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Sales Prospecting Tips Straight From Sendoso’s Sales Team
Experience is something that grows over time with patience and determination. It takes many, many, many years of practice, trial-and-error, and growth to become a seasoned salesperson.
For example, have you ever spoken with a prospect that was having a bad day, or seemed exasperated while on the phone with you? Have you ever talked to someone who wasn’t convinced your service was right for them? What about someone who didn’t have much to say to you at all? Now, have you experienced the above scenarios happen thousands of times?
The more you practice talking to people about your company or service, the better you’ll be at understanding the many different personalities you’ll encounter on the other end of the line or email. With each call, you’ll be more and more prepared to take on any situation you may encounter, because with time, chances are you’ve encountered something like it before (whether good or bad) and have an idea of how the conversation will play out.
This sense of ease reaching out to total strangers and making meaningful, genuine human connections doesn’t just happen overnight.
Take it from our own Sales Development leaders: Sendoso VP of Inside Sales Joe Venuti, Direct of Sales Development Andrea Lydon, SDR Manager Payton Travis, and Sr. SDR Manager RaeAnne English, all of whom share a combined ? years of sales prospecting experience, and give us their best sales prospecting tips that can only be gained from years of refining and perfecting their craft.
Sales Prospecting Best Practices
1. Gain a Root Understanding of Your ICP
As RaeAnne explains, the first step for anyone beginning to prospect is understanding your ideal customer profile (ICP)—both on the account level and the persona level.
Are you targeting enterprise, midmarket, or SMB companies? What industries or verticals make the most sense to go after? What titles or positions do your ideal prospects hold within their companies?
Understanding your ICP should be the foundation of your sales prospecting technique. According to our managers, the sales development reps (SDRs) that are super successful are the ones that take the time in training and on ramp to ask the “why” question. Why would Sendoso make sense for a certain persona, and how can they convince them to discuss further?
Once you lock down those key ICP details, memorize them to heart. While it’s always a good idea to have your top ICP list at your fingertips for reference, if you really put in the legwork in the beginning to commit it to memory, you won’t even need the list. You’ll know offhand who we should be selling to and where you should be going after these titles.
Prospecting is not easy, but it’s so much easier to look when you’ve narrowed the list.
2. It’s All About Social Selling
It’s utilized heavily by our sales team at Sendoso.
For many SDRs, it’s also a way better alternative than the dreaded technique of cold calling total strangers. By connecting on a more human level through social media, your outreach seems more approachable.
The Sendoso team also takes it one step further and uses LeadIQ to pull contacts from LinkedIn and import them into our Salesforce.
3. Look for Leverage (on LinkedIn)
“You can’t live your life as a successful SDR by dropping everyone into the same sequence and doing nothing different than what everybody else is doing.”
This is where you put your detective hat on.
Once you’re on LinkedIn, do some research about your target. Based on the information on their profile, whatPillar Page_ Sales Propspecting Tools data points can you find? Are they located nearby? What are their hobbies? You’d be surprised how many people put details like “I’m an avid runner” or “I love baseball” in their Linkedin bio.
A good rule of thumb is to find three professional or personal facts about your target and write them down.
Find out what they care about. If they’re a “data-drive marketer” or “dedicated salesperson” you can use that information to quickly personalize a brief email that ties in their interests.
When all else fails, almost everyone lists their alma mater. Even the tiniest bit of personalization goes a long way when getting someone’s attention.
Joe suggests using Salesforce to keep a record of these fun facts so you’re not reinventing the wheel when it’s time to execute outreach.
Another way to stand out in a significant way to prospects is by getting to know them on a human level. What do they primarily use LinkedIn for? Do they post interesting blog posts they’ve written? Even just a like or comment from you on things they’re passionate about can be super helpful in initiating conversations. Gets invested in stuff that’s important to them. These quick, non-salesy conversations can easily turn into meetings. You don’t need to have an aggressive CTA either. Build a genuine relationship instead, and people will want to talk to you because you’re not just headhunting them down.
Rayanne tells her team to look for anything on their LinkedIn that can be used for leverage in messaging and you’ll come out on top.
Hint: Keep your research to mostly professional. Just because someone may share something on their social media, doesn’t mean it’s always appropriate to bring up in a professional conversation. You don’t want to stand out for the wrong reasons.
4. Remain Relevant When Prospects Goes Dark
“Nobody wants to listen to you talk about you for 37 lines of an email.”
Let’s say you’ve done all the hard work of becoming an expert at identifying your ICP, scoured LinkedIn for potential prospects, and found the perfect person to reach out to. You did tons of research, found three interesting facts about that person, and took your time in crafting the perfect, personalized email. You followed up with a great Linkedin message, and a few phone calls. You finally make contact and begin a promising conversation about next steps. Then, nothing. You try following up again, but still get no response.
When things like this happen and prospects go dark, Payton suggests for the next follow up, always attach a piece of relevant content when following up.
Think about it. Would you want to keep receiving the same message from someone shouting their company’s praises repeatedly? Probably not. But what if you received an email from that same person with a helpful how-to guide on how to get their ABM program to the next level, or an eBook about 50 ways to engage remote workforces?
Unless you’re providing value or giving them something they can implement in their day to day, why would they respond? Understand what your prospect cares about and relevant content that will put you top of mind. Make the conversation about them and illustrate how you’re there for support.
Ask yourself, how can you prove your value to prospects and most importantly, what’s in it for them?
5. The Prospecting Never Stops
“If you’re not prospecting and adding new, relevant people into your pipeline, you’ll always be chasing your number instead of going after it.”
Once you’re done reaching out cold to dozens and dozens of prospects each and every day, next comes the final step: finding new prospects!
That’s right. The grind of prospecting truly never stops.
When it comes to your book of business, there are only so many that are already in your CRM. Once you’ve reached out to them all, you’ve got to keep filling your own funnel with new prospects continually, or eventually your prospect well will dry up.
Filling your own pipeline is a necessary evil. You simply have to build time for it every single day.
To take the drudge work out of the task, try making it a friendly competition. Team Sendoso suggests organizing a 15-minute drill every day where SDRs and managers alike can compete for who can find five personalized details the fastest about three prospects. By making it a fun team activity, you can reduce the amount of procrastination involved and get your team excited to take on the challenge.
6. If You Can, Partner with Enablement:
In order for everyone to be set up for success, make sure all of your reps have the proper tools and training.
Now, what are some things you should NEVER do when prospecting? Here are Team Sendoso’s warnings:
Two Major Sales Prospecting DON’TS:
7. Never Push a Prospect Too Hard
Prospecting is a delicate balance. You have to be bold, confident, and extremely determined to reach out to total strangers and convince them what you have to say is worthwhile. In fact, today it takes an average of 8 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. But at the same time, there’s a difference between being persistent and being too aggressive.
Always be sure to listen to your prospect and understand how hard is too hard to push. In fact, by being too aggressive, Joe explains that you can actually do a certain amount of brand damage and leave the wrong impression, which is extremely dangerous in an industry based heavily on referrals.
Chances are, bigger things are going on in your prospect’s world than setting a meeting with you (especially during times of crisis), so try to be as accommodating as possible to their schedules. If a prospect tells you they’re preoccupied and asks to give them til the end of the month before booking a call or meeting, listen. You can’t simply ignore what people are telling you because you’ll stop at nothing to meet quota. Instead of wearing your prospects down, if they request to circle back, give them the opportunity by setting up very casual touchpoints every couple of weeks, and only follow up when they tell you too. Every single person you reach out to is not a meeting right now. Make it so this is a conversation they genuinely want to have, rather than an annoying series of messages they wish to end.