A full sales pipeline is a goal for many organizations. But the reality is that it can be difficult to keep the pipe flowing, especially with high quality leads.
For most sales reps, prospecting likely isn’t their favorite part of the job. It takes a lot of time and effort to identify and develop leads, but prospecting is essential. Without buyers to sell to, there really isn’t any point to having a sales operation.
That’s why it’s important for your sales team to have a wide skill set when it comes to prospecting. The more sales prospecting techniques a rep knows, the more effective they are in driving interest, and ultimately revenue.
Coaching reps on how to develop these skills is an ongoing responsibility, as markets and customer needs change all the time. To help, here are six of the best digital prospecting techniques to incorporate into your sales strategy:
1. Create high-quality content
You should know by now that content is king, whether in internal sales enablement programs or external client-facing experiences. Consumers crave content of all types, and it’s increasingly important to engage buyers with content throughout the sales journey. A 2019 survey from Demand Gen Report found 41% of B2B buyers typically consumed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson; 36% said they consumed five pieces of content or more.
It’s important for sales to align with marketing in this strategy. Content needs to be relevant, informative and sometimes interactive. Some of the best types of content to create include:
- Blog posts
- Case studies
- White papers
Each piece of content can serve a different purpose, like using an infographic to attract the attention of a new lead or leveraging a white paper to further nurture that prospect.
2. Be active on social media
You’ll also need to figure out a distribution strategy for all that content. While it’s wise to share content in email or sales meetings, social media is an increasingly fertile ground for prospecting. Sharing content on social media is a surefire way to draw the prospects to you.
Both the brand and individual salespeople should have active social presences across networks where customers are. This includes LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like.
Why is social selling such an important digital sales prospecting technique? Social users are just itching to engage. If your reps post consistently, they’ll be able to find leads who may demonstrate intent or interest by liking, commenting or sharing.
3. Become a thought leader
Sales isn’t always about selling. Inundating prospects with a relentless sales message is more likely to drive leads away than attract them. The Demand Gen Report survey found that a whopping 96% of respondents stated the quality of content would be improved by a curbed sales message.
There are many alternatives to shaping messaging and interactions beyond sales. For example, thought leadership is a high-performing prospecting method that doesn’t prioritize making a heavy sales pitch.
Thought leadership is about projecting experience and expertise, industry-specific knowledge, innovative thinking and trustworthiness. The payoff is that prospects will see your brand as a reputable authority. If your reps consistently share content on problems facing a particular industry, prospects in that space may be more likely to trust your business over others when trying to find solutions.
4. Leverage emerging technologies
Prospecting is a business process that’s ripe for automation in many ways. Reducing the time and resources reps plug into prospecting can free them to complete more critical tasks or other value-add actions.
However, any solution you implement shouldn’t solely automate processes — it should also complement human users. This is the upside that artificial intelligence prospecting tools can offer. By automating market and company research, AI tools can filter out prospects that don’t meet criteria and furnish reps with a list of prospects who fit personas or have purchase-making intent.
With that list in hand, reps can more effectively target their outreach and personalization efforts. Such AI tools can be an advantage when trying to implement account-based sales and marketing, which at its core emphasizes this type of targeting.
5. Branch out into new channels
Every business has a set of channels that perform best. That’s well and good, but if you restrict the focus solely to what is working for you, then it’s possible you could miss out on opportunities to develop other channels that will further generate demand.
Tapping these channels is an effective digital sales prospecting technique because it can broaden your sales audience to prospective customers you didn’t even know were out there. Some new channel ideas to test out may include:
- Partner programs
- Niche marketplaces
- Value-add reseller (VAR)
6. Host a digital event
The pandemic put a damper on in-person conferences and summits, but events have not stopped altogether. They’ve just shifted online, a trend your business will need to follow if it hasn’t already done so.
Virtual events are proving to be an effective replacement for in-person meetups, and there’s a lot less organization needed to successfully pull one off. That’s not to say there’s no effort involved, but your sales team can easily host a series of webinars that drives the same engagement as a single event. Plus, webinars can be recorded for future reference or used as a gated asset for which prospects will exchange contact information.
Upgrade your prospecting with sales enablement
It’s important that reps become proficient in as many digital sales prospecting techniques as they can. Consumer preferences and market conditions are changing all the time, requiring that reps be nimble enough to hop between channels and prospecting methods.
To do so, they need to be empowered by your organization to achieve. That’s where sales enablement comes in. Such technology can allow your managers to more effectively deliver and personalize coaching, as well as help marketing and sales get on the same page regarding content creation.
There’s much more a sales enablement platform can do for you. Want to learn more? Contact Showpad today for a demo or to request information.