B2B Sales 101 - What is sales prospecting and is it worth the effort?

Leanne Clegg

Aug 12, 2020 • 2.5 min read

What do salespeople and gold miners have in common?

(If you’ve come here expecting a punchline to a joke, you may be disappointed 😬)

The answer is… They both carry out prospecting.

During the gold rush in the 1800s, gold miners would wade through cold waters on riverbeds to find nuggets of gold amongst the dirt in order to, hopefully, lead to a life of wealth. This was known as prospecting.

Since then the term has been coined by sales teams. They may not pick up an axe and physically dig for gold, but, like gold miners, they’re constantly searching through lists of leads and businesses to find their ideal customer opportunities and “strike it gold”.

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So, what is sales prospecting in 2020?

Prospecting is the process used by sales teams to identify and develop business opportunities by finding and researching potential customers or clients, using relevant data.

It’s the first stage of selling and, when done properly, it makes sure you’re only contacting leads and opportunities of value, at the right time.

Although mainly the role of SDRs and BDRs to pre-qualify leads, it also has a role throughout the whole sales process.

As new leads enter your sales pipeline, it’s important to figure out if these businesses or people are actually the right fit for you. This not only prevents time wasting further down the sales funnel when you continue to try and chase lost leads or bad fits, but also helps to ensure your marketing channels are working and the messaging is resonating with the right audience.

Ricochet makes sales prospecting 3x faster than manual methods

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Prospecting at the top of the funnel involves attempting to make contact with brand new opportunities that look like potential buyers. To determine this, research is usually carried out by using a range of sources and tools that help sales reps determine which businesses to reach out to, find the right people, understand who they’re targeting and figuring out when the best time to reach out is.

Further down the funnel, prospecting can mean reaching out to previously found leads that have since gone cold through calling, email and other forms of communication to try and encourage them to re-evaluate your product and service for their needs.

Is prospecting worth the effort?

Although an important part of the sales process, many salespeople hate prospecting. It can take time, and if done badly, yield minimal success, giving it a bad reputation and something sales reps either avoid completely or cut corners with.

But, if done properly and thoroughly, it can completely change your sales pipeline for the better.

We’ve spoken to many salespeople who do or manage prospecting in their businesses and written a guide with some proven tips and techniques that are guaranteed to make your prospecting time a success.

Conclusion

Sales prospecting may seem difficult and time consuming, but it’s so worthwhile to make the most of your conversations.

At Ricochet, we want to make life easier for small businesses and sales teams. We’ve just launched a new free Chrome extension for sales teams everywhere - It helps you research leads and customers faster and easier than anything before - making prospecting less of a burden and giving you more time back to hit your targets! Download and start using it today.

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