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Prospecting Tips to Start the New Year Strong

If you aren’t prospecting and building your sales pipeline in Q4, you might find yourself behind in leads and revenue in the upcoming year. Increase your focus on prospecting to meet your sales goals and stay ahead of the competition.

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According to an old sales adage, “When you’re on time, you’re late.” This is especially true in prospecting, where one small misstep in your campaign can easily put you behind. 

We know it can be overwhelming to think about starting the year over again when you are still focused on hitting Q4 goals. (That’s one major reason why prospecting seems to take a back seat during the holidays.) 

But if you want to beat the competition, you’ll have to be early instead of on time. By focusing on your prospecting strategy today, you can get ahead of your yearly sales goals with more qualified sales appointments already on your calendar. 

Practice Better Time Management 

The holidays are a chaotic time and most of us have a schedule filled with personal and work activities planned. Even when you’re laser-focused, it’s easy to lose track of time and procrastinate on important tasks. Using time management techniques allows you to prioritize your schedule, keeping you organized and productive, even if you have a million different things going on.

Most lead generation experts recommend scheduling your entire week to get a clearer image of what needs to be accomplished. Start by listing all of the daily activities needed to reach your sales goals then block out the time needed to complete each task.

Don’t try to overdo your schedule. Be realistic and leave enough space for a healthy work-life balance. Consider taking a short time out every hour or at least every 90 minutes, especially when working on a computer. This will clear your mind and improve concentration, as well as give your eyes and body a short rest.

If you are looking for help in organizing your schedule or maintaining focus, try using a time management app on your phone or computer. These apps can help you track your tasks and organize your schedule more effectively.

  • Be Focused Timer is free on IOS/Mac and offers a convenient way to track blocks of work and lets you follow your past work history. You can set and manage your tasks, customize work interval duration and track goals to increase your output.
  • Calendar time management app syncs your data across all devices and provides a virtual assistant that learns your schedule and plans meetings, invitations, and diary adjustments. One time-saving tool can even add meeting transcripts. The upgrade can also produce an array of analytics which allows you to see how your time is spent with people and in meetings.

Using your time wisely is key. If you don’t utilize tools or set up your time well, then you won’t get the results you need to achieve long-term goals. Stay focused on what you can get accomplished and don’t beat yourself up over what you can’t.

Analyze Your Prospecting Strategy

Until you are converting 100% on every campaign, there’s always room for improvement. While improvement should be a constant work in progress, the new year is the perfect time to fully reevaluate your strategy. What worked well for you? What didn’t? Following a simple checklist like the one below can help you determine areas of improvement to maximize your prospecting strategy

Campaign Metrics:

  • Are your sales activities helping you reach your sales goals? If a sales activity isn’t helping you build revenue, maintain a standard, or measure an aspect of improvement, you should consider ways to automate the process or remove it altogether. 
  • Are your conversion rates too low? Is it because of bad data, messaging, contact information, or your list building?
  • Or do you tend to have a lot of no-shows, cancellations, or proposal rejections? This could be an issue with your target market. Document the initial contacts and others in the buying process, especially the decision-makers and decision-blockers so you can better understand them.
  • Are you using the right technology in your processes as necessary? Manual entry can be tedious and if your data isn’t accurate, it could be costing you. There are plenty of low-cost prospecting tools and appointment-setting tools, along with a variety of chrome extensions that can help you or your company save. 
  • Are you properly scoring your leads? You can determine appropriate scores by observing a lead’s email engagement, social media engagement, or other website behaviors. 

Target Market:

  • Compile information about your best customers. What is the size, age, revenue, etc., of your target companies? Identify similar characteristics and determine which customers were the most profitable and why.
  • Record new industry trends and shifts in competition or the market – are there new industry titles that could use your solution?
  • Are there enough prospects in your market to be successful? Do you understand what drives your target to make their buying decisions? 

Contact Lists:

  • Look at your connection rates. Are you wasting time calling incorrect numbers? Especially with harder-to-source contacts or niche markets, it is important to get the most out of your scheduled prospecting time. 
  • Are you staying compliant? Bad data can put you at risk of being non-compliant within the rules and regulations of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Cold Messaging:

  • What challenges are your customers facing? Be sure to speak directly about how your product or service helps them address those challenges. 
  • Does your messaging fully resonate with your prospects or are you losing them at a certain point in your communications? Test your CTAs, the wording of your value proposition, and other variables. 
  • Do your prospects respond better to action-oriented CTAs or softer, relationship-building strategies? Leverage that information in your scripts. 

Sales Tech Stack:

  • Are you using the right technology in your processes as necessary? Manual entry can be tedious and if your data isn’t accurate, it could be costing you. There are plenty of low-cost prospecting tools and appointment setting tools, along with a variety of chrome extensions that can help you or your company save. 
  • Are you properly scoring your leads? You can determine appropriate scores by observing a lead’s email engagement, social media engagement, or other website behaviors. 

Prospect & Client Feedback Loops:

  • Do you have a strategy meant to constantly enhance and improve your product based on user reviews, opinions, and suggestions? Survey tools and other online platforms can help you connect when there are issues- or they can help you review customer success and satisfaction. 
  • This can also help you test messaging and other parts of your strategy where feedback from prospects and clients can help you make more informed decisions.

Plan Your Outreach Methods 

Determining the right cadence of phone, email, and social media is essential for successful outreach. The more contact attempts you make, the more likely you are to get an answer but you also can’t drive your prospects away with too many messages. 

Start by outlining your outreach goals. Do you want to nurture leads more, educate them on offerings, build more trust with your prospects, or reach a large number all at once? 

Finding the channel your prospects are most active in might require you to step outside the box a little (hello social media) but it can greatly increase your chances of success in prospecting and setting sales appointments. 

In our experience, the most successful companies use a combination of inbound and outbound channels for prospecting. This allows you to:

  • deliver quality content when customers are researching and asking questions
  • reach out directly when customers want to know about a specific product. This helps keep a sales pipeline strong and flowing with new leads and opportunities. 

Once you find the proper channel(s) you can properly determine what your cadence will look like when using them. No matter which you use, be sure to set a follow-up sequence and follow that schedule.  Are you reaching more prospects through one method over another? Knowing your success rate will help you make small improvements in your processes moving forward. 

Sales and Marketing Alignment

While sales and marketing teams share the same goal of wanting more qualified leads, the two teams are often unaligned – whether on ideas, content distribution, or access to information. But analytics are essential to effective marketing campaigns and you could be missing out on important data. 

Aligning a similar methodology and company values within the two teams can also help increase outreach messages that are consistent across all communication channels. This will ensure your sales team remains on-brand and has your company’s tone and style in every email, call script, and social media message.

One area where sales and marketing teams can really connect is in your CRM or customer relationship management system. A well-managed system with proper documentation can increase conversion rates and keep all of your activities, communications, and information in one place. 

CRM integration is key to keeping your outreach strategy organized and effective. With the CRM at the heart of the sales process, your funnel can be better visualized with reports on your sales pipeline, ROI, lead sources, and resource budget. 

  • Analyze your number of leads generated to gauge whether your sales and marketing alignment affects your lead generation over a specific time frame. 
  • Mark your conversion rates to show the total number of visitors to your website.
  • Your customer retention rate is the percentage of clients the company has retained over a period of time in your CRM. This can also help you upsell and create more satisfaction post-purchase. 

All of these aspects of your campaign can contribute to its failure or success. Don’t be on time this new year – start analyzing your prospecting strategy today.

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