Updated February 3, 2022
Consistently hitting your sales goals can be a challenge. But sales consultants can achieve that by taking advantage of the right strategies and tools. For example, prospecting lists can be an excellent method for getting more out of your sales process. But what are prospecting lists, exactly? How do they work? And what are some actionable steps you can take today to optimize them?
How prospecting lists work
What they are
A prospecting list is essentially just a list of individuals or businesses you think are likely to buy from your company. If you sell mattresses, your prospect list could be filled with anyone you think will likely purchase a mattress shortly. The list can include businesses or individuals, and it should include basic company and contact information so your sales representatives can plan their prospecting activities.
How they help sales consultants reach their sales goals
Maintaining a list of prospects helps sales consultants work more efficiently and manage their time more effectively. The goal is to establish a solid base of potential clients to target with personalized outreach attempts and segmented marketing campaigns.
If you don’t maintain a list of prospects, you’re working in the dark. You would have to continuously look up prospects and contact them on an ad-hoc basis. That process can be highly inefficient and doesn’t allow you to spend as much of your time as possible on making pitches and closing deals.
14 tactics for optimizing your prospecting lists
Start with an ideal prospect profile
First thing’s first: you need to begin with an ideal customer profile (ICP) to optimize your prospecting lists and hit your sales goals.
There are a few ways to come up with this. But our favorite is to start with your top few existing customers. Build a profile for each one and compare and contrast those profiles to one another.
You should quickly get a great sense of where the overlap is. These areas are where your ideal prospect profile lies. Look at both personal and professional characteristics, like age, gender, job, marital status, race, religion, income level, and location. Focus on those demographics that are most relevant to your brand.
As you work, you could also consider using a tool like LeadLander to get easy access to the data you need to make more precise ideal prospect profiles.
Keep your intel organized
It’s essential for your sales consultants to keep all of the data they’re working with organized. Disorganized data tends to take longer to work with and is often confusing. You don’t want to deal with that while working through a prospecting list to hit your sales goals.
You may want to enlist the help of software with this part of the process. Using something like a CRM to automatically manage all of the data you’re dealing with can open up a ton of time for your sales consultants to focus on the other essential parts of the job. Here are a few of the things the right sales software can do for you:
- Lead scoring: Sales intelligence tools can score your leads based on the metrics you believe make a lead valuable.
- List builder and filters: A CRM can narrow your prospect list and help you find relevant leads for each product or service.
- Data cleansing: A great software will find inaccuracies in your data and correct them for you, and keep all of your data up-to-date.
- Alerts: Sales intelligence tools can alert you anytime your lead takes a step forward or backward – for example, if a user begins the purchasing process or stops using a particular tool.
With organized data, your sales force can spend less time hunting for information and more time closing deals.
Identify key players within an organization
If you’re in B2B sales, you have an added element of difficulty you need to work through while pursuing your sales goals. You have to make sure you’re speaking with someone inside of each company who can decide whether or not to buy from you.
Instead of doing this work on the fly, it’s a smart move to identify the key players within an organization before you contact them. This will ensure you don’t end up wasting any time pitching to people who can’t decide on your product.
There are multiple ways to go about this. But you might try using platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to zero in on the best-fit employees within a company.
Never stop refreshing your data
It’s also vital you never view your data as perfect and complete. As time passes, even the best-sourced information can become out-of-date. That’s why one critical component of optimizing your prospect lists is making sure you’re continually refreshing your data at set intervals.
You can do this yourself, but that would be very time-consuming. A better strategy is to invest in software that will constantly scan your sources for information and update your databases whenever it changes.
Don’t neglect email
Some sales consultants tend to under-utilize email to gather prospecting list information because it can feel outdated. However, 80% of buyers say they would prefer being contacted by sellers via email.
And if you reach out to buyers in the way they prefer to be contacted, you could find them more willing to communicate with you. So make sure that you’re reaching out via email at least as much as you reach out to prospects over the phone.
The best way to do this is by preparing an entire email sequence for your leads. You’ll know what content to send to move your lead along the purchasing journey over the coming weeks and months. Investing in a reliable email marketing tool can help you see open rates of email, click-throughs, replies, and bounce rates, so you can continue to refine your email sales process.
Ask for referrals
Referrals can be a very effective way to discover new prospects for your list. Generally, if you have a happy customer, they’ll be more than willing to provide you with referrals if you ask them to do so.
These referrals can be especially effective when they come from respected members of the same industry. So if you want to start getting more out of your prospecting lists, the answer could be to ask your existing customers to vouch for you with people they know who might also be interested in what you have to sell. Here are a few tips to abide by when asking for referrals:
- Know who to ask: Use your data to determine who to ask for a referral. Choose individuals who spend the most time in your tools or dashboard, have spent the most money on your products and services, or have provided positive feedback in the past.
- Build a relationship: Your first contact with your customer should not be a referral request. Build a relationship through friendly contacts before asking for a referral.
- Make it easy: Reach out to customers at a convenient time, and make sending a referral as easy as possible. Customers may be willing to respond with a quick text or email, especially if there is a referral bonus involved.
Become an expert
As a sales consultant, you know that a potential buyer isn’t always ready for the hard sell. Instead, they often begin their purchasing process by going through an information-gathering phase.
You can stand out from the competition during this phase if you become a valuable source of information for early-stage buyers. That means turning yourself into an expert on the industry you’re targeting and what customers in your audience need to learn about before being able to make a buying decision.
If you position yourself as an expert that a buyer can rely upon, they’ll remember it when they’re finally ready to make a purchase. Taking this step could make the leads on your prospecting list much more valuable than they would be otherwise.
Build a reputation for yourself on social media
Another way to build a more substantial prospecting list is to create a reputation and a following for yourself on social media. Get your name out there so people start thinking about you when they’re ready to purchase your product or service.
For professionals, LinkedIn is the place to do this. You can start building your network now by sharing high-quality, valuable posts on your page and interacting with other professionals in your target industry more consistently.
Work on your discovery call questions
Discovery call questions are a great way to get information from prospects that you’ll go back and target later on. But you need to make sure you’re asking discovery call questions that will provide you with the data you need to do this effectively.
It’s usually best to come up with these questions before the phone call. And you may need to change them based on the specific type of prospect you’re contacting.
Optimize your discovery call questions, and you’ll get the rich information you need to optimize your prospecting lists.
Keep following up
Once you build an optimized prospecting list, you don’t want to let it slip away due to inaction. That’s why it’s important to continue following up with the leads on your list for as long as it takes to convert them into a sale.
Don’t be too pushy about this. Keep in contact with your prospects at regular intervals so you stay fresh in their minds. Doing so will help you preserve the optimization gains you’ve made by following the other tips on this list.
Don’t work with unrefined cold lists
Purchasing cold lists from reputable vendors can be an excellent way to add more prospects to your pool of potential clients quickly. But if you’re going to use this strategy, it’s really important not to work with cold lists that are completely unrefined.
Some Cold Lists may contain what you’re looking for, but others could be worthless. You don’t want to waste time chasing leads you have no chance of converting.
That’s why, if you’re going to use cold lists, you should always go through them first. As you do, eliminate any names from the list you know you’re unlikely to convert. That way, you can spend your limited time working with viable prospects.
Confer with team members before calling
Sales professionals tend to be pretty independent workers. But as you put together your prospecting lists, it’s a good idea to swap yours with your coworkers. That’s because you could end up having many of the same names on your list that other salespeople in your organization may also have.
You don’t want multiple people in your company spending their energy pursuing the same lead. So develop a strategy to determine where there’s overlap. This can be a little time-consuming to do manually, so you may want to look for a tool to automate the process.
Understand what data points truly matter
Prospect lists can be complex, super simple, and everything in-between. Many salespeople believe that having more data on a prospect is always better. That’s technically true, but you don’t always need to include every piece of data on a potential buyer in your prospecting lists.
Instead, it’s a good idea to simplify your lists until they contain only the data that’s truly important to your prospecting strategy. This can make your outreach process more effective and efficient.
The specific data points that matter for your prospecting lists will depend on factors like:
- The industry you’re in
- The types of buyers you deal with
- The product you sell
- Your personal selling preferences
Know your prospects’ goals
Perhaps the most crucial tip for optimizing your prospecting lists is having a clear understanding of what your prospects want to achieve. This can shape every way you interact with your lists.
If you know that your prospects are typically attempting to reduce their operating expenses in your niche, this could inform the type of information you keep on your lists. It would also reveal the best strategy to use when reaching out to prospects on your list.
Optimize your prospecting process with LeadLander
Access to high-quality, up-to-date data is an integral part of getting as much out of your prospecting process as possible. And one of the best sources for that type of data is your company’s website.
But it’s tough to optimize your use of website visitor data without the right tool. That’s why you should check out LeadLander.
Our website visitor tracking platform makes it easy to identify who’s visiting your website and gauging their interest. You can use this information to continuously optimize your prospecting lists so you get as much out of them as possible.
We want you to see how effective our tool is for you. So we’re offering a free 14-day trial of LeadLander with no credit card requirements. Sign up here to experience the LeadLander difference for yourself.