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How to Build an Effective B2B Prospecting Process in 5 Steps

B2B prospecting is the process of identifying and reaching out to potential business clients to generate new sales leads. It involves researching and analyzing target markets, creating targeted marketing campaigns, and building relationships with other businesses.

Doing proper prospecting might be the difference between your sales process taking off and stagnating from a lack of leads. Sales agents can benefit from learning the ins and outs of good prospecting since it is the lifeblood of healthy sales organizations and essential to the success of any sales process.

Business-to-business (B2B) prospecting strategies identify new prospects, feed a company’s sales funnel, and set the stage for upcoming sales interactions. But how can you maximize the efficiency of your efforts?

In this article, we’ll explain what B2B prospecting is, go into more detail about the top five B2B prospecting methods, and show you how to build a good B2B sales prospecting process.

Here’s an outline of what we’ll be discussing:

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What is B2B prospecting?

B2B prospecting is the sales process of locating, contacting, and closing deals with other companies. The B2B sales and marketing operations in the outreach process include content marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, and cold calling.

Top 5 B2B prospecting methods in 2024

Here are the five best B2B prospecting methods:

  1. Email prospecting
  2. Cold calling
  3. Social prospecting
  4. Informational webinars
  5. Customer Referrals

Keep reading for an overview of each one!

1. Email prospecting

For many reasons, email prospecting is one of the most effective B2B prospecting methods. For one, it allows you to provide a comprehensive visual of your product or service and how it meets their business needs in a way that wouldn’t be possible through other channels of contact.

screenshot of nutshell crm demo email prospecting example

It also keeps a record that can be easily transmitted to whoever makes the final call. Because emails are asynchronous, the prospect may read up on your business whenever it’s convenient for them and decide whether or not to take you up on your offer.

Your salespeople should tailor each message to the recipient’s specific needs while sending out cold emails. This practice will allow them to present your product or service in the best possible light and increase the chances of a sale. Prospects are more likely to respond to and engage with personalized messages.

Pro Tip: Design a drip campaign that delivers email sequences to your customers at optimal intervals depending on their activities, and your open and response rates for prospecting emails may rise. Sales automation tools make it easy to streamline your marketing emails and keep a steady flow of contact points, and other sales prospecting tools can help with this as well.

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2. Cold calling

B2B cold calling is a prospecting method where a salesperson initiates contact with prospective customers who have yet to show any prior interest in your company’s offering. By making a direct call to the prospect, your sales agents can better understand the customer’s needs and interests, allowing them to create more tailored offers.

b2b cold calling scheduling example

Furthermore, a phone call is easier and faster to get a prospect’s attention. Cold calling may shorten the time to clinch a deal since it allows the salesperson to build rapport and trust with the prospective customer in real-time.

It also increases the success rate of closing deals since sales agents can take advantage of the impulse buying power of customers who have not been previously exposed to marketing materials.

Pro tip: There are several potential causes for sales objections to arise during a cold call. To help your salespeople keep going even when they encounter resistance, train them to anticipate it and learn how to counter the most common arguments.

3. Social prospecting

Social prospecting is leveraging social media for customer discovery and relationship building. It entails engaging with your prospects through commenting on, sharing, and liking their posts. It involves B2B prospecting strategies that center on social outreach and social selling.

You can build relationships, foster brand awareness, and gain insight into your target audiences by reaching out to potential customers on social media.

For instance, LinkedIn is great for connecting with potential business partners through social media. Since professionals, managers, and other stakeholders use the platform to connect and interact with each other, your sales team can learn about their target market, research competitors, and understand the industry landscape.

Additionally, LinkedIn is useful for researching potential clients. Simply clicking on a potential client’s profile will provide you access to a wealth of information, including their entire employment record, current role, and mutual connections, among other things. There are also AI sales prospecting tools that can help with this.

linkedin sales navigator screenshot

Pro Tip: Leverage the LinkedIn Sales Navigator to access advanced search features, lead suggestions, refined filtering options, and enhanced networking exposure to access detailed profiles of potential clients.

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4. Referral prospecting

Referral prospecting is the practice of seeking out new business opportunities through your existing network of contacts, customers, and associates.

In a world where consumers are more skeptical of businesses, word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied customers are a sure way to establish your company’s legitimacy.

A customer’s willingness to recommend your services to their network can significantly impact your business’s expansion. Referrals begin the purchase process for 84% of B2B decision-makers. Customers who come through recommendations also have a better conversion rate and lifetime value.

Pro tip: Always follow up with a customer once you close the deal to solicit positive feedback and referrals. Your current customers may know of others in related fields who may benefit from your offerings.

5. Informational webinars

Hosting a webinar can be an excellent way to attract the attention of potential customers and spread helpful information. Choosing a topic that addresses a problem frequently encountered by your target audience is a sure way to get their attention. In addition, you can talk to potential customers in real time if they are live-streaming the webinar.

Webinars are a valuable resource for data collection to boost the B2B sales prospecting process. In addition to registration data such as name, job title, or company name, webinars can also help collect behavioral data such as how often and for how long attendees actively participated.

Also, your sales team can use this data to prioritize whom to contact based on the level of interest shown by each prospect during the webinar. The ideal webinar formats for B2B sales include product demonstrations, content marketing, and training on industry-related topics.

Pro tip: To provide real value to your prospects, ensure that your webinars address an issue or pain point they’re experiencing. Also, your salespeople must stay in touch with the webinar’s attendees through email or phone to maintain communication and, ultimately, set up a sales presentation.

How to build an effective B2B sales prospecting process in 5 steps

Prospecting is just one part of the sales process, but it includes multiple distinct activities. To help you get started with B2B prospecting, here are the five steps:

  1. Integrate qualitative information with numerical customer relationship management (CRM) data
  2. Establish lead-scoring criteria to prioritize your prospects
  3. Research and identify possible connection points to create meaningful interactions
  4. Customize the initial contact to create a more personal experience for prospects
  5. Expand connections and streamline the lead nurturing process with CRM software

1. Integrate qualitative information with numerical customer relationship management (CRM) data

The first stage is to hear the anecdotes of your team members who interact directly with customers and to compare those reports with data from your sales CRM to get a clear picture of the kind of people who become prospective customers.

integrate information with crm data example

For instance, following a group brainstorming session, your sales agents might agree that your offering is most valuable to businesses in specific industries. You can use this knowledge to target customers who fit the criteria accurately, and you can use your sales CRM to quantify the success of these targeted efforts.

When you put all of this information together, you will be able to identify patterns in the demographic and psychographic data of your prospective customers, which can help you create an effective sales strategy for further outreach.

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2. Establish lead-scoring criteria to prioritize your prospects

Next, you must direct your sales agent’s attention toward the leads with the highest probability of converting into paying clients. The most straightforward approach to achieving this is identifying and prioritizing your most promising leads according to their degree of interest, stated goals, and the resources they can commit to.

establish lead scoring criteria example

Here, you establish the lead-scoring criteria, and your sales agents will zero in on only one sort of client at a time. Once that is accomplished, your sales agents can focus on their conversations and emphasize only those products or services that directly correspond to the prospects’ needs.

You can use lead management software to set up an automated system for grading leads and assigning them to sales agents by their potential value. Your team can save time and resources while increasing their return on investment (ROI).

3. Research and identify possible connection points to create meaningful interactions

Now that your team knows which prospects to focus their attention on, they can start researching to learn everything they can about their prospects to establish connection points before they initiate contact. By researching and identifying common ground with their prospects, your team will be able to create more effective and meaningful conversations, which will, in turn, save time and resources.

Also, your sales agents can learn more about a prospect’s interests and concerns by looking at their social media presence. For example, they can check to see if the prospect has recently completed a trigger event, such as reacting to a social media post, interacting with your chatbot, or visiting a service page on your website.

With this information, your sales agents can tailor their message to make a more personal connection with prospects by understanding and addressing their concerns rather than providing generic information.

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4. Customize the initial contact to create a more personal experience for prospects

Next, when initiating first contact, personalize your message by bringing up relevant facts and connections you identified throughout your research, such as an initiative the company is currently working on and how it relates to your proposed solution.

Doing this lets your sales agents start the conversation on the right foot and create a more engaging, personal experience for prospects. The initial contact should be quick and targeted at resolving a single issue with a single proposal.

It’s better to initiate a genuine dialogue before pushing for a meeting. The messaging should be helpful and informative for the prospect whenever feasible so that you can gauge whether or not the two of you would be able to work well together.

5. Expand connections and streamline the lead nurturing process with CRM software

Now that you have a tailored message for your prospect, it’s time to provide your sales team with cutting-edge marketing materials like pricing lists and demo videos to share with potential customers.

lead nurturing process example

You can ensure your team’s maximum efficiency by utilizing sales enablement. Through social selling, your sales agents may also keep in touch with leads in a roundabout way, such as by forwarding them posts or articles pertinent to their interests.

You can also automate prospect touchpoints by establishing procedures in a CRM. This practice can streamline the process of engaging with customers, reducing time-consuming and repetitive tasks for your sales team and allowing them to follow up at a timely pace.

For example, with a CRM like Nutshell, you can streamline routine sales operations by creating an action when a prospect advances in the sales funnel, sending out customized emails, and incorporating various helpful sales add-ons.

Nutshell can also provide detailed insights into customer data and analytics, helping you understand your customers’ buying behaviors.

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Streamline your B2B prospecting process with sales automation support

No more digging through endless channels to find clients! WebFX offers sales automation support to help you find and convert qualified prospects. Our automated tools can match you with prospects that meet the parameters specified by your sales team.

As a result, our sales automation solutions significantly reduce the time your team spends on prospecting and make the process much more efficient. Plus, our sales automation technology allows you to quickly identify who is interested in your products or services and start a conversation with them right away.

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