7 Tips for Optimizing the Prospecting Process

5 Stages Of Sales Prospecting
Lucy Literado

Prospecting is easy. An army of monkeys with typewriters could do it. The trouble is, that’s exactly how most people do it, treating it as purely a numbers game. Not getting the results you want? Then just send more emails to more people. It’s like giving more monkeys more typewriters. Sure, technically, it’ll work. But beyond lacking a certain elegance though, it also lacks efficiency. Those monkeys and typewriters don’t grow on trees. Rather than a thousand monkeys and typewriters, how about one professional, with a good laptop? Much better. For your prospecting, the time and work needed to optimize your efforts will give exponentially better results. To help you, we’ve put together seven tips to help you optimize your prospecting, and maybe save a ton of cash on monkeys and typewriters.

Know your product

If you’re a one-man show, then I assume you know your product/service inside out. However, if you’re part of a team, or have been brought on to spearhead marketing and prospecting, you should take the time to know every inch of that product. What problems does it solve? What are its features? How about the products limitations? What can’t it do? What are the minimum specifications it needs to run? What are the recommended specifications? Are there any known compatibility issues? When you’re prospecting, you want to be the leading expert rather than a clueless salesman.

Know your audience

The basis of prospecting is knowing who it is you’re prospecting. Sure, you could just start at ‘A’ in the phone book and work your way down, but you’ll be wasting resources. Rather than trying to appeal to everyone, get to know who your ideal customer is. You have created buyer personas, right? For a start, you’ll be much more efficient. Why bother sending out information on your business to people who will never use it? Secondly, you’ll be able to tailor your message. By personalizing your email it’ll stand out above all the ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ emails flooding their inbox. However, this goes beyond dropping their first name in. Directly address their specific industry, their unique pain-points, and you’ll create a prospecting email that speaks to them personally. Remember: client personas are only really worth it when they’re based on actual clients you’ve actually spoken to. If they’re based on your own thoughts and opinions, they tell precisely nothing about the client.

Pick the right tool for the job

Imagine three men literally prospecting, looking for precious metal in the hills. One decides it’ll be cheaper if he doesn’t pay for any tools, so he just uses his bare hands. The second brings along a screwdriver. The third guy though has bought along specialist tools, designed for the task. Which one would you rather be?

If you were judging it on expense, then the first one seems to win, having spent precisely nothing. But how much will he bring in? When you’re starting out and every penny counts, it’s easy to justify saving money by not paying out for the tools. The second may be using some equipment, but they’re not the right ones for the job. Have you ever been tempted to force software into doing a job it wasn’t meant for?  Instead, take the third option. For maximum returns on your prospecting, make sure you’re using the right tool for the specific job. Anything else is simply a false economy.

Look for integrations

When you’re researching what tools to use, an important consideration is the integrations that are available. Very rarely will a single tool meet all your needs. More than likely you’ll end up with a marketing stack, a collection of software to address your various requirements. Even the simplest business will use several different pieces of software for communication, planning, record keeping, analytics etc. To optimize your prospecting, using software that works together will make your job so much easier. There’s a Gestalt effect where you see far better results from integrations than their individual component provides, resulting in a massive boost to your marketing and prospecting efforts.

Provide value

If you really want to stand out, the biggest differentiator is to be someone providing value, rather than asking for something. Look back at your ideal buyer profiles, then identify how you can help them. Yes, I’m sure your product/service can help them, but try and elevate yourself above that. How can you provide value to them today, in a genuine, totally human way? Especially in that initial email, you need to be thinking less about selling and more about giving. Offer something actually worth their time, rather than selling to them in that initial introduction. Think more Mother Teresa, and less used-car salesman.

Measure and Report

The mathematician Karl Pearson once said ‘That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.’ To reap those exponential improvements, you’re going to need to measure the results of your prospecting. If you’ve picked the right tools they’ll be doing a lot of the work for you, but it’s still up to you to look at those results and then, most important of all, do something about them. You can read a million posts on the subject and they’ll help, to a degree. However, the information you can gain firsthand from your campaigns with your own audience is far more valuable. Even basic A/B split testing will set you up for long-term success.

Consistency

Prospecting is a marathon, not a sprint. Despite what I said at the beginning, sometimes it does boil down to the numbers you’re putting down. While they’re not everything, if you’re sending out one email to one person then giving up, you’re not going to get the results you want. By having a plan in place, centered around consistent, regular prospecting, you’ll reap the maximum benefits. Putting all these tips into place, as well as the insights you glean from your results, will enable you to put an effective plan together, including: Who you’re emailing, how often (i.e. follow up emails), Why you’re emailing (what specific action do you want the prospect to take), even when. Then, like all good plans, tweak it according to the responses you’re getting.

Sure, basic prospecting may be easy, but great prospecting is a skill. You will need to take the time to make sure you have all the required knowledge, ensure you’re using the best tools, and that you’re providing clear value, consistently. Then you’ll be sure you’re getting the best conversion rates for your prospecting.

For your prospecting, ProsperWorks takes all the hard work out of the process, but for your mailing automation be sure to sign up for a free trial with Reply.io, now integrated with ProsperWorks for seamless marketing and sales.

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