Let’s start by looking at what sales prospecting is. In general, it is the business activity that is part of the sales process that follows after lead generation and before a sales pitch. Sales prospecting is a two-way, one-on-one communication that is often used by startups that need to quickly build their pipeline from scratch. Sales prospecting has the best chance of success when qualified leads are used.
Similar to lead generation, sales prospecting is a time-consuming activity that requires special skills. It often involves a combination of phone calls, emails, and (in some cases) social selling to establish a personal relationship with a qualified lead that can be pitched to and hopefully lead to making the sale.
As mentioned above, sales prospecting requires special skills, such as account-based marketing (ABM). When applying account-based marketing, the sales rep first gathers as much information about the prospect as possible based on e.g., the ICP information. Once the sales rep has the background of that potential customer in place, a tailored and personalized tactic for approaching that prospect can be executed. This is another activity that is well-served by outsourcing it to a company such as Prosperio.io
Now let’s have a closer look at how lead generation and sales prospecting fit into the sales process. The following example illustrates how once a lead is generated, it moves along the sales pipeline until the sale is made and the prospect is now a paying customer.
- A startup publishes articles/blog posts on social media to inform readers how its offering can solve a specific problem (one-to-many approach for lead generation).
- A reader clicks on the CTA (call to action) button to download the white paper (the now reader turns into a prospect).
- The sales rep receives the received contact information of that prospect (email, phone number) and the sales prospecting process starts.
- The sales rep checks if the prospect fits the ICP (ideal customer profile) and gathers additional information (sales prospecting).
- The sales rep formulates a customized and personalized way to approach that prospect (one-on-one approach).
- The sales rep starts to pitch the offering to the potential customer explaining the benefits (sales pitching).
- The customer is not convinced, so the sales rep has to address the raised objections. A way to do that is offering a free demo or a trial subscription (e.g., 2 weeks for free to try it out).
- The prospect is now a sales qualified lead (SQL) and very close to becoming a (paying) customer.
- Once the prospect has tested the offering and is convinced, the sales rep discusses the term and conditions, and closes the deal.
Lead generation is a business activity where a company initiates one-way, one-to-many communication to find promising prospects. Lead generation (aka prospecting) is aimed at getting results in the form of a steady stream of qualified leads. In other words, lead generation is a way for B2B, B2C and B2B2C companies to create awareness of their products/services and start relationships.
Effective lead generation is a complex activity:
- The company must research what potential customers want from a supplier.
- The company must try to get in front of identified potential customers at the moment when these prospects start to explore solutions that the company could provide. Once they start contacting suppliers, it is too late in the process to get a competitive edge.
- A strategy has to be formulated to make lead generation effective – inbound marketing lead generation is the preferred tactic.
Once leads are generated, they must be qualified and prioritized according to set criteria such as ICPs. Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) are defined within the company for targeting sales efforts. An ICP is normally based on demographics (age, gender, education level, occupation, marital status, and where they live), likes / dislikes (hobbies, culture & entertainment, sports, travel, etc.), and actionable insights (channels to reach the prospect, willingness to be informed about new products/services, types of promotion the prospect likes/hates, etc.). For B2B, parameters can also include the size of the customer, its turnover, number of employees, growth rate, location, the industry it is active in, etc.
Based on the ICP, a prospect can be identified based on the need of the prospect, the budget that the prospect is willing to spend, the authority of the prospect to close a sales deal, and the best timing to approach the prospect.
Some companies have been playing with the idea of using lead forensics to help with their lead generation. It basically entails IP tracking, which has come under fire due to stringent privacy laws. The reason why companies look at it is, that lead generation is a labor-intensive business activity that requires specific skills.
That’s why outsourcing is a winning proposition, since:
- Companies do not need their sales or marketing people to spend substantial time on lead generation;
- Companies do not have to hire dedicated staff skilled in lead generation;
- Companies do not have to (re)train existing staff in lead generation;
- Companies will get qualified leads quicker;
- Companies can measure results easier and quicker, speeding up the sales process.
Prosperio.io can help you with your lead generation, since we know how to identify and reach the right people at the right time. As an outsourced lead generation company, we identify qualified leads that have a high chance to be converted into paying customers.