Prospecting can be a daunting task for any business owner or sales professional, but it’s a necessary step in growing your client base and increasing revenue. However, not all prospecting activities are created equal. Depending on your target audience and industry, some tactics may yield better results than others.
That’s where my expertise comes in. Through years of trial and error, I’ve identified the most effective prospecting activities that have consistently generated high-quality leads and new clients. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to modernize your prospecting strategy, these activities can help you reach your growth goals.
One of the best prospecting activities that I’ve found to be highly effective is email campaigns. Email allows you to reach a large audience quickly and cost-effectively. But it’s important to craft a compelling email that grabs the reader’s attention and offers something of value. Personalizing and tailoring your email to your target audience can also increase your response rates.
Another effective prospecting activity is social media outreach. Platforms like LinkedIn provide many opportunities to connect with potential clients and industry leaders. By engaging with your target audience through thoughtful comments, sharing relevant content, and sending personalized messages, you can establish trust and credibility and convert leads into clients.
Of course, prospecting isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. By experimenting with different prospecting activities and approaches, you can determine what works best for your business. But by incorporating these prospecting activities into your strategy, you can increase your chances of generating high-quality leads and driving growth.
In my next post, I’ll dive deeper into each of these prospecting activities and share my tips for optimizing your efforts. Stay tuned for more insights and advice on how to take your prospecting game to the next level.
Activity #1: Loosen up the LinkedIn Criteria to Boost Quantity
The LinkedIn/Email campaign can continue by changing one of the parameters in the search filter:
1. Change the geography: If you first targeted one specific region and got little to no results it’s time to change the game. Expand. Think broad. Broad in geographical and, oh, also, in metaphorical terms. Start targeting new countries and regions. You can even target a new continent. Don’t limit your prospecting activities to just one region.
2. Change the company size: By looking at more extensive or lower company size ranges, you can reach out to new potential clients.
3. Change the target industry: Adding more industries would give you a fresh batch of potential prospects to reach out to.
4. Change target positions: By looking a layer lower, asking for referrals, or a layer above the target, you are exposing yourselves to new prospects.
5. A mix of all four: You can systematically change one variable at a time, giving yourselves enough prospects for more than 12 months => more than 6.000 potential prospects that you can outreach via LinkedIn and Email.
What you can further improve in your existing outreach and prospecting activities is to add more quality to the process.
The easiest one is to start generating content on your LinkedIn profile. Start by asking yourself one simple question.
How many times have you posted this past month?
If you can’t remember, well, that’s a bad start.
But the good news is that you can always start posting.
By posting 1-2 times per week from your personal and company profiles, you will benefit from:
a) people that have accepted you.
They will be exposed to your content.
b) people considering whether to connect or engage in conversation.
This way, they will see that your profile is not fake.
In both scenarios, social posting should improve the quality of responses and engagement.
Also, you can go a step further and create a series of 3-5 blog posts (1,000–1,500 words each) with titles relevant to your niche and your target audience. You can then share them on social media as posts and add them to the LinkedIn article section on your profile.
The second aspect of improving LinkedIn outreach is to create a target-related event. It can be a simple 1-hour webinar or a round table from a few people at your company. Later, you can use the event as an excuse to go back to your contacts and personally invite them to the event. In addition, you can create several social media posts about the event, which means that even people in your network can participate.
As part of your prospecting activities, you can create separate, parallel outreach activities focusing on quality and leave existing activities to cover quantity.
Activity #2: Qualification Criteria on the Company and/or the Position
If you want to add more quality, you can create a series of qualification and disqualification criteria on the company’s level and on the person to narrow the outreach to the most relevant people. This is a time-consuming activity, but it guarantees that every outreach you do -counts.
Company qualification criteria (it MUST meet all to become relevant):
• Criteria 1
• Criteria 2
• Criteria 3
Company disqualification criteria (if it has at least one of these, it is disqualified):
• Criteria 1
• Criteria 2
• Criteria 3
Based on this list, you will screen each potential company against the qualification and disqualification criteria and contact only those that pass this test. Remember that the more stringent the requirements, the more waste (disqualified companies) and the less relevance there will be.
If needed, the same qualification/disqualification criteria can be applied on the position level – regarding job title, time in the company, to see if they have the highest role in the department, etc.
These prospecting activities focus more on the early stage and shortlist the companies that have the potential to be clients—and then spend quality, focused time on them.
Activity #3: Improved LinkedIn Sales Navigator Filters as One of the Greatest Prospecting Activities
Adding additional keywords can narrow down the list of prospects and filter out the more relevant ones.
This way, you can search in the job filter (if you want to ensure it is in the title) or the general search (if you want the keyword mentioned anywhere in their profile).
Although keywords will provide a lot of non-relevant profiles, this will tell you that at least the company is using the kind of solution you provide. With further research, you can identify the right people in the company to contact.
Of course, this assumes loosening up some of the criteria in Activity #1, as otherwise, there won’t be enough leads to utilize keywords or other advanced LinkedIn filters. And as it is just a filter, you can continue with the Activity #2 qualification on each.
Activity #4: Screen Relevant Events as One of the Key Prospecting Activities
As the goal is to improve the quality, you can look at events targeting your company’s potential target audience.
The most obvious first step is to map all the relevant events – worldwide. First, you need to define the right keywords – e-commerce, digital transformation, digitalization, etc. – and based on that, you can screen the world and identify all the events that already happened in 2022 or are about to happen in 2023. Most events are recurring, so knowing what happened in 2022 will indicate what to expect in 2023. individually. We can look at past years – participants, speakers, topics covered, physical/digital, etc.
Based on several qualification criteria, you can easily shortlist the top 5 or the top 10.
You can get the participation list for each and efficiently extract all the companies + people participating in the event.
And the next step is to check each participant against the qualification criteria in Activity #2, shortlisting the companies and people that are really worth the effort.
The next logical step is to reach out to them. If the event is platform-compatible, then use the platform. You can find them on LinkedIn or via email if they don’t have a platform.
The conversation can be quite different.
1. You can say you are going to the same event (even if you don’t intend to go)
2. If there are too many interested, maybe you should go to the event and talk to them
The quality of this outreach and relationship-building is much stronger than reaching out to a cold prospect. And we know that the people we contact are already going to relevant events, and they have passed the qualification criteria.
Once we have the annual plan of events, we can plan prospecting activities depending on when the event is happening.
Activity #5: UpWork as a Sales Channel
Upwork is intended for freelancers. People usually come to UpWork to find lower prices. However, there are a lot of corporations that are active on UpWork.
For example, we’ve landed Equinix, a $6 billion revenue company, on UpWork. We’ve landed LinkedIn, a $13.8 billion revenue company, on UpWork.
One excellent prospecting activity you can do is create UpWork filters that will show only the most relevant job ads. Then, daily or a few times per week, you can check if there are job ads that match our criteria.
I don’t expect too many projects. But only a few months should be relevant by this criteria, and I don’t want to miss them.
Activity #6: Screening Targeted Keywords as one of the Best Prospecting Activities
As you look for quality, you can monitor social media and blogs for posts, requests, and questions about your solution.
Do expect a lot of wastage here, as not everyone will be relevant. Nonetheless, with the right qualification, you can filter out some relevant leads who are actively seeking your services.
In addition, you can also do frequent screening for RFQs or RFPs that are relevant to your company.
All the activities up to here are related to expanding your database of potential clients. Then, through different channels, identify companies and specific people that are an excellent fit for your solution. After that, the rest of the activities should focus on the rest of the sales process.
Activity #7: Business Intelligence on Shortlisted Companies and People
Whether the lead is from UpWork or LinkedIn or an Event, as long as it passes the qualification criteria, it is worth focusing on quality and a tailored approach.
Before performing any outreach and prospecting activities, you must understand the company better. Here, you can create a series of questions that you can try to answer:
1. What solutions are they currently using?
2. Are they happy with it?
3. Are they actively looking for a solution?
4. Who is the actual decision maker in the IT department?
5. … many additional questions that can help understand them better and tailor the approach.
You can also look at the person and gain additional insight into them.
1. Joint conversation topics with you?
2. What are their current job responsibilities?
3. … anything else you need to know about the person.
Instead of doing a template outreach, this business intelligence stage will help you fully personalize the outreach process to their company and to them personally. This is the ultimate quality step, as we genuinely try to understand their problems before we reach out to them.
This insight will help you engage in a meaningful conversation. Additionally, we have cases with clients where we checked their other social media (FB/Insta/Twitter) to determine if they are dog or cat lovers. It is a nice conversation icebreaker.
Activity #8: FAQs for a More Personalized Conversation
At BizzBee Solutions, we have created a series of questions for clients based on the questions we received from various sales channels. That way when a new client comes in, we are prepared in advance for all the questions that they may have.
By having a list of FAQs, we can identify clients’ most common questions and concerns, which can help us prepare and provide more relevant and targeted responses. This can help build clients’ trust and demonstrate that the salesperson understands their needs.
Additionally, when salespeople have access to a list of FAQs, they can quickly answer common questions without spending time researching or consulting with other team members. This can help improve client communication speed and efficiency, which is especially important in a fast-paced sales environment.
With a list of FAQs, salespeople can tailor their responses to each client’s specific needs and concerns. By using the FAQ information to guide the conversation, salespeople can provide personalized solutions that address each client’s unique challenges and goals.
One for the Road
After years of doing thousands of prospecting activities, attending countless webinars and events on this subject, and collaborating with hundreds of clients and industry experts, I am more convinced than ever that consistent and targeted prospecting is the key to sustained growth in any business.
Whether you’re a salesperson, marketer, or business owner, developing a prospecting plan that aligns with your business goals and focuses on the most effective activities for reaching your ideal customers is essential. By incorporating some of the best prospecting activities we’ve discussed, in addition to networking, content marketing, and referral marketing, you can increase your chances of success and grow your business over time. Remember, prospecting is not a one-time event but a continuous process that requires dedication and effort. So keep prospecting and keep growing!
Dancho is a serial entrepreneur, founder & CEO of BizzBee Solutions, proud father of two boys, and a ‘kafana’ enthusiast. He’s also the author of Amazon’s bestseller, ‘Sweet Leads.’ Dancho believes in building relationships with people and is inspired by growth. His ‘ZZ framework’ and formula for growth have brought 500+ clients the results they sought.
Eager to learn more? Follow Dancho on LinkedIn and Facebook.