Speaking of leads and prospects, it's important to note the differences between these two types of people that you and the rest of your sales team will be communicating with while prospecting. Let's take a look:. Leads are potential customers who've expressed their interest in your company or services through various behaviors such as visiting our website, subscribing to a blog, or downloading an ebook.
Leads become prospects if they are qualified and, therefore, align with your target audience and buyer personas. You can have a prospect not a lead that can be classified as a potential customer even if they have limited or no interaction with your company depending on their qualifications and fit. It's also important to remember that although leads and prospects differ by definition, your goals with both are the same: Nurture leads and prospects until they buy your product or service.
To get a better understanding of the sales prospecting process as a whole, look at the sales funnel:. Qualifying dimensions : A set of criteria to evaluate the probability that a lead or prospect will become a customer. CRM customer relationship management : Software that allows companies to keep track of their potential and existing customers at whichever stage they may assume in the sales cycle. Gatekeeper: Person in charge of communicating or preventing information from reaching a decision-maker; for example, receptionists or personal assistants.
Decision-maker: The person in charge of making a final decision on the sale. We usually have to go through a gatekeeper to reach them. Discovery call: The first contact a sales rep makes with a prospect to qualify them as a lead for the next step in the sales cycle. Closed-won: When the buyer purchases a product or service from the sales rep. Closed-lost: When the buyer fails to purchase a product or service from the sales rep. Closing ratio: Ratio of prospects that a sales rep closes and wins.
Reps no longer have to choose between inbound or outbound prospecting. Instead, they must decide how to do both responsibly. Because let's face it — not every lead you get will be "warm". Our world is now characterized by infinite information, whenever we want. Yet, salespeople are still cold calling as if buyers have no awareness. Experienced salespeople can expect to spend 7. Companies using inbound and responsible outbound sales techniques are better positioned for success in this new realm of buyer awareness.
But with a twist. As we mentioned earlier, we understand that everyone has their approach. Pick and experiment with whatever works best for your own sales hustle. This is by far the most important aspect of prospecting. Here are some qualifying questions and related takeaways to help you evaluate whether or not a prospect has a high probability of becoming a customer:.
This type of qualification is based solely on demographics. Does the prospect fall within my territory? Do we sell in their industry? Does it fit our buyer persona? Say our target market consists of small to medium-sized businesses with anywhere from to 1, employees. We should eliminate any potential customers outside of these criteria. Diving deeper, our product or service will naturally provide higher value to a particular profile within that target market. For example, medium-sized businesses consisting of a larger team.
Those customers are also more likely to upgrade to a higher tier of our product, providing more lifetime value as a customer. There are two types of people involved on the other end of our sales process: Decision-makers and influencers.
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If we get them to rally around our offering, they can make a compelling case to decision-makers before we even speak with them. Decision-makers are, of course, the ones that either approve or reject the buy.
What is Prospecting? Definition and Best Methods to Get More Customers
We can ask these questions to determine the decision-making process: Will anyone else be involved in this decision? Does this purchase come out of your immediate budget?
Keep a working list of influencers and buyers, perhaps mapped out by the organizational structure of the organization. Time constraints and budget limitations are often the biggest objections we receive from prospects. If we see a prospect has just launched a new marketing campaign, they might not have the time to cycle through an extensive sales process. We should take note of prospects who clearly have their hands tied and revisit them at a later date.
Our pitch and sales techniques are also likely to be more refined with markets we feel comfortable talking about, so we should prioritize these prospects first. Group similar prospects by characteristics such as their service offering, their market, or their industry, and prioritize these groups based on our familiarity with them. Additionally, value-added prospects to whom we can provide more value are more likely to buy our offering.
Look at job boards to find departments in which a company is investing or growing. This can further inform us of their key goals or challenges. Our prospects will likely have varying levels of knowledge about our product or services. The more awareness they have, the more likely they are to see the value in our offering and become customers.
If a prospect has visited our website, subscribed to our blog, or posted content about something related to our offering, they probably know a lot about our company or service. Group prospects by their level of awareness so we can take advantage of this familiarity later in the sales process. There are a "bajillion" sales qualification frameworks. Here is the basic breakdown and some examples of questions asked when connecting with potential customers to follow the framework:. Now we can focus on creating a highly targeted, relevant list. Based on our research, we should have a fine-tuned profile of our target customer, and every company or individual on our prospect list should meet those criteria.
Levels of prioritization will vary between each type of sales organization and each salesperson, but the main idea is to create a few buckets of prospects based on their likelihood to buy and focus on one bucket at a time. Now we can assign a value between 1 and to these dimensions for each prospect in our list.
Add up these dimension scores until each prospect has a total score. And now our entire list is prioritized. Note : Lead management software does this automatically. We can also qualitatively classify prospects by rating them on a spectrum from high, medium, and low as follows:. The end goal of this step is to gather in-depth information on our prospects to hone our pitch and personalize our outreach.
So first, we must determine what our prospects care about. Do we have mutual connections?
What mad customers do
Has there been a trigger event? Have they recently visited our website? If so, which search terms drove them to our site? Which pages did they look at? If we want to get more high-level with our prep, we can create a decision map to outline our prospect's options and end-goals. This will help us better handle any objections and personalize a pitch that resonates with their primary objectives. We could also conduct a competitive analysis to determine how we can better position our company's service or product within the industry and how we can combat prospects' objections.
Kyle Van Pelt reads 30 articles in 30 minutes every day and uses the content in his email outreach in a tailored, relevant way. Create a list of top priority prospects on Twitter to more easily track trigger events and streamline the research process. Watch as this feed populates with prospect activity. We can check this every morning and afternoon to see if any trigger events have occurred that would provide a valuable opportunity for us to connect. Keep these general tips in mind when contacting a prospect, whether on the phone or through email:.
Batch prospecting sessions for hours at a time and take a quick five-minute break between each hour. Get an egg timer, and set the timer on a countdown for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, or 45 minutes, depending on how much time we scheduled for the call. In terms of establishing contact, we must decide between email or phone communication. Some of us will initially jump on the cold email approach while others will dive into the cold call. Email communication Pros.
Successful first touch strategies often incorporate both approaches to take advantage of the pros and minimize the cons. Jeff Hoffman pioneered the BASHO sequence which advocates a combination of voicemail and email messages to gain leverage with prospects.
Let's Close a Deal: Turn Contacts into Paying Customers for Your Company, Product, Service or Cause
Alternating between voicemail and email, with unique messaging each time, this technique allows prospects to consider our offer, conduct their own research, and respond at a time convenient for them. But, how do we leave a voicemail or send an email that prospects want to respond to? Try sending a calendar invite, instead of an email, to get straight to the point. In the description section, we can type up a personalized message like this:. Jill Konrath also suggests scheduling a short 5-minute meeting to get our foot in the door with prospects whose calendars are particularly swamped.
If we decide to call a prospect, whether in conjunction with an email or not, we can follow this basic structure for the call:. Keep notes throughout this process to assess what activities generated value for the prospecting process and which wasted time. Bryan Kreuzberger, founder of Breakthrough Email , sends a follow-up email if prospects respond with a rejection. The purpose of this email is simple: Learning. We can use this rejection as an opportunity to better understand how we can improve our sales techniques by sending this template:.
Thanks for your email, I just closed your file. I have a quick question as a final follow up. Was it something I did? One of HubSpot's sales managers uses Gmail labels to visualize his prospects in the sales funnel. For example, after an initial discovery call, he sends a follow up to his prospects and labels their response according to the action required of the account under the corresponding inbox. This allows him to easily shift gears when contacting cold prospects versus re-engaging old prospects or moving warm prospects further down the funnel. By automatically identifying your anonymous website visitors, you can both fill your sales pipeline with leads you never knew you had AND monitor the engagement of your existing target accounts.
Get started with a free day trial today. While sales might fluctuate or drop off in times of recession, a relatively stable economy tends to draw solid business from enterprises. Thanks to the larger scale involved, your company might not even need to close more than one deal per week or per month to meet your quotas.
That means that if we focus on enterprise accounts we can sell a lot fewer but still come out tops with a higher monthly recurring revenue. Along with these benefits come some major challenges of course. At enterprise companies, there are more tiers and layers to management structures, so the process of obtaining final approval for your proposals can be long and cumbersome, resulting in deals wilting in your sales pipeline. Because of the elongated sales cycles involved, you may not even be talking to the proper decision-maker for the bulk of your communication with the enterprise.
The paperwork can be burdensome, and the division of labor can be confusing. One study reported by Fast Company found that half of all enterprise employees are a bit unclear on the specifics of the roles they play in their companies. In sum the enterprise selling approach is an entirely different endeavor from what you might be used to; it often involves numerous follow-up sales emails and not just relying on Intercom to convert leads into deals. So what do you need to know when nurturing relationships and selling software to enterprises? And what are the best strategies for better supporting and converting enterprise customers?
Some individuals within enterprise companies might respond and buy on emotion, but companies are usually structured around silos with each division or department facing constant scrutiny from the people holding the purse strings, and there will likely be very few impromptu purchases. Make sure that your proposal and all of the materials you send over to the client support the argument that your product or service will make them money.
Keep it simple. Describe the problem they need to solve. Explain how your solution addresses their pain points. Lay down the costs involved as well as the savings or profits that will be unlocked by adopting your solution. Our free online break-even and profit calculators use industry data and they have enabled enterprise customers to understand what sort of ROI they can expect from using Leadfeeder.
The big benefit is that enterprise prospects can play around with the data themselves. Sending a PDF adds to the personal touch that many enterprises are looking for and puts strategy ideas on a plate for your enterprise customer.
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What kind of expectations does your prospect have about building a relationship with you? Will you need to cross the country a few times for in-person meetings?
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Whatever it is, consider that you may need to dedicate a lot of time, internal talent resources and budget towards each enterprise lead. This more traditional type of nurturing is a far cry from the largely self-service decision-making that people do in the small business world, where products are more modular. When planning out the life cycle of your enterprise leads, keep these investments in mind and make sure your pricing model takes them into account.
In practice it means more regular check-ups for enterprise accounts according to a pre-set schedule and it also means tracking existing customers with Leadfeeder and Intercom so we understand more about their activity, behaviour and interests. It pays to develop a more personalised and human-centric relationship with your customers because a decision-maker who feels valued is more likely to use your service for longer and tell others about it. This is natural when selling to enterprise.
You can take a cynical view and realise that enterprise companies can become bloated, and when companies become bloated, different managers set out to assert their authority by jumping in to evaluate each and every deal. At an SMB, you can pitch one person , have it go well, and have a deal 90 minutes later. Just keep plugging away at it, all while conveying your value to win over everyone necessary. While it might be the marketing manager who makes the purchasing decision, we know that very often they will consult their sales team before deciding.
Here are 7 important things that have been requested by enterprise accounts — which makes selling to large companies a lot easier:. There are challenges to selling to enterprise leads, for sure. Keep at it and approach these leads accordingly.