Do you want your MSP to grow continually and predictably month after month?
Then you need to be prospecting constantly.
Keep your sales pipeline full by prospecting continuously. Always have more people to see than you have time to see them. ~ Brian Tracy
Sales prospecting is the stage in the sales process where one searches for, makes contact with, and engages key persons from business organizations. Good sales prospecting will most likely turn these businesses into paying customers.
The goal of prospecting is to build a healthy “supply” of qualified prospects so that you’re continuously attracting new customers and keeping your business growing.
With that in mind, here are the 10 Things Every MSP Needs to Know About B2B Prospecting:
1. Sales professionals consider prospecting to be one of their least favorite sales activities.
A recent HubSpot study found that more than 40% of sales professionals consider prospecting as the most challenging part of the sales process — even more so than closing the deal.
2. Many sales reps procrastinate…and it hurts their numbers.
Sales professionals have a tendency to crank up their efforts at the end of a reporting period, usually around the last month in a quarter. This is obviously a move to get their numbers up in the 11th hour, but it’s not a great strategy. The success rate of these last-ditch prospecting efforts is typically 3%-9% lower than with prospecting calls made earlier in the quarter.
It’s also worth noting that these frantic calls also tend to revolve around discount offers — the salesperson’s way of trying to push the opportunity across the finish line as quickly as possible. This means that in addition to being less efficient, these last-minute deals are often less profitable even when they do happen to close.
3. Prospecting Has Its Share of Dumb Myths
Every aspect of running a business has bad advice or made-up facts that persist for whatever reason. Prospecting is no different. Here are a few that Rain Group research debunked:
Myth: Cold calling is dead.
Fact: Nearly half of buyers prefer getting calls, especially C-level executives who feel that calls allow them to get to the point more quickly.
Myth: Buyers don’t want or need to hear from sellers because so much product information is available online.
Fact: Around 82% of buyers want to interact with a salesperson at some point in their buyers’ journey.
Myth: Cold meetings don’t end up as sales wins.
Fact: They do when you take the time to understand the prospect and focus on the ways that you can address their specific pain points.
4. Social media is an important B2B prospecting tool.
Social media provides you with an opportunity to build transparent and sincere relationships with potential customers. Don’t use social for hard selling. Instead, offer value and build trust by sharing content or your own expertise in service of the prospect’s needs.
5. Give your prospecting a personal touch.
Selling is an interpersonal activity, even in a B2B environment. Decisions are made by human beings who are guided by emotions and their “gut instincts”. Keep your messaging specific, relevant, and casual. Let your personality shine through your engagements, treat your prospects like a friend rather than an opportunity, and never sell like you’re reading from a script.
6. Use the right tools.
There are numerous tools available to help you plan, execute, and manage a solid prospecting process.
Among the key selling tools you should have in your technology stack are those for sales and marketing intelligence (Artesian, DiscoverOrg, etc.), customer relationship management (Salesforce, Hubspot, etc.), and lead generation (SharpSpring, Infusionsoft, etc.).
Remember to assemble your tools around your sales process, not the other way around!
7. Sales velocity is a key success factor.
The math is simple: the faster your sales team closes deals, the more revenue you can deliver in a given period. Prospecting is critical to increasing your sales velocity. In-depth research, social networking, and referrals allow you to learn about a potential customer before initiating a conversation.
This means you can focus on prospects with higher deal-value potential and connect more effectively with the prospects from the beginning.
8. Prospecting should be planned.
Prospecting is a key area that your sales team can directly and effectively control to drive top-line performance (one more reason why it’s critical to have your sales pipeline management locked down.) Your team’s prospecting should be process-driven and measurable — two factors that allow you to understand and refine efficiency over time.
9. Video is becoming a top prospecting asset.
Videos help build a quick connection with potential customers. Explainer videos help prospects to understand how your solution fits in with their needs, and testimonial videos help build trust early in the relationship. If you have the resources to produce short videos, you should definitely be leveraging them throughout your sales process.
10. It’s All About the Customer Experience
Customer experience is becoming a top metric for measuring sales success. Whatever your prospecting methods, be sure to focus on that experience to garner the best results. Rather than being pushy, be helpful. Forget being a sales rep; be an expert consultant with the knowledge your prospects need to overcome their problems.
Prospecting performance correlates directly with top-line revenue. It’s one of the most important processes in every for-profit organization. Factor in fierce competition and high churn rates, and the need to prospect has become even more intense for managed services providers.
If you neglect sales prospecting, you will quickly find yourself falling behind. However if you adopt smarter, faster, and better ways of prospecting, you will come to dominate your market.