There's no getting around the fact that sales prospecting is challenging. By nature, prospecting means you're going to miss more often than you're going to hit. The good news is that it only takes a few big hits to make to make all of the effort worthwhile. Even a relatively small bump in prospecting success can have a big impact on your bottom line. So, how can you improve your sales prospecting to generate better, more consistent results? Start with a look at our four reasons that your sales prospecting isn't working, and what you can do to address them.
Aiming for the Wrong Target
Picking the right targets can be harder than it might seem at first glance. You likely have a pretty strong idea of the types of companies you target, based on size, industry, and your other key qualifiers. The challenge comes in getting your message in front of the right people at those companies. Should you target executives, or start with lower level employees? If you've had success targeting a specific job title in the past, should you target the same group when you reach out to new organizations?
If you're striking out with a certain job title, or even an industry, consider broadening your prospecting horizons. Look for opportunities to engage new markets, and try targeting different job titles until you find a combination that works.
Not Sending Enough Email
A five percent response rate for cold emails is good, and the average falls somewhere between one and two percent. Of those who respond, only some will ultimately become qualified leads. In other words, prospecting success takes persistence. If you only make a few calls or send a few emails, you're hoping for a stroke of good luck that's unlikely to materialize. Stick with it, and try not to get discouraged. Persistence pays off.
Forgetting to Follow Up With Prospects
Your prospecting emails and cold call scripts are designed to make a positive impression. The challenge is that even a positive impression isn't always enough to motivate a prospect to reach out. By following up, you show the prospect that you're accountable, and that you are genuinely interested in earning their business. Create followup templates for emails and calls for the situations you encounter most often, like no reply, replied but wrong person, replied but wrong time, and so on. You'd be amazed by the results a simple followup email can generate.
Not Testing Your Messaging
If your messaging isn't resonating with your target audience, there must be a reason why that's the case. Testing is the best way to get to the bottom of any issues you're having, and testing emails before you send them can help you avoid those issues altogether. Run at least two to three tests before every prospect campaign, and make testing a constant part of your outreach plan. It's the only sure way to understand and improve your sales prospecting processes.
It takes time to improve your sales prospecting success rate, so you'll need to stay invested in the process. Celebrate your gains, and always try to make an honest appraisal of deficient areas. If you put in the time and remain committed to constant improvement, there's no doubt that your business will benefit.