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Common prospecting problems and how to address them

Common prospecting problems and how to address them

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Prospecting is an obvious go-to strategy, but sometimes, it just doesn’t quite go to plan. Follow our guide to tackle common obstacles you might encounter head-on, helping you stay ahead of the competition.

Your B2B outreach prowess can take a little practice. Lucky for you, we’re well-versed in this subject here at Sopro. Stick with us, and you’ll take pole position in no time. 

In this quick guide, we’ll discuss some common issues you might encounter at the first stage of your outreach. From navigating a crowded market to simplifying complex pitches, our team of experts has put their heads together to help you navigate some of those trickier elements, helping you stand out from the masses.

Before discussing specifics, we have a few tokens of wisdom to help you cement your tone and personality. 

  • Your first interaction with any prospect needs to be focused on them on their product or service. Keep it simple – introduce one or two key points to begin with.
  • Avoid adding links outside of your email. Your goal should be getting them to book a meeting, so ensure this remains the primary focus.
  • Be confident, speak to them on a personal level, keep it brief and avoid the hard sell straight off the bat.
  • Show that you’ve done your research and make it relevant to why you’re reaching out. However, be sure not to lay it on too thick.

While this guide continues to tackle some of the common issues you might encounter, check out our golden rules for email prospecting. Data-backed and expert lead, our golden rules are the perfect groundwork to lay ahead of your multi-channel prospecting ventures!

1. Writing perfect proposals


Crafting compelling content that resonates with prospects

One of the reasons this can be a source of your challenges could be that you haven’t taken a detailed look at your target audience. 

Digging into your ICPs and Buyer Personas will not only help you understand their challenges and how you can solve them, but it can also help you understand even more elements critical to successful B2B sales outreach. 

This level of detail provides a broader view of the company, the buying process, where they consume information and their decision-making influence. 

Don’t take a shot in the dark – target businesses more likely to find value in your offering.

Jargon and overly technical language

While your outreach needs to show that you’ve researched the prospect and the business/industry they operate in, it’s easy to incorporate jargon. Whether trying to show your expertise within their field or diving straight into a spot of problem-solving, it’s integral not to inundate your prospect with technical language. 

You must balance technical accuracy with accessibility and a narrative that captures interest and builds trust. 


Where all else fails, keep it simple. Use clear and concise language that focuses on the prospect’s needs and how your solution will benefit them.

To quickly outline how you can achieve this, we’ve got an example of a prospecting email below:

Example prospecting email

Want to know why this is a valuable example? Let’s get into it:

  • It’s brief – no excessive essays here.
  • Keep things simple here; no acronyms or complex language are present.
  • The message is personal, chatty, warm and breezy. It’s clearly from a person, not a business.
  • Take another read. Hopefully, it feels like it was quickly typed rather than a regurgitated piece of considered marketing collateral.
  • Focuses squarely on an actual pain point – meeting new legislation requirements.
  • It is exploratory: We’ve heard others are having problems (and, by implication, able to sort them out), leading into, ‘How are things going for you? ‘’.
  • Outlines what the solution can provide without too much detail.

2. Navigating a crowded market


Operating in a crowded marketplace complicates outreach due to heightened competition and market saturation. Standing out becomes challenging, with numerous businesses vying for the same audience’s attention. 

Prospects face information overload, reducing engagement rates. Moreover, similar offerings make differentiation difficult, necessitating unique value propositions. Secondly, trust-building becomes more arduous, as consumers are sceptical amidst numerous choices. 

Effective outreach in such environments requires innovative strategies, targeted messaging, and continuous adaptation to consumer preferences to maintain relevance and visibility. That’s where our nifty solutions come in handy.


Harness multi-channel outreach and buyer intent

Using buyer intent tools in multi-channel prospecting helps identify potential B2B buyers based on their online behaviour and engagement. Integrate these insights across email, social media, paid ads, and content marketing to target prospects showing purchase intent to reach them in the right place at the right time. 

You can then also tailor your messaging to their specific interests and needs. This approach maximises engagement, enhances lead nurturing, and increases conversion rates by reaching buyers where they are most active and receptive.

Quote from Sopro Client Director

Highlight unique value propositions

Highlighting unique value propositions is crucial for differentiation in an overcrowded marketplace. It can be your secret weapon! 

While the price and features of your product or service might not significantly set your solution apart, emphasising exceptional after-sales and customer service can create a distinct competitive edge. 

In markets with poor service records, showcasing your commitment through tangible examples of going above and beyond can resonate powerfully with prospects who might be bombarded with choices. 

Additionally, promoting your company’s ethos, such as a solid commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) or emphasising unique operational approaches, like partnering instead of outsourcing, can attract attention. More notably, companies who take the time to invest in a social purpose have reported generating 20% more revenue than those who don’t.

These smaller yet impactful differentiators can help your brand stand out and build trust amidst competition.

Leverage personalised and targeted messaging to differentiate your approach

If you’ve read any of our other posts *hint*, you should know by now that personalisation can significantly enhance your outreach efforts. 

Sopro how-to

Email personalisation

Elevate your emails from boring and impersonal and see the results.

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When differences in competitor offerings are minimal, the tone of your approach becomes critical. You can distinguish your message by avoiding the distant, business-speak pitches of competitors and opting for a unique, personalised tone—whether jokey and informal or heartfelt and personal. 

This approach achieves two key outcomes: memorability and differentiation. A memorable pitch can keep you top-of-mind and win over potential customers, making them more likely to engage with your brand. Additionally, a distinctive tone suggests that your solution is different and more aligned with their needs. 

This personalised approach to B2B outreach increases the likelihood of a reply and fosters a warm reception during follow-up interactions, paving the way for successful conversions. Teams that make the most of this tactic often see 4x higher click-through rates.

Show off your experience

Don’t be shy! Demonstrating sector-specific experience can significantly enhance your outreach. 

Highlighting your experience with numerous clients in a particular sector implicitly suggests that your solution is tailored to their needs. Explicitly stating why many sector-specific clients choose your solution lets you emphasise the most relevant benefits. 

Go further if needed and reference other businesses in the sector that have approached you due to common industry challenges. This subtly positions your solution as uniquely suited to address these issues.

This tactic is a solid method of differentiating yourself from competitors and sparking interest from potential clients by showcasing your deep understanding and proven track record in their field.

3. Stirring interest where there’s no immediate need


Prospecting to an audience that does not immediately need your solution can hinder outreach success due to a lack of relevance and urgency. 

Potential customers are less likely to engage or respond positively without a pressing need, perceiving your message as unsolicited and irrelevant. This can lead to lower engagement rates and a waste of resources. 

Additionally, targeting an indifferent audience can damage your brand’s reputation, making future outreach efforts even more challenging. Effective outreach requires identifying and focusing on prospects with a clear, immediate need for your solution, ensuring higher engagement and conversion rates.

But it’s not all doom and gloom… what if we told you there was a benefit to striking while the iron is cold?


Buyer intent comes out on top

By monitoring buyer intent, you track campaign activity on your site, revealing prospects’ interests even if they haven’t replied directly. This insight enables proactive engagement, allowing you to nurture relationships by addressing their needs and providing value over time with targeted outreach.

Understanding buyer intent helps you identify potential future needs, tailor your messaging, and stay top-of-mind. It transforms silent prospects into warm leads, increasing the chances of conversion when their need arises. Making the most of buyer intent data is crucial for sustained engagement and long-term sales strategy.

Strike while the iron is cold

Businesses often prospect when the immediate need for their solution isn’t felt for several reasons. 

Sales-led motives require a filled funnel year-round, as targets and quotas persist regardless of the season. For companies with long decision times, year-round prospecting is essential to nurture leads until they’re ready to close. And that’s why you shouldn’t stop prospecting during those summer months… (check out our report).

Secondly, innovators may introduce solutions to problems yet to be recognised, creating future demand. If you’ve already reached out in a personalised way with a promising solution – zing! Your brand comes to mind first.

Continuous prospecting ensures a steady pipeline, prepares for future sales, and educates potential customers about emerging solutions.

Educate prospects with social proof

Making the most of social proof in outreach can significantly enhance your message, even if a prospect doesn’t need your service immediately. 

Mentioning that notable companies have recently implemented your solution prompts prospects to consider what these companies recognised that they haven’t. This curiosity can lead to increased engagement. 

Go even further by backing social proof with tangible results. This can strengthen credibility and interest, making your offer more compelling. 

Build relationships through consistent, value-driven communication

Relationship building through value-driven, multi-channel outreach is crucial when there is no immediate need for your product or service. 

Consistent, value-rich communication nurtures trust and keeps your brand top-of-mind. Think social proof, valuable data-backed reports, or even video. It ensures that when the need arises, prospects turn to you first. 

Engaging across multiple channels—email, social media, and calls—reinforces your presence and caters to diverse preferences, increasing the likelihood of positive engagement. 

This strategic approach to your B2B outreach transforms cold leads into warm prospects, ready to act when the time is right.

4. Dealing with existing suppliers


When prospecting, you might encounter the challenge of a business already having a supplier. This can hinder B2B outreach as it reduces their openness to considering new options. 

Existing supplier relationships often involve established trust, contracts, and satisfaction with current solutions, making it challenging to persuade prospects to switch. Additionally, the effort and cost associated with transitioning to a new supplier can deter prospects. 

This loyalty can make entering the market more complex, requiring stronger value propositions and differentiation strategies. So, let’s get into it.


Dig into the data

One example: If you are a tech supplier, good data (like Sopro) will include technographic filters. 

Clever use of this data allows you to build an audience of people who signed with a competitor 10-11 months ago, so you can contact them just as they are thinking about alternatives.

Talk about timely solutions!

Address the situation directly

The first thing to do is to address the situation directly: this can work wonders for preventing the slew of knee-jerk polite declines that inform you that a supplier/solution is already in place.
‘I recognise that you may already have a supplier, but…’
And it’s how you handle what follows the ‘but’ that can make or break your prospecting mail.

Without even scratching the surface of the potential reasons for changing, let’s just try and list out a few that should help you review exactly how to position yourself.

  • Has something externally changed (supplier gone bust/merged, legal change or availability of new features) that would create conditions that are right for change?
  • Do you specialise in or have an excellent track record in supporting a specific sector/department?
  • Are there specific cost savings that are instrumental in swinging decisions at play?
  • Will a reputation for innovation sway minds?
  • Is customer service being regularly flagged as poor for existing suppliers/solutions?

You must carefully select prospects who are experiencing (or, at least, likely to be experiencing) the same pain points with their existing arrangement. If there are various reasons, you should group each into its own campaign.

Highlight the gaps in the current supplier’s offerings or pain points they may be experiencing

Get ahead! By identifying and emphasising specific shortcomings or issues the prospect faces with their current supplier, you create a compelling narrative that your solution can address these unmet needs. 

This approach underscores your understanding of their challenges and positions your offering as a superior alternative. 

Demonstrating how your product or service can resolve these pain points more efficiently or cost-effectively than the current supplier can drive the prospect to reassess their loyalty and consider switching to your solution.

Finesse the “polite decline”

Regarding B2B prospecting, getting a response even when a prospect isn’t interested can be a valuable asset when reaching out to those who already have existing suppliers. 

These responses indicate that your email was read and considered, demonstrating a level of engagement. They recognise your effort and show the recipient’s willingness to respond thoughtfully rather than ignore your message. 

You can initiate a conversation by swiftly replying, highlighting your attentiveness and responsiveness. This approach allows you to address specific concerns or gaps in the current supplier’s offerings. 

Utilising every response effectively transforms a potential rejection into an opportunity to further explain your value proposition and build a relationship. Here at Sopro, we’ve seen that you can turn 13% of declines into active opportunities by doing this.

5. Simplifying complex pitches


Making technical and complex solutions easily understandable

Pitching a technical or complex solution can create barriers in prospecting due to potential misunderstandings and perceived difficulty in implementation. 

Go in too strong, and you may leave prospects overwhelmed by technical jargon and complex details, leading to disengagement. 

Pitching to a specialised audience

When pitching to a prospect in a niche industry, it can be tempting to do your research as normal and open with an overly complex message, trying to highlight how you understand the complexities of their industry or business. 

It’s essential to have a good idea of the solution you are trying to solve but avoid going down a rabbit hole. If you attempt to echo the sophistication of their product or service but miss the mark, you may fail to resonate with the prospect and end up lacking credibility.  


Keep it simple

Your best bet, especially when reaching out to a prospect for the first time, is to keep it simple.

Simplifying your outreach and clearly articulating your solution’s benefits in relatable terms is essential to overcoming these barriers. Ensuring the prospect understands the value and ease of integration can significantly improve engagement and interest in your offering.

Don’t be tempted to include outgoing links in your outreach to help explain the benefits of your solution early on. The aim of the game is to get them on a call. Ensure your call to action doesn’t lead them away from your outreach but helps them engage with you further.

This can be applied to more niche industries. Don’t try to show off complex knowledge; ask them questions. Showing that you want to understand what they do better so that you can provide them with the right solution will help increase positive engagement.

Problem-solving 101: work with the experts

Need even more valuable insights on elevating your prospecting game?

We launched in 2015 with a mission to revolutionise B2B outreach using world-class data, tech, and a team of experts. Initially focused on email, Sopro has evolved to offer a multi-channel, intent-based prospecting service, now serving over 600 companies globally.

With over 300 employees, Sopro starts meaningful sales conversations to help you sell more. We source your ideal prospects, engage them with personalised messages across multiple channels, and connect them directly to you when they are ready to talk business.

Want to know if Sopro’s multi-channel prospecting service can help your business sell more? Book your discovery call.

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