Prospecting is a hard and arduous task. Research by HubSpot has found that 17% of a salesperson's working week is taken up with unnecessary and ineffective prospecting - a waste of time for both the salesperson, and the cold-caller that gets an annoying phone call too.
To get smarter about your sales prospecting, we have collated five of the best B2B sales techniques that you can implement into your sales process immediately. We've also identified the best tools you can use to make this happen.
1 - FIND THEM ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Believe it or not, there are prospects out there that are posting social media messages that show intent to buy your product or service. They could be sharing a pain point about an issue they are having at work, or merely asking for an opinion on your particular brand - whatever it is, you can find them.
Twitter's advanced search tool allows you to search for specific words and phrases that people have used in their tweets. You can also filter the message by geographic location and the date it was published too. This will help you understand the prospect better, and personalise your future sales conversations.
2 - FOLLOW THEIR NEWS UPDATES
With a list of prospective customers already, following news alerts for these companies can provide great sales ammunition. From funding announcements to new contract wins, you can use this information to tailor your sales conversations and also provide context to the prospect when you pick up the phone.
The best free tool to do this is Google Alerts. Here, you can set-up updates direct to your inbox as soon as the stories have been released. Even better, you can set-up an unlimited amount of alerts to follow all your sales prospects - just don't blame us if you receive hundreds of emails every day!
3 - TRACK THEIR INTERACTIONS
A CRM is a crucial technological requirement of aspiring and growing companies. The best CRMs can track sales activity by you, and the prospect themselves. This provides greater clarity of where the prospect is in the decision-making process, but more importantly for sales reps, cuts down on the time they spend on unnecessary admin tasks - such as setting up calendar invites in Outlook.
HubSpot is a free CRM tool and one that we can vouch for personally. Not only does it give you the ability to organise your prospects, every interaction a prospect takes such as visiting your website, is tracked. A smart, easy-to-learn and 100% free forever CRM. To learn more about the values and features of a CRM system, have a read of our beginners guide to CRM.
4 - CONTACT THEM AT THE BEST TIME
Internationally-operating companies will already know the importance of timing. Sticking to your 9-5 working routine is fine, so long as your sales team can actively contact your prospects further afield. The maths is simple; if you're calling them at 4 am to sell your wares, you aren't going to get anywhere.
For salespeople using Google Chrome, an excellent tool to help overcome this situation is FoxClocks. A simple, customisable and sticky tool that allows you to browse the web, while still keeping in touch with the time in your key prospect countries. Use it to hone down on your prospects at the time of the day they are most willing to listen to you. Or read your email.
5 - Listen to industry forums
Every B2B industry in the world is now represented by an industry-focused forum or community group. Getting access to these, and listening in on the pain points and goals that your prospects have, can lead to greater intelligence. Don't dive head first into a sales spiel on the discussion - just listen and start to shape how your product/service can help them.
A great place to start to access these communities is on LinkedIn. There are an abundance of groups, open and closed, that are rich in intelligence about your prospects.
start Selling better and faster
For more advice on boosting your sales pipeline, download our guide The Definitive Guide to Selling Better and Faster. In the guide, you'll discover how to:
- Increase responses to cold sales outreach
- Empower sales reps with content and context
- Minimise sales teams' data entry and admin tasks