Relationships are the one area where you have the most control as a sales professional, so use that fact to your advantage.
You can control how active you are, how prepared you are going into a sale, and how comfortable you are by practicing. With that in mind, we recommend the following prospecting framework for modern selling, based on four steps:
1. Target the right people.
Identify the most relevant prospects and the right people and companies in line with your ideal customer profile.
2. Conduct research to understand your buyers.
By conducting research, you can dig up relevant information that positions you to engage insightfully. Check out your prospects’ LinkedIn profiles for an idea of their roles, achievements, and even current initiatives. Note whether they are sharing content, were mentioned in the news, earned a promotion or commented on someone’s article as this gives a sense of what’s top of mind. Pair this with the information you glean about their organizations’ priorities through their LinkedIn Page and their companies’ websites.
3. As part of your research, identify the warmest path of introduction.
Identify connections between prospects and your coworkers so you can find the best way to get introduced. Getting colleagues to introduce you to prospects greatly boosts the odds of getting a response from potential buyers.
4. Use your research-based insights to create a compelling reason to connect or maintain and grow a relationship.
Whether you find a warm path to introduction or not, relationship building is the ultimate goal. Calling upon the research you conducted in step two, craft outreach that intrigues buyers to engage with you. Mentioning common ground—such as a shared contact or interest—can help jump-start conversations and pave the way for engaging interactions.
How to identify warm referrals at scale
Let’s dive more deeply into step three so you fully understand how to connect the dots between your buyers and network to identify warm potential referrals at scale.
Consider these options to figure out the best path of engagement, whether it’s to prospect for net-new business or prospecting to expand business with a current customer:
Find that warm introduction or referral, in other words, a connection of yours who is directly connected to the buyer.
Referrals automatically lower a prospect’s guard a bit, while raising the perceived credibility because someone is vouching for you. This sets the stage for an immediately honest conversation, which can lead to a shorter deal cycle and a bigger sale. That’s because the prospect will listen and you can present the right solution versus just getting the sale.
Multithread to connect with multiple people in the target organization.
Multithreading means establishing relationships with 5+ influential individuals within the organization during the sales process—and it mitigates the risk of relying on a single contact when working a deal. When enough of the buying committee is bought in, you can better surround and influence the decision maker. Multithreading is essential for closing new business, and it’s just as important for relationship managers and account managers who are measured on retention.