Prospecting tricks and treats: how to avoid zombies
“Darkness falls across the land
The selling hour is close at hand
Bad reps crawl in search of blood
To terrorize your neighbourhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for prospecting
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a lead funnel that gets really bad results and might not be GDPR compliant”
As the clocks go back and the year continues to march towards its conclusion, we thought we’d take a look at the horrors and delights of prospecting.
Done right, prospecting can deliver great results and generate huge amounts of new business. But be warned: done wrong, it truly is a horror show.
So how do you know the prospecting tricks from the treats? We’ve collated the scariest methods and the sweetest tactics so you don’t fall foul of the prospecting ghosts of businesses past.
Sending shivers with cold calling
If you’re going to sink your teeth into cold calling, prepare for a pain in the neck that would make Dracula wince.
We have long believed that the age of cold calling is dead. And it seems we’re not the only ones. In a recent university study of cold calls, some shocking truths were laid bare.
Only 28% of calls were answered. 55% were not answered at all and 17% were numbers which no longer worked. This means that 72% of sales agents’ had their time was completely wasted – talk about resting witch-face.
Of the calls that were answered, 1% became leads. Of all the calls made, just 0.3% became leads.
Buying a list of emails will have your sales team stumbling from email to email like the undead. There are a lot of problems with bought lists:
Missing or incomplete data. For example, you can have the wrong names or job titles attached to email addresses
Out-of-date information is commonplace. You’ll find email addresses that no longer exist, a ghost-like shadow of a once active recipient
Email addresses illegally harvested – like zombies munching on the brains of their victims
The ‘strategy’, such as it is, of bought email lists is simply the spammy practice of ‘spray and pray’. You simply send cold emails to as many people as the list allows (spray), and hope that at least a few people show an interest in their service (pray), despite the fact you know nothing about each other.
And they have probably already been spammed to within an inch of their lives by everyone else who bought this list.
You’ll harm your email deliverability and IP reputation, as well as your brand reputation.
Notice we’re just talking about bought lists here. Of course, you’ll need to create a list if you are prospecting but you can do it well. Our guide to creating a targeted prospecting list will keep you away from those zombies!!
The Nightmare of non-compliant data
GDPR and CANSPAM have changed the way data works, and while it’s a treat for the consumer, it can be a horror show for businesses:
GDPR sets a maximum fine of £18 million or 4% of annual global turnover – whichever is greater – for infringements.
Those falling foul of CANSPAM can be fined up to $43,280 per email
The simple fact is, with bought lists you have no idea about the provenance of the data, so you might be breaking these regulations without even knowing it.
Prospecting Treats guaranteed to lift your spirits!
So now you know the prospecting tricks to avoid, what about the prospecting treats?
Carefully map your market
Market mapping for prospecting allows you to target your ideal customers and know exactly who you are talking to. You can build your own list of targets based on:
You then have a list of prospects who you know you are in a position to help. All you need to do is convince them how you can improve their business.
Use live data
Using a huge, static database means you run into some of the same problems with bought lists. Out of date information is commonplace. With the average employee switching roles or companies every three years, datasets quickly degrade over time.
Every time we build a market map, or onboard a new client, our experts source every prospect just for that campaign.
Based on millions of emails sent each year, these rules offer practical advice on how to write email copy that lands.
Nail the call
Prospecting helps sales teams by allowing them to prepare for and structure a call in a way that just isn’t possible when cold calling. These sales call tips run through the kind of preparation that can increase your conversion rates, including:
Schedule the call at the best time
Do your research
Listen more than you talk
Good luck avoiding the prospecting tricks out there. Embrace the sweetness and light and enjoy the great results for your campaigns, while knowing that you’ve avoided the ghouls and ghosts of bad practice!