Prospecting Your Way to Success In Three Steps

BY Jessica Helinski
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Sellers can prospect their way to sales success by embracing a basic three-​step program, according to Anthony Natoli, strategic AE at Lattice. Prospecting can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Breaking the process down to a few actionable steps can be effective–and less overwhelming. Plus, this basic strategy will also be more appealing to prospects, who are also likely strapped for time. They’ll appreciate a less complicated effort and be more receptive to your outreaches. Natoli introduces his four-​step plan in an article for LinkedIn:

  1. Create a plan for who you will be prospecting and why.
  2. Formulate the messaging.
  3. Thoughtfully execute your messages.

Prospecting you way to success can be simple

A successful prospecting strategy must have a solid foundation. Before even thinking about reaching out, sellers need to first identify who they want to reach. Natoli notes that many sellers simply “wing it” and don’t give much thought to who they will target. This makes for a weak start, evidenced by research that shows sellers are struggling. Sellers report that their biggest targeting-​related troubles are:

  • Not knowing how to work with gatekeepers — 48%
  • Connecting with people too low in the target organization — 43%
  • Not targeting the right people — 41%

As I’ve noted in the past, the very foundation of prospecting success lies with one’s list of potential leads and just how precisely they target. Prospecting won’t be as effective if you don’t have a clearly defined ideal buyer persona. Once you’ve identified ideal targets, go for quality over quantity. Focus your prospecting efforts on only a small number who most closely match your ideal customer. 

Formulate the messaging

Now that you have the “right” leads, it’s time for the right messaging. There will be no prospecting your way to success if your messaging falls flat. Messages must be buyer-​centric and highly personalized. Natoli recommends thoroughly understanding:

  • Your ICP [ideal customer proposal] and the personas usually involved in a buying decision for your solution.
  • The top three problems each persona solved by purchasing your solutions. These are called problem statements.
  • The symptoms of those problems and how your company solves them.”

Then, with that understanding, craft your messages with that knowledge in mind. Not only will your prospecting be highly targeted, but it will also align with each lead’s preferences, individual needs and specific goals. As Rachel Cagle writes for SalesFuel, “Companies everywhere have a tighter hold on their purse strings than they have had in years. As such, they’re not likely to pay sales reps too much mind. That is, unless you craft the perfect initial outreach. Remember, the goal is not to sell to your prospect, but to help them.”

Thoughtfully execute your messages

So now, it’s time to get those well-​crafted messages out to your ideal customer, but how? The channels you choose for delivery must also match up with your leads’ preferences. Find out what channels your leads prefer and then once sent, keep a close eye on engagement. If you find that one method of delivery isn’t generating action, adjust your strategy. You want to make your messages as appealing, and easy to engage with, as possible. As Natoli points out, using a variety of channels at different times may actually be more successful than sticking to just the telephone or an email. “There is no silver-​bullet approach when it comes to the channels you use,” he explains. “What [can make] different channels work is how you use them in tandem.”

As you can see from these three steps, prospecting your way to success doesn’t have to be complicated. And for even more insight, check out the results of SalesFuel’s Voice of the Buyer study that sheds light on what buyers want from sellers, including their preferred methods of first contact.

Photo by JESHOOTS​.com