What’s working in the modern marketplace for finding new sales prospects these days? What are the best lead prospecting strategies and lead generation tools? For outside sales reps, how do you go about finding prospects to fill your funnel? Below, we’ll survey some options, and give you the data on what’s working for real reps like you, according to industry research.
Cold outreach is an oft-maligned, but usually necessary and can be a surprisingly fruitful activity for sales reps. Cold calling raises brand awareness about your service even if it doesn’t yield immediate sales. Even if the prospects you contact don’t need you now, they may in the future, and now you’ve made contact. You’re on their radar. They can also refer you to others in their network.
Door knocking can be a great lead generation strategy for a new rep. It’s a good way to learn your craft and build your clientele when you may not have any connections yet or other ways to generate leads.
The Field Sales Benchmark Report is an annual survey conducted by Map My Customers that investigates the state of the field sales profession. According to the 2022 report, the place that the highest percentages of reps get their leads from cold calling or emailing, and driving by or door knocking. Referral networking is also high up there.
It seems basic, but it’s an oft-overlooked prospecting strategy— simply Googling businesses in the category you’re targeting. Then use filters to make your search more precise. When the results pop up, you should have a convenient list of businesses complete with phone numbers, addresses, and links to their websites. Your prospects and their contact information are all right there, saving you the hassle of going to each of their websites to search for it. Just like that, you have a list of prospects you can begin connecting with.
A map from Google Maps should also open next to your results, showing you where all these prospects are located with relation to one another, so you can begin strategizing about a route.
LinkedIn is reportedly the top paid and organic social channel for B2B businesses. The number of users increases every year, with 800 million members currently worldwide. It has the potential to be the place where you have the best and broadest access possible to your ideal customers. 82% of B2B marketers report finding their greatest success at lead generation there over Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The average LinkedIn user is there specifically for professionally geared content. They’re looking to make connections and for information to help them grow their business or improve their professional skills. There are lots of decision-makers there too, making LinkedIn a great place for lead generation.
The best lead prospecting on LinkedIn starts at the top of your company. Make sure your executives and reps are on LinkedIn, and have fully fleshed out, professional-quality profiles and are interacting. Join LinkedIn groups your clients and customers are in. Post thought-provoking, industry-related content and contribute to others’ conversations. A good way to get your prospects’ attention is to write thought leadership articles and interact with others’ writings in your network. Then when you connect with a prospect after connecting with them on LinkedIn, they’re now a bit of a warm lead. It’s no longer just a completely cold outreach. The prospect knows you at least a little bit. Maybe you know a little about each other. They may see you as credible and worth their time in a way that they wouldn’t have without LinkedIn.
Trade shows are one of the best ways to get your solution in front of a crowd of probable prospects. 41% of companies consider trade shows and event marketing to be their top channel for lead generation. There are multiple channels for lead generation at trade shows–prospects will visit your booth, but also you as an exhibitor will be provided with a list of attendees and likely some contact information. After the show, you and your company’s marketing team can tackle these leads and opportunities to fill your sales funnel. Trade show prospecting opportunities abound!
Prospecting Strategy Tools
What tools can you use to put together a prospecting strategy, knowing which of the above to put into use, and how to organize your efforts? There are a bunch of tools and technologies out there. Here are a few.
Lead Finder from Map My Customers
Lead Finder is a feature within Map My Customers that you can use on the go in the field to find leads near your real-time location, or along your route. It prevents you from driving past revenue. If an appointment cancels, it allows you to find another lead close by to fill the gap in your schedule. Find prospects on the go by searching within the feature. Possible leads will show up on the map as pins and tap the pins to see details about the business.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator integrates with CRMs like Salesforce and allows reps to research their market, network, and find key insights on prospects. It’s a paid option for optimizing your LinkedIn lead-finding efforts. It allows users to stay within the CRM they’re already using, and to connect up with LinkedIn to research their market, network, and identify patterns and insights among their prospects.
In the days of sales yore, at trade shows, reps handed out generic pamphlets and business cards. But these days there are apps and other tech tools you can use to show your solution and personalize your pitch. Showpad is one such tool that can be used when prospecting at trade shows.
Effective Lead Prospecting = First Step Toward a Full Funnel
Make sure your team has the best lead prospecting tools to keep your sales pipeline full. Check out this Map My Customers blog post for an explanation of funnels and funnel strategies. Getting top of funnel leads is just the first step. Building out a strong funnel that attracts leads is key, as is then qualifying them and working them through the sales cycle. You will have fewer prospects the further down the funnel you go, but it’s vital as a first step to start out with a lot of quality top of funnel leads. Give some of these lead generation tools a try and see what they can do for your sales team.