with prospecting. It is one of the biggest challenges that they face, but prospecting is a skill that can be developed.
Traditional sales prospecting is based on only basic data, but that doesn’t cut it in modern-day sales. As customers are getting smarter and more selective, your sales tactics have to become smarter right along with them.
After reading this guide you’ll have a better understanding of how you can streamline your sales prospecting process to find the right accounts for you and the right time to reach out.
We’ll also cover everything from identifying your ideal customer profile to the right sales pitch. Hope you learn something from this and be prepared for a fun ride!
The Ideal Customer Profile
As a salesperson, your most valuable asset is time. It is super important that you identify an ideal customer profile when it comes to sales prospecting.
That should be the very first step of the sales prospecting process. You should niche down on a target group and come up with your ideal customer profile before you begin any type of prospecting.
It’s better to spend it on a few high-quality prospects than spreading yourself thin processing a large number of poor opportunities. This is why account-based marketing and sales is used by so many companies in modern day sales.
We asked over 200 sales managers and over 40% of them mentioned that sales prospecting is the most difficult part of their job as well as the most tedious.
Creating an Ideal customer Profile helps you find suitable prospects for you as a salesperson to persuade, but this doesn’t guarantee results. It’s just a start.
A detailed Ideal Customer Profile will help you maximize your sales and get satisfied customers that will stay with you for a long time, increasing their lifetime value (LTV).
You can upsell and crosssell to them, and they can function as enthusiastic champions of your brand.
A poorly satisfied customer takes a lot of time from your customer success team and might end up costing your company more than it pays.
Benefits of creating an ideal customer profile
These are just some of the things that an accurate ideal customer profile can help you achieve when it comes to sales prospecting:
• Streamline your lead generation process by allowing you to identify the key accounts
• Focus your sales and marketing efforts on the companies that are most likely to buy from you now
• Cross sell, upsell, and provide more value over time to maximize revenue gains from one single account
• Create your sales pitch in a better way as you’ll have more information about why every company you reach out to is a good fit for your organization.
What if I sell to multiple industries?
This is a problem that a lot of products come across. At my previous company, I struggled to determine the ideal customer profile because we had a customer feedback tool that could be used by product managers, sales people, marketers, and many more.
The best way to overcome this problem is by cloning an existing customer profile.
Start looking at your current customers, specifically the most satisfied ones, and find their common characteristics and/or find a pattern of events at these companies that happened right before they signed a deal with you.
For instance, if you’re selling a technical solution, a company’s tech stack could reveal a lot about how ready a company is to buy. Or if you’re selling transportation services, then you’d probably include sales signals: a company having won a large contract, for example.
You can use GrowthOK’s lead generation solution to help you come up with leads based on custom data points such as the company’s tech stack or use a platform like Builtwith.
Ask yourself the following questions:
What common attributes like revenue, number of employees, type of business, web technologies in use, geography or sales signals that occurred right before they signed a deal with you do your excising customers have?
Defining your Ideal Customer Profile isn’t a one-time job. There’s no universal definition of an Ideal Customer Profile, not for any company. As you sign on more customers, clone them and build up a more niched down ideal customer profile.
Key data points for building your target list for prospecting
There are a lot of different data points and characteristics that you need to consider when building your target list.
I like to categorize these into three main types of data points.
Firmographics – including hard-to-identify markers like “B2B”, “e-commerce”, and “early adopter” and time-based signals such as “recent leadership change” and “recent funding round”.
Sometimes, firmographics also refers to other variables such as performance (growth, credit rating), status and structure (legal status, a relation of one organization to another), age, ownership and position (market share, industry position). In today’s world, basic firmographics don’t often reflect clear differences in needs, benefits and product use.
That’s the reason why salespeople are increasingly relying on other data points and trying to make their prospecting approach more pointed and timely.
Technographic Data – Depending on your industry, technographic can be extremely crucial when it comes to prospecting and coming up with custom data points.
Using technographic data in prospecting refers to salespeople’s attempts to better understand their prospects by analyzing their technology stack. The decisions companies make regarding technology can reveal useful insights on prospects’ intentions, their priorities and the way they want to run their operations.
Think about it, let’s say your product is a CRM that integrates with Gmail. You will have a much better-defined target and a higher chance of closing a deal with a company that is already using Gmail.
Personalized Data – This includes any other information about interests, professional focus, career path, or relationships that can be used to establish authentic rapport quickly.
The truth is that we receive hundreds of cold emails everyday and most of them are terrible. Most cold emails are sent by a generic template which goes straight into the spam folder.
Personalization is more important than anyday in modern day sales prospecting. This can include a recent press mention or a podcast interview.
Sales prospecting platforms
In today’s hyper-competitive sales landscape static lists based only on basic firmographics don’t cut it for salespeople who aim for strong sales figures.
High-performers within sales use dynamic data and more data-points provided in a smart prospecting platform when looking for new accounts to approach with their offer.
Luckily in modern day sales prospecting, we can take advantage of all the sales automation tools and services out there to make your life easier.
Prospecting platforms are built on data, which means that there are more strong local vendors than in most other software categories.
Below is a list of some of the most reliable sales data and prospecting platforms.
Need a list of contacts with the title of VP of Marketing at companies using Slack and spending over $10,000 a month on ad spend? GrowthOK has you covered.
GrowthOK can help you come up with hard to find data that normally requires a lot of manual scraping and verfication.
Maybe you already have a big list of contact in your CRM and need the data to be enriched with technographic data or personalized data that was mentioned above. That is what GrowthOK can do for you.
Outreach is a platform that helps salespeople build sales sequences. A sales sequence is a multi-step process including several different engagement tactics such as phone calls, voicemails, and emails. A typical sequence includes 5-15 steps that users can also A/B test in real time. The goal is to create a systematic and scalable process to engage with prospects and customers in a more effective manner.
With good data, you will still need a good outreach platform to manage your email campaigns and accounts. Outreach is perfect for this.
Radius has branded their B2B sales and marketing platform as Revenue Platform that is powered by their own “The Network of Record”. They don’t only rely on public sources when building their prospecting database but they also encourage their customers and community to contribute in the process.
Radius is the perfect tool for market intelligence at a high level.
DiscoverOrg gives Sales and Marketing teams the information and insights they need to find, connect with, and sell to target buyers with greater effectiveness.
The company is known for their unique and hard to find direct dials. They’re always updating their database with leads and can be a good source for unique data.
The only downside is that their pricing is steep and requires an annual commitment.
Salesloft is quite similar to Outreach. It allows you to set up email cadences and manage your outreach process. It’s a fully robust outreach system that comes with features that enterprise can benefit from such as phone logging and more.
Datanyze is the leading technographics provider, helping B2B companies apply unique technology insights to identify and close their best accounts.
KPIs to track when prospecting
Just like any other aspect of running a business, you need to keep track of your metrics.
Sales prospecting is no different.
When it comes to prospecting, you need to define goals within your sales team.
Therefore, high performance sales development teams have well thought out KPIs that are being tracked daily, weekly and monthly.
While prospecting is often associated very strongly with the activity happening at the top of the funnel (Number of leads / opportunities) most companies acknowledge that the quality of each prospect has a significant impact on hit rate, average deal size and also sales cycle.
My favorite is the sales velocity formula.
Your Sales Velocity is a function of (A) the number of sales opportunities you work, (B) the average deal value, (C) your win rate and (D) the length of the sales cycle.
Simply put; you want to increase A, B and C and reduce D. If you increase A, B and C by 10% and reduce D by 10%, then you increase your sales velocity by 47%.
It’s that simple and straight forward.
Other KPIs that you may want to consider when it comes to sales prospecting:
– Number of new companies found
– Number of new contacts added
– Number of dials, emails, conversations
– Number of booked & held meetings
– Hit rate, ACV and sales cycle
– LTV, CAC, LVR
I wont be diving into each and everyone in this article, but those are general KPIs that you should be considering.
Hit rate is one of the most important KPIs to track when prospecting as well.
Hit rate measures the percentage of the meetings that convert into closed deals. Average deal size typically reflects not only the sales skills but also the quality of the prospect.
The length of the sales cycle can be reduced if sales people manage to prospect companies where timing for the purchase is right.
There are lot of publicly available sales signals that can guide salespeople to identify those opportunities.
At GrowthOK, we also track the Lead velocity rate, which shows the monthly increase in number of sales and qualified leads the company is able to generate.
Pick the metrics you feel are most important to your business and make sure people feel they can impact their individual KPIs and metrics.
Sales prospecting is not an easy job, but if you’re in the B2B space, learning how to prospect is fairly important.
I hope this article helped all the entrepreneurs out there understand the basics to prospecting.
With the right tool combined with the correct data, you can excel in your prospecting efforts and create a predictable revenue process.
If you’re looking for highly qualified and targeted sales leads with hard to find data or you need help with data enrichment, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at GrowthOK