Whether you are a new sales rep or seasoned veteran, if you are looking for the best outside sales tips, the first place you should focus is on field sales prospecting. You cannot grow your company’s revenue (or your commissions) without a steady stream of qualified leads. This all comes down to effective prospecting.

If you are new to outside sales, you may be wondering how to start outside sales prospecting effectively. If you’ve been around the block for a while, you may be wondering what techniques you can use to find better, higher quality leads consistently. You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll take a look at the best ways to start, ways to ensure you have a steady stream of qualified leads, and some of the best field rep prospecting programs.  



How To Start Outside Sales Prospecting

Sales prospecting is all about driving in new opportunities to turn prospects into customers. But, effective sales prospecting means only focusing your time on leads who already need for your product and have a higher chance of converting into customers. These are qualified prospects.

Consistent lead generation of those types of leads is the key to long-term success and growth for your company. Quality, qualified leads turn into long-term customers and advocates for your company versus customers who churn early on. Your goal should be to only drive in these types of prospects. But, especially if you are new to outside sales, you are probably wondering where to start? The key place to focus your efforts on setting up effective outside sales prospecting is with your sales funnel.


Setting Up Your Sales Funnel For Optimized Prospecting

A sales funnel clearly defines the strategic flow of your prospects through your sales process and along their customer journey. It is set up in the shape of a funnel because at each stage of the process you will naturally have leads drop out. Whether that is on your prospects’ end or your end as you weed out unqualified leads. Ideally, as the prospects move through the sales funnel, the closer you get to the stage of closing the deal, you are only left with quality prospects that have a higher chance of closing.

Having a clearly defined and optimized sales funnel will help drive efficient sales prospecting and ensure you are always spending your time on quality leads. A sales funnel will also allow you to clearly see other areas of your sales process that should be tweaked. Especially if you have a large number of prospects dropping out of your funnel at certain points.

Sales funnels can vary in specifics, with some sections broken down further, but the core parts of an optimized sales funnel include:

  1. Awareness and Discovery -
    Identify your potential customer and their pain points, qualify that they are relevant leads, connect with your prospect, and identify each prospect’s specific needs.

  2. Evaluation and Education -
    The prospects are qualified even further through company research. You are now able to confidently offer solutions tailored to their specific needs and prepare for any specific objections.

  3. Intent To Close and Purchase -
    Based on qualification and the needs you have identified, an offer is made, objections are addressed and negotiations are completed. Ideally, at this phase the prospects become customers.
  4. Loyalty-
    The deal has already closed and the main goal is providing a quality product or service. Creating brand loyalty builds long-term customers who have a high chance of converting with upsells or cross-sells.

Once you have established your sales funnel, you should focus your efforts on refining the initial lead generation and research and qualification of those leads. This will result in higher quality sales prospecting and ensure you always have a sales funnel full of qualified prospects. If you have better qualified prospects in your funnel, once you are making them an educated offer of your product or service there is a much higher chance of the deal closing.


Define Your Ideal Customer To Find Better Leads

One of the best ways to refine the process for the top of your sales funnel is to clearly define your ideal customer. Create a customer profile or avatar to drill down specifics of what your ideal customer looks like. Create a checklist of who your ideal customer is. Defined by things like:

  • Their industry
  • Size of the company
  • Geographical location (are they within your territory?)
  • Annual revenue
  • Years In business
  • Their core pain points
  • Do they currently use any software? (if you are selling SaaS for example)
  • Motivations of the decision-maker(s)

Once you have defined your ideal customer, you inevitably research leads as they come in. Oftentimes 50% of the leads that come in are not a good fit for what you sell. Not researching your lead or client is one of the top inefficient sales prospecting practices. Your detailed research will help you gather as much information about the lead and allow you to determine if they are a fit and align with your ideal customer profile.

Remember, you only want to spend your time selling to leads who fit your ideal profile. These leads are qualified prospects and these are the only prospects that should be filling your sales funnel. Focusing only on leads that fit your brand offerings will greatly increase the number of deals actually closed.


Map Your Opportunities For Better Field Sales Prospecting

Our brains absorb and comprehend visual data much faster than line item data. It is also much easier and more effective to stay on top of opportunities if we can visualize them. So it only makes sense to utilize this when it comes to our sales prospecting.

More than likely you are working within a particular sales territory. So, to optimize your field sales prospecting even further you should be visually mapping your opportunities within your territory. Now that you can define your ideal customer and qualify your prospects, pin them on a geographical map of your territory. This allows you to plan your strategy most efficiently and effectively to contact your prospects. It also allows you to prioritize them visually.

Prioritizing your prospects is critical to ensuring you are first focusing your efforts on the ones that are most likely to become customers. Separate your prospects into several buckets based on the level of interest they are already showing, their chance of closing, and/or the level of revenue. Then focus on one bucket at a time with the higher revenue and higher interest prospects coming first.

To combine prioritizing and mapping, you can color-code each bucket or group of prospects visually on your territory map. Then you can quickly differentiate the high, mid, and low priority prospects. This will help to effectively plan your strategy from there to move them through the rest of the sales funnel.


Get Ahead With Field Rep Prospecting Programs

Now that you have effective sales prospecting in place, if you are looking to elevate your prospecting strategies and get ahead, it is time to look at outside sales prospecting software. Many of these software programs automate much of the process. Saving you time and energy on the front end. Allowing you more opportunities to close more deals.

You can automate filtering out your ideal customers from a bunch of leads, mapping your opportunities, and even your sales cadence so no one falls through the cracks. There are some great free and paid sales prospecting programs available to help optimize your process. Combine several tools to give yourself a powerful advantage in efficient, and more importantly, profitable prospecting. Here are a few examples:


LinkedIn

One of the best and free prospecting tools you should be using today includes the professional networking site LinkedIn. Use this tool to view your prospect’s company page and research more information like who the key decision-makers are, recent company news, product launches, industry news, and more. With LinkedIn, you can qualify your prospects even further and arm yourself with information to make more educated offers to them.


Datanyze

If you are a B2B company, one tool you should definitely take advantage of is the technographic tool Datanyze. Their unique platform helps you determine the different software tools, online services, and products your prospect is currently using. So, then you can be sure you are targeting the right prospects who need for your product. One key feature is that you’ll know when a prospect stops using a competitor’s product so you can make contact when they are looking for a better option.


Hubspot Prospects Tool

Being able to identify visitors to your company’s website that you should really focus your time on is key. This is exactly what the Hubspot Prospects Tool does. You can track all of the visits and see who is interacting with your site the most. Weed out the visitors who show more interest and are more likely to be a qualified prospect that you should follow-up with. With the Hubspot Prospects Tool, you can also easily filter and organize these target visitors by factors like company size and location.


Map My Customers

Having a good CRM that meets your needs is the key tool you should focus on for sales prospecting. A good CRM will increase your efficiency by reducing the time spent on manual activities. An even better CRM will help automate your prospecting and mapping. This is exactly why Map My Customers was built.

Map My Customers was built specifically for the outside sales rep and operates just as effectively on the go as on your desktop. You can automate your prospect qualification through advanced spatial filtering. Also, group and prioritize your leads and visualize them on your territory in color-coded pins. You can also visualize your sales funnel to spot more opportunities. Automate everything from your sales cadences to your check-ins. Increase your sales prospecting efficiency by optimizing your sales route and find nearby leads that fit the ideal criteria of your customers.

These are just a few examples of some great tools available. Check out this article for more great sales prospecting automation tools.


Wrapping It All Up

Hopefully, now you have a better idea of exactly where to start for optimized outside sales prospecting and ways to continually find better leads. By following the steps and techniques above, as well as utilizing some of the best sales prospecting programs available to you, you can quickly get ahead in the game.

Set yourself and your company up for success and long-term revenue growth with effective sales prospecting.