49 Insights about Inbound Sales Prospecting from the Twitter #ProspectingChat

6 min readNovember 7, 2014

RingDNA CEO, Howard Brown, joined our friends AG Salesworks for “ProspectingChat on Twitter. This edition of #ProspectingChat, focused specifically on inbound prospecting techniques.

Inbound sales prospectingAt first glance, “inbound prospecting” might seem like an oxymoron. When most people think of sales prospecting, they think about outbound prospecting techniques like building lead lists or cold calling. But more and more sales teams are realizing that just because a prospect dials or emails your business, it doesn’t mean that they are automatically sales-ready. Having spent years working in primarily inbound sales, I know that there is a lot of prospecting that is involved, from qualifying leads to understanding how to best help them solve pain points.

So what inbound sales techniques really work? To find out, AG Salesworks asked Howard and other participants some pointed questions about inbound prospecting. Here is a summary of the discussion (as told through tweets):

Welcome to #ProspectingChat! Today’s topic is “Inbound Prospecting” with guest @howardbrown @RingDNA! Questions here: http://t.co/pwi2dNM8d6

— AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

 

Q1: Can you define an #inbound lead in 140 characters or less? #ProspectingChat

— AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

An inbound lead is an individual inspired by your content, product or promotion to seek a better reality #prospectingchat — Howard Brown (@howardbrown) November 6, 2014

@AGSalesworks a customer who has proactively requested information specific to your products and services #ProspectingChat

— Toby Hudson (@TobyHudsonB2B) November 6, 2014

@AGSalesworks Hi Phillip here. A1: An inbound lead is a lead generated from inbound marketing, such as blogs, eBooks, etc. #ProspectingChat — Phillip Hanson (@PhillipRHanson) November 6, 2014

Great answers! Consensus: #inbound leads come to YOU, & are interested in your product/service or your content/promotions. #ProspectingChat

— AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

Q2: How and why does inbound prospecting depend on the customer buying process? #ProspectingChat — AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

@AGSalesworks Mission #1 is identifying how sales-ready they are. Their needs, their pain, and vision, Ask great questions. #prospectingchat

— Howard Brown (@howardbrown) November 6, 2014

@AGSalesworks Identify where they are in the buying process and use questions to help move them along it #ProspectingChat — Toby Hudson (@TobyHudsonB2B) November 6, 2014

Q3: What’s more important, quality or quantity, for prospecting inbound leads? #ProspectingChat

— AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

Q3- Prioritize quality leads that are already engaged, already in research mode – let marketing nurture the masses #ProspectingChat — Howard Brown (@howardbrown) November 6, 2014

A3: Depends on your company, what your business goals are. Generally I would say quality is more important though #ProspectingChat

— AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

@AGSalesworks agreed! no one likes shifting through the rubbish bin #ProspectingChat — Toby Hudson (@TobyHudsonB2B) November 6, 2014

@howardbrown @AGSalesworks We’ve found that to be true as well. #ProspectingChat

— Cara Hogan (@CaraHogan27) November 6, 2014

Q4: How important is response time for inbound leads? #ProspectingChat — AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

A4- Response is critical. <5 minutes makes you 90% more likely to close. <1 hour is good. After that = diminishing returns #ProspectingChat

— Howard Brown (@howardbrown) November 6, 2014

Response time – this is a tricky one. You want to get to your leads fast, but you also want to do your research. #ProspectingChat — Phillip Hanson (@PhillipRHanson) November 6, 2014

On to pre-call research… Q5: What areas should #sales reps research before beginning their inbound call strategy? #ProspectingChat

— AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

A5- Start w LinkedIn to see if you have any mutual connections. Then look at company events – M&A, news, new hires. #ProspectingChat — Howard Brown (@howardbrown) November 6, 2014

In 2012, 78.6% of salespeople using #social media to sell out-performed those who weren’t using social media (@Keenan). #ProspectingChat

— QuotaFactory (@quotafactory) November 6, 2014

Q6: What trigger factors can sales reps look for in marketing information to further qualify inbound leads?#ProspectingChat — AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

1) Buyer intent: seeing inbound lead source during an inbound call speaks volumes. 2) Engagement history: content, etc #ProspectingChat

— Howard Brown (@howardbrown) November 6, 2014

A6: If you can, look for when/how prospects visited your site, whether they looked at your contact us page, & keywords! #ProspectingChat — Allie Tetreault (@aktetreault) November 6, 2014

@aktetreault Great point – huge advocate of using keywords, campaigns and content to better understand buyer intent #ProspectingChat

— Howard Brown (@howardbrown) November 6, 2014

@AGSalesworks Data! Understand their user journey to the content and after it #ProspectingChat — Toby Hudson (@TobyHudsonB2B) November 6, 2014

Q7: How should you treat inbound prospecting calls differently from outbound prospecting calls? #ProspectingChat

— AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

A7- With inbound, be curious about their business and why they are making a change. With outbound, you pitch the change. #ProspectingChat — Howard Brown (@howardbrown) November 6, 2014

I agree @HowardBrown! Discovering prospects’ business drivers should always be a key sales value! #ProspectingChat

— Jesse Davis (@JesseADavis) November 6, 2014

Here’s a doozy. MT @AGSalesworks: How should you treat inbound prospecting calls differently from outbound? #ProspectingChat — Allie Tetreault (@aktetreault) November 6, 2014

@AGSalesworks inbound>interest is established, outbound you must create that interest. Help solve their business challenges #ProspectingChat

— Toby Hudson (@TobyHudsonB2B) November 6, 2014

@TobyHudsonB2B We agree! And the key here is that BOTH inbonud and outbound are helping solve these business challenges. #ProspectingChat — AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

Q8: What are some techniques for positioning yourself as a consultant rather than a sales rep pushing a product? #ProspectingChat

— AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

A8- Your sales mantra should be Discover, Educate, Inform – not Disrupt and Sell #prospectingchat — Howard Brown (@howardbrown) November 6, 2014

A8 Understanding their POV & offering strategic help on how to alleviate their challenge rather than pitching to the masses #ProspectingChat

— Megan T (@Megan_Marie_T) November 6, 2014

A8 Clients respond more to how we’re *being* toward them than what we say/do. Heart must be right to be viewed as consult #ProspectingChat — The Responsive Edge (@RussThoman) November 6, 2014

Q9: How would the call plan for an influencer and the call plan for a decision-maker change in inbound prospecting? #ProspectingChat

— AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

Q1a- Influencer – you want to make the influencer an advocate and arm them with value props to make them more successful #prospectingchat — Howard Brown (@howardbrown) November 6, 2014

Q1b- Decision-maker – focus on not just value, but also timing, budget and learn about other stakeholders for total success #prospectingchat

— Howard Brown (@howardbrown) November 6, 2014

@howardbrown We agree! You won’t gain anything from ignoring admins. Instead, make them advocates – great word there! #ProspectingChat — AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

Q10: How can you monitor and track which inbound prospecting techniques work best for your B2B product or service? #ProspectingChat

— AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

A10 Track activity & efficiency metrics – identify which marketing efforts deliver top ROI+which reps are best @qualifying #prospectingchat — Howard Brown (@howardbrown) November 6, 2014

Time for the last question, everyone! Let’s share our favorite #sales tools. #ProspectingChat

— AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

A10: Has anyone checked out our friends at @RingDNA lately? Not to state the obvious 🙂 -> http://t.co/6jBFNYwnfb #ProspectingChat — Megan T (@Megan_Marie_T) November 6, 2014

.@RingDNA is a #1 CRM tool for prospecting metrics, tracking, etc. Check it out! http://t.co/2WqqzRDsby #ProspectingChat

— AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

Thanks you all for participating, and thank you @howardbrown of @RingDNA for being our guest! #ProspectingChat — AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

BTW, anyone looking for sales prospecting help, highly recommend @agsalesworks & @quotafactory #prospectingchat

— Howard Brown (@howardbrown) November 6, 2014

@howardbrown Thanks so much, Howard! We appreciate it & enjoyed your insights this #ProspectingChat hour. @quotafactory — AG Salesworks (@AGSalesworks) November 6, 2014

@AGSalesworks @howardbrown @RingDNA Thanks for such an interesting chat! #ProspectingChat

— Cara Hogan (@CaraHogan27) November 6, 2014

@AGSalesworks It was absolutely my pleasure. Lots of smart questions by lots of smart people! Let’s do it again soon. #ProspectingChat — Howard Brown (@howardbrown) November 6, 2014

Thanks again to the AGSalesworks team for putting together such an interesting chat. Check out our latest eBook on lead qualification for help qualifying and converting more inbound leads!

Recommended eBook: Socratic Sales

About the Author

Jesse WestDirector of Lifecycle MarketingringDNA

Jesse Davis West is Director of Lifecycle Marketing at ringDNA, focusing on improving the experience and maximizing the lifetime value for customers across their entire journey. Drawing on 9 years of B2B marketing experience, Jesse is passionate about communication, branding and strategic marketing. He also plays a mean lead guitar and can throw down at karaoke.