Sales prospecting techniques are methods salespeople use to identify leads, qualify them, and establish contact. The results of your sales process are a direct function of the quality of your sales prospecting methods.
Salespeople are the front-line of businesses—from being the face of the company and helping prospects choose the right products to being responsible for business sustainability. If you have products flying off shelves or rapidly growing sales revenue, you know whom to thank!
This National Salespersons Day (December 10), we’ve curated a three-part series of tried-and-tested sales tips to ease the struggles of these unsung heroes. We’ll also tell you how a customer engagement software like Zoho SalesIQ can help with these tips. The first part covers the prospecting stage of the sales process. Without further ado, let’s get to our curated list of sales prospecting techniques.
1. Know your perfect customer
No matter how good your sales conversion techniques are, unless you reach out to the right people, those conversion techniques will have no role to play. That’s why prospecting needs to start with understanding whom to look for.
Draw an ideal customer profile (ICP) by analyzing your customer base and mapping their journey. Shape your sales prospecting methods based on this. Make the most of your time by contacting only your most valuable prospects and tapering down the conversation anytime existing prospects don’t fit your criteria.
2. Automate lead generation
In sales, time is money. So it’s imperative to automate as much of your sales process as possible.
Deploy a chatbot to handle the first stage of prospecting. From collecting information from leads to answering questions, or even showing the right products based on their requirements, a chatbot that’s built right is a huge asset.
Building a fully-functional chatbot isn’t as complex as you think. Zoho SalesIQ’s codeless bot builder comes with a drag-and-drop interface and pre-built blocks you can use to create a bot flow and add responses. In short, if you’ve ever been good with Lego sets (yes, the toy), setting up a chatbot can’t get any simpler!
SalesIQ also comes with an AI-powered chatbot that’s as close as chatbots can get to being human-like—understanding customer queries irrespective of how they're phrased, responding using your knowledge base, and even engaging in small talk. This is made possible with Business Terms—a library of words used in your domain and business—and Small Talk—a library of casual engaging phrases. If at any point the prospect wants to talk with a salesperson, the bot can hand the chat over.
Before you get started, be sure to check out our detailed domain insights article on chatbot use cases for sales
3. Connect with thought leaders
For any of your sales prospecting techniques to work, your target segment should trust you and be willing to engage with you.
Work with industry influencers to gain more credibility among potentials who fit your ICP. You can also join relevant social media groups and answer questions or conduct live sessions to establish yourself as an expert. This will help you get qualified leads who are interested in doing business with you and increase your sales conversion rate significantly.
4. Don’t miss the age-old prospecting goldmine: tradeshows
Amidst all the sales prospecting techniques and avenues, salespeople tend to forget the importance of face-to-face networking. Tradeshows and business events are still very effective prospecting methods. A study by The Tradeshow Network showed that 92% of tradeshow attendees come to learn about new products and services in the market. So while there are costs involved, exhibiting your brand or product at the right events is more likely to give you the most quality leads than any other sales prospecting techniques, thereby increasing your sales conversion rate. To get the most ROI, make sure you select events whose attendee demographics match your ICP.
5. Get complete details on your prospects
Having in-depth knowledge of your prospects—in the case of B2B sales, the company and stakeholders, job roles, employee strength, geo-location, pages visited, and time spent—has to be a given when you set out implementing your prospecting techniques. This can help you make a targeted sales pitch, foresee roadblocks in the sales process, and drive the conversation accordingly.
Zoho SalesIQ’s AI-powered profile enrichment does this research for you so you can focus on increasing sales conversion. If there’s a third-party enrichment tool you already use like Clearbit or Leadberry, you can integrate them with SalesIQ, too.
You also get detailed website activity of your prospects along with time stamps and chat history, so you’re best prepared to get them through the sales funnel.
6. Make time chunks for each sales activity
Block off time slots to focus on each activity that's part of your sales prospecting techniques—chats, calls, emails, proposals, and more—at a time. This helps you get in the groove and perform them more efficiently, leading to higher sales volume.
7. Perfect your timing
If you know the psychology of selling, it might be no surprise that you’re more likely to make a sale when prospects are actively thinking about their needs. There lies the success of all sales prospecting techniques. Every minute you wait results in a decrease in their interest, so don’t wait till you have a free moment to initiate contact.
Set up chat triggers on your website in high-intent pages with relevant messages based on the visitor’s stage in the sales funnel. But don’t scare them away with messages as soon as they land on a page. Time your chat trigger optimally—20 seconds for first-time visitors and 30 seconds for repeat visitors.
If your sales prospecting methods include cold calling or if you need to do follow-up calls or emails, the best days of the week are Tuesdays to Thursdays, with Wednesdays being ideal.
We already know that people hate interruptions while at work, so reach out before they start their workday (8 to 9 am), before they break for lunch (11:30 am to 12:30 pm), or late in the afternoon (4 to 5 pm). Every other sales person has probably looked this up over and over, so try out different slots to zero-in on what works best for you.
8. Call from a local number
You may know all the secrets of closing a sale, but unless you get through to your prospect, all the sales conversion techniques in the world will be of no help. If the number that shows up on your prospects’ phone is detected as spam, a toll number, or a long distance number, they are less likely to answer. You have more chances of getting through if they recognize the area code.
Despite this, if you do end up in their voice mail, leaving an outstanding pitch that can grab their attention in the initial 18-20 seconds can radically increase your chances of speaking with them.
9. Follow up with a crisp email
Incessant calls are a sure-shot way to land on the dreaded block list. Nevertheless, giving up the first time your call isn’t answered is a dead end. So what’s a middle-ground solution? Send them a crisp, conversational email introducing yourself, the business, and the pain point you’re addressing and requesting a callback or a good time to connect.
In this article, we’ve covered the some proven prospecting techniques. You can also check out a recording of our detailed webinar on the same.
Let us know if you know any other sales prospecting techniques to increase sales conversion rates.