Trending This Week: Data Says These 3 Sales Prospecting Techniques Get Results

February 23, 2018

Colleagues Working

The RAIN Group Center for Sales Research (CSR) recently unearthed information that dispels commonly-held beliefs about prospecting. Sales professionals will find the data encouraging, and useful when mapping out their sales process.

The big news? Buyers want to talk with sellers earlier in the process than previously thought. That knowledge opens new opportunities for discovering and responding to a buyer’s pain points at a formative time, before options are whittled down and preferences solidify.

Sales Prospecting Techniques that Reach Today’s Buyers

Important findings from the 5 Sales Prospecting Myths Debunked whitepaper include:

  • 82% of buyers accept meetings with sellers who proactively reach out to them.
  • 58% of buyers say the most recent sales meeting they agreed to transpired after the seller reached out to them via email, and 54% by phone.
  • 69% of buyers are influenced to accept a meeting or otherwise connect when the provider shares primary research data relevant to the buyer’s business.

The takeaway? Sellers will be rewarded when they consistently pursue connections with their ideal buyer across multiple channels, offering useful information related to the buyer’s industry.

Proactive Outreach: The Stalwart Sales Prospecting Technique

It’s true: 84% of buyers initiate the purchasing process based on referrals and recommendations from trusted sources. That doesn’t mean outreach is a thing of the past, or that sellers should wait patiently for referrals to materialize.

The path to earning a satisfied customer begins with the initial connection, whether that originates from a personal referral, contact submission form, or social interaction.

Outreach takes sweat equity along with a healthy dose of resilience. Sellers who invest in locating their ideal buyers have learned an effective technique for catching their attention: demonstrating value quickly.

One way to get noticed is using InMail to get on the radar of someone you’d like to talk to. For maximum impact, make it worth their time by sharing information they may not have, like a new study or infographic published by your company, or a report from an industry group. Call attention to specific data points or achievements so they’re sure not to miss the relevance.

Outreach is most successful when it’s a consistent, ongoing effort. A buyer may not be ready to take action when you first reach them, but through sustained contact, you can nurture their interest and build your credibility as a seller.

Here are some ways to nurture prospective buyers over time and gain their interest through LinkedIn:

  • Take steps to be visible in the feed of your LinkedIn connections. Like, share, and comment on the material in your feed a few times a day. Contributing thoughtful replies and insights is a good way to demonstrate your working knowledge of a topic and establish credibility.
  • Actively participate in LinkedIn Groups your buyers belong to. This includes behavior like sharing new data and content that members may not know about, or offering a potential solution to a challenge mentioned in a discussion thread.

Help a Buyer Out with Useful Content

The RAIN Group whitepaper revealed 67% of buyers take meetings or otherwise connect with sellers when they share content that’s been fully customized to the buyer’s specific situation. Personalized, tailored content saves buyers time, minimizes confusion, and provides a simplified means of determining fit.

Sweat equity is important here, too. It takes time to contextualize information and content for buyers, but it is attainable, and as the data shows, worth the effort.

Sellers can use all the tools and resources at their disposal, like company blogs, social networking sites, LinkedIn Company Pages, and Sales Navigator to learn all they can about a prospect, their company, and their current situation. The findings can then be used to prepare materials that speak to a buyer’s motivations and interests, making them feel like time with you was time well spent.

What’s the Difference? Don’t Leave Buyers Wondering

How can a seller make their product or service compelling to a buyer? Ensure your value proposition is completely transparent, and leave buyers feeling confident that you understand and share their objectives. This helps because:

  • 96% of buyers say their purchase decisions can be influenced by sellers who stress the value they can deliver.
  • 93% of buyers report their purchase decisions may be influenced by sellers who collaborate with them.

Steps you can take to demonstrate you’re a partner, rather than a vendor:

  • When you set a meeting, have a specific agenda so expectations are clear. Encourage the person you’re meeting with to actively participate by requesting their input on some ideas you think would be useful to them, but haven’t quite gelled yet.
  • Involve the person in the conversation. During your discussion, ask them to imagine the effects of scenario A or B on their business. Get them talking about roadblocks and prior workarounds. You can describe situations where in the past, when working with a customer, together you found an effective solution to X or Y.

By cultivating a partnership mentality, a seller can show a buyer he’s interested in the long-term success of the buyer’s business. This can lead to a sense of shared risk and reward, giving buyers more confidence in their purchasing decisions.

Sales trends come and go. What endures are sales techniques that demonstrate a seller’s mettle, respect for a buyer’s needs, and commitment to finding useful solutions.

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