Prospecting Techniques You Must Have For Next-​Level Sales

BY Jessica Helinski
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If you feel like your prospecting skills are lackluster, a check-​up on your prospecting techniques may be needed. And you aren’t alone in the struggle. RAIN Today’s Erica Schultz reports that:

  • 50% of salespeople say it's challenging to get into prospecting mode
  • 56% procrastinate when it comes to their prospecting activities
  • 66% say prospecting is the least appealing part of what they do in sales

If you can relate to any of those sentiments, it’s time to work on your prospecting. By doing so, you’ll garner higher-​quality leads, keep your pipeline healthy, and boost your chances of converting prospects into clients.

Prospecting techniques to focus on

Schultz understands the importance of effective prospecting; in her article, she shares 17 different techniques that sellers should adopt. Here, we will discuss a few highlights and discuss how each can take your prospecting to the next level.

Quality over quantity

The most successful sellers have very stringent criteria for prospects. They understand that narrowing down the field helps them in the long run. This technique requires you to get to work ASAP with a prospect. From uncovering their available budget to their specific timeline and goals, you must put in the time to research in order to learn if they would be a good fit. The sooner you know, the sooner you can move them through the pipeline or simply say goodbye.

And note: Not many sales reps are actually doing this. SalesFuel’s Voice of the Sales Rep study found that only 31.6% of sellers say they prepare discovery questions based on pre-​call research. By adopting this prospecting technique, you’re already ahead of most of your competitors.

For some guidance on how to do this, or tips to improve your current process, download the free e‑book The 7 C’s of Pre-​Call Research written by SalesFuel CEO C. Lee Smith.

Target effectively

If you’ve done your research, you should know who to contact at the prospective company. But some reps either don’t research or sell themselves short by reaching out to someone in a lower position. You may feel it’s safer to start at the bottom of an organization and work your way up, but Schultz advises against it.  Do your research, then head confidently to the decision-​maker, even if they’re at the c‑level. You’ll save time and energy by not bouncing between contacts, only to finally reach the person who can make the sale actually happen. By adding effective targeting to your prospecting techniques, you’re saving everyone time.

If you’re having trouble uncovering just who is responsible for the buy, consider these tips for uncovering the real decision-​maker.

Create your virtual advantage

Virtual selling is here to stay in some capacity or another for reps. To be competitive, and ensure your prospecting is successful, you need to polish the digital experience you offer. “Using visuals, audio and content – such as video, screen shares, screen annotation, and virtual whiteboards – creates an engaging experience for buyers and helps you gain a virtual advantage over other sellers,” Schultz writes.

Note also that buyers are doing their homework, too. SalesFuel’s Voice of the Buyer study found that buyers are using virtual tools to research sellers, from checking out vendors’ social media pages to watching their videos and reading their blogs. Your need to polish not only your offline prospecting techniques but your virtual ones as well. The emails you send, posts you share on social media and video content you share deserve equal attention. As Schultz believes, this “virtual advantage” you work to cultivate will pay off in the end.

Even more prospecting techniques to consider

These are just a few highlights from Schultz’s extensive list of suggestions. Level up your own prospecting skills by being mindful about your process and adopting these techniques. As SalesFuel’s Tim Londergan writes, “Prospecting is not just one single aspect of sales; it is the foundation of a successful sales strategy…understanding this can determine whether you profit or perish in the competitive environment of B2B sales.”

Photo by Christina Morillo