By Van Natter Consulting Group

Tips to Update Your B2B Prospecting
Prospecting has changed considerably over the years. At one point it meant blasting out 100s of emails to everyone in your target group. Then sitting back and hoping that someone responds. But today it is all about the art of building relationships and connecting with potential customers. Then when the relationship is right, and they have a need for your product/service, turning them into lasting clients.
Yes, that sounds like it takes a lot of time, but there are actions that will speed up the process. In this post we are going to provide a few of the many steps that will improve your prospecting.

Research Your Prospects and Maximize LinkedIn

The goal of your research is to learn more about your prospect and build a relationship based on mutual interests. While also uncovering if the prospect has or will have a need for your product and could turn into a sales lead.
Researching prospects also makes you look more professional. For example, as you hopefully know, we help companies increase their review through sales consulting and soon marketing services. So, you would think we would be low on other sales consulting companies prospect list. But unfortunately, Allen receives on average 5 emails and 2 LinkedIn messages a day from companies telling him that he needs their sales consulting services. With just one google search or LinkedIn search they would have removed him from their list, but instead they just blast out emails from a list that they bought. Making them look unprofessional.
For each prospect perform a Google search and LinkedIn search for both the individual and the business.
When researching the individual, uncover their past roles, professional activities (post, conferences, professional associations), and their education to uncover anything you have in common.
For the business, research their blogs, post, and social activity looking for anything that is important to the company. They will contain new clients, new products, the social issues they care about, etcetera.
Then use this knowledge allows you to connect to prospects with a personalized professional approach.

Use Your and Your Company’s LinkedIn Correctly

Just as you are researching your potential prospects, once you reach out to them, they will research you. So, make sure that your profile and your companies profile set the right expectations.
For your personal profile remember that LinkedIn is for business purposes and it is not Facebook. Use it to connect with people you have met, know, or want to know. Then interact with them through comment threads, published post, and groups. Work to make yourself an expert in your industry by sharing post that you create or from your company. This will allow you to increase your connections and can lead to your prospects asking you for a connection.
Also make sure your company has a solid presence on LinkedIn. If they do not, reach out to marketing and ask them to create one. Prospects that land on an empty or unused corporate page question the credibility of the company.
Think of LinkedIn as an industry conference that never ends. If a prospect comes to your company’s booth and it is empty, they will just walk away.

Send Better Initial Emails

Writing an email is easy but writing one that gets a response is a different story. Luckily, there are experts in crafting emails and below are few of their tips.

Write Better Subject Lines

The #1 place that decides if your prospect will read your email is the subject line. Use your research to create a subject line that draws in the prospect. To do this connect with the prospect by mentioning one of their, or their companies, post, conference they attended, or other newsworthy events. Along with how it connects to your product or service. It lets them know that you did your research and it raises their interest to open the email and see what you have to say. Just do not be misleading as the subject line must match the actual subject of the email.
Follow this up by mentioning the subject again in the body of the email and then go into more detail about how you can help with the subject.

Focus on Solving One Pain Point

Explain how your product solves one pain point, that you gained from your research. While it is tempting to provide a list of ways you can help the prospect, focus on only one issue. Remember the goal of your first email is to set an appointment not make the sale.

Have Only One Call to Action

Normally this should be to have a phone call or a face to face meeting. Always give two exact time and date options. One should be in the beginning of the day and the other should be toward the end of the day. This provides your prospect the power to decide when they want to talk or meet. If the time and days do not work, and they are interested in talking, they will suggest times that do.
Also let them know that the call/meeting will be quick, no more than 20 minutes. After all, if the prospect finds the conversation interesting, they will allow you to go past this time limit or schedule another meeting.

Reach Out at the Right Time

Granted there is no way to guarantee that the time you call is perfect for everyone, but through research we discovered the most common timing. On overage the best times for B2B outreach is between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
The theory behind the 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. period is that most people like having time to settle in, focus on their team, or handle any issues that arose. They also use this time to reply to emails and wrap up any work they did not finish the day before.
The idea behind the 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. period is that this is the time when people start planning their next day. They know what they can finish today and what gets moved to tomorrow. Therefore, if you want to get on their schedule tomorrow, why not contact them when they are planning the day.

Final Word

While there are many ways to improve prospecting these four are an easy way to start. First, use your research to find common interest with prospects, their goals, and pain points. Second, use LinkedIn to present a strong image of you and your company. Third, send streamlined emails with strong subject lines and focus of gaining an appointment. Fourth, contact your prospects when they are most likely to have the time to respond.

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