Prospect with Purpose

As I dive into prospecting and rebuilding pipeline to prepare for Q2 – I have been strategizing the best way to connect with clients.

Prospecting in sales is a term for contacting clients (current or new leads) to introduce them to your solution – qualify if your solution is a potential fit for the client and schedule an Initial Qualifying Meeting and Discovery Call. The term prospecting can sound odd to those outside of sales – we as individuals don’t like to be cold called. It feels awkward. Yet cold and warm outreach is still necessary to grow your client base and bring brand awareness to customers.

Even household technology companies focus on some ‘prospecting.’

The word prospecting comes from the Gold Rush era, when gold prospectors would find gold by visually scanning creed beds and rock formations. When flecks of gold were spotted, the prospectors would spend time sifting through the rocks and dirt to find the valuable nuggets and flecks.

When I lived in Montana I would often visit the ghost towns of Virginia and Nevada Cities. I bring this up because learning about the difficulties of prospecting for gold and the effort to net profit was excruciating. Those were were successful were lucky, diligent and worked to streamline work. Even then it wasn’t a sure bed.

Like gold prospectors in the 1800s – sales professionals often feel like they are in the wild west when it comes to targeting clients.

In 2022 we have tons of resources to connect with potential clients (ZoomInfo, Sales Navigator, Sales Loft/Outreach…) but it is still tedious work that can drain even the most hungry prospector. Prospecting can be exciting and fun – but it is important to realize it is tedious. You have to sift through a lot of dirt to get to the gold.

If you keep this in mind and plan to prospect with purpose you are not digging through dirt with no gold. You don’t get burnt out from prospecting because you are doing it in a meaningful and strategic way that will bring value to the clients (cold outreach or current clients you are wanting to connect with).

When I started as an SDR before becoming an Account Executive – the goal was quantity over quality and more is more. We would be in the ‘lead gen pit’ and smile and dial to 130 to 150 calls per day. My manager was great and made it a fun environment. I still remember singing ‘Hello’ to a prospect to get them to listen to our pitch and book a meeting. And although that volume led to demos/meetings it wasn’t really sustainable or fruitful long term.

We were throwing darts at the wind and hoping one would stick. Someone could be very good at prospecting but their ADS (Average Deal Size) would be low – because they’d didn’t qualify the prospect to see if we would be a fit. Our ‘closers’ and AEs would get frustrated when meetings were booked with no compelling reason. The goal of booking meetings was achieved but the end result – the greater business objective of selling would fall apart if the meeting was ‘slammed in’.

And for the record – I did qualify my prospect after singing ‘Hello’ but I was all in for getting my meetings booked and if ‘Hello’ got me there so be it 🙂 #saleshumor

What I challenge you to do is prospect with purposed. Don’t email and call every single contact on Zoominfo and LinkedIn without researching first:

  • What is their role
  • What value can our solution bring
  • What is the ‘why’ behind this call. If the ‘why’ is just booking a meeting to hit your numbers the client will see right through that and you will fail.
  • Genuinely be interested to learn about the prospect and think about the value you can bring.

We will continue to dive into best prospecting tactics – and in all honesty there is no guaranteed way that works. I think a lot of it goes down to intent and strategy. How do you approach prospects? Are you being authentic and genuine – or are you simply trying to check off a box?

Several tips that have helped me:

  • Take time for account prioritization
    • This can be by industry, use case, market share, etc…but take time to prioritize your accounts by Tier 1, 2 and 3.
    • What are your top 15 accounts? Why? What value do you bring? How can you improve their ROI? How do they make money?
      • Be strategic here and take time to thoughtfully research each prospects role. Put yourselves in their shoes and what questions they would ask you if they were researching your company? How can they benefit from your solution? What competitive advantage do you bring.
  • With Tier 2 and 3 also look at relevancy and take time to plan, but you might have a different cadence cycle here
  • Block off time for prospecting
    • I try to block off an hour a day for emailing/calls
    • You can set up one day a week or a month for a ‘call blitz’ – but this also needs to be strategic where you are going after 10 to 20 accounts with thoughtful and purposeful outreach
  • Write short and compelling emails: Emails don’t need to be a novel – but they need to be genuine and from you. Pre-written cadences are okay – but they feel robotic and your client will see through that. Customize your emails. Sometimes even making a quick connection about a common interest (from research on LinkedIn) or news about their company is a good starting point.
    • Don’t over pitch your product in the email. Give a one liner with impact and value and then ask for time to follow-up via a ‘quick’ phone call
    • promise to be respectful of their time and give them the purpose behind the call ‘We work with the banking industry to help with security and would love to learn more about your current set up and initiatives moving forward to see where our solution can help. Are you free on Tuesday?’
  • Be graciously persistent – don’t hound clients, but when you prospect with a purpose who also are powered by a ‘why’ for prospecting. It isn’t just hitting a number – you are helping their business and want to make sure they understand the benefits you can provide. In my previous role we helped prevent ransomware attacks. Every outreach I thought about how we could help prevent a ransomware attack and at least make them aware of the risks so they wouldn’t fall into the trap that several businesses who opted out of our software fell into (they passed on the solution and ended up getting hit with ransomware).
    • My why was not about me as much as the customer. That helped me stay positive while prospecting and bring a passion and purpose to the client that was genuine.

Less is more when you prospect with purpose

  • Even when I was a master SDR dialing 130 times a day I often was not the most productive in the number of meetings set. Some would book 11 meetings a day – and they were great reps – who had success, but what set me apart was I really focused on quality demos for my AEs which led to one of the biggest sales in my SMB teams history. I wanted to have built enough value behind the why for the call that the client was engaged and already thinking about the solution.
    • This is really important when you are an AE who has to balance prospecting, demos, IQMS and internal meetings.
    • You want to focus on time management and quality over quantity with your prospecting. It is okay to not target every single prospect right now.

It is hard to cold call but if you do it with a purpose and genuine desire to help the client (be curious) it is rewarding and you are making a huge impact.

Stay tuned this month for more tips on prospecting, counselor sales and more tips from the field.

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