Prospecting is an important part of outbound marketing for social selling, so it is important that the best people are carrying it out. While many businesses and B2B inside sales teams choose to group sales and prospecting into one role (i.e. the general salesperson), it is actually more beneficial for both your customer and your business to break up prospecting and sales into separate roles. Salespeople don’t like prospecting and are an expensive resource. They also aren’t trained to prospect. Therefore, it is important to make use of their skills, rather than assigning them tasks that they just aren’t suited to.
SaaS tools are helpful in achieving quality prospects and leads without having to do copious amounts of research yourself. Here at Connectors Marketplace, our digital selling tool does a lot of this “outbound prospecting” for you! You can also use other outbound marketing techniques in order to generate more leads.
Aaron Ross of salesforce.com, for example, has written a book entitled Predictable Revenue, outlining the reasons why general salespeople shouldn’t prospect and how best to utilize outbound prospecting for businesses.
Here are five things to take away from Ross’s book:
1. Cold Outreach 2.0:
Cold outreach, particularly cold calling, for the most part doesn’t work. Approximately 90% of top-level B2B decision-makers don’t respond to cold outreach. But there are certain ways it can be used as a tactic for acquiring leads. Ross discusses how he experimented with mass emails in order to generate prospects. He discovered that sending shorter emails that ask for referrals to higher executives were more successful than standard sales emails. 84% of B2B decision makers begin their buying processes with referrals. If your cold outreach mass emails are already asking the representatives to buy what you are selling, this is unlikely to be warmly received. Referral emails are much more successful as you aren’t closing within the first interaction. Don’t sell, and only give brief information; your main responsibility at this point is simply to ask for a referral.
2. Give the power to the customer:
Because of the Internet’s expansion, the power within the buying process is no longer in the hands of the seller, but rather in the hands of the buyer. This power shift means that the customer is, more often than not, the reason for closing. You should therefore encourage them to be active within the buying process, rather than doing all the work for them. You want your prospects to be genuinely interested in what you are offering. If they are responding to your prospecting, then they are likely to be interested. Allow them to do their own research beforehand if they want to. Don’t try and hold onto the old ways and embrace this shift in power. Create an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) in order to consistently reach out to the best prospects for you. In doing so, you will have fewer leads, but of a much higher quality!
3. Specialized sales roles:
Don’t allocate one huge role to only a few people. Assign specialized roles instead, based on skills and tasks to be completed. This will ultimately be much more effective as the representatives who are more interested in and simply better at doing a particular function, are more likely to complete it efficiently. For example, if a representative is assigned to prospect, they shouldn’t be trying to sell anything. Selling should be left up to the salespeople. Once your business grows, it is wise to get even more specialized as more and more tasks will need to be completed. Ross suggests that you specialize your core sales roles into: Sales Development, Account Executives, and Customer Success/ Account Management.
4. 80/20 rule:
It can sometimes be difficult to determine when and how you should specialize your sales roles. Ross discusses the 80/20 rule as a way to distinguish what tasks should be assigned their own function. Put simply, if someone is spending over 20% of their time on a particular task that is secondary to the original function they have been given or set out to do, it should be assigned a completely new role. In this way, the representative assigned to do the original task isn’t neglecting it at all, and both tasks get completed!
Patience is a virtue when it comes to prospecting. Don’t try and force prospects to purchase what you are selling. Let them do the work for you. If they are genuinely interested in what you have told them about your product or service, they will reciprocate your efforts of reaching out to them by reaching out to you too. Don’t try to close too fast either. Outbound prospecting should be about outbound prospecting, so leave the closing up to the salespeople. Make sure you take time to get to know the individual prospect and nurture them. Prospecting should also be ongoing, so patience is very important!