Get the most out of your prospecting efforts

While it may seem at times like sales is all business, it requires some degree of creativity to engage potential customers through the buying cycle. However, as most sales representatives know, winning business also requires a lot of persistence. Striking a balance between the two is crucial for making prospecting a success.

Creativity is even more important as the B2B sales cycle continues to get more complicated, according to a blog post for Salesforce written by Josiane Feigon. She cited a study that found only 2 percent of sales close after the first contact with a prospect, highlighting the importance of lead-nurturing efforts. Salespeople need to continue to contact leads, even when it seems futile. The same study found 80 percent of deals close after five attempts, but only 8 percent of sales reps will reach out for a fifth time.

Being a good salesperson takes more than persistence. In order to engage prospects, sales reps need to send informative marketing materials to them. However, what may be valuable to one prospect may not be the same for another. While sales employees may not think they have to worry about marketing, this department’s contributions are essential for engaging with prospects. Not only do sales reps typically need to contact buyers multiple times before winning a sale, but this process could take years depending on the product category.

Sales and marketing alignment improves prospecting

Don’t believe that a B2B marketing strategy is important? Some studies have indicated that buyers are more than halfway through their decision-making processes before ever reaching out to a salesperson, Sharmin Kent wrote for Sales Prospecting Perspectives. Even if you don’t know leads are out there, they are aware of your brand and will already have formed an opinion before they talk to you. Creating high-quality content that addresses buyers’ pain points is crucial for continuing to engage readers and keeping them coming back to your website.

Because of the new challenges in the B2B sales cycle, many companies are making sales and marketing alignment a priority. These departments need to work together to create engaging content that is relevant to your target audience. Some organizations struggle to bring these two teams together because they often operate in silos. Marketers create content without asking for input from sales, and it can result in irrelevant materials.

While collaboration between the departments is necessary for better results, it can be helpful to let sales take the lead, especially when it comes to prospecting, Kent wrote. Good salespeople are skilled at offering solutions, but they may need some creative input from marketers to come up with valuable content for prospects. It may also be beneficial to allow sales reps to create some of their own content since they have better knowledge of the different parts of the sales cycle.

How sales employees can creatively engage prospects

With the large number of complications in the B2B sales cycle, companies need to take it a step further after ensuring they are providing the right kind of content for their specific target audience. Marketers’ only contact with prospects may be through the Internet, but sales employees need to get in touch with prospects over the phone as well as through email. Feigon suggested that sales reps should only get in touch with a lead when they have something to say. Because so much of the modern buyer’s journey takes place online, leads may be more resistant to chatting on the phone, especially if they aren’t ready to buy. In addition, salespeople can’t deliver the same pitch each time they call a prospect because leads will see through it and be less interested in the brand.

You need to present a clear value proposition to potential customers or they won’t be interested. Sales reps can no longer call just to check in or they risk a number of leads dropping out mid-funnel. Delivering value applies to all content marketing efforts and any contact salespeople have with prospects. Companies may be able to more effectively engage leads over time with an integrated marketing environment.

These systems give both sales and marketing teams better access to real-time data that can inform decisions on how to approach prospects. In addition, working with a shared set of metrics allows sales and marketing teams to better align and collaborate. This can help both teams produce more relevant marketing materials for the target audience to drive engagement and see better results.

Prospecting is an essential part of revenue generation, so businesses need to get it right. However, this is usually easier said than done, especially when reps may be more reluctant to badger their leads over the phone. An integrated marketing platform can alleviate some of these issues and streamline internal processes.

Get the most out of your prospecting efforts.