B2B Prospecting: Definition, Guide and Tools
Your business depends on high-quality B2B prospecting.
Whether you’re trying to find new prospects or connect with the ones already in your CRM, your ability to grow your enterprise depends on identifying high-quality business prospects and converting them into high-quality clients.
To drive effective and efficient B2B prospecting, you need the right guidance and tools—and that means the most current, accurate data on the small- and medium-sized companies you’re targeting.
What is B2B Prospecting?
B2B prospecting is the process of identifying, contacting, and converting potential customers into new clients. To prospect effectively, you don’t just want to amass as many leads as possible. You want to focus on finding qualified leads that fit your customer profile, so you can better target your outreach, make strong connections, and build lasting relationships.
B2B prospecting is the earliest stage of the sales funnel, and one of the most important—the more you can keep your sales and marketing pipeline filled with quality leads, the more you set yourself up for present and future success.
Different Methods for B2B Prospecting
There are many different activities involved in prospecting, all of which are built around establishing a relationship with prospective business prospects. Some of these tools include:
Cold calling: Reaching out to prospects by phone to explain your products and services, what sets you apart, and how you could help them address their specific business concerns.
Email marketing: Sending targeted emails to prospects to supplement cold calling efforts, often with links to special offers or demos. These may or may not be cold emails, based on what stage of the prospecting cycle you’re in.
Content marketing: Creating, publishing, and distributing blogs, case studies, or other informational content that help establish you as an expert in your vertical.
Social selling: Maintaining a strong, consistent presence on social media sites like LinkedIn, as well as industry-specific forums.
Strong search engine optimization: Fully optimizing your pages for the SEO keywords you rate the highest, combined with paid search ads to provide extra targeting for specific words and phrases.
Live demos: Demonstrating your product and service offerings by walking prospective clients through them in real time, addressing their pain points, and giving them more information on the potential benefits for their business.
None of these prospecting strategies should be performed independently of one another. They can be arranged and combined in packages called cadences, which give you more chances to make a sales pitch that connects with your prospect.
Successful B2B Prospecting Strategies
Of course, no matter how skilled or enthusiastic your sales and marketing team is, you can’t just jump right in and start cold calling random companies. You may have only one opportunity to connect with a prospective business—and one chance to sell them on your offerings—so you have to make sure you’re prepared.
Before you pick up a phone or draft an email, you need to:
Create your customer profile
Ask yourself one question: Who are you targeting?
You should be able to answer that before you go any further. Not necessarily with specific company names, but general guidelines for your target audience, including the kind of company, industry, size, revenue, and more. Compile all of the criteria that are important to you, and use that information to create a basic profile of the business prospect you want to target.
This will become the basis on which you build all of your B2B prospecting efforts.
Build your CRM
Next, you need to identify your potential buyers.
Maybe these are companies you already have in your CRM, in which you can sort and filter by the ones that meet your ideal customer profile. But you should also be prepared to search for new small and medium-sized business prospects to add to your database.
There are several different ways to expand your CRM:
Ask current customers for referrals.
Develop a consistent presence in relevant industry forums and discussion sites.
Reference Google, LinkedIn, and other social media sites.
Partner with outside business data vendors
Take these companies and evaluate them according to your customer profile. Depending on how closely they match your desired criteria, you can identify which ones are the top prospects you should focus on.
Do your research
You have your profile and you have a list of prospects. Now, it’s time to do your homework.
Research each company extensively to understand who they are, what they do, where they work, and more. The more you understand them, the more likely you are to make a personal connection and create a pitch that resonates. This not only includes the areas they excel at, but also what they lack. These pain points are critical, because they can be the opening you need to make a compelling sales case for your products and services.
As a part of this work, you should try to identify the right person at the company to contact. You may find specific names, especially through LinkedIn. But at the very least, you should define a general buyer persona—the types of roles that would be responsible for making a sales decision.
In addition, you should also consider why they might object to you—whether it’s cost, product features, support, or something else. That means stepping back and taking an honest look at your company and your potential shortcomings (versus other competitors), and creating a message that turns them into an advantage.
As you do your in-depth research, you may discover that some companies you thought were top prospects really aren’t the best fit for you, or they aren’t ready to buy just yet. That’s ok! B2B sales prospecting can take a little trial and error. The more you can qualify your leads ahead of time, the more targeted (and successful) your prospecting methods will be.
B2B Data for Your Prospecting Today—And Tomorrow
Many aspects of B2B prospecting can be aided or automated by software tools. But no matter how good your tools or your sales and marketing teams are, your success at B2B prospecting starts with having the right data. If you’re not working with information that gives you the highest quality, high-priority leads, then you won’t be successful at attracting new companies.
That’s where Enigma comes in.
When you give your sales and marketing teams the same powerful data and insights that the rest of your organization has, you can approach your B2B prospecting with more clarity, focus, and speed. Enigma’s data sources transform the way you generate new business, from the moment you start prospecting to the moment you onboard a new business client.
Set buyer personas, create more targeted prospecting, increase your ROI—and close the deal faster and more efficiently. To make it even easier, our APIs let you integrate it with your existing systems and processes, so you don’t need to completely change the way you work or the software you currently use.
Interested in learning more about Enigma’s data sources and how they can help your B2B sales prospecting techniques?