Insanely actionable ways to prospect for b2b leads – and one way you’d truly be insane not to use

Ryan Welmans

Posted on: September 4, 2019

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Category: Prospecting

Insanely actionable ways to prospect for B2B leads – and one way you’d truly be insane not to use

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Hey, we’re not ones to beat about the bush. If you haven’t realised the results that a Sopro lead generation campaign can deliver, it’s high time you did.

Here’s why you’d be insane not to – and some other insanely actionable prospecting tips to keep that pipeline pumping sales.  

Here’s how Sopro reinvented prospecting

When we started Sopro back in 2015 our goal was simple:

  • Cold calling was intrusive and increasingly ineffective
  • Bought email lists were out of date within a matter of months
  • Inbound marketing frequently required a heavy investment in content marketing and lead nurturing
  • In-house teams were spending hours researching prospects or paying agencies untold amounts to do the same

We knew there was a better way – and we knew we could make it work cost-effectively and at scale.

  • We leveraged the reach and currency of social media
  • Personalised plain text emails
  • Developed a hell of a lot of tech to analyse and find highly relevant prospects
  • And devised plenty of smart ways to ensure we hit nearly 99% deliverability

We now deliver:

    • 1m qualified and engaged B2B leads each year
    • Open rates that are consistently above 40%
    • Lead rates averaging between 4% and 7%
  • Client costs per lead are typically reduced by over 80%
  • And our B2B leads have converted into an estimated £50m worth of business 

We think you’d be insane not to give us a go  – but we do recognise that there are other insanely actionable ways to prospect.

So, here are some of our faves.

The power of referrals

Pop Art style comic book panel gossip girl whispering in ear secrets with speech bubble, rumor, word-of-mouth concept vector illustration

Source

  • 73% of executives prefer to work with sales professionals referred by someone they know (Source)
  • 84% of B2B decision-makers start the buying process with a referral (Source)
  • Referral leads convert 30% better than B2B leads generated from other marketing channels (Source)

Leads from referral marketing typically convert much better – so, don’t be shy, leverage those contacts and charm that network. 

Referrals are a two-way street, so make sure you refer people you know at meetings – it looks really helpful to the client. (And the hidden benefit is that those you refer will most likely reciprocate – or suffer bad karma for a few months.)

At the close of every meeting always ask ‘do you know anyone else who would benefit from my offering?’ Similarly, when responding to polite rejections by email from a prospect don’t miss the chance to ask if there is anyone else they know that you may be able to help? 

Digging deep

A dog digging deep in ground for b2b leads?

There can be a tendency to go for quantity over quality when researching prospects. It’s a suicidal tendency that’s almost guaranteed to kill off your sales team’s chance of success.

Sure, they’ll be busy – but so is a fly banging its head repeatedly against that same window pane.

What they need to be is productive.

Try to go beyond the size and revenue of companies when developing a pursuit strategy. Instead consider things like their attitudes and culture.

  • What verticals or sectors are most likely to convert?
  • Are they large multinationals, SMEs, government departments or charities?
  • Do they invest time and money in development?
  • Do they use consultants or prefer to keep things in-house?
  • Will they invest in long-term value or are they short-term priced?
  • Have they recently invested in a similar solution?
  • Exactly who is it you need to reach:

    • Which department or departments?
    • Are they C-graders, department heads or line managers?
    • Do you need to reach influencers as well as decision makers?

The closer fit to your offering each prospect is the greater their conversion rate will be.

And the window for successful sales will be open.

Log in to LinkedIn

LinkedIn logo

LinkedIn InMail can be incredibly effective as a prospecting tool – if it’s done right.

  • Less is more – ensure you are contacting the decision-makers and spend time trying to understand them (see Gain a deeper understanding above.)
  • Avoid being over-long – aim for little more than 100 words (that’s three perfectly-formed sentences)
  • Forget the big pitch – focus on a problem you may be able to help with
  • Delete those hyperlinks – your goal is to establish contact not provide encyclopaedic knowledge of whatever your marketing team has posted
  • Make it personal – mention mutual contacts or mention some news about their company you have researched
  • Include a call to action – suggest the next steps, usually as a question

Lead on LinkedIn

Linkedin influencer prospecting

By offering valuable information instead of pitch after pitch for your business, you invite responses, warm up potential prospects, give yourself a reason to open discussions and come to be seen as a trustworthy source. 

Better still, get your marketing team to ghostwrite these for you and focus on the results rather than the research.

Happy days!

Take advantage of face value 

perception

Blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn, email, telephone, Skype video calls and even good, old-fashioned snail mail.

They all have their place – but nothing can beat the power of face-to-face.

If you can put in a visit, do so. It helps develop rapport and shows you’re willing to go the extra mile (or maybe even 2-300 miles!).

After all, prospects buy products and services they like. But they tend to choose the ones offered by people they like.

Be good

ET - Extra terrestrial

Source

ET knew a thing or two about prospecting – he certainly managed to sell a few Speak & Spell units as TI spokesperson, Randy Robinett, confirmed: 

‘We expect to do five times the volume of our normal modules. No question we’ll make money: we’re getting a real jolt from this movie.’ 

But the main thing that ET knew about prospecting was how you can hotwire them simply by being good.

Whenever you have a chance be helpful: freely and generously share information, referrals, templates and proven processes. 

And then wait for the incoming sales calls to phone home.

Talk the talk

megaphone speaking

Events offer great networking opportunities. 

But, let’s be honest, how many of those business cards end up in the recycling? And how often do you consider follow-up calls as cold calls (or, at best, tepid calls)?

Now imagine you book yourself a speaker slot.

  • You’re listed in promotional material and online
  • You establish yourself as a thought leader and as a helpful go-to resource
  • You have plenty of reasons to follow-through sharing links to your presentation
  • You spark conversations on the day itself – and they come to you rather than you try and catch their eye as they wander pat your stand.

The old-school touch

best-fountain-pens

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How many prospectors blog, email, cold call, content market and/or connect on LinkedIn?

Unfortunately, I haven’t got the exact data at my fingertips – but the answer is a lot.

Now, imagine you’re targeting a senior exec.

How many handwritten notes on hand-addressed envelopes do they receive?

Not many – and actually stick a real stamp on it rather than use the franking machine and you are going to both stand out and make a statement.

Keep your message brief and to the point – and watch that fountain pen work its magic.

Old-school or new school?

From the fountain pen to the high-tech approach of Sopro – how will you be prospecting?

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