Prospecting Best Practices
What is prospecting, and why is it so important for your sales process?
As your marketing efforts generate new leads, your sales team is tasked with identifying which of those leads are qualified prospects for your product or service. This part of the sales process is called prospecting, and when done effectively, it can significantly impact your business.
Find the good leads, and you’re all set. Sounds easy enough, right? If this were the case, we’d all be rich! But, on the contrary, according to HubSpot reports, 42% of sales reps named prospecting the trickiest stage of the sales process.
Let’s go through some best practices when it comes to prospecting.
- Define your ideal customer profile - once you’ve defined the specific characteristics, these now become a baseline for your sales team when prospecting.
- First impressions matter - Be clear, transparent, and professional with each customer. The age of the traditional salesperson is over! Instead, disarm prospects with honesty and a genuine interest in helping them. “Customers crave connection, not pushy salespeople” (Forbes, 2020).
- Ask, listen, and then ask some more - questions are key. Try using the GPCTB sales qualification framework to help form your qualifying questions.
- Goal - “What is your goal?” or “What are you looking to accomplish?”
- Plan - “How do you plan to get there?”
- Challenges - “What’s keeping you from achieving your goal?”
- Timeline - “When do you want/need to achieve your goal?”
- Budget - “How much are you willing to invest to achieve your goal?”
- Tailor your message to the prospect - focusing on key points of your client’s GPCTB. A personalized message shows you listened, focuses specifically on your prospect’s needs, and portrays how you can solve them.
- Prioritize your leads by confidence level - what is the “likelihood” that those leads will become customers? When you prioritize your leads, it will allow you to forecast a much more accurate report and assess if you will hit your short and long-term goals. A great way to do this is by setting a “Confidence Level” with a %. (Pro Tip: Stay away from the 50% - this % doesn't provide absolute confidence. Aime from 10% (Less likely to close), 30% (Evaualting but something is holding them back), 80% (you almost got them, maybe they are finishing process or negotiation), 100% THEY ARE IN!)
- Keep your sales pipeline organized with Lead Management Software (At IOI, we love HubSpot). I personally like and use the Sales Pipeline tool in HubSpot to manage my client’s pipelines. I create specific views with specific columns, which allows me to track the status of each deal and displays all relevant information in one place.
Prospecting can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be! It all comes down to knowing your ideal customer and using that to guide your qualification process.
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