Do you want to be a a good sales prospector or a great one? Do you want the power to connect with more leads, book more meetings, create more opportunities and drive more revenue? Successful sales prospecting is a science that often takes years to master. But the fact is, by developing and nurturing the right prospecting habits, you can fast-track your path to success.
Developing new habits requires making a commitment to change. I’m not talking about some one-
time transformation that will magically double your prospecting ROI. Adopting new habits requires putting in work and time. But if you do adopt the right habits, you will be a more successful salesperson.
In my experience, here are 7 habits that many of the best inside sales prospectors share in common.
Fully Dedicate Yourself to Prospecting
One of the biggest mistakes that many companies make is asking a salesperson to divide their time between selling, prospecting and following up with inbound leads from marketing. But to truly generate a steady stream of opportunities through prospecting, it requires at least one rep that is fully dedicated to sales prospecting. The most successful sales prospectors understand that prospecting is full-time job. Likewise, inside sales teams should have reps that are solely focused on qualifying inbound leads and account executives (AEs) who are dedicated closers.
Follow a Clearly Defined Sales Process
Handing off sales-qualified leads to account executives can be precarious. Prospects have already formed a relationship with an SDR. Bringing a new rep into the equation can, without the right process be jarring. Likewise, without the right data in salesforce, an account executive might ask prospects questions that they’ve already been asked. To avoid this, prospectors need a process. What happens when a prospect is ready to have a serious sales discussion with an account executive? Should leads be warm-transferred directly to AEs? What fields need to be fill out in Salesforce prior to hand-off? The best prospectors know the answer to these questions. They ensure that prospects are provided with an ideal experience, while simultaneously setting AEs up to hit home runs.
Verify Contact Data
In B2B sales, expect a relatively high turnover rate. People are promoted, change positions, or move to new companies. Certain industries, such as SaaS can have especially high turnover rates. If you have B2B prospectors who are given lead lists, it’s vital to make sure that contact data hasn’t gone stale. According to RingLead’s VP of Sales John Kosturos, “Bad data is a challenge for all organizations, in all departments. As a sales manager, I see how it impacts the sales enablement process on a daily basis. For instance, when salespeople lack complete lead and contact record data, they aren’t able to connect with potential buyers when those buyers are in need. Incomplete data is the number one reason that salespeople give up on their CRM.” Tools like RingLead and Data.com can help ensure that prospect data in CRM is always clean and up-to-date. This can radically improve connection rates.
Be the Ultimate Stalker
We recently participated in a webinar on sales compensation. During the webinar, OpenView Partners’ sales strategist CeCe Bazar revealed some important qualities to look for when hiring prospectors. One of the top qualities she looks for is being what she calls, “the ultimate stalker.” You should become a master of all social tools that can help you discover relevant data about prospects.
Become a Connector
LinkedIn is a well-stocked hunting ground for sales prospectors. But the best SDRs don’t only use LinkedIn to search for leads. They also become connectors. Imagine if you saw on LinkedIn that someone was looking for a marketing analytics solution that works with Salesforce. Now suppose you know someone at a company that offers such a solution. Connecting those two people will take minutes, but if it works out, they will both feel indebted to you. Believe me, building social capital pays off in the long-term. If you’re seen as someone who brings people together, you’re going to be bringing a lot of business to your company.
Be an Information Sponge
Many of the best B2B sales prospectors narrow their prospecting efforts to a few target industries. If you are targeting a limited number of industries, it offers the opportunity to really acquire a deep set of knowledge about industry-specific pain points. It also enables you to learn how to translate your value propositions into industry-specific language. Having in-depth industry knowledge helps establish a prospector’s credibility. And it lets your prospects know that you’re a highly-knowledgeable sales rep rather than a telemarketer. Always be on the lookout for new statistics, case-studies and anything else that will help establish your expertise.
When you do get prospects on the phone, it’s imperative to not just launch into a pitch without taking the time to discover your prospects’ business drivers. Asking targeted questions can have the two-fold effect of making your prospects feel listened to while also discovering information that can help you do a better job of moving deals forward.
Want to learn the right questions to ask prospects? Download our free guide Socratic Sales and learn which questions you should be asking prospects in order to accelerate deals.