Most B2B marketers admit that prospecting is one of the most challenging stages in the sales process. They don’t know how the lead will respond, there is a possibility of rejection (nobody likes that), and they mostly feel like a waste of time.
B2B sales prospecting feels like walking through a swamp without a lifeline. You can fall in or make it to the other side. Yet, a salesperson who doesn’t have a pipeline full of quality leads will soon find themselves without deals to close.
Prospecting plays a fundamental part in the sales process, kick-starting conversations and interests that can end up in closed deals. The more prospects you can generate, the higher your chances of closing a sale. Let’s explore some of the best strategies to keep your pipeline moving.
1. Know Your Leads Better
If there are leads stuck in your pipeline, find out why they stalled. Are they casually considering your product or service? Do they have sufficient information about it? Is your solution hard to use or expensive compared to similar options? Perhaps you don’t have the contact address for the decision-maker in that company.
By identifying the point where your leads are stuck, you can then classify them into two groups: what is currently happening and what should be happening. This will allow you to tailor solutions to help the leads move to the next stage or make a purchase decision. In addition, consider setting up questionnaires for new leads to collect pertinent information about them.
If you find your leads don’t move beyond the information stage, create educational content on how your products/service will benefit them. Where leads find your solutions complex or pricey, do what you can to fix the issues, but keep in mind that it may not be possible or practical to please every prospect.
2. Make Cold Class
We often underestimate the power of cold calls, yet research shows that up to 69% of buyers accept cold calls. You just need to be effective in your message and avoid pressurizing the buyer. Classify your list into cold, warm, and lost lead lists, then set aside time every day to call those people.
For all your lists, preparation is key. You can’t provide value if you don’t know what the prospects care about. Aim to know how many years they have been in business, their value proposition, location, and the number of employees. This will help you determine the problem they are likely to face and how your products/services can solve them.
Dead lists can benefit from surveys to avoid wasting time. The survey will help you identify those who are still interested, disappointing leads, and those who don’t need your services at all. You can then nurture the ones who are still interested and mitigate the disappointments as well.
Should you use a script while cold calling? Industry experts disagree on this, with some swearing by them and others discarding them completely. Instead, we recommend identifying your prospect and their needs, understanding how your product will make a difference in their business, then having human conversations.
3. Send Personalized Emails
Email marketing is as effective today as it was five years ago. The only thing that’s dying is bulk or mass emailing. Personalized emails have a 26% chance of being opened compared to mass emails. Why? People appreciate tailored content as it feels personal and gives them a sense of control.
How do you personalize emails when you have over 100 prospects on your list? It may not be practical or useful to send individual emails to everyone. Instead, it will be a good idea to segment prospects according to the revenue they can bring into your business. Your first segment will consist of prospects with minimum deal value.
Their emails should include their name, designation, and company name. The mid-size deal value segment requires a bit more work: research common interests, mutual connections (on LinkedIn), or developments in their organizations. The last segment contains the cream of crop prospects who have the highest deal value.
Some ways you can personalize emails for this group include:
- Highlighting the prospecting interests helps create a great first impression.
- Highlighting a mutual connection prevents you from being a total stranger and can help garner trust.
- Complimenting the prospect on any recognition they received recently in their field, an article they wrote, or any other achievement.
- Addressing a specific pain point and providing a tailored solution for it. Back up your solution with industry insights, case studies, and social proof.
4. Ask For Referrals
Did you know that over 40% of salespeople don’t ask for referrals? However, happy customers are likely to spread the word, so don’t shy away from asking your customers for a referral or two. Referrals are a fine way to establish trust with your prospects as you have the backing of the good word given by the referee.
The best time to ask for a referral is immediately after the sale, as the customer’s experience is still fresh. If they enjoyed working with you, they would happily provide a referral. You can stay on top of your existing customers’ minds by staying in touch with them from time to time.
Call, set up a meeting to see how the product/service is working, invite them to events, or share valuable content with them. When you are at the fore of their minds, referring others to you will be much easier. You can also consider emailing existing customers and offering them a financial incentive for every referral they send your way and convert.
5. Follow Up
Not all cold calls, emails, and other prospecting strategies will bear fruit immediately. The best way to keep your leads moving is by following them up. This entails making multiple calls, sending follow-up emails, forwarding additional information, among other follow-up activities.
Timely follow-ups are a fantastic way to build a trusting relationship and show your determination. Ideally, if you have received no feedback from an email or phone call you made 24 hours prior, you should follow up the lead.
But how do you draw the line between the pesky salesperson and a great solution provider? First, find out which communication channel your prospects prefer and use it to communicate with the prospects. It may be a phone call, email, or text messaging.
Use other channels to build rapport with your leads. These channels may include social media interactions, inviting them to webinars or events. Keep engagements going by sharing content that focuses on their industry, their pain points, and how your product/services tie into it. Have clear calls to action in every engagement.
Know when it’s time to let go. If you don’t receive any response after three or four follow-ups, it may be time to let up. Instead, drop the prospect an email stating that you’re available to meet when they are ready to buy.
Keeping the pipeline moving is essential for any B2B business that wants to grow. From cold calling to sending out personalized emails and asking for referrals, we’ve shared strategies you can use to keep high-quality leads coming your way. So how do you prospect B2B businesses? Let us know.
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