Xerox channel partners are not alone when it comes to prospecting challenges inherent in an inbound framework where buyers research online before connecting with suppliers. Despite the vast array of digital tools available today, creating a targeted prospecting strategy remains a top challenge for salespeople. As it turns out, time is the biggest barrier.
If you’re one of the many time-challenged sales people struggling to implement a prospecting strategy, these five techniques will help you garner success:
- Warm (not cold) calls.
As buyers, we understand why 90% of today’s B2B purchasers won’t respond to cold outreach attempts.In 5 Legacy Sales Techniques That Can Harm Business Growth, we recapped the evolution of sales calls; cold calls aren’t welcome but when warned up, prospects will respond. This is especially true when outreach from a salesperson signals an understanding of a buyer’s specific need, situation, and pain points.Instead of dropping an unsolicited introduction onto a voice message or email, study their website and use insights to develop a solution to business pains you know they face. Then connect with them on the phone or in email to introduce your findings and start a conversation.
Surprising stat: it’s 6 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain a current one.
- Social media prospecting.
Social media is a powerful prospecting tool once you learn the tricks to figuring out which platforms your prospects frequent. Use #hashtags to search for relevant conversations in your niche and view the social media feeds of your competitors to discover who follows them and which followers they engage with most often. On LinkedIn and Facebook join groups and on all platforms, be helpful, answer questions, and start conversations. For more online prospecting advice and social selling tips check out Larry Levine’s articles posted on this blog.Tip: Don’t forget, #hashtags are used on Facebook and LinkedIn too.
- Develop thought leadership.
One of the many reasons influencers have become a viable marketing channel is because they’ve taken the time to become experts, share relevant content, and established trust with their audience. In return, they’re rewarded with great engagement metrics and an audience poised to listen. Buyers want to work with experts and leaders, but developing thought leadership can’t happen overnight, it takes a consistent, conscious effort that in the end fuels sales.Tip: If you don’t have a blog on your website, add one, or take advantage of LinkedIn’s publishing platform. Write relevant, thought leadership content for your audience and promote it through social media channels.
- Earn relationships not sales.
It’s six times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain a current one and long-term business relationships lead to additional sales through referrals and up selling. Every prospect is unique, and they should be treated as seeds that grow into new long-term relationships. Give away expert advice, answer questions, and continue to create value after closing the deal by staying in contact. Tip: To make relationships easier to maintain, use a CRM tool to track leads, customers, and important information that will prompt you to stay in touch.
- Make prospecting a priority.
Time is the enemy of prospecting. It takes commitment to contribute to social media, establish thought leadership, research contacts, and earn long-term relationships. Since time is limited, it’s a constant push-pull between prospecting, moving sales through the funnel, and closing deals. All are important. To ease this process, schedule time specifically for prospecting and treat it as if it’s an important appointment with a future customer.Tip: Thursday is the best day for prospecting. Wednesday is second best and Tuesday is the worst.
Until humans are no longer involved in closing sales, prospecting will remain an important tactic. Working with the changes in buying processes and shifting to accommodate modern preferences will help fill your pipeline into the future.
Xerox’s support for their channel partners comes in many forms; one of the most valuable is their effort to make channel partners more digital marketing savvy. Digital marketing is a key component to business success, and its ever-evolving nature can make it tricky to navigate alone. Hear firsthand from a Xerox channel partner how our Digital Mastery program has helped their business succeed.
For additional sales and marketing advice to grow your partnership with Xerox, log into our Xerox Global Partner Program. To keep the conversation going, join our partner-only LinkedIn group. See you there!
 Understanding Selling Challenges in 2017: Prospecting Insights, Richardson.com, http://blogs.richardson.com/2017/04/11/selling-challenges-2017-prospecting-insights/
 It is 6 Times More Expensive to Win a New Customer than to Retain an Existing One, Business2Business, http://www.business2community.com/strategy/6-times-expensive-win-new-customer-retain-existing-one-01483871#IZqUyxq6TI2vQ6YD.99
 The Best Day to Prospect, Hubspot, https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/the-best-day-to-prospect-and-14-more-need-to-know-sales-stats
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