When we talk about sales prospecting, we’re looking at the act of finding new leads and acquiring new sales opportunities. It’s an essential part of any business and it can take a lot of time and effort to do right.
In the past, sales prospecting looked like flipping through the yellow pages, cold calls, physical sales presentations, and other energy-intensive activities. But the good news is that there are plenty of tools out there to help you automate huge parts of the process.
If you’re looking into what tools you need for prospecting, we’ve compiled some of our favorites to help you automate the most essential parts of your sales prospecting process, like lead generation, lead enrichment, email management, social media management, and sales funnel building. Let’s dig in.
Best Sales Prospecting Tools to Use in 2021
Best for deep dives into demographic details
Before, if you needed to target a specific demographic, you had to manually comb through different lists depending on the various kinds of details you needed. For example, if you want to sell to young restaurant owners in the San Fransisco area, you would need to cross-reference professions, age demographics, and locations. While you may eventually end up with a solid list, doing all this work by hand is a time-consuming activity.
Fortunately, there are automated sales prospecting tools that can generate leads based on information found online in seconds. One excellent tool is called LeadFuze. It allows you to search for prospects based on several criteria, like profession, industry, keywords, and locations.
This means that in addition to saving time, you can also be pickier. Since you won’t need to separately search for each criterion you add, you can search for tons of specifics in your demographics at the same time. This way, your leads become higher quality and offer you a better chance at success.
After selecting the criteria of your ideal leads, you can just set it and forget it — until it serves you high-quality contacts that match your needs, that is. With access to over 350 million records for it to comb through for you, there’s certainly a bang for your buck element to this tool as well.
An advantage of automating this part of sales prospecting is that there’s less chance for error. As this tool gathers information from a variety of online sources, you have a better chance of having up-to-the-minute accuracy. Plus, its seamless integration with many popular CRMs means your contacts can be automatically updated and lessen the amount of data entry your team needs to do (which means less human error).
Pricing: It’s priced per “lead credit” so the cost varies based on your needs. For 1000 leads, it can start at $231/mo. (or $2467.20 per year) if you agree to an annual commitment. On a month-to-month basis, it'll cost $257/mo.
Best for predicting outcomes using AI
You may know the basic demographics of who is likely to buy your product. But the more ways you slice your customer personas, the more help you need to keep track of nuanced commonalities that might be hidden below the surface.
The power of AI-led lead enrichment offers a more nuanced understanding that goes beyond just cross-referencing various demographic fields.
One such tool is Leadspace. Like other lead prospecting tools, it combs the internet (social media accounts, blogs, websites, etc.) and fills out profiles for your prospects and customers. But then it goes a step further, using machine learning and predictive analytics to identify who is most likely to buy.
It's AI provides predictive scores, look-alike modeling, and intent signals that can make sure that you don't just have accurate leads but ones that are most likely to succeed. This will allow you to make the smartest choices in the least amount of time, which is a combination any traveling sales rep can appreciate.
Pricing: Demo required.
Best for on-the-go phone call intelligence
If you’re a field rep, chances are you’re using a lot of windshield time to catch up on phone calls. Unfortunately, for all the time you gain making sales calls while driving to physical locations, it’s easy to forget what you’ve said. And taking notes is an impossibility.
Enter Gong, an app that records your sales calls and intelligently helps identify your most successful “plays.” It can suggest things to say to help close deals and even give statistics on how all of your phone calls are performing.
How does this help with prospecting leads? A lot of nuances can be revealed during your conversations. There may be recommendations a current client is giving you, or trends you want to research, or any other number of important facts that can bubble up in your conversation.
Gong records all of it for you and suggests next steps automatically. That way, whenever you’re parked, you can simply refer to notes or tasks it generates for you instead of trying to remember what was said. There’s even a search tool so you can access past conversations.
Pricing: Demo required.
Best for automating your social media management
According to Hubspot, companies that use social selling techniques regularly are 40% more likely to reach their revenue goals. More and more, prospects will find new brands on social media through ads and the recommendations of their friends or will do some digging on a new brand through their social media pages. It’s an excellent way to create brand awareness for your business and to cultivate the exact image that appeals most to your target audience.
The biggest downside? It’s extremely time-consuming. The internet never sleeps and trends come and go in a matter of minutes. In order to fully take advantage of this new space, your company needs to have a fairly active presence but that’s hard (and extremely dangerous) to do behind the wheel
Fortunately, there are tools to help you look much more active than you are — like Hootsuite. It allows you to build a social media calendar and schedule posts weeks in advance. You can even cross-post on different platforms, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more. It’s a super handy way to stay relevant and visible, while also staying safe on the road.
And, social media management tools let you do more than just schedule--they also help you to monitor your various platforms from one place. In the era of social faux pas, it’s especially important to keep an eye on all your various outlets, just in case. Automatic alerts can help you prioritize what kinds of social media activity you want to prioritize as well.
Pricing: Individual plans start at $29/mo, with team plans starting around $129/mo.
Best for chatbot-driven lead qualification
AI chatbots are increasingly becoming an industry standard because of the powerful potential in collecting data directly from prospective clients without the need for a human on the other end. You’ve definitely seen them before — sometimes, when you visit a website, a little chat box will pop up in the bottom right corner. Hate to break it to you, but there’s not usually a live person sitting on the other end
One great option is Intercom. Fully customizable, you can truly program it to say whatever you want it to say and have customer service representatives on standby to jump in for the more pressing questions.
This can be a real time-saver when it comes to field lead prospecting because you can get a lot of logistical questions out of the way with the use of a chatbot. The details from questions you design the chatbot to ask can be automatically sent into the CRM entry without you doing the back-and-forth.
Pricing: The "Essential" plan starts from $87/mo, the "Pro" at $153/mo, and more "Premium" options are available based on conversations with their team.
Best for building sales funnels that run while you sleep
You won’t always be around to field questions and direct new prospects — you have to sleep sometime, right?
Although prospecting is only one part of your sales funnel, it would be remiss to not address the big picture. Of course, automating your entire sales funnel is beyond the scope of this article, but that doesn’t mean we can’t throw some awesome tools your way to help push those prospects along.
A basic but essential part of automating your sales process is creating landing pages. One solid option to consider is Leadpages. Leadpages allows you to create completely customizable and trackable landing pages so that when you do ultimately send a prospect to a sales page, you know exactly how they behaved and interacted with your material.
Why does this matter for outside sales reps? With a demanding, on-the-go schedule that comes with your profession, the more tools you have that don’t require a ton of time in front of a computer. That’s exactly what Leadpages offers.
Best for finding nearby leads while on the road
When it comes to field sales, it’s not just about finding great leads but finding them in the right territory. But this is often neglected in modern CRMs that are often designed with inside sales in mind.
Map My Customers is a map-based tool that allows you to see prospective opportunities on the same map as your active leads. That way, you can pick up leads as you go about your planned visits. It eliminates a lot of research and coordination time as it’s already integrated with your current route plan.
Beyond just basic information about the lead, you can set up various filters and icons that can signal more information, such as if it is new, hot, or of a particular industry. Combine that with its “smart-routing” tool to predict the most efficient paths between your destinations, and you’ve got one powerful resource that can save some serious time and cash.
Pricing: It starts at $24.99 for the basic plan, but chat with the team for other options that meet your needs.
Automate Your Prospecting in 2021
It can take time and effort, but by using some of the many powerful automation tools on the market today, you can prospect more easily, accurately, and effectively than ever before.
When examined through the unique needs of outside sales lead generation, it’s easy to see how much time can be saved by using these top tools. Try a few out and simplify your day-to-day operations starting, well, today!