In a 2020 LinkedIn survey, 73% of salespeople said they use technology to close more deals while 97% said that technology is either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to their sales process.
So when it comes to prospecting tools, to be the best, it has to save time, money, and be easy to use. After all, if you’re contacting the wrong people, using incorrect data, or not managing your contacts properly, you’re disrupting your pipeline and wasting valuable resources.
Adding these top prospecting tools and technologies to your sales stack can help precious time and resources, while generating more consistent, high-quality leads for your business.
Researching Your Prospects
Are you prepared to prospect? Research is a huge part of the prospecting process, helping you to pinpoint your ideal customer profiles and target audience.
Before building your prospecting list, you must know:
- Who you are targeting
- Why you are targeting them
This means building your ideal customer profile (ICP). Your ICP is like the North Star for your sales and marketing teams. Using this strategy, you can better identify, source, and prioritize the best prospects for your products or services.
Start by taking record of your best current clients. What common characteristics do they share? Be sure to include a mix of both quantitative and qualitative analysis. A few of the most common characteristics to consider are company revenue, company size, industry, locations, and job titles. Every business is different, so be sure to research and look for patterns in their pain points. Who else could benefit from your solutions?
The more detail your company can provide, the better you can pinpoint other prospective clients. It is important to reevaluate your ideal customer profile on a regular basis to analyze your position in the market
If a company does not fit the ICP, there’s a good chance they’re not a good fit for your offering. Don’t waste valuable time and resources attracting and engaging the wrong prospects.
Building a B2B Prospecting List
Prospecting is the process of identifying, attracting, and engaging new clients or buyers for your products or services. A prospecting list contains the contact information of potential buyers who are interested in or have a need for your product or service. The success of your B2B lead generation campaign is heavily dependent on the quality of your leads, therefore a quality prospecting list is a must.
The goal is to qualify leads and advance them through the sales funnel to becoming a client. While this is usually a job for a Sales Development Representative, anyone can build a prospecting list. In startups for example, you may see high level executives trying to qualify and close a high-value potential customer. No matter what stage your business is currently in, the start of your outbound prospecting campaign should be a quality sales leads database.
Building your own quality lists can be difficult but there are multiple databases, platforms, and tools that can help provide more effective targets.
List building software can help you find email addresses and other contact information of your ideal prospects. Platforms like LinkedIn or Hubspot Prospects can help you actively look up and compare prospects, while finding out more about them and their company.
At Superhuman Prospecting, we use the 3-prong approach for building a prospect list. This means using a variety of B2B contact databases, AI technology, web scraping tools, and expert researchers to build custom leads lists for our clients.
Data points can include:
- Target Client Profiles
- Public, Private or Government Funded
- Titles of Target Contacts
- Geographical Locations
- Industry or SIC code
- Employee Size
- Annual Sales Volume
- Specific Target Companies
- Any Other Custom Criteria
Other tools involve Chrome Extensions that can help you collect historical data from previous campaigns, or contacts directly from websites and social media platforms.
- Leadfeeder shows you the companies visiting your website, how they found you and what they’re interested in.
- Seamless AI allows you to instantly gather your prospect’s contact information and sync it directly with your CRM — right inside of LinkedIn.
- Uplead lets you get mobile & direct dial phone numbers for prospects with real-time email verification, ensuring you are always connecting with real, qualified leads.
- ZoomInfo is a growth acceleration platform delivering accurate and actionable contact and business information to empower your sales teams.
- KickFire combines B2B firmographic data and advanced IP-to-company identification technology to provide business intelligence for a wide range of applications, such as account-based marketing, content personalization, B2B ad-targeting and more.
The wrong prospecting list can hurt your brand and waste your time and resources, so it is important to make sure your list source is reputable.
Remember to pay attention to quality, not quantity. Focusing on high-quality leads will increase productivity, speed up the completion of your sales cycle and reduce inefficiencies within your sales pipeline—all of which improve your bottom line.
If you are one of those high-level executives looking to build a more specific B2B contact list, you may need to think about hiring or outsourcing your list to expert, manual researchers.
Expert B2B Researchers
Finding the right information for a contact can be a pain. Especially if you’re looking for a high-level decision-maker. Teams of expert researchers are your best bet for specific B2B leads that are harder to find in traditional databases.
They should be able to provide multiple touchpoints like:
- Phone Number
- LinkedIn Profile
Looking to grow or analyze your current prospect list?
Expert researchers can help you cleanse or enrich your current data. Data cleansing is the process of identifying if your contact data is still valid, while contact enrichment is the process of adding additional information to your existing contacts for more complete data.
If your clients fall into the specific enterprise categories, expert researchers can help you compare your prospect list with the Fortune 500, Fortune 1000 or a directory like Hoovers, a company profiling resource. If your clients are smaller, try using sites like TechCrunch, VentureDeal, or CrunchBase which can help find new potential prospects by tracking their company profiles and growth patterns.
Looking to build an email list? Keep reading!
Building an Email List
Of course you need the best email to accurately reach each of your prospects. So if you’re searching to build your email list, these top tools can definitely help.
- VoilaNorbert is a simple and sleek email search service that asks you for a first name, last name, and a company website. From those details, it will dig up the email address you’re looking for. Button saying “Work for me, Norbert” adds a quirky touch. They also provide an enterprise-level service, the VoilaNorbert Massive Search tool.
- SellHack is a platform built for salespeople and businesspeople who are interested in automating prospect list building so they can use their time to close deals. A big problem of most sales forces is the time wasted in non-selling activities. Automating time-consuming tasks like list building allows teams to drive revenue more efficiently. SellHack’s best feature is its capability to pick and verify emails right from LinkedIn.
- Buzzmarker by BuzzStream is useful in pulling up contact information, social profiles, and even metrics. Salespeople can download the BuzzMarker browser extension that allows you to just go ahead and bookmark as many links to people you’re interested in prospecting. From there, the tool digs up info for you.
- EmailHunter helps you out simply by asking you to input the domain name of the company’s website. From there, it finds all publicly available email addresses associated with the company.
- Yesware helps you take moving parts, like timezones into consideration when sending your emails, helping opening and response rates. Their free tool even shows you a recommended time to send an email based on data.
After you’ve built your custom leads and email lists, the next step is to make sure you are properly managing all of your contacts, data, and company communications.
Prospecting Tools & Lead Generation Databases
A prospecting tool is any tool or technology that helps you identify, engage, and maintain a relationship with your prospects and potential clients. These tools often use automation or a specific software to help salespeople complete repetitive and time consuming tasks.
Prospecting is one of the most important aspects of your sales process, so it is important to make sure your tools fit your budget and goals. You can select specific tools from this list to use independently or collaborate in your sales tech stack. Consider which tools you currently use for prospecting to determine your needs and where opportunities lie. Experiment with your options to discover which ones work best for your business.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM):
CRM systems are commonly known as the primary database for tracking activities and customer interactions, collecting and converting leads into opportunities. CRMs have many features, but its primary purpose is to secure all of your data in one place. This is great for people in managing positions such as account executives because they can successfully navigate from pipeline to onboarding, to after-sales support with the click of a button.
Some of the best CRMs, like Hubspot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, and Insightly
- Keep track of sales activity and source new prospects
- Manage your sales pipeline
- Automatically log all rep activity
- Keep information about all of your contacts in one location
- Chat with those contacts in real-time meaning you can even call those prospects directly from the CRM to streamline all communication
However, most sales professionals will admit that they struggle to convert leads using CRM alone. The truth is that CRMs are just not ideal for efficient lead qualification because they were designed for managing relationships, not the entire prospecting process.
For example, CRMs are not ideal for Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) who are looking to qualify leads in a timely manner because with just a CRM, logging in phone calls and sales activities can literally take hours. That’s why you need a great Sales Engagement System on top of your CRM.
Sales Engagement Systems
Sales engagement systems are powerful tools, designed to start relationships and improve your sales prospecting. They are also great at helping operations and management track what’s working and what’s not by surfacing the data points that are most relevant to each and every role.
With features like speed-to-lead, automated cadence, and lead prioritization, you will save valuable time and allow your sales team to focus on doing what they’re best at, starting quality conversations. Some sales engagement platforms are queue-based. So when sales representatives log in, they don’t see a never-ending list of names. Instead, they see the next best lead, and the only thing they can do is call the first person in the queue. If the call goes unanswered, the system re-routes the lead back to the queue based on the lead criteria and sales cadence specifications.
Sales engagement solutions are also perfect for solving consistency of actions: they allow you to establish the appropriate follow-up cadence automatically—no more hesitations. And if you’re looking for a little extra something special, VanillaSoft is not only queue-based, but also priority-based, meaning your company gets to decide how they want to prioritize their queue depending on customizable criteria and varied parameters.
Other sales engagement systems include:
- SalesLoft, which creates an engine for revenue teams to communicate with customers, navigate the sales process, and replicate success. It guides and automates dynamic sales plays, facilitates coaching, and provides the dashboards and insights needed to achieve exceptional outcomes.
- Groove is the leading sales engagement platform for enterprises using Salesforce, specializing in ease-of-use, ease-of-administration, and cross-team collaboration. Built for the needs of full-cycle sellers, Groove automates non-sales activities so that pre- and post-sales reps can spend more time building relationships and generating revenue.
On average, Groove gives revenue teams 20% of their time back to focus on higher-value activities. Groove’s Salesforce-native architecture can be customized to align with industry-specific workflows while ensuring more accurate reporting and forecasting, lower compliance risk, and streamlined administration.
Can’t afford the price tag on all your sales tech stack? Maybe you should consider outsourcing or freelancing your prospecting efforts.
Should You Outsource Your Prospecting?
For companies thinking about either outsourcing their lead generation or paying for prospecting tools and doing it in house, there are a number of things to consider.
According to Sales Hacker, sales outsourcing is when a business delegates parts of the sales process to outside individuals or agencies. For business owners, CEOs, and executives focused on the bottom line, deciding on how to structure their outbound sales program comes down to one thing: cost.
Using the average pay data, we know that the average SDR base salary ranges from $47K to $62K. These costs don’t even begin to factor in:
- Software or Hardware
- Typical overhead costs or
- Allocation of human resources
- Costs for hiring, onboarding, training, and retaining employees
We also know that the average hire comes with less than 12 months of experience and an average tenure of under 16 months. Not to mention, have you seen the sales tech stack prices lately? Which means your SDR could end up costing your company more than double their salary. That is a heavy price tag in a role known for high turnover rates, and will probably quit in less than 16 months. And all of this is just for ONE SDR. You may need multiple SDR’s to meet the prospecting needs of your business.
To stay ahead of the competition, you need to find better ways to build your sales pipeline and close more deals. Adding these prospecting tools can help you attract, engage, and maintain relationships with your prospects and potential clients. Use these top tools to better manage your B2B lead generation and prospecting efforts.