If we ask you, point-blank, what is the most common method of prospecting, you would certainly answer us – and with good reason – that it is the “phoning”, or more precisely one of the components. Of the latter, namely cold calling.
As a reminder, this Anglicism simply refers to the issue of outgoing calls to a population with no apparent intention to purchase.
For more than forty years, this prospecting technique has predominated in the day-to-day life of the sales teams responsible for generating leads.
However, with the emergence of the Web, then new approaches related to Inbound Marketing, we are now faced with the need for the implementation of an unprecedented prospecting strategy integrating the aforementioned elements.
In this framework, which evolves more and more quickly, the object of this article consists, from the limits of the traditional “phoning”, to present you the 15 keys that you will need to know in order to work effectively on the elaboration than the implementation of an adapted prospecting strategy.
The reasons why classical phoning is no longer sufficient on its own
First and foremost, there is a need to agree on the elements that define a good prospecting strategy, namely reliability (or consistency), return on investment, and effectiveness of targeting.
In fact, you should not restrict the objectives of prospecting simply to generate leads on a “one-shot” operation, and for a minimum cost.
On the other hand, it is necessary to look for methods whose implementation is translated systematically by the generation of qualified leads (and not just any prospect), all while taking care to maximize its ROI – which does not necessarily mean to seek the lower cost.
At this point, you are entitled to ask yourself what in this definition now makes it impossible to confine to traditional phoning, but the answer will probably not surprise you.
It is obvious that talking on the phone with strangers is increasingly difficult – and less appreciated by the recipients of these calls.
In fact, thanks to the Web, potential customers can now easily access most of the information they may want to obtain from suppliers/service providers.
“Phoning” is mostly seen as a nuisance, and for the commercial prospector trade to have a future, he must no longer be content with these “cold calls”.
Recently, an article published by the prestigious Harvard Business Review reported a failure rate of cold calling between 90% and 98% (!), and less than 0.5% of calls are translated by a catch of appointment.
Starting from there, and since only one in five meetings with a salesperson will lead to a sale, it takes almost 7000 “cold calls” before having the slightest positive impact on sales…
Having said this, the need for prospecting has obviously not disappeared, and we are now going to list the alternatives to the traditional methods that will make it possible to bring the stages of commercial prospection into the twenty-first century.
The 15 modern ways to generate qualified leads
In order for your business to continue to grow in the future by continuously generating more qualified leads, we have good and bad news, the good news being that you will not have to plead anyone, the bad one residing in the amount of work to provide and the need to review all your thinking.
Before listing the 15 new prospecting methods for your sellers, simply state that they do not claim to be exhaustive, on the one hand, and that they are not, on the other hand, ranked in order of importance.
In addition, if you do not have to implement them all, our experience in the field leads us to advise you to put a maximum work.
The first key element in developing a new-generation prospecting strategy is the concept of “content marketing”, that is, the sharing of content that is both useful and optimized for SEO. The goal is to build a reference image in his area of expertise, pledge natural flow and regular leads.
The second method worth mentioning is blogs, again to create a “bridge” between the bread points of your potential customers and your expertise.
The third and fourth elements of a strategy to know come together around social networks, and involve respectively the implementation of a strategy to “social media” and the fact joining LinkedIn groups to answer the questions in your field.
Then comes fifth on our list, sharing blog posts, as well as interesting articles found on the web, on online groups where your buyer persona meet.
We have previously mentioned cold calling, but a similar logic applies to emails, through cold emailing, and the latter is ultimately just as ineffective.
However, emails can be very useful, and our sixth tip concerns the creation of a series of emails containing relevant information, always in a logic “inbound”, that is to say without seeking to sell excessively because this error would bring you back to the cold emailing side.
The seventh key element requires a “tracking” of the behavior of your visitors when they visit your site/blog, to optimize the timing of the eighth method, sending e-mail notifications to prospects who have shown a strong interest for a particular product/service on your website.
In the ninth and tenth position on our list is the use of an effective and integrated customer relationship management tool – to keep the history of your relationship with each prospect – and to support you as much as you can. Encrypted data rather than crystal balls.
Our eleventh and twelfth tips involve first of all abandoning the over-formatted scripts to appear more “human” in your approach and do not forget to stay in touch with your prospects after they’ve become customers, so to make them regular consumers.
And even if they did not realize their interest in order, continue to water them in useful information, if only to stay in a corner of their head for the day when they would again need the same service/product.
Finally, the last three key elements relate to knowing how to offer free of charge some of your expertise in order to gain both visibility and credibility, as well as to use the videos to share your knowledge, without forgetting to ask your satisfied customers to share their feedback, becoming prescribers.
Once you have reached turn visitors from your site/blog into an active phase of research into qualified contacts, using the resources of inbound marketing, these prospects will then be significantly more receptive to answer you in case of call – which would not have been the case if you had disturbed them in full meeting …
By viewing your sites, blogs and social media pages as powerful lead generation tools, you can truly connect your sales and marketing teams, giving a new approach to the business development strategy.