PLANNING A PROSPECTING STRATEGY
To successfully find new prospects for your products and services, you’ll need a hard-working prospecting program that reaches out to qualified prospects and moves them through the sales cycle from cold to warm to hot. Your program must incorporate a range of marketing tactics that, over time, bring prospects incrementally closer to a decision to hire you.
Cold prospects are customers or organizations you’ve identified as well-qualified but that have little or no awareness of your company. They can be reached through advertising, public relations, cold calling and networking. Begin a campaign of magazine advertising to showcase your unique selling proposition, and set up an ongoing public relations program that targets the same publications. Also create a prospect list of qualified individuals or organizations, and support your marketing efforts with cold calling. To round out your efforts to reach cold prospects, begin networking within select groups where you’re most likely to come into contact with members of your target audience.
Once you’ve begun calling on top prospects and leads from your advertising and PR programs start to roll in, you’ll need to set up a database using contact management software. This will help to consistently maintain ongoing contact with warm prospects-companies and individuals with whom you’ve previously spoken or met.
Hot prospects are the ones successfully moved through the first two stages of your sales cycle. When the marketing program has brought them to this point, the sales person need to get personally involved to supply the “heat” to close sales.
For example LinkedIn .With over 300 million active users (and 40% of them checking their accounts daily), LinkedIn presents an amazing opportunity for sales prospecting.
Satisfied customers are one of your biggest assets. They‘ll spread the word that you have a good product or service. Plus, they can give you some amazing referrals if you‘re willing to ask.
As for the best time to ask your customers for referrals, it‘s usually right after the sale. At this point, the sale is still fresh in their mind and they‘re excited about. This is when they‘re most likely to rave to other people.
For example….We have a product that helps other companies like yours achieve Y, and I think it would be a great fit for you. Would you be open to a 15 minute chat so I can show how we can Z?
Good contacts are worth their weight in gold. What types of events are your target prospects, or potential partners attending? You should make it a point to attend these events with regularity.
By doing in-person networking like this, you can build connections with greater potential that many other prospecting venues. You won‘t just be another pesky sales guy trying to cold call them.
Seek Out Partners
Partnerships can multiply the number of people searching for and nurturing sales leads on your behalf. Whether you prefer an affiliate arrangement, white label deals, joint ventures, or other agreements, seek out these kind of connections as you prospect for leads.
If the real purpose of a prospect pool is to improve the performance of marketing, then this is exactly what should happen. As more organizations understand that the acquisition cycle needs to be fed with quality data, not just cheap leads, the number of prospect pools being built is growing.
Referral programs benefits include:
- Reducing your sales budget by focusing on customers who are satisfied with your products and services.
- Increasing your sales cycle by generating leads within the scope of your satisfied customers‘ circles of influence, a better way to spend marketing dollars than cold calling.
Quickly generating more satisfied customers, ensuring a continuous cycle of repeat customers and referrals.
- Improving sales revenue, offering a higher conversion rate than unqualified sales leads.
- Generate a better overall ROI from your marketing strategy.
Create a well-planned program designed to capture referrals to get your strategy off on the right foot. Taking time to develop a program will not only boost its initial potential, but create long-term results.