Prospecting is a tough game.

It takes time, effort, intelligence, and timing to get no results.

It takes consistent and persistent time, effort, intelligence, and timing to win.

There is no room for rookie mistakes if you are serious about making your way in the sales profession.

Making your number, earning that commission, or progressing to the next position on the career ladder all require an elite quality in the work you do.

Prospecting is one of the hardest jobs in sales, so you must be certain that the people you reach out to during your work day are the most qualified and the most likely to respond.

If you don’t, your results will reflect this.


Decision makers and champions

Obviously, you need to reach out to decision makers who have the power to make buying decisions.

Reaching out to super low-level employees makes your sales process much longer and harder.

However, consider the power of the champion in your target accounts – the influencer under the decision maker’s watch who can explain to the boss exactly why your offering is important and needed.

After all, the champion is often the person who will use your software or will work with your team more than the decision maker themselves, who will most likely oversee a new project from afar.

While the following concept is not new for outbound prospectors, it is worth repeating: any inbound leads who are not a fit for your buyer persona are going to be difficult to deal with.

Why? You will work harder to get the right people to look at the content they need before you can have a buying conversation.

When considering the roles that you wish to prospect in each account, it is critical to remember that not everyone involved in the buying process will be an end user of your product, or even involved in your project once the sale is completed.

In our sales processes, we have prospected a marketing leader who did work directly on marketing but had a different job responsibility.

Their focus was on branding and awareness, whereas other members of their marketing team and their CRO were more interested at lead generation, which was most relevant for us to talk about.

Lesson of the day: don’t just go straight to the silver bullet job title you think is the perfect person to talk to. Because It’s not.


Account funding and new decision makers

It’s common to see a news article on LinkedIn about an account that has won a new round of investor funding and the comments section is full of hundreds of sales people offering congratulations.

This is still a legitimate signal that people and companies will make big changes.

The main thing to consider when reaching out to these accounts is that you will not be alone, as many other sales people will reach out at the same time with a similar message.

How will you be different?

With new funding, try and share a relevant story that will help the decision makers spend their money with optimal effectiveness.

Share a story about how your friend in X company won funding to carry out Y project, and they did Z to make sure the project ran smoothly.

Make yourself a useful person in this exciting time for your prospect.

With newly-hired decision makers, can use Behavioral Intent Data to get ahead of the curve.

Knowing that decision makers will routinely make changes to their tech stack with 90 days of arriving, you can use leverage Behavioral Intent Data to learn when accounts are hiring a new decision maker.

You can then connect with your new champions and help them know that you’re the vendor they need when the shake up happens.

A key strategy is to customize your messaging to reflect the “end user” perspective. If an account is hiring a decision maker, you have a better opportunity to strike while the iron is hot.



Social activity for social selling

The perfect prospect can be reached on most channels: social, phone, email, and direct.

If your prospect has a good social presence with content and regular activity, you have much more to use in your outreach in terms of content and context to mention.

Good content and consistent activity also make a social connection much less random and your efforts to connect easier.

Ever try and connect with senior buyers in manufacturing businesses or government on social media? For the most part, it’s difficult to find profiles with a profile picture, let alone activity.

Whereas an active SaaS founder will have much more content by comparison. They’re marketing their business and talking to their peers online, which is rocket fuel for your sales prospecting.

A quick pro tip to aggregate all this social activity in one space: save your leads in LinkedIn Sales Navigator. You’ll receive emails about their activity when it happens.


Showing intent to buy

This is huge.

Prospecting success is about sending the right message to the right people at the right time.

Knowing when your prospect is looking at competitors is an essential element of that timing.

If you see decision makers looking at competitors, if you see them looking at industry events, see their team looking at competitors, and also see new funding rounds coming in, there is an enormous chance these decision makers are looking at buying right now.

All of the trigger events that sales reps look for are triggers that they believe indicate the account is looking to buy something – which could be their solution.

So, using Behavioral Intent Data is a sure-fire way to get all this intelligence at the same time, without spending your valuable time searching everywhere for it.



On your marketing list

How many times have you checked your company email list to see if a prospect was on your newsletter at any time and if they have any history with you?

Especially when you’re a new sales person at the company and you don’t have the knowledge of previous clients and customers?

Any extra context you can leverage by discovering if target leads were once on your list (or still are) is highly valuable.

Obviously, you need to ensure that a lead hasn’t unsubscribed from ALL communications from your company, especially recently.

Needless to say, you can get into considerable trouble when reaching out to people who do not want to see your logo ever again.

While this is more of a policy and company procedure to follow, it won’t stop you as the person reaching out from feeling the brunt of the fallout, both internally and externally, if there is any issue or complaint.


Reliable contact information

There are numerous data providers who can scrape or find the email addresses of a person you want to contact, but finding a company that is accurate is worth your time and money.

Companies like LeadIQ, Discover.org and ZoomInfo are famous for their data, but you need to find one that maximizes your efficiency in your own processes.

There is no worse feeling than to learn your contact information is wrong after writing the best cold email ever, leaving a follow-up voicemail referencing it, and then receiving the hard bounce automatic reply to your email.

Not every lead in the world makes it possible for these data discovery tools to do their job, however.

For example, the senior buyer in a manufacturing company may not have a complete LinkedIn profile, their company website may be outdated and lacking critical contact information, and their Google listing may also be incomplete.

How do you expect any tool to find data on these prospects if they cannot bother to list it themselves?

If you’re constantly plagued with incorrect data or a lack of data, it may be time to adjust your prospecting targets.

You may be looking at people who are too difficult to prospect, which means it is time to review your overall strategy and the buyer persona list you have.


Event attendance

People attending a Salesforce event like Dreamforce are very likely to be Salesforce users. People attending a HubSpot event like INBOUND are very likely to be HubSpot users.

You know the prominent events in your industry; some are run by a software vendor, while others are more like trade shows or conferences where leaders gather to deliver thought provoking talks.

It’s up to you to work out how important each event is.

There is no shortage of events in the sales industry; for example, Unleash, Rainmaker, Dreamforce, Sales Development Summit, Sales Hacker events, and AA-ISP tours to name just a few.

Looking to meet and speak with sales professionals interested in improving their craft? The Sales Development Summit, AA-ISP chapters and Sales Hacker events may be best.

These events not owned by vendors, which means the audience is gathered for more general reasons like networking, their own selling, and learning.

On the other hand, vendor-driven events like Dreamforce are centered around new product announcements.

If you want to impact the lives of a Salesforce administrator, or the sales leader who has hundreds of reps using Salesforce, think about where your target crowd is going to be.

Most likely, at Dreamforce.


What’s next

If you look for these seven traits in your prospects, you are in prime position to deliver a tailored message to them at the right time.

Do one last thing to ensure your prospecting success, get 100 free leads on us now.

We will find the decision makers looking at competitors, events, with reliable contact information, who are hiring new decision makers and have won funding.