"To leverage data, the right mindset and strategy have to be there, and equally important - the right tool has to be a part of your effort."
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How to leverage data to crush sales prospecting

The path to sales prospecting is dark and lonely, but the end goal is clear - create and convert interest into a meeting. It’s what salespeople find to be the most difficult part of the sales process, dreading the rejection and subsequent consequences. Why? Because the majority of sales reps use ineffective (not to mention obsolete) sales prospecting methods that steer them away from high volumes of better qualified leads and push further into the no-sale abyss.

Sales prospecting is a key activity for SMB’s that are inherently sales-driven and data is an integral part of it. Just like every other facet of the sales process, there needs to be a concerted effort and focus required to leverage it. As a sales leader, it’s your responsibility to make your sales team prospect efficiently so that they don’t waste your time on unqualified leads that are far from a match for your product or service. Here’s how to go about it.

Know your place in the big picture

Knowing your place in the competitive landscape can help you move your sales force along the right path and take your business to the next level. The B2B environment is a crowded place and there’s always a competing product or service that aims to take over your solution. This is perhaps nowhere near as evident as in the tech industry, where there is a wide array of competing technologies that are either similar to yours or amount to a more inclusive package. Hence, your business needs to have a clear picture of who they’re up against, among competitors you know and those in the stealth mode.

Understanding your competitors from head to toe allows your team to gain different actionable insights. You can do this with a sales insight platform such as SimilarTech, where you can see how many clients each competitor has, their top customers, geographical spread, comparison with other competitors, as well as all the relevant data surrounding that list. Once you figure that out, understanding your place in the competitive landscape will enable you to figure out how to stand out and take your sales prospecting to another level. Additionally, it will reveal companies that are potential users for your technology, adding a whole new batch of data to work with.

Understand your competitors
Image credit: Lynda

Warm up your cold calling

Sales reps put a lot of faith into their initial contact. Almost by default, that contact starts at sub- zero temperatures - completely cold. It doesn’t have to be. It can be extremely rewarding to warm up your cold calling before reaching out to your prospect. First of all, you stand a much better chance of a welcoming reception by familizaring yourself with as much info about your prospect as possible. This is the time where you create a template for a focused sales effort that targets specific companies within your market - your ideal customer profile.

By becoming familiar with basic information like company size, vertical, geolocation, your sales team will create a solid basis to delve deeper and gain more refined insights. These include web traffic, current technology stack, decision-makers and other relevant position holders, etc. Using SimilarTech, you can get a sneak peek at correlated technologies: find out what overlapping technologies potential customers are using which will help you branch out to other verticals and companies you haven’t thought of. All companies are different, so be sure to adapt and adjust your approach. Warming up your cold outreach raises your receptiveness because you can personalize and tailor the message that will be perfectly in sync with the prospects’ pain points while also presenting a way to uncover new greenfield opportunities as opposed to collecting data on the right contact within the company and approaching them directly.

Gauge buying intent

If there was a crystal ball salespeople could use to predict the future, the most likely query would be to know what solutions your potential clients are intent on buying. It’s one of those links that form the chain of a sound sales process. You’re almost guaranteed to get a response if there is a current or future need for your product or service. However, you don’t need a magic ball to know if your prospects are ready to buy. To effectively target businesses that have a genuine interest in your solution, you need to do track them in real time. You can set triggers (real-time alerts) to stay in front of important events and follow online your prospective customers, as well as uncover new ones.

There are two ways to approach this powerful competitive intelligence feature. The first one is by tracking either your prospects or competitors' customers whereas you monitor their online footprint - when they start and stop using any technology (add or remove something from their tech stack). Alternatively, you can track specific technologies and see when someone (your newly found prospects) starts and stops using them. As an added bonus to tracking your customers and detecting technology changes as they happen, you also get a full insight into their tech adoption history, allowing you to see what else they have tried in the past and use this data to personalize your message.

Form a customer-centric sales strategy based on actionable insights

The importance of being a customer-centric business continues to grow. According to a report from Econsultancy, the most important characteristic in establishing a truly ‘digital native’ culture is to be customer-centric, with data-driven right behind it.

Customer centric organizational culture characteristics
Image credit: SuperOffice

The shift to a more data-driven, customer-orientated culture has been in motion for the past few years, propelling data as a watertight foundation to delivering sales. It’s a change each and every sales leader should wholeheartedly embrace, that is, with one distinct notion in mind.

Gathering data and turning it into relevant, actionable insights you can actually use to improve your sales are two separate processes. There are a lot of different elements that go into leveraging data properly. The right mindset and strategy have to be there, and equally important - the right tool has to be a part of your effort. Not only can you provide the relevant information your sales reps need to help them convert your prospects, you can also expand your initial focus and uncover new potential verticals, companies, and geographies to tap into. The opportunity to reign in relevant data and analyze it for sales purposes has never been so accessible through sales insights platforms such as SimilarTech. The final result will be a potent mix of qualified leads and happy customers that will be the key driver of your company’s growth. You need this, trust me.