Over the past four posts we’ve pitted various ways to prospect against each other.

They all came out swinging…

But who packs the real punch when it comes to prospecting?

Stepping into the ring were:

  1. Cold calling
  2. Cold emailing from a bought list 
  3. Exhibitions
  4. Networking/referrals.
  5. Advertising
  6. LinkedIn
  7. Content marketing
  8. Social prospecting the SoPro way

It’s time to reveal the referee’s verdict on who’s a bruiser, who’s a cruiser and who’s a complete loser.

The results are in – it’s time to separate the champs from the chumps.

Prospecting losers

Cold emailing

Let’s face it.

It looks tired, old and on its last legs.

The days of relying on bought data have been given the death knell by deliverability concerns, over-use and the rapidity with which data lists lose their currency and accuracy.

Email still continues to provide an excellent way to nurture leads, however. As they – almost – say in Scooby Doo, ’If it wasn’t for those damn lists, we’d have gotten away with it’.

Cold calling

Less an engaging tactic than an intrusive tactic.

Its costs may be low, but its likely returns are even lower.

However, never write off the power of a telephone call (as any salesperson will tell you). Just don’t see it as a prospecting tool.

Prospecting cruisers

Exhibitions

The cost of exhibiting is high – and many of the resulting sales are from finalising deals with existing customers rather than opening conversations with potential ones.

Nearly 80% of executive decision makers find just one new supplier at an event and the suppliers themselves often complain about the quality of leads they take away.

Exhibitions are certainly no longer the main show for prospectors.

Advertising

In a recent HubSpot survey traditional advertising contributed to only 3% of B2B companies leads and online advertising fared little better, with just 6%.

In many ways, advertising has been floored by the trademarked left then right jab provided by social selling and the informed buyer.

This is explained further in the link above but, in a nutshell, prospective buyers now want to explore whereas advertising wants to persuade.

The sucker punch is cost: advertising leads come with a very heavy price tag attached.

Networking/referrals

We admire the agility and the effectiveness of networking and referrals – and who can argue with the fact that nearly nine out of ten buyers kickstart their buying process with a referral?

It’s just that making them work can be a long, hard slog and scaling them up is nigh on impossible – there are only so many people you can network within an hour, and only 24 hours in a day.

For this reason, networking and referrals have not quite made it into the bruiser category.

But these tactics have…

Prospecting bruisers

LinkedIn

LinkedIn offers up to date data – unlike buying email lists.

It also offers insight into the person you are mailing and plenty of opportunities to connect and spark conversation with your target market on a personal basis.

It’s an essential tool and its only real drawback is it’s not all that light on its feet. It can take time to prospect directly from LinkedIn, but increasingly sophisticated advertising options are placing something of a spring back in its step.

It may sting like a bee, but it’s not quite floating like a butterfly yet.

Content marketing

The CMI may have declared that content is one of the most effective ways to promote a business but, looking at things in the ring itself, there’s a wide variance in performance and capabilities among prospectors.

More than six out of ten businesses:

  • Don’t have a documented content strategy
  • Find it hard to produce content consistently
  • Are not certain how to measure ROI from content

That’s quite a few punches being thrown without any real aim.

Having said that, content marketing will only get stronger as it boxes more cleverly.

It doesn’t look like King Content will be knocked off its throne for some time yet.

Social prospecting

We’re not musically trained, so while blowing your own trumpet is all good for Louis Armstrong, for us it’s a little tougher.

But like Louis, we also believe that ‘it don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing’, and for B2B prospecting we enter the ring swinging.

We do all the data heavy lifting for you – simply delivering  the heavy hitting. As a service SoPro comes at a cost but, minus set-up, this is only £2 per perfectly targeted and crafted email.

And with conversion rates of 4–7% you can expect a fantastic ROI, depending on your team’s close rate. Our customers tell us that the ROI is significantly cheaper than content marketing or paid ads.

SoPro mails are never perceived as spam by their recipients or by the mail filters – hence our 98.7% delivery rate and 40% open rate.

SoPro has reinvented email prospecting – and it’s found plenty of champions.

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