Let’s get one thing straight, sales prospecting is a challenge. Most salespeople aren’t very good at it. Why? Because they haven’t cultivated the right habits. Sure, sales prospecting can take years to master. But the truth is that by nurturing some simple 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’ll be a more successful salesperson, your career will advance faster, you’ll crash the President’s club sooner rather than later and then you can take more of those well-deserved trips to Hawaii.
Over my years working in sales and with sales leaders, I’ve noticed 10 key habits that many of the best inside sales prospectors share in common.
Cut the Right Corners
Amazing sales prospectors almost always seem obsessed with productivity. They are always looking for new ways to work smarter and new tools that can help them be more productive. With the right sales tools, prospectors can slash the time it takes to write emails, dial prospects automatically from CRM, capture data in CRM automatically, automate tasks, schedule meetings more efficiently and a lot more. If, as a prospector, you don’t feel like you have the tools you need to drive in top gear, talk to your sales manager or sales ops leader, they may be able to help.
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.
Review Sales Calls
If you look at many top athletes such as Kobe Bryant, they are obsessed with game footage. After games they watch recordings of their performance to see what they did right, as well as where there is room for improvement. The best outbound sales prospectors have developed the same habit. Recording phone calls offers reps the ability to analyze what worked and what didn’t. Did you do a good enough job of listening? Did you qualify the lead quickly enough? Did you accurately communicate the value of your product before launching into a discussion about pricing? Some companies that we work with here at RingDNA even set up repositories of model calls or have peer review sessions where sales reps listen to and critique each others’ calls. This can be one of the fastest shortcuts to achieving mastery as a prospector.
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.
Personalize Sales Messaging
Part of prospecting is tailoring your message to your prospect. If you sell a marketing automation solution you might regularly speak to marketing managers, marketing ops and CMOs. Your message shouldn’t be one-size-fits all. CMOs have different concerns and pain points than marketing managers. Using buyer personas can help you tailor your messaging to each prospect on the phone and when sending emails. And speaking of emails, top prospectors actually research prospects and put thought into emails rather than just sending the same impersonal form letter out to all your prospects. Marketing can send mass emails, sales people’s job is to add context around messaging.
Verify Contact Data
In B2B sales, expect a relatively high turnover rate among your prospects. 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.”
Be the Ultimate “Stalker”
You should become a master of all social tools that can help you discover relevant data about prospects. Google searches can often uncover a lot of useful details. You can learn a lot about prospects using tools like LinkedIn, Datanyze and Twitter. The idea of “stalking” prospects might sound a bit shady, but the result is that you can have far more intelligent conversations with prospects and tailor sales messaging to better solve their problems.
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 sales discovery call cheat sheet for free!