Successful marketing and sales have moved on from the old inbound vs. outbound marketing debates. Today, it’s all about account-based marketing (ABM), which blends some elements of both outbound and inbound marketing tactics together into a more comprehensive marketing strategy. But the many benefits of ABM are heavily reliant on identifying the most appropriate leads to connect with, and that requires organizations to invest a great deal more care and thought into lead generation. It’s hardly a coincidence that this trend comes at a time when classic lead capture strategies are losing their impact. Okay, some people might fill out that popup form to download your ebook, but do they love it and continue to move through your funnel? Do they even end up reading your white paper, or does it join the growing “to read” pile?
High-growth companies need to take a long, hard look at their lead generation programs and consider new tactics, like smart prospecting. Technically speaking, prospecting is a tactic from the sales department, which isn’t so surprising considering that sales and marketing are now much more closely. If you’re going to invest in ABM, after all, then your sales and marketing teams need to be fully on the same page when it comes to the traits that make someone a qualified lead. With phone-based sales prospecting, sales development representatives (SDRs) research companies to find persona matches and then make one cold call after another, trying to gather enough information and make enough of a connection for the lead to agree to stay in touch.
Using Smart Prospecting Techniques
Applying these techniques to a hybrid inbound-outbound approach, however, starts with just the research phase, and once you’ve got a list of pre-qualified targets in hand, the marketing team takes over with ad buys and outreach across channels to entice prospects to register as leads for nurture. To ease friction from the research process, smart prospecting uses new technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, helping you produce more relevant, qualified, targeted leads with less effort. Here’s why smart prospecting should be part of your lead generation program.
Smart Prospecting – Identify Leads That Are Truly Targeted
Successful prospecting means walking the narrow line between finding relevant prospects and finding enough volume of prospects to keep the top of the funnel full. It’s a tricky balance to hit. When you use the right third-party databases, you’ll be able to consider even more possibilities to make sure that you don’t miss out on leads that could be a good match for your solution.
Advanced filtering tools allow you to find the targets which are the best possible fit for your value proposition, not just anyone who might agree to hear more., That helps put you a step ahead when it comes to making that connection.
Hold More Relevant Conversations
When you can tap into detailed information about the prospect, you’ll be able to produce more personalized sales material, and surface the type and style of content that they prefer to consume.
Smart prospecting means that you know more about the lead before you even pick up the phone, which in turn helps you to hold more relevant and meaningful conversations. What’s more, this empowers you to choose the right messaging for each stage and type of prospect, because you’ll have the data you need each time.
Catch Each Lead at the Right Moment
Just like with jokes, timing can be everything for successful sales. Getting in touch at the right time can be the difference between a purchase-ready prospect, and an irritated contact who’s not interested in hearing anything about your company.
Smart prospecting helps you identify the right buyer signals, such as keywords used in searches and intent-oriented queries, so you can make that call or email to a lead who’s already sufficiently qualified. It also assists you to pick the right sources to consult for those signals, including review sites, industry publications, and general news sites as well as your own website and other assets.
Smart Prospecting – Scale Your Business
One of the main ways to grow your business is to grow your customer base, which in turn requires a larger stable of relevant leads. But broadening your list of prospects often comes with the risk of diluting the relevance of your leads, which could either undermine your ability to complete sales and/or lead to confusion about your core value proposition if you try to be all things to all leads.
Using strategies like building a lookalike audience is one way to expand your target base without compromising on the prospects being a “good fit” for your company’s solution.
Make Better Use of Employee Time
Classic prospecting might be effective and bring in qualified, relevant leads that convert well, but it might also be gobbling up an inordinate amount of work hours for your sales and marketing teams. On top of that, nobody enjoys making cold calls after cold calls, hearing repeated “no”s before finally scoring a rare “yes.”
Smart marketing allows you to free up employee time for more complex tasks that can’t be automatic, so they can dedicate more attention to completing deals and spend less time on frustrating and demoralizing outreach.
Smart Prospecting Is the New Rocket Fuel for Scalable Sales
By updating your lead generation program to include smart prospecting, you’ll be able to scale your business, improve the quality of your sales conversations, qualify leads more accurately, and find potential customers when they already have an orientation to purchase, helping boost profitability and improve your bottom line.