Sales are the end goal of every business. However, staying on top of your sales game is a tall order.
You need to carefully plan out each stage of your sales process from prospecting and lead generation to closing the deal and nurturing relationships with your customers.
If you want everything to run smoothly, it is essential that your top-of-the-funnel activities are fully optimised and as efficient as possible. Otherwise, you will just waste valuable time and resources.
Prospecting is quite a time-consuming activity, so you can’t afford to make any mistakes that will slow you down even more.
If you’re having troubles at the top of your sales funnel, or simply want to perfect your sales process, keep reading to find out how to improve your prospecting strategy and get higher quality leads.
Create an Ideal Customer Profile
There’s nothing worse than wasting time on unqualified leads. In fact, the data shows that more than 50% of prospects end up not being a good fit. So, how do you avoid having that many prospects who are not interested in what you have to offer?
To create a prospect list that will help you generate more qualified leads and boost conversion rates, first you need to identify your ideal customer. Dig into your customer base and try and find as much useful data as possible.
Who are the customers that bring you the most profit? And who are the least profitable ones?
Pinpoint your top customers and focus on their common characteristics. This will help you figure out what your ideal customer profile should look like.
Personalise and Automate Your Emails
Sending countless emails, knowing that most of them probably won’t even have any effect can be draining, especially if you do it manually. Add that to the equation you need to use to segment your prospect list and personalise your emails to pander to different customer groups and you end up with a difficult, time-consuming task.
To make this process easier and more effective, you can use sales tools for prospecting and automate your email campaign. This will not only let you eliminate menial tasks and speed up the entire process but also help you filter out your prospect list and create highly customised email templates for each group.
Statistics show that personalised email subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened than generic ones and that personalised emails drive 5.7 times more revenue, so it’s no wonder that 38% of marketers state that email personalisation is their number one priority.
Pick Up the Phone
Cold calling is one of the most divisive sales methods. While many think that it’s outdated and ineffective, the data shows that phone is still one of the most effective methods for communicating with customers, with 46% of marketers stating they still use phone to reach prospects.
Also, remember that calling prospects doesn’t have to be cold. While blindly reaching out to every prospect on your list might be time-consuming and ineffective, putting just a little bit of effort into researching your prospects can bring drastically better results.
Getting started with warm calling requires a similar approach as personalised emails.
First, create a segmented list and then create a script specifically tailored for each group. It might take more phone calls to get a positive response, but once you do, it will be faster and easier to make a strong connection and close the deal.
Ask for Referrals
Among all of the methods for reaching prospects, referrals and word-of-the-mouth are deemed the most effective. Happy customers are your best brand ambassadors after all.
Referral selling is also referred to as a Perpetual Revenue System – once you get the ball rolling with some initial sales, your satisfied customers will (often even without asking) start recommending your brand to people they know, making it much easier to find prospects, generate leads and convert them into sales.
Bill Cates points out several reasons why referrals are the best sales opportunity:
- They are cost-effective
- They provide more trust
- They make your sales process faster
- It’s easier to close the deal
Lastly, clients you acquire through referrals are more likely to also recommend your business to someone else, which pretty much means that the whole process will keep repeating.
Use Social Media
Social selling might sound like just another buzzword, but it actually works. According to the statistics, 78% of salespeople who use social selling are outselling those who don’t. However, although 90% of B2B companies see value in social selling, only 49% of them actually use it.
So if you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips:
- Choose the best platform for your business
- Create a list of well-respected companies and follow them
- Join and participate in relevant social media groups
- Join conversations about your brand
- Share valuable content
Besides offering another way to communicate and engage with your prospects, social media can also serve as a great way of finding additional information about them.
This is especially true of the B2B world, many prospects are actually reputable thought leaders who have a very strong social presence themselves, so researching their profiles can offer you valuable insight and help you tailor your outreach to their specific needs.
Always Follow Up!
No matter which method of outreach you’re using, whether it’s the phone, email, or social media, it is essential to follow up.Just because your prospect didn’t respond to your initial effort to connect, it doesn’t mean they are lost forever.Click To Tweet
In fact, even 80% of customers require up to 5 follow-up calls before making a purchase. When it comes to emails, sending at least 3 follow-up emails can improve your response rates and boost your replies by 65.8%.
And while follow-up calls can take a lot of time, follow-up email sequences can be completely automated, so there’s no reason not to send them.
You can even create follow-up outreach campaigns dedicated specifically to your lost leads, and try another time with a different approach.
When creating a prospecting strategy, make sure to always start with a well-organised, well-researched and segmented prospect list.
From there, you can use this list for different types of outreach from calling to highly personalised emails and social media interactions.
Once you’re done with the first round of outreach, always follow up.
And lastly, once you close the deal, don’t forget to ask your satisfied customers for referrals.
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