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What is B2B Outbound Sales Prospecting?

B2B outbound sales prospecting is the act of discovering, evaluating, and then reaching out to companies that would be an ideal customer. B2B outbound sales prospecting is a major part of a lead generation strategy and mainly executed by sales development representatives (SDRs). The ultimate goal of sales prospecting is to move leads through the sales pipeline, turning leads into prospects and then prospects into clients. A major challenge of B2B sales prospecting is discovering consistent leads that fit an a company’s ideal customer profile (ICP).

Discovering Leads

Sales needs to discover leads that will fit their company’s ICP. Sales can discover leads in many different ways. Many times, sales teams will use sales prospecting discovery tools in order to get lists of potential leads. These discovery tools use standardized firmographic data to help sales teams filter out companies that do not fit their company’s ICP. For example, sales teams can get a list of companies that are headquartered in the United States, in the healthcare industry, and have over 1000 employees. This list is helpful because it helps sales understand the market for their company’s products and/or services, but sales teams need to further evaluate the companies on their generated list.

38% of salespeople struggle most with prospecting. (HubSpot, 2017)

Outbound Sales Prospecting Tools for Discovering Leads

Sales teams use tools to help with the lead discovery process. The discovery process would be extremely without a tool. There are different methods and tools that sales teams can use to end up with a list of leads. InfoUSA’s Salesgenie and Radius’ The Network of Record™ are tools created for discovering leads. Sales teams with a sales automation role can approach this task in a different way. A sales automation specialist can use companies like Clearbit and FullContact to programmatically sort and format firmographic data.

Evaluating Leads

At this stage, sales teams evaluate leads to get a better understanding if a lead will be a good fit for the company. Sales teams has to determine custom firmographic data attributes, data that is defined in relation to a particular organization, to determine which leads will be the best leads to pursue. For example, sales teams need to evaluate if a lead in the buying process or at least, open to discussion. Most of the time, sales teams will not pursue a lead unless they are open to discussion or in the buying process. Another example is a healthcare provider is evaluating a lead and may want to know how what percentage of employees already use its healthcare plan and how many it has an opportunity to gain. Sales teams findings in the evaluation stage, will determine which leads to prioritize when sales terms reach out to leads.

Reaching Out To Leads

The goal of reaching out to leads is to turn leads into prospect. Sales teams usually make the initial contact by an introductory email or phone call using certain outbound sales tools. It is the sales team’s goal to establish level of trust, to communicate their value proposition, and to set up a meeting for more information. Another way to reach out to leads is meet at an event. Sales will go to the event with intelligence on what leads will be attending and sales will try to set up a meeting. If sales does not have success on initial contact, marketing should put leads through a lead generation nurturing campaign. The goal of this nurturing campaign is to further educate the lead on a company’s value proposition. These lead nurture campaigns typically include email marketing and targeted digital advertisements.

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