Guide to Sales Prospecting: 9 Techniques and Strategies

User AvatarDiana May-Jennings

As a sales professional, you should be familiar with the sales prospecting process that we all have to go through. No one is lucky enough to constantly stumble upon their ideal buyer—finding the best customers is a lengthy process that I’m sure you dread sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be as painful. 

Use this guide full of sales prospecting techniques for d2d and b2b to make sure you’re hitting all the necessary prospecting steps while avoiding what you don’t need to do.

What is Sales Prospecting?

Sales prospecting is the process of identifying and reaching out to potential customers or clients in order to generate new business opportunities. The goal of sales prospecting is to create a pipeline of qualified leads that can be nurtured and converted into customers over time. An effective sales prospecting strategy requires a combination of research, communication skills, and persistence.

Stages of the Sales Prospecting Process

The sales process goes from gathering lead information to closing the sale to make them customers—your prospecting efforts are the steps in-between that:

sales prospecting definition

Why Does Sales Prospecting Matter for Reps and Managers?

Salespeople should care about prospecting because it’s a crucial part of the sales process that helps generate new business opportunities. Here are just a few reasons why prospecting is important:

  • Fills the Sales Pipeline: Qualified leads that can be nurtured and converted into customers. Without a steady stream of new leads, salespeople may struggle to meet their sales targets.
  • Expands Customer Base: Salespeople can reach out to potential customers who may not have heard of their company or products. By expanding the customer base, salespeople can increase revenue and grow their business.
  • Identifies New Opportunities: Prospecting can help salespeople identify new business opportunities and stay ahead of the competition. By understanding the needs of potential customers, salespeople can tailor their products or services to better meet those needs.
  • Builds Better Relationships: Have more opportunities for salespeople to build relationships with potential customers. By establishing trust and credibility, salespeople can create a foundation for future sales opportunities.
  • Improves Sales Skills: Great prospecting requires a range of skills, including research, communication, and negotiation. By practicing these skills on a regular basis, salespeople can improve their overall sales performance.

In summary, using prospecting techniques is important for salespeople because it helps fill the sales pipeline, expand the customer base, identify new opportunities, build relationships, and improve sales skills.

How to Master Sales Prospecting

Now that you know why sales prospecting matters, you have to ask how you’re going to use it in d2d or b2b sales? The technique remains relatively similar with some slight differences shown here—but first, let’s define the biggest difference between these types of sales industries.

What is D2D Sales?

D2D (door-to-door) sales involve sales representatives going directly to individual consumers’ homes or workplaces to sell products or services. D2D sales are aimed at individual consumers. In D2D sales, sales representatives typically focus on building a personal relationship with the consumer to persuade them to make a purchase. 

What is B2B Sales?

In B2B (business-to-business) sales, prospecting typically involves researching and contacting companies that fit a certain profile, such as those in a specific industry or of a certain size, and engaging with key decision-makers to pitch products or services that meet their needs. 

b2b sales prospecting

9 Steps to a Sales Prospecting Strategy

Whether you’re in d2d or b2b sales, the general idea of sales prospecting remains the same, but your timeline will differ. B2b deals go through several rounds of consideration based on company budgets, size, needs, etc. whereas d2d sales can typically be a quicker close. 

See the steps we recommend you take when trying to find and close deals with your buyers no matter the target audience:

  1. Define Your Ideal Customer: Before you start prospecting, you need to have a clear understanding of what your ideal customer looks like. Consider factors such as industry, company size, location, and other relevant characteristics.
  2. Build a Target List: Use tools like LinkedIn, industry reports, and trade publications to build a list of companies that fit your ideal customer profile. 
  3. Research Ideal Prospects: Once you have a list of companies, research each prospect to identify key decision-makers, their pain points, and any relevant information about the company.
  4. Develop a Prospecting Strategy: Determine the best way to reach out to prospects. This could include phone calls, email, social media, or in-person meetings.
  5. Craft a Compelling Message: Your message should be tailored to the specific prospect and address their pain points. It should also be concise and hit on the pain points that you know your customer faces.
  6. Reach Out to Prospects: Start reaching out to prospects using your chosen method. Remember to personalize your message and focus on how your product or service can help solve their pain points.
  7. Follow up Often: Persistence is key in sales prospecting. Follow up with prospects multiple times using different methods to increase your chances of getting a response. *Pro tip: Consumers (d2d sales) may like to be contacted via text or phone call while businesses (b2b sales) prefer scheduled zoom calls, email threads, or conference calls.
  8. Nurture Relationship: Once you’ve connected with a prospect, focus on building a relationship. This could include sharing relevant content, offering helpful advice, or simply staying in touch.*Pro tip: this is the key difference between d2d and b2b, nurturing the relationship with a consumer versus a business takes a different approach. With a consumer it’s as simple as a phone call or text but with a business the follow up is lengthier: texts and calls are necessary, as well as business meetings, email discussions to loop in decision makers, etc.
  9. Measure Your Results: Keep track of your results and adjust your strategy as needed. Monitor metrics such as response rates, conversion rates, and revenue generated from prospecting efforts.

When it comes to sourcing prospects online, LinkedIn is the biggest game in town,” —Stephanie Svanfeldt, a strategic account executive at Salesforce.

By following these steps, you can create a successful d2d or b2b sales prospecting strategy that helps you identify and connect with your ideal customers.

prospecting tools for sales

What Are Your Next Steps?

Your next step depends on where you are in the prospecting process—do you or your company already do everything on this list? It can be an overwhelming process without the proper techniques so stick to this list and you’ll be amazed at the results. Sales doesn’t have to be complicated, keeping it simple will always be the best way to go.

Comment down below a prospecting experience you’ve had that could help someone else that’s just starting out or trying to develop their sales process.

Leave a Reply