Updated: Oct 19
Ah, sales – the life and blood of any business and the cause of sleepless nights of business owners, marketers, and of course, salespeople. Sales prospecting is a rapidly changing medium, but thankfully, it is not all for the worst. While keeping up with all the latest tactics and the changes in the consumer behavior can be a struggle, we also now have access to so many tools that can help us generate more prospects and make more sales, quicker than ever.
In this blog post, I am going to share my top tips, tricks, and tools for building a better sales prospecting strategy.
What is sales prospecting?
Sales prospecting is, quite simply, the process of searching for and identifying potential customers for your business.
In other words, it is about finding people who match your different audience personas in order to nurture them into becoming your paying customers.
So, where do you start?
First Things First: Establish What Makes a Quality Prospect
Prospects are not leads – thought I would get that out of the way as soon as possible. A lead can be anyone who expresses some sort of interest in your company, for example by subscribing to your email list, attending one of your webinars, or downloading a resource from your website.
Prospects, on the other hand, might not have anything to do with your business – maybe they haven’t heard of you or simply haven’t checked out your website or other channels yet. But, they are a target buyer. They tick most, if not all the boxes of the ideal customer.
The idea is to be proactive and find these prospects so that you can nurture them into being your customers.
The first step should be establishing what makes a prospect…well, a prospect. When you clearly know who you are targeting you can focus on those prospects that not only have a real need for your product or service but also have the means to purchase it.
There are several things you should consider when scoring a prospect:
The industry: the first thing to look into is whether they are in the right industry.
Secondly, the job title and seniority – don’t reach out to just anyone in that company, go for someone that can actually make executive decisions and that has been a part of the company for long enough
Company size and the number of employees.
The budget – do they have the means to buy your product or service, realistically? In many cases, when someone truly needs something, they will find a way to get it. But in many cases, there simply isn’t enough money, or there are cheaper alternatives, even if the alternative is not as good.
Location – not always relevant, unless you only operate in certain locations.
Once you know what makes someone a good prospect for your business, you can start searching for sales prospects:
How to Find Sales Prospects
Technology now allows sales teams to find prospects more easily than ever before – and a big reason for that is social media, particularly LinkedIn, although other social networks can be just as rich in prospects (maybe just a bit more difficult to find than on LinkedIn).
Another big reason? Tools: there are a plethora of useful tools that can help you prospect faster than any salesperson would’ve dreamed of even just 15 years ago.
LinkedIn and LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn might just be the most powerful sales prospect search engine that we have at our disposal. Not only can you search for companies that meet your criteria and see exactly who works there, how many years they have worked there, and what their job title is (among other useful information) but you can also see most, if not all of the information you need to score your prospects.
However, if you want to get more out of LinkedIn from a sales perspective, then you will need to either get a pro plan or, better yet, get the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. That is because LinkedIn definitely knows its power as a sales tool, so they limit the number of searches you can perform with a free profile.
And beyond getting more searches, you also get a lot of other useful features that will help you find better prospects as quickly as possible.
One of its most appealing features is the ‘advanced lead search’ which lets you search for prospects based on numerous filters, such as location (and even postal code), their title role and function, their security level, years of experience, and years at current company, past company, and many more.
This can help you generate a lot of targeted results and high-quality prospects based on the exact criteria you need. Plus, LinkedIn Sales Navigators will also provide lead recommendations based on your needs and criteria, helping you save more time.
Once you do find prospects, you can tag them and leave notes, as well as integrate with your preferred CRM tool.
Find Prospects on Twitter
Another useful social channel for sales prospecting is Twitter; although it doesn’t feature the same search capabilities – it is not built for that – or the detailed job experience history, it is still a great platform for finding prospects.
One of the ways to find prospects on Twitter is through monitoring; use a tool like Brandwatch or Brand24 to start monitoring for opportunities – for example, by:
Monitoring your competitors – people discussing their products or services, or looking for alternatives.
Any relevant keywords related to your niche/industry – likewise, this can help you discover Twitter users who might form your target audience.
You can then use LinkedIn to further research these potential prospects to find out whether they are truly your target audience.
Using these types of monitoring tools will allow you to extend your search to other online platforms as well – however, Twitter will likely yield more results as it’s a mostly public platform.
Another useful tool for Twitter prospecting is Socedo; while it is technically a Twitter growth tool, it can come in very handy with sales prospecting as well.
That is because it allows you to search through users’ bio keywords to find relevant users based on their job titles:
Plus, you can also refine your search by adding negative keywords and also by searching for relevant keywords in their actual tweets.
Find Direct Contact Info For Your Prospects
So you have found your prospects – now what? The next step is to reach out to them, but first, you will need to find their contact details – phone number and/or email. Although you can probably reach out to them in a number of ways – like through their social channels, for example – it is best to use direct contacts like email and phone if you want to reach these prospects as quickly as possible and improve your chances of converting them.
Lusha is a goldmine for salespeople as it not only helps you find email addresses (both direct and work email) but also their direct phone number which isn’t something that you will find with many other similar tools.
Lusha offers a Chrome browser extension that you can use on LinkedIn and Twitter. Whenever you are visiting a profile on one of the two social networks, Lusha will tell you whether they have any contact details for that person. If they do, you only spend credits when you click to see the full number/email address.
What is great about this tool is that not only does it provide direct contact details, but it is also very accurate and up-to-date. While many other similar tools pull up any email they can find (and in many cases, they are out of date, so you need to scour the results a bit to find the right one).
Sales prospecting can be a more rewarding and productive endeavor when you make use of tech and tools that can help you cut down on time spent and help you find better prospects.
Before prospecting though, make sure you know exactly what you are looking for and what makes a prospect, a prospect. Then, use social media and different tools to help you identify these prospects – all you have to do next is start working on converting them into actual customers!
What tools do you use to find sales prospects? How do you determine the quality of a prospect?