Sales has long been regarded as a numbers game. The more prospects you pump into your sales pipeline, the higher your chances of closing a deal.
While this correlation may be true, sales success is also dependent on your ability to target the right prospects. In fact, at least 50% of prospects chased by salespeople are not a good fit for what’s being sold (Sales Insight Lab). Without a well-defined sales targeting strategy, your sales reps are wasting precious time out of their already packed schedules.
The challenge, of course, is identifying who your ideal prospect is, where they are in the customer journey, and then making a meaningful connection with them. Let’s take a look at 6 effective sales strategies for targeting prospects that are the right fit for your business and ready to buy!
1. Define Your Ideal Customer
The foundation of any sales targeting strategy is to understand who your best customer is and what drives them to buy from you.
Although often associated with marketing strategies, sales teams can also benefit from using buyer personas. Statistics show that 71% of companies that exceed sales goals have documented personas (Cintell). These semi-fictional profiles help establish trends and behaviours amongst your ideal customers, including:
- Challenges/pain points
Using data analytics, surveys, or direct feedback from actual customers, the personas you create will allow you to pinpoint similar profiles within your prospects list.
2. Build a Prospect “Grading” Strategy
While lead scoring is a great indicator of a prospect’s level of interest in your product or service, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the right fit for your company.
A prospect grading strategy can help you address that question. The typical grading scale assigns a letter grade to each prospect based on how closely they match the ideal customer profiles. For B2B companies, grading criteria could include job title, industry, company size, seniority level and location, to name a few.
The assigned grade is essentially your assessment of your company’s interest in a prospect. It enables your sales team to quickly filter out bad matches and prioritize the prospects with the higher grades first. The higher the grade, the higher the potential for a happy customer.
3. Aim for Prospect Quality Over Quantity
Intuitively, we think that the more prospects you can generate, the higher your sales will be. The reality is that a bigger list implies a more diluted message and spending A LOT of time reaching out to prospects with limited potential – time which your sales reps desperately lack when you consider that only a third of their day is spent on selling (Forbes).
By shortening the list to top-quality prospects only, you can build better rapport with each of them and nurture longer, more personalized conversations. With 80% of sales requiring 5 follow-up calls (Invesp), you want your salespeople to focus on a select group and make those 5 calls before your competition does.
4. Invest in Sales Technology
The rapid rise in technology is disturbing a number of professions, and the sales world is no different. Nowadays, sales reps are empowered with a number of tools and technology to support their sales strategy.
Examples of modern sales tools include:
- Sales intelligence
- Lead scoring
- Email automation
- Web conferencing
- Auto dialers
- Meeting scheduling
With the help of these tools, less time is spent on data entry, writing follow-up emails, sending meeting invites and qualifying leads – meaning more time is spent on actual selling.
The benefits of this technology are not only limited to productivity. It can provide significant improvements on the way you discover, engage and nurture your relationships with prospects. In today’s digitized world, you now have access to a ton of customer data to obtain valuable insights. By leveraging this data, you can create a personalized experience for each prospect and connect with them on the appropriate channels.
If you aren’t already using some of these tools in your sales targeting strategy, know that your competitors are. Nine in ten companies use two or more sources of contact data for sales development (Topo).
5. Use the Power of Social Selling
With 84% of C-level executives using social media to support purchasing decisions (IDC), social selling can be a powerful tool in your sales targeting strategy.
Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter offer much more than sharing content with your network. They allow your sales reps to build relationships in a far less invasive way than cold-calling.
Social media can also help you build a targeted prospects list. With the simple search of a keyword or hashtag, you can easily find those who are talking about your business or industry and better yet, look for mutual connections within your network to personalize your outreach.
Although social selling requires time and effort, the impact on sales is undeniable: for more than 14 major industries, social selling accounts for 50% of their revenue (LinkedIn)!
6. Don’t Forget About Customer Experience
Customer experience has to do with the way potential and current customers are engaged throughout the customer journey. It’s about understanding what they want and providing them with meaningful, relevant interactions.
Before connecting with you, prospects are doing research of their own. And they’ll only buy from you if they feel that you can give them an exceptional customer experience.
What this means in terms of targeting prospects is looking beyond the quality of the prospects and understanding the behaviours they exhibit. It’s meeting them where they are in the buying journey and showing them that you understand their needs.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to a successful sales targeting strategy. Every business is different, and your best prospect is not necessarily your competitor’s. The key lies in the processes and tools that your organization puts into place to ensure that targeting is built into every step of your prospecting.
That said, with the help of these 6 strategies, your sales team could be well on their way to exceeding next month’s sales targets.