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Sales Prospecting Process Template

Use this template to outline your business' process for researching prospects and reaching out to them for the first time.

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Sales Prospecting Process Template

Use this template to outline your business' process for researching prospects and reaching out to them for the first time.


Why We Invest in Outbound Sales

In today's competitive marketplace, waiting for opportunities to come to us is not an option. We proactively seek growth, and that’s where our investment in outbound sales comes in. 

Outbound sales offer a proactive approach, allowing us to take the initiative and engage potential customers on our terms. This method provides us the strategic advantage of tailoring our pitch according to the recipient, ensuring a targeted and impactful message.

Plus, outbound sales empower us to tap into markets and segments that have yet to discover our solutions. While inbound strategies rely on potential customers who are already looking for what we offer, outbound sales enable us to stimulate a need, introducing our solutions to those who might be unaware of their potential benefits. 

It also grants us the ability to be ahead of our competition, by being the first to engage potential clients. We get to set the stage and control the narrative. This proactive reach, paired with a strategic narrative, allows us to expand our footprint, diversify our customer base, and drive consistent revenue growth.

Sales Prospects vs. Leads

In the world of sales, the terms "leads" and "prospects" are often used interchangeably. However, they have distinct meanings.

Sales Leads: A lead is a company that shows some level of interest in what we’re selling, most often captured through our marketing efforts. At this stage, their interest is relatively undefined, and there hasn't been significant qualification. Essentially, leads are potential buyers that have shown a basic level of interest but haven't been vetted for fit or buying potential. The primary goal with a lead is to determine if they're worth pursuing.

Sales Prospect: In the context of outbound sales prospecting, a prospect is a company that has been identified and targeted proactively by our sales team based on specific criteria, even if they haven't shown explicit interest in the product or service yet. 

Drawing from research, market analysis, and predetermined ideal customer profiles, this entity aligns with our target demographic, holds a genuine need for our solutions, and possesses the capacity for purchase.

Our Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Our perfect customer is a reflection of the synergy between their needs and our solution’s capabilities. We target mid to large-sized enterprises operating within the tech sector. These enterprises have a robust annual revenue stream, exceeding $10M, signifying their established presence and capacity for investment.

At the heart of these organizations is a value-driven approach towards innovation. They are not just seeking technology for technology's sake — they’re focused on tools and solutions that drive tangible growth, streamline operations, and position them as industry leaders. Our ideal customers are forward-thinking, open to exploring cutting-edge solutions, and recognize the importance of scalable tech products in today's dynamic digital landscape.

Another defining characteristic of our ICP is their organizational structure. They have dedicated decision-making units, often involving cross-functional teams that evaluate, choose, and implement tech solutions. Engaging with such structured organizations means we have multiple touchpoints and stakeholders to consider, but it also signifies their commitment to thorough evaluation and long-term partnerships. 

This comprehensive understanding of our ICP guides every facet of our sales approach, ensuring we target, engage, and deliver value to our ideal customers.  

The Step-by-step Guide to Sales Prospecting

1. Research

Delving deep into potential customers is the foundation of successful prospecting. Begin by identifying the industries, companies, or individuals that best align with our Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). 

Starting with generic industry trends will help you spot opportunities where our products might be in demand. Platforms like LinkedIn can provide insights into recent hires, expansions, or shifts within prospective companies. For deeper dives, consider resources like Statista for market data or Crunchbase for business insights.

Once a list is compiled, delve deeper:

  • Understand the company’s history, products, and market presence. Look into recent company news or shifts.
  • Identify the key decision-makers, and focus on their individual profiles. What are their recent achievements? Have they made any public statements about their company's direction? Such details can offer personalized talking points, showing prospects that you've done your homework.
  • Analyze their current tech stack or solutions, identifying potential gaps our product can fill.
  • Take note of mutual connections which can be leveraged for introductions or testimonials.

Your research should not only identify potential prospects but also equip you with personalized talking points for the outreach.

Lastly, leveraging internal tools, such as our CRM system, can help you identify past interactions, previous pain points, or opportunities that may have been missed or have arisen again. Combine all this information, and you'll be equipped to approach potential clients in the most informed and tailored manner.

2. Qualification

The qualification phase is essential to ensure that efforts are not wasted on low-potential prospects. The goal is to ensure that time and resources are spent on prospects with the highest conversion potential.

With a list in hand, it's time to sift through and identify the most promising prospects:

  • Compare each prospect against our ICP criteria: size, industry, revenue, and organizational structure.
  • Apply the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing) method. Can the prospect afford our solution? Do they have the authority to make a decision? Is there a genuine need? And is the timing right?
  • Consider their current solutions, gauging the urgency or need for our offerings.
  • Evaluate their purchasing power and potential LTV (Lifetime Value).
  • Use our CRM tool HubSpot to track any past interactions, ensuring we don’t approach previously contacted or uninterested prospects.

Also consider factors like compatibility with our product's technical requirements, the potential for upselling or cross-selling in the future, and the potential customer's growth trajectory. HubSpot can be instrumental in helping categorize and score prospects based on these parameters.

3. First Contact

First impressions matter. Your initial outreach sets the tone for future interactions. Crafting a compelling first message can determine whether a prospect engages or disengages. 

There are three main avenues we use to contact prospects:

  • Email: The most traditional method of initial outreach, email offers a non-intrusive way to introduce oneself and the product. Tailored to address specific needs of the prospect, a well-crafted email outlines the value proposition, sets a clear call-to-action, and invites further conversation. 
  • Cold Calling: More direct than email, cold calling brings an immediate, human touch. It offers the chance for real-time questions, objections, and clarifications. Successful cold calls are based on thorough research, a clear pitch, and readiness to handle initial objections.
  • Social Media: Platforms like LinkedIn have become invaluable for sales outreach. Engaging with a prospect's posts, sharing insights, or sending a personalized direct message can establish rapport. Social media outreach requires a balance of professionalism and genuine interest, turning a cold prospect into a warm conversation starter.

Each prospect will appreciate a different approach, and it’s important to know which will have the strongest impact. 

When writing your email or phone scripts for the first time, check out our “Developing Phone and Email Scripts for Sales” subject.

Here are a few more tips for establishing first contact with your prospects:

  • Always approach with a solution-oriented mindset. Instead of leading with what our product does, lead with how it can resolve their specific pain points. 
  • Tailor your approach based on the prospect: An executive might prefer a concise email, while a tech prospect could appreciate a detailed product breakdown.
  • Mention any mutual connections or specific company news to demonstrate genuine interest.
  • For colder prospects, consider starting with softer touchpoints. This could be a comment on a LinkedIn post, a shared article, or even attending a webinar where the prospect is presenting. By the time you send that first email or make the call, they should have had some positive interaction with you. Mention any mutual connections or specific company news to demonstrate genuine interest.
  • Use HubSpot to automate and schedule your outreach, but the message should always feel personal.
  • Always end with a clear CTA, guiding them towards the next interaction, be it a demo, call, or a product brochure.

4. Follow-up and Maintain Contact

Persistence pays off in sales. If a prospect doesn’t respond initially, don’t get disheartened. A majority of sales require multiple touchpoints.

If the initial contact goes unanswered, it's essential to remain persistent without becoming a nuisance. Timing is crucial. Wait a few days between follow-ups to give prospects time to respond. Use this gap to gather more information which could bolster your follow-up messages. 

Here are some more tips on how to handle the follow-up with prospects:

  • Schedule follow-ups at regular intervals, varying your approach and content.
  • Utilize multi-channel outreach: If an email goes unanswered, try connecting on LinkedIn or through a phone call.
  • Offer value in each follow-up, such as sharing an insightful industry article or a relevant case study.
  • Track all interactions using HubSpot to ensure timely and appropriate communication.

Maintain contact

Building relationships and keeping a warm pipeline are vital. Prospects could be interested, but might not always be ready to make a decision immediately. That’s why maintaining contact ensures you're top of mind when they are. 

Here are some tips for how to maintain contact with prospects.

  • Segment such prospects and enroll them in nurturing campaigns. Tools like Mailchimp can automate this process, sending periodic content that keeps us top of mind.
  • Share company updates, product enhancements, or industry insights.
  • Engage them through webinars, workshops, or invite them to company events.
  • Newsletters, personalized industry insights, or even a congratulatory message on a recent achievement can foster goodwill.
  • Regularly revisit and reassess their readiness, adjusting your approach based on their feedback.

The key is to add value with each interaction, positioning yourself as a trusted advisor rather than just a salesperson.

5. Demonstration

If your prospect has asked for a demonstration of the product, you’ve moved from prospecting to sales — which is a good thing! But a product demo is often the make-or-break moment. Showcasing our solution effectively can convert them into a customer, so preparation is crucial. 

Here are some tips for how to conduct demos with sales prospects:

  • Have a clear structure: Introduction, main features, benefits, use cases, and Q&A.
  • Understand the prospect’s specific pain points and customize the demo to address them. Instead of a generic product walkthrough, focus on use-case scenarios that resonate with their business challenges.
  • Engage them throughout, asking for feedback and addressing any concerns on the spot.
  • Ensure the setup is seamless, especially for virtual demos. We use Zoom for virtual demonstrations.
  • And always, always have a contingency plan. Technical hitches can happen, but having a backup can save the day.

6. Overcoming Objections

Even the most promising prospects can have reservations. Rejections or concerns are part and parcel of sales. It’s how you handle them that counts.

  • Train yourself on common objections and prepare data-backed rebuttals.
  • Active listening is crucial here. Listen to their concerns before offering solutions, ensuring the prospect feels understood.
  • Sometimes, a simple product feature explanation can resolve an objection. Use testimonials, case studies, or third-party reviews to validate your points.
  • If a concern can’t be addressed immediately, promise to revert and do so promptly.

We keep a repository of common objections and their resolutions handy — you can access the subject here.

7. Closing

The culmination of all your efforts — closing. It’s the final hurdle in prospecting and requires a combination of persuasion and addressing logistical concerns. 

But even at this stage, a deal can fall through if not handled meticulously. Here’s how you can ensure a successful closing:

  • Clearly outline the product pricing, implementation timeline, and support structure.
  • Offer trial periods or discounts if it aligns with our sales strategy.
  • Collaborate with the account management and legal teams to expedite contract processes.
  • Once closed, ensure a smooth handoff to the customer success team, setting the foundation for a fruitful relationship.

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