Sales prospecting is a challenge. Most salespeople aren’t very good at it. Why? Because they haven’t cultivated the right habits. Masterful sales prospecting skills can take years to develop. But the truth is that by nurturing some simple habits you can fast-track your path to prospecting success.
To develop new habits, you must make a commitment to change. This won’t be easy however. The creation of new habits requires work and time. But if you do it right, you’ll be a more successful salesperson, your career will advance faster, and you’ll find yourself in the corner office before you know it.
We’ve taken some time and found nine key habits the best inside sales prospectors all have.
Amazing sales prospectors always seem obsessed with productivity. They look for new ways to work smarter and new tools that help them be more productive. With the right sales tools, prospectors can slash the time it takes to write emails, dial prospects, input data in a CRM, automate tasks, schedule meetings, and a lot more. If you don’t feel like you have the tools you need to be as efficient as possible, talk to your sales manager or sales ops leader.
Many companies ask their salespeople to divide their time time between sales, prospecting and follow up. 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 solely focus on qualifying inbound leads and account executives (AEs) who are dedicated closers.
If you look at many of the top athletes in any given sport, you’ll find they are likely obsessed with game footage. They watch footage on flights to away games to study plays. After, they watch recordings of their performance to see what they did right and where they could improve. The best outbound sales prospectors have developed the same habit. Phone call recordings give reps the ability to analyze what worked and what didn’t. Did you listen well? Did you qualify the lead quickly? Did you accurately communicate the value of your product? 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 find mastery as a prospector.
The hand-off of 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 be jarring without the right process. Likewise, if you don’t have the right data in Salesforce, an account executive might ask prospects questions the SDR has already covered. 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 Salesforce fields need to be filled prior to hand-off? The best prospectors have a defined process that provides solutions to these questions. They ensure that prospects are provided with an ideal sales experience, while simultaneously setting AEs up to hit home runs.
Part of prospecting is tailoring your messages to your prospects. 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. Buyer personas can help you tailor your messaging to each prospect on the phone and in 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.
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 Channel 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.”
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 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 messages to better solve their problems.
Many of the best B2B sales prospectors narrow their prospecting efforts to a few target industries. If you target a limited number of industries, you have the ability to 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. 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.