I love prospecting. That sounds crazy, right? Most people in sales would rather be out shaking hands, doing demos, even filling out their expense accounts. Prospecting! The word itself typically conjures up a feeling of dread at the thought of spending hours on the phone to little avail.
When someone tells me, “prospecting is boring,” I have to laugh. Nurturing along prospects should be both fun and fascinating. Leads offer a virtually limitless supply of puzzles to solve with a huge cash reward at the end. What does this person care about? Where are they on the buyer's journey? What are their plans for the future?
One of the biggest stumbling blocks with prospecting that I see over and over is that 72 percent of sales professionals still associate prospecting with cold calling. Old ideas and habits are hard to break. Without management support for continuous training and improvement, people just revert back to ineffective sales strategies.
If you think you don't have time to nurture prospects, sell and respond to messages, the answer is simple: you need to USE MORE TOOLS. To that end, here’s a small list of tools you may find helpful for prospect nurturing.
6 Prospecting Tools and What They Do
I've put together a list of some of the most useful prospecting automation tools that sales reps can use to make prospecting more fun and give them the freedom to respond quickly when prospects are ready to buy.
HubSpot Sales (Price Range: Free - $)
Know your prospect. I can't emphasize enough the value of intelligence in shaping the conversation that will motivate each individual. There are no hooks that work for everyone. See everything about a contact's industry, company revenue, phone number and more right in your inbox. It's easy to quickly schedule follow-ups when they are ready to take the next step.
Yesware (Price Range: Free - $)
Email is still very important for, converting prospects into clients. Yesware generates insights and analytics that help track the effectiveness of emails, discover if the attachments were valuable and schedule a follow up to stay on the prospect's radar throughout the sales cycle
Sendbloom (Price Range: $ - $$)
This is a super simple way to schedule sophisticated, personalized emails and create mini-drip campaigns. There are drag and drop tools for segmenting contacts, writing the email itself and doing analytics on how effective they were. There's no reason to spend all your time crafting email campaigns anymore. Instead, simply create it once and start adding multiple prospects to the same nurture campaign.
Gagein (Price Range: $ - $$)
Seeing the world from the prospect's point of view requires instant and intelligent industry analysis. I just punch in the data I have on a company for the most recent news about who the key influencers are in a company, what their current roles are, who they consider competition and much more. It's like the Jarvis to my Ironman. Forrester pointed out that sales reps who collaborate with the buyer on a vision of the solution to their problems will bring home a win rate of 74 percent or more.
Socedo (Price Range: $$ - $$$)
Twitter is not a popularity contest so don't fixate on total follower count. What matters is the number of real business relationships that develop out of Twitter conversations. Direct Messaging (DM) sales pitches is the worst way to do that. This tool is ideal for using Twitter to pull out, qualify and nurture leads. Connect on Twitter and bring sales out into the larger social space.
Fileboard (Price Range: $ - $$)
After I share a slide deck, I want solid analytics to tell me what's working and help me prioritize my pipeline. This tool does one thing and does it very well. It tells me how engaged prospects are with the presentations I've shared with them. It's designed to perfectly integrate with Salesforce and other common sales platforms.
Make Your Own Rules
This list of prospecting tools is designed to help social sellers make their own rules based on what works for them. The goal is to develop behaviors that result in both repeat business and referrals. Over time, the prospects will start coming to you and your biggest problem will be responding to them fast enough.
That's not an exaggeration. If there's one thing I want you to learn from this blog, it's that you have to respond to leads faster. Only 37 percent of organizations respond to inquiries from leads within 1 hour, but those that do see a 7X conversion rate. Why waste all that time nurturing prospects if no one is there to answer when they call?
This list is really only the beginning to get you moving in the right direction. Successful social sellers set aside time every week to work on refining and improving their sales strategies. Slow and steady wins the deal. Build a routine, refine it based on what's working and be patient while prospects mature into reliable, ongoing sales channels.