Wondering how prospecting at scale can help you grow sales? Scaling your prospecting efforts becomes easier when you focus on these four vital components. Keep reading to learn more about them here.
In this article:
- Four Things You Need for Scalable and Effective Sales Prospecting
Prospecting at Scale | Scale It Right with These Outbound Sales Components
Prospecting Definition: In sales, prospecting refers to the process of reaching out to potential leads or cold leads to create an opportunity for developing a business relationship with them. The sales prospector can use a variety of means to connect with the potential lead.
They can use social media, cold calling, cold emails, and more.
With that said, not all sales prospecting methods were made equal. Some are better at achieving results than others.
To be able to create truly effective prospecting ideas, you need to know the elements that are at the core of effective sales prospecting.
Four Things You Need for Scalable and Effective Sales Prospecting
I used to have the wrong ideas about prospecting. I was once swept up in the sweet promise of easy sales victory. Before, I believed I could write one prospecting letter, then I could blast it to 1,000 people and rely on the “law of large numbers” to carry me to quota.
It’s a fantasy a lot of us tell ourselves when we need to do some lead generation. It’s also not so far from the truth.
In reality, you can find scaled prospecting success through email and other communication without researching your prospects to death. It takes a lot more work than you might want to believe, though.
What are the critical components of great outbound selling at scale?
- Viable comms
I’ll break each of these down below for you.
If you shoot a basketball a thousand times, the law of large numbers indicates you should make at least a few baskets. It doesn’t work that way, however, if you’re shooting at a soccer goal.
That’s the classic prospecting mistake most of us make, especially when we try to scale up the quantity of our outreach. We aim for the wrong target market for our sales funnel.
To speed up our sales process, we buy a cheap list or the biggest list we can. We go at it like a Tyrannosaurus chasing its next meal, without giving a thought about who gets injured along the way (including our brand).
We’re shooting basketballs at soccer goals, and nobody wins.
Hypertargeting means we get serious about the potential customers we are trying to approach. We need to lock down our value proposition and our parameters for our prospective clients.
Creating Your Value Proposition
When we define our value proposition for prospecting, we need to be as specific as possible. Look at the difference between a basic value proposition and one with the appropriate level of detail:
- (A) “I provide accounting software for enterprise-level accounting teams with multiple departments across multiple countries.”
- (B) “I help Fortune 1000 companies with departments or divisions outside the U.S. to roll up all accounting numbers easily and remain 100% compliant with local laws.”
This matters in prospecting because it tells us how to focus our targeting. In this example, we need to build a list around accounting teams responsible for looking at the company’s total profits and losses, not just one area.
Imagine the difference in conversions with that improved level of targeting.
Now, we don’t want to irritate accounting managers. We’re aiming to help the ones who need our product.
The clarity in your value proposition leads to increased accuracy in defining your potential customers. You’re now better prepared to define the industries, regions, and other indicators that make a company the right fit for your product.
That’s what hypertargeting is all about.
You don’t want to waste any effort, no matter how small, on people who don’t need you. You also don’t want to damage your brand with lazy outreach.
It’s not worth it!
Another component of effective prospecting is personalization.
Up to this point, you’ve probably nodded off as you were reading. Hypertargeting is easy to understand and logical (even if a lot of sales professionals aren’t doing it right or at all).
Now I’m going to propose something that may upset you. In most cases, researching the specific people you’re trying to reach is a low-value activity.
There, I said it!
Here’s what I mean.
A lot of reps in charge of sales prospecting fly the flag of “personalization” and think it means the same thing as “quality.” What makes a quality conversation between a vendor and a buyer?
- The vendor has a product that solves the buyer’s problem.
- It understands the problem enough to help the potential customers identify it.
- The vendor can clearly explain how the product solves the buyer’s problem.
- The buyer understands the value of the product as a solution to their problem.
Notice how I didn’t list things like these:
- The vendor mentions that it knows what school the buyer went to.
- It knows the buyer’s favorite Spice Girl is Scary Spice (duh).
- Vendor cyberstalked the buyer’s Instagram feed and knows about their recent trip to Paris.
Value is all about a mutual understanding between the buyer and seller that a problem exists, which a product can solve.
How to Do Personalization Correctly
These ridiculous details, though, are the common prospecting techniques of sales reps. For all the “stuff” we post on social media, even on LinkedIn, very little of it relates to our functions within our company.
Almost none of it talks about the problems we are having at work.
Now let’s uncover the truth about how to correctly personalize for marketing prospecting. It’s all about the buyer persona.
If you understand the types of people involved in a purchasing decision (decision-makers) or who are experiencing the problem you solve, personalization becomes easy. You build your messaging (phone scripts, email templates, and even website copy) around the buyer personas.
This way, you know you’re relevant. You know if someone says they’re not interested, it’s not because you didn’t start your email with “Go Cougars!”
If you’ve correctly targeted the business you can help and have crafted your messaging around the buyer persona, you’re halfway to success at scale. The other part is creating a tempting offer to bring your prospects into the sales cycle.
Even if your product solves the problem, you have to remember the prospect didn’t ask you to cold contact them. They need a compelling reason to do anything at all about your message.
Some pretty common offers include free trials, free two-day shipping, and lower fees. All these don’t have equal value, though.
You need to understand your buyer to know whether one of these will work.
Consider the following:
a. Do you require the prospect to make a major shift to take advantage of your offer?
If they have to switch to new technology or platform that takes a lot of migration time or effort, a free trial just won’t cut it.
b. Is the value of the offer significant enough to make the uncertainty of the outcome worth it?
Buyers often put their head on the chopping block by supporting an unknown vendor or solution. It means the proposed value needs to significantly outweigh this risk.
c. Can they negotiate the same offer from another vendor (including their current vendor) if they use yours as leverage?
What you think is a major incentive to switch may just be a great way to get a discount without switching.
If you can’t provide a tempting offer, you’re going to need to educate your buyer into working with you. It’s almost impossible to do it at scale through outbound prospecting though, and will likely fit more in marketing’s wheelhouse.
Disruptive startups are popular for “growth hacking” their way to success.
What is the most common component of these prospecting campaigns? It’s an irresistible offer!
4. Viable Comms
The final part of the formula is a viable communication channel. Viability is equal parts efficiency and effectiveness.
Efficiency, for our purposes, means you can execute a lot of activity in a short period of time. Technology enables an unprecedented level of efficiency in everything from cold calling (a la ConnectAndSell) to emailing (a la Yesware) and even the full stack together (a la XANT).
With regard to communication channels, effectiveness means you can generate a response from a high number of potential buyers in that channel.
When I ran a team that sold to independent insurance agency owners, we found email was ineffective. Phone calls helped us more in sales prospecting.
Please note that viability has nothing to do with how much you or your reps like to sell with a given channel. To reach successfully scaled prospecting, we can’t concern ourselves with personal preference.
It’s exceptionally difficult to live at the intersection of quality and quantity in outbound sales.
That’s what makes it so valuable, however. If you can master this formula, you will:
- Stand out from your competition
- Drive more sales pipeline and closed deals
- Have more fun in a very challenging role
Common Mistakes in Sales Prospecting You Can Avoid Through Effective Prospecting Components
Once you’ve nailed down the critical components of outbound selling, you’ll have a better time prospecting. Additionally, you can use these components to help you create a truly effective outbound selling prospecting plan.
If you don’t think about these essential components, then you might end up committing common mistakes in sales prospecting. The reason why people don’t get the results they want from sales prospecting is that they’re ignorant of these four components.
As long as you keep in mind the four components of scalable and effective outbound prospecting, you should be able to avoid:
1. Not Researching Before Prospecting
Hypertargeting requires sales professionals to research customers to find out if they really fit your business before doing anything else. This can be ideal since you won’t be wasting a lot of time talking to leads that aren’t even qualified for you.
If you want to narrow down your prospecting list, you need to look into which customers need what you’re offering. You immediately avoid the first rookie mistake of prospecting that way: the lack of research.
2. Not Comparing Prospects to Your Buyer Persona
Personalization centers around the concept of a “Buyer Persona.” In fact, the Buyer Persona is the solution towards reducing the research time you need to find your target market.
Unfortunately, people tend to forget that a Buyer Persona isn’t just for formality only. It’s something you use to qualify and measure up your leads against.
As long as you keep the Personalization component in mind, then you’ll avoid forgetting about the importance of Buyer Persona.
3. Not Identifying Pain Points for Your Prospects
The “Temptation” component reminds sales professionals that to be successful in prospecting, you need to have a unique selling point. However, you also need something that will entice prospects to transact and further their business relationship with you.
This is where identifying pain points come in.
Most of the time, rookie sales reps focus more on their own pain points rather than the prospects. By repackaging it as the Temptation component, it makes it easier to remind people it’s about the customer’s needs more than the sales rep’s.
This makes it much easier to think about the pain points of the potential customer.
4. Treating Every Prospect the Same
Last but not least, a viable comms plan is crucial when it comes to creating unique experiences for each lead and prospect. After all, not every prospect or lead is the same, so the means with which you contact them should reflect that.
Cold calling, for example, might work for one lead, but it may be ineffective for another.
Choosing the right medium of communication is one component that bleeds into the personalization component as well. Thus, enhancing your prospecting skills of making sure that you avoid treating every prospect the same and with a template.
If you already tried to scale your outbound prospecting efforts, use this as your guide for assessing where you went wrong. If you were trying to figure out how to get more than a handful of good conversations from your sales prospecting techniques, now you know.
Using these components to guide you in your outbound prospecting efforts already levels your prospecting skills up by a lot. In fact, it will help you avoid the common mistakes that sales reps make that cause their prospecting plans to fail.
As long as you keep these components in mind and incorporate them into your prospecting plan, you should be getting the results that you want.
What do you think of these prospecting components? Let us know your thoughts below!
Looking to learn more about selling? Check out my book on Amazon called Outbound Sales, No Fluff.
- The 5 Step Process to Building a Sales Cadence That Works
- The 9 Best Sales Prospecting Tips And Techniques You Can Do Now
- Why Some Companies Win And Why Some Companies Lose
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 8, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.