The word “prospecting” can spark mixed feelings among salespeople. Let’s just say it typically isn’t one of the things that our sales team looks forward to, and I’m sure that many other SDR’s and AE’s are nodding their heads in agreement right now. 

Unfortunately, there’s no arguing that prospecting is one of the most important and fundamental parts of the sales process. Great prospecting leads to great deals, but why is it that so many reps are still using old and ineffective prospecting techniques?

Maybe it’s because they’re not aware of the top 3 most effective prospecting tips. Read on to learn how these tips can help you and your team generate a higher volume of well-qualified leads, be more efficient with your time, and increase your lead conversion rate. 

#1 Measure Your Prospecting Efficiency 

As an SDR, it’s important to measure your prospecting efficiency score (PES), meaning the number of calls, demos, conversations, and any other activity related to your prospecting efforts and number of closed deals. These efforts, or “touches” can be calculated in a simple equation to give you an estimate on your response and qualification rates, which when multiplied will give you your PES. Plug in your own numbers to find out what your PES results in:

Response Rate
A solid Response Rate will tell you, and your sales manager, how effective your cold emails, calling, and social media activities are. Do this by adding up all the responses you get from these three platforms and divide that number by your touches on these platforms According to Lead iQ, you should be aiming to hit at least a 10% Response Rate to ensure that your touches are successful in bringing in responses from your target prospects.

Qualification Rate
This number is calculated by dividing your number of opportunities by the number of received responses. A recommended strategy for totaling up opportunities is running a Salesforce report with the opportunities “created by” your name during the period that aligns with the touches and responses you were looking at. Then divide this by how many responses you got to these created opportunities. Generally, you should aim to have a higher qualification rate than response rate.

Understanding Your Score
After calculating your percentage, compare your score to reps that regularly hit their quota to see where you, and others on your team, stand. Understanding your personal prospecting success rates will help guide you on what you need to do to improve. 

For instance, comparing how many touches it takes for a prospect to engage with you versus how many it takes for other reps on your team allows you to see where you stand and how your team is doing as a whole. But don’t stop there. Also take a look at your top performing reps and use their metrics to see why you or other reps on your team may not be hitting your numbers every month. Here’s a quick cheat sheet that you can use as an example of how these scores can help each individual rep step-up their game:

  • If a rep has a high prospecting efficiency score but they’re not meeting their quota every month, they might need better accounts to go after.  
  • If a rep has a high response rate but they don’t get enough opportunities, they might not be overturning objections well enough. 
  • If a rep is successfully overturning objections but not getting a high enough response rate, they might need to be coached on their cold calling and cold email sending. 

#2 Plan Your Touches Out Strategically 

The first touch you send out to a prospect has to be the best if you want to capture their attention. For this to happen you need to have a structured plan before you contact them so you can be sure you’re sending them a quality message. For example, when you’re cold calling and the person on the other end of the line asks you to send them some information over email because they “don’t have enough time to talk” or “need to think it over,” it is crucial to have a strategy for how you will respond to the prospect.

Rather than just sending them some generic material over email, ask for specifics such as what kind of information they would like and then get them excited for what you will send. This is the “bait” you want to lay out for your prospect so that they are earnestly waiting to receive your email. Meeting your prospective buyer’s expectations builds trust and encourages them to engage with you.

On the other hand, if you try to reach a prospect through an email and they respond with a question for you about product or price, that is an ideal opportunity for you to address that information in a separate channel, such as a call, and make that call stand out by referring to your first touch you made to them. This process of strategic touching increases the perceived personalization of your messaging and also creates a dialogue between you and your prospect.

#3 Conversation is Key

Successful prospecting means treating your prospect like a new friend. Every friendship starts by finding common ground with the other person through a conversation that allows you both to contribute and relate to each other. When looking for common ground with a specific prospect, there are 3 subjects of conversation that you should try to initiate and connect with them on:

  1. Small talk: this includes topics such as their location or the weather. 
  2. Common interests: find a way to match up your interests by going online and learning about your prospect and what you have in common
  3. Feelings: getting your prospect to talk to you about their feelings, personal goals, and aspirations will create a sustainable connection that will cause them to want to respond to you and connect.

These 3 steps focus on your prospect’s interests, rather than on just your company. Although this may not sound like the most direct sales tactic, this type of personalization helps earn you credibility and respect as a rep, and increases the quality of your connections, rather than the quantity. 

Once you have taken steps to make a personal connection with your prospect then you can bring them home by leveraging tech intelligence to be more consultative in your calls. Tech intelligence installed directly into your CRM lets you know exactly how to add value to your prospect with these use cases:

  • Competitive & Complementary: tech insights allow you to be more consultative by letting your prospects know if you offer a complementary product that can increase their productivity or a competitive product that can solve their pain points.
  • Direct Displacement: when your competitors have well-known pain points, you can reach out to their accounts with sales and marketing outreach that directly address their issues and illustrate how your product solves them.
  • Negative Reviews: bad news on a competitor solution gives you a chance to highlight how your technology can help.
  • End of Life: announcements regarding certain software or hardware being discontinued or no longer be supported allow you to enter the conversation as a potential replacement solution.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions: provide an opportunity to engage with a customer when they may be re-evaluating existing technology purchases and looking for alternatives.

Read more about how tech intelligence can unleash your sales performance here.