It’s easy to lose track of business development and get too involved in new-age digital marketing strategies such as content, SEO and social media. The reality of the matter is, however, that without a targeted prospect list you’re missing out on a tried and tested formula of getting new business.
The most important thing to consider when building a prospect list to increase sales is to have a target customer in mind. Without a target customer, really what kind of leads will you be including in the list?
Many companies fall into the trap of trying to attract as many businesses as they can without really niching down and defining an ideal target customer.
In this post we’re going to discuss tips on sales prospecting ideas and building a targeted list to increase sales successfully for companies that want to bring in more business.
Target Customer Profile
Before we get into the nitty gritty of lead prospecting, let’s take a moment to define your ideal customer profile.
What clients have you serviced in the past that yielded high satisfaction and profit for your company? These are the clients that should be the focus of your lead prospecting.
Forget about going after the most lucrative businesses and focus on ones you can attract right now.
The advantage of going with this kind of approach is that you already know what strategies to use to deliver successful results.
Customers want proof that what you offer works, and has worked for other businesses as well.
Targeting customers that are similar to ideal target customer profiles will thus yield a higher rate of success later on as you’ll know exactly what to do when they want to start a conversation.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a powerful tool to find prospective leads that will fit your ideal customer profile.
What makes LinkedIn such a great place for B2B sales prospecting is that it’s a huge social network, but it’s mainly geared towards professionals. So people who sign up for it have careers or business in mind.
To start prospecting on LinkedIn, simply go to the search bar at the top type in the target keyword that best defines your target customer.
You can then filter the search results by location, industry, company and so on.
And you can do all of this for free.
You can go a step beyond this if you’re willing to invest, and try out LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator gives you even more powerful control over the kind of leads you want and is specifically made to facilitate business to business sales activities.
Networking with potential clients and customers has never been easier than it is now. You can network online as well as offline.
For offline networking, we recommend attending trade shows, conferences, seminars and other events to meet with potential clients. This is a skill that is necessary for any business owner or sales man to have.
Without offline networking you’re losing out on an easy source of leads, and not to mention how cost-effective it can be. With offline networking you can communicate exactly what it is that your company has to offer, and start a conversation with potential customers easily.
For online networking, we recommend LinkedIn as the number one choice. It couldn’t be any simpler really. Simply search for people who fit your ideal customer profile, and send them a connection request.
If they accept, thank them for the connection and mention you’re actively looking forward to collaborating. That is enough to start a conversation. And in the realm of sales, a conversation is the most valuable stage of lead generation.
Inbound marketing is another great way of expanding your targeted prospecting efforts. And this starts with creating value-driven content that your potential leads are searching for.
You can start by creating top of the funnel content which answers common questions and problems. Once you start getting traffic to this type of content you can ask for visitors to sign up for a newsletter for future content updates.
Why is this important? Well, you already know who your content is targeted towards, so anyone who signs up for the newsletter after reading that content should be treated as a viable prospect.
That’s one use for the inbound traffic you generate from your content. Another way to create value from this traffic is by creating intelligent call-to-action.
Simply ‘funnel’ your visitors to more product-specific pages where the content is more focused on the services you offer. Visitors who manage to come here are most definitely interested in your product.
Even if they don’t make a buying decision, you can retarget these visitors through a Facebook Pixel later on through Facebook Ads.
These are some of the advantages of running an inbound marketing campaign for your business.
Oh and remember, the content you create has to be of value in order for the above tips to work.
Newsflash – LinkedIn is not the only place where you can find business leads online. There are many services offering searchable B2B databases that you can use easily (and for very low fees) to do some lead prospecting.
UpLead is one example. This is a tool that will give you businesses in a specific area that you want to target based on your search terms. With a tool like this, you can literally get thousands of highly targeted leads in a matter of minutes.
UpLead provides you with a database of over 46 million B2B contacts. You can filter the contacts by industry, company size, revenue and so on.
This tool will allow you to target exactly the kinds of customers you’re looking for. Some businesses rely primarily on this tool to get 90% of their leads.
Our last tip for lead prospecting would be to do some good old manual prospecting. Many businesses think that it takes too much time, but in our opinion it’s well worth trying if you’ve exhausted the options we’ve mentioned above.
Simply go to a potential customer’s website and use a tool like Hunter.io to find email addresses of decision makers. This type of prospecting is admittedly quite time consuming.
But if you want to target specific businesses, manual prospecting is still a very good way to do it.