While not especially glamorous, sales prospecting is an essential part of the trade. Sales prospecting tools grant a competitive advantage to sellers, allowing them to better target their efforts on high-intent leads while freeing up their time for value-add activities instead of performing routine tasks.
In particular, sales prospecting tools enhance sales enablement for small businesses and large-scale enterprises alike. With today’s technology, professionals in the field are better equipped to execute sales prospecting techniques which places sales enablement in a prime position to benefit. Read on to explore sales prospecting strategies and tools, and to learn how they impact sales enablement.
The basics of sales prospecting techniques
While it’s an age-old art, sales prospecting techniques have gone digital, and there’s no turning back. Several tried-and-true strategies exist for identifying and nurturing leads. A few of the most popular examples are:
Thought leadership assets
From original research to analytical white papers and useful guides like ebooks, downloadable digital assets demonstrate your business’s expertise, knowledge of potential client pain points and the ability to direct individuals to solutions.
Keep in mind that no single blog post or infographic will seal the deal and get your potential prospects to sign up for an email newsletter or fill out a contact form. You’ll need to develop and deploy a targeted string of content in different formats to demonstrate your commitment to thought leadership.
Social media listening and outreach
In one form or another, almost all sales prospecting techniques travel through social media. Relevant platforms for your intended audience, like LinkedIn or Twitter, are ideal venues for showcasing new and original thought leadership pieces.
Social media is also indispensable for listening to and learning about the concerns of your potential future prospects. When sales leaders are engaged with their followers on social media, they have the chance to learn about the new directions and concerns in the field and to establish a rapport with users who may become leads.
Live events, virtual conferences and webinars
In-person events like trade shows and conferences have long served as a first-round meeting place for sales teams and their soon-to-be customers. By taking the chance to informally greet new faces in the industry, go over a demo and perhaps share some swag, the road to a future deal can begin.
Today, virtual conferences and live webinars offer similar opportunities. Businesses can showcase their subject matter expertise while potential prospects can share their concerns, and from there, nurture campaigns and outreach efforts proceed.
Top features of today’s sales prospecting tools
A recent article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce explored some of the top sales prospecting tools on the market. Several of these applications contain features that help enhance the sales prospecting strategies outlined above.
Frequently updated contact databases
Independently verifying and maintaining contact databases is a labor-intensive process with a high potential for error. Sales professionals who spend all of their time manually updating contact records or sending outreach communications to shuttered email addresses deserve a better shot at success.
In addition, reps find it useful to have additional data going into the discovery phase so they know how to set the stage. For example, an enterprise solution probably won’t be the best fit for a sole proprietorship, so having additional information, like revenue amounts or the number of employees, can go a long way.
Social listening and automation tools
In some ways, social media is a numbers game. You can’t compete if you’re doing everything manually. Automated social media scheduling and social listening tools support sales prospecting techniques by giving sales representatives a leg up on the process.
Sometimes an individual, personalized connection is essential. But scheduled posts, carefully planned calendars and high-level social listening data can help you hone in on the right topics and contacts instead of just having to go with your gut.
Specialized software can empower your sales team with a wealth of enhanced user data while still maintaining compliance with relevant regulations. As we mentioned while discussing thought leadership content, there’s not always one key asset that will demonstrate high potential or intent. Instead, aggregated information tells a larger story about what an individual’s concerns and potential solutions might be.
Finding the signal through all that noise and ensuring that you uphold your commitment to pertinent data privacy legislation can be difficult. Sophisticated sales prospecting tools can help you sift through the data to find useful, granular views.
Using sales prospecting tools to empower sales enablement
Sales prospecting tools not only enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of sales prospecting techniques, but they also improve sales enablement. Automated sales prospecting tools free up representatives to perform advanced, higher-level work, and because these applications provide cleaner data, they also improve sales enablement functioning. Here’s how prospecting tools and sales enablement are linked.
Sales pros spend less time on menial tasks and more time adding value
How much of their day would you guess the average sales professional spends actually performing their core job function — selling? According to a recent survey from LinkedIn, it’s just 37%.
The constant demands placed on reps to conduct repetitive tasks or administrative functions decreases their ability to engage in the kind of proactive selling strategies that actually drive outcomes.
Instead of participating in manual sales prospecting tactics, automated tools allow reps to pivot to beneficial sales enablement strategies like:
- Conducting additional prospect research: With sales prospecting tools that take care of the basics, reps are free to do a deeper dive on each lead before they reach out. With a better understanding of the prospect’s pain points, the sales professional can more effectively tailor their approach.
- Customizing assets: Sometimes, research translates into a need to tweak deliverables before talking to the contact. For example, a rep might make minor adjustments to a standardized sales deck so they can appeal directly to the prospect.
- Growing their skills: Sales professionals must stay sharp to maintain a competitive advantage. Making sure they’re up to date on their training — and fully informed about the full suite of products and services at their disposal — can make all the difference in getting to “closed won.”
- Sending personalized follow-ups: With the benefit of automated sales prospecting tools, reps are free to take an extra moment to add a truly personalized touch to their follow-up emails and messages. That gesture could mean referencing a shared interest with the prospect or attaching a digital asset that explores a topic that came up during the interaction.
Reps benefit from leads that are more closely aligned with their product offerings
The ability to measure intent is one of the most important benefits of modern sales prospecting tools. Gone are the days of cold calling a dozen leads and fishing for information to find the one or two prospects who might actually buy.
Instead, a variety of data points and lead scoring systems allow sales professionals to automate nurture campaigns for low-intent prospects while personally crafting interactions with the most closely aligned individuals on their roster.
Not only that, but for companies with a complicated product menu, the additional information provided by sales prospecting tools can assist reps by narrowing the scope of possible sales opportunities for new leads. For example, if your business sells 12 different solutions to a variety of customers, additional prospect data can help you identify which product offerings are best positioned to address your individual prospect’s pain points.
Integration equals enhanced value
Discrete solutions provide a benefit, but for the ideal outcome, integrated products can streamline workflows and retain data integrity across systems. Since comprehensive platforms with seamless integrations don’t require manual data exporting or importing, there’s less chance for human error. Viewing all data points and potential sales pathways from one point of reference empowers reps with a holistic window into their prospects’ needs.
A sales enablement platform that’s built with integration in mind offers you the capability to work with your preferred sales prospecting tools. The Showpad sales enablement platform is designed to integrate with a variety of associated solutions, such as:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) systems
- Marketing automation applications
- Email clients
- Social media platforms
Additionally, since it’s an open platform, users are empowered to leverage the Showpad application programming interface (API) and software development kit (SDK) to build out their own apps and analytical processes.
With all your data in one place, it makes it easier to go from prospecting to enablement to readiness. Sales reps navigate prospect information, assets libraries and additional resources all from one integrated platform. That’s what the big picture looks like. Altogether, this approach saves time and ensures more efficient processes.
Using sales prospecting tools to drive sales enablement
Does it pain you to think of your top sales reps being held back by low-value administrative tasks and inefficient sales prospecting actions? Do you lay awake at night thinking about the promising new sales pros you’ve hired sifting through poorly aligned leads? Are you worried that navigating disconnected tools will result in lost opportunities somewhere down the road?
These are the things that dedicated business leaders spend time worrying about.
Fortunately, there are solutions available. From high-powered analytics to up-to-date databases and social listening applications, there are a wide variety of digital tools that help you automate and enhance your sales prospecting efforts.
To leverage today’s digital sales prospecting techniques and to set your reps on a path to success, it’s important to ensure you’re using a high-quality sales enablement platform that’s designed for seamless integration. Showpad is well suited to complement your prospecting tools by giving you an all-in-one solution for everything sales enablement.
See how it works for yourself. Speak to our team today and set up your own product demo.