Editor’s note: This guest blog post was written by Monika Götzmann the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group.
The quality of your sales team’s outbound communications is likely to have a huge bearing on your organisation’s overall success. However, while sales is often a case of following an established strategy, using the exact same prospecting methods all the time may needlessly restrict your reach and hinder sales performance.
Here, we take a look at four great sales prospecting ideas that your business could benefit from in 2017.
1. Establish Referral Alliances
One extremely valuable sales prospecting technique is to try to forge mutually beneficial referral alliances with other businesses. Some companies are reluctant to do this, automatically viewing all other organisations as competition, but the key is to target businesses offering completely different products or services to a similar audience.
“You’ll each receive qualified leads - not to mention, valuable insights about your buyers,” explains Aja Frost in an article written for the HubSpot Sales Blog. “From buying trends to suggestions for selling to specific prospects, you’ll [be able to] give each other a wealth of information.” Establish a list of non-competing brands, businesses or even stakeholders you share target audiences with.
The final shortlist should include a maximum of three options and management should draw up a set of guidelines, which should highlight the depth of the referral agreement. Referral alliances are usually bespoke but establishing a set of approved rules will help fast-track future multiple alliances and ensure internal priorities and legal requirements are clear.
2. Host Joint Events With Partners
Similarly, if you are able to network effectively and establish working relationships with other businesses, you can collaborate and host joint events. After all, events represent something of a prospecting goldmine, allowing you to identify high-quality leads and start to enter into dialogue with them.
Working with other companies is a great way to split hosting costs and attract a larger and more varied audience, because each company will have its own contacts and its own marketing methods. Attendees who trust your partners might also be more likely to trust you, and they may even view you as a source of authority in your industry.
3. Make Effective Use of Video
The power of video is undeniable, with it now accounting for more than 70 percent of all online traffic, according to Insivia. Meanwhile, HubSpot reports that 92 percent of online video consumers share the videos they watch with others, and including a video in an email can increase click-through rates by as much as 300 percent.
While businesses mainly use video for marketing, it can help with your prospecting too. Using a smartphone to record a short, personalized video for inclusion in an email to a prospect not only boosts the chances of it being opened and engaged with, it is likely to increase the chances of them moving down the sales funnel as well.
4. Use The Power of Networking and Advocacy
Finally, if your company is involved in B2B sales, a great way to improve your prospecting efforts is to reach out to friends, family members, former colleagues, business contacts and even past customers and ask if they can arrange a meeting with their boss or another higher-up in the business they work for.
Try to focus on contacts who work for organisations who could genuinely benefit from what you are selling and be as transparent as possible about your intentions. In the event that you are introduced to interesting prospects, focus on building trust and gaining contact information, rather than selling at the first opportunity.