How To Launch A B2B Prospecting Campaign
Over 50 percent of salespeople say that getting in front of prospects is much more complicated than it used to be.
Have you and members of your sales team experienced this issue? If so, you might need to fine-tune your prospecting campaigns.
Below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to launch a prospecting campaign, from why these campaigns matter to common mistakes every sales professional should avoid.
Sales prospecting involves identifying and contacting potential customers. The standard sales prospecting process includes the following steps:
- Research: This step involves discovering as much as you can about potential customers to determine if they are a good fit for your business and how to craft personalized messages for them.
- Qualification: During this stage, salespeople determine whether a consumer is worth pursuing, ranking them based on their likelihood of becoming a customer.
- Outreach: The outrage step involves crafting personalized pitches for each prospect and then reaching out to them, often via cold calling, cold email, or cold social media messaging.
After you’ve made contact with a prospect, you’ll work on building a relationship with them and encouraging them to invest in your company’s products or services.
Sales Prospecting vs. Lead Generation
Many people use the terms “prospect” and “lead interchangeably.” There are some key differences, though, explained below:
- Lead: Any person who could potentially be a good fit for your business
- Prospect: A qualified lead; someone whom you’ve researched and determined is a good fit (i.e., likely to make a purchase)
Lead generation comes before sales prospecting.
In larger businesses, lead generation is often handled by the marketing department. They will create content that attracts leads (blog posts, webinars, gated content, etc.). After leads are collected and qualified, they’re passed to a salesperson to continue through the sales funnel.
Sales prospecting is a more in-depth process. It involves researching and finding qualified leads on various platforms, then reaching out to them directly for a one-on-one conversation.
This process is more personalized, too. It increases the likelihood that the sales professional will make a strong connection and convince the prospect to invest in the company’s products or services.
Why Prospecting Campaigns Matter
Sales prospecting and prospecting campaigns are crucial to a business’s success. The following are some of the most noteworthy reasons to prioritize prospecting campaigns:
Connect with the Right People
Research is an essential part of the prospecting process.
When your prospecting campaigns involve in-depth research, you and your sales team will know whom to contact and which people are most likely to become paying customers. These insights help you avoid wasting time on unqualified leads and streamline the entire sales process.
Attract More Customers
Regardless of the type of business you run or the products/services you offer, every business owner wants more customers, right? If you take the time to work with your sales staff and develop effective sales prospecting campaigns, it’s much easier to attract customers.
Prospecting campaigns also help you to diversify your customer base and make up for potential lost sales. If you lose a customer, you can recover more quickly because you have more prospects to take their place eventually.
Increase Revenue and Financial Stability
A more extensive customer base will naturally lead to increased revenue for your business.
As your business grows, operations costs and the cost of goods typically increase. Expanding your customer base and generating more revenue helps to offset these added expenses and ensure your business continues to be profitable.
Gather Valuable Insights
Well-planned prospecting campaigns make it easier for you and your sales staff to gather valuable insights and learn more about your target audience.
Over time, you’ll likely notice patterns in prospects’ behaviors. You can use these patterns as a jumping-off point to understand why people enter the market, what their pain points are, and how you can improve your approach to selling to them.
How to Launch a Prospecting Campaign
An effective prospecting campaign involves much more than cold calling or cold emailing. Here are some specific steps you should take to craft and launch a successful prospecting campaign:
The first step to an effective prospecting campaign is identifying the proper targets. You need to decide which businesses you’ll reach out to and draft a shortlist (around 10-15 targets is a good starting point).
How do you choose which companies belong on the list? Ask the following questions to determine whether or not they are a good match:
Do They Look Like Your Best Customers?
Look back at your previous customers and identify the similarities between them.
Do they work in a specific industry? What size is their company, and how many employees do they have? Where are they located?
After identifying similarities, consider how each target stacks up. Do they share some similarities with your previous customers? If so, that’s an indicator that they could also be a good fit for your business.
Does Their Behavior Match Your Success Profile?
While evaluating past customers, consider their behavior, too. Break down their path to purchase and compare that to the behaviors each potential target has exhibited so far.
If their behaviors are similar, there’s a great chance they will also be willing to invest in your products or services.
What Are Their Specific Pain Points?
It’s also essential to understand the specific pain points each target is experiencing. Once you know the challenges they’re trying to overcome, you can determine whether or not your products or services will help to resolve those problems.
Once you’ve made a list of targets, it’s time for some more in-depth research. The more you know about each target, the easier it is to craft a personalized plan for contacting and connecting with them.
Remember that personalization is crucial. If people think they’re receiving the same boilerplate message as every other professional in their industry, they’re going to be less likely to respond and engage with you.
How do you research your targets? Visit their website to learn their story, explore their products or services, and get to know their team members.
Check out social media profiles, too, as well as recent articles written about the company. You can also contact their sales department and ask for additional information about the business.
During your research, learn about the top employees at the company and find out who the key decision-makers are. In other words, who decides whether or not the company will invest in your products or services?
In most cases, it takes multiple people to make purchasing decisions for a business. Discover the 3-5 people who will most likely be interested in your products and play a role in the decision-making process.
Once you have a list of people, do additional research on them. Discover their social media profiles, and collect their contact information so you can get in touch when the time comes.
Establish Multiple Touchpoints
The most effective prospecting campaigns involve multiple touchpoints. To determine which methods you will use to contact each target, assess your business’s current relationship with them.
For example, are they a past client you’re trying to win back over? Did they show interest in your company at a trade show?
Once you know whom you’re trying to reach, your next job is to determine the strategies you’ll use to make contact. The following are some of the most practical options to consider:
- Social media
- Phone call
- Voicemail message
- Face-to-face visit
- Direct mail
You can use any of these methods (or a combination) to get in touch with each target. Make sure each one includes a clear call-to-action, so the recipient knows what you want them to do next.
When designing the campaign, make a calendar so you can keep track of when each message has been sent. This tool will help you stay organized and avoid wasting time trying to remember whom you’ve contacted already and who has or hasn’t responded.
Use Passive Engagement
In addition to actively engaging with targets by sending messages, making phone calls, etc., it’s also helpful to use passive engagement.
An example of passive engagement is following someone on social media. A follow (without a direct message — that comes later) gives the person a chance to familiarize themselves with your company name and increases the likelihood that they’ll recognize your brand.
If they know of your business — even if they don’t know exactly what products or services you sell — they’ll be more likely to open and respond to your message.
Draft Call Plans
Every interaction you plan to have with a potential customer should be prepared in advance. Don’t just wing it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re making a phone call, sending an email, or messaging them on social media. Draft your message ahead of time so you can make it engaging and increase their chances of responding.
Be sure to include thoughtful questions in your message. Questions will get the recipient talking and help you to start developing a relationship. Include a few key pieces of information, too (but don’t overwhelm them with a lot of data).
Remember that drafting call plans will also help you reevaluate and refine your prospecting process in the future. For example, you can look back on your call scripts or past messages to find areas where you can improve or be more engaging.
Your campaign isn’t over just because you’ve sent messages or made phone calls. In fact, it’s just begun.
Log and categorize each response. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to keep track of A) who’s responding to your messaging and B) how they’re responding. Without these insights, you won’t know how to improve future campaigns.
The first step to tracking responses is actually reading or listening to them. Review them carefully to understand what each prospect is saying. Then, you can divide them into four main groups:
- Positive responses (people who want to learn more)
- Negative responses (rejections)
- Deferred interest (they’re interested but can’t learn more right now)
- Referrals (your message is being passed on to someone more relevant)
Once you know how each person has responded, you can start planning your next move. For example, for those who responded positively, you can go ahead and schedule an appointment for them to meet with a sales rep.
Follow-ups or chaser messages are another critical part of a good prospecting campaign. Research shows that about 23 percent of responses come from an initial message. However, 77 percent are generated by chasers.
Here are some different types of chaser messages you might draft:
- Nudge: A gentle reminder about the first message
- Chase with benefit: Reestablishing why the recipient might be interested in connecting
- Break up: If they don’t respond to your first two chase attempts, tell them that you really want to speak to them but will stop contacting them after this message.
Following this order for your chaser messages give you a chance to reconnect with potential customers. It also saves you from bombarding them with dozens of messages (which is annoying for them and a time-waster for you).
Schedule Chaser Messages
Once you’ve drafted your chaser messages, schedule them.
Messages need to be spaced out appropriately so that the recipient has a chance to consider your offer genuinely. However, they might forget about your last message altogether if they’re spaced out too far.
Avoid scheduling your messages for the same time of day or the same day of the week. This approach makes the message feel automated and less authentic.
Try spacing chaser messages out by 6-8 days, and schedule them to be sent a different times.
Analyze and Optimize Performance
Like any marketing or sales strategy, you should thoroughly analyze the results from your prospecting campaign to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Ideally, you’ll review campaign performance each week. This frequency allows you to look closely at the campaign and see how results change week after week (meaning you can make changes as you go).
After collecting and analyzing results, leverage the information you’ve gathered and use it to optimize various aspects of your campaigns. For example, you might change your email subject lines or change the platforms where you send direct social media messages.
Don’t leave people on read after they’ve responded to your messages. Promptly responding shows that you’re enthusiastic about your products or services and are eager to help prospects resolve their problems.
If you wait hours or days to reply, your contacts will likely lose interest. They might also reach out to one of your competitors instead, meaning you’ll have lost the chance to make a sale.
Establish a Sales/SDR Team
After reading through all the steps involved in launching a prospecting campaign, you might be wondering how a sales rep is supposed to do all of that — on top of conducting product demonstrations, taking meetings with potential customers, negotiating contracts, and closing deals.
Prospecting is hard work, and it takes a lot of time. That’s why it helps to include sales development representatives (or SDRs) on your sales team.
Sales development representatives focus exclusively on prospecting. They handle the steps discussed above, from research to making initial contact and scheduling appointments, and pass qualified leads on to your sales reps.
Working with SDRs makes the entire sales process more efficient and can help you increase your conversion rate. SDRs can also help you build stronger relationships with your target audience, leading to more customers, increased loyalty, and a better brand reputation.
Common Prospecting Mistakes to Avoid
You know how to create and launch a prospecting campaign. However, do you know what not to do to ensure your campaign succeeds?
Here are some of the most common sales prospecting mistakes to avoid:
Not Identifying Your Ideal Customers
Many sales professionals fail to identify their ideal customers before they begin prospecting. They’re so eager to start making contacts that they don’t take time to think about whom they’re contacting.
An ideal customer profile (or ICP) helps you understand the people who are most likely to buy your product or service. The more you know about your ideal customer, the easier it is to exclude people from your list who are less likely to become paying customers.
A lack of research can also interfere with the success of your prospecting campaigns.
If you don’t research leads carefully, you won’t qualify them properly. If you don’t qualify them properly, you might pass contacts on to sales reps that aren’t actually interested in buying your products or services — meaning you’re wasting their time and costing the company money.
Remember that personalization is a critical element of good prospecting. If you don’t research leads carefully, you won’t be able to craft personalized messages — the kinds that lead to better results.
Not Setting Goals
What’s the point in taking time and energy to create a prospecting campaign if you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish? Are you hoping to book meetings? Do you want to schedule product demos?
Clarify what you want to accomplish and what you want each prospect to do after you’ve made contact.
Insufficient Product Knowledge
It’s hard to convince people that they should invest in your product or service if you’ve not educated yourself on it first.
The best sales development representatives and sales professionals know the products or services they’re selling inside and out. They can answer any question someone throws at them and explain it in a clear, easy-to-understand way.
Make sure you have in-depth knowledge about your company’s products or services before you start prospecting. Consider potential questions you might receive and think about how you’ll answer them.
Not Drafting Compelling Messages
The people you’re trying to contact with your prospecting campaign are busy. They receive lots of messages every day, and if yours aren’t compelling, they’re going to get ignored.
Whether you’re planning to make a phone call or send a direct message on LinkedIn, make sure your message is personalized and engaging.
If people think they’re getting the same standard message, they’ll immediately be turned off by your brand — even if they could actually benefit from what you’re selling.
Timing Engagement Incorrectly
Proper timing also plays a significant role in successful prospecting. If you reach out to people at the wrong time, they might not be ready for what you’re offering — or it might be too late.
Pay attention to big events that could influence a person’s decision to consider paying for your product or service. For example, has the company recently secured a new round of funding? Did they just merge with another business? Did they receive an industry award or another type of recognition?
These might be good times for you to make contact and explain how your product or service will benefit them during this period.
Not Analyzing Results
What’s the point of collecting data throughout the prospecting campaign if you’re not using it to make future campaigns better? Set aside time each week to analyze results and decide how you want to improve your efforts moving forward.
Not Using the Right Tools
You can do everything manually throughout the sales prospecting process. However, it will take a lot more time and energy (especially when it comes to gathering data and analyzing results).
If you use the right tools, it becomes easier to send and schedule messages, respond to prospects, schedule appointments, and monitor outcomes. Don’t be afraid to utilize technology to make your life easier and streamline your campaigns.
Launch Your First Prospecting Campaign Today
A well-planned and carefully executed prospecting campaign plays a critical role in improving B2B lead generation and increasing outbound sales numbers. Follow the guidelines discussed above so you can create quality prospecting campaigns and experience better results.
Do you need extra help with prospecting and lead generation? If so, Meetingjump can help. Meetingjump does the heavy lifting for you, working around the clock to prospect and schedule meetings for you.
Contact us today to book a meeting and learn more.