Are you still sales prospecting with static prospecting lists from one of the many list providers out there? If you answered yes, it’s seriously time to step up your game.
I’ll be straight with you: In today’s hyper-competitive sales landscape where consumers are getting smarter and more selective by the minute, static prospecting lists don’t cut it for salespeople who want to reach quota (and don’t we all?).
The modern alternative to using old static prospecting lists is subscribing to a dynamic sales prospecting platform and to start capitalizing on open and public data by creating real-time target groups, or, smart target groups. But first...
What is Sales Prospecting?
Sales prospecting is the process of searching for potential customers, clients, or buyers in order to develop new business.
To become a successful sales professional and reach your quota in 2018, you have to target smart company lists and capitalize on modern technology and insights from open and public data.
1. Use real-time target groups
A real-time target group is a dynamic company list that updates automatically as companies’ characteristics and conditions change. This is possible thanks to modern sales intelligence and prospecting platforms and other technologies that collect myriads of information about companies from millions of open and public data sources every day.
Using a dynamic B2B prospecting database, you can create real-time target lists with the same criteria as you’ve included in your ideal customer profile and see the company list change as new companies fit the profile and some fall out of the description. Real-time data helps you streamline your sales prospecting and become more relevant in your sales.
A real-time target group is a dynamic company list that updates automatically as companies’ characteristics and conditions change.
2. Leave old data in the past (where it belongs)
Yea, do like the headline says and stop basing your prospecting on outdated data! It’s namely this that prospecting lists mostly are built from. They are almost exclusively based on firmographic data from companies’ annual reports and are only updated with new data once a year. This data typically limits to: company size, industry, location and a number of financial figures.
The average lifespan of an SP 500 company in the U.S. has fallen from 67 years in the 1920s to 15 years today. This is just one example that serves to give you a better understanding for how much faster modern companies’ characteristics and conditions change. Reaching out to a company because almost one-year-old data about the company suggested it’s a good prospect for you comes with little to no insurance that the company actually is a good fit for you today.
3. Let technology feed you with real-time data
When companies’ conditions change faster than ever, it’s now more important for salespeople to prospect with real-time data. We all know that it’s both embarrassing and a waste of everyone's time to call a company and deliver a pitch that aims to fill a need they filled already months ago. The way to avoid this is making sure you get up-to-date data on companies. The place to get this is in a modern sales intelligence platform.
This type of prospecting software now collects information about companies automatically by systematically indexing millions of sources with open and public data on a daily basis. Later, AI and machine learning ties this information to the right business entity, which makes it easily accessible. This means you get up-to-date data on all companies, every day of the year.
By using a sales intelligence platform, you can find up-to-date information about companies every day of the year.
4. More (data) is more
By working with a static prospecting list you don’t only limit yourself by working with outdated data. You also limit yourself by working with too few and too basic data-points. You miss sales opportunities as you:
1) won’t find all the leads that are best for you now and
2) won’t be able to be particular enough when you qualify or disqualify a company as a prospect.
Static prospecting lists provide you only with basic firmographics data, while sales intelligence platforms and prospecting tools also give you information about companies’ not-so-obvious characteristics, such as how mindful the company is of new technologies, what tools they have in their tech stack, how frequently they are recruiting and how active they are on social media.
5. Basic company data tells you only so much
Not all companies in the same industry with roughly the same headcount have the same needs. One company in a hyper-growth stage that recently closed a successful funding round is likely to have very different needs from one that’s the same size but that recently announced plans to cut costs.
Sales intelligence software can provide you with more data-points on companies that tell you more about their current needs and interests. We’ve recently written a blog post about the major benefits of going past company location, industry and size when prospecting. You’ll find it here.
6. Grow your social antennas and deliver a top-notch sales pitch – every time
First, I’ll make one thing very clear: I know you want to find that golden “works every time”-pitch. But it doesn’t exist.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for a sales pitch. You can’t write one sales script and deliver it to all the companies you contact. Neither is it enough to tailor it only after a company’s basic characteristics.
As consumers get smarter and more selective, you as a B2B sales professional have to level up your sales tactics in the same manner. And being stuck in the 90s, prospecting with a static prospecting list doesn’t allow you to do that. Though - yea, I think you know what I’m about to say - a sales intelligence platform does.
Real-time data about companies and data that gives away their more hidden characteristics provides you with the social antennas you need to better understand your prospects interests and needs today, so that you can tailor your pitch accordingly.
7. Timing, timing, timing
It’s simple, only with real-time data can you increase your timing in your sales execution. Start by tracking and acting on companies’ buying signals.
By tracking company changes that indicate a new window of opportunity for you as a salesperson, your real-time target groups can give you only companies in which the time to reach out is right now. Better timing in your prospecting helps shorten your sales cycle by reaching out to your prospects at the right time.
Better timing in your prospecting helps shorten your sales cycle by reaching out to your prospects at the right time.
Are you convinced yet?
A colleague of mine started a recent blog post like this: Look, I get it: You’re used to sales prospecting the traditional way, and with your boss breathing down your neck about your activity numbers; you just want to call through that list of companies and not think twice about it.
I get it too. But, the fact of the matter is that those numbers you’re doing will only get you so far. In today’s B2B sales world, you need to cut through the noise, and the best way to do that is provide personalized value to the person on the other end. And to that point, using a static prospecting list is of little to no value to you.