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Sales prospecting has become something of a running joke in the business community. It seems like every time you go on LinkedIn, there’s another person calling out some sort of disruptive cold outreach attempt.

And the stats back this up. Studies have shown that 80% of cold calls are sent to voicemail and that just 5% of sellers find success with bulk outbound email

Does this mean that salespeople should just pack things up and stop prospecting? Of course not. But we do need to give sales the data necessary to flip the script on disruptive prospecting techniques.

The Problem of Irrelevance in Sales Prospecting

The problem with traditional sales prospecting can be summed up with just one word—irrelevance. There are two main ways that the disruptive prospecting techniques prove irrelevant to your target contacts.

First, your prospecting efforts can be wasted on targets who will never close a deal. It’s not because your products are irrelevant to the contact (you wouldn’t be reaching out to them if they were). Rather, so many salespeople waste time trying to get in touch with prospects who aren’t actively in-market for a new solution.

One survey by the RAIN Group found that 62% of buyers want to hear from sellers when they are actively evaluating solutions to their problems. And if you think about it, the number should probably be higher. No one wants to their email inbox or phone inundated with irrelevant outreach attempts.

But not all prospecting irrelevance happens in the targeting stage. The second way that prospecting techniques can be irrelevant is in the messages themselves. B2B buyers no longer want to be disrupted by bulk emails or generic phone scripts. Even if your product would be a perfect fit for their specific needs, prospecting can fail due to impersonal communications. There are just too many options available to B2B buyers for them to accept sub-par sales communications.

Solving sales prospecting irrelevance requires new data and processes. Instead of taking a high-volume approach, you need higher lead qualification standards and insights into the unique needs and behaviors of individual prospects. This is why intent data is so valuable to modern sales prospecting.

Modernizing Sales Prospecting with Intent Data

Sales prospecting shouldn’t equate to cold outreach. The warmer your leads are, the easier it will be to achieve returns on your prospecting efforts. But traditionally, the main way to identify warm leads was to track activity on your owned properties.

Third-party intent data gives salespeople insights into prospect behavior outside of the content they consume on your website. Not only that, but it helps sales teams work off of more information than just the 10 or 15 minutes of research they might do before cold calling a prospect.

Most importantly, intent data creates a foundation of accurate information that keeps prospecting from seeming irrelevant to your contacts by:

  • Identifying In-Market Accounts: Don’t trust generic personas or low-quality leads to guide prospecting efforts. Intent data digs deeper into prospect behaviors to understand when an account is truly in the market for your products and which stage of the buyer’s journey they’re currently at. Timing is key in prospecting and intent data helps optimize sales processes to get it right.
  • Uncovering Topics of Interest: The reason third-party intent data is able to accurately identify when an account is in-market is because it tracks keyword activity and behaviors on your website as well as the websites of your competitors and major media outlets. Within your purchase intent reports, you’ll see the topics that individual accounts are researching and gain insight into the keywords they’re focused on during the buying process. This data helps salespeople personalize outreach attempts and build relationships with new prospects more efficiently

It’s time to flip the script on disruptive sales prospecting techniques. Take advantage of intent data and give your sales team the data it needs to become an asset (not a nuisance) to target prospects.