You're Invited: Learning About Our Prospecting Process
In our first blog of this series, we talked about the sales process as a whole. Now we’re going to break down the individual steps. In keeping with our dinner party theme (who doesn’t like a party?), our first step is planning the menu and guest list, AKA prospecting. Regardless of what niche your business is in, you can’t just sell to everyone. You need to know your target audience, what problem they have, how you’ll solve it, and how to tell them about your solution. Lead generation is hard, and you have to be proactive if you want to keep your pipeline full. Let’s take a look at some prospecting best practices.
What exactly is prospecting? Prospecting is the process of identifying potential buyers, clients, or customers and initiating and developing new business through conducting outreach using a variety of different channels and activities. Now, a prospect is not a lead. A lead is someone who has expressed interest in your company by taking some sort of action, i.e., signing up to receive emails, subscribing to a blog, or visiting your website. Prospects are leads that are qualified and fit in the scope of your target audience. Prospects can be potential customers, but you are the one that initiates the interaction and they don’t have any interaction directly with your company yet. Oftentimes prospects are referred to as cold leads. Regardless of whether it’s a prospect or lead, you need to nurture both until they become clients.
How do you go about prospecting? First of all, you need to do your research. This is the planning stage of our dinner party. Make sure your niche offers a solution to potential prospects. Prioritize your outreach based on their likelihood of becoming a customer. Make sure you look at the type of businesses you need to reach out to and who you need to reach out to. Do you need a hiring manager, marketing manager, CEO, or CFO? You want to make sure you’re “inviting the right guests” to your party. Understanding your buyer is a great way to increase your closed deals. If you don’t understand what your buyer’s needs are, then you can’t offer a solution!
Now that the guest list is planned, how do you send out invitations? There isn’t a right or wrong way to reach out to your prospects, and there are a TON of different ways to communicate with your target audience. There’s the good ole’ cold calling where you pick up a phone and hope to get through. You can knock on doors all day and hope that eventually you get in to see the person you want to see. But one of the best ways to prospect is using social media sites like LinkedIn to engage in different ways like direct messages, replying to threads in the feed, or groups. You can build credibility and show that you’re an expert in your field by doing so. If you are going the direct message route, which most people do, you want to make sure your message is personalized, not super sales-y, and offers something of value to your prospect. We’ll talk more about messaging in our next blog!
What if your prospects don’t respond to you? It can be very frustrating if someone doesn’t respond to you. Patience is key sometimes in the prospecting game. Just because they don’t respond to you doesn’t mean it’s a “no.” Keep sending messages, or engaging with them through email or social media. In one of our Slack-It sessions, Manuel Bahamode, SDR for Boundless Media, said, “The key is always to be present, especially if you have new products to offer. One never knows when they will require what you offer, so checking how they are from time to time is key.”
You can use these tips to keep up with your prospects and sound more knowledgeable when you reach out to them:
- Subscribe to prospects blogs or newsletters
- Engage with them online
- Look at the prospects’ career pages
- Follow their business pages on social media
All of these things will help you figure out ways to build trust with your prospects. If you’re still struggling with prospecting, lead generation, or outreach, Boundless Media is here to help!