Successful sales prospecting is the basis for effective outbound sales or sales in general. Whether you close a sale highly depends on how good you are at finding prospects.

Before we dive deeper into the subject, let’s begin by explaining what sales prospecting is.

What is sales prospecting?

Sales prospecting is about identifying and finding people who are potentially interested in buying your product or service. I intentionally bolded these 3 words, to bring them to your attention, here’s why:

– Identifying the right people – is about realizing who your ideal customer is. The best way to do this is by creating an ideal customer profile. More on the subject here. Without knowing who your ideal customer is, you cannot do sales prospecting successfully.

-Finding the right people – after you realize who your customer is, you need to find the people/companies who match your ideal customer profile.

-People who are potentially interested – you will never know for sure if the person you’re contacting is a) interested in what you’re offering b) ready to buy. Which is why all your prospects are only your potential customers.

Overall, the better you are at prospecting new customers, the higher your chance of closing a sale.

Here are a few tips for successful sales prospecting.

6 Secrets to Successful Sales Prospecting

1. Monitor results from your previous campaigns

Successful sales prospecting is not a “one-off” event but a continuous process, which you should monitor. And adjust your prospecting criteria based on your results.

One of the ways to do this is by evaluating results from your previous outbound campaigns. Remember to segment your lists, and name your campaigns accordingly, for example, CEO, Startups, San Francisco. This will allow you to draw conclusions more easily.

What are the metrics you should consider while evaluating your campaigns? Your response rate. Both positive and negative.

A positive response will assure you that you have successfully chosen your prospects, while a negative response will help you adjust your targeting criteria or your messaging.

2. Test different target groups

Successful sales prospecting is about finding companies/people who are willing to buy your product. However, they can and most probably will have different profiles.

Your job is to identify all prospects that you can sell your product to, assess what they have in common and segment them. Let’s take an outbound sales platform as an example.

You can sell it to both marketers and salespeople – and this is a good starting point.

But there are other criteria that you should consider, like, company size, team size, their experience in outbound sales etc.

You can create at least two segments:

– The first one including marketers, with no outbound sales experience, who are part of a bigger marketing team, based in Europe

– The second one including salespeople with experience in outbound sales, working at a startup, based in the US

Schedule two different campaigns and see which one performs better. Did you spot any significant differences? Are both target groups worth selling to?

3. Automate sales prospecting

How much time do sales reps spend or should I say waste on sales prospecting? 50% of their time… time which could be used to close more deals. As important as prospecting new customers is, it is a process which can and should be automated.

If you are a sales manager, then do your sales reps a favor, and invest in an outbound sales platform.

4. Sort out your product reviews

How to get new prospects without doing any prospecting? Get your product reviews in order. Whenever you have a satisfied customer, ask them to leave you a product review on G2Crowd, Serchen, Capterra or another software review website.

successful sales prospecting

Nothing works better than reading a positive review from somebody already using the product. It adds credibility to your business.

According to a study done by Software Advice, 75% of B2B buyers read product reviews before committing to a purchase.

After seeing a number of positive reviews, there is a high chance they’ll either contact you to inquire about your product or go to your website to schedule a demo.

5. Use referrals

Referrals are considered the most successful sales prospecting method. If you have a good relationship with your customers, then take advantage of it. Ask your customers for referrals. People are more keen on buying from someone they know, someone they have a more personal relationship with.

Recommendations from people already using your product are more valuable, even more valuable than product reviews.

After all, 84% of B2B decision makers begin the buying process with a referral.

You can set up a referral program to encourage your customers to recommend you. Offering a little incentive, for example, a product discount or a few months of free subscription might give them a motivation boost.

6. Do your research

I cannot stress this enough, research should be part of your entire outbound sales process, prospecting included.

Without doing proper research you can’t decide which criteria to use in order to create your ideal customer profile, and as a result, you cannot do sales prospecting successfully.

Don’t limit your research to business job titles or job descriptions. Try to find information that will let you connect with them on a more personal level. Just don’t overdo it… acting like a spy will make you look creepy!

Find enough information to show your prospects that you care – research shows effort.

What’s your secret to successful sales prospecting? Let us know in the comments!