Prospect Automation for B2B Sales

Prospect Automation for B2B Sales
Vlastimil Vodička
April 22, 2021

Senior representatives are spending too much time on administrative work and not enough on perfecting a stable sales prospecting process of finding leads that will be prioritized prospects and who, with the right kind of outreach, will become valuable customers during your business lifetime.

A sales team needs to sell to somebody, preferably many somebodies.

And, while referrals, advertising, and word-of-mouth are all very well and good, they can come to zilch if they’re not used correctly. Networking and data entry have worked for the past few decades, but these methods are steadily becoming outmoded and undesirable. To top it off, your everyday sales rep has so much to do in the day, finding new, promising clients is almost superhuman. Not only that, but the very first questions one should ask regarding any future sales prospects would seem superficial at first glance: Who are your prospect’s competitors? What is their reputation? Are they a good fit?

It can be a lot, but never forget the top questions of today: how can you turn a promising lead into a prospect, and how can that process be automated?

Your automated sales software should be customized to what will be essential to your prospecing definition: your ideal customer profile, target audience, and, most importantly, customer lifetime value. CLV is the most insidious factor on which you’ll need to keep a careful eye; you won’t want a nervous client that feels forced to sign a contract with no intention of continuing this cooperation.

CRM

A key piece of this would be your CRM--Customer Relations Management--software, which keeps track of potential and existing customers at all stages of the sales cycle. These prospecting requirements are indispensable and, if implemented into your automated sales software correctly, will render prospecting an afterthought.  First, though, let's examine prospecting as it stands.

The key to a successful prospect automation

The entire process of prospecting that should be automated is as follows:

  1. Research
  2.  Prioritization
  3.  Preparation for Outreach

Research

Your first step, research, is like rolling the dice before playing a board game to see who goes first, except you are in full control of how the dice will fall. This first step will determine the rest of the sales process, the quality of which is contingent on the quality of this research. Upon finding your leads based on area, industry, timing, and reputation, it is time to grasp the needs of each one, and how you can both work in a partnership. The top three things here are determining if a prospect is workable and an organizational fit, its likely place in priority, and how much opportunity there is to build a relationship/trust.  You’ll need to identify the constraints of the prospect to understand how far your cooperation can go, how familiar you are with the market in which they operate, and to see how much of an awareness your prospect has with your offering. 

Prioritization

Your next step, prioritize, will determine how much effort you should expend on prospects that are sure to become happy customers. In other words, it is vital to the process of sales prospecting and must be done exactly right so that you’re not chasing leads that were fruitless from the beginning. This will involve painstaking research on a company’s field, size, influence, and need. Your sales team will need to evaluate whether a potential prospect fits your ideal customer profile and aligns with your interest-- do not misunderstand a partnership as a mentorship.

You should have an in-depth understanding of your prospect’s pain points and motivations. With what does this lead struggle, and how much does it hinder their attaining a business goal? Comprehend their motivations and patch their pain points such that those motivations power actions towards an achievement.

The more your ideas and offerings align with each of these different areas of focus in a prospect, the higher priority that prospect should be.

Preparation for Outreach

Once you’ve got your prospects prioritized and in good order, it’s time to prepare for outreach so that you don’t walk into a pitch meeting without a belt. This step is as easy as checking a prospect’s “About Us” page and combing through their social media to see their interests and motivations. You’ll need to make your outreach meaning understood with context and a reason to connect and engage. With any prospecting call or email, the following four points are necessary:

  1. Relationship building-- to personally connect with your person of contact who will be making the decision. Be as intimate and understanding as possible in order to 
  2. Leverage pain points- in which you comprehend their primary business challenges and underlying causes through conversation, where you will express
  3. Curiosity-and ask about their business to understand how they want to move forward so that you can
  4. Finish it off and follow up-where you agree on a time at most 48 hrs after your conversation to show your face and make some space.

It is also productive to anticipate the main objections that your potential prospect may have due to their not being a believer in your offering or either side not fully understanding the other. Such stock objections as “We think that our price is too high”or “We feel it may not be the right time” can easily be flipped to your advantage by phrasing the last few words as a question to make your prospect feel understood --e.g “It’s not the right time?”--and then making a decisive point that leaves your prospect no choice but to continue listening. In any case, whether you send a sequence of cold emails or calls or employ an outbound or inbound approach, you’ll need to use some tact and be yourself.

As is hopefully starkly evident, the whole process of prospecting for sales --defining your prospect, understanding a specific lead’s needs, prioritizing, and preparing for outreach--can be gruelling and thankless. One day you’ll find a very promising prospect that fits your ideal customer profile, and the next they’ve been taken by a competitor. Your sales team will have spent valuable time in finding clients, who the easier found the quicker they’ll need to act.

Senior representatives are spending too much time on administrative work and not enough on perfecting a stable sales prospecting process of finding leads that will be prioritized prospects and who, with the right kind of outreach, will become valuable customers during your business lifetime.

Prospect Automation and Its Benefits

Que sales automation software and prospecting. Any sales automation software worth its salt will have a CRM, which will specialize in prospect automation tailored to your company’s needs, such as keeping all of your contacts in one place, chatting with them in real-time, and mining other areas of focus for other promising leads that mirror your ideal customer profile. However, it’s up to you to specialize your chosen software. The following sales prospecting apps are some of the most useful sales prospecting tools that you can integrate into your chosen sales automation platform:

HubSpot Prospects Tool

Easily keep track of all visitors to your website and determine your most frequent visitors, so that you can easily follow up with them. It fits like a glove with Hubspot Sales Hub and allows you to customize email notifications as well as filter prospect data according to such rubrics as location and company size.

Datanyze

Follow your competition and see which prospects have started and stopped using their software, so that you can easily scoop them up with your offering while they’re on the market.

Evernote

Sync your notes on prospects across your mobile, desktop, and web apps. You’ll have your prospect’s pain points, company details, and motivations on hand and ready while on a prospecting sales call.

Kixie

A must-have for prospecting via calls, SMS and full-voice automation will take care of voicemails and act as a virtual receptionist. Working with your sales automation platform, it will log all of your communication with prospects and create call cadences for your prospecting sales calls, molding them into a closed deal.

Take a look at Leadspicker's own sales prospecting process here!

These tools have the capacity to automate your research, prioritization, and outreach using data-driven technology.

Prioritization Automation

The heartbeat of prospecting, prioritization of leads, can also be implemented into your sales automation platform by any B2B sales team.  For this, set up a series of criteria of lead scoring -- e.g. size of opportunity, timing-- that you should assign to each generated lead brought by your sales automation software that, when added up, will offer a clear answer as to how important each one is relative to the others.

Ranked According to Match

Prospects can be ranked on a spectrum from low to high based on factors from e.g. “no match with ideal customer profile” to “clear business challenge that aligns with your offering”, with those that are of highest importance labeled a marketing qualified lead (MQL).

Behavior and Engagement

Next, you’ll need to look at the behavior of your MQL and indicate your lead’s type of interest--whether it be a requested demo or the viewing of a certain product page--which should then be integrated into your lead intelligence data. This type of interest should be analyzed with the activity level of a lead before they become a customer-- ie, how much time, how often, and in what span of time does an MQL engage with whatever type of interest before converting into a customer. 

As you continue on with your prospect towards what will hopefully manifest as a closed deal, you’ll need to increasingly focus on their needs with more targeted and personalized marketing. Demos, customer interviews and videos will coax them from mere curiosity to ready to go through a pricing guide with you. Your prospecting has found gold; you’ll just have to wash it off. Also check out our cooperation with Svott, a study in prospect automation, here.

Upgrade to the next generation of sales prospecting

Imagine a world where you walk into your office and find your inbox packed with meeting requests, all done automatically by your personal prospecting assistant.

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