If you ask most sales people, especially sales managers, what is the least desirable aspect of the sales process, the majority will answer; prospecting for new business. Most sales people enjoy meeting with existing clients, prospects that are close to the completion of the buying cycle, and those that can refer them to new clients. Why, because those activities require little to no work. To be successful in sales it requires a lot of work. It is not difficult, it just requires work. Phone calls, emails, customer problems, internal company challenges, the list goes on and on. The last thing most seasoned sales people want to do is spend their time calling companies to find out who makes decisions, needs analysis, current vendor contract expiration’s, etc. At times it can be tedious and mind-numbing.
The process of acquiring new, quality prospects in a B2B sales environment does not have to be tedious and mind-numbing. It is easier and faster to acquire the information you need to increase your pipeline of prospects than ever before. What is this magic bullet you may ask? Well, it is all at your fingertips. When applying the proper web-based prospecting you can find anything and everything within just a few mouse clicks. Now, you might be thinking this is nothing new or revolutionary. Well, it isn’t. It is the process of searching that has been transformed.
The methodology that I have employed for my clients follows several key guidelines. These guidelines will differ based on each client’s industry, product or service, and individual needs:
- A quick glance at the prospect company’s website. You will be surprised how much information you can gather here.
- Cross referencing any names you currently have in your own database or from their website with LinkedIn. They may be part of your network, or part of someone you know. This way a warm introduction is possible.
- When attempting to find large data listings of companies for a particular vertical, try Manta.com or Google that particular industry. For example, if you are looking to find companies in plastics, just Google “Plastic Manufacturers”. You will be surprised how much data has already been compiled for you. Often times it has current contact names, numbers, and most importantly email addresses.
As you see this is nothing revolutionary. But it does require time and discipline. As one becomes more and more proficient in this model, not only will the quality of the prospects improve, but the quantity will increase as well. Before you know it, your CRM will be overflowing with quality prospects just waiting to be converted to loyal, lifetime customers.
So the next time your sales force or even your business partner complains about a lack of prospects and is considering just dialing out of the yellow pages. Stop, think, put together a plan, and turn on your computer.
Good Luck and Good Prospecting!
Robert Minskoff is the founder and president of Minskoff Growth Strategies Inc. He has spent 15 years as a professional business to business sales person here in the greater Atlanta, Georgia market. Robert has spent years developing and honing his prospecting techniques as well as building an up to date and accurate database of resources and contacts. In recent years he has integrated the use of social media into the arena of prospecting and aiding to develop customer and brand loyalty. With a wide and diverse background Robert brings his talents to work for each client to create a lead generation solution for the small business owner. Read Robert’s blog; Through the Looking Glass, for observations and experiences from a 21rst Century Salesman.