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How to Master the Art of Sales Prospecting with Alex Newmann

Sales prospecting is the process of finding and reaching out to potential customers. In other words, it’s step zero of outbounding. If done right, sales reps’ can get much closer to sealing the deal with minimal or no objections.

In session 9 of our Outbound for Dummies series, Alex Newmann (Founder and CEO of Newmann Consulting Group) talks about How to Master the Art of Sales Prospecting, i.e. how to cross the first hurdle of the sales process.

Below is an excerpt from his session. But before we look at his session, let’s understand the difference between leads and prospects.

They may or may not be a good fit for your business. It’s a list of contacts that have not yet been qualified. Leads are generated through inbound sales or marketing efforts such as campaigns, blogs, events, social media, etc. Here, the contacts have already shown some interest in your brand or product.

These contacts have been qualified and matched to your ICP and buyer persona. They are most likely to purchase your product/service. Prospects could be leads who showed interest in your brand or product previously or contacts who have never engaged with you.

As they say, all prospects are leads, but not all leads are prospects.

Sales prospecting happens at the start of the sales process. You need a list of qualified prospects to move the needle through the entire sales process.

Let’s head to Alex’s session. 

TAM and Prospecting

TAM is the Total Addressable Market, also, the total market for your product. This includes everyone in the world who could buy your product.

The biggest mistake that people make is they struggle to find their target audience. Alex says sales reps don’t define whom they’re looking for in a strong and meaningful way. And that is why there are so many cracks in the start. 

If it’s a larger sales cycle, then there are multiple people involved. You will have internal champions in that company who will actually see a difference once they use your product. And then you have your decision-makers, who will be the ones behind the purchase decision.  

To have a robust prospecting process, you must understand how champions and decision-makers are a part of that buyer decision process. 

Research these Characteristics

What are some traits that you should research to learn more about your prospect and their company? Alex shares three broad categories that help strengthen his research.

1. First, you need to look at the searchable characteristics. Searchable refers to things you can find online or on any contact database like Seamless. Look at the company size, valuation, recent funding, hiring spree, etc. With this, you can narrow down your scope.

2. Next, move to the non-searchable characteristics. These are traits you won’t know are true or false until you speak to someone in the company. Eg: A tool they use, a recent investment, their value prop, titles in the company, etc.

3. Now, it’s time to learn about the persona. Alex says there are 3 things that you must learn about an individual -

i. What are their roles and responsibilities? Their individual pains and issues. 
ii. What do they care about deeply? Eg: their career aspirations, do they like to job hop, the culture they look for at work, etc. 
iii. What do they like to do daily? Learn how that’s different than what they care about.

When They’re Not a Good Prospect

There are a few reasons why your leads cannot turn into your prospects. If they fall into any of the buckets below, it’s time to bid goodbye to them.

1. Your leads are outside your target market. This immediately cancels them out from going past the funnel.

2. They aren’t qualified today. You could reach out to them next quarter or sometime in the future to bring back any interest. But at the moment, they can’t be your customers.

3. They are yet to be qualified. Put them in the ‘not yet’ bucket when they don’t tick all the boxes on your checklist. It’s on you to decide if you want to chase these prospects or not. 
This is your qualifier framework. Be very disciplined about which list of prospects you put in the qualified bucket. 

Hot tip: Segment all your current customers to understand their values, the reason for purchase, pain points, etc., to understand which type of prospects you should be going after. 

How to Go After Your Prospects

You find your qualified list of prospects, and now what? Here are a few tips that Alex shares to reach out to your potential customers.

1. Look at your low-hanging fruit. Have a repeatable process to go out and find someone. Understand the deal sizes since the way you pitch to different deal sizes will always be distinct.

2. Relevance takes a higher footing over personalization. If there’s no relevance, your outreach will look like a typical bait-and-switch message.

3. In your sequence, have a set of activities to highlight the problem, teach them something, be ultra-relevant, and provide a lot of value.

4. Remember, timing is everything. If they don’t respond to your first message, it’s mostly because your product is not a good fit right now.

5. A good combination of email, phone, door-knocking (how Alex started in sales), social media, events, etc., is the way to go. The idea is to get really good at one or two of the channels. 

Set your Outreach Apart Like This

Once you know whom you’re reaching out to and have a validated list of prospects - the ball is in your court to make your outreach count. This is how you can set it up for success:

1. Look at how people in your company have generated revenue and what has worked for them. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Emulate what’s already working for your team.

2. Understand the ins and outs of your buyers. Talk to your buyers who really know their stuff - you need to know everything about them. Also, listen to customer interviews and recordings. Try doing the customer case studies yourself for better exposure.

3. Understand the buying process. Why would the buyer really buy? And what does the process look like? These will help you fix all loose holes. 

In the end, you need to be the person who can be an expert and guide your prospects throughout the process.

We asked Alex - How can sales reps stay on top of their game? He said they must stay on top of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Podcasts to channel the right information. What’s even more important is to be curious and never stop learning.

If you want to listen to Alex’s entire session recording, check out the video below. 

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