10 tested and proven ways to improve B2B sales prospecting

B2B sales prospecting is often one of the most challenging stages of the sales process. But, better prospecting means higher quality leads. Let’s find out the 10 tested and proven B2B prospecting strategies to boost your sales.
Saurabh Wani
Saurabh Wani
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11 tested and proven ways to improve B2B sales prospecting

Lead generation is no easy task, especially in the cut-throat B2B sales environment. It takes time, effort, and patience. 

To stay ahead in the race, companies need to constantly keep their sales funnel filled with leads, nurture them, and convert them into paying customers.

But, the first and the most difficult step in the sales process is identifying these prospects and conducting outreach. This stage in the sales cycle is called Prospecting.

The 7 main stages of a sales cycle

And good prospecting is crucial to generating qualified leads. The earlier you start feeding the pipeline with leads, the better — or you’ll wind up spending more time and resources on leads who aren’t a good fit for your product. 

Better prospecting = More high-quality leads.

So if you’re one of those businesses that are struggling with B2B prospecting, fret not as we’ll cover some tested and proven B2B prospecting strategies to help you boost your sales. Let’s get started, shall we?

Contents

11 proven B2B prospecting strategies

Identify your ideal profile

Since it’s helpful to know who you are searching for before you begin your search, narrow down your target prospect by:

Every sales rep can now use the ICP as a guide when finding your ideal lead. It helps marketers use demand generation budgets wisely, and helps your sales reps spend more of their time on selling effectively. 

Filter out prospects who don’t fit into your ICP so you target the right opportunities and attract better-qualified leads. 

Find your ICP

LinkedIn is an excellent place to start when it comes to B2B lead generation

In 2020, there were 171 million registered users on LinkedIn in the United States alone. According to Hubspot, LinkedIn is the second most popular social media site utilized by B2B marketers, with Facebook being the top position.

You can use tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Aeroleads to help you find the email addresses and contact information of your prospects. 

If you’re not familiar with the ropes on LinkedIn, you’d be happy to know that Twitter is also a great platform for prospecting. Its advanced search option helps in identifying potential prospects in just a few minutes. Twitter can also provide insights about a prospect.

Narrow down your potential prospects

In a typical B2B company, 50% of the potential clients who match your ICP could still be a poor match for what you sell. This means there is a good risk you will contact the wrong person. 

Prequalify every lead after the initial contact by answering a few important questions about them to reduce the number of unqualified leads progressing further down the sales funnel. 

Ask yourself questions like:

  • How well does this prospect match with my ICP?
  • Is my product relevant to the industry this prospect works in?
  • Are they even interested in purchasing my product?
  • Is this prospect using my competitors’ product?
  • What are the cons of working with this prospect?
  • How can this prospect be a bad fit for me?

Based on these answers, you can narrow down your list of potential clients. It has been quite an effective B2B prospecting strategy when it comes to scoring better quality leads.

Email Prospecting

Email prospecting is widely used by sales and marketing teams and is one of the best B2B prospecting techniques. 

According to Rain Group, eight out of ten buyers prefer to communicate with salespeople via email. 

To verify the emails of your prospects, run them through a free email verifier to find out if that contact information is real and not spam.

Do note that while emails have a 15% to 25% average open rate, every fourth email you send is opened in the best-case scenario. Sprinkle in some customization, an attention-grabbing subject line, and you can double this number.

Master the cold call

Ah, the good ol’ cold call. Often regarded as spam, these outbound calls have created a sense of skepticism towards them. 

However, outbound call statistics suggest that they still remain one of the most effective methods to generate leads

That said, here are some tips to ace your cold call strategy: 

  • Do extensive research about your prospect
  • Find out what’s the best time to cold call your prospect
  • Use a script, but don’t over-rely on it
  • Highlight the value you can bring to your prospects, not what your product is about
  • Don’t forget to follow up with your prospects (Persistence is key!)

To further help you with your cold calling efforts, you should invest in an outbound dialer to automate your cold call dialing and remove duplicate contacts. This makes the entire process much faster so your sales reps have more time on their hands to prepare for the call and wow your prospect with their sales pitch.

Ask for referrals

A referral works wonders. In fact, most of the referral-based deals get closed successfully. 

That’s because you’re being referred to someone your prospect is familiar with. People trust referrals from people they trust 92% of the time, so getting your current customers to inform their contacts can be very beneficial. 

Unfortunately, only four out of ten salespeople actually ask for a referral. 

So, don’t be afraid to ask for a referral. Every single customer is a referral opportunity that you don’t want to miss! It’s an easy and almost sure-shot way of building a reputation and getting deals. 

Learn how to tackle sales objections

More often than not, you’d be faced with some form of unfavorable responses during sales prospecting. 

Hence, you should be prepared to handle these objections no matter what the responses are. 

Let’s take a look at some examples.

If a prospect says “I’m not interested”, you can overcome this by providing value and highlighting the benefits that your product can bring them. Make sure your sales pitch focuses on the customer’s needs and explains how your product or service can help them meet their goals. You can also offer a demonstration or a free trial to show the potential customer how your product works.

Common cold-calling objections and how to respond.

When the situation arises where a prospect says “we already have a solution in place”, don’t repeat the benefits of your product or service. Your prospect already knows how you can benefit them because your product or service is similar to what they have. 

Instead, show your prospect why you’re the better option by highlighting some of your core features. It’ll be even better if you have more mature features or features that your competitors don’t have.

Common cold-calling objections and how to respond when a prospect says

💡 Full article: 14 most common cold calling objections and how to overcome them

Following up

This sounds like a no-brainer, many sales reps don’t follow up with prospects. 

Statistics show that:

  • Over 30% of the leads are never followed back after being rejected the first time because,
  • 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up call. But,
  • 80% of deals are closed after the 5th follow-up.
  • That said, by being more persistent, sales reps can increase the conversation rate by up to 70%.

Whether you follow up with an email, phone call, text, or social media, just make sure that you follow up. 

To avoid letting your prospects slip through the cracks, adopt a client management system or a funnel-building software. It will help you develop a personalized follow-up plan for your potential clients, schedule meetings, and provide follow-up templates that you can use to keep your approach more systematic and produce better results.

Always ask questions

I bet you didn’t know that during a call with your prospect, asking 11 to 14 questions during a call has a 74% success rate.

Number of questions asked per call. Source: Gong
Number of questions asked per call. Source: Gong

But, what type of questions do you ask? Well, according to a study by Gong, you should ask questions about key business problems or goals the customer is trying to solve.

Or, you could follow the NOTE method:

Need: How is your company doing currently and how does it need to do?

Opportunity: What are the obstacles your company is facing in the path of being at its desired position?

Team: Who influences your products and how does the product influence its buyers?

Effect: How will it affect your company, what do you gain from this collaboration?

Incorporate videos

Videos are an extremely powerful way to transmit information, so getting your prospects to watch one early in their buyer journey is a great way to prospect. 

Include videos in your emails and send short introductory videos to your prospects. For email videos targeted at promising prospects, personalization works best — it does not need to deviate from a template too much, but a mention here or there about the prospect’s name and mission (if we’re talking B2B), would set you apart from cookie-cutter videos.

To that end, it is important to have a good solution to manage your video assets so that you won’t accidentally send a personalized video to the wrong person. 

Also, choose the right communication tools to connect with your prospects and record or document your interaction. This will help you focus on minor details, learn more about your clients, identify your setbacks and improvise your B2B prospecting strategies accordingly.

Conclusion

As a B2B business, it is important to keep on prospecting.

Without new leads, you will be stuck in the same place. You need constant changes for constant growth. And these B2B prospecting strategies, coupled with the right sales prospecting tools, will nudge you in the right direction, making sure that your pipeline is never empty.

Saurabh
Saurabh

Saurabh is a self-motivated and enthusiastic Freelance content marketer. He has experience working with early startups and has helped them grow their organic traffic. When he is not working, he is probably binge-watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S

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